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Hip Hop

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Jaw Gems bring trippy neo-soul to House of Blues

Jaw Gems, a group of four guys hailing from the upper reaches of New England--Portland, Maine--are producing some of the most refreshing neo-soul music out there. Planting themselves in the same vein as artists like Thundercat and Flying Lotus, the group crafts fat and funky instrumentals that edge toward the experimental side. They band effortlessly laces their trippy hip hop beats with strong jazz influences, and maybe the occasional transmission from Mars. Catch the band opening for Lettuce at the House of Blues 12/31, and in the meantime, stream them below.-Olivia Sisinni

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Hip Hop with a conscience, from the Bronx: Prince Metropolis Known

Prince Metropolis Known is a lion.  He has a mane, man; he’s the king of the beasts! He’s a political animal, but he also boasts to “Party with blood suckers, bbw hot sex in tubs of butter - the Prince of Dubia. Royal fetish, gold letters, tomatoes and silver - the Prince of Dubia.”  He once made an album entirely dedicated to dissing Bill O’Reilly.  THE AZEALIA BANKS GANG BANG takes up where his War Against Music and KILL BILL albums left off.  It’s the perfect platform for the Lion to utilize his practiced misogyny to lash out against the Trump advocate rapper and her ilk.  The first track (streaming) repeatedly lambasts her for not being Nicki Minaj.  It’s ignorant rap with a conscience.  What else would you accept from Kool Keith’s most promising protege? Check out also the outstanding 2013 video/single 'Metropolis' from 2013. - BrokeMc

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East Bay Featured: Oakland, an Arts Space Bounces Back From a Shooting

Naming Gallery in Oakland, California, is a multi-purpose arts space where people congregate on Saturday nights. This 360 documentary explores the how the arts center has become a staple for young artists to congregate, despite the fact that it exists in a historically beleaguered neighborhood. In August 2016, a fatal shooting occurred outside the gallery where hundreds of people were celebrating. “If we let this destroy us as people, we won’t be able to gather, we won’t be able to share art with each other,” says Imari, a musician who is part of the Naming Gallery community. “To stay open is the only thing I can do right now.” It was directed by the Oakland-based Variable Labs.

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NYC Record of the Month: Show Me The Body - 'Body War'

After - quite literally - storming the local DIY scene with their super tense live shows and a borderline insane debut EP, this past summer the trio of NYC natives Show Me the Body released their debut album 'Body War,' a ten track, electric banjo driven sonic assault that manages to successfully blend post-hardcore, industrial, math rock and hip hop. The album inserts itself in the lineage of hybrid punk releases that includes seminal records by Fugazi and Rage Against the Machine, but maintains a level of rawness and desperation neither of those bands ever managed to convey. (This makes us wonder if that's what a few decades spent in NYC's "less trendy" neighborhoods does to kids...). Intriguingly, unlike most post-hardcore acts, Show Me The Body isn't afraid to slow down the tempo ('Death Sounds 2'), or even give up the drums entirely every now and then ('Honesty Hour'), which opens up sonic space for sound experimentation and even textural moments, like in 'Chrome Exposed.' The quieter sections also allow for a greater contrast when the instrumental explosion eventually arrives, taking the '90s rock loud/quit/loud idea to its extreme. But the most effective tracks are the ones where the band's signature tension finds an (explosive) release, like title-track. 

This is the record most NYC kids involved in the vital, seminal, local DIY scene - and in all likelihood, most rock critics too - will remember years from now. It’s a record we think is destined to inspire many young, offbeat musicians - from underground, where so many NYC scene gems are buried.

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New Music Video: "Least Important Most Important" - Career Crooks

Emcee/producer Zilla Rocca and beat-maker Small Professor haved teamed up for a new poject, dubbed Career Crooks. The duo shared an incendiary new single, "Least Important Most Important," which draws inspiration from Mad Men's Don Draper. ("We're going to sit at our desks and keep typing while the walls fall down around us because we're creative - the least important, most important thing there is.") It was also accompanied by a new music video that was directed by Bob Sweeney, and you'll be able to find the track on their upcoming full-length album, scheduled for release in early 2017.

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