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!