News 04.13.09

What’s the word y’all?

The past month has been exciting and busy to say the least. The top of March saw me out with The Foreign Exchange as we hit Baltimore’s Eden LoungeD.C.’s Black CatNYC’s Highline Ballroom, and Philly’s Johnny Brenda’s. And in between those dates, FE made a stop into the XM/Sirius Radio studio for an exclusive recorded performance that aired on March 22nd. For those who didn’t get to check it out… You’re in luck.

Download the XM Radio Performance HERE

At the end of March thanks to a kat I go back a little ways with, Waajeed, I had the privilege of traveling West with PPP (Platinum Pied Pipers) to San Francisco’s Mighty and LA’s Dakota Music Lounge that featured both my homegirl Monica Blair and my man Coultrain on vocals. We all had a BALL out there…Even got to kick it with 14KT and Buff1 while we were out in SF. Thank you to the West Coast for showing nothing but love. Look for more dates sooner than later. In the meantime, here are a couple of clips from the shows (yes, that’s me on the bass in the first two lol).

PPP – Angel in San Francisco

PPP – On A Cloud in San Francisco

PPP – 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover in L.A.

Meanwhile, here in D.C., The ELs have played shows opening up with Asheru for U.K.’s own, Omar. We also hit with the brotha Erik Rico last week at Busboys and Poets for his “In the Artist’s Studio” event thrown by Lil SoSo Productions. So as I said, it has been wonderful to say the least.

Album news…

…just visiting too will be out in July. SunStorm will be out at the tail end of the year. Finishing the former and working on the latter…

The feedback that Asylum 7 and I have received about Overdue Process has been a blessing. Thank you!! That album is available here.

Also, those of you on Twitter… Feel free to look me up!


Here are some confirmed show dates:

4.15.09 – The ELs with Asheru @ Hip-Hop Pilgrimage Concert

4.17.09 – The ELs with Foreign Exchange @ The Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC

4.19.09 – The ELs with Foreign Exchange @ Double Door Inn, Charlotte, NC

4.25.09 – The ELs with Asheru

06.07.09 – The ELs with Foreign Exchange @ The Double Door, Chicago, IL

Thank you so very much for your continued support, I hope you enjoyed the Easter weekend. See you in North Carolina and Chicago! Stay safe y’all… Peace!!



Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive Music, LLC

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“Overdue Process” Track Breakdown – #5 “Crossover” (feat. Miz Korona)

Track #5
“Crossover” (feat. Miz Korona)

One day in June during my wonderful summer break away from teaching, I was on IM with Korona catching up with her, just in general. I’ve known Korona for about 5 years now and we carry a special bond being as though we were born on the same day (September 11th) in the same year – so I always call her “Twin”, or just simply “Sis”…the girl is definitely like a sister to me. On top of that, she is just a flat-out gifted, experienced, and hungry emcee that makes you feel her passion for the music she’s on. 

So during this particular IM conversation, we ended up going back and forth talking about the projects we were working on at the time. She even sent me a couple joints to preview that were ridiculous…

The conversation started moving toward the progression of the Overdue Process album and how well things were moving…

Me: I’m finishing Asylum 7’s album. We’ve got about 3 more joints left to do.

Korona: I love his shit, he’s dope. …I’ve got to do a joint with him.

All while this IM conversation was going on, I started sending texts to A7. The gears were turning at this point…

Me: Ayo man, I’m on AIM w/Korona…Said she’s feeling your material.

A7: Oh word? I didn’t even know. Tell her I appreciate that

Me: What’s up w/gettin her on a joint for the album?

A7: Hell yeah!

It was all too easy. I guess it’s supposed to be when you have two excellent emcees that respect each other’s abilities. 

Musically, I wanted to create something a little bit darker and harder, but simplistic so that the music would be able to complement the emcees involved. I wanted that joint to provoke a sparring match between 7 and Korona – not a “Battle” between them, but healthy competition equivalent to bringing your teammate up for a big game. They did that…I figured that out on my 9th listen in a row after receiving the final vocals from them…

How and Where to Buy the “Overdue Process” album…

Here is a list of different places to find the new album Overdue Process. I will add to the list once more spots carry it… Thank you for supporting!!

(order the album through this link and receive an autographed poster)

Dr. Wax (Chicago)

Dusty Groove America (Chicago)



Moods Music (Atlanta)

Street Corner Music (Southfield, MI)

Tasteful Licks Records

“Overdue Process” Track Breakdown… #4 “Mentality Maker”

Track #4
“Mentality Maker”

If I remember correctly, this was the second or third song that we recorded for the album and uhh…there were no rewrites for this one…not that I’m aware of anyway…….

The original music for “Mentality Maker” was shopped to a couple people before A7. As a matter of fact, it was a track that was supposed to be utilized on the now defunct Dreamwalk album. I passed it to A7 because the joint reminded me of when we first started working together on the “Listen Up” joint and I wanted to see what he would come with on it.

A7 actually used the original title I named the instrumental that I sent him (“Sunsurface”) in the first line of the song.

“Let’s take a trip up to the sun’s surface…” 

So that caught my attention from the jump.

I decided to keep the original synth bassline that I laid on the song, while replaying the remaining key parts and especially the guitar parts. Once the guitar was redone, everything else just fell into place.

“Overdue Process” Track Breakdown… #3 “Overdue Process”

Track #3 – “Overdue Process”

Alright, so the title track was the second-to-last song that we completed for the album. The funny thing about this one was that the music for it was just sitting for about 4 months before I went back through things and discovered it again. 

I was searching through my sequences one day …actually looking for something completely unrelated to the album. 

Skipping through, I heard some joints…but still couldn’t find what I was looking for at the time.

Then I came to the sequence… *Cue music for “Overdue Process”*

The music really jumped out at me and in nodding to it…the music felt GOOD.

“OOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! I FORGOT about THIS one!!!!!!!!”

I remembered it being something that I laid out one day in order to get one of my ideas out and recorded real quickly.

I hopped on the text and hit up A7 like, “I’ve got another one! Gonna track it and send it.”

7 ended up turning yet another joint around in about 24 hours. I had the dry vocals in my possession the next DAY. At this point, 7 was so excited about finishing the album that he had turned into a writing madman…it was damn near hard to keep up with HIM. Passing him a joint pretty much went like this…

Zo: “Here you go…”

(25 minutes later)
A7: “Here YOU go…”

Zo: “Alright, Got another one!”

(all of 17 minutes passes)
A7: “Check your inbox”

Zo: “DAMN man!!”

Zo! + Asylum 7 – “Overdue Process” (2009) + FULL Album Credits


Zo! + Asylum 7
Overdue Process

01. Intro
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!

02. Timeline
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!
Cuts by Roddy Rod

03. Overdue Process
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!

04. Mentality Maker
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!

05. Crossover featuring Miz Korona
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7 and Miz Korona
All Instruments by Zo!

06. Resistance Is Futile
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!

07. Crushing featuring AB
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7 and AB
All Instruments by Zo!

08. In Yourself
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!

09. Simplicity
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!

10. One Bad Thing
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!
Cuts by O. Hunter a/k/a DJ Dirty Ice

11. The Lineup featuring Metasyons, Finalé & Buff1
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7, Metasyons, Finalé, and Buff1
All Instruments by Zo!
Cuts by Crate Digga

12. Rigorous
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7
All Instruments by Zo!

13. Gotta Live featuring Asheru
Produced by Zo!
Lyrics by Asylum 7 and Asheru
All Instruments by Zo!

Overdue Process – NOW AVAILABLE!

Happy New Year!!

I hope that everyone had a good time last night bringing in 2009. And since it IS the 1st of the year, that means the time has finally come to fully unveil the Zo! & Asylum 7 album Overdue Process!!!!!

My Chicago people can pick up the album at Dr. Wax Records or Dusty Groove America.

A huge “thank you” goes out to everyone who placed pre-orders earlier this week. I owe all of you an autographed poster, so look out for those. Anyone who orders through this link will also receive an autographed Overdue Process cover art poster as a thank you from A7 and I to you.

ALSO, during the upcoming week…I will be posting blog entries that will break down each song from the album giving you all inside look at how the album was created. I will update it every other day. The first entry is up for viewing now… Enjoy!

In other good news to begin the year, the Zo! & Tigallo Love the 80’s album made Vapors Magazine’s ‘Top 50 Albums of 2008’ list placing at #15. I was also informed a couple weeks ago that our distributor Fat Beats Records has sold out of the album! This means that if you happen to see one in a local store, pick it up because they are no longer being supplied. The Fat Beats store still has some copies actually. Phonte and I really appreciate all the love and song suggestions (lol) we have received over the last 5 months. We are now concentrating on creating on plenty of original material…so please keep your ears open for that.

I wish everyone much success in the new year. Please be safe and thank you, as always for the continued support shown in this direction. Peace!!


“Overdue Process” Track Breakdown – “Intro” & “Timeline”

These two joints were actually the very first (“Timeline”) and the very last (“Intro”) songs completed for the album. It was crazy because “Timeline” is something we talked about doing back in the summer of 2005. At that time, we had already completed the “Listen Up” joint (from when we first met up the year prior) and were discussing the possibilities of creating and releasing music for a 12”. So I wanted to construct something with plenty of energy. Plus, it was a joint that as a fan of A7’s I could say to myself, “This is a joint that I would want to hear him rhyme on.” So after I gave him the beat, 7 held on to it for a minute…not because he was just sitting on it, but because he must have rewritten it about 25 times! 

In true perfectionist form, he didn’t like anything he did for it. 

It was crazy for me because I’m like, “Just lay it!” …I hadn’t even heard anything yet

…until July 2007 when he handed me a copy of a CD with “Timeline” written on it and said, “This is the 12” vinyl joint.” 

I was flying back into D.C. the same day, and threw the disc in…and what I heard was DOPE.  He sounded like he was going for blood on the joint. It was a great foundation laid for the album…we had our first song.

…When I would talk to 7, he would still say, “Maaaaaan, I’m not feeling my energy on it.”

“Nah man, it’s dope! You came off!”

On to rewrite #26…lol

He rewrote the entire song again and it took on an autobiographical life of its own. Talk about personal…he was talking about stuff in the song that I had no idea about. What a helluva song and idea to begin an album with. 

We made a list of DJ’s that we wanted to work with for the album. It was just a matter of placing them on the correct songs. Roddy Rod is a kat that I met a couple months before I moved out here to the D.C. area. From day one, he took me in immediately. So I hit him up and asked him to do the cuts and he took care of um with no problem. He found the “In Detrooooooit” piece and scratched it in the hooks which fit the theme perfectly…

Fast forward to the tail end of production. A7 sent me a text asking about doing an intro. I honestly hadn’t even thought about it because I thought that “Timeline” was a dope intro/song as it was. But when I went back home in September to take the photos for the album, we talked some more about it an agreed that an intro would fit as long as it was short and effective…

The music I used for the Intro was something that I have had in my head for more than a year now…This was the perfect time to utilize it. I wanted to ‘connect’ the two somehow, so I flipped the piano riff from “Timeline” and incorporated it into the Intro joint. 

A7 turned that joint around in less than 24 hours…

…The Overdue Process album resulted.

New Year’s Release Date for ’Overdue Process’ – 2008 Reflections

January 1, 2009

New Year’s Day is the new release date for the new Zo! and Asylum 7 album Overdue Process.  Yeah, we know it’s an awkward date because it’s not a Tuesday or whatever…But, uhhh…. we’re not signed, we can release an album whenever we want to! lol Nah for real, we wanted the opportunity to set the bar for the new year – I guess in clichéd terms, we want to be able to start the year off right musically. So the newest album, Zo! and Asylum 7 – Overdue Process, will be released on the 1st off January. Here is the cover art…

Reflections on Two-Thousand Eight

Ahhh (reflective sigh)…2008 has been an interesting year to say the least. I brought the year in while vacationing in Aruba and came right back home to work. There were two projects that were ready for completion. Me and Phonte decided one day to leak the cover art for the Zo! and Tigallo Love the 80’s album…aaaannnd many laughs later lol, the joint was released through Fat Beats on July 22nd and has damn near sold out since then. We even got love from The Rude Boys’ lead singer Joe Little (big props!) for re-working “Written All Over Your Face”. The first time any of the 80’s joints were performed live was here in D.C. at Busboys and Poets on September 22nd. Tay was the featured artist while The ELs provided the music. That night it was Omar on bass, Biscuit on drums, and myself ..s. The performance was so special that it landed us all on the road with The Foreign Exchange hitting NYC, DC and ATL…much more on this to come. 

Teaching has been challenging this year (as it is every year), but I took the summer off and completed a TON of music and my students were invited BACK to perform at the University of Maryland in early October.

This year I have read books on kats ranging from Rick James, Faith Evans, Prince, and Miles Davis to Malcolm X, Fred Wesley, Grandmaster Flash, Charlie Parker, and the early days of hip hop.

I took part in completing THREE albums…one which will never see the light of day.

AND kept up my 4.0 GPA in graduate school.
I lost a good friend of mine on November 3rd – respect due to Chris “Jax” Thurston, 1976-2008…

…The following day, I was fortunate enough to witness and be a part of this year’s historical election results (now the REAL work begins).

I, along with many of my people at home, have even managed to sit and watch the Lions win not a single GAME this season, LAWD!!…

…The Red Wings did their thing last season and won it all though… Congratulations!!

Oh yeah, I made it to my 30th year back in September! And the celebration was CRAZY…

Overall, 2008 has been another blessing and yet another step in the right direction toward musical growth. I have learned a ton in the last 12 months and I am looking very forward to new things to come in ’09…


Oh, by the way.
2009 will bring two albums…

…just visiting too 
(follow up to 2006’s …just visiting)


(solo album featuring Phonte, Yahzarah, AB, and Sy Smith)

YES…I am excited.