Friday, February 27, 2015

Ghostface & BadBadNotGood "Sour Soul" (Album Stream)

"Sour Soul" is a collaboration album between Ghostface Killah & BadBadNotGood, produced entirely by BadBad & Frank Dukes. The album is 12 tracks, with features from DOOM, Danny Brown, eLZhi, & more. I've heard great things about this project thus far, so I look forward to digging into it too. Ghostface keeps my hope alive for the Wu, he's been carrying the flag. You can stream the album below, and I'm sure the Instrumental release is on its way, too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Superblenders "Blu & Exile + Fashawn" Mini-Mix

An excuse to revisit this mix is hardly needed, but when it came up in the shuffle today, I made it a point to make note and post about it. At the time, Blu, Exile and Fashawn were doing a short tour in Europe, so to promote their concerts and to get in the mood, Superblenders made a mixtape with their favorite music by Blu, Blu & Exile, Johnson & Jonson, Fashawn and C.R.A.C Knuckles. Unfortunately the popular streaming services won't do anything to remind us of the many classic mixtapes that were released over the years, so it's important to keep that culture alive, too.

Friday, February 20, 2015

50 Cent & G-Unit "A History of Violence" (Vibe, 2007)

50 Cent was born in 1975 ... 8 years later, his mother is found dead in her home, due to a mysterious fire. In '94, 50 catches a drug charge ... a month later, while executing a warrant, they find dirt in his Queens home and he's sentenced to 6 months of boot camp in Beaver Dams, NY. 6 years later, he's involved in an altercation with Murder Inc at the Hit Factory ... he suffers a knife wound in the fight. 2 months later - after 50 has recorded and released his hit "How To Rob" - 50 is shot 9 times outside his grandmother's house ... he survives the shooting. 11 months later, in Jersey City, gunmen open fire at 50 and his crew; authorities believed the shooting was directed at 50. A year after that - in 2004 - Young Buck catches a case at the Vibe Awards for stabbing the man who allegedly punched Dr. Dre earlier in the evening. In Feb of 2005, after 50 announces that The Game is no longer a part of G-Unit, an alleged associate of The Game was shot. In February of 2006, Tony Yayo is brought in for questioning over the death of Busta Rhymes' manager, but is never charged. Tony Yayo turned himself in for a separate assault the following year, after its alleged that he attacked the son of Jimmy Henchmen. At the time of this article, the last piece of violence occured in 2007 when Tony Yayo's Queens home is shot up, but no one was hurt. As you can imagine, more has allegedly transpired since, but at this point, who can keep track of it all?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cover "Underground Flow" 12" (1995)

Cover The Child of Detruction released this 12" in 1995 via Mad Dog Records. Some people might be familiar with the Bronx (graffiti) crew C.O.D. (Children of Destruction). Flipping the Isaac Hayes sample to "The Look Of Love," the production is handled by Michelob who also features on the track. That sample was also used by Special Ed & others around the same time. On the flip side of the 12" is a nice remix to "Underground Flow," credited to Ski for Rok-A-Blok, which is Ski Beatz known for Camp Lo, Jay-Z's "Feelin It" and so many other bangers over the years. There were a few pressings of this 12", including a clear blue vinyl release, which is probably harder to dig up. You can debate which version is the best, the full 12" is available to stream below. There's also a video HERE.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ChillxWill "Almighty" (Album Stream)

Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, Bakersclub member ChillxWill resurrects 90's east coast flavor with his third solo release "Almighty." The 13-track strong full-length finds the skilled emcee rapping about various topics, while the production is throwback-sounding throughout, with Mista Izm, Figub Brazlevic, Wirez, So What?, and Mpadrums providing a constant supply of jazzy and gritty head-nodding boom-bap instrumentals, fully grounded in that timeless golden era sound. Vocal assistance is provided by Bakersclub comrades The 6th Letter, BriskInTheHoue, and P. Blackk. Originally released via Chopped Herring Records on vinyl, it's now available on CD and Cassette, as well.  This is a really dope project that I still keep in rotation, so stream it below & order a copy, too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cyhi The Prynce "N.A.A.C.P." (Free Download)

CyHi the Prynce delivers his BHP2: "N.A.A.C.P.", which stands for "New Artists Aligning Cultural People" mixtape – the official follow-up to last year’s Black Hystori Project. The mixtape carries 11 tracks with production from Organized Noize, Mannie Fresh, Tech Beatz and more. I'm looking forward to an official full-length release from Cyhi, he's got bars. Stream/download below. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Kev Brown & Hassan Mackey "That Grit" (Album Stream)

"Both the Maryland based producer-on-the-mic and the Rochester, NY emcee have previously worked together various times, but this mini-album marks the first time the two embark on a full project. Most boom-bap enthusiasts should already be well acquainted with both Kev Brown and Hassaan Mackey: double threat Kev Brown already showcased his skills on microphones as well as production boards on countless releases and has been dubbed "king of basslines" by fans worldwide. In addition to his solo recordings Kev's credits include beats for heavyweights like Busta Rhymes, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Jazzy Jeff, and Marley Marl just to name a few, as well as handling entire album production for LMNO, Kaimbr, and Raw Poetic. Hassaan Mackey released a string of albums, including a full-length LP with Apollo Brown, and appearances on releases by Oddissee, Kaimbr, The Left and L'Orange.  Recorded during a series of impromptu bus and train trips Hassaan took from Rochester to visit Kev in Maryland, "That Grit" was created with a spontaneous approach, reflecting both Mackey's freestyle background and Brown's proven "random joints" formula. Entirely produced by Kev Brown and featuring his signature bassline-driven and raw but soulful sound, "That Grit" consists of an intro, eight full-length tracks and six instrumentals." Stream it below.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monk-One "When We Were Fly" (Mix)

The NBA’s leap from cult item to big time coincided with an incredible period of recorded music. It was a golden age of playing above the rim and of buzzer-beaters. It was also a great time for disco-rap-and-soul music hybrids, and of local hits devoted to hoop dreams and its greatest weavers. This mix is a snapshot – of a time, of a groove, of an evolution, and of a basketball fever – courtesy of Monk-One and our collective memory. When We Were Fly features the beats, sounds and voices of A Tribe Called Quest, Biggie Smalls, Biz Markie, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dominique Wilkins, Dr. J, G-Mann, Jason Kidd, John Starks, Larry Bird, Kurtis Blow, Magic Johnson, Manute Bol, Marv Albert, Patrick Ewing, Redman, Sadat X, Grand Puba & AG, Shaquille O'Neal, Wu All-Stars, so much more and, of course, the enthusiasm of millions. Stream this ambitious mix below.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Da King & I "Tears" (Behind The Scenes Interview)

If you've been following the different blogs I've had over the years, you're familiar with that fact that I post about Da King & I fairly often. Specifically their single "Tears" off "Contemporary Jeep Music" in 1993. I'd purchased the album on cassette, had a couple of the cassingles, but it was the homie Petey Cologne (who later worked at The Halftime Show with DJ Eclipse) who had the 12" and hipped me to the incredibly smooth "Darp Vibe" Remix. I remember vividly popping in the 60 minute TDK cassette, recording a copy and listening back on it for days. Naturally, I eventually purchased a copy, but for a while that dub was all I had. YouTube (in the U.S.) has taken down most copies of Da King & I's videos, you just don't see them - especially not in good quality - but they exist. A few years back, a video clip of Izzy Ice & DJ Majesty was unearthed with behind the scenes footage from the making of the "Tears" video: discussing the record's concept, as well as the meaning of Da King & I, and briefly featuring Jamal of the group Illegal (also on Dallas Austin's Rowdy Records at the time). Lastly, they mention the track "Kingpin" with Pudgee The Phat Bastard, which is snuck on the B-side to "Tears" but is not featured on the "Contemporary Jeep Music" LP. Watch below.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Supastition "Honest Living EP" (Album Stream)

"This is a collection of songs dedicated to the working class and loosely inspired by NC’s failing economy. Supastition was inspired to write the EP after NC became the first state to eliminate federal unemployment benefits in 2013. A lot of people, including Supa, felt the effects of it. While he was searching for a job himself, Supastition documented those struggles first hand with the Honest Living EP. Croup is no stranger to Supastition music. They recorded their first official song (Adrenaline) on Supastition's The Deadline. Since then, they've been working together and crafting songs. Croup is one of the few producers who didn't change his sound just to get major placements. As a unit, Supa and Croup both refuse to compromise their sound and only care to appeal to those who dig that vintage sounding hip hop." You can stream the EP below...

Thank you to all of the supporters worldwide who gave this EP an Honest Listen. If you’re loving the music then please spread the word to those who you think will enjoy it as much as you do. As someone who had a hand in this project - as Supastition's manager & promotion - truly, thanks to every person this reaches. - DJ Sav One (Happy 1 Year Anniversary to "Honest Living")

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pharoahe Monch "Lost In Translation" (Free Download)

Pharoahe Monch's "Lost In Translation" is a collection of previously released songs from his solo albums as well as features from 2000 to 2015. Love being the consistent theme birthed the decision for a Valentine's Day 2015 release. Featured on this set are appearances from Justin Timberlake, Jill Scott, Eric Roberson, dEnAuN, Brandon Williams, Sergio Mendes, Will.I.Am, Robert Glasper, Sa Ra, and Mela Machinko. The set also features one new track “Home (HGH)” featuring Phonte’ and Tamisha. Stream below, also available for Free Download, do check it out.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lord Finesse At Fat Beats Opening Day (August 1996)

From DJ Eclipse, a performance clip from Fat Beats grand opening day of the 6th Ave location. Lord Finesse on the mic and DJ Three on the wheels.  You even see the owner of the store Joseph Abajian pop back behind the tables for a minute to talk to Three.  Lord Finesse killed these two verses and had the crowd oohing and ahhing with his punchlines.  It meant a lot to us that Finesse came by because he was the biggest name we had come through all day.  And once again you get a glimpse of some of the other people in the store who were just vibing out to the sounds or waiting their turn to get on the mic. Some classic memories from Fat Beats. Check it out below.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mobb Deep "Shook Ones, Part II" (The Source, 2/95)

"When you hear that Prodigy and Havoc have returned, this time it's not the West Coast kids from the S.O.C., it's them n!ggaz from Mobb Deep, New York, who pulled cards with butter skills and dragged insiders to "Cop Hell" a couple years ago. While most fans never heard the song, the few who did were hooked. Their music was tight as a prom date; they told the truth: "Hell yeah, n!gga, we wanna kill cops!" No surprise tho', the song was conspicuously absent from their first album on Island Records. Now, to prepare you for their second album, on a new record label, "Shook Ones, Part II" is being released. After Prodigy drops: "I'm only nineteen but my mind is older / and when shit gets for real, my warm heart turns colder," Hav takes his back: "For every rhyme I write, it's 25 ta life / yo, it's a must, the gats we trust, are safeguardin' my life." With hardcore lyrics over gritty, blunt-lighting beats, "Shook Ones..." will compel heads to bob as they release the complete package."

"An eerie guitar fills the track's background and sets the mood as its repetitive, trance-inducing rhythm remains continuous as hard-hitting snares never stop hittin'. It's the perfect background for this young duo that loves to talk noise. Out of all the younguns trying to pop that tough guy shit, none of them really have the lyrical roughness of this team. Featherweight n!ggaz take flight! Mobb Deep, the "official Queensbridge murderahs," are coming..." - The Source. Full review below...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Slum Village "Press Kit" ("Fantastic, Vol.2", 1998)

"Slum Village are on the verge of releasing their debut album, "Fantastic Vol.2" into the world. The album is a supreme effort nearly three years in the making, one that christens the Detroit trio as the next generation of soulful, vintage hip-hop. The members of Slum Village have known each other since they were in their teens, having grown up in the same Conant Gardens neighborhood of Detroit. Even though they haven't put out anything beyond a handful of singles, already their peers are singing their praises. In addition to the torch passing by A Tribe Called Quest, everyone from The Roots to Common to D'Angelo have singled out Slum Village for rejuvenating passion in hip-hop music. "Simply stated, if it weren't for Slum Village, I'd quit the business and go back to college," says Questlove of The Roots. Why are there so many guardian angels looking out for a relatively anonymous trio from Motown? "That's a good ass questions," T3 admits. "I guess it's because we're musicians and...we try to make music that other musicians can respect... I think that those other artists feel what we're doing." There's also the fact that Slum Village isn't entirely anonymous; in fact, chances are you've been hearing a variation of their music - and loving it - for years. Producer Jay Dee is also a part of the production team The Ummah, and has helped concoct beats for Q-Tip (Amplified), D'Angelo (Voodoo), Common (Like Water For Chocolate), A Tribe Called Quest's last two albums, classic joints like The Pharcyde's "Runnin," "Stakes Is High" from De La Soul, and numerous remixes for artists like Brand New Heavies and Janet Jackson." Cont'd below...

"Slum Village's Fantastic Vol.2 is colored by that same old-school, soul-drenched sound that makes a Jay Dee production instantly recognizable - lush keyboard swells underneath sparse drum taps and funkdafied rhythm stabs - except this time, he's got Baatin, T3 and himself on the mic to compliment the steady-nod feeling. On Fantastic Vol.2, Slum Village reveal a vibrant palette of musical styles: there's the hypnotizing, soul minimalism of "Players" and "Get Dis Money," the post-disco bounce of "What's It All About" (with Busta Rhymes), and the irreverence and acumen of "I Don't Know," where the groups rhymes are integrated with artfully chopped up James Brown phrases. Other guests on the album include Kurupt ("Forth and Back"), Jazzy Jeff, and venerable producer Pete Rock ("Once Upon A Time"), confirmation that Slum Village are a part of that movement in hip-hop intent on being culturally grounded and true to the lineage of great black music." - Press Kit

"Sometimes our reality seems to be even better than our dreams." - Baatin

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rubberoom "Gothic Architecture" (1995)

As promised, let's take a deeper look into Rubberoom's "Gothic Architecture" project from 1995. The 10-track cassette was released in 1995 on Elastic Recordings. The Chicago crew of both eMCees & producers were celebrated (below) in the second issue of "Caught In The Middle" magazine. Caught In The Middle Magazine was the brainchild of Kevin Beacham (Creator/Co-Owner) and J-Bird (Owner/Co-Creator) and was produced out of Chicago in conjunction with graphic designers, Boom Design. J. Bird managed Rubberoom & if you check out the "Street Theme" post, you can read how J. Bird and Kevin Beacham connected Rubberoom & Atmosphere, as well as how they landed positions at RSE. The review says, "If making dope records is no guarantee of successful stage shows, the same is true the other way around. Fortunately, Rubberoom successfully translate their  live skills to vinyl with their single (promo only) "Synapse Gap" and EP - Gothic Architecture in stores now. The music lives up to the "Gothic" title, creating an eerie, foreboding atmosphere that other groups have aimed for but didn't reach." It further adds, "Weaving in and out of the beats are dissonant washes of sound from jazz and bugged out modern classical and film noir soundtrack type music. The samples are not the usual breakbeat fare. If I heard them in their original forms, I'd never guess it, but the samples are put to create a straight up Hip-Hop sound." 

Praising Rubberoom's live show, the overall review of the album is equally positive and is summed up by, "It's lovely, chaos, anarchy, music..." "Gotchic Architecture" is now available on Rubberoom's Bandcamp page, where the digital version is now 13 tracks, including bonus instrumentals. If you didn't grow up in the Chicago Hip-Hop scene, you may have missed this release, so I recommend you give it a listen below. As always, hit the tags for more & follow their breadcrumbs. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mos Def & Kweli Are Black Star (CMJ, 1998)

"Mos Def and Talib Kweli have made a record to deliver listeners from the tyranny of the Native Tongues posse's new generation. Def and Kweli follow a grassroots approach to lyrical execution here, incorporating a radiant burst of Afro-centric positivity that floats around tight, bouncy rhymes that jab like Muhammad Ali in his prime. Even though Black Star generously borrow hooks from the hip-hop heroes they grew up on like BDP and Slick Rick, these shoplifting tactics are more faithful odes rather than get-money reconstructions, shaped from the imagination of a couple of kids who've been eating, drinking and smoking hip-hop their whole lives. This is an hour-long manifesto made for the sheer love of the craft, a record that will make you realize why the hell you dropped eight bucks on your first rap tape back in the day." (CMJ New Music Report, 11/98). Reflecting back on the album, CMJ added months later, "Mos Def and Talib Kweli truly are the best alliance in hip-hop," with Mos's stylized grainy delivery as yang to the smart, spoken words of Kweli's yin. With a sense of self-determination, the hands of DJ Hi-Tek and the dope single, "Definition," Black Star mapped out hip-hop's future against the template of its past." (CMJ New Music Report, 1/99). With bars like, "At exactly which point do you start to realize / That (life without knowledge is death in disguise?) That's why, knowledge of self is like life after death / Apply it, to your life, let destiny manifest..." Mos Def & Talib Kweli delivered a timeless classic. Check out "Definition" below.

Monday, February 09, 2015

SOULfisticated "100% J Dilla - The Detroit Champion" (Mix)

This mix is dedicated to the life and art of James Yancey aka J Dilla, may he rest in peace. 100% Dilla features Common, Erykah Badu, Q Tip, Illa J, Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Spacek, Slum Village, De La Soul, Frank n Dank, Mos Def, Nine Yards, Natives of the Underground, 5 Elementz and much more. Released 2 years ago & mixed by Jayson Wynters, I hope you dig the vibe. R.I.P. J Dilla.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Common (Sense) in Rap Pages (February, 1995)

Common (Sense) in Rap Pages (February, 1995) Page 20
Common (Sense) in Rap Pages (February, 1995) Page 21

"With songs like "I Used to Love H.E.R.," Common obviously wants to help guide Hip-Hop to another level. "I'd just like to see Hip-Hop come back to the creativity. I just want the soul back. I want it to progress, but for us to keep some elements that were there back in the days. Like when you heard Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, BDP and Super lover C, it was a feeling that you had that just hit you. It was Hip-hop expression for our people." From Common's feature in the Unsigned Hype section of The Source in '91, to linking with No I.D., and discussing his sophomore (classic) album, 'Resurrection,' this is a solid interview with Common in Rap Pages from February, 1995. Whether he meant 'Hip-Hop in its Essence is Real' or 'Hearing Every Rhyme,' Common's 'I Used to Love H.E.R.' will remain one of Hip-Hop's greatest tracks and metaphors. And, just as it was '95, “We’ve wasted too much oxygen on the never-ending Hip-Hop debate over who’s real and who’s not — “real.” Stop it.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Black Moon "How Many eMCees?" (Video)

Black Moon's "Enta Da Stage" was an important record for me and for New York. For me, the promotion of the album and its eventual release took me from middle school, over that summer, and into my freshman year in High School. My boy's older brother had an advance copy, back when "Who Got Da Props?" was already burning up New York radio from the year prior ('92). When "How Many eMCee's? dropped, it was the summer of '93 and the album dropped in the fall, taking me into a new school and a whole new stage in my life. Due to all the remixes, it forced me to dig more into vinyl; I started making tapes and really was consumed by the culture. Da Beatminerz's production brought a new flavor to the city & as a kid from Queens, that just became what Hip-Hop from Brooklyn sounded like to me. Later, the Wu had 36 Chambers reppin' Staten Island; Nas hit with Illmatic & Mobb Deep with The Infamous for Queens & maybe with all that (and more), Black Moon got somewhat left out the conversation of who originally brought NY back ... but like all things, the first one over the hill takes the hit. I think in retrospect, history remembers Black Moon in its rightful place & the whole Boot Camp Clik has been solidified as legends in the game. Listen below.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Fugees "A New Birth In Hip Hop" (1994)

I seen this OG sticker on an old notebook & had to post it up real quick. It's from back when the Fugees released their debut album in '94, 'Blunted on Reality.' Their lead single 'Boof Baf' didn't connect at all, so it's really thanks to Salaam Remi, who had the hand of God with his remixes to 'Vocab' and 'Nappy Heads' for really giving that album any life. Of course, they'd return with 'The Score,' which was commercially a grandslam. Sticking with 'Blunted On Reality,' I still get good vibes from 'Nappy Heads' and Lauryn Hill's targeted lyrics will forever resonate as social commentary: "Peace to Mr. Magic, things are getting tragic / Now we on some new stuff, I never feared the Ku Klux / My own clan is actin up, I blame it on the Phillie blunt / What you gonna do, kids are acting oooohhhh..." Ya know, I hope she's well, I can never quite tell. The last time I physically saw her perform, it was uninspired, but I've been in this industry long enough to see that to some of our most forward-thinking artists. Lauryn said, "I pay the toll fighting for my own soul," in Vocab below.