Friday, October 31, 2014

Diamond District "March On Washington" (Album Stream)

When Diamond District dropped In the Ruff on Mello Music Group in 2009, the gritty drums and grimy raps combined as elementally as hydrogen and oxygen. The D.C. Voltron of Oddisee, yU, and X.O. dusted off and revitalized a sound once consigned to the catacombs. Hailed as an instant classic, its impact reverberated throughout the underground and mainstream. The Washington D.C. City Paper called it the city’s best album in many years. During an era when lyricism was deemed too intellectual and samples too dated,Diamond District overturned conventional logic. They preserved the raw and made it righteous. A half-decade later, the holy trinity has returned with March on Washington. The truths remain timeless. Wisdom over rhythm. Slang turned into testament.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Killer Mike & El-P "The RTJ2 Tour Mixtape"

With the new Run The Jewels album now available both digitally and physically, El-P and Killer Mike are hitting the road to tour the record along with support from Ratking and Despot. Trackstar the DJ has put together a mix that combines the work of all of the artists involved, so fans can get familiar before hitting the shows. Check out the mix below by Trackstar the DJ.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Born Day, Pharoahe Monch! (Mix)

"Happy birthday, Pharoahe Monch! To help us honor a living legend, we enlisted the help of DJ, producer and Berklee professor Raydar Ellis to dig deep into the crates with the Pharoahe Monch Birthday Mix – a collection of his favorite verses from the Organized Konfusion veteran. The mix opens with an intro from comedian Hannibal Buress and features birthday wishes from DJ Premier, Lord Finesse, Jean Grae, Statik Selektah, Joey Badass and more. Widely regarded as a lyrical assassin, Pharoahe Monch has historically utilized his unmistakable flow and razor sharp wordplay to deliver seamless rhymes sporting the kind of nuance and intricate detail that could only come from a perfectionist and master of his craft. A voracious reader and insatiable spitter, he belongs to an anomalous and increasingly small class of wordsmiths that are generally immune to mediocrity and revered as the true embodiment of the term MC. Perennially prepared for battle and the most monstrous beats, Pharoahe Monch has moved crowds for decades with gems like “3,2,1”, “Rapid Eye Movement”, “Guerilla Monsoon Rap”, “Black Hand Side”, “Simon Says” and more. This mix takes fans back to bring them forward through one of the most consistent and continually impressive catalogs in the history of rap." Stream the mix below! Happy Born Day, Pharoahe. #T5DOA

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Boogiemonsters "Riders Of The Storm" (The Source, 10/94)

"Searching for an alternative, the Boogiemonsters find music and go all out on their debut album. What makes Riders Of The Storm: The Underwater Album one of the most satisfying cool-out albums since the Tribe's last effort, is how they successfully sustain their vibe through all 12 songs. The Boogie's soul and funk excursions never exceed the tempo of meditative cipher. The four MCs - Mondo, Vex, Yodared and Mynthric - mesh fine flows to music that's dark, groovy and eclectic. Few rappers are willing to submerge their voices (their egos!) for the sake of musical continuity and this unifying theme keeps the album moving seamlessly. The Boogiemonsters are true to their names and give you much bounce..." Listen to "Recognized Thresholds of Negative Stress" cont'd below...

"The Boogiemonsters are New Yorkers who hooked up at Virginia State University. In the video for their butter first single, "Threshold," they meditate on anger ("negative stress") under clear blue skies on a huge farm. The Virginia sun must have melted the self-hate and limited vision that most hip-hopper's celebrate and allowed the Boogies to reflect on where the monsters within really come from... For horror-core fans, there's "Old Man Jacob's Well," a murder tale told from the perspective of the killer and his intended child victim. A Jimi Hendrix-like guitar solo accompanies the narrative-like Greek chorus. The result? Melancholy over thrill. In replacing hip-hop's usual preoccupation with rage and self-destruction with restraint and detachment, Riders Of The Storm makes good on a simple idea: escapism through cool music." - The Source, October 1994.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Automatik "These Mean Streets" 12" (1997)

I first heard Automatik through Down 'N' Dirty Tribe, which I learned about via Tony Touch's Hip-Hop #44 Mixtape. Breadcrumbs! After "Inn'a Cipher," I looked for other tracks featuring Down N' Dirty Tribe and was directed to the B-Side on Automatik's "These Mean Streets" 12"; the track is called "No Man's Land." My assumption is that this record is out of New Jersey, with production from Paul Metto on both tracks. We also know the 12" was released in 1997 on Delux Extertainment but beyond that, it's been hard to dig up too much information. I'll be sure to post the Down N' Dirty Tribe record one of these days, so you can appreciate both tracks side by side. Got more info?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jake One "Seaplane" (Beat Tape)

A brand new beat tape from Seattle, Washington producer, Jake One. Having been a fan of his production since the Conception Records days (shouts to MoSS), I am posting this having not even heard the tape yet, but it's being billed as a tape for cats that like to get high? Even though it's clear to say, Jake One does not partake. Well, neither do I, so not sure if I will relate or understand the vantage point, but if it's got his hard-hitting drums, snares & more, it will do more to get me high off ... wait, okay I see what you did there. Stream it below, see if you catch the buzz.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Alchemist "How The Stars Got Their Breaks"

How the stars got their breaks ... let's look at The Alchemist: "While he's made a trademark of his mastery of weaving a vocal sample into his music, his apprenticeship in DJ Muggs' Soul Assassins clique pointed to a different direction for him. Of course, he didn't provide the beats himself when he was one half of The Whooliganz, who were from the same aural palette as House Of Pain, Funkdoobiest and Cypress Hill. Along with his partner Scott Caan, Alchemist was the teenage white corner of the clique. Their debut single didn't just disappear, however, with the anthemic and stompy "Put Ya Hands Up" doing moderate business, despite its overwhelming corniness. The album, largely produced by T-Ray and Baka Boyz, never saw the light of day, however. Al's vocals are simplistic, obviously influenced by Grand Puba, but welded firmly to the rather inflexible musical progression, and not a shadow of his more reflective recent spitting on the sublime "Different Worlds." An occasional emcee, Al's work behind the boards has developed from mini-Muggs, through to moderate, identity-finding work for the likes of Buc Fifty, until he found himself honing his style with cinematic beats for Mobb Deep, Infamous Mobb and Dilated. There is a link between the squally Soul Assassins sound and Alchemist's modern day movie music, but one that is increasingly threadbare as he perfects his style." - Hip-Hop Connection, 2005. Dope bonus video below...

Monday, October 27, 2014

El-P & Killer Mike "Run The Jewels 2" (Album Stream)

"El-P and Killer Mike are back with Run the Jewels 2. With El-P’s killer production and Killer Mike’s fiery bars, this combo just keeps coming correct. “Jeopardy” and “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” show off El-P’s sonic assault tendencies and they even brought in Travis Barker for added psychosis on “All Due Respect”. Killer Mike gets murderous throughout the album ripping apart hot button topics like the NFL’s domestic violence issues, Donald Sterling and even selling drugs to pregnant women. These tracks are the perfect antidote to the softer side of rap that has taking over a lot of the airwaves. This album might scare you and that seems to be exactly what they were going for. It’s big and gritty and at times terrifying – so lock your door and turn this up as loud as you can."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

T.I. x NPR "Microphone Check"

"I want to be here because the people put me here," says the Atlanta rapper, actor and businessman. T.I. spoke to Microphone Check about being mentored by Andrew Young, taking Biggie to Atlanta and Outkast to NYC, using songwriting to talk to himself, as well as everybody else, and the death of his protege, Doe B. Listen to the interview with the "South's Jay-Z" below.

Monday, October 20, 2014

You Must Learn Episode 2: Smif-N-Wessun "Dah Shinin"

Released January 10, 1995, Dah Shinin is celebrated for the synergy between Smif N Wessun’s two members, Tek and Steele, and the cohesive, gritty production courtesy of Da Beatminerz. In 1998, The Source placed the album in its list of 100 Best Rap Albums. What you’re about to hear is Tek and Steele take us through the backstory and the making of their quintessential classic. They talk about: their relationships with Biggie and Tupac; going to high school with Maxwell and Sean Price; being inspired by the work of Roy Ayers, and what the Doghilee actually was. “You Must Learn” was produced by Peter Oasis and was written by Dharmic X; the podcast features contributions from DJ Flipout and Soul Khan. Special thanks Kelly Green. Listen below to Episode 2.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jeru The Damaja Interview (Hip-Hop Connection, 1994)

"Every now and then an incredible hip-hop record comes out that makes you stop in your tracks. You start to nod you head ... it leaves you lost for words, and you're like 'what the f#ck was that?" "Come Clean" is that record. A real New York hardcore sound, straight from da underground, with a unique delivery from 22-year old Brooklyn MC, Jeru The Damaja: D Original Dirty Rotten Scoundrel...  The DJ Premier produced "Come Clean" is Jeru's reaction to the negativity prevalent in modern rap. "I felt like it's my job to bring forth a little positivity, so "Come Clean" is a chance for all the gangsta rappers and people of this nation to stop doing that. What they're doing is influencing the youth to a negative manner and they're not living this way themselves and that's perpetration, y'know. So basically come clean, drop all your acts and just rhyme... Right now I think hip-hop is about to return to its original form - lyrics and beats, no gimmicks, no fronts, just young people coming and expressing themselves to music. That's what hip-hop started as, expression to music, it was a non-violent way to release energy, stop others hurting each other." Jeru is also keen to point out he isn't on the preaching tip either. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for every rapper to come out saying we shouldn't do this, we shouldn't do that, that's not what I'm on... It's one thing to be a gangsta or to live a rough life and just tell your experiences, but it's another thing to make something up 'cos you think that's what people want to hear and it'll sell a lot of records." - HHC.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Artifacts "Art Of Facts" (Review, 1996)

The Artifacts' El Da Sensei & Tame One return from their underground gem, "Between A Rock & A Hard Place," with a new single, "Art Of Facts," for their sophomore effort, "That's Them." Getting love in The Source, the review says "The Artifacts have been excavated once again. Brick City's finest twosome - The Tame One and El The Sensei - have rematerialized in physical form to drop "Art of Facts," the first singe off of their sophomore album. Tame One kicks the first verse, showing why the duo has this game on lock: "With each beat released, I reach mad blocks / Analyzing more spots then Matlock / Now I got this rappin' shit on Padlock." El follows suit, warning wack MCs to be wary of the brick-hard steez the Artifacts come with: "I tear the roof off, and when I fuck, don't take my boots off / I shoot from the lip and your nose glow like Rudolph / You soft, so let me hit you off with all the hardness / Artifacts shit we got the hard shit regardless." Adding support to the production: "The production on the joint is hellatight, with a walking xylophone backed by a throbbing bass." (Update, 2018: a video has been released for the 20th anniversary reissue).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Maestro Fresh Wes "Naaah! Dis Kid Can't Be From Canada?" (1994)

"Maestro is no new kid on the block. A few years ago when he debuted in his native Canada, he blew up the spot and sold a number of units too. Now he's out to flaunt his mic skills to the world. His lyrics come varied - endless witty puns and metaphors are used as an umbrella for the subject matter he deals with. 'Nah..." showcases a penchant for straight-up, New York style braggadocious freestyling like "pray for the east," "mic mechanisms," his desire for "brown sugar," or when he kicks knowledge on a "higher level." The beats are also varied, although they are all jazz flavored..."

"The production, handled by Fresh Wes and Showbiz, is tight and the samples (especially the horns) are very rare, in turn providing heads with something new to nod to other than over-used breakbeats. By the end of the set it becomes obvious that Wes is a freestyler, and you soon realize why he describes himself as Fresh. What's most important is that he's fly on the mic and never leaves you yawning." - Hip-Hop Connection, May 1994 - Save a copy of the full review below.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GZA "I Gotcha Back" (Video, 1994)

Four total singles were released for Liquid Swords. The first of which was "I Gotcha Back," released August 22, 1994. Similar to Raekwon's single "Heaven & Hell," the song first appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Fresh, and was the first song written for the album. Describing the song's background and theme, GZA later stated "This was a short rhyme I wrote for one of my nephews. When I said, “My lifestyle so far from well, could’ve wrote a book called Age Twelve and Going Through Hell.” It’s for my nephew who was twelve at the time, and whose father, my brother, had been locked up since ‘88. So he wasn’t around for my nephew when times were rough, so I wanted to up my nephew a bit with this track. I had two nephews in the video, they were both real young at the time. And in video, they both had met up and shots rang out from some young gangsters. It’s a shame because both those kids in the video, both nephews of mine, ended up getting in trouble for ringing out shots and are both doing time right now. It’s kind of ironic. One of my nephews ended up getting eights years for that. So the whole song is a sad irony to me now." - Wax Poetics

Monday, October 13, 2014

CL Smooth "Man On Fire: The Freestyle Sessions" (Mix)

J.Period teams up with the one and only Mecca Don, legendary eMCee CL Smooth (of Pete Rock & CL Smooth), for this fire-breathing collection of 20 exclusive freestyles over 20 blazing hip-hop beats. Resurrecting the lost art of lyricism, the man behind classics like “T.R.O.Y.” & “Straighten it Out” comes back with a vengeance and solidifies his place as one of the greatest eMCees to ever touch a mic. Stream 2005's "Man On Fire: The Freestyle Sessions" below.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

DJ Premier "10 Classic Non-Gang Starr Productions" (Mix)

"DJ Premier’s catalog is incredible. If he was only known for his work with Gangstarr, he’d still be considered a Top 3 producer of all time, easily. But the fact that he’s worked with everyone from Biggie to Jay-Z to Nas to KRS-One makes his discography pretty much incomparable. And we’re not talking about obscure cuts that lost their appeal years ago. These are timeless songs! So for today’s edition of The 10s, we present Primo Treats: 10 Classic Non-Gangstarr Primo Joints. We’ll probably have to do a part two and three to this because dude has worked with everyone we love and always comes correct. All praises due to DJ Premier, thank you for all the music you’ve given us. It’s our pleasure to celebrate the work you’ve put in. I guess right now we should start the show." (Written by Stan Ipcus, presented by UpNorthTrips & mixed by UnitedCrates back in October, 2011).

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rapsody "Beauty & The Beast" (EP Stream)

JAMLA’s first lady has finally released her new project, Beauty & The Beast. The Soul Council-produced 10-track EP features Heather Victoria, Problem and more, and is mixed and mastered by the venerable icon, Young Guru. I think we're still being introduced to a talent in the making, a defining full-length is on the way and it'll be way more personal, empowering, and cerebral, but I'm enjoying the journey. Stream the EP below. (Updated: Deluxe Edition added below & I'm inclined to agree with what I said here, albums have since dropped and they were fantastic, earning much deserved praise!). Three more tracks have been added in the deluxe edition, check it out.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Diamond D "The Diam Piece" (Album Stream)

The legendary DITC producer-on-the-mic has dropped a new album, The Diam Piece, and it’s loaded with talented guests including Pete Rock, Elzhi, Pharoahe Monch, Masta Ace, Evidence, Kurupt, Guilty Simpson, Black Rob and more. To me, Diamond D has thee greatest album of the D.I.T.C. crew with "Stunts, Blunts, and Hip-Hop," but it's easy to argue for so many other classics in their collective catalog's. Been a while since I heard a return like this, so I'm dialed in & ready! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Poor Righteous Teachers "Black Business" (The Source, 10/93)

"After checking PRT's sophomore effort, Pure Poverty, more than a few fans of this Trenton, NJ, outfit were left disappointed, feeling as though the group had failed to live up to the high standards they set on their 1990 debut. But don't worry. On their third release, PRT returns with a strong and versatile showing. Even while they change up the styles, consistency is the key here, as all of the tracks swing with that unmistakable PRT groove - rootsy, funky and just a little off-beat, often reminiscent of "Rock Dis Funky Joint." The crew also rocks hard with the '93 style on standouts like "Nobody Move." "Mi Fresh" and "Here We Go Again," a head-nodding romp driven by a crisp snare track and a simple but deadly acoustic bassline." Check out "Nobody Move" below...

"On the lyrical tip, Wise Intelligent and Culture Freedom come again with the roughneck, ragga-muffin chatting - over strictly hip-hop beats this time - and Wise's crooning silky smooth internal melodies. Despite stiff competition from the Yardies, PRT shows that they can mash it with the best of the dancehall dons and are definitely for real. On the posse cut "Da Rill Shit," even their deejay Father Shaheed catches some wreck. Though fervent members of the Five Percent Nation, the PRT "P"-osse don't hit you over the head with rhetoric, choosing instead to skillfully slip in their messages into such tracks as "Black Business," "Ghetto We Love" and "144K," a song about the 144,000 Blacks from the 12 tribes of Israel who will be saved on Judgment Day. Though rap is their route out of poverty, they maintain the hardcore ghetto mentality that proves they're coming from the roots and thinking long-range." - The Source, October 1993. Full review is available below.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pete Rock & CL Smooth "I Got A Love" (The Source, 10/94)

"Back in 1991, Pete Rock & CL Smooth raised the hip-hop stakes with their first LP Mecca and The Soul Brother. Gone were the days where you could slide by with a simple drum loop and a James Brown shriek. Pete and CL were comin' with the bumpin' new slick sh!t. Their super-thick production and smooth Mount Vernon flow showed us everything our Bose speakers and Blaupunkt car stereos were capable of ... Three years later, with the overabundance of Pete Rock rip-offs, it's time for this duo to take back the corner. With their new single, "I Got A Love," the PR & CL chemistry mixes up an easy-going track that ignores all gangster gimmicks and hardcore tricks." Cont'd below...

"Pete lays a low-key "I Dream of Jeanie" xylophone hook over bangin' drums and guitar lines. And all the while, CL Smooth drops the slick Casanova rhymes, like a "Lots of Loving Part II." Both versions of the song are sure to soothe and at the same time rock the party ... Once again, Pete Rock and CL Smooth are coming with the much-needed relief from hip-hop's grim reality. And with tracks like "I Gotta Love" and others from the upcoming album, The Main Ingredient, it's plain to see that the Chocolate Boy Wonder and the Caramel King are here to please." - The Source (Oct. 1994)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Genovese "Genovese's Thesis" 12" (1997 + The Source)

Genovese is a Yonkers native. His first single was released on Die Hard Records in 1997; it featured Styles P and was called "Genovese's Thesis." The song received heavy support from DJ Clue on his mixtape, "Show Me The Money," & instantly became a gem in the underground. The original vinyl pressing had the name & title spelled wrong as Genovesee, but for those of us that came up in NYC, we remember that Genovese was a household name due to the drugstore business that had stores all over the 5 boroughs and Long Island. I believe his Great-Grandfather founded the business back in the 1920s. We could call this time in Hip-Hop, the Bad Boy Era & Genovese had artists like Biggie, Jermaine Dupri, Nas and more eager to put him on. That included potential rumors of him joining Junior M.A.F.I.A., which unfortunately never happened due to the death of The Notorious B.I.G. on March 9, 1997. The original connection to Styles P of The LOX, along with Kasino & Richie Thumbs, is how he got put on to Die Hard Records, but when Genovese became the first Italian-American hip-hop artist to sign a major record label (Universal Records) in 1999, Universal bought "Genovese's Thesis" from Die Hard Records to put on his debut solo album, "My America." Another case of misfortune, Genovese was released from Universal less than a month before his album was set to be released. It's only due to the internet that "My America" surfaced on P2P platforms & message boards (before blogs) and the album had more buzz than ever. Aside from "Genovese's Thesis," other 12" releases you can dig up include "Fuck Y'All" and "My Life," which came out around 2000. Beyond that, tracks with Nature, Half-A-Mil (R.I.P.), Lord Tariq, and more recent material with his cousin, Gustapo, as the group "First Cousins," which picked up some steam in the late 2000s, featuring tracks with Joell Ortiz, Ali Vegas, Cormega and others. Revisit the first single below, then - as always - follow the breadcrumbs ... until next time.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Hasan Salaam "Life In Black & White" (Album Stream)

"Hasan Salaam is back with his latest creation, Life In Black & White. This album has been a long time coming. As far back as the Music is My Weapon EP and his journey to West Africa, Hasan Salaam has kept us on edge for this project. After all is said and done, he delivers a gem. From the jump "Grey Area" sets the tone. As my favorite track on the album, Hasan Salaam delivers with flow and lyricism that could make your favorite rapper bow down. As the album progresses, we find that he doesn't stray from his original formula but actually adds to it. He continues to touch on social issues, society as whole, morality, the streets and even sex. You definitely won't get bored with it. There's plenty of wit, sarcasm and sensible punch lines to keep it entertaining. Other notable tracks include: "The Way" where he talks about reaping what you sow, "Jericho" touches on racism and government, "#OGJM" is something for the haters, "Pain Killer" and "Scars Over Scars" also contribute to the cause. "Like Silence" is about relationships and the radio ready "Mile High Club" is a laid back vibe for the ladies. One could easily get lost in this album because there are so many songs. Yet, they are all different. Each telling a tale of Salaam's experiences and views of the world around him and abroad. The appropriately titled Life In Black & White is definitely one for the books." Stream it below.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Jamani ‘Y’all Know My Stelo’ 12”

Honestly, I don’t remember much about this record. Jamani was an MC likely from Orlando, FL because that’s where it was recorded and the label, Faces, is also from Orlando. It’s got a mid-90s flavor, maybe ’96(?) with production by DJ Nasty for Hitmen Productions, an ambitious name for a production company. The 12” has only the one song, with the instrumental on the B-Side, kinda rare for a time when artists were sneaking bonus tracks and their harder tracks on the B-Side. Even still, it’s a solid record I’ve always recommended to people. It can be purchased for under $10 if you hear it and dig it. Meantime, you can stream it below and check out the sound.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Pharoahe Monch "Simon Says" Get The F*ck Up (Video)

"Y'all know the name Pharoahe f#ckin' Monch, ain't a damn thing changed.," exclaims Pharoahe on his smash hit, "Simon Says," in '99. Argued to be in the Rawkus' top 50 songs by Complex, they said and I agree, "There are artist that need synths, ghostwriters, a big name guest, and/or a bunch of other extras to make a club banger. Pharoahe Monch did it with only a four note Godzilla sample. Throw in some clever rhymes about breatesses, Tomb Raider, and ballin and viola, you have yourself one of this best hip-hop bangers ever. If you didn't "get the fuck up," chances are you're already dead. Our condolences." The song (despite its sample issues) is a hit to this day, keep it in rotation!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Capone-N-Noreaga "Unsigned Hype" (October, 1995)

"By now everyone should be familiar with the resurgence Queens has made in the hip-hop arena. In particular, Queensbridge has played a major role (Mobb Deep, Nas), and with artists like Capone-N-Noreaga waiting in the wings, it doesn't appear that the borough's most notorious area will be falling off any time soon. By just glancing at the names of these two brothas, you can quickly figure out what type of vibe they're on. In the same vein as Nas Escobar and the Wu-Gambinos, this two man crew is strictly on some kingpin, "on top of the world" shit. But the topics aren't limited to drug deals and blastin' their way to the top; they focus more on the good things acquired once the pinnacle is reached... With a flow that resembles their Queensbridge counterparts, only more laid-back, Capone & Noreaga create vivid descriptions of the good life on their tracks "Creme" & "1/2 A Mill." Amazingly, the list of all that can be acquired when life is good seems to never end, as the two never get repetitive when listening to all that they've earned... Capone & Noreaga's most beneficial quality could be the tight production that accompanies their modest but vivid rhyme styles. With laid back tracks topped with thick baselines, the crew's potential to impress rap fans outside of their region is unlimited." (Unsigned Hype, The Source 10/95). Listen to the "1/2 a Mill" demo below.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Bahamadia "Total Wreck" (Review, 1994)

"Total Wreck" was the first 12" release from Bahamadia's classic album, "Kollage." While the album was released on April 2, 1996, "Total Wreck" dropped back in 1994 with production by Guru of Gang Starr (R.I.P.). The original test press had a sticker on the cover (pictured above), saying "She's dangerous with the one, two, check." The Source (10/94) reviewed the record saying, "Back In Philly, people say that I'm da jawn!" So states Bahamadia(h), the latest MC to burst out the re-invigorated rap music scene in Philadelphia. The city that was once hip-hop's second home experienced a serious falling-off period from '87 to the early '90s. But now things are back on track, and one of the reasons is this gravely-voiced female MC with a metaphysical-dope style. Bahamadia got her break when Guru of Gang Starr heard a taste of her local Philly hit single "Funk Vibe." He was impressed by her rhyme skill and he put her on Gang Starr's self-produced Illkid Records sampler with the intention of building a buzz and eliciting the interest of labels. The tactic worked (as it did with Jeru The Damaja's "Come Clean") and now this sassy lady is positioned to show the world she can flow."

"Total Wreck" is a chunky mid-tempo groove with a crisp snare, precise hi-hats and quick cuts on the hook from DJ Ski (Beatz). Bahamadia sounds like a ruffneck (a la Rage) but her distinctive baritone gives her a unique edge in the crowded world of MCing. Her metaphors are street-smart funny ("The verse stays stuffed like a girl when she's knocked up..." / "I'll burn like a prostitute's genitals"). It's a pretty catchy combination, and with six different versions, there's a mix sure to fit any format." Check out the original video released for Bahamadia's song "Total Wreck" below. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

Tonedeff "Hunter" (EP Stream)

Tonedeff's second album, "Polymer," is about breaking himself down into fragments - in this case, it consists of 4 EPs. The 3rd EP, "Hunter," is Tonedeff coming to terms with his own competitive nature in life. "I’ve devoted most of my life in pursuit of this cultural idealism that has shaped me for better and for worse, so I needed to really deal with it in an honest way in a style I’m rooted in. These songs are the closest things to traditional ‘Boom Bap on the album’, yet synth-flavored."

Friday, October 03, 2014

Happy Born Day, Black Thought! + Mix

"When the discussion of underrated MCs comes up, Black Thought's name is frequently mentioned. And we take that as an insult. It's 2012 (2014), and the Philly bred frontman from The Roots has been slaying every mic in his path for two decades now, in concerts across the world and on over a dozen LPs, without taking a breather. He's even managed to stay relevant with rap purists while holding down a gig on Jimmy Fallon's late night NBC talk show. Tariq Trotter is a one of one in this rap shit. There is no other artist with his stage presence, stamina, versatility, and straight up skills to pay the bills. He's the quintessential master of ceremonies. To celebrate his birthday, we give you a special edition of The 10s titled Thought At Work, because he stays on his job, and doesn't ever let up. He’s a monster live, but his recordings are just as impressive, and he's held his own on tracks with everyone from Big Pun to Ghostface Killah to Mos Def, not to mention his countless classics with The Roots .... next time you want to talk underrated MCs, please leave his name out. Black Thought only belongs in the Top 5 Dead Or Alive discussion moving forward." This mix was originally presented by UpNorthTrips in 2012, with words by Stan Ipcus & mixed by UnitedCrates. Happy Born Day to Black Thought, as well as myself & Talib Kweli. Listen to the mix below, no tracklist needed.