Shay-J – Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop

2 03 2010

Today I’m talking about Gainesville, Florida, hip hop artist Shay-J. He’s got a lot of an Atlanta-type sound in his delivery. Shay-J released his album Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop in like December, and I’m just now getting around to talking about it. Apologies to Shay for that. But, better late than never, right? Right.

So, a bit of background first. If you don’t know Shay-J, he’s a pretty phenomenal artist. When Common and Kid Cudi played at UF, Shay got to open for them, so if you went to that, you’ve heard him. Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop promos were given out there, and practically everyone toward the front of the crowd got a promo. Over the past few weeks, Shay has been handing out copies of the album all around campus recently, so if you’re lucky enough to see him, ask for a copy. He’s been getting so much buzz in Gainesville, the Alligator even did a story on him.

As a matter of fact, the first night I met Shay-J, he ended up doing a recording of “Can I Kick It? (2009)”, which is one of the songs he performed when he opened the Common & Cudi show. As you can probably tell, Shay goes over the the “Can I Kick It?” instrumental, and needless to say, he owns it.

Look of Love” is a great track off the album. The beat is laid back, yet the subject matter and the delivery is pretty serious, leading to an interesting contrast. That’s really what I love about Shay’s tracks: the lyrical content. Every song means something. There aren’t any tracks that are just throwaway filler tracks, which is impressive, especially for a 19 track album.

Late Night Special (Apple Drank)” is probably my favorite track on the album. The way he talks to his producer at the beginning is a great addition, and I’m really glad they didn’t cut that out. It gives it a nice, little, ragged-edge type feel. The guitar bit about three minutes into the song is fucking dreamy, as is the horn solo that starts a little after four minutes in. And once again, the lyrics are creative, yet not overly complex, allowing the listener to just zone.

You can listen to the whole album online. Hit up Shay’s bandcamp page. There you can listen to every track for free, and if you feel like buying it, you can purchase it for five bucks or more. It’s a name your price sort of thing, except the minimum to pay is five dollars. But for 19 tracks, it’s more than worth it.


Hip Hop Collective – Get it, Got it, Good

7 12 2009

I’ve got two exams to study for, so this is gonna be quick. The upside is you get a free mixtape. Gainesville’s own Hip Hop Collective has released their Fall 2009 Mixtape. It’s called Get it, Got it, Good, and you should get it. Get it?

The mixtape is 23 tracks long, and you can get it for free by visiting the Hip Hop Collective’s bandcamp site. The album flows pretty well, and it displays many different artistic styles (spoken word, hip hop, scratching, instrumentals, etc). This album truly is “hip hop” in every sense.

hiphop” is the opening track on the album, and it was a good choice to start the album out. It’s a spoken word piece from Poets, INC. President Dianna Ferguson. “Instrumental B” was another track that caught my ear. It’s a laid-back beat put together by Santa Fe student Daniel Linton. Reminds me a lot of DJ Alibi type stuff. “Painting of a He” by DJ Robzilla is another track worth hearing on the album. Robzilla melts the wax on this track, as he seems to do on a regular basis. You can see him every Thursday night at The Laboratory. It’s called Funky Dope Thursdays. Check it out.

As far as the conventional “hip hop” tracks on this album are concerned, there were three tracks that really impressed me. “Street Poetics” by Eval “Big Eezay” Smith is a great track, with a calm, piano-driven beat, and some great samples. This track immediately got me bobbin my head. Dope stuff. “Honey” is another great track, especially because of the balance. The beat, the vocals, the verses are all equally impressive and none is particularly dominant. The track is by Dillon and it features Stacy Epps on the vocals and Paten Locke on the beat. Dillon’s album Studies in Hunger drops on Dec. 8. You can find more info on his site.

Can I Kick It? (2009)” is the final track that I’d like to talk about. I saved it for last because it’s by Shay-J, whose latest album Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip Hop dropped this past Friday. I’ve listened to it once, and after I hear it a couple more times, I’ll be putting up a track-by-track review. If you went to the Common and Kid Cudi show this past Friday, you got to see Shay-J open for them. He’s moving toward big things, and his latest album is a sign of that. Watch for the review later in the week.

I’ve written twice as much as I thought I would about this album, so clearly it’s worth downloading. You get an entire, 23-track album for free. What’s not to love?

Download it.