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

Clipse "Hell Hath No Fury" (Spin, 9/06)

"On their long-awaited second album, the fraternal Virgina duo of Pusha T and Malice work from a starkly limited production palette - busted breaks with slivers of keyboard melodies, provided entirely by their benefactors and neighbors the Neptunes - and lyrics concerned almost exclusively with a single subject. And from that they've created an album of incredible skill and depth. Hell Hath No Fury is ostensibly about drugs, and Clipse are the most believable of the current dealers turned rappers. But veracity isn't the point, it's artistry, and this album is a how-to manual on the craft of MC'ing. In the duo's hands, the simple statement that they brought fur coats with drug money becomes: "Pyrex stirrers turned into Cavalli furs / Full-length cat / When I wave, the kitty purrs." 

Songs like "Mr. Me Too" and "Trill" (which functions as a kind of anti-club-song club song with its deadpan chorus sung by Pharrell Williams) cover the well-trod ground of street acumen and material wealth. But here, those subjects are addressed with startling flair. On "Chinese New Year," Pusha opines, "Mask on face / Gun in hand / I was in and out of homes like the Orkin man / Never listened to my parents, like an orphan, man." It's the same old song, sure. But on Hell Hath No Fury, Clipse transform cliches into poetry." - Spin Magazine, September 2006. Promo brown bags below...

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'

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.

Friday, November 25, 2016

2Pac "R U Still Down (Remember Me)" (Vibe, 2/98)

"When Tupac Shakur died, in 1996, he didn't need an obituary. His archive of start-some-shit soliloquies, ghetto ballads, and odes to various revolutions thoroughly recounted the artist's turbulent life and even foreshadowed his demise. Now, under the watchful eye of Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur - who sued Death Row Records for control of hundreds of unreleased songs, which she culled to produce the double CD R U Still Down? (Remember Me) - hip-hop's complex crown prince is given new voice. This 24-track retrospective, recorded between 1991 and 1994, is far from being 2Pac's greatest work; an unnerving sense of deja vu permeates the sprawling opus. For example, "When I Get Free," sans the countrified twang, sounds like 1992's "Soulja's Story," revisited and is resonate with the latter's warbled voice distortions. "Thug Style," one of the record's few stellar moments, is nevertheless reminiscent of 1995's "Old School," in which Shakur articulates his East Coast conception while basking in California love. Like 'Pac's erstwhile Digital Underground homies once surmised, on this album it's mostly the same song." Check out "Do For Love"...

"Hidden in the mire, however, are the intoxicating f#ck you-isms of "Lie To Kick It" and the lovelorn lament of "Do For Love," proof positive that 2Pac was sharpest when his subject matter got around. Although the production (courtesy of Mike Mosley, Warren Go, Johnny "J" and others) is a bit dated, it's the 2Pac of the '90-'91 DU era that commands attention. Riding the party-hearty sounds of Parliament's "Flash Light," the lively "Let Them Thangs Go" provides temporary relief from the fatalistic aura of Shakur's later work. But the fun doesn't last; instead, there's much gruesome irony. "I keep my finger on the trigger 'cuz a brotha tryin' to kill me," 'Pac screams in the scathing "Hellrazor." Too bad 2Pac wasn't around to regulate the project, because if he was, R U would probably have been an excellent EP instead of an LP-squared. Either way, remember him we will."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bluntone "Lost & Found" (Instrumental Album)

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)

'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.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

G. Dep "Child Of The Ghetto" (Vibe, January 2002)

"If you're gonna cover Eric B. & Rakim's "Microphone Fiend" on your debut, you better be carrying  your balls around in an extra-large wheelbarrow. Harlem's G. Dep is the rare MC with the skills to do the legendary track justice, asserting his place in Rakim's lyrical lineage with a taut, gangstafied remake. That cut, like his debut, Child Of The Ghetto, is an important one. It heralds the arrival of a loose, muscular new voice with nothing to prove - one that lashes around spartan tracks with serpentine power. G. Dep doesn't drench his reality raps with extraneous references to bling-bling he doesn't have. (On "Everyday," he raps, "Girls don't respect when you call them collect.") Cont'd...

"On the title track, he gives a quick resume check, tearing through his ghetto cred with heavy-lidded aplomb. He doesn't need to, though - his history is alive in his hectic rhyme flow, effortless authenticity, and reckless attitude. Lyrically, he recalls an earlier era, when bragging was the backbone of hip hop. Tracks like "Special Delivery," for example, are nonstop self-acclaim festivals. But this album is less about his lyrics than his vibe: From the minute G. Dep starts spitting, your head is bobbing. Period." - Vibe, January 2002. Remix to "Special Delivery" above, full review below...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ghostface Killah "Bulletproof Wallets" (Vibe, 12/01)

"Listening to Ghostface is like watching theater, each rhyme acted out onstage. Over a cadre of chamber instruments orchestrated by the Alchemist, "The Forest" begins with Ghost crooning Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" (off-key, of course) before bursting into a gangsta fairy tale... Ghost goes into character for each line, manipulating the parts like a master puppeteer... Restraint is a foreign concept for Ghost. It's as if every verse were his last. Words spill out with the desperation of a man fighting his way through quicksand. And it's that urgency that makes him so compelling... Compared to the steely reserve of his peers, Ghost's flow is molten, a liquid of vowels and consonants, not just words. Frame Ghostface in any musical context, and he exhibits the same flair... Producers like RZA, the Alchemist, and Digga conjure up the ideal backdrops for supporting the immediacy of Ghost's stories: robust, flush, and often, loud. On "Maxine," Ghost and Raekwon play two female leads in a deadly crack game, and the best possible context for such a story is the booming blaxploitation band RZA brings into the studio. Ghostface can plumb his own feelings, too... Few rappers surrender to vulnerability as Ghostface does, and that's what makes him endearing... In the wake of all this, you re-evaluate the verbal skills other rappers offer. Jay-Z perspicuous anthems are glorious but still hint of restraint, while DMX is more field hollers and mottoes than actual verses and rhymes. Most rappers are like Missy Elliott, all sound effects and cooing, the perfect percussive foils for studio producers looking to pop your collar. But Ghostface? He's an MC superhero. Rappers, grab your shoes and run. Wallabees. Blue and cream." - Vibe, 12/01

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Foxy Brown "Ill Na Na" (Press Kit, 1996)

"Vocally soaring through the rap soundscape like a hip-hop diva, 17-year old Foxy Brown is taking no prisoners on her beautifully crafted debut disc simply titled Ill Na Na. "I think my album may surprise a lot of people," says Foxy. "Some seem to have made the assumption that I only rap about clothes, diamonds and cars. In my previous remix performances I touched on those things, but on Ill Na Na I finally get my chance to perform full length song and prove that's not all that I'm about." Without previously releasing even a single, Foxy Brown has become one of the most popular artists of '96 after appearing on a number of the most important Black records of the year. "I owe a lot to LL Cool J. He gave me my break by asking me to rap on "I Shot Ya," explains Foxy. "On that song my voice was like lighter fluid being poured on a flame - the fire became greater." In addition to LL's now classic jam, Foxy's smoky voice would go on to lace Total's "No One Else," remix, the proclaimed rap duet of the year "Ain't No..." with Jay-Z, Toni Braxton's "You're Makin' Me High" remix and Case's brilliant platinum-plus single "Touch Me, Tease Me." ... After a fierce bidding war with other labels, Foxy decided to make Def Jam her musical home." Check out the first single below...

"On Ill Na Na, Foxy offers a fresh outlook on life as a young Black woman today. She explores a large scope of issues that relate to her experience growing up in Park Slope, Brooklyn as well as spending time on the diverse streets of Manhattan. She makes no apologies for her views, sensuality and natural confidence. "I try to make my songs as realistic as possible," explains Foxy. "Since I write all my own material, I can only explore my own experiences. I try and touch on everything and illustrate the common bonds between young people and especially young women. I'm enjoying my youth and feel that now is my time to shine." Produced by Trackmasters, Puffy, Mobb Deep and more, Ill Na Na's first single couples Foxy with Blackstreet on the soon to be smash entitled "Get Me Home." - Press Bio, 1996. Today is the 20th anniversary of its release. 

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

DJ Clue "Scarecrow's Birthday" (Mixtape, 1994)

Takin' it to 1994, this original DJ Clue mix tape is special, because it kicks off with The Notorious B.I.G. threatening DJ Clue on Hot 97. The story has been told a few times - at least behind the scenes - where Biggie was looking for Clue over him leaking some joints from "Ready To Die." Whether a .22 was involved or not, we'll just say "allegedly" and R.I.P. Biggie. The mix features joints from Wu-Tang Clan, Black Moon, Nas, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Flatlinerz, Ill Al Skratch, Bas Blasta, Common, Heavy D, Da Youngsta's, Gravediggaz, A Tribe Called Quest, Jeru The Damaja, and more. I mean, it's the golden era - 1994 - you could throw a dart and land on some classic shit! Listen...

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)

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.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Wu-Tang Clan "Enter The Wu-Tang" (The Source, 2/94)

"With the success of the posse jam "Protect Ya Neck" (the independent release that rocked all summer), as well as the solo track "Method Man" (the single that's still runnin' shit now), it should come as no surprise that the full LP release from gatin' Staten Island's first rap dynasty will be ruling benzi boxes and Walkmans all winter long and then some. Why? Because this is not just another rap album with gangsta themes and gun smoke. This album is the manifestation of classic kung-fu type styles infected with the realities of ghetto life/death and strong, Old School b-boy memories. In the late '70s and early '80s, a generation of NYC b-boys fell in love with imported martial arts films... B-boys were amazed to see the characters perform superhuman acrobatic feats and employ incomprehensible fighting styles while looking cool, composed and relaxed. Soon the innovation and imagination that was revealed in darkened Times Square movie theaters would be taken back to the inner-city projects, basements and parks as b-boys citywide mimicked Shaolin-like disciple and dedicated themselves towards honing their artistic, lyrical and physical techniques to perfection and elevating hip-hop culture to fine art." Video to "Protect Ya Neck," cont'd below

"Fast-foward a decade and hip-hop has become a major part of mainstream American culture. It is profitable, it is in demand and it has been exploited. Art has been replaced by fast money and heart has been replaced with image. And the once packed 42nd St. theaters and their kung fu marathons have withered and faded away. But that's not to say that true hip-hop is dead; the true bboy monks have just gone deep underground. Last year the Fu-Schnickens skimmed the surface of Shaolin thought, but it was the duty of the Wu-Tang Clan (The Rebel INS, Shallah Raekwon, Method Man, U God, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ghost Face Killer, Prince Rakeem and The Genius) to reincarnate and bring back the verbal killing techniques of a forgotten hip-hop era." Video to "Method Man," cont'd...

"This album is a throwback to the days of 1986-1987, when rap was filled with honesty, greatness and skill. The days when incredible crowd-moving demonstrations were backed with sparse, rhythmic and incredibly hard, chest-pounding beats. Beats that concentrated on raw dopeness instead of slick production and beauty. Never since Criminal Minded has an album been so stripped down and pure. Songs like the "Mystery Of Chessboxin'" or "Wu-Tang 7th Chamber" display furious freestyles that sting as the Clan lyrically combinate and reform back-to-back-to back. While their depictions are graphic and extreme, the Wu are not studio savages looking for a gimmick. They are a clan of strong brothers who have banded together to survive in a world hell-bent on consuming them. And within the chaos there are sharp moments of reflection, understanding and clarity. "Can It Be All So Simple" is a look back at the hard days of the past. "Tearz" is about losses through the years and "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)" is an all out gotta-get-mine story of survival. This record is harsh, but so is the world that we live in. For b-boys n' girls who come from the core of the hard, this is the hip-hop album you've been waiting for. Simply put: "The Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuthin' to f#ck with." - The Source, February 1994. // All that, yet it still fell short of 5-mics!?...

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..."

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Canibus Featured In Billboard Magazine (11/01/97)

The title in Billboard (11/1/97) read, "Canibus is a rapper for the future!," and added: "The 22-year old MC known as Canibus has been cultivating quite a solid reputation as a lyrical giant. His dynamic performances are featured on Lost Boyz' "Love, Peace & Nappiness" album (alongside Redman and A+), Common's "Making A Name For Ourselves," and several mix-tape jams. Signed to Universal, with a set due next year, he's armed with a trunkload of high-tech metaphors and is fully equipped to take rap into the future. Canibus drops lasso lines like "Flow's potent as possible, creatin' obstacles three feet high and rising like the chronicles of Posdnuos" ... Over the last few months, tastemakers all over the Big Apple underground, including DJ Clue?? and Funkmaster Flex, have been nominating the artist as the Next Big Thing, but the dedicated poet, who lives in Jersey City, NJ doesn't really get the chance to hear the feedback firsthand or take it to heart. "I come out the crib only to go to the studio or get something to eat," he says." Listen to the classic Clue freestyle, cont'd below...

"Born in Jamaica, the son of famed cricketer Basil Williams, Canibus also lived in Washington, DC and London before settling down in New Jersey. He feels that living all over helped him and his lyrics. "Input equals output," he says, "and what I talk about is what I've been exposed to." ... Inspired by uniquely gifted MCs like Rakim, Redman, Big Daddy Kane, Nas, and Jay-Z, Canibus has been rapping for about a decade. He's been in a coupla crews and considers his tenure in them to be "all a growing process." Always, he says, he was driven by "a love for the art." "I consider myself a connoisseur of information," he offers. "What I give you probably isn't something you haven't heard before, but I take it and get intricate with it. I play with circumstances. I play with concepts."

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

NineToFive Records "Beats & Remakes: Midnight Marauders"

"We are honored to releases the tribute album featuring new flips of all the original “Midnight Marauders” samples.Featuring Hans SOLO (from the world renowned Pro Era Crew), Thovo, Rob Smyles and a pack of fellow beatmakers, see the list down below. The original A Tribe Called Quest classic “Midnight Marauders” from 1993 features 15 of the most well respected and well known tunes of the golden era of hip hop. This album is a true classic in the very essence of the word. In the wake of the untimely death of the groups’ charismatic rapper Phife Dawg, Ninetofive Records’ Linus Maximilian Jonsson along with danish beatmaker Kongchain, decided to pay dues by collecting and curating a batch of beats from Europe's most creative beat heads. The concept was simple: flip the samples that A Tribe Called Quest used on the original album - and do it creatively for a fresh take on a classic. The filtering of the samples on the original songs had even our most technical minded beat conductors scratching their heads. They were actually extremely difficult to emulate, even with today's vast array of digital music production equipment. Nonetheless, the results we are now presenting, are a crisp, contemporary take on sample flipping with swinging rhythmic patterns, dirty filtering and an array of layering to give the beats a broad sonic landscape and a serious head nod factor. We hope you will enjoy our interpretation of this hip hop classic. Of course it doesn’t compare, but it will definitely give an interesting and fresh take on it, which will hopefully turn heads and maybe even get bumped in the jeeps of Linden Boulevard." Enjoy the project below...