April 5th, 2018

Jesse Dangerously interview with The Underground Vault

If you missed Thursday night’s episode of The Underground Vault on CJBU (Caper radio) in Cape Breton, NS, you missed host Alex Kuchma’s interview with Jesse Dangerously about his new group with Ambition, The Library Steps, and their new album, Rap Dad, Real Dad. The good news is that it’s archived on Soundcloud for your eternal enjoyment.

And as usual, the playlist is a dope mix of underground Canadian hip hop with plenty of great selections from the past.

If you missed the episode, you can check it out from the TUV archives at:


Or listen on this handy player…

March 31st, 2018

Upcoming MacKenzie interview with Heard On Air

On the night of Monday, April 2, beginning at 9:30 PM EST, Derek MacKenzie will be speaking with Ally Dee and Ryszky Biz for their show Heard On Air on CKDU in his sort of hometown of Halifax, NS. It should be a fun way to celebrate an Easter Monday…

Tune in here on Monday: https://www.ckdu.ca

March 31st, 2018

Derek MacKenzie interview with The Underground Vault

Thursday nights on CJBU (Caper radio) in Cape Breton, NS, Alex Kuchma airs his new radio show The Underground Vault, and this week his interview was with Derek MacKenzie, during which they discussed the Halifax hip hop scene along with MacKenzie’s time in Hip Club Groove, Len and new duo 5.1.nine.0.2. with producer Recordface.

The show playlist is chock full of Halifax hip hop hits. A great listen for anyone interested in the Halifax hip hop scene.

If you missed the episode, you can check it out from the TUV archives at:


Or listen from this handy player…

March 31st, 2018

The Library Steps releases Rap Dad, Real Dad!

Look what dropped already but I was too busy yesterday (including appearing in a new Wordburglar video) so I missed posting it here… A new album from Backburner’s Jesse Dangerously and Ambition as The Library Steps, with Rap Dad, Real Dad! Currently available to download, or pre-order one of the upcoming CDs or cassettes, the latter with two cover/colour combinations and a cassette-only bonus track.

March 30th, 2018

Introducing The Library Steps (aka Jesse and Joey)

The Library Steps is a new pairing of an old rapper named Jesse Dangerously and a young producer named Ambition. The duo is named in remembrance of the now demolished stone stairs of the Halifax Memorial Library entrance, where among a loose and ragtag assortment of the city’s rappers they would gather across generations every Friday as the doors locked, to freestyle, beatbox, and play tapes in a cipher called Public Rhyme Distribution.

Jesse and Ambition have been members of the Canada-wide collective Backburner since 2001 and 2009 respectively, but only started making songs as a rapper/producer duo in the spring of 2017, when Hand’Solo Records offered to release an album. Like a gear that grinds and strains before suddenly locking into place and sending its mechanism lurching into motion, it took them more than a decade of intention to pair off as a team. All of the beats and rhymes for Rap Dad, Real Dad were created in the next few months as a time capsule of that season’s preoccupations. The result is beats that are jazzy, soulful, and moody, with a prominent nod factor, and rhymes that are confessional and witty, vulnerable and boastful, intimate and intimidating.

Under their fingernails, no microscope is needed to detect the DNA of golden era rapper/producer teams like Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Gang Starr, a gentler Beatnuts, or any group that was part of Native Tongues or Hieroglyphics. Just as present are the influences of turn-of-the-century underground boundary pushers like Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, MF Doom, and Buck 65, and for that matter, just about everyone who was on Roc-A-Fella at its peak. Refracted here, those chosen ancestors and more recombinate into a hip-hop that challenges, from unexpected angles, traditional modes and narratives of masculinity. They are your rap dads, and they just may be your real dads, too.

Website Links:

Jesse Dangerously Bandcamp
Jesse Dangerously Facebook
Jesse Dangerously Twitter

Ambition website
Ambition Bandcamp
Ambition Facebook
Ambition Twitter

March 21st, 2018

By Your Command!

An early (circa ’96?) ad for Hand’Solo Records…

March 19th, 2018

New tracks from The Mighty Rhino’s sophomore album

The Mighty Rhino just shared three amazing tracks from his upcoming sophomore album, We Shall No Longer Retreat into Darkness, to be released at the end of April on Hand’Solo Records, so here they are for you enjoyment…

“Basically Jesus”

A rip-roaring, all-in-together-now posse cut featuring Jesse Dangerously, Joseph (of Chessclub), More Or Les and Cam James rockin’ over a perfect slapper of a beat by the greatest producer in canada, Digs…

“The One You Need”

A gleefully ribald sex romp in which producer The Measuring Man executes the most perfect sample-flip of all time on one of Rhino’s favourite soul songs, 1970’s Chairmen of the Board smash “Since the Days of Pigtails”, and which also features hip-hop’s only Steve Reich joke, ever!

“‘Til the Lights Go Out”

A song with Big Rube and Witchdoctor of The Dungeon Family on which the three explore love and justice and beauty and the good and the truth… and let’s be real, Witchdoctor kinda just says whatever he wants.

March 16th, 2018

Hand’Solo History Blog debuts with Derek MacKenzie!

I’ve been wanting to document some of the (so far) 22-year history of Hand’Solo Records: spotlighting and/or interviewing some of the artists who have been on the label; behind-the-scenes reveals of your favourite Hand’Solo albums, songs and videos; and (most exciting!) a look at the many projects that just never came to fruition… but they would have been awesome!

A new item has been added to the menu, and I will finally begin to blog, going back to my discovery of the Halifax hip hop scene with Derek MacKenzie and his group, Hip Club Groove. See the context of how Derek MacKenzie connects with Hand’Solo Records while exploring his music, and take a trip back to my first interview with Derek for my ‘zine, Boognish. Here’s a quick taste, but please head over to the blog or click here to see the full blog post.

“I was introduced to the Halifax hip hop scene through Derek MacKenzie and his group, Hip Club Groove…”

Read it all here: http://handsolorecords.com/whos-who-derek-mackenzie/

March 2nd, 2018

Pyrate Radio interviews Derek MacKenzie (5.1.nine.0.2.)

Derek MacKenzie does his first interview in approximately a decade with Yangsta and Vadell for their show, Pyrate Radio, at CKDU. The duo discuss with Derek his early days in Hip Club Groove, how he ended up in Len, and how his new album, When a Name is Just a Number, with producer Recordface as duo 5.1.nine.0.2., came about. The show is just under an hour… Give it a listen:

March 2nd, 2018

The East interviews Tachichi

Alex Cook interviews Tachichi for http://www.theeastmag.com/, and he tries his hardest to make a case for T’s new album, Chico’s ’90s Project, as a dad rock hip-hop album, and a damn fine one at that. Does he prove his point?

Read the full article here: http://www.theeastmag.com/2018/03/02/new-music-tachichi-chicos-project/