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Aloe Blacc: Soothe and Cool

Aloe Blacc, the MC/vocalist legally known as Nathaniel Dawkins, has had a musician's ear since childhood. Raised by Panamanian parents in Southern California, Aloe has always saturated himself with every bit of culture he comes across.

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Eska and Mpho Skeef: Breaking Out

There's a revolutionary energy reverberating through speaker boxes and live music venues across the UK. The polar opposite of the junk food-quick fix of manufactured black pop, this is audio gastronomy that nurtures, energizes and heals, and it's being spearheaded by two very different London vocalists: Mpho Skeef and Eska.

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The Bug: Sound Murderer

It was 1 a.m. on the fifth floor of an abandoned council flat in London. A massive system had been brought in from Bristol and the Heatwave party was living up to its name. A visit from the authorities and the threat of closure hadn't stopped the headliner from taking the decks but all doors and windows had to be shut. Equipment was failing, a technician was under the decks screwing together a powerstrip, the place was packed with people and even at a quarter power the system was still thumping people with bass while MCs spit lyrical daggers. Read more » 

Spankrock: What it Look Like

"This wasn't supposed to happen," laughs Naeem Juwan. "It just wasn't supposed to happen."

Seated inside a Brooklyn falafel joint in the midst of an extended stay in New York City, the Baltimore-bred, Philly-based MC better known as Spankrock is having a good laugh at the strange arc that has led him to be associated with Baltimore club music, the bass music variation suddenly on national blast after more than 15 years as a secret handshake of sorts for Maryland-area black kids.

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Phuturistix: Future with a PH

It's no secret that English garage producer Zed Bias has a skilled touch in the studio. The Streets, Whitney Houston and even Destiny's Child have tapped him to remix their music. But these days, even if a diva like Beyoncé stopped by the studio, Zed might not have the time to lay down her vocals. That's because the production whiz isn't merely making his tracks. Along with production partner Injekta, the other half of Phuturistix, he's trying to sculpt the new sound of their burgeoning Phuture Lounge label.

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