It’s one thing to make enduring records, another still to work with luminaries in multiple fields. Another thing still to treat the rhyme not only as a piece of poetry, but to play with the aesthetics of language in ways that represent the voice as a unique instrument in and of itself. Blackalicious do all of these things, and as evidenced by the reissue of 1993’s Melodica, they have been doing these things for years. Originally released exclusively on cassette, Melodica is being reissued digitally for the first time. It’s a vital document of the group’s progression towards their eventual position as lords of the West Coast Underground, Gift of Gab twisting his words with aplomb, his lyrics more carefree than his later work. Chief Xcel’s beats, meanwhile, tread the same funky, lighthearted waters as many of his left-field contemporaries, but everything on Melodica is coated in a murky scuzz that, somewhat conversely to logic, could place the EP alongside much of today’s weird, lo-fi hip-hop. As an added treat, Melodica contains “Changes,” an unreleased cut produced in part by one DJ Shadow, who joins forces with Blackalicious producer Chief Xcel to offer dusty drum loops and subtle, textured samples that would offer a glimpse into much of Shadow’s later work. In an era where hip-hop devolves into half-baked facsimile with alarming regularity, Melodica serves as a reminder that the true school will always triumph over the bullshit.

In a hip-hop career that has stretched past a decade, Blackalicious has earned respect the old-fashioned way–rising through honesty, commitment, and artistry. Blackalicious is an American hip hop duo from Sacramento, California made up of rapper Gift of Gab (born Tim Parker) and DJ/producer Chief Xcel (born Xavier Mosley). They are noted for Gift of Gab's often "tongue-twisting", multisyllabic, complex rhymes and Chief Xcel's "classic" beats. The duo have released three full-length albums (1999's Nia, 2002's Blazing Arrow, and 2005's The Craft ). Their fourth LP, Emoni, will be released in July 2014.

DJ Heron, born in Lima, Peru raised in Brooklyn, New York he is undoubtedly no stranger to the hip-hop culture. Hip-Hop started with DJ and that’s what DJ Heron has been doing since the young age of 12 years old. Roaming the streets of Brooklyn, his older cousin made him carry countless of records that it was only a matter of time for Heron to start doing what he does best; being on the 1’s and 2’s. Couple of years later, he moved to South Florida to bless locals with sounds of the underground Hip-Hop that was hitting the airwaves in New York. Since there was a lack of Hip-Hop culture in Florida, DJ Heron would take frequent trips back to New York for the weekend just to record the hottest releases and formulate high- demand mix tapes Floridians would insist for when he would fly back down.

Apart from selling exclusive rare mix tapes, he started his first production company called 3rd Eye Productions with partner DJ Klassik now known as DJ Chris. During that time, DJ Heron starting producing vicious beats which were the ember that made him establish his own first studio called Florida Room Productions. Creating a buzz with his production, he landed his first record deal with Atlantic at just 18 years old. Unfortunately after 7 years the studio was robbed leaving him without his tools but not his luck. Shortly after the robbery occurred, a new door opened for DJ Heron that would change his career forever. Sony Music Records signed DJ Heron to their label giving him the opportunities to work with several artists, make his own productions, and go on the White Lion Tour that featured Tego Calderon, DJ Laz, Don Omar, and Voltio.

Having much success throughout his career, DJ Heron has opened up for many hip hop shows including Black Sheep, Leaders of the New School, Public Enemy with Queen Latifah, Tim Dog, and Termanology just to name a few . Furthermore, he was also the winner of the Pro AM DJ Battle of 2011 in which he competed with several other DJs nationwide. Side by side with host/ emcee Saheed, DJ Heron is now the main resident DJ of Re-Up radio, an online radio show airing every week playing old school, new school, and independent Hip-Hop artists music worldwide to fans tuning in across the globe. It won’t be long till’ you hear DJ Heron’s skills with upcoming Re-Up Radio mix tapes soon to be released throughout the year.

Miami supah emcee Serum's new single "Afro Pick 2" feat. REKS & DJ Heron (prod. Cap K) available now for FREE DOWNLOAD via the soundcloud link below:

"I consider myself a hip hop purist and this guy is the real deal. He has a Kool G Rap-esque flow, Rakims deep lyricism and some great punches. One of my new favorite rappers!"
-Itunes customer (Benefico)

Serum is real hip hop from "Vice City."

Jedi Nemesis

"What i do is essentially poetry with rhythm. There's no difference. With poetry there's just a more spaced out cadence than with rap or rhyme," says Jedi Nemesis, A.K.A. James Kelly, the Liberty City raised hip-hop artist.

When asked how he got started in music, he told us impishly, "I always thought it'd be funny if someone asked me that question, I'd say, 'I just started rapping last month!'" The truth is, he got into rhyming when he was 12, and even more into it in high school when he found a culture of freestyling.

At first, we thought his name referenced the dark side of the Force, but apparently it's quite the opposite. A Jedi isn't just someone set to protect the Galactic Republic, Kelly explained that it's also the name of a river in Africa, and that's where he got the title.

His music is informed by all types of hip-hop, even gangster rap. But Mos Def, Nas, and - he emphasized - a '90s Jay-Z are the artists who most influence his work. He agreed that there's been a revival of late '90s, socially conscious hip-hop, but, "I think it could also be a gimmick." He believes, "Some budding rappers now, they do this since this is popping. If gangster rap was big, they'd be doing that."

He derives most of his melodies from soul music. His lyrics also seem to come from a deep place. "What inspires my content is a desire to sort of wake people up, so to speak." He says, "Because when I look at our society, I just see people, no critical thinking, they don't question why this, why that. They just go about their daily lives and not even knowing that there's something bigger at stake than just your life. That's where my rhymes come from. Think more."
-Liz Tracy, Broward Palm Beach New Times

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