My Brother’s Keeper – Atlanta’s Most Influential 2010 PT.2
Peace, “Party People”!!! Right back at you like we never left. Previously on part 1 to this entry, “Atlanta’s Most Influential” we discussed our favorites for the following categories: Graffiti/Graphic Artist, B-Boy/B-Girl, Dj, Male Emcee, & Hip-Hop promoter. In this second half, we’ll cover our favorite’s in these following categories : Female Emcee, Producer, Hip-Hop Group, Host, and “Gone but not Forgotten”. In comparison, the people named in this article alongside part 1 are truly the next in line to be mentioned with the likes of moguls such as: Lauren Hill, Queen Latifah, Nas, Outkast, EPMD, Frosty Freeze, Crazy Legs, Grand Wizard Theodore, Dj Scratch, Rakim, Zephyr, Revolt, Lady Pink, DONDI, Fab Five Freddy, Arthur Armstrong, Ray Chandler, The Cassanova’s , Marley Marl, Dj Premier and so on… Let’s get into the winners!
6. ILLASTRATE – HIP-HOP PRODUCER
Corey Presley a.k.a lllastrate Productions is a transplant from Fort Wayne, Indiana: a small town of about 250,000 people. Making beats & production wasn’t always the focus or goal for this talented music maker, Illastrate started out as an emcee rapping, performing at High School talent shows with local crew “Outta Order”. Later on they ended up forming a bigger crew called C.O.C. which gained much local attention in ’97 when they dropped the album “The Nuthing”. Sales from that project allowed him to purchase his first sampler and beat machine while he was attending college at Ball State University. He was kicked out of school due to his overwhelming love for beats and production. Shortly after, he ended up returning to Fort Wayne and dedicated most of his time to digging in crates and learning the true craft of hip hop production. Studying the likes of Ali Shaheed Muhammad, DJ Scratch, DJ Premier, The BeatMinaz, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock and any other high quality hip hop music he could get a hold of. He honed and sharpened his skills in the small city over the years, and finally decided to move to a bigger market (Atlanta) to his knowledge and understanding of music. After working with a few artist in Atlanta, his break came when Buddy Lee a member of the Hip-Hop group “Broady Champs”, listened to a Illastrate beat tape, while both attending AIU college. The veteran Hip-Hop crew brought him in and he produced most of their official debut album “Breakfast of Champions” which was released on Day By Day Records in 2004. The album was well recieved by underground cultured listeners and was considered to be a true diamond in the rough or new found gem. Along his journey, Illastrate has been able to produce for artist such as Akir, Tiye Phoenix, Dynas, Boog Brown, J-Live, Doitall, The Invizzibl Men and Methuzulah. Not to mention him co-executive producing the critically acclaimed Dynas LP, “The Apartment” (released on BBE) which boasted production by mogul producers like Jazzy Jeff, Illmind, 9th Wonder, J-Dilla and himself. In 2009 he released the first record off of his own imprint Working Class Music, The Black Noise LP, which featured Emcee Aarophat, formerly of Pockets Linted. The album was heralded and upheld in the underground circuit as a breakthrough classic, and was also named #1 album of 2009 by Bloggerhouse.net. He also produced heavily on one of the most groundbreaking artists of 2009: Boog Brown alongside lending production on Adrift De Belle’s Garden State Parkway LP and “Lords of the Underground’s”, Doitall, on his solo effort “American Du”. The song is entitled “Negrociations” and featured another Hip Hop legend Treach from “Naughty By Nature”. 2010 is the year he decided to release his second project from Working Class Music “Eddie Coleman’s: Friday Night Theme Music”. Which is a Hip-Hop influenced instrumental album that features collaborations with musicians and vocalists such as Rock Most, DJ Amdex (Clan Destined), Richelle Scales, Grand Prize Winners From Last Year, Lyric Jones, Poodie The Byz, Jeffmatic and Fatima Washington. The album is his celebration of dealing with life’s ills and coming through it all. The albums feels something like jazz mashed with the grit and rawness of 90′s hip hop. 2011 is already looking bright as he has just placed production on the new album from J-Live, and has numerous projects in the works on his Working Class Music label such as Boston emcee Arablak, Jersey native Methuzulah (formerly Mojo Swagger). Illastrate is soon to drop his own compilation called “High Gravity” that features: Clan Destined (Domination Recordings), Kam Moye, J-Live, Boog Brown (Mellow Music Group), Methuzulah, Grind Time fame Ness-Lee and a host of others. Keeping his production, high quality and having a steady output is the main goal for this Midwest beatsmith as Working Class Music becomes a true force to be reckoned with. Illastrate, we salute you!!!
HIP HOP PRODUCER HONORABLE MENTION
FLOYD THA LOCSMIF
7. BOOG BROWN – FEMALE EMCEE
Atlanta’s based Boog Brown opens up her Pandora’s Box of “Dope Girl Magic” like her life truly depended on it. Currently working in Atlanta, Detroit native Boog Brown is not only an emcee, but a poet and publisher. Even though she has been an emcee for only roughly 4 years, her writing goes back to the age of 14. Some of her the work between then and now are included in these following projects: “My Life In Words”, “Black Tie Fish Fry”, and her debut 2007 mixtape release entitled “Extended Play”. Here’s a shameless plug or disclaimer, people; Boog Brown is meant for this Hip-Hop and proves to you on each next edition. With tracks like “The Essence”, “Dope Girl Magic” and “The Mirror”, just to name a few of her most sought. Boog has collaborated with highly noted HipHop artists and more than talented producers such as Illastrate, Rita J, Aarophat, Apollo Brown, Invincible, Stahhr, Methuzulah, and 14KT, who has previously describes her voice as “the illest.” Boog has since been spotlighted in numerous print publications including Creative Loafing, The Industry Crusher Magazine and also on various blogosphere sites such as features on ATLHipHop.net and TheFembassy.com. Not to mention, Boog Brown’s classic track “The Essence appeared” on BET’s documentary “My Mic Sounds Nice”. Boog recently released a mixtape, entitled “The Grind Season”, in Early 2010… and in addition, she describes her debut album “Brown Study” released off of (Mello Music Group), which was a collaborative soulful project with Hip Hop producer Apollo Brown. The the all so infamous, Hiphop site BloggerHouse said this about Boog Brown and the Brown Study project: “Boog will undoubtedly draw comparison’s to Jean Grae” and “her flow is effortless, she laces her rhymes with clever wit and most importantly, her vulnerability and honesty shines through on each track”. The first single off of Brown Study is the soulful and sensual “Just Be”, a spiritually touched magical whisper that floats over Apollo Brown’s soulful and perfectly placed samples. Powerful and vibrant lyrics such as “Enraptured in the scent/ This is bliss at length/ From start to the finish/ Euphoric/ Absorbed in the ebullience/ Elegant every sense awakened” form a bond with Apollo Brown’s sampled softly laid horns, slow sweeping strings, and ambient chimes. “Just Be” is most definitely a song that exudes and encompasses real passion and deeply rooted feelings. Brown is working harder and harder by the day and will soon be considered and mentioned alongside names such as: Bahamadia, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, not to mention the ever so notable Lauryn Hill, and Missy Elliott. Boog Brown has somehow taken the best qualities from some Hip-Hop’s best talents and meshed that together with the realities of her everyday life and made classic music! Boog Brown, we salute you!!!
FEMALE EMCEE HONORABLE MENTION
ADRIFT DA BELLE
8. BINKIS RECS – HIP HOP GROUP
Flux da Wundabat, Killa Kalm, Dj Mafioso and the shadowing spirit of the ever so lyrically inclined, Jax da Catalog forms Binkis Recs. BLAMMMM! “Binkis Recs was created due to the lack of creative and honest hip-hop music”, is exactly what the Binkis Recs mission statement proclaims. In 1997 in the mist of over heated battles of “NBA LIVE 97″ Binkis was born. Jax and Flux decided they wanted to participate in the hip-hop game, and decided “Binkis” would be the name to use. The word “Binkis” is an acronym for “Before Ignorant N*ggas Killed Intelligent Songs”. Based in Atlanta, Binkis has New York’s wittiness, alongside Chicago’s soul, blended with the South’s energy and roots to form a powerful conglomerate. Similar to Jurassic 5, Prophetix, and The Roots: Binkis Recs has gained a strong following for rocking hard when performing at live shows. Binkis previously released a project on Day By Day Entertainment (home of MF Grimm, Prophetix, Rodan, etc), which was a debut LP entitled “The Reign Begins”. While most of the production was handled by Binkis Recs, John Doe also contributed to their slightly vintaged album. Songs like “Bullitt”, “Wundaluv”, “Testimonial”,”Out The Box” are all first picks. The collective members of Binkis Recs also decided to release solo albums by themselves. Flux released “The Many Moods Of Mister Flux”, Jax released “J.F.K. (Jax Forever King)”, and a few others. Binkis Recs also has a couple compilation CDs, “How Many Lumps 1″ and “How Many Lumps 2″. Also Dj Mafioso (Atlanta’s Latin Soul Brotha Number One) has projects to look out for like: Jungle 45 Mixtape “Keep Your Eye on the 45″, “Jax Tribute Mixtape”(in memory of Jax the Axe Handler) just to name a few. With out a doubt Binkis Records is an Atlanta Hip-Hop household name. Binkis Records, we salute you!!!
HIP HOP GROUP HONORABLE MENTION
THE WHEELER BOYS
9. FORT KNOX – HIP HOP HOST
Fort Knox, also known as David Freeman is a breathe of fresh air directed in from New York City and bottled, pure, unadulterated positive energy and surprisingly enough manages to channel it correctly everywhere he goes. His customer service like, upbeat personality is a definite genuine character trait and is the main reason everybody can’t get enough of him? Positivity has given him the power and aligned him with the likes of: B.O.B., Yelawolf, Raekwon and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony as well as organizations such as ASCAP and Nationwide Insurance. He also recently starred in the independent film “Pathways” and “Laying My Past to Rest”. A graduate of the Atlanta Broadcast Institute, Fort Knox also does voice over work. With a variety of projects on the way, he truly continues to somehow define: while defying the word “entertainer.”Fort Knox is also one half of Strong Arm Management which is an conglomerate type artist management company. Which also specializes in branding, marketing and promotions. Strong Arm Management was formed as collective alongside by Big Tah in 2006. Both of them are more than familiar with managing, they collectively having been putting in work for 10+ years. Their experience and knowledge resulted in enabling them to work with both independent and major acts such as up and coming emcee Stanza and WMG artist Ms. Brown… from a marketing and promotions standpoint, Strong Arm Management not only markets and promotes their artists but also create events such as “Tru Skool ATL”, “Producer’s Swap Meet” and “Kulture Bizarre”. Strong Arm Management has established itself as one of Atlanta’s premier entertainment companies and will continue to maintain a substantially heavy presence in the game abroad. Fort Knox, we salute you!!!
HIP HOP HOST HONORABLE MENTION
DRES THA BEATNIK
10. JAX – GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Originally from Queens, Ny… Rochdale Village to be exact. Jax grew up around early traditional “Wildstyle” Hip Hop. As young boy born into the world named Christopher Thurston, he began listening to all the classic radio shows and watched some of television’s most memorable Hip Hop shows such as Video Music Box, Yo! MTV Raps, Rap City, etc. Years would pass and he began Art and Design School. During that same time “Mobb Deep” was flourishing in Hip Hop and he met up with his soon to be longtime music and business partner, Flux. In ’94 he came down to Atlanta and went to Clark Atlanta University. Then got with the N.E.B.L.O.S. Crew and formed Binkis Records in 97. In ’99 he dropped his 1st album and then 4 more albums would follow shortly after. A little more time would pass and he toured Japan with Phife and Dj Rasta Root. In 2002 Vintage Imperial released their sophomore album independently, entitled “Synergy” which featured the single “Mic Club” with Jax and Flux of Binkis Recs. “Synergy” received press globally in Hip Hop based publications XXL, Complex Magazine, Warped, Import Tuner, and Southeast Performer Magazine. “Mic Club” received international radio airplay most notably from InterFM 76.1 FM in Tokyo, Japan… as well as WKCR 89.9 FM on the CM Famalam Radio Program hosted by Bobbito Garcia. A few more years would pass and Jax of Binkis Recs would suffer from a heart attack while onstage at Lenny’s Bar and was pronounced dead after being rushed directly to the hospital.
According to close friend and Binkis crew member Flux da Wondabat, Jax was performing the title track from his 2007 solo album, “Sharper Images”… when his heart stopped. Flux was quoted: “He was performing onstage and he just passed out in the middle of his verse”… “We went to the emergency room and then they came out and gave us the word.” Since then, Hip Hop and Atlanta’s scene really hasn’t been the same! Jax was a true rarity and can never be replaced or duplicated! Jax, we miss & salute you!!! Rest in peace, brother!