Monday, April 27, 2015

O.C. "Rap Pages Magazine" (Feb, 1995)

The interview above is from the February '95 issue of Rap Pages Magazine. From coming up with Pharoahe Monch & Prince Po of Organized Konfusion to 'Back To The Grill,' 'Time's Up' and his debut album, 'Word...Life,' O.C. breaks down his influences and some of the backstories to his project.

Monday, April 27, 2015

K-Def's Live Mega Mix on the Ed Lover Show

Iconic producer/digger/DJ/music connoisseur K-Def recently was a guest at The Ed Lover Show on Sirius XM and dug deep in his crates, playing mostly 80s and 90s Hip-Hop classics. Stream the live, recorded mix below, compliments of JNOTA, ReDEFinition Records, posted at 2DopeBoyz

Monday, April 27, 2015

Black Milk "If There's A Hell Below" (Instrumental Album)

Detroit's Black Milk's 6th solo LP, "If There's A Hell Below," painted pictures from a first person perspective of someone raised and living in one of America's toughest cities, and the ups and downs of pursuing a career in the arts. The stories reflect how he and the people where he's from feel or have felt - if there's a hell below, maybe we're already in it. This limited edition Record Store Day double LP features the previously unreleased instrumentals showcasing the versatility and impact of Black Milk's production. I recommend the physical copy, but definitely stream it below.

Monday, April 27, 2015

DJ A-Mu "Canadian Classics" (Mixtape)

Ever just search through the database of Soundcloud? It's amassed so much amazing content over the years, so it's no surprise some quality stuff pops up from time to time and catches my attention. Managing an artist from Canada, it's beneficial to me to be up on the history of Canadian Hip-Hop, in order to pay homage and just to be aware of its rich history in the culture. Here's a nice crash course by DJ A-Mu with his "Canadian Classics" mixtape. As a bonus, it's real gritty,  underground 90s hip-hop, which as a vinyl head checks an extra box that most mixes don't cover. Having a look at the tracklist, it includes some familiar names like Thrust, Frankenstein, Ghetto Concept, Citizen Kane, Saukrates, Marvel, Maestro Fresh Wes, Theo3, D-Sisive, Arcee, but also dusts over another layer with Sic Sense, Da Grassroots, Crooks of da Round Table, Nas-T Howie and more. A-Mu dug in the crates with this one and it's much appreciated, check it out below.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Black Sheep "Without A Doubt" (Review, 1994)

"Non-Fiction" is the sophomore album from the Native Tongues duo Black Sheep. The LP had two singles in "Without A Doubt" and "North, South, East, West." The album was produced internally by Dres and Mista Lawnge, with additional production by Salaam Remi on "Without a Doubt." The album had features from Chi-Ali, Showbiz & AG and The Legion. In 1994 when it was released, it really took a while for the album to grow on me, but when I look at the write-up in The Source, it tells me I'm not alone in that sentiment. "A warm, slow bass provides the anchor for Black Sheep's long-awaited comeback single, which comes as a mild surprise. Unlike the hyped part-tempo of "Choice Is Yours," Dres and Mr. Lawnge have returned with some mellow, rollin-in-your ride type shit. "Without a Doubt" takes its own sweet time, and while the decreased pitch initially fails to get the blood boiling, a couple listens will align your mental with the slower groove and lead you to appreciate the flyness at work here." With that in mind - after all these years - I find I have to be in the mood to revisit the album, but whenever I do, I generally find myself throwing it on and listening all the way through. "Without A Doubt" is still the stand-out record, watch the video below, and let me know what you think of the album. Was it a slow-burn for you too? Hit me up.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I.G.T. “Word To Life” 12” (2001)

I.G.T stands for Ill Gotten Team; a 4-member group established in 1997 in Roosevelt, Long Island. They were signed to Loud Records from 1998 to 2001 & had joints with a wide range of artists on and off the Loud Records label. This 12” in particular has production from The Large Professor and a feature from R&B singer Horace Brown. The track has a sample from “Don’t Say Goodnight” by The Isley Brothers. The song was released on “Street Music - The Preview,” a sampler from Loud Records, which also included a track with Inspectah Deck & production from the Alchemist, as well as the note “selections from the forthcoming Loud Records release The Alpha & The Omega in stores fall 2001.” I don’t believe the album was ever officially released, however you can listen to it via DatPiff if you’re interested. In the meantime, dig into the 12" to "Word To Life" below.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mobb Deep 'The Infamous' (April 25, 1995)

Mobb Deep The Infamous Certified Gold Advertisement Loud Records
Mobb Deep The Infamous Album Review in The Source

Picking up where we left off, Mobb Deep returned with their sophomore classic, 'The Infamous' on this day (April 25) in 1995 via Loud Records. Looking back, I consider it one of the rawest moments in Hip-Hop; Mobb Deep's sound on 'The Infamous' caused another shift and resurgence in music coming out of Queens. The lead single 'Shook Ones Pt.II' quickly established itself as a classic NY record and connected so well through clubs like The Tunnel that it carried the album through its release in April. In May, they dropped the second single 'Survival of the Fittest' and by late June, the album was certified Gold. On July 8th, Loud Records set up a paintball competition on Long Island with Mobb Deep, Cella Dwellas, a couple members of the Wu-Tang Clan (Rae & Ghost), the staff and local-celebrity DJs. Of course, the DJs took the W! The following day Mobb Deep was presented with their Gold plaque and the Wu-Tang received their platinum plaque for '36 Chambers.' While the bulk of production on the album was handled by Havoc & Prodigy themselves, Q-Tip contributed production and played a highly influential role in mixing and helping to shape the sound. Along with Nas, Raekwon, Ghostface, and Big Noyd, Q-Tip was also one of the few features selected for the album. Credit to Steve Rifkind and Loud Records for being able to find and sign a group that could deliver again after the success of Wu-Tang's debut. Most publications were not willing to stamp 'The Infamous' as a classic at the time, but 20 years later, 'The Infamous' is celebrated for taking fans on a raw journey through Queens with street narratives and some of the grittiest production of the 90s. In 2014, Mobb Deep dropped 'The Infamous Mobb Deep,' a double album with one disc of original music and another with unreleased tracks from the recording sessions from 'The Infamous,' you'll want to check that album out too. Reminisce with "Survival Of The Fittest" below.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Red Pill "Look What This World Did To Us" (Album Stream)

"Look What This World Did To Us.” The command is rhetorical.  You’re already aware of the echo, the generational discontent and alienation, the whispered and denied calls for absolution. No need to look around, just check your bank account and sigh—or echo Biggie and scream, “fuck the world.” Or melt into the couch and absorb Red Pill’s debut for Mello Music Group—a novel disguised as an album, a surly hymn from poisoned lungs. It’s a confirmation of what John Cage once declared: “all great art is a form of complaint." This is for those who played by the rules only to discover that the game was rigged. This is a toast for those entering their late 20s and still acting like adolescents. It’s an anti-Valentine to marriage and mortgages. It offers empathy for those buried under student loan and credit card debt, but who refuse to sink. Even if the smoke rings appear like nooses, this is an artful rebuttal to the nihilism. Your favorite song will be determined by what theme you relate to most. These are the late night conversations you have with your friends. The idle nights and empty bottles, the hard questions that come after you realize the world might not be yours." Stream it below & props to Mello Music Group for their consistent, quality releases.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Slum Village "Fantastic Vol.2" (Vibe Magazine, 8/00)

"It's funny how something can fare so poorly in one place and so well in another. Take, for instance, the production of the Ummah's Jay Dee. His sublime melodies contributed to two terribly disappointing A Tribe Called Quest albums. However, his beats match perfectly with Detroit-based group Slum Village (composed of Jay Dee, Baatin, and T3). Why? Because where Tribe was once punchy and attention-grabbing, SV is subtle and understated. Walkman rap versus living room rap, plain and simple. But what is perhaps most puzzling yet amazing about SV's debut, Fantastic Vol.2, is the way the music meshes with the lyrics. Songs such as "Fall In Love," with its serene loops over shuffling, danceable drums, and, of course, Jay Dee's MO of extra-knocking snares, typify the LP's sound. The clear stand-out is the clever "I Don't Know." The trio creates an amusing aural montage by using James Brown's vocal samples to finish the lines. All in all, Slum Village delivers an entertaining LP that's relaxed without being boring. Put your headphones down, lower the volume on your stereo, and prepare for a Zen-like experience." - Vibe Magazine, August 2000.

You can save a copy of the full review in Vibe, below...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Combat Jack Show "Black Rob Episode"

The latest episode of the Combat Jack Show features one of the least spoken members of the Bad Boy Record family, despite having a classic album with "Life Story." Seriously, go back and listen, he came widdit. 20 years later, Black Rob shares early life stories again: from being a motherless child, being a day one in the early days of the Bad Boy conglomerate, his stint in jail, as well as his health, and a timely comeback to the music game. This may be one of only a few interviews I've heard with Black Rob, as I'm sure it is for you too, so dig in and learn about Black Rob, listen below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jeru The Damaja "Interview, Ego Trip Magazine" (1994)

Jeru The Damaja (Ego Trip: Issue 1, 1994)
Jeru The Damaja (Ego Trip: Issue 1, 1994)

A fresh interview with Jeru The Damaja in the debut issue of Ego Trip magazine in 1994. “My name Jeru - Jeru means ‘holy’ and the ‘Damaja’ because I damage all negativity within my surroundings." He adds, "Anybody just can’t do it, you gotta be dope - point blank. If you dope, do it. If you not dope, then you just wasting your loot … I think there’s a lot of corny rappers out here. Straight up. But, yunno, there’s dope ones too, and the dope ones I don’t have to say no names who they are, I don’t have to say the names of the corny ones. I just do my thing, baby, I just do my thing, that’s it.” With an album review also included from Chairman Mao, summarized by: "This summer all real hip-hop fans be advised: Come equipped and take notice of the joyful noise emanating from the land of crooks" - it's a nice reminder of Jeru's outstanding run in the 90s with the help of the Greatest of All-Time, DJ Premier. 2 undeniable classics! Added below is an interview with Jeru The Damaja and Big Lez on Rap City in 1994; check it out and props to Crates Of JR for that link.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Planet Asia & DirtyDiggs "Nautica Naggas"

Planet Asia returns with another collaborative project with DirtyDiggs on this "Nautica Naggas" EP. The project consists of 10 tracks featuring Godfather Pt.3, Tristate of Durag Dynasty, Killa Kali, Hus Kingpin, Rozewood & more. This is a hard project, definitely dig into it below.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

DJ Premier "Guru 1 Year Anniversary Mix" (Live On Hot 97)

To honor the memory of his partner in rhyme, Guru, Gang Starr's DJ Premier set up shop in Hot 97 on the 1st anniversary of Guru’s passing and played a 2-hour tribute to the late, great Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal on Funkmaster Flex‘s show. The legendary producer/DJ rolled through a plethora of Gang Starr classic anthems, remixes and hard to find joints. Years later, we still miss Guru's presence and Gang Starr as a group, so dig back into this live mix from DJ Premier. Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal, Keith "Guru" Elam, Rest in Peace .... Gang Starr forever!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Jean Grae "Attack Of The Attacking Things" (Vibe, 9/02)

"Sex sells. Dreams sell. But for Jean Grae (fka What? What?), skills don't pay the bills. On her impressive solo debut she raps, "I got some plastic / But can't even use it, the bad credit's so drastic." But Grae is after respect more than money or power. To that end, Attack of the Attacking Thing is wry and unnerving, and it proves that the narrative finesse this cameo queen has shown on other people's albums is no fluke. Her stories are compelling, from the painfully perceptive gangsta gender bender "God's Gift" to "Love Song," on which she tenderly reflects on her own romantic foibles." Listen to the Beatminerz-produced "Love Song," continued below...

"And though she's opinionated, Grae never resorts to vacant sloganeering. For her, political arguments start in "asbestos-filled classrooms." ...While some of the production is lackluster, Grae's lyrical radiance makes Attack exceptional. It's the thoughts that count." - Vibe, September, 2002.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Saga "From Out of the Shadows" (Album Stream)

Brooklyn rapper Saga has decided to emerge "From Out of the Shadows" with the release of his debut LP. The album can be streamed and/or downloaded in full now. "From Out The Shadows" features 10 tracks of underground hip-hop, all of which were produced by Toronto expat Marco Polo (minus "The Strong," which was produced by Saga himself). The album also includes a guest spot from Roc Marciano. According to a press release, the songs demonstrate Saga's "sixth sense for authenticity," suggesting that "those raw emotions that you experience when you hear Saga's music for the first time may never go away." Listen to From Out of the Shadows in full below. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Joyner Lucas "Along Came Joyner" (Mixtape)

I've been following Joyner Lucas since he was Future Joyner, and rolling with the Film Skool Rejekts. The homie DJ Prince put me on, as he mixed their first mixtape and hand-delivered it to Fat Beats to give away to customers. Me & The Audible Doctor liked it enough that we even played it in the store from time to time, so it was no surprise that AMD landed a beat on his 2011 mixtape, "Listen To Me." If the industry welcomes in some new talent, I think he's got a shot making a real impact on the game as I listen to "Along Came Joyner." Songs like "Ross Capicchioni" show his range as a (lyrical) storyteller, painting an incredible visual with the track & he tells me the video is on the way. For now, the lead single is "Mansion," which has a video out currently. Big fan of Praise, who has a track on the project, as well as !llmind, Kato & others. I dunno how to word it, but he's got his sights on more than the underground, the production and many of his patterns tell you so, and I hate to be so much like a backpacker, but with that will come choices musically that don't quite mesh with the sound I gravitate towards. I can hear that in some of these tracks already, so ya know, I wish him much success and even if the music outgrows me, I'll still appreciate his talent & want him to win.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

DJ Krush "Selections" 12" (1997)

Released in 1997, DJ Krush dropped a 12" in advance of his album "MiLight," showcasing more of the Hip-Hop side of what might otherwise be considered a trip-hop or electro album. Diggin' into the underground, Krush tagged Mos Def, Tragedy Khadafi, and Finsta Bundy as featured MCs, along with an instrumental feature from Shawn J. Period. Despite being released on a label that was dance music-focused called FFRR (Full Frequency Range Recordings), "Selections" has all the makings of a classic-sounding boombap 12". You can stream all 4 tracks from the 12" below.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Rapper Big Pooh "Words Paint Pictures' EP (Album Stream)

"Rapper Big Pooh has definitely been coming with that heat as of late. His collaboration with Apollo Brown has brought out some of his best solo music to date IMO. After hitting us with a string of leaks, Rapper Big Pooh and Apollo Brown’s collabo EP is now ready for the world to hear. The NC emcee and Detroit producer just released Words Paint Pictures via Mello Music Group. The 9-track EP has features from Ras Kass, Marv Won, Novej, and more. “The project captures the complex agonies of the human condition with themes of race relations and the black experience in America, tales of corrupt politicians, reality TV distractions, substance abuse, thieving preachers and rapacious exploitation –all offset by tremendous strength.” Listen to the full project below, then go purchase it HERE. Personal favorites: "Augmentation" and especially "How I Move."

"Fuck rap when your life's spiraling out of control
But all they wanna know is "When that new shit coming?"
Standing on stage by myself, heart drumming
Pour your soul out, they ain't coming
Step outside box they go running
I'm giving up a piece of me
Open up for a piece to see
It's all peace when you finally free"
- "How I Move"

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Adagio! "The Break" 12" (1997)

Adagio!, pronounced A-dee-gee-o - they want to be clear on that - are Big Cousin & Rayme Supreme. They dropped this fine record in 1997 on Emo Recordings. It was their ... 3rd 12" ... I believe, and I recall that promo for Emo Recordings was handled by none other than Al Lindstrom. The NY/Philly group had a solid buzz in the underground scene, alongside the Juggaknots & all the independent records you woulda copped down at Fat Beats at the time. Adagio! stood for "A Definition of Ambition, Goals, Interest and Organization!" To me, the stand-out track on this 12" is "The Break," although the sound quality on the copy doesn't do it justice. In 2014, Heavy Jewelz Records put out Pt.1 of "The Obvious Archives," featuring 6 previously archived tracks where the A-Side was the New York Side and the B-Side was the Philly Side. Hopefully Part 2 comes too.