Last night we went into the city to chill with the homie Sean Cullen (SEENMR) at a Snack pop-up shop with The Good Company. Cullen was playing a relaxed DJ set and we managed to catch up on new happenings in his life since our interview earlier this year. Despite leading a self-described double life as a skater for Snack and the founding member of the Young Ho Collective, Cullen is diving head first into life as a musician. Cullen doesn’t just want to be successful, he genuinely wants to move people with his music. ”Shipwrecked” may be the most effecting piece of music he’s put out yet. Although he expressed doubts that his first foray into singing on his own material was successful, “Shipwrecked” is made by Cullen’s surprisingly strong vocal performance and lyricism. Over a simple yet moving Velvet Underground loop, Cullen delivers four lines about his life and world view that reveal a lot more than most people can in entire songs.
Remember how the math of god is in place and there is nothing we can do (or would do anyway) to prevent the impending Young Ho revolution? Well, let’s not give all the credit to god. Having barely taken a rest from releasing his stunning Chinatown Tape, SEENMR has continued to refine and impress with his newest release “Infinite Mind Power”. Like the most stunning tracks on Chinatown Tape, “Infinite Mind Power” settles into a natural progression and repetition that invokes cycles of nature instead of an electronic loop. It’s challenging, soothing and life-affirming all at once. We’re sorry but not really all that sorry that Young Ho is taking over The Up-Turn.
It’s not everyday that we run across an artist like Sean Cullen, the dude behind SEENMR and founding member of the Young Ho Collective. Sean Cullen is so psyched on music, life and his crew that his personality beams through his recordings and has made his Chinatown Tape one of the most buzz-worthy beat tapes of the year. I had a chance to chat with SEENMR and the bulk of that conversation has been formated for your reading pleasure after the jump. Being the cool dude that he is, Sean also threw together an awesome mix that I highly recommend you listen to while reading this philosophic conversation. Get ready for the Young Ho revolution.
A few weeks ago, we featured a beatie from Yung Ho Collective member SEENMR in our Eat Your Beaties Vol. 16. Dubbed “Spliff Simpson’s Return”, the track was an instant standout among the tracks we’ve featured this year and defined an interesting style that SEENMR was heading towards. For his Chinatown Tape, SEENMR recorded a collection of beats using samples collected from his friends vinyls as well as some “ancient techniques”. Whether or not it’s because of these ancient techniques, all of SEENMR’s compositions build up their own world with references to temples, Brahman, snake charmers etc. that don’t sound like mere hipster novelty. Instead of just looping, SEENMR’s beats ebb and flow in a natural progression that is absorbed in adherence to ritualist repetition and hymnal patience. While many of our favorite beats offer instant enjoyment, SEENMR’s best moments come from asking us to wait. Stream my favorite tracks below and the entire tape after the jump.
Over the past year, Soundcloud and the communities building in it have played a larger and larger part in how I found music. Soundcloud has always been great for finding new ideas in electronic music, but not so much in other genres, especially rap. Sidewalk Kal is one of the few rappers who has really stood out to me, and over the past few months has become one of my favorite rappers in general. Aside from getting the best beats from best-kept-secret beatmakers across the internet, Kal has never delivered an even slightly disappointing verse. I got to talk to Kal last week about how he chooses beats, the Chicago rap scene, and total creativity as an artist and now our conversation is here for your enjoyment after the jump, largely unedited as usual.
Recently, when people ask me who my favorite undiscovered rapper is I always try to put them on to Sidewalk Kal. Currently based out of Chicago, Sidewalk Kal has been blessing us with a consistent stream of great music for a while now and shows no sign of slowing down. ”OctoTrex” is Kal’s latest release and it has him teaming up with Brooklynite ID 4 WINDZ. WINDZ provides an understated yet memorable beat for the two to spit over with Kal stepping up his word play and delivery to some of the best we’ve seen from him so far. WINDZ is similarly old school minded rapper with a harder and grittier lyrical bent to compliment Kal’s more abstract musings and references. I also just found out that I went to high school with Kal’s younger sister which is pretty darn cool, amirite?
Although we’ve been following Chicago-based rapper Sidewalk Kal for a while now, I’ve managed to be oblivious to Impolite Society. Impolite Society is a five man hip-hop crew of producers and MCs including Sidewalk Kal, ELEE, Fess, Khalfani and Westley. On the track “The World”, which was released right before the world didn’t end, Impolite Society demonstrate that they have the same old school leanings of Brooklyn’s Pro-Era. The thing that distinguishes them from Pro-Era and most other crews, however, is that every member of Impolite Society has clear talent (R.I.P. STEEZ though). Kal has already demonstrated that he has incredible flexibility for beats and if they release more group material in 2013 there’s no reason why they can’t take Chicago.