Hip-hop heads and beat freaks everywhere are learning about the soulful crew here in our own backyard, Durham's Little Brother. After having been name-dropped by old school folks like DJ Premier, Pete Rock and The Roots' ?uestlove, this tight trio just got back from a cross-country tour with the Hieroglyphics crew. Little Brother producer and DJ 9th Wonder is getting himself out there big, having done his own remix version of Nas' "God's Stepson," and now he's got beats on Jay-Z's new record The Black Album, due out next week. The record, reported to be Jay-Z's finale, was to have 12 tracks, each produced by a different artist, but he has apparently sought out other production work, and 9th Wonder, it appears, made the cut. According to an interview 9th did with online music mag Sohh.com, the day before Hurricane Isabel was to hit N.C. communications started with Jay-Z and associates, and 9th Wonder found himself traveling north for a meeting clutching four CDs of his own beats. Jay was impressed after hearing only the first CD, and the ball was rolling. Jay-Z is undeniably sitting among the top of the money heap of commercial hip-hop. It doesn't sound like that ball's going to stop rolling for Little Brother or 9th Wonder, either. The Mixtape Volume One: NC State of Mind, a double-CD spotlight mix on Justus League members, and a representative compilation of current NC hip-hop, is available now from hiphopsite.com.
Another Justus League alum, Cesar Comanche, was out west recently, hopping around to meet up with folks like Raw B on KUSF radio in San Francisco, where he joined Peanut Butter Wolf of the Stones Throw crew on the air. Later in NYC, Comanche hooked up with pioneering sampler-producer Marley Marl. Comanche's full length vinyl and CD release, Paper Gods, is out now.
Leaving the light on
As music lovers in the Triangle have been reminded by recent benefit shows for Carrboro venue Go! Studios Room Four, helping its staff and owners dig out of a financial hole, the live music club biz can be as tumultuous as a hurricane nearing the Carolina coast. Chapel Hill club Nightlight is reorganizing, since its founders and current owners, Isaac Trogden and Lauren Ford are bidding adieu. Since starting the club with a small loan, and establishing the contacts and licenses necessary (including the first beer sales in its home, Skylight Exchange) Trogden and Ford have brought many live shows to the area that might not have found a home elsewhere, encouraged local activities like the experimental arts night, Recess, and carved out a niche all their own on West Rosemary Street. The initial start-up hurdles of licensing, a web site, sound system and booking contacts are already established. The owners are now encouraging interested parties in keeping the club going to contact Nightlight for more information. As of the New Year, the space could revert to its time-tested stature of being the Skylight Exchange solo, or retain the dual-purpose it serves now, functioning as a late night nook off the beaten path of Franklin Street. Serious inquiries should contact http://dyss.net/nightlight/.
RIAA moves at UNC
In another sign that they mean business, the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA, has just taken action towards a student using the UNC's computer network. In early October the industry association subpoenaed the personal information of a student living on campus who supposedly offered nine copyrighted songs for download. Though the RIAA has been on a crusade against downloaders, issuing more than 1,000 subpoenas, it's the first one aimed at a student on the Chapel Hill campus. If they are going after someone for nine songs, however, it's doubtful it will be the last.
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