Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Royce Da 5'9 'Tabernacle' (Prod. by S1)

It's approaching the end of the year and while I don't do lists, I am convinced that Royce Da 5'9 has the song of the year with his S1-produced track, 'Tabernacle.' For a veteran emcee to dig deep and share so much this late in his career isn't an artist reinventing himself, it's an artist discovering himself. His path to sobriety has been inspiring and I wanna put it in the atmosphere that I'm pushing for him and think 'Tabernacle' is an incredibly impactful record that deserves all the accolades that our culture unfortunately doesn't truly offer to artists with his skill-set. If it did, he woulda been outta here many years ago! His 'Layers' album and the prequel, 'Trust The Shooter' are both available and should be supported. The moving visuals for 'Tabernacle' are below, check it out.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Take It Personal Podcast "ATCQ Tribute Episode"

The new podcast, Take It Personal is back with episode 2, saying "Sometimes sequels are just better, like a lot better. Take The Empire Strikes Back, Low End Theory, The Infamous and De La Soul Is Dead for example. Take It Personal Episode 2 is our best yet! Not only is this an A Tribe Called Quest tribute show, but we're playing joints by Ultramagnetic MC's, Black Thought, Company Flow, Mos Def, Vinnie Paz, Nas, AZ, Ras Kass, D.I.T.C., Atmosphere, MarQ Spekt & Blockhead to name a few. Join Jason Gloss aka Philaflava, Kevlar & DJ 360 on musical journey you won't want to end. Or maybe you will, you probably will..." Check out the (sorta) tribute to A Tribe Called Quest below.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Donnie Propa 'Straight From The Crate Cave: Pete Rock'

Donnie Propa Straight From The Crate Cave Pete Rock Edition

UK DJ, Donnie Propa, has teamed up with Village Live to present 'Straight From the Crate Cave: Pete Rock Edition.' This marks the first in the new series - Straight From The Crate Cave - but if you dig into the archives, there are also fresh mixes covering Masta Ace & J Dilla. The legendary Pete Rock has an extensive catalog to choose from, but the mix manages to run through a nice selection of album cuts, classics, and remixes. The mix was entirely done from vinyl - which I respect - and aside from being released digitally, there are also some limited-edition cassettes available (at the time of this post). You can listen to the mix below. Cop the cassette!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Chino XL "Father's Day" (Prod. by Apollo Brown)

Chino XL is a friend of the site; a great dude and world-class lyricist. Releasing a project about every 5 years, he's remained consistent even in those long gaps. Like many artists of his caliber, I charge that to being meticulous when writing and recording. I consider his debut album, 'Here To Save You All,' a real gem in '96 on American Recordings, but I'm gonna fast-forward to 2012 to his double-disc release, 'Ricanstruction,' on Viper Records. As soon as the drums came in on 'Father's Day,' I knew it was Apollo Brown on production. Chino shows his range both lyrically, conceptually and vocally on this introspective and heart-felt record about his daughter. I imagine he performs this at shows and its life changing for the audience. 'This isn't happenin' to you, I'm like Superman / And I could protect you from anything, I was really scared...' Our vulnerabilities make us human and he captured that beautifully making him an incredible artist and father. Salute, Chino!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Raekwon 'Wishing On A Star' / 'We Wanna Thank You'

'I write poems to flip tails, and letters to judges to get deals / I miss the good days, you know, the hood days / Now we sit in mansions on good grades...' I woke up with this track playing in my head, so boom, I turned on Raekwon's 'We Wanna Thank You' project from 2014. The mixtape held the concept of rapping over the raw original samples. He's got the right vocal tone and flow to pull this off perfectly. The Chef's definitely an old soul, it comes through in his music and his guiding principles; a gem of a dude from the good days. Word is, he's working a new project that will have a soulful feel to it, so he's still in the kitchen cookin' up new work. I'm here for it... Salute the Chef for this one, you can download the free project HERE and listen to 'Wishing On a Star' below.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bluntone 'Lost & Found' (Album Stream)

As promised, here's another one from Hungarian beatmaker, Bluntone: 'Lost & Found;' an instrumental project with 21 tracks from the producer's archives. These instrumentals are jazzy, lo-fi flips with dusty drums and plenty of head-nod. If you've been following, I posted about his 'Blunted Remixes LP' in a previous post. That project came out in 2015 and was my introduction to his work. Due to the fact that I haven't had a blog to discuss music in some years, I'm circling back to cover a lot of these projects even though new releases may be available, such as 'Orbiting Rawbits,' which features Awon, Peebs the Prophet, Moka Only, Tableek, and more. Let this instrumental project play out, it'll put you in a good headspace to get through the day.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jay-Z 60 Minutes Special 11/20/02 (VHS Video)

Jay-Z 60 Minutes Special 11/20/02 VHS

This is the 60 Minutes interview with Jay-Z leading up to the release of his '02 project, 'The Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse.' The interview attempts to gain insight into the life of an artist/hustler/entrepreneur (all interchangeable, depending on location, according to Dame). Questions like: What's flow? Were you a drug dealer? Did you really shoot your brother? are just a sample from the interview. Jay-Z, at certain points, responds to questions with 'that's over the line' or 'that's harsh', but he does acknowledge the different world the interviewer comes from, which brings me to the main takeaway from the video: you can see the business mogul Jay-Z would become. His ability to make the interviewer feel comfortable and humanize events in his life that may have otherwise been judged, that's just one of Hov's many many gifts. Lyor pointing out that over 65% of sales are to suburban white kids is nothing new, but it does explain why over 65% of people don't know the artists I listen to, lol. And, of course, classic Dame hitting us with perspective in the limited time he got in front of the camera. He's abrasive, but always on point.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rahlou 'Pillows' (Instrumental Album Stream)

'Pillows' is the debut instrumental album from Gummy Soul’s newest artist, Rahlou. While awaiting his first born child, the Brooklyn based DJ and producer created 'Pillows' after a chance encounter with Gummy Soul founder Wally Clark. “I met Rahlou on the street in Atlanta,” says Clark. “He came up to me because of this Carla Thomas record he saw me holding. We hit it off immeadiatly, and a couple days later he called me, because he got a line on a collection his record dealer friend was giving away. When we showed up, this guy had 25 crates on his porch, that he just wanted gone. So we filled a Volvo station wagon up to the brim, and drove with stacks in our laps. And as we started going through the records, I began teaching him about how I made beats to help him transition from the MPC to the digital world." Pillows is a collection of beats that came from those first sessions, and is a warm introduction, that's sure to keep you cozy, as the days grow colder.' (GummySoul) The project was released 4 years ago today in 2013. Enjoy the stream below.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mobb Deep "Hell On Earth" (Hip Hop Connection, 1997)

"While 1994's "The Infamous" was a record as startling as anything else released that year, Mobb Deep were quickly overlooked as Wu-mania took over the hip-hop industry. Which was unfortunate, because "Shook Ones Pt.2" was an urban drama played out to the hilt, balladeering its way across an emotional landscape ravaged by loss of innocence and cultural segregation. And though the formula hasn't changed significantly for "Hell On Earth" - the duo still choose to produce themselves - their third album finds Mobb Deep more concerned with the present rather than the afterlife..."

"Drop A Gem On 'Em, a thinly-veiled broadside against the late Tupac Shakur (well, he started it!) uses the same sweeping cinematica perfected by themselves on "The Infamous," as they calmly negotiate their grievances against the rapper. "Animal Instinct" and "Still Shining" carry similar themes, as if New York is the place where dreams are made and broke. In this respect the album differs little from their contemporaries and, earnest as that sounds, is no significant departure. But then, what did you expect - a fusion of Swahili and salsa? Granted, on many tracks the song remains the same, but then the original was such a devastating bona fide classic anyway." - HHC.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Large Professor "I Juswannachill" (The Source, 11/96)

"Queens represent, buy the album when I drop it..." Extra P dropped those lines back in '93. And since that time, more than a few heads have been waiting for the opportunity to do just that. Earlier this year, Paul put out "Mad Scientist" and folks sighed with relief - surely an Extra P album would soon follow. Ah, but hold a minute. We gon' tease y'all a bit more. Lo and behold, here's another tight Extra P joint for ya to marinate on; that album's gonna be here a minute or so late. "I Justwannachill" should be the mantra for all these extra-hard acting/posturing hip-hop types. Over a smooth type groove - last heard on De La's "Dininit" - Paul lays out his '96 philosophy: "I don't wanna ill / I just wanna chill / And keep my hand around a hundred dollar bill;" now that's a philosophy that some of us need drilled into resistant domes." Check the visuals to the track below.

"I Justwannachill" is another solid installment from one of hip-hop's most talented, and coolest, practitioners. But Paul, lemme put it like this: drop the damned album already so we can buy it." - The Source, 11/96). Well ... "The LP" was to be the solo debut from Large Professor, but it was shelved by Geffen Records in 1996. There were copies of the album as "promo-only" in 2002/2003 when Large Pro regained rights to the album, but it wasn't officially released until 2009, about a year after he released his "Main Source" LP.  If you'd like a copy of The Source's 12" review...

Friday, November 18, 2016

Andre LeRoy Davis 'The Last Words' (The Source, 1998)

Andre LeRoy Davis 'The Last Words' (The Source, 1998)
Andre LeRoy Davis 'The Last Words' (The Source, 1998) 2

Hip Hop Illustrator Andre LeRoy Davis is responsible for all your favorite illustrations as part of The Last Word in The Source. My personal favorites were the Biggie illustration pictured above, Nas vs. Jay-Z, KRS throwing Prince Be (R.I.P.) of PM Dawn off-stage and another Slick Rick when he was locked down. Born in Brooklyn, Andre LeRoy Davis' work dates back over 25 years and he pushed the envelope on calling various artists to the table for some of their f#ckshit, generally bringing unique humor to an industry that often takes itself way too seriously. It's worth noting that he retained ownership of all his illustrations, a nice power move that I recommend to all artists regardless of their place in the industry. From hidden messages to inside jokes, fans of hip-hop from back then or who discover them today can agree that The Last Word's satirical views were a standout in each magazine and remain an important piece of hip-hop history. I'd love to know which artists took the most issue with his art and some of the smaller details in each, but you can enjoy a sample of his work above from The Source, January 1998. Visit his site for merch options.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rapsody "Crown" (EP Stream)

"Crown" is a 10-track EP from Rapsody. It features Raphael Saadiq, Ab-Soul, Anderson Paak & Moonchild, as well as production from 9th Wonder, Nottz, Eric G, Khrysis & Kash. Another solid release from JAMLA's first lady, as she continues to soak up market share across all demographics. Tune into the "Crown" EP below, I am not sure if physical copies will be available.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Tribe Called Quest "We Got It From Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service" (Album Stream) #RIPPhife

It's hard to package into words what a new project from A Tribe Called Quest means to a kid like me, who grew up on their music. My emotions split off in so many different directions. As bittersweet as it can feel at times, this is a beautiful moment - we haven't had an album since 1998 & now having Jarobi back in the fold definitely makes it extra special to me - that's family. I suppose I need to sit with it, unpack it and then come back to talk more about it. For now, I'll leave it to the description they've sent, "A Tribe Called Quest - Q-Tip, Phife Dawg (who passed away on March 22nd, 2016), Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White - the groundbreaking 90's group that forever transformed the urban music landscape reunited on their first and last studio album together in eighteen years. Guests on ''We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service'' include; Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, Jack White, Andre 3000, Busta Rhymes, Consequence, Anderson.Paak, and Talib Kweli." It's hard to click play, but once you do, that old feeling comes rushing back. Listen below.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bluestaeb "Rodalquilar" (Instrumental Album)

"Bluestaeb is one of the key figures of the new generation of up and coming beat producers from Berlin/Germany. Equally influenced by Dilla and Ta-ku they won’t let them label you as “future” or “boom bap”, the actually maneuver in between those sounds effortlessly. “Rodalqulilar” is Bluestaeb’s debut of Jakarta and will take you on a journey to the spanish town of Rodalquilar, where Bluestaeb spent quite some of his childhood in his parents house." Listen below.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Has-Lo 'In Case I Don't Make It' (Chairman's Choice)

Has Lo 'In Case I Don't Make It' Chairman's Choice

'In Case I Don't Make It' deserves every ounce of praise its received, including Chairman's Choice, a highly coveted feature by Chairman Mao. Has-Lo was a one-man show on this project, handling every element with precision. I met Has-Lo at the old Fat Beats warehouse in May of 2011; I remember discussing the album with him - how I felt it was dark and gritty in places and that I really appreciated his transparency on the record. When I said 'dark,' he kinda looked at me like 'why do people keep saying that?' lol, then told me what to expect on future projects. He's right, his back catalog, as well as material he's released since, shows a wider range of colors, styles, and emotions. He's been at it for some years in Philadelphia, even has connections to my man, Esteban, so he's an artist I watch closely to support. One of my favorite tracks on the project is 'Storm Clouds;' that track is so tough, but the whole album is great, check it out below via Mello Music.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Diary of Prince Paul (Mini-Documentary, 2003)

The Diary of Prince Paul 2003 Politics of the Business Documentary

In March of 2003, Prince Paul recorded a documentary called 'The Diary of Prince Paul' (How One Man Deals with the Politics of the Business) as promo for his album, 'Politics of the Business.' The documentary - and I say this in the nicest way possible - is a complete waste of time, lol, but isn't that the humor behind it? Watch a failed Fat Beats in-store, prank phone calls to Lyor Cohen & 50 Cent (Ray's Pizza), ridiculous choreography and more of Prince Paul's bizarre sense of humor. Having made classics with De La Soul, Gravediggaz, Stetsasonic, Handsome Boy Modeling School and his own efforts with 'A Prince Among Thieves' and 'Psychoanalysis (What Is It?)', you may not consider 'Politics of the Business' one of his best works, but once you grasp the concept, much like this mini-documentary, you appreciate the concept more. Salute to Paul, one of the best to do it.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Snoop Doggy Dogg "Tha Doggfather" (Bio / Video)

Take it to the West Coast one time, with Uncle Snoop on his album from '96, "Tha Doggfather." At the time of the album's release, his debut album "Doggystyle" had sold over 5 million copies, and the 1-sheet for the record says, "Tha Doggfather reasserts Snoop's standing in the hip hop game. But while the hardcore gangsta cuts and the sexually explicit funk remain, there's a notable change. "People will be shocked," says Snoop, "at the production, the music, and the values and meanings of the songs. I'm bringing rap back to the roots, the fundamentals, tight and easy. Rather than just write for the streets, I write for everybody now. I want to be the first rapper in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame." The first single was "Snoop's Upside Ya Head," but I dialed into the 3rd single and title track from Snoop's sophomore effort, "Doggfather." 20 years later now, watch the video below.

Friday, November 11, 2016

DJ Droppa "Keep It Movin' Volume 4"

Some newness curated by DJ Droppa on 'Keep it Movin' Volume 4,' featuring tracks from Ill Conscious, Mecca 83, Soundsci, Evidence, Apathy & OC, Ghostface & Apollo Brown, Pete Flux & Parental, Hex One, Jeru The Damaja, Jazz Spastiks, Moka Only & a dozen more. A nice mellow vibe with some jazzy hip-hop, international vibes and boombap treats -- throw it on and enjoy below, via Mixcloud. You can follow DJ Droppa and check out more of his mixes HERE.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Bluntone 'Blunted Remixes LP' (Album Stream)

Bluntone Blunted Remixes LP

I'm gonna come clean right out the gate, it was the artwork for this project that caught my eye. The dusty clouds and orange haze, I knew it was gonna be some filthy boombap material. I was spot-on with that prediction. Bluntone is a producer from Hungary and his 'Blunted Remixes LP' delivers 14 well-produced remixes of familiar tracks by KRS-One & Das Efx, Redman & Method Man, AZ, Wu-Tang, Big L, Kool G Rap & Nas, Biggie, Lord Finesse & OC, Sean P and more. The info on the release says these are various remixes from the last 3 years, so I'm guessing he must have an active Soundcloud; I'll have to check that out. The vibes are mellow, but the drums are hard and he reworked these tracks very nicely. This is only the first project from Bluntone I've heard so far, but I know it's from his back catalog (2015), so I'm certainly gonna go do some diggin' and see what else I've been sleeping on. You can stream the LP below. Look out for more from Bluntone soon.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Best of Track One (Spotify Playlist)

Not entirely unique, but here's a quick themed playlist - the best of track ones (not including album intro's). From old school classics to true school bangers, these are some of the best first tracks on albums. The playlist may be updated, but for now it includes: Black Milk, Camp Lo, Beanie Sigel, ATCQ, Binary Star, Mobb Deep, Common, Cannibal Ox, Blu & Exile, Big L, Kanye, Naughty By Nature, Run DMC, Brand Nubian, EPMD, PRT, Eric B. & Rakim, and 2Pac. I left some off intentionally to spark a debate and others based on preference, but feel free to call me out on what I've missed. It's really just a trial, still not all that familiar with Spotify. Got any good tips?

Monday, November 07, 2016

Take It Personal Podcast "The Debut Episode"

"The Return of Philaflava Show meets DJ 360. Take It Personal features co-hosts Jason Gloss, Kevlar & DJ 360, as we take you down memory lane and back again with nothing but the dopeness. In this 90 minute debut, we featured music by; Meyhem Lauren, Beastie Boys, Ka, Ras Kass, The Game, Apathy, D.I.T.C., Gang Starr, Hail Mary Mallon, De La Soul, Kool G. Rap, Your Old Droog, The Beatnuts and many more." Props and much success to Philaflava, Kevlar & DJ 360.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Concept of Goodwill Hunting

Goodwill Hunting

Goodwill stores (and local thrift shops) are often an untapped resource for collecting old cassettes and vintage vinyl. I've been that guy who wakes up one day and decides he has too much clutter and donates a shitload of cassettes and vinyl. A note to myself: stop doing that, you regret it every time! lol But, for the shopper, it's a nice come-up ... I've been that guy, too. Even having all the music I do, if I see a nice dusty cassette or record in a Goodwill or Salvation Army, I'm rescuing it on principle. Don't the cassettes in the picture deserve a better home than that? I think so. So, with that said, an ongoing feature on the site will be posting gems I come across in thrift stores and Goodwill shops, it'll be aptly named 'Goodwill Hunting.' By all means, you can share some of your great finds in any posts' comments too. Also, what's the best place to shop in your city? If you're interested in joining the team to search for shops in your area, hit me up. Go forth and flourish! 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Peanut Butter Wolf "20 Years Of Stones Throw" (Mix)

Throughout the year, we've had a few shows around the world to celebrate our 20th anniversary, all leading up to the Stones Throw Superfest, Los Angeles, November 5th. This past Spring, Peanut Butter Wolf was on tour in Japan, where Stüssy released this mix – 20 Years of Stones Throw – which is now our 98th podcast, and also available to stream. The mix includes a few unreleased tracks – two 90s-era Madlib, and a couple from projects still in the works. Lots of artists on the mix like Karriem Riggins, Georgia Ann Muldrow, Knxwledge, Homeboy Sandman, Yesterday's New Quintet, J Dilla & Guilty Simpson, Mndsgn, Madlib, Quasimoto & lots more. Stream it below.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Nas x Pete Rock 'Time Is Illmatic' Mix

nas time is illmatic

What more can you ask for: a Nas mixtape done by the legendary Pete Rock! In Pete Rock's words: 'I was motivated to produce this mixtape because "Time is Illmatic is a part of hip-hop history that everyone should know about, and have in both their music and now film collection." If you haven't seen the 'Time Is Illmatic' documentary, I agree that it's a must-own for its insight into Nas' vision as a teenager making 'Illmatic' to his growth as a man and an emcee. His brother, Jungle, is also one of the most colorful personalities, stealing every moment he's featured in on the documentary. I found it a bit difficult to connect with Nas' father, Olu Dara, but I would never judge their relationship and it gave me a greater appreciation for the strength of Nas' mother, who made great sacrifices and raised a resilient family. Lastly, a P.S.A. from DJ Premier, 'If Illmatic ain't in your stash, you can never, ever call yourself a hip-hop motherf#cker!' Talk to 'em, Premo!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Joe Budden "Rage & The Machine" / "I Wanna Know"

"For me it’s deeper than music, much deeper than music
They stole our musical freedom, up next it’s freedom of music
As a tenth grade drop-out I'm watching the aftermath
Of everything streaming and doing the extremist
This is true shit, don't take a genius to see the genius is stewing
Ain't got the reach to do it, so let me reach who can do it..."

Rage & The Machine, the latest album from Joe Budden, with production by AraabMuzick. A lot of the press for this album was overshadowed by the Drake beef, but when the smoke clears - as always - fans will have a lot to digest with this latest offering. Stand-out tracks include: "I Wanna Know," "I Gotta Ask," "Uncle Joe" and "Idols" - whereas, I did not love the featured tracks with Fabolous, Tory Lanez or Joell Ortiz, but I rarely gravitate to the singles. Budden, a front-man for "what to do" and "what NOT to do," and a trailblazer for letting fans behind the curtain, I sit with his projects for weeks to catch all the layers of introspection in his bars. In part, I can see that Joe just wanted to take it back to rhyming - hard beats, dope rhymes & some medicine sprinkled in for those that catch it. I wasn't mad at all when he dropped a Drake diss the same day as "Flex" - again, that track wasn't for me anyway, but how about this instead ....

"...A love that's tideful, never prideful
If you're truly better without me how can I spite you?
As I yearn for the greatest love I ever had
Pardon me, kid, I'm still learning how to be a dad
We be in spots you shouldn't be in 'till you grown
I was absent so long I'm just not leaving you home
So nah, too much to learn, too much world out there..."