Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fierce "Crab" 12" (1996)

If you dig dope piano loops, you're in a for a treat with Fierce's "Crab." Released on Wreck House Records in 1996, the track - which stood for Cowards Realistically Acting As Backstabbers - makes use of George Winston's "The Cradle" for the loop and the Newark, NJ MC tears into it. You might have caught him in The Source's highly-coveted "Unsigned Hype" section (9/96), check that above. Fierce had deals with both Elektra & Arista but nothing came of it, not even the mildly anticipated release of "Jersey Stand Up," which unfortunately never dropped. The beauty of the internet and our niche audience, there's always a label that'll cough up a lil' money for unreleased music from the Golden Era; especially if it's being discussed online with numbers on Discogs - labels look at that stuff, so maybe more to come? In the meantime, Fierce or Ferocious Intellect Equalling Rap's Cause and Effect can be heard below on both "Crabs" & "Come Close," check it out.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Elzhi "Lead Poison" (Album Stream)

"In the Spring of 2016, Elzhi will release his highly anticipated album, Lead Poison. Serving as a follow up to the instant classic, Elmatic, Lead Poison is poised to become Elzhi’s most desired album to date. With the help of Kickstarter backers, the album transitioned from an idea into reality. Highlighting a bevy of producers from 14KT to Karriem Riggins, the album serves as a recovery album that helps Elzhi confront the cloud. The album looks within himself and seeks peace of mind while fighting through the struggles in his life." Stream the deeply personal work below.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Statik Selektah "Tribute To Phife Dawg"

Rest In Peace, Mailk "Phife Dawg" Taylor. Statik Selektah paid tribute to the 5-Foot Assassin on ShowOff Radio Show on Shade45, and shared the following message: “Touring with Q-tip & A Tribe Called Quest since 06 … it's been an amazing journey, especially growing up off them. Phife will be missed. Rest In Peace, my man, Phife Diggy…” I can relate, I feel like we all grew up off A Tribe Called Quest, and surely Phife's "Microphone Check, 1, 2 what is this..." is one of those memorable moments we all remember vividly. Tune in below. R.I.P. Phife, I wish I could say more right now.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Oddisee "Alwasta" (EP Stream)

"Oddisee is also ready to unveil his 2016 plan which includes a new instrumental album in May, a tour with his band Good Compny from May through July, and the heavily anticipated follow up to "The Good Fight,"an all new solo album in the fall. Sudanese­-American hip­hop artist Oddisee's new EP, “Al­Wasta,” takes its title from the Arabic colloquial term used to mean (to use colloquial English) “the plug.” The term “wasta” comes from the Arabic word “wasat,” meaning “middle” or “middleman,” and describes a member of the community who acts as a connector using their wealth of social currency. Understanding the value of social currency & how to use it (for better or worse) is what Amir Elkhalifa aka Oddisee focused on as the primary inspiration for his writings."

Monday, March 21, 2016

Shamus "Serving Life EP" (1997)

Following up on the discussion of Cover The Child of Destruction, it seemed logical to cover another Bronx MC - who also had production from Michelob - Shamus. Going back to '95, Shamus had a solid run dropping joints on his own independent label, Raw Tracks Records. Well-received and even charting at the time, singles leading up to his solo debut in '97, "Serving Life," included "Big Willie Style," produced by Ski Beatz, and "Neva Dream;" an apocalyptic track - produced by Michelob - that sounded on par with something off Mobb Deep's "Hell On Earth" album. As an independent release, "Serving Life" attracted a lot of attention, and so did the single "Tight Team," with production from Buckwild. It also featured a brother name Flu, who was in a group called Rugged Brood, also releasing joints through Shamus' Raw Tracks Records. Along with Flu, Rugged Brood had the members Paradox & Mad Max, also from the Bronx. Their 3 12" releases were kinda dope too, although I really only remember "Dwellin In The Darkness." From there, Shamus released music with a crew named Crime Wave. Their first single was "War Fair," years later more records were released, including the debut album "Scripture Won," which I've seen floating around but I never heard it so I can't say much about it. Suffice to say, "Serving Life" is a really dope, independent record that you can still find on CD, Vinyl and cassette (the cassette is more like a cassingle, it only has 5 tracks). For now, dig into the EP below and pardon my memory if I got the names or timeline mixed up.

Monday, March 21, 2016

DJ Premier & Large Pro Mini-Mix by DJ Eclipse

As many of you know, both DJ Premier & Large Professor share a born day: March 21st. DJ Eclipse kicked off a dope mini-mix (30-minute medley) to celebrate the occasion on his Sirius radio show, "Rap Is Outta Control." Because you need to be subscribed to the channel to hear the full show, this mini-mix represents just a sample of the show, be sure to subscribe and tune-in for all future episodes of "Rap Is Outta Control." Check out the mix below, you know what to expect.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Jake One "PrayerHandsEmoji" (Instrumental Album)

Producer Jake One teamed up with RIK (Rappers I Know) to release a new instrumental project, titled Prayer Hands Emoji (I don't do hashtags and emojis). Essentially, the project is Jake One taking various gospel samples, chopping and flipping them into hard-hitting, soulful instrumentals, which will likely end up on your favorite and least favorite rapper's next mixtape, lol. Stream it below!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Scarface "The Fix" (Vibe Magazine, 9/02)

"Someone once said that the rap game reminded him of the crack game. Though it's a facile comparison, there's no question that many hip-hop fans, plagued by redundant subject matter and recycled phrases, are fiending for substance like Robert Downey Jr. in a locked hotel room. It's only appropriate, then, that Scarface the original street pharmacist, step up with The Fix, his best album in almost a decade... On songs like "Sell Out," 'Face proves he can run with today's best, firing off polysyllabic rhymes with the nonchalance of Jadakiss and the subtle depth of Nas ... He has finally broken free of his patented pendulum flow, heightening the emphasis on the last words of each. Thematically, though, 'Face more or less sticks to the script his listeners have come to expect: The streets are coldhearted and your best friend will stab you in the back over a dime piece, a dime bag, or even just two nickels, so surrender yourself to spirituality and find peace. But like a truly great MC, Scarface finds new ways to address the same old problems ..."

"...But rhymes alone do not make an album, and it's Scarface's superb selection of soulful, bass-heavy beats that propels The Fix along. Chicago native and Blueprint alumnus Kanye West once again proves to be an able vinyl reanimator, offering up sweet organ samples on the Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel collaboration, "Guess Who's Back," as well as glassy xylophone accents and an abrasive, funky drum break on "In Cold Blood." And yet, the cement that holds the LP together is not the big-name beatmakers; it's the markedly improved production of Mike Dean and Scarface himself. Experimenting with creative arrangements on songs like the intense Nas collaboration "In Between Us," the two deftly defy the current formula for 16-bar verses and 8-bar choruses. As a genre, gangsta rap has had an incredibly hard time growing up; most of its artists run out of new things to say shortly after the release of their first album. But with The Fix, Scarface makes a compelling argument that ganststas can, in fact, mature. More importantly, they can use that hard-won wisdom and experience to create some of the best music of their lives." - Vibe, 9/02

Monday, March 14, 2016

Westside Gunn "Flygod" (Album Stream)

The official debut album from WestSide Gunn Featuring an all star line up: Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Meyhem Lauren , Your Old Droog, Roc Marciano, Skyzoo, Conway , Mach Hommy , Dj Q Bert, Chase & Keisha Plum. The production is handled by Alchemist, Darringer, Camouflage Monk, The God Fahim, Roc Marciano, Statik Selekta, and Apollo Brown. Westside Gunn has generated something of a cult-like following through releases thus far, this is sure to tip the scale and create an army of supporters. Griselda Records is the future of independent, underground hip-hop - especially the hard, Timberland boots rap; I wish I was still in New York to catch them live.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

DJ Friction "Mixtape 1" (1996)

A nice mix from Germany's DJ Friction, originally recorded in January 1996. The mixtape features joints from KRS-One, LL Cool J, Trends of Culture, EPMD, Junior MAFIA, Das Efx; with some R&B flavor thrown in, alongside a touch of international hip-hop. A solid mix to throw on and get some work done around the crib, to work out to or if you're just driving around town. '96 flavor...

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mobb Deep "Young Love" 12" (1996)

Mobb Deep recorded ‘Young Love’ for their third album, ‘Hell On Earth,’ but sample clearance issues kept it off the album. It was released on a couple different releases, including a Pre-Hell EP, but most were unofficial pressings. ‘Hell on Earth’ was so hard, I don’t think the track would have even fit on the album regardless. How would this sound next to ‘Drop A Gem On Em”? It’s still a dope track in its own right, perhaps just not on "Hell On Earth." Reminds me more of "Hey Luv" w/ 112.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Kendrick Lamar "Untitled, Unmastered" (Album Stream)

"Demos from To Pimp A Butterfly. In Raw Form. Unfinished. Untitled. Unmastered," says Kendrick Lamar. Features and production by Thundercat, Adrian Younge, the homie Astronote, SZA, Cee-Lo, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Frank Dukes, DJ Khalil & more. "Every element of Kendrick Lamar's unedited unmastered tells you something about the Compton MC's provocative, multi-layered genius. Take the contrast of the collection's ultra-generic title and its attention-grabbing out-of-let field release. Take the retro-futuristic, Funkadelic-inspired grooves that simmer under tracks like "untitled 02" or "untitled 06." These are only the beginning of Lamar's hypnotic, nuanced nod to hip-hop's deep roots and unstoppable political and expressive currency. Songs like "untitled 03" and "untitled 05" - with layered references, wide-eyed jazz solos, and cutting insight - continue the brilliant reign of King Kendrick." As with all Kendrick projects, I recommend a purchase but do stream below.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Group Home "Built To Last" (Mix)

The 'Built To Last' Radio Show is hosted by Corrado & I Joe, each Thursday from 8-9pm on Radio campus FM in Toulouse, France. This is another artist tribute mix, back home in Brooklyn, New York with the Gang Starr Foundation's Group Home. Lil' Dap & Melachi the Nutcracker are the duo behind the group, with DJ Premier at the helm on production for their debut LP, "Livin Proof." To this day, "Supa Star" is one of the hardest New York tracks in our whole collective discographies. They've since releases 4 more full-length projects, solo material and lots of features to go along widdit. Dig into the Built To Last mix and see what gems you (re)discover.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Grown Man Rap Show "Lord Finesse Tribute" (Mix)

The Grown Man Rap Show is hosted by veteran DJs, Paul Nice & DJ Toast. The show is broadcasted live every Sunday night at 10pm to 12am on 91.5 WRPI in Albany, NY. Last night they aired their Lord Finesse Tribute on Episode 62. Paul Nice kicks it off with joints from Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth, Show & AG, D.I.T.C., Artifacts, some of his early production with Dr. Dre, Leschea, B.I.G. & lots more. DJ Toast takes over for the second hour and jumps into some Big L, Brand Nubian, AK Skills, Xperado, Diamond D, A.G., & even touches the SWV "Right Here Remix," wow he went in with that one lol. Definitely some grown man rap shit, and I didn't even catch it all. Listen below.

Monday, March 07, 2016

The Halftime Show "18th Anniversary & Finale" (March 2, 2016)

"Here is the 18th anniversary and final episode of The Halftime Show. It features live beats by Large Professor, Evil Dee, Marco Polo, DJ Skizz and some new unheard Pete Rock flavor, DJ routines from Rob Swift, Mista Sinista & Precision and WAY too many MCs to name. Thanks to everyone that listened weekly, everyone that listens here and everyone that ever came through the show. We made history." Yes, you did! Much respect. - via DJ Eclipse's Mixcloud page, go follow it.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Jeru The Damaja "Me Or The Papes" (The Source, 3/97)

"Perhaps inspired by such recent adversarial developments as the mixed reception to his Wrath of the Math LP and his thorny feud with fellow jewel-droppers the Fugees, Jeru avenges the damage of these dents in his prophet's armor with his last single serving. While "Me Or The Papes" resumes the saga of Jeru's previous ode to wicked women, "Da Bitchez," with a call for greater understanding, do not mistakenly conclude that the Damaja's gone soft with too much love to give. Jeru's true trump card arrives in the form of the B-side spin-off, "Me, Not The Paper," which cleverly reworks the original version's anti-materialistic message into a moody and personal diatribe directed at - you guessed it - fake thugs. If Premier's masterfully dissected piano provided the perfect musical romper room for the sun-toucher's earth lessons to frolic on the original, here his despondent chords of doom sublimely supply the sort of commanding forum some too often found missing from Wrath: "As long as there's breath left, I'll father the fatherless / If shit was real, Brooklyn'll snatch that chain off your chest / Don't fess, we know why you rock that vest / Hard on records, but really p#ssy, check it / I do this for me, and not the paper." The prophet hasn't sounded this surly since "Come Clean." - The Source (3/97). Poor quality, but peep the video below...

If you'd rather read it directly from the source - or save a copy - check it out below.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Hi-Tech & DJ Shok "Mass Vinyl Unofficial EP" (199x)

Let me first say, this is an unofficial EP. I was a fan of Hi-Tech & DJ Shok's production, just wanted to share some of their records on an old blog I had but since it's still live, figured I'd share it here. H-Tech is a NY cat, signed to DJ Shok's Mass Vinyl Recordings in the mid-90s. In '96, I heard "Book of Life," "Weak Minds" and "4 Degrees For The Streets." It was really "4 Degrees For The Streets" that caught my ear because of the cuts, I thought that shit was super dope. I can't say I had great copies of these records, so apologies for that, I tried to get Eclipse to rip them for me but life always got in the way. There were follow-up releases going through '96 into '97, even saw a compilation EP at one point, too, with artists on the label. Ei8 had a joint that was burning up mixtapes in Queens that flipped the "Cheers" sample, that shit was hard to me at the time too. Peace to Mike Nice who might've sent me a better copy of that record at some point. Stretch & Bobbito would play their records, Red Alert & DJ Eclipse too, which is probably hard for younger fans to understand, but we heard underground artists on the radio often back in the day. I probably should have researched this post, but I try to share from memory, for better or worse, lol. You can also find Hi-Tech on a dope record from Creative & some other joints. Peace to DJ Shok.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Masta Ace ''Disposable Arts'' (Album Documentary)

Originally released in 2001, ''Disposable Arts'' is a thematic/concept album by Brooklyn eMCee Masta Ace. The concept follows that Masta Ace is being released from prison, his return to home and joining ''The Institute of Disposable Arts.'' The album contain many guest artists like Masta Ace's group eMC (Stricklin & Wordsworth), Apocalypse, Greg Nice of Nice & Smooth, Rah Digga, J-Ro of Tha Alkaholiks, King Tee, Jean Grae, Punchline, Young Zee and more. Also a bunch of different producers (Paul Nice, Domingo, Deacon The Villain of CunninLynguists, Xplicit, Ayatollah, Sabor and more), this album is seen as a timeless classic album and one of the most flawlessly crafter conceptual projects. In the documentary, you will see most of the contributors to the ''Disposable Arts'' album, with interviews, stories behind the tracks, and more content about the making of “Disposable Arts.” A great documentary, about a flawlessly crafted conceptual album! Dig in below. 

"...It's been five years at least, waiting for a peace
Bouncing off of these walls awaiting my release
Pacing like a caged lion with rage crying
All them days trying to engage with the iron
Stuck in between a rock and a hard place
I got down on my knees, looked into God's face
It's really not the same, is it? With low digits
And y'all ain't hold me down, ain't paid me no visits..."