Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pudgee The Phat Bastard "Think Big" 12" (1995)

Pudgee The Phat Bastard's "Think Big" was an unofficial, yet official release in 1995. With a personal relationship with B.I.G., they collaborated on a joint called "Think Big." The Bronx MC had production from Minnesota of the Money Boss Players, as well as Lord Tariq & Sadat X (depending on which version you get). Oddly, the original bootlegs do not list Biggie on the record, just Lord Tariq and in some releases, Biggie's verse is replaced by Sadat X.  Nevertheless, the track was not cleared for official release, because Layla Hathaway allegedly wouldn't clear the sample for the record. With Biggie's "Ready To Die" being released in the Fall of '94 and being on top of the world, you do what any sane person (or label) would do, bootleg the record, right? It's "odd" that "Think B.I.G." was used to promote "Life After Death" years later (see above) ... but I digress. The lyrics Biggie spit were ferocious to say the least; he certainly did not phone in his feature with Pudgee The Phat Bastard.

Whether it was the misfortune of sample clearances, an album that got shelved, or Fatal wrongly putting Pudgee's name in his mouth over a disagreement over who wrote Fatal's verse to "Live at the BBQ," the 90s could have been better to Pudgee The Phat Bastard. That said, with his album "Unreleased 92-98" finally being released on Back 2 Da Source Records (Belgium), hopefully there's some resolve there. Let me also say, the project is dope! It's got production from Nick Wiz & Trackmasters on multiple tracks, as well as Dr Ceuss, of course Minnesota (although no Biggie) and vocal features from some classic artists like Missy, Sadat X, Lord Tariq, and fan favorites Da King & I and Trends of Culture. Dig into the original 12" of "Think Big" below and cop his new CD HERE

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jakk Wonders "Good Kid M.A.A.D. Flip" (Beat Tape)

October 22nd 2015 marked the 3 year anniversary of Kendrick Lamar's critically acclaimed debut album ''good kid, m.A.A.d city''. In honor of the albums anniversary, South African beatsmith Jakk Wonders flipped 4 of the samples that appeared on the young Compton rappers album. The 4 track beat tape includes flipped samples of Poetic Justice, The Recipe, Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe and Compton. Hard at work, stream another dope beat tape from Jakk Wonders below.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

J.Period "The Best Of The Roots" (Hosted by Black Thought)

"Called "the best Roots mixtape ever" by The Source Magazine and named's "Best Mixtapes of the Year 2006", J.PERIOD's official Best of the Roots is a one-of-a-kind collector’s item and a must-have for any fan of the best band in hip hop. Packed with over 50 tracks of Roots classics, rarities and exclusive J.PERIOD remixes, The Best of the Roots also features 6 exclusive new Black Thought freestyles and original tracks produced by J.PERIOD. Guest appearances from standout Roots crew members, plus Jay-Z, Rakim, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Big Pun, and more."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Reflection Eternal "Train of Thought" (2000)

"There's something wonderful about an MC who can make you think. Unfortunately, at times, they seem to be part of a dying breed. But Talib Kweli, the other half of Black Star is such an MC. After being in the shadow of the charismatic Mos Def, Talib defines himself as an artist in his own right with his debut, Reflection Eternal. Talib has an invaluable gift; a rapid-fire flow that's extremely audible and easy to follow. His rhymes seem conversational, filled with anecdotal instances, like a friend setting up a great story. His grade school teachers would be proud. Unlike some marble-mouth MCs, Talib learned how to e-nun-ci-ate. So although some of Reflection''s subjects may seem heavy (Black history, activism, politics), the words are smoothly digestible." Listen to "The Blast" ...

"Hi-Tek proves the dramatic musical backdrop to Talib's honest and revealing rhymes. Horn blasts set off the album on "Experience Dedication," while thumping, larger-than-life production dominates throughout ("Move Something" and "This Means You"). Even the tracks that deviate most from Hi-Tek's signature crisp, grandiose beats give this set its depth. A few such standouts are "Too Late," with its unusual world-music vibe and multi-layered instrumentation, and the ethereal, organic bumps of "The Blast" and "Love Language." The latter contains Talib's exploration of the fundamental emotional differences between men and women, and observations about romantic frustrations that seem more first person than third..." Cont'd below, and check the 2-page advert from Rawkus...

"Much of Talib's lyrical content revolves around attacking and mentally intimidating wack MCs, of whom he's particularly wary ... Ghostwriting requests aside, Talib might as well get used to the jealousy and envy. After all, who wouldn't want to be a thinking-person's MC?" - The Source 12/00

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jadakiss "#T5DOA" (Mixtape)

Jadakiss is promo'ing his upcoming album with the Top 5, Dead Or Alive series of freestyles. Kiss goes in over Incarcerated Scarfaces, Young Gifted & Black, Life's a Bitch, Hotline Bling, Grind'n & more, for a total of 14 joints.The project features Fabolous, Styles P, Swizz Beats & more. Everything has a hashtag these days, I am not mad at this one, plus I like keeping the freestyle culture alive, even if it's studio freestyles ... I like hearing artists on other joints & not worrying about samples, all that bullshit that keeps artists from being raw and creative. Is Jada Top 5?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Company Flow "Funcrusher Plus" (Rap Pages, 10/97)

"Wall-to-wall carpeting of unruliness, polluted sound bites and grimy aural landscapes lurk in the mystical chambers of the so-called underground. A land where schmucks like Dr. Octagon rule yonder while sipping on ethanol-laced prune juice and any dilettante trying to step foot with phallus-tinged fantasies in order to produce the almighty loochie can be met with a swift kick in the rear from the likes of Crazy Sam's henchman. From this unique dimension, where the modus operandi runs the gamut of hell-bent ostentation to after-hour shakedowns of dolt A&Rs, we find the trio of Company Flow - a group of lads from the East who attempt to bring the lost art of skills, originality and flavor back to the forefront of Hip-Hop. As part of the Indelible MCs clique, Company Flow have already made a rep for themselves amongst denizens of stunted stairways with bargain-store, rapid-fire references and subdued staccato instruments that break down the walls on present day, glossy manipulations. With the current acclaim of indie-manufactured product, Funcrusher Plus is undoubtedly top of the line, featuring singles released earlier with brand new shiners to erect a full-length album." Check out the audio to "8 Steps To Perfection," cont'd below...

"Fans of these cats will be especially snug with the previous available "8 Steps To Perfection," which astutely highlights their metaphorical mastery as lyricists El-Pee and Bigg Jus drop cordial jewels like, "When I rhyme, it get crazy hot and lyrics don't know how to act" to the bizarre "I'll fuck Laura Engels only when she done with her chores." Cuts such as "Krazy Kings" and "Collide & Intrude" show off more of their verbal dexterity, with the latter featuring a booming bass, alarms, Pac-Man munching sounds and ample scratching from third member DJ Mr. Len. The action continues to scintillate with "Info Kill II" and, undoubtedly the best cut, "Population Control" - a mesmerizing spurt of proficient colloquialism. Showing an ability to avoid the temptations of radio-chummy show tunes or oily stained samples, Company Flow not only keep within the principles of underworld law and order but manage to create utterly ridiculous Hip-Hop as Funcrusher Plus proves that the haves still don't ... and may never ... get it." - Rap Pages, October 1997. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

De La Soul "Buhloone Mindstate" (HHC, 10/93)

"You were once informed that we had died, And what is death? Simply movin' from one place to another. You are now in the other." So reads the manifesto that accompanies 'Buhloone Mindstate,' the third unpredictable album from De La Soul. After the world gobbled up the plunkety tomfoolery of '3 Feet High And Rising' with such enthusiasm their road ahead was always going to be rocky. Their second outing was caught between deflecting expectations, preventing too much crossover success, and proving that they could still cut it. So on "De La Soul Is Dead" they were scared to be themselves in case the world said that's all they could do. But on 'Buhloone Mindstate' they are back in effect, letting their kookie poetry and omnivorous musical tastes take control without all the forced posturing of the previous LP. Unsurprisingly the rapping is harder and more assured than before, wrapped in layers of complex puns and clever images, with lots of references to other people's jams. But the music is definitely not what you were expecting, centered around acres of slinky jazz, with shimmering organs and smoking horn solos drifting around. Prince Paul is once more at the helm, and the ambience he creates is very reminiscent of early Tribe Called Quest ... Where 'De La Soul Is Dead' was a shock because they planned it that way, this album is a shock because they've mellowed and they're still great. De La Soul is definitely not dead." (HHC/93)

You can read the full review in Hip-Hop Connection (10/93) below...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Left "Gas Leaks" (EP Stream)

I remember back when Dart & Eric were pushing The Left hard to anyone that would listen, and I was surely listening intently. We all agreed, that was incredible hip-hop! I did a quick search for "The Left" in my laptop & up popped the LP, instrumentals & then "Gas Leaks." I couldn't remember if they were demos I'd heard in those Bloggerhouse days or a separate EP that was released after "Gas Mask" dropped, so I did another quick search & up pops the press release & a blurb: "Coming off the success of their debut album Gas Mask, Detroit trio The Left, made up of producer Apollo Brown, rapper Journalist 103, and DJ Soko, are treating fans with the release of a brand new EP -- for free. Gas Leaks is comprised of unreleased material from Gas Mask, and while Gas Leaks was initially intended for release prior to the album, the group explains, "we wanted to bring a shock value for this album since it is was highly anticipated and Gas Leaks just puts more value and credibility to "Gas Mask." When I copped the LP back in 2010, the one track that disappointed me was "Real Detroit," because it was different than the version that floated around prior to its release, however it did land on Apollo's producer LP, The Reset. There may (or nah) have also been a slightly alternate version of "Get In Where You Fit In," too, but my memory is fading, I can't place it. In either case, the Leaks EP didn't include instrumentals, I've only seen them on the version uploaded to streaming platforms, so stream the 3 bonus tracks + instrumentals & the Real Detroit "remix" below. Props to Dart Adams & Eric Coons for their impact behind the scenes.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Inspectah Deck "Next" (Vibe, October 1998)

"...As Deck readies his long-overdue solo shot, Uncontrollable Substance (Loud) - which he describes as a "2009 block party from a 70's child" - the six-foot-three verbalist is troubled by the chaos that 1998s rap sphere brings. "It's a hectic business," he admits. "I hope no bullshit happens to me."  Maybe this concern has prompted the Inspectah to ease into a more calm lifestyle, complete with a home in New Jersey with his girl and her son... After losing his father, a painter and musician, when he was six years old, Deck endured a turbulent childhood spread between the housing projects of the Bronx, Manhattan's Lower East Side, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and finally Park Hill, Staten Island. But said transient upbringing served to provide Deck with ripped fodder for his rhymes. For the past five years, he's meshed the plight of the projects with everything from Spider-Man to Aztec pyramids. Wu-Tang jewels like "Protect Ya Neck" (1993), "Guillotine" (1995), and "Triumph" (1997), as well as stellar guest gigs on Gang Starr's "Above The Clouds" and Big Pun's "Tres Leches," have left fans fiendin' for more. "Right now, people out there (are) looking for guidance," he says. "My whole album is based on trials and tribulation. Look at me - I still came out on top. So there's still a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But you gotta go through the rain." And jealous one's envy aside, Deck sights are firmly set on Wu's infinite reign." (Vibe, 10/98). Check out "Word On The Street" below...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

GZA "Liquid Swords" (VHS, 1995)

A total of four singles were released for GZA's Liquid Swords. The second single was the title track "Liquid Swords," which was released over one year after "I Gotcha Back," and twenty years ago today on October 10, 1995. GZA later commented, "Usually I take a beat home and write to it for a few days, but it wasn’t like that with this track. I think RZA played the beat for me and I just spit to it right there. The hook was actually a routine from around 1984 that me, RZA, and Ol' Dirty would do: "When the emcees came, to live out the name..." Just like that." - Wax Poetics. To this day, the clock scenes still bug me out. GZA's sword was sharp with "Energy is felt once the cards are dealt / With the impact of roundhouse kicks from black belts / That attack, the mic-fones like cyclones or typhoon / I represent from midnight to high noon / I don't waste ink, n!gga, I think..."

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Omniscence "Amazin" (The Source, October 1995)

"Omniscence ... a phat new lyricist hailing from Bear Creek, North Kakalak (NC). At the ripe age of 22, Omniscence "The Funky One Liner" releases his freshman single "Amazin'." Eight years of rhymin' have finally paid off for Omniscence as he shows and proves his vast awareness and seemingly limitless usage of metaphors and similes over a beat that would make Beavis and Butthead say "this guy rulez!" Amazin' does not require phat jeeps, loud walkmans or big speakers to fully enjoy its array of instrumental organization. The arrangement of drum taps and basslines are enough to make you believe you have a live band in your presence. In an age where originality seems to come a dime a dozen, this man seems to have some change to spare." Peep the audio to the track below...

"Amazin' offers a neweness and freshness the hip-hop world has been patiently anticipating. The essence of his metaphors are captured in phrases like: "I'm gettin' up in skins like Massenguil / that's the deal / not the Guru but I got mass appeal / pass the pill / and I'm a shoot the rock / like constipation put your sh!t on lock..." And in the second verse: "I be freakin' facts from here to Secaucus / bitches stalk us / put us on like British Walkers..." If one were to look into a crystal ball they would definitely see a promising future for Omniscence. The album won't drop for a few months, so the single will have to hold you over. But for now it should be known that Bear Creek / Greensboro, North Carolina has officially been placed on the hip-hop map." - The Source, 10/95

Monday, October 05, 2015

Nas "Surviving The Times" Mixed by Teddy King

I got this mixtape while working at Fat Beats in NY. I'll be honest, a lot of stuff I got during those years was eventually tossed aside, but this Nas mix (2CD) from Teddy King has stood the test of time; a nice mix of vintage and rare cuts. I also highly recommend Petey Cologne's NAStalgia mixtape, which I'd like to think I've already posted to this site. You can click HERE for a full tracklist and download of the mixtape. Peace to Soundless Music, Teddy King & of course, the rapper Nas.

Friday, October 02, 2015

A Tribe Called Quest "Excursions" (Live)

"Back in the days when I was a teenager
Before I had status and before I had a pager
You could find the Abstract listening to hip hop
My pops used to say, it reminded him of be-bop
I said, well daddy don't you know that things go in cycles..."

Performed and later discussed briefly by Q-Tip on the A Tribe Called Quest documentary, Beats, Rhymes and Life, "Excursions" is arguably one of the greatest opening tracks to an album. In this case, "The Low End Theory," which is also undeniably one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all-time. Seeing it live adds a layer of build-up and excitement to the record that is incredible to see, and I've had the pleasure of seeing Q-Tip solo and with A Tribe Called Quest on multiple occasions over the years. From smaller stages to performing on an island, the energy is always insanity, especially if they add Busta Rhymes to the mix for Scenario. On top of "Scenario" and "Excursions," I think Tip takes it up a notch on "Award Tour," as well. To the Queens kid inside me, it's pure nostalgia.