Fifth Element is back in full effect with our latest Limited Edition FE Exclusive CD Release (300 Copies only!) that will be officially available on BLACK FRIDAY: 11.25.11!!
For this release we embark on our second collaboration with the very talented, entertaining, and humorous MC and Producer, Grip Grand. Our first joint venture was the FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD for his "Cassette Trippin" project, which is magical journey of great & fun rapping over a string of Hip Hop classics and more, and better yet it is still available for FREE HERE!
For "Rewinder" he has partnered with a collaborator from his past, MF Shalem. MF Shalem is one of those producers who has been around for quite some time crafting well constructed beats and laying down sharp cuts quietly in the background. His name might not be a household name, even in the Underground, but his production credits enlists some names that are; Sage Francis, Adeem, Adverse, Dorian Three, Haji P, Brown Co, and of course, Grip Grand. MF Shalem and Grip Grand worked together before on "Brokelore" via the track "96 Tears (MF Shalem's Talk About It Mix)". MF Shalem's production style on "Rewinder" gives a vintage Hip Hop breakbeat feel, but without sounding dated or needing to resort to easily recognizable. In other words, he's taken a classic style and superbly updated for 2011, providing a perfect foundation for Grip Grand to profess love for rap, struggles with the business, challenges in life, and host of other topics. All delivered with a seamless flow, great rhymes schemes, punclines; ranging from witty to so silly you shake your head and smile, and humility boarding on self-deprecation, but balanced out with a healthy dosage of boasting... Yes, "Rewinder" covers just about all the bases...
Shalem and I met through mutual friends in the Rec League crew (Cali's best crew you never heard). When I was finishing up Brokelore, he came through in the clutch with a last minute remix of my song 96 Tears (we couldn't use the original beat I rapped on). His version appears on the album.
In 2009, I was working on my Chart Toppers mixtape. Every week, I looked up the current list of Billboard #1 hits (rock, pop, whatever) and remixed one of them, adding my own vocals and production stuff.
Impressed by my ability to churn out a new song every week, Shalem suggested we collaborate on a full-length album. He would send beats every week, I would make new songs as fast as I could, and soon we'd have a whole album.
It didn't work out exactly as we'd planned. In the years following, both of us had our first sons, and our lives got pretty busy. But we did manage to bust out the record faster than any of my previous projects, working on instinct and trying not to overthink everything. Go from the gut, that's what I tried to do, anyway.
If asked what kind of music we make, Shalem and I would both be quick to tell you "rap music". No fancy labels or sub-sub-genrefication. Our aim with Rewinder was to make an album as consistent as the classic "one DJ, one MC" combos of yesteryear: Pete Rock & CL Smooth, DJ Premier & Guru, etc. Today's multi-producer/guest affairs tend not to have the same sound that you get from having a single producer and a single rapper on the project.
Soundwise, of course we pulled from our golden-age influences and threw some updated twists in there, as well. Lyrically, I tried to hit all the bases (back-n-forth punchlines on Rap Shit, storytelling on Flat Top Rules, catchy hooks/concepts on songs like Red Alert, honest introspection on Listen Up). All the things that rap can be. Shalem provided a whole variety of different textures to work with, all different, but all hip-hop to the core. Dirty drums, as he says.
GRIP GRAND & MF SHALEM-FLAT TOP RULES:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/04-4.-Flat-Top-Rules.mp3|titles=04 4. Flat Top Rules]
GRIP GRAND & MF SHALEM-RED ALERT:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/08-8.-Red-Alert.mp3|titles=08 8. Red Alert]
CHECK OUT OUR OTHER MF SHALEM TITLES:
Sage Francis-Makeshift Patriot 7" Autographed by Sage Francis and MF Shalem!!
Brown CO-Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood only $4.99!
Haji P & DJ MF Shalem-Neighborhood Kid only $4.99!