Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Binary Star (One Be Lo x Decompoze) "Subterraneous"

Binary Star WaterWorld Three One Be Lo Decompoze Subterraneous Records

“Subterraneous" is the first single taken from one of Michigan's favorite underground families, Binary Star, promoting their long-awaited WaterWorld Three album. Produced by Decompoze, “Subterraneous” features Binary Star's active members One Be Lo and Decompoze, along with original Sub crew members ILLite aka T Calmese, RoSpit and Malaki. Pre-orders of WaterWorld Three are available HERE and the album is scheduled for release on June 2nd. Listen below.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

N.W.A. 'Efil4zaggin' & 'Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video'

N.W.A. Efil4zaggin Advertisement
N.W.A. 'Efil4zaggin' Press Release

NWA's sophomore album, 'Efil4zaggin,' came out on this day in 1991 through Ruthless Records. It was the first album released without Ice Cube and featured production by Dr. Dre & Yella. The Source voted it Album of The Year in 1991 and said: 'When the average person looks back on hip-hop in 1991 they'll probably remember N.W.A.'s Niggaz4Life as the fat tape booming out of their system, the one that got the hottest rotation. But this was no underground hit. After debuting at the number two position on Billboard's Pop Chart - the first album to do so since Michael Jackson's Bad - Niggaz4Life rocketed to number one, selling a whopping 800,000 records the first week in stores, and coming close to double platinum. The key to NWA's success is their ability to capture fans from all backgrounds in different parts of the country, marketing the image of ruthless n!ggaz from the streets of Compton to an audience of inner-city purists and middle-America whites. Plus, NWA managed to stay in the headlines for most of the year - from Eazy E's infamous dinner with the President, to various lawsuits, to the fateful night in a Hollywood club when Dr. Dre allegedly beat up Dee Barnes, the female host of 'Pump It Up.' I remember the first time someone handed me a dub with 'Alwayz Into Somethin' on it, I thought it was one of the hardest tracks I'd ever heard - to this day, that's still true! The group disbanded later that year & in '92, they released 'Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video,' which documents the making of & the release of the album; check it below, and above is an overseas press release sent regarding the police seizing copies of the LP and a pending lawsuit. It was an interesting year to be a fan of Hip-Hop.

N.W.A. Alwayz Into Somethin Advertisement

Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jeru The Damaja 'The Sun Rises In The East' (May 24, 1994)

Jeru The Damaja The Sun Rises In The East Advertisement 1994
Jeru The Damaja Classic Material Brian Coleman The Sun Rises In The East

Jeru The Damaja's classic debut album, 'The Sun Rises In The East,' was released on this day in 1994. Entirely produced by DJ Premier, the album was released through Payday and is an important piece of the Gang Starr Foundation's legacy. Jeru linked with Gang Starr around 1989 and a few years later he was featured on the posse cut, 'I'm The Man,' from Gang Starr's 'Daily Operation.' However, it wasn't until '93 when Guru included 'Come Clean' on an Ill Kid Records sampler that the buzz for Jeru really began to grow. In '94, Gang Starr dropped another posse cut called 'Speak Ya Clout,' off 'Hard To Earn,' and I was feenin' for that Jeru debut. As for Premo: "While his name isn't on the front cover, producer DJ Premier is as essential to this album as Jeru himself. Primo is already a legend in the beat field ... but with Jeru he goes further against the grain with a collection of simple but dense beats. He uses flutes, harmonic discord, bugged-out sound effects, even static to fill in his compositions." The Source/Miss Info adds, "As for Jeru, the music both contrasts and compliments his disjointed flow and deep poetical lyricism." From start to finish, this is a masterful album displaying both beats and lyrics in razor sharp form. For many, this is not only their favorite DJ Premier-produced album but their favorite album as a whole. Years later, Brian Coleman would revisit 'The Sun Rises In The East' for the 'Classic Material' album review up above, check that out and below is the You Must Learn episode with Jeru the Damaja taking us track by track through the album, discussing stories such as: waiting and watching for Nas to create Illmatic, his inspiration drawn from his family, friends, and predecessors, and lots more. This album still gets burn!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Duel Of The Iron Mics (The Source, 1998)

The Source 5-mic ratings Illmatic Biggie
The Source 5-mic ratings Illmatic Biggie
The Source 5-mic ratings Illmatic Biggie

The Source's 100th issue in 1998 had LL Cool J on the cover and a nice article that highlighted 8 classic albums that had previously received 5-mic ratings. Back when the mic rating truly meant something, artists aspired to make an album that would receive that coveted award. And, for fans, as Elliott Wilson said, ''The mics are one of the main reasons that The Source flies off your newsstands. More importantly, there are over 3 million hip-hop fans worldwide who look to The Source for honest reviews of the multitude of rap albums released each month...'  That was true for a long time. The 8 albums selected for the article are: A Tribe Called Quest's 'Peoples Instinctive Travels & the Paths to Rhythm,' Ice Cube's 'AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted,' Brand Nubian's 'One For All' (note to the editor: 'All For One' was the single), De La Soul's 'De La Soul is Dead,' A Tribe Called Quest 'Low End Theory,' Nas' 'Illmatic' and finally, The Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Life After Death.' Interestingly, Elliott explains the historical context of 'Life After Death' and even offers that he originally scoffed at 'Illmatic' receiving a 5-mic rating. Time has proven that Miss Info was correct for her review, but it's not rewriting history to say sales were mediocre and only us real heads were championing it early. Would you argue against any of these records receiving 5 mics? Personally, I've always been on the fence on 'Let The Rhythm Hit Em' but I can see their logic.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

KRS-One as Big Joe Krash 'Break The Chain'

Big Joe Krash KRS-One Break The Chain Vibe Magazine August 1994 Hip-Hop Nostalgia

Released in 1994 by Marvel Music, the 'Break The Chain' comic is a collaborative effort by artist Kyle Baker, hip-hop legend KRS-One, and Marshall Chess that uses literature and music to break the chains of ignorance among the youth. This comic came polybagged with an audio cassette tape featuring songs performed by KRS-One that can be listened to as the comic is read. Kyle Baker said, "Break The Chain was very experimental, a comic book packaged with a read-along hip-hop audiocassette. I don't think anything like it was done before or since ... The creators of the project, Marshall Chess, Kris Parker, and I went with Marvel because nobody else wanted to publish us. The only way we got Marvel to go for it was we did it without being paid, and the production costs were out of our pockets. They were made, but only 25% of the print run was actually distributed. The rest of the books sat in a warehouse while Marvel tried to find a distributor with record store connections. It never happened. I don't know what happened to the books and tapes, they were probably destroyed. But a few people got to see it, which is better than nothing.” Above is an original article with KRS & Kyle Baker in Vibe (8/94), and below is the animated music video for the title track with KRS as Big Joe Krash. You can find copies on eBay from time to time.

Big Joe Krash KRS-One Break The Chain Comic Book Hip-Hop Nostalgia

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Eminem 'The Marshall Mathers LP' (May 23, 2000)

Eminem 'The Marshall Mathers LP' Advertisement 2000
Eminem 'The Marshall Mathers LP' Album Review Vibe Magazine 2000

Eminem's third studio album, 'The Marshall Mathers LP' dropped on this day in 2000. Arguably Em's best album, he dug deep(er) on content to reflect the controversy surrounding the graphic lyrics on the Slim Shady LP, his meteoric rise to fame, as well as early childhood and family. He complemented all of it with storytelling lyrics that may go down as some of the best ever. The album sold nearly 2 million copies in its first week! The LP was produced by Dr. Dre, Bass Brothers, The 45 King and co-production from Em. "It's tracks like 'Stan' and the sum of the Marshall Mathers LP that should forever erase the notion that Eminem is the Elvis Presley of hardcore hip hop. If anything, he's rap's Eric Clapton: a white boy who can hang with the best black talent based on sheer skill - enhancing the art form instead of stealing from it." (Vibe Magazine) I do still think Em is one of the most talented lyricists in Hip-Hop (period), but the industry has shifted and the replay value based on his ability to RAP has faded - his content and concepts need to take center stage and I'm interested to see how he matures in Hip-Hop. I hope the 'Rap God' challenges himself more if he returns with another LP, which I get the feeling is coming ... maybe.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fat Joe 'Heart of Bronxness' (Vibe, 1996)

Fat Joe 'Heart of Broxness' (Vibe, 1996)

'Maybe with my first album, I was kind of arrogant ... I thought I was the shit, but after a couple of months ... everybody's like, 'Man, 'Flow Joe' is the only hit Joe can make. So I came up with some ill shit. I learned to appreciate the fans more - I know it's because of the consumer that I'm here.' (Vibe, March 1996) He definitely came back hard with his sophomore album, 'Jealous One's Envy.' I remember back in the days of exchanging dubs with my friends, I bought another tape and my boy got Joe's album. We exchanged copies and I was like man, I bought some bullshit by comparison, lol. I've probably told that full story before, if not, it's definitely still fresh in my mind. To this day, the DJ Premier remix to 'The Shit Is Real' is one of the most nostalgic songs for me. 20+ years later, Fat Joe still knows how to stay relevant with a hit or 2 every few cycles. The album with Remy Ma kinda came and went, but the single was a smash and it won't be the last we hear of Fat Joe.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The RZA 'Tragedy' (Video) from Rhyme & Reason

The RZA Bobby Digital Eddie Otchere

I was reminded earlier of the RZA's song 'Tragedy,' which was a slept-on gem off the Rhyme & Reason Soundtrack. It was released in 1997 and pre-dates the images above from a contact sheet by photographer Eddie Otchere (I just think it's dope). The Rhyme & Reason soundtrack also had 'Uni-4-Orm' by Ras Kass, Heltah Skeltah & Canibus, as well as joints from the Lost Boyz, KRS, Busta Rhymes & A Tribe Called Quest, E-40, and among others, an ill record called 'The Way It Iz' by Guru (R.I.P.), Lil' Dap & KaiBee that some people may remember me discussing over the years. Back in the winter of '96, I visited The Wiz in Manhattan on 57th street and 3rd Ave - I can't remember what I bought - they hit me off with a promo VHS copy of the video for 'Tragedy' before the album was out. I watched that VHS tape 30-40 times, lol. I hadn't seen the video for 20 years until today, and it's still as ill as I remember! Wu-Tang Forever came out a few months after Rhyme & Reason, but I was still hype off this song. I pre-ordered the album and the store gave a $3.00 coupon. I met my first "serious" girlfriend on the day I went to the store to pick up my copy, lol. Nostalgia strikes again. The track was produced by True Master & co-produced by the RZA, check it out below.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jazzsoon '84 Doctor K (Beat Tape)

Doc Gooden Dr. K Publicity Photo

Dwight Gooden aka Dr. K aka Doc Gooden .... also known as one of the best to ever rock a gold tooth and stand on the mound! He made his debut in 1984, making the All-Star Team (striking out the side in that game) and was Rookie of the Year that season. In 1985, he won the Cy Young Award and the triple crown, among other accomplishments that lead to the World Series Championship in '86! The beat tape is filled with funky beats, Doctor K theme songs, crazy phone messages, as well as snippets from classic interviews, games, Mets programs and news broadcasts to make the tape more flavorful. You can purchase the cassette exclusively through Strictly Cassette and the first 50 orders will come with an authentic 1985 Dwight Gooden rookie card. Support a quality product!

Jazzsoon '84 Doctor K (Beat Tape)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Big L 'The Crate & The Good' (Hip Hop Connection, '98)

Big L 'The Crate & The Good' (Hip Hop Connection, '98)
Big L 'The Crate & The Good' (Hip Hop Connection, '98)

In 1996, Big L was a cautionary tale of when major labels sign real lyricists. Ultimately, “the people in the marketing department didn’t quite get it. Lack of promotion and record company politics inevitably led to a split — a perfect example of a label not knowing what they’ve got til it’s gone.” From 'Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous' to 'The Big Picture,' Big L had moved onto releasing music through his own Flamboyant label, which had manufacturing and distro through Fat Beats. Matter of fact, the 'Ebonics' b/w 'Size Em Up' 12" was one of the biggest independent 12" releases of 1998 at record stores like Fat Beats. 20 years later, the represses still flew off the shelves as DJs and tourists from around the world came into Fat Beats looking for classics. There aren't a whole lot of Big L interviews in circulation, so basically just sharing this interview in Hip Hop Connection to share parts of L's story in his own words. In Big L's 'Size Em Up,' he says "Peace to Biggie and Pac 'cuz they really were hot / Rap game, heavy hitters, it's a shame they no longer wit' us." Add Big L to that too; taken from us far too soon. Rest in Peace, Big L. You can hear 'Size Em Up' below.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Questlove's Top 50 Hip-Hop Tracks (1975-1995)

Questlove of the Roots

"For this top 50 list, I decided to concentrate on 1979-1995, the former being the year I got my first taste of hip-hop, the latter being the year my major-label debut with the Roots made its mark. I wanted to concentrate on the period that I was not professionally involved in the art form. I wanted to celebrate the period that built and led to the influence that got me a record deal." With that said, let's look through the list Questlove made in 2012; multiple tracks from Public Enemy, Run DMC, Doug E. Fresh, Eric B. & Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest & Grandmaster Flash, as well as classic selections by BDP, Ice Cube, Ultra Mag, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, The Pharcyde, Black Sheep, Cypress Hill, Bone Thugs, Common, Wu Tang & lots more. Off top, it's odd to notice that Nas was not included, although Mobb Deep is, and I'd also argue for tracks from Gang Starr, Snoop/Dre and honorable mentions for O.C., Black Moon, Outkast, and 2Pac on MY list, but I understand that not only is it subjective, there is cultural impact and lots of other factors built into his personal selections. His full article and list of tracks can be seen HERE. See the Spotify playlist below.

Friday, May 19, 2017

DMX 'It's Dark and Hell Is Hot' (May 19, 1998)

DMX 'It's Dark and Hell Is Hot' (May 19, 1998) Advertisement
DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot Album Review Spin Magazine 1998

DMX’s platinum-selling debut album, ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,’ was released on this day in 1998 through Def Jam & Ruff Ryders Entertainment. In '98, DMX was the new artist that everyone was talking about. He put out 2 albums in the same year and both are cult-classics! I first heard DMX in '93 with 'Born Loser' on Ruffhouse/Columbia; a track he'd probably rather we forget. Mic Geronimo put DMX on 'Time To Build' in '95 and 'Usual Suspects' in '97, which was the verse from X that caught all our attention: "What's all the noise about, have some respect, shut the fuck up..." His raw energy grabbed at a lane only he could fill, despite any comparisons to 2Pac. Through the Def Jam connection, LL Cool put him on a couple singles, and recently took credit for launching DMX, which I think was overselling his influence. The production of ‘It’s Dark & Hell Is Hot’s was primarily handled by Dame Grease, with the help of Irv Gotti and Swiss Beatz. The singles were ‘Get At Me Dog,’ ‘Stop Being Greedy,’ the smash ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’ and an alternate version of ‘How It’s Going Down’ with Faith Evans. That said, the real heart of the album is in the album cuts, tracks like the 'Intro,' ‘Look Thru My Eyes,’ ‘Let Me Fly,’ ‘Damien,’ ‘I Can Feel It’ and more. Clocking in at over an hour’s length, it was a lengthy album that was celebrated as an instant classic and for Lyor and Def Jam to get X to come back months later with a second smash album is one of the greatest feats in Hip-Hop history in the days before internet oversaturated the market. X will always be a people's champ, and I hope he finds his way through the darkness and into the light.

DMX It's Dark and Hell is Hot OG Sticker 1998

OG Sticker above / the video for 'How's It Goin' Down' is below...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guru 'Jazzmatazz Volume 1' (May 18, 1993)

Guru Jazzmatazz Volume 1 Advertisement May 18, 1993
Guru Jazzmatazz Volume 1 Billboard Magazine May 8, 1993

'Jazzmatazz Volume 1' is the debut solo album from Guru of Gang Starr; it was released on this day in 1993 through Chrysalis Records. From its packaging to the music inside, 'Jazzmatazz Volume 1' is a total concept, an experimental fusion of Jazz and Rap. The album’s jacket, a photo of Guru blowing smoke over a vintage microphone, recalls those from Blue Note’s heyday during the ’50s and ’60s. The songs feature Guru in a Jazz-Rap synthesis with Jazz musicians Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers, Ronny Jordan, Courtney Pine, Brandford Marsalis, and Zachary Breaux. Acid-Jazz singers Carleen Anderson, DC Lee, and N’dea Davenport and French rapper MC Solaar also appear. The lead single was ‘Loungin’ with Donald Byrd on the keys and trumpet; it was released on April 19th and the video was directed by Spike Lee. Another single I really liked was the song ‘Trust Me’ with N’dea Davenport; I remember it being one of my sis' favorite songs and she'd bug me to play it and put it on mixes for her, lol. The article above is from Billboard Magazine just a week shy of its release in '93, and the video for Guru's 'Trust Me' is below. R.I.P. Guru. Click images for a better view.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

DJ Premier Tribute, Take It Personal Radio Ep.10

DJ Premier Wuz Here

Much respect to Philaflava, DJ 360 and Kevlar at the Take It Personal Podcast, they put together a 2-part, 6-hour tribute to the Greatest Of All-Time, DJ Premier. "Episode 10, The DJ Premier Tribute, is our magnum opus. It’s only right: the greatest producer of all-time receives the greatest tribute of all-time. It was no easy feat selecting and sequencing tracks for this massive 390+ minute show. We hope after listening to the incredible Work of Mart homage, you'll agree, DJ Premier is the GOAT. We've broken Episode 10 into 2 parts because when you cover Premo's illustrious career, it's impossible to include every masterpiece in just one show. But don't worry - within both episodes, we've made sure to include all the ill-collabos, obscure remixes and of course, your favorite classics too!" Subscribe to the podcast to stay caught up and make sure to revisit their past episodes. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The RZA in Rap Pages (March, 1995)

The RZA in Rap Pages (March, 1995)
The RZA in Rap Pages (March, 1995)

So, you wanna be a record producer? In this interview in Rap Pages (March 1995), the RZA breaks down his creative process, some of the equipment he's used over the years, insight into why the Wu-Tang always kept their production in-house (then), and plenty of stories about Wu releases. Some nuggets from the interview: 'I made the Wu-Tang and Method Man albums with that (ASR) and a SP 1200. After a while, you start getting money, you just buy shit. I got the Studio 440 because that was the machine from back in the days that helped me train. I found it at a used equipment store. I'm going to make an album with that, probably Inspectah Deck's because he has the dirtiest rec-room style of rhyming." I like the vibe the RZA was on at the time, he adds "Through each member of the Clan, we are going to bring back the essence of Hip-Hop." Regardless of what goes on behind the scenes of the Wu-Tang - even to this day - for the most part, they've proven their loyalty to the unit. Some more than others, but no family is perfect. Moving on, he shares "One thing I learned is that the demo always sounds better than the album for some weird reason. The demos are raw. Like "Tical," if you heard the demo, you would love it more because everything sounded louder. Take it to the studio, they want to compress shit, hold certain things back. The engineers, they know the science of fidelity, but Hip-Hop is not even based on that science. We ain't orchestra music where you have to know every range. It's basically loud shit, and the vocals, snares, and kicks have to be clear." One last piece of info on the first Wu album, RZA says "We only spent $36,000 to record and mix the Wu-Tang album, that's including food bills and everything... It's just knowing how to make the best out of what you have." Peep the full interview for more gems.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Run-DMC 'Tougher Than Leather' (May 17, 1988)

Run-DMC Publicity Photo Tougher Than Leather

Today marks the 29th anniversary of RUN DMC's fourth studio album, 'Tougher Than Leather.' It was released through Profile Records on May 17, 1988. I was 10 years old when the album dropped, but I do remember sitting with the cassette and thinking it wasn't really speaking to me. To this day, the biggest track on the album, 'Run's House,' almost makes me cringe when I  hear it. In Dan Charnas' book, 'The Big Payback,' he says: 'It was March of 1988. The songs for Run-DMC's new album had been sitting on the shelf for almost a year. It was May before Profile shipped the Tougher Than Leather LP, which was supposed to be released in tandem with Bill Adler's Tougher Than Leather book (which went on sale a year earlier) and Def Pictures' Tougher Than Leather movie (which wouldn't hit theaters until September). Run-DMC's video for their first single, 'Run's House,' was received politely by hip-hop fans, in the way a person might greet an old lover after having been swept off one's feet by another. Both Rush and Profile paid dearly for their excessive sales expectations, printing and distributing far more albums than they sold. Tougher Than Leather became an industry joke: it shipped platinum. It returned double platinum." The group's impact on the culture is undeniable and many of us wouldn't be here without them, but suffice to say, this just wasn't the album for me. All that said, it did go platinum and it's rock influences certainly targeted a wider audience. The Run's Houe Tour in '88 was great and the Bonus Track version to the album included 'Christmas In Hollis,' which I do consider a classic, too. Have you seen the movie?

Run DMC Tougher Than Leather DVD

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

B.I.G. Ends Contract w/ Uptown Records (May 16, 1994)

Biggie Terminates Contract with Uptown Records (May 16, 1994)
Biggie Terminates Contract with Uptown Records (May 16, 1994)

From the internet archives, this is an OG contract between Biggie & Uptown Records. It states that as of May 16, 1994, Christopher Wallace p/k/a B.I.G.'s contract with Andre Harrell & Uptown Records was terminated. B.I.G. followed Puffy from Uptown over to Bad Boy Records. The contract states that he'd leave twith the masters for 'Party & Bullshit' and 'Flip That Shit,' in exchange for $326,092.91, which constitutes all the costs associated with those records. It goes on to reflect that B.I.G. would be transferring the rights and obligations over to Arista Records, which handled distribution for Bad Boy Records. For those that don't know, 'Flip That Shit' was a track Biggie did with Naughty By Nature, Onyx and 3rd Eye in 1993. These contracts were up for public auction some years back, not sure if they sold and for how much, but it's a nice piece of Hip-Hop history. $326K and those weren't even "hits," times have changed. Rest in Peace, B.I.G. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Special Ed 'Youngest In Charge' (May 16, 1989)

Special Ed Youngest In Charge 1989 I Got It Made 7" Vinyl
Special Ed Youngest In Charge Album Review Spin Magazine May 1989

'Youngest In Charge' is the debut album from Special Ed. The Brooklyn MC was just 17-years old when he released the album on this day in 1989. Featuring the classic singles 'I Got It Made' and 'I'm The Magnificent,' plus 'Think About It' and 'Club Scene,' the album was produced by Howie Tee with DJ Akshun on the cuts. The more popular version ('The Magnificent Remix') for 'I'm The Magnificent' was not the version they used for the video, nor was it included on 'Youngest In Charge,' but they did officially release it the following year on his sophomore album, 'Legal.' Either way, these early songs were go-to records in the crates for parties and are still anthems today. The album was originally released on Profile Records, but a Deluxe version was re-issued in 2015 by Get On Down. Unfortunately, I didn't cop the LP, but I did grab the 7" reissue of 'I Got It Made.' Also, today is Special Ed's Born Day, so big shout-out to him. Bonus: True Hip-Hop Stories by D-Nice is below.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ice Cube 'AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted' (May 16, 1990)

Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted 1990 Longbox CD
Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted 1990 Classic Material Album Review

Ice Cube released his debut solo album 'Amerikkka's Most Wanted' through Priority Records on this day in 1990. "As the lyrical architect behind N.W.A.'s groundbreaking debut, Straight Outta Compton, Cube helped usher in the gangsta rap era, and positioned himself as one of Hip-Hop's most feared lyricists. That reputation expanded even further when the Cali native severed ties with N.W.A. in 1990 because of shady business practices, and went solo on that ass." With production by the Bomb Squad, Ice Cube "crafted a thought-provoking manuscript that tackled everything from racism and politics to gang culture and sex. Hailed for its superior production, and equally exceptional lyricism, the project went gold within two weeks -- a feat that was unheard of for rap in the early '90s." Arguably Ice Cube's greatest LP, the impact & inspiration from this album are still felt today. 

Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted 1990 Advertisement

Ice Cube's 'AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted' Document 1, 2, 3.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Niz Ciz 'Cellar Sounds' Vol. 5 (No Sleep Recordings)

Niz Ciz 'Cellar Sounds' Vol. 5 (No Sleep Recordings) Advert

Attention 90's underground Hip-Hop collectors! Nick Wiz & No Sleep Recordings are back with Volume 5 of the groundbreaking and collectible archive series, 'Cellar Sounds.' This 44 track 2xCD release of Nick Wiz productions is available only on Fifth Element, and is a limited pressing as always. Volume 5 includes selections from the highly acclaimed “Underground Airplay” tapes, unreleased remixes, and obscure demos from lyricists throughout NYC and New Jersey. I've been a fan of Nick Wiz for 20yrs, each volume will take you down a path of (re)discovery for some of the best underground records / independent artists to come out of the tri-state area. iTunes version.

Niz Ciz 'Cellar Sounds' Vol. 5 (No Sleep Recordings)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Marco Polo 'Port Authority' (10th Anniversary)

Marco Polo Port Authority Rawkus Cassette Vinyl
Marco Polo Porth Authority Rawkus Vibe May 2007 Album Review

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Marco Polo's cult-classic production album, 'Port Authority.' The album grabs ya from track 1 with Copywrite, 'Get Busy;' Copywrite comes correct over one of the hardest instrumentals on the project. Rumor has it, the files were so poor it took a prayer and a miracle that 'Get Busy' was saved and came out so dope. Other stand-out tracks include Masta Ace's 'Nostalgia,' O.C.'s 'Marquee,' 'Heat' by Supastition and the two 12" singles 'War' by Kardinal Offishall and 'The Radar' with Large Professor. I couldn't find the CD, it must be in storage, but above and below are the LP and both 12" releases, as well as the limited cassette release. An incredible producer and a student of the game, you can always count on Marco to bring the best out of new and veteran MCs alike. His follow-up PA2 was another great project and you can also support 'Double Barrel' with Torae, his collaborative albums with Rustee Juxx, AFRO, O.S.T.R. (overseas), and much more. Props to DJ Linx, Shylow, Ricardo Guiterrez, and all the MCs who ripped tracks on this LP. Be sure to check out the Slice of Spice deluxe release, with instrumentals HERE. Oh, and the album review above is taken from the May 2007 issue of Vibe Magazine.

Marco Polo the Radar Large Professor Port Authority Autographed Vinyl

Music video for Masta Ace's 'Nostalgia'

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Afiliashun 'The Perfect Time' EP (Chopped Herring Snippets)

Afiliashun 'The Perfect Time' EP Vinyl Baltimore Chopped Herring Records

Peace to Bob Lipitch at Chopping Herring Records, he's back with another one! Reppin' Baltimore, Maryland, the group Afiliashun recorded this gem of an EP in 1996-1997. I've covered the original pressing in years past; it was originally released on Revalashun Records in 1997. There may even be some dead zShare links with my name on it lurking around the interwebs, lol. Allegedly. It's a solid B-more record, which offers 4 tracks: 'Tell Me If You Open,' 'Who's This' and 'Bullet Proof,' which are produced by Regi Ruckus, and the final track 'King of the Hill' is produced by Verble. According to the Chopped Herring website, there will be 350 copies pressed: the first 120 copies will be on White Pearl colored vinyl and the remaining 230 are on traditional black vinyl. Trust, most Chopped Herring releases sell out quickly because there is strong support in the vinyl community and they do quality work, so order yours now. The label is also hosting a short sale that ends on Monday, so dig into their back catalog - I highly recommend: Shadez of Brooklyn, CeStyle, Natural Elements, The AbSouljah, North Bronx Alliance, Daddy-O, & Beneficience (depending on what's still in stock).

Saturday, May 13, 2017

De La Soul Is Dead (May 13, 1991)

De La Soul Is Dead (May 14, 1991)
De La Soul Is Dead (May 14, 1991) The Source May 1991 Album Review

On this day in 1991, De La Soul released their sophomore album, 'De La Soul Is Dead,' through Tommy Boy Records. "For up-and-comers and veterans alike, the album’s 1991 arrival marked a truly otherworldly sonic expedition that somehow surpassed even their groundbreaking debut." The album review above is from May '91 in The Source, it says "The peace signs are gone, and the D.A.I.S.Y. is outta here, but the musical and lyrical talent combined with unlimited creativity and an ingenious sense of humor is still in like Flynn ... Still progressing and proud of it, De La has successfully escaped being trapped in the sophomore jinx with grooves that are harder than a brick wall." ATCO adds 'Yo, it's like that Prego commercial: the rhymes that Pos, Dove, and Mase spout to make you shake your head, smile, and go "Oh Shit!" to? It's in there. The hilarious skits that you thought no one would ever do? It's in there. Dope concepts, unique music and overall slammin' production? It's in there." The De La Soul is Dead art above is owned/credited to Andre LeRoy Davis. Props to the amazing Prince Paul & A&R Dante Ross. Mass Appeal's 'De La Soul Is Dead' Documentary is below.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Born Day to O.C. of D.I.T.C. + Time's Up

O.C. D.I.T.C. Publicity Photo Wild Pitch Word...Life

Another Happy Born Day shout-out, this one goes out to Bushwick, Brooklyn's own O.C.; the Starchild, from the Diggin' In The Crates crew. With raw energy and sophisticated rhymes, O.C. has been a dominant presence in Hip-Hop for over 25 years! On his classic single, 'Time's Up,' O.C. told us "My album will manifest many things that I saw, did, or heard about / All told first hand / Never word of mouth" and he delivered a classic with 'Word...Life;' in a year with some of the fiercest competition in Hip-Hop history. What's better, you could argue that his sophomore album, 'Jewelz,' was an even better album than his debut. Further along in his catalog is the slept-on gem, 'Starchild,' which (I think) was released in Japan, and of course, the collaborative album with Apollo Brown, 'Trophies,' which seemed like an unlikely pairing ... until you clicked play. Add to it 'Fudge Pudge,' 'Back To The Grill,' 'Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers,' the work with D.I.T.C. and you'll see his footprints are all over some of the best music to come from Hip-Hop's storied history. With an album coming with Apathy as the group Perestroika + more, his legacy has more chapters to come. Now ... Do not adjust your screen ... It's about to be on! ... "Their time's limited, hard rocks too!"

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Born Day to Eternia + 'Broken Language Remix'

Eternia Canadian Hip-Hop Toronto Discography

A Happy Born Day shout-out to Canadian Hip-Hop veteran, Eternia! If you're not familiar, do your Googles!! Before Kool G Rap did his new album with producer MoSS, there was an Eternia & MoSS album called "At Last" on Fat Beats Records that featured Joel Ortiz, Reef The Lost Cauze, Rah Digga, Lady of Rage, Termanology, Ras Kass, Jean Grae and more. It was nominated for every music award Canada has and was ranked on DJ Premier's Top 20 albums of 2010. That just scratches the surface, visit Bandcamp for more. Below is the latest from E, going in over a classic Brooklyn banger from Smoothe The Hustler, 'Broken Language,' for the 90s-inspired Canadian MC mixtape, M.I.C. Series. Full disclosure: I've toured the world with Eternia as her manager and business partner.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Tribe Called Quest Interview (The Source, Nov. 1991)

A Tribe Called Quest Interview (The Source, Nov. 19991) Page 1
A Tribe Called Quest Interview (The Source, Nov. 19991) Page 2
A Tribe Called Quest Interview (The Source, Nov. 19991) Page 3
A Tribe Called Quest Interview (The Source, Nov. 19991) Page 4

I know I don't have to sell anybody on reasons to read an interview with A Tribe Called Quest, but for the sake of clarity, this is an interview from The Source in November 1991 (Issue #26). In a somewhat rushed interview, some takeaways are Q-Tip speaking to the direction they took from 'Paths' to 'Low End Theory,' where he says: “Hip-hop is moving farther and farther away from its true starting point. And what we’re trying to do with this album is bring it back a little bit closer to home.” Ali Shaheed adds “We’re not trying to change. There’s so many sides to us and so many personalities that we could go all kinds of ways and different directions.” Speaking to decisions made by A&Rs and echoing the sentiments of Rule #4080, Q-Tip says “We gotta wake up and realize what they’re doing. They’re trying to destroy hip-hop the same way they destroyed rock & roll. And we don’t want rock & roll no more cause you fucked it up.” To wrap it up, Ali summarizes, “Kids, beware of the f#cking record company motherf#ckers.” Rest in Peace, Phife Dawg.