Saturday, December 12, 2015

One day, people will say, “These guys saved Hip-Hop”


Finally, real Hip-Hop, a.k.a. Rap, is back. Let’s start with that.
There are two indie artist groups I’ve come across in my life (and still involved with) who I believed in so much that I was willing to sacrifice everything to help them succeed, at times not knowing anything about the music industry, just wingin’ it, for the love of the music.
Configa & HaStyle are now number three.
Having been in the industry for the past few years now, although still workin’ the 9 to 5, I can truly appreciate the work and effort involved in creating and launching new music.
These guys are the real deal. Don’t underestimate them.
I ran across Configa on Twitter by pure coincidence, as we all do in social media, connect with the right people at the right times, as if social media was the new face of Fate. I immediately got sucked into the vibe he was giving off. As I did with Mack Love when we become great friends and business partners, I thought, “This guy is the real deal. I want to be involved somehow”.
Now granted, I hadn’t even listened to Configa & HaStyle’s music yet, but was already engulfed into the message, which for me was basically, “We’re here to save Hip-Hop”, and they are doing a fine job at that.
I downloaded “The Calm Before Hastility” and “A Good Combination” EPs, both released this year, mind you, and wasn’t sure what to expect. My wife and I were rushing to hit the road to Chicago so I was downloaded these as I was walking out the door. The anticipation was swirling. Were they going to be just another underground rap group, or were they going to hook me like their personalities did on Twitter?
The latter, 100%.
I can’t say there’s been a day that’s gone by in the last two months I haven’t listened to them at least once during the day.
Why is that? Because finally, real Hip-Hop, what we called “Rap” back in the 80s, is back. Did I mention, finally?
Where to start. I can literally write pages on this, maybe even a small novel, each chapter outlining each song, but we won’t go there, yet…….. I’ll do that once I’m writing our book, “How Configa & HaStyle and Mack Love saved Hip-Hop”, because I truly believe these guys can all do it, which is why me, the normal, average working-class I.T. computer guy got involved, because I work hard for what I believe in, and I believe in all three of them.
And I don’t kiss ass or bullshit anybody. This is the real deal here.
I knew once my wife started dancing around our apartment singing, “Razor Bumps, Razor Bumps, Razor Bumps, Razor Bumps” that this music is just waiting to blow.
About the music… yes… let’s talk about the music. Incredible. The old-school beats and tracks are arranged in a way that sound modern. Every track is distinct, not like all of the re-hashed garbage we hear on mainstream radio today. This is the same feeling I had when I heard Mack Love’s music four years ago, which is why I’ve worked tirelessly to help him, who in the process became one of the best friends I’ve ever had.
The ability to take older beats and samples, rehash them into something new and keep the music flowing is not easy. Dr. Configa (yes, he actually has a Doctorate degree, and two others) is by far, a master at this. His beats and tracks suck you in. And I’ll hit my favorites in a bit.
But let’s talk about HaStyle, the rapper of the two, a real rapper, finally. He’s the reason why I say “Real Hip-Hop is Back.” Every song tells a story, and not just a generic, blanketed story. These are very well thought out, very well-written, chronological lyrics that tell a story. Remember that; when music actually had meaning and told a story?? Wow. Imagine that; A Hip-Hop song in 2015 that tells a story, and a different, unique story in each song, at that! I thought I was dreaming when I first listened to these EPs. There aren’t any “bitches trippin’ ‘bout my ‘Benz shakin’ dat azz wit’ all da haterZ hatin’” (noticed how I typed that grammatically correct) in every single freakin’ track, like most so-called “Hip-Hop” these days (Thank God). I mean, once in a while is OK, but when a so-called artist has the same lyrics in every song on every EP….. Come on, now. I mind as well bust out my 80’s Casio Keyboard and listen to that, since all the beats are the same as well. Not Configa & Hastyle. HaStyle’s lyrics are smart, well thought out and make sense. Run DMC or Beastie Boys, anyone?
I’m going to summarize a few of my favorite tracks (which is a tough decision because they are ALL great) in a non-traditional way, because that’s how I roll:
Paved The Way - (Music Video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GocmA_ecwg

(Music video available on YouTube) Talk about a tribute. Damn. This one is really great. It’s a tribute song to all of the female rappers and MCs who made females a force to be reckoned with in the Hip-Hop and R&B world and literally Paved The Way for those who followed. The smooth piano melody fits the lyrics well (which the song “12 Monkeys” also does very well) and the beat flows perfectly with the story. I truly hope some of the amazing female artists mentioned in the song/music video get to hear this track, because I’m sure they will love it. Watch the music video for some cool cameos. Take a listen to Love Loss, which has a very similar throw-back vibe.

Razor Bumps, featuring Rashan - (Music Video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkUdRtO3krM

(Music video available on YouTube) Razor Bumps… We have all had these, and they are annoying as hell. I never imagined I’d ever hear a song about it, let-alone a great song. Again, this song tells a story, as does the music video, which is basically, “For the love of God, don’t go to a punk-ass barber shop where they use dirty-ass clippers, or the ladies will send you off!” Not only are the lyrics great, but their featured artist, Rashan, made me a fan-boy of him as well. He’s good.

Shaka Zulu

Talk about old-school… The first time I heard this song, I instantly got transported back in time to when I was 21, cruisin’ the streets of Chicago with Cypress Hill pounding in the car. Shaka Zulu has that old-school Cypress Hill vibe to it but with a new 2015 twist. When you hear those xylophone and muted clarinet tones, you’ll know what I mean. Love it.

Ghetto USA, featuring Rashan

The beat in Ghetto USA is what the cool kids call “sick”. It has this very unique, one-of-a-kind Reggae-meets-Hip-Hop rhythm and vocal throwback to it that’s almost addicting, AND tells a story….. Rashan, one again, “killed it” in this song. Gotta love the cool kids. Listen to the story, though. I’m betting a lot of us can relate in some way to at least one situation in the lyrics. I know I can.

Lost in Space

This song is probably the most story-driven song I’ve ever heard in my life, period. Configa created a great mood-setting sci-fi vibe with this music, but the lyrics are nothing less than genius. If you listen closely, you can hear a real sci-fi story and being a sci-fi fan and in the process of writing my own sci-fi novel, this may be my favorite track on both EPs. I’m going to write a book based on this song, literally, and when the movie is made, this will be the theme song.

World War Rap

This song is almost a spiritual predecessor to Lost In Space. Again, listen to the lyrics. It’s all about the Hip-Hop world gone to war, real Hip-Hop Vs. mainstream (ha) Hip-Hop. The beat makes you put on your newly-motivated bad-boy face and want to go kick some ass, in whatever you pursue.

Wut You Got - (Music Video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRHbGW9C4-M

(Music video available on YouTube) OK. The music video to this song is just really damn cool, matching its throw-back theme to its music as it opens to this 70s-style TV show intro, which in itself is great camera and editing work. It features this 70’s synth guitar sound that was almost an iconic 70s sound. The great thing about this song and video is it features both Configa & HaStyle performing together. They managed to bring the 70’s into the current Hip-Hop age, which they also do very successfully with the song 7 MCs. So very, very cool.

And last but not least, a personal message from HaStyle and Dr. Configa:

Rap CPR

Yes, Configa & HaStyle both personally deliver a message to the entire current world of Hip-Hop, and I say current because it will change soon when they blow up out there.

What’s that message? It’s simple, as Configa states best in the song, “What the fuck happened to Hip-Hop? What happened to real rhymes, real lyrics, real beats?”

Well, I have the answer. It died, quite a long time ago.

Rap CPR is more than just a metaphor. It’s reality, and Hip-Hop is about to get resuscitated.

I got involved in the music industry because I came across one guy who’s sound revived real Hip-Hop, Mack Love, a true friend and someone with a passion to bring the old sound back to the modern era. Sound familiar (Configa & HaStyle)? I dedicated the past few years developing a plan for Mack and I to get out there, and it’s coming along slowly, but surely.

Just about when I was doubting the inevitable success of our mission, Configa Beats & HaStyle Rhymes come into the picture.

Now I know, without a doubt, real Hip-Hop is back, and this time, it’s not going anywhere. As long as we are all alive, so will real Hip-Hop be.



Check 'em out here:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Configa
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Configa & https://twitter.com/HastyleRhymes

And of course, here, where you can download their music:
http://confighas.bandcamp.com/

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Small Thieves of Christmas

The orchestral piece which goes to this tale:
The Small Thieves of Christmas

Christmas Eve is at hand
As children run to their beds,
Hoping good old St. Nick
Will fly in on his sled.

He travels abound
From house to house,
Leaving gifts for all children
Piled up in mounds.

But as Santa departs
The Small Thieves arrive,
Executing their plan
They have carefully devised.

They lurk all about
In the light and the dark,
While nobody is watching
Their plan, they do start.

Tip-toeing along,
With all of their might,
To steal all the presents
On this dark Christmas night.

But little do they know
They are watched by the guards,
The secret society
Of the Christmas Vanguards

They slowly approach
The sneaky Small Thieves,
As they raise their swords
They chant, “Get down on your knees”

The Thieves of the night
Of course, don’t obey,
As they, too, raise their swords
And a battle begins.

The Vanguards fight with honor
With courage and with strength,
But in numbers, the thieves
Overpower their ranks.

One by one
The Vanguards start to fall,
As more of the Thieves
Come running down the halls

All seems lost
For the valiant Vanguards,
As they just cannot last
Through the hordes of their charge.

But just as the Thieves
Believe they have won,
The cavalry arrives
To spoil their fun.

They march down the halls,
Ready to fight,
As they take out their swords
That glimmer from the night

With might and power
Never before seen,
The Cavalry Knights
Attack the Small Thieves.

One by one
They succumb to the sword,
As they fall to the ground
Gasping words, “Please, no more”

The remaining of the horde
Of the wretched Small Thieves,
Retreat far away
As fast as they can flee.

Before the children
Awake from their beds,
The Christmas Vanguards
Have laid the thieves to rest.

They retreat in formation
With dignity and power,
So the children can awake
At the top of the hour.

Don’t be alarmed
If the Small Thieves of Christmas,
Try to remove
Your Christmas tree presents

There’s no need to panic
No cause for alarm,
You will always be protected
By the Christmas Vanguards.