Wiley – The Chill Out Zone EP review

Wiley’s new EP lives up to it’s name… Sort of…

The Chill Out Zone’s soft, stoner-friendly beats, thick keyboard laden melodies and well written verses, perfectly executed in Wiley’s hazy English accent, are certainly chill inducing in both senses of the word. The majority of the songs are relaxing, easy to listen to, and would make for killer background beats for a laid back night in a smoke filled basement, puff-puff passing a gutted Swisher Sweet around a tight circle, laughing about nothing in particular. But if you can manage to stop hacking and coughing, long enough to listen to his lyrics you’ll find that they are anything but chill.

The first five tracks of “The Chill Zone” are deeply personal and heavy handed pieces, covering a menagerie of subjects ranging from war to the current and future state of rap, hip-hop, and even the meaning of life. The first five tracks on the album are some of the strongest, deepest, and artfully crafted tracks I’ve heard out of the UK hip-hop scene since Tricky.

Many will argue, and have argued, that Wiley has sold out, forgotten his roots, and cannot be counted as a member of the UK hip-hop elite. I vehemently disagree with this line of thinking. The beats may be softer, the instrumentation eclectic (at times, sounding as if they’d feel at home in a rain forest rather than on a hip-hop record), and there is a distinct lack of that familiar, fender dropping, door rattling, 808 bass drop we’ve all come to know and love.

Despite all of these very anti-hip-hop vibes Wiley retains the virgin-tight rhyme schemes, and needle-point precision flow that only the most elite  and genuine artists of the hip-hop world possess; skills that he flaunts and displays, with perfect aim and with pure, crystal clear, unadulterated talent, on track after track of “The Chill Out Zone”.

The first half of the album is indeed a powerhouse of emotion with strong, precise messages, as well as musical and vocal artistry. Tracks six through eleven however, fall short of such lofty praise. Though none of the songs are bad necessarily, they most definitely leave something to be desired, especially after the energy and fire of their five predecessors. Far too many of the songs are centered around relationships, love, and sex.

It’s Wiley’s positive demeanor and gentlemanly manner that lend his songs a sense of cheesy childishness. Though positivity, chivalry, and respect are timeless and endearing traits that all men worth their salt should possess; they seem to coat hip-hop songs in a sort of, squirmy awkwardness, akin to the sickeningly polite, well-groomed, virgin boy we all remember from grade school, who got his ass beat daily during recess. Rap and hip-hop songs should be tough, gritty, and without apology, like the tall greasy mean-mugged kid who, inexplicably, fucked every hot chick in school, despite treating them like thirteen year old street trash.

Overall “The Chill Out Zone” is a decent album, with well-crafted vocals, some great hooks, and a lot to say. Unfortunately, it is dragged, kicking and screaming, out to the playground, and beaten to a musical pulp, by its latter half. All of the heart, attitude, and energy of the first six tracks is watered down and degraded by the grade school romanticism, decade late beats, and bad sound FX lifted straight from your old 8 bit Nintendo console.

Eminem Reviews

Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel album review

I’m going to say this right off the bat: Bad Meets Evil’s album Hell: the Sequel is probably not going to sway you one way or another about Eminem. I was truly hoping for a mind-changer, as I call it – a song, an experience, a revelation that can completely transform your opinion of an artist – but alas, I was not rewarded.

Let me backtrack a bit by saying that, lyrically, there’s nothing wrong with Eminem or Royce Da 5’9”, Eminem’s other half in Bad Meets Evil. Hell: The Sequel is a compilation of supremely timed verse-spitting, with Eminem and Royce trading bars with effortless ease and throwing down fiery lyrics that are so well enunciated they could act as the beat itself (see: “Fast Lane”). In fact, sometimes I wish they did.

Which brings me to my next point. I’ve never been a huge fan of the melodic part of Eminem’s songs. When I think of Eminem, my mind is whisked back to eighth grade; I’m just coming into my rap maturity and the pubescent boys in my class are torturing me at recess, backing themselves up toward me and boorishly repeating, “my bum is on your lips, my bum is on your lips.” Shudder. Ok, so I have deep-seeded personal issues with this particular song, but the annoyance factor found on the track “The Real Slim Shady” off the album The Marshall Mathers LP – both lyrically and musically – continues throughout Eminem’s career. And it doesn’t stop with Hell: The Sequel.

While Hell: The Sequel stands out on a few levels –lines upon lines of piercing lyricism, well-timed verses – the rest of it falls flat. In general, Hell: The Sequel doesn’t stray too far from what Eminem’s done in the past. He’s still spouting homophobic slurs, he’s still claiming he’ll stomp on lesser rap fools, and he’s still the good old playboy we all know, as evidenced by the lyric “if you ain’t suckin’ a dick, why you sittin’ there?” in the track “A Kiss.” Sound familiar?

The real turning point for me, though, happened when I heard the track “Lighters”. This song can only be characterized one way: disaster. Maybe I’m unfairly biased against Bruno Mars, and I’m probably in the minority; that’s fine, I can live with that. But this track proves to me what I just didn’t want to be true — Hell: The Sequel was made for radio play, plain and simple. “Lighters’” sweet-sounding melody combined with Mars’s sensual boy band-reminiscent voice will no doubt incite gaggles of 14-year-old girls to exclaim praise on their Facebooks. It’s a con, it’s dirty, and it has nothing to do with the rest of the album. Hell: The Sequel is simply not for 14-year-old girls.

Lesser-known but no less talented Royce Da 5’9” (or Nickel Nine as he’s also known) is a formidable force on Hell: The Sequel as he proves he can throw down intoxicating wordplay right on par with Eminem. While, yes, he’s one half of Bad Meets Evil, I still can’t blame him for the lackluster beats because, in my mind, that’s Eminem’s domain. That’s how he’s been doing it since the album “Infinite” in 1996, and that’s how he does it now. Royce’s album “Street Hop” (2009) can prove my point that what’s lacking on Hell: The Sequel is simply not his fault.

Listen to Hell: The Sequel. I promise mind-blowing rhyming skills. I promise laugh-out-loud entertainment. I don’t promise something you’ve never heard before.

Press Releases

FYF Fest Returns For Labor Day Weekend Set For Saturday, September 3, 2011

FYF Fest Returns For Labor Day Weekend Set For Saturday, September 3, 2011


Descendents, Death From Above 1979, Explosions in the Sky, Broken Social Scene, Simian Mobile Disco (live), Guided By Voices, Cold War Kids, The Dead Milkmen, Kid Dynamite, Four Tet, Girls , No Age, The Head & The Heart + tons more

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, JUNE 17 Via Ticketweb at 3:00 PST

FYF Fest is proud to make its return this Labor Day Weekend to downtown Los Angeles, on Saturday September 3rd and to have Altamont back on board as the presenting sponsor. The festival continues with an all-new location (details below) and stellar line-up. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 17 via Ticketweb web and start at $35.00. The festival will run from Noon until Midnight. The event is All Ages.

Slated to perform are: Descendents, Death From Above 1979, Explosions in the Sky, Broken Social Scene, Cold War Kids, Guided By Voices, Simian Mobile Disco (live), The Dead Milkmen, Girls, No Age, Kid Dynamite, Glass Candy, Dan Deacon, Four Tet, The Head & The Heart, YACHT, The Weakerthans, Chromatics, Cults, Olivia Tremor Control, Smith Westerns, OFF!, The Strange Boys, Japandroids, Nosaj Thing, Ty Segall, Mister Heavenly, Pink Mountaintops, Avi Buffalo, Cass Mccombs, Title Fight, Fools Gold, Tijuana Panthers, Touche Amore, Purity Ring, Twin Sister and Future Islands

To counter some of last year’s issues, FYF has formally partnered with Goldenvoice on the festival.

In order to ensure a safe and fun environment for all, the following improvements have been made.

Near City Hall, 1st and Main – Downtown, LA

There will be multiple entrances to the festival and a completely separate entrance for VIP and press.

Three times the food vendors located in four separate locations throughout the festival. Healthier options, shorter lines, cheaper prices, larger selection of vegan and vegetarian options

All water will be $2.

A huge thank you to the sponsors who have supported us throughout the years and our new friends: Altamont, Incase, Sailor Jerry, SESAC and LA Weekly.

Press Releases


Event takes place June 5th, 2011, 3pm at Toronto’s City Hall. FREE EVENT.

It is with great excitement that the F-YOU: Forgiveness Project team announces music industry powerhouse Wayne Barrow as the newest speaker added to the panel-based event.

Barrow is recognized as being the management force behind the careers of the Notorious B.I.G, Shyne and Nas, and most recently acclaimed hip-hop artist J. Cole. He also produced B.I.G’s biopic “Notorious” which grossed over 75 million dollars. Hip-hop fans across the world consider Barrow, who works in partnership with his cousin Mark Pitts (R Kelly, Chris Brown, Usher), to easily be one of the core business men driving hip-hop culture today. He is currently the president of By-Storm Entertainment which includes a roster of #1 R&B artist Miguel, J.Cole and Toronto’s own Kardinal Offishall, among others.

Barrow is just as passionate about giving back as he is about his business – he is the Vice Chairman of The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation which is a charitable organization established by Ms Voletta Wallace to provide educational tools; books, computers and tutorship to inner city youth. Joining the F-You panel in support of the message, he will be speaking on his experiences in both the industry and his personal life.

It is highly suggested that those wishing to attend this F-YOU event arrive early as this event will reach capacity. This is a completely free event.

About F-YOU:
A panel of six people, a mix of race, age and gender, speaking about a time in their lives they had to forgive either themselves or another. The Forgiveness Project is an inviting, tell-all event that aligns personal growth with self-improvement. This event has the potential to impact our community and young adults by way of real-life portrayals of hardships, and overcoming barriers that at one point seemed insurmountable. Hearing first-hand trials and tribulations from people just like us can open the door to inspiration and the motivation to do better and most importantly, feel better. Included themes on the panel are murder, sexual assault, depression, drug-use and self-forgiveness.

The panel includes:

Wayne Barrow – manager (J.Cole, the late Notorious B.I.G) – keynote speaker
Katrina Lopes – manager (Shawn Desman) – Exploring our notions of forgiveness
J “Bizz” Brown – Creator, “Hip Hop’s Not Dead, It Lives In The North” – speaking on attempted suicide
Kamplex – speaking on the murder of her two brothers
Priscilla – speaking on the aftermath of an abusive relationship

Press Releases

TAO Nightclub presents ERICK MORILLO TAO Las Vegas 5 Year Anniversary Memorial Day Weekend Sunday, May 29, 2011

TAO Nightclub presents ERICK MORILLO TAO Las Vegas 5 Year Anniversary Memorial Day Weekend Sunday, May 29, 2011

With Las Vegas now firmly established as an international hotspot for house music, TAO Las Vegas is going back to where it all started. On Sunday, May 29, TAO Nightclub presents the return of international superstar Erick Morillo for an epic 8 hour set to celebrate the fifth year anniversary of a legendary Memorial Day Weekend event that first put Vegas on the dance music map.

“Erick Morillo has the unique ability to capture the energy of a room and hold it until the sun rises. TAO has been able to build on his energy over the past five years and we’ve created a holiday within a holiday every Memorial Day Weekend and this year will be no different,” said Jason Strauss, Partner, TAO Las Vegas.

In the last five years, Memorial Day Weekend at TAO Las Vegas with Erick Morillo has become a veritable institution, exploding from 1,000 to 7,000 people last year and drawing clubbers from all over the world. The famed Asian-inspired nightclub, complete with 20-foot Buddha statue and state-of-the-art audio system, is the perfect backdrop for this larger-than-life house music pioneer. Indeed, the revolutionary night of house music has served as a catalyst in making Vegas one of the biggest markets for house music in the world, and TAO is ready to continue the tradition.

Erick Morillo says, “My Vegas love affair all started with TAO and the Memorial day weekend party has become a summer kick-off institution. We really jump started the entire house music revolution here that is now exploding in Vegas today and it’s really special to come back to play again for their 5 year anniversary.”

Morillo is the owner of Subliminal Records and a platinum-selling artist whose hits include Reel 2 Real’s “I Like To Move It,” “Break Down The Doors” and “Live Your Life” (with Eddie Thoneick, featuring Shawnee Taylor). At the onset of 2011, he launched a celebrated monthly DJ residency at the newly minted dance music mecca Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. This summer he returns to Ibiza for his annual residency this year dubbed “Subliminal Invasion,” with a companion CD to be released in June, along with his latest single “Stronger” on Subliminal Records.

Press Releases

Tiësto announces his 2011 Club Life summer residency at Privilege Ibiza – Starting Monday June 6th, 2011

Tiësto announces his 2011 Club Life summer residency at Privilege Ibiza – Starting Monday June 6th, 2011

Monday nights throughout the summer…featuring Tiësto, special guest DJs + All-star surprises

Club Life Volume 1 – Las Vegas out now on Musical Freedom

Tiësto announced today that he’s returning to Privilege Ibiza for his summer 2011 residency. Taking place on Monday night’s throughout the summer, Starting Monday June 6, 2011, this marks Tiësto’s fourth consecutive year at Privilege. Known for his now legendary marathon sets, this promises to be yet another spectacular showcase for the Dutch DJ and producer. It’s the biggest DJ in the world playing at the biggest club in the world.

DJing at Privilege Ibiza provides a source of great inspiration for Tiësto. He feeds directly off the fans that allow him to experiment with new sounds and take his sets in multiple directions. In fact, much that went into Tiesto’s 2009 landmark artist album Kaleidoscope was directly influenced by the fans at Privilege, DJs who performed there and the positive energy throughout the island of Ibiza.

In addition to Tiësto’s own epic sets, he’s bringing along an all-star line-up of special guests throughout the summer. Already confirmed to rock the white island alongside Tiësto are Bassjackers, Dem Slackers, Hardwell, Henrik B, Jordy Lishious, Karlsson & Winnberg of Miike Snow, Marcel Woods, Nero, Otto Knows, Rebecca and Fiona, Sandro Silva, Steve Aoki, Tai and more guests to be announced soon.

Recently voted ‘The Greatest DJ Of All Time’ by Mixmag and widely regarded as the world’s biggest DJ/Producer, Tiësto has worked with global superstars such as Nelly Furtado, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Goldfrapp and more… His recently completed Kaleidoscope World Tour spanned more than 15 months and 175 dates across 6 continents playing to over 1,000,000+ people. He was nominated for two 2010 Billboard Touring Awards and listed in Billboard’s Top 25 biggest grossing global touring acts of 2010.

Tiësto is busier than ever in 2011 with the launch of ‘Tiësto In Concert’ in Las Vegas, his monthly residency at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and global tour dates supporting the release of his highly anticipated new Club Life – Volume One Las Vegas mix album on his own Musical Freedom label.

Established in 2009, Musical Freedom provides Tiësto with a vehicle to explore exciting new sounds from all over the musical map. Launching with the landmark Kaleidoscope artist CD, subsequent Musical Freedom releases include Tiësto vs Diplo – “C’Mon” and “C’Mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise feat Busta Rhymes);” Tiësto & Hardwell – “Zero 76;” Dada Life “Unleash The F*cking Dada;” and Henrik B Feat. Christian Älvestam – “Now And Forever.”

More details about Tiesto’s Club Life Ibiza residency will be announced soon.

Press Releases




Breanne Düren will premiere the video for her track “Gold Mine” on today, April 29, 2011. The video, directed by Brandon Boulay and choreographed by Düren, was shot at her hometown community center on April 18th. It features the Apple Valley AVaires Dance Team in which she used to dance. Beginning Monday, May 2nd, AOL Music will be hosting a Full CD Listening Party of Sparks at for one week. Additionally on May 4th, to celebrate the release of her debut EP, Sparks, Düren will perform a live acoustic session and chat with fans here from 2PM to 3PM. In order to RSVP to the Livestream event, fans should RSVP. At 9PM that evening, she will play a free show at the Living Room in New York City.

Produced by Mike Daly (a former member of Ryan Adams’ band Whiskeytown who has worked with Rachael Yamagata, The Pernice Brothers, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals), Sparks is a five-song introduction to this charming young artist that showcases her sweet, soulful voice, unique lyrical point of view, and talent for writing lithe, playful melodies. “Gold Mine” boasts a modern take on the pop-soul vibe of classic ’60s girl groups, while “No One Else” bounces along on a stripped-down synth-pop groove.

USA Today recently described the track as “a girl group throwback with a modern streak of grrrl power,” and Entertainment Weekly recently told its readers if you “love Adele’s ‘Rumor Has It’, then try ‘Gold Mine.'” Artist Direct said, “This is the perfect summer pop album, and an even more perfect introduction to Düren. Sparks may fly as soon as you hear it.”

Breanne Düren will also perform at Hotel Café in Los Angeles on May 12th and at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, MN on May 20th. She’ll also be opening for Owl City at Roseland Ballroom in New York City on June 23rd and at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on July 21st.

Press Releases

Dance Music Icon Pete Tong Brings Legendary Pool Party To Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas – Six Month Residency Kicks Off May 22, 2011

Dance Music Icon Pete Tong Brings Legendary Pool Party To Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas – Six Month Residency Kicks Off May 22, 2011

Las Vegas – Pete Tong is unquestionably one of dance music’s biggest and most respected names. Across all corners of the globe his name is synonymous with the very best cutting edge electronic music and talent. He hosts the world’s most listened to electronic music radio show on BBC Radio One where he has recently celebrated 20 years at the station, and his club and Festival gigs from Ibiza to London, Brazil to Barcelona have become the stuff of legend.

Pete’s Pool Party has risen above its peers to become the can’t miss event at the world’s dance music gathering, Miami’s Winter Music Conference. Delivering truly memorable moments and unforgettable poolside performances, Pete’s Pool Party couples must-see music in an unrivaled setting. This summer, for the first time, Pete Tong will bring Pete’s Pool Party to America’s party capital, Las Vegas.

Naturally Pete Tong has picked the most magnificent of Vegas’ pools to host his six-month Las Vegas residency. Tong will take to the decks five times from May to October at the incredible Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas. A 60,000 square feet lush oasis, Encore Beach Club combines a luxurious pool venue and upscale party atmosphere, reminiscent of European dayclubs. Three tiered pools, floating lily pads for lounging, 26 cabanas and eight private bungalows make this an unmatched poolside party on the Strip.

Splitting his time between Vegas and his residency at Ibiza’s super-club Pacha, Tong will bring the music and magic of the Balearic Isle to Sin City. From hands-in-the-air anthems, to yet-to-be released limited edition white label bombs, Pete’s Pool Party will treat Las Vegas to an unprecedented snap-shot of the music that will set the agenda for the next 12 months, mixed by one of the most revered DJs in the world. A stellar lineup of support talent is also to be announced soon.

This year Pete Tong celebrates 20 years at BBC Radio, helming the most listened to electronic music show in the world. Truly a global ambassador for dance music, whether sharing the decks with superstar DJ icons or championing emerging talent, Tong’s contribution to, passion for and impact on the industry is unmatched. Over the summer months Pete Tong will host his residency at Ibiza’s Pacha, headline the Dance Tent at Glastonbury Festival, produce and headline a tent at the world famous Bestival Festival, and has most recently hosted a 12-hour Tong takeover of BBC Radio One to celebrate his twenty years at the station.

Press Releases

New Boyz prepare for release of new album, “Too Cool To Care,” available May 10th, 2011


Rap duo Ben J and Legacy of the New Boyz are back with their sophomore release Too Cool To Care which will hit stores May 10, 2011 via Shotty/Warner Bros. Records.

The album’s first single “Backseat,” inspired by the international club scene, enlists the help of electro-pop producers The Cataracs and their starlet Dev for a dance-floor banger. Along with The Cataracs, DJ Khalil, Kane, Bei Maejor, and a host of other talented up-and-coming producers lend their talents to the wide-ranged release. “This album is very different from the first one,” confesses Ben J. “We really wanted to show ourselves as creative artists. A lot of people are going to be surprised.”

Tracklisting is as follows:

Tough Kidz featuring Sabi
Crush On You featuring YG
Active Kings featuring Tyga
I Don’t Care featuring Big Sean
Porn Star
Backseat featuring The Cataracs & Dev
Meet My Mom
Start Me Up
Better With The Lights Off
Magazine Girl
Break My Bank featuring Iyaz
Let U Leave
Can’t Nobody featuring Shanell
Black Dress
Beautiful Dancer featuring Charlie Wilson

Children of the iPod era, the New Boyz—like their peers—represent a generation dedicated to pushing past draconian standards while searching for something new. “Too Cool To Care is not just an album, it’s a movement. It’s about how we’ve always gotten criticism from those who want to hate our fashion and style,” says Legacy. “But we’ve continued and will continue to do our thing and test our boundaries.” To coincide with the album release, a high school tour and series of “Too Cool To Care” PSA’s promoting the importance of individuality, originality and positive self-image are in the works.

The group debuted in the summer of 2009 with their viral hit single “You’re A Jerk.” The single not only peaked in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but also brought the then regional jerkin’ style to the national forefront, giving the duo national acclaim. This lead into the release of their debut studio album Skinny Jeanz & A Mic, “one of the year’s most charming rap debuts, and certainly the least expected” (New York Times).

Considered by many to be a new generation of one-hit wonders, the group would go on to prove the opposition wrong with the release of their multi-platinum selling 2nd single, “Tie Me Down” featuring Ray J. The group may have initially been known as jerks, but the release of their pop-leaning 2nd single earned the duo their second Top 5 Rhythmic radio smash and would catapult the boys into a position of being a force to reckon with.

Since then they have toured alongside Chris Brown and Sean Kingston, caused nothing short of pandemonium in venues and malls across the nation, landed a role in Mario Van Peebles’ 2011 film “We The Party,” and have received BET Hip-Hop and Teen Choice Awards nominations for their respective “Best Group” categories

Dogg Pound

R.I.P. Nate Dogg Nathaniel Dwayne Hale (August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011)

R.I.P. Nate Dogg
Nathaniel Dwayne Hale (August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011)

Amazing how news travels, I read this flash up on my Facebook feed from my DJ friend C-Stylez, then Twitter confirmed it from a tweet from Daz Dillinger and then The Press Telegram confirmed it all.

I remember as a pre-teen bumping “Regulators” with Warren G and Nate Dogg’s voice providing so much, not to mention his influence on all of Snoop and the Dogg Pounds classics and his immensely underrated solo album with “Nobody Does It Better” being one of the most poorly promoted songs to date.

Would have loved to have interviewed him at some point…

The Long Beach Press Telegram

LONG BEACH — Nathaniel D. Hale, known in the music industry as Nate Dogg, died Tuesday, his family announced.

The rap star, born and reared in Long Beach, Calif. was 41.

Cause of death is not known. However, Hale had suffered two strokes, one in 2007 and another in 2008.