Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cyhi The Prynce "No Dope On Sundays" / "Closer"

Hurt to see my class walk, and I ain't get to graduate
My parents washed their hands with me like before you grab a plate
I was on punishment, still coming in after eight
The belt don't hurt no more, she can tell when she look at my face
I was a castaway, had to learn how to navigate
Through the alleyways then pull up on you the Cali' way
Huh, I did some shit I can't elaborate
Tried to serve some niggas I ain't know, that was my last mistake
And Satan, I know I'm one of your favorite soldiers
But I can't help you no more, cause me and Christ is getting...
- Cyhi The Prynce "Closer," off "No Dope On Sundays"

I tried to cop a physical, couldn't find it for purchase, must be a tour-only exclusive or digital release. Either way, one of the best albums of the year. Most known for penning tracks behind the scenes for Kanye West and unfortunately being one of his more vocal supporters, I couldn't hold it against him when I first heard the album. I also recommend "Get Yo Money" and "God Bless Your Heart" from "No Dope On Sundays," get it and dig into the lyrics. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

DJ Revolution "Classic Posse Cut Mix"

DJ Revolution aka The King of the Decks crafted this 45-minute mix on Shade45 with some of the best posse cuts in Hip-Hop history. You'll hear tracks from Lord Finesse, Kanye West, Fat Joe, Craig Mack, D.I.T.C., Heltah Skeltah, Gang Starr, Sway & King Tech, LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest, Main Source, Heavy D, Jungle Brothers & lots more! What do you think the greatest posse cut of all-time is? To me, I've got "Scenario Remix" by A Tribe Called Quest and "Represent" by D.I.T.C. The most important, to me, however, has to be Main Source's "Live At The BBQ," because it introduced me to one of my favorite MCs (NaS) and the greatest hip-hop album of all time, "Illmatic." Dig in below...

Monday, November 27, 2017

MF Doom/Metal Fingers "Special Herbs" (Boxset)

MF DOOM is the man in the iron mask. The most mysterious figure in hip-hop has also become one of the most popular, supplying beats and rhymes for Gorillaz, De La Soul, Madlib, Danger Mouse, and Wu-Tang Clan, and drawing praise from heavyweights like Just Blaze, Nas, and Mos Def. Since 2002, MF DOOM has released numerous volumes of Special Herbs, one of the longest-running instrumental series in hip- hop history. With obscure loops and dusty samples galore, Special Herbs is a must-have for any MF DOOM fan or hip-hop head. In case you collect cassettes and support your favorite artists, MF DOOM’s Special Herbs series is now available on cassette for the first time in a limited edition 5xCassette box set. The link to 7-8 is gone, but enjoy Volumes 1-6 and 9-10 below. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

DJ Premier & Jay-Z "7:18" (Mix by Mick Boogie & Chi-Duly)

"What happens when you take Jay-Z’s most lyrical and personal verses & juxtapose them with DJ Premier’s most dark and precise works? The result is 7:18. This mixtape is a love letter to the hiphop we grew up listening to. This is for the people who grew up analyzing the b-side of every Gangstarr and Group Home single. This is for the people who listened to Jay’s “A Million And One Questions” a million and one times. This is music you should only listen to wearing Carhartt jackets and wheat Timbs. Do not listen to this album at a beach under a palm tree. This is music for a cold, grey day. Preferably enjoyed in a 1994 white Lexus. This is raw and uncut Brooklyn hiphop in it’s prime. A tribute to two of the best who ever did it, and in a way only we could bring it to you. We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed putting it together." Check it out below.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The House List Podcast "Danny Hastings Episode"

Another great episode of the House List Podcast, this time featuring the iconic photographer Danny Hastings. The host of the podcast Peter Agoston had the following to say on the episode, "An incredibly cool convo with the one and only Danny Hastings. His legacy as a hip-hop album photographer is one of legend - having shot multiple covers for Gang Starr, Group Home, Jeru The Damaja, Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon, Eminem, KRS-One, AZ, Fat Joe, Big Pun, Souls of Mischief, The UMC's, Keith Murray, Mad Skillz, PMD, LL Cool J, The Lox, Tha Liks, Mobb Deep, Tony Touch, and many more." Listen to the full interview below and be sure to follow Danny Hastings HERE.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

uMaNg & D-Rev "Hunter's Moon" (Album Stream)

"Hunter's Moon is the second edition to the Autumn Breathes saga. Inspired by the dark imagery of the blood moon drawn by the astrologic relationship between the sun and moon, this piece is the darker of the two Autumn Breathes show casings, full of near-halloween, late-night energy derived from the erie instrumentals produced by B.B.Z Darney. Since working together before, Umang and D-Rev show they have increased their knowledge of the verbal chemistry they create together when making music from tracks one through ten. As said about the previous project: If one is a fan of the craft of Hip Hop Emceeing, the math that goes into making rhymed words equal to a rhythm, the ecstasy of understanding a metaphor on beat, and the delicacy of making a vivid mental picture on an instrumental, then this is the album for you." Listen to Hunter's Moon below...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Halftime Show "Method Man & Redman" (11/18/98)

Big up to DJ Eclipse, this is 89.1 WNYU, The Halftime Show, on November 18, 1998 with DJ Riz & DJ Eclipse, featuring special guests: Method Man & Redman. In November '98, Red & Mef would have been on their second 'Month of the Man' campaign promoting Method Man's 'Tical 2000: Judgment Day' and Redman's 'Doc's Da Name.' The original campaign was run back in '94 for 'Tical' and 'Dare Iz a Darkside' through Def Jam and they have been going strong ever since with solo and collaborative releases. From DJ Eclipse: "Riz setting the show off and me getting on around 77 minutes in like usual. Mic break at 46:19 and again at 121:37 with guests Redman and Method Man. Not too much talking and then straight to the freestyle (125:07) with Red, Meth, Mr. Loose and La The Darkman. 20+ minute freestyle session right up to the end of the show." They played great underground records throughout, so you'll wanna click play and enjoy the 2-hour show.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Combat Jack Show "Kardinal Offishall Episode"

On this episode, Combat Jack and A-King sit down with the T-Dot ambassador Kardinal Offishall. He’s talking his early years in Hip Hop, opening the door for artists from Canada globally, as well as his forthcoming project “Celebrity Marauders” and much more. Kardi is full of some of the dopest stories from his journey thus far; a career that shows no signs of stopping. Listen to the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show below and keep Combat Jack in your thoughts & prayers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Armand Hammer "Rome" (Album Stream)

"An unsparing indictment of everything. A scratched CD-R ode to the crew of the last nuclear submarine. ROME, the new album by ELUCID and billy woods as ARMAND HAMMER, is the sound of rats in the walls, fleeing. Terrifying, hilarious, chaotic, sleek, violent, implacable, ROME is a feast of words, a stylistic demolition derby over-production both layered and spare. Those tracks come courtesy of August Fanon, Messiah Musik, Kenny Segal, JPEGMAFIA, Fresh Kils and High Priest (Antipop), while appearances by Quelle Chris, Mach Hommy, Denmark Vessey and Curly Castro add to an already potent mix. ELUCID and woods are two of the most vital voices in the genre- as distinct as they are complimentary- at the height of their powers." Something different, stream it below.

Monday, November 13, 2017

DJ Sav One - A Rare ReIntroduction

DJ Sav One

This industry is tough for an introvert like me to navigate. I'm simply not willing to do what it takes to become part of the "in-crowd" ... I mean, especially for myself. On behalf of my artists, I stretch myself a bit to accommodate the needs of the industry and I do my best to make sure their efforts are seen and heard. Still, am I gonna cold call people all day? No. Go to networking events and shake every hand in the room, doing these bullshit listening parties? Not so much. Even a blog like this, people may find it on Google or an occasional (rare) link I'll share, but I don't EVER go out of my way to discuss it. So, if posting slows down, it means I'm working on other music things, but I can still be reached on social media. Hit me! You'll catch me making the most of the few words I speak. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Aliano & Jakk Wonders "The Vanguard Heist" (EP Stream)

Aliano & Jakk Wonders are back again for a new EP: "The Vanguard Heist." As a follow-up to their debut project, "California Dreaming" EP, Jakk & Aliano enlist only one feature on The Vanguard Heist, Ruste Juxx. With hard beats and rhymes, it's another solid release to stream below.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Combat Jack Show "Steve Rifkin Episode"

On this episode of the Combat Jack Show, they sit down with iconic record label executive and CEO of Loud Records, Steve Rifkind, at a special Live recording at the A3C Festival. Steve shares his journey growing up in Brooklyn, managing New Edition, creating SRC, signing iconic artists such as Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Wu-Tang Clan, Tha Alkaholiks, and much more. Most importantly - no offense to Mr. Rifkind - Combat Jack also updates us on his battle with cancer. #CombatCancer.

Friday, November 10, 2017

"Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde" (25th Anniversary Mix)

"On Nov 17th 2017, Craft Recordings releases a 25th Anniversary Edition one of the greatest and most celebrated Hip-Hop albums of all time, The Pharcyde’s 'Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde'. The album will be available as a Deluxe Extended Vinyl package (original album on 2LPs + 3 12” singles) and 2CD (original album, plus a full disc of bonus material) with audio remastered by Dave Cooley (J Dilla, Madvillain, Madlib) and will include non-album tracks, remixes, and rarities. New liner notes by leading music journalist and author Jeff Weiss (Passion of the Weiss, LA Weekly) round out the package. The original album with remastered audio will also be available on vinyl and cassette. In celebration of the release WhoSampled has teamed up with Craft Recordings to present this exclusive mixtape..." 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

GZA "Liquid Swords" (Hip-Hop Connection, 1995)

"After the diversion of the Wu-Gambinos, 'Liquid Swords' finds the biggest band in hip-hop returning to their roots as rap's premier verbal swordfighters. The GZA may be the titular head of this particular empire, but once again the Wu represent nine deep with yet more classic material. 'Liquid Swords' isn't as musically experimental as Raekwon's LP, but the quality and depth of Rakeem's talent leaves you floored. This is the most straightforward record he's produced to date, but it's probably the most powerful. '4th Chamber' uses a synth line so dirty and amateurish it could be a Rolf Harris parody of G-Funk ("Can you tell what it is yet?"); 'Liquid Swords' is the first time rap has fucked with ska since BDP dropped "Edutainment'; the filthy beats of 'Swordsman' would be ditched as demos by bands who lacked this lot's courage and suss. But what matters most are the lyrics, and, as befits the solo work of the group's best writer, 'Liquid Swords' doesn't disappoint."

"Yet while The GZA drops jewels, his supporting cast threatens to upstage him - like the group were saving their darkest, deepest shit to see if they could test their own grand master. Method Man arguably shines brightest on the amazing 'Shadowboxin", while Raekwon, Master Killa and Killah Priest all drop some devastating rhymes. Even RZA, often unfairly dismissed as a rapper, kills it with his contribution to '4th Chamber', weaving the ebola virus, skin-bleaching and the eye in the pyramid into a single free-form verse that could be the album's best. Two years ago this would have been unreleasable, unthinkable. That 'Liquid Swords' will be devoured as enthusiastically by true heads as by the rest of the world is testament to just how strong a grip the Wu have over hip-hop. If they carry on like this, world domination is a formality." - Hip-Hop Connection, 1995

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Ghostface Killah "Ghost Stories" Mix

The Smoking Section, UpNorthTrips & Rapfan Present: "Ghost Stories," mixed by Trackstar The DJ: Ghostface Killah's Storytelling Raps. From Smoking Section, "Ghostface Killah is my favorite rapper of all time. Definitively and by far. One of the reasons he’s so great is his ability to weave stories and narratives like a new age Mark Twain in Wallabees. So imagine my delight at this mixtape by our very own Trackstar The DJ, chronicling Ghosts most memorable and compelling stories. It’s crazy to think that this tape has stories of project fights, hotel shootouts, church robberies, and dreams of Spongebob Squarepants. Don’t think of this as a mixtape. Think of it as a collection of stories from one of America’s greatest storytellers." Check out the mix below.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Rakim "The 18th Letter" (Rap Pages, 12/97) + EPK

"Five years is an age in pop, an eternity in hip-hop. No other artform relies so heavily on fashion, is so enveloped in urban trends that change with the seasons. Rap has crashed through more isms in the last ten years than most strands of popular culture manage in a century. So what of Rakim Allah? Little has been heard of the rapper since he and partner Eric B split in 1992. There was also a solo album scheduled in '94, but bootlegs leaked from the studio saw that project scrapped... Rakim's greatest fallibility is that while he knows he exists as one of rap's most articulate emissaries, he's also one of its least analyzed. 'The 18th Letter' conjures up the mystical enigmatics of Rakim Allah, a rapper not afraid to offer solutions, yet unwilling to offer himself out as a modern day pariah. And if it sounds at odds with rap's obsessive self-analysis, it's purely intentional."

"Remember That" and "New York" are deliberately grandiose attempts to romanticize rap's cultural heyday. But a measure of just how cynical hip-hop has become isn't apparent until the end, when a G-Funk version of standalone "Been A Long Time" is tacked on in an attempt to pacify the west coast. Elsewhere, much like the return of EPMD, it's business as usual. Eric B may have no involvement with this album, but the spirit of 'Paid In Full' remains. Rakim signifies the last link between street-battling and rap's independent era. At a time when a handful of conglomerates have swallowed up the remaining traces of hip-hop's autocracy, 'The 18th Letter' - ironically released on a major - is one of the few albums this year to recall the innocent playfulness of the late '80s. But is Rakim cursed to spend the rest of life incognito, popping up once every five years to remind us "Guess Who's Back?" As the album closes, an interviewer asks Rakim what the rapper would like to be remembered for. "My words," he says quietly. Strange then, that the last five year's have seen hip-hop's greatest communicator seemingly tongue-tied." - Rap Pages, December 1997. 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Noveliss "Caligraphy" (Tribute to Nujabes)

"I don't want to dance slow in the rain but I fall below the heavens with Blu playing / I'm through saying I'm through slaying these beats to make ends meet / I'm in deep, see / Dreams bought the car but don't pay the fees, the monthlys / I'm checkin' mics word to "3 Thou", you check to check / But if I fail to create and make heads nod, we neck to neck / Nevertheless my poetry's deep I never waiver / Even at a loss for words, I always find them on the paper / In search of myself, I get lost out in the nature, / too used to putting others before me the new danger / Family first, slayin' verses I get over focused / I worked too many hours this week, / which takes away from me releasing these ideas in my head / I get overloaded..."  - Noveliss, "Caligraphy"

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

DJ Premier x Mass Appeal "Off The Record" (Videos)

Of all the artists he laced with his signature beats, Premo always had a special musical kinship with Nasty Nas. Premier reminisced on the session in the first installment of MASS APPEAL's new series, "Off The Record," where we get the stories behind the sessions that birthed classics. Premier also spoke about recording "Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)" with Nas, recalling the Queensbridge rapper's initial approach to attacking the beat and how the title was a compromise between the two musical geniuses. Take a look back at the making of two DJ Premier & Nas bangers below.

There have been a million and one producer and MC combinations over the years, but none are quite like JAY-Z and DJ Premier. The Marcy legend and Gang Starr icon have produced nothing but fire over their brief stint of collaboration ... Premier goes deep on JAY-Z's epic intro "A Million and One Questions" (and its obscure remix), recalling days of cooking up in D&D Studios with Da Beatminerz, Boot Camp Clik and Jigga, rolling dice and playing pool between laying down tracks. Look back at the classic Hov track in the new episode of "Off The Record," below.

The last piece I'll also share is DJ Premier discussing the Gang Starr classic, "Mass Appeal." Premo shares the familiar tale, “We were really making fun of radio, and it became one of our biggest radio records ... We were just saying radio was watering down our stuff, so we were like, ‘You know what? It always sounds like the music in the elevator.” They knocked this one out the park, more below.