Thursday, January 17, 2019

DJ Clue "The Professional" Bio / Press Kit


"It's all about knowing that a song is hot before other people," says Clue. Do you remember when DJs broke records? Yup, that was a thing - pardon my sarcasm to the younger cats reading. I've said this before, but NO ... I was never DJ Clue's biggest fan; but acknowledged that he always knew where his strengths were, and that was at getting the exclusives and breaking records in the mixtape era of rap. Smart in business, too, for sure - he started his tape series at #24, making heads think they were already behind on discovering his tapes, lol ... then, navigating and capturing market share with every new tape he released, flipping that into a radio show, label deal, etc etc all without a visit from the Feds. Revisiting "The Professional," which was released on Roc-A-Fella Records in 1998, tracks from DMX + Ruff Ryders, Nas, Nature, Big Pun + Cam'Ron + Noreaga + Canibus, Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, and more carried what were always front-loaded mixes. In the mix-tape days, you wanted to be in the top 5-8 tracks because we'd just run them back, over and over as the hottest of what was new at the time. The favorite track for most is normally "Fantastic 4," but I was a Queens cat, I went straight to "Queens Finest" with Nas (and that Nature track was flames, too) ... "Get brains with the f#ckin Hilfiger, nah..." In business, being first is a huge advantage.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Da Wolfpack "Definition" (Video)


Da Wolfpack (Omar Epps and his cousin, G-Sharp) dropped "Definition" (produced by Akshun) on cassette and vinyl in '95 on Emotional Records. The video for the single had decent rotation at the time, but I'm not sure how much distribution the physical copies had, I was never able to cop the cassette. While the cousins formed the group in '91, it's not a surprise that after the success of Juice in '92, Omar Epps was able to leverage his notoriety into bigger opportunities for his music. I can't say too much on what happened after '95 (because I don't know), but you might argue that loyalty to his fam got in Epps' way, I'll let you decide: when faced with the opportunity of doing a bunch of joints with DJ Premier (funded by a label), O tried to reach back and grab his homie who made beats instead. I DO respect his loyalty (honestly) & it's not to say his homie did or didn't make dope beats, too, (especially if it was Akshun, he had lots of dope stuff with Pac, Special Ed & more) but I'm saying, we could have had joints with DJ Premier also! lol. I doubt there is regret, Omar Epps' career has been long and distinguished so certainly things worked out just fine, and if you think about it, '95 was "Higher Learning" and '97 was the slept-on gem "First Time Felon," so he was busy with plenty of dope 'ish. Anyhow, let's go back to 1995 and peep "Definition," you can find more music from Omar and G-Sharp on streaming platforms, do some Googles.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Diamond D "Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop" - Nuff' Said


In an argument over the greatest solo album of all members of the Diggin' in The Crates crew, some say "Jewelz" by O.C., others point to Big L's debut & it'd be fair to be point to half a dozen others, but how about Diamond D's "Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop"? Run through the tracklist, see if you can't make a case for it. Yup, it's all right there. My homie - and very first business partner - was a huge fan of this album. I'm confident that his copy was a bootleg cassette, but he definitely put me on and we sat with this album from start to finish before numerous sessions on the 1s & 2s. We grew up in Queens, but he was more of a West Coast Hip-Hop head, so this was a sleeper choice to him. Diamond is not my favorite MC or producer in the crew, nor is this my FAVORITE album from the D.I.T.C., but yeah, it just might be the best, most-cohesive in their catalog. I'd love to hear what members of the crew have to say about it. Either way, here's a 25th anniversary mix from Hellee Hooper that mixes original tracks with dope samples; an ill mix if you're a fan of this classic album or just dope hip-hop all around. Give it a listen.


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Da King & I, on a September Morning

"A September morning life didn't seem the same way it should be / I was just mourning, thinking of all the wrong that was done to me / Check me"
Much love to DJ Majesty & Izzy Ice of Da King & I ... their classic album "Contemporary Jeep Music" from 1993 is still getting consistent burn on this September morning in 2018. My favorite track was definitely the remix to "Tears" even with the heavy competition of "Flip Da Scrip" (original and DJ Premier remix), Mr. All That, Krack Da Weazel and more. I'd be the first one online to cop a new album or some vaulted material from back in the day. I'm sure I've traced their backgrounds in past posts, from Howie Tee, Chubb Rock, and Spencer Bellamy of East Flatbush Project, etc to Majesty's role in the classic hood film, Juice, in 1992. This is just the vibe I'm on today so had to go back and revisit the album and especially "Tears," go dig it up and do the same. Meanwhile, check out this freestyle from '92, and if you're interested in more info, you can find them both on IG easy enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

July 8, 1994: Invitation to Fat Beats on E 9th Street


July 8, 1994: "In the late seventies Hip-Hop music was being sold out of the trunks of automobiles. On July 14 you and your associates are invited to Fat Beats, New York's unique Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and affiliates music store. Fat Beats grand opening will have art work by Andrew Marzan, Carlos Paul, Chris Nesbitt, George Guzman, Nuri Bell, Sean Mitaynes, and Zak. The fat beats will be provided by William Bagley. Drinks and refreshments will be served and the party will start at 7pm. Fat Beats is located at 323 East 9th Street Between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Hope to see you. Sincerely, Joseph Abajian (Pres/Founder of Fat Beats)." Joe Abajian aka DJ Jab is easily one of my favorite people I've met in this music thing; he's always been a stand-up guy and to this day, the direct line to him is always open. I'd love to visit Fat Beats, now in LA; it's on my to-do list.