Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Exile "Tears For A Prince" (Instrumentals)


With sad news of Prince’s passing, Dirty Science's Exile put together a 3-song EP called "Tears For A Prince" to pay homage to the great, late musician. Using Prince samples as his foundation, Exile re-works the original work for a limited purple vinyl release. Only 300 made and part of the proceeds will go to the Hearts of LA children’s music program. Exile says, "I woke up April 21st to the news of Prince’s passing. Before I could fully digest the news I receive numerous text from friends about his passing and how I should honor his passing with making music with Prince samples, in honor. I thought to myself I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to ride Prince’s legacy to gain fame. As time passed, drinks were sipped and again I’m asked the question, “How are you going to respond, musically to his passing?” I went home faded, turned on the stereo and started banging Prince. As I’m listening, I’m realizing all the emotion of mine that is stored in his music. I’m realizing how much of his music my mom would play loudly in the house. My mother’s face happy as she would dance in the house. I mean she would be busting! Dancing like she’s in the club! She was good too! I began to cry and think about my own life, my mothers passing and Prince’s passing as a symbol of this wonderful journey. A sign of the times of my own life to witness the death of my mother to know the the death of a prince that represents almost a farewell to a childhood that made the manhood of who I am now. The creativity I fight viciously for, and the inspiration I find along the way that keeps on track with the God energy means everything to me. All the summers that passed with this amazing inspiration, creativity and emotion that is Prince to me. I realized I have no choice but to honor his creative life by honoring my own by taking my good friends advice with these 3 simple beats and this hip hop I’ve been working on my whole life. This is what makes me happy. Inspiration turned to creation. With heart and with love. Rest in Peace Prince." - Exile

Saturday, April 23, 2016

DJ Eveready "Trapped In The 90s" (Mixtape, 2012)


Australian DJ, DeeJay Eveready, paid tribute to the 90s, one of the golden eras of hip-hop, with his mixtape, "Trapped In The 90s." The mix features joints from Organized Konfusion, Afu Ra, J-Live, Dred Scott, Black Moon, Mos Def, D.I.T.C., The Beatnuts, Lord Finesse, Real Life, Showbiz & AG, Jemini The Gifted One, Mobb Deep, Killah Priest, Wyclef, Fruits of Labour, Big L, Buckshot Lefonque, Das EFX, E Rule, DJ Honda and an exclusive freestyle from Supastition over the classic DJ Premier beat to Paula Perry's "Extra Extra." A solid listen from start to finish, check it out below!

Friday, April 22, 2016

J Dilla "The Diary" (Album Stream)


The Estate of James Yancey has revived J Dilla’s longstanding company PayJay as a functioning imprint to release Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary, in conjunction with Mass Appeal Records. Initially intended for release in 2002, The Diary is the final batch of unissued material that Dilla had assembled for release during his lifetime, lending crucial insight into the producer’s prowess and thought process in the period leading up to his break with the major label system and the extremely fertile period that followed (which encompassed the making of the canonical classics Ruff Draft, Jaylib, and Donuts). The Diary features vocal performances by J Dilla, Snoop Dogg, Bilal, Kokane, Frank and Dank, Nottz and Boogie, over production by Dilla, Madlib, Pete Rock, Hi-tek, Nottz, House Shoes, Supa Dave West, Bink! and Karriem Riggins.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Professor P & DJ Akilles "The Realism" (Live Recap Video)


"52 bars, 12 instrumentals, 1 take. Or as we like to call it: just another day. In a time where DJ's only press play and rappers overdub their own lyrics to make sure they remember them, we figured we'll show y'all how it's supposed to be done! To celebrate the vinyl re-issue of The Realism we put together a little video. The video consists of a live set which features all the instrumentals from "The Realism" in the order they appear on the album, with new rhymes that give you some insight to the different tracks." 2 years later, support "The Realism" by Professor P & DJ Akilles, HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

K-Def "The Breaks Session 1" (Mix)


You gotta appreciate a good break, well K-Def goes through 42 minutes, listening to records and taking you along for the journey. Not much to say about this one, K-Def has been an influential producer since the 90s, having worked on some of your most favorite hip-hop records. Released a couple years ago, but breaks are timeless, it's as good a time as any to listen below! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

DJ Critical Hype "The Art of Guru Blends" (Mixtape)


By now you should've heard other blend tapes from DJ Critical Hype, but if not, this is a great place to start. Paying tribute to the Gang Starr lyricist, Guru (R.I.P.), DJ Critical Hype blended his vocals from Daily Operation, The Ownerz, Hard To Earn, and more over classic instrumentals by Pete Rock, J Dilla (R.I.P.), Hi-Tek, Diamond D and others - with precision! The tape was originally released after Guru's sudden passing in 2010. Rest In Peace, Keith Elam aka Guru - you are truly one of the greatest to ever bless the mic. The mix was also presented by EscapeMTL. Listen to the mix below...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mr. Lif "Don't Look Down" (Album Stream)


"Welcome to "Don't Look Down" ... this album is my ode to the ebbs and flows of life. It's ultimate credo is to keep your head up in the toughest of times. This collection of songs in its own way asks us repeatedly if we can stand up after being knocked down. With music born from my own successes, failures, and hard learned lessons, this poetry is woven as a cloak to conceal & nurture me when times are tough and as a consistent and reliable conduit to bliss in my attempts to live life vividly. I hope this album finds a place in your life as it is truly me sharing some important pieces of mine..." - Mr. Lif // I feel like he's talking to me. You too? Stream Mr. Lif's "Don't Look Down" below.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Kaya "Imperfections" (EP Stream, 2011)


"Imperfections" is an EP collection of raw, unmixed demos & draft songs, recorded at home and released in their unfinished & imperfect form by Kaya. Sister to hip-hop artist, Eternia, Kaya is a beautiful songstress and pianist, offering raw and vulnerable tones about love, life and heartache. With Rich Kidd's production on "Why Don't We," you'll appreciate a touch of hip-hop, beyond that the production is mostly keys & glimpses into the potential of an artist on the come-up. You can catch Kaya on tracks with Eternia, Flatbush Zombies, Erick Arc Elliott, JR & PH7, and more. I don't post much outside of hip-hop, however it would be insulting to think that my range for music isn't more diverse, so if you're open to it, click play on the stream below to celebrate it's 5th anniversary. Favorite songs: "Why Don't We," "Fake It," & "Don't Give Up," but it's great throughout.



Monday, April 18, 2016

Mark 563 "Hip-Hop Coloring Book"


The Hip Hop Coloring Book is a fun activity book for kids and adults, featuring a selection of Mark 563’s own illustrative takes on some of Hip Hop’s most important figures, ready to be colored in. The 64 pages are packed with legendary rappers from the East to the West coast, spanning the Golden Era through to today’s rap superstars. Mark 563 is a Melbourne, Australia, based Illustrator and Tattoo artist. Born and raised in England, Mark has a Visual Communications & Graphic Design degree from The Surrey Institute Of Art & Design and moved to Australia in 2005. He has worked as a designer and illustrator for a number of clients ranging from local independent record labels to large corporations, and has been working on his own series of Hip Hop illustrations, entitled “Evolution Of The B-Boy”. Besides his artwork, Mark 563 is an avid record collector and Hip Hop nerd, and has DJ'd alongside EPMD, Souls Of Mischief, J-Live, The Rza and more. Get it HERE.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Logic "The Incredible True Story" (Album Stream)


The conceptual album from one of the young rising Hip Hop stars. 'The Incredible True Story' has been described as a "motion picture sci-fi epic" is based around the Earth becoming inhabitable as we know it 100 years from now and any surviving people are living in outer space.... Sort of a Deltron 3030 for 20 somethings that grew up on Kanye and Big Sean. Produced by Logic and 6ix, the album features guest appearances from Big Lenbo, Lucy Rose, and Lab favorite Jesse Boykins III. It's awesome to hear Hip Hop that allows modern influences into the fold but keeping the boom bap ethos alive and Logic definitely manages to walk the line like a tight rope walker. Limited edition pressing on double pic disc just for RSD 2016. You can stream the LP below.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mick Boogie Presents "The Pre-Up" (Mixtape, 2006)


The Pre-Up mixtape was done by Mick Boogie and hosted by Eminem and The Alchemist. It was a promotional mixtape released ahead of The Re-Up album on Shady Records in 2006. Fact is, Eminem didn't do many mixtapes, so this was no small feat for Mick Boogie to release this mixtape. In it, you'll hear Eminem alongside artists like 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Ca$his, Dr. Dre, Stat Quo, Bobby Creekwater, Proof, Prodigy, Kuniva, Bizarre, Obie Trice, and more. I have no real reason to share this mix at this point, except that I believe that streaming platforms will get so popular that artist and DJ mixtapes will get lost in the sauce, so it's nice to have this memory bookmarked 10 years later. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

DJ I-Roc "The Showdown" (Mixtape, 1995)


DJ I-Roc released this mix tape back in 1995. The mix features a number of exclusive freestyles from KRS-One, Method Man, Pete Rock, Shyheim, Channel Live, 12 MC's, Boot Camp Clik, Cella Dwellas, O.C., King Just and Ten Thieves. Those exclusive comprise the bulk of the mix, but it also includes tracks from Stephanie Mills, Mary J. Blige, Mad Skillz, Blackstreet, Big L, The Notorious B.I.G., Channel Live, Death Camp, Ol' Dirty Bastard, The GZA/Genius, Total & Keith Murray, Miss Jones, Tha Alkaholiks and Mad Lion. The full tracklist is above, listen below. Props to J.Nickelz.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Big Kwam "Verbalise" (12", 1998)


Big Kwam came up in the late 90s when he moved from London to NY and connected with Big Twan. He dropped a few solid 12" releases on Blind Side Recordings, which also put out The Creators EP, as 12" from 2 Face (A Butta & L Swift), as well as joints from Pharoahe Monch, L Swift, Mos Def & Talib, and the popular "Wide Angles" compilation in 1999. Anyhow, by the time "Verbalise" had dropped, he had a nice buzz on college radio & was featured in a few noteworthy publications. With distribution through Fat Beats, the 12" was released with an incredible remix from the Jigmastas' producer, DJ Spinna. When you look back on Spinna's catalog, it's amazing how much amazing content he put out in the underground, when you consider how much he's crossed over into other genres and made himself into a household name as a DJ and producer. If you dig up the 12" to "Execution Expert" that dropped prior to this 12", you can find the original version of "Verbalise," which was produced by The Creators & scratches by Mr. Thing ... but this remix is the one! Listen below.

Monday, April 11, 2016

"A Tribe Called Kast" (Blend Tape)


In short, this a dope blend tape from DJ Nappy Needles, featuring the lyrics of Outkast over beats by A Tribe Called Quest. The result is "A Tribe Called Kast," a 12-track ode to two legendary groups! At the memorial for Phife Dawg (R.I.P.), Andre 3000 revealed that he and Big Boi had discussed working with A Tribe Called Quest on an album; it is now one of the biggest 'what-if' moments in all of Hip-Hop. "A Tribe Called Kast" gives a glimpse at what those collaborations might have sounded like, while still remaining a bittersweet moment in the passing of the beloved, Phife Dawg. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Epidemic "4 Dimensions On A Paper" (Album Stream)


"The 4th installment in Epidemic's catalog "4 Dimensions on a Paper" takes the listener on a journey through an array of sonic landscapes and emotions, much like seeing different seasons pass through the year. It was constructed in four sections each containing four songs with each section representing one of the four seasons. Beginning with an upbeat playful feel-good sound representing the summer, it slowly descends into heavier and deeper themes and more melancholic sounds. It eventually ends on a hopeful positive note much like the cycle of seasons is renewed during spring. The album features production by numerous beat makers from all over the world. The Loop.Holes (a production team from Norway) handled more than half of the beats on the project however, producing 11 of the 18 tracks. Other production includes Boora, SicknessMP, Jewbei, Planet Ragtime, Figub Brazlevic and Da Eighth. Featured artists include Melanin 9 and Chad Bazel. This album, with its minimalist approach to guest appearances and lengthy track list, aims to provide hardcore Hip-hop fans with a concentrated and substantial listen. It will be released in digital, CD and vinyl formats." Stream Epidemic's "4 Dimensions on a Paper" below.

Monday, April 11, 2016

KLIM Beats "Streetmatic" (Beat Tape)


Streetmatic is the latest beat tape from Ukrainian beatsmith, KLIM Beats. I've said it before, but I dig his style and continue to check out his beat tapes and instrumentals whenever I get an update. As long as they continue to knock, I'll keep sharing them. There are a grip of releases on his Bandcamp, naturally they will not all be covered here, so click and dig into his back catalog. Or, until next time ... here's 11 instrumental tracks for you to enjoy. Listen to the stream below.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mick Boogie Presents "Le Da Soul" (Mixtape, 2009)


Le Da Soul: 20 Years of De La Soul represented 20 years (when it was released in 2009) since the release of De La Soul's debut album 3 Feet High and Rising. Mick Boogie and Terry Urban teamed up with a slew of artists to remix classic cuts and pay tribute to the legendary group. Artists like Senor Kaos, Tanya Morgan, Homeboy Sandman, Kardinall Offishall, Phife Dawg, Skillz, Asheru, Chaundon, U-N-I, Camp Lo, Rapper Big Pooh, Butta Verses, 6th Sense, Daytona, Talib Kweli and more. I don't want us to lose sight of all the great mixtapes that came out at the height of the blog era, so I figured a random day like today was as good as any to revisit this great project.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Nonchalant "5 O'Clock" (The Source, 4/96)


"It's been years since the official death of the Black nationalist emcee movement; and hip-hop hasn't had too many voices checking the thug mentality or the folks "slangin' that rock." All we've seen are emcees who advocate freedom through the dollar bill. But Nonchalant, hailing from Washington D.C., has opted to put a message back in the rhymes with the release of her debut single, "5 O'Clock." Nonchalant flips the layed-back G-Funk drawl, usually associated with lyrical "set tripping," and uses it to relay a message to the hustlers. Over compelling, gospel-esque production, she poses the question: "5 O'Clock in the morning, where you gonna be?" They reply, "Outside on the corner!" For these individuals, she drives home the point of origin for crime and violence. "I got the urge to let you in on a little secret / 'cause you'll keep dying if I keep it / On the killin' that you feelin' from within / For the culprit check the color of your skin." Peep the visuals to the track below...


"Surprisingly, after a four year hiatus, the words "strong, black nation" pop up in a rhyme again. After getting a response from two dope-slangin' MCs, who defend their desire for the finer things in life, Nonchalant rebuts with solutions of collectivism over the rugged individualism that hustling ultimately represents. The lyrics are accompanied by a crisp bass and kick, layered with keyboards, a looming church bell, and an entire chorus. In an age where no one, including record companies, wants to hear or support a sermon, Nonchalant defiantly pays no attention." Full 12" review below...

Friday, April 08, 2016

D.I.T.C. "D.I.T.C. Studios" (Album Sampler)


The legendary Diggin’ In The Crates crew are back in the studio - their own studio at that - and the result is their first new album in 15 years! 15 tracks deep, the album features lyrics and production by all members of the crew, including a few new affiliates. Highlights include a return to the microphone by Lord Finesse on the banger “Rock Shyt”, Fat Joe returning to this legendary Bronx crew and DJ Premier production on “Connect 3.” The album was designed to be the first of many new releases coming out of their new headquarters and label, DITC Studios. You can order the Deluxe Edition via Fat Beats, but you know how I feel about album samplers, so check it out below + Put an L up for Big L - may he Rest In Peace. Great to see the D.I.T.C. crew back together.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

VIBE's Best Rapper Alive Chart (2008)


The year was 2008 and Vibe released this chart to narrow down who the "Best Rapper Alive" was at the time. Now, I hate lists and this is no exception, but why not have a little fun with it, right? There were some tough choices as I filled out my chart. Lupe Fiasco vs. Q-Tip was difficult but ultimately I decided that Lupe is a better technical-rapper than Q-Tip and I feel like Q-Tip would agree. 50 Cent vs. Fat Joe, another one I think people will go against me on, but Fat Joe has been consistently releasing quality music since the early 90s and I enjoy his early catalog over 50's. Big Boi vs. Killer Mike, ouch - I could go either way here and ultimately neither are beating out Nas or Black Thought, so it's a lose/lose to debate it too heavily. Ghostface vs Raekwon comes down to preference, I'm not mad at either. T.I. vs Ludacris, I've just never been T.I.'s biggest fan so it is what it is. Ultimately, the hardest choices are knocking off Scarface and Black Thought - to any eMCee. I had no problems letting Hov take the L to Nas (again), fight me in the comments about it lol. Oh and this is not to be confused with the 2009 chart Vibe released that ultimately lead to beef between Joe Budden and the Wu-Tang Clan, culminating in Joe getting punched in the eye on his JoeBuddenTV. That was, however, a classic moment and not be forgotten! Switch out the artists who were "hot" at the time, for artists who are "hot" now and you have mostly the same list of legends vs. newcomers. Who do you think is missing that would make it into the later rounds, or ultimately win the Best Rapper Alive? Copied below is a blank chart, feel free to fill it out yourself, too.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Baron Ricks "Rags To Riches / Harlem River Drive" (12", 1998)


This is a really dope 12" from Baron Ricks, who was 1/2 of the group Call O' Da Wild. Baron was down with Soul Assassins and the lead single, "Rags To Riches" had production from DJ Muggs as well as features from B-Real (Cypress Hill) & Chace Infinite (Self-Scientific). The B-Side banger "Harlem River Drive" boasts production from The Alchemist - executive produced by Muggs - which makes sense since we know Alchemist had been down with Soul Assassins through his earlier group, The Whooliganz. Despite all the West Coast affiliations, Baron Ricks was obviously from Harlem, NY and the record was mixed in New York at the legendary D&D Studios. Baron Ricks was featured heavily on Cypress Hill's "IV" album in 1998 too, which was probably his biggest look. The Call O' Da Wild records (3x 12" that I recall) were released prior to his solo work and each of them is worth digging up and listening to. The track "Clouds of Smoke" was also featured on the Bad Boys Soundtrack in 1994. For now, dig into "Rags to Riches" and "Harlem River Drive" below.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Friday Night Street Jam (March 4, 1994)


"This show is chock full of specialized radio promos about Flex. Emskee has a dope one at 1:24 right after the intro promo. Caught a couple more throughout the show like the Biz Mark one at 50:04. And then there's all the drops from artists of that era layered throughout the mix which gives it that much more flavor. And of course we can't forget the music. From breakbeats (4:12) to reggae (75:41) to old school (103:05) to new Hip Hop, the show is such a great window into what was happening in NYC clubs in the 90s. Not to mention the party breaks Flex was playing that were real popular back then. Throw in a couple blends, shout outs to Big Kap (R.I.P.) who was spinning at the Palladium until Flex got there. You have 3 hours of great listening pleasure." - via DJ Eclipse.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Scarface "Diary Of A Madman" (Book)


"If you don’t know me, or my career, or who I am or what I’ve done, that’s what I’d tell you: I am you. I’m the way you think and the way you feel; the things you’ve seen and loved and the things you’ve seen that you can never unsee. I’m your hopes and your fears, the quiet, dark moments that house the secrets that you hold tight deep at night and the loud public moments that grip and rip your block in broad daylight. I’m the pain and the progress, the sadness and the celebration, the dream and the nightmare. I am you. I am your voice." - Brad ’Scarface’ Jordan, "Diary of a Madman."

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Skratch Bastid & The Gaff "Soul Sisters Stand Up!" (Mixtape)


Skratch Bastid & The Gaff Present: Soul Sisters, Stand Up! is a classic 80-minute mix filled with 100% Female Funk/Soul/R&B/Breaks. 2 DJs. 2 years in the making. Featuring the sounds of soulful ladies from the mid-60s and mid-70s – a snapshot of love, pain, happiness, oppression, strength, struggle and more from an era where records were the primary outlet for these voices! These messages are driven home by the beats and grooves from what is undeniably the funkiest decade in music history. From Freda, Aretha, Nina and Diana to Betty Everett, Lavette and Davis, Skratch Bastid and The Gaff take you on a journey to a special vibe, using tunes both classic and criminally overlooked to tell the story. Mixed together in classic mixtape fashion… check it out below!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Bahamadia "Kollage" (The Source Album Review, 1996)

Bahamadia The Source Album Review Kollage

Bahamadia's classic debut 'Kollage' was released 20 years ago today. “The title 'Kollage' was a reflection of my state of mind ... I first got interested in music from playing my parents’ and grandparents’ records, as well what I heard on the radio. I wanted 'Kollage' to reflect that diversity both lyrically and sonically.” With production from DJ Premier, Guru, Da Beatminerz, Ski Beatz & others, this project was masterful both in lyrics and production. "Chrysalis/EMI supported Bahamadia’s vision through five singles and a music video, including the powerful street-beat debut “Total Wreck,” a track that first appeared on the Guru’s collective Ill Kid sampler in 1994; the more chill “Uknowhowwedu,” a tribute to her Philly peeps, and the swag strut club banger “True Honey Buns” was further proof that B. was no joke." In retrospect, Bahamadia adds "I was given the opportunity, and I knew I had to make the best of it. I had no idea I was going to be part of history. I was just trying to make a good record." (via Ebony) Props to her, she did that and more!