Sunday, December 30, 2018

Reef The Lost Cauze "The Majestic" (Album Stream)

"The Majestic" is the brand new solo album from veteran Philly MC, Reef The Lost Cauze. One of the hardest working MCs, there's always new verses and features to hear with Reef, even some collab projects. But, it's a different beast when he locks in on a solo project. Add to it a Happy Born Day to Reef, there's a lot to celebrate here. The album is available across all platforms, but those of you who want a physical copy, you should click HERE to get it before it ultimately sells out. More than boasts of 'I'm a better MC than you' (he is), Reef speaks with the tone of a seasoned lyricist, sharing his experiences on record and perhaps suggesting where things have gone wrong in the world and the culture, like on "Naked," where Reef asks us to think of the bigger picture:

"...But what about the spirit, the soul that we carry  
In the end that's all we have when these old bones are buried 
When you meet God and he asks about your life 
He ain't gon' give a f#ck about your followers and your likes 
... get it right."

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cormega "Mega" (Album Stream)

Cormega (Mega) brings you a secret project entirely produced by STREETRUNNER with Co-Production by Tariq Azzouz. Mega describes this as art, culture and vibes. This project has only one feature by Havoc of Mobb Deep on the song “Live Your Best Life”. All Instrumentals are also featured on this release. Lyrics to all the songs are printed on the back of the vinyl record jacket and in CD and Cassette artwork. This is Cormega’s first solo release since his 2014 Large Professor produced “Mega Philosophy." Stream Cormega's latest effort "MEGA" below.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

DJ Sav One & DJ Dyllemma "FreeOfStyle" (Mixtape)

We put this mix together (in 2012) reminiscing on the days of golden era CASSETTE mixtapes. It should bring you back to that analog vibe with the sound, substance and live mixing. The theme is an ongoing debate over the two meanings of “Freestyle”: off the top of the head verses and/or unreleased writtens (discussed by Big Daddy Kane in the Intro as ‘FreeOfStyle’). The mix is 40 minutes long (all golden era content) and is 1 side of a forthcoming cassette release with original content on the flip-side. The sources are old cassettes, white label vinyl and an occasional CD. Peace to the all the DJs who laid the foundation and pushed the culture forward - this tape is as much an ode to those pioneering DJs as is to the MCs who held it down on the mic. - DJ Sav One (Update: Got a takedown notice, so a new post to update the embed link below). 1-track version HERE.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Children Of Zeus "The Winter Tape" (Album Stream)

Some more dopeness from UK's favorite duo of Konny Kon & Tyler Daley, better known as Children Of Zeus. "The Winter Tape" is a free 14-track project, featuring production from Detroit's Black Milk, DJ Green Lantern, Beat Butcha & more, plus a nice feature from Milano Constantine. A thoughtful present to the fans to kick off our Christmas Eve, bundle up and lock in with The Winter Tape, available to stream in full and/or download below.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Ta-ku "25 Nights For Nujabes" (Instrumental Album)

"25 Nights For Nujabes," a beat a night for 25 nights in dedication to Jun Seba, better known as Nujabes. His music was so full of emotion and beauty. Ta-ku teams up with Jakarta Records to share his now-classic, "25 Nights For Nujabes" project for the first time as an official digital and vinyl release along with two completely new bonus tracks which feature Toronto-based producer Matt McWaters. Ta-ku says, "I have decided to finally release one of my favourite projects that I made back in 2013; "25 Nights For Nujabes." This has a very special place in my heart and is available now on your favorite digital platforms." Rest In Peace, Jun Seba. You can stream the project below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mic Geronimo "Shit's Real" (Video)

In a lineage of eMCees we've championed over the years, Mic Geronimo had a dope run in the 90s. "Shit's Real," "Masta IC," and breaking features for artists like DMX, Jay-Z, Ja Rule & more solidified a position for him between his peers. Some tough decisions - perhaps based on his own loyalties or career plans - didn't necessarily work out to his full advantage, but he shot his shot and his footprints are still felt on the golden era setlists of any true DJ and fan of hip-hop. When Nore went on the ledge and threw a lil' shade in his direction for how his career turned out, Mic Geronimo was quick to set the record straight about how he owns his own business and continues to live a blessed life, on his own terms. Mic's name popped up again in the Dame Dash vs Funk Flex beef, where Flex attempted to declare that if it wasn't for Def Jam, Jay-Z's career woulda went the way of Mic Geronimo. Where's all this shade coming from? Flex, you're reaching. Let me just say in case I haven't said it before, someone else's definition of success is subjective -- don't project your views and definitions on another person, you come off sounding crazy. With that said, let's take a sec and think back .... I'm so real ... Shit's so real.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Knitting Factory: The Final Show (December 19, 2008)

Dec. 19, 2008: lowkey, this is a day in NY hip-hop history, people don’t talk about it much though. Remembering it on it's 10th Anniversary: It was snowing outside, my view was from the 2nd floor at 406 6th Avenue, better known as Fat Beats. It was our annual Christmas Party. Always a fun time with drinks and food, DJ sets and of course, more artists came through to show love if they got an invite. This night was extra special bc I was keeping an eye on the clock, knowing that it was the very last hip-hop show at Knitting Factory about 2 miles away. Peep the bill: Rakim, Black Thought, Souls of Mischief & you know every NY MC would touch that stage one final time. I was at every show - week day or weekend, I was in the building - so I wanted to roll through but it was getting late, snowing and I had some drinks in me, lol. I started to get texts about the show, who was killin it, who was backstage, etc etc. At some point, the texts went left bc of an incident I can’t really talk about, but suffice to say ...the final show was not without it’s drama outside the venue, unrelated to the music. I was tight about it too. Of course, I waited to see if Photo Rob would post photos of the show I never made - a big regret of mine - but I was amongst good friends and with Fat Beats closing years later, I’d probably regret it had I not been there too. Fortunately the good brother, Homeboy Sandman was in the building to perform & shared some of the show...

Monday, December 17, 2018

Brock Berrigan "Cadillac Mountain" (Instrumental Album)

Brock Berrigan is a beat maker, music enthusiast, multi instrumentalist, sample hunter, and alleged town drunk, lol. To describe the latest instrumental release, Brock explains, "Been working on this project for a few months now. Spent some time experimenting with some new sounds, tried to make this album a little different. Went back out to Utah to put the final touches on the album and finished it in a motel in the middle of the desert. Limited vinyl will be available, stream below.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Philmore Greene "Chicago: A Third World City" (Album Stream)

Chi-Town's Philmore Greene drops his new project, "Chicago: A Third World City," featuring Yardbrough, Rashid Hadee, Neak, FLYKelly, and more. With the exception of one song produced by Neak, the project is produced by Rashid Hadee, who you should definitely check out, as well. A socially conscious and aware effort, you can hear it in the music and see it in the artwork done by Zeph Farmby. Chicago needs artists to continue to be the voice for the voiceless. You might have caught his #PhilmoreMondays releases online, but this is my official sleeper choice for the month, dig into it below and follow Philmore Greene to stay current on his music. "Love is the only answer."

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Loud Records Holday Dinner (December 16, 1998)

On December 16, 1998, Loud Records / SRC (Steve Rifkind Company) held a special holiday dinner. In unique fashion, the holiday dinner menu was artist-themed. Examples, you ask? Ok, how about we start with the appetizers: Sadat X Calamari: batter fried calamari with basil mayonnaise and chili pepper cocktail sauce. Wu-Tang Tuna: sesame nori crusted tuna with grilled shitake mushrooms, watercress bean sprouts, snap pea salad, served with wasabi ponzu dipping sauce. Alkaholiks Pizza: margarita, tomato and basil sauce topped with mozzarella. Lastly, Xzibit Salad: baby greens with goat cheese, walnuts, mushrooms and mustard vinaigrette. Moving on the entrees, you could choose from the Raekwon Burger: hamburger with mesclun greens, tomato, onion and french fries; choice of American, Swiss, or cheddar cheese. Penne a la Mobb: penne putanesca (chopped over roasted tomatoes, anchovies, black olives and capers). Cella Dwella Chicken: roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and french beats. Yvette Michelle Veggies: vegetable plate - assorted grilled vegetables, cous-cous and sauteed spinach. I'd be full at this point, but they also had a Delinquent Habits dessert and more to keep you entertained throughout the Holiday dinner. If it were me, I'd grab the Alkaholiks Pizza and either the Raekwon Burger with American Cheese, plain, or the Cella Dwella Chicken. Much success to Steve Rifkind bringing Loud Records back. A throwback to his 5th...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Conway "Everybody Is F.O.O.D. 2" (Album Stream)

Well, if you read my post for "Everybody is F.O.O.D," then it echoes the sentiments for part 2. I even saw some fans saying that they wished the project was longer, and honestly, is there a more ironic, but more amazing compliment to give an MC that is already so prolific? This follow-up is another 10-track tape, this time featuring production from Alchemist, DJ Skizz, Khrysis, DJ Shay, Graymatter & Mephux. I'm not sure of the features on this one, I'd have to look back, but I'm pretty sure I heard Benny on the track "Hide The Body," which is every bit as hard as you'd imagine it to be! The next 4 tracks kinda dragged on me, even Alchemist's production was below par, but it comes back in with the Khrysis-produced "Proud Of Me" and closes out nicely. All in all, another solid release.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Solomon Childs & Tone Spliff "The Prophet & The King"

"The Prophet and the King" is a collaborative project from the Wu Tang-affiliated Solomon Childs and Tone Spliff. The album hosts 11 solid tracks (two of which are only available on CD). Solomon and Tone called upon the heavy-hitters Inspectah Deck, Sadat X, Rock of Heltah Skeltah, Conway the Machine, Recognize Ali, and more for the album's guest appearances. Limited copies are available on BandCamp. The CD is distributed by Traffic Ent, ask for it at your local record store. Listen below.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chillhop Essentials "Winter 2018" (Album Stream)

"Once again we return with the last of our essentials compilation series for 2018. As this year draws to a close and we reflect on what has been an amazing 12 months for all those involved in the label, what better soundtrack for this time of grateful introspection than this release. During winter we often contemplate the hours, days and months in which we have experienced changes this past year, in both the seasons and our lives themselves. This 26 track journey through the warmest of sounds is bound to keep you warm throughout the coming weeks whatever the temperature of your surroundings." Chillhop is consistently dope, stream the vibe below.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Black Thought "Streams of Thought, Vol.2" EP (Album Stream)

Back in June, Black Thought released his debut solo project, a 9th Wonder-produced EP called "Streams of Thoughts Vol.1." We now have the second of three EPs in this series, "Streams of Thoughts Vol.2." This go around, Black Thought has enlisted the work of legendary producer Salaam Remi, most known for his work with Nas, The Fugees, Amy Winehouse, and Zhigge among others. My favorite song is the opening track, "Fentanyl," which tackles the topic of opioid addiction: the dangers of, who profits from it & the politics behind it. He does so over minimalist production, showcasing his flawless delivery and offering deep insights like:

"Another destroyed life was meant to be more righteous
in the face of this full-on opioid crisis
While the wolves pull the wool on and prey on vices
Still the dogs with the hood on is way more frightenin'
For death, you're not ready
Trust me, I'm deadly as the Fentanyl that killed Prince and Tom Petty..."

Monday, December 10, 2018

DJ Premier vs. Masta Ace (Mixed by DJ Tiger)

Big-up to DJ Tiger of Full Blast Radio, who put this ill blend tape together. Full Blast Radio is an online radio station from NY operating in Georgia. You can stream the mix below and click HERE for more information on DJ Tiger and Full Blast Radio. Much respect to Marco Polo and Masta Ace, who released a classic album together "A Breukelen Story," and of course, you always wanna follow the legend, DJ Premier, in all that he does HERE. Enjoy the mix ... Peace.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

DJ Eclipse "Pre-Season" Mixtape (1996)

Throwback to 1996 with DJ Eclipse's classic "Pre-Season" mixTAPE. A nice mix of tracks from Jay-Z, Jeru The Damaja, Royal Flush, Lord Finesse, Lil' Kim, Godfather Don, Sadat X, Ed O.G., Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Nas, De La Soul, KRS-One, The Beatnuts, Keith Murray, De La Soul, Organized Konfusion, The Roots, Al Tariq, Artifacts, M.O.P., Capone-N-Noreaga, Mobb Deep & more. Dig in below.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Casual "Demo Sessions" (EP Stream)

The Casual "Demo Sessions" EP is the 94th release from Dope Folks Records. The legendary East Oakland MC & Hieroglyphics crew member has unleashed 6 tracks from his vaults, originally recorded between 1991-1992; all of which pre-date his classic debut LP, "Fear Itself." Dope Folks Records is premiering these records for the first time on wax from the original remastered tapes, which makes these the best possible existing versions of all of the tracks. If you're a vinyl junkie like myself, you'll wanna pick up one of these EPs; they are limited to 500 copies (100 red colored vinyl and 400 standard black) never to be repressed. You can stream the 6 demo tracks below!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Nina Simone & Lauryn Hill "The Miseducation of Eunice Waymon"

With his latest Soul Mates Project, Amerigo Gazaway imagines a studio session between The High Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone, and living legend, Lauryn Hill. Continuing the “collaborations that never were” theme of his previous releases, the producer seamlessly connects the dots between Hip-Hop and the genre’s predecessor, Soul. With "The Miseducation of Eunice Waymon", Amerigo Gazaway renders listeners children in the backseat of a shiny black Chevy, transfixed by the mysteries of grown women’s conversations. We ride along and listen quietly as Hill drives down South to retrieve Simone from North Carolina and the two travel back north together, to New Jersey and then to New York, and onward to woman-ish soul eternity. Treat yourself to the stream below.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Earl Sweatshirt "Some Rap Songs" (Album Stream)

"Some Rap Songs" is the 3rd studio album from Earl Sweatshirt. It's heavy on content, although it was repetitious at times. It's clear Earl is battling with some innner demons, whether it's the loss of his distant & imperfect father, escaping (fame), life and death + all that comes between those two bookmarks. We know Earl is talented beyond measure and more reclusive than understood, so it leaves us with a piece of art that delivers more questions than answers. I think the comparisons to Madvillainy will be obvious and despite the brevity of the tracks (15 songs in 25 minutes), it can still be a draining listen. If it was therapeutic for him to make this album, then I truly salute him for making it. I'd like to meet him in person one day. Stream his new album below.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Jakk Wonders "Hong Kong Dollar" (Beat Tape)

A new 7-track beat tape called HKD (Hong Kong Dollar) from South African producer, Jakk Wonders. I haven't had a chance to sit and listen to this yet, but Jakk Wonders has earned my support with multiple instrumental releases that were super dope! I hope to have the opportunity to work with him on something in the near future; in the meantime, stream the HKD Tape below!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Ghostface Killah "Ghost Files" (Propane Tape & Bronze Tape)

"Officially dubbed the Ghost Files now, Bronze Nazareth handles the production on the “Bronze Tape” while Agallah laces the “Propane Tape” — both of which hold the same tracklist as the original with features from Raekwon, Snoop Dogg, KXNG Crooked, Benny the Butcher, Bishop Lamont, and others."  - 2DBZ. You can stream both the Bronze Tape & Propane Tape below.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Dag Savage "Furnace" (EP Stream)

This EP is a kind of juxtaposition between what we want to hear and what we need to hear. The song “Furnace,” Ft. Fashawn and The Last Artful, Dodgr is just a fun weed song to help give us a smoke break from the state of the world, however the B side is quite the opposite. “If You’re Down,” ft. Blu and Cashus King is very much a discussion about the ills of this world, but also a call for unity of all races and religious beliefs to stand up for humanity and social justice. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

The House List Podcast "MF Doom Episode"

The 100th episode of Peter Agoston's House List podcast: "I wanted to do something extra special for the heads on this one - so who better than DOOM. Culled from a handful of conversations recorded onto cassette, MF DOOM and I discuss the then unreleased and to me, unheard, 'MM FOOD' album. This was originally recorded in May 2003 for an expansive cover-story I wrote on DOOM for Elemental Magazine. After listening to these again, there is no doubt in my mind how talented, intuitive and inventive DOOM is. It of course goes without saying, but I do feel like these chats I had with him shed much more light on how he willed some of the best hip-hop music of the last 20 years out of sheer desire to create, if even sometimes under a state of duress. A master collage-artist, poet, author, satirist, DJ, producer, performer. I truly hope this episode (like them all) will serve as a living document to his great accomplishments in music and art. I am appreciative of the time we had recording these and the few musical collaborations we did some 20 years ago now.Thank you to all the listeners as this is fully listener supported." Listen to it below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Grown Man Rap Show "Class of 1993 Reunion Mix"

Hosted by veteran DJ Toast and broadcasted live every Sunday night 10pm-12 midnight (ET) from 91.5 WRPI (Albany NY), Toast brings you 2 hours of the best in vintage & contemporary true school Hip Hop. This is a 2-part series, Episodes 190 & 191: Class of 1993 Reunion - DJ Toast dives in quick with tracks from Super Cat, Poor Righteous Teachers, Jeru The Damaja, Diamond D, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Fat Joe, Digable Planets, The Beatnuts, Ice Cube, Kurious, Shyheim, Onyx, Trends of Culture, M.O.P., Big Daddy Kane, Wu-Tang Clan, Tha Alkaholiks, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Dred Scott, Lords of the Underground & so so much more all the way through to the second episode (191) below. All classics, in my eyes. You don't want to miss this one, listen below!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Phoniks "Down To Earth Remixes" (Album Stream)

A remixed version of Phoniks' first full-length solo project. Originally 2 years in the works, Phoniks dug through over 250 hours worth of recorded material when piecing together his solo debut. The album was comprised of jazz-tinged lo-fi head nodders with crunchy 12-bit drums, spaced-out filters, and delays + a sprinkling of horn loops and soul vocals. The remixed version of "Down To Earth" utilizes records from Nas, Mood, Outkast, Big L, Biggie, Capone-N-Noreaga, Jadakiss, Wu-Tang & more, to further help bring these instrumentals to life. Stream/Download it below.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Benny The Butcher "Tana Talk 3" (Album Stream)

"A continuation of Benny’s Tana Talk series. Tana is short for Montana Ave, the street Benny lived on in the Eastside of Buffalo. This album serves as a platform for Benny to showcase his gritty, yet honest and heartfelt storytelling. The cover is a painting of an old baby photo of his deceased older bother, MachineGun Black (Rest In Peace)." - via Genius.  Stream it below.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Snoop Doggy Dogg "Doggystyle" 25th Anniversary

On November 23, 1993, Snoop Doggy Dogg delivered his classic debut album "Doggystyle." From "Deep Cover" to his co-starring (stand-out) role on Dr. Dre's "The Chronic," it was clear Snoop was an instant star! With all the hype, Snoop delivered with a grip of classic singles, dope interludes and a cohesive project. From the visuals to the storyline, it was curated flawlessly. The wave of Dre & Snoop hit the East Coast hard and lots of artists incorporated the sound into their releases. Take Biggie, for example, Puff had him do a promo tape aimed at fans on the West Coast ahead of "Ready to Die." It didn't stop there, of course, just check Dre's production credits for more obvious signs of their impact. I am not gonna touch on the East vs. West beef that was fueled by Puff & Suge + the media, so let's fast forward to DJ Filthy Rich, who dropped a 25th Anniversary mix to commemorate the release with album cuts, remixes, unreleased tracks & some raw blends. Dope shout-out to my homie, @
ToonCrew, who blessed DJ Filthy Rich with the artwork for this mix and others I'm sure I will support. You can check that mix below.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Jay Royale "The Ivory Soap" (Album Stream)

Jay Royale, the East Baltimore emcee delivers his debut LP, The Ivory Stoop, full of crafty lyrics over minimalist, boombap production. He features some of the finest MCs in the underground on the project, enlisting Ill Conscious, Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn & more.  The dusty beats & minimal loops maintain the feel of the peak-era sound from the early/mid 90’s. If you're unfamiliar with Jay Royale, then the features should tip you off as to what to expect, do give it a listen and trust it's on par with some of the best releases from the underground.

Monday, November 19, 2018

J.Period "The Live Mixtape" (Top 5 MCs Edition)

"J.PERIOD’s Live Mixtape is a first-of-its-kind Hip Hop mixtape, performed and recorded live onstage—in one take—by some of Hip Hop’s most celebrated MCs, and one of its most groundbreaking DJs. Recorded LIVE in New York City, The Live Mixtape [#Top5MCs Edition] features three legendary MCs—Rakim, Pharoahe Monch & Black Thought of The Roots—in an epic display of microphone mastery, seamlessly mixed by J.PERIOD, and re-igniting the timeless Hip Hop debate: Who’s your Top 5 MCs? Guest appearances include: Smif N Wessun, Black Sheep, Stro Elliot and Mumu Fresh."

Monday, November 19, 2018

The House List Podcast "Godfather Don Episode"

Godfather Don is the latest guest on the House List Podcast - hosted by Peter Agoston. "In what marks his first real, long-form interview - Godfather Don is extremely cool, affable and open. And that was mostly talking about music (we hoped and plan to get a more esoteric, next time)! He has been a personal favorite of mine for a long time. A lifetime resident of Brooklyn, we discuss it all. Picking up a guitar as a small child, to making beat-tapes with a guitar pedal. Many where introduced to Don's seminal work on Ultramagnetic MC's 'Four Horsemen' (Wild Pitch 1993) album, others with his actual debut 'Hazardous' (Select 1991). He had a prolific run doing the indie/underground boom between labels Fondle Em and Hydra, which resonates widely to this day (seen in the many limited reissues of his work). Yet all the while, Don has seemingly been shrouded in mystery. Now, Don is a actively performing Tenor Sax player around BK. He's recorded a new Jazz project, I saw him play - he's amazing. It's a fantastic transition into a different musical horizon. I highly suggest watching or listening, when you have the ability." Listen to the full interview below.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Big Ghost Ltd "The Black Album Revisited" (Album Stream)

"Ayo the purpose of this project was to hop in the DeLorean n transport the listener back to 11-14-03 to this alternate reality where another Black Album exists... Not the Prince or Metallica ones.. The Hov one still.. but a different Hov one. One where A-List celebrity producers played no part...n it was no politics involved nahmean. No hype or pitches to the artist from whoever whoever... Just the feel of that early 00s shit when the R.O.C. had established itself as the pinnacle n the heartbeat of the culture n the greatest rapper of all time pump faked his retirement." - Big Ghost

Monday, November 12, 2018

The House List Podcast "Swigga aka L-Swift Episode"

"Swigga once known as L-Swift has a story to tell. We do a deep dive live from the NorthEast Bronx in this revealing true narrative of how a young kid from St. Lucia in the Caribbean transplanted to New York City. Certain heads will know his work closely from the lore of his group Natural Elements, one of the city's most talented yet mysteriously never getting their proper due or platform. For added reference please listen to Episode 33 of this show to hear our talk with Mr. Voodoo (Natural Elements). Shouts to Eddie Brock (also a collaborator with Swigga in their group Northeast Wildcats), whom allowed us to record this conversation at his crib. Enjoy! The intro song is entitled 'Check Da Style,' produced by Charlemagne and released on Fortress Entertainment in 1995." The House List podcast is hosted by Peter Agoston. Another great episode, check it out below.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

25 Years Of The Wu-Tang Clan (Mini-Documentary)

Certified Classics celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) with the release of For The Children: 25 Years of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), a short film featuring members of Wu-Tang, family, and friends discussing the impact of the iconic album. Taking viewers on a tour through 36 Chambers, this film explores each song via untold stories from Wu-Tang Clan members, alongside personal reflections from many of today's biggest artists. Watch below.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Masta Ace & Marco Polo "A Breukelen Story" (Album Stream)

In 2018 we find hip-hop’s storied journeyman, Masta Ace, at the helm of another sharp, tightly wrought project. He’s traversed hip-hop’s ever-changing landscape for nearly three decades, navigating different eras while expanding his already extensive catalogue. Despite amassing 7 solo albums, 5 collaborative projects and countless additional one-offs, Ace is still trying to show and prove, still moving the needle forward for himself, his fans, and his career. Says Ace: “My goal on A Breukelen Story was to do more lyrical stuff. I’ve done a lot of concept songs, and a lot of topical records, but I made a point to put a couple straight rhyming joints on here to remind dudes I can still do this.” Marco Polo is not new to forming quality collabs with others in the art form, with notable stints on the Port Authority as well as it’s follow up, PA2, and others like 2016’s work with young MC, A-F-R-O, fittingly titled A-F-R-O Polo. Yet out of Polo’s previous collaborative efforts, this one stands out and is a bit more special, according to Polo: “Ace does not like to write random songs, its usually conceptual and topical,” he says. “But we do have some straight spitting joints on A Breukelen Story which is what makes this album possibly the most diverse of all of my collaborative albums.” The long-awaited collaborative release from Masta Ace & Marco Polo, "A Breukelen Story," is now available via Fat Beats Records! 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Take It Personal Podcast "Marco Polo & Masta Ace Episode"

"Episode 35 features Juice Crew legend Masta Ace and beat maker extraordinaire, Marco Polo. Their new album "A Breukelen Story" drops this Friday (11/9/18), but Take It Personal was lucky enough get the jump, so we have a handful of exclusives that can only be heard on this show! We also have new music from Pharoahe Monch, Action Bronson, DJ Muggs & Roc Marciano, Black Eyed Peas, O.C., Ghostface Killah and Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz. Peace to Masta & Marco, and please support "A Breukelen Story" when it drops!" Listen to the interview & lots of music below.

Monday, November 05, 2018

DJ Clue "The Professional" Bio / Press Kit

"It's all about knowing that a song is hot before other people," says Clue. Do you remember when DJs broke records? Yup, that was a thing - pardon my sarcasm to the younger cats reading. I've said this before, but NO ... I was never DJ Clue's biggest fan; but acknowledged that he always knew where his strengths were, and that was at getting the exclusives and breaking records in the mixtape era of rap. Smart in business, too, for sure - he started his tape series at #24, making heads think they were already behind on discovering his tapes, lol ... then, navigating and capturing market share with every new tape he released, flipping that into a radio show, label deal, etc etc all without a visit from the Feds. Revisiting "The Professional," which was released on Roc-A-Fella Records in 1998, tracks from DMX + Ruff Ryders, Nas, Nature, Big Pun + Cam'Ron + Noreaga + Canibus, Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, and more carried what were always front-loaded mixes. In the mix-tape days, you wanted to be in the top 5-8 tracks because we'd just run them back, over and over as the hottest of what was new at the time. The favorite track for most is normally "Fantastic 4," but I was a Queens cat, I went straight to "Queens Finest" with Nas (and that Nature track was flames, too) ... "Get brains with the f#ckin Hilfiger, nah..." In business, being first is a huge advantage.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Black Moon "Enta Da Stage" 25th Anniversary Mix

Mixed by DJ Chris Read: “Released October 19th 1993, Black Moon’s classic debut LP ‘Enta Da Stage’ celebrates its 25th Anniversary this week. Produced entirely by Da Beatminerz, the album’s production style epitomises early 90s East Coast boom bap sonics with laid back, filtered jazz-funk samples meeting crunchy drums, cut choruses and gritty wordplay. In celebration of the anniversary we’ve teamed up once again with Wax Poetics magazine to present this exclusive mixtape pairing album tracks and remixes with their sample sources, interview snippets and more."

Saturday, November 03, 2018

DJ Mel Boogie "The L.I.F.E. Project" / "GIANTS"

This year marked DJ Mel Boogie's 25th anniversary in the Canadian music landscape, making her not only a veteran, but also a trailblazer. For the past two years, MelBoogie has been working on an album representative of some of the most talented rappers in Toronto, accumulating into her compilation album, DJ Mel Boogie Presents the L.I.F.E. Project. On the L.I.F.E. Project, Mel Boogie has enlisted just female lyricists to flesh out her album: Eternia and pHoenix Pagliacci go head-to-head in a bar-for-bar battle on "Giants," Rah Digga shines on the posse cut "Blazin'" and LolaBunz and Keysha Freshh paint the most vivid imagery on "You're All I Need." In addition, the album includes JellyTooFly, Haviah Almighty, Lex Leosis, Ashley Jenelle, and more for a total of 14 sharp tracks. Producers who collaborated on this album include DJ Mercilless, Tone Mason, Big Sproxx, and more. Mel Boogie adds that she partnered with Sproxx to bring her project to fruition, which "has made me have even more respect for artists who pursue their passion while balancing work, school, children, and the day-to-day challenges of LIFE itself." Props to Exclaim for their review to include with this post, another integral part of the Canadian music scene. Salute Del F. Cowie & Erin Lowers.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Abstract Orchestra "Madvillain Vol.1" (Album Stream)

"Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra have been a consistent presence on the UK music scene, steadily building a loyal and supportive fanbase. The band itself is based on the classic jazz big band instrumentation of saxes, trumpets and trombones and features the cream of the north of England’s jazz scene. Abstract Orchestra’s Madvillain Vol 1. explores the jazz, TV soundtrack and film score aspect of the original work, combining it with classic big band writing and a focus on improvisation. Rob Mitchell says of the record: ‘Madvillainy’ is a jazz album as much as it is a hip-hop album and I wanted to explore this reciprocal territory there has always been between jazz and hip-hop. 70’s cop show soundtracks have always captured my interest and imagination, and I discovered so much amazing music through TV themes, Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin in particular. They explored sounds that were menacing, angular, dissonant, frantic and yet captivating. Arranging & scoring up Madvillain Vol 1. has allowed me to explore these sounds that I’ve always loved, yet keeping a strong hip-hop identity as the core of its sound.” Stream "Madvillain Vol.1" below.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz "Mona Lisa" (Album Stream)

"Detroit producer Apollo Brown has made a name for himself as one of Hip-Hop’s most legendary new producers while maintaining a golden era sound. His production credits are a who’s who of Hip-hop greats from Danny Brown to Ghostface Killah, Ras Kass to Westside Gunn. Even Chance the Rapper used a pair of Apollo beats on his debut mixtapes. Known for bringing the best out of musicians, Apollo has a knack for making timeless classics.  Brooklyn’s Joell Ortiz started on none other than Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label and built a huge buzz in the industry. He’s worked with legends like Just Blaze among others. He then signed to Shady Records as ¼ of the supergroup Slaughterhouse. He’s worked with Hip-Hop titans Eminem, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Akon, and Big Daddy Kane. Now the pair of Hip-hop luminaries have their first collaborative album on Mello Music Group. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece: Mona Lisa." - Mello Music Group

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Brother Ali "Sensitive" (Audio & Video)

A smile comes to my face when I see new music from Brother Ali, especially on limited 7" vinyl. I appreciate him for continuing to share his truth & his gifts with us, openly and honestly. To that end, I'll let Brother Ali explain his vulnerable new song: "Sensitive deals with the reality that artists are often times faced with self doubt and a deep sense that the world isn't hearing us as we'd like to be heard. This one was made at a time when I'd taken too long to release new music, had medical trouble with my voice and felt like I'd alienated fans with my political statements. Typical 'tortured artist' vibe that not many people talk about in Hip-Hop, but we all experience it on one level or another." An excerpt from the song's lyrics and stream are below.

"I didn't wanna pull my heart out, let you see in it
I just wanna grow privately, be free a minute
Plus my soul don't always have peace within it
I tell the truth, but I can see that I'm conceded with it..."

Or, if you prefer, enjoy the warm visuals with the official music video below ...

Monday, October 29, 2018

Shad "A Short Story About A War" (Album Stream)

"My last Shad album, Flying Colours, felt to me like the end of something. I think you can kinda hear it on there too. My music, to that point, told the story of my journey, unpacking some of my ideas and experiences over a good decade of growing up. I felt deeply content after releasing and touring that album. Not like I was done making rap music— I still played some shows and recorded for some of my favourites ... but since then I’ve felt increasingly inspired to just help, and to grow in other ways. And In the past 5 years, I think I’ve been able to do some of that.

... I felt like there was a story that ended with Flying Colours and I didn’t feel inspired to write a sequel to it just yet. So this is the story I wrote. Inspired by a vision. And brought to life musically over a year of honest, consistent effort. This is just a short story. My best sketch. And it was my joy to create. It’s an album about this moment, yea, but it’s really about something timeless.

I’d like to end by saying a few things about hope, because this album is darker and more intense than any project I’ve made before and if there’s one thing I don’t want people to misunderstand, it’s this: This album, like all of my work, is an attempt to find and share hope. But the way hope works, in my experience, is similar to the way that it unfolds on this album: A glimmer, a flash. And otherwise, darkness. But there’s also hope in seeing darkness for what it truly is: Not a vague, endless cloud but something with a defined nature, size, and power. So that it might be understood and possibly overcome. This album aims to provide hope in this way too."

The truth is bulletproof.
- Shad

Monday, October 29, 2018

Reckonize Real & Guilty Simpson "Carved From Stone"

"There are some people who got your back no matter what. People who take care of family first. They don't run away from adversity, they stand up to it. All while being cool, calm and collective. They're cut from a different cloth. They are Carved from Stone."  Detroit's Son, Guilty Simpson wields his mighty pen to inscribe 5 heavy hitting beats sculpted by Reckonize Real. The Queens New York beatmaker gathers some of the finest source materials and constructs his best drum combinations yet. Together they build the perfect foundation on this collaborative LP.  Guilty commands each track with his signature slow flow and motor city laced lyrics. Stream it below.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Black Milk "Tronic" 10 Years Later

"Tronic is an artistic breakthrough for Detroit producer/rapper Black Milk, a Slum Village associate who has toiled in the industry for years (which he explains on the triumphant chipmunk-soul anthem "Long Story Short"). The title tips off the rough electronic tint of his third album, but this ain't no retro-electro party: Milk bangs out hard synth tracks with malevolent fire, "murdering the booth" on cuts such as "The Matrix" and "Overdose." Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price, Royce Da 5'9", and other MCs show up to anoint the new price of hardcore hip-hop." - Mosi Reeves (Spin, 2009). Referenced in the album review is the opening track "Long Story Short," which I have as one of the best track 1s on any album of recent memory. I think Black Milk pushed the envelope and was ahead of his time switching to more live instrumentation when Tronic was released, so I'm curious how people feel it has aged and sits with the current climate of music production (sans trap music)?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Phoniks "Down To Earth" (Instrumental Album)

"Phoniks returns with his first full-length solo project. An 18-track instrumental hip-hop beat tape titled “Down To Earth”. Nearly 2 years in the works, Phoniks dug through over 250 hours worth of recorded material when piecing together his solo debut. The album is comprised of 2 to 3 minute jazz-tinged lo-fi head nodders connected with thought-provoking spoken word samples from 50’s sci-fi space movies. Crunchy 12-bit drums, spaced-out filters, and delays and a sprinkling of horn loops and soul vocals captivate over the albums 40-min run time. The goal is to take the listener off to another place, floating through the cosmos on a one-man spacecraft with nothing but a pair of headphones and all the time in the world." - Don't Sleep Records

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Ill Conscious & MZ Boom Bap "Sorcery" Album Stream

A dope 5-track EP from Portugal's boombap producer, MZ Boom Bap & Baltimore's super lyrical MC, Ill Conscious. The EP has features from King Magnetic, Omnia Azar, Cyn Hawkes and DJ Grazzhoppa. I've been following Ill Conscious for a few years and he's definitely carrying the torch for MCs who hold lyrics, flow and delivery at the forefront of their craft, while still pushing it forward. Vinyl is also available (in limited quantities) via Vinyl Digital in Germany. I hope to do some work with Ill Conscious in the coming year, I definitely wanna support his movements.