November 15, 2022

Apollo Brown & Philmore Greene "Cost of Living" (Album Stream)

Here's the collaborative album between producer Apollo Brown and Chicago MC, Philmore Greene, Cost of Living. Philmore Greene is an ideal match for Brown's sumptuous canvasses, an MC who the Chicago Reader has hailed for making "confident, luxuriant boom-bap." But it's his ability to convey complex emotions, empathetic street narratives, and heartbreaking pathos that make him singular. The Cost Of Living may be high, but Greene and Brown allow you to understand that it is not insurmountable. There are too many losses and not enough gains, but as long as there remains a belief in something deeper and the possibility of something better, hope remains alive. This is soul music in the deepest sense, not as an aesthetic but as a physical place, where heart, philosophy, and the spirit reside. This is something for the ages, a work of tragic timelessness. After all, these issues have been here before us, and they'll be here long after us. Listen to Cost of Living below...

October 25, 2022

DJ Green Lantern "Wu York State of Mind" (Mixtape)

Nas and Wu-Tang Clan have just wrapped their N.Y. State of Mind joint tour, but the former’s DJ is keeping the party going with a brand new mixtape. Inspired by his time on the road with the Hip Hop titans, DJ Green Lantern has dropped off Wu York State of Mind, which pairs Nas rhymes and Wu beats or vice versa. “I got really inspired DJ’ing on the New York State of Mind Tour with Nas, Wu-Tang, and Busta Rhymes,” Green Lantern told HipHopDX. “At some point I said: ‘I need to translate this magic I’m witnessing nightly into a mix for the people to ride out to.'” He added: “Here it is: Wu York State of Mind, a dream experience, mixed by DJ Green Lantern.” The N.Y. State of Mind run of dates also featured Busta Rhymes, who was announced as the tour’s special guest just a few days prior to it kicking off. He also gets a look in on Green Lantern’s new tape on the track “Busta Money Beef.” The Busta joint hears the lyrics to his '08 Grand Theft Auto IV track “Where’s My Money” — which is produced by Green Lantern — laid over Mobb Deep, Nas and Raekwon‘s classic 1995 cut “Eye For An Eye (Your Beef Is Mines).” Peep Wu York State of Mind - HipHopDX.

October 10, 2022

Blu "Soul Amazing Part 10" (Mixtape)

It's been well over a year since the last installment in the official Soul Amazing mixtape series from Blu. Mixed by People Mover, volume 10 highlights over three dozen [more] features in Blu's ever-expanding catalog! It includes tracks with Tanya Morgan, Shad, Real Bad Man, Stu Bangas, Jansport J, Teck Zilla, Statik Selektah, Pugs Atomz, Jonathan Cloud, K.A.A.N., Fresh Daily, Nappyhigh, Supreme Cerebral, Cashus King and lots more. One of the most prolific lyricists to come out of the West Coast, Blu always shows sharp delivery on his features; they are very rarely phoned in, which makes all these Soul Amazing mixes all the more impressive. Dig into Blu's latest mix-tape offering below...

October 07, 2022

Cormega "The Realness 2" (Album Stream)

The Realness II is Cormega’s sixth studio album and the follow up to his 2014 album, Mega Philosophy. It is also the sequel to his 2001 debut, The Realness. The album was first announced during the summer of 2022, with the lead single, "Essential," released on August 12th. The album has features from Hip-Hop legends such Nas, Havoc of Mobb Deep, and Lloyd Banks, with Nas being one of Cormega’s most frequent collaborators, dating back to the days of The Firm. One of Queens' most consistently dope and thought-provoking lyricists, his roots date back to the days of the park jams. I'm super glad Mega and Nas were able to repair their differences and continue to show their growth as artists and men. It's also rumored that this album was so taxing on Cormega to make (the pressure/shadow of The Realness being the main reason) that he will never do another sequel again lol. He definitely put together a great project, dig into it below and cop the physicals in stores now.

September 23, 2022

DJ Filthy Rich "The Low End Theory" (30th Ann. Mix)

Celebrating 30 years of A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory, Toronto's DJ Filthy Rich is back with another phenomenal anniversary mix! How do you follow up a 5-mic debut album?? With a 5-mic sophomore LP! Everything about this album is a MASTERPIECE... from the abstract cover art, to the jazz-infused production emphasizing the LOW END, to the rhymes traded effortlessly between Q-Tip and Phife (R.I.P.). Genius-level artistry. Filthy Rich shares, "This album represented a defining moment in hip hop, so I HAD to pay tribute with a mix incorporating the original samples, remixes, and blends." 30 years! Wow, it feels like yesterday. Dig into this 30th Anniversary mixtape below...

August 31, 2022

Mystic "Dreaming In Cursive: The Girl Who Loves Sparklers"

Oakland's Mystic, aka the DU Goddess from Digital Underground, is a GRAMMY-nominated hip hop artist who is also an activist, scholar, community educator, and home chef. She is known for using her art to promote healing, support movements for justice, and build community. Her debut album Cuts For Luck and Scars For Freedom (2001) is easily one of my favorite albums. Mystic released her follow-up LP, Beautiful Resistance, in 2014 and has since been acquiring her masters and getting music onto DSPs. Her podcast series Behind The Journey is a 6-part look into the making of her Grammy-nominated debut. Back once again, her latest effort, Dreaming In Cursive: The Girl Who Loves Sparklers, is entirely produced by Walt Liquor. With a strong IndieGogo campaign, Mystic reached her goal of $18,000 to create multiple visuals for the project, which I'm excited to see. The concept of "black love" is strong throughout and promotes healing through music she categorizes as "healed Black woman music." Experience Dreaming In Cursive: The Girl Who Loves Sparklers below...

August 29, 2022

Roc Marciano & The Alchemist "The Elephant Man's Bones"

It can be unwise to play favorites in the music biz, but maybe nobody told that to The Alchemist. “I really made an album with my favorite rapper and it drops tonight at midnight,” the producer tweeted ahead of the release of his and Roc Marciano’s The Elephant Man’s Bones. “I’m tripping.” Hempstead, Long Island-originating Marciano is no stranger to peer adulation, however. His time as a recording artist dates at least as far back as a stint with Busta Rhymes’ late-’90s Flipmode Squad collective, but the name he has today was made from the string of gritty and impressive solo projects he released across the 2010s. You do need a specific kind of ear to fully appreciate the MC. Roc Marciano raps in the kind of street code that reveals itself to be genius to those who can grasp its nuances. Take this couplet from The Elephant Man’s Bones’ “Daddy Kane”: “I been getting off that soft white long before shorties was rocking Off-White/Water-colored ice, I call it Walter White/Walk with me like a dog might, I got 44 bulldogs, you ain’t got a dog in the fight.” The bars themselves are less complex than they are both slimy and razor-sharp. These are raps to be heeded and, maybe more importantly, enjoyed at a safe distance. Unless, of course, you’re The Alchemist—or album guests Action Bronson, Boldy James, Ice-T, or Knowledge the Pirate—in which case you can’t wait to add some of your own ingredients to Marciano’s cauldron. - via Apple Music. 

August 28, 2022

RZA "Digital Bullet" (August 28, 2001)

Digital Bullet is RZA's second album under his latest alias, as Bobby Digital. It's no shock that he brought Bobby back; the first Digital outing, Bobby Digital in Stereo, was a high mark in the Wu Tang Clan producer's prolific career. What is a bit surprising is the sound of this effort, which frequently stretches all the way back to the mystical murk of the Clan's first album, Enter the Wu-Tang. The muffled beats and disorienting, late-night soundscapes of that hip-hop classic have been imitated countless times since its 1993 release, but nobody does 'em like the RZA, and uneasy tracks like "Must Be Bobby" and "Domestic Violence Pt. 2" seem to bring him full circle -- as does the presence of several Clan members, including the jailed ODB. Even the nods to the mainstream -- "Glocko Pop" and the swaying single "La Rhumba" -- seem, like RZA's best work, to have arrived from a slightly different dimension. Meanwhile, there is a storyline to this installment of the Digital story, but as on In Stereo, listeners have to use some imagination to fill it out; RZA's rhymes are often as evocative and opaque as the kung-fu flicks he loves. But as always, he creates tracks that are more about atmosphere than message -- and when he's on his game, as he is here, it's hard to argue with that approach. - AllMusic. As RZA himself put it, “My birth name is Bobby Diggs. So at the time, creatively, I felt like I was in a digital frame…As Bobby Digital, I could use a character to describe some of the earlier days of my own life. Partying, bullshitting, going crazy, chasing women, taking drugs. It was a mixture of fiction and reality together to make a character I thought would be entertaining.” Audiences reacted by driving the release up to number 24 on the Top 200 and a Top 10 position on the R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. Now, revisit the RZA's Digital Bullet from 2001 below...

Admittedly, I didn't get into his solo albums at the time, but they grew on me.