Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sckool Yard "Fashion Show" 12" (2002)

Shkool Yard is a Hip-Hop crew from Fresno, CA, originally known as Yard Massive. The Shkool Yard crew is a collection of Planet Asia, Kubiq, Shake Da Major and Supa Supreme. Their EP/LP "A New Beginning" featured 8 tracks as well as an instrumental for each. The production was handled by Joey Chavez, Protest and KutMasta Kurt, who also released the project via his Threshold Recordings in 2002. This 12", "Fashion Show" and "Sit Back & Chill," are both produced by KutMasta Kurt and was the first of two 12" releases from the project. In its simplest form, it's hard beats and dope West Coast rhymes. For people that bought the album, it already came with the instrumentals, so if I were them, I probably woulda added a bonus cut or remix to the 12", but dope nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Heltah Skeltah "Operation Lockdown" (The Source, 6/96)

"Securing their place in the already well equipped Boot Camp Clique, Heltah Skeltah step front and center for the "the ninety now." Each track is sound - fashioned by E-Swift and Mr. Walt respectively - and both fit with the smoked-out, baritone lyrics of Ruck and Rock. The two tracks complement each other and provide a balanced attack like a proper single should. The A-side, "Operation Lockdown," begins with a comical, stimulated narrator whose daydream leads the listener into a circle of hypnotic strings that come at you in seamless waves. From then on the two MCs do indeed "lock it down with the full court press." Their lyrics are compact and concise - each MC building off the other - and flow all the way into the short and unobtrusive chorus." Cont'd below...

"The B-Side, "Da Wiggy," hits with the familiar, brooding, bass heavy Bucktown production that you feel more than hear. Lyrically, Ruck and Rock ("Sparsky and Dutch") flow back and forth with an ease that is only truly manifested between partners in crime, much like their clique compatriots Tek and Steele. These two double team MCs from all angles, promising to "split 'em in half, divide and conquer," and warning, "if I'm bein' polite I'm schemin' like Eddie Haskell." The voice-boxed chorus recalls the "wikky, wikky, wikky" of the old school hit "Jam On It," but unlike the little voice on the Newcleus record, this one doesn't know when to quit. Heltah Skeltah should follow the talented trail blazed by Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun. So Bucktown heads can carve yet another notch in their rhyme revolvers." - Another Sure Shot Single from The Source, back in June 1996. (Updated).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Anti-Lilly "Memoirs & The 90s" (Album Stream)

Today, on the 3rd anniversary of its release, I am revisiting Anti-Lilly's mixtape, "Memoirs & The 90s." When I first heard it, the content and delivery of this project hit me in a familiar, but indescribable way ... I hadn't felt that particular feeling since Jonathan Kim hit me an advance copy of a then-unknown group and album back in '07: Blu & Exile's "Below the Heavens." I mean that wholeheartedly and to me, there isn't a greater praise I could give an artist, as "Below The Heavens" is thee single best album to be released post-2000, in my eyes. I could hear the talent, the catharsis, the room for growth; and I was sold. I've since spoken to Anti-Lilly online and he's a good dude, definitely someone to support and I think his contributions to music will be felt by those who seek it out. Hit up the tags for more posts and music, especially check his work with Phoniks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Biz Markie "15 Fascinating Facts" + Biz Documentary

Everything you wanted to know about the Biz ... but were afraid to ask! Ok, not really but check out these 15 facts about Biz Markie; the legendary beatboxer, rapper, DJ & producer from Noble Street in Brentwood, Long Island. Also, check down below for the docu-series about Biz Markie, "The Untold Story of Biz Markie." TRB2HH chronicles the early years of the Diabolical Biz Markie, who has contributed so much in music, trend, sound, and helped to evolve Hip-Hop as a culture. The docu-series is a peak into Biz's famous career at Cold Chillin Records and more. Check it out!

Friday, June 17, 2016

GZA "Mad Genius" (Spin Magazine, January 1996)

An interview in Spin Magazine in 1996 gives us more backstory on the Clan's Genius. "The appointed head of the Wu-Tang Clan, Genius is a product of New York City's hip-hop scene. All of it. Growing up, Genius absorbed hip-hop styles from every borough, as his family moved from Brooklyn, to Queens, to the South Bronx, eventually landing in Staten Island. After his first album, Words From The Genius, bombed in 1991, Genius met up with his cousins the RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard and formed the Wu-Tang Clan with a group of Staten Island MC's. Since then, Genius, who developed a serious work ethic after leaving high school has kept himself busy directing videos, writing songs, and handling the cartel's business interests." While GZA sounds surprised that he's widely considered the "most humorless member" of the Clan, he's certainly seen as the most cerebral and his bars are always razor sharp. Watch the video for "Cold World" featuring Inspectah Deck below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mr. Voodoo "Lyrical Tactics" (The Source, 6/96)

"If you were to ask the Natural Elements crew 'how many mics have they ripped on the daily?" they probably wouldn't answer, 'cause the numeric system doesn't go that high. This crew of multi-talented MCs have been the underground's best kept secret since the word "slept-on" was invented. Members L-Swift, KA, Charlemagne, newly inducted A-Butta, and of course the infamous Mr. Voodoo, have been making noise on your local underground station for quite some time now. Now the principal of the squad, Mr. Voodoo, comes equipped with his first for-the-public single, Lyrical Tactics." On top of being selected as a "Sure Shot Single" in The Source, Mr. Voodoo's also received "Hip-Hop Quotable" for lines like "See I been dumb lyrical / Ever since they cut my umbilical / So me being wack? / That's non-applicable / A phony rapper's card I'm quick to pull / Rap is filled with despicable MCs that speak the same old predictable..." Listen to "Lyrical Tactics" below, cont'd ...

"Laced with a neck-breaking track from up and coming beat master Charlemagne, Mr. Voodoo doesn't miss a line with his contemptuous flow, mating proper lyrics and clever punch lines that speak volumes on their own: "I'm still the physical, mystical, artistical, individual, making you run your residuals, I'm maximum you minimal..." It's a relief to hear talent like Mr. Voodoo extend towards the outer limits and display the definition of a real MC. To all new students, go home and read side a & b for homework. This month's lesson is Natural E=mc." - The full Source review is below. (Updated)

Monday, June 06, 2016

De La Soul "Stakes Is High" (Review, 6/96)

"Praise be! De La has returned just in time to restore a little intelligence to this gats-and-blunts polluted rap world. "Stakes is High" does to ignorance what Raid does to roaches. "I'm sick of bitches shakin' asses / I'm sick of talkin' bout blunts, sick of Versace glasses / sick of slang / sick of half-assed award shows / sick of name-brand clothes / sick of R&B bitches over bullshit tracks / cocaine and crack which bring sickness to Blacks / sick of swoll-head rappers with their sickening raps," preaches Plug Two. This song is for those headz who long for the days when rap was still considered a powerful tool of upliftment." (The Source: June, 1996) // Check out the video below.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Grown Man Rap Show "Prince Paul 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 Prince Paul Tribute on Episode 74. To kick it off, Paul Nice's set mixes original samples along with Prince Paul's production on tracks with Stetsasonic, De La Soul, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Big Daddy Kane, 3rd Bass, Boogie Down Productions, J-Live, Jurassic 5 & Dr. Octagon. In the second hour, DJ Toast steps up and his set is straight hip-hop cuts with additional tracks from Gravediggaz, Resident Alien, The Last Emperor & even more cuts from some of the greatest albums Prince Paul produced on in the Golden Era. A great tribute to one of the most innovative, progressive and conceptual producers of our generation. Now made available to stream, listen below.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Kaotic Style "Get In Where You Fit In" 12" (1995)

You can believe that in 1995, there weren't any Hip-Hop records from Nervous, Wreck, or even Weeded Records that I would pass on purchasing - it didn't matter if I'd heard it or not. Their brand was teflon. Enter Kaotic Style, who I hadn't heard of before I cop'd the 12" to "Get In Where You Fit In." At the time, I assumed Kaotic Style was an MCs name, instead Kaotic Style were two brothers: Scram & Big Grand from Brooklyn, NY. With the heavy, almost anthemic self-production on the track, it was a catchy AND had a lot of knock to it. How I'd missed their previous releases or joints after points back to the fact that it was released on a label I was familiar with or else - short on money - I wasn't able to take a lot of gambles on vinyl at the time, lol. There have been rumors that "The Diamond And The Rough" LP described above in Hip-Hop Connection - which came out split between tracks on the vinyl and cassette as "A Diamond In Da Ruff" - will soon see an official reissue on vinyl and CD. I'll keep an eye out for that, meanwhile listen to the 12" below.