Monday, July 13, 2020

Gang Starr "Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr" (7/13/99)

"Boston native Guru (born Keith Elam) and Texas import DJ Premier (born Christopher Martin) came together in New York in 1988 to create an unprecedented brand of hip-hop. Gang Starr combines jazz influences with straight-ahead lyrics in the style of rap forefathers Run-D.M.C.... Full Clip boasts all 17 singles the band released between 1989 and 1998, including a remix of "Manifest," the song that helped put Gang Starr on the hip-hop map with its use of a bassline from a Thelonius Monk jazz piece... The songs "Code of the Streets," from the film "Menace II Society," and "DWYCK," a 1994 B-side featuring fellow hip-hop group Nice and Smooth, also appear on the collection. The album introduces "Full Clip," "Discipline" and "All 4 Tha Ca$h," songs recorded at D&D Studios in Manhattan earlier this year. "Full Clip" finds Guru playing the role of hip-hop wise man, condemning those who rap "childish nonsense" and lie about who they really are. Meanwhile, DJ Premier offers a jazz-inflected guitar strum. "I've always been one of those MCs that's been allowed to speak out on ... a type of MC," Guru, 35, said. "Not everybody can do it. ... It's like I'm not just a kid on the block without a record deal." ... In February D.I.T.C. member Big L (born Lamont Coleman) was shot and killed as he left his apartment in Harlem. Guru and Premier said the shooting affected them deeply; an excerpt from a March tribute concert for Big L begins the album. On it, Premier shouts the words "Big L, rest in peace" in the seconds before "Full Clip." Incidents such as the murders of Big L and the Lost Boyz' Freaky Tah (born Raymond Rogers) two weeks later made Guru more guarded, he said. "It makes the chip on my shoulder bigger," Guru said. 'My occupation has hazards that come with it that don't come with a lot of other jobs. I take it real seriously. So if somebody's coming at me with a vibe that they're not taking it real seriously, then I'm going the other way.'" - MTV. Full Clip was released - to/for the fans - on this day in 1999. R.I.P., Big L and Guru. Revisit it below...

Sunday, July 12, 2020

DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK "Summertime: 2020" (Mixtape)

It's that time of year again! DJ Jazzy Jeff and MICK (Boogie) add another classic mix tape to their Summertime series. 2020 makes it 11 straight summers of mixes featuring that retro, soulful, cool out, BBQ-eating, suntan-getting, beach chair-sitting, two miles an hour so everybody can see you, music! Lots of great original samples, as well as tracks from Fabolous, Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, OutKast, Jill Scott, Styles P, Jay Electronica, De La Soul, David Begun, Gang Starr, Bilal, Public Enemy, Nas, Usher, DMX, A Tribe Called Quest, Dwele, Boogie Down Productions, Big Daddy Kane, and more. A little late for 4th of July this year, fellas... but they put it down, as always. Check it out below...

Friday, July 10, 2020

Apollo Brown & Che' Noir "As God Intended" (Album Stream)

Buffalo & Detroit are America’s broken dream. They are once thriving cities, now known for frigid temperatures and violent crime. The cities were birthed in a different era, forged in fire, built of cold steel. It follows that the rawest Hip-Hop in recent memory has bled from these two regions. No two artists exemplify this hard truth more than legendary Detroit producer Apollo Brown and Buffalo’s maverick emcee Che’ Noir. The two artists came together to create a sound as natural as calm after the storm. The soulful, head-nodding production of Apollo Brown has been a staple called on by some of the greatest to ever do it. Apollo Brown’s signature style has become an iconic staple of the culture. Meanwhile, Che’ Noir has stepped onto the scene as smoothly as any double dutch veteran. She has emerged as one of the most extraordinary NY talents heard in years. The pair’s new album, “As God Intended”, drifts up and down city streets and offers a glimpse behind closed doors, telling the stories of gunshots, missing fathers, and playing the system. The new album from Apollo Brown & Che’ Noir features Skyzoo, Planet Asia, Ty Farris, and Black Thought. Listen...

Thursday, July 09, 2020

What Had Happened Was "De La Soul Episode" (Podcast)

Following the introduction to the podcast I posted earlier in the week, Open Mike Eagle and Prince Paul are back with Episode 2 of my favorite new podcast, What Had Happened Was. On this newest episode, Prince Paul tells legendary tales of the forming of De La Soul and the creation of their classic debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising in 1989. Prince Paul and Open Mike Eagle are two creative geniuses and this podcast is packed with amazing stories and pure comedy. I don't wanna ruin it by posting the cliff notes, lol, so dig into the podcast below and enjoy it for yourselves!

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Happy (Belated) Birthday, RZA! (Playlist)

Robert Fitzgerald Diggs (born July 5, 1969), better known by his stage name RZA, is a rapper, producer, actor, filmmaker, and author. He is also the de facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, known as (The) Abbott. He has produced almost all of the Wu-Tang Clan's albums, as well as many Wu-Tang solo and Wu-affiliated projects. RZA is cousin to two other original Wu-Tang Clan members: GZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard (R.I.P.). And... Yes... I was Team Premo in his battle with DJ Premier, but I wannabe clear that I recognize the depth and seriousness of his catalog. When you really look at the number of albums RZA's produced - how many CLASSIC albums he's produced! - his run is truly mind-boggling! Joints with GZA, Method Man, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Gravediggaz, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck, etc + solo, group records and outside production! That led me here... to narrowing down a playlist of roughly 30-40 tracks (and I gave myself 10 minutes to do it), which includes some of my all-time favorite joints from RZA. It wasn't as easy as I thought, lol. The playlist is below... I might add 10 more tracks to it every so often just so it's not stagnant and represents how my taste in music can change over time. So... all that said, a very Happy (belated) Birthday to the RZA, who was born on July 5, 1969. What are your favorite RZA tracks? Update: I realized that the comments have been turned off... whoops! I've fixed it now - maybe it's too late, but feel free to comment below any posts. Oh, and correct me if I mis-credited any of the tracks below to RZA.

And, why not add some randomness... HBD, RZA!

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Westside Gunn "Fly God Is An Awesome God 2" (Album Stream)

Westside Gunn is hard at work once again. Fans can never say they've had to wait long or hard for new music from the Buffalo native. Flygod Is An Awesome God II is the follow-up to his 2019 release. It arrives just a few short months after the release of his highly acclaimed Pray For Paris album. Word is, there are more videos from that project still scheduled to be released, but he's determined to keep feeding the streets with content. I can't blame him, his blueprint has led him and his team to great success thus far. The 14-track (33 minute) offering features Benny The Butcher, Keisha Plum, Stove God Cooks, Rome Streetz & more. I'm still playing catch-up on releases!

Monday, July 06, 2020

George Fields "Tomorrow's Sun" (EP Stream)

UK producer George Fields has released his new EP, Tomorrow's Sun. Calling on some of his favorite artists, the LP features Rasheed Chappell, Phat Kat, Ill Conscious, Edo G, Eze Jackson and Last Jazz Club. As a bonus, the EP also features instrumentals for all 6 tracks. After hearing the single with Baltimore's Ill Conscious, I was eagerly awaiting the release and it's now available digitally and on black vinyl. Support it below, and dig back into his catalog and check out Glad To Meet You, too.

Monday, July 06, 2020

DJ DS "Independence Day" (Vol.1-2, Mixtape)

UK's DJ DS has released two mixes in his Independence Day series. The mixes feature independent, underground hip-hop tracks from the late 90s and early '00's on various independent labels. Artists featured on the mixes include Lace Da Booms, J Treds, Third Sight, Supernatural, Reflection Eternal, Mos Def, World Renown, Fat Joe, Smif-N-Wessun, Medina Green, Sadat X, Shadez Of Brooklyn, and lots more. With that said, check out Volume 1 and Volume 2 of DJ DS's Independence Day mix below...