Cheats Movement photos of the final Face Melt Friday of the year are now posted on The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. Visit the Cheats Movement Facebook page – Like the page and share the photos with your friends! Also, Sunday December 8th at Gallery 5 is RVA HOT SAUCE. It will feature a live hip hop cypher – if you want to get down buy a ticket – show up – and sign up on December 8th. WE SEE IT!
Coming live from the Southside, Radio B’s new album “Whole Foods” hit the streets yesterday. What started as “bridge the gap” album between “Live Good and Be Great” and the next installment of that series, “Whole Foods” was suppose to be a lower profile album – but in the true form of his click Association of Great Minds (AGM), Radio couldn’t just do “any” album, so Whole Foods organically turned into something much more.
I sat down with Radio at The Shop – in the Manchester section of RVA – earlier this summer – following AGM’s classic performance at Epic Fest – and he told me about the motivation he has to make good music and elevate the city’s hip hop scene.
One of the first things people need to understand is that Radio Blitz is a true fan of hip hop. His knowledge of classic records, beats, rhymes, and culture is something that most people won’t fully comprehend unless you draw it out of him – one on one. Our conversation ran the gambit: from Tribe to Jay to Nas to AZ – but what really struck me about Radio’s approach to Whole Foods was his goal of reaching a particular “classic” feeling, “I want to provide a pure, authentic and organic hip hop experience. Something nostalgic – that reminded you why you fell in love with hip hop and to remind me why I started rapping.”
The most appropriate review I can give of “Whole Foods” is that it’s quality hip hop from top to bottom. Radio really shows his range and diversity as an MC. The track, Live From the Southside – produced by Trac-Qaeda – gives you a real introduction to the record and Radio’s heady rhyme style. I think of Radio – both rhyme style and presence – as the AZ of Richmond. He’s not the most acclaimed feature on a record but it’s often his verse that you find yourself repeating over and over again.
Live From The Southside – Radio B
He gets his swag on talking – what MC’s talk on the Nickelus F produced track “Dixie Normus” and then gets his Nas/Slick Rick story telling on with his brother Nick F on the track, The Cart B4 The Horse.
Whole Foods is the first album that Radio has work with wide range of producers. Don’t worry – AGM super-producer NameBrand still has the title track – but production really comes from Cashby, Trac-Qaeda, and Nickelus F. Radio takes you into a “Public Service Announcement” moment – without the reintroduction – on the Ohbliv produced “Journal Entry.” Radio is clear on, “If you can’t see my motivation/I don’t need to bring you around…”.
When speaking about his peers in RVA hip hop and, particularly those in AGM, Radio was candid, “It’s healthy competition within our group – I see what my brothers are doing and it motivates me to work harder – go further. My brothers in AGM is who I look at and listen to – to really spark that fire within me.” He went on to say, “sometimes we (AGM) can come across as misunderstood a bit – like we are too into our own movements – and that’s not really the case. We really motivate each other and that competition pushes us to the next level. We’re never pulling others down – we’re about elevating our music.” That sentiment comes across in Whole Foods because the real highlight of the album is the Whole Foods cyphers – 3 editions – spread throughout the album that features 17 local spittas. I’ve never seen anything like it on record in RVA hip hop. The cyphers alone is reason enough to support the album but the album itself is the real gem. Radio B delivers a classic for RVA. #WE SEE IT
I’ve never rated an album before – so this is a Cheats Movement first: 4.6 mics out of 5. The best Radio B album to date – and in my 2013 RVA Hip Hop classic albums of the year.
Radio B will be performing at The RETURN OF RVA HOT SAUCE on December 8th at Gallery 5. Tickets are available right now at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-return-of-rva-hot-sauce-tickets-9233715291?aff=eac2
To view the entire photo album – visit the Cheats Movement Facebook Page - Share & Follow! WE SEE IT!
History was made last night at the Old Towne Civic Center in Petersburg. The God Emcee Rakim was in the building. Thanks to Soul Logistics Radio – S/O the brothers J.D. Haze – Doug Evans – Rodney “Soul Singer” – and everyone that work so hard to make a historic night happen. In addition to Rakim the night featured performances by Narubi Selah, Rodney “Soul Singer”, J.D. Haze, & Jasmine.
The evening was hosted by Doug Evans. I had a minute to catch up with Doug after the show and asked him why it was so important that this event came to the Burg, “There is a a lot of shooting – a lot of killing – and a lot of wanna be rappers in our community – so I thought if I bring the God Emcee – the best of the best Rakim – he would enlighten the town and give people hope an inspiration.”
J. D. Haze echoed those comments, “Us being emcees and inspiring emcees, Rakim defiantly had an impact on us by having a righteous posture and keeping it funky for the people. With all the negativity that goes on in our community it is important that we can show that we can have fun in hip-hop in the original way it was intended: peace, love, unity, and having fun, and that’s what we did tonight.
Twitter: @CheatsMWC Email via the FB page!
Right in time for Fall Line Fest – Brand New Ms. Proper – Harder to Stand (Produced by Ohbliv). Ms. Proper will be performing on Saturday September 7 at 6 PM at the legendary Hippodrome. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the track.
Ms. Proper – Harder to Stand
I have to give full credit where credit is due, my good friend Matt Newman from the Coalition Theater tipped me to an amazing online comic strip that reviews the lineage of hip hop. He sent me the link to Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree and I was hooked. I have to admit – Hip Hop Family Tree is the best comic strip I have read since the run of The Boondocks. Not just the for the history lessons (and there are several), Ed Piskor is an amazing artist. He visually captures the grittiness of NYC in the late 70s and early 80s. He has worked with giants in the industry and has an impressive run of projects himself. Hip Hop Family Tree is solid on so many levels and I set out to find out some background and details about the comic. Lucky for us, Ed is not hard to track down and was willing to be interviewed for The Cheats Movement. Huge shout to Ed for taking the time. WE SEE IT!
Cheats: Hip Hop Family Tree is amazing. As a hip hop fan, I can’t stop reading it. How did it all come about?
Ed Piskor: It started by accident really. I’ve wanted to do a comic where old school Hip Hop would be an aesthetic backdrop for years. Even as far back as high school. I couldn’t figure out what the story would be. A crime story? A Love and Rockets slice of life tale? Ultimately just doing a straight-up narrative about the history of Hip Hop was the way to go.
When were you introduced to hip hop and how has hip hop culture made an impression on your life?
Ed Piskor: I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 80s and Hip Hop was everywhere I looked. My house was nestled in between 3 major parks in my neighborhood and at any given time you would see breakdancing or you’d see guys in a circle rapping while they waited their turn to play basketball. The fliest drug dealers looked like Eric B and Rakim. There were old-ass pimps who still dressed the part and talked with that rap patter.
Hip Hop Family Tree serves as a true history lesson. How do you determine the stories you want to tell and in what order?
I literally don’t know exactly how the strips will flow from week to week. I have to keep it fun for myself. I have a basic structure of things thanks to the release of the records so that’s how I keep my linearity. Other than that, each Sunday and/or Monday I sit around reading everything I can to unearth some really cool, hopefully visually interesting anecdotes. It is best when dealing with a situation that involves a group because you can find interviews with sometimes five people recalling events in different ways and I almost have to go by consensus at times.
Have you worked directly with any hip hop pioneers in making the comic?
Not really, though many people have reached out to express appreciation. Lots of rappers have tweeted and retweeted strips, etc. I’ll get wild phone calls every now and again.
What is the strangest response/reaction you have received regarding the comic?
There was one lame-o who didn’t like the comic and had a million reasons for it. He is one of those computer science professors from Carnegie Mellon University who also happens to be white. I told him that I would sacrifice every one of him as a reader if it continues to mean that DMC, Chuck D, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, Biz Markie, MC Shan, The Furious Five, etc continue to promote the work by sharing it on their Facebook accounts and twitter pages.
You do a great job at capturing the vibrancy and grittiness of NYC during the birth of hip hop. Is there any part of you that wishes that time could come back?
Not really. We should constantly move forward but it doesn’t hurt to look back and learn from history.
What is next for you and Hip Hop Family Tree?
I’ve really been thinking a lot about doing another Wizzywig comic. This is the computer hacker comic I did before HHFT. There’s so much insane shit going on with Whistleblowers, Wikileaks, Snowden, Manning, etc. That’s years away though. I’m doing the HHFT comics as at least a 5 book series. Book 1 will be available in October/November. Book 2 is almost done and will be out next Summer. Then the rest of the books will stabilize and be released annually or so.
How can we keep up with your work moving forward?
All the Hip Hop comics are online starting with strip 1 here: http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/brain-rot-hip-hop-family-tree.html
Twitter.com/edpiskor would probably be a good place to keep updated. Edpiskor on tumblr too.
Thanks Ed. Please support his work!
The homie, RVA emcee, activist, teacher, and all around good dude Isaac Ramsey AKA Swordplay hit me with the new video for the track “No T.S. Eliot.” It’s the lead video from his new album Tap Water – a collaboration with Pierre the Motionless. Filmed by Dave O’Dell at the familiar Helen’s Restaurant in the Fan District, Swordplay uses his classic intellectual style with a dope RVA imagery.
The album Tap Water was released on July 20th and is available at: http://doradorovitch.bandcamp.com/
I knew going into the last day of Epic Fest that – on paper – it was the best line-up of the festival. That’s not a diss to the other events, every day had artist that I would gladly pay the admission price to see but when you put: Nick F, Radio B, Michael Millions, Conrizzle, Dr. Millionaire, JFK, along with Noah-O, that is a roster built for headlining and it was: EPIC.
I’ll start with the obvious – the night belong to Nickelus F and the entire Association of Great Minds (AGM) click. Period. When Radio B hit the stage to lead of the set – the mood in Aurora changed. The air sort of shifted and you knew something special was going down.
Fighting what can only be described as a “difficult” sound system, act after act blazed through showing nothing but professionalism and respect for the music but overall it seemed that the sound trouble allowed the back half of the room to fade away a bit – that was until AGM took the stage and forced everyone to pay attention.
NameBrand, Radio B, Nick F, Michael Millions
Radio B lead off the set. One of favorite artist that is still slepted on too much – in my opinion. His latest album Live Good Be Great is a must listen. Michael Millions then blazed the stage with all new music, captivating the stage with his latest single, Slagin Tapes, produced by Nickelus F. Then Sweet Petey took the stage with music from Vices. It’s clear that Nick F’s Vices is the album that took over local hip hop for the first half of 2013. Nick F worked all night adding his rhymes to sets from Conrizzle and Noah-O. In a bit of a surprise appearance Audra the Rapper, took over the impromptu MC duties during AGM’s set. And Monsee, the man behind some of the best hip hop visuals in the area was also in the building.
I have to S/O Noah-O and Charged Up, time restraints at the end of the event impacted his set but he did his thing with a few cuts from the upcoming Monument Ave. Conrizzle returned to a RVA stage after a little break. He performed new music and one of my favorite tracks Pem Pen (from Vices). It was my first time seeing JFK and Badio – they did it big on-stage.
I have over 100 photos linked on The Cheat Movement Page so I’ll cut the write up just to get the images up. S/O to Slapdash. Follow The Cheats Movement Blog. WE SEE IT
Last night was the third night of the four night local hip hop festival, Epic Fest. Titled The Twerk Shop and held in the hot – very hot – like 1,000 degrees hot – Kingdom in Shockoe Bottom. The night was to feature J Roddy Rod as the headlining act BUT unfortunately, for J. Roddy Rod (and his fans), he was detained by those who protect and serve us. However, the night morphed into a special night for one of my favorite RVA aritst, Artik Phreeze (cover photo) tore the stage down.
In addition to Phreeze, I was able to see some regional artist that are on the grind and I either hadn’t photographed before or not in a long time. I was very impressed with up and coming artist Prezi Smith and Ver$ace Chachi. I’ve never seen the homie Fatzo perform before but he held it down. So did Doe the Paperboy, Streetz Deep & DollaGang360, and Rich P.
Fatzo and Baby Jay
Day two of Epic Fest brought a strong hip hop crowd to the Canal Club in Shockoe Bottom. More and more RVA’s hip hop scene is uniting to make Epic Fest the place to be this weekend. Last night featured some dope performances from RVA artist and other from around the state: Wize (reppin the YFD Fam) did it big, S/O to the young homie Zae Kinchen (reppin Natural Talent) – it was good to see my friend Cain McCoy get back on the mic. And this was the second time I’ve been able to see DJ Gringo hold it down. It got a little too late and I missed my homie Chance Fischer and one of my favorites from up north Kevin Sinatra, I know they did it big. But I have to say, the night belong to my dude: RVA’s Mad Genius Ohbliv.
In the age of down south club anthem by DJ Khalid and Mike Will, Ohbliv represent something different. His sound makes you nod, feel, and think. Most of the faces in the crowd were a combination of, “Yes” and “What.” Ohbliv left the crowd stunned. Not to mention there was a brief “Yellow Gold” reunion when Nickelus F grabbed the mic and started rocking out.
The event was hosted by iPower 92.1 DJ A-Plus, who kept the crowd involved and really spread the message of supporting local artist.
S/O to the homie Noah-O. RVA, in general, has been dealing with a lot of grief lately…good people leaving us too early. Noah-O hooks up with the homie Taylor Whitelow to remember Kleph Dollaz. The video is directed by another Grindaholic Rob Roby (Soul Live Media). In tough times – I love how these brothers are channeling their energy.
There has been so much RVA hip hop coming out lately that I really can’t keep up with it all. I appreciate every artist that sends me their latest work: mixtapes, singles, videos, etc. and I apologize that I can’t get everything posted as fast as I would like BUT keep sending it my way (CheatsMWC@gmail.com). The Cheats Movement Blog will continue to be a outlet for all RVA music and, in particular, RVA hip hop. So with no further delay — Here is what I’m turning up right now:
What can I say about Sweet Petey’s latest joint. Nick F brought it hard on, “Vices.” He is receiving well deserved national attention for the mixtape that features RVA emcees, Radio B and Michael Millions along with his Tokyo Ave Fam, Conrizzle AKA Loochey Lovely, and YMCMB’s Drizzy Drake. Of course, Nick is a beast when it comes to his rhymes and he killed it on Vices. My favorite track on the tape today (it changes all the time) is Pem Pen.
Pem Pen – Sweet Petey ft. Loochey Lovely
Number 15 – Sweet Petey ft. Drake
The Grindaholic himself Octavion X dropped his latest solo project, “Vigilante” in November of last year. While many folks that I’ve talked to believe “Vigliante” to be his best solo project to date (I believe this as well), it has been a slow build for tape. I sat down with Octavion last week for my Grindaholic series and he agreed that, “Vigilante” is in the process of deliberate and targeted branding effort. He wants everything to be right – the marketing, the videos, etc. because he believes in the music. I agree, the music is very impressive. My favorite track is, Get it How I Live ft. Artik Phreeze, Chance Fischer, BC Music 1st, produced by Mr. Ivory Snow.
We R VA ft Suburban District
Noah-O’s New Video, “Looking Down”
Charged Up General Noah O took it back to the Bay for his latest video, “Looking Down.” Check out the new visual. The upcoming record is called, “Thug Wilders Revenge.” It’s coming soon and RVA is on notice.
I’m a fan on HaBits. I’ve seen them rock a few times live and really appreciate the element of hip hop they bring to RVA. It’s a return to the emcee. Their feel reminds me of the throwback origins of NYC hip hop. The new record is called, “Soul Connection.” It is dropping very soon and here is a new single from the record.
HaBits – I Wanna Be
When I sat down with So !lla for the first ever Grindaholic interview, he made it clear to me that Broad Street Elite is the focus and 2013 is year. I respect his grind. Check out the music and see what BSE is all about. My favorite track? This one is tough because I’ve been sitting back watching what !lla have been going through and because of seeing some of his journey I’m going to post the track, Runnin Too Long.” I feel l like !lla has turned a corner and this track sounds like victory to me.
So !lla – Runnin Too long
There it is for now. There is so much more but again, I can only do so much at a time. Keep supporting The Cheats Movement and I’m going to keep supporting your work and RVA. #WESEEIT!
AN INTERVIEW WITH CHEATS OF THE CHEATS MOVEMENT BLOG
Words by Roger Tyler (RT) and Marc Cheatham (CHEATS)
ALL PHOTOS BY CHEATS (WITH THAT CHEATS MOVEMENT LOGO)
2012 appeared to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Richmond area hip hop scene. While Street Art made unprecedented moves in our city’s mainstream with the G40 Street Art Festival and RVA Street Art Festival, RVA hip hop struggled to grab widespread public attention, while also dealing with the tragic loss of one of its own, super-producer Kleph Dollaz. “This year hasn’t had the media hype I expected following a groundbreaking 2011 but overall it has been a solid year for a lot of Richmond area hip hop artist,” said Marc Cheatham AKA Cheats of the ever-expanding Cheats Movement Blog. I sat down with Cheats in his living room, in a quiet neighborhood on the West End of Henrico, to discuss his new mixtape project with RVA Mag, the influence of his blog, and his views on the year that was in RVA hip hop.
Cheats just recently completed his first RVA focused hip hop mixtape titled, “RVA HOT SAUCE THE MIXTAPE, Vol. 1.” It features 11 songs from Richmond-area hip hop artists such as, Artik Phreeze, Noah-O, Michael Millions, Ms. Proper, Suburban District, Black Liquid and more, it also has Cheats’ own voice on the intro, interlude, and outro yelling, his blog’s catch phrase, “We See It.”
Black Liquid, Ms. Proper, Suburban District, and Artik Phreeze are all on the HOT SAUCE mixtape.
In just over a year of covering the Richmond’s hip hop scene, Cheats has become one of its most trusted writers, bloggers, and photographers. You know you’re in the right spot if you see the short guy with a backwards cap and camera strapped around his neck. Or just look at your Facebook newsfeed the day after he covers a live event – photos with the Cheats Movement Logo are everywhere. This year it even stretched to the mainstream – North Carolina rapper Phonte (who Cheats interviewed for RVA Mag) used a Cheats Movement concert photo for his twitter profile photo. And while his blog highlights RVA’s diversity – RVA hip hop has embraced his blog as one of its go to sites for reports on the best local shows in town.
Phonte (Little Brother & Foreign Exchange) used this photo as his twitter profile pic following the Happily Natural Day/Tuesday Verses Concert
Being a hip hop artist myself, attempting to interview Cheats is a challenge because before you know it – he’s asking the questions and I’m giving the answers but we had a fun and free-flowing discussion and below are some of the highlights:
ON THE RVA HOT SAUCE MIXTAPE (Cheats in his own words):
“This is just my opinion but the mixtape represents what I see as the best elements of RVA hip hop. I say that knowing full well that I don’t cover every live show or listen to every album or mixtape (though I promise to listen to every song or mixtape that is sent to me directly via email or Facebook). I don’t know it all and that’s why this is just Volume 1, there will be a Volume 2 and probably 3, until I feel like I’ve captured the culture.”
ON HOW THE IDEA FOR THE MIXTAPE STARTED (Cheats in his own words):
“RVA Magazine’s owner Tony Harris told me that he was doing a series of mixtapes with different bloggers and asked me about doing a mixtape collaboration between The Cheats Movement Blog and RVA Mag. I have a lot of respect for Tony and RVA Mag so working on a mixtape seemed natural. I never felt that I was in the position to do a Hip Hop 101 introduction article because I haven’t seen all the hip hop RVA has to offer but the way RVA Mag presented the opportunity – it gave me the opportunity to highlight what I have seen and highlight who I go out and cover regularly.”
ON HOW THE ARTIST AND TRACKS WERE SELECTED (Cheats in his own words):
“Most of the tracks on the mixtape are not new tracks but a compilation of songs that have been in my rotation throughout 2012. I picked 11 songs for volume 1 and reached out to everyone to see if it was cool that I use their work. Black Liquid, Sleaze, Michael Millions, Doe The Paperboy, Ms. Proper, Arktik Phreeze, Chance Fischer, Suburban District, Drano, Noah-O, are all on the tape. The late Kleph Dollaz has an influence on the tape through Noah-O and Chance Fischer. Though I didn’t know Kleph personally, you can’t cover RVA hip hop and not be aware of the difficulty the community is still going through with the losses of Kleph and another friend of mine Mr. Mason Jones.
The RVA community is still struggling with the loss of Kleph Dollaz and Mr. Mason Jones ( in color)
ON WHO MADE AN IMPACT ON THE RVA HIP HOP SCENE IN 2012 (Cheats in his own words):
“This is tricky because I’m going to leave people out but understanding that I can’t name everyone (I can’t name everyone) I will say, Suburban District as a group should be proud of the year they’ve had and individually, Octavion Xcellence. Tim Porter, and Fair, should be proud of what they did as solo artist as well. They headlined Epic Fest, released “Beer for Breakfast”, killed features and mixtapes, and performed at SXSW, it was a huge year for the Smooth Dirty Camp. Doe The Paperboy killed it this year and not just with his music, DoeNation 2 was released in 2012, he was everywhere, making an impact with his live performances, his videos are great (S/O Soul Live Media) and his merch game is crazy. My JPS brothers Sleaze and Drano should be really happy with the feedback on their albums – both, “Heavenly Devilish” by Sleaze and “City of God” by Drano are being slept on by RVA — come on now! WE SEE IT! They are both great albums. I think Big League and their crew should be real proud of what they did…I don’t know them well but T-Mac and Bravo, that whole crew, put in some major work. RT, I know you really like what Memph 10, So!lla, and Ms. Proper did this year, I agree. And Black Liquid’s album, “The Black Experience” was his best studio album to date, not to mention opening for a ton of big acts including DMX. I could go on and on but I won’t.
It’s hard to think of a camp that had a better year than Smooth Dirty…Suburban District (Octavion X, Tim Porter, and Fair) were everywhere…. Kleos and Phreeze – the entire camp did it big in 2012.
Doe The Paperboy had a huge year and not just in music, videos and merch game is crazy.
Just Plain Sounds and a great year but still underrated…Sleaze (pictured with James Dangle and Ohbliv) and Drano had great records this year.
Cheats and I sat down and talked the year in review – here is what we came up with – before the hate starts – this is just a list of what we came up with – we know we left some folks out….tell us who – make us notice.
Favorite shows of 2012:
- Epic Fest (2-Day Event) at The Kingdom presented by SlapDash
- Phonte (From Little Brother) Happily Natural Day/Tuesday Verses at The Canal Club
- The Klubhouse Krew Presents: The Kleph Dollaz! Music Charity Show at Canal Club
Epic Fest brought a great crowd to Kingdom for 2 night -despite the weather trouble – one of the best events of the year.
Must listen to Album(s) Of 2012:
- Sleaze- Heavenly Devilish
- Suburban District- Beer For Breakfast
- Black Liquid – The Black Experience
The Black Experience by Black Liquid is his best album to date.
Artist we are checking for in 2013:
- Chi Chi The Kidd
- Chance Fischer
- Bravo (The Big League)
- Dr. Millionaire
- Yung Yankee
Chance Fischer is one to watch in 2013
Must See Videos:
- -Bravo- “Harlot”
- -Doe The PaperBoy- “If I Had It”
- -Young Rell- “Letter to God”
Videographers on top of the RVA game:
- Aura HD and Imagery (Jay Aura)
- Soul Live Media (Robert Roby)
- No Name No Brain (Arya “Pat” Rossman)
Best RVA Blog covering local hip hop:
- Well….WE SEE IT – Cheats Movement Blog!
This article was written by Cheats and RT. If you disagree – don’t hate – email me and tell me why: TheCheatsMovement@gmail.com
RT is a hip hop contributor to RVA MAG and a hip hop artist. Check his work and see him with The New Juice Crew and UCubed. Click here for RT’s DatPiff profile.
There is no doubt that Kingdom has become one of the leading venues for hip hop in Richond over the last few months. I credit this to the hard work of Broad Street Elite caption So !lla who has been putting in work all over Richmond in 2012. Last Friday, I took the Cheats Movement camera to Winterfest 2012 to catch a strong collection on local hip hop in one place.
Ms. Proper rocking the stage with the entire click. BSE X So Proper Ent is under one umbrella and ready to ride in 2013
Though Winterfest ultimately met the same “key” hiccup as most RVA hip hop shows, either too many acts or not enough time. I was pleased to see a nice size crowd of hip hop fans when I arrived. Though I was upset that I showed up right after my dude Octavion Xcellence finished his set, the crowd was still buzzing and it’s clear I may have missed one of the best performances of the night. Octavion just released his mixtape “Vigilante” and he has some fire on it (Check the track: Get It How You Live).
Octavion and Artik Phreeze
I did arrive in time to see Broad Street Elite turn it up. Ms. Proper, So !lla, Conci$e, WhopDaSquire, Rich P, were laced up and ready to go. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating…I would need to hit the gym for about 3 years straight to join that click – where do they find the time. I’ve also said this before (and I’m sure I will say again), Ms. Proper is the truth on stage, it’s another level. She commands the stage – rocks the mic – and does her thing and bounces, I’m always happy to catch her on set.
I then saw Petersburg spitta Rockstarr Gunna. This was my first time seeing him rock live and I must say, I was impressed with his performance. The performance was high energy with strong lyrical flow. I genuinely like the music so I’m not sure if he needed to highlight the “guitar” element of the show as much as he did. The guitar was dope but until they really got into it – at the very end of the set due to some mic issue (not their fault), the guitar just seemed to be more of a distraction for the fans then a real strong part of the live performance. With that said, I would attend another Rockstarr Gunna performance, absolutely. It’s worth seeing and I have a feeling only going to get better.
Rockstarr Gunna and the guitar (FYI – that dude can really play the guitar, he got busy at the end of the set)
Next to perform were HaBitS and I’m a fan of their work. I’ve covered a few of their performances in the past (and missed a few more – my bad). I’m a fan of what I call “true east coast hip hop.” Don’t get me wrong – I like a lot of music – but there is nothing like that Eric B and Rakim type flow, that Nas type flow, that a pull out a milk carton or have you man make a beat on a cafeteria table type flow – Habits has it – and a lot of that is missing or won’t pop off in 2012 hip hop. There are some exceptions – Stalley comes to mind but HaBitS seems to bring that type of flow and I’m rooting for them to have big 2013.
HaBits ready for a break out year.
The final act I covered were my brothers the New Juice Crew. If you read this blog – you know TNJC is family to me so you really have to see their set for yourself to get a unbiased opinion BUT I will say Black Liq is poised to have huge 2013. I spoke to him at the show and the stuff he has planned will get you excited for RVA hip hop as a whole. BC Music 1st deserves mention in this posted because he is really putting in work with, photos, videos, and music. BC’s grind has caught up to Black’s and along with Lord Slugg, Brother Starks, Bandolero, and RT I’m really looking forward to seeing what the TNJC can pull off in 2013.
BC has showed Liquid type grind in recent months and now locked and loaded for 2013 the TNJC focus’ is on a trillion.
Finally, I have to give some love to YFD Clothing – my man DaQuan Williams and Artik Phreeze. I’m not sure if Phreeze took the stage late but he’s on the The Cheats Movement X RVA Mag mixtape: RVA HOT SAUCE Volume 1 coming out real soon on the RVA Mag Bandcamp page. I don’t know – never met – DJ Gringo but he held it down Friday night – #Salute. I saw Rah Srcilla – DoeBoydaDude – and the crew from Natural Talent (those brothers are always working) in building. Overall, a good reprentation of RVA hip hop – always glad to be in the building. WE SEE IT!
First and foremost, shouts to my dude Black Reed and Hip Hop VA for the call to come through to Beat Battle IX. There is no doubt that producers are stars now in the hip hop community. Who really gets the credit for this turn of events? Yes, I know Dr. Dre and others like Manny Fresh and even VA’s Timberland were “money” producers before producing was cool but who really gets the credit for making beat makers stars? I’m going to lean heavily to Jay-Z and the Roc-a-Fella Records empire…you’re talking Ye, Just Blaze, No ID, Young Guru, stars were made without ever spitting a rhyme (feel free to debate in the comment section). That star power has transferred to every level of hip hop and it’s growing in places like Richmond. Last Thursday, I took the Cheats Movement camera to The Camel for Hip Hop VA X Charged Up Ent. X The Rebirth’s Beat Battle IX. The event was hosted by my brother Octavion Xcellence and in memory of the late Kelph Dollaz.
This was my first time covering a beat battle and I did not know exactly what to expect but I was surprised by the large crowd and the enthusiasm of the event. RVA’s hip hop scene is a “growing community.” I use growing because small is borderline inappropriate. From time to time feathers get ruffled and it appears the support within the community breaks down but last Thursday represented the best of the RVA hip hop community. A community that I have truly grown to love because of the support and motivation. Passion is what fuels guys like Noah-O, BC Music 1st, The Honorable Sleaze and Ivory Snow and it’s that same passion that fuels this blog to present RVA differently – positive and diverse.
As far as the battle goes, there was talent all over the place. S/O to Dr. Millionaire (Hovey Benjamin & Isaiah) put in work and so did Ivory Snow but at the end of the day all roads pointed to Denero and Matt Campfield versus NC’s Millie Vaughn.
Millie Vaughn pumping up the crowd.
After a tie in the final round it was Denero and Campfield that took the Beat Battle IX title. Congrats to them – I hope to catch another battle soon. Keep it locked in to The Cheats Movement Blog. A blog truly as diverse as RVA and follow it on Facebook and twitter. This blog will not survive without your follows and support.
Champs Denero and Campfield with the winning play!
Conrizzle, BC Music 1st, Octavion X
The new track “Salutations”by Chance Fischer is making the rounds. I’ve covered Chance a couple of times at live shows in RVA and his live performances are impressive. His Passport to Nowhere album released last year and produced by the late Kleph Dollaz was my introduction to his musical vibe – the record is well worth a listen. In addition to his rhyme skills Chance also did some guest blogging on the Grape Cloth website back in the day and I can honestly say when I ran across him a while back at West Coast Kix…he was just a laid back cool brother. Humble and hard working – any dude like that I’m happy to share their new stuff on The Cheats Movement.
I’d just like to begin by stating that I am a fan of your broadcast. Honestly, the broadcast is one of the highlights of my award watching year, not only because I believe the broadcast is well done but the spirit of recognizing hip hop in a positive light is a noble effort and meaningful for hip hop fans like myself.
While this year’s award show was marred by what we didn’t see on camera, backstage fights reminiscent to the historic Source Awards (RIP). I was pleased that last night’s broadcast did not highlight that aspect of hip hop culture. Instead the tribute to Chris Lighty and the honoring of the God MC Rakim were genuine highlights of the night.
I write this letter to you not out of criticism but out of concern. I believe if a change is not made to a key element of your broadcast, the broadcast as we know it will end. The change that -I know- needs to be made is regarding the most talked about and re-watched segment of your broadcast: The BET Hip Hip Award Cyphers. BET’s inclusion of hip hop cyphers in the hip hop awards is by far the single best decision the network has made since the cancellation of BET Uncut. Cyphers are watched and re-watched on the internet over and over again. It is the most anticipated and talked about part of the show and a breath of fresh air for true hip hop fans.
Since 2006, BET’s hip hop cyphers has broken new stars: Lupe Fiasco, Ace Hood, Big K.R.I.T, Corey Gunz, Nicki Minaj, etc, and had some of hip hop’s biggest stars and crews rock that Sprite logo: Kanye West, Common, Black Thought, Mos Def, Busta, Rozy, the list goes for a while. BET’s cyphers even made one of the games megastars even bigger – everyone already knew that Slim Shady could rip the mic but his BET cypher verses in 2009 and last year crowned him the hip hop cypher king.
Last night’s award cyphers were very impressive: Grand Hustle did their thing – say what you will but everyone was watching Iggy and she held her own. The RZA led cypher had true young guns, the crowd cheered of ASAP but Gambino and Joey B are also brave new voices in the game. As a fan, I was a little disappointed in the skills of the Ruff Ryder cypher but by no means is that the networks fault, the concept was genius. The Snoop led LA cypher with E-40, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Quick, Kurput, and Snoop was the best cypher of the night – classic material.
With that, BET we have a problem and it’s called the future. I see the problem developing that you need to address immediately before it’s too late. My concern is real and it has already ruined another very secrete broadcast: The NBA Slam Dunk Competition. The trend that star players are too cool to participate will kill the award show. Let me explain, there was a time when the NBA thought the Slam Dunk Competition would be their staple of All Star Weekend forever. Air Jordan, the human highlight film Dominique Wilkins, flip a couple of years to a young gunna in 97′ by the name of Kobe, and Vinsanity in 2000. The NBA has elite athletes come in to their league every year and with that the league thought that their new stars would carry the torch — well they were wrong. It’s true that Blake Griffith (2011 winner) is a star but I would argue that Blake and Dwight Howard are the only true stars that have participated in the dunk competition since around 2000. Last year’s winner Jeremy Evens I’d never even heard of. Even worse, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Melo, D. Rose, D-Wade, the league’s best players choose to sit out and watch from the sideline in silly glasses with no frames (I’m talking to you D-Wade).
BET, I don’t want this to happen you. So hear is the fix (this would also work for the NBA but it may be too late for them), tell your sponsor Sprite to pony up and offer cash to the cliques that compete and more cash to the most watch cypher on BET.com that week. You want to see an award show with cyphers from: YM/CMB, MMG, Slaughterhouse, and G.O.O.D Music doing their best rhymes? In order to get the best of the best, BET (and Sprite) need to put their money where the lyrics are and offer cash for winners.
Now this may sound extreme to you right now but the writing is on the wall. Your show is in trouble and competitive cyphers could change the game for at least 5 years or so. Again, I’m sending you this note as s friend and a fan, a change needs to be made before it’s too late.
All the best,
Your friend Cheats (www.thecheatsmovement.com)
The homie Drano is just about ready to release, “City of God,” his following up album to The Night Driver. With already one of my favorite RVA hip hop albums of the year [The Night Driver] – not to mention killing his features on the JPS X Doom mixtape, “Weekends in Latveria,” Drano is my frontrunner for having the most underrated year in RVA hip hop. I’m sure he’s looking to change that with, “City of God.” Drano “The Don” blessed me with the title track and a bonus track, “What I Rap For…”. Drano’s skills can’t be denied. He dominates just about every track he jumps on and his flow has a quality that makes you rewind the track and listen to it again and again. RVA’s hip hop scene needs a Drano but don’t take my word for it. Check out the tracks:
City of God – Drano
What I Rap For… – Drano
HE’S BACK!!! The hardest working man in Richmond Black Liquid with his new album, “The Black Experience.” This is a deeper album for Black Liq. The Black Experience is a reflective album about Black Liq’s career, work ethic, and status in the RVA hip hop scene.
Hard to Earn – Black Liquid
It is a very interesting album for me to review due to the time period Black covers in the album. The time span really covers our friendship. I didn’t’ meet Black Liq until after he put in the work on the 9 albums in 2010. This album really speaks about the time period after the success of 2010 which includes the growth of Face Melt Fridays, the RVA Mag article, and the growth of his radio shows and live performances. He doesn’t shy away from rhyming about how the growth has changed him and people’s perceptions of him. From being in the back of the room reluctant to get on stage to melting faces all over RVA.
Black Liq is known “really known” for his energy at live shows. I have told him in private (and public in the RVA Mag article) what I believe to be his biggest challenge, transferring that raw energy for his live show into a studio album. While the Black Experience is a studio album, Black definitely comes closer than ever before in accomplishing that goal. Even the live intro to the song, “Fame” starts to give you that energy that you’re about to get your face melted.
Fame – Black Liquid
I believe this album is Black Liq’s best studio work. The production by Brenda’s Baby and my dude Lord Slugg is stronger than past albums and Black shows more range on this album. Don’t get it twisted, he is still the same Black Liq with tracks like, “Seagal” and “Wesley Snipes” but the range on the song, “I Do” really shows his growth as an Emcee.
I Do – Black Liquid
“Hard to Earn” is another must hear track. And there are two tracks that I can’t wait for the entire New Juice Crew to jump on for classic remixes, “Another Day Another 40″ and of course, “TNJC.”
Check out Black Liquid tonight at Strange Matter for Face Melt Friday. Black will be releasing the album – make sure you grab a copy. #WOFTD #WE-RVA #WESEEIT
RVA Hip Hop lost a mad scientist – RIP #Salute.
LIVE AND NATURAL: PHONTE, PHOTOSYNTHESIZERS, DEREK 32ZERO, – PHOTOS FROM THE HAPPILY NATURAL DAY CONCERT
Hip hop heads were out in full force Saturday night for the man they call Tigallo – Phonte of Foreign Exchange (formally of Little Brother). When I spoke to him last week he told me that RVA should expect a good time – he was right. Phonte delivered one hell of a show. He brought high energy, amazing stage presence, and a connection with the crowd on every song. Of course, it helps when your fans are hanging on every word and know every lyric. Phonte’s fans new every track – weather it was from his solo album, Charity Starts at Home, or Foreign Exchange, or Little Brother – they sung almost every word. He could do no wrong Saturday night and represented to the fullest. I commend the organizers of Happily Natural Day for such a perfect selection. Beyond the performance, Phonte appeared to be having a great time doing what he loves. He is fully aware of his place in hip hop and appreciates the support he gets and the fans that came out. He didn’t take too many breaks but during the breaks he did take – he took a moment to talk to the audience about real life. And his chats were mostly hilarious. His best line of the night was, “There are two types of people in the room – people that are sad that the summer is over – and people with kids.” Well, I’m sad that the night had to end but it was well worth it. One of the best shows of the year.
Also holding it down Saturday night was my family: Photosynthesizers. I was glad to hear that Photos had spent all day in the studio recording new tracks. You know how I feel about them as a group (BEST BAND IN RVA). I can’t wait for the new music to come and and kill the RVA scene. Also, they got on the merch grind too – check out and pick up one of their new T-Shirts.
Finally, shout out to the brother Derek 32Zero. This was my first time seeing him perform but he held it down. You could tell he was a seasoned live performer. He kept the crowd engaged, worked the stage, and represented for real hip hop. He put in work to a crowd that wasn’t really familiar with his music (and the music was dope). Always good to see new hip hop talent in VA. I will be looking to see him perform again. He also brought with him VA super producer Nottz. S/O to him for coming through.
A great show and night all the way around…follow the Cheats Movement on FB for more updates. WE SEE IT.
I’m very excited to post my interview with Aaron Vazquez; better known as Aaronisnotcool. I first viewed an Aaronisnotcool video before I even realized it was him. I was blown away by Blu’s video for the track, “Jesus.” At the time, I just remember thinking that video is pure Cali, pure Blu, and pure hip hop. The song was on point (Blu is pretty much always on point) but the visuals really stood out to me as a perfect complement to the vision. It’s a video that I would have love to have witnessed being made. I played it on repeat for weeks but I didn’t notice or seek out the director. It wasn’t until I saw the stop motion video for Sene’s “Footprints” that I noticed the name Aaronisnotcool. I must have showed the “Footprints” video to everyone I knew. I just loved the concept and wanted to learn more about this “not cool” director.
The best thing about living in the present is that the power of the internet leads us to the right places and it wasn’t long before I was following Aaron’s work on vimeo and a regular visitor to his tumblr page. I checked out his entire catalog (you should too) and though Aaron is a young man (24) – he has learned the trade and is only getting better. He recently dropped the video for Backboards featuring both Sene and Blu. It’s one of the best videos that I’ve seen in 2012.
I shot Aaron a note for an interview on The Cheats Movement and he graciously took some time out of his schedule to rock with it….Classic Material right here WE SEE IT!
If a person walked up to you on the street and asked you what did you do for a living – you would say?
I’d say, “I make rap videos.” I think that sounds a lot more interesting than having to modestly stumble around calling myself a filmmaker/photographer. Now, while I don’t just make rap videos, I do consider myself as director/photographer, I really enjoy the reactions to the “rap videos” answer. Most people think “rap video” and the first thing that will pop into their heads is naked girls objectifying themselves in front of guys with cash and cars. But that’s not what hip-hop videos are about anymore (at least what I considered to be the good ones).
I knew I was in love with film-making when…
I convinced my English teacher to let me make a short film about George Orwell’s 1984 instead of writing a paper. I rounded up a group of my friends and over a few weekends we shot every major scene in that book. The short turn out to be really terrible. It was my first experience trying to tell a story, the camera was horrible, and we cut it using Windows Movie Maker. Everyone laughed the whole time during the showing but we all got an A for it. I didn’t make anything else for a few more years.
I first met Blu….
In sunny Los Angeles. At the time I was the only Blu fan I knew. Nobody had heard of him. I would later find out that he had an extremely passionate and loyal fan base but at the time, living in Austin, it was really hard to come across a guy like Blu if you weren’t looking. After making the one of my first music videos, I sent him a message with a long explanation about how big of a fan I was and a link to my best work so far, Understand by M.i.
A few days passed until I got a message back, saying, “Here’s my number. When can you fly out to Cali?” I pooled all the money that I had for a ticket. I hopped on a plane a few days later. Initially I thought I was making a video for Blu, but I’m happy I didn’t at the time. I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. With Blu’s vision and spot in hip-hop I was too inexperienced at the time to do anything I would’ve been proud of. I did end up doing a music video for ScienZe featuring Versis where they are CVS employees which was so much fun. Later that year I would end up making “My Sunshine” and “Jesus∆” and those both really helped me get where I am now.
Sene’s Footprints video took me (how long) long to make. The stop-motion video concept came from?
It took Sene and I about 8 hours to make. We did the whole project in one day at his place. We had originally agreed the night before to make a montage video because I had been following Sene and The Clubhouse around for so long that I had all this great candid footage that we were going to chop. Sene is a really creative guy. He likes to build things, go outside the box, try new ideas out, so the next morning he comes up with this Stop Motion idea and I’m all for it.
Neither of us had done anything like it, we didn’t know how long nor tedious it would be. It was risky as a hip-hop video. The viewer has to listen to the words and be patient with the vision. With everything being so on-demand and instant in our culture now, we were taking a little bit of a risk with making a music video like that.
Right now I’m working on….
A few different projects with fellow director Pace Rivers. One is a music video for “Doses and Mimosas” by one of the coolest bands out, Cherub. We are shooting a short film for the cycling brand Deux North in the next couple of days. We are doing a feature on education in September. Finally, we have about 8 videos finished and on hold just waiting for those artists to say the word.
My inspiration comes from….
Everything. Most of the things I want to write about are re-creations of situations that I’ve seen in real life. Like a moment on a subway between two strangers; that’s interesting to me. Also, being on Tumblr, or other parts of the Internet, you come across something like a photo or a song that just changes the whole mood or gives me a really good idea. I’ll just start writing. The most inspirational people to me (that aren’t my parents) are Kanye West, Tina Fey, Aaron Sorkin, Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, Jerry Seinfeld, Quentin Tarantino, Louis C.K. and Nabil Elderkin.
The best advice I’ve ever received….
I remember being in New York with Sene one afternoon and not really sure what direction I was supposed to take. At the time, I was stuck being the tradition: finish college, get a “real” job and be a full time director. He just told me, “Don’t go the tradition route, I can tell that is your “plan B”. Don’t plan your life around “plan B”. It’s not going to make you happy. Take a chance on yourself.” That was really one of the biggest reason for me to take what I do seriously and moving to New York.
Best night that I’ve ever had with a camera was when…
The #2 ranked Texas Longhorns played the Kansas Jayhawks in November of ’09. A lot of great things ended that night. I made a video of the whole experience. It wasn’t amazing, but it’s very personal and it’s still my favorite video I’ve ever made.
The best city for a young person to do what I do….
is New York City. LA is too spread out.
Before I go – I want you to know…
I love soccer. I work really hard. I usually have on my backpack. I want to create something that will be loved and remembered.
Keep it locked on The Cheats Movement – MAJOR MOVES WILL BE MADE IN AUGUST! RVA- WE SEE IT!
It’s been a long time coming but I finally decided to direct, shoot and edit my first full length music video. I could not work with better more dedicated artists than The Honorable Sleaze and Ohbliv. I hope that you find the video quality and unique for the RVA hip hop music scene. HUGE S/O to The Shop – I’m so happy to be a part of the creative community down there – luv that place. HUGE S/O to Just Plain Sounds – JPS is the click. This is video number 1 – trust me – it’s only going to get better from here. #WESEEIT If you like this video – hit me up with a like on The Cheats Movement Facebook Page.
Track: The Passion of The Sleaze Artist: The Honorable Sleaze Producer: Ohbliv Video: The Cheats Movement
Ice T has been associated with hip hop culture since his debut album, Rhyme Pays, was released 25 years ago. The rapper, once known for gritty rhymes about L.A. gang culture, has matured into a groundbreaking actor, business mogul, and even reality star. It was only a matter of time before he took on filmmaking. In his directorial debut, Ice decided to give back to the culture that gave him his start. For his film, Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, Ice hooked up with some of hip hop’s greatest rappers to talk about the craft of rhyming. The movie doesn’t have any talk about the flashy cars, the groupies, or the bling – not at all. It is about the love of hip hop and understanding the process of how the great emcees, both past and present, create those classic flows that stand the test of time. Ice is currently on a worldwide media tour to promote the self-financed film. I spoke with him earlier this week about the film, the current state of hip hop, and the recent passing of Rodney King.
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S/O to Seven Hills - No Name No Brain Productions – Mix Breed family and extended camp. I love the grind fellas. I’m looking forward to finally checking out Jo Casino live a Epic Fest and seeing what the future holds for my dude Charles Diamond and the rest of the Mix Breed team. Always love to Tom and Arya for killing the game with their work. Enjoy this collection of hip hop from the Seven Hill family. Check out all of the their collective work.