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9 Records We Can't Wait to Hear in 2014

Jack-White-PR-2010Jack White effectively effed up a whole bunch of “most anticipated in 2014″ lists when, in a chat with fans this weekend, he casually announced that he’s almost finished recording a new album. This is why it pays to procrastinate, people — get those lists in late! Since we here at OurStage are huge fans of waiting until the last possible minute to get stuff done, we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that we’re all anticipating the new Jack White record. So hard.

And, uh, it’s probably time that we tell you about some of the other albums slated for release this year that have us really excited. You can only put these things off for so long. Without further ado, here are 10 more records we’re super pumped to get our ears on in 2014.

1. Against Me!
When Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, formerly known as Tom Gabel, announced her transition back in 2012, some fans wondered if a female-fronted iteration of the band would have the same intensity and infectiousness as its predecessor. The answer: Yes, of course. Last year’s acoustic True Trans EP was beautiful, and if the first few singles from the upcoming Transgender Dysphoria Blues are any indication, that record will absolutely rip as well.
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Unreleased Wu-Tang Clan Song Surfaces Online

Months ahead of their recently announced new album, an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan song entitled “Execution In Autumn” has found its way online.

Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, RZA and U-God join forces to unleash “Execution In Autumn,” which was produced by Frank Dukes. We’re not sure whether or not this is from the history books or off the new album, but we are positive it’s 100% pure gold. No one flows like the Wu-Tang killer bees, and that is exactly what is on display here. You can stream the song below.

A Better Tomorrow is scheduled to arrive in stores by the end of Summer. Comment below and let us know if you plan on picking it up.

Wu-Tang Clan Announce New Album

The boys who brought you 36 Chambers have grown into the men who gave hip hop some of the finest records of the last two decades, and it has just been revealed that this Summer they will reunite once more.

Announced with as few details as humanly possible yesterday, the members of the Wu-Tang Clan have revealed plans to release a new album entitled A Better Tomorrow at some point over the Summer. No details regarding artwork, producers, tour plans, or even a release date have been confirmed at this time, but many industry figures are guessing the record will surface in mid-July. A single should find its way online in the next week or two.

Whenever someone ultra-famous such as Wu-Tang announce an album, fans do whatever it takes to get every detail they can in advance of the release. This time there is no other info to be found, so I guess we’ll have to sit impatiently and wait for them to come to us.

Exclusive Q and A: Classified Talks Beats, Rhymes, And Life

Nobody can talk about grassroots success like Canadian hip-hop artist Classified, who has been blazing his own independent trail since 1995. The emcee and producer has toured with the likes of Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Busta Rhymes, and has sold over 100,000 albums in Canada alone. Oh, and that awesome song in Madden ’12, “That Ain’t Classy?” Yeah, that was him. We sat down with one of the biggest names in Canadian hip-hop to chat about the Nova Scotian scene, his production styles, and his love/hate relationship with Kanye.

OS: What’s the Nova Scotian hip-hop scene like?

Classified: The scene is very Nova Scotian [laughs]. If you’re down here and you’re involved in the scene, you know what’s going on. You can go to the shows and check it out. But besides me and maybe two other guys, there aren’t many guys getting past just Nova Scotia to even the rest of Canada. We’re very secluded. We don’t get as many shows as they draw in Montreal or Vancouver. But it’s a dope scene. There’s been great artists coming out of here since ’95, when I started. People putting out albums, putting out their viral videos and stuff. It just still seems like a lot of people in the rest of the world haven’t been exposed to it because a lot of the artists aren’t pushing their stuff that hard. But really dope scene, great DJs, breakers, graff writers, emcees. (more…)

Going Out On Your Own: When Affiliates Break Away From The Posse

The group is a celebrated convention of hip-hop music culture. N.W.A. Wu-Tang Clan. Public Enemy. De La Soul. Need we say more? Greater than then sum of their parts, these are groups with famous individual members whose collective efforts are generally more celebrated than their solo material.

Cut to the modern day. The tradition of the hip-hop group is still alive and well. Black Hippy, for example, is a supergroup of sorts though they don’t have a release to their collective name. Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q both enjoyed well-received releases this year, with Control System and Habits and Contradictions respectively. Yet neither release made the same splash as Kendrick Lamar, the most visible member of Black Hippy, and his major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d. city. But little else did. Even Jay Rock, the fourth and most slept on member of Black Hippy, has seen his profile rise considerably as of late, if only by proxy.

Black Hippy’s success is exceptional in a number of ways. No one release or member can be pointed to as the genesis for the success of the rest. Lamar is flying high right now, but Black Hippy was never entirely his show. It’s also rare for a group to have all of their members do as well as all four in Black Hippy have. In a hip-hop group dynamic, it’s not unusual for a member or two to become prominent. The rest will experience varying levels of popularity but the likelihood that each member fully breaks through is low.

But egos clash. Friendships fray. Artistic visions deviate. So, what happens to rappers who try to make it on their own?

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Hear A Snippet Of Kanye West's Contribution To 'The Man With The Iron Fists' Soundtrack, "White Dress" [UPDATE]

UPDATE: Pitchfork has posted a video of the full track with accompanying videos this morning. Check out the video after the jump.

Kanye West has come a long way since the release of his first album The College Dropout. That release introduced us to a Kanye that was hungry and humble. Now, just following the release of G.O.O.D. Music posse album Cruel Summer, Mr. West is still hungry for success. But humble? Eh, not really. And there’s definitely a few out there who have been left cold by West’s dalliances into electronic and bombastic production styles, longing for the days of his more soulful fare.

Well Kanye nostalgists have something special to look forward to today with the leaked preview of West’s “White Dress,” his cut for the soundtrack to upcoming hip-hop kung fu action flick The Man With The Iron Fists.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Makes An Album Trailer? We've Got A Few Great Examples! (And One Stinker)

It’s a pretty exciting time to be working in music marketing right now. And I mean that.

The Internet is, essentially, a collection of fiber optic cables, gently humming modems, and servers cooled via fans or percolating liquids. All of those quiet pieces have facilitated a din of information that is tugging at your eyes and ears for sensory attention every moment of the day.

So how does a musician rise above the info rabble? Used to be that a few well maintained social media sites, solid music product coupled, positive press, and strong word of mouth was enough to get some attention. Not anymore, though all of that is still really important.

Nowadays, the hot promotional vehicle du jour is the album trailer. Yes, trailer. The visual vehicle has moved beyond the movie theater ” hell, even books get their own trailers these days. Album trailers are a pretty recent promotional innovation, and while it’s unclear whether they’ll become an integral part of a release campaign in the future, tons of bands have put out album trailers in 2012. So, we thought we would shine a light on some of our personal favorite album trailers from a handful of acts that we love.

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Unreleased Comics From "Wu-Massacre" Leak Online, Are Awesome

Talk about your wasted opportunities.

Late last week, a few pages of the a comic book originally slated to accompany the Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and Method Man collaborative album Wu-Massacre leaked online. The short comic book, also titled Wu-Massacre, sees the three Wu-Tang Clan members transformed from hip-hop heavyweights into ultra gritty über-badasses.

That’s the first page to the left. We can’t really show the rest as it’s potentially NSFW. Lots of guts, gore, and viscera is splattered across the following panels as the three Wu-Tangers fight against (and utterly destroy) some unknown adversaries. It’s the kind of stuff that must make up the fever dreams of every young male hip-hop star put to paper. The project had some serious creative backing too, with art direction handled by Alex Haldi and character design by illustrator Chris Bachalo.

And just to avoid any confusion going forward, Ghostface Killah is the guy in the white mask, Method Man is rocking the red jacket, and Raekwon is the commando-looking guy. Alas, whatever story there was is lost along with the dialogue. But does it really matter with artwork this fresh?

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