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.

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 and see the full tracklist 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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bun B’s Rapper Coloring & Activity Book

Slick Rick Bun B's Rapper Coloring & Activity BookKendrick Lamar Rap Libs Bun B's Rapper Coloring & Activity Book

The illustrations above are from Bun B’s Rapper Coloring & Activity Book. The book is curated by the OG, Bun B, and illustrated by award-winning music critic, Shea Serrano. They are creative and unique; definitely a piece of fresh nostalgia you'll be thankful you ordered. If you recognize that you're being marketed nostalgia and it still resonates, then dig in your pockets, because it's clearly speaking to you, lol. Also pick up Shea's 'The Rap Year Book,' which I purchased and am about to dig into because more profit = more art. From old school to the true school, they got it covered.

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.

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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jeru The Damaja (Ego Trip Magazine: Issue 1, 1994)

Jeru The Damaja (Ego Trip: Issue 1, 1994)
Jeru The Damaja (Ego Trip: Issue 1, 1994)

A fresh interview with Jeru The Damaja in the debut issue of Ego Trip magazine in 1994. “My name Jeru - Jeru means ‘holy’ and the ‘Damaja’ because I damage all negativity within my surroundings." He adds, "Anybody just can’t do it, you gotta be dope - point blank. If you dope, do it. If you not dope, then you just wasting your loot … I think there’s a lot of corny rappers out here. Straight up. But, yunno, there’s dope ones too, and the dope ones I don’t have to say no names who they are, I don’t have to say the names of the corny ones. I just do my thing, baby, I just do my thing, that’s it.” With an album review also included from Chairman Mao, it's a nice reminder of Jeru's solid run in the 90s with the help of the Greatest of All-Time, DJ Premier. 2 undeniable classics.

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.

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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Gang Starr in Hip Hop Connection (1992)

Gang Starr DJ Premier Guru Hip Hop Connection 1992
Gang Starr DJ Premier Guru Hip Hop Connection 1992
Gang Starr DJ Premier Guru Hip Hop Connection 1992

'Shining Starr'; a Gang Starr feature in the April, 1992 issue of Hip Hop Connection. 'Daily Operation' being one of my favorite albums, I always enjoy going back and reading this article. Guru offers some back story on select tracks, lyrics he likes and straightens out the record on certain rumors. 'We want to keep it like it was back in the days. Turntables, mic and rockin' it straight up live.' For sure, I've always seen DJ Premier do his cuts live and they perfected turning two turntables and a mic into all they'd ever need. I look forward to the day when Premo can officially open up those vaults and share gems from back in the day. In the meantime, DJ Premier still reppin' for Gang Starr & there's a catalog of music to go back and enjoy. RIP, Guru!

Wednesday, November 09, 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!

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?

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! 

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Allow Me To (Re)-Introduce Myself


Greetings! Please think of this ‘blog’ like you would a white label vinyl - judge the content by the quality and not by the name, features or artwork. Give stuff you're not familiar with a chance to surprise you, then follow the bread crumbs and see what you discover. If you’re here strictly for the nostalgia, I got you, but despite the name, this site is more about vibes and creating a filter ... or more simply, curating a niche playlist of music and memories. As for me? Well, I guess my own narrative will play out over time via the context to my posts, but as an introduction - my name is Sav; I had my first blog in '05-06 called The Analects, and a couple since you may or may not have known were mine - all very similar to this one. Why am I doing this (again) now? I just feel like it's a nice escape from everything else that I do online and it keeps me on top of new music, as well as offering me opportunities to take a walk down memory lane. We've all got a story to tell, sharing mine just happens to be entangled in a few decades of hip-hop. I'm non-committal about where this will go and for how long, but I am optimistic and look forward to digging into the archives for content. If that sounds fair, I trust we'll connect in the comments section real soon. Much respect!