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. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Kool G Rap & Nas "Fast Life" (DJ Step One Blend)

"...But dough don't respect me, it got me handcuffed 
The rough life, I just be up nights, breathin' with scuffed Nike's 
Pour my beers for my peoples under the stairs 
These years I got they names in my swears..."
- Nas (Kool G Rap's "Fast Life")

There may be no Nas without Kool G Rap, but it's visual lyrics like the bars above that make Nas consistently one of my favorite MCs of all-time. I'm on record saying Kool G Rap is one of the greatest lyricists of our generation, no question, but conceptually, he's lost me a few times over the years, so I'm glad Nas was there to pick up the torch. Just one man's opinion. Back to '95, here's a dope blend using Kool G Rap & Nas' "Fast Life" lyrics over K-Def & Larry-O (aka Real Live)'s "Larry-O Meets Iceberg Slick." Props to Step One & DJ Filthy Rich! You can check out more blends on Audiomack, more mixes via Mixcloud, and DJ Step One's site that has been flourishing for years at Only Built For ZShare Links. Opinion: do you think Buckwild's original production on "Fast Life" was the best fit for the track? Or, the Salaam Remi remix? Or, the Vinyl Reanimators remix? Or... ?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Recommended Reading: "Go Ahead In The Rain"

This is the 3rd book by Hanif Abdurraqib. It is a love letter to a group, a sound, and an era. It is called "Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest." To be 100% honest, at the time of this post, I have not yet read this book. However, it is #1 on my Amazon shopping list & I've heard nothing short of amazing reviews by people I respect and thus, I absolutely consider this recommended reading. In Chapter 2, "Once Upon a Time In Queens," Abdurraqib says "...the first bits of hip-hop were born out of DJs breaking apart funk and disco beats and relegating every other sound to a graveyard until all that was left was the percussion, cut up into small, danceable portions for the people in the audience to sweat to." And so it goes... help me find my way. You can and should order the book HERE. If you've read it, drop a comment below with feedback.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

VA "Boombap & All That Jazz, Vol.1" (Instrumental Album)

The debut release from Chill Select, "Boombap and All That Jazz, Volume 1" is aptly titled with it's lo-fi loops of jazzy boombap hip-hop. The compilation features 33 instrumentals from a wide range of producers representing from all around the world. Too many to name, so please do your due diligence and check it out below and follow through to learn more about the producers you dig. Also available for download using Bandcamp's "Name Your Price" feature, check it out...

Monday, February 11, 2019

Sean Price & Small Professor "86 Witness" (Album Stream)

"86 Witness is a testament to both Hip-Hop’s Golden Era, and the unbelievable talents of Sean Price, one of the genre’s biggest and best voices who was taken from us far, far too soon. His hilarious, tack-sharp rhymes are complemented by the imaginative and dusty production of Philly’s Small Professor, who may just be rap’s best kept secret. Throughout ’86 Witness,’ both P and Pro perfectly weave together the sounds and the styles of the era that set the foundation for Hip-Hop culture. And they do so with some help from acclaimed turntablist DJ Revolution, who appears on five of the album’s ten cuts. Lyrically, P pays homage to the year 1986 with clever bars boasting slick, pop culture-referencing wordplay. He big-ups the Bears’ Super Bowl XX win on “Refrigerator P”; references Herbie Hancock’s time-honored ‘Round Midnight’ OST on “Midnight Rounds”; shows love to Just Ice’s “Latoya” on the Quelle Chris-featured “Latoya Jackson”; and dedicates track six to John Gotti with the help of AG Da Coroner, Guilty Simpson and Your Old Droog.  Like his previous projects, ’86 Witness’ is brimming with classic lines and lyrical barbs from P. What’s different here, however, is the depth of his references in addition to his incredible chemistry with Small Pro. From the verses to the beats, they have provided so many musical Easter eggs that each listen tips off something you’ve yet to discover. And that’s not even mentioning the ambitious lineup of guests that in addition to the aforementioned, includes: Rockness Monstah, Illa Ghee, Elucid, Castle, Reef the Lost Cauze, Curly Castro, Zilla Rocca, and Rob Kelly. As "Word to Mother" begins to fade, you hear Q-Tip's nostalgic quote of "That summer of '86 changed Hip-Hop forever..." You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn't say the same about Sean Price. Hip-Hop (and the world) misses you. The CD edition of ’86 Witness’ comes equipped with P’s ‘Land of the Crooks’ EP—produced entirely by M-Phazes—featured as bonus tracks." Sean Price, Rest In Peace.

Monday, February 11, 2019

SmooVth "Young SmooVth" (Album Stream)

"Young SmooVth" is the latest release from New York MC, SmooVth. The 14-track release boasts production from Knxwledge, DJ Kryptonite, Philanthrope, 12 Bit, Manu Beats & more, plus one feature from his Hempstead partner in Tha Connection, Hus Kingpin. You can stream "Young SmooVth" below via Bandcamp; it starts with "The Pledge," where SmooVth drops his own bars over what I think is the instrumental to Immortal Technique's "Industrial Revolution" - produced by Metaphysics and featuring Roc Raida - two talented brothers, may they Rest in Peace.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Ghostface Killah "Supreme Clientele" (Feb 8, 2000)

Championing the cause of Wu dominance, Supreme Clientele exemplifies Ghost's lyrical dexterity. While his thunderous light-speed delivery hasn't changed much, his jagged wordplay is at its zenith. One minute, he breaks down street survival tactics on "We Made It" (I ain't tryin' to waste my career on y'all / Even scuffle with you, waste gear on y'all / But if I got to go out / You know I'ma show out), then he takes you on a rough ride down memory lane as he reminisces about adolescent crushes on "Child's Play" (Pretty little Sally sat up by the tree trunk / She had an ass like Deborah Cox / Face like Lauryn / Waist like a coke bottle scorin'). Then there are those Ghostface-isms we love. Like on the muddy treat "One," where he brags about his "rhymes made of garlic" ... So will the Ironman & his clan ever decline? Ghost says it best: "You think I fell off the ledge / The legendary Ghost Dhini might be dead / Never!" - Vibe (April, 2000). 19 years later, still a gem of an LP.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Thelonious Martin "A Dozen For Dilla" (Volume 3)

I was waiting for this one (a day late) ... now in its 3rd year, Thelonious Martin has relased "A Dozen For Dilla" in celebration of Dilla's birthday for the last 3 years. This latest installment, Volume 3, is equally inspired and the classic artwork brought a smile to my face as much as the music. In the Chi-Town's producers own words, "You are forever here with us. Here is a dozen just for you." Dilla is known all around the world and people everywhere are celebrating his life today ... isn't that an incredible thing? In interviews he talked about being on the verge of breaking through, I wish he'd known he'd already created a legacy. HBD, James Yancey; I hope you're resting in beats. 

Thursday, February 07, 2019

DJ Skizz & Crimeapple "Wet Dirt" (Album Stream)

"Wet Dirt" is a collaborative album between producer DJ Skizz and ill wordsmith Crimeapple. "Led by “Pasteles,” the nine-track offering is chock-full of grimey beats and mud-bred rhymes that are sure to help you get through the final weeks of hoodie season." Props to 2DBZ for the heads-up on its release. I've been following Crimeapple since 2017's "Turner & Hooch," and the quality of his rhymes and beat selection remains on point.  I'm told there will be a vinyl release, perhaps cassette, via Daupe! Media, so keep it locked for that ... meanwhile, stream the "Wet Dirt" project below! 

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Jazz Spastiks "DJ Premier Mix" (Mixtape)

The Jazz Spastiks are an Edinburgh, Scotland based producer/DJ duo. They've released several beat tapes and mixes, as well as landing numerous production credits over the years. Their jazzy hip-hop drum loops, cuts and vocal chops carry with it a sound reminiscent of the best days of hip-hop. Today's mix is a tribute to DJ Premier, featuring a mix of some of their favorite Premo-produced tracks: M.O.P., Gang Starr, Bahamadia, Jeru The Damaja, KRS-One, Group Home, Fat Joe, Gang Starr, Rakim, The Notorious B.I.G. and lots more, check it out below... and you can also download it HERE

Monday, February 04, 2019

HouseShoes "Magic 2018 Wrap-Up (Non Rap)" (Mix)

"Wrapping up 2018 with my favorite non-rap shit from beats to soul to jazz from around the globe," says Houseshoes. I think the days of "tastemakers" are long gone (for the most part) but for those who have been around long enough, there are still people in the industry who are human algorithms; they weed through all the music out there to bring us the best of the best in their niche. Houseshoes has certainly earned his spot with his unique ear, connections and due diligence. With that said, here's his mix of tunes featuring the likes of Drugs Beats, Black Milk, DJ Spinna, Stro Elliot, Ghost McGrady, Tall Black Guy, John Coltrane, Kamasi Washington, and lots more. Dig in below...

Monday, February 04, 2019

STLNDRMS "Dig'Em Smacks" (Instrumental Album)

STLNDRMS (pronounced Stolen Drums) is a sample junkie, beat geek, crate digger & lots more from Atlanta, GA. This is his latest release, "Dig'em Smacks," an 11-track beat tape filled with tight chops, hard drums & plenty of headnod. My brother Supastition put me up on STLNDRMS last year, even played me one particular joint that was flames! (I hope he recorded to it). I've been tuned in since and hope to post more soon, but for now, listen below to "Dig'em Smacks."

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Jay-Z Decoded x Bing Marketing Campaign

When people ask what I'd do if a label ever "opened the budget" for marketing and promo, I kinda just laugh (as we should with purely hypothetical questions like that, lol) ... but in the back of my mind, I think about Jay-Z's "Decoded" marketing campaign, which also launched Bing. Do you remember it? I do and luckily YouTube never forgets neither, so here are some of the visuals and backstory of one of my favorite campaigns... ever. Bing allegedly received over 1.2 billion impressions within the time the advertisement went up. Hov's book stayed on the New York Times Best-Seller list for 19 weeks at #3 and grew his social media following by over 1 million. It's also rumored the budget was nearly 100M, but don't quote me on that. Really, watch below.

Friday, February 01, 2019

The Juggaknots x DJ Boo "Mega-Mix"

When people ask me to give my 'Top 5', I let out a grunt ... why? ... because it's such a loaded question. It's usually asked by trolls or people that just wanna hear themselves rattle off a list of their own. I think it's one of the reasons so many people default to Nas, Rakim, Jay-Z, Biggie and 2Pac. Safe bets, right? Hard to argue with those LEGENDS. Well, how about a list that has Breeze Brewin, Pharaohe Monch & Black Thought in it too (to name a few)? Is that too "backpack" for you? Well, I stand by those MCs and I'm always excited to hear new - or throwback - music from them. Technically, I just find them to be superb lyricists and it'd be hard to find an artist that could disagree with me. I watched Breeze come up in the NYC underground scene, not to mention at Fat Beats, and in some of the hottest, dustiest venues we had. His vocal tones, flow, wordplay and message are all top tier. Sometimes it saddens me that we don't go more new music from Breeze, but then when we do, it does feel like a holiday; much the same as 3 stacks but on a niche level, lol. Whether it was "Dear Autumn," the "Control" verse, Pessimistic Personal Trainer or features with Marco and others; it comes in drips, but it's always high quality, non-disposable music. I could go on, but let's get into this Megamix from the Juggs, put together by my long-time homie and also Fat Beats alumni, DJ Boo! Big ups to Kev Fever and Queen Herawin as well; a family affair! #ILoveJuggs