Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jakk Wonders "Good Morning Baltimore" (Instrumentals)

Brand new for 2016! The South African beat maker Jakk Wonders (who worked with Skyzoo and Rapper Big Pooh on last year’s ‘Cruel Intentions’ cut for the Praverb tribute album) kicks off the new year with a brand new beat tape. Good Morning Baltimore is a 10 track tape which is an ode to the hit HBO drama ‘The Wire’ which aired from 2002-2008. The rugged B-more inspired instrumentals are streaming below, check it out! I love The Wire! 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Shorty Long "Shorty'z Doin' His Own Thang" 12" (1994)

This 12" dates back to 1994; the debut single from Shorty Long(stroke) from the BX. "Shorty'z Doin' His Own Thang" was produced by Lord Finesse & released through Shorty's own imprint, "Long Shorr Records." Once you hear the horns, you know it's the Funky Man; add to it vocal chops from fellow-D.I.T.C. crew member Diamond D (+ Sadat X) and you had a joint that was heating up for a while. His follow-up single, produced by DJ Mike Smooth, didn't catch as much attention, and like many talents in the 90s, we didn't receive any additional records at the time. Yet, there's more...

In 2008, DJ Mike Smooth presented "The South Boogie EP" by Shorty Long, on One Leg Up Records. It was a 7-track EP of unreleased joints recorded between '94 and '96, which featured production from Showbiz, Buckwild, DJ Mike Smooth & Ahmed. With that release came more information: Shorty Long was from the same housing projects as much of the D.I.T.C., Forest Housing projects. It adds that Mike Smooth was made a partner in Long Shorr records back when he recorded that second 12" so together they were connected with One Leg Records in '08 and that's how these gems were unearthed for the EP release, which is also available on streaming platforms.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Soul Khan "Hugo & Rufus" (EP Stream)

Leave it to Soul Khan to be inspired by & dedicate an EP to his two dogs, Hugo & Rufus. One of the sharper minds in all of hip-hop, you wouldn't want to battle him on politics, current events, or go bar for bar with him neither. The short project is produced by fellow-Brown Bag All Star, Deejay Element & mixed by BBAS associates DJ Brace & Tenacity. While we're at it, let's give a shout-out to Brenden Goodcuff for the artwork. Now, back to the music ... stream it below and get in his mentions and ask for some more new music; tell him Sav sent you and that it's overdue.

Monday, January 25, 2016

GZA "Liquid Swords" (Press Kit, 1996)

Geffen Records sent out a press release 20 years ago (January 25, 1996) to announce that: "Liquid Swords, the solo album from Genius of the Wu-Tang Clan has been certified Gold only two months after its release. The album, featuring GZA's masterful flow, coupled with intricate rhymes and tight production from RZA, is also a benchmark for Geffen Records. It is the label's first gold certified hip-hop album. Wu-Tang took the scene by storm in 1994 with their underground smash hit "Protect Ya Neck." The group's debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) achieved platinum success and is credited with bringing hip-hop back to the raw esssence many fans felt had been missing in the scene. Method Man's solo venture went onto sell more than a million albums (certified platinum), while Ol' Dirty Bastard and Raekwon's LP's were certified gold." In November 1995, Rolling Stone said "Liquid (Swords) is an intriguing paradox of wordplay...and wisdom." I agree with that, 100%.

The press release goes on to say, "The fast success of Liquid Swords has proven without a doubt that 1995 was the year of the Wu-Tang Clan. Genius' album is chock full of clever metaphors and dope rhymes. Look for "Shadowboxin" and "4th Chamber," the next singles from the GZA in early March." To me, "Liquid Swords" is one of the greatest winter albums of ALL-TIME. It was the fourth solo effort from the Wu-Tang - not including The Genius' debut years prior - and with its dirty sound and familiar ingredients, it's top two in all of the Wu-Tang solo efforts. Watch the video for "Shadowboxin" with Method Man & "4th Chamber" with Ghostface Killah & Killah Priest below. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Funkmaster Flex "Friday Night Street Jam" (March 18, 1994)

"As usual, Flex rocks a nice set of Hip Hop, R&B and Reggae which were all popping in NYC during the 90s. Not sure where else you would have heard an SWV record mixed into a Kool G Rap record let alone a 1982 live performance from the Cold Crush Brothers. Played on commercial radio?!? Now that's good radio. New York had the Palladium in full effect as well as the Source Awards. Flex mentions that Nas will be stopping by tomorrow (I think I have that freestyle taped) and Mister Cee appears near the end for a guest blend set (171:38). Here's just over 3 hours of the 4 hour show. If only they made hi bias tapes longer back then. Oh well." - via DJ Eclipse's Mixcloud

Monday, January 18, 2016

Torae "Entitled" (Album Stream)

Coming off the success of last year’s collaborative album “Barrel Brothers” with Skyzoo, Torae returns with his sophomore album, “Entitled”. Picking up where his debut “For the Record” left off, we find Torae back in his zone of witty and thought-provoking lyrics over stellar production. The album features production from Grammy Award-winning producers such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Nottz, and Denaun Porter. Guest features include: Grammy-nominated acts like Phonte (of Foreign Exchange/Little Brother), actor/singer/songwriter Mack Wilds, and Teedra Moses. “Entitled” also features the Pharoahe Monch-assisted “What’s Love?” previously unavailable on CD or vinyl formats. Glad they included "What's Love?", that Praise beat is insanity, stream it all below.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Illegal ‘Head or Gut’ 12” (1993)

I think everyone is familiar with this 12”, but it was released in 1993 on Rowdy Records, Dallas Austin’s label. Illegal was Jamal (Philly) and Malik (SC), with production by Erick Sermon. Their debut album ‘The Untold Truth’ was a pretty dope (red) cassette with production by Diamond D, Erick Sermon, Dallas Austin, Spearhead X, Biz Markie and among others, Lord Finesse. Pretty dope, right? They had moderate success, but it was enough to convince me to buy the cassette and vinyl as a 13-year old kid lol Jamal went on to release a great solo project called ‘Last Chance No Breaks’ with the standout single, ‘Jamal Fades Em All’, while Malik later worked on projects with Monica, his cousin Snoop, Warren G, and put out a solo effort in 2005. The one 12” single Malik released on Rowdy called ‘Malik Goes On’ I can’t remember at all, but I’m interested to hear it. Oh and yes, ‘Head or Gut’ dissed the shit out of Kris Kross with writing by Jamal and Erick Sermon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

BJ The Chicago Kid "D'Angelo Tribute" (EP Stream)

BJ The Chicago Kid pays to tribute to the vocal legend, D'Angelo & his "Untitled." In his words, "I had to celebrate his genius by paying homage to his legacy while he continues to kill the game and make great music. It’s a new year and there’s no better way to start it off than taking it back to where it all began for me. This is real Soul/R&B." Dope enough for me to share it, listen below!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Heltah Skeltah "Nocturnal" (The Source, 7/96)

"This seems to be the master plan for hip-hop domination: first, set things off with an undeniable masterpiece, such as Black Moon's debut Enta Da Stage. Next, put on other members of your crew, who proceed to amaze and astound in their own right - see Smif-N-Wessun's Dah Shinin. And then, just when headz are salivating for any piece of work bearing your imprimatur, start your own label and sew things up with more dope product. This is how far Brooklyn's Boot Camp Clik has come in just three short years. The next group up to represent Bucktown is Heltah Skeltah, whose debut, Nocturnal - on Buckshot's own Duck Down Entaprizez - may just vault the Clik into the same category as the other East Coast super crews. Heltah Skeltah is made up of the high-powered MCs Ruc and Roc, who were introduced as two-thirds of the Fab 5 cipher on "Leflah Leflaur Eshkoshka." Make no mistake: these two rip the mic like a two-headed monster, with Ruc's deep-voiced flow perfectly situated as the backbone to Roc's hard-as-nails delivery." Cont'd below...

"The production is also solid, designed to highlight rather than overshadow the MCs. Most of the work is handled by Beatminerz Baby Paul, Mr. Walt and Evil Dee, who create multi-layered soundscapes using ambient samples to prop up the simple drum-propelled tracks. But the centerpiece of this LP still remains the endless stream of tight verses kicked by Ruc and Roc. So far no member of the Boot Camp Clik has slipped up. Nocturnal continues this tradition of dopeness." - The Source, 7/96: read the full review below...

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blacktract "Diary Of A Mad M.C." 12" (1995)

Blackstract was two brothers - WIC and Dadidas - from East Flatbush Brooklyn, New York in the mid-90s. Blackstract released three 12" releases between 1994-1996, all on Stikman Entertainment. I first heard of Blackstract through Mister Cee, who was always around in the New York scene and said to keep an ear out for them. Their first 12" is probably the most obscure - "I Stole Your Girl" - released in 1994. The track flips the same sample they'd later use on "Diary of a Mad M.C.," but the first 12" is produced by WIC, the rest of the tracks are produced by New York-known producer, Saran Rap. It also used a familiar vocal sample from Audio Two's "Top Billin;" it's a funny story-telling joint about what happens to your girl if you go to jail, lol. It had "40G's & A 9" on the B-side. In 1995, Blackstract released "Diary Of The Mad M.C." with a new flavor and concept, talking about being an unsigned artist on the come-up, navigating the industry. They were definitely conceptual artists, and while the sound was kinda Gravediggaz-ish, it wasn't on that same horrorcore tip. "A New Nightmare" kicks off with a vocal sample from Biggie, then tells the tale of what nightmares keep then up them up at night. Their third 12" was also produced by Saran Rap with "BKNY" and "Streets." At some point, there was an unofficial Blackstract release - no label - just a CD-R with all the singles from each 12" and a few sold on Discogs, not sure who was behind that, but if there's more in the stash, I'd definitely listen. They got love on college radio and had Mister Cee's cosign, I guess things just didn't pop off enough for them, or who knows, maybe life got in the way. Either way, listen below (ignore that it says 0:00, it plays just fine ... dunno why that happens).

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Fat Joe "Don Cartagena" (1998)

Taken from the original press kit from Fat Joe's Don Cartagena: "With the wisdom and experience of a Don, Fat Joe brings to life street morality, Mafia fantasy and hardcore realism, delivering "Don Cartagena," his third and best album to date. On "Don Cartagena," Fat Joe plays musical auteur directing each track dramatically and intensely. Fat Joe - aka Joey Crack - wields an album with diverse tentacles, reaching some of the complexities and contradictions of Hip-Hop. Through the course of his six years in the industry, having fostered relationships with major players, and after growing up in squalor of the South Bronx, he has good reason to call himself the Don of Rap." In my eyes, this was Fat Joe's last (near) classic album, and while I don't run to it often in my crates, you cannot deny his ear for production - especially on this project. Vibe had this to say about "Don Cartagena" in October, 1998: "Third time's a charm for Bronx bad boy Fat Joe. After two marginal releases on Violator/Relativity, Joey Crack returns with Don Cartagena - a refined arsenal of explosive songs ... Don Cartagena proves that the game ain't over until Fat Joe rhymes." Check out the video below for the smash track "John Blaze," featuring Nas, Big Pun, Jadakiss, and Raekwon.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Blahzay Blahzay "Danger II" (Review, 1996)

"Quick, name the two joints that had Brooklyn hard-rocks puffing and posturing with pride over the last few months of '95. Give up? Does the phrase "When the East is in the house" ring any bells? How 'bout, "Your death threater, sender / Head spinner / Rap beginner / Light dimmer / Three knock-out winner?" If the names Blahzay Blahzay and Smoothe Da Hutler, along with his brother Trigga, haven't popped into yo cerebrum as yet, you need to go to the back of the class and stick your face in the wall. Well, to the delight of the fates and lyric-lovers all over, these two acts have joined forces to revisit Blahzay's "Danger." You'll wanna click play below and then continue reading ...

"Blahzay's Outloud opens things up in his strident, straightforward baritone. "Medina animals eat you like purina / Cat chow I never bow still I aim to please / Drain what you got as if I was your main squeeze / Wack MCs ease / The end is here at last / Jet real fast with your tail between your ass." But it's the presence of Smoothe and Trigga that significantly ups the lyrical ante on this joint, particularly Trigga, who delivers a razor sharp piece of vocal ass-whip: "The misdemeanor / dreamer / money schemer / slip the clip in the infrared beamer." More dangerous indeed." All verses go!

Monday, January 04, 2016

DJ Boogie Blind "Definitive D.I.T.C." (Mixtape)

Much respect to Boogie Blind of the world famous X-excutioners. This is his "Definitive D.I.T.C." mix, showing love to one of the greatest all-star crews, Diggin In The Crates. A double-CD mix, Definitive D.I.T.C. runs through over 50 tracks, including joints from Diamond D, Showbiz & AG, Big L, O.C., Fat Joe, Buckwild, Lord Finesse, some posse cuts & random features thrown in for good measure. With a catalog as extensive as the Diggin in The Crates crew, it's hard to catch it all, but this is no doubt a phenomenal mix by one of Hip-Hop's greatest DJs. Props to DJ E-Feezy for the stream below, check his page for lots more content. Big L, Rest In Peace! 

Friday, January 01, 2016

Joe Budden "All Love Lost" (Best of 2015?)

Fans have a love / hate relationship with Joe Budden ... I get it, I know. Building a cult-like fanbase over the years, Joe was one of the first to find dominance at utilizing social media & specifically platforms like BlogTV. Long before the podcast or shows on Complex or Revolt, Joe created a lane through vulnerability and letting his fans see behind the curtain. The narrative today might be that the fans didn't purchase the music once streaming hit or that the industry held him back or that he wasn't considered 'cool' amongst his peers... I don't know exactly, but what I do know, the fans and the industry-alike missed out by not supporting his "All Love Lost" album. Yes, Rage & The Machine was a dope rap project, but "All Love Lost" was masterful from start to finish if you believe that music should be from the heart and create true emotion. Beyond that, his ear for production was at its best and Parks' work behind the boards was top notch! Live instrumentation, layered vocals (from Joe & Emanny) made this truly one of my favorite projects of the year. Start with the intro below, which sets the stage for much of the content on the album, then click HERE. Props to Rory & Mal on their Podcast with Joe; do check that out (edit) Wed/Sat via Spotify.