December 31, 2017

Theory Hazit "Soul Chops" (Beat Tape)


Soul Chops is the December installment of Theory Hazit's critically-acclaimed monthly beat tape series. To celebrate the success of this series, Theory Hazit has partnered with indie record label Kiasu Records to release "Soul Chops" as a limited-edition double LP on white vinyl (12"). "Soul Chops" is a collection of "chops" sampled from classic soul records. Kiasu Records is releasing a limited quantity of 200 copies. Can you dig up the original source material from these beats?

December 30, 2017

Rasheed Chappel & Crimeapple "The Bridge" (Freestyle)


I don't post too many loosies here on the site, I am more of an album-minded fan, but something tells me this dope freestyle from Rasheed Chappell & Crimeapple won't pop up on an official release, so I've gotta support it separately here! Both lyricists drop bars over MC Shan's Marley Marl-produced classic, "The Bridge," live from the Diggin In The Crates studio to your ears, listen...

December 28, 2017

Chong Wizard "The Last Mixtape" (Mixtape)


Chong Wizard's Star Wars-themed mixtape titled, The Last Mixtape, is hosted by Ras Kass. The mix boasts 25 tracks, which feature a grip of dope artists like Planet Asia, Willie The Kid, Ty Farris, Waterr, Vic Spencer, Chris Crack, Lil' Eto, Recognize Ali, Daniel Son, PhybaOptikz, SmooVth, King Magnetic, SageInfinite, Heem Stogied, Paranom, Tesla's Ghost, Jermiside, Zilla Rocca, Junclassic, Yamin Semali, and more! A very original and well-executed mix... dig into The Last Mixtape below...

December 27, 2017

Donnie Propa "Dirty Rotten Mixtape" (Jeru The Damaja)


The Dirty Rotten Mixtape is another fresh cassette mixtape from Donnie Propa (and Chrome), featuring a fresh selection of classics and hidden gems from the legendary eMCee from East New York, Jeru The Damaja. As a fellow member of the Gang Starr Foundation, Jeru The Damaja's first two classic albums were produced by the greatest of all time, DJ Premier: The Sun Rises In The East and Wrath Of The Math. The mix is pulled strictly from vinyl and available on cassette HERE.

December 26, 2017

D.R.U.G.S Beats "Beats of 10, Vol.1" (Beat Tape)


"With over a decade of making music under his belt, D.R.U.G.S is taking a quick breath to reflect and anthologize his work — graciously offering Micro-Chop an exclusive, three volume beat mix retrospective titled "Beats of 10". In this series D.R.U.G.S breaks his endless collection of instrumental music down by time period. The series as a whole will cover the years 2007–2017, with the first edition focusing on beats from 2007–2010. In addition to giving listeners and hour’s worth of nonstop instrumental music on Vol. 1, D.R.U.G.S also sneaks in an unreleased Nipsey Hussle verse around the 15 minute mark." - Micro-Chop. Much respect to Gino Sorcinelli. He's created a great platform for producers and beatmakers at Micro-Chop. Very informative and a great resource.

December 25, 2017

KutMasta Kurt's "Christmas" (Mixtape, 1996)


KutMasta Kurt's Christmas mix tape was released on cassette back in 1996. It features cuts from Camp Lo, Siah & Yeshua, Mobb Deep, Kool Keith, Royal Flush, Large Professor, Jungle Brothers, OGC, Street Smartz, Ras Kass, Kool G Rap, AK Skills, Group Home, Mindspace, Mic Geronimo, YZ, The High & Mighty, Ghostface Killah, and lots more. A nice smooth vibe throughout, listen to the mix below...

December 24, 2017

Mr. Krum's ATCQ, EPMD and De La Soul Discography Posters


These limited edition discography prints - by Mr. Krum - document all of these groups' official U.S. output, including commercially available albums and 12"s, as well as hard to find promo only releases. All images have been created from the original sleeves / labels (including "hype stickers"), scanned in at 600dpi and meticulously restored to ensure the highest possible quality for print reproduction. Title, catalogue number and full track listing for each release is also noted below every image. I believe EPMD's print includes the years 1987-1997, to be accurate. Mr. Krum handles the graphic design/album artwork for some of your favorite artists' and label re-issues - truly remarkable at what he does! A Tribe Called Quest, EPMD, and De La Soul discography prints are available now -  order your copies via Mr. Krum's page HERE! I think these would make the perfect Christmas gift for a Hip-Hop head! Contact Mr. Krum via Instagram for more info on shipping and merch questions.

December 23, 2017

DJ Koco "With The Dope Sound" (Mixtape, 2008)


This is DJ Koco's With The Dope Sound mixtape from Japan in 2008. It features a grip of underground gems and slept-on tracks from the likes of The Cenobites, Reflection Eternal, Children of the Corn, Organized Konfusion, Verbal Threat, P Brothers, Brass Tacks, Thirstin Howl III, Constant Deviants, The Annexx Click, Death Camp, GZA, Rawcotiks, Boogie Down Productions, Team Demolition, Marco Polo, The 45 King, Akbar, and more! Underground heads, dig into the Dope Sound below...

December 22, 2017

Conway The Machine "Grimiest of All-Time" (Album Stream)


Conway The Machine is back at it ... AGAIN. No wonder they call him the machine, he pumps out music at an incredible rate. The latest opus, "Grimiest of all-time" is explained better over at 2DBZ, "The Machine is ending the label’s 2017 with a bang, in the form of his latest release, G.O.A.T. (Grimiest Of All Time). Revealing the drop on his Instagram page a few days prior, Conway excitedly said “X-Mas comes early! The hardest beats and the illest lyrics I promise you!” The guest list is stacked too. As well as Gunn and Benny, the likes of Alchemist, Raekwon, Prodigy, Royce 5’9″, Styles P and Lloyd Banks join him on the 10-track release; produced majorly by Daringer with a bonus beat by Alchemist." Stream it below and cop the limited edition physicals when they drop.

December 21, 2017

Rest In Peace, Reggie Ossé aka Combat Jack


This is sad news ... Hip-Hop just lost a good man; one of our culture's most important voices, listeners and pioneers in new media. I'm not the right person to properly discuss his background in entertainment law, or how he came up; I wanna defer to his close friends and those more knowledgable for that. I can only say that he was a forward-thinker; humble and always encouraging, and I've never met someone with a bad word to say about him. It seemed like everyone knew Reggie and the conversations were always positive and uplifting - some point in their lives where he dropped a gem on 'em. Hanging out up at PNC Studios in Brooklyn a lot, we crossed paths a bunch; my close friend Justin had a show on the station also and their interviews were both always very insightful, so I think of them both often. Justin, or The Company Man as many of you know him, was also forward-thinking and heavy into new media; it's no surprise both of these gentleman found ways to curate a slice of the culture that has been consumed by millions of people. Some years back I found myself breaking up a fight on the train to work at Fat Beats and the screen on my phone broke. I headed over to the Verizon store and got a new phone, but they weren't able to transfer over my numbers, so I sent an e-mail to my friends and peers asking them to send me their info to get back up and running. All these years later, Combat Jack's is one of only two messages I still remember because he really encouraged me to reach out more, and that humbled me. I guess in times like this, these are the things we think about, so I really look forward to the culture showing love and sharing a lot of small stories of their own random experiences with Combat Jack. Hip-Hop, as a whole, will remember him in his rightful place as a pioneer, and if we ever get a home for Hip-Hop memories and nostalgia, there will be a proud spot for him, no question! He kept it positive - even in his final days, so my heart deeply goes out to his loved ones, and I send my deepest condolences to them. Rest In Peace, Reggie Ossé. Get ready for Combat!

December 20, 2017

Murs "A Friend's Blues" (2002)


I revisit this project a lot, although I don't feel it gets mentioned enough, so let's look back at Murs' 2002 EP, Varsity Blues. RapReviews discussed the album years back and I think they nailed the parts of the album that touched me the most when they say "the beats and lyrics are based solely on the principles of blues music. And it makes sense. Murs is known for being a frank, honest and plain-spoken rapper with insights that rival those of his friend Phonte (of Little Brother fame) and skill to articulate that easily in a song. In addition, he is self-admittedly a rapper of a different ilk who is willing to diversify his music and challenge hip-hop's seeming lack of creativity. Hence, combining his knack for story-telling with blues-worthy personal experiences, and dropping it over some despondent, melancholic guitars, Murs sought to tap deeper into his introspective self with "Varsity Blues" and creates something most definitely worth revisiting a while after its original release." Jason De Silva and I both agree that that "Murs' magnum opus for the EP" is "A Friend's Blues," where he says "Justin Martin allows the strings, the triumphant piano line, and understated bass roll to take you away into Murs' tale of losing someone close to you and the trials of perseverance. It's a personal song that leaves a lasting impression, especially when you listen closely to the lyrics that, again, have a passion and deep meaning that truly grabs the listener." Dig in...

"It's sad it takes a loss to appreciate the gifts 
So celebrate the occasion, just breathing is amazin' 
To see the sun rise and set at a days end 
A chance to fix mistakes that we regret makin' 
Find joy in the simple things, no time for complainin' 
The sun will shine, it can't always be rainin' 
I know it hurts deep, but you must maintain it..."


December 19, 2017

Dr. Dre "The Chronic" (25th Anniversary Mix)


I think it's a dope trend that DJs are creating anniversary mixes of such high caliber like this one, as well as what Chris Read, DJ Filthy Rich & more have been doing over the last few years. This one is by DJ Matman - who I think is a dope DJ - in support of the 25th anniversary of Dr. Dre's classic album in '92, "The Chronic." Once again, it's promoted by WhoSampled & Wax Poetics, so you know there's plenty of background samples, loops and original albums cuts to dig through. In their words, "To celebrate the 25th anniversary of West Coast classic 'The Chronic', Dr. Dre's debut solo LP, our buddy DJ Matman has crafted a dope mix of album tracks, alternative versions, remixes, and original sample material." As the kids are saying these days, "say less," you know what it is, enjoy the mix...

December 18, 2017

Lupe Fiasco "The Cool" (December 18, 2007)


It is rare nowadays when you hear an album that actually makes you think, mainly in the aspect of conceptualizing an idea. With his critically acclaimed debut album Food and Liquor, Lupe Fiasco touched on various subjects in such a creative and unique way that even if you did not own a skateboard you could still relate. But don’t think that Carerra Lu is looking to continue in the same fashion. This time he digs even deeper into complexity with the dark and brilliant, but longwinded, The Cool. The concept for this album is almost as abstract as the artist himself. The Cool is used to expand on the title character from a track of the same name off his previous album. The slain drug dealer Michael “Cool” Young History is further developed as the album discusses his rise and fall all as a result of taking up with the characters The Streets and The Game, respectfully represented by a scandalous vixen and a drug dealing/using pimp. Their stories are told exceptionally well on the tracks “The Coolest,” “Streets on Fire,” “The Die,” and “Put You On Game.” But two gems on this LP are “Paris, Tokyo,” a Native Tongue-ish tune that will surely numb some of the negative sentiment that came as a result of the 2007 VH1 Honors debacle and “Dumb It Down,” where Lupe throws a lyrical clinic over a cliché-suggesting hook with lines like, “Here you steer cause I shouldn’t be behind this/Clearly cause my blindness/The windshield is menstrual/The whole grill is road kill/So trill and so sincere/Yeah I’m both them there…” ... Overall, The Cool is a superior project through its unique concept and ability to engage the listener. It is sad that more albums are not like this, but hopefully this is a sign of better things to come. – HipHopSite. On its 10th anniversary, listen below...

December 17, 2017

Madlib "Boiler Room" (Madrid DJ Set, Video)


The one and only, Stones Throw legend and absolute badman, Madlib, puts it down for their Madrid show with Budweiser. Madlib runs through joints from Frank-N-Dank, Ol' Dirty Bastard (R.I.P.), J Dilla (R.I.P.), Black Milk, Freddie Gibbs, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian, Mobb Deep, Talib Kweli, Madvillain, Jaylib, Emilio Santiago, Psychedelic Frankie, Tomorrow, Tony Allen and lots more! This is my first time watching one of these Boiler Room sets, but the fans get live widdit, check it out below...

December 16, 2017

9th Wonder "Zion II" (Instrumental Album)


Producer 9th Wonder is having another great year. His protégé Rapsody nabbed a pair of GRAMMY nominations for Laila’s Wisdom and he produced arguably the best song on Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. in “DUCKWORTH.” So, why not surprise fans with a new project? After teasing it on his social media page, 9th Wonder surprises fans with Zion II, a 43-track instrumental project. In the same vein as J Dilla‘s 2006 album Donuts, it can be started at any track. - via 2DopeBoyz. Listen to Zion II below...

December 16, 2017

Dr. Dre "Crossword Puzzle" (Answers Included)


Forgive me for being lazy ... I couldn't think of something to post today, so I am using a cheat sheet and sharing this Crossword Puzzle from Dr. Dre. Here's their blurb, "If there's one thing Dr. Dre loves more than blazing up a fat sack of chronic, it's doing a fat-ass crossword puzzle. Relive the glory days of Death Row Records by answering these fun-filled questions. Now y'all beeyatchez got 30 seconds to answer deeeeeez muthaf#ckin questions, so let the games begin!" Question 5, Down: Eazy looked like one? Answer: Penguin, lol. That's some cold shit, huh Dre? Anyway, have fun filling it out and seeing how you do on the questions... I included the answers below if you're usure... 

December 15, 2017

Black Thought Freestyles On Funk Flex (Hot 97, Video)


10 minutes of absolute BARS from the legendary Black Thought of The Roots. Last year, I touched on Funk Flex's freestyle series after Joe Budden was up at Hot 97. There's since been a few other dope freestyles, but none have shifted perspective and made fans rethink their T5DOA and had artists questioning their pen game as much as Black Thought's freestyle. There's so many quotables to shine a light on here, but some of my favorites are: "Gun fire and flares, sirens glare / I'm in a iron chair where people who care don't get the lion's share / When I don't give a f#ck then I ain't fair" and "Same cadence as D.O.C. pre-accident / Maybe my acumen's on par with Kool G. Rap and them / Give me the proper respect, mothaf#cka, we back again..." and "Go through the vein to the brain, fabulous and strange / My journalistic range is a catalyst for change / It got anybody that listen pissing flame / And ’cause the Hall of Fame got so many missing names." Black Thought blazed the mic up at Sway a couple months back, he's at it again ... Rappers were put on notice, give Black Thought his proper respect and watch this freestyle below with a pen and a pad in your hand.

December 14, 2017

Beanie Sigel & Jay-Z "Where Have You Been" (2000)


"I'm just like you, but dog I can't see it at all, shit / We never kicked it at all, we never pitched or kicked at a ball / Dog, you never taught me shit / How to fight, ride a bike, fix a flat, none of that sorts of shit," say Beans in arguably one of the best album cuts released on Roc-A-Fella Records. Beyond the punchlines and bar-heavy tracks that the State Property crew delivered on Hov's Dynasty compilation, it's when you dig into the lyrics on "Where You Have Been" that you discover the therapy that music truly provides many artists/fans. Like, where Jay-Z says... "You said that you was coming through, I would stay in the hallway / Always playing the bench (waiting) and that day came and went / FUCK YOU very much, you showed me the worst kind of pain / But I'm stronger and trust me, I will never hurt again / Will never ask mommy "Why daddy don't love me? / Why is we so poor? Why is life so ugly? / Mommy, why is your eyes puffy? / Please don't cry everything'll be alright / I know it's dark now, but we gon' see the light..." When Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z followed up the track on Beans' song "Still Got Love For You" off The Reason, it gave some reprieve, but the pain and darkness remained. Both songs are masterpieces but are so vulnerable that it seems fans champion them more behind closed doors. If they let you know anything, it's that struggle is real and you can overcome it. In their extensive catalogs, it's track like this I'm most thankful for... Now, if only Beans and Hov could fix their own fractured relationship, who knows what that'd bring next.


December 13, 2017

Large Professor "I Juswannachill" (The Source, 11/96)


"Queens represent, buy the album when I drop it..." Extra P dropped those lines back in '93. And since that time, more than a few heads have been waiting for the opportunity to do just that. Earlier this year, Paul put out "Mad Scientist" and folks sighed with relief - surely an Extra P album would soon follow. Ah, but hold a minute. We gon' tease y'all a bit more. Lo and behold, here's another tight Extra P joint for ya to marinate on; that album's gonna be here a minute or so late. "I Justwannachill" should be the mantra for all these extra-hard acting/posturing hip-hop types. Over a smooth type groove - last heard on De La's "Dininit" - Paul lays out his '96 philosophy: "I don't wanna ill / I just wanna chill / And keep my hand around a hundred dollar bill;" now that's a philosophy that some of us need drilled into resistant domes." Check the visuals to the track below.


"I Justwannachill" is another solid installment from one of hip-hop's most talented, and coolest, practitioners. But Paul, lemme put it like this: drop the damned album already so we can buy it." - The Source, 11/96). Well ... "The LP" was to be the solo debut from Large Professor, but it was shelved by Geffen Records in 1996. There were copies of the album as "promo-only" in 2002/2003 when Large Pro regained rights to the album, but it wasn't officially released until 2009, about a year after he released his "Main Source" LP.  If you'd like a copy of The Source's 12" review...

December 12, 2017

Souls Of Mischief "Cab Fare" (Unreleased, 199x)


'Cab Fare' is "unreleased" gem from the mighty Souls of Mischief crew, comprised of A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai. Tajai did an interview where he said the members were fifteen/sixteen when they recorded the track! Wow. It's obvious that the Bob James sample would never be cleared, but thanks to the internet (and the Archives Inc. vinyl release), fans have been celebrating this track for many years. Hip-Hop fans wouldn't be wrong to feel that the label support was underwhelming for the group's sophomore effort No Man's Land. As an extension, songs not reachin' the same level of mainstream acclaim as '93 til... will be the catch-22 of the group's success. Fortunately, Souls have toured extensively as solo artists and alongside the Hiero family, and have more than enough gems to celebrate! Whether you've never heard it or it's one of your favorite joints, revisit it below...

December 11, 2017

Statik Selektah "8" (Album Stream)


8 is the eighth studio album from producer Statik Selektah. The album was released via Duck Down Music and Statik's label Showoff Records. The album features guest appearances from vocal artists, such as 2 Chainz, Action Bronson, Joey Badass, Termanology, Run The Jewels, The L.O.X., Wale, Royce da 5'9", Joyner Lucas, Raekwon, Mtume, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Sean Price and G-Eazy. Statik is one of the most consistent, most prolific producers of our generation. Listen below...

December 10, 2017

Kendrick Lamar "Damn." (Album Streams)


Whether you listen to the album front to back or back to front, "Damn" is still one helluva album. It took me a minute to get to it - I like to wait for the buzz and smoke to clear so my view of the album isn't distracted by 'popular opinion - but, then it took me even longer to sit with it, so now new and Deluxe versions are hitting the stores. Arguably, they reveal a new flow and rhythm to the project and provide new vibes and intricacies that Top and Kendrick thought ahead to introduce to the LP. It's this genius way of approaching packaging and providing a full vision that makes Kendrick one of the most important artists of our generation. To have that in the mainstream is an incredible thing, because it will surely invite new listeners into the culture and helps validate some of the efforts of lesser known artist that are also pushing the envelope and creating new paths to success. Not to mention, it's great business sense: listeners stream it again, fans of physicals buy the album again ... it's a win on all fronts. The album features production from a variety of record producers, including executive producer and Top Dawg Entertainment label-head Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, Sounwave, DJ Dahi, Mike Will Made It and Ricci Riera; as well as further production contributions from James Blake, Steve Lacy, BadBadNotGood, Greg Kurstin, The Alchemist and 9th Wonder, among others. Damn features appearances from singers Rihanna and Top Dawg signee Zacari, along with Irish rock band U2. You can stream the original LP, as well as the collector's edition below. What awards will "Damn." receive? A lot ... and it isn't even his best album! Damn.


December 09, 2017

Amerigo Gazaway "A Common Wonder" (Album Stream)


With "A Common Wonder," Amerigo Gazaway brings to life an imagined studio session between Chicago's crowned prince of Hip-Hop, Common, and Motown legend, Steve Wonder. A return to the Soul meets Hip-Hop formula of his Marvin Gaye + Mos Def pairing “Yasiin Gaye,” Gazaway connects the dots between Hip-Hop and the genre’s predecessor with a musical history lesson told through the intersecting themes of Common and Stevie’s respective catalogues. As Gazaway puts it: “Stevie Wonder’s early use of synthesizers, drum machines, and samplers, in a lot of ways, paved the way for hip-hop and sampling. Part of my motivation for this project was to highlight those contributions.” Picking up where Common and Stevie’s 2016 “Black America Again,” single left off, Amerigo brings his imagined recording session to life with a slew of uncovered resources (including multitrack instrument stems, interview audio, and documentary soundbites.) Re-orchestrating deconstructed samples, the producer interweaves Common’s vivid wordplay and Wonder’s passionate vocals for a project that blurs the line between a “mashup” and a modern day duets album. Dig in...

December 08, 2017

Is Inspectah Deck The Best MC in Wu-Tang Clan?


Is this not one of the greatest verses of all-time? "I bomb atomically, Socrates' philosophies / And hypotheses can't define how I be droppin' these / Mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery / Flee with the lottery, possibly they spotted me / Battle-scarred shogun, explosion when my pen hits / Tremendous, ultra-violet shine blind forensics / I inspect view through the future see millennium / Killa Beez sold fifty gold sixty platinum / Shackling the masses with drastic rap tactics / Graphic displays melt the steel like blacksmiths / Black Wu jackets Queen Beez ease the guns in / Rumblin' patrolmen tear gas laced the function / Heads by the score take flight incite a war / Chicks hit the floor, die hard fans demand more / Behold the bold soldier, control the globe slowly / Proceeds to blow swingin' swords like / Shinobi Stomp grounds I pound footprints in solid rock / Wu got it locked, performin' live on your hottest block..." Inspectah Deck showcases, once again, why he might actually be thee nicest MC in the Wu-Tang Clan. Give that man his flowers while he can smell them! Deck had me at C.R.E.A.M., but without a classic solo album, people won't give it up. My favorite MC in the Wu is Ghostface, but the best MC? Inspectah Deck. Fight me in the comments.

December 07, 2017

DJ Rob One "Summah" (Mixtape, 1994)


This is Rob One's (R.I.P.) Summah Volume 1 mix tape from 1994. I remember Rob One got a lot of love in the Caught In The Middle rapzine back in the day. I didn't have a lot of his tapes, but what I'd heard was definitely dope. Summah Vol. 1 features tracks from Lord Finesse, Jeru The Damaja, Erule, Gravediggaz, The Wascals, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Tha Alkaholiks, Dred Scott, Poor Righteous Teachers, Patra, Dredknotz, Heavy D, Mic Geronimo, Dane Dane, Main Source, Boogiemonsters, and plenty of his own flavor was added to his tapes. Rest In Peace. Dig in below...

December 06, 2017

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 35" (Mixtape, 1994)


Classic shit! This is Tony Touch's Hip Hop 35 via Tape Kingz in 1994. So many amazing records from artists like Gang Starr, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, The 45 King, Shyheim, Shadez of Lingo, Heavy D, Das EFX, Snoop Dogg, Domino, Queen Latifah, Black Mafia, Terminator X, Intelligent Hoodlum, A Tribe Called Quest, Tha Alkaholiks, De La Soul, Top Quality, KRS-One, and more! It's one thing to listen to "Best of 1994" mixes that are put together today, but to go back to that time and hear some of the more slept-on joints and these classics as brand new records, it's more authentic! Updated audio below...

December 05, 2017

DJ Riz "5 Minutes of Funk" (Video)


DJ Riz puts it down on the turntables as a guest on Funkmaster Flex's latest viral web-series, 5 Minutes of Funk. True hip-hop heads know how nasty DJ Riz has been since the early days of College Radio, MC Serch and more. DJ Riz touches the original samples, manages to pay tribute to DJ Premier and Guru of Gang Starr, and puts it down for the culture all at the same time. Shouts to DJ Eclipse; I trust they compared sets before they blessed it, lol. Let us DJs have this moment! Other originals represent tracks from De La Soul, Das EFX, Jay-Z, Frank N Dank, Ed O.G., The LOX, The Beatnuts, Group Home and more ... DJ Riz put it down real mean on this one, watch below...

December 04, 2017

Natural Elements "1999: 10 Year Anniversary" (2010)


There was a short period in the mid-1990′s, when heads were so fed up with direction that major labels were taking with hip-hop music, that many artists just decided to put their stuff out independently. Many important players were integral to this movement, including indie labels like Stones Throw and Fondle ‘Em, radio shows like Stretch & Bobbito and the Wake Up Show, and retailers such as Fat Beats and HipHopSite. It wasn’t long though before corporations wanted to get a piece of the action, such as Rawkus Records, or Tommy Boy who formed their “Black Label” imprint, specifically to market to this demographic. At the forefront of this movement was NYC based crew, Natural Elements, made up of A-Butta, L-Swift, Mr. Voodoo, along with producer Charlemagne. This group helped pioneer the indie movement, creating a local buzz for themselves, which would soon spread worldwide. However, unlike artists like Mos Def, Dilated Peoples, or Eminem, all of whom seemed to strike at just the right time, the N.E. crew came too early, and then thanks to a short-lived deal with Tommy Boy Black, remained shelved for the duration of their career. The group would go on “indefinite hiatus”, leaving their lost album in legendary status. 1999: 10 Year Anniversary skips much of the group’s earlier solo works, where arguably their strongest material lies, and instead collects many of the Tommy Boy sessions. Herein lies a handful of the group’s greatest recordings, which now shine with classic status over a decade after their original 12″ release. Among these is “2 Tons”, which worked as the perfect introduction to the crew, as they effortlessly flowed over Charlemagne’s BDP-inspired drum-kicks and interstellar keys. It’s B-Side cut, “Livin’ It Up” also featured the crew in perfect harmony, as they captured that almost “jiggy-backpack” sound of the time... “Bust Mine” was executed perfectly, as Charlemagne’s meaty track showed their potential with a little studio shine... Sadly, 1999 seems to have been left unmixed and unfinished, as many of the tracks sound like they were done in one take, never looking back. - HipHopSite. This is still a classic, to me, even if a lot of that is based off pure nostalgia. Updated...

December 03, 2017

Benny The Butcher "Butcher On Steroids" (Mixtape)


Benny The Butcher has teamed up with DJ Green Lantern to release Butcher On Steroids, his debut project for Griselda. Benny’s latest mixtape features 12 tracks with guest appearances by Conway and Elcamino. Production is handled by Daringer, Camoflauge Monk, Icerocks, Noc, Trypps Beatz and Green Lantern. Benny also raps over a few vintage beats, including Capone-N-Noreaga’s “Blood Money." Check out the stream for Butcher On Steroids below, physical copies at Daupe!

December 02, 2017

Pace Won & Mr. Green "The Only Color..." (2008)


Pace Won first got notice with a guest spot on The Fugees’ The Score back in 1996. Dude’s been around for a minute. He served as one of the front men for the group The Outsidaz and if you’re wondering where he’s been or surprised he’s still around, it’s been four years since his last solo release, Telepathy. New Jersey MC and DJ duo Pace Won and Mr. Green’s The Only Color That Matters Is Green gets off to a better start than most hip hop albums for the simple fact that it actually starts with a song. A full-fledged, meaty, five-minute-plus track with Mr. Green laying down some rousing strings as Pace comes in to get it “bangin’ like Billy Bob Thornton.” It sets the tone for the fairly tight package this album delivers. The Only Color… is somewhat of a rare thing these days—a hip hop record you can just enjoy. Put it in the deck, press play, and bob your head. It’s not innovative or socially conscious or even that gangsta, but at only a little over 50 minutes, it’s not bloated with the requisite club tracks, southern-flavored tracks, intros, outros and skits that have you constantly hitting the skip button. Pace seems to have become a sort of journeyman of the underground. The real star of this record may be Mr. Green’s startlingly consistent production. The unheralded producer’s DJ Premier-like sound proves that you can make quality hip hop by taking a sweet sample, looping it, scratching it and letting it bump. With so much filler and garbage out there, these beats and a solid performance from a rather seasoned MC make you wonder, is this game really so hard? As Pace says on “Four Quarters,” the album’s opener, “It’s like fightin’ some dude that got a glass jaw/you hit him in the chin and you win/your old life ends and your new one begins.” - HipHopSite. An underground gem! I'll share my interview with them (again) one day.

December 01, 2017

Mekolicious "Unsigned Hype" (The Source, 12/97)


Mekolicious was featured in The Source's Unsigned Hype back in December, 1997. His white label 12" was released under the name Meccalicious and included the dope tracks "Hope The World Don't Stop" and "How You Feel" with production from fellow Mount Vernon resident, the Soul Brother No.1, Pete Rock. Prior to that, he was on a remix to INI's "Fakin Jax," as well as records with Rob-O and various loosies that were unreleased, alternate mixes or later released officially by Pete Rock without him on it. Between the years 1994 and the early 2000s, Pete Rock had his own label titled Soul Brother Records. The label returned more recently to co-release some of his more recent records, but it was during those early years that Pete Rock was producing for Mekolicious. I'd say close to 10-12 records in total, all produced by Pete Rock. There were light rumors that EPs and other 12" pressings were done, but I've yet to lay eyes on them, except for a 7" that BBE and HipHopSite put out in the early 2000s with a self-titled record, also produced by Pete Rock. This is definitely another case of what coulda been? I hope you'll be interested enough to dig up more!