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.

Common and Kid Cudi (And Shay-J!)

4 12 2009

I originally planned on going to go see Our Lady Peace today, but I’ve decided to go see Common and Kid Cudi for free at UF instead. All in all, it’s a great day for concerts. The one I’m most excited about, though, is Shay-J.

Common and Kid Cudi are going on tonight at 7 PM, for free, at Flavet Field at UF. It’s bound to be a dope show, and hopefully I’ll get to go backstage or something with the Hip Hop Collective. Maybe I’ll even get to snap a picture or two. We’ll see.

Before the show, at 6:30, you’ll get to see local artist and Hip Hop Collective member Shay-J open up for Common and Cudi. Shay-J’s new album Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip Hop drops today, and I should be getting a copy of it soon. There should be a track-by-track review up sometime next week. I’m aiming for Monday, but I have two exams that day, so there’s a chance it could get pushed back.

If you’re not already, you should join the Shay-J Fan Club on Facebook. You should also look into becoming a fan of everydaymusic. Either way, come out tonight to Flavet Field at 6:30 to check out Shay-J and stay to see Common and Cudi, all for free.

IshyBeatz & Shay-J

11 09 2009

Another week of music comes to a close. About time, right? We’re gonna end it with a bang with a free album download from local hip-hoppers Shay-J and Ishybeatz.

I first met Shay-J at the beginning of this school year, and he hooked me up with this album. It’s called What We Live For, and I can only assume they’re talking about hip-hop. What I immediately loved was the fact that, for the most part, the songs are over three minutes long. As a matter of fact, the longest tune on the album is 6:27, which is really uncharacteristic for hip-hop.

But then again, hip-hop is just the broad genre that I’d classify the album as a whole under. There are definitely songs that are more R&B flavored than just hip-hop, which just helps highlight their creativity and flexibility. The album is pretty conceptual with the skits thrown in throughout. It truly adds meaning to the album, connecting you with the artist. My one complaint is the interviewer. She makes things kind of awkward. Especially in the first track. But that’s just some nitpicking.

Shay-J and Ishybeatz 2

“Bus Route 12” is a pretty cool song, and it’s probably one of my favorites off the album. If you live in Gainesville and have ever actually been on the 12 bus, this song has some added meaning. When I first heard Shay-J flow, I was amazed at how similar he sounded to Outkast. I asked him about it, and it turns out that Outkast is a big influence on his style. It’s definitely noticeable.

“In The Morning” is my favorite song. The production value is top notch, and the hook sticks. I also really like the vocal styling toward the end. All the verses are incredible solid. It’s perfect song for males aged 17-22. Just listen to the lyrics.

Shay-J and Ishybeatz 1

You can also hit up Shay-J’s MySpace. He’s got like five songs up there, and you can especially hear the Outkast influence. The songs all have a personal touch, talking about his family, his childhood, his future, his past, and everything in between. “That’s My Car” is a track that especially showcases it, and I suggest you listen to it. But don’t just hear it… actually listen to it.

Ishybeatz’s MySpace is also worth checking out. The tunes are exactly my style, with more of a commercialized sound, but they’re definitely still well-produced. “On My Grind” is probably my favorite song off the MySpace, but the personal bit isn’t really there with Ish like it is with Shay-J. That’s what makes their collaboration so interesting. Gators fan? “Gator Bait” and “Gator Stomp” are worth checking out.

In case you missed the link earlier in this post, I’m gonna let you have it one more time. You can download What We Live For for free right here. It’s a good album. Support local music.

Download it.