Kev Brown
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Kev Brown

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Oct
18
Kev Brown @ Joe's Pub

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Oct
15
Kev Brown @ Knitting Factory

Hollywood, California, USA

Hollywood, California, USA

Oct
14
Kev Brown @ Stacks Vinyl

Cerritos, California, USA

Cerritos, California, USA

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Music

Press


KEV BROWN "The Brown Album": Kev Brown's productions send Jay-Z to a cushy lounge, where electric pianos twinkle and tempos take their time... - New York Times


Former A Touch of Jazz producer Kevin Brown was one of the first to do so, crafting the jazz- and funk-infused The Brown Album. "To tell the truth, I really wasn't going to do it," Brown said. He was leery because he knew other producers and DJs would be making their own remixes and he was a fan of the original. Eventually, though, friends convinced Brown to try his hand at it.

"I was just gonna take whatever old beats I had, but once I got into it, I was like, 'If I'm gonna do it, I'mma do it for real.' Plus with The Black Album, a lot of his hooks have melodies, so you can't just throw whatever beat you have lying around underneath it. The beat has to be in tune."

Brown's hardest undertaking was the Timbaland-produced "Dirt Off Your Shoulder." "Timbaland is pretty straight-ahead," Brown said. "There's not a lot of swing to his beat, so the first beat I had for 'Dirt Off Your Shoulder' didn't fit with his vocals. I had to make another beat with a more on-point time signature. I still couldn't make the hook fit exactly, so I ended up [rapping] the hook on it." - MTV


Given the emotional levity and coup de grace status of The Black Album, Jay-Z's supposed last recording, it's no surprise that hip-hop producers were quick to jump on the remix train of what is being deemed H.O.V.A.'s pinnacle release. The best of the bunch is Kevin Brown's breezy, laid-back The Brown Album. Hailing from Landover, Md., Brown stepped out on DJ Jazzy Jeff's excellent LP The Magnificent, producing three-quarters of the album's tracks. Now abandoning the favored mixtape format, Brown gives listeners more bang for their buck on his first full-length with originally crafted beats, scratches, skits and hooks setting the backdrop for Jay's a cappellas. Where current radio single smash "December 4th" thumps you on the head with Jay's can't-argue-with-the-master life tales amid brash horns, Brown's version drops a grooved key and harp hook. Timbaland-produced "Dirt off Your Shoulder" is turned from a bouncy club-banger to a bedroom-worthy new-soul jam. By softening the edges of H.O.V.A.'s hard- as-pavement exterior, Brown adds dimension to the world's best-known career lyricist. - Philadelphia Weekly


I can't get enough Kev Brown tracks lately. I just feel like he is filling in a gap in hip-hop production. He has chosen shoes that are hard to fill, making jazzy, smooth tracks with a hip-hop sensibility. The legends in that realm are tough acts to follow. But he continues to impress. On [his latest 12" single] "Changes," Brown chops strings and lays down nice piano and organ bits over a very thumpy kick drum. [MC] Kaimbr handles the verses, and is a good accompaniment to the Kev Brown beats, subtle but effective. "Albany" finds Kev on his own for a reflective lone song that really gets the job done. His voice is as smooth as his tracks, and this time he gives us both, rhyming over another buttery instrumental laden with well timed keys and tight percussion. Isaac Jones (actually a two-man crew consisting of MCs Kenn Starr and Sean Born) join Brown on "Look" for a laid-back ode to the pursuit of females. Kev's track is smooth as ever here, with ill horns and a keyboard stab that drives things home. The vocal samples are perfect. And while the Isaac Jones pair aren't exactly killing it, their flow is on time and above average, to say the least. Kev Brown continues to impress with his rapidly growing catalog that never seems to stray from the A+ quality I have come to expect. This single is no different. Even if you cop it just for the instrumentals, you are way ahead of the game. - Elemental Magazine


Kev Brown's previous work includes one of the numerous Jay-Z The Black Album remixes. His version was conveniently titled The Brown Album and helped him gain notoriety in the hip-hop community, and place him in 2004's "Next 100 Artists To Watch" in URB Magazine.

What Kev does is rap and produce. However, in the intro to his latest album, I Do What I Do, the rapper/producer proclaims that he isn't trying to change the game with his CD. Instead, he says he is just doing the type of music he likes to do and hopes that there are people out there that like the same style. A laid back style is what Kev portrays on this 13 track offering.

The first single, "Work In Progress," which according to the press release, was recorded on a hand held mic run through a SP505 drum machine, is rap precision at its best, as Kev's rhymes mesh with the track’s production as if they were meant for each other. The album's title track is like a pre-introduction to the album, where Kev takes you through his own journey of making the album.

Piano keys, sparse guitars and drums are made good use of throughout I Do What I Do, as Kev's flows seem to seem to shine just as much as his production. "Albany" is an interesting track and it's not about Albany, New York. Kev is not even from New York, he represents Landover, Maryland. His soulful approach lets the listener envision a story about a girl who he misses being with.

A guest appearance by Little Brother's Phonte and Oddisee help man "Beats N Rhymes" one of the album's standout tracks, as Phonte's sharp lyrical delivery breathes life into the track. The featured guests throughout the album do not take away from the overall vibe of the album whatsoever. Cy Young, Kenn Starr and Phonte fit well on each of the tracks with their lyrics and delivery staying on pace with Kev's production.

Overall, I Do What I Do makes for a well-balanced album throughout -- very soulful with an edge. Though Kev may lack some much needed variety that would draw in new fans, his grimy mix of soulful hip-hop is just what many fans are in need of. - BallerStatus


KEV BROWN BEARS A STRIKING RESEMBLANCE TO A young Curtis Mayfield: dark complexion, round glasses and all.

"I get that all the time, man," he says.

But Brown isn't a soul singer with an aching falsetto and an affinity for uplifting, gospel-inflected lyrics. The Landover native is a rapper whose sound, in the spirit of Mayfield, throbs with urban grit and sweet funk. He isn't the most charismatic rhyme slinger out there. Brown favors a laid-back, almost monotone style. But his introspective, stream-of-consciousness-like lines smoothly sail on bottom-heavy, jazz-tinged beats. In stores this week, I Do What I Do is Brown's impressive debut.

"I know a lot of older people don't consider hip-hop as real music," says the 29-year-old rapper-beat maker, who plays Black Cat in Washington Sunday night. He's calling from his Landover home. "But it's more than what's on the radio and the TV. You don't have to do what everybody is doing on the videos and on the radio. Some cats are just compromising and playing themselves."

Brown refuses to do so. There's no thuggish posturing on I Do What I Do, no over-the-top braggadocio. Besides, the bookish-looking artist couldn't really pull off the roughneck act. Brown is more of a throwback to the "Daisy Age" in rap -the early to mid-'90s when De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets delivered heady, sometimes funny rhymes over soul-jazz-infused beats. Although he's thoughtful, Brown, whose production credits include De La Soul, Jewel and DJ Jazzy Jeff, isn't an esoteric rapper. He delivers down-to-earth rhymes about making beats ("Say Sumthin ..."), holding on to your integrity while on the hip-hop hustle ("Outside Lookin' In" and "Struggla's Theme"), being smitten by a girl from around the way ("Hennessey Pt. I").

Brown says, "You can probably hear it in my music, the hip-hop I grew up on: Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Erick Sermon. That's the musical influence - and the other stuff like Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder. It's all a combination of what I listened to growing up."

The rapper, the youngest of three, grew up in a solidly middle-class home. His mother worked for the government, and his father was a supplies manager at the University of Maryland. The Brown house was a musical one where everybody either sang or played an instrument. While a student at Parkdale High School, the rapper fell for hip-hop. He used to write rhymes and rap on the school bus. After graduation, he taught himself to mix and construct beats and started performing at open-mike haunts around Baltimore and Washington.

"It got more fun to make beats than make rhymes," Brown says with a snicker. "Writing rhymes is like homework."

In the last year or so, Brown's name has steadily risen above the underground rap scene. The Brown Album, his 2004 remix of Jay-Z's The Black Album, generated enough buzz to land glowing write-ups in Vibe, The New York Times and Elemental magazine. His productions have appeared on numerous underground hip-hop compilations and mix tapes. But the unassuming artist has bigger plans: to put soul back into hip-hop and to show the rest of the world what Maryland has to offer the genre.

"Maryland seems to get overlooked," he says. "We're in the middle of everything, so you get the New York influence and the down South influence. You have a lot of schools around the area - Howard, Morgan - so you have people coming [from] all over the country with a different style. And it all comes together. With my music, I try to show that. It's in the name of the album, man: I do what I do." - Baltimore Sun


Kev Brown's new collection of songs brings about a few questions. Can an album be refreshing and nostalgic at the same time? Can an artist create a sound reminiscent of the early 90s, yet remain progressive and new? If so, Kev Brown has mastered that niche with his fantastic debut record, I Do What I Do.

After getting his start ghost-producing for DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kev has become a much sought after producer, most notably contributing the beat for “Special” off De La Soul’s 2001 release AOI: Bionix, and remixing Jay-Z with The Brown Album.

Yet Kev Brown is hardly just a beatmaker. Unlike many producer-rappers, Kev’s mic skills rival his beatmaking abilities, as his mellow voice naturally compliments the album’s production. That’s not to say he couldn’t use a little help; Kev enlists a slew of guest MC’s including Phonte (of Little Brother), Grap Luva, and the criminally underappreciated Cy Young to rhyme on his record. Lyrically the album is more than sufficient, as Kev’s raps address a multitude of issues spread over 14 tracks (including two bonus cuts).

However, it is the production that truly shines on the album. Kev Brown’s beats are consistently stellar, carried by warm basslines that recall the sounds of Black Moon, A Tribe Called Quest, and even Pete Rock. “Hennessey pt. 2” is buttery smooth and proves Kev can excel at R&B, while the lead single “Work In Progress” sports a harder edge and might even make it in a club. Conversely, the standout “Albany” is a laid back jam laced with a beautiful horn sample that forcibly sends the listener back to 1992. The songs are expertly linked by brief interludes, including a hilarious “verse” by Phonte’s 4-year old son, Dylan, which alone is worth the price of admission.

Like the song “Albany”, in which Brown fondly remembers a lost love, I Do What I Do remembers a lost era in music. Kev’s album masterfully brings back the best of that jazzy sound, while managing to keep his music fresh and accessible for today’s fans. - Okayplayer


Until now, Kev Brown's best-known work has been associated with other, much bigger names in hip-hop. Last year, his "Brown Album," a low-fi remix of Jay-Z's "Black Album," was acclaimed by critics and captivated the attention of underground fans. He also produced Jazzy Jeff's hip-hop gem "The Magnificent" in 2002.

But on Tuesday, the Landover native and Parkdale High alum puts his name front and center on his solo debut, "I Do What I Do" (Up Above Records, $13.99). The economical 13-song CD -- all but one of the songs clock in at around 3 1/2 minutes or less -- should earn the producer-rapper-writer much wider and well-deserved recognition.

The goal in making the album, Brown says, was to put out songs that "I'll still want to listen to in 10 years." It's hard to imagine he could ever tire of listening to such tracks as "Alone Again," a gritty, head-nodding lament, or the blistering "Beats N' Rhymes." "Struggla's Theme" is another sublimely cool effort, and the horns sampled from a Marvin Gaye song on "Albany" are a surreal, entrancing treat.

The 29-year-old performer, who lists EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest and Gangstarr among his all-time favorite hip-hop acts, is philosophical about whether Kanye-like success awaits him following this release. "I don't even think about that," he says. "If it happens, it happens and hopefully, it will." - Washington Post


Discography

2005
"I Do What I Do" - Up Above Records
“I’ll Be Around” – Atlantiquity LP, Atlantic/Rhino Records – Kev Brown Remix
“Brown Liquor” – Beatology Vol. 1 EP, Shaman Work Records
“Life” Remix (ft. Stro of the Procussions) – 12” single, Foot Long Development – The Earl
“Whatever You Like” – 12” single, Hard Boiled – Cy Young

2004
The Brown Album – Kev Brown
The Kev Brown Mixtape – T.D. Harry Music – Kev Brown
“Kev Brown Presents…” – 12” single, T.D. Harry Music – Kev Brown (“Albany”), Kaimbr (“Changes”) and Isaac Jones (“Look”)
“Another Private Conversation” – 12” single, T.D. Harry Music – Critically Acclaimed
“Walk the Walk” – You Don’t Know the Half LP, Halftooth Records – Kenn Starr
“The Ultimate” Kev Brown Remix – 12” single, B.U.K.A. Entertainment – Lone Catalysts
“Street Realism” (ft. Rescue, Skate the Great, Roddy Rod) – 12” single, Heineken – Kev Brown

2003
“Games” – Weekend Warrior – Biz Markie
“Get Down” – Weekend Warrior – Biz Markie
“Wallflower” – 12” single, Up Above Records – Critically Acclaimed
“Give It To You” – Whateva Comes To Mind – Flo Brown
“I’m Finally Here” – Whateva Comes To Mind – Flo Brown
“A Wrap” – Whateva Comes To Mind – Flo Brown
“Who Programmed Us Anyway?” remix – Soul Spazm Records – Grand Agent
“Young World” (ft. Cy Young) – Hidden Hits Compilation – Hidden Beach
“Allways” b/w “Can’t Stay Away” – 12” single, ABB Records – Kev Brown
“Nitefall” – 12” single, Up Above Records – Kev Brown ft. Cy Young and Oddisee
“Word Perfect” – Profile
“Four Letters” – Profile
“Catch 22” – The Love Experience, Jive Records – Raheem De Vaughn

2002
“Branded” (ft. Pauly Yamz) – Magnificent EP (BBE Beat Generation series) - DJ Jazzy Jeff
“Da Rebirth” (ft. Cy Young) – Magnificent EP (BBE Beat Generation series) - DJ Jazzy Jeff
“How I Do” (ft. Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, Cy Young) – Magnificent LP – DJ Jazzy Jeff
“Know Ur Hood” (ft. Pauly Yamz, Chef Word) – Magnificent LP – DJ Jazzy Jeff
“Rock Wit You” (ft. Erro) – Magnificent LP – DJ Jazzy Jeff
“Scram” (ft. Freddie Foxxx) – Magnificent LP – DJ Jazzy Jeff
“Shake It Off” (ft. Chef Word) – Magnificent LP – DJ Jazzy Jeff
“Travelz” (ft. Baby Blak) – Magnificent LP – DJ Jazzy Jeff
“We Are” (ft. Cy Young, Raheem De Vaughn) – Magnificent LP – DJ Jazzy Jeff

2001
Cy Young EP – Cy Young
“Special” – AOI: Bionix – De La Soul
“What Ruling Means” (ft. Grap Luva) – Re Entry (BBE Beat Generation series) – Marley Marl

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Hailing from Landover, MD, Kev Brown has ascended the ranks of the underground to solidify himself as one of hip-hop’s most prolific and universally respected modern producers. As the beat-maker for artists from De La Soul to Jewel—and the mastermind behind ground-breaking projects such as the Jay-Z remix “Brown Album”—Kev has received worldwide acclaim for his range, creativity, and soul-infused rhythms.

Fresh off the heels of his first full-length debut, "I Do What I Do" (Sept. 2005, Up Above Records), Kev is receiving universal praise and recognition for a hip hop style that hearkens back to the greatest days of the genre.

Kev's other recent release, the 47-track "Kev Brown Mixtape" has received strong support, and he recently introduced underground phenoms Kaimbr and the Isaac Jones duo with his T.D. Harry Music Group 12” single “Kev Brown Presents…” featuring the tracks ‘Albany,’ ‘Changes,’ and ‘Look.’ Brown was selected as one of URB Magazine’s ‘Next 100’ in 2004, and the producer’s work has been featured on Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show.

While the Kev Brown sound is heavily influenced by the works of famed producers Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and the RZA, it also reflects inspiration from lesser-known funk, jazz, and R&B musicians.

Brown’s breakthrough came in 2001 when Pete Rock played Marley Marl the Kev Brown/Grap Luva collaboration “What Ruling Means.” Marley Marl was in the process of compiling his installment of the BBE Beat Generation series, and he included the song on his Re Entry album. 2001 also found Kev contributing the standout track “Special” to the second installment of De La Soul’s AOI series, AOI: Bionix.

Kev made his sophomore appearances on the BBE Beat Generation series with the release of DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Magnificent EP, on which Kev produced two songs. He also contributed to the full length LP, producing seven tracks including “Scram” (Freddie Foxxx), “How I Do” (Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and Cy Young), and Travelz” (Baby Blak).

Other recent Kev Brown releases include the 12” single “Allways,” (ABB Records/A Touch of Jazz) where Brown doubles as producer and MC. The B-side contains “Can’t Stay Away”, featuring Grap Luva and Little Brother’s Phonte, along with the 9th Wonder remix of “Allways.” Kev also produced a 12" single on Up Above Records (“Nitefall”, featuring Cy Young and Oddisee), two tracks (“Games” and “Get Down”) on Biz Markie’s Groove Attack album, and “Catch 22" on Raheem De Vaughn’s Jive Records debut titled The Love Experience.

As part of the Beat Society series—a unique event in which four producers perform live on stage with their beat-making weapon of choice—Kev has shared the stage with J Live, El Da Sensai, Masta Ace, and more. He was part of the very first installment in Philly and has been a featured producer in the Beat Society shows in New York and D.C.