Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kolaps "Lost Soul Files II" (Instrumental Album)


Kolaps is a producer from Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is his latest beat tape; a 28-track offering entitled "Lost Soul Files 2." Keeping each instrumental short, the project flows nicely with a soulful and melodic boombap vibe throughout. I really enjoyed this one, so recommending you give it a full listen below and hit the tags for more releases from Kolaps! Got more info? Send it through.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ras Kass 'Nature of the Threat' in Rap Pages (1996)

Ras Kass Rap Pages Nature of the Threat Lyrics
Ras Kass Rap Pages Nature of the Threat Lyrics

Ras Kass dropped 'Nature of the Threat' on his debut album 'Soul On Ice' in 1996 via Priority Records. It's arguably one of the most discussed and most dissected records of the last two decades. In 2011, Ras Kass did an interview offering some insight: “[Writing the song] was a task that I took that I really did for myself, so yeah it solidifies me as somebody that’s a thinker and a rapper, because it’s not a…storytelling song and it’s not the most lyrical song; it’s a factual song. The time it took me to get that done was more [of that of a] historian or philosopher than a rapper.” He further remarks (via BeeShine) “As far as how it’s affected my career, for some people, it is my opus. For other people, it may have been a song that made them [think] like, ‘Oh, he hates these particular people,’ which, really, it’s not,” he said. “It may have affected my career [in a way] that [made people respond like], ‘Oh, well we don’t want him talking about that.’ Some people have speculated – [and] I could see where some of their points are valid – that maybe it affected my career in a negative way. It is what it is. I made it for myself. I think it’s a part of me that I’m glad I got out at that time. I probably couldn’t make the same song today…[or] five years ago, just because that’s where I was [when I made it]. Like I said, everything I make is a time capsule. There may be fundamental facts [in the song] that I [still] agree with, but I may have a different interpretation of those facts [now].” The illustration & printed lyrics are from Rap Pages in 1996. Props to Brian at TheBeeShine for the quotes above and all his introspective interviews.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Codenine x Purpose "Below The Sumerian Skies"


"Below Sumerian Skies is the debut solo album from Code Nine of Massachusetts super-crew Tragic Allies. Production is held down entirely by fellow Allies member, Purpose who has previously worked with Tragedy Khadafi, Paranom, Estee Nack and Confidence. The dusty soul-strewn beats make the perfect backdrop for Code Nine’s gritty wordplay, rife with historical figures and metaphors. Guest features on the release include Paranom, Estee Nack, Purpose and M-Credible. Born and raised in Lynn, MA Code Nine used lyricism as an escape from his surroundings including crime, gangs and alcoholic parents. Unfortunately things got worse around the time ''Grey Skies'' was released, with his father’s passing. With financial pressures on the family, Nine dropped out of school and began hustling. Numerous possession charges and a near fatal altercation helped him to rededicate himself to his music. The result is Below Sumerian Skies, a mature and graphically verbose hip-hop offering that any 90’s hip-hop purist must own." Props to Below System Records, listen below...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ras Beats "Control Your Own" (Album Stream)


"Control Your Own" is first-class, NYC hip-hop, from producer Ras Beats. The LP features some of the best lyricists: Roc Marciano, O.C., Elzhi, A.G., Rasheed Chappell, Blacastan, Sub Con, Breeze Brewin and lots more. The lead singles  "Wit No Pressure' & "Knowledge of Self' set the stage for the album, but it remains consistent throughout. Independent art at it's core, it is released on New York-based indie label Worldwyde Recordings. After acclaimed releases featuring Masta Ace, Sadat X and Neek The Exotic, Ras Beats presents to you "Control Your Own," stream it below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Saipher Soze & Daniel Son 'Divizion Rivals" (Album Stream)


"Saipher Soze and Daniel Son are up and coming MC's out of Toronto, Canada. They team up with Crate Divizion's Vic Grimes, Giallo Point and PhybaOptikz to release their newest offering "Divizion Rivals". The project includes features from Long Island, NY's SmooVth, as well as Toronto's Skuddy Rankz, Blizz and Raspy. 14 Songs with various styles of production ranging from high speed pursuit themes to laid back vintage dock music. The Crate Divizion Production Team laces every song with consistent precision." Peace to Toronto - check this out - I'm expecting a lot more to follow...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ghost Of The Machine "Heroes For Hire" (Mixtape)


Ghost Of The Machine is an artist from NYC, living in Worcester, Massachusetts. He connected with DJ Proof for his latest offering, a 15-track mixtape which features Reks, Fredo Crespo, Haze and more. A solid mix of tracks filled with introspective bars over soulful boombap production. For some background info, "Ghost of the Machine is 1/3 of Mastermind Alliance and 1/2 of The Verbal Vizion. Ghost of the Machine’s music paints a picture of activism, struggles, and the day to day triumphs of his life over gritty boom bap beats. Ghost of the Machine harnesses sharp lyricism in every song to contradict what is lacking in the current state of this medium of Hip-Hop." Listen below... (Updated).

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!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Tha Soloist "Courageous Pages" (Album Stream)


Tha Soloist is proving himself to be one of the most prolific eMCees coming up from the underground. Reppin' out of Jersey City, New Jersey, his latest offering is a 12-track LP entitled, Courageous Pages. Adding some production credits of his own to this release, there's also featured production from Trilian, Dark Arts, Rez The Silverback, and Vint Mentalz. Check it out below...

Monday, December 26, 2016

L'Orange "Koala" (Instrumental EP)


"Koala is a personal tribute to love and love lost- a fragile meditation on depression and passion. Solidarity in solitude, we are not alone." L'Orange adds,

Even if we break, 
we are rebuilt with gold 
to show that we are not defined 
by our construction. 
We can wear 
our cracks 
on our arms and faces 
proudly. 
Dedicated to: Keely & Joe Latterner

Friday, December 23, 2016

Anti-Lilly "91 Regal" (Album Stream)


Another solid release from Houston, TX's Anti-Lilly! He introduces the project saying, "Life is a real gift. This project is dedicated to the past 23 years of my life which has been a beautiful whirlwind filled with many ups and downs. Through my short time I've grown to understand that every experience; no matter the outcome is only there for you to learn from. You gotta embrace the hand that you have to appreciate what's in front of you. These 7 tracks encapsulate my reaction to my environment in my best form of expression. I appreciate you for listening and thank you for all of your support. Much love to you." - Anti-Lilly Please hit up the tags for lots more content from this important young voice in our culture; I believe in his character and his music. Enjoy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Killer Mike & El-P "Run The Jewels 3" (Album Stream/Download)

Merry Christmas from Killer Mike & El-P, as they drop off their latest "Run Jewels 3" just in time for the holidays! They'll even let you download it for FREE, if you follow the steps near the bottom of the page. Along with it, a quick message via their IG page, which you should be following, of course. Now, back to Christmas Eve, here's a description that was added later, "After two years off, Killer Mike and El-P - known collectively as Run the Jewels - return with their highly anticipated third studio album, Run the Jewels 3, which comes preceded by the Boots-featured "2100," "Talk To Me" and "Legend Has It." Additional guests on the record include Joi Gilliam, Danny Brown, Tunde Adebimpe, Trina and Kamasi Washington. Previously, the duo have released Run the Jewels and Run the Jewels 2, two of the most critically-acclaimed albums of their respective years (2013 and 2014), while each artist has continued to expand their place in the sphere of social commentary. Killer Mike spent a significant portion of the last year, in which RTJ didn't release an album, urgently supporting one-time Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Concurrently, El-P has expressed his own stout views on the nation's glaringly changing political landscape. That said, their return to the scene is now imminent." Stream it below, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Exile & Sirplus "A Dirty Science Christmas" (Instrumental Mix)


An 18-track effort, "A Dirty Science Christmas" features both new and already-released songs, instrumentals, vocal skits, antics and lots more from Exile and Sirplus. A nice treat for the Holiday Season compliments of Dirty Science, thank you! Stream it below and Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2016

DJ Olz "Charm City Hip-Hop" (Baltimore Set Mix)


This one goes out to my boy, Matt, out in Baltimore. A nice throwback set of underground records from B-more, featuring artists like The Annex Click, Circle of Native Vibes, Starvin Art Clique, Silouette, Mr. Ruckuz, Sparrow, Nappy Head Guerrilla, DJ Concrete, Global Platoon, S.C.U., Afiliashun, K-Mack, and more. Mixed and curated by DJ Olz, who shares this message ahead of the holidays, "Remember those in need with no place right now and bless those that stravel in strange lands." Amen, peace to all those who are less fortunate during the holiday season. Dig in below.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Kareem 'Biggs' Burke Episode"


On the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, they have co-founder of the musical dynasty, Roc-A-Fella Records, Kareem "Biggs" Burke. Listen as he shares candid stories during the reign of "The Roc", the 20th Anniversary of Reasonable Doubt, as well as his prison stint, new ventures, Fourth of November, The Roc 96, and lots more. I consider Biggs to be one of the most creative players in this industry, someone who defines what 'taste' is in the culture & generally just someone you should listen to, because he makes the most of the few words he speaks. Listen to all that below.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

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


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.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Kolaps "Lost BAP Files" (Instrumental Album)


Props again to the producer Kolaps, representing out of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His boombap roots are made clear on this latest effort, "Lost BAP Files," hard drums and moving beats. As soon as I hit play on "Cold Outside," I opened my browser and started to post about this release, lol. It's unfortunate that I still don't have background info, maybe if he's reading this he can hit my inbox and share more about his back story and equipment to share more with y'all, but for now, dig in below! I also highly recommend you hit the tags below this post to listen to "Lost Soul Files"!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Blitz The Ambassador "Diasporadical" (Album Stream)


"The visionary sound of Blitz The Ambassador has been years in the making; with each album crafted to reflect a sonic and visual narrative unique to Blitz’s personal experience. His fourth studio album ‘Diasporadical’ exemplifies this trajectory. Blitz spent a great deal of time traveling between Accra, Salvador Bahia and Brooklyn experiencing the similarities between the African diaspora. “The album title ‘Diasporadical’ was born out of this experience” Blitz explains.“ The radical notion that no matter how fragmented the African diaspora is, the influence of rhythm and spirituality remains largely the same.” On Diasporadical, Blitz conjures his signature blend of Classic Hip-Hop and Contemporary African rhythms, enlisting producers like Optiks and IAMNOBODI to create a seamless fusion of live instruments and hard hitting beats. To bring his vision to life, Blitz assembled a supporting cast of continental and diasporaAfrican artists such as Tumi, Akua Naru, Kamau, Patrice, M.anifest and Somi. The sonic result is a three act narrative, crafted like a stage play."

Monday, December 19, 2016

Boogie Down Productions "Edutainment" (HHC, 8/90)


"What? A hip-hop artist releasing a fourth album? Surely not. Well, okay, but it can't be any good. I mean, these hip-hop artists don't have any staying power, you know. Ha! KRS-One delivers a slap in the face (metaphysically, of course) to all those people who refuse to give hip-hop any respect. "Edutainment" is the fourth Boogie Down Productions album and KRS-One is only just getting started on the suckers. The depth of his thought should put them to shame. The first two BDP albums stand as hardcore classics. But KRS-One doesn't stand still in one mentality, he alters his approach as he reaches a steadily wider audience. This doesn't mean compromising or commercializing - if anything, his lyrics have become bolder and more direct. And if revealing truth is the ultimate hardcore expression, he's more hardcore than ever."


"Interspersed among the 13 musical tracks on "Edutainment" are six live speech interludes. With 'Point A,' KRS-One opens the album by proclaiming that 1) rap music is the voice of black people; 2) it's the last voice of black people; and 3) black people have created every music you hear out in the streets today. After loud cheers he adds: "What I would like to bring out today is rap music as a revolutionary tool in changing the structure of racist America" ... Fear not, though,  "Edutainment" is still a hip-hop album and KRS-One hasn't forsaken rapping. Musically the album continues the mix of rap and reggae that he forged on Ghetto Music, while lyrically he deals with diverse and deep subjects. 'Blackman In Effect' finds him giving an upfront history lesson on the black roots of early civilization, while 'Ya Know The Rule' gets into some metaphysics... 'Material Love' and '100 Guns' are cautionary tales in the tradition of '9MM Go Bang' (but not nearly so starkly delivered), while 'Homeless' starts out as a story about two rich white joggers looking down on a homeless black man and develops into a much deeper meditation on how all blacks in America are actually homeless. KRS-One continues to do what he does best in the way that only he can." - HHC, August 1990.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Nas "Stillmatic" (Billboard Review, January 2002)


"There's nothing like a little friendly competition to get the creative juices flowing. Just ask Nas. After releasing two complacent albums, all it took was some choice words from fellow rapper Jay-Z to get the Queens, N.Y., native back in fine form. The war of words - launched by Jay-Z's "Takeover" from The Blueprint - between the two rappers is reminiscent of the early battles that made rap so much fun. For his part, Nas has offered a precise set that not only addresses his competitors on tracks like "Destroy & Rebuild" and the lethal "Ether" but also his thoughts on everything from street life to American society. The DJ Premier-produced "2nd Childhood" gives listeners a torrid description of life in the projects, although the characters could be found in any urban area. Nas even takes America to task on "My Country." The track tackles society's various ills, from drug abuse to the penal system. Without question, Stillmatic is the artist's most complete album since he debuted eight years ago with Illmatic." - Billboard Magazine. Peep the promo "Stillmatic" freestyle...


Full review in Billboard (January, 2002) is available below...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Biz Markie "I Need a Haircut" (Sample Lawsuit)


15 years ago... "Please be advised that on December 18, 1991, in a lawsuit entitled Grand Upright Music Ltd. v Warner Bros. Records Inc., et al .... an order requiring that the sale of Biz Markie's album (in all formats and all configurations) "I Need A Haircut," Warner Bros / Cold Chillin ... be discontinued immediately, that all copies of the album be removed from all shelves, sales racks and display racks and that all of the unsold tapes be returned immediately to WEA without delay. Accordingly, immediately upon your receipt of this notice, you should notify all store locations to discontinue all sales of this album and remove all copies from their shelves, display racks and other points of sale... all promotion and advertising of this album ... failure to comply with this notice without delay could result in additional court proceedings being taken against you, Warner Bros Records, and WEA which could result in serious monetary and non-monetary liability, both civil and criminal in nature. We understand that this is in the middle of the Christmas season and we apologize for any inconvenience this causes you. HOWEVER, it is imperative that you comply with the court's order immediately or risk serious adverse legal consequences." Cold-blooded... 12/18/91.

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?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

DJ Premier "State of New York Rap" (Video)


DJ Premier shares his views on the state of New York Rap. As adults, we still buy music, so does DJ Premier ... so what are his views on the current state of rap? He argues, if the radio stations don't support the OGs and legends of the culture, can they really be the "hope of hip-hop"? The legend also touches on his style of music-making, as well as how he chooses music for his radio show on SiriusXM, Live From Headqcourterz. That and lots more perspective, from the greatest of all-time, DJ Premier ... Heads up! Eyes and ears open! Watch, listen and learn below. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

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


'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.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Shad "Besides" (Mix, 2011)


Shad released "Besides" on this day back in 2011 during the success of his TSOL album ... it might've gone below the radar for some at the time, and it's still available for free download, so I thought I'd share it with y'all ... here's what Shad had to say when she shared it, "Here’s a little joint I thought some fans might like; a 25-minute mix of some of the guest spots I’ve done on other projects over the past couple of years. Mixed by my man, the former DMC and Scribble Jam Champion, DJ TLO. Be sure to check out the tracks in full if you dig!" There's a nice breakdown of each track on Bandcamp, click through to read that and dig into his dope catalog of music. Peace to G.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Kolaps "Lost Soul Files" (Instrumental Album)


I'd like to welcome Kolaps to the site, a really dope producer from Bosnia. At the time of this post, I have NO back story to share, which is unfortunate, but it's purely by chance that I stumbled upon his Bandcamp page in the first place. Y'all know I like my beats dripped in soul and hard drums, so I gave the aptly titled "Lost Soul Files" a listen with great delight. I'm not certain if the project was released elsewhere and is just now being shared to Bandcamp or what, but to me it's brand new so I'm sharing with you to enjoy, as well. Got more info? Listen below and I'll share more as available...

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).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "The LOX Episode"


On the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, they have arguably the hardest rap group of all time, The LOX in the studio. The trio of Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch discuss their longevity in the game, Hip-Hop's new generation, Puffy, as well as the new album & deal with Roc Nation, the elections and so much more. According to Combat Jack, this is one of their most passionate interviews thus far. Living Off Experience, listen to it below. Peace to Combat Jack & A-King.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Aliano & Jakk Wonders "California Dreaming" (Album Stream)


Los Angeles, city of movie stars, glamour and fame... but Los Angeles rhymesayer Aliano and South African beatsmith Jakk Wonders unite and provide a different take on the City of Angels with their debut EP "California Dreaming." Throughout the project the duo enlists the likes of DJ Eclipse, Reks, M-Dot, MC WhiteOwl, Dusty Dream and Sample Kubrick. Download ‘California Dreaming’ for free now via AudioMack. I was hooked off the intro, props to Jakk Wonders for the link, I'm a big fan.

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.

Monday, December 12, 2016

No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988-1999


"No Sleep" is a visual history of the halcyon days of New York City club life as told through flyer art - gathered in a new volume by Stretch Armstrong and Evan Auerbach. Spanning the late 1980s through the late 1990s, when nightlife buzz travelled via flyers and word of mouth, No Sleep features a collection of artwork from the personal archives of DJs, promoters, club kids, nightlife impresarios, and the artists themselves. Club flyers were ephemeral objects distributed on street corners, outside of nightclubs and concert halls, in clothing stores and retail shops, and were not intended to be preserved for posterity. Through the 90s, they became both increasingly prevalent and more sophisticated as printing technology evolved. However with the advent of the internet, the flyer essentially disappeared overnight, despite it being common at one time for promoters to print thousands for an event. So let’s take a trip back, back in time. - via Stretch Armstrong.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Da Bush Babees "Microphone Check" (The Source, 12/96)


"Kahliyl, a.k.a. Mr. Man, used to be the "Mayor of Washington Square Park" before forming Da Bush Babees in 1993 - along with Lee Major (formerly Babyface Kaos) and Light (formerly Y-Tee). Mr. Man's cognomen was not given to him by anyone in particular, just those who frequented ciphers in which a million wannabees would gather to battle anyone who was up at the soapbox. The subsequent threesome exhibited a total balance that led to the creation of their first LP, Ambushed. With only a three month life span, the trio blessed hip-hop with two memorable anthems. "Remember We" and "We Run Things." Now, Bush Babees (they dropped the "Da") know each other better and have resisted the Versace and Mafioso cloning playing hip-hop out on their sophomore effort, Gravity. Put simply, they have gone back to the basics with messages of love, religion, grounding and spiritual introspection. And do not think PM Dawn." The interview below continues with info on why they dropped the "Da," the musical direction and messaging on Gravity, as well as their first single "The Love Song," and some label talk for good measure. Check it out... 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Black Thought "Masterpiece Theatre" Interview (The Source, 12/00)


"Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, voice box of those show mavens, the Roots, has a lot on his mind. His solo debut, Masterpiece Theater, is scheduled for a February release, yet he's only been able to master one track thus far. The other six that he's previewing today are, in his words, "works in progress." Another five songs exist solely in his brain... But that's not the cause of Tariq's pressures. His time management has been complicated by the upcoming OkayPlayer tour that will have the Philly native on the road for two months. But even more telling is the pressure Tariq has been putting on himself. After acting as the consummate team player for 13 years, many of his ideas for the group were shot down. Not because they were sub par, but because they didn't fit the Roots collective. And he understood. So now Black Thought is under pressure from Black Thought to present the Roots' most celebrated vocal instrumental to the world - without the Roots." Cont'd...



"I got a whole discography of shit to get off my chest that is just different from the Roots vibe," he explains of his solo venture. "All those people who wanted to hear me over different tracks will get that chance to hear Black Thought with some different texture. That texture begins with "Water," a track flooded with Timbaland-like hand claps and a sweet crooning tenor sample (produced by Headrush). On the song, Tariq warns those obsessed with the streets to "walk straight and master their high ... I done seen these streets make a lot of guys cry." The posse cut, "Gladiators," featuring EST (3x Dope), Boobonic (Philly's Most Wanted) and Marly G, drops with Philly pride. And the powerful social commentary of "Usual Business," supported by M-1 and stic.man of Dead Prez, will remind you why Tariq, one of hip-hop's lyrical elite, should be included on more high-profile collabos. "A lot of MCs are scared to rock on a joint with me," he informs. "They don't want to have to work harder. But it's like, I ain't trying to kill them, I'm just trying to kill the joint." Hence, Tariq is amped at getting an opportunity to put together a hip-hop junkie's wet dream. "I'm doing a joint with Rakim, Prodigy and Pharoahe Monch," he confidently quips. Those pressures just keep mounting." - The Source, Issue #135. It (still) makes me sad that we never got this album; I even remember the early adverts to promote it. (Updated with a new audio link above). 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

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


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.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Redman "Muddy Waters" (The Source, 2/97)


"Def Squad lion Redman has no problem blazing up the path between mainstream and the underground with his third Reggie Noble vs alter ego installment, Muddy Waters. Slightly lodging the effort between the musical/lyrical cohesiveness of 1992's Whut? Thee Album, and the rhyme inventiveness of 1994's Dare Iz a Darkside, Redman comes to groove with the masses, but he'll be damned if it's easily digestible for everyone. The fascination with forging new lyrical horizons left many fans baffled and disillusioned when Red zoomed spaceward with the gold-selling Dare Iz A Darkside. Aside from the consistently gloomy, over-stripped arrangements and cryptic space-talk, Red took the path of Mothership pioneers Sun Ra and George Clinton, switching his style in defiance of complacency. The steady, bubbling syncopation on Whut? flipped to a furious flow of hazy metaphors and punchlines, best demonstrated on cuts like "Da Journee," Cosmic Slop" and "Green Island." Passionate about strictly taking the underground to new heights, Red publicly forewarned that Darkside wasn't made for everyone, especially the radio. Now how many rappers can do that shit and still sell units? Waters continues in the same expansive vein, coming down a notch on the comprehensibility meter in order to deal with earthly issues, some of which have been consistent from jump street.... But it's when rallying self-fulfilling causes that Red is most open."


"Displaying maturity as a producer, he resurrects his political commentator skills from '92 on the police-wary "What U Lookin' 4." The spiritually swaying "Whateva Man" finds the funk doctor flying his smokey flag for the underachievers. Groovable cuts like "Pick It Up" and "Da Bump" syllabically mow down underground perpetrators... Simple beat/rhyme frameworks also yield a tour de force when Red trades verses with erstwhile Squad mate K-Solo on the shamelessly banging "It's Like That (My Big Brother)." Even without the radio-accessibility of a hook, the song took off through FM airwaves. His post "How High" duet with Method Man (produced by the Fugees' Pras) may not be so lucky, as the censorship crowd might not take too kindly to Red gems ... but with Red you never know. As usual, the production wizardry is helmed by Squad elder Erick Sermon, smoothing out the Funkadelic soundscape with swirling keyboards and simmering kicks while maintaining a sinister feel with ominous, thematic bass drones. The sonic approach creates a dance floor-friendly vibe which seems perfectly appropriate for the Funk Dr. Spock's return to dry land, although if Sermon had just pushed a tad more for the variety manifested on Whut?, the end result would be perfection. But through all the murky travels, Red can still take what's given to him and aim for higher ground."

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. “…Wish I was tall I could carry this load / In this cold f#ckin world I want to f#ckin explode / Guess it’s time for me to depart / I know it sounds strange but I / Served my purpose and I made my mark cuz…” Listen below for a tagless version of the track.

Friday, December 09, 2016

"Hip-Hop Evolution" Now on Netflix (Trailer)


Hip-Hop Evolution traces hip-hop from its humble beginnings to modern day mania. Comprised of two major parts, a documentary series and content website and a custom trailer experience that traces the lineage from modern-day moguls of hip-hop to the pioneers of yesteryear. Hip-Hop Evolution is hosted by the good homie, Canadian MC Shadrach Kabango a.k.a Shad who interviews and explores the history of hip-hop with Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Caz, Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane, and lots more ... It is now available to stream on Netflix. Trailer below.


The Hip-Hop Evolution website houses information of the series as well as daily content from writers across North America posting new relevant Hip-Hop content as the web series is published and beyond. Along with Andy Garcia, a team worked to publish some great designs and content for the site. An example of that can be seen below, check the website for lots more content. (Updated).