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chloewilson on 04/12/2016 at 11:31AM

Var Francis - Not Just Another Rags To Riches Story

Var Francis isn’t your typical MC, and the better for it. The Queens native, now based upstate in Albany, the rapper recently put out his white-collar-gangsta EP “Pay To The Order Of” on his PaeDae Entertainment imprint. The six tracks on the EP span six styles of hip hop genres, with lyrical content pinpointed on specific themes the MC finds true to heart. Frustration and anger, lust, celebrity media satire, Pay To The Order Of covers immense lyrical and stylistic ground within a relatively small footprint.

 

“I love mixing genres!” acclaims Var when prompted to discuss the diversity of his EP, “I put a lot of thought into the order of all six tracks. No one's mood stays the same all day and the same should apply for listening to a record. I like to switch up the mood from track to track.”

 

One stand out track on Var’s EP is “Less Of A Woman.” An ode to female empowerment, Var’s verses are critical of the double standard between male/female sexual expectations in modern society. “A person is a person, plain and simple,” he explains. “A woman shouldn’t be chastised because she wants to enjoy herself as much as it’s accepted for a man to. I rap about real life and this is an issue that not enough rappers address in their tracks.”

 

Throughout Pay To The Order Of, there is one consistent lyrical theme in Var’s verses. A former street hustler growing up in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, Var is proud to now run a legitimate operation, without fear of being arrested or getting shot. “I mean, when you grow up in a certain environment you gotta do what you need to in order to survive,” says Var, “but that shouldn’t be your entire goal in life, and you shouldn’t be proud of that. I was ashamed of a lot of what I was doing in the ghetto, and now I’ve gone to college, have a legal business operation, and that is what rappers should admire to achieve.”

 

Even though Var lives his life on the right side of the law, his verses are still as hardcore as anything from The Lox or Wu-Tang, especially as heard on “Why You Talking To Me?” which leads the EP. “You can be white collar and still be a gangsta,” Var details, “Being ‘gangsta’ is doing you, doing whatever you need to do to get paid and provide for you and yours. That is a real ‘gangsta’.”

 

Pay To The Order Of is out now on SoundCloud

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hip-hop, music, rap
ToussaintMorrison on 01/14/2016 at 07:24PM

Why I Decided To Upload My Entire Label's Archive To FMA

Right now, I am absolutely stumped at what to write in explanation of uploading my label’s entire music catalogue to the Free Music Archive. I’ve sat here for at least 20 minutes in a Minneapolis coffee shop, damn bewildered at where to start, or even the intonation to take with this piece.

When I booked my first tour with The Blend, back in 2005, I bought as many blank CDs as possible to mail out to each city we planned to hit. Each CD had a flier stapled to its case, and was distributed by a coffee shop or friend willing to prop them up in a visible spot, or hand out. With that maneuver, we were able to pull a fan-base that had never seen us before, but had heard our sound. The simplicity of giving our music out for free, created an invaluable ripple effect across the country. Soon, as myspace, facebook and other social media sites arose to prominence, we were able to stream our music to anyone that happened to cross our site. Now, I know how way, way, way back this is. I mean, I just referenced myspace. Not the Justin-Timberlake-owned-newly-revamped myspace, but the original myspace with the user experience of a Neanderthal, and fonts worse than “Papyrus” or “Impact”.

Over the past decade, The Blend, and several other bands I’ve managed, have produced amazing music and then moved on to other projects. However, in an effort to preserve the integrity of these projects (or albums), I’ve sought to keep as much of the music alive online, as possible.


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studio11 on 12/29/2015 at 12:57AM

Welcome To Chi-Raq - The Origin, Definition, The Word Of The World Of The Dollar Boyz

Cover Photo - Welcome To Chi-Raq Volume 1

"WELCOME TO CHI-RAQ"

The term Chi-Raq, now synonymous with Chicago street violence has drenched the media with attention following the December release of Spike Lee's Chicago based film Chi-Raq. The meaning of the word Chi-Raq, the fusion of Chicago and Iraq, may owe its origin to the assimilations the Chicago news media furnished in wake of the Iraq war - comparing war statistics to Chicago crime statistics. Moreover, Chi-Raq could have been born from Chicago gang presence in Iraq. In the realm of street poetry anything is game and it is only natural that these words embrace culture and news media. The word Chi-Raq is the street poet's spin on the news media's representation of the Chicago streets -  and the Chicago street's presence in the Iraq war. Could this be a self-fulfilling prophecy? We may never know, but the facts are the facts and one things for sure; the word is old - at least 10 years old. Here's the story of the word of the world of the Dollar Boyz. "Welcome to Chi-Raq".

Let's rewind in time to the year 2005. The Iraq war had been front page news for years. With countless troops returning to Chicago a strong connection between the regions existed. Many soldiers returned to find home in just as critical shape as the war torn world in Iraq. A massive overhaul on Chicago's housing projects forced many from their dwellings, opening a new wave of turmoil in the city. Change is rough in light of city politics, media, and gentrification. The term Chi-Raq was an inevitable conclusion in street rap music, born of the streets of Chicago, and best exhibited by the Dollar Boyz series of albums/mixtapes "Welcome To Chi-Raq" first released in early 2006. 

"I remember clear as day the word Chi-Raq spilling out of the microphone at Studio 11 in the throws of the Iraqi war. It may have popped up here and there - as we had a ton of rappers returning home from war at the time, but the real statement came with the Dollar Boyz first mixtape hosted by D.J. Pharris with the powerful 'Welcome To Chiraq' intro. That record is the best early example of the use of the term" - Notes (Engineer/Producer - Studio 11)

In the midst of the recent 'Chi-Raq' clamor we received a call to the studio. "Yo! This is Caine from the Dollar Boyz, we came up with that Chiraq shit in 2005. You guys still got all the files over there?" At Studio 11 we keep a database of almost 20 years of material ranging from analog storage mediums, CD ROMS, DDS tapes, through DVD's - of which total around 7000 pieces. Needless to say, an album is a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, all DVD data is in updated databases. We told 'Caine' we'd give it a look. We had never really considered that the word Chi-Raq had in effect originated at any particular point. But a bit of digging found the earliest Dollar Boyz recordings at Studio 11 to be from 2005-2006. Namely their album/mixtape "Welcome To Chi-Raq" Volume 1 featuring rappers Caine, White, and Cash and hosted by acclaimed Power 92.5 WPWX Chicago D.J. Pharris.

Dollar Boyz

While Spike Lee may have brought the term Chi-Raq to the mainstream in 2015, and King Louie may claim to have coined Chiraq in 2009, the origin of the term Chi-Raq is best exemplified in the Dollar Boyz series of releases, "Welcome To Chi-Raq" Volumes 1-3 stemming from the mid-2000's and the Iraqi war. These volumes are stacked to the CD's edge with hard hitting Chicago beats and street rhymes. At the 74 minute brim of a CD's length they are the reminder that Chi-Raq is about word play and reflection - tales of the world at hand.

Our blessings go out to King Louie in lieu of his recent tragedy. He has been an active recording artist at Studio 11 for many years. We wish him well in his recovery. One of our studio favorites featuring King L can be found HERE. Studio 11 does not condone street violence in any way. Rather we promote artistic expression as the best possible means to channel energy. We wish for a better, safer, and more honest Chicago in the future - clad through constructive, educational, and artistic outlets. 

Dollar Boyz

Covers From The Dollar Boyz "Welcome To Chiraq" Series

 


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Killa_Conscious on 09/27/2015 at 01:34PM

Real-ScoutTheWise remix ft. KC

https://soundcloud.com/allaboutmyambition/real-scoutthewise-kc

 

Peace love and all of the above!

Support the artists with a listen and some kind words or not so kind words, thank you!

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hip hop, rap
BeastRobot on 08/31/2015 at 06:22PM

♫ SK - Pennies For My Thoughts (Hip-Hop, Rap)

Fan Video https://youtu.be/swDaC3pnieQ

 

♫ Artist: SK

♫ Track: Pennies For My Thoughts

♫ Album: Pennies For My Thoughts

♫ Genre: Hip-Hop

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TAGGED AS:
hip hop, rap
UPLOADED:08/23/2009
TRACKS:8
LISTENS:36
STARRED:0
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UPLOADED:02/01/2010
TRACKS:17
LISTENS:129
STARRED:0
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UPLOADED:03/23/2011
TRACKS:6
LISTENS:13
STARRED:1
DOWNLOADS:4974
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