Tha Connection
Alife’s & Air Max’s Mixtape

It’s Timberland weather outside as I write this cooped up in my Centerport apartment, having just finished watching the final episodes of Breaking Bad. I wish I could I remember where I left my black Timbs, but I cannot. Oh wait … where are my manners? HAPPY NEW YEAR! And in case you couldn’t tell from this post, this year I resolve to keep kicking you in the shins with all manner of under-appreciated hip-hop, such as the mixtape streaming below, Alife’s and Air Max’s by Tha Connection, a Hempstead-based duo consisting of Hus Kingpin and SmooVth, whose taste in beats is enough alone to warrant your attention, but whose refined rhymes conceived and delivered in the vein of more-popular peer/collaborator Roc Marciano should earn their back catalog a place in all your physical and digital libraries.

This year I’m also resolving to write the Chocolate Grinder’s longest and most link-packed grammatically-correct, editor-stumping sentence, but I digress… any weather is good weather for listening to (not wearing) Alife’s and Air Max’s, which, in addition to the stream below is available as a free download and on CD as well.

• Tha Connection: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tha-Connection/142898162398810
• Digi Crates: http://www.digicrates.com

C L E A N E R S

Real Raga Shit Vol. 1

The real fraud is that line between reality and dreaming. You lose your breath both in the cold and of the mind, but one thing’s for SURE: “What did you say? ‘Cause I definitely remember differently.” Caked layers of dust upon imagery that may have happened, but where were we, you know? That area of me to you? We won’t escape the “Slumtown Symfunny” together without clothing. Or hysteria in the name of clapping louder than flailing out around the edge of town. Hysteria. More like a buddy-cop movie that is searching for meaning in the meandering. A big magnifying glass. Mom jeans. The apartment key around your neck: it’s purple.

“C L E A N E R S must’ve been here,” you said while wiping your index finger across Real Raga Shit left stuck to the ground. My sweater up against your jeans – now, knelt – and the shoreline is waving in ice upon the sand. The chill numbs all -teriors. Feeling this far from the opposite [diagonal south] seeps in the harshness of “Tijuana Blues.” What does it mean to be alive and a human being? It’s the pinnacle of civilization to build your hair back from bald into a fucking mow-hawk. Fake hair found at the scene between you and her; me and she; them; they all in on this: one way or another. Flex the flow of existence below:

• C L E A N E R S: https://soundcloud.com/thatsyourbrand
• Bootleg Tapes: http://bootlegtapes.bandcamp.com

Grapes (James Ferraro)

”.”

Ever since the divisive NYC, HELL 3:00 AM, James Ferraro has released a beautiful SoundCloud EP called God of London, collaborated with Dean Blunt and Triad God, and has thrown some other misc tracks our way, including the one we posted this morning, “World Star.” His latest latest is a 10-minute track — whose title isn’t entirely clear (either it’s really “.” or it’s currently untitled) — and it’s under yet another pseudonym: Grapes. The first four minutes or so is a movie sample (I’ll let you figure it out, if you want [not necessary]), while the rest sees Ferraro rapping in an appropriately repetitive, improvisatory way, the track getting increasingly disconnected and minimal as it goes on. It’s Compton, it’s Doughboy, it’s 90s: this is Grapes, and he’s seen some shit.

• Grapes: http://twitter.com/GRAPES___
• James Ferraro: https://soundcloud.com/b-e-b-e-t-u-n-e

Bones

Deadboy

Bones’ latest full-length, Deadboy, is pretty much the stuff Tumblr-rap wet dreams are made of: murky beats, sad stoner aesthetics, flows straight from the playbook of Three Six Mafia circa The End. Over the past two years, Bones has strived and smirked in the abandoned alleyways of Los Angeles, working double time as both a solo artist and as leader of his own brigade of bloggers-cum-artistes: the nefarious TeamSESH. Lyrically, the 19-year old rapper sticks to the script (Weed! Money! Bitches! Zombies!), but when it comes to soundscapes, tacking down a common denominator gets a lot trickier; the trappy, vaguely trippy antics of “1968” and “Wi-Fi” would feel at home on Lil B’s recent 05 Fuck Em, but the fuzzy vocals and new age instrumentals are from a galaxy far, far away. “If you don’t abide, get ready to die!” he commands at the end “Lightning,” ushering in the arrival of…a moody piano tune straight out of Are You Afraid of the Dark? It’s one of many moments on Deadboy where Bones appears to be pulling our leg, drawing attention to overly-bold contrasts which should render the project an insipid mess. In all truth, the joke’s really on us: the weird little world of Deadboy, the drugged dirges that seep from its cracks merely reflect the detritus we shove to the back of our minds, or onto our Tumblr feeds. Same thing. Anyway, you can download for free via TeamSESH. Have fun!

• Bones/TeamSESH: http://www.teamsesh.com

James Ferraro

“World Star”

On to the next one. NYC, HELL? LAPD. 9/11? L.A. Riots. “Hot sexy mamas…” Zapp & Roger. @LIL_ICEBUNNY: Deep psychological profiling of people based off their twitters. Alone on the internet. Alone. On the internet. “Computer Love.” Try and keep up. Far Side Virtual –> Sushi –>NYC. BODYGUARD. BEBETUNE$. Why do you think this man’s joking? The joke is you.

• James Ferraro: https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Ferraro

Tabs Out: Laser Focus #3

Orange Milk

Tabs Out is an all-cassette podcast that’s been documenting the prolific tape underground with joyful obsession and humorous expertise since 2012. Tiny Mix Tapes has teamed with Tabs Out for a show called Laser Focus, in which tape aficionados/fetishists Mike Haley, Dave Doyen, and Joe B hone in on a specific label or artist. Check out the archive here.


Can I be real with you? I mean really real for a second. In the ever-expanding universe of cassette labels, Orange Milk is the best thing going. Their visual work is staggering, an homage to 80s video game artwork and 90s virtual reality landscapes. Their artist roster is the most unique and exciting out there, packed with names you’ve never heard before creating sounds you’ve never heard before. The execution of bringing those together makes for mind-boggling cassettes.

We talked with Seth Graham and (ex-TMTer) Keith Rankin, the dudes behind the label, about how things got started and where they are going. We also talked about their duo Cream Juice and what they like and hate about experimental music. And poop. We talked a lot about poop.

And, of course, we played some tapes:

- Cream Juice - Man Feelings
- Developer / Quilt split
- Ventla - Smuggled
- Jerry Paper - International Man Of Misery
- Homeowner - Themes From 172
- Foodman - Shokuhin

Seth Graham and Keith Rankin on Skype

Cover art for upcoming EQ Why cassette

Cover art for upcoming Seth Graham / Flower Man split

Orange Milk HQ

Cream Juice live at Orange Milk showcase

• Orange Milk: http://www.orangemilkrecords.com
• Orange Milk (SoundCloud): https://soundcloud.com/orangemilk
• Orange Milk (Facebook): http://on.fb.me/1g1n87Z
• Tabs Out: http://www.tabsout.com

  

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CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.