Thursday, December 29, 2016

Code Nine x Purpose 'Below The Sumerian Skies'

Code Nine & Purpose Below The Sumerian Skies

Code Nine and Purpose from the Massachusetts crew, Tragic Allies, crafted a dope album with 'Below The Sumerian Skies.' I am most familiar with Purpose, who blessed us with 'The Soul Purpose,' 'The Purpose of Confidence,' 'Life Outside The Frame,' 'The Book of Estee Nack' and more. Props to Deniz Oztas at Below System Records, he's behind a lot of great releases in his back catalog, as well as what's to come throughout 2017. Check the track 'When The Saints Out' below, but be sure to support the full-length release, 'Below The Sumerian Skies.'

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sprite Advertisements (Videos)

Most of us remember back when Sprite was airing commercials with our legends, but do you also remember the Sprite Series' vinyl releases too? There were about 2 dozen of them, released in clear plastic sleeves & translucent Sprite-green vinyl. I had a whole stack of them. Steve Stoute calls it the 'Tanning of America,' explaining hip-hop's marketing ability in mainstream media, and to white America. Truth is, it's been happening for decades, and even our favorite artists secured the bag from various brands. Lugz, Sprite, St. Ides, Pepsi, Reebok, the list goes on. In the case of Sprite, they chose dope artists and they did it with originality and creativity; most seen in bringing KRS & MC Shan together for a mock battle - who could argue that wasn't timeless? A few years back, they licensed lyrics on the cans, which caught my attention. Below are 3 of my favorite Sprite commercials: Nas & AZ, KRS & MC Shan, and Pete Rock & CL Smooth - heavy on the nostalgia!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

ChillHop Music x Don't Sleep 'Sound Of The City' Mix

Sound of the city don't sleep records chillhop music phoniks

ChillHop Music and Don't Sleep Records joined forces to curate a smooth mix of Jazz-infused hip-hop, mixed by Phoniks and featuring Awon, Dephlow, Phoniks, Tiff The Gift, Anti-Lilly, MZ Boom Bap, and Peebs The Prophet. You should definitely be following the movements of both labels and every artist mentioned above & in the mix, because we're going to be hearing a lot more great music from them in 2017. You can download the mix for free HERE.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

El Fudge x J-Live 'Realise' off 'Chronic Irresponsibility'

El Fudge Chronic Irresponsibility

I revisit El Fudge's 'Chronic Irresponsibility' (2001) album every so often, most frequently for the collab with J-Live, 'Realise.' My memory has faded too far to remember why he changed his name from L Fudge to El Fudge, but there were numerous 12" releases during those Rawkus and SureShot days. Aside from the vocal version, there was an instrumental version of the album - cop both if you come across out of print copies. Listen to 'Realise' below ... is it slept on?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mz Boom Bap 'The Rawness EP' (Album Stream)

Mz Boom Bap The Rawness EP Don't Sleep Records

'The Rawness' is the debut EP from Portuguese beat maker Mz Boom Bap. A genuine homage to the golden era, everything from the drum programming to the sample selection to the subtle ringing distortion of the Akai s950 delivers a seldom seen old-school authenticity. Where similar style efforts often fall short by overpaying for uninspired bars from aging New York veterans, Mz has instead recruited an underground freshman team of budding young rhyme spitters. Features include Don’t Sleep Records co-founders Awon & Phoniks (bars and DJ cuts, respectively), Curtis Roach, Nemesyzz Rigby, Philo, Ryler Smith and MC Shinobi. The vinyl has sold out, but there are CDs available that come with the instrumentals, as well as a digital version of the instrumentals sold separately. Props to Don't Sleep Records for another high-quality release. Stream it below.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gang Starr 'Just To Get A Rep'

Gang Starr Just To Get A Rep

And this is how the story goes! Gang Starr's 'Just To Get a Rep' is my favorite cut off 'Step In The Arena.' I was 11-12 years old and still developing my own taste in music at the time, but it was heavily informed by Gang Starr. By 'Daily Operation,' I was spending the little money I had on vinyl and ordering the cassettes from Columbia House (12 free for $0.01!). DJ Premier and Guru were always my favorite DJ/MC group, and to this day, DJ Premier is forever the G.O.A.T. to me. With all that said, R.I.P. Guru, and congratulations to Premo on his new imprint TTT (To The Top).

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blu x Nottz ft. Rashad 'End of the World'

Ask me if I care that this record is already 3 years old ... the answer is no, lol. The track is called 'End of the World', it was featured on the Blu & Nottz collaborative project, 'Gods In The Spirit.' Nottz is one of the best producers of our generation and Blu's 'ability to inject his verses with warmth, humanity, and pathos' always caught my attention and helped me see him as a superior talent. No longer at Warner, he's back home in the underground working on new music with Exile, but until that's ready, I welcome the opportunity to go back and celebrate his catalog. Props to Rashad on the hook. Read the lyrics and hear today's selection below:

"One day we gonna live it like them summers that we never left 
Pictures that we never took of bitches off that top shelf 
Help me to the promised land, I promise you can have it 
You can bag it like cotton for slaves, water for chocolates
 Pilot my pivot, piss in a bucket 
Kick our feet up as our children grow up nothing like us"

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dirt Nation 'Khadijah' (1993)

Dirt Nation Khadijah Advert

Remember Dirt Nation's 'Khadijah'? Well, the crew was from Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey, yet they formed in a university in Maryland. Word was, Dirt Nation linked with Daddy-O and his brother, Kedar Massenburg, who helped them get their deal with Zoo Street/BMG, as well as the song in the Sugar Hill movie soundtrack. To the best of my recollection, there was never an official full-length release, but 'Khadijah' remains a HEAVILY slept-on storytelling joint from 1993. I've never owned the 12", but I vaguely remember tossing the cassette single because I lost the cover. I blame OCD for just about every dumb decision I've ever made, lol. Check the video below.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

AG x Ray West x Roc Marciano 'Red Apple Kings'

Ray West AG Roc Marciano Red Apples Kings Nickel EP

This is AG and Ray West, featuring Roc Marciano, on 'Red Apple Kings;' a dope single off AG & Ray West's 2015 project, 'The Nickel EP.' I was working at Fat Beats when AG dropped their first project, 'Everything's Berri,' and I saw firsthand how well they worked together. You should also check out Ray West's projects with O.C., Kool Keith, Blu, and John Robinson, as well as the upcoming Show & AG album, 'Redesigned.' 'Red Apple Kings' is today's selection, check it out below.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Rakim: The Definition of Classic (Video)

This video was released around 4 years ago while Rakim was with Reebok as part of their Reebok Classics series. Working with Complex, they put this mini-documentary together featuring interviews with Rakim, Bill Adler, DJ Premier and others discussing the legendary (ongoing) career of Rakim. From Long Island to hip-hop legend, Rakim changed the game with his flow, delivery, as well as the message in rhymes. In my life, I've never been one to say much, but I try to make the most of the few words I speak - I believe Rakim is cut from a similar cloth; he doesn't do a lot of interviews but each one is filled with gems. The definition of classic with Rakim, watch it below.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Foxy Brown 'BK Made Me' (Unreleased, 2001)

Foxy Brown Broken Silence Advertisement BK Made Me

Back in '01, before Foxy Brown's album, 'Broken Silence,' DJ Clue blasted off 'BK Made Me.' The track sounded like Foxy near a breaking point and sharing her most inner thoughts. It was assumed to be on 'Broken Silence' when it dropped, but instead, there was a track called 'The Letter,' equally deep and personal, featuring vocals from Ronald Isley. It's possible they didn't think the album needed both or it was a sample issue, but 'BK Made Me' was left a mixtape-only cut on Clue's 'Stadium Series Pt.3.' Being that I heard it first and it wasn't included on the album, it always made me want a copy. The label wouldn't give it up, but I did track down a studio version a while after. Today, the production is somewhat dated, but my thoughts on the content (especially the first verse) remain as strong today as back then. 'Got dreams of ending this bitch, my life is miserable / Make me wanna end this shit, find my ass in critical...' Yeah, for an album called 'Broken Silence,' this track would have found a good home. Listen below for a tagless version (no DJ Clue) of the track.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Peebs The Prophet 'Ills of the Earth' EP (Album Stream)

Peebs The Prophet dropped his gem of an EP, 'Ills of the Earth,' in early 2015 with production by Bluntone, who I've covered twice on the site, as well as the ever-talented, Phoniks. It's a short project, only 6 tracks, but it packs considerable content and sharp production. Unfortunately, by now the limited edition vinyl has sold out, but you can still order the CD, which includes instrumentals and/or download a copy of the digital EP with the 'name your price' option on Bandcamp. Does Phoniks do the dope artwork for the label, too? My favorite track on the EP is 'All Day,' but the entire EP is highly recommended, so give it a listen below. What's next, Peebs?

Friday, December 02, 2016

Raiza Biza 'Day & Night' EP (Album Stream)

'Day & Night' is the latest project from New Zealand eMCee, Raiza Biza. The EP is full of chill vibes and smooth flows. Production is handled by Shask, Crime Heat, Villette, and Tito Fiasco, but credit the clarity of Raiza Biza's vision that all four producers come with similar production, making this a very cohesive listen. I've been unable to find a bio of any kind on any of his social media pages or website, so I can't offer much background info, except to say that Raiza has a handful of releases in his catalog and has a solid reputation in his hometown. Oh yeah, and he's 'True to life hip hop with soul. Uncompromising.' I guess he lets the music speak for itself, I'm not mad at that. Check out the album streaming below and available using the 'name your price' option on Bandcamp. If you have more info, please leave it in the comments. Enjoy the different vibes with this one.