Music News

Friday Rap-Up: Side 3 Studios, Kanye West, Common, Rappers on Sean Bell verdict


When former Sony exec Adelio Lombardi moved back to Denver several years ago, he had a vision of launching a state-of-the-art recording studio in the metro area for local and national acts. Lombardi officially opened Side 3 Studios last year, and has already seen visits from Bow Wow, Omarion, T-Pain and legendary rapper Masta Ace. Located at 725 Mariposa St, just outside of Downtown Denver, the studio features a rotating control room surrounded by two fairly good sized studio booths as well as facilities for full service video production. There’s also a cool lounge with a big screen TV, couches and pool table, just in case you need to take a break between recording sessions. But even with all of its success in the last year, the studio got its biggest guest last weekend. See who after the jump...

In town for his Sunday show at the Pepsi Center, Kanye West stopped by Side 3 Studios to hang out and check out the state-of-the-art technology. Then he posted a video of it on his blog:

Spinning Studio from kwest on Vimeo.

No Kanye West on Common’s new album

For Common’s last two albums, Be and Finding Forever, Kanye West was at the helm as producer, but he won’t be around for the new one, Invincible. Due in July, Common’s new album was mostly produced by The Neptunes and Outkast collaborator Mr. DJ.

"Kanye was focusing on his 'Glow in the Dark' show, so he hasn't been able to make it to the studio to weigh in," Common recently told Billboard. "But it worked out well, organically. The Neptunes and Mr. DJ came up with a fresh sound for me."

The album will feature appearances from Cee-Lo, newcomer Santogold and Neptunes group, Chester French. You’ll also be able to see Common in the upcoming Angelina Jolie film, Wanted.

Rappers react to Sean Bell verdict

Anyone who has been keeping up with the Sean Bell case in New York, in which an unarmed black man was shot fifty times by NY police officers, know that the officers involved in the incident were found not guilty on second degree manslaughter charges by a New York City judge this week. A number of rappers, from the Game and Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) to David Banner and Steele (of Smif n Wessun), have all weighed in voicing their disillusionment with justice system.

"There’s a war against us waged by the so-called powers that be and their first infantry are these murderous pigs they use to keep us in place by harassment and murder," Steele told "We must stand together and defend ourselves and be smart. We are all under surveillance. It’s time to stand up."

The Game released a protest song in the form of a remake of Public Enemy’s classic “911 is a Joke,” which is now available on his website.

"I'm outraged and speaking out for my generation that are afraid to speak out against police brutality and murder," the Game said. "I grew up in Compton and had to stay silent because of the fear that was prevalent in my community. But now that I have a voice, I'm speaking out. [Sean Bell] could have easily been me, my brother, my family. So this song is for Sean Bell from my heart. My deepest condolences go out to his family."

"We lost a lot of battles, but we will win the war," Mobb Deep rapper Prodigy said in a statement. "The decision in the Queens courtroom on Friday was simply a display of power. The NYPD is just a branch of corruption connected to a giant corrupt tree called the United States government. The Sean Bell murder cover-up is less about race and more about power. This evil family tree of corruption will do whatever it takes to remain in a position of power. They will put a judge who they can control on the case, in order to get the outcome they want and eliminate the risk of being exposed and exposing the higher-ups. I want to be very clear that all judges, DAs, lawyers and cops are not corrupt, just most of them."

“I was outraged but I've gotten to the point where I don't get mad anymore," David Banner told "I have to think logically. I think one of the problems with America is that we've adapted Bush's cowboy mentality to everything. With the Sean Bell situation New York is basically saying, 'f*ck n*ggas.' They shot Sean Bell 50 times and they got eight counts and you can't convict on one count. Not even endangerment? You shot 51 times homie! It pisses me off, I'm hurt and to a certain degree I'm scared, too, I got to be enough of a man to say that."


The Roots Rising Down For the hip-hop band’s 10th album, they continue with the dark, street sound of Game Theory but with a more political edge. They cover the environment, racism, greed, poverty, and government conspiracies throughout the album but with a bevy of guests. Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Styles P, Peedi Peedi, Wale, Chrisette Michelle and a handful of others all make contributions to the album. As always, the Roots come with another quality project.

9th Wonder & Buckshot The Formula When producer 9th Wonder and Black Moon’s Buckshot came together for their Chemistry album in 2005, the result was so fresh that they decided to reconnect for another project. The Formula follows the same course as the previous album, with excellent boom bap production and nonstop quotable lyrics. It’s one of the best hip-hop releases in 2008 thus far.

Ransom Street Cinema Jersey City rapper Ransom got his as part of Joe Budden’s A-Team. The two rapper’s fell out and into an all mixtape war; which looks like I can go further than words. But on Ransom’s debut album, there’s nary a diss of Joe Budden and mainly focuses on his life in the streets. The album is mostly produced by unknown up and coming producers but comes out solid. Ransom is bringing back that East coast gangsta rap in the same vein as Kool G Rap, Mobb Deep and M.O.P.

-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno