One of the young year's most ambitious mixtapes just hit the streets: Cleveland Is the City, Ohio Is the State features 34 tracks by Buckeye state rappers and producers — and half of them hail from Cleveland.
Hosted by DJ E-V, the mix was put together by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's Krayzie Bone and local hip-hop renaissance man Quincy "Big Heff" Taylor. It's available as a free download at piff.me/68a6a59.
Cleveland Is the City zigzags through several shades of hip-hop, with the ultimate goal of "shedding more light onto the Cleveland music scene," says Krayzie, who spits rhymes on several cuts. "This is a huge opportunity for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents on a nationwide scale."
And a bunch of them get that chance here. Included are pop singer Aaron LaFette, MC Lady Reek, rock and pop partiers iPhonic, and Celeb Forever, whose "High Horse" featuring Gucci Mane is a highlight.
Of course, plenty of Cleveland's big names chime in too: Machine Gun Kelly, Ray Cash, Chip tha Ripper, and Ray Jr. all make appearances.
"We wanted to reach out to everyone," says Taylor, a key promoter of local hip-hop artists. "This is all about bridging the gap between the old stars and the new ones just making a name for themselves." The project took more than a year to put together, because almost half of the tracks are new and were recorded for the album. The others are mostly exclusive remixes.
And they're not done yet: Krayzie and Taylor are working on a second volume, which they hope to release sometime in the fall. But unlike this round's hip-hop-heavy mix, the next one will focus more on Ohio's — and Cleveland's — R&B and pop singers.
"This is long overdue," says Krayzie. "There's so much young, fresh talent in Cleveland, it's a must we be heard."
CLASSY! The near-West Side rock club Now That's Class will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a blowout Saturday night. Motörhead USA headlines, and DJ Wedgie will spin a mix of hardcore, metal, new wave, and punk (and probably more).
If a Cleveland-based Motörhead tribute band ain't your thing, the Burger Boys will be performing in the club's basement. Drag queen Green Mile will also be there. If that weren't enough, pints of (what else?) PBR on tap will be even cheaper than usual. Best of all, admission is free. Sounds like our kind of party.
AIN'T NOTHIN' LIKE AN ONLINE GANG BANG: Old-school rock photographer Janet Macoska is adjusting to the new-school way, self-publishing her new book, Alex Harvey: Last of the Teenage Idols, which marks the 30th anniversary of the Scottish rock singer's death.
But here's the thing: Macoska — whose first paying gig in the mid-'70s was shooting Harvey and his band when she was 21 — collaborated with a Scottish writer she'd never even spoken to. She and Martin Kielty, who previously penned a book on the big-in-Scotland-and-Cleveland-but-nowhere-else Sensational Alex Harvey Band, did everything via e-mail, Dropbox, and YouSendIt.
The project took less than three weeks to put together. And now word is spreading about the book through — you guessed it — social media. It's for sale only at alexharveybook.com.