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Freestyle 101

Freestyle 101: Loaded Lux »


You’ve seen him decimate MCs on Smack DVD, B.E.T.’s 106 & Park, and a slew of Youtube battles. You’ve heard his mixtape Locked & Loaded, a blazin’ collection of tracks and freestyles. Now watch Harlem’s Loaded Lux get loose in the booth when Freestyle 101 caught him at Play Studios in New York.

In fact, Lux had so many rhymes ready to rock that he didn’t even make it into the booth, just started spittin’ right there in the control room as we were picking through beats. Luckily we started rollin’ tape (thanks, Joe Lynch!) and caught an impromptu, off the top freestyle that blew everyone in the room away. He threw in game references galore too…and this wasn’t even supposed to be the official take. But it was so good, so fresh, and so purely a freestyle, we told him it was a wrap. Incredible.

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Freestyle 101 Wins The Webby! »


Well, folks, we did it! G4tv’s lil’ multi-platform hip hop show Freestyle 101 took home the Best Music Series award at the 2008 Webby Awards.

Our own FS101 Creator/Producer Frank Meyer and Creative Director Joe Lynch even flew out to New York for the ceremony and schmoozed with web luminaries such as hosts Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) and Seth Meyers (Mad TV, Saturday Night Live), Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live), Tim and Eric (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), David Byrne (Talking Heads), Stephen Colbert, Obama Girl, and Tay “Chocolate Rain” Zonday, who sang the national anthem.

Among the things that separates the Webbys from other awards shows is that winners are only given a 5-word speech, so the event moves fast! When accepting his trophy (a giant metallic spring!), Frank bounded up and delivered this stunning speech:

“Freestyle101, nerd pop meets hip-hop…that's a hyphen, bitches!"

G4 has never been so proud. Congrats!

Check out Frank and Joe’s photo gallery here or the Webby Flickr gallery here.

Freestyle 101: Meeno and Dame Grease »


Dame Grease has been producing hits for hip hop heavyweights for a decade or so now, and knows a thing or two about dope MCs. After helming bangers for the likes of DMX, Lox, Nas, N.O.R.E., Freeway, Common, Mase, Mary J. Blige and more, Dame decided to start his own label and launch his new roster of artists via the compilation album, Goon Musik. One of the standout Goons is a fiery New York MC named Meeno. Dame was kind enough to bring Meeno by Play Studios to let him show off his spittin’ skills over a cookin' R.N.S. beat and chat about the art of the rhyme (Dame even reveals that some of DMX biggest hits started as freestyles!).

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Freestyle 101: Lil' Fame (M.O.P.) »


To say Brownsville, New York duo M.O.P. are hip hop legends is an understatement. Lil' Fame and Bill Danze have been keepin’ it hardcore since 1994’s To The Death, when they introduced the world to their brand of headbangin’ hip hop. Since then they have released three more full-lengths, three rarities collections, a heavy metal album, a greatest hits collection, several bangin’ mixtapes, and the Handle Ur Bizness EP, plus racked up a slew of classic singles like “Ante Up,” “Cold As Ice,” “Put It in the Air” and “Downtown Swinga.” So to have Lil’ Fame stop by Freestyle 101 was beyond an honor.
 
Yet music industry bullsh*t and record label runarounds have plagued the dynamic duo since day one, sometimes preventing them from capitalizing on their intense buzz and massive street cred (they are your favorite rapper’s favorite rappers, no doubt). First, the group's longtime label Loud Records folded in 2002. The following year they signed Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records, leading fans to believe that a Hova-orchestrated album was to follow and catapult them to major success. But said album never materialized and when Jay-Z moved to becomes president of Def Jam, the group was released from their contract. Meanwhile, the band headed out with Linkin Park on the Projekt Revolution Tour as their songs got licensed in NFL Street 2 and Fight Night 2004. They even cut a metal album under the name Mash Out Posse while they waited for the lawyers to do their thing.

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Freestyle 101: Smoothe da Hustler & Trigger tha Gambler »


Back in 1996 a rapper out of Brooklyn named Smoothe da Hustler released his critically acclaimed debut album Once Upon a Time in America. It featured his brother Trigger tha Gambler on many of the tracks, and a cat named D.V. Alias Khryst singing the hooks. The street single was a banger called “Broken Language” that found Smoothe and Trigger (a.k.a. The Smith Bros.) tag-teaming over a monster beat, finishing each other rhymes with ease and bouncing off each other like only brothers from the same mother could. The track was a classic (recently covered by Method Man and Redman even), though the album was sadly slept on. The crew continued on to record a slew of Smith Bros. singles, released a Nexx Level Click posse album, and even formed a group with Freestyle 101 vet Ice-T called SMG (Sex Money & Gunz).

So when Freestyle 101 traveled to New York to shoot the best the city had to offer, we made it a top priority to track down these three underground legends and reunite them for a “Broken Language”-style freestyle session. Smoothe was quite receptive and rolled up to Play Studios with his brother and DV in tow, ready to flow hard over a dope R.N.S. beat. And flow they did! The MCs managed to recreate the feel of their original hit and bring some new ’08 flava to the mix, including references to videogames (GTA, Street Fighter, Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Halo, Bioshock, etc.) , tech, and a hook that salutes G4tv. Thanks guys!

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Freestyle 101: Ali Vegas »


Up and comer Ali Vegas is nicknamed the “Prince of New York” for good reason, he’s one of the shining stars of the freestyle scene and mixtape circuit.

Known as a champion battle rapper and expert off the top spitter, Ali has been rapping since age 6 and first gained attention when he appeared on the In Too Deep soundtrack as a teen. In 2006 Ali Vegas signed to NBA player Lamar Odom’s label, Rich Soil Entertainment where he has worked with producers ranging from J Nice to Midi Mafia. A steady slew of mixtapes helped cement his rep, including the much heralded The Rebirth of a Prince and Leader of The New School. This summer Ali will release Generation Gap 2: The Prequel, which features guest spots from Nas, AZ, Styles P, and Akon, with production from DJ Premier, L.E.S, Scott Storch, Cool & Dre, and more. 

So Freestyle 101 was stoked to get Ali in the booth at Play Studios in New York and watch him do his thang over a slinky Messiaz beat. And believe you me, this kid can freestyle. How do we know it’s really off the top? Well, for one thing he throws in tons of videogame and tech references, which you don’t normally hear in his street-laced rhymes. Plus, in his interview he chats about how being sober helps keep his rhyme skills sharp, something most other rappers cannot attest to.

Also Director of Photography Joe Lynch (director of Wrong Turn 2, by the way…see it now!) and I were joking around with him before we started rolling, daring him to work ridiculous terms like “alligator taint” and “yak balls” into his rhyme….and he did! We nearly fell over laughing. The kid is good. Real good. Real, real good. He makes it look so easy and raps with a smile across his face, a nice change of pace from the mean muggin’ game face most MCs display.

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Freestyle 101: Big Noyd »


Along with Marly Marl, Nas, Cormega and his Mobb Deep brothers, Big Noyd helped put Queensbridge on the map as far as New York hip hop goes. His debut verse was on "Stomp 'Em Out" from Mobb Deep's 1993 debut Juvenile Hell, but it was on 1995’s "Give Up The Goods (Just Step)" from Mobb’s classic album The Infamous that put him on the map. “Yo, it's the R-A-Double-P-E-R N-O-Y-D, ni--as can't f--k with me!” Noyd practically got his first record contract from that line alone.

His debut album, Episodes of a Hustla, was released in 1996 on Tommy Boy Records while he was locked up. Once he was released, he was able to promote his 2003 follow-up, Only The Strong, and 2004’s On The Grind, with a steady stream of live shows and interviews. He also appeared in 2004’s Mobb Deep-produced Murda Muzik The Movie.

So to celebrate the release of his latest album, Illustrious, and the release of Mobb Deep founder (and Freestyle 101 vet) Prodigy’s new album H.N.I.C. 2, we present Big Noyd!

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G4's own web-series, Freestyle 101, has won the 2008 Webby Award for music! That's right, of the tens of thousands of pieces submitted to the Oscars of the Internets, Freestyle 101 is the greatest. There can be only one...and it's us, baby. Check it out!

“It’s truly an honor to win this award,” Frank told TheFeed. “This proves that videogames, nerds and hip hop have much more in common than people think. There are so many people at G4tv that helped make Freestyle 101 what it is, so congratulations, all y’all!"

"But it’s the artists who make the show so special with their incredible freestyles, insightful interviews, and passion for hip hop," Meyer said. "Freestyle 101 would be nothing without the rappers and their talents, so thank you to everyone that has contributed to or supported Freestyle 101. This is an amazing moment for hip hop on the web!”

To see what all the Freestyle buzz is about, click-on every Tuesday at 9 AM, when the hottest and hardest of hip-hop rhyme off-the-top about videogaming, tech and all the things you care about, or check the Freestyle 101 archives and the video below:

Freestyle 101: Sav Killz »


Freestyle 101: Sav Killz »


Up and coming Brooklyn rapper Sav Killz is making a lot of noise on the East Coast hip hop scene and for good reason. The dude has skills, personality, presence and dope lyrics. He also has the backing J-Ronin, a hot mixtape DJ who has been guiding his career and overseeing his mixtapes. Their recent collaboration, Success is Inevitable, is part of J-Ronin’s All Elements series and is a banger and finds him teaming with heavyweights such as Sean Price, Teflon and Smif-n-Wessun. You can head to Youtube and watch the video for "Champion Rap" with Planet Asia or hit him on MySpace to score his Determination Thru Time mixtape to get an overview of his past work.

He honed his skills among the Wu Tang Clan, Sunz of Man and Brooklyn Zu having spent many a night rhyming in 36 Chambers studio and Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn which was run by Clan elder Popa Wu. Sav also performed at many open mic events, where he gained a rap as one of the illest in the scene. Since then he has shared the stage with the likes of Killah Priest, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Shabazz the Disciple, Cormega, Slum Village, AZ, The Beatnuts, M.O.P., Jeru the Damaja, Saigon and more.

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Freestyle 101: Tha Alkaholiks »



Tha Alkaholiks
are legends on the West Coast, point blank. Over the course of their five classic albums they brought booze and beer to the otherwise smoke-heavy scene of hip hop via tracks like “Hip Hop Drunkies,” “Only When I’m Drunk,” and “All Night.” They were one of the first hip hop acts to jump on the rock-centric Warped Tour and hold their own amongst the headbangin’ and moshin’ sect. Their live shows will go down in history as some of the most rowdy, fun-filled and wet concerts fans have ever witnessed. And if you saw Tash solo on Freestyle 101 last year then you know he’s a beast on the mic on the improv tip.

So we were beyond excited when Tha Liks stepped into The Engine Room in Hollywood for their first performance in front of the camera in nearly three years to kick off their reunion tour (wrapping up this week, so check here for tour dates). Ya see, after 2006’s Firewater, rapper J-Ro moved to Sweden, so the group has been on hiatus for a minute. But J-Ro has continued his grindin’ with his Rare Earth B-Boy Funk mixtapes, while Tash issued his solo effort Rap Life and is about ready to drop his long-awaited followup, Control Freek.

Bustin’ hard over a Messiaz A-Team-style military beat, Tha Liks truly go of the top, as you can see when J-Ro starts rappin’ about livin’ in Sweden and pulling items out of his pocket to rhyme about, and Tash tries to work in his girlfriend’s name in his rap moments after she paged him. DJ E-Swift just laughs along at his rowdy bandmates as they rock the mic and bounce off the walls …literally! This was easily one of the most high-energy Freestyle 101s yet, so enjoy.

Freestyle 101 goes up at 9 a.m. PST (that’s noon over on the east) every Tuesday. Next week we bring you newcomer Sav Killz, followed by Big Noyd, Immortal Technique, Kool Keith, M.O.P. and many more. Make sure to dig our behind the scenes photos, visit us on MySpace and rant in our Forums. And if you dig this watch more Freestyle 101s from West Coast rappers such as Ice-T, B-Real, Ras Kass, Gift of Gab, Planet Asia, and Del.

Freestyle 101 is nominated for Best Music Series in The Webbys, so please vote for us today here: http://pv.webbyawards.com/account/pv_login

Freestyle 101: Buckshot

frankmeyer
4 Comments

Posted April 22, 2008 - By Frank Meyer

Freestyle 101: Buckshot »


Ever since Buckshot made his hip hop debut as a teen in 1992 with Black Moon on the hits “Who Got The Props?” and "I Got Cha Opin," the BDI Thug has been known as a MCs MC. He was one of Tupac’s favorite rappers, he  was picked by super-producer 9th Wonder to be his lead MC on 2006’s Chemistry and the brand new The Formula, and is currently recording a collaboration album with legendary hip hop icon KRS-One. How’s that for credibility?

Buckshot is also the leader of the supergroup Boot Camp Clik and one of the principal’s behind their long time label Duck Down Records, which is having a major renaissance with artists like Kidz In The Hall, Sean Price and Buckshot himself. Throw in the newly rejuvenated Heltah Skeltah (on the show later this summer) and Smif-N-Wessun and you have yourself a monster roster of heayhitters. He’s released one solo album, two with 9th Wonder, three albums with Black Moon and three albums with the Boot Camp Clik. The man is a workhorse…and a badass freestyler.

Promoting his highly anticipated new collaboration album with super-producer 9th Wonder, The Formula, Buckshot allowed Freestyle 101 to pop by DaMan Productions in New York, where Boot Camp record most of their material. He spit a ridiculous freestyle over a soul-drenched R.N.S. beat in one take and even threw in references to Halo 3, NASCAR and G4 to connect it to y’all.

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Freestyle 101: B-Real

frankmeyer
5 Comments

Posted April 15, 2008 - By Frank Meyer

Freestyle 101: B-Real »



Cypress Hill frontman B-Real knows hip hop…and knows weed! Which is why he is the perfect MC for our special 420 Freestyle 101.

One of L.A.’s biggest rap groups ever, Cypress Hill practically put smoking on the hip hop map with their 1991 debut CD and hits like “Stoned Is The Way of the Walk” “Insane In The Membrane” and “Dr. Greenthumb.” Though producer DJ Muggs gets much acclaim for the group’s distinct sound, it’s B-Real’s nasally voice (armed with partner in rhyme Sen Dog’s gruff backing vocals) that is the most recognizable element of the Cypress Hill sound. All you need to hear is one second of B on the mic, and you know your jammin’ to a Cypress joint…so to speak.

So Freestyle 101 was honored when the stoned raider himself dropped by The Engine Room in Hollywood to spit an off the top rhyme over a dope Messiaz dub beat, and chat about the early days of hip hop in L.A., KDAY, The Wake Up Show and Radiotron. He even threw in references to NBA Live and SoCom for you gamers. He’s promoting his killer new mixtape Gunslinger 3 (available in stores and on brealonline.com) and hyping y’all on his upcoming solo album and the the next Cypress Hill album (in the works now).

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Freestyle 101: Ice-T

frankmeyer
8 Comments

Posted April 8, 2008 - By Frank Meyer

Freestyle 101: Ice-T »


 

For me, filming a Freestyle 101 with the mighty Ice-T was like jamming with Miles Davis, riffing with Jimi Hendrix or crooning with Frank Sinatra. The man is a master of his craft, one of the most influential MCs in the game, fronted one of the best (and first) rap-metal bands ever, is a terrific actor, and is a true original.

Yes, Ice-T is a legend, straight up. He also happens to be one of the reasons I got into rap music. The day I heard the gangland murder-spree of “Colors” I was hooked. By the time I got to classic albums like Power, Iceberg/Freedom of Speech and O.G. Original Gangster, I had been sworn in for life.

Yet it’s too easy to classify Ice-T as simply a great gangsta rapper. Sure, he practically invented the style with early cuts like “6 ‘N Da Mornin’” and the aforementioned “Colors,” but along with Public Enemy he also ushered in politics in rap, infusing a strong political and social consciousness into hip hop. His book, The Ice Opinion, is a must read if you want to hear about how politics and rap bang heads, and his speeches as  a TV correspondent and on the lecture circuit are educated, thought provoking and inspirational. That he took his career as America’s favorite “Cop Killer” and turned it into a respectable career playing a police detective in everything from New Jack City to TV’s Law & Order Special Victims Unit is downright astounding. 

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Freestyle 101: Chill-E Will-He? »



Ladies and gents, despite it being April Fools Day, we here at Freestyle 101 are intent on keepin’ it real.

Very real.

Very, very, very real.

So real, in fact, that we have invited the greatest rapper on Planet Earth down to The Engine Room in Hollywood to spit a freestyle so dope, so complex, so fresh, it’ll make your head explode into a bulbous, fleshy mess. Seriously. The dude is that good.

Meet Chill-E Will-He?, America's best rapper!

Rapper extraordinaire Chill-E Will-He? practically invented freestyling. All those battles scenes in 8 Mile? They were really about his age of come-up, not that punk Eminem. Hell, Chill-E raps circles around Slim Shady! In his sleep! With one leg tied behind his back, kid! Accompanied by his DJ Mike Risha, Chill-E spit a killer rap off the top of the dome and chatted about what it takes to spit, how he prepares for battle, and reverse racism in hip hop. Hey, the guy is from the streets, so he preaches what he knows: thuggin’, crime, his mic prowess and fly rhyme skills.

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Freestyle 101: Pack FM

frankmeyer
3 Comments

Posted March 25, 2008 - By Frank Meyer

Freestyle 101: Pack FM »



Brooklyn, New York’s Pack FM hates rappers. In fact the title of his upcoming QN5 Music album is I F***ing Hate Rappers, so there’s no debating this point. And he has reason to, given that his rhymes and flow put most rappers to shame, as is evident on his current album WhutduzFMstand4? and EP Baby Blue for Pink.

Known for his street single "Stomp" and the graffiti anthem "Click Clack Spray" off the Marc Ecko Getting Up soundtrack, the one-time 88HipHop MC Battle Champion was the last man standing out of 32 MC's in the Braggin' Rites tournament. In 1999 he swept the competition at Next Generation Battle at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. He also won the TDK sponsored 24 Hour MC Battle for three months in a row. In 2000, he was a finalist in the Rock Steady Crew's annual MC Battle, and then placed 2nd out of 100 MCs in the Source Magazine's Unsigned Hype Live MC Battle Tournament. Pack even appeared in the acclaimed independent film Freestyle alongside Pharoahe Monch, Mos Def, Supernatural, Biggie and Tupac. 

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