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This is probably the oddest post title on my site. For those who don’t know what it means, they are the names of the artists behind three of the best albums of the year. In a time where it seems really good music is hard to come by, I consider myself blessed to come across three awesome albums that all came out within just a few months of each other. I almost experienced music overload. What makes these albums even better is that they are nothing alike. For those who say all hip hop sounds the same, I challenge you to listen to these three albums and tell me that afterwards. There is something for everyone on this list. I’m not going to give detailed reviews of the albums, I just want to talk about why they are great and why you should buy them. First up is Kno’s Death is Silent.

For those unfamiliar with the name Kno, you might recognize him as the excellent producer behind the group CunninLynguists. Kno has largely stayed absent from the mic on the last couple CunninLynguists albums choosing to hone his production skills to near perfect quality. Death is Silent finds Kno’s trademarked sample-heavy production painting a dark backdrop over the best lyrics we’ve heard from him to date. The only problem with the album is that sometimes the rapping doesn’t live up to the excellent composition behind it. Also, this is a much darker album from what we’ve previously heard from CunninLynguists, so be prepared to get sucked in to a dark place (which isn’t a bad thing as you feel like you’re part of a really good story). I really can’t describe what this album is, other than close to being perfect. This is one of those albums that you can turn off the lights and listen from beginning to end over and over and over. Each time you listen you pick up on something new. It’s an experience that will never end. Make sure you pick up this album now.

The next album is from QN5 newcomer Kokayi. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of Kokayi before his signing to QN5. He was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in the 51st Annual Grammys, but I’ve not watched the Grammys in years (and really don’t intend on starting again). He joined QN5 in April of 2009 and I’ve been waiting to hear something from him ever since. Was the wait worth it? Yes! Kokayi’s Robots & Dinosaurs is undeniably one of my favorite albums to come out in years. What sets it apart from other hip hop albums is that Kokayi is able to meld genres to make an amalgam of good music. He’s hip hop, he’s rock, he’s soul. This album contains something for everyone. If you are a fan of good music, you will love this album. Best of all, you can order a Paleo-Pack of his album that includes a bunch of goodies to go with the fantastic music or you can listen and purchase the digital album here.

The last album on my list is a side project from Substantial. The album is called Substantial & Marcus D are Bop Alloy. The album can easily be defined as Jazz Hop. It is a great album utilizing the smooth flows of Substantial on top of excellent Jazz production by Marcus D. This is one of those albums that you can sit back and listen and get lost in the music. You would think this duo would have been making music together for years, but that’s not true. This is their first album together and if all their music together is this good I hope there will be many more albums in the years to come. Not to say anything bad about Substantial’s previous works because they are all good, but I think this is his best to date. He has definitely evolved as an emcee and this album shows it. If you’re a fan of Jazz and a fan of hip hop, make sure you support the artists and buy their album.

We have seen movies and television use the tactic of viral marketing a bunch over the past couple years. The TV show LOST has had commercials for the fictional airline Oceanic and there was even a Mr. Clucks commercial with Hurley. Movies such as the Dark Knight have gone to great lengths to get people interested long before the release of the film. People were sent the Gotham Times newspaper with articles made to look real and even featuring advertising for Gotham businesses. There were websites for the Bank of Gotham and Gotham News Network. There was even an elaborate scavenger hunt in various cities and fans had to keep going to find the next clue. Finally, the use of viral marketing has made its way into music, but not by who you’d think.

Viral marketing has made it’s way to independent hip hop label QN5. They are employing the technique for their release Chico and the Man, a duo composed of emcee Tonedeff and producer Kno (of CunninLynguists fame). What’s interesting is that an independent label would go the viral route first, and not a major label with unlimited supply of resources. This goes to show you the power of the internet and social media sites.

So what do we know about this album? There’s not much. Everything that has been found has been by the dedicated fan base working hard at finding any sort of possible information, making guesses, and taking leaps. Only a few clues have been released, but let’s take a look at the clues that were given, how they were given, and the resulting news. All the clues have appeared on the Chico and the Man Twitter account.

Before we look at the clues given, I should point out that the Twitter account background is a clue in itself. If you look at the background file name you see that it’s called fulgenciobatista01011959. Fulgencio Batista was a Cuban dictator, and 0101959 = January 1st, 1959. On that date, Batista was forced out of the country by Castro’s revolution. Could the History of Cuba be one of the topics. There is also the line catm: work for it. twitter is the key. commented out in the code.

Clue number 1
: waiting to breathe
No one is sure what this means quite yet. It may be the title of the album or a title of the track off the album.

Clue number 2: love keeps the stars in the firmament and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides – maya angelou
The rest of the poem is as follows:

“Love builds up the broken wall
and straightens the crooked path.
Love keeps the stars in the firmament
and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides,
each of us is created of it
and I suspect
each of us was created for it!”

It seems that the ocean is a major theme for this album, but what does it all mean?

Clue number 3:_fanned by a _pale mist the heart _flutters
There is a lot of speculation on what this one means, what the underscore means, etc. Far too much for me to reprint here, but read what fans have to say.

Clue number 4:18/5/1/3/8/ 23/8/9/20/5 13/1/18/9/16/15/19/1
This turns out to be code for Reach White Mariposa. What does this mean? Well, fans have found White Mariposa. Again, there’s a lot of clues here. Could the tagline “Su Amigo Para más de 45 Años.” mean anything for the album? What about the image titles. The logo is punto4. Point 4. Also, if you call the number, it is for this fake business described on the page, but the message is in Spanish. So if you want to translate an audio message that would help the fans out a great deal.

Your’s truly found the next bit of information. Commented out in the code is cada punto confirma el último. Translated that means “each point confirms the last.” That takes us to…

Clue number 5: cada punto confirma el último
It seems we are on the right track.

There is a lot of information that I have not posted, from meaning of butterflies to speculation on the initials HCK. It is all very fascinating. If you want to play along and love riddles, someone has made a thread to catch everyone up with what we know so far.

I’m excited about this use of marketing. This is definitely innovative. QN5, like one of their slogans says, is always 5 steps ahead of the game.

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Today marks the releases of another QN5 gem. I’m talking of Mr. SOS’s How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb album.

From QN5.com, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (named after the Stanley Kubrick film) is an amalgam of every bit of darkness and light in the life of SOS and how he is influenced by the world. The album, released by independent powerhouse label QN5 will feature production by Tonedeff, the UK’s Quincey Tones, The BeatChefs, as well as Mr. SOS himself, continuing the progression of cleverly mixing traditional backbeats with abstract production and pensive content. When asked why he chose the title, he simply states, “because the movie is about the end of the world and so is my album.”

I’ve had this album for a week now and it is fantastic.  QN5’s ability to put out great hip hop, release after release, never ceases to amaze me.  Their albums are always killer with no filler.  Please support the artists who make true hip hop.  Please pick up this album today!

BUY DIGITAL @ [iTUNES] | [AMAZON]

BUY PHYSICAL @ [FAT BEATS] | [UGHH] | [SANDBOXAUTOMATIC]

Listen to Bionic (produced by Tonedeff) below.

blg_cl_sj_preorder

I have some great news for fans who love great music. One of the best (if not THE best) hip hop groups has a new release dropping soon. You can now pre-order Strange Journey Volume One by CunninLynguists now. From the QN5 Blog:

We are now taking pre-orders for CunninLyngists’ Strange Journey Volume One.

Featuring guest appearances from Killer Mike, Khujo (of Goodie Mob), Skinny Deville & Fishscales (of Nappy Roots), Slug (of Atmosphere), Tonedeff, Substantial, PackFM, Mac Lethal, Mr. SOS, Looptroop Rockers, Hilltop Hoods and more! Once again, all production duties are handled beautifully by the incomparable Kno.

Respectively entitled Strange Journey – Volume One and Strange Journey – Volume Two, both full-length discs will be interconnected efforts dropped within months of each other and built around the concept of touring and travel. Both releases feature completely original, new material.

Strange Journey Volume Two will be released 09.08.09 and features appearances by Sean Price, Poison Pen, J-Zone, Blue Sky Black Death, Bronze Nazareth and more!

Pre-Order Volume One now and receive your ADVANCED autographed copy with bonus sticker and instrumentals a full 4-6 weeks before it’s available in stores!


One of my favorite artists, Tonedeff, created a remix of Kanye West’s Love Lockdown. Tonedeff states, “It’s not so much a remix is as it is a re imagining of the concept – added a bunch of instrumentation, new lyrics & hook, etc.” Well, whatever he wants to call it, it’s a great song. Make sure you give it a listen and then head on over to QN5.com to find out more about this talented artist or download the track, plus a house remix from the blog post. He is a great rapper, singer, producer, and lyricist. This is what good hip hop is about.