Monday, October 31, 2016

Rashad & Confidence "The Element of Surprise" Album Stream

Rashad & Confidence, two longtime students of the game, finally drop their long-awaited debut album "The Element of Surprise". This up-and-coming MC/producer duo, hailing from Brooklyn and Philly, merged to create a record with a timeless sound reminiscent of hip-hop's golden era but with a fresh, updated feel. With no guest appearances or other producers involved, Rashad & Confidence embody the sound real hip-hop heads yearn to hear, going back to the times of Gang Starr and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth. The soulful hitting and sample-based boom bap beats courtesy of Confidence capture the pure essence of classic hip-hop production while Rashad's deep and conscious lyrics slice through each track with topics ranging from various life issues to relationships or just raw lyrical display. Push the play button and get taken back to a time when hip-hop only produced classic albums. - Ill Adrenaline Records. A true-school classic, don't sleep.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ghostface Killah "The Iron Age" 20th Anniversary Mix

Presented by UpNorthTrips (Props to EvBoogie), The Iron Age is a mix celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ironman. "Since Ironman was the last of six Wu-Tang albums produced entirely by Rza, we widened the scope of the mix in order to pay homage to his legendary run in that classic Wu-Tang era." The Iron Age is mixed by Its OverTure, with artwork by Rhek. Dig into it below!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs "Gems From The Equinox" (Album Stream)

Meyhem Lauren's Gems From The Equinox is the crown jewel of modern NY rap. A future classic soundtracked by legendary producer DJ Muggs who has redefined dusty hip-hop production into a polished and dark, psychedelic world. The equinox is the one day of the year where day and night are the exact same length and this is the perspective of this album; the equal balance of darkness and the light. The project chronicles the urban decay and wild experiences only to be found in the New York underworld from the perspective of an intelligent hoodlum, Londell Manuver, AKA Meyhem Lauren. Sonic influences from elements of Cypress Hill's Black Sunday, Mobb Deep's Hell On The Earth and Capone and Noreaga's The War Report. The album features include the likes of Action Bronson, B-Real, Roc Marciano, Sean Price, Conway, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire and more.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Q-Tip Announces New A Tribe Called Quest Album

Even hard rocks might have shed a tear at this latest news from Q-Tip of the legendary A Tribe Called Quest. With the tragic and untimely passing of Phife Dawg earlier this year, we thought any hopes for a new album were ended in his passing. However, Q-Tip took to social media to share a handwritten letter to fans announcing that the group has one final album in the chamber! I'll let Q-Tip tell it, "To all the good people worldwide: We hope this letter finds you & yours safe and without a scratch! Last year this time myself, Jarobi, Ali and Phife had the extreme pleasure of performing on the Tonight Show. It was our 1st TV performance in 18 years. The energy for us that night was one that we hadn't experienced on stage together in some time! It was also the night of the Paris Bombing ... November 13th ... Friday ... an unseasonably warm night in NYC. As we left 30 Rock I felt the need, we all did, to get back to the studio and start that cookup! So we got to it!! It was coming together quite nicely and as you may know we lost our BROTHER may GOD REST HIS SOUL on March 22nd. But he left us with the Blueprint Newprint of what we had to do. So we collected ourselves and along tribesmen, Busta and Cons ... we completed what will be, obviously the final A TRIBE CALLED QUEST ALBUM! No, this isn't filled with old Phife bars ... this is that pure, unstepped on pure!! And on November 11th, 2016 we will complete our Paths of Rhythm ... Join us! Peace!!."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Joe Budden Episode"

On the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, the crew welcomes back the Jersey eMCee Joe Budden. Joe discusses his new album with AraabMuzick, Rage & the Machine, maturation in Hip-Hop (and life), the success of I'll Name This Podcast Later, his historic beefs over the course of his career, Slaughterhouse & the crazy shit with the kids that ran up on his property. Sidenote: I'm tight Drake followed those kids after that whole ordeal ... that's not smart at all. With Joe Budden, you never know what'll come up, you just know it'll be entertaining, so dig in below.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Black Sheep 'A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing' 25th Anniversary Mix

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Black Sheep's classic debut 'A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing', Chris Read blesses us with yet another exclusive mix of album tracks, alternate versions, and original sample material. Artwork by Leon Nockolds. I haven't dug into this one yet, but I'm hoping the Homogenized Remix of Similak Child is on it, that's my joint! Hit the tags for more mixes.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tiff The Gift "It Gets Greater Later" (Album Stream)

"It Gets Greater Later" is the 3rd studio album from Don't Sleep Records' Tiff The Gift. With production from Phoniks, JR Swiftz, LinkRust, F. Draper, Kalvion & Kameleon Beats, as well as features from Dephlow and her husband and dope MC, Awon. Oh, and peace to DJ Sayeed too, that's the homie! In a thought similar to "this too shall pass," Tiff shares optimism with her title, as well as a tip to the progression and growth in her life and her music. The Don't Sleep Records brand is about quality, so by the time the music reaches us, you can rest assured it's a solid listen from start to finish. With that, click play and stream Tiff The Gift's latest offering below.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Klim Beats "Warm Sounds" (Instrumental Album)

Much respect to Klim Beats, a producer representing out of Kiev, Ukraine. From the visuals to the vinyl, Klim Beats crafts really concise, tight instrumental projects. "Warm Sounds" was one of the first instrumental albums I caught on to, the beat for "Rest and Peace Guru," immediately caught my attention. I was in between projects for my artists, so I didn't ask for more music or build about placements, I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the music. I didn't have this site to blog about it back then or I woulda done that, maybe reached out for an interview or something. So, like most things - after a while - it kinda got lost in the shuffle. Those are times when I miss my brother, Praverb; he would ask me who I was listening to, how he could support and was basically the voice of the better angels in my head + he had more patience and was less introverted. Anyway, it seems late to write about this now, but this site was created to put you up on the artists that deserve the attention and I believe Klim Beats is and will be a producer that y'all should listen to and follow. This is also the 5th anniversary of the release of "Warm Sounds." So, with that said, stream it below and follow the breadcrumbs. (Update, 2018: with the passing of my Mother on 3/22/18, the only beat playing in my head right now is "Rest and Peace Guru," so I want to dedicate that track to my mom (and Praverb, and Guru and...), may they Rest in Eternal Peace. I love you, Mom.)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cru "Just a Case" ft. Slick Rick (Music Video)

Now this ain't funny, so don't you dare laugh / Jut another case about the wrong path. "Just Another Case" pays homage to old-school storytelling tales like Slick Rick's "Children's Story." Fittingly, the Ruler makes a regal return, adding his genius on the song's final verse. The thumping, soap-opera style, piano laced groove is sure to be a favorite for jeep pumping, and will provide needed exposure to this unusual crew. Cru's album "Da Dirty 30" was a slept-on album that had bangers like "Pronto" and features from Ras Kass, The LOX, Black Rob among others elsewhere on the album. Rumor had it that Yogi, Chadio & the Mighty Ha, as Cru, were set to blow until a less than stellar live show performance derailed their efforts. Any truth to that? Meanwhile,  check out the video for "Just Another Case" below, and definitely revisit "Da Dirty 30."

Monday, October 17, 2016

DJ Mattnyce "Golden Age Soul" (3x Mixes)

In the back of my mind, I feel like the name DJ Mattnyce pops up going back to the early 2000s, via P2P, exchanging music over 56k modems, and the French homie Brakkbacda used to post his stuff on Wax Attack, too. We were up on the under-the-underground MCs from the 90s and tried to put people on, now there are labels making huge profits reissuing the stuff we ripped and exchanged in back channels and posted for niche audiences 15-20 years ago, lol. Glad to see DJ Mattnyce still reppin' some rare vinyl, underground Hip-Hop from the 90s with 3 great mixes titled "Golden Age Soul." Stream them below, much respect to DJ Mattnyce. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ras Kass "Soul On Ice" (The Source, 10/96)

"Ever since some record label bigwigs saw the earning potential of pre-packaged hip-hop and began saturating the market with cardboard cut-out rappers and their fill-in-the-black rhymes, naysayers and the weak of faith have bemoaned the "death" of our culture. Journalists, recording artists and industry-haters from all points on the compass have given their prophetical views about our music's seemingly impending doomsday. Along comes Ras Kass to dead all such talk. Soul On Ice, the sixteen track debut headshot from this Carson, Cali delegate, is a lyrical - I repeat - lyrical journey into the mental of a young n!gga with maaad shit on his mind. Be forewarned, however, this is not another "life got me stressed / shit is hectic / fuck the world 'cuz I'm a depressed ass ghetto denizen" type of deal. Ras Kass may indeed be streetwise, but he also comes off as being an extremely well-read muthaf#cka. This kid drops material that'll have history buffs, religious theorists and English majors alike reaching for their reference books..." Peep the title track below...

"Not to say you need a Ph. D to follow the bouncing ball. There's a little something for everybody here ... what makes this joint so tight is Ras' ability to maintain the same persona throughout each cut. Whether he's spittin' the ill Biblically laced with battle rhymes on "On Earth As It is In Heaven," pullin' files on the gub'mint on the album's title song or even screaming on groupie bitches ... what you hear is a knowledgable cat who can debate, hang out or rumble with the best of 'em... This album should serve as a reassurance that despite all the negative gab about "The End," true heads will prevail. Rappers can continue to hack out bullshit songs and disguise them as lyrics in order to win their record contracts, but as long as MCs like Ras Kass keep flexin' the grey matter after-hours, creating verbals when normal joes are clockin' Z's, Hip-hop, The Artform, will be around when our grand-seeds are the ones rippin' mics and writing jewels." - The Source, October 1996.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Notorious B.I.G. in Hip Hop Connection (7/95)

As featured in Hip-Hop Connection back in 1995, The Notorious B.I.G. selects 10 tracks that were influential to his life and career as an artist. His choices may surprise you, let's look closer ... 1st selection is EPMD because of their consistency, self-production and how they modeled their career. KRS because of his rhyming abilities, messages and original flavors to his music, flow and delivery. Salt-N-Pepa for their dedication to the game, creating a lane for future artists to follow behind them and their positive stance. The Dogg Pound for making quality shit from the West Coast. RUN DMC for their incredible live shows and being pioneers in the game. Slick Rick for his storytelling and flipping different voices on a record. Redman for his catchy metaphors; the funk in his records and being someone that inspired him to be a better MC. Marvin Gaye for his beats and lyrics about his personal life in the music. Keith Murray for the way he flips his flows and style, while still being super lyrical. And lastly, Nas for being a street MC and having a lot of depth to his rhymes. - Hip Hop Connection (Ten Tunes That Influence A Life), July 1995. I dunno if these tracks actually inspired his "life," but it's a nice selection of artists. Rest In Peace, The Notorious B.I.G.; never forgotten!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Arsonists "As The World Burns" (Vibe, 10/99)

"With airtight lyrics and break-dance-heavy shows, the Arsonists have been fulfilling the cravings of hardcore hip hop-starved backpackers on New York's underground scene for the past three years. But despite their strong street following, the eye-brow raising talent of Arsonists Freestyle, Swel Boogie, Q-Unique, Jise One, and D-stroy has eluded the attention of major record labels. Now signed with super-indie Matador, the Arsonists are poised to blaze trails above the surface. With their potent introduction to the masses, As The World Burns, these mike marauders not only recap their previously released gems - 1996's "The Session," 1997's "Seed," and 1998's "Blaze" - they showcase a handful of just-as-sizzling new songs." Watch "Pyromaniax/Backdraft" cont'd below...

"Tracks like the lighthearted freestyle "Pyromaniax" (which sounds like it was recorded at a circus) and the kinetic "Backdraft" really show the Arsonists at their best, keeping it up-tempo and energetic. Even when they slow the pace on "Flashback," a keyboard-powered stroll down memory lane, the five-man collective are able to spark your interest with vivid descriptions and impassioned stories. As The World Burns is an uncompromised tribute to the Arsonists' subterranean rhyming roots. And hey, even if they aren't heard by the multitudes, the fire that burns in their hearts to rap is one that can never be extinguished." - Vibe Magazine, October 1999 // Save a copy below.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Jeru The Damaja "Ya Playin' Yaself" (The Source, 10/96)

"Brooklyn MC Jeru has never been one to go with trends or mince words. His debut, "Come Clean," was loaded with thought-provoking lyrics and "Ya Playin' Yourself," the first single from his sophomore project, goes even deeper. On this joint Jeru fearlessly faces the one question that many of us in the hip-hop community continue to dance around: do gangsta / criminology type rhymes and videos set a dangerous example, or are they just harmless representations of a violent world, like movies or video games? Jeru's first verse is aimed squarely at MCs who glorify drug dealers. "These so-called playas up in the rap game / got brothas on the corners selling cooked cocaine." The next verses - still delivered in Jeru's penetrating monotone - condemn the drug trade, foul-living females and false prophet MCs, all strung together with a tight chorus." Peep the video:

"The one complaint that always seems to surface against "knowledge" rap revolves around the beat; if it ain't kickin', no one will bother to hear the lyrics. Well, that can never be the case when Premier is behind the boards. "Ya Playin' Yourself" is another of his master creations, propelled by an infectious bass bump that's a flip of Junior Mafia's smash "Playa's Anthem." And that may not be entirely accidental. "Ya Playin' Yourself" is the antidote to the endless materialism currently saturating hip-hop. While others may preach getting paid above all, here's Jeru's philosophy: "Knowledge, wisdom, understanding brings long life and health / Think anything else and you're playin' yourself." - The Source (10/96). You can read (or save a copy) of The Source's review below.