EP: Ghost Row – 800 Diamonds

CT homies Ghost Row finally released their debut project with Cadence Collective, and its everything we had hoped it would be.  If you’ve listened to Ghost Row’s music before or read PK’s interview with Chef the Chef you know that Color Plus and Chef aren’t too concerned with sticking to trends and are much more interested in carving out their own path within their genre.  800 Diamonds does just that.  The beats switch from aggressive in tracks like “Visitor” to incredibly smooth in “Cranberry Octave” and standout “Golden Delicious” without ever succumbing to following trends or sacrificing chemistry.  I’ve known for a while that Ghost Row were an especially talented duo and I think 800 Diamonds is by far the best example of this so far.  Stream “Golden Delicious” below and stream and download the tape after the jump.

-TC

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The Up-Turn Presents: Mapping Hip-Hop

When I received an open-ended final assignment for my writing class this past semester I pretty much knew what I wanted to do right away.  The class was about being a writing tutor and how to teach people how to write so I decided to interview some of my favorite under-appreciated writers and lyricists about their writing process.  Although I’m not going to try and make claims about connections between rappers based on their influences, hometowns or styles I hope that the mapping serves as an illustration of just how amazing the world of hip-hop is right now.  Hit the jump to read my quick interviews with Chef the Chef, Sidewalk Kal, uhlife, B L A C K K R A Y, Hanz, Chris Villa, NicX, and Tay Devenny.

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EP: Chef the Chef – Eunoia

Sorry, what was that you said, I didn’t quite hear you the first time?  Not enough beaties in your life?  Pssh, Chef the Chef has got your back.  Although we know him mostly from his rapper in the CT duo Ghost Row, Chef the Chef has been improving his beat making craft for a long time now.  Although his experiments have usually never left obscurity on his soundcloud page, Chef has decided to collect 24 of them (yup, 24 more beaties for you to munch on) in what I believe is his first solo tape Eunoia.  Considering that the tape delivers 24 new tracks and that Chef still is a padawan beat maker, Enoia isn’t going to consistently wow listeners.  Instead, Eunoia is definitely a listen for fans of Chef who are interested in the kinds of beats he likes pumping out when he’s not delivering hot fiyah with Color Plus.

-PK

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mp3: Ghost Row – Cranberry Octave

Cadence Collective just dropped an awesome sampler compilation, and it happened to feature a track from CT homies Ghost Row.  Ghost Row, once again, show incredibly good chemistry with this track.  Color Plus puts together an absurdly smooth beat driven by gorgeous guitar strummings, and Chef lays down some of his most effortless-sounding verses yet, with perfect flow and tasteful wordplay.  ”Cranberry Octave” is an awesome reminder of how DIY rap can rival and surpass the work of artists with lots of resources.  Keep an eye on Ghost Row in the future because if they keep putting together tracks this great people are bound to take notice.

-TC

EP: Color Plus – Key Lime

Its been a while since Color Plus released his last EP, Cerulean Dream, and since then he has been up to a number of different things, releasing two EP’s with Chef the Chef under the name Ghost Row.   For most of the songs for Ghost Row, Color Plus toned down the thick ambience and airy nature of his solo music, but now on Key Lime, it is back in full force.  His production style is just as distinctive as ever, stretching out vocal samples in a number of different ways to form gorgeous backdrops with extremely well produced drums over them.  Although Color Plus’ choice in drum sounds can often draw many connections to trap music, his production style as a whole completely transcends the genre in an extremely impressive way that I can’t think of many producers who are capable of.  Stream one of my favorite tracks off of the EP below, and the whole thing after the jump.

-TC

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mp3: Chef the Chef – Fancy Clown

It’s no secret that Madvillainy is one of the most highly regarded releases in abstract and underground hip-hop and something that has left an incredible mark on the face of hip-hop today.  On that perfect album, my favorite track has always been “Fancy Clown” so I was honestly skeptical when I saw that Ghost Row spitter Chef the Chef was taking on the beat.  I’m happy that I can say that Chef handles the beat exactly how he should, with reverence for the original and a lightheartedness to let listeners know that he isn’t trying to challenge MF DOOM’s (as Viktor Vauhgn) original verse either.  Listen, donate, spread the word.

-PK

mp3: Ghost Row – Curtain Call

Despite the lack of a rich hip-hop scene coming from Connecticut, Ghost Row continue to earn the title of CT’s finest with their newest track “Curtain Call”.  Ever since their first mixtape, Chef and Color Plus have only been getting better at melding their styles and Cheap Thrillz showed off an incredibly confident Chef with the ability to create effortlessly memorable hooks.  ”Curtain Call” is another showcase for Chef as lyricist with an understated and ambient beat from Color Plus.  Chef doesn’t disappoint with plenty of witty lyricism and memorable lines: “trippy so the hippies be saying I’m far out”.  ”Curtain Call” was recorded for our Newtown tribute compilation Nutmeg State of Mind and gives the indie-rock heavy listen a much appreciated hip-hop detour.  Listen, donate, spread the word.

-PK