Squeezebox: FowL – Live From the D

12 01 2011

Raise your hand if you think freestyling is cool.  Okay, now put your hand down if Eminem has NOT announced to the world that you are the best freestyler in the nation.  Only one man’s hand should be raised, and that man is 18-year-old Detroit native, FowL.  FowL killed it in the “Red Bull EmSee: The Road to 8 Mile National Championship” contest last summer, and just last week he dropped his debut mixtape, Live From the D.

Hokey name?  Possibly.  But FowL is proud of his hometown and not afraid to show it.  Detroit shines bright on Live, thanks mainly to FowL’s lyrical prowess.  The beats are tight, including one courtesy of underground demigod Madlib, but this is above all a showcase of FowL’s talent, and he rolls over these tracks like a combine through a wheat field, thrashing and shredding it up on the mic, leaving all the rest of those freestylers in the dust.

Tight, gritty and raw, Live From the D is a great introduction to a fresh new artist on the verge of grand stardom.  8.7/10

Download Live From the D Here

The Ambassador Bridge (prod. Black Milk)


The Squeezebox: Hir-O – The Voyage Home

20 12 2010

When it comes to instrumental hip hop, I am a hard one to please.  Sure, there’s plenty of great beats out there (Amon Tobin, Flying Lotus, Dabrye, et cetera et cetera), but the repetitive nature inherent in Hip Hop beats wears me thin real quick.  Most instrumental albums I can’t even enjoy in one sitting.  I just get bored and stop paying attention.

But this couldn’t be farther from the truth for Hir-O’s newest release, The Voyage Home.  Like any great producer, Hir-O understands that instrumental Hip Hop is more than just beats without an emcee.  His beats on this album are big, beefy, crisp and unique.  And best of all, there’s actually lots of variation and thematic arc to the songs!  The sampling is excellent too, especially on the lyrical tracks like Headlock and I and I, echoing the vocal sampling skills of greats such as RJD2 and DJ Shadow.

The Voyage Home, available for free download at Hir-O’s Bandcamp page, is yet another strong addition to the ever growing library of exquisite SE Michigan Hip Hop, and we here at Balafonic are glad to welcome it to the club.


Download The Voyage Home for free here

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