Slimstown Studios Announces New Mobile Video Game 'Dragonbites: Smokin’ Bunnies'

We know a lot of you out there are gamers of varying degrees. And a lot more since we ran the Superstars Game Trailer competition last year with our frequent partner, Intel. Well, we just wanted to announce that our friends at Slimstown Studios have announced their newest game, Dragonbites: Smokin’ Bunnies. The game, coming soon for smartphones and tablets, features an eclectic cast of characters, lewd & crude humor, enemies that fire back, and the ability to choose any type of bunny-based projectile for any shot. Check out the trailer after the jump and go to iTunes for download.


New Beck Songs From The Playstation Game 'Sound Shapes'

There seems to be quite a lot of buzz going on right now in the world of Beck. Recently we told you about his new upcoming “album” Song Reader, a fully illustrated book of sheet music, and that he has contributed three songs to a new Playstation 3 game called Sound Shapes. Now you can hear those songs and watch how they interact with the levels and gameplay.

Check out “Cities.”


As you can see, every aspect of the game is integrated with the music, and advancing through the level brings the gamer through the song. The light and airy sounds of Beck’s tracks seem to fit perfectly with the soft and playful design and colors of the game. The best part is that, unlike most games, the songs do not just repeat over and over again, but actually go somewhere so you don’t, you know, go insane. Sound Shapes was released Tuesday, August 7th by Pyramid Attack. Check out more after the jump…


Soundcheck: Hip Hop Speaks Out On Trayvon Martin Murder

In the five weeks since the tragic killing of seventeen-year-old Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the hip hop community is stepping up to call for justice and action.

Tons of hip hop heavyweights”including David Banner, E-40, Frank Ocean, Big Boi, Diddy and countless others”have spoken out on the tragedy.  Many of them have created viral videos in which they don hoodies to support the slain adolescent, who was killed at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer that said the teen, looked suspicious.

On February 26, George Zimmerman (a twenty-eight-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer) called the police after he noticed Trayvon entering a market (to buy Skittles and Iced Tea for his younger brother). After ignoring police instructions to remain in his vehicle, Zimmerman allegedly accosted the unarmed teenager and shot him to death. When police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman claimed he acted in self- defense, and has therefore avoided an arrest since the incident.


Soundcheck: Hip Hop Hits…And Misses Playground Music Festival

Hip hop heroes did more than disappoint this weekend when headliners for the First Annual Playground Music Festival skipped their sets, leaving fans and promoters scratching their heads and looking for refunds.

The event was billed as a two-day hip hop, rock and electronic festival, suited for all ages, and promised 200 bands over thirteen stages.  Hosted by Nick Cannon and headlined by The Game, E-40, Too Short, Big Sean,  New Boyz, Panic! At The Disco and The Bravery, it even boasted appearances by Lindsay Lohan and Pete Wentz.

When gates at Hidden Valley, Irvine opened at noon on Saturday, the mostly vacant parking lot was an early warning sign that the 30,000 capacity outdoor venue might not be packed that day.  Once inside, fans found their way across thirteen stages strewn throughout the Hidden Valley property, ultimately leading to the main stage, where Game was expected to perform his Number 1 album, R.E.D. later that evening.

With no signage or announcements of show schedules and stages, it was tough for fans to find the sets they came to see.  Luckily, we caught OurStage’s own ForestPunk delivering one of the best rap performances I’ve seen in years. The twenty-year old Los Angeles native spit thirteen tracks in his hour-long set, which included an eclectic range of thought-provoking prose over heart-pounding dubstep beats, up against his softer-sounding songs like Scary Monster over acoustic guitar. His set-closing number, Bad Monkey had tinges of Lupe-inspired sound fused with the insight and confidence expected from an artist twice his age.

As the night moved on, Shiny Toy Gunz and The Cataracs gave lackluster performances to an eager but small crowd.  As the lock neared 8PM, the sound plug was abruptly pulled and an announcement followed that Game won’t be performing tonight. Show is over. Please proceed to the exits. No talk of refunds or rescheduling followed, only herds of fans rushed through the grounds with no explanation as to why.  Too Short and E-40 also missed their headlining slots, with the entire night going up in smoke.


Music Stars Who Need A Lesson In Technology

OK, so I think we can all agree that getting a closer look into the lives of our favorite celebrities is pretty awesome. Whether or not we choose to admit it, most of us have that one famous person (or maybe more) who keeps us fascinated with every tiny detail of their life. The wonderful world of Twitter has made it incredibly easy to stay up-to-date”no  paparazzi or gossip magazine required. Celebrities simply share what they want to share, and we eat it up. Sometimes they’ll even respond to their followers and answer their questions! It’s all good fun, except when it’s not. It looks like some celebrities, especially musicians, just aren’t ready for the responsibilities of being famous and having all of this technology right at their fingertips.

Most recently, rapper The Game sent the tweet heard ’round the world, causing so much chaos it almost got him in trouble with the law. His Twitter posted a phone number, telling his close to 600,000 followers that they should call it for an internship opportunity. Well, turns out the phone number was for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and they were not happy; rightfully so, considering their phone lines were jammed for a couple of hours. The Game claims that someone hacked his account, but then went off on a rant about the police, saying “Yall can track down a tweet but cant solve murders !”  The department planned to file a complaint but later decided against it after The Game gave a public apology.

M.I.A. is another celeb who recently took to Twitter, but ended up offending her own fans. In the wake of the London riots, she tweeted that she was “going down to the riots to hand out tea and mars bars”. Fans who follow her on the site replied with upset comments, not happy that she was supporting the violence.


Soundcheck: Game's Got Beef — Seeing R.E.D.

The King Of Beef has a few bones to pick, and he’s been on a slow burn leading up to the release of his new album, R.E.D. The Compton-based bad boy has made a career out of picking fights, and this time, his sights are set on some serious targets.

His latest lash-outs? Jay-Z, Tony Yayo, 50 Cent and Kanye West, among others, get burned in R.E.D.‘s lyrics, like White Girl Mafia‘s, Kreayshawn, proving no one is safe, except of course, for Eminem.

Last week, he told Jenny Boom Boom that he rated Watch The Throne a 7, with 6 points going to Kanye. He then delivered some back-handed compliments at Jigga, saying, I don’t hate Jay-Z.  I have every album from Reasonable Doubt to Watch The Throne, just before saying he would never need Hov for anything.  I’m gonna need Jay-Z? I’m good. I’m not going to need anybody. All I need is God and my family.” He then took some more personal digs, saying I don’t know. Jay-Z don’t seem too sterile. Beyoncé ain’t pregnant.”

Last month, in his Otis remix, he takes jabs at Hov and Kanye while covering their Throne hit. On the heels of the diss track’s release, he told HipHopDX, “With Jay, I’ve beentryin’ to coax him into sayin’ somethin’ or doin’ somethin’. But he’s smart, and I don’t think he’ll jump out the window like that. Plus, I’m prepared for it.” Game added with a laugh, “With his age and where he’s at with his career, he might be too reserved to entertain [a challenge], and I respect that.”

While acknowledging his previous promise to refrain from throwing stones at the RocNation exec, Game says he couldn’t resist. “I contemplated, ‘Damn, I went at Jay; I said I was off of that.’ Fuck it. I’m me. I’m Game. I do what I do. I just had fun, man. Anybody that want a problem, or wants to say somethin’ on a record, you know it’s gonna get a response, so watch yourself.


Soundcheck: White Girls Gone Wild – Hip Hop Edition

There’s a new crew in town and they came to play. The White Girl Mob has taken hip hop by storm through a ninja-like internet crawl and some standout stars making big waves.  The Oakland-based crew made mainstream take notice with Kreayshawn’s solo single, Gucci Gucci and V-Nasty’s nasty habit of dropping the n-bomb.

Kreayshawn’s impressive resume includes directing videos for Lil B and the video for Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new single, TheAdventures Of Rain Dance Maggie. She is nominated for ˜Best New Artist’ at the upcoming MTV VMA’s for her single, Gucci Gucci. The viral video received over 3 million hits (watch after the jump), launching the Bay-area beauty into superstardom.

Her rise to fame hasn’t been all smooth sailing.  In recent months, she paraphrased DMX in a Twitter post, using the n-word in the reference.  Many were offended, and the backlash commenced.  The situation made headlines when another Mob member, V-Nasty, used the n-word in her rhymes. Kreayshawn apologized, saying I don’t use that word in my music. My sister V-Nasty says it all the time. I don’t say it in my music. It’s not my place.” Her bandmate’s brazen attitude has done even more damage.

White Girl Mob


“On some real n*gga sh*t…y’all muthaf*ckas ain’t never walked in my shoes, bruh. Y’all ain’t never seen where I came from…That sh*t be hella fake, muthaf*ckas always asking Kreayshawn, ‘Why you gotta say n*gga?’ Is n*gga a f*cking race? Am I offending people? Am I saying it in a disrespectful type of way?”


Enter Your Next Record With Travis Barker Competition Before It's Too Late!

It’s not too late people”there’s still time to enter your song in Guitar Center’s Your Next Record with Travis Barker Competition on OurStage! One Grand Prize winner will join the ranks of the many killer artists that Barker has lent his talents to over the years including Tom Morello, Raekwon, RZA, Slash and Game. How might you ask? The best way he knows how: by rocking out on the drums of course.  The Grand Prize winner will receive the ultimate rock star prize package including a trip to Los Angeles to record a 3-song EP with Barker at the Red Bull Studios and a $10,000 shopping spree at Guitar Center. Barker will play drums on one single from the EP, which will be distributed worldwide by TuneCore. It’s pretty much your one-way ticket to rock super-stardom, so enter your best track by April 30, 2011 for your chance to win!

Fans can also join in on the rock ‘n’ roll party by judging in Guitar Center’s Your Next Record with Travis Barker Sweepstakes. Judge in the competition by May 15, 2011 and you could win an OCDP snare drum autographed by Travis Barker himself! Help the best artists get their big break, and you could walk away with a priceless piece of rock history. Everyone goes home happy. Cruise through the playlist below to check out some of the hottest artists in the competition.

Soundcheck: Can A Drummer Get Some?

Is it possible that the most ground-breaking hip hop album of 2011 will come from a punk? Punk rocker that is, as in Blink 182, +44, bad ass super drummer, Travis Barker. While he’s floated around the hip hop scene for years, (touring and collaborating with Cypress Hill, Paul Wall and T.I among others), he’s about to pull a whole new rabbit out of his hat. His full-length, solo album, Give The Drummer Some is jam packed with hard-hitting tracks, laced with lyrics by some of hip hop’s best including Lupe Fiasco, Snoop Dogg, Drake and Lil’ Wayne. The all-star line up is as eclectic as the music”which fuses hip-hop, punk, rock and electro” resulting in a truly unique style.

The album’s rap roster is rivaled by its impressive production credits which include DJ Khalil, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, RZA, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Chuck Inglish, Kool Kojak, Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, Dr. Dre, Eric Valentine, A-Trak, Kanye West and Barker himself. The album’s title comes from the Ultramagnetic MC’s track of the same name, appropriately derived from James Brown‘s hit, “Funky Drummer”.

Give The Drummer Some features an unbeatable line-up of rappers rocking out, including RZA, Rick Ross, T.I.,The Cool Kids, Raekwon, Tom Morello of RageAgainst the Machine, Slash, Steve Aoki, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, Yelawolf, Swizz Beatz, Bun B and Tech N9ne.

With a roster like this; it’s no wonder some songs have already made it onto the internet; some being released by Barker as previews, and others leaked before their time. On January 28, Barker released a preview of Come N Get It, a track produced by The Neptunes, featuring Clipse (together in rare form since Pusha T‘s solo signing). The official single, Can A Drummer Get Some? features Lil’ Wayne, Rick Ross, Game and Swizz Beatz and was released on February 1. In it, Game goes hard, spitting lyrics over Barker’s banging like Back from the dead but they never found my killer/So I jumped up out this grave like Michael Jackson in Thriller/Iller than most emcee’s cause I be killin’ ˜em/Most emcee’s turn into ghost emcee’s/Yeah, give a drummer some.

Barker has been a mainstay on the pop/rock scene since his days with his uber-successful band, Blink 182, ruled the charts in 1999, and his family-based reality show, Meet The Barkers, aired on MTV in 2005. His on-again, off-again romance with ex-wife, Shanna Moakler kept him in heavy headline rotation until their 2008 divorce. The California native snagged serious media attention again in 2008, after he and the late DJ AM survived the tragic plane crash that killed four people. The drummer spent months in the hospital and suffered second and third degree burns over much of his body; ultimately battling through to make a full recovery.

Now, the inspiring rocker is ready to take the hip hop world by storm, finally bringing his brilliant idea to fruition with this 12-track masterpiece; adding one more accomplishment to his growing list when it hits stores on February 22.

Putting Back the Boom-Bap in Rap: Q&A with Nottz

Nottz wants to restore the boom-bap in rap.  He misses the kind of hard-hitting bass patterns that formed the undercarriage of so many of hip hop’s no-frills golden moments before Diddy added glamor to the street and took it mainstream.  As a beatmaker he has stuck to that creed in his productions of artists like Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Busta Rhymes among countless others, both radio popular and underground. But this year he entered the club of producers who rap with his solo artist premiere You Need This Music.  It is a minute group peopled with such luminaries as Dr. Dre, Kanye West, J.Dilla, Diddy and Q-Tip who have all had different levels of success being able to direct the mic and hold it as well.  The artist role may be new to him but the lack of compromise that all great artists possess is already in his DNA. In this interview he explains why maintaining his vision is necessary, the creative process and why you really do need his music.

Why the transition to the artist slot?

There’s a lot of wackness coming out right now to sum it all up. Too much trash coming out right now, my kids listen to this music. You got dope talk, you got gun talk, you got gang talk and all that and kids look at it like it’s cool, and it’s not cool.

How does it feel to have finished your first solo album and to now promote it and take on the duties of the artist?

I’m starting from the beginning. I really started out rapping and how I got into beats is no one would give me beats so I started doing my own thing. I like it and then I don’t like it because a lot of people don’t know who you are. They know my music as a producer but they don’t know what I look like. But being an artist, it’s hard for a new artist to come out being a producer. It kind of gives me a big push on everything.

I’ve noticed that you will produce someone like Kanye West then produce a rap act like Pitch Black.  A lot of guys on your level won’t touch any underground rappers. Why are you so democratic?

It’s just the way I was raised, my heart is bigger than anything. I will work with anyone, my manager will tell you I don’t care who you are. I will work with you. I just want to hear good music on the radio. I just want to hear it. To hear good music is like the best thing to me.

You use a lot of soul samples and movies soundtracks, can you tell me something about your creative process?

The majority of the records that the tracks came from we had major artists that wanted to deal with the record but they got kind of scared of the record and didn’t want to mess with it. The tracks that’s up there I took from them, I said I’d write something to it and make it work. With the samples, my father he was a DJ back in the day in the ˜70s. And my brother he started doing DJing, and my dad has all kinds of soul records. I grew-up listening to all that so that’s how I really got into soul. I really listen to everything from jazz, gospel and all that.

Why do hip hop fans “need this music”? What is different about your work from the stuff you call “flashy”?

It’s good music trying to bring the boom-bap back the way it’s supposed to be. Everything evolves, it’s going back you had like Kid ‘N Play and Just Ice and BDP and all that, and these young folks don’t know about none of that. We really need to school them on this kind of music. The album I did, it’s versatile. I got Travis Barker up there, I got Snoop up there, I got Dwele up there, Mayer Hawthorne, it’s a whole record. It’s full of substance. I’m not just rapping on it, I’m talking about something on it. I’m not going to the club making it rain and all that. It’s just good music that the world needs to hear.

Any more updates on Dr. Dre’s Detox that you have  worked on?

All I can say is it’s coming out but I don’t know when.

How did you connect with Dilla and what did you take from that relationship?

Dilla wanted to work with me. I was one of his favorite producers and it as crazy because he was one of mine. He came out here and we started working. At first he was little quiet until he felt everybody out and he just felt at home. I did a couple of joints for his album that was coming out on MCA. I did two joints and I guess Diamonds made it. I still got two records that nobody heard ever and you’ll never hear them. I’m not wasting it right now. I probably never let people hear them unless you come here. That dude was so cool, he got Diamond D to produce a track for him. I was one of the first people he reached out to for that album. We were supposed to do an album together. We sent hundreds and hundreds of beats back and forth just vibing off of each other. He did the album with Jaylib. I wish my homie was still here, we’d take the world over right quick.

Your album with Rah Digga is solid and yet even you admit that not as many people that should be listening to her are. Why do you think she hasn’t reached a larger audience yet? Do you think this album will change that?

You got the pop-rap people versus people who are on Digga’s level. Digga is more of a rapper than an entertainer, it’s no gimmicks with her. She’s just raw. There’s not too many female emcees who can touch her. Not even female emcees, emcees period. She’s better than most dudes.

How did you come up with the beat for Dwele’s I Wish?

I did it for Game and Dwele was like “We need to get Game on the record.” I hit Game up and he said he would do it, but it never happened. I never told Dwele that, but he will see it now.

Who are your favorite producers?

Black Milk, 9th Wonder, Hi-Tek, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, it goes on. There’s a lot of dudes out there. A lot of people don’t hear these dudes and they need to hear them.

What’s your advice to up-and-coming beatmakers on how to learn the business side of things?

You’re gonna get shafted one day or another. You send beats out or whatever then you just got people who are just leaking your records. If you just get it started sometimes that don’t even matter, it’s free promotion. It’s not doing you any good money wise, but it will help you out in the long run. As far as dudes being artists coming up, turn the radio off, stay in your own lane. I’m in the studio everyday from 4:00 to 4:00 except Sunday. I work.  I don’t have a radio in here, a TV. I’m constantly working. I listen to my own music. Dilla always told me  “Man don’t change for anybody.” One year when I was making music, I changed my bassline and I could tell nobody was really feeling like they were the year before.

You did My Whole Life for Sunshine Anderson. Are there any other female R&B singers you would like to produce?

Everybody. I wanna produce for everybody, I don’t care who you are.

What inspires you as a beatsmith and a rapper?

People doing the same thing I’m doing. People who want to make a change who want to bring the real hip hop back. Really the underdog, they inspire me.

Anything else?

You know we have the Raw project coming out in November. Me and Asher Roth, that’s going to be crazy. We got Derrick 32Zero on the Raw Concept label. We have Stacey Epps is coming out. Truck North is coming out.

How do you like being a label owner?

I love it. We don’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves and the fans. The fans are the ones that count. At a major label, they just throw stuff out and if people don’t bite on to it then you’re done.

Are you going to tour the record or do any videos?

We got a couple of videos. We probably shoot the one with Snoop then we’re going to shoot the one with Dwele, the one with Mayer Hawthorne and we’re going to do a couple of videos off the Raw EP.

By Tamara Harris

Tamara Harris is a music blogger who has published past work in Blues and Soul, Floss, Grip, AOL City and The Metro Times.