gods’illa: 5 questions for 3 brothers

Gods’Illa is a three-real-life-blood-brother group from the DC area. I’ve written about them and posted their music here a couple times in the past, most recently when they released a single, “You Don’t Have To Be a Star”, featuring Baltimore’s sweet-voiced songstress Maimouna Youseff. The trio has just released CPR: The Blend Tape, a soulful and solid body of work, produced by Joe D, Unknown, and Kev Brown, among others. Serving as host on CPR is none other than DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown, known best as the legendary singer Erykah Badu.

In an effort to give a different glimpse into these three MCs upon the release of this new project, I asked each, separately, the same five questions. Read on to see where their answers matched up, where they really didn’t, and what they each have to say about their well-known host.

What is your favorite song on the upcoming mixtape?
Acem: “Fine Line”–gives me the old school, grimy feel when Joe D comes in on the hook with “Hate on the right, love on the left.” Praise did work on that track, too!!!
Powerful: “Sal’s Pizzeria” because I got the best results from that song so far.
Truth: My favorite song switches depending on the moment, but at this moment it’s “Silent Weeper” maybe because it’s the freshest to me. But “Fine Line”, “Rockin’ Wit YU”, “Star”, “Another Day”, and “Sal’s Pizzeria” are all tied for second place.

What has been your most memorable moment performing?
Acem: Had to be the DC Dilla Day Tribute this year. The crowd was energetic out there and we made a big improvement between rehearsal and actual performance. Our first rehearsal was slum (lol) but we pulled it together by showtime. Shout out to Jon Laine & The Playas!!!

Powerful: 2011 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival
Truth: Last year’s performance in Atlanta at the A3C music festival comes to mind off top because we where a fairly unknown outta of town group in a hip-hop setting and we received mad love, opportunity and awareness for that show plus it was a lot of fun.

Where do you see Gods’Illa in five years?
Acem: Being able to support our families doing what we love most, creating authentic music.
Powerful: Touring world-wide.
Truth: God-willing we will be constantly elevating and at with peace with ourselves and situation

Who is your favorite group of all time that contains two siblings or more?
Acem: Tony! Toni! Tone!
Powerful: The Jackson 5
Truth: Not many to choose from between Kane & Able or The Clipse (Ha!). I’m def a huge fan of the Clipse. I believe in their work and love for each other. I can feel their music, although they are now choosing different paths, I think they still sound real well together. I’ll have to say the Clipse.

What do you think Erykah Badu brings as host of the mixtape?
Acem: She adds to the projects authenticity. Our music reflects real life situations, things that regular people go through whether it be good, bad or ugly. Whether they be the trials of trying to be recognized as respectable artists, the triumphs of being a father, or just the dealings in everyday life, we give it to you like we live it. Erykah is a true example of what real is. Her energy is reminiscent of the same Erykah we saw hanging clothes on the line in the “On & On” video, easy going and genuine. Adding her to CPR was definitely in-line with what we value as individuals, being true to ourselves.
Powerful: Great energy and real jewels.
Truth: First off, she is damn near bigger than an artist–she is more of a musical icon to me. Like her aww factor, her resume, her versatility, and most importantly her humbleness. It’s like the promo and hype of it all but yet she fits. She is just as regular as us. Meeting someone of her caliber and seeing that she is like–a real, genuine human being, meaning she keeps her word and she loves “for real” is priceless. So she brings herself to this project, which quite frankly encompasses everything she’s made of, which is greatness. This is more than a co-sign, a stamp, or some affiliation nonsense. Erykah is our sister and we can’t thank her enough. This is a family project. Word to all our guest features and producers.

CPR: The Blend Tape is available for preview and free download over at The Smoking Section. (A clean version is available, as well.)

Photo by Skye Media Photography

skillz + dj jazzy jeff + j. period: infamous quotes

In advance of his upcoming album, The World Needs More Skillz, Skillz has joined forces with DJs Jazzy Jeff and J. Period to release this very clever concept mixtape, Infamous Quotes. Many of the songs are built around quotes from movies, television, etc. (I think it’s important to mention here that I have not seen a lot of movies that apparently EVERYONE has seen, so some of these quotes are a little less infamous to me, but I did recognize enough.)

Producers on the project include Nottz, Alchemist, and Don Cannon. Guest MCs include Truck North and Boogie. Infamous Quotes really flows well and showcases Skillz’ humor particularly well.

Those who follow Skillz and Questlove on Twitter might remember some time back when the two made a hefty wager, with Questlove betting $10K that Russell Simmons would not reply to a question Skillz had asked him on Twitter. Lo and behold, Uncle Rush did reply to Skillz. What happened next? To hear–as Paul Harvey would say–the rest of the story, listen to “The Last Laugh”: 

With The World Needs More Skillz coming out October 25, I think it’s safe to say these back-to-back releases will be sufficient to shush those who say that “all Skillz does is the Rap Up.” Click here to download Infamous Quotes.