He's one of jamendo's main hip hop treasures. As New York producer Cartel unveils his new album, we're mighty proud to be associated to its release.
Between Cartel and jamendo, it's all about love. He says it best himself: “Jamendo opened doors for my music in the international community and will forever be a part of my music strategy.” For one thing, through jamendo, Cartel discovered that his vision of hip hop was more commonly found among music fans outside his own country. “My music nowadays caters to a niche market within the US: those that still care about beats and rhymes. I'm from the golden age of hip hop, with Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, De LaSoul, Queen Latifah... In today's market, every artists is a copy of the last one and the lyrics have been so dumbed down half of the music is simply bullshit. Overall I think Europe and Japan have a better respect for traditional hip hop than the US where it simply boils down to the money.”
You see, Cartel knows his hip hop. He learned to produce with big names like Large Professor and Chyskillz (who worked on the first Onyx album), collaborated with Randy Allen and Jam Master Jay. In 1997, he came this close to striking it big: “I put out a vinyl EP by East Side Hustlaz that had tremendous potential. But the single we were pushing featured a sample of Patrice Rushen's 'Forget Me Nots', and one month after we released our song, the Beatnuts came out with a song using the same sample. The killer was when Will Smith released 'Men In Black' in that same period with the same sample. Our song came off looking like we copied them. A real case of bad timing.” Check it out on the mixtape Cartel released exclusively on jamendo.
Tha Throwback, Cartel's second album, is another homage to the roots of “true hip hop”, featuring collaborations by “some of the most promising, upcoming MC’s in the game”. It will be available in two versions: as a free download on jamendo, and for $5 from Cartel's label's website, Universal Indie Records. A remix contest of one of the tracks is also being launched, whose “winner will be able to contribute a track to the next Universal Indie project”. How's that for a cool prize?