Tony Simon, a/k/a Blockhead, has been making and releasing utterly distinctive, funky and emotive music for 15 years. 

Blockhead grew up in downtown New York City. As the son of an artist, surrounded by visual culture, he early on found that his passion was for music, for the sonic. A fan of a whole range of sounds, especially hip-hop, Blockhead steadily built a tremendous collection of tapes and later CDs from innumerable artists, a quiet accumulation of knowledge and know-how. 

After a brief stint as a rapper, he realized his calling was behind the boards and not on the mic – and from there he began to produce beats. Since making that decision, he's kept pretty busy: carving a niche as a quality underground beatmaker that people call when they want something special. 

Blockhead produced nine tracks on Aesop Rock's critically acclaimed album “Labor Days.” Additionally he produced half the tracks on Aesop's follow up EP, “Daylight.” He has also worked with other indie giants Atmosphere, Murs, Mike Ladd and Illogic. In between, he found time to complete a break beat album entitled “Blockhead's Broke Beats,” with ten hard-hitting instrumental tracks, which was released on Mush Records, the US home of cLOUDDEAD.

To understand Blockhead’s presence and gravitas – look no further than the fact that he has also contributed three tracks (including the first single) for Cage’s “Hell’s Winter” on Def Jux. The other producers on the project are DJ Shadow, El-P and RJD2. 

All this occurred simultaneously to his debut album on Ninja Tune, “Music By Cavelight,” described as “one of the most fantastically good albums you’re going to hear this year” (Sunday Telegraph) and “a beautiful record” (Metro), with Blockhead himself tipped as “definitely one to watch” (Touch.) 
Blockhead returned in 2005 with “Downtime Science,” another set of deep, emotional instrumental hip hop tracks, this time dedicated to the downtown area of Manhattan where he grew up and has lived his entire life, encompassing all the attitude, anger and edginess of the neighborhood. This expansive album also features some melancholy reflections upon failed relationships and the promise of future loves. "The Music Scene," his first full album in 5 years (discounting the tour-only release of “Uncle Tony's Coloring Book” in 2007) has elevated his craft to another level. 

Blockhead released “Interludes After Midnight” in 2012, marking his latest triumph in the world of instrumental music. His thoughtful beats and iconic samples continue to help him stand apart from the crowd when it comes to originality and emotion.

Since 2010, Blockhead has performing in a variety of electronic festival like Photosynthesis, Emerg-n-See, Art Outside, Camp Bisco, Trinumeral Festival and One Step Beyond, co-headline tours with Emancipator and Signal Path, and support date runs with both Bassnectar and Pretty Lights. No longer content with being behind the boards, Blockhead has emerged as a real touring force with his new live show that keeps audiences nodding along and wanting more!

Cobra Krames

A DJ with an open ear and passion for rocking the party. He plays a banging mix of club music, parking lot anthems, and the jams you love -- he gets hands in the air and people on stage!

Maffew Ragazino

Armed with pure lyrical prowess and with the hunger and talent that comes along with a Brooklyn emcee pedigree, Maffew enters Hip-Hop as an Artist on a mission.
Growing up in the Brownsville Section of Brooklyn, New York, Maffew began rhyming at the age of 7, during a time in Hip-Hop when rappers and rap groups were as different from one another, as one day is to the next. Influenced by his youngest uncle who kept the likes of Big Daddy Kane, Notorious B.I.G., Brand Nubian, A Tribe Called Quest, Snoop and Dre, Slick Rick, KRS-One, and so on, in heavy rotation Maffew was both nurtured and forced to "push his pen" at an early age. Having spent a number of years in Virginia, he was able to fully focus and hone every aspect of his repertoire. His presence in the booth similar to that of a confident quarterback in the pocket, Maffew makes and arranges songs of various contents, flows, pace and purpose, that both summarize the environment as well as capture the moment.

Maffew eventually would return to BK- and with the team coming together- bubbling quietly- like the thunderous roar from the 3 train leaving Brooklyn, his talent would not go unrecognized. The young, up and coming emcee was quickly enlisted by Shakedown's very own, Bad Boy/Konvict recording artist Red Café, for his album with DJ Envy called "The Co-Op" in which Maffew featured on two tracks (Invincible, Section 8). Then under his moniker St. Maffew, he also appeared on the Boot Camp Clik General, Sean Price's mixtape "Kimbo Price"(Weed & Hoes). Since then Maffew has ventured out and collaborated with artist such as Das Racist, Roc Marciano, Action Bronson, Mr. MFN eXquire, Skyzoo, Torae, and a host of others.

“I originally met Maffew when he was 15, in a store where everyone was battling. I thought he was the best out of all of them lyrically but thought he needed to grow up because his voice wasn't there. Flash-forward, a few years later I met him again when he grew up and his voice was right, his rhymes, and his swag. He is an artist. So right from there, I started fucking with him.”- DJ Clark Kent ( interview excerpt)

After gaining the respect from some of hip-hops heavyweights, Maffew and his Independent record label Cash In Cash Out Records L.L.C. are ready to make their own path. Presently Maffew has 3 critically acclaimed releases under the belt (Where I'm From The Experience E.P., Rare Gems The Collection Hosted by DJ Delz and DJ Dub Floyd and Rhyme Pays presented by Boundless and Peter Rosenberg). Those critically acclaimed projects gained Maffew national media exposure with 4 video’s in rotation on MTV Jams/MTVU, two interviews with DJ Envy on MTV2 Sucker Free and his first appearance on BET 106 and park follow Friday. Ragazino or Sr. as some may call him is a pure talent with the ability to be honest while crafting his music and will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.

Three blood brothers, all with awesome names, come together to form the lyrical trinity that is Gods'Illa. Who is Gods'Illa? Not a giant monster tearing Japan apart, that's for sure. Rather, Gods'Illa is a giant family tearing up over-privileged, underwhelming emcees. Their intentions are to destroy and rebuild, and with their first full length, self-titled album, I'm excited to say that they made an amazing start at doing just that.

Acem, Truth, and Powerful, are all the types of emcees that we all love. Clear, concise, articulate, creative, intelligent, but still a bit raw. The type of dudes who would whoop you on a bad night, and then sit down and try to figure out a way to build some sort of community organization with you. Three Rakims. Better yet, Three Black Thoughts. Three young men who, without being overly explicit, make it clear that they have a purpose and a mission, coupled with the everyday carnality of regular life. Oh, and they love hip-hop. A lot.

I know, I know. These are all pretty bold statements about three men, I've never met. But from the very beginning of their album, these poignant characteristics burst through vividly. The first song "Glory," they repeat the mighty mantra, "Who can be against me, if I got God for me" while explaining and exhibiting that they are thorough emcees, due to God, without sounding preachy. Hence the name Gods'Illa. The song that follows, "Who Is…" strengthens the introduction as Acem runs through the stereotypical questions about a group like Gods'Illa, such as whether or not they stand on the Africa soapbox, and whether or not they have songs for the club. It's a short clever song that really drives home who they are – young brothers, trying.

Balance is shown on the mild tempo'd "Stuck," which as an interesting song about relationship trouble. Each brother tells a different story. Their personalities are all different, as are their perspectives. This fact makes for a really dope, dynamic song. Not to mention the track is an amazing, Dilla-esque groove, reminiscent of old Slum Village. But, I must say, my personal favorite on the album is probably one of the heaviest. "Glaciers," is the epitome of a hip-hop song. A driving beat, complete with a stinging snare and stuttering bass drum, serves as the backdrop for Gods'Illa and the feature, Joe D, to give an amazing performance. The lyrics are laden with spiritual teachings, revolutionary rhetoric and struggle talk all being disseminated without pretense or prejudice.

All in all, Gods'Illa's self-titled debut album sounds good. More importantly, it feels good. It feels real. Sincere. The familial connection is as evident as their lyrical ability, which makes for quite a stew. They are focused and mission oriented which is always a good thing. Hip-hop doesn't have much space right now for art for art's sake, in my opinion. So it's refreshing to hear what can be created when family holds tight to one another, and builds. It's funny, when I think about it, some people will be as frightened of them as the Japanese were of Godzilla in the movies. If truth is fire…I can understand the fear. Be afraid.

-Jason Reynolds

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