Monday, February 29, 2016

One Be Lo "The Original B.O.R.N. O.N.E.S." (Album Stream)

"What happens when One culture takes over another? What happened when Christianity met the indigenous peoples in the New World? What happened when the Ottomon Turks invaded Constantinople? This picture was taken at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. Here is one of the Original Mosaics that was plastered over after Constantinople was conquered by the Turks. The Church was converted in a Mosque, and the name of city Constantinople was changed to Istanbul. In the early 20th century, the Mosque was converted into a museum and experts were brought in to remove the plaster to reveal the original art work. So what happened when Chief Seattle Bean One met Chief Pontiac One Be Lo? The history of this work reminded me of the music that I originally recorded with Bean One in Seattle back in 2006. The Born Ones (Bean One recorded Nahshid once Nahshid entered Seattle) is finally here. We started working on this album together in 2006 and then due to other circumstances we put the project on pause. While we both continued to record more music, this project sat on my hard drive until January 2016. I decided to uncover these original copies, for the world to see. Releasing this project during Black History month is symbolic, because here One Be Lo writes and records his own history. 80% of this project is the original recordings of 10 years ago. To keep the project relevant, I decided to uncover some of the issues being addressed right here in 2016 and beyond. This is what happened when Chief Seattle met Chief Pontiac, and now the Original Born Ones are reborn." - One Be Lo. Stream it below.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Exile & Choosey "Ode To The Greatest: J Dilla"

The Los Angeles-reared producer also hosts his own Dirty Science Radio series, and for the latest installment, Ex has decided to pay tribute to one of his greatest influences — J Dilla. DS Radio Vol. 2 sees the production maestro flip samples made famous by Dilla on the MPC — with no loops, as San Diego emcee Choosey flexes his best bars over the live beats. Listen to it below. - 2DBZ

Monday, February 29, 2016

Rawcotiks "Unsigned Hype" (The Source, 3/97)

"...Though it's safe to say things have changed since Tito from The Fearless Four picked up the mic, the Hispanic MC has yet to earn his/her well-deserved title as a mic-wrecka. A glimpse through the Rawcotiks' demo might change your perspective on Hispanic mcees/lyricists. Rawcotiks consists of two impressive vocalists: Jeff Valentino and Butta Lee... Each armed with his own distinctive style, and can paint vivid pictures of topics which range from currency to skills to the ever-present wack MC. As Lee's unpredictable change of style naturally mixes in with Valentino's diverse use of rhyming syllables, each song on their demo carries a different vibe - lyrical, hardcore, criminal or reminiscent: "I'ma continue the struggle / until it's time for the shovel to hit the earth / that's when it's time to disperse..." Representing Washington Heights, New York, these two mcees have the potential to retrieve much needed recognition for the Latino segment of the hip-hop nation... if given the chance. And it's a chance record labels have to take in order to experience the sound and feeling of original acts in hip-hop." - The Source (3/97) / Updated, check "Hardcore Hip-Hop," below.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

J Dilla "Welcome 2 Detroit" (CMJ, May-June, 2001)

"Whether you know it or not, Jay Dee's been rocking you for years. Probably best known as a member of the Ummah production team (who worked with A Tribe Called Quest) and the underground crew Slum Village, he's produced tracks for heavyweights like Busta, Common, Erykah and De La. Welcome 2 Detroit, dedicated to the Jay Dee stomping ground more famous for its brushed-metal techno than wood-grained hip-hop, echoes the subtle, soulful vibe of all the above. It's as understated as Slum Village's Fantastic Vol.2, trading in its rosy glow for a blunter, darker feel. The real action creeps in the background, with beats skulking like alley cats around the perimeter of a streetlight. On "Y'all Ain't Ready," a fidgety typewriter balances the breakbeat, as an instant staccato pings faintly in the distance. And who'd have thought that the Clapper theme (that's right, as seen on TV) could be turned into a grindingly funky jam?" Dilla x Elzhi "Come Get It," cont'd below...

"Jay Dee's also got a knack for finding MCs to balance the tenor of his tracks - on "Beej-N-Dem Pt.2," Beej's nasal style plays perfectly off the hallowed bass and compressed soul sample. And his cover of Donald Byrd's "Think Twice" exemplifies the producer's respect for his soul roots. Welcome to Jay Dee's Detroit: Get comfy, you may want to stay a while." - CMJ New Music, May-June 2001. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

DJ Clue "Winter 1" (Mixtape, 1995)

Another one from DJ Clue, going back to the Winter of '95, competing with Doo Wop's scorching hot "95 Live" tapes that dropped around the same time. This mix tape is more heavy on the R&B blends, choppin' vocals over some classic beats, with some now-classics thrown in, as well. Ron G-style. You can hear joints from Junior M.A.F.I.A., Yvette Michelle, Total, The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, GZA & Method Man, LL Cool J, AZ, Mary J. Blige, Monica, Cypress Hill, Blahzay Blahzay, Groove Theory, Das EFX, and more. A nice cuffin' season type tape, dig into it below. Props to DJStepOne.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Roots "Things Fall Apart" (Rap Pages, 3/99)

"What is it about these cats that makes them shine through on any project? Is it the wordsmith vocals of Black Thought and Malik B., or the musical stylings of Kamal, Hub, ?uestlove and Rahzel the Godfather of Noyze? In truth, it's both. The two elements combine like hydrogen and oxygen to make a sound so fluid Aquaman would drown. On their fourth CD, aptly titled Things Fall Apart, they do, though not in a detrimental way. The Roots simply choose to travel a musically less familiar path - that of a stripped-down sonic mixture - carrying with them only the bare essentials. This minimalist approach is a new avenue for the crew, but one they maneuver with ease, ever careful not to tread lightly and feign a noncommittal stance. Things Fall Apart is an opus that gathers speed along the way, the whole while subtly introducing the impressive lyrical skills of Dice Raw."

"Step Into The Realm," a harp-based track, stops and starts like an instant-replay highlight shifting from fast-forward to rewind, while the cool-out vibe of "Ain't Sayin Nothin New" smoothly soothes. "Double Trouble" (a pairing with Black Star front man Mos Def) and the Hip-Hop ode "Act Too (Love Of My Life)" - for all intents and purposes "I Used To Love H.E.R." revisited, with an assist from Common - are both worthy tag-team duos. "You Got Me," perhaps the best joint on the album, sees the fellas reuniting with their collaborative compadre, the ubiquitous Erykah Badu. The catchy singsong hook and minuscule guitar loop will catch heads off guard. Thought not groundbreaking like Do You Want More?!!!?! or saturated with guest appearances like Illadelph Halflife, Things Fall Apart is a welcome return for The Roots." - Rap Pages, March 1999. Full review is available below.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mystic "Fatherless Child" (Spin Magazine, October 2001)

"Mystic's mother found out her daughter had been raped in adolescence the way most fans will - by listening to her album, Cuts For Luck and Scars For Freedom. "It was never discussed," says the 27-year-old Oakland-bred rapper-singer. "I didn't want my mom to think that she'd done anything wrong." Perhaps not coincidentally, Mandolyn Wind Ludlum chose the nom-de-rhyme Mystic because it means "holder of secrets." Her stark, minor-key tracks tell noir tales of ghetto strife, as she alternates between tough-love flows and breathy, resolute vocals. She may be secretive, but Mystic has no problem sharing with the public what she couldn't tell her Mom. The confessional "Fatherless Child" ponders the effects of her dad's departure from the family. "My mother left my dad," she says. "He was a drug addict, an alcoholic, and a philanderer." Soak in the lyrics of "Fatherless Child"...

"Both on a hippie commune near Loma Lake, California, Mystic moved with her mother to Hawaii and Guadalajara, Mexico, and lived all over California through her teens. She started "wilding out" on drugs with surfers and burnouts in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Oakland. Then, at 16, a radical English teacher politicized her, and she found her calling in the spoken-word scene. She met reggae artist Jamal-Ski, who told Mystic her poetry was dope. "I felt I'd been given a gift," she says. "I kept thinking, 'If I die, it would be unfair not to do what I'm supposed to with my life'." In 1998, Mystic went on tour with Digital Underground, whose Shock-G (a.k.a. Humpty Hump) produced some of her debut. Sadly, the same day she a recording contract, her father died of a heroine overdose. "We had found peace," Mystic says of their relationship. And though he never heard "Fatherless Child," she says, 'When I sing that song, I know he hears it'." - Spin Magazine, October 2001. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cam'ron "Who Is Cam'ron" (Press Kit, 1998)

"Cam'ron introduced himself to the public via the savage single "3-5-7," b/w "Pull It" (featuring DMX), a track from Untertainment's Woo Soundtrack album. He began recording Confessions of Fire late last year and reflects, "the first few months were hard for me because I wasn't used to writing in the studio. But after a while I got used to the schedule and I was in there almost every day for about eight months. Once you feel you're making one hot joint after another, the confidence and your output goes way up." Confessions of Fire begins with Cam'ron being led through a jungle swampland filled with eerie howls and ghostly screams into a promised land where money and success are there for the taking. What follows is a sonic theater portraying the life and good/bad times of Cam'ron and thousands of street kids just like him. The album depicts all the pain, glory, fear and triumphs found in all inner cities today." Check out the video to "3-5-7," cont'd below...

"The tracks come fast and furious. From the fearful intro, Cam'ron immediately goes into "Glory," the tracks victorious horns perfectly illustrating the range of emotions found in Cam's life story. The fast and furious "3-5-7" loops the theme from classic TV's "Magnum P.I." and it's lyrics match the hectic feel of a chase scene. Another jam, "D-rugs," personifies addiction by making it a neglectful mother that chooses a tragic, cheating man over her children. "That's my favorite song, because it's a universal story," says Cam'ron. "Addiction is so common in America today; everyone can relate to it." Elsewhere on the album, Cam'ron continues to guide the listener through his life story, putting the curb on a relationship with his best friend's girl ("Wrong Ones"), flosses mack-style in a Caddy ("Pimp Is A Pimp"), and on one of the album's strongest tracks, negotiates for a longer life with the Grim Reaper ("Death"). Whether flashing guns or roses, Cam'ron represents several facets of life."

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Black Star in Spin Magazine (11/98) + Live with Common (Video)

"People think you just have something on your mind and you just say it over a beat," says Mos Def of the current proliferation of wack MCs. The 24-year old is nestled inside the back offices of Brooklyn's Nkiru Books, sitting across from Talib Kweli, 22, and his equally frustrated Black Star cohort and one of the store's owners. "Rapid-fire staccato delivery," Kweli says, flipping off a typical rap cliche. "It's just n!ggas talking." "It doesn't mean anything," echoes Mos Def. "Me and Mos always say that if Charlie Parker and Miles Davis could rhyme..." "What would Tipper Gore say then?" Black Star's self-titled debut album is an Afrocentric bookstore in its own right, referencing everything from John Coltrane's "Naima" to slave ships to bleak premillennial times. But thankfully, the gravity in their rhymes never slows down their animated styles or their brooding jazz and reggae walking beats. It's a sound that recalls the best of early-'90s hip-hop, upping the ante on EPMD's mellow grooves and A Tribe Called Quest's playful gift of gab." Watch a live throwback with Common, cont'd...

"While the duo's shows have earned them a reputation as NY's slammingest hip-hop act, the two do more than just wow the kids. Mos Def has acted on NYPD Blue and the short-lived Brooklyn South, although he's more often recognized for the Visa ad he did with Deion Sanders. Kweli, for his part, wants to open a theater and a school. "The black community has plenty of hair and nail salons," he says. There's also plenty of retro-leaning hip-hop, which is why Mos Def is quick to point out that Black Star are hardly revivalists. "I'm not gonna diss my history by trying to re-create it," he says. But I respect it and apply it to what's going on today. That's what Black Star is about: bridging yesterday and today without compromising either." - Spin, November 1998.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fashawn "The Ecology" (Album Stream)

The Ecology is the second studio album by Fashawn. The album is released on Nas' Mass Appeal Records, where Nas also serves as executive producer for the album & is featured on the project along with Aloe Blacc, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Dom Kennedy. It's hard to match up to his Exile-produced debut "Boy Meets World," but this is another solid offering from Fashawn, who I met at A3C some years back - a good kid and a great artist. Much respect to him, stream it below!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mister Cee "Classic Dancehall Chunes" (Mix)

The Finisher Mister Cee's classic dancehall chunes, live on Hot 97's thursday throwback. A solid hour of vibes and hits from some of the biggest reggae and dancehall artists. Except tracks from Beenie Man, Shaggy, Shabba Ranks, Capleton, TOK, Mr. Vegas, Ska, Bob Marley, Sister Nancy & a whole lot more. For those not from the East Coast, whether in NY or Toronto, you may not realize how integral dancehall was to 90s hip-hop culture, especially at parties and in the clubs. We threw on Dancehall & the show always went UP, some of the most important records to have in your crates.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Ivan Ave "Helping Hands" (Album Stream)

"It must be the contrarian in me but while everyone was losing their mind over the new Kanye release and 90% of my damn newsfeed was Kardashian and Yeezy-related, all I wanted is to listen to the new album from Norway’s Ivan Ave which I ordered on cassette." <-- I'm with you on that, Lexis! "Titled “Helping Hands”, the 11-track album is out now on the always fabulous German label Jakarta.  It features spectacular production by American beatsmith MNDSGN who had collaborated previously with the Oslo based MC on “Forks” which also appears on the record. Also highly recommended is Ivan Ave’s “Fruitful” record released late 2015, entirely produced by his frequent collaborator, fellow-Norwegian producer FredFades. Out now on Vinyl, Digital & Cassette!" MIMS

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chairman Mao "The Loser's Seat: Anti-VDay Soul Mix"

Four years ago for Valentine’s Day, Chairman Mao recorded this soul mix as an installment of his now defunct Spine Magazine radio show, “Spine Blowing Decisions.” It’s a collection of some classy ’60s and ’70s crossover soul 45s – most of which share the distinction of being melodically catchy, but lyrically largely about heartbreak, doubt, and/or misery. Feeling blue on V-day? We got you...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lord Finesse "The Awakening" (The Source, 2/96)

"Lord Finesse has been an underground force representing the Boogie Down since his '89 debut, Funky Technician. Back in the day, Finesse shined by using funky drummer beats and a steady rhyme flow that was second only to Kane's in its successful reliance on clever similes and metaphoric wordplay. More recently, Finesse has maintained by producing tracks for Big L, Fat Joe and Biggie Smalls. The Awakening features a posse of NYC All-Stars lending a hand as this Old School hero attempts to stand with the lyrical lords of today. Finesse's strong suit has always been his production skills and on The Awakening, the beats more than hold their own against the work of the hot producers of the moment. All the tracks sport that classic East Coast flavor; heavy on the drum kick, perfectly suited to an MC getting his flow on." Peep the lead single, cont'd below...

"On "Time To Bounce" and "Hip 2 Da Game," Finesse definitely scores lyrical points, but his steelo can't altogether escape its dated feel. The best of his solo cuts is "Food For Thought," a cautionary tale that displays his strong storytelling skill. The EP's high point is "Brainstorm," a joint completely scorched by the vocal heat whipped up to O.C., KRS and Finesse... Finesse deserves much love and respect for staying tight all these years while so many others have fallen off. And there is no doubt that the ranks among the higher echelons of butta beat-crafters, as evidenced by his excellent work on homie Big L's debut release. But in comparison with their punch-line oriented usage of simile and metaphor, simply don't possess enough dimension to sustain a solo release. Still in all, The Awakening is a welcome joint from a man who has long personified hip-hop's favorite mantra: "True to the game." You can check out the full review, and more, below...

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Thank You Jay Dee, Acts 1-4 (Mixed by J Rocc)

A dedication to the late J Dilla (James Yancey, R.I.P.), mixed by J Rocc, who originally planned this as a three part series, but it became four; mixed and released yearly from 2006-2009. The cover logo was done by J Rocc, as well. During my years at Fat Beats in New York, I was exposed to more content from J Rocc than ever before ... and he quickly became one of my personal favorite DJs to listen to; technical skill and an ear for placing records, he is a true master of the craft. Dig in below.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Prince Paul Episode"

From Combat Jack: "I remember being at club Pay Day back in the summer of '88. All the dope girls and dope boys were out in their freshest gear. That was my first time seeing the original Hip-Hop band Stetsasonic in the building. Little did I know their DJ, Prince Paul, was only just beginning. 3 classic De La Soul albums; classic albums from the Gravediggaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School, and working with legends like Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, DOOM and more. One of my generations super producers, Paul walks us through his life and history. This is for the culture." Listen below.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

J.Rocc x Mobb Deep "The Infamous" (20 Year Tribute Mix)

In celebration of a re-issue of Mobb Deep's The Infamous by All City Music, they had J.Rocc of the World Famous Beat Junkies bless them with this exclusive mix of Mobb Deep jawns + music that inspired the album. You can and should check out one of the greatest DJs of all-time put it down like only he can, listen to "The Infamous 20 Year Tribute Mix" below. (Updated Link).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rakim Lecture at Red Bull Music Academy (NY, 2013)

"Hip-hop's golden age began in 1986, the day Rakim stepped to a microphone to record “Eric B Is President.” Only 18 years old, Rakim had a smooth, effortless flow that brought a cool melodicism and high intelligence to the rap game. His partnership with his DJ, Eric B, yielded four great albums and numerous classic singles before Rakim split for a solo career. Despite initial success with 1997's The 18th Letter, he endured several frustratingly fruitless years signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath, working on an album that never came. Yet in 2012, The Source named him the greatest MC of all time. In this talk at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York, Rakim discussed living in the moment, the ’80s, and the various challenges of the music industry." Art by Tasiir Franz.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

?uestlove "J Dilla Tribute Mix" (Live on Hot 97)

James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee; he continues to inspire & on the 10th Anniversary of his passing, I went back to a mix by ?uestlove of The Roots on Hot 97 in 2012. Quest pays tribute to his friend and cultural icon, listen to the mix below, no tracklist necessary - it's all dopeness. R.I.P. J Dilla.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Grown Man Rap Show "Brand Nubian Mix"

DJ Toast & Paul Nice broadcast live every Sunday Night (10-12am, EST) at WRPI in Albany, NY. This is Episode 58, a tribute to Brand Nubian. Paul Nice's set kicks off with some original samples, then group tracks, solo tracks, and some joints from Masters of Ceremony + Pete Rock & CL Smooth mixed in. DJ Toast steps up and goes straight hip-hop with more group & solo tracks, then tracks by Cormega, The Beatnuts, & more. They continue to deliver each week, keep it locked!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Broadway "Must Get Paid" (The Source, 2/96)

"Don't get it twisted, Mr. Dion Broadway is no new jack to the hip-hop community. He got his share of airplay in early '95 with "Brothers Die'n Everyday." And who can forget the '94 headbanger "Beg No Friends," featuring Fat Joe, Grand Puba and Chill Will F.T.E. Now an "official" member of the BDP camp, Broadway comes at ya with his latest. Broadway demonstrates a wiser, more on point version of reality rap. Strapped with pure Bronx essence and tight production from the blastmaster himself, Broadway delivers quality hip-hop with a raggamuffish style that should appeal to underground racketeers. "Must Stay Paid" takes its catchy hook from the BDP classic "Criminal Minded" - "Rebel, renegade, must get paid." Dion's off beat-on beat rhyme steelo, a bit of stadium ambience, and Red Alert's infamous "Yeeeah" make the joint complete." Peep the visuals to the track below...

"It's good to see that the BDP camp can still roll with the sign of the times and still be able to provide new flavors after years in the circuit. With tight credentials and experience on his side, Broadway should shine like the street itself." - Sure Shot Single in The Source, February 1996. The hook is still infectious after all these years, and KRS-One's production is hard. To view or save a copy of The Source's full 12", click below, and definitely check out "Beg No Friends," too. Peace!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Ill Biskits "God Bless Your Life" 12" (1994)

Ill Biskits are Deeda & Kleph from Virginia. "God Bless Your Life" was originally released on Khari Entertainment in 1994. Khari Entertanment was a NY label & because the B-Side "22 Years" was produced by the Funky Man, Lord Finesse, some heads thought Ill Biskits were from NY too. In 1995, they signed to Atlantic Records off the strength of the buzz from "God Bless Your Life," and it was reissued as a 12", along with a second single, "Chill Factor" and limited copies for their debut album, "Chronicle Of Two Losers." Their run from '94-96 was all I recall from the MCs as a group, although Kleph released a 12" ("The Dawn") in 1998 that I'm not sure I've heard. In 2007, copies of a 2CD version of "Chronicle of Two Losers" showed up at Fat Beats; said to be released via Khari Entertainment. The second CD had bonus tracks including the Lord Finesse-produced "22 Years," the dope remix to "God Bless Your Life," 3 instrumentals and a demo mix for "Beyond Understanding." Unfortunately, Ill Biskits member Kleph passed away a few years back (2012) due to a heart attack. Rest In Peace and condolences to his peoples. You can stream "God Bless Your Life" below.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Praverb The Wyse "The Legacy" (Album Stream)

The Legacy: Dedicated to the Life & Rhymes of Praverb the Wyse. Rest In Peace, my good friend. The LP features J-Live, Kenn Starr, Supastition, M-Dot, & more, produced by Soulmade. I'll let the music speak for itself & know that all profits from the sale of the album will benefit his wife and child, so please do dig into your pockets on this one. Much love and thanks. R.I.P.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Jordan Ferguson "J Dilla: Donuts 33 1/3" (Book)

"From a Los Angeles hospital bed, equipped with little more than a laptop and a stack of records, James "J Dilla" Yancey crafted a set of tracks that would forever change the way beatmakers viewed their artform. The songs on Donuts are not hip hop music as "hip hop music" is typically defined; they careen and crash into each other, in one moment noisy and abrasive, gorgeous and heartbreaking the next. The samples and melodies tell the story of a man coming to terms with his declining health, a final love letter to the family and friends he was leaving behind. As a prolific producer with a voracious appetite for the history and mechanics of the music he loved, J Dilla knew the records that went into constructing Donuts inside and out. He could have taken them all and made a much different, more accessible album. If the widely accepted view is that his final work is a record about dying, the question becomes why did he make this record about dying? Drawing from philosophy, critical theory and musicology, as well as Dilla's own musical catalogue, Jordan Ferguson shows that the contradictory, irascible and confrontational music found on Donuts is as much a result of an artist's declining health as it is an example of what scholars call "late style," placing the album in a musical tradition that stretches back centuries." You can order it HERE.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

DMX "Next" (Vibe Magazine, 1998)

"You know how there's always one song that sets off a party as soon as the first note pours out the speakers? Well, right now, DMX has got that song - the one that makes kids bum-rush the dance floor and bark along with his signature "Where's my dogs at?" call-and-response refrain. And fans of DMX's no-preservatives-added hip hop hungrily await more of the same from his upcoming album, To Hell And Back (Def Jam), due late this spring. Even other celebs are feeling him. Appearing on albums by artists as diverse as LL Cool J, Mase, Mic Geronimo, and Cam'ron, DMX is clearly about to pull a "Foxy Brown." Everyone wants a piece of him' over the next few months, he's got joints coming out with Ice Cube and Jermaine Dupri, as well as a lead role in Hype Williams' first feature film, Belly, due out later this summer. "I stay getting love like that, and I love it. I'm gonna feed everyone," he says about his popularity." Watch "Get At Me Dog" and continue reading below... 

"But to care for his growing kennel of fans, DMX is also establishing his own presence. Case in point: "Get at Me Dog" was originally a collaboration with fellow Yonkers natives the Lox. Although label reps appropriated the song and turned it into a soliloquy for the rapper's own album. "I really wasn't feeling the revised solo version. I didn't see the meaning in it at first," says DMX. "Now I see it was done to let brothas know I'm here. There's dogs out here who don't have a voice. I'm here to soak up their pain and make it felt everywhere by spitting it out to a hot beat." - Vibe

Thursday, February 04, 2016

J. Force "Cadillac Respect" (EP Stream, 2011)

J. Force unearthed eight remixes 'revisits' for his 2011 offering, Cadillac Respect. He shares that the project is a "Collection of SP-1200 revisits produced by J.Force. Most tracks originally aired as "exclusives" on Marley Marl & Pete Rock's Future Flavas radio show at the turn of the millennium. They are finally available." J. Force is a producer from Staten Island, who came up in the 90s; many of my early readers (on past blogs) should remember J. Force for tracks like "Bull's Eye," "For All Thoze," and production credits for Jaz-O, 50/50, Killa Sha, Craig Mack, etc. These remixes were featured through Marley Marl's radio show (Future Flavas) and it'd be my opinion that perhaps some of the credit slipped through his fingers and landed on Marley's end, as the remixes were one of the best parts of the show. It's been a minute, but much props to J. Force, who used to come in Fat Beats from time to time and call up to the store to check-in; a good dude and a talented producer with a rich history in the culture. Listen to Cadillac Respect streaming below....

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Nas "Death Of Escobar" (Vibe, February 2001)

"With 1994's Illmatic, Nasty Nas's intricate street lyrics drew him comparisons to Kool G Rap and Rakim. His music also got respect from those people in the ghetto who needed a knowledgable voice to expose their struggles and reassure them that there was hope for the future. Nas's well-received first CD was followed by three more successes - It Was Written, I Am..., and Nastradamus - and a new "Nas Escobar" persona, a generic Moet-sipping "mogul" in white fur coat and iced-out accessories. While his post-Illmatic work sold millions, true fans pined for Nasty Nas. Instead of the elaborate skits and soulless rhymes of his works as Nas Escobar, the new tracks, bootlegs, and remixes on D.O.E. are old-school Nasty Nas: Like Ice Cube's classic "Jackin' For Beats," "The Foulness" finds Nas spitting over four dynamic beats. The Slick Rick-flavored "Rise & Fall" details one man's epic struggles in the rap game. For "Poppa Was A Playa," Nas tells a sad tale of his father's misogyny. The seamless blending of old and new material continues on tracks like "Tales From Da Hood," about murder-happy drug dealers, and "Your Mouth Got You In It." While bootlegging kept fans away from much of his material, D.O.E. is well worth the wait." - Vibe, February 2001. 

An obvious argument would be that this was the first glimpse of Nas and Columbia's plans to release The Lost Tapes (2002). There isn't a whole lot of overlap on the resulting tracklists, but conceptually, it's (very) similar. The track above (updated), "Tales From The Hood" was released as a Clue-exclusive on Hev E. Components, Pt.2; some of the remixes dropped loosely here and there, but for the most part, the tracks were leaked on white labels between I Am and that other project that I pretend to not exist, lol. Ie: "My Way," "Worst Enemy," "Drunk By Myself," and "Hardest Thing To Do." In 2002, there were snippets on Stillmatic, as a prelude to The Lost Tapes that included "Make It Last" and "You Gotta Love It," which are on D.O.E. and others just on The Lost Tapes. Unfortunately, "Rise and Fall" hasn't landed on anything, and it should, and I'd push for the original "Sinful Living," "Tales From The Hood," and a few others. When and why things changed is unclear, but the results were flawless; The Lost Tapes is a top 5 release from Nas's catalog. Bring on part 2!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Beneficence "Basement Chemistry" (Album Stream)

Brick City veteran and Ill Adrenaline Records co-founder Beneficence unleashes his 6th solo LP "Basement Chemistry". Armed with the true sounds of the golden era Benef drops rejuvenated flows and shares mics with hip-hop's elite lyricists. The lineup includes Inspectah Deck (of Wu-Tang Clan), Masta Ace, MC Eiht, El Da Sensei, AG (of D.I.T.C), Dres (of Black Sheep), The Legion, Chubb Rock, MindsOne, and Estee Nack (of Tragic Allies). Production handled by DJ Spinna, Da Beatminerz, 12 Finger Dan, Confidence, L'Orange, Presto, KON Sci, Jazz Spastiks, and many more. Obscure samples, intricate cuts, and official boom bap sound! Stream it below!