What better day than Friday the 13th to post a few words about the local producer/emcee whose alias is “Pro Tools Jason”? Jason”Nixon” Burke known by Grand Rapids hip hop fans and concert goers simply as Nixon is a big part of why so many people – myself most definitely included – are so energized and fired up about the local scene right now. I will not pretend to know everything Nixon has done behind the boards producing for other local rappers or even mixing or mastering for bands. But I can testify to what I do know: the tracks he has produced for people like Rick Chyme, Ed Nino, Suport and Steddy are great. And he is also pretty dope behind the mic. He does have a penchant for spitting sometimes quite ill but often humorous and observational rhymes (Cut My Hair, The Douchebag Song or his spin on AC/DC’s classic Back in Black). He can switch up his delivery from laid-back and mellow to rapid fire rhymes. Hearing/seeing him and Rick Chyme perform “Tradin’ In A Chevy” live is quite a treat.
But it is his uncanny ability to tell stories via meter and rhyme and the arsenal of real world experience he narrates to his listeners through the music he creates that has really won me over. Over the past several months I have noticed and been blown away by his strength as a narrative song writer (albeit in backward order through his catalog). I first took note of this on his most recent full length album Devil’s Rejects on songs like “Monogamy” and “Leave.” I then downloaded his first Album Pyrit Radio and was blown away: an earlier mix of “Leave”, “Angie” (an interpolation of Rolling Stones’ Angie), and the captivating but chilling “Wish Upon a Star.” Next (for me anyway) came “Photo Album” from Rick Chyme’s Five It Till You Die Volume One. I was eager to cop his recent mixtape “Nixtape” upon its release in July at Billy’s. And the story telling tradition gets carried on in tracks like “The Health Inspector.” These songs bring us confessionals, tales of suicide, abuse, family, revenge and more.
But the crowning achievement of the Nixtape in my opinion is the 1-2 punch of “Catch 22″ and “Finally Moving (Forward).” These songs illustrate well that not only should we never judge a book by its cover but probably not by a single chapter either. The two songs give two very different but both very potent and revealing windows into the same psyche. Together they are one of the most relevant testaments in my recent memory to the value and power of albums as apposed to mere singles or even favored album cuts (ironic perhaps they are from a “mixtape” rather than an actual album?).
Nixon is not just a good producer who also raps or a dope emcee who has also made a few hot beats. He really is the best of both worlds; he brings his A game on both sides of the booth, pours his soul into both beats and rhymes and can still have fun while doing it.
If this sounds like the kind of artistry you would be interested in; here are some sample tracks and links to free downloads of full albums and mixtapes:
From Pyrit Radio Vol 1, a great example of his production skills with plenty of other local talent on board and a hot verse from Nixon: “Star Riders” featuring Intellect, Suport, And Rick Chyme:
Click here to download Pyrit Radio in full.
From Devil’s Rejects, a prime example of that story telling ability at its best, “Leave (MGP Remix)”:
Click here to download Devil’s Rejects in full.
And of course the song I was listening to on this Friday the 13th that prompted this reflection – from the recently released Nixtape, “Pro Tools Jason”; Happy Friday the 13th… Ooh scary! (and kinda funny)
Click here to download full Nixtape.
Edit 4/14/2011: I have been getting some hits form the link on 2DopeBoyz. I see a few people have clicked on the links for the Nixon Mixtapes but the uploads have since been removed. But you can still DL mixtapes form Eastown J here. Or follow him on twitter: @EastownJ
For more information on Nixon you can go here. Or follow him on twitter: @nixontwits
One of my favorite local rappers, Rick Chyme has just put up a link to download his first album Autobiography of the Unknown on his blog. Here is a direct link to the post. You should definitely check him out if you are not already in the know. I have said before and I will say again this guy should be blowing up nationwide.
He has released several great mixtapes and a collaborative album with Nixon and Coe Lacy since Autobiography of the Unknown. All very good stuff. But this album is probably my favorite thing I have heard from him as of yet. That is not to say he has not grown as an artist and lyricist since then. He has released some truly great stuff on these projects. But it is the cohesive nature of this album (and perhaps just my preference for albums over mixtapes) along with a couple of standout autobiographical tracks that really make this record a gem. I am sure it also has something to do with the long process it was for me to get a hold of this album: going to local music store vertigo and searching and finding nothing, scouring the web for downloads with no luck, finally culminating in an email exchange with Rick and meeting him at one of his shows and getting a copy from him personally. And all that effort because of the strength of a youtube a capela from that album that I have posted here before. The album is great. And at long last it has been made available for download. If you are one of the hand full of people who I know checks this blog, you should really download this right now (Jim and Jason I have already bootlegged it out to both of you I think but Bethy, Rachel other friends, family or strangers I am unaware of this means you). You wont regret it. Here is another one of my favorite tracks from the album to listen to while you open the link in a separate tab and download:
It is only right that the first local Grand Rapids MC that I post about here is Rick Chyme. I discovered his music about a year & 1/2 or so ago, first stumbling upon this acapella track on youtube. It is an amazing song , displaying a considerable measure of autobiographical vulnerability and at the same time remaining razor sharp in lyrical dexterity: “pressing the gas/could never stand for finishing last/anticipates hearing the crash/feeling the glass smash” Amazing. Really. You can download the whole album here.
Since then he has dropped two pretty great mixtapes and an album called The Field with Nixon and Coe Lacy:
Five It Till You Die Volume One: Vice City: Click here to download full album
There are some great songs but the stand out track is a song with a killer sick beat produced by Nixon (more to come on him); the song showcases more of that lyrical skill:
5iveit Til You Die Volume 2: The Verses: Click here to download full album
My favorite tack on that effort is one clever track called Calvin but really the whole project is stellar:
The Field (with Nixon and Coe Lacy): Click here to download full album
And below to listen to one more standout track from that album, a track called So Focused:
I am going to see him play at Billy’s on May 20. It sounds like it will be his last show for a month or two. If you would like to go with me give me a shout and let me know. His live show is pretty outstanding, usually culminating in a ‘throw any random objects up on stage and I’ll rap about them’ freestyle.
Keep an eye out for this guy and for the Grand Rapids hip hop scene to blow up.
p.s. all album downloads were uploaded by the artist. Download in good conscience