Category Archives: radioblog

DJ KNO NAME REVIEW : Liquid Swords

Every few Thursdays, (DJ Kno Kname posts) a throwback review of a classic hip hop album or an album by a classic hip hop artist released on that particular date. The review is divided into four parts, each analyzed under the lens of the four pillars of hip hop: MCing, DJing, breaking, and graffiti-ing. The MCs section analyzes the lyrical content of the album and suggests songs which up-and-coming rappers might want to listen carefully to. The DJs section is further divided into two parts: an analysis for DJs like DJ Premier, who produce songs, and an analysis for DJs like Rob Swift, turntablists who mix, beat match, and beat juggle. For the DJ Quiks out there, that’s what the MC section is for. The b-boys section suggests song which could be good for breaking/battling to, and the graf artists section analyzes the album artwork – is there anything worth integrating into pieces?

Liquid Swords – Genius/GZA

Released on this date in: 1995

Context: Technically the fourth Wu Tang solo album (after Method Man’s Tical, ODB’s Return to the 36 Chambers, and Raekwon’s Only Built…), this was actually GZA’s second solo album, his first being Words from the Genius released under the Genius moniker. This album and the other non-Wu-Tang solo album by the RZA, the Ooh I Love You Rakeem EP released under the Prince Rakeem moniker, were both released prior to 36 Chambers, are pretty un-Wu Tang (ex:, and probably should be forgotten by those who have an idealized view of the Wu Tang Clan; Words from the Genius was produced heavily by Easy Moe Bee, for cryin’ out loud (no disrespect to Easy Moe Bee, who produced most of Biggie’s Ready to Die). Even though this album was the fourth of the Wu-Tang solo albums, this was arguably the most Wu Tang-like and one of the better received of the solo albums.

MCs: GZA is a storyteller who flows smooth, instead of the aggressive, haymaker lyricism of a battle MC. Thus, throughout the album, the rhyming is laid-back storytelling and philosophizing. The flow is so smooth that very few lyrics hit you in your face, which is good if we’re talking about telling a story or contemplating the meaning of life. That isn’t to say that the lyrics are garbage; rather, listeners can just sit back and soak in the lyricism without being distracted by in-your-face swears or insults. Sometimes, you just want to watch a calm, well put-together movie instead of Michael Bay explosions. GZA can hit hard with lyrics, he just realizes that keeping the focus on the song as a whole is important, so he keeps the beauty of the rhymes subtle. You can’t truly tell a good story if you insert a line which makes people ignore the line you say right after that. Lines like “Because they lifestyle is hectic, so f***in’ hectic, Blaow! Bloaw! Blaow! Bullets are ejected” and “It’s so hard to escape the gunfire, I wish I could rule it out like an umpire” in “I Gotcha Back” make you say “Wow” very quietly without interrupting the plot. If you want more battle-like inflections and wordplay, try “Duel on the Iron Mic” (with Inspectah Deck), “4th Chamber” (with Ghostface), and “Investigative Reports” (with Raekwon the Chef).

DJs: RZA is a pretty beastly producer, and it definitely shows up on this album. The sampling from the movie, Shogun Assassin (ex: “Don’t worry, it’s only a dream”), is integrated so well, the lines feel like skits that paint a story between the songs, almost like a concept album. In “Swordsmen”, RZA demonstrates how to layer together different tracks seamlessly to make instruments and tempos which shouldn’t work together actually, well, work together.

Wu Tang songs are typically harder to mix, but the samples from Shogun Assassin definitely provide opportunity for clever beat juggling. Easier songs to mix from the album include “Hell’s Wind Staff/Killah Hills 10304” (once you get past the skit at the beginning) and “I Gotcha Back”; both have solid donuts of instrumentals before and after the rapping.

B-boys: Just as Wu Tang songs are typically harder to mix, Wu Tang songs are generally tougher to break to. The songs are usually slower, with gritty and eerie piano and string stabs, as opposed to up tempo, upbeat horns and drum breaks. “Investigative Reports” is probably the most driving song, with a good drum break throughout most of the song. “Gold” also has a very solid drum break throughout, but has a disjointedness that might make breaking a little more fitful.

Graf artists: The album artwork on Liquid Swords is right in that juicy transition period between the really basic, no-nonsense artwork of the 80’s and early 90’s, and the denser, commercialized feel of the late 90’s and 00’s. There’s some juicy imagery in the concise booklet. Wu Tang doesn’t play dominoes or throw dice; Wu Tang is too intelligent for that. Wu Tang chessboxes, and the chess motif is throughout the album artwork. On the CD, the back album cover is clever; it integrates the album songs into a story, almost like how the lines from Shogun Assassin tie the songs together into a story. Unfortunately, the songs aren’t in the correct order, which could lead to some serious confusion.

Singles: “I Gotcha Back”, “Cold World”, “Liquid Swords”, “Shadowboxin’”

Shoulda been singles: “Duel on the Iron Mic”, “Gold”, “BIBLE”

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Track Review: HELL YEAH by RQ

The label contains the prolific work of one artist, Renard Queenston. He releases all of his music under pseudonyms, his latest release falling under the name RQ. The song, HELL YEAH, is super-synthy with simple sampled vocals and a fast beat, intertwined with smooth melodic segments. His latest EP, a four track collection titled MEGA MEGA MEGA MEGA MEGA, is available at his Bandcamp. Check out his other albums as well, many released for free.

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Track Review – Revolution by Spacemen 3

Last year, Jason Pierce; the only constant member of the space rock band Spiritualized, released the album Sweet Heart Sweet Light to critical acclaim. Though Pierce has been in the independent music scene since the late 80s, going by the name J. Spaceman in the group Spacemen 3, in some regards little has changed about his music. For example, “Headin to the Top Now”, a standout track from last year’s release, is reminiscent of the classic Spacemen 3 single “Revolution”. Both songs combine a crushing repetitive guitar riff with a squall of white noise, building up to a triumphant and ear splitting climax. Peter Kember, the other integral member of Spacemen 3, takes sole songwriting credit on “Revolution” – so despite Spacemen 3′s acrimonious breakup, Kember’s influence on Pierce endures.

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Banzai Sushi 10-Year Anniversary Party & KTUH DJ Night

Check it out! We’re coming up to the North Shore on Saturday. Haleiwa really knows how to party and these are always good wild fun. Here’s the party info:


Saturday, November 9th

Banzai Sushi Bar
66-246 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712

DJ Mermaid
DJ Mr. Nick
DJ Vina
DJ Zilla
Iriesistable & Tommy Fox
Special K
and more

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What’s On Repeat w/ DJ LNM

Whenever I find something I like, I’ll bury myself in it ‘til I can’t stand it anymore. This behavior applies to almost everything in life—e.g. Coca-cola slushies from the corner Burger King (Spring of third grade), egg salad (the sad Summer of 2009), the entire state of Nevada (2010), Paris Hilton perfume (last two years of high school), Flaming Hot Cheetos (2005 to never)—especially music. When I find a song, artist, or album that I like, I’ll listen to it on repeat nonstop until it is forever burned into my psyche.

So every week, I will present to you, KTUH blog reader, tracks that have been playing on repeat on my Spotify and a quick explanation why. I might only have a single track, or an entire album; it might be a current mainstream artist, or someone old you’ve never heard of! You’ll just have to check in every week and see.

Week of Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, 2013

I’ll Take You There by The Staple Singers

This is, without a doubt, my favorite song by The Staple Singers. Just knowing that this track is queued up brings a smile to my face. By the first uh huhhhhs at 0:08, that smile has morphed into an I-just-smelled-something-funky-and/or-heard-an-amazing-beat facial expression. My fave part? Mavis Staple’s bum-bum-bummms from 2:02 to 2:08.

Lovalot by M.I.A.

I’ve been a M.I.A. fan since “Arular”, but her most recent couple of albums really haven’t done it for me. LOVALOT is the only track off of her 2010 album “MAYA” that I really liked. It has just the right amount of weird funkiness to it and is perfect music for fast, death-defying biking down Waialai, King, Beretania, and every other major street in Honolulu. My fave part? 1:23 to 1:40. I have no clue what she’s saying most of the time, but the beat and her vocals are 2 kool 4 skool.

The Stand In by Check in the Dark

Things I’m a sucker for:

  1. 1. Romantic songs
  2. 2. Singers with faint Southern accents
  3. 3. Acoustic guitar picking

And The Stand In fits all the criteria! My fave part? The lines, “And angels come from Kentucky, I guess. Sweet, sweet girl, you make my head a mess” and “What if 600 years ago, you were Juliet and I was, well, you know how that story goes…”


Check in next week for more What’s On Repeat w/ DJ LNM!

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Track Review – Rubber Bullets by 10cc

10cc was an early 1970′s British band formed from two central songwriting duos: the more pop oriented Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman, responsible for writing big 60s pop hits for The Yardbirds, The Hollies, and Herman’s Hermits. Also Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, satirical avant-garde songsmiths who had yet to make it big. Though differences between the groups caused Godley & Creme to break from the band and embark on a solo career, for four albums 10cc had the sharpest wit in the music business. This track, “Rubber Bullets”, on their self titled debut album, joins Beach Boys melodies with Eric Stewart’s fiery guitar licks and Godley and Creme’s biting lyrics, which tell the story of a prison party a la “Jailhouse Rock” gone wrong.

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Track Review – I’m The One by Dillon Francis & Flux Pavilion

Two big names in the EDM scene came together to create a track that promises big things. Dillon Francis and Flux Pavilion collaborated to create a song that throbs with bass and carries itself very well melodically. Francis’s sound is clearly noticeable to any fan of his, and Flux Pavilion’s sick distortion deserves your attention. By the end of the song, you will know…it’s the one.

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808 mix #63

Yo, check out Davey’s latest, a mix from Haircuts For Men.  Kitsune Maison is the featured label of this mix.  Dig the electro vibes.

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KTUH’s RENEWAL Dance party at Campus Center

On Saturday, April 6th, KTUH will be hosting RENEWAL, a massive dance party held in the UH Manoa Campus Center Ballroom and Forum, with 2 areas of Music, 9 of Honolulu’s top EDM DJs, Lights, Lasers, and More.

Featuring DJs:

  • Massfunk
  • Graves (Formerly CTLDG)
  • Superstar Nikki
  • DJ Packo

and KTUH DJs:

  • G-Spot
  • dj mr.nick
  • Sejika
  • 6-Shots

18+ Event
Presale Tickets:
$5 for All UH Systems Students
$10 for General Public
$20 at the Door the night of the Event
Tickets Available at the UH Manoa Campus Center Ticket, Info & ID Office.
This is a Drug and Alcohol Free Event.

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Com Truise

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Looking up at this burly, lumberjack-looking man with a stern face… I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as he began speaking, it was evident he was as unpretentious as can be. Just a sweet-natured guy with a robust mind and large appetite for music. He couldn’t hold in his excitement about being in Hawai’i, “I never thought I’d come to Hawaii… this feels like a movie.” His sincere delight was apparent when he was ranting and raving about his fascination with Oahu’s “architecture and foliage.”

Com Truise (Seth Haley) put on a remarkable show headlining at Next Door Febuary 9th. Unraveling his magnetic beats, there was quickly a gravitational pull that had the crowd locked in. There was an unmistakable supersonic vibe in the room, which crowd-goers were feeding off of. His music has been described as 80’s synth-pop with a dark, new age flow. Although categorizing an artist like Cruise’s music is almost irrelevant, it’s much more affective to hear his songs in order to get an idea of his style. Let’s just say if one were to embark on a smooth, intergalactic voyage, they would jam to Com Truise. This type of artist isn’t what we regularly see in Honolulu, instead they’re more so listened to on the mainland. With that thought, it was really nice to see such a great turnout of Truise-loving fans! It could be an indication that Hawai’i’ is thirsty for something different… the music scene may heading towards a new direction filled with fresh artist and progressive beats.


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