Monday, August 31, 2015

A Tribe Called Quest "Scenario Remix" (The Source, 5/92)

"Freestyle fanatics will be bumrushing record stores when they hear the latest offering from Quest's gold album. Rocking over an entirely new beat stacked with crushing drums and a pimped-out bass line, the already incredible duet between The Tribe and Leaders Of The New School is fattened with all new lyrics and a few new voices on the mic. Q-Tip, Phife, Charlie, Dinco, and Busta come off lovely as usual, but it is Cut Montior Milo (L.O.N.S. DJ) and Hood who almost steal the mic. Hood has since passed away but his contribution as lead off MC will not be forgotten. Also included is the original "Scenario" and the hype instrumental of the remix. The B-side, "Butter," is one of the best cuts on the album and is a solo showcase for the skills of Phife Dawg." - The Source, 5/92

"The release of A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario," the third single from their gold album, The Low End Theory, has been marred by the tragic death of an artist who is featured on the remix. An MC named Hood, who goes first on the song, died only two days after recording his debut on wax. Hood (Troy Anthony Hall), was reportedly beaten and shot in the head outside of a group home in Harlem where he often resided ... Q-Tip, who was introduced by (Kenny) Lee (close friend and manager), had become a close friend of Hood's. It was Tip's initiative that gave Hood the opportunity to appear on the remix ... "Every time I saw him he was rhymin', he was dope. He really seemed like he was sold on coming out and working hard. The day we taped (the "Scenario" remix), he went in the studio, took his shirt off, and went in the booth. He did it in one take," says Q-Tip. At the very least, we can be thankful that Hood had the opportunity to be immortalized on wax before he died. His memory will live on in hip-hop forever." - The Source, 5/92 ("Ear To The Street"). R.I.P., Hood. (Updated)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Haseeb The Few & Curtiss King "The Daisy Chain" (EP Stream)

Southern California emcee, HASEEB, and producer, Curtiss King, come together to bring us the collaborative effort known as The Daisy Chain. This EP is packed with smooth, witty, narratives, backed by soulful, yet powerful instrumentals. Short and sweet, this EP is a glimpse into the talents of two unique artists, with dope features from One Be Lo & Freeway. Also check out "Laborhood Pt.4" from One Be Lo, which features a track with Haseeb The Few you're sure to enjoy, as well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dru-Ha Pens a Letter For Sean Price (R.I.P.)

Following the sudden and tragic loss of Sean Price a few weeks ago, Dru gathered his thoughts and wrote an extensive letter to and about his friend: "We go so far back, I remember he had his fun with the beepers too. In a late night nocturnal studio session at D&D he would sneak off and page my beeper with a popular rappers number and watch me call them back. Some how I’d end up on a call with the likes of a Jeru the Damaja, asking him what he wants, and him asking the same of me; both equally confused on how we connected, Sean in the studio cracking up. The practical jokes at my expense didn’t end there, and I adored them. They were personalized and imaginative. He never made you feel bullied or humiliated (unless you had fur on your shoes) it was always something we could laugh at together after the pranks unfolded. In early Heltah Skeltah interviews, when he became predictably bored with the questions, and I had still had a flickering rap career from my verse on Black Moon’s “U Da Man”, straight faced, he told various reporters that I was recording an album with Bon Jovi. Later when I stopped traveling on the road with Sean, whenever he found himself in Baltimore he would tell the audience in the middle of his set that I wasn’t there because I watched the Wire and I was too scared. In present internet days, there’d be times with no warning, where he might go on a twitter rampage encouraging people to send me their demos and beats. My timeline and email would fill up. That was Sean with his mischievous and appropriately inappropriate sense of humor. He made us laugh till Tek had water in his eyes and all of our stomachs hurt… But at the heart, he played for one team throughout his career. He declared “I’m Boot Camp 4 Life” and no matter how turbulent times could become, he never waivered. He knew that his BCC kin loved him unconditionally, accepted his irrational ways, and most importantly that they could rhyme on his playing field. He always insisted that Rock was the better MC in Da Incredible Rap team of Heltah Skeltah, and told me on more than one occasion that coming up through the game, Steele was his favorite MC. Buck was a mentor and trusted confidant. We never had to ask, he proudly wore the Duck Down uniform, hats, shirts, hoodies, jackets, whatever, he carried our flag with him. Most importantly it seemed to him, he represented for Brooklyn..." r.i.P.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Large Professor x NPR "Microphone Check"

"Last spring, way back in 2014, we sat down with Large Professor, partly on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Illmatic but mostly because he's the reason for much of the New York rap we both love so much." Both reasons make sense to me, listen to the full interview in 2 parts below.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Phoniks "Shaolin Summer" (Funky Remixes of Classic Wu-Tang Hits)

It's a "Shaolin Summer," compliments of Portand producer, Phoniks. The Don't Sleep Records founder drops off the latest in his series of remixes, this time throwing darts with the Wu-Tang Clan. With 12 tracks, the remixes include cuts that slice through the catalogs of multiple Wu members, as well as their group efforts. Thought to be some of the best produced albums already, it's an ambitious project, but Phoniks comes out on the other side unscathed, and you won't be disappointed in how they turned out. My favorite remix is "Back In The Game," but check out the full project below, available with the 'name your price' option via Bandcamp.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Supastition "Boombox" (Audio & T-Shirt)

Back in 2004, North Carolina's own Supastition released one of his most popular tracks to date, the !llmind-produced track, "Boombox." It was featured on his 10-track EP, "The Deadline." Listeners are also drawn to that EP because of the track "Fountain Of Youth," which has landed on various playlists and probably has the most streams of any track in his back catalog. "Boombox" still remains one of the best tracks live because of its raw energy, headnod and catchy hook, "Let It Bang In Ya Boombox!" Supastition has now released some limited t-shirts with the design above, sizes Small to 4XL, which should cover everyone! Head over to Supastition's offical merch store to cop one, and in the meantime, dig into this 2004 throwback, Supastition & !llmind "Boombox" below.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Finale "Odds & Ends" (Album Stream)

"Odds & Ends" is the new album from Michigan's Finale, produced and mixed entirely by Oddisee. Mello Music further describes the album saying, "Finale needed to live. Such a fundamental and basic idea often gets overlooked in the fast food mentality of popular culture. You can make music without something to say, but it rarely lasts. The records that stick with us are usually those with a deeper understanding of the complexities of life: every day choices we make, those selfish and selfless acts that comprise our daily existence. Odds and Ends captures those elemental contradictions. Produced entirely by Oddisee, it marks Finale’s return following a half-decade hiatus. In that span, the Detroit stalwart took a break to experience growth in his life. He came to terms with his place in the world, endured regrets, and wrote relatable stories about himself, and those around him. Cameos occur from a-alikes Homeboy Sandman and Bilal Salaam, Kenn Star and Big Tone, but the show belongs to Finale—back from hiatus, rapping like he’s ripping shoulders out of sockets. Pitchfork said about his last album, 2009’s, A Pipe Dream and A Promise: “there are so few MCs working today who are able to carry this much of an album on their own.” Since then, Finale’s only mastered the art and refused to allow it to be disposable. This is a record for the family that he gained and the friends, collaborators and leeches that stuck around when he didn't have anything left to give. It’s for ones lost along the way while he tried to find something more than what he had to begin with. This isn’t the same Finale. Struggle and success seep through every word. It’s music on its own terms. He picked the mic back up and shut the competition down."

Monday, August 17, 2015

J.Period "The Best Of Big Daddy Kane" (Mixtape)

"Praised by MTV Mixtape Mondays and and named "Mixtape of the Year," J.PERIOD's Best of Big Daddy Kane is hosted by Big Daddy Kane himself, and pays tribute to King Asiatic Nobody's Equal like no other mixtape in history, layering Kane’s own personal commentaries with the hottest moments from every stage of his career, plus exclusives, rarities and remixes and more. This mixtape gets the job done." Props to J.Period & Kane, check out the mix below.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Finale "Bits & Pieces" (Promo Mix)

DJ House Shoes put this promotional mix together in advance of Finale's latest Mello Music Group release, "Odds & Ends." A refresher course for those familiar, and an introduction for those who may not be caught up on Finale's catalog. In true House Shoes form, a few exclusives are thrown into the mix for good measure. Get into this Detroit sound below, and be sure to support the new LP via Mello Music Group. Peace to Finale (& Invincible; I've always wanted a full LP from them!)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Grand Puba "2000" (Hip-Hop Connection, 8/95)

"Around '92 Grand Puba had the mad flava. After splitting from Brand Nubian he was appearing on everyone else's tracks, and stealing the show on every posse cut he appeared on. It was the building up of this profile that made his '93 debut album something of a disappointment. Undoubtedly Puba had the lyrical skills, but the production let him down. On '2000' there are no such problems. It's more musical than his last effort with mellow, laidback, radio-friendly loops rather than just the hard beats, with the likes of Quincy Jones and Barry White getting slung into the SP1200." Cont'd below, but first check out the visuals for Grand Puba's single "I Like It."

"It could be seen as more commercial, but not so much as to offend the hardcore ... And Puba is by no means backward in coming forward to the mic, still the master of the slick metaphor and clever rhyming couplet ... Subject matter is traditional Puba bragging and boasting of his prowess with the hoes and on the mic ... With Puba's ever present lyrical ability and the easier-on-the-ear production, there isn't a weak track on '2000.' A consistently pleasing effort." - via Lee Pinkerton at Hip-Hop Connection, August 1995; the full review can be read or saved below.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Bamboo "From The Get Up" (1999)

A nice 12" release from Bamboo (who immediately shows love to Queens) in 1999 on Honcho Mogul Industries & Roadrunner Records. "From The Get Up" was produced by Domingo and was released as a single for his production album "Behind The Doors On The 13th Floor." For those unfamiliar with Domingo, he produced "The Dream Shatterer" on Big Pun's Capital Punishment, "Success" by Fat Joe, as well as joints with Masta Ace, Eminem, KRS-One ("The MC"), Ras Kass, and hundreds more. If you dig "From The Get Up," you'll also hear Bamboo on "Not The Ones To Sleep" on Domingo's first album and he's featured on his 2014 release "Same Game New Rules." I'd read rumors that Bamboo died, but I never heard that from Domingo so I generally ignore online rumors. Also check out "Bronx Legends Never Die" with Big Pun (R.I.P.) and "The Most Underrated" LP. Listen to the 12" below.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Special Ed "Revelations" (The Source, 8/95)

"He's back. It's the specialist, Special Ed comin' straight outta Flatbush. The youngest in charge is all grown up, legal and neva goin' back. And he's coming with lyrics and a flow which transport the listener to an open mic session. Ed's flow is reminiscent of a freestyle off-the-top session straight off a dubbed underground mixtape. "Lyrics," the voice of KRS-ONE echos, "lyrics, somebody want lyrics?" Adjacently, a deep, bouncing bass attached to an in-an-out guitar commences to make the head bob. Ed then proceeds with what seems like unarranged verses that twist, babble, flow and stumble, but still manage to land on solid lyrical feet. He displays lyrical dexterity by droppin a succession of rhymes that end not with any one particular word, which then catapults Ed to switch and flow in a totally different topical direction altogether. This technique and style is employed throughout most of the album." Check out the visuals to Ed's "Neva Go Back," below...

"The production through the entire album makes use of devious, sinister basslines that occasionally ride high-hates, bass drums and hard-ass snares. One drawback that might hinder some people's "earousal" is the consistent similarity in pace, speed and beats-per-minute on most of the tracks. But six years later, Ed's still got it made, he's still magnificent and now he's coming new and improved." - The Source, August 1995. The album was released under the title Revelations, with "Neva Go Back" as the lead single to the LP. The full review is available below...

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Yaggfu Front "Action Packed Adventure" (1994)

Yaggfu Front was a North-Carolina-based Hip-Hop Group, consisting of the members Spin 4th, D’Ranged & Damaged, and Jungle Bel. Thanks to Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists, I learned that their name was actually an acronym for “You Are Gonna Get Fucked Up If You Front.” Working as late night DJs at NCSU (WKNC), they allegedly landed the first major record label for a Hip-Hop artist out of NC with their deal with Mercury Records. Their first studio album, “Action Packed Adventure,” was released in 1994; a unique conceptual album with an infusion of Hip-Hop and Jazz. They left the label soon after, and didn’t return until 2002 with the release of “The Secret Tapes,” which was a compilation of material recorded between 1992 and 1996. One of their more known records was “Slappin Suckas Silly;” the remix version featured D.I.T.C’s Diamond D. Other than that and their first single, “Lookin For A Contract,” additional 12” releases included “Left Field" and probably my personal favorite, "Busted Loop," which had a great video to accompany the 12" release. Despite a small amount of music, their humor, instrumentation and scratches on the records have left enduring fans still celebrating their music all these years later. Peep a video below.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

LA Leakers x Raekwon "Only Built 4 Cuban Leaks"

Originally released in 2009 ahead of "OB4CL2," this is "Only Built 4 Cuban Leaks," by the L.A. Leakers & Raekwon The Chef. They released it again today on the 20th Anniversary of "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx." A day indeed to celebrate Rae and his debut solo album. Justin Credible & DJ SoulMilk give us all classic Wu-Tang Clan and Raekwon joints! It speaks for itself, dig into the mix below!