Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Smoothe The Hustler "Broken Language" (1995)

"Here comes that Brooklyn aesthetic again - slang talk, crook walk and glock cock attitude. Smoothe Da Hustler, a product of the mean streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn, is poised to big-up the borough lovely with his debut release ... "Broken Language" is the real jewel here. Smoothe pairs up with his brother Trigga to deliver one of the most jaw dropping performances by a duo in some time. The two engage in vintage hip-hop, switching back and forth in an endless series of self-aggrandizing descriptions. As the sinister, sting-adorned track pulses in the background, Trigga and Smoothe strive to metaphorically outdo each other. Trigga: "Your death threater, sender, head spinner, rap beginner, light dimmer, three-knock out count winner / Your gun reacher, bustin' shot teacher, your funeral service church preacher / Your black hearse coffin' seeker." Smoothe: "Camera, the beer guzzler, the slug to your mug tussler, the drug juggler, the crazy thug hustler / The lexus wanter, the chain, ring and bracelet flaunter." Undoubtedly - as summed up quite succinctly by Smoothe - the "hottest n!gga out this winta." - The Source, 11/95. Prod. by DR Period, check it out below...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Poor Righteous Teachers "New World Order" (The Source, 11/96)

"There's a new set of rules we shall all have to abide by / the non-lyrical shall be terminated," goes the outro line of "Gods, Earth and 85ers." Hollywood might call it Revenge Of The Intelligent. But Poor Righteous Teachers call it the New World Order. Not just a reference to some master plan for world domination, this LP's title also aims for a shift in hip-hop's balance of power, away from the false prophets of gangsta nihilism, back to the knowledge rap that ruled when PRT first stepped on the scene in '90. The centerpiece of this album are the dozens of tightly constructed dope lyrics concocted by MC Wise Intelligent. There are almost too many to quote ... Wise unleashes lyric after lyric attacking ignorance and negativity in both hip-hop, and the overall Black Community."

"Fellow PRT members Father Shaheed and Culture Freedom also offer significant contributions from behind the boards. Culture brings some reggae flavor to the tight verbals kicked on "Some Tachers, Some Refugees," featuring The Fugees ... But no amount of funkiness could overshadow the outstanding performance of Wise. On New World Order, he's harnessed all his lyrical strength to issue a call to arms. Just like De La and Jeru have done this year, he's let it be known that he's fed up. This teacher's lesson: "Hip-hop has become a species in danger / since rappers turned gangsta." - The Source, 11/96 - Video to "Dreadful Day" above, full review in The Source available below.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A.C.D. "Kings Of NY" 12" (1998)

A.C.D. was a hip-hop duo consisting of Ammo & A-Dog from Queensbridge, New York. Their breakthrough track in '95-96 was a joint with Mobb Deep called "Street Life." It got a ton of love on college radio, Stretch & Bobbito ran it for weeks, and I remember both A.C.D. & L.E.S. freestyling and dropping off a demo or two, as well. This "Kings of NY" 12" didn't drop until 1998 on HitList Records. It featured Nature, who was tearing up the mixtape scene and was arguably one of the hottest artists in the underground at the time. Rick Rude produced the record, as well as their second 12" "In The City" and "Mos N#ggaz" in 1998. The duo dropped a few mixtapes in later years, the first of which was "Korna Klaimers," which had a lot of those early records and features to re-familiarize people with their come-up. After that, "American Dream" and "No Witnesses" in 2006 on Black World Entertainment. A-Dog was also one of the 41st side joints from Lakey the Kid. I never asked what A.C.D. stood for, but if you've ever been to court, you might be able to guess?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stretch & Bobbito Show "Fat Joe & Big Pun" (August 31, 1995)

"I always recorded my guest sets on KCR so I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I wouldn’t have the one Riz and I did when Fat Joe brought up Big Pun for the first time (along w/Armageddon & Keith Nut). Come to find out I forgot to label the tapes with the date. Anyway, seems only fitting to post this today on Pun’s birthday. Joe starts the interview (151:40) and plays some joints off his album before introducing everyone to the mic (167:42). I threw on “Broken Language” and Pun set it all off. Other dope moments were the Pumpkinhead, Natural Elements and O.C./Poops promos that Bob started off the night with before Riz got on (10:20) and showed off (see Nas Remix). Bobbito plays a demo set in the middle of the show (113:15) before Terror Squad arrives and then I close it out (179:22). And what would a Stretch & Bobbito show be without comedy from Lord Sear (228:30) For more insight on this Pun appearance check out the movie Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives." - DJ Eclipse, via his Mixcloud.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rapper Big Pooh & Nottz "Home Sweet Home" (Album Stream)

Home Sweet Home, the collaborative album from rapper Big Pooh and Nottz: 13 slabs of soulful music and superb bars, released on Mello Music Group. It’s immensely relatable rap about having too many debts on the credit card, trying to make diamonds of out coal, and not being able to afford to eat for days on end. Behind the boards, the two-time Grammy Award winning producer, Nottz annexes a form of boom-bap that hadn’t yet been discovered. It’s what you’d imagine Gang Starr would sound like if they came out in 2015: fueled by battering ram drums and orchestral loops, beatific gospel and raw sinister slaps. It’s not hard to tell why he’s been a go-to producer for Kanye, Snoop Dogg, and Scarface -- or why 9th Wonder once called Nottz, "the best beatmaker on earth." This is an album to remind you of what you left and where you’re going. Home Sweet Home proves that you can go home again, but you’ll meet both the good and the band. The feeling of being around those you love, and the cousins asking to borrow money. Life in all its forms. Dig in.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bunty Beats "93" (Beat Tape)

A new beat tape from UK producer, Bunty Beats. I think '93-95 is arguably my favorite period in hip-hop, so when I saw his new tape was called "93," I was convinced I'd like it before I even clicked play. I was not disappointed, lol. Boom bap tribute to '93, what more do you need to know? Stream the 17-track beat tape below and get out those Timberland boots for the occasion.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lord The Arkitec 'Listen Closely' 12" (1998)

Lord the Arkitec Listen Closely Royal Flush Mic Geronimo Large Professor Name of the Game

Lord the Arkitec’s ‘Listen Closely’ & ‘Name of the Game’ 12” was released in the summer of ’98 on Bottumz Up Entertainment. ‘Listen Closely’ is considered the sequel to Royal Flush’s underground smash, ‘Worldwide,’ thus featuring Flush, as well as Mic Geronimo and production by Kaysaan. The B-Side, 'Name of the Game (Friends)', is the real gem on this 12" though, with Large Pro on production and Lord the Arkitec shining solo on the track. The entire record is Queens, although I don't know what section Lord The Arkitec is from - could be he's from Flushing, then it'd be a record from the Wastelanz. I don't believe there was a follow-up 12" or any other releases, which is a shame. Anyone know differently? You can listen to the 12" below, but consider picking up a copy of the picture cover release (for a reasonable price) at Discogs, eBay or another reseller.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Logic x NPR "Microphone Check"

The rapper, who hails from Maryland but now resides in the Los Angeles area, came through to talk about the road to his second album, The Incredible True Story, fending off critics and the language he uses to to remind himself of his blessings and his possibilities. Listen the Logic interview below.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nolan The Ninja "F#ck The Hype" (EP Stream)

The title of Nolan the Ninja‘s EP, "F#ck the Hype" was conceived “due to a conscious decision made by Nolan, DJ Soko and Dart Adams” and serves as part concept project, part PSA. The idea behind the EP was to explore how far the music could travel organically without the need for a built-in hype machine; without the politics and bullshit – instead, focusing on what’s most important: the art. As someone who is somewhat relatively new to the “game,” Detroit emcee Nolan the Ninja’s campaign has proven fruitful, with hype built up at the cellular level through carefully crafted singles like “Clockers,” “Gusto” and “Deploi” featuring Phat Kat. The EP features Hassaan Mackey, Finale, Phat Kat and A-Minus, plus production from 5ynoT, DaG, Just Pieces & Jay P in addition to Nolan’s own production.. Stream it below. Props to Dart Adams and DJ Soko.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Onyx "All We Got Iz Us" (The Source, 11/95)

"After an almost three year hiatus, Onyx has finally returned with their sophomore release, All We Got Iz Us. With such a long pause between LPs, many heads in the U.S.G. may be skeptical about their return. But any questions as to whether they could survive in an increasingly competitive market were quickly put to rest by "Live," the album's first single. Onyx still has clout. Their latest effort contains what most expected: anger, gun talk and violence. But in between the frustration and screaming, Onyx manages to discuss why they're mad. It begins with "Last Days," a song dealing with the confusion and corruption of everyday life in the U.S.G. Each member shines over a Beatminerish track that is concrete hard, yet butter smooth. Several other tracks will make the head nod, but "Most Def" will have the entire body moving. The song's ill track - a lethal melody backed with extra hard drums - goes perfectly with the crew's razor sharp lyrics." Cont'd...

"Although the LP is packed with sure shots, there are a few sure misses...they definitely stand out as weaker representations of the group's efforts. All We Got Iz Us still shines due to the production direction. There are more sinister-smooth cuts as opposed to tracks that make you wanna slam. Lyrically, they're business as usual. Sticky Fingaz plays the lead role with able backing from Fredro and Suave. The trio have diminished the yelling, but maintained the trademark grimy voices. That factor - along with songs that actually have something to say - demonstrates Onyx's maturity and continued ability to separate themselves from the crowd." - The Source, 11/95

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Film Skool Rejekts 'The Greatest Mixtape of All Time'

Film Skool Rejekts The Greatest Mixtape of all Time CD Cassette

In the time I worked at Fat Beats, I saw countless artists come into the store to drop off demos, giveaways and even submit projects for consignment. Add them all together and it was only a small few that really deserved special attention. To me, one of those projects was from Film Skool Rejekts. The group was Cyrus The Great, Future Joyner, Sheen Phillips and DJ Prince. It might sound arrogant to call your mixtape 'The Greatest Mixtape of All Time,' but they put their best foot forward on all elements of their project. Cyrus The Great has since released a great production album called 'King Kong Ain't Got Shit On Me' and for those that don't know, Future Joyner changed his name to Joyner Lucas, released a couple solid mixtapes (hit the tags), some great concept records, a blazing freestyle at the BET Cipher, and went on to sign a major deal with Atlantic Records for $2M. On cassette store day, FSR released this limited cassette tape, and of course, I supported it. Mind you, the CD was '08, but the cassette didn't get released until 2014. You can download the digital version with the 'name your price' option on Bandcamp. Also, DJ Prince has a solid album called 'Test My Sound' that you should check out too. I should have posted this sooner, but it's never too late to share dope music! Dig into it below!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Fat Joe "Jealous One's Envy" (Album Review, 11/95)

"I know you remember "Flow Joe" from the album Represent back in '93. A lot of heads might even remember the phat remix for "The Shit Is Real." But I don't think too many of y'all were anticipating or fiendin' for whatever Fat Joe might drop next. Well, it's '95 and the big man's back, representin' with Jealous One's Envy. "Bronxtale" opens the music saga. A very polite KRS-One requests, "Music please," and the Kings of the Boogie Down proceed to rip the track, accompanied by a skipping, slightly off-beat, deliberately played bassline, and chiming, almost serene, organ-like hits. Fat Joe has definitely upped the lyrical ante, as demonstrated by the next joint, "Success." An upright sounding bass and a constant hard snare are layered by lingering keys and orchestral string sounds. Crisp and precise, Joe puts forth the hustler's national anthem: "hustling is the key to success, money is the key to sex." Watch the video for "Success" below, the sticker up above, as well. Cont'd...

"Envy is a slow, funky, almost bouncy usage of Marvin Gaye's classic "Sexual Healing." It's an ode to life and death, a groove caressed by the angelic crooning of a female voice. The way heads peeped Biggie's remix of "One More Chance" should definitely have them fiendin' for some "Envy" flavor ... Other standout tracks include "Watch Out," which features Joe's crew - Armageddon, Big Dog Punisher and Keith Nut - "Bronx Keeps Creating," a joint that transports you to the New York borough wars on wax circa 1986, and "Fat Joe's In Town," which asks you to "keep this rap shit true" and brilliantly uses Raphael Saadiq vocalizing "that's all I ask of you" as the response. All you can say is phat lyrics, phat production, Fat Joe." - The Source, November 1995. Full review is below.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Blahzay Blahzay "Danger" (Review, 1995)

Blahzay Blahzay is the Brooklyn duo of PF Cuttin (producer/DJ) & Outloud (MC). Their underground smash "Danger" was a huge success from their debut album in '96, "Blah Blah Blah." The single was featured by The Source as one of their Sure Shot Singles in November, 1995. "After Jeru The Damaja dropped "Come Clean," he began to cast a long shadow over hip-hop music. To wack MCs, he is a physical embodiment of the music's conscience. Few in hip-hop can deny that Tha Damaja has the verbal gymnastics to move a crowd, which may explain why Brooklyn neighbors Blahzay Blahzay wisely count him among their influences and present their take on what may fast become the "East (New York)" sound." Check out the video for "Danger" and continue reading below...

"Blahzay's baritone Outloud takes it to the streets of Brooklyn with a multi-part warning of trife endeavors: rowdy teens spit razors, shoes are stolen, crackheads go all out for lucci and gunfights are daily operation. "Danger" pushes the point that modern hip-hop itself is in "danger" of respecting gun violence over lyrical skills. Rousing and powerful, "Danger" offers a more grassroots alternative to the odious ilk currently dragging a once respectable art form away from it's time-honored roots. Production wise PF Cuttin's track captures the essence of simplicity that make various records from the 1980s perfectly enjoyable today in the 90s: loud insistent drums uncluttered by unnecessary instrumentation. Blahzay Blahzay, who offer their own brand of "downtown science," may find home with fans of cerebral lyrics." Full review in The Source is below.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Gang Starr in Hip Hop Connection (1992)

Gang Starr DJ Premier Guru Hip Hop Connection 1992
Gang Starr DJ Premier Guru Hip Hop Connection 1992
Gang Starr DJ Premier Guru Hip Hop Connection 1992

'Shining Starr'; a Gang Starr feature in the April, 1992 issue of Hip Hop Connection. 'Daily Operation' being one of my favorite albums, I always enjoy going back and reading this article. Guru offers some back story on select tracks, lyrics he likes and straightens out the record on certain rumors. 'We want to keep it like it was back in the days. Turntables, mic and rockin' it straight up live.' For sure, I've always seen DJ Premier do his cuts live and they perfected turning two turntables and a mic into all they'd ever need. I look forward to the day when Premo can officially open up those vaults and share gems from back in the day. In the meantime, DJ Premier still reppin' for Gang Starr & there's a catalog of music to go back and enjoy. RIP, Guru!