Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Tribe Called Quest "Beats Rhymes & Life" (20th Ann Mix)

“30th July 2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest‘s 4th and penultimate studio album, ‘Beats Rhymes & Life’. Produced almost entirely by the Ummah, a production outfit featuring a young J-Dilla, it’s rich in samples and displays a bass heavy, more stripped down production sound than previous albums. Also heavily featured is Consequence whose career was largely kickstarted by the release. Released 3 years after the group’s seminal ‘Midnight Marauders’ with recording said to have been affected by internal differences in the group, the LP failed to gain the critical acclaim of previous offerings at the time of release, critics suggesting it lacked the chemistry evident on earlier albums. 20 years on however it remains a great listen. In keeping with tradition we’ve teamed up with Wax Poetics to present this exclusive mixtape of album cuts, alt versions and of course original sample material mixed by Chris Read.”

Friday, July 29, 2016

Soul Kid Klik "Mortal Combat" 12" (1997)

Back with some more heat from the underground in 1996; Soul Kid Klik’s “Mortal Combat” 12” on Roach Music. Soul Kid Klik were a New York-based crew that was formed by producer/MC G-Clef da Mad Komposa in the mid-90s and were at one-time affiliated with the Wu-Tang Clan. Reppin’ different boroughs of New York City, the Soul Kid Klik consisted of G-Clef, Blakspik, Goodfella Mike G, Storm Da Ghetto Mutant, DJ Spinbad and Infamous Mr. Savage. While “Mortal Combat” was the first single, it was followed by a couple more 12” releases and finally a debut album in 2001, “Invisible Army” on Hip-Hop Enterprise. In addition, there were several solo releases during the same timespan, however I haven’t heard the bulk of them to suggest what to check out. Update: If you’re curious to hear “Invisible Army,” you can check it out HERE as it’s recently been uploaded to Bandcamp. Vinyl is now available too. Peep "Mortal Combat" & Da Mad Scientist remix below.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Masta Ace Episode"

On the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, the crew takes it to Brownsville, Brooklyn with Juice Crew member Masta Ace. They discuss everything from his early beginnings in hip hop; the creation and break up of the legendary Juice Crew; his journey that strayed him away from the street, as well as serious battles with his health, and why MCs never have an expiration date + much more. Most interviews with Masta Ace don't scratch far enough below the surface, it makes sense that Combat Jack would be an exception and bring out a lot in this interview. Listen below.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ugly Heroes "Everything In Between" (Album Stream)

"Few things are more ugly or heroic than telling the truth. Life is often bleak, brutal, and over all too swiftly. Leaders are corrupt. Job prospects are limited. Cigarettes and shots of gin rarely lead to a peaceful finish. But between the lunacy and squalor, there exists those who make it all worthwhile: family, friends, and ruthlessly honest artists who remind you that you aren’t alone, shedding light on those dark nights of the soul. As Michigan’s anti-Surgeon General, Red Pill quips: “We may not be the heroes this world needs, we're definitely not the heroes this world wants, but at least we're here.” His partners in Ugly Heroes are Chicago MC Verbal Kent, and Detroit producer Apollo Brown. Their sophomore Mello Music Group release, Everything In Between, offers diamonds of wisdom amidst the existential dumpster fire." You can stream the latest offering below.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Main Source "Just Hangin Out / Live At The BBQ" (7/91)

"From an album that is literally full of potential hit singles, The Main Source unveils the follow-up to "Lookin' At The Front Door." "Just Hangin Out" is a smooth (but not smoothed out) jazzy flavored cut with a laid back tempo and lyrics courtesy of the man who "gets busy over unknown tracks," the Large Professor. The original version has commercial radio play potential with its relaxed approach. The remix is a step in a different direction. The vocals are spread and changed slightly as what was once a smooth and laid back jam now becomes a hardcore jam that highlights the production wizardry of the Main Source. A medium paced beat with a heavy crackling snare and chunky guitar lays the funky foundation as the chorus featuring a sung reggae verse laid over a droning sax loop creates a killer hook. The remix is so slamming that it's almost a completely new song."

"If there could ever be one song to completely epitomize the essence of a hardcore-underground jam, then "Live At The BBQ" is all that. "BBQ" is the posse jam to end all posse jams. Once you hear the crew roaring "It's like that y'all (that y'all)" you're hooked. Over a Bob James drum loop with a touch of cymbals, Large Professor surrounds himself with a trio of raw MCs to kick ballistics. Nasty Nas kicks a grab-for-the-throat style with lines like: "Verbal assassin / My architect pleases / When I was twelve I went to hell for snuffin' Jesus." Fatal (aka Merciful) steps up next with powerful righteous lyrics ... Akinyele then steps up with a style so out of control, printing his lyrics wouldn't do him justice ... Bringing up the rear (II) is the Large Professor who proclaims: "I grab up girls like jacks / Add 'em on like tax / And I'm over like Hot Trax."

"This is the latest example of the creativity and talent that effortlessly flows off the grooves of the Breakin Atoms LP - definitely one of the most outstanding debut records of '91 and in hip-hop history." - The Source, July 1991. For a copy of The Source's full 12" review, see below...

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Stretch & Bobbito Episode"

For the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, the crew brings out the legends of New York indie radio, Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia. The Stretch & Bobbito show lives in a special place in Hip-Hop history because it jumpstarted the careers of damn near every legendary MC to come out of the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. Kids like me stayed up late on school nights with our headphone jacks in & our fingers on record, then listening back to make a shopping list of what records to cop at the local record store that week. 20 years later, the internet still circulates copies of those shows from tape to MP3, and I still have the same feeling MCs had in the "Radio That Changed Lives" documentary when Stretch & Bobbito played them back their live freestyles from the 90s. It's great that their chemistry is still there, as well their warm sense of humor, and they still have a fresh perspective to offer all these years later! You'll wanna listen to this one, click play below.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Roots "Clones" (The Source, July 1996)

"Sometimes you wish hip-hop could be distilled to a simple equation: talent = success. Unfortunately, it ain't that clear-cut. Case in point: an incredibly talented group outta Illadelphia puts together a debut work that receives critical acclaim, but generates no commercial explosions. Any fool knows that the Roots measure 10 plus on the hip-hop Richter (guess that makes the general public a bunch of geniuses). But if there's a great arbiter of hip-hop fairness, the second time around may prove to be the charm for Black Thought, Malik B & co." Watch the visuals to "Clones," cont'd...

"Clones" and "Sections" are clear indicators of the direction in which the crew seems to be headed. Musically, they've eased back from the live band feel in favor of a more conventional sound. And both joints come with much more of a lyrical edge than most Roots faithful may be accustomed to, particularly "Clones" - which also features capable wordplay from M.A.R.S. and Dice Raw. While Malik B has always had a penchant for flipping on n!ggas, Black Thought could usually be found developing complex verbalistics on varied subjects ... It's too early - and probably incorrect - to say that the Roots are retreating from their original steelo, but they rip through this first single and leave a pointed mission statement on the brain: we are f#cking dope MCs." - The Source, July 1996. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Slum Village "Detroit Deli" (Vibe Magazine, 7/04)

"With soulful samples, witty lyrics, and memorable cameos, Detroit Deli is a breakthrough for Slum Village. Potential singles abound, whether it's "Old Girl/Shining Star," about the troubles endured by round-the-way women; or "Selfish," an R&B-inspired relationship song featuring Kanye West and John Legend; or "Do You," an old-school gangsta track featuring Michigan's MC Breed. A few so-so moments, like the jarring appearance by Dirt McGirt (ODB) on "Dirty," prevent the album sounding flawless. No matter, with Deli, Slum Village claims its rightful place in hip hop's global village."

"And deep inside my bones I'm believing 
that my poems that I'm reading is the songs to my freedom
But life can be known as deceiving, what I'm shown isn't pleasing
Makes me wanna throw stones at a deacon in his home when he preaching
See that's Satan making my heart cold as a breeze till it's frozen from freezing
Gotta get right, I might not make it over this evening
Cause your time period is shorter than breath going from wheezing..."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Friday Night Street Jam (February 4, 1994)

"I know pretty much every Flex show I've posted starts with the Cold Crush intro, but I will NEVER get tired of hearing that. The way they took their old routines and incorporated Flex into it was so classic. Should have been a hit record. Speaking of classic, Flex hooks up with Mr. Magic to discuss Magic's early beginnings in Hip Hop, stepping away from music, coming back and how he connected with Marley Marl and the Juice Crew. Flex also had Shyheim The Rugged Child as a guest (35:40) who after talking about his connection to Wu-Tang jumps into a freestyle." - via DJ Eclipse.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rasheed Chappell "Future Before Nostalgia" (Album Stream)

Another super talented MC that I've been following for several years, the homie, Rasheed Chappell. I was first introduced through my friend and co-worker at Fat Beats, DJ Dyllemma, when he and I were doing mixes together. He played me "Building 8," and my ears were wide open, then through the scene, Rasheed and I crossed paths at shows, PNC Studios, etc. I put Eternia on to the music, she became a fan and connections were built that are still strong to this day. An untold story: Rasheed was scheduled to do an interview with my homie, TCM, at PNC Studios years back and I was planning to check with him about possibly managing him. The music Gods had other plans - Rasheed was unable to make it in-studio for the interview, he had to do a phoner instead. Not long after, I was proud to hear that my OG, DJ Eclipse, was actually managing him, so it worked out better in the end, lol. Anyhow, check out snippets from the phenomenal project, "Future Before Nostalgia," with Kenny Dope (released 5 years ago today), and be sure to purchase a copy HERE!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gang Starr "Full Clip" (Spin Magazine, 10/99)

"If the history of American pop boils down to the beat, and if good beats do indeed last forever, Gang Starr's extraordinary longevity was inevitable. If PE's Bomb Squad was hip-hop's Mingus, extending and inventing form and sonics, and the Native Tongues the Art Ensemble of Chicago, breaking down genres with an Afrocentric playfulness, then Gang Starr was like Basie, who believed that the "essential thing was the time, the rhythm." That is the common thread running through Full Clip's 32 cuts: Swing. Head-nod. Repeat. Even though Gang Starr's influence far outstripped their sales figures (only their most recent album, last year's Moment of Truth, went gold), they proved the centrality of the beat better than nearly anyone in hip-hop. Most of that was due to the production wizardry of Texas-born DJ Premier, who consistently carved sonic masterpieces out of little more than snare and high-hat snaps. His tracks perfectly complemented laconic frontman Guru's sidewinder flow and pointed lyrical observations. The breakthrough "Jazz Thing" (from the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack) and Guru's Jazzmatazz projects briefly earned him and Premier a rep as hip-hop abstractionists. But tracks such as "Credit Is Due," "I'm The Man," "DWYCK," exposed much of the talk about "progressive rap" as mere doubletalk. For Gang Starr, rap progress was mainly achieved by refining, reworking, and reinforcing those nonstop block-rocking beats." - Spin (10/99)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Soundsci "Walk The Earth" (Album Stream)

"Soundsci's third album 'Walk the Earth', as the title implies, hears the crew travelling over sampled musical terrain, proclaiming their agenda of "walking from place to place, meeting people, getting into adventures". The title reflects that Soundsci are from all over the globe, each member having different perspectives and skills, yet coming together with one mind to remind everyone why they love Hip Hop! The subject matter of the lyrics on this album ranges from current affairs to age old facts of the human condition. There is a keen focus on diversity in both tempo and mood, enough to keep even the most jaded 'head' engaged. In an age where the phrase 'in one ear, out the other' seems more pertinent than ever, Soundsci strive to take the listener on a journey. Sometimes the road is bumpy, be it the dense jungle of everyday living, or the broad vista's of the minds eye, there is always a strong grounded connection with the truth as the crew sees it. It is of great importance to all members of the crew to remain progressive both lyrically and musically, whilst retaining all that they have learned from their long path to reach this moment. Join this band of Ronin, and take in their song I promise it will refresh you." Art and Design by Mr. Krum. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tonedeff "Polymer" (Album Stream)

"Thematically, Polymer is a veritable odyssey of pain, sex, self-sabotage, reflection and triumph as the album delves equally into the four portions of Tonedeff’s personality – each assigned to their own EPs, which were released prior to their assembly here. The meaty pieces of Glutton, Demon and Hunter are all stirred to great effect and then melted together by the fusing properties of Phantom, and the jumble of personalities suddenly become the perfect singular stew where each ingredient provides its own distinguishable kick to the greater dish. This is a portrait of a complete person used as platter for a four-course meal." Stream "Polymer" below, props to Tonedeff.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Joe Budden 'Wake' (Prod. by araabMUZIK)

"Introspection means dig deep, let's look below the wealth
I wanna know myself
How you tell bitches know they self
When you don't even know yourself?
You wouldn't know yourself
Say he Canadian, maybe Asian, Croatian
Be sounding like his Jamaican friends, depend on what state he in
I think you rap good, but you a movie star
So that owl's appropriate, we don't know who you are
Where did the boy's brain change? Was it the club scene?
Now you sound like you use people and love things
But later for how you use people and love things..."

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Nolan The Ninja "He(art)" (Album Stream)

"Nolan The Ninja is a throwback in many regards. In an era where many are just thrust into the realm of music without having gone through a proper stretch of artistic development, Nolan has been through the gauntlet and honed his abilities to the razor's edge over the past few years. Nolan's debut LP "he(art)" is the culmination of years of performances and recording until he was ready to deliver a concise, well-rounded album that represented his evolution into a fully formed artist. "he(art)" exhibits the growth, depth and introspection you'd expect from an artist coming into their own and finally realizing their true potential. "he(art)" takes you on a journey of a young man from Detroit finally seeing his lifelong dreams of becoming an emcee following in the footsteps of his idols and influences coming to fruition. "he(art)" showcases production from several prominent beatsmiths including MoSS, Def Dee, Nick Speed while also boasting features from rhyme veterans and up and comers alike such as Phat Kat, Guilty Simpson, Finale, Noveliss and Red Pill (Ugly Heroes). After listening to this project it will be clear to the listener that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the sky's the limit on this remarkable talent. The heart is what sets everything else in motion in the human body and without love for the art of the craft you will never try to achieve greatness." "Opulence" is my fav track on this, stream it below and cop the physical!

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Nature "Queens Classics" (Album Stream)

The Queens kid inside me is rejoicing at the release of Nature's "Queens Classics." Nature had a real run in the late 90s! Having a hand in some of the greatest mixtape cuts, unreleased tracks & definitely Queens classics, this run through his back catalog should stir up a lot of nostalgia for anyone that kept an ear to the street at the time. The 15-track compilation features tracks with Tragedy Khadafi, Blaq Poet, Nas, Noreaga, Littles, E Moneybaggs, ACD & more. There's only track I don't see on here that I've always tried to get my hands on, the track floated around with the names "If I Ain't A Thug" & "Bitch Ass Cat," not sure what it was officially called. Anybody? I also remember coppin' white labels with the tracks "Jungle Music," "Magic & Bird," and other tracks on the project that give me similar memories to reminisce on. Get nostalgic, dig into this below.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

De La Soul "Stakes Is High" (20th Anniversary Mix)

“This month (2nd July more precisely) marks the 20th anniversary of the release of De La Soul’s fourth studio LP ‘Stakes is High’. A departure from the sonic identity of previous long play offerings, the album addresses social issues and the changing state of hip hop in ’96 over production from the likes of the late great Jay Dee and ATCQ collaborator Skeff Anselm among others. Guest vocals come courtesy of Common and a young Mos Def. In celebration we’ve teamed up with Wax Poetics to present this exclusive mixtape featuring tracks from the LP, alternate versions, remixes and original sample material used in the the creation of this much loved classic.”

Friday, July 01, 2016

Pete Rock & CL Smooth "All Souled Out" 25th Anniversary Mix

“This week marks the 25th Anniversary of the release of Pete Rock & CL Smooth‘s classic debut EP ‘All Souled Out’, the 6 track Extended Player that placed one of hip hop’s best loved Producer / MC duos on the map and set the stage for two of the most revered albums of the early 90s, 1992’s ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother’ and 1994’s ‘The Main Ingredient’. In celebration we’ve teamed up with Wax Poetics to present this exclusive mixtape featuring tracks from the EP, alternate versions, interview snippets and of course original sample material used to create this timeless classic."