Thursday, April 09, 2020

Chino XL "Here To Save You All" (The Source + '96 Sampler)

"Public Enemy first posed the question: "Why are you so hostile?" The answer gave voice to arguably the foremost emotion underscoring hip-hop, the confrontational. Since then, nearly every MC to have picked up a mic has employed infinite rhyme and reason in trying to build on that sentiment. Unfortunately, the expression has, for the most part, been diluted. Simply put, too much of hip-hop's rage has grown tired and impotent. These days it is the rare artist that infuses new energy into hip-hop's most tried and true well-spring. Chino XL is such an artist. Get ready to throw down props for his debut, Here To Save You All. First and foremost, Chino can rhyme. Last year, two of his unreleased songs - "No Complex" and a collaboration with Ras Kass called "Riiott!" - circulated throughout the underground, popping up on The Source's "Fat Tape" and on hip-hop radio across the country. The full album proves neither joint was a fluke. The 16 tracks on Here To Save You All are a densely-packed, tightly-wound, searing, non-stop verbal assault on everyone and everything." Check out Chino XL's album sampler mix to "Here To Save You All," cont'd below...

"Chino takes the venerable practice of reworking pop culture and current event references into hip-hop contexts to a new level: O.J., Eazy E, the U.S. Invasion of Haiti, Woody Harrelson, teen pregnancy, Heidi Fleiss, Darryl Strawberry, welfare reform, even his own label - "My company (Rick Rubin's American Recordings) is fuckin' me like Arsenio does Eddie Murphy." You name it, they all get done. Still, what is perhaps most impressive about Here To Save You All is the fact that it's a record with equal amounts style and substance. Listen closely and you'll pick up more than laugh-out-loud jokes and disses. "No Complex" takes on the insipid materialism of much of today's hip-hop: "What I Am?" deals with growing up as a child of mixed ethnicity; and "Ghetto Vampire" and "Rise" delve into complex political and spiritual territory. The beats don't miss either. The album's production is laced with an intricate, Wu Tang-like flava. Although Chino is an East Orange, NJ native, a good portion of Here To Save You All was recorded in LA and the record successfully incorporates elements of both coasts' sounds. Here To Save You All is solid, dynamic and refreshing. It's both good and good fo ya." - The Source, May, 1996. The album was released on this day in 1996. Much respect to Chino XL!

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Biz Markie "Just A Friend" + Happy Born Day

Biz Markie Just a Friend 1989 Lyrics

Happy Born Day to the human beatbox legend, Biz Markie! He turned 56 today and to celebrate another cycle, a look at the video and lyrics to his hit, 'Just a Friend.' The melody for 'Just A Friend' came to Biz Markie while he was asleep, can you believe that? Biz has also said that he composes most of his songs in the bathroom & off the top of his head. If you can write songs between the bed and toilet, you've got yourself a pretty good system, lol. These days, however, I see Biz Markie mostly behind the turntables. I moved to a smaller city a couple years ago and in year one, he visited twice for DJ gigs. A real humble dude, it was an honor to meet him and I think the industry misses artists like Biz in the limelight, whose character was only exceeded by his talent. It's also impressive, as a DJ, that Biz Markie has custom Technics SL-700s for 7" records and they are allegedly the only ones in the world. OG status! Now, let's go back to 1989 for 'Just a Friend,' which he wrote (lyrics above) and produced (video below) ... "I asked her name, she said Bla Bla Bla" lol.

Monday, April 06, 2020

DJ Smooth Denali "I Got A Story To Tell" (Mixtape)

When you think about Hip-Hop's greatest storyteller, you undoubtedly think of the legendary Slick Rick, but how about Nas, Kool G Rap, The Notorious B.I.G., The Pharcyde and more of the genre's more elite storytelling lyricists? Well, sit back and enjoy this throwback mix from DJ Smooth Denali, who compiled a mix of some of the best tracks from those artists, along with Noreaga, Jay-Z, Redman, Lost Boyz, The Firm, Diamond D, Cru, Snoop Doggy Dogg, EPMD, Common, Eric B. & Rakim, and some exclusive blends mixed in!! Also, if you haven't checked out Irv Gotti's TV show, Tales, they turn classic records into hour long mini-movies - it's a dope show with some really unique concept flips. Whoever did the artwork for this mixtape needs to put some respek on Biggie's name, but all jokes aside, enjoy DJ Smooth Denali's "I Got A Story To Tell" mix from a couple years ago, and please wish him continued health as a (colon) cancer survivor. Stay blessed and healthy, sir! Salute.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Jay-Z "Dead Presidents" (The Source, 4/96)

"Jay-Z is an MC outta Brooklyn whose "Dead Presidents" has already gotten much airplay on NY's Hot 97. The cut works off a smooth piano loop and a sample of Nas' famous line: "I'm out for dead presidents to represent me." But it stands out from your average radio jam because of Jay-Z's tight flow and deep lyrics. "Dead Presidents" is not the typical loot tribute that we've come to expect, but an intelligent, cautionary tale: "I'm here to tell n!ggas that it ain't all swell / there's heaven, then there's hell / one day you're cruising in your 7 / next day you're sweatin' forgetting your lies / alibis ain't matchin' up / bullshit catchin' up." Peep the Ski-produced Dead Presidents...

"The B-side, "Ain't No N!gga," uses the same beat that the Alkaholiks wrecked on "Only When I'm Drunk." The extra catchy chorus has a female / male dialogue - "Ain't no n!gga like the one I got / No one can f#ck you better" - that you won't be able to get out of your head. Here Jay-Z displays his impressive tongue twisting skills as he details his honey slayin' exploits. But the track is almost stolen by guest rapper Foxy Brown, who made a name for herself on LL Cool J's "I Shot Ya" remix. Her x-rated lyrics will have brothers jumping for the rewind button. Jay-Z has delivered two very tight jams, and his full length joint, Reasonable Doubt, should be one to check for." - The Source

If you'd rather read it directly from the source, or save a copy, check it out below.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Jaguar Skills "Hip-Hop Time Bomb: 2000" (Mix)

Jaguar Skills hits right back with another hour-long mix! This time tackling the year 2000 with tracks featuring Ghostface Killah, Wu-Tang Clan, De La Soul, Xzibit, Black Rob, Big L, Royce Da 5'9, Eminem, Terror Squad, Common, The LOX, Jay-Z, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Reflection Eternal, The Beatnuts, Dead Prez, Necro, Shyne, OutKast, M.O.P., Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Big Pun, and lots of original samples mixed throughout... Peace to DJ Step One for doing the history on this one. 

Friday, April 03, 2020

The U.N. "World Domination" (The Mixtape)

The U.N. was a Long Island-based group consisting of Dino Brave, Mike Raw, Laku and Roc Marciano, whom had just separated from Busta Rhyme's Flipmode Squad to focus on The UN at the time. Having first appeared on Pete Rock's Petestrumentals album in 2001, the group had a solid co-sign entering the game with two cuts on what was otherwise an instrumental album from Pete Rock. As we awaited their debut LP, which would later be titled "UN or U Out" on Carson Daily's 456 Entertainment, the group released a slept-on mixtape called "World Domination" also in 2001. The street album/mixtape featured the cuts off Petestrumentals, as well as unpolished versions of tracks that would later appear on the LP, exclusive freestyles, tracks and remixes. Both the mixtape and LP raised their popularity in the streets, but gained very little mainstream attention. The UN also presented Roc Marciano's "Strength And Honor" mixtape independently in 2004, which kicked off with his self-produced "L.I. Stand Up;" a stand-out track in his catalog. Roc Marci re-emerged in 2010 with Marcberg, one of the rawest and grittiest albums of this generation, and created a sound coming out of New York that has carried its trend to the present day. On a somber note, I received a text earlier today that said that Mike Raw had passed away, so I wanted to share this project in his memory. His raspy delivery and solid production were integral pieces of The UN's appeal. Uniondale, Long Island stand up! Rest In Peace, Michael Marr aka Mike Raw! Listen below...

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

J.Period "Rage Is Back" (The Mixtape)

J.Period presents Rage Is Back, a mixtape featuring exclusive cuts/freestyles from Black Thought, Common, Blu, Talib Kweli, The Kid Daytona, and Shad! It also features tracks from Nas & Alicia Keys, Steele, Sean P & Styles, Q-Tip, GZA, Mobb Deep, Joey Bada$$ and a whole lot more. The exclusive cuts had been released prior, but now we have the full mix to sit with and enjoy. J.Period's mixes are always high-quality with lots of exclusive content, so enjoy Rage Is Back streaming below.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Nipsey Hussle x DJ Premier "The Premier Hussle" (Mixtape)

Several thousand people showed up to the Staples Center to honor the memory of Nipsey Hussle after his tragic death 1 year ago. He was shot and killed right outside the very clothing store that he owned and operated, but as an artist and community activist, Nipsey Hussle created a legacy that will be felt for generations of people who were inspired by his message of ownership, independence and persistence in the face of adversity. It's important to celebrate those we love while they're here, but it's also important to remember and honor their memory in absence, too. This project by Altered Crates was released 11 months ago, mixing Nipsey Hussle vocals and DJ Premier's beats - you may enjoy it and it'll give a chance to hear his voice in a unique way. R.I.P., Nipsey Hussle.