Sunday, September 23, 2018

Diamond D "Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop" - Nuff' Said

In an argument over the greatest solo album of all members of the Diggin' in The Crates crew, some say "Jewelz" by O.C., others point to Big L's debut & it'd be fair to be point to half a dozen others, but how about Diamond D's "Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop"? Run through the tracklist, see if you can't make a case for it. Yup, it's all right there. My homie - and very first business partner - was a huge fan of this album. I'm confident that his copy was a bootleg cassette, but he definitely put me on and we sat with this album from start to finish before numerous sessions on the 1s & 2s. We grew up in Queens, but he was more of a West Coast Hip-Hop head, so this was a sleeper choice to him. Diamond is not my favorite MC or producer in the crew, nor is this my FAVORITE album from the D.I.T.C., but yeah, it just might be the best, most-cohesive in their catalog. I'd love to hear what members of the crew have to say about it. Either way, here's a 25th anniversary mix from Hellee Hooper that mixes original tracks with dope samples; an ill mix if you're a fan of this classic album or just dope hip-hop all around. Give it a listen.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Da King & I, on a September Morning

"A September morning life didn't seem the same way it should be / I was just mourning, thinking of all the wrong that was done to me / Check me"
Much love to DJ Majesty & Izzy Ice of Da King & I ... their classic album "Contemporary Jeep Music" from 1993 is still getting consistent burn on this September morning in 2018. My favorite track was definitely the remix to "Tears" even with the heavy competition of "Flip Da Scrip" (original and DJ Premier remix), Mr. All That, Krack Da Weazel and more. I'd be the first one online to cop a new album or some vaulted material from back in the day. I'm sure I've traced their backgrounds in past posts, from Howie Tee, Chubb Rock, and Spencer Bellamy of East Flatbush Project, etc to Majesty's role in the classic hood film, Juice, in 1992. This is just the vibe I'm on today so had to go back and revisit the album and especially "Tears," go dig it up and do the same. Meanwhile, check out this freestyle from '92, and if you're interested in more info, you can find them both on IG easy enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

July 8, 1994: Invitation to Fat Beats on E 9th Street

July 8, 1994: "In the late seventies Hip-Hop music was being sold out of the trunks of automobiles. On July 14 you and your associates are invited to Fat Beats, New York's unique Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and affiliates music store. Fat Beats grand opening will have art work by Andrew Marzan, Carlos Paul, Chris Nesbitt, George Guzman, Nuri Bell, Sean Mitaynes, and Zak. The fat beats will be provided by William Bagley. Drinks and refreshments will be served and the party will start at 7pm. Fat Beats is located at 323 East 9th Street Between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Hope to see you. Sincerely, Joseph Abajian (Pres/Founder of Fat Beats)." Joe Abajian aka DJ Jab is easily one of my favorite people I've met in this music thing; he's always been a stand-up guy and to this day, the direct line to him is always open. I'd love to visit Fat Beats, now in LA; it's on my to-do list.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Nine 'Lyin King' + The 9 Commandments

The only thing worse than listening to an entire album and learning ZERO about an artist, is listening to an entire album and not believing a goddamn word of it. Props to Nine, who released 'Lyin' King' on his sophomore album "Cloud 9" in 1996. I believe there was a reissue not too long ago and it recently celebrated it's 22nd anniversary earlier this month. Ironically, Nine is back with a new project called "The 9 Commandments" that I'm eager to check out ... Allegedly, it's material that was recorded around the time of "Cloud 9" so I trust it has a real vintage, boombap sound. I've also heard some of his new-new work with the overseas fam, the Snowgoons, and that sounds tight, too! I can remember driving from NYC up to Livingston Manor, which is upstate NY, and the only CD we had was "Cloud 9;" there wasn't a single complaint the entire trip, lol. In the era of car systems, the Rob Lewis-produced joint "Lyin' King" was knockin' out the trunk. If you're feeling nostalgic, click below and peep the visuals. "Even I exaggerate when I create / But I don't perpetrate and illustrate / To sound great, cause it's fake!" Salute to the OG, Nine; been in the industry long before the mid-90s and glad he's still releasing music today... support it!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Eric B. & Rakim "Juice" (Know The Ledge) G.O.A.T.

I feel like I'm gonna be redundant here, but my favorite hip-hop track of ALL time? Eric B. & Rakim "Juice" (Know The Ledge). Honestly, I don't even sway on my opinion - it's as consistent today as it was in the early 90s. Juice embodies everything I want in my hip-hop. Driven lyrics over a moving beat & fresh cuts. It helps that the visuals match the track and we had a classic movie above and beyond that. Rakim was it to me ... he was like nothing before him (to me) and it shifted everything after him. I had no clue what Eric. B or Rakim looked like in the earlier years; I hadn't seen them live and hadn't seen a video, but I heard the music and had a solid vision in my head. It's not often that the artist looks JUST like what you had in mind. And, if you see Rakim in 2018 ... if you see Large Professor in 2018 ... these are OGs in the game that help make it what it is today and they absolutely carry on tradition. What about you? Sip the Juice...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Big L "Put It On" (Sticker / Video)

Big L: the latest member of the diggin' in da crates crew is set to "Put It On." It's hard to think of a lot of my favorite MCs gone + in recent years, the number has grown considerably. It used to be, when an MC died, we were like "damn, who killed him?" As hip-hop has aged, many of our OGs and legends are dying from living hard, health conditions, and natural causes. Back to L, my go-to line is he was an incredible talent that was taken from us far before he even reached his full potential. I still feel that way. I've been revisiting "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" a lot & even his various features, it was clear he was trying to kill everyone on his tracks. Coming up under an artist like Lord Finesse, who might be one of the greatest quotable lyricists, it's no surprise that L has some of the wickedest lines in rap history. "I run with sturdy cliques / I'm never hittin' dirty chicks / Got thirty-five bodies, buddy, don't make it thirty-six / Step to this, you're good as gone / Word is bond, I leave mics torn when I put it on..." Focus on the real ... rest in peace, Big L. Put your L's up.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

A Tribe Called Quest, Represent! Represent!

This is an album that is so perfect and so cohesive ... yet, sometimes I oddly forget to mention it amongst my favorite albums of all-time. Maybe ... it's because I felt like that after Midnight Marauders, too? Come to think of it, I don't often place any of Gang Starr's albums in my favorite of all-time either, even though they were my favorite group and I ran "Daily Operation," "Hard to Earn," AND "Moment of Truth" 'til the tapes popped. It seems easier to choose a stand-out like "Illmatic" or "Liquid Swords" or "OB4CL" because that was the bar for that artist. If that comes off wrong or puts shade on their other releases, that's not my intention. When I really sit with it, "The Low End Theory" is 100% on my top list, so is Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's "Mecca & The Soul Brother" and a new school classic like Blu & Exile's "Below The Heavens." I like my albums sonically consistent. I like life before there was a skip button and artists crafted albums with the cassette tape in mind - no one wanted to fast forward through an album and burn up their batteries, lol. Have me out here with a pencil, skipping tracks manually, looking type crazy. In any event, I miss Phife, may he Rest In Peace, and I don't think there will ever be a group like them again. I do love that Jarobi stepped back in, I got a ton of love for him, and if there are more things from Tribe, I'm totally here for it. Thank you for giving us classics. Keep bouncin'. Postcards available HERE.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Capone N Noreaga "Top Of New York"

Top of New York. I'm diggin' through instrumentals and T.O.N.Y. comes on, then Stay Tuned, then Illegal Life, and so on ... a quick reminder of just how knockin' the beats were on The War Report. Their Queensbridge / Lefrak connection made history in Queens, too. Carrying the torch, they held it down after Nas dropped "It Was Written" and Mobb Deep dropped "Hell on Earth" in '96. The summer of '97 was CNN coming out the trunks of every car and if the crime rate was higher that summer, charge it to them too lol. You could debate whether Nore's unorthodox rhyme style could be considered lyrical in a traditional sense, but truth is, it was his personality that always shined through and for that, he was a captivating MC. It's no surprise that his career outside of music has flourished and then with that, he's able to double back and promote the music as well. The same could be said for Joe Budden, both well-suited for their new roles in media. "The War Report" was a moment in time captured and retold, now it's a timeless piece of hip-hop history. Live on, live long.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 23rd Anniversary

We've likely debated the greatest solo album from the Wu-Tang Clan already, but generally (for me) it comes down to the time of year you ask me: in the winter, I'm rollin' with GZA's Liquid Swords, because it's a perfect winter album, but the rest of the year I'm on Rae's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. It was released 23 years ago today (August 1st 1995) and it's aged like a true classic in my opinion; it just keeps getting better with time. Dig in the crates and pull this one out today; run it like it was like '95. Much respect to Ghostface Killah, who has a number of classics of his own in his catalog!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I'm Just Looking Out For My Music Family

“Noticed she wasn’t breathing for a second then I screamed “She’s dead!” / and everybody took it out on Nasty / I was just looking out for my music family....” So, what now? There are plenty of signs of life in both the underground and the mainstream. So, why does this still rub me the wrong way? Was this trolling before we called it that, lol? There are a lot of elements of the music industry that have died: artist development being one of the biggest. Then, from a fan point of view ... from a DJ point of view ... I miss all the attention to detail. Labels might call it trimming the fat off the marketing budget, but the attachment to the music is weaker than ever (for me). Major label artists are doing 50 million streams per clip, what's the rush to put out an album? To market to fans offline? To invest in anything that won't directly lead to more streams. A stream that has a value that only the majors seem to know because it certainly isn't 0.000x of a penny to them. Nah, it's one of the most coveted pieces of info in the entire industry, what is the REAL value per stream!? Tastemakers of an older time in hip-hop are left with baskets filled with nostalgia and no one interested in hearing their stories. No shade & that's not a blanket statement, let's keep it in context.  It's just ... it's a new era of fans, unfamiliar with the way things used to work & therefore don't know how much they are missing out. All the noise from constant music and an abundance of choice is a distraction. Many artists have stepped up and made a choice to be vulnerable, to let fans behind the curtain to see more of themselves ... which, in many ways has changed the whole concept of what being a celebrity now means. It went from no access = celebrity - you heard from your favorite artist when he/she dropped their new album or when their face was on the big screen ... or not at all. Now, you see them in your timeline daily, you might even get a mention from them. Let me tell ya, it used to be meeting your heroes was a disaster! Now, everyone = celebrity in their own mind, so maybe no one is a hero lol. I dunno, I'm not bitter and I love curating a playlist that reflects my own taste of music, but there's also a reason I hustle nostalgia on the side. But ... this is a treadmill conversation, let me get off this. Any thoughts, for/against? Am I trolling, too?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Offical Hip-Hop Nostalgia E-Store Is Now Open!

I was hesitant to do it, and maybe it won't last long - who knows - but the official Hip-Hop Nostalgia store is now open for business (online). I do not have infinite shelf space, so all items should be considered limited edition, get 'em while you can. I have done my best to make the highest quality available and offer the lowest shipping + bundles, but the website only allows me but so much room to communicate what I want, so if you want something customized or the cost seems too high for you, just contact me directly and we'll work something out. I'm online at @DJ_Sav_One and the website is HERE via Big Cartel. We'll see how this goes, your support will help determine that to a great degree, lol. Come support the kid, get yourself some nostalgia! As a bonus, free stickers are being added to all new orders, so check it out now! I'm very excited to have the store open, hope you'll support.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Revisiting an Old Playlist

Diggin' through the crates tonight, curating a golden era vibe in the crib. It started with some Gang Starr, Nas, and Mobb Deep, then went deeper underground to some Adagio!, Natural Elements, Troubleneck Brothers and more. It reminded me to 1) update this site more (I know!) and 2) that I did create a playlist a while back that no one probably ever heard, lol. So, I pulled it up and sure enough: Natural Elements, M.O.P., Troubleneck Brothers, Noreaga, Nas, Big Pun, Gang Starr, Phife, The Whooliganz, Real Live, Cormega & more ... More or less, I come back to a lot of the same artists over time, even if the songs from said artists change up. If you're 1 of the 190 plays on the playlist, props to you, lol ... otherwise, give it a listen. There are some other playlists on this site, click the tags & I'll start making some more ... comment if you want obscure, themed or more current.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Wyclef Jean "The Carnival" (Classic Material)

Perhaps an interesting choice to touch on Wyclef's debut here, but listen ... I have very fond memories of the Fugees' smash 'The Score' and even Salaam's portion of 'Blunted on Reality.' When the summer of '97 hit, it was Wyclef's 'The Carnival' - not the whole album, but definitely the front end of the project got a ton of burn. The production on "Apocalypse" and the crossover anthem "Guantanamera" gave me lots to discuss with the Cuban family I was staying with while working a night job in Manhattan between semesters in college. You can't deny Clef's talent as a "writer, instrumentalist, producer and mastermind behind the group's sound." Sure enough, the album went double platinum & even if "Gone Til November" and "We're Trying to Stay Alive" weren't MY favorite tracks on the album, he had a fresh blueprint and "if an immigrant kid from Haiti can become an international superstar responsible for two classics, then anything can happen." Word. Read more below & salute to Salaam Remi and Warren Riker for the incredible mixing & mastering on the project. Much love to L Boogie. Enjoy the nostalgia. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

FreeOfStyle Mixtape Re-Issued Packages

If you're interested, the FreeOfStyle mixtape has now been (re)packaged together with some dope nostalgic Hip-Hop pins, a variety of randomly selected stickers & presented in a fresh camouflage bag ... it can be purchased by sending me an email HERE, or contact me via DM on IG. I'll be happy to walk you through the process and ship it out the same week. If you haven't had a chance, you can also listen to a stream of the FreeOfStyle mixtape HERE ... or below. Peace n Love.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Some Promo Pieces of Nas From My IG

Even when I go long patches of time without updating this site, I still post rather consistently onto my IG page, so if you're not following ... you should remedy that, lol. Perhaps not as much obscure stuff, but I do dig into publicity photos, promos, stickers & pieces of hip-hop nostalgia as often as I can. Above is a publicity photo for Nas & an original logo sticker. Below is the press kit sent out for Illmatic XX, which I may or may not have posted here before. Just some little artiFACTS here and there + a plug for the IG. Hit me in the comments if you'd like to see more posts (or less posts) about certain things, maybe it'll inspire some new content. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

J Dilla 'Production Credit' Interview in XXL

J Dilla Jay Dee Production Credit XXL

I love this quote: "I say it all the time -- that I want a classic, so it's like a dream ... Hopefully the sound that I'm trying to get out there surfaces instead of being under the radar. 'Cause people thought I was out the game, but I haven't even reached my peak yet. So, I'm definitely back at it." His sentiments equally inspire and sadden me. That drive and hunger ... to be heard, to impact a culture; for success and for listeners to hear what you hear in your own head; that's an inspiring message. It saddens me because what we know today is that he passed away probably never feeling like he reached his peak and a lot of people didn't give him his flowers while he could smell them. It took a man's life, literally, to inspire a culture but then outsiders tried to turn his legacy into a t-shirt. It irks me that we neither appreciate the geniuses and the forward-thinkers of our culture in their time, nor do we know how to properly honor their legacies. Rest In Peace, J Dilla. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Icon Curties "Modus Operandi" (Album Stream)

I'm diggin' this new project from Italian producer, Icon Curties, called "Modus Operandi." The album is being released on CD & Vinyl via Tuff Kong Records, which is also releasing my brother MoSS' production album, "Marching to the Sound of My Own Drum," on vinyl. The album features talented spitters: Recognize Ali, Daniel Son, Hus Kingpin, SmooVth, Estee Nack, Code Nine, Saipher Soze, Rozewood, Anklejohn, and more. Driven by hard drums and moving samples, you should throw this in your car and take it for a ride, you won't be disappointed. Album stream below via Bandcamp; cop the physicals HERE & definitely get the MoSS album on LP + 7" while you're there!

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Kendrick Lamar "The Damn. Chronic" (Mixtape)

DJ Critical Hype presents The Damn. Chronic: a blend tape of Kendrick Lamar vocals over Dr. Dre production. This is a really well done, tightly blended mixtape. I could say a whole lot more, but this one definitely sells itself as a must-listen all the way through, so ... click play now! You can go back and find Critical Hype's Marco Polo & Torae mix and more on the net, do that knowledge, too.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Recommended Reading: Cormega & J-Zone

A couple books I started reading earlier in the year and I'd thoroughly recommend: Cormega's "Understanding The True Meaning" and J-Zone's humorous "Root For The Villain." Both books will run you $25 total via Amazon, so it won't hurt your pockets too bad - go ahead and give them your support! Apologies for long stretches with no posts, but I'm sure I've pre-warned that life gets in the way and TIME is valuable, so I have to spend it wisely and purposefully. Until next time!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

An Update on the FreeOfStyle Project

"Soon" isn't a term I'd like to define, as this post is less about making the announcement as it is holding myself accountable now that I'm making it public. At various points in ANY project, people get discouraged - for a number of reasons - and if that's not enough, there's also a small voice inside our heads that tell us that our ideas aren't shit, it's not gonna work, Don't do it! Reconsider, read some liter-ature on the subject? Yeah, that's real. So, for the sake of transparency ... I'm sharing this now because I wanna push through it and make sure that I get this project out to you. I've begun collecting tracks and drops and promotional ideas, etc. The inspiration for NOW as opposed to later (or never) is the death of my mother this past March. With a wrongful death case pending, there just aren't enough hours in the day to keep up with all the demands for time and finances. I'm already stretched super thin, so I'm trying to create through it & generate some additional funds. Hopefully you'll support this project as much, if not more, than you did the last (free) project. It's too early to share a potential tracklist or anything like that, but it's coming... soon. If you have any ideas or thoughts to share, hit me up! Peace to DJ Dyllemma, who will be rocking with me again! The 90s edition and this latest mix will be packaged together as a 90-minute A/B side cassette with both mixes. The best of both worlds, no R. Kelly.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Nasty Nas "Next" Vibe Magazine April, 1994

"As vultures, rapists, and savages from major corporations worldwide swarm around the mentally dead sea of would-be studio-invented rappers, greedily searching for a raw morsel to tame their perverted taste buds, a genuine lyrical B-boy by the name of Nas (formerly Nasty Nas) has emerged from behind the intellectual clouds left by weak artists, faked funk, and wasted radio airtime. Illmatic, his debut album is sending shock waves throughout the hip hop world, while pretenders stand still, trying to catch the beat and wondering which step they missed."