December 31, 2019

Juice Soundtrack (The Source, 1992)

As hip-hop continues to bumrush the silver screen, the soundtrack is almost as important as the plot. Juice, a new film that stars Digital Underground crew member 2Pac and features DJ's Richie Rich and Plasticman is no exception to the rule. Hank Shocklee has assembled an all-star roster of hip-hop and R&B artists to contribute previously unreleased songs with positive results. Established stars like Naughty By Nature, Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Too Short, EPMD, Salt 'N Pepa, Cypress Hill and Son of Bazerk comprise the already-known hip-hop squad, and new comers MC Pooh and the Juvenille Committee round it out. While everything does not slam, there are some standout cuts. Naughty By Nature goes to work on "Uptown Anthem," a hard yet catchy groove where Treach rips the mic to shreds. For the title track "Juice (Know The Ledge)," Eric B & Rakim follow-up the R&B flavored "I Want To Know What's On Your Mind" (from the Houseparty II soundtrack) with the hardcore jolt to the head fans have been waiting for. The jam beings with a fast-paced, upright jazz bassline which is followed by a crackling kick/snare combo accented by a funky flute sample. Rakim goes for broke and delivers metaphors with a gangsta edge: "Shells lay around on the battleground / Dead bodies are found throughout the town / Try to put shame in my game to make a name / I'ma put it on a bullet and put it in your brain." - The Source, 1992. "Juice (Know The Ledge)" is my single favorite Hip-Hop record of ALL-TIME! I'm on the record with that.

December 30, 2019

Tha Soloist x A Dusty Cinema "Soul Cinema" (EP Stream)

Just a couple weeks ago I listened to Junoon by Tha Soloist and made mention that the stand-out tracks (to me) were the cuts produced by A Dusty Cinema. I'd hoped they'd do more work together and just like that here's his latest EP, produced entirely by A Dusty Cinema. It occurred to me later, however, with as much music as Tha Soloist has released, this could be the dozenth collaborative project they released, I obviously needed to dig back in the catalog and catch up, lol. I'll have to listen to the back projects and do a post on the best of what I've missed (mental note). Even shorter this go round, the Soul Cinema EP is just four short tracks, but Tha Soloist wastes no bars as he shares his personal narratives, self-reflection, and pays tribute to classic MCs along the way.

December 29, 2019

Sean Price x Lil Fame "Price Of Fame" (Album Stream)

Sean Price & Lil Fame join forces for 'The Price of Fame' album on Duck Down Records. The 11-track project features M.O.P., Smif N Wessun, Rock of Heltah Skeltah, Conway The Machine, Illa Gee, and Guilty Simpson. The album is entirely produced by Lil Fame of M.O.P., and contains all unreleased Sean Price verses! Rest In Peace, Sean Price, one of the best lyricists to ever pick up a microphone. Don't sleep on Fizzy Womack's production neither, salute Lil Fame! Stream the album below.

December 28, 2019

Nas x Statik Selektah "The Prophecy Volume 2" (Mixtape, 2006)

Released in 2006, this is the second collaboration between Nas and Statik Selektah in their mixtape series called The Prophecy. Volume 2 includes a handful of exclusives, remixes, and slept-on gems from the incredible Nas catalog. There's features with Jay-Z, The Game, Jadakiss, Papoose, Lauryn Hill, Common, AZ, Kool G Rap, Termanology, as well as Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Hi-Tek and more. The mixtape was advance promo for the release of Hip-Hop Is Dead and was subtitled "The Beginning Of The N." If you don't have this in your collection, it's a must-listen, so stream or download it below...

December 27, 2019

9th Wonder "Zion IV" (Instrumental Album)

9th Wonder has touched down with another entry in his Zion series of beat tapes, delivering on Zion IV. This time around, the effort comes through with 46 total tracks as 9th continues to flex his skills behind the boards, reworking Stevie Wonder live performances while also infusing soulful cuts such as SZA and DRAM's "Caretaker" and Debarge's "I Like It." It caps off another busy year for the super-producer who gifted fans with two collaborative Murs projects this year while also having his hand in Rapsody's Eve studio album. It was this time last year that Zion III arrived and 9th doesn't skip a beat in reviving and expanding on his successful series. - HNHH. Listen below...

December 26, 2019

Mick Boogie Presents "Unbelievable" (Mixtape, 2007)

On the 10th anniversary (2007) of the tragic passing of Christopher ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ Wallace, Mick Boogie and newcomer Terry Urban of the League Crew teamed up to release Unbelievable: A Tribute To Biggie Smalls, a project that many critics have called “the best Biggie mixtape ever.” Hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs, this 100% creative mixtape features Biggie material remixed the way it was supposed to be done. Original beats and special guest appearances, as well as plenty of crazy remixes are abundant throughout the project. You'll hear lots of tribute mixes to B.I.G. on this site, but very few will be better than this one right here! R.I.P. B.I.G. Listen very closely below...

December 25, 2019

A Very Nostalgic Christmas To Everyone + Mix

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, y'all! I appreciate you for finding this site - I know I never make it easy by promoting it, so if you've been following since my old websites OR just happened to stumble upon it thanks to Google searches, welcome ... For this year's Christmas, I present you with MICK (f/k/a) Mick Boogie's unconventional A Very MICK Christmas mix from last year. In his own words: "Like most people, I think the overabundance of Christmas music this time of year is horrible and cheesy. However… if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that not only is there amazing holiday music, but there is LOTS of it. So for this project, I put together a retro, funky, soulful, classic mix of Christmas songs that will get you in the holiday spirit but also keep your head nodding the entire time. James Brown, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Minnie Ripperton, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Smith, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones… the list goes on and on. And for the intro, we even got the legendary DMC of Run-DMC to remake his classic holiday anthem: Christmas In Hollis.” Like EPMD said, "Don't Over Do It Holmes," make time and kindness be the best gifts you give this year! Peace.

December 24, 2019

Your Old Droog "Jewelry" (Album Stream)

Inimitable rap musician Your Old Droog is back. After recently releasing the acclaimed projects "It Wasn't Even Close" and "Transportation", the prolific artist is returning with the brand new album "Jewelry". The album is a celebration of Your Old Droog's Jewish heritage, which he is now officially revealing to the public for the first time. "Jewelry" features guest appearances from the likes of Matisyahu, MF DOOM, and Mach-Hommy (who also wears the hat of executive producer on the project), with beats by Quelle Chris, Tha God Fahim, Edan, Preservation, and more. "I'm a Jew in America", says Droog. "This is my story. Shalom." Listen to Your Old Droog's Jewelry album below... 

December 23, 2019

DJ Revolution "Plastic Man" (Mixtape, 2000)

The Japan-only release of DJ Revolution's Plastic Man mix tape from... I'm not sure when? The net says 2001 but I'm not 100% on that. The tape features tracks from Kool G Rap, Positive K, Jeru The Damaja, Diamond D & Sadat X, Tragedy Khadafi, Group Home, Mobb Deep, Rasco, Inspectah Deck, The Beatnuts, Black Sheep, Double X Posse, Kenny Dope, Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Ultramagnetic MC's, King Sun, Dilated Peoples, El Da Sensei, Bumpy Knuckles, De La Soul, Jurassic 5, Paul Nice, Ill Advised and more. Listen to Plastic Man below...

December 22, 2019

Kxng Crooked & Bronze Nazareth "Gravitas" (Album Stream)

Long Beach legend Kxng Crooked (Crooked I) takes a break from his consistently dope Weeklys series to serve up listeners a slab of hardcore Hip-Hop fashioned with lauded Wu affiliate Bronze Nazareth. It's East meets West in a collision of sound. And plenty of Crooked and Bronze's homies come along for the ride, including Killah Priest, Ras Kass, Bishop Lamont, Planet Asia, Snoop Dogg, LA the Darkman, Tristate, Ghostface Killah, Benny The Butcher, 38 Spesh, DMX, Royce Da 5'9, Statik Selektah, RZA and more! Listen to Kxng Crooked and Bronze Nazareth's Gravitas project below...

December 21, 2019

Adonis & DJ Skizz "Logan" (Album Stream)

Long Beach, California rapper Adonis connects with BK/LA producer DJ Skizz to bring you a 9-track album "Logan". As you may be able to tell from the title, this project is inspired by Marvel's Old Man Logan aka The Wolverine. Adonis has always been a huge marvel head and wanted to create a album that fused his love for the marvel universe with his microphone prowess as an MC. On the title track "Logan", Adonis actually takes on the Wolverine persona "I feel like I'm Old Man Logan on Mics simply was choose to give out moments that were Golden/I can't remember my life/know that my name is Logan it's engraved on a ice, Yikes!" DJ Skizz has been having another busy year behind the boards. On "Logan", he provides Adonis with an eclectic backdrop that includes tracks like the gritty "U.S.S.R", the slow, menacing "What U Call That", and the soulful "Stone'.  All of the songs fit cohesively into a body of songs that tells the story of a rapper who is the Wolverine of the rap game and most definitely has a bright future. Cop the instrumentals when they drop, too. Dig in...

December 20, 2019

Fat Beats "25th Anniversary Compilation" (Album Stream)

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Fat Beats, they've carefully curated this compilation of their best and favorite 25 tracks on Fat Beats Records. It also includes 2 brand new cuts from Clear Soul Forces and Ill Bill, as well as great tracks by Crimeapple, Masta Ace, Black Milk, Will Sessions, Blu & Exile, Kool G Rap, La Coka Nostra, Roc Marciano, El Michaels Affair, El Da Sensei, Trinity and more. Part of me is sad that they didn't contact me to use one of the vinyl-only exclusives we recorded on Fat Beats Records for the Eternia & MoSS "At Last" EP, but I'm still so extremely proud of all their accomplishments and cannot explain how much my years at Fat Beats (as a customer and working there) impacted my life. Thank you, Fat Beats! Please stream the compilation below...

December 19, 2019

DJ Clif "US Connexion" (Album Stream)

A 19-track production album from DJ Clif representing out of Montfermeil, France. The project features 90s style production and a grip of underground's hottest spitters like Reks, Napoleon Da Legend, Dirt Platoon, Recognize Ali, The Absouljah, Raf Almighty, Ruste Juxx, UG (Cella Dwellas) and more. Give this one a thorough listen, it's got solid beats, sharp cuts and biting lyrics.

December 18, 2019

Tha Soloist "Junoon" (EP Stream)

One of the most prolific MCs in the game, Tha Soloist represents out of Jersey City, and I'll be honest, I can't keep up with his output! I've probably missed several of his releases at this point - and I will eventually go back and check them - but for now, here's his latest effort, Junoon. It's a short EP, just 5 tracks, featuring production by A Dusty Cinema, Appetite and Dseize. I'm enjoying the soundscapes of A Dusty Cinema - Tha Soloist definitely has a good ear for production. I'd like them to do more work together in the near future. In the meantime, check out this EP below.

December 18, 2019

Nas "Stillmatic" (December 18, 2001)

Nas's fifth album Stillmatic is his awakening. His rebirth. Illmatic revisited. Well, kind of. He explains on the intro, "They thought I'd make another Illmatic / But it's always forward I'm moving / Never backwards, here's another classic." But before he begins to lead hip-hop into its next era, he has some unfinished business to tend to. The leadoff song, "Ether," answers Jay-Z's "The Takeover," a below-the-belt jab that severely attacked Nas's character and skills. Though the rap audience is way too fickle for one MC to proclaim himself king, Nas confidently responds, "Burner at the side of your dome / Come out of my throne / I got this locked since '91 / I am the truest / Name a rapper that I ain't influence / Gave y'all chapters, but now I keep my eyes on the Judas / With 'Hawaiian Sophie" fame, kept my name in his music." Kim Osorio and The Source awarded Nas the coveted 5 mics for Stillmatic, while Vibe was less generous in their 3.5 review. Vibe argued, "Stillmatic is by no means perfect; in fact, it's infuriatingly inconsistent." Adding, "As usual, Nas's attempts at crossover hits, like the guitar-laced histrionics of "The Flyest," are misguided. Stillmatic's weaknesses demonstrate Nas's conflicted sense of identity, but at his best, Nas is still one of the finest. The sometimes half-baked, but always intriguing political ideas here live up to the claim he made on "Live At The Barbeque" -- 'Nasty Nas is a rebel to America'." Nas is undoubtedly one of my favorite MCs of all-time, but I tend to agree with Vibe, there were inconsistencies and I don't believe it was a 5-mic album. I do believe Nas won the battle with Hov, and that Stillmatic "is an exercise in lyrical courage and musical might." A fine, much-needed addition to his catalog in 2001. 4 mics? Maybe.

Promo sticker and the full review in Vibe Magazine (2/02) are below...

December 17, 2019

Farma Beats "The Shadow Man" (EP Stream)

The Shadow Man is the latest EP from London producer, Farma Beats. The 8-track offering features  some heavy spitters from the underground in Deuce Hennesy, Lupus Dei, J Scienide, Norm Regular, Supreme Cerebral, Ty Farris, Johnny Storm, Cousin Feo, Lord Juco, and Jah-Monte. The EP also features DJs Madhandz and Boogieman. The drug-inspired EP boasts solid beats and rhymes. 

December 16, 2019

Dirty Harry "Ghetto Heaven" (Mixtape, 1997)

Back again with another mix tape from Dirty Harry. This is Tape #6 aka Ghetto Heaven, which was considered part 2 to his Fist Full of Dollars mixtape. Released in 1997, Dirty Harry once again blends R&B and Hip-Hop, along with classic tracks, from artists like Nas, Gina Thompson, Jay-Z, Monica, Akinyele, Groove Theory, Keith Sweat, Lost Boyz, A Tribe Called Quest, Heather B, Real Live, Raekwon, Fugees, Busta Rhymes, Ghostface Killah and lots more. You know what to expect, but yet Dirty Harry always brings something fresh and original to his mixes. As an A&R for Krucial Keys, Harry has been an integral player in the game for a long time. This goes back to '97, listen below...

December 15, 2019

Dr. Dre & Snoop "The Chronic" (December 15, 1992)

December 15, 1992: It's not that there wasn't any hip-hop out west in 1992. Ice Cube, Digital Underground, Too $hort, E-40, Ice-T, and DJ Quik were all innovative participants. Just not like this. The Chronic redefined an entire genre's sound and attitude but, more crucially, its tempo. This was slow, creeping music to ride out to: in your car, at a party, locked inside your bedroom. N.W.A. alum Andre Young raided Parliament-Funkadelic's deep, springy bottom end, customizing it with live instrumentation and glimmering splashes of '70's soul. The combination became rap's first Wall of Sound, infiltrating mass culture in a way that seemed both impossible and inevitable. Soon, 13-year olds in Stokie, Illinois, were instructing their teachers to "lick deez nuts." The Chronic spawned thousands of fake gangstas who knew nothing about what was really going on in the hood," says L.A. native Dam-Funk, who played keyboards for like-minded artists MC Eiht and Westside Connection. "But it was just a final hooray of legitimate respect for the West Coast. This wasn't Young MC; this was the real vibe." Chalk it up to Snoop Doggy Dogg, a low-level Long Beach weed dealer with a lean build and insouciant tone, who appears on 12 of the album's 16 cuts, including the era-defining single, "Nuttin' But A G Thang." But ultimately, what stands out about The Chronic is its viciousness: the shots fired at Eazy-E, the misogynistic flair, the absurdly violent skits. It typified a new moment, when gangsta rap grabbed all the chips on the table and dragged them westwards, consequences be damned." - Spin, 5/10. 10 Things You Didn't Know. Listen to The Chronic HERE.

December 14, 2019

DJ Ev "Hotter This Year" (Mixtape, 1996)

DJ Ev hits with once again with his '96 mixtape Hotter This Year. Another solid mix of hard and smoothe joints from Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Keith Murray, De La Soul, Redman, Mobb Deep, Ghostface Killah, Lost Boyz, Big Noyd, Nine, GZA, Smoothe The Hustler, Rakim, Fat Joe, The Beatnuts, KRS-One, Shyheim, Total, Intro, D'Angelo, M.O.P., Lil' Kim, Jay-Z, Erick Sermon and more. Listen below...

December 13, 2019

Rigz & Mooch "The Only Way Out" (Album Stream)

Big Ghost Ltd drops off his latest, and shares that "This aint no album yo the shit is a movie. You hear bum ass rappers call the bum ass shit they do "a movie" all the time but this aint that. This shit is cinematic FORREAL.. Reality told from two shared perspectives in a semi chronological way without no sugar sprinkled on top. In the first half you get the glorification of the streets. In the second half you get the less glamorous n enticing side of the coin following the same timeline. The realities of both presented without filters. Gritty. Grimy. Brutal. Violent. Merciless... And sometimes heartfelt. Just in time for the Holiday Season!" Dig into Rigz & Mooch's The Only Way Out below...

December 12, 2019

DJ 3rd Rail & AMC "Big L Mix, 2-15-99" (Mixtape, 1999)

DJ 3rd Rail & AMC put in work on their tribute mix to Big L, R.I.P. (2-15-99). The hour-long mix captures classic tracks, album cuts and rare gems from the Diggin' In The Crates crew member. I believe this mix tape was recorded soon after Big L's passing in '99, and it captures the essence of his music and the extreme talent that we lost far too soon. DJ 3rd Rail is the longest all-vinyl hip-hop radio mix-show DJ, based out of Chicago. Since the early 90's, DJ 3rd Rail has been holdin' it down on the radio weekly. Dig into the Big L mix below... much thanks to DJ Step One for the upload.

December 11, 2019

Skratch Bastid "Merry Christmas & Happy New Year" (Video)

Later today, this may feel like I was being lazy and this is a throw-away post, but I am a very big fan of Skratch Bastid - I think he's one of the greatest technical DJs we've ever seen! This Christmas-themed mini-routine is extremely dope. What do you want for Christmas?? WE WANT THE FUNK! It's catchy and skillful, plus he's got the t-shirts for sale, which makes the video excellent marketing! I'm here to support that, so check it and capture the essence of Christmas spirit! It'll only take you 2 minutes and 37 seconds. Ho! Ho! Ho! Props to Skratch Bastid, hit the tags for more... 

December 10, 2019

GZA "Legend of the Liquid Sword" (12/10/02)

GZA is a problem: Anybody who would blindside a sleeping population with an album as unexpectedly powerful as Legend of the Liquid Sword poses a clear and present danger. Folks were understandably lulled -- on GZA's last LP, Beneath The Surfce (1999), his scrawny beats couldn't support his heavy lyrical content. But this time he backs his steady, measured flow with enough production power to rouse the world from its slumber. On "Luminal," GZA's verses about a serial killer are so blood-curdling, listeners will scramble to lock their doors. DJ Muggs's ominous beats only heighten the fear factor. For the title track, GZA reflects candidly on his career against Jaz-O's feverish drum loop, with its piercing piano droplets, and a stellar hook from Christion's Allen Anthony. The album's most eye-opening track, "Animal Planet," layers the rising and crashing of heavy drums under a smokey vocal sample as GZA introduces a world where giraffes "play lookout for gorillas in the mist." But unlike some of that wild kingdom's inhabitants, GZA is far from extinction. He's still a beast. - Vibe (December, 2002). The GZA's LP was released on 12/10/02.

Vibe Magazine album review of Legend of the Liquid Sword (12/10/02)...

December 09, 2019

Pounds x Buckwild "Trafficante" (Album Stream)

Rochester MC Pounds and Diggin In The Crates producer Buckwild have released a collaborative project titled Trafficante. The 12-track album features Roc Marciano, Benny The Butcher, Crimeapple and more. Buckwild's production remains extremely sharp throughout, and Pounds' unique voice and flow complement it well. I listened to this album at the request of two friends, because I honestly wasn't familiar with Pounds, but I can see why it's got a buzz. Listen below...

December 08, 2019

Theory Hazit & Krum "Muddy Squirrel Tape" (EP Stream)

Fresh off the success of the "Here's Mud In Your Eye" album, Krum and Theory Hazit are back to track mud all over your floor with the "Muddy Squirrel Tape" EP. This time around we get a 5 song snapshot of the dirty duo rhyming over the most dusty instrumentals from Evidence's latest offering, "Squirrel Tape Instrumentals, Vol.1". You can dig into the archives to hear that release from Ev. In and out of music, I'm a fan of Theory Hazit - he's good peoples. Support his latest EP below...

December 07, 2019

Dirty Harry "Make My Day" (Mixtape, 1995)

Classic blend tape called Make My Day from Dirty Harry in 1995. The remixed-tape includes numerous blends featuring artists like Ol' Dirty Bastard, Nas, Lost Boyz, Boyz II Men, AZ, Redman & Method Man, Mary J. Blige, Mic Geronimo, Raekwon, TLC, Kool G Rap, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Raphael Saadiq, Rakim, Fugees, Smif-N-Wessun, A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One, and lots more. Listen below...

December 06, 2019

Eto & Wally Clark "The Circle" (Album Stream)

Over the course of a year, Eto and Wally Clark worked hard to create something that was new and different from what you are used to, but while maintaining the raw sound that you have come to trust from Rochester's native son. What you get is that same grimy upstate flavor, mixed with some Southern Soul provided by Nashville raised Wally Clark. The Circle was crafted in Colorado, and by having Denver native Juan Fuentez contribute his stunning street photography, from his time spent in Los Angeles, this project is truly a culmination of all sides of America. Check it out below...

December 05, 2019

Stretch & Bobbito Show w/ DJ Eclipse (December 5, 1996)

Here goes about 3 1/2 hours of a 4 hour show from 89Tech9. Stretch wasn't there and DJ Eclipse was on the substitution. Bobbito played demos for the first 35 minutes or so and then hits the mic (36:29) to make announcements and recap. Eclipse gets on right after that (40:47) and plays up until next mic break (89:08) with guests Ak Skills & Big K.O. (Tru Criminal). Bobbito bugs out with them for a few and then Ak sets off the freestyle session (90:42). After that segment is done, Eclipse gets back to playing more joints (114:44) up until the tape runs out. Sounds like E may be missing a demo or two possibly at the beginning of the show and then missing some stuff at the end, too. Enjoy...

December 04, 2019

Andre 3000 & Madlib "Otis Benjamin 2.0" (Mixtape)

Altered Crates delivers a sonic delight by blending Andre 3000’s spectacular verses with Madlib’s magnificent tracks. Aptly-titled Otis Benjamin 2.0, the extended project adds four new edits, including Madstacks takes on UGK’s “Int’l Players Anthem,” Lloyd’s “I Want You,” and Outkast’s “Elevators.” The tape caps a ten-release year from Crates, whose mash-up archive now features the stellar Premier Hussle project, a Yasiin Bey x Al Green twist-up, and a Freddie Gibbs Christmas album. These releases from Altered Crates have been phenomenal, check Otis Benjamin 2.0 below...

December 03, 2019

Dirty Harry "A Fist Full Of Dollars" (Mixtape, 1996)

Back to 1996, this is Tape #5 aka A Fist Full of Dollars from Dirty Harry. Dirty Harry's tapes made rounds throughout Queens and I'm sure they touched down wherever you lived, too. This tape features original blends/remixes from Dirty Harry on tracks from Busta Rhymes, D'Angelo, Groove Theory, Ras-T, Brandy, Surface, Fugees, Fat Joe, Raekwon, Horace Brown, Def Squad, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Xscape, AZ, Total, Faith Evans, Mobb Deep and lots more. Many of Dirty Harry's original tapes were remastered so they sound even better now. Dig into Harry's A Fist Full of Dollars below...

December 02, 2019

D.I.T.C. "D.I.T.C. Studios II" (Album Stream)

The Diggin In The Crates collective has dropped a new album titled D.I.T.C. Studios Volume 2. The project is produced entirely by longtime member Showbiz. D.I.T.C.’s latest compilation features 10 tracks. A.G., O.C., Lil Fame of M.O.P., Papoose, Milano Constantine, Cory Gunz and David Bars contributing vocals to the LP. D.I.T.C. has been one of the most consistent crews/collectives since the 90s. The project was mixed by the homie, Parks, whom you'd know via Joe Budden. Listen below...

December 01, 2019

DJ Green Lantern "Blaze" (Mixtape, 1999)

Another Tape Kingz release from '99; this is Blaze by The Evil Genius, Green Lantern. The mix tape includes an opening freestyle from Noreaga and then-unreleased tracks from Mobb Deep & Onyx, DMX, Black Moon & Q-Tip, Nas, Ghostface & Raekwon, Buckshot, The LOX, Inspectah Deck, Black Rob, Nas, Tragedy Khadafi, and Cormeaga, as well as cuts by Redman, Keith Murray, Big Pun, Mase, AZ and more. You've probably heard all these joints by now, but this was a real solid tape at the time for the exclusivity and now just for the overall quality of the songs he included. Listen below...

November 30, 2019

Add-2 "Jim Crow: The Musical" (Album Stream)

Chicago’s own Add-2 follows up his acclaimed 2015 release Prey For The Poor with a conceptual, timely, and socially conscious effort titled Jim Crow: The Musical. The 19-track, 57-minute audio adventure (narrated by actor Kadeem Hardison) takes listeners up-and-down the Mason-Dixon line with songs that touch on subjects relevant to Black people in America. The veteran lyricist opens in such a theatrical way, similar to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, where you have no choice but to lock yourself in and get ready for the ride. Self-produced by Add-2, Jim Crow: The Musical offers life lessons that cover topics such as self-determination, how to maneuver the streets, and staying alive. In an age where we’re reading stories — almost in real-time — about people of color being murdered by the police, vilified in the media, and condemned by politicians, Add-2’s contribution serves as a balm on an open wound... Jim Crow: The Musical is an exhibition in flat-out raw rhyming and beckons immediate playing. - via AFH. I really enjoyed 2013's Between Heaven & Hell, I'm glad they put me up on his latest LP. Dig into it below, and pay very close attention.

November 29, 2019

Noveliss "Sword Of Nature" (Album Stream)

In the words of Noveliss, "Sword of Nature is truly a sound that is somewhere left of Hip Hop. Produced entirely by Hir-O with Will Underwood III adding his flute to the mix. There is a story within the project that is an extension of the "Cerebral Apex" story. However, the story is narrated entirely in Japanese and the only way to see the English translation is to get the special edition vinyl." Personally, the production was a bit underwhelming for me on this one, so it left me a little disappointed, but in terms of lyrics and flow, Noveliss remains on point. I'm hoping it'll grow on me.

November 28, 2019

Redman Thanksgiving Special (BET Rap City, 1998)

There's no better way to spend Thanksgiving than with the Funk Doctor Spock, Reggie Noble aka Redman! Back in 1998,  Big Tigger pulled up on Redman for BET's Rap City and as you'd expect, nothing short of comedy transpires! Redman promotes his then-upcoming album Doc's Da Name, running down the various features and production on the project. Redman da Chef cooks it up marvelous and shares stories about Method Man, Keith Murray, and his parting message is "if you've gotta be a monkey, be a guerrilla!" Do the knowledge on that one, lol. Happy Holidays and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner. If you haven't seen it, find Redman's MTV Cribs video for a laugh too!

November 27, 2019

Rakim "The Master" (Billboard Magazine, 11/27/99)

"THE MASTER IS BACK: Respected rap veteran Rakim has a sound that transcends time. In fact, on his new Universal album, Rakim sounds as vital and current as he did over a decade ago on such Eric B. & Rakim classics as "Paid In Full" and "Follow The Leader." The Master -- his sophomore solo album -- arrives in stores Nov. 30. "When I Be On The Mic," produced by DJ Premier, is the lead single. It is being commercially released on 12-inch on Dec. 14. "I had a little more fun doing this album," says Rakim. "I stay in the street and try to keep an ear out for what's going on as far as my lyrical content. The main thing is knowing what not to do and say and what people are not feelin'."

"Rakim cites MCs who contradict themselves as the greatest offense to listeners. "I try to say true to myself and stay on one page," he says. "I haven't changed. [My audience] respects me as an artist because -- and I hate to use this expression -- I kept it real. And I keep it proper as far as my lyrical content and the way I present myself." As one of hip-hop's pioneers, Rakim is proud of the culture's growth. "When I think about how far hip-hop has come, I sit back and smile," he says. "DJs have taken their skills to the next level. Rappers are bringing more styles to the table, and the lyrics are wittier. We used to use R&B tracks for hip-hop; now R&B singers are using hip-hop tracks. We went through a lot of people turning us down, calling it hoodlum music. But when you look at television now, everybody is rapping." - Billboard Magazine, November 27, 1999.

November 26, 2019

Pete Rock & CL Smooth "The Main Ingredient" (25th Ann. Mix)

This month marks the 25th anniversary of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's second (and final) full-length LP, 'The Main Ingredient.' Following in the footsteps of 1992's 'Mecca and the Soul Brother,' the album comprises tracks built from densely layered samples, frequently previously unsampled jazz fusion cuts mixed with crisp drums and short vocal snippets plundered from well-known '80s/'90s hip-hop tracks. Use of a number of go-to tracks defines the sound of the album and the presence of vocal samples from Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane in particular is a key ingredient in the album's sonic palette. In celebration of the album's 25th anniversary, Wax Poetics partnered up once again with WhoSampled to present this mixtape of album tracks, alternate versions, interview snippets, and of course original sample material, mixed by the talented Chris Read. Yessir, check it out below...

November 25, 2019

Matthew Africa "The Best of Gang Starr" (Mix, 2010)

“Gang Starr is one of my favorite acts from the 1990s. There is no rap group I listened to more in that era, although De La Soul, Outkast & A Tribe Called Quest all run pretty much neck and neck. Still, in recent years I haven’t listened to Gang Starr much... Maybe it’s because in the last decade the school of hardcore hip hop that they defined stagnated and played out so hard. For me, this mix was about rediscovery... After reading about Guru’s health troubles, I devoted a 2-hour episode to Gang Starr’s music. It was my first time mixing a lot of the songs in years and it felt so good, so natural, that I knew I had to turn it into tape... I drew tracks from all six of Gang Starr’s albums, and each is represented more or less in proportion to how much I like it: 1992’s Daily Operation tops them all with 9 selections, although 1990’s Step in the Arena, 1994’s Hard to Earn and 1998’s Moment of Truth all feature prominently with 7, 6 and 5 tracks, respectively. The first and last albums got kind of short shrift, although there were more songs I would have included from each if I hadn’t run out of space. They have one of the strongest catalogs in rap music and there were a lot of additional songs, verses and scratch parts I wish I could have included...” - Matthew Africa, 3/16/10. A moment of silence for the legendary Bay Area DJ, Matthew Africa, who was tragically killed in a car accident on 9/3/12. R.I.P. to him and Guru, who were taken from us far too soon.

November 24, 2019

Styles P "Presence" (Album Stream)

Styles P is determined to go down as the hardest working emcee in 2019 as the rapper adds another project to his long list of releases. The New York rapper has delivered Presence, which on the cover art of the album Styles shares is "the state or fact of existing, occurring or being present in a place or thing." The 10-track record is delivered via The Phantom Entertainment LLC and EMPIRE. Presence is sonically aligned with Styles P's streetwise lyricism and delivery that fans have continued to love throughout the years. The veteran rapper calls on a few artists to help him round out the project including Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher, Chris Rivers, Cris Streetz, I-Man, Xander, and Butta. - HNHH. You can listen to Styles P's latest effort, Presence, below...

November 23, 2019

Mastermind "Tape 42: Back By Popular Demand '98" (Mixtape, 1998)

This is Canadian DJ Mastermind's Tape 42 aka Back By Popular Demand '98. Once again, Mastermind hits us with some underground flavor on tracks from KRS-One, Black Moon, Black Star, A Tribe Called Quest, Showbiz & AG, Def Squad, Fat Joe, Diamond D, The Roots, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, Nonchalant, Saafir, Sauce Money, Ras Kass, Paula Perry, Nas, Cam'ron, Wyclf Jean, King Tee, Lauryn Hill, Xzibit, Kid Capri, Defari, and a bunch more! Enjoy Mastermind's Tape 42 mix from 1998 below...

November 22, 2019

Slick Rick "Behind Bars" (The Source, May 1993)

Slick Rick, hip-hop’s greatest storyteller, spoke from prison (Woodbourne Correctional Facility in South Fallsberg, New York) in an exclusive interview with The Source in May, 1993. As Def Jam prepared to release his third solo album, “Behind Bars,” Slick Rick reflected on life behind bars and his turbulent past. “Titled Behind Bars, the third album brings producers like Pete Rock, Large Professor, Marley Marl and Easy Moe Bee into the picture, remixing - and in most cases re-remixing tunes that were completed months ago… “Behind Bars,” Rick’s account of life in the joint, is a graphic account of inmates getting their sneakers taken, “rape attempts,” fights for the telephone” and more. “While his lyrics shine, some people feel the album shouldn’t be released as is, that it isn’t representative of Rick’s best work. The decision lies in the hands of Russell Simmons.” As you saw in the Def Jam documentary, “The Show,” this conversation played out in the film, with Rick less than pleased with some of the production choices. I recommend reading the full article for all the back details, and I’ll close it out with a note from Slick Rick, saying “I’d like to say peace to all the brothers incarcerated, hold your head. And all the cross carriers, keep the faith.” Slick Rick was released from prison in 1997 after spending five years in prison. Slick Rick's album, Behind Bars, was released on this day in 1994. Happy 25th Anniversary. Art from Andre LeRoy Davis below.