ALUMNI ROUNDUP 2017: The Year in Review

Jan 30, 2018

We may have shut our doors in 2016, but 2017 was still a banner year for the World Around family. Here’s a list of all the new music released by former World Around artists.

Louis MackeyAVGVSTVS

This long-awaited LP from rap classicist Louis Mackey features some of his deftest, most heartfelt lyricism to date, signalling a huge step forward in style while simultaneously serving as a return to the funkier roots of his early work. The whole affair is conducted over a backdrop of Dr. Quandary beats with a distinctly dusty, old-school vibe, adding to the air of nostalgia.

Man MantisBoss Skeleton + Dawn of the Def (Reissue)

Released in July, Man Mantis’ Boss Skeleton is a collection older tracks from his Majestic Dimensions EP series. The project features Mantis’ signature sonic landscapes, lush with otherworldly synthesizers. Though mostly instrumental, you’ll find a couple of expertly-placed, late-game features from Terra Lopez, Nocando, Decomposure & Sole.

As if new Mantis wasn’t enough, we also got some classic Mantis: as an added year-end bonus, the long-defunct imprint Loretta Records resurfaced in December with an official dead-stock reissue of his 2005 debut, Dawn of the Def. The album follows in the footsteps of RJD2’s Deadringer, blending soul & funk into a cinematic instrumental experience.

S.maharbaMirror & Veil

The latest EP from UK gloom king S.maharba is a ...

Farewell, World Around (2006–2016)

Feb 14, 2017

To Our Loyal World Around Family,

You might have noticed that things have slowed down here over the last year or so — our last official album release was Waldo from Cincinnati’s Yonder Works (And Then Some) back in September of 2015; things are quiet on Facebook; we haven’t tweeted in almost a year.

For the most part, this is due to bandwidth issues. The administrative side of World Around has always been a two-person operation (three at the absolute zenith), and keeping things running is an insane challenge, especially since we’re all artists too. We all know that balancing everything demanded of us — family, friends, life, art, work, school, etc. — can be challenging enough; the full-time management of a label is really tough to fit into that mix. That said, we did it for as long as we could, out of love — for our music, for each other, and for everyone who listened and supported us along the way.

Justin & Kyle in 2006

On top of that, a lot has changed since we opened our digital doors on MySpace in 2006. There have been career changes, new opportunities; some of us have married, started families. Musically, many World Around artists have gone on to do bigger, better, more beautiful things: after a brief stint with our friends at Potholes Music, Man Mantis linked up with legendary rapper Sole and joined the ranks of Shoeboxx Recordings; Daimyo fell in with the amazing crowd of beatmakers at Cult Classic ...

We Are World Around, Vol. 4

Jan 01, 2014

…and right on schedule, we’re back. Our traditional New Years Day celebration/compilation is heavy on instrumental tracks and melancholy funk, this time around. This also represents the first compilation that was curated by our new Benevolent Dictator, Lou Mackey.

PremRock & Willie Green - Diary of a Dreamer (Man Mantis Remix)

Mar 05, 2012

Friends of the World Around family PremRock & Willie Green released the Reassembled edition of their self-titled debut album today, featuring new interpretations of songs from the 2011 original by a bunch of producers, including greats like Blockhead, Has-Lo and our very own Man Mantis. Check out his version of Diary of a Dreamer:

The album also includes a few unreleased tracks and a bunch of Willie Green’s original instrumentals. Definitely worth the $5. Grab it over at the duo’s Bandcamp.

And check out more from the fam:
Willie Green: Bandcamp / @WillieGreen1
PremRock: Bandcamp / @PlanetPremRock

#WAW: Gonna Die Here

Nov 09, 2011

Gonna Die Here is available as a free download on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Keep an eye out for our next World Around Wednesdays release, coming to your ears November 23rd.

New Album: Nights & Weekends EP

Sep 20, 2011

We’ve all been waiting patiently since August, and the time is finally here: thanks to the efforts of his Kickstarter cohorts, Zilla Rocca is proud to bring you his third solo album, the Nights & Weekends EP.

Inspired by late night 1980’s films staples such as Barry Levinson’s Diner and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (see the video below), the EP serves up a helping of booze hounds, dive bars, and all the wrong women you chase in your 20’s.

The 29-minute album includes appearances from World Around’s Dr. Quandary, Has-Lo (Mello Music Group/ Wrecking Crew), Brian Brizzo (Lessondary Crew), Curly Castro (Wrecking Crew), Small Professor (Wrecking Crew) and more, as well as a bonus remix of the lead single “Full Spectrum” from our resident beat auteur Man Mantis.

From the Philip Marlowe credo on opener “Creme de Menthe” to the sticky ‘60s funk cover of D’Angelo’s “Devil’s Pie”, Nights & Weekends EP lives up to it’s namesake: it’s where all the action goes down. Download it or grab the CD today.

KICKSTARTER: Funding "Nights & Weekends"

Jul 06, 2011

UPDATE 2: Nights & Weekends will be available for download on Tuesday, September 20th 2011. CDs go on sale later that week.

UPDATE: Thanks to generous support from dozens of fans, Zilla was able to to fly past his original goal with time to spare. Keep an eye out for more news about his upcoming Nights & Weekends release!

Zilla Rocca hit the ground running in 2011 with his World Around debut, Bad Weather Classic, and he hasn’t eased up the pace. With a few more remixes and collaborative pieces under his belt, Philly’s finest is ready to drop his followup: Nights & Weekends.

The ten-track album includes the usual dose of Zilla’s noir-laden beats and gritty rhymes, along with a metric ton of special guest appearances. All money raised will go towards pressing physical copies of Nights & Weekends on CD, screen-printing special edition shirts and purchasing/processing a stockpile of Super 8 film.

The film will be used by Zilla and director Joe Castro to shoot a remarkable, one-of-a-kind video for the album’s lead-off single “Full Spectrum” featuring Mello Music Group’s rising star Has-Lo (and produced by our very own Dr. Quandary).

You’ll get a real taste of things to come when that single drops in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, check out this little gem – a snippet of the new track “Michael Caine Glasses,” produced by Has-Lo:

Zilla Rocca - Michael Caine Glasses (Snippet) prod by Has-Lo

Classic Logo Shirts Now Available!

May 18, 2011

Now available in our newly-opened store on BigCartel, our Classic Logo shirts feature an original design by Cole Eggen that was among the many emblems used by World Around Records in the early days.

Each one of these pre-shrunk, 100% ring-spun cotton shirts is individually hand-screened by our team of artificers at World Around East and shipped to you swiftly via USPS Priority Mail.

Supplies are limited, so make sure you order yours today!

VIDEO: Man Mantis - Red Dragonfly

Apr 04, 2011

One month ago, Madison, Wisconsin’s masked producer Man Mantis released his Sea Ambulance EP. The densely layered, darkly melodic tracks offered a glimpse of Man Mantis’ upcoming LP Cities Without Houses, and received an enthusiastic if sometimes perplexed response. Mantis continues the mystery this week with the release of the official video to Red Dragonfly:

Continuing in the EP’s druggy, unsettling fashion, the video laces a Twilight Zone atmosphere with the psychedelic visuals of 1960s hippie freakout films. The Red Dragonfly video was directed by Madison videographer Joe Ramos, who is also an avid documentarian of local live music. His extensive vault of footage can be viewed at

New Album: Sea Ambulance EP

Mar 06, 2011

Wedged in among his countless production credits, rigorous performing schedules and zany multimedia exploits, Man Mantis spent the precious free time he found during the last year putting together something truly extraordinary.

Man Mantis - Sea Ambulance EP

His full-length LP, Cities Without Houses, will be available via World Around Records on April 11th, but Mantis fans won’t need to wait another month to take a peek behind the curtain. The short-form companion piece Sea Ambulance EP is a collection of select advance tracks and b-sides from the Cities Without Houses sessions, and you can download it for free on Bandcamp.

It’s been well-established that 2011 is the Year of the Mantis. Keep your eyes open.

New Album: Significant (Other)

Aug 31, 2010

You know Man Mantis by now, right? The dude does not slow down. This spring and summer alone, we’ve seen him launch a new project with J. Dante, debut IceMantis (his collaboration with DLO) and offer a limited-time free download in honor of dumate‘s incredibly successful year. Somehow, he still finds the time to record and master various projects, as well as strike new ground and make new connections.

Case in point: Minneapolis vocalist and songwriter K.Raydio. Her debut EP, the entirely Mantis-produced Significant (Other) dropped yesterday amidst minimal fanfare, but still netted hundreds of plays and downloads off of Facebook buzz alone. The record is a fresh blend of Raydio’s stunning voice and Mantis’ crisp, engaging beats, featuring some solid guest appearances from J.Dante and Phonetic ONE.

All of this is leading up to the release of Cities Without Houses — the long-awaited spiritual successor to Mantis’ classic original album. You can catch a preview by checking out tracks 5 and 7 on Significant (Other):

Long, Hot Summer Update

Aug 16, 2010

dumate live hip hop MPC

First up, the Madison heavyweight hip hop live band dumate has been having an amazing year, and to celebrate, they’re offering their full length album, We Have the Technology, for free through Bandcamp. Click here to get yours. This is a limited time offer deal.

The dumate team has been very, very busy this year… especially MPC player / producer Man Mantis. He’s dropped an experimentally awesome EP’s with J. Dante, Whole New World, and a classic-flavored EP with dumate emcee D.L.O. the Iceman titled The IceMantis EP, which has been getting great reviews.

I mean, really great reviews. The Onion’s A/V Club gave it an “A” rating, concluding that the dumate crew was “grotesquely underrated on both a local and national scale.” Amen.

Up next, Man Mantis is working on an instrumental release, Cities Without Houses. Based on what I’ve heard, I think it’s going to make some serious noise for him… stay tuned.

We’ve got a lot of extremely dope producers on the World Around roster. This year has seen incredible releases from nearly all of them. First we dropped Naturetone‘s debut, Nihon, an ambitious and exotic tribute to the music and culture of Japan. Naturetone was fortunate enough to make a pilgrimage there this year… and he got married this year, too!

Then came Dr. Quandary‘s magnum opus, Beyond All Spheres of Force and Matter. It’s been a trip watching this release ripple through Teh ...

New Album: "Destiny EP"

Jul 02, 2010

World Around listeners were first introduced to smooth-talking SeniorClassman J. Dante when he cranked out a whirlwind EP with our resident boom-bap specialist Man Mantis; the result, the Whole New World EP, was an instant classic, and earned the duo a lot of accolades in the blogosphere.

Dante has big plans, and we’ve already received word that the Whole New World LP is in the works for 2010. Meanwhile, the ever-hungry rapper keeps breaking new ground and concept-to-fruition speed records.  This time around he linked with his cousin, producer and vocalist DawnsSon, for the Destiny EP. It’s a bit of a departure from his laid-back and classic style, featuring heavy electro influences and autotuned choruses alongside Dante’s signature delivery, but it’s dope and different nonetheless.

Check it out for free at Bandcamp, and see what the Mad Bloggers had to say about the project over at In Pursuit of Realness.

dumate Wins Big at the MAMAs

May 10, 2010

That’s right — hometown favorites dumate stole the show last night at the 2010 Madison Area Music Awards. On top of rocking a stellar performance that netted them props from Madison’s local rag, The Isthmus, they also took home Urban/R&B Album of the Year for their sophomore release (and WA debut) We Have the Technology.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the album, take a minute to see what the fuss is all about. We can guarantee with almost 100% certainty that you’ll love what you hear.

More From Mantis HQ

Apr 09, 2010

The man Man Mantis never stops moving — he’s always got something new in the works. Case in point: this amazing EP he threw together on the quick with slick-talking emcee J. Dante of Minneapolis’ Senior Class. It’s coming your way for free on April 16th, but you can grab a sneak peak of two tracks today by stopping by their Bandcamp page.

Here’s the latest groove — Hi Love. Dig it.

<a href="">Hi Love by J Dante x Man Mantis</a>

Reintroducing Louis Mackey

Jan 20, 2010

By our best estimates, Louis Mackey has well over 100 full-length tracks that have never seen the light of day beyond MySpace or SoundClick. The man is a machine, constantly cranking out beats and lyrics — however, the adverse effect of his rigorous routine is that he’s moved on to the next project by the time the first is finished.

That’s why Funky Motherfucker, Yeah! has been so long in the making: ever since it was conceptualized, it’s been restructured, rewritten and further honed by Lou’s ravenous appetite for quality. In the end, we’re glad he decided to just pull the trigger on the project, because the result is an excellent “best-of” style collection spanning Lou’s entire rap career, from as far back as 2004 to the present.

The record features Lou’s signature brand of lyrical wit and funky production, with cameos from beatmakers Dr. Quandary, Man Mantis and The Banana Hammocks, as well as guest verses from AnP and Vermont freestyle veteran Chris Dizzy.

Click on the cover to download Funky Motherfucker, Yeah! in 320k MP3 format, with high-quality album art by Jacob North and PDF liner notes.

Or, if you’d prefer, check out the streaming previews here on the album page.

VIDEO: Man Mantis - Minor Aches and Pains

Dec 03, 2009

Man Mantis brings his sampling skills to the world of visual media once again, with this rhythmic wash of human body imagery for his new song Minor Aches and Pains. He’s got a great collection of dumate and STINK TANK™ performance footage, along with some live MPC antics, and he’s always adding new stuff, so be sure to check out his channel on Youtube.

VIDEO: IceMantis - Infirmary feat. Dudu Stinks

Nov 10, 2009

Never one for dormancy, Man Mantis hit us off with his directorial debut today: a music video for “Infirmary,” the lead-off track from his upcoming collaborative project with DLO entitled IceMantis. As if this combination wasn’t potent enough, they’ve also tagged fellow dumate emcee and STINK TANK™ mastermind Dudu Stinks for one of his premium verses, and the resulting track is dope as hell.

Check out the video below, leave some love for Mantis on YouTube, and be sure to keep watching for more updates on the IceMantis project.

dumate on the Cover of 608 Magazine

Oct 28, 2009

dumate on the cover of 608 Magazine

Props and thanks to Andre Linzmeyer, publisher of 608 Magazine. He’s also had great things to say about our favorite MPC-driven live show wrecking crew in Wisconsin:

“First of all, they are all excellent artists,” Linzmeyer says of the five-member dumate. “They are individuals who all do their own thing but they all come together really nicely, too. They represent the 608 very well. They are a diverse group, which is nice because hip-hop today brings in all kinds of people from all kinds of heritages.”

Source: The Madison Times

MORE COVERAGE: the tech-heads and hip hop producers will appreciate the detailed science Man Mantis is dropping in his recent Audible Hype interview, where he’s discussing using the MPC sampler live, as well as what he’s learned in the process of mixing and mastering his last two albums.

dumate T-Shirts Now Available

Oct 17, 2009

dumate T Shirts


dumate - We Have the Technology

Sep 15, 2009

In addition to being a monster producer, Man Mantis also rocks with a live band: the drums-bass-MPC demolition unit known as dumate.

You can stream their new album, We Have the Technology, from start to finish by clicking right about here.

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