Sunday, May 29, 2011

Words from Noyz - Through the Wall

Here are some humble words from my homie Noyz, who produced the entire ITFONA album:

"My goal with 'Shadow Gallery' was to create an album front to back with no other MC's. My goal with 'In The Face of No Agreement' was to do the opposite and hold down the production for an entire album. Fubb reached out to me late in the process of the album and asked me to have a verse prepared for the album's last song. He sent me a reference recording with his verses on it and I didn't want to do it because he bodied the track and I've had difficulty in the past writing to my own beats (as strange as that sounds). It took me a while to grow to like my verse but I still feel I got outshined on this by Fubb. The beat on this bangs though. I felt this was my strongest beat on the whole project. "

"I brought out my inner demons

hidden meanings in my scribbles as I pitted reason in a bitter region,

it's surrounded by insanity

the freedom of letting go

battles the security of holding on,

we never know

until we're free falling

cut cords, we keep calling

to release everything we keep balled in/

blunt force, now I'm bleeding through the wall

using it to write my music as a troubadour,

moving as the future calls

producing for the soundtrack of my destiny

a moving score, beautiful compositions, I view the war

standing in the midst of it

gathering the images

I channel through my fingertips

imagining the vividness

of words brought to life,

Fubb is the playwright

who resurrects them after I illumnate the gravesites

the pace might quicken,

the stage lights dimming,

we erase night giving great sight to your vision"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Album Review: Phat Tony and Theo3 - The 2 Week EP

Phat Tony and Theo3 - 2 Week EP:

The 2 Week EP is a street symphony, not just for the ghetto, but for the everyday citizen struggling to navigate and survive any urban landscape. On the intro track, Just Tryin' to Provide (Yung Santa), Theo raps with a beautifully paced double time flow, while also dabbling with some singing on the hook, executing both ends of the vocal spectrum very well. Lyrically, Theo touches on issues ranging from daily worries about financial security, to staying “every day ready for political disruption” in the city of Toronto (G20 reference included). The issues being expressed on Yung Santa are anything but simple - centered on the artist’s commitment to grow and develop in the world while at the same time facing resistance both from external circumstances and what seems to be an overactive critical analysis of himself. All the while, the necessities of working every day to literally survive in society remain a prevalent concern in the artist’s mind. While speaking from his own experience, Theo is able to touch on problems faced by anyone committed to greatness in the world, and expresses the inner-workings of his own mind and perspectives eloquently.

The second track, Outerspace, is perhaps the most experientially captivating of all the tracks on the EP. While production on the entire album is solid, Phat Tony definitely outdoes himself on this track. The creative use of guitar rhythms with futuristic sounding synthesizers and melodic samples with impeccably tuned effects come together smoothly over a beat that uses the hand-clap instead of a snare (all without sounding cheesy). Theo’s verses on Outerspace really are out of this world, with lines like: “grabbed on the back of a satellite to catch a flight / rode past Saturn with Gladys Knight / flashing lights / travelled through the Milky Way, landed on Mars / trade bars with the R on the back of Jimi’s guitar.” Ironically, it seems that Theo’s goal on this track is to bring gassed up rappers (claiming that their rhymes are “out of this world”) “right back to earth” – and he does so quite effectively, literally taking his lyrics into the cosmos.

Theo expresses the toll that the “struggling to survive and provide” paradigm has played on his psyche on the third track, Down. Opening with a series of “what ifs,” he expresess fears ranging from insanity to the fear that all the hard work and energy he's expended on his career will ultimately not pay the bills. Of all the questions Theo asks on this track, with intense flows and an almost frantic sounding tone at times, the one that stands out the most is: “when will I learn to give myself credit?” Lines like this really encompass the internal struggle that a lot of people (not just artists) face in modern society, adding to the The 2 Week EP’s cultural relevance.

Theo, always a beast on the track, dishes out a mix of precision double time flows and innovative pacing on Find These Things in You. Phat Tony’s production shines brightly on this track, with hard hitting, layered, trumpet-sounding hits and beautifully placed drums. In contrast to the previous track, Theo’s message is uplifting and inspirational, bringing forth his inner confidence and MC showmanship. Despite the trying circumstances he faces, Theo expresses his desire to continue “chasing after greatness,” because “amazing never happens if you stand around pacing.” True that!

Coming full circle on the EP’s final track, Theo articulates his goal to be the Greatest on Your Playlist, a commitment that carries him through the struggles he experiences. Riding not just for himself, but also for the hip hop culture that he loves and fears is dying, Theo experiments with different flows and cadences on this track – refreshing in an industry where the sound popular music is becoming increasingly homogenized. Again referencing himself as his own worst enemy, Theo writes: “Do you know what it’s like to be your arch-rival/‘cause your mind’s always bringing up the archival,” perhaps alluding to his tendency to over-analyze past experiences. If there’s one great insight in Theo’s writing throughout the Yung Santa EP, it’s that we as human beings internalize the obstacles we face in society, and are forced to wrestle with them internally. It takes a strong will and resolute commitment to something greater than oneself to maintain artistic integrity while at the same time staying relevant to listeners. Theology 3 balances this dichotomy very well, and is definitely one of the true MCs holding it down for hip hop culture in the world.

If there’s one complaint I have about this project, it’s that it’s too damn short! Phat Tony and Theo3 need to make a full length album together in the future, one which will allow Theo to touch on a wider range of topics and share more of his insights and diverse flows with listeners. Cop this album (and the entire Theo3 catalogue for that matter) and support dope hip hop. Theo – keep your head up! This is one member of the “Screwface Capitol” is proud to have you as a resident.

Background info about the EP:
Toronto Hip Hop heavyweight Theo3 (DJ Eclipse’s 2010 Sleeper song of the year “It’s Theo3”) and much sought after producer Phat Tony created the eclectic and richly textured “2 Week EP” during 14 days in December. Phat Tony constructed a living, breathing musical landscape while Emcee Theo3 slid in the upstairs studio everyday after work as Coordinator of the newly opened Parkdale Youth Space in downtown west Toronto. The result is a descriptive and genre blending menu of social awareness, tongue in cheek braggadocio and topical rhymes laid out over an eye popping array of soulful musical productions. The deft mixing touch of legendary Toronto DJ and producer Scam of Time Bandits music gives the whole “2 Week EP” a new dimension of fullness and Universal appeal.

2 weeks to create, 2 weeks to mix and 2 weeks from the Beatz to the Streetz graduate showcase on January 25th 2011, Phat Tony & Theo3 release “the 2 week EP” with the goal of raising $1500 for Toronto youth program Beatz to da Streetz. Purchase it now at for $3 and up!

Beatz to da Streetz is a youth-led arts program that aims to provide a safe and supportive space for youth ages 16-24. The program leverages the powerful connection between young people and music to promote opportunities for creative expression and self-discovery, building life skills opening access to professional mentorship, education and income generation for marginalized youth ages 16-24. The program reintegrates youth with their communities and gives supports for achieving long-term livelihood development

Phat Tony & Theo3 are Toronto Hip Hop artists with an extensive track record of International success and critical acclaim. With 2 highly rotated singles to their credit, How I Flow part 1 and Turnaroundagain!, fans have eagerly anticipated the new release. Stream & Purchase the 2 Week EP today. Blog it, Share it and Play it Loud!!

released 11 January 2011
Written and performed by THEO3
Produced by PHAT TONY
Guitar additions by SY WYLD