Saturday, January 28, 2017

Beastie Boys "Check Your Head" (Press Kit, 1992)

Check Your Head, the new record from rap's most innovative trio, will be released April 13th. The follow-up to the Beastie Boys' acknowledge masterpiece Paul's Boutique, Check Your Head will astonish each and every contemporary music fan. First off, group members Mike D., MCA, and Ad-Rock have returned to their musical roots -- 70% of the album's music, a stunning array of styles including Funkadelicized fuzz bass riffs, slinky guitar-propelled reggae, and straight-up hardcore punk, is played by the Beasties, seamlessly blended with off-the-wall sampled tidbits. Looping their own dusted-out riffs, the Beastie Boys have taken sampling to its logical conclusion. The self-produced Check Your Head's exploitation of new and old music sources could well be the most radical to date." Check out the visuals to their smash, "So What'cha Want," cont'd below...

"Apart from three diverse instrumentals ("Pow," "Groove Holmes," and "In 3's") that make up the 20 song set, the group gets on the mic to flaunt superior rhyming skills, frantic scratching, and the fattest keyboards this side of Jimmy Smith. Such old-school flavored jams as "Pass The Mic," "Finger Lickin'," and "What'cha Want" shred in an entirely new way, suggesting some unexplored netherland between The Minutemen and Spoonie G; "Time For Livin'," a hardcore punk tune harkening back to the group's Lower End Side origins, sounds as fresh as the Boys' whisper-sung vocals on "Mark On The Bus," the rootsy "Lighten Up," and the acid-soaked "Something's Got To Give." Keep an eye out for the obligatory Biz Markie cameo, "The Biz vs. The Nuge." Each song on Check Your Head speaks volumes. Loudly." - Press Kit, January 28, 1992 (25 years ago today), available below.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bones The Beat Head x Maple Syrup "Nighthawks"

The German-Russian alliance of boom bap connoisseurs and jazz enthusiasts "Bones The Beat Head" (Germany) and "Maple Syrup" (Russia) created a fine instrumental experience that will give you the atmosphere of the city at night. Each track is inspired by different nighttime impressions such as calm areas with empty streets and sporadic street lighting or eerie abandoned places, but also the vivid nightlife that takes place in the city center where crowded bars and neon signs are dominating the scenery. Available digitally and on cassette, it's a real solid instrumental album. Listen below...

Friday, January 20, 2017

DJ Clue "You Can't Impeach The President" (Mixtape, 1999)

DJ Clue released "You Can't Impeach The President" as a mix tape back in 1999 via Tape Kingz. The mix features tracks from Fabolous, Nas & Puff (exclusive), The LOX, Beanie Siegel, Mephis Bleek, Ja Rule w/ DMX & Jay-Z, Mobb Deep, Nas, Eminem, Eve, Da Brat, Canibus, Cam'ron, Drag-On, Gang Starr, Prodigy, Made Men, Charli Baltimore, Ludacris and more. The presidency of Donald Trump began at noon EST today (January 20, 2017), when Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, succeeding Barack Obama. Hopefully the title of this mix tape turns out to be wrong in retrospect. Much thanks to a few people who had already uploaded it, but I've updated the audio with DJ Step One's link because his rips are usually flawless! Listen below...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Combat Jack Show "Fat Joe Episode"

On the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, they take it to the South Bronx, Forrest Projects to be exact. Fat Joe has been around for 24 plus years and is still going strong. He's part of the legendary D.I.T.C. crew; he introduced the world to the likes of Big Pun (R.I.P.), Remy Ma, DJ Khaled and the Terror Squad. He also powered through beefs with 50 Cent, Jay-Z and survived the ugly scenarios of being in these New York City streets. Fat Joe has played an integral role in generations of Hip-Hop, and he keeps a hit on 'em! Tune in below to hear Don Cartagena share it all.

Monday, January 16, 2017

KLIM Beats "City Lights" (Instrumental Album)

Another fresh beat tape from Ukranian producer, KLIM Beats. "City Lights" features 20 instrumentals from Kiev to Toronto, from Nobody to Grandma's Pies, an Autumn Evening to a Winter Storm; it's a wide range of colors and flavors on this one. I hope artists start locking in to his production and he lands more production credits. In the meantime, enjoy his latest tape below...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Earl Sweatshirt 'Chum'

Earl Sweatshirt's 'Chum' (off his album, 'Doris') was a close second for favorite track in 2013 (Statik's 'Bird's Eye View' was 1st). It's probably the first track of his I really stopped and paid attention to because I was under the impression (from reviews and videos) that his music was not for me. I was misguided, although he does roll with a young crew that does stupid shit, lol. That aside, when you hear bars like: 'It's probably been twelve years since my father left, left me fatherless / And I just used to say I hate him in dishonest jest / When honestly I miss this n#gga, like when I was six / And every time I got the chance to say it I would swallow it...' I can tell you without question, the teenage me resonates so much with those bars, and I imagine a good amount of his fans do too. It all comes down to the art & sky's the limit for a young kid with as much talent as he possesses.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sam The Sleezbag & DJ Mekalek "#SleezbagMekalekTape"

Sam The Sleezbag & DJ Mekalek '#SleezbagMekalekTape'

Sam The Sleezbag & DJ Mekalek team up to present their 3-disc set, "#SleezbagMekalekTape", showcasing some of hip hop's most respected artists from the East Coast. Spanning the first two discs is ninety minutes of exclusive freestyles and songs from the personal vault of Sam The Sleezbag -- all meticulously scratched, cut, mixed and blended in true mixtape form by DJ Mekalek. The third disc contains a 30-track bonus collection of unreleased joints and lost freestyles. The duo, consisting of New York based audio engineer/producer Sam The Sleezbag, and Rhode Island based DJ/producer DJ Mekalek, refuse to comply with modern day formats, and deliver nothing but the best quality music. The 3-disc set came out last August (2016). Peep the tracklist above for the expansive list of underground MCs on the mix and stream it below. We need more projects like this!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Slum Village "Trinity" (Vibe Magazine, 1/03)

"Many hip hop fans are still mourning the dissolution of A Tribe Called Quest. But Detroit's Slum Village brought the formula of relaxed funk and playful lyricism back to the airwaves in 2002 with its second album. Trinity (Past, Present and Future). "Tainted," the first single from that disc, is a melodic love joint about keepin' it real in both romance and art. With Baatin, 28, T3, 28, and newcomer Elzhi, 24, spitting lines like "Would you fix me green tea if I'm feelin' ill?" over a smoothed-out, keys 'n' bass groove. "Tainted" is the antidote to the steady dose of hook-friendly club tracks and who-can-outshine-whom diatribes so prevalent on urban radio." Watch "Tainted" below...

"Slum Village came together in the Conant Gardens section of the Motor City. Its indie-label debut album, Fantastic Vol.2, sold 150,000 copies and garnered underground props, mostly thanks to producer Jay Dee's syncopated bass lines, funky organ loops, and nasty percussion. Jay Dee has taken on a lesser role with Trinity, producing only a handful of tracks, while boardsmen Hi-Tek, Scott Storch, and Karriem Riggins (who produced "Tainted") incorporate soulful hooks and swirling keyboards. Lyrically dynamic, Baatin's nasal meditations and T3's witty wordplay about the females of the species blend perfectly with Elzhi's easy flow. Whether they get romantic, reflective, or ridiculous, the trio of MCs always stays locked into the track. Let's hope they don't dissolve into the same ether as the boys from the Boulevard of Linden." - Vibe Magazine, January 2003.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Soul Survivors 'In God We Trust' (12", 2000)

Soul Survivors 'In God We Trust' 12"

I first heard Soul Survivors on the Easy Mo Bee compilation, ‘Bee Mo Easy Presents,’ that had his group Rappin Is Fundamental, Da Nation and 2 cuts from Soul Survivors. I wouldn’t say I was overly impressed with that record, but enough to take interest when I saw the ‘In God We Trust’ 12" on Hit Mob Entertainment. The sticker labels always caught my attention, if I'm keeping it a buck. With production from DJ Hard Rock and M16, who was part of the crew with C4, Soul Survivors put together a nice joints with 'In Good We Trust' and 'We Rock The Mic.' I particularly dig the A-Side, 'In God We Trust,' but they came with straight bars over a familiar break on 'We Rock The Mic,' so either way, it's a solid 12" release. Only thing, don't bother to use the cleans, they are super choppy. The record was released in 2000, but it sounds like it may have been recorded in the late 90s.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Take It Personal Podcast "Wu-Tang Tribute Episode"

Back again with another episode of the Take It Personal Podcast ... "To many, Staten Island is known as the dump. To us hip-hop heads, it's known as Shaolin, the home of the Wu-Tang Clan. Who would have thought a group of 9 rappers would have changed the game, but they definitely did. Nobody has ever done hip-hop like WTC and I'm pretty sure nobody ever will. While The Wu is one of the most respected and beloved group of all-time, a two hour tribute doesn't seem long enough. That said, here is our tribute that should help remind you that Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F*ck Wit!"

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Nicky D's 'The Grey Area' (2013)

I remember Nicky D’s project, ‘The Grey Area,’ hitting my inbox 3-4 years ago - my first thought was, is that a Diamond D ‘Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop’ cover? Say word. With a co-sign from DJ Booth, I listened to the project and really enjoyed it, even with peaking audio levels on a few tracks. Nicky D’s & the producer, Rick Hughes, kept the production and flows tight and reminiscent of the golden era. There were a handful of familiar samples, which come off as odes to the originals, and even some work on the boards from Mista Lawnge of Black Sheep. As far as the content, well Nicky D’s was 18 at the time of recording, so you hear that in some of the lyrics, but I can remember myself at 18, too lol. The project from the LA spitter is still available for free download from DJ Booth, consider revisiting it, then follow the breadcrumbs to discover his more recent releases.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Cru "Da Dirty 30" (The Source, June 1997)

"Someone call the New York Post. There's a scandal from the rough streets of the Bronx to report and it involves three vatos who will never be mistaken for being shook ones. In fact, judging from their headline-grabbing first album, they got the biggest huevos this side of an elephant's trunks. You may wonder just what makes these cats - Yogi, Chadio and Mighty Ha - so damn fresh? Easy. Good ol' fashion creativity... The collective known simply as Cru have returned from rap 'Nam with hip-hop's most prominent POW, and it's time to celebrate. Flexin' more imagination than John Lennon, Cru's debut, Dirty 30, is likely to make you nod your noggin and say stuff like, "Yo, Yogi's production and rhymin' is hot on a lot of these joints..." Check out the track "Bubblin" below...

"Also pulling their weight are his charismatic partners: check the oddball stylings of "Lisa Lipps," a surreal solo shot from Mighty Ha that cross-references the Beatles and other unlikely sources; and then enjoy "Goines Tale," a song dedicated to famed writer Donald Goines... Although somewhat overbearing in length (30 tracks), Cru's biggest appeal rests on their knack for injecting a sly and raunchy sense of humor into their songs. Props due to Cru who were able to stare into the face of rap banality and come back alive with an accessible sound that at any given second might go completely loco. You got a grew, you'd better tell'em." - The Source, June 1997. Full review is below.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Great Rapperths With Lithps (Ego Trip Magazine)

Back in the Ego Trip Mag days, they published an article about rappers with lisps: "Although great, Mase isn't the only rapper with speech-challenged chatter. Can't nobody hold down these other great rappers who can't hold down vowels either. 1) Kool G Rap: The OG lisp rapper. Professor of the hardest lisp in hip-hop history. Corona, Queens' rhyme wrecker supreme continues to transcend speech impediments with the most violent and sexist lyrics known to man. Sylvester the Cat never talked sex like this. Best lyrical lisp reference: "Well equipped with a hip hop lip / My memory bank is like a microchip," from "Jive Talk." 2) Erick Sermon: The Green-Eyed Bandit's engaging lisp, molasses-thick flow and tendency to break out into song provided just the right sugar to partner Parrish Smith's spice on early EPMD records. With E and P happily back together again, broken mics covered in saliva are again business as usual: "I can't forget how they used to dis / Sayin' 'He can't rap cuz he talks with a lisp," from "It Wasn't Me, It Was The Fame." 3) Biz Markie: For years, the diabolical one has made the music with his mouth as only he can. Hope you weren't in the front row: "Listen to the way and what I'm displayin' / A different type of rap language that I am sayin'," from "Nobody Beats The Biz." 4) Lil' Dap: The pride of East New York represents the future of the lisp in hip hop. As both frequent Gang Starr guest and one half of the Group Home's low-budget environment, Dap's mouth sprays more than Jeru's mind: "Check it out party people as I speak with a lisp / People say we couldn't do it cuz they can't feel it," from "Inna City Life." // Bonus: here's an early, alternate version of "Nobody Beats The Biz" (with different vocals/mix), listen below...

Artwork above and below by Nelson Dedos Garcia.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Venomous2000 x Trilian "Sounds Of The Great Ones"

New Jersey's Venomous2000 has a new album with Serbian producer, Trilian, called 'Sounds Of The Great Ones.' The album is a great piece of hip-hop that I highly recommend; it features The Artifacts, Cella Dwellas, Reks, Inspectah Deck, Tiye Phoenix, and more. For a sample, check out their track 'Know Things' below, featuring DJ TMB. They are running a campaign to press up a limited edition vinyl release, so vinyl heads: you'll want this in your collection, support it HERE.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

ATCQ, Thank You 4 Your Service!

A Tribe Called Quest

Sitting here, thinking about A Tribe Called Quest - even with the passing of Phife - it's clear what a tremendous (positive) impact they still have on the culture. Seeing Jarobi solidified back in the fold and recording makes me happy too, that's a good dude right there. They still have a lot to offer and I hope they can keep it going together because we're gonna need voices like theirs in our generation. Tracks like 'Dis Generation' beg for visuals that will make us pause and reflect. Either way, definitely keep family close to heart and bigs up to Tribe; Rest in Peace, Phife. Oh, and it's definitely not too late to cop 'We Got It From Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service,' I know we haven't seen the last of promo for the album, not by a long shot. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Mobb Deep "Beats, Songs & Rhymes" (Vol.1, Mixtape)

This is volume 1 of Dope As Funk "Beats, Songs & Rhyme" series, where they mix songs sampled by the artist, instrumentals and all classics. They featured Mobb Deep, the Queensbridge duo of Prodigy and Havoc, whose dark sinister beats and rhymes epitomized the sound of New York in the mid-to-late 90s. From the original samples to the classic cuts and some slept-on gems, this mix is a dope run through The Infamous Mobb Deep's classic catalog. It was originally released some years back, but check it out below! Images above are from Queensbridge in 1995 via Delphine Fawundu.