Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Eaze Up Show "A Tribute to Fondle 'Em" (Mix)

"For those that followed and listened to Underground Hip Hop Radio and DJ legends, Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia throughout the 90's, it would not have come as any kind of shock to know that both branched out with their own record labels, Stretch with Dolo & Bob with Hoppoh (w P.Nice & Daddy Rich) then Fondle' Em. The legend goes that the label name was just a gag but after The Cenobites (Kool Keith and Godfather Don) project rightly flipped wigs, Bob realized there was a new home for quality Underground Hip Hop records sold strictly on wax & his label's office and HQ were essentially his living room with Sandbox Automatic as the official website (it's still up online btw). A plethora of some of Underground Hip Hop's finest are featured, I hope you enjoy what I have selected and put together here and it was only right that I ended this tribute show on what to me personally is the greatest recording on the label." Listen to the tribute below...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Nas "Illmatic" (25th Anniversary Mix by Chris Read)

April 19, 1994, saw the release of one of what would go on to be recognized as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, Nas‘s seminal debut, Illmatic. Following much-talked-about appearances on Main Source‘s “Live at the Barbecue,” MC Serch‘s “Back to the Grill,” and the release of the now classic soundtrack cut “Halftime,” Illmatic delivered on the hype with a compact ten-track offering helmed by the cream of mid-’90s hip-hop production talent: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and L.E.S.. Pairing crisp head-nod drums with an eclectic palate of jazz, funk, and soul samples, the all-star lineup of producers prepared a musical backdrop over which Nas delivers a no-holds-barred guided tour of life growing up in New York’s Queensbridge projects. Sampled cuts range from the timeless jazz of Ahmad Jamal and jazz-funk of Donald Byrd to the pop of Michael Jackson via well-sampled staples by the likes of Kool & the Gang. In celebration of the album’s twenty-fifth year, WhoSampled presents an exclusive mix of album cuts, remixes, interview snippets, and of course tracks sampled in the album’s making. Mixed by Chris Read, definitely check it out below...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Purpose "The Iron Throne of Microphones" (EP Stream)

Purpose of the Tragic Allies steps up to celebrate the return of "Game Of Thrones" by producing, writing, recording and mixing his latest EP, "The Iron Throne of Microphones," which is based off the "Game of Thrones" books and television series. A unique concept with a huge built-in audience; I hope it reaches some new listeners. Whether you're a diehard fan or never watched an episode, I think it's still a solid listen! I like to see artists pulling creatively from different sources, so much respect to Purpose and the Tragic Allies crew. Dig into their back catalogs, lots of dope content!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Eto x Superior "Long Story Short" (Album Stream)

"From Hell’s Roof to the Rhine Valley, Rochester, NY emcee Eto (formerly known as Lil Eto) and German-Spanish producer Superior have joined forces! The result is the full-length collaboration, “Long Story Short,” released via Below System Records. Eto’s penchant for balancing the pain of the street and the progression of the hustle is a perfect foil for Superior’s cinematic and somber beat-scapes. Speaking on the collaboration, Superior said “My previous releases were rooted in my love of boom-bap. However, when I linked up with Eto, I started producing specifically with him in mind and keeping it more atmospheric in keeping with the coldness of his environment and narratives.” With a gripping chemistry throughout the only guest spots on the project is from Skyzoo and Toronto rhyme-counterpart, Daniel Son. Of course Eto has been releasing audio masterpieces at a dizzying rate in the past several months. As an emcee, Eto also recently laced tracks for Benny The Butcher, 38 Spesh and Jamal Gasol. Constantly adapting his work as a producer, Superior's catalogue for Below System Records includes his 2017 production album, “The Journey”, which included appearances from Blu, Edo. G, Reks, Termanology and Lil Fame among others. His full-length album with Chicago emcee, Verbal Kent, “Half My Life” was released in 2018." Listen to the LP below...

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Notorious B.I.G. "Rapsheet" (Press Kit, August 1994)

Date: August, 1994 ... The Notorious B.I.G. Rapsheet was sent out to press as a unique piece of promo that shares some humorous "info" to hype the name switch from Biggie Smalls (1993) to The Notorious B.I.G. (1994) and his debut album, "Ready To Die," dropping a month later on September 13, 1994 via Bad Boy Entertainment. His criminal history included arrests for "Criminal possession and Illegal use of deadly rhymes," "Beat trafficking," "Criminal possession and use of a narcotic lyrics," and "17 counts of aggravated mic assault." The status on all counts? Acquitted!! (If you don't know ... now you know!) From B.I.G.'s alliances, nickname, counsel, DOB, race, sex, height and of course, B.I.G.'s hometown of "Representing B.K. to the fullest!," you can read more below. Originally released in 1994, you can order a full resolution copy, available in the online store with postcards and more...

Monday, April 08, 2019

Mobb Deep "Juvenile Hell" (Press Kit, 1993)

"Coming with jeep-crushing drum beats and ill jazz/funk samples, Mobb Deep is the latest rap export from 4th & B'Way's stable of stars. On their debut album, Juvenile Hell, the MC duo of Havoc and Prodigy bring the flavor. Over hardcore tracks produced by DJ Premier, Large Professor, Paul Shabazz & Slick, and Keith & Dale, they spout spirited rhymes that explore the interior and exterior of urban life. Mobb Deep has spent the last couple of years hangin' in project hallways, bonding with homies, sipping 40s of malt liquor, and knocking suckers out to get a rep. They've now emerged from this street-savage upbringing, telling it like it is in ten songs that'll have ya doin' the freaky-deke at any blazing jam. "We want people to dance to our music, but we also want them to flip the coin and peep what we're sayin'," says Prodigy. It can be said without fear of contradiction that growing up in the ghetto can be cool and messed up at the same time. While, thanks to everyday mental trauma, it can make you stronger in the mind, it can also place you six-feet under. "I think we're a couple of the most strong-minded people in the world," says Havoc of he and his partner."

"Survivors of outdoor bloodbaths and other vestiges of boulevard brutality, as well as active participants in the more joyful activities on the asphalt landscape, Mobb Deep has arrived in Planet Hip Hop with songs like "Peer Pressure," "Me And My Crew" and "Hit It From The Back" that transport the listener to where they come from. Havoc, who is from Queensbridge Queens and Prodigy, a Hempstead Long Island native, met in 1990, when they were students at New York City's High School of Art and Design. "I was in the 10th grade," recalls Havoc. "He was in the 9th. We both used to battle in the lunchroom. One time we went against each other, and because we were real short - we're both just over five feet - everybody said we'd look good together. So we collaborated, and it worked out." The pair began cutting demos. Then, after performing in a number of talent shows, tracking a phat promo for WBLS New York's weekend rap show, and getting ink in The Source "Unsigned Hype" column, they got a rep. Later, Mobb Deep (whose name represents how they roll with their crew) found themselves in the middle of a label bidding war. "It took a while for things to happen for us," says Prodigy, 'but we're happy with the way things turned out'." - 1993

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Awon "Soulapowa" (Album Stream)

I woke up to the incredible sounds of soul pumpin' through my speakers today. Yup, I stretched my arms at 6:15am, saw an e-mail that the new Awon album was released and 'popped' it in to get my day started. Some jazzy keys, a nice break... my eyes are opening... then the bars come in - "...the first amendment, exercised with a criminal vision..." - my day is off to a great start! Peace to my brother from Philly, Dread Solo, on the production for "Dark Roast," which ends with a proper applause. MZ Boom Bap is up next, and when the cuts come in after Awon's first verse, it levels up. This is feeling like Awon's sharpest and most concise effort thus far. "Keep it real, that's that..." (Peace to N.O.R.E.) By the time the soulful chop from Phoniks bleeds through the speakers, I'm floating through my morning rituals. I had to pause the album to cop the CD and show support...

The LP's AZ-like feature comes from Houston, TX's Anti-Lilly on two cuts. His message is always on point and breathes added life into the project. All in all, if you've been a fan from day one or this is the first time hearing Awon's music, this project has a timeless feel to it and while I must sit with it to break down and digest the lyrics properly, I'm standing firm that this may be his best project released to date. I'm gonna fire off a text to let him know how I appreciated his album as the sun starts to peak through. I hope the rest of the world is waking up with me, as Awon ironically says "...sleep while you alive and wake up in a coffin..." lol. I hear you, brother. Listen below...

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Rest In Peace, Nipsey Hussle (March 31, 2019)

"We are at a great loss today. This hurts. Straight to the point. It’s dangerous to be an MC. Dangerous to be a b-ball player. It’s dangerous to have money. Dangerous To Be A Black Man. So much hatred. We live like our brothers and sisters in third world countries live. Right in America. Decisions we make about our own life be based on decisions cuz we might not live. Its so deep rooted. It’s not a easy fix. Hard to fix anything when kids are still living in poverty. I ain’t shutting up though, Nipsey is a True voice. He will never be silenced. He still is A stand up General for the People who never left his people. He is Loved by the people. Prayers for his family. Let’s keep pushing Truth for The Man. Love You, King Nipsey Hussle / Ermias Asghedom Respectfully" - Nas // He was an authentic artist; truly forward-thinking, positive and ownership-minded - all of which made him an important voice for this generation. It's a truly sad day. My thoughts are with his loved ones. I know that he's inspired today's youth to be better, do better and that's a legacy. R.I.P.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

DJ Muggs & Mach-Hommy "Tuez-Les Tous" (Album Stream)

DJ Muggs teams up with the extremely elusive Mach-Hommy for a collab effort titled Tuez-Les Tous.... The New Jersey MC spits bristling rhymes over 12 tracks built out of hard-hitting production courtesy of the Cypress Hill beat maestro. Non-credited guests pop up on the gritty project, which includes assists from Meyhem Lauren, Your Old Droog, and more. "Mach-Hommy moves with grace and ease through the creative process, and he has an intelligence that comes along very few and far between," Muggs previously told Billboard. "There are originators, and there are imitators. Mach-Hommy is one of one." I'm not too familiar with Mach-Hommy, but I'm tuned in...

Friday, March 29, 2019

Choosey & Exile "Black Beans" (Album Stream)

"Hailing from LA by way of San Diego, Choosey uses Black Beans to make important statements in favor of black and brown unity at a time when his voice is most needed. Autobiographical moments like “I Did” follow in the footsteps of Exile produced masterpieces including Blu’s Below The Heavens and Fashawn’s Boy Meets World, as his soulful beats have always brought honesty and introspection out of the Dirty Science crew. Black Beans captures the feeling of the beautiful struggle while navigating life’s potholes throughout sunny Southern California. Taking the good with the bad, Choosey honors family and his significant other while attacking society’s ills including police brutality and gentrification. Though Black Beans is consistent with Exile’s sound, with this effort, he sampled from a number of sources and an era that best reflects Choosey’s story personally. Combining street smarts and book smarts, the album is sure to impact listeners as he’s a testament to following his dreams while surviving everything from the daily rat race to coming up in territories surrounded by gang activity." This is a really dope album, sit and digest this one below...

Friday, March 29, 2019

EPMD "Business Partners" (Vibe, 8/08)

EPMD brings the suburbs to hip-hop - and the funk to the party: "Sporting fishermen hats and a slack style, Long Island duo EPMD's debut, Strictly Business (Priority), was the first hip-hop album to celebrate the splendor of suburbia. "It was the Just-Ice single 'Latoya' that inspired us to rap in the first place, but we didn't come from the same kind of environment," says Parrish Smith. "Me and Erick Sermon grew up near the water, so we thought the caps would best represent where we came from. We were confident in our skills, so we had no problem being different." Signed to the now-defunct Sleeping Bag Records (where labelmates included Mantronix, Just-Ice, Cash Money & Marvelous and Nice & Smooth), the duo's first demo contained the original mixes of "It's My Thing" and "You're a Customer." Laughing at the memory, Smith says, "We didn't even know what samplers were then. We recorded everything on tape and spliced it together later." While their name stood for Erick and Parrish Making Dollars, the moniker EPMD soon became synonymous with soulful samples and computerized funk... the Sermon/Smith style laid the sonic foundation for Dr. Dre's soon-to-come G-Funk." An example of that is their smash "You Gots To Chill," watch below...

"Indeed, famed West Coast radio station 93.5 KDAY, whose program director Greg Mack was instrumental in helping Los Angeles develop its own hip-hop aesthetic, was one of the first to play "It's My Thing." Virgil Simms, Sleeping Bag's then vice president of promotion, says, "Mr. Magic and Marley Marl showed us much love at home in New York, but it was the reaction from KDAY's audience that helped break that single. We had the clubs on lock." ... Sermon says the group just flipped the records they liked. "Strictly Business was recorded and finished in two weeks at producer Charlie Marotta's studio," says Sermon, who experienced solo and group success with Def Squad after the group split in 1993. "Me and Parrish wasn't using James Brown samples because we were listening to different kinds of things; we simply sampled what we were feeling." ... Touring and working ... the boys from Brentwood are back together - and still about their business." - Vibe

Friday, March 22, 2019

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien "Press Kit" (1991)

How Funkee can one Homosapien be? "With clever rhymes and a humorous style, DEL tha funky homosapien is staking his claim on the hip hop scene, as well as reclaiming his home, on his debut single "Sleeping On My Couch (And I'm Tired of That)." Over a fat mid-tempo beat, funky horns and live piano riffs, Del orders his homies to stop freeloading at his crib, eating his food and playing his video games: "And you can save your crocodile tears / Don't even start with the sob stories / I got enough from the other seven brothers / In the den playing Genesis / Damn I can't win at this." With the Bridges of Funkenstein, former background singers for Parliment-Funkadelic, picking up the chorus, it's a sound that's straight up funk." Peep the visuals to the track, cont'd below...

"Hailing from Oaktown (Oakland, CA), Del's sound is distinctive from West Coast hip hop. Along with his crew, the HIEROGLYPHICS (Randy (DJ), Kwame, CM-PX, Bert, Kalif, and The Emperor), Del combines clever lyrics with an amusing, offbeat delivery. With Ice Cube and DJ Pooh at the helm, Del's production style combines 70's P-Funk with 90's hip hop to form a new sound that can only be described as "D-Funk." Although he's 18 years old, Del is definitely not a new jack. He co-wrote "Jackin' For Beats" and "Make Way For The Motherlode" for Yo-Yo. He also makes an appearance on Cube's Amerikkka's Most Wanted, calling in on a simulated radio talk show to say "F#ck the radio!" But radio most definitely will be funkin' with Del on the "Sleeping On My Couch," and the radio-friendly tracks from his soon to be released debut album, I Wish My Brother George Was Here (Street Knowledge/Elektra Entertainment), 'cause Del's too dope to ignore." - Press Kit, '91

Not to gloss over it, the press release (1991) confirms that Del co-wrote his cousin Ice Cube's "Jackin' For Beats," at the young age of 17-18. It's clear that Ice Cube doesn't need a ghostwriter, yet he threw Del work (for Cube and Yo-Yo), trusting that his pen was strong enough to write for one of the greatest lyricists of all-time and a true pioneer in music as a whole. That's as impressive a stat as you could ask from an artist that had yet to release their debut single. To repay the favor, I believe Ice Cube played a role in writing one of Del's break-out tracks, "Dr. Bombay," also on I Wish My Brother George Was Here. They kept the money in the family! Watch the visuals below...

The original press release, as well as the Dr. Bombay one-sheet are below.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Recognize Ali & Icon Curties "Ghost Protocol" (EP Stream)

Producer Icon Curties and lyricist Recognize Ali drop a dope, but quick 5-track EP entitled "Ghost Protocol." If you haven't heard Icon Curties' "Modus Operandi" production album or Recognize Ali's "God's Vision LP," then be sure to hit the tags and get familiar with those projects too...

Monday, March 11, 2019

Blu & Oh No "A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night"

"The work of acclaimed L.A. rapper Blu is a hip-hop time capsule perfectly embodying the vibrant culture of the City of Angels. With no signs of slowing down, the talented artist continues to supply listeners with vivid lyrical imagery over exceptional production. The latest addition to his catalog is A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night, a new album entirely produced by Oh No. The son of singer Otis Jackson and younger brother of beat god Madlib, Oh No has been among the most consistently relevant artists on the independent hip-hop scene since the release of his influential debut album 15 years ago. Now, these two unique and innovative artists are joining forces for an impressive full-length album. With Oh No’s dynamic, soulful production setting the stage, Blu’s effortless flows and streetwise storytelling are on full display." - Nature Sounds Music.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

D. Brash & Big Ghost Ltd. "Chicaghost" (Album Stream)

I know absolutely nothing about this release, aside from the fact that the good homie Big Ghost Ltd. handled the production, and guest what... that's all I needed to know for me to cop and support it. Not surprisingly, it's a solid listen throughout - hard production and solid rhymes from Chicago lyricist, D. Brash. The project features Vic Spencer, Chris Crack, etc. No hard-sell here, just listen...

Saturday, March 09, 2019

DJ Soul "THINK B.I.G." (Mix, 2017)

On March 10, 2017, DJ Soul recorded a tribute mix for The Notorious B.I.G. mix on Q-Tip's Beats1 radio show, "Abstract Radio." The mix consists of all original material that B.I.G. recorded when he was alive - demos, freestyles, B-sides, original version of album cuts, singles as well as original samples. It's roughly two hours long and was released today by DJ Soul. You can't go wrong with a Biggie mix, so click play and enjoy one of the best to ever do it.... Rest In Peace, B.I.G.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Flatpocket "Dispo II Dispo" (Instrumental Album)

Twit One and Lazy Jones are the German production duo Flatpocket, and their latest beat tape is called Dispo II Dispo, which translates to "Overdraft to Overdraft" in English. It serves as a follow-up to their 2012 debut album "Geldfundphantasyen," which means "Finding Money Fantasies" in German. According to their press release, "Even though Flatpocket talk about money all the time through samples and made-up dialogues, the subject is actually the rejection of materialism" from their perspective. A mix of dope breaks, vocal chops, keys and more; it has a couple light features sprinkled in to make it a continuously dope and entertaining listen. My sleeper choice, listen below...

Friday, March 08, 2019

DJ Filthy Rich "Hard To Earn" (25th Anniversary Mix)

From DJ Filthy Rich, "DJ Premier & Guru (R.I.P.), the duo more popularly known as Gang Starr, released their 4th album 'Hard To Earn' on March 8, 1994. Tired of being labeled as 'jazz-rap', Preemo decided to move away from sampling jazz records, and instead opted for a stripped down style of production. The result was a raw, harder hitting sound, and arguably their best album ever. 'Hard To Earn' is near & dear to me, so I had to get back in the lab and record this 25-year tribute to this legendary album. I've gathered their hits, album cuts & b-sides, and combined them with some original samples, interview soundbites, and my own custom blends. ARTWORK by @tooncrew"

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

RZA "The RZA Hits" (Press Kit, 1999)

"Razor Sharp / Epic presents The RZA Hits, fourteen ear-melting highlights from the everlasting Wu-Tang legacy. Compiled here for hip-hop fiends, clueless non-believers, Wu completists and rap newcomers are some of the most memorable cuts out of the Clan compound. The RZA Hits offers living proof of the power, magnitude and influence the RZA and his cohorts have had on hip-hop since they burst from the underground back in 1992. Sprinkled with engaging narration courtesy of the RZA, the RZA Hits extracts from six entries in the mighty Wu-Tang group/solo album catalog: their classic debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers); Method Man's Tical; Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version; Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Link; GZA's Liquid Swords, and Ghostface Killah's Ironman." - via Razor Sharp/Epic Press Release, 1999.

Of all the classic cuts included, the only track not produced by the RZA is "Brooklyn Zoo," which was done by True Master & Ol' Dirty Bastard. The compilation was released in 1999, and aside from maybe "Wu Wear" and "Winter Warz," which was snuck on Ironman after the Don't Be A Menace soundtrack, any real head been had all these cuts. But, if you need an excuse to revisit these classic cuts, today I'd start with "Ain't Nuttin Ta F Wit" below and fall down the YouTube rabbit hole. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

De La Soul "3 Feet High & Rising" (30th Anniversary Mix)

"On March 3rd 1989, De La Soul released their critically acclaimed debut album and Hip Hop music changed forever. At a time when samples of James Brown and breakbeat staples ruled supreme, De La Soul production partner Prince Paul cast the net far wider, snatching up snippets of vintage Soul, Rock n Roll, Disco, Spoken Word and children's records to create a collage the likes of which had not been heard before. Lyrically, the album married zany humor, real life observations and social commentary. Released less than a year after NWA's ground breaking 'Straight Outta Compton' and Public Enemy's politically charged opus 'It Takes A Nation of Millions', '3 Feet High and Rising' offered a light hearted counterpoint to harder edged sounds emerging on both coasts. In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of this classic LP, we've teamed up with Wax Poetics to present an exclusive mixtape of album tracks, sample material, alt versions, interview snippets and more, mixed by Chris Read." Disclaimer: the release date for this De La Soul classic has been an ongoing debate for some years now; unfortunately I do not have a definitive answer. In cases like this, I defer to people more knowledgable on the matter, and they'll work it out eventually, lol. Regardless of it's release date, it's a groundbreaking album and should be celebrated, so props to Chris Read and WhoSampled for their great work. Do your own research, and always always always follow the breadcrumbs.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Prince Paul "A Prince Among Thieves" (Spin, 9/99)

"Long after he helped introduce the hip-hop skit during his trailblazing work with De La Soul on 3 Feet High and Rising, producer "Prince Paul" Huston created the most ambitious narrative effort of the hip-hop era: an album-length drama recounting the tragicomic travails of an up-and-coming MC and his brutal introduction to the music industry. The soundtrack to an as-yet unfilmed movie, A Prince Among Thieves also succeeds as a collection of memorable Old School-flavored tunes. Says hip-hop producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, "It's the first record I've ever heard that reminds me of the little Superman records I had as a kid, where it would beep and you'd turn the page." Today, on its 20th anniversary, check out the original samples, provided by VinRican, cont'd...

"While Prince boasts a supporting cast that includes Big Daddy Kane, Everlast, and Kool Keith (who took the Method-acting approach to his part as a weapons dealer, arriving at the studio armed with gun magazines), there was one performer Paul coveted but was unable to secure: Vanilla Ice. "I called up his manager," Paul says, "and he was, like, 'Oh, sounds great,' and then never called me back. I would have given Ice a real dope rhyme over an incredible beat ... so that people would have thought he was actually really, really good." Later, when Paul watched Ice spin his tale of woe on VH1's Behind The Music, he couldn't help but laugh. "Man, come on, it wasn't that pitiful - I was trying to give him work." - Spin, September 1999. Revisit this CLASSIC, conceptual album!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The House List Podcast "Group Home Episode"

For the latest episode of the House List podcast, Peter Agoston sits down with the Gang Starr Foundation's Group Home. "Group Home's debut album Livin' Proof is an impenetrable piece of street art. From DJ Premier's production, Danny Hasting's photographic layout to the gruff and honest vocals by Lil Dap and Melachi The Nutcracker. It isn't their only album though, I truly enjoy revisiting 1999's A Tear For The Ghetto as well. Last year they dropped the LP Forever and off the record, I know they have some big stuff coming soon. This is the last convo recorded at my old Brooklyn apt / studio. Hope you enjoy, please subscribe and spread the word." Listen below.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Natural Elements "NE Definitely" (Mixed by Bad Cop)

UK's Bad Cop presents a Natural Elements mix called "NE Definitely," which originally hit the web back in 2013. It's a 26-track non-stop mix, with posse cuts, solo joints, and miscellaneous cuts from affiliated artists. The core members of Natural Elements are A-Butta, L-Swift, & Mr. Voodoo, along with the producer, Charlemagne, but you'll see additional tracks from Nightbreed (KA & Oddbrawl The Lyrical Juggernaut), 2Face (A-Butta & L-Swift), and Raidermen (G-Blass & Stex). A nice mix to get you familiar with the NE crew, or remind you what the underground scene was like in New York back in the 90s. Props to A-Butta, always good peoples. Stream the mix below.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Clear Soul Forces "Still" (Album Stream)

"Nearly four years and a number of solo projects later, Detroit’s Clear Soul Forces are back with their most impressive release to date. "Still" is what happens when four proven artists continue to hone their craft and find their collective flow. At 11 tracks deep, this album eschews trends and instead provides timeless, straight-up dope Hip-Hop. Speaking on why Still sounds so organic and cohesively produced, group member Noveliss says, “Everyone’s growth has made the creative process easier... Now, we and the world know what’s up, and it’s all about bouncing off each other and being a unit on every song.” That sense of true teamwork and partnership is heard and felt on each track, from the neck-snapping opening track through to album closer that serves up a wild burner-to-banger beat-switch. Still is golden era Boom bap for the modern age, and it’s delivered through a lens that’s wholly unique to CSF. It’s also one of integrity, because there’s no fluff or superficial window dressing here—simply some of the best hip-hop you’ll hear this year."

Thursday, February 21, 2019

ewon12bit "One Time For Your Mind" (Instrumental Album)

"One Time For Your Mind" is the debut instrumental hip-hop album by DJ/producer ewon12bit out of Helsinki, Finland. Following the never-dying recipe of traditional sample-based hip-hop and keeping things simple like they were back in the days, ewon12bit's beats keep you vibin' from start to finish. Making this record by using classic hardware, vinyl samples and analog tape, a soundscape similar to those early 90’s hip-hop records that many grew up listening to is created. No corners have been cut in terms of replicating the same sonic characteristics of what people refer to as the ”Golden era” of hip-hop: heavy lowpass filtering, sample layering and slamming drums is what it's all about.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Public Enemy 'It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to hold Us back Spin Magazine
Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to hold Us back Spin Magazine

In 1988, Public Enemy released their sophomore album, 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,' through Def Jam Records. I'd bet some of you weren't even alive when this album dropped. In The Source's 100th issue in 1998, they ranked 'It Takes a Nation...' as the Best Album ... ever! When you consider the impact its had on people and the culture, Public Enemy earned that spot with this album. I included the original review in Spin Magazine in 1988 above, but I also refer to a separate Vibe article in '04 where they looked back at the album and said: 'Chuck and Flav were perhaps the oddest couple in rap history. On their sophomore release, along with Terminator X, Professor Griff, and the SW1, Public Enemy waged a fiery war of words on the powers that be over superior tracks from Hank Shocklee and the Bomb Squad. With this mighty LP, Public Enemy birthed a nation of revolutionaries.' Yes, Yes and Yes. On a personal note, I wrote Chuck D an e-mail many years ago asking for support on an initiative and he responded on his birthday, in some foreign country, and gave me words of encouragement, as well as a quote that I could use in the one-sheet. He's on the front lines and has my eternal respect for all his pioneering contributions. 'I'm even lethal when I'm unarmed / Cause I'm louder than a bomb...' Listen to the video below.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

iamT2 "iamT2" (Album Stream)

The production duo iamT2 presents their Self-Titled debut album featuring guest appearances from Sauce Heist, Ty Da Dale, Baby Maine, Fastlife, Madhattan, ElCamino, Scott G, Bub Rock, Sleep Sinatra, Sully Nomad, Rome Streetz, Lord Juco, Rim, Eddie Kaine, K.Burns & Jay Royale. Mixed by Frado, Executive Produced by Trevor Lang & iamT2, Art Design by Trevor Lang. Give it a listen below.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Carta' P & Parental "MSNBC" (EP Stream)

"Carta’ P. aka “The Obvious Wonder” who hails from the talent rich city of Mount Vernon, NY debuts with his full length solo album “A Beautiful Mess”. In collaboration with french producer Parental, the two combine to mix melodic samples, strong baselines and infectious drums in conjunction with stories about women, relationships, life as an adult, money, children and family. The combination of Parental and Carta’ P. help produce a sound very similar to the 90’s “Golden Era of Hip Hop”. The entire project was produced by Parental and written by Carta’ P. over the span of two years. The two musical juggernauts collaborated and recorded over twenty songs together. Throughout the project, you can hear the musical chemistry along with the development of the album. Carta’ P. is part of the hip hop underground group ADAGIO! from the mid to late 90’s. A lot of the same musical influences and lyrical creativity from ADAGIO! can be heard through this latest collaboration. The album “A Beautiful Mess” is slated to be released later this year." - Bandcamp

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Tribe Called Quest "Scenario" (Live in 1992)

I mentioned the Scenario remix just the other day, got me thinking back to Tribe and Phife, of course, rest in peace. Then, I was on YouTube and because I mentioned it here, Google remembers everything (suspect!) and it suggested a live video of A Tribe Called & Quest and Leaders of the New School up at the Arsenio Hall Show in '92. Gotta appreciate all that Arsenio Hall did to broadcast Hip-Hop to a national crowd, and peep the CD longbox he's holding? Geez, I hated those things back in the day, but now I wish I had more of them, just for the unique versions of the artwork. In the interview after the live performance, Arsenio asks, "We've got problems in this country: riots here, economy problems everywhere, drugs, education, what would you like to say to the youth of America, 'cuz they need to hear positive things..." Ali Shaheed Muhammad says, "As far as those who have turned 18 years old, A Tribe Called Quest suggests that you go out there and register to vote, and that's real. That's your voice. As far as those under 18, stay in school, study, for real - it's a big game you have to learn to play. Definitely." I wish I could say times have changed. They also discuss the relationship between the title "The Low End Theory" and 808s, as well as changing stereotypes for how people look at the black youth in America. Check it out below.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Fugees "Blunted On Reality" Press Kit

Defying all classifications, the Fugees (Pras, Clef, and Lauryn) are bringing a totally fresh perspective to hip-hop: one that's as intellectual as it is musical. Blunted On Reality, the Fugees' furious debut album, will undoubtedly get the group where they want to go, despite where they've come from. Chronicling the experiences of Pras and Clef - young Haitians in an America that set them as "refugees" - the Fugees use the 12 tracks of their album to give their side of the story in terms both specific and universal. Blunted On Reality is the story of anyone who's ever sought refuge. "We're all refugees," Pras points out. "We all seek refuge in our minds," philosophizes Clef. "We all want to escape somewhere, we're all really immigrants because we're trying to get somewhere and never end up there." These three drug-free MCs have discovered that music and life itself has the power to intoxicate and therein lies the meaning of the title, Blunted On Reality. Their self-produced LP vigorously combines elements of reggae, rock, funk, and a complex East Coast production ethic giving the Fugees sound the kind of depth that pushes East Coast rap into a whole other dimension. The Fugees cop to a surprising range of musical influences, citing Bob Marley, Phil Collins, Guns & Roses, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Thelonius Monk, Pink Floyd, and Elton John among the strains of sound that somehow seep into their complex musical mix. - via Press Kit.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"Czarface Meets Ghostface" (Album Stream)

Fresh off 2018’s collaborative LP with the enigmatic MF DOOM, “CZARFACE meets METAL FACE,” the adventure continues as CZARFACE now faces off with Wu-Tang Clan’s GHOSTFACE KILLAH. "Czarface meets Ghostface” brings strictly mind melting beats and bars as 3 emcees clash like villains & heroes in the Savage Land. Czarface, a hip-hop & comics force comprised of WU-TANG CLAN General Inspectah Deck, Esoteric (who recently penned an X-Men comic for Marvel) and super producer 7L team up with Ghostface aka Iron-Man aka Tony Starks for murderous mayhem! Czar commando's Rebel INS & Esoteric trade lines such as "follow in my footsteps might tear your Achilles," & "flow customized got that Dapper Dan touch" with Ghost on the assist "chain is off the cooler, charm look like a shrunken head". With track titles like "The King Heard Voices", "Mongolian Beef", "Czarrcade '87", "Masked Superstars" & "Powers and Stuff" expect nothing short of a super charged collaboration! 12 brand new tracks produced entirely by The Czar-Keys (7L & Jeremy Page). You can stream the full project below & look out for the instrumentals!

Friday, February 15, 2019

The House List Podcast "Breeze Brewin Episode"

Another great episode of the House List Podcast, hosted by Peter Agoston. The latest guest is an OG of mine and one of my all-time favorite MCs, Breeze Brewin of the Juggaknots. "Breezly Brewin hasn't really had a long form interview like this on record, so it was fantastic to hear about his life and his journey into music. Now, a full time school teacher, Breeze grew up in the Bronx. We talk a lot about his childhood, playing basketball and how (like a few other of our most epic talks) Pete Nice helped him early on in his career. The Juggaknots (his group with brother, and sister) never really get their proper due, so I truly enjoyed digging our heels into the writing process of their seminal 1996 debut. The guy is extremely talented as a song / poem writer. Hope you enjoy this one and please subscribe and share feely." Listen to the full interview with Breeze below.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Big Picture - 15 Classic Big L Freestyles #RIPBIGL

"On February 15th, 1999, Harlem rapper Big L (aka Lamont Coleman) was tragically gunned down in the same neighborhood that he consistently repped in his rhymes. His murder came at a time when he had one of the most-talked about singles out, “Ebonics,” his D.I.T.C. crew was making major noise with posse cuts like “Day One,”and his mixtape and radio freestyles were scorching in the streets, which all led to his sophomore album being one of the most anticipated projects by a New York MC to drop. There were even rumors that he was signing to Roc-A-Fella Records, the hottest and most successful young label in the Big Apple at the time led by his rapper friend Jay Z. Unfortunately, his moment to shine at the next level never came. To celebrate Big L’s rap career today ... we thought to truly highlight the essence of Big L’s lyrical greatness, charisma, performance ability, and bottomless pit of bars, we’d round up 15 of his dopest radio, mixtape, and live freestyles (plus a few bonuses because that’s how we do), and put them all together in one mix for you to enjoy." - via NahRight & UpNorthTrips (2014), enjoy the mix below. Rest in Peace, Big L.

Friday, February 15, 2019

KLIM Beats "Dusty Buttons" (Instrumental Album)

"Dusty Buttons," is the latest instrumental album from the very talented producer & composer from Kiev (Ukraine), Klim Beats! A blend of hard-hitting beats, with a bit more punchier feel to it this time. Hamburg's DJ C.S.P. is featured on the tracks, providing really sharp and precise scratching, which makes the project all the more fine-tuned. I caught a beat tape from Klim Beats some years back when I was in between projects with my artists, so there wasn't much I could do except enjoy listening to it, but I've been following and supporting his music ever since. Much respect to the international producers out there. Stream the project below & click through for more beats.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Rub "Love Raps" Mix (Valentine's Day)

A special Valentine's mix via The Rub, "Love Raps." Don't be fooled, there are JOINTS! on this mix. For example, tracks by Meth & Mary J, Lost Boyz, Jay-Z, Outkast, Mos Def, Eve, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Ed O.G., Eric B & Rakim, plus lots more. Their blurb: "Recorded live at House of Wax in Downtown Brooklyn, Love Rap is over two and a half hours of hip-hop love songs. From LL Cool J “I Need Love” (1987) to SZA & Travis Scott “Love Galore” (2017), this is the very best of rap romance and sexual braggadocio." I'm likely skip over some of the more commercial, new records, but I fault them none for including them to celebrate their diverse taste in music (and audience).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Eric B. & Rakim "Lyrics Of Fury" (1988)

There is no secret to their success -- it's about nothing but talent. Eric B. grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, New York loving basketball and music. He played trumpet and guitar as a youth and then graduated to the turntables when rap first surfaced in the late 70s. By 1985 Eric was good enough to work as a mobile deejay for urban contemporary giant WBLS - New York. It was at BLS that Eric met Marley Marl, the on-air mixer for "Mr. Magic's Rap Attack." Rakim himself was born William Griffin in Brooklyn. He grew up in Wyandanch, Long Island, one of five kids in a musical family and the nephew of early rock'n'roll immortal Ruth Brown. An honor roll student, Rakim was writing rhymes and rapping from the time he was a seventh grader. He and Eric met and clicked right away. "We made a promise that our music had to be positive, strong, and different," remembers Rakim, whose interest in Islam is reflected in his stage name. "And I think we've kept our promise." - via Press Kit / Bio. Perhaps not looked at as their most popular track, but "Lyrics Of Fury" on "Follow The Leader" is widely considered one of the greatest expressions of lyrical exercise, and my favorite track off their "Follow The Leader" album in 1988. Lyrics and video below.

"I haunt if you want the style I possess
I bless the child, the earth, the gods and bomb the rest
For those that envy an MC, it can be Hazardous to your health so be friendly
A matter of life and death, just like a Etch A Sketch
Shake 'til you're clear, make it disappear, make the next
After the ceremony, let the rhyme rest in peace"

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Kurious "A Constipated Monkey" Press Kit/Bio

Staring down hip-hop's tiresome faddishness, Pete Nice's Hoppoh Records & Bobbito Garcia's Hit U Off Management offer up the perfect antidote: a new kinda rapper who calls himself Kurious. With "A Constipated Monkey" -- his 12 song debut album -- Kurious embarks on an illuminated journey into the center of his schizoid universe all set to a soundtrack of dope beats and fluid musical snippets courtesy of fellow Latin hip-hop artists, The Beatnuts & Stimulated Dummies. As inquisitive as his cartoon namesake, Kurious trades in reality -- not hardcore gangsta caricatures -- and finds a bizarre universe hidden in the tiny details and humorous mishaps that make up everyday life. His down-to-earth lyrics and slicing rhyming skills have earned Kurious the most precious of rap commodities: respect from the New York hip-hop community from which he sprang. "The key to my whole deal," says Kurious, "is that it's natural, I'm not trying to prove any point. I never brag about having money 'cause I don't have any." But never mind the disclaimer, the main weapon in the Kurious arsenal is his razor-sharp wit. - via Kurious' Hoppah Records promotional bio/press kit.