OH HAPPY DAY!!! After a stupidly stupid 4-month sabbatical, Tonedeff & PackFM return to the wonderful world of podcasting to bring you the 68th edition of Tacos & Chocolate Milk. And what a return it is, as they chop it up re: audio magic, silver shirts, porn trailers & discuss the recent passing of their Plague brother, Pumpkinhead(aka PH). (Recorded 6.24.15). Send your questions and comments (audio OR written) to tacos[at]qn5.com, tweet us @tacmpodcast and be sure to rate/comment us on iTunes!
Posted 3 weeks, 6 days, 24 minutes ago
An orange moon hung over Brooklyn last night.
I spent the evening with my Hip Hop family, mourning the loss of a legend – one who I was fortunate enough to not only perform, write, record and tour with, but more importantly, someone who we all would considered a friend. As we congregated on a Brooklyn rooftop consoling each other, commiserating through shared stories, and playing the music he wanted the world to hear into the night air – a celestial phenomenon occurred that left us all in proud befuddlement. An orange moon hung over Brooklyn last night, letting us know that our friend, Robert Alan Diaz(aka Pumpkinhead) had been there – leaving his mark yet again on his beloved borough. Perhaps he subconsciously tapped into some sort of ethereal plane of foreshadowing when he titled his 2005 Marco Polo-produced album Orange Moon Over Brooklyn. Perhaps it was purely a celestial coincidence, but it meant something to us and it was exactly the confirmation from the universe that what we needed.
To say Pumpkinhead was just an underground rapper or a battle rapper is a disservice to the man’s legacy. Pumpkinhead was one of the integral threads that connected the entire NYC hip hop community and beyond. He was down with every reputable crew in the culture, collaborated with anyone worth collaborating with, released classic music, toured constantly and battled his way to a worldwide reputation (before YouTube was even a concept). If you were dope, Pumpkinhead would reach out, build with you and put you on for the sheer pleasure of developing the culture he devoted his life to. You could see through his actions, that beyond all else, he was enamored with Hip Hop culture and participated in every fathomable way. His entire life is his legacy, which should put a lot into perspective for the rest of us rapper-types.
When I first came to NYC, he was the first “big name” emcee that I battled, which was a huge milestone for me that solidified me as a player in the city, because PH was THAT DUDE. He’d come at you with his distinctive raspy aggression with the force of a tank and break you down in ways that would make you question why you ever thought you should be in the same room as him in the first place. He was 100% AUTHENTIC – something we’re sorely lacking in modern rap. He was a monster on street corners acapella and a fucking behemoth with a mic in hand. When PH was on stage – he carried the presence of a titan. As a Latino emcee, this made him even more amazing in my eyes, because he represented his heritage to the fullest for the rest of us. He was the emodiment of everything it meant to be an TRUE EMCEE. Right off the bat, gaining his respect was very important to me.
I was later inducted into The Plague – my NYC crew which consisted of Pumpkinhead, Hydra(LR Blitzkreig, GMS & Wildchild), Extended Famm(PackFM, Substantial & Session), Mr. Mecc, Kameel-Yen, Bad Seed & DP ONE – a huge honor for a skinny kid from Miami who wanted to be down with the best rappers in the city. When I started QN5, he never hesitated to get involved, always returned calls, always showed up for shows and recording sessions – even if just to support us. He believed in us when he didn’t have to and his name carried weight. It meant something to have PH’s co-sign and for that, I’m forever grateful.
Looking back, we cracked so many jokes whenever we hung out and laughed endlessly at the dumbest shit ever. Fortunately, I have many of these moments on video to look back on, such as these caught on the Underscore enhanced CD. From Megashows, to in-stores, you name it – he was always there for his friends. (Skip to 1:29 & 2:37 respectively).
The last long conversation I had with PH, was backstage at a show where we discussed battle rapping, the new format and why I no longer had interest in it. I asked him why he decided to get back into battling after everything he’d built over the years, why put his name & reputation on the line like that when he didn’t have to? He told me that it was still fun for him. He was motivated again. He didn’t have to do it, but he did anyway – because he loved the culture. Period. He spent his entire life recording & performing so much great music, it’s frankly overwhelming. He’d just completed work on a new forthcoming album which he delcared was his finest work yet and was already beginning another (more on that later).
Though, he worked with many big named artists, much of his music was relegated to the underground. You know the drill by now – shady labels, BS managers, flaky promoters – he hit the proverbial underground brick wall with the rest of us. Fuccboi wisdom would have you believe that this meant people didn’t care. That he didn’t make an “impact”, etc. And yet, here we are, a day after his untimely death, with his name ringing through the very publications who perhaps didn’t deem him relevant enough to cover beforehand – from TIME, to CNN, to Rolling Stone, to freaking Perez Hilton. Seeing the outpouring from friends, peers and fans around the world – it’s clear that his impact is undeniable.
Initially, I was sour on the irony of it all. “Oh, NOW you want to cover PH? NOW after all this time?” It took me a bit, but after talking to Pack, Mecc & Wildchild, I let it go. Why? Because, at the very core of it all, after all his work, every bar he wrote, every show he rocked, every battle he won, every hand he shook – his kids need to know who their father was and the impact he made should be recognized. But more than anything else, HE FUCKING DESERVES IT.
RIP. PH. One of the best to ever do it. Thank you for everything you did for me. You will be sorely missed.
PS. Pumpkinhead is survived by his wife and two sons, with a daughter on the way. There is now a memorial fund to make sure that his family is taken care of and all his expenses are covered in this time of need – any help you can give will be greatly appreciated. This includes purchasing his music & merch on Bandcamp. We are also working on a memorial show that will make him proud.
In case you you’ve missed it, longtime blue schooler and former IGN-personalityTim Gettys recently quit his job to launch a brand new media venture with fellow co-workers Greg Miller, Colin Moriarty & Nick Scarpino called Kinda Funny. It’s a gaming & pop culture enthusiasts site that creates hilarious podcasts, reaction videos, daily twitch streams and YouTube sketches. They’ve already garnered a huge following and Tim has been utilizing the platform to spread the word about Tonedeff(like he did here as well).
As part of their Patreon campagin, the Kinda Funny team held their first live event in San Francisco called Kinda Funny Live, with Tim applying his experiences at the QN5 Megashow and his video production acumen to it – bringing everything full-circle by bringing out Tonedeff for an exclusive performance in front of this whole new audience (see the performance here). The event went off without a hitch, with additional cameos by voice-over stars Troy Baker & Dave Fennoy, Sony President Shuhei Yoshida, a weiner dog named Portillo. Even other legendary blue schoolers Houstonz & PretendGirl were there to share in the moment.
To show love and commemorate the event, Tonedeff wrote and produced an exclusive new track to perform live, which he built from the Uncharted theme and classic Playstation sound effects – also compiling a collection of music from the KindaFunny.com videos called Kinda Funny Theme Pack Vol.1 – which includes all of the instrumental themes as well as the original QN5 songs they were pulled from. We’re super proud of Tim & the team, so we hope y’all will show your love to his new venture the same way he’s supported QN5 over the years. Links are below!
Substantial and The Other Guys give their next single, “No Turning Back”, the video treatment. Dedicated to his friend and former producer Nujabes, the song speaks to those who continue to live in the past while Substantial looks to move forward.
At the recent show in Santa Ana, Tonedeff sat down for an in-depth interview with Koncept714 for the Wake The Flok Up podcast. Topics ranged from ethnicity, religion to artistry – we’re talking depth here people. Be sure to swing over to WakeTheFlokUp.net to peep the interview and tell em QN5 sent you.
Even though it’s May, Sheisty Khrist & Lofidel’sCold Winter continues to march on with this gorgeous new video for the album cut, “Havana Nights”. Directed by Landon Antonetti, the clip is as dark, humid and moody as the song title suggests. Natti(of CunninLynguists) swings through to provide another insightful verse over Lofidel’s broken-neon head-nodder. Sheisty was kind enough to provide us with some words as well:
“There are beats; there are rhymes; there are songs; and then there are organisms. Havana Nights is an organism. There is nothing contrived about it. It clings to you like sweat. No matter how many times you try to wipe it away you can’t rid yourself of it. Not everyone can survive the heat.”
– Sheisty Khrist
In case you missed Tonedeff’s exclusive Polymer livestream last night, he revealed the title of the final EP, (SPOILER: We’re assuming you’re blind and didn’t see the photo directly above this paragraph) – PHANTOM (Polymer 4/4).
Tone spoke about his motivations for the recent HUNTER EP in detail, hosted an extensive Q&A session, confirmed that there had been 4 music videos shot, previewed a few of the upcoming remixes from QN5 RMX NO.5 included in the Polymer collector’s editions, and even previewed a snippet from Phantom for those in attendance. For more news and updates regarding the final EP and other release news, keep it locked here @ QN5.com.
Tonedeff has delivered the third installment of his insightful POLYBLOG series and announced the date of the next Livestream, which is May 5 @ 8 PM EST. This entry, entitled “Broken Arrow” delves into the motivations and inspirations behind his recent HUNTER EP (Polymer 3/4) and what it means to be an artist in 2015. This one is an involved read, so grab a cup of joe and dig in with a cozy comforter. It’s worth every second.
Holy shit! So, it’s Record Store Day and this dude Dr. Dundiff remixed Sheisty Khrist & LoFidel’s COLD WINTER album IN ITS ENTIRETY. Like, what the fuck?! This is awesome. Director Landon Antonetti put together a video to show you the man at work and share some of his process and motivations behind the remixes. Talk about exclusives. Phew! Below we have a note from Sheisty himself about the release.
“Historically Record Store Day releases have produced albums by mega acts and even lesser known independent music acts. What is missing from these releases are what one might call Uber-Underground acts. Record Store Day is just as meaningful for underground acts as it is for major acts. Lofidel and I decided long ago that wanted to add our own contribution to Record Store Day. We partnered with a fellow Kentucky producer Dr. Dundiff to remix our COLD WINTER album in its entirety.
The idea was to take an album that people already relate to and allow them to hear the album in new ways. We accomplished this. To sweeten the deal we even put together a cassette with a ‘lost” album on it for all the analog heads. That cassette and another special bundles will be available for our fans exclusively on our Bandcamp page. We hope that people support our endeavor and that other Uber-Underground acts such as ourselves follow our lead”