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News

Night Streets: the Documentary

Tony Polanco basically visited Jamaica with his family, came to Kingston and met up with me one Sunday evening at Gambling House Recording Studio, where I was with The Council. I took him around New Kingston a bit, mostly along Knutsford Boulevard and its environs, and we got some footage at the same time... the end result being the Night Streets music video and this interview - Night Streets: the Documentary. Walk with me as I talk about how I got the name Five Steez, how I got into Hip Hop and what the local Hip Hop scene is bringing to the table.

Last modified on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 02:35

 

Five Steez commemorates ‘These Kingston Times’ 3-year anniversary with ‘Night Streets’ visual

On the three-year anniversary of his 2014 EP These Kingston Times, Five Steez has released a new visual for one of its songs, Night Streets, in which he is moving around his stomping grounds.

The video was shot by Tony Polanco on his recent visit to Jamaica as Five Steez took him around the business district of New Kingston.

With one verse over some smooth jazz flipped by Truck Julius, Five Steez represents Kingston proudly, stating, “I’m here to put my city on the map with the rap / fine art, detailed like a graph with the stats”.

Night Streets is the seventh cut on the 8-track These Kingston Times, listed by World Hip Hop Market as one of 2014’s best international Hip Hop releases.

Last modified on Saturday, 14 October 2017 14:16

Nothing Else Matters but The Council

Kingston MC super group releases stellar album

Straight out of Kingston, Jamaica, comes an epic body of work from a group of lyricists who have upheld the essence of Hip Hop in their city for many years. The Council, formed in 2015 by long-time collaborators Inztinkz, Five Steez, Nomad Carlos and The Sickest Drama, has finally released the 16-track album Nothing Else Matters, exclusively on Bandcamp (http://bit.ly/TheCouncilAlbum).

Nothing Else Matters, produced and mixed by Inztinkz, with art direction by Jomé Anderson and Warren Buckle, features hard-hitting, neck-snapping drums and majestic instrumentation, matched by superb rapping, articulating an unheard ‘third world’ perspective, but a narrative similar to other cities globally.

The album opens with the awe-inspiring Intro by poet, Simon the Writer, who urges that respect be paid to The Council. The project starts strong with the group’s first banger from 2015, Council Arts, followed by Lost in the Constellation, which has an introspective and reflective mood. On The Final Countdown, The Council shows what a New Year celebration with them is like – ‘yard style’.

Being already referred to as the premier Hip Hop group and brand in Kingston, a close counterpart gives praise to The Council, but also a warning, over a musical backdrop fit for ‘The Godfather’, on Spado’s Words. Track six, All Eye See, depicts a grim outlook, taking a turn for the worse on Seven O’Clock News, which delves into Jamaica’s bloody history, cementing the connection with its current reality.

The Council welcomes its first featured artist, Triple TR8, on the highly conceptual Time. Following that, Beast appears on One-der Years – a journey into the past, recalling experiences of growing up in the 1990s. Local Reggae artist, Kozmik Consciousnez, then checks in with the crew on an interlude named in his honour. Illicit King joins in after for Riding Around, where they have fun on the town.

The ladies are not left out on Nothing Else Matters, as the crew playfully boasts on the dancehall-influenced Gyallis Ting. The highest level of verbal mastery may possibly be displayed on track 13, Pros N Cons. On Valhalla Doctrine, Tha God Fahim sits at the table and fits in perfectly with The Council. And on Promised Land, which features singer, J Militia, The Council members present the dichotomy of life in Jamaica – it being a perilous place, yet still a paradise.

The album closes with the group’s fifth single, Misery, featuring Koro Fyah, Massy the Creator and Kabaka Pyramid, Hip Hop-flavoured Reggae artists with whom The Council has collaborated for years.

Nothing Else Matters goes only a few minutes past the one-hour mark. The project showcases a variety of sounds and topics, tied in sonically and thematically, with a Jamaican perspective being the common thread. An album with such depth and diversity is rare in Hip Hop today, and is ground-breaking coming from Kingston. With this effort, The Council has proven its place in the upper echelon of MCs and has represented its city in a new and creative way.

Nothing Else Matters hits other digital outlets such as iTunes, Spotify etc on Friday, October 27, and CDs will become available on Friday, November 24, via http://bit.ly/TheCouncilAlbum.

The Council is Kingston, Jamaica’s champion team for the Hip Hop culture, consistently releasing music as solo artists over the past decade and staging events in their city.


Last modified on Friday, 29 September 2017 04:10

The Council enlists Reggae’s new stars for latest single

Album release scheduled for September 29

Kingston, Jamaica’s MC supergroup, The Council, has enlisted Reggae’s recent stars for its newly available fifth and final single from its album, Nothing Else Matters, scheduled for release on September 29. The new song, titled Misery, features longtime collaborators Koro Fyah, Kabaka Pyramid and Massy the Creator who join the crew for an epic, authentic fusion of boom bap Hip Hop and roots Reggae, laced with social commentary and messages of reparation and repatriation.

Misery – produced by Inztinkz, like all other tracks on The Council’s album – features poignant and potent verses from Massy the Creator, The Sickest Drama, Kabaka Pyramid and Five Steez, with Koro Fyah delivering the hook, lambasting the system.

“This song is just another realm of what we have to offer on Nothing Else Matters, thematically and sonically,” says Inztinkz. “Compared to our last single, this is like a flipside.”

Starting with Council Arts in September 2015, The Council released a series of singles including The Final Countdown, Valhalla Doctrine (featuring Tha God Fahim), and the most recent one, Promised Land (featuring J Militia), in March of this year.

Nothing Else Matters will be finally released exclusively via Bandcamp on Friday, September 29, and will be rolled out across other digital outlets and in physical form during the following months.

The Council, which comprises Inztinkz, The Sickest Drama, Nomad Carlos and Five Steez, is Kingston’s champion team for the Hip Hop culture, maintaining a consistent presence in the city’s underground scene for over a decade as solo acts and organizers of Hip Hop events.

Last modified on Friday, 01 September 2017 05:19

Global Love Warming Episode 7

Thanks to René John-Sandy of the Hip Hop Loves Foundation for having me on the Global Love Warming podcast! We actually recorded this in April and we spoke for a good while about my start in Hip Hop, the local scene in Jamaica, my influences and my upcoming projects. Have a listen!

Last modified on Saturday, 22 July 2017 03:00

Nomad Carlos checks in with Five Steez on 'Back Home'

New York-based Jamaica-raised rapper Nomad Carlos is clearly missing his old stomping grounds on his latest single Back Home, featuring Five Steez. The Sosa-produced track takes the form of a phone call from Carlos to Steez to catch up on the happenings at their spot in the Jamaican capital of Kingston.

“I’m trying to find out how it is back home / How’s the house? Is the money still flipping on its own?” These are some of the questions Carlos asks on the hook. “Is you still writing dem flames? You tightened your game? / Tell me, what’s the hottest shit out in the streets / sometimes, I’m feeling out of touch like I’m out of reach.”

Five Steez gives his update on the latest developments in his response to Nomad’s first verse, and the two go back-and-forth in the closing verse as they sniff out a snake in their circle.

“I wanted to put out this song because there is nothing like this out there right now,” says Nomad Carlos. “And this is a real conversation between us that lets you get a glimpse of our world.”

Back Home follows the June releases of Lavish Livity, featuring Sonny Jim, and In Us We Trust, all produced by Sosa, a partner in ArkHouse Music with Nomad Carlos.

Last modified on Friday, 07 July 2017 01:17

Highlights of Five Steez at New Wave

I was blessed with the opportunity to perform at New Wave (a series I recently blogged about here) alongside TSD and Inztinkz, and it was truly a great experience. Hats off to the whole team behind the event, including @leBossLYNCH who captured these spectacular images (See many more here). Quiet as kept, it was my first official performance in a little over two years as I had been focused largely on creating new music. That is the longest time in which I have not done a show anywhere since I began performing a decade ago. Not being on stage, where I actually feel right at home, has been very strange to me. My 'return', if you want to call it that, felt completely natural and I don't think I missed a step. If anything, I've become even better. And now, I have new music.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 06 July 2017 02:44

Five Steez names new 'loosie' off Dutch footballer Dennis Bergkamp

Five Steez hits the back of the net with his new loosie titled Bergkamp, a random verse over a head-nodder crafted by The Patents out of Poland. The track begins and ends with exciting football commentary as Five Steez glides over the track with ease, all within 90 seconds, requiring multiple replays.

Last modified on Saturday, 24 June 2017 22:49

Making You Look Again!

Another night of Hip Hop music in this city of Kingston is almost upon us! Often, I wish there were more spaces with such an energy, but its absence from the local scene is what makes events like Made You Look truly unique. Two weeks ago, we had to, unfortunately, postpone the first staging of this new series. It was quite disappointing, especially because it was supposed to mark our return to hosting events after two years of no Pay Attention. My father always used to tell me every disappointment is God's appointment. I used to dislike hearing this after losing a football or basketball match, but the saying has a lot of meaning and relevance.

A tiny detail in the history of Pay Attention that has never been documented, and was even forgotten by myself, is that its very first staging was intended to be March 17, 2012. On the day before, we were notified of a health inspection at the venue, which would result in the place being closed. The first Pay Attention was then held on April 21. I remembered this only because I still have one of the very first flyers. It's interesting how none of us remembered this postponement. I believe, moving forward with Made You Look, we will forget about the recent postponement. And I will go as far as saying that it was meant to be. That parallel at the start of both these series shows me we are on the right track and we are about to start something else that will be epic.

Pay Attention got its name because we wanted people to simply pay attention to the local Hip Hop scene. Also, we didn't charge admission at first, so all you had to pay... was attention. After approximately three years, we felt like we got people to do just that. And that's why now we are saying Made You Look! We said Pay Attention and we Made You Look.

I'm sure the Hip Hop heads will notice the title of the event is the same as a popular Nas song. That is, indeed, where we got the name. In fact, it was one of the options for the name of our December 2012 stageshow, The Takeover. We liked the name since then even though we had not used it, and our new partner, Nanook Enterprises, also loved it.

Interestingly, Nas' song samples Apache by Incredible Bongo Band. This is one of the most sampled songs in the history of Hip Hop and was one of the first break beats that DJ Kool Herc looped up at his parties. Given our movement's recognition and embrace of DJ Kool Herc because of his contribution to Hip Hop as a Jamaican, it makes perfect sense that our event is named off a now-classic single that flipped Apache.

I'm anticipating a great night at Made You Look. I hope to see our regular patrons and supporters and I look forward to sharing the highlights after.

Last modified on Friday, 12 May 2017 17:14

Kenya's Trabolee & Jamaica's Five Steez let the world Know Now

Trabolee teams up forces with Five Steez over luxurious and lush production to champion for expansion of both the material and mental in a celebratory but also inspirational track. Tra and Steez welcome the listeners into their current vibrational plane, freely expressing their beliefs across the two verses as Bam! adds her well-timed harmonies on the bridge. Know Now is the theme music for resting in your own truth and progress, as creatively construed by the three artists, over a dope Swahililand flip by producer Edd.

The hook reverberates powerfully: "Let 'em Know Now, I can never slow down / I got the feeling and the vision is profound" as a sort of affirmation.

The song is also set to be a closer on Tra's upcoming album Preaching 2 Da Converted, set for the last quarter of 2017.

Last modified on Saturday, 15 April 2017 13:21
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