Joe Thunder isn’t known for his skills behind the mic. He isn’t known for creating hot beats either. He’s more likely to just listen to records than mix and scratch them. And you’ll catch him nodding his head before he’d bust out in a backspin. So what does Joe Thunder really do? He’s a Colorado hip-hop ambassador. He reaches way out to East Denver, grabs a rapper or two, heads to West Denver to tap a producer, goes up north or down south to snatch another rapper and then puts them all in the studio together and tells them to create.
And it’s been working. The results have been a collection of mixtape-style compilations featuring rappers and producers from across Colorado giving the listener a pretty good sampling of what Colorado hip-hop has to offer. And most of the time the music is free.
But now Joe is making Colorado hip-hop history by somehow finagling 25 Colorado rappers to appear on a single song. That doesn’t even happen in the national hip-hop scene nowadays. That’s probably why it took so long to get it done.
“Almost a year,” Joe Thunder. “We started recording it then we hit a few bumps in the road; some of the verses were not lining up right. We had to record some of it over. The hard part was getting it just right making sure the flows were tight all the way through, just keeping people interested throughout the whole track.”
The song, “Mile High Kings”, is just over 10 minutes long and features some recognizable names, some up and comers but also omitting some very well-known Colorado rappers like Dent, Spoke In Wordz, Maneline and several others. But hey, Joey said he tried to get as many people as he could.
“I called all the heavy hitters to get down on this project some people were down, some people weren’t, some people said they were down but never came through,” Joe said. “A lot of people always want to get down and this track was the perfect opportunity for me to reach out to them. I had to make a lot of phone calls. I’ve worked with most of the people on the track before so it was nothing for them to jump on the track.”
The song is featured on the upcoming album, Go for Broke, dropping in a couple of weeks. Plus Thunder has a compilation album, a project with B Blacc and Deca, and new projects with Jewell Tyme artists 800 The Jewell, F.O.E. and Meezly coming in the near future along with a sequel to “Mile High Kings” featuring even more local artists.
“I just want to get it out to as many people as possible, and let everyone know what Colorado Hip Hop is all about,” he said.
Isn’t that what ambassadors are supposed to do? Check out the track:
Produced by Flawless (of On Point)(In order of appearance) Swiftfashoshot, Six O’ Clock, B Blacc, Contact, Meezly, F.O.E., Status, Deca, Distrakt, Life The M.C., Eazy, SidFly, Rie Rie, A.V.I.U.S, Tension, Kevin Pistol, Tytanik, Johnny Rocketz, Lett Loose, 800 The Jewell, MDz, Bub, Out O Lyrical, Manic, Mr. Verbal, O.N.E.
RZA announces website, plans album, film, TV work
It’s been a rough few months for Wu-Tang Clan head man RZA. In 2007 RZA was hyping the new Wu-Tang Clan album as if it was the resurrection of hip-hop, but critics and fans thought otherwise. Even members of the Wu couldn’t co-sign what was released. Now RZA is moving on by announcing the upcoming launch of a new website, WuChess.com, a site that will allow fans to play chess against each other and even the RZA himself for a lucky few. RZA is also working on his new Bobby Digital album, Digi Snax, due out later this year with a tour in June and July (he’s in Denver on June 14). In addition, he’s scoring the new season of Spike TV’s Afro Samurai, which will also see a new soundtrack release. Finally, the rapper will be in the upcoming films Life is Hot in Cracktown, an adaptation of director Buddy Giovinazzo’s collection of short stories about the lives of people in a neighborhood affected by crack cocaine and Repossession Mambo, a sci-fi tale about a man who faces the repossession of a transplanted, artificial heart after struggling to make his payments.
Outkast promise new album for 2009
Big Boi does Outkast tours by himself, the last Outkast album was two solo albums packaged as one with only two official Outkast songs between them, and up until last year the duo have hardly been seen together and Big Boi is wondering why people think his group is breaking up?
"Outkast are stronger than ever, where is all that talk now?” Big Boi told MTV News after rattling off the buzz surrounding the Outkast-infused songs “Int’l Players Anthem” with UGK, DJ Drama’s Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 4” and “Royal Flush” featuring Raekwon. The pair are planning to release solo album this year, Big Boi’s this summer and Andre’s this fall, and then possibly a real Outkast album (no Idlewild), early next year.
"We got a few songs we already picked out," Big said. "We pick the beats first. I drop my [solo album] in July, Dre puts his out [later this year], and we drop that Outkast record at the top of [next] year."
And Andre agrees.
"My solo album should be out this fall. Big Boi's album should be out this summer. So look forward to a new Outkast album after that," Andre said. "We don't even have a date. We just know we have commitments and [we] just try and get in there and do it."
Suge Knight tries to launch a new label through a reality show
Now that Suge Knight has lost ownership of Death Row Records, the former rap mogul is looking to start over. He’s doing through a new reality show called “Unfinished Business,” which follows him as he tries to discover new talent for his new record label Blackball Records.
"It ain’t like the fake reality s**t," Knight told Washington D.C.-based Urban Flavorz TV. "It’s a lot of stuff going on but you gotta watch the show to see what it is. It’s like real life. So whatever it is it’s real life. If you see me in Compton, I’m in Compton. Watts, South Central, Inglewood wherever the f**k it is. No matter where it is. We do it how we do it."
There’s no word on when the show will start airing or if it’ll even end up on a network.
Braille The IV Edition Portland, Oregon rapper Braille has been putting it down on the underground hip-hop scene for close to a decade. Some of those years as part of the group Lightheaded and others as head of his record label, Hip-Hop Is Music. Most of the time, however, he’s behind the mic and his new album is probably his best yet. With production from DJ Spinna, Marco Polo, Oh No, S1 (of Strange Fruit Project), Kno, 88 Keys and appearances from Mr. J, Speech (of Arrested Development), and Rob Swift, The IV Edition is one of the best albums of 2008 so far.
J-Bo (of the Youngbloodz) ATL’s Finest The great thing about J-Bo’s debut album is that he continues the tradition of fresh southern hip-hop that he made as one-half of the Youngbloodz. There’s no gimmicky hooks, no songs about doing a dance, or a bunch of guests to validate him (the lone guest is Lil Scrappy). It’s straight up Southern funk made for Cadillacs to bump through the various hoods of the south, inspired by early Southern hip-hop like Scarface and the Geto Boys.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.