Band of the Day

2012.03.20

Josh Baze

A young Brooklyn rapper ignites infectious party starters
Stars are made overnight. Just the other night I was just another face on the bleachers.
lyrics from Hollyhood

21 year-old Josh Baze is a rapper from Brooklyn, New York. From an early age, thanks to his father’s career as a DJ and growing up a few blocks away from Biggie Smalls’ childhood home, Baze was fascinated with music. At the age of 16, Baze self-recorded his first track using just an old PC and Cool Edit Pro. In the summer of 2010, Baze was invited to perform an opening slot for legendary British rapper Slick Rick, at BB Kings in New York City. In addition to performing as an MC, Baze also has a modeling deal with Italian fashion label, Versace. Both his modeling and live performances caught the attention of record producer Griffin Guess (Kanye West, Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent), who signed Baze to his label Cartel Records. In December 2010, Baze was flown to Los Angeles to record his debut album, Hi-Heels & Low-Lifes. The album was released on March 20, 2012.

Some artists stumble into music later in life, while others seem to have a predetermined musical path set out for them. If Brooklyn’s Josh Baze grew up a few blocks away from Wall Street, instead of Biggie Smalls’ (aka legendary rapper The Notorious B.I.G.) childhood home, perhaps he’d be trading shares on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange instead of creating his own brand of party starting jams. Besides growing up in a neighborhood steeped in hip hop history, Baze’s love of music was instilled in him by his father, a DJ who always kept a large collection of cassettes around. This inspired Baze to try his hand at making his own music, using just an old computer and software. After landing an opening slot for British rapper Slick Rick at a showcase in New York, and a modeling deal with Versace, Baze caught the eyes and ears of the industry--most notably producer Griffin Guess (who’s worked with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Eminem, and 50 Cent), who signed Baze to his label and flew him out to Los Angeles to record his debut album, Hi-Heels & Low-Lifes. Baze has got a stark, scrappy flow probably inspired by fellow Brooklyn rap legend Jay-Z, but the mood on Hi-Heels & Low-Lifes swings from festive party vibes to chill romanticism with ease. The production is similarly eclectic, plucking everything from sweeping 60s pop strings to 8bit bleeps. While Baze may be lacking the lyrical genius of the aforementioned Brooklyn rap patriarchs, when he hits the sweet spot -which happens throughout the album- he’s capable of some truly infectious party starters. “She’s Gold” brings the electro flourishes with synth bleeps just a couple steps away from MGMT and beats that are about as chipper as hip hop gets. The production on “Keep Rockin’” is refreshingly upbeat with classy strings, horn stabs and what sounds like a pitch-shifted girl group -the perfect soundtrack for your next Miami motorboat race. While the stacks of money and high class lifestyle the 21-year-old portrays in his video for “Want It All” may seem premature, with feel good jams like these it’s not far off.