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Northwest Rockers: Hookah Stew

Posted on 08 February 2010 by Tim

Three guys blaze energetic rock in the Northwest like no other. They are known as Hookah Stew and they will light you up with their fun, party-like live shows and albums!

Their magnetism pulls at you, even through a pair of ear buds. And fans often wear their awesome looking Mountain Dew-inspired Hookah Stew t-shirts!

Their current single, Rollergirl, is a loving look at roller derby ladies and their sexy demeanor. Not surprisingly, this track has been getting some well deserved airtime on West Coast radio stations. If you haven’t heard it yet, visit their MySpace page and enjoy!

Here’s a bit of the lyrics… (See the music video below!)

Queen of the Derby
the pride of her league
skull and crossbones
raking on her right sleeve
all the boys wanna know what she’s about
but they’re too scared to ask
’cause they might get takin’ out

Look for a new full length album from Hookah Stew in the Spring of 2010.

Formed back in 1993 by Adrian “Ace” Johnson and Johnny Young, they later added Mikey Masters as their drummer after a two year break.

Picked it back up in 2006, and have been doin’ it since,” says Johnny.

With strong musical influences in their lives the three knew pretty early that music was a passion. Johnny wrote his first song at the age of 5 and after getting on stage for the first time, it was clear that performing was for him.

The trio tours constantly, performing all over the country. In a brief chat with Young, he told me this story…

Crazy was 2000 on tour, we stayed at the same hotel as the Backstreet Boys. They were pretty big at the time, and there were at least 1000 fans out front and in the lobby trying to get an autograph, but the boys weren’t coming out to oblige their fans.

When we pulled up with our guitars in hand, all these autograph starved girls rushed towards us asking us if we would sign something for them!

It was a rockstar moment right out of history.

They hadn’t a clue who we were, but they weren’t leaving empty handed. haha!

Thanks Backstreet for letting us steal a little thunder.

RollerGirl by HookahStew

HOOKAH STEW | MySpace Music Videos

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Portland Scat-man Cody Weathers Plays With Heart

Posted on 30 January 2010 by Tim

One hardly hears about scat these days. For me, I’ve only seen scat performed in movies. Honestly, I didn’t even know people still performed it. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear Cody Weathers, Portland’s scat-man.

Cody grew up in Denver and moved to Portland for college. He began performing about 20 years ago as a drummer but “was forced to become a passably-competent rhythm guitarist out of the necessity of accompanying myself solo.

I was really curious how someone comes to the genre and apparently, Cody was drawn to scat by his music teacher who introduced him to a wide variety of styles. Here’s what Cody said about it, “I had a really great music teacher in high school – voracious listener, one of those people who just passionately introduces you to things with the kind of outright fervor that disarms the baseline resistance to change of even the laziest bum (read: me).

I was the drummer for his jazz choir, and he used to lend me these tapes of Al Jarreau, Clark Terry, Bobby McFerrin, Ella Fitzgerald, et al. As a budding singer, I loved the not only the fertile melodic aspects of their soloing, but also the phonetic creativity of their peculiar syllabaries. I monkeyed around with it back then, either as a novelty or else in the pre-lyrical stage of songwriting as a melodic placeholder; but when I switched to being primarily a solo acoustic performer, that’s when it seemed like the natural tool for me to stretch songs or provide the melodic relief normally reserved for guitar solos. So curiosity followed by necessity, then finally embracing it as a part of my musical identity,” says Cody.

Hard rock sensibilities fused with acoustic upbringing and jazz acumen operating in a truly independent consonant harmonic system. [from CodyWeathers.com]

As a one man band, there can’t be too much conflict or drama. But do you ever get lonely and collaborate with others?

Sure; frequently as a player, occasionally as a writer. While I love the control and the challenge of playing everything in the studio, I have missed the camaraderie I used to enjoy playing with Flip Nasty back in Denver. In fact, I recently put out some feelers and invited two phenomenal new players to join my live shows (bassist Tim Krajcar and percussionist Evan Whitacre as The Men Your Mama Warned You About). They’re very flexible, like-minded improvisatory players, and having their two extra sets of fresh ideas in the mix each night has been a great boon to the variability I want to achieve from show to show. I never thought I’d be willing to relinquish playing the drums or arranging the bass, but their talents have sold me on probably recording my next album as a band and stepping back out of the complete auteurship I’ve hitherto embraced.

Are you working on a new album? If so, what is it titled and when can we expect to hear it?

I just finished two separate side projects, and I’m working on compiling a new live album as we speak. First, I collaborated with my lyricist friend, Cat Mayhugh on the second of our Sunhouse Branch albums, Cinema, a prog-rock song cycle exclusively in odd- or mixed-meter inspired by the films of Werner Herzog. That album is available completely free, both to stream and to download.

Second, I completed a separate, power-pop/hard rock solo album, Häårdvârk, under the band name UFO Catcher. It’s been mixed, and should be duplicated and up on CDBaby in the next few months. A bunch of preview tracks are up on MySpace in the meantime. I had selected a bunch of live acoustic solo tracks to release as a free album, but then I started playing with Tim & Evan, and the tracks we were getting were –frankly– a lot more interesting, so I think I’ll be retooling that album for a Spring release under Cody Weathers & The Men your Mama Warned You About. Still probably free. Check back to CodyWeathers.com for more information and for some new live videos of the kind of stuff we’ll be including.

Where have you toured and performed?

Anywhere coffee and muffins are sold throughout the West and Midwest. In my earlier years, I had greater range to my travels, but these days, with a family and a mortgage, I stick pretty close to home. With the new band, I think you’ll probably see us ranging out as much as we can manage up and down the I-5 corridor, and perhaps Central and Coastal Oregon. We’ll also look to branch more into full-band venues.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened at a show?

That’s tough – my folks are so polite and well-behaved ordinarily. Once, playing a show in Houston, my set got delayed, and delayed, and delayed while the prior act methodically shot her infinitesimal portion of a 30-second national TV commercial (“new music you’ll find at Major Retailer X”). The director – who may have been Iggy Pop (you can’t tell me otherwise)– ultimately took almost three hours of footage, including a lot of disconcertingly-phony pickup shots of rock-and-roll posing and crowd shots of the bewildered, bored followers of the act in question, now forced (and not too kindly) to method-act excitement from some earlier show they’d enjoyed. I’ve seen the resulting TV spot, and it’s literally 2-4 seconds of montage which must’ve cost in excess of $100,000 to obtain.

But then, when we finally went on, I think her audience was so tired of getting yelled at, and so grateful just to have someone playing a comprehensible “show” for them instead of the piecemeal herky-jerky performance that is a music video shoot, that they immediately embraced our set as if we were the buzz-laden sensation they’d come to hear. It was awesome. And those unpredictable gigs where the audience is really in and the music is really on are the tantalizing pure joy that makes up for all the other struggle and apathy of trying to ignore my otherwise obvious artistic unimportance.

You can find Cody on Facebook and MySpace.

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Listen For The Renegade Minstrels

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Tim

The Renegade Minstrels are a new blended form of blues music with a hint of swing swagger. Listening to Frontier Blues, their latest album, is like the soundtrack for a movie set at a country fair. Good ‘ole fashioned Americana!

Original music is their hallmark. Which is great because The Minstrels are quite different from the slightly twangy southern blues. This five-man band finds a “wide spectrum of blues-inflected music compelling: all the way from field hollers to sophisticated jazz…While all five of us strive to forge something that sounds startling in its originality, we have an abiding respect for all that’s come before.

From a mandolin to guitar, drums to trombone, the Renegades layer their pieces with a more earthy quality. The lyrics are not quite up to par with the instrumentation and they sit a bit high in the mix, occasionally overpowering the rest of the music. Overall, the music is top notch homegrown Northwest folk music.

The band formed up back in 2003 with Joe Seamons leading the way and quickly adding members. The Minstrels clearly have a good chemistry though because when it comes to developing their music “the whole band works together to arrive at effective arrangements for the songs.

I always ask for input from each musician about which songs they’d like to solo on, and where they think their solo would fit best into the contour of a particular song. In creating the chords and melody, all I’m doing is crafting a structure that I believe the band can use as a springboard to surprise and delight people. After that, I focus on delivering the lyrics in a clear and compelling manner while supporting and emphasizing what my fellow musicians are doing with my guitar and harmonica playing,” said Joe.

Summer 2010 should see the first major music tour for the Renegade Minstrels. They get a lot of stage time here in Portland, Oregon but I’m sure heading out will lead to some interesting stories and fodder for more music!

The Band: Joe Seamons – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica. Jon Ramm-Gramenz – trombone. Austin Moore – mandolin. Luke Dennis – bass. Willy Gibbs – bass. Forrest Carter – drums.

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Inspiration Point by The Morning Birds

Posted on 21 January 2010 by Tim

Self-described as alternative, experimental rock, The Morning Birds surprise with a mellow acoustic sound that sets a relaxed mood. When I listen to Inspiration Point, I can imagine myself sitting in an underground lounge enjoying some Crown Royal and chatting with my sweetheart while the band plays.

Despite only being a year old, The Morning Birds have great chemistry on the album. The vocalists, Sam and Jen, compliment each other well and their real world chemistry carries over into the music too. The two “met about a year prior at a mutual friends b-day party and began dating.

But things didn’t start out easy. A little drama played into the creation of The Morning Birds. Sam was working on a solo album “New Dawn”, which Jenn augmented with some writing and music practice. The couple “decided to go out on an east coast tour, under Samuel Markus & the Only Ones” and work on new material. On their return trip they got into a car accident!

Instead of moving to the mountains as planned, [we] had to hole up in Jenn’s home town, Torrance, to get back on [our] feet,” they recall.

While in Torrance, Jenn introduced Sam to Eric who is a drummer. “After playing with Eric a couple times, it magically came together, and [we] decided to form a new band, The Morning Birds!

The band has traveled all over the United States and in Canada as well. They’re primarily based out of Los Angeles and have performed at The House of Blues on Sunset, Molly Molones, and the Hotel Cafe.

The Morning Birds have a unique style that is hard to categorize, which is one of their strongest features. I like the exclusive blend of tones and layered vocals they use.

When asked about their influences they told me, “Many things have influenced our style. We try not to be influenced by other music, but our past interests in folk, hip hop, classic rock, and classical definitely come through!

As far as lyrical content, their inspiration is life experiences and their spiritual connection. “We have recently moved out to the woods, for seclusion and to be influenced by the rhythms of nature, to finish recording our second album, “The Quickening” – which should be out by April this next year [2010].

Inspiration Point is a great debut album, even for a trio of experienced musicians. It’s one of those few albums you can listen to straight through without any songs grating on your patience. I really enjoyed listening to The Morning Birds!

Enjoy their music? Follow them on Twitter here!

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Acoustic Artist Jeremy Tuell Strums Nice Tunes

Posted on 15 January 2010 by Tim

I’ve been trying to cover artists and musicians from my area – the Portland, Oregon metro, including Vancouver, Washington. When I put out a message on Craigslist asking for names of great bands I received a flood of responses. One of the better musicians I was directed to is Jeremy Tuell.

Jeremy began playing music in the school orchestra in 5th grade. However, these days you’ll see Jeremy working the strings of a guitar rather than a cello. Jeremy switched when he transferred school as “a Sophomore and my new school didn’t have an orchestra program. Playing guitar was simply more convenient.”

Jeremy is inspired to write about “love, struggles, ambitions, ideas, regrets, [and] pretty much anything I am passionate about at the time.” Tuell performs with drummer Ryne Freed and the two have been on stage at Tomfest Pop Culture and the Bluenote Cafe.

“I was 15 when I first performed at Washougal High School’s Bluenote Cafe, infront of over 200 people,” says Tuell, who recently produced 3-tracks which are available to listen to on MySpace.

Of the three, my favorite is Dreamer, one of the more upbeat tracks. I love the energy and the lyrics are catchy but still meaningful.

Jeremy’s voice sounds a bit underdeveloped, lacking the crispness and range of a more seasoned vocalist. However, he has a great sound overall one that should endear him to female fans.

If you would like to hear Jeremy Tuell live, Jeremy and Ryne will be performing at the Hawthorne Theater, in Portland, Oregon on March 4, 2010.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter – @JeremyTuell.

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Rocking’ With The SEACATS

Posted on 11 December 2009 by Tim

When you think of Northwest rock, most people think grunge or something along those lines. Well, these guys from Kelso, Washington are hittin’ the airwaves with funky, powerpop rock that is well worth listening to. The SEACATS are a nerdy blend of alt rock with plenty of radio friendly tracks.

Their 6-track self-titled EP, offers up riffs and synths with equal vigor. Overall, the album is energetic but track 6 slows things down a bit. Although it’s slower, Paint (track 6) does not disappoint with its long storytelling feel, angry guitars and happy chimes. Fun, fun music!

Though some of the vocals sound young, the quality of the musicianship is well developed. With a positive feel and party time tunes I can see these guys rockin’ shows and iPods from coast to coast.

People seem to think we’re a 90′s throwback band. Could be worse I guess.” – SEACATS.

Click the image below to download their self-titled EP for Free!

Up tempo guitar chords, and bratty vocals just make me want to curl up with a bowl of POP’s and watch Nickelodeon cartoons when they were at their best“. Read more of the review of the SEACATS by Kris Foster.

SEACATS-We Don’t Sleep from The Mike And Joey Jesus Show on Vimeo.

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B-Type from Letters vs. Numbers and Superpowerless

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Tim

With thick mutton chops and a fairly high-pitched, heavily-accented British voice, B-Type is certainly not your typical rapper. But lo, he is a nerd! So, his look fits right in.

I first became acquainted with B-Type on Rhyme Torrents, the largest nerdcore hip hop community forum. Although he’s become more refined in his style, he started off a bit rough but came across as a cool dude which instantly makes him likable. I’ve heard him progress through the first Rhyme Torrents rap battle tournament, various Rhyme Torrents compilation albums and the occasional episode of Letters vs. Numbers. Over the last couple years, I’ve come to appreciate his style and the effort he puts into his work.

Previously known as Mister B, he is now part of the chiptune group Superpowerless which is definitely worth checking out! Also in the works is a solo album titled Hugs.

Check Out The Picture Gallery Below!

Interview with B-Type

So B-Type, how’d you get involved in music and what projects are you working on right now?

I started out as a bassist in a terrible skapunk/poprock band called Should Have Seen It Coming, which then changed its name to Third Floor, and then to No More nightfall, and finally Raziel. It lasted something like 16 months, we had about 15 practices and 15 less gigs. When I moved to Bradford for University, I was lucky enough to be in Halls of Residence with a punk named Duncan, and we formed the band Dead Mercredi, with the logic that there was a band for every day of the week except Wednesday. (Wednesday13 totally dosnt count.)

This band was similarly unproductive, and I spent my time trolling Emo chatrooms and going to whatever local live gigs I could. Someone in the emo chat thought I would get a kick out of the MC Lars song Signing Emo, which of course I did. This, combined with a blossoming love of live Hip-Hop shows, cemented my decision to become a Nerdcore Rapper.

That, and I wanted to be the Bloodhound Gang but was sick of putting together bands that went no-where!

As for right now, Im working on my 3rd Album, technically my debut album as B-Type, entitled “Hugs”. For the first time since I started making music, I am working with a producer, Jaylyn Coffin of Emergency Pizza Party, which has made the world of difference. While ive always enjoyed making music, this is the first time ive truly been excited about it.

Are any MCs making a feature on your upcoming album Hugs?

Hugs is kinda a long way away, Im thinking like early 2010, so while solo-songs are very close to completion, the collaborations are some ways away. That said, I already have Verses coming my way from Fanatical/Jaylyn Coffin, and Quartz Relic of Magitek fame. My usual co-conspirators, Category, Illithid, and Superpowerless will probably feature at some point. Ive been trying to come up with a concept for a song to do with My Parents Favourite Music, and I have a list of dream collaborations I might start trying to tick off.

So, in answer to your question, yes!

What inspired the album’s title?

Well, the first album was called Snogs, which is, um, English I guess for kissing with tongues. While I was in Florida for Nerdapalooza 08, everyone seemed to find this word hilarious. Genoboost made a hilarious comic about it and i decided to use it as album art. Ever since, ive gone for like….monosyllabic gestures of affection, so Hugs was a natural one to think. Plus, at one stage, many of the (now scrapped) songs were about frustrations with relationships and hugs were the only affection i was getting so it fitted that tone well, and alot of the songs im writing now are much happier and sweet on account of finding love and such, so it still fits. Im running out of words though. Snogs, Winks, Hugs……I figure “Daps” might be next. Maybe it will be a Zealous1 Collaboc1de style album, although im jumping the gun a bit there.

How did you and Jaylyn Coffin meet up? Is Coffin the only producer on Hugs?

Akin to many people involved in nerdcore, we were both part of the Rhyme Torrents community, and both attended Nerdapalooza. I should probably point out that I am lucky enough to be able to say we are romantically involved! After this years Nerdapalooza, she was on the Superpowerless / Jaylyn Coffin / B-Type mini-tour and became a member of Superpowerless, as part of the live band as well as shooting 3 videos for us.

Superpowerless-Rock-Thumb Production wise, she is in charge of recording and mixing my vocals. Oliver Hindle (Superpowerless) has volunteered his skills to do the same job, so I dare say he will be involved there as well. On the beats side of things, I still make the odd beat myself and tend to go to Illithid first for beats that, you know, dont suck. Although this time round, Im on beats by way more people than last time, including Wholemilk, b0wlman, Category and Quartz Relic thus far.

Superpowerless has had a lot of success in the 8bit genre, who comprises the group and how did you guys form up?

Superpowerless is Oliver Hindle, but has had a hilariously rotating cast for a long time. I have the questionable honor of being the longest serving member besides Oliver, and currently the group comprises of the two of us. Jaylyn Coffin played with us on our first tour, and Mike Slevin played guitar when we were gigging round Leeds. We yoyo between being a two and three piece, but not counting stage invasions we have been 5 members thick before.

As for how we formed, Superpowerless was Olivers project for a while. I booked him to play Nerdapalooza UK and we became friends. One time I let him know I was coming to a gig, and he texted me asking if I would join him on stage, as his bandmates at the time were unable to show. I had dabbled in chiptune before so I was down with it, and the gig went pretty well! I just kept showing up to gigs ever since….I never did see his other band mates. He is pretty much a monster so he may well have made them up.

How many live gigs have you done with Superpowerless?

Gosh, Im not sure. At one point we were gigging at least once a week, sometimes 4 times, for a couple of months. I would speculate we have done approximately 15000 gigs, including open mics, family fun days, radio shows and completely unattended pubs.

You gotta be a drinker to be the sidekick in Superpowerless.

Letters-vs-Numbers-Logo-Thumb What is the Letters vs. Numbers podcast? Does the name have any special meaning?

LvN is a show I do with Genoboost and Chibi-Ma from gamemusic4all.com. it can be found at www.lettersvsnumbers.net and has a music/chat format. It mainly consists of Ma and I teasing eachother, and Geno cracking us up with one-liners, although we do of course discuss geeky music, videogames and other nerd things.

The name was originally for an online label Genoboost and Hex Warrior of Nerdapalooza were putting together. Neither had the time to do it really, but Geno loved the name, and when we whimsically decided to do a podcast, he mentioned the name to me and I thought it was awesome. Its come to represent our relationship with our listeners, with the hosts being the Letters and the listeners being the Numbers. We tease our listeners somewhat, but they love it. Actually, we mostly tease other podcasts and their inability to be as good as us!

Yes Vagina Deep in Podcast, you sicken us.

How long has LvN been around?

Since April 12th 2008, which is the day we decided to do a podcast, did a podcast, and put it out.

For a new listener, what 1 or 2 LvN podcasts would you recommend?

Generally speaking, I would say whichever one went out the most recently! But my personal favourites are the 2 from Nerdapalooza 08, which represented the first time Genoboost and I had ever met in real life. The insanely long episodes 14a and 14b are also ones I listen to from time to time. Featuring Shinobi Onibocho from Krondor Krew as well as what I am fairly sure was Chibi-Ma’s second Letters vs Numbers show, the vast majority of in-jokes we have come from that show, as well as the first one Ma was on, “The Lifestream made me do it”.

I know you have in the past but did you attend Nerdapalooza this year?

I did! My Letters vs Numbers co-host Genoboost of gamemusic4all.com and I had the honor of hosting the event this year, which was an absolute blast. I got to do a song with a long time hero of mine My Parents Favorite Music, as well as introduce some mind-blowing acts like MC Lars, Zealous1, Scrub Club, I Fight Dragons…argh Im making a mess, dropping names everywhere.

I also got incredibly drunk.

What prompted the name change to B-Type from Mister B?

It was something that was on my mind for a while. There were many problems with the name MisterB. For a start, there were a bunch of different musicians already performing under that name. If you put misterb into google, I was usually the top result music wise, unless one of the others had put out an album recently, so this wasnt a huge problem. The main problem was the top result: A Hardcore Sex Webshop catering to the gay BDSM market.



I still answer to the name MisterB, still refer to myself as MisterB, but the music I do from now on is B-Type. It was pretty cathartic, actually, as no-one has heard any B-Type music (apart from, you know. Tetris) so I felt like I could work and release things without having to worry that people would assume it was rubbish because I did it!

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Making Out With Strangers by Peroxide Mocha

Posted on 28 October 2009 by Tim

I’m letting you blow my mind. Almost every single time.

For a couple of, mostly, self-taught musicians Peroxide Mocha is a surprisingly enjoyable ride through a quirky, but lively, synthpop album. Pete developed some amazing compositions for us to enjoy. Although Rachel sometimes come across a little flat and passionless, overall, her vocals complement the music nicely. Start the Fire is a really great example of PM’s vocals and beats coming together like peanut butter and jelly.

Peroxide Mocha Pete and Rachel At times, Peroxide Mocha sounds like they have incorporated influences from 8-bit, chiptune music.

Cult favorite boy/girl party pop duo return with their 4th album filled with witty observations about relationships disguised as floor-filling, booty-shaking break-up anthems.

Don’t Have My Baby, Start the Fire, Think of Two, and Two of Hearts are the best tracks. Ghost of a Chance is funny. I mean, how often does a song feature a Ouija board? And with everyone making songs celebrating their awesome city, it’s refreshing to hear someone teasing their town as in Port Angeles, “Go to jail or have a baby. This is life in PA.”

Everything is dirty
girls are dressed like hos
its Pancake House is closed
there’s nowhere else to go…

The dysfunctional relationship theme make this album a great gift for your recently single friends! Or, if you like quirky music with awesome dance beats!

Order Making Out With Strangers Here

Peroxide Mocha is on Donut Nook Records, run by Pete Ellison.

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GOSHone Rocks the Videos with Music From Ctrl_Alt_Ego

Posted on 18 October 2009 by Tim

Los Angeles nerdcore rapper, GOSHone released a pretty amazing album last year called Ctrl_Alt_Ego (download link below). I was listening to it in the car the other day and was inspired to share it with you.

For a debut album, GOSH pulled out all the stops. The production value is tight and the album features well known artists YTCracker and MC Plus+, as well as some nice vocal work from a couple ladies.

Although it’s not the strongest track on the album, Where My Nerds At? is easily the most recognizable. I’m partial to Laptop Muzik, Flowin About and Haterz. Newteknowledge is a great track too and is featured in the iPhone music video below. I’d skip past Big Brains because the verse by MC Plus+ drags this one down.

From, coding to gaming and overclockin’ his Pentium, G1 attacks classic nerd topics with fresh angles. You’re going to get a lot of replay value out of this album.

Watch the world’s first music video shot entirely on an iPhone 3G:

Ctrl_Alt_Ego by GOSHone – Free Download

Click Image for Free Download

This is my commentary on my life as an underdog, using my intelligence and tech skills to craft an opus for the modern day Poindexter, decorated with the electronic sounds of underground Los Angeles. [More on GOSHone.com]

G1 appeals to his audience with a deep voice, slick flow and smart, playful lyrics. I’m looking forward to seeing whats up next for the GOSH. Don’t leave us hangin’ too long, man!

Check out G1 on NerdcoreHipHop.com.

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