March 02, 2021

Happy Born Day, Method Man! (Playlist)


Method Man was the first solo star to emerge from the groundbreaking Wu-Tang Clan. His mush-mouthed, sandpaper-rough bellow and imaginative rhymes easily made him one of the most recognizable, unpredictable MCs in the group, yet his flow was more deliberate and laid-back than the Wu's resident loose cannon, Ol' Dirty Bastard. On his solo records, Method Man developed a persona that swung from offhand, understated menace to raucous stoner humor. Toward the end of the '90s, his frequent team-ups with Redman produced not only a terrific musical chemistry, but an eventual big-screen comedy team as well. Method Man was born Clifford Smith on March 2, 1971, in Hempstead, Long Island; he split his childhood between his father's Long Island residence and his mother's Staten Island home. It was the latter locale where he met his future Wu-Tang cohorts RZA, Genius/GZA, and Ol' Dirty Bastard; when they set about forming a hip-hop collective in the early '90s, Method Man was one of the first to sign on. Meth was heavily featured on the group's classic late-1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), even getting his own showcase track with "Method Man," which certainly put him out front in terms of name recognition. Thanks to the Wu's innovative contract -- which allowed individual members to sign solo deals with whatever label they chose -- Method Man inked a contract with Def Jam, and in 1994, approximately one year after Enter the Wu-Tang's release, he became the first Wu member to release a solo album, Tical. - via Bio. Over the course of his career, Meth has been featured on numerous television shows and movies; has aged gracefully both on and off the mic, and I believe still has potential classic in him if he can dedicate the time in the studio. Celebrating his born day today, I put together a short playlist of some of my favorite solo, group and featured tracks from Method Man. Dig into it below...

March 01, 2021

DJ Muggs & Rome Streetz "Death & The Magician"


Death and the Magician is another stunning creation from DJ Muggs, and his ever-expanding Soul Assassins discography. DJ Muggs writes, “Death and the Magician is a sonic and lyrical onslaught on a dark rainy night in NYC, and is based on the Major Arcana cards in the tarot deck. The Death card signals that one major phase in your life is ending, and a new one is going to start. You just need to close one door so the new one will open. The past needs to be placed behind you, so you can focus your energy on what lies ahead.When the Magician appears it points to the talents, capabilities, and resources at the querent’s disposal to succeed. The message is to tap into one’s full potential rather than holding back, especially when there is a need to transform something.” A powerful collaboration between a bonafide legend and a future veteran, also featuring Knowledge the Pirate and Rigz, dig into Death and The Magician streaming below and also available on tape, CD and vinyl...

February 28, 2021

Jazz Spastiks "Camera of Sound" (Album Stream)


The UK duo are back with their latest offering, Camera of Sound. The 18-track release features a bunch of talented MCs from the underground, such as C Rayz Walz, Wee Bee Foolish, Artifacts, The Procussions, Phill Most Chill, Count Bass D, DJ Pocket, Soundsci, Kool Keith, Craig G and more. Also known as The Splitmat Brothers, Coconut Delight and Mr Manyana have been crafting an extensive catalog of dope beats, mixes and projects for several years now. Dig into the archives for a taste of their back catalog and listen below as they continue to delight and elevate with this new album too!

February 27, 2021

Sketchbook Radio "Dilla x DOOM" (Tribute Mix)


DJ's Kutmah and SertOne released this 2 hour mix from Sketchbook Radio... a Dilla and DOOM tribute show that features Dillavillainy (Doom x Dilla), alongside unreleased Rah Digga, Busta Rhymes, Slum Village, Madlib, Jaylib, Miguel Atwood Ferguson and lots more. To give proper credit, Kutmah handles hour one and Sertone holds it down on hour two. All in all, a very fine tribute mix for two of the late greats, who made invaluable contributions to music, and especially hip-hop culture. You can dig back to 2017 for this J Dilla Tribute that Kutmah also did on Sketchbook Radio. Enjoy the mix below...

February 26, 2021

Max I Million "Uncut Gems" (Instrumental Album)


Swedish producer Max I Million is back on his hip-hop steez with 'Uncut Gems,' an instrumental album that blends left-field creativity with boom-bap vibes. It’s equal parts futuristic and nostalgic, a distinctive combination of sounds that never gets too comfortable, nor too experimental. Pulling that off is no easy feat, and neither is making it sound this damn good. But that’s just what Max does with this project. 'Uncut Gems' is pure audio dope that’s loaded with musical layers. And it turns out that Max actually produced these tracks with that concept in mind, so that listeners would play it again and again to unearth new sounds and production techniques with each spin. “I want to elevate minds and make them feel inclined to, in the words of Dilla, ‘Turn me up another notch in your system!’,” he says. The 12 track instrumental project has arrived both digitally and on vinyl in a limited blue and white splatter configuration. Dope project, props to Matt Diamond. Dig in...

February 25, 2021

Boogie Down Productions "Sex And Violence" (February 25, 1992)


In 1987 Boogie Down Productions shocked the world with Criminal Minded, an album that was all street and no apology. In 1992, five albums later, BDP unveils the long-awaited sequel to that masterpiece--Sex And Violence. It is understood that KRS-One is rap's foremost teacher and social thinker, but we sometimes forget that he can rock the boulevard as hard as he rocks the seminar. This album is a return to the raw essence of the street.... With the production assistance of Prince Paul and Pal Joey, KRS has gone back to the basics and delivered a record that embodies the true spirit of the New York sound.... In a manner reminiscent of "The Bridge Is Over," KRS subjects the industry to a long overdue quality control session, and licks a shot for those "blabbering f#cking fools." Sex And Violence (like other BDP albums) is informative and challenging. This time Kris takes aim at sexual morality, religion, and hypocrisy and hits them dead on.... KRS leaves no stone unturned. The highlights are: "Who Are The Pimps," a perfect blend of hard core hip-hop and education; "KRS and Freddie Foxx," which features much freestyling over a fat repetitive bassline; "13 & Good," which is an R&B flavored cut that tells the story of statutory rape--with a twist, "Build & Destroy," which drops the science over a minimalist beat; and the rap/lecture, "The Real Holy Place," where KRS proves why he is the teacher. An extra bonus is the phat "Intromental," a medley of all of the classic BDP beats past and present. If sex and violence are what the people want, KRS has delivered, but it not overly gratuitous or sensationalist--the subjects of sex and violence are intelligently analyzed. With Sex And Violence, KRS goes back to the hardcore underground without abandoning his mission. I think it's a step in the right direction. - The Source (3/92). Listen up below...


You can save a full copy of the article in The Source below...

February 24, 2021

Take It Personal Podcast "Tribute To D&D Studios Episode"

Whether you're an 80s baby or a 90s baby, this episode is for you. Whether you grew up on the Fat Boys or the Lost Boyz, this tribute is for you. D&D Studios is the most important studio in hip-hop history. Period. It's responsible for countless anthems such as Danger, Whutcha Want, Who Got Da Props, Ain't No N!gga, Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimas & Benz, Ante Up and DWYCK to name a few. It's responsible for many classic albums like Illmatic, Ready To Die, Enta Da Stage, Livin' Proof, The Sun Rises In the East and Return of the Boom-Bap. Whether it was produced by DJ Premier, Da Beatminerz, DJ Muggs or mixed by Eddie Sancho or Norty Cotto, the D&D stamp was official. Doug Grama and David Lotwin created hip-hop mecca. A place where stars were born and GOATs were made. Today, we celebrate D&D Studios and we're joined by 1-half of the D's, Mr. David Lotwin. We go behind the scenes, hear the stories, re-live the classics and play all your favorite D&D cuts. We also have special guests stopping by to share stories like DJ Premier, Russell Peters, Jeru The Damaja, Mark The 45 King and Craig-G. You'll hear what it was like when DJ Premier was in the studio creating classic after classic. You'll hear stories about Biggie and how Puffy went ballistic after finding a gun while recording there. You'll get to hear what it was like recording Enta Da Stage, Return of the Boom-Bap, Illmatic and other classics. You'll hear about pre-fame Jay-Z being denied at the door because there were too many people inside the studio at the time. You'll hear about the late, great Big L, Sean P, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Guru. On episode 81, we celebrate hip-hop. We celebrate history. We celebrate D&D Studios. - Take It Personal. Great episode! Listen up...

R.I.P. D&D Studios...

February 23, 2021

Biz Markie "Press Kit" (1988)


Biz Markie is hot! His vocal delivery is different and unusual. His lyrics are enjoyable, funny, and occasionally outrageous. He loves an audience and will do anything to please them. This shows in his lyrics, "When it comes to partying I'm a nymphomaniac." Known as the "Inhuman Orchestra," Markie is an expert human beat box virtuoso, literally making the music with his mouth. He has been using his body as an instrument since he was a kid, doing the hambone on the streets of Harlem, NY. In addition to being a helluva hamboner, Biz Markie is also quite adept at the lost Southern art of "beating the spoons." Born Marcel Hall in Harlem (April 8, 1964), Biz Markie seems to be the creation of a mad B-movie scientist, with a weird sense of genetics and humor. It is actually quite easy imagining George Clinton as Dr. Funkenstein making up Biz Markie in his electro-funk laboratory aboard the Mothership. He takes elements of the street urchin, the Artful Dodger, from Dickens' Oliver Twist, and mixes them with the old limey medicine show tradition and the satchelmouthed tomfoolery of Louis Armstrong. The good Doctor then gives his creation the gift of rap gab, the ability to rock the house with rhythmic rhymes over a funky beat. Combine all this with the experience of living in the streets on his own for a number of years, and you have the Biz Markie...



Biz worked the rap circuit for a couple of years, playing the Roxy, the Fun House, and other venues; sharing the bill with Doug E. Fresh, Dana Dane, Fresh 3, Lovebug Starsky, and other rap contenders. But his big break came when he ran into producer Marley Marl in a hallway in the Queensbridge Projects in 1995. Marl has a studio in the Queens housing projects, out of which has come Roxanne Shante's classic "Roxanne's Revenge" and other rap hits. According to Biz, "Marley and I met up and went into his studio and did some stuff." This stuff included some of the hippest, freshest rap records to come out in a long time. With Marley Marl at the production helm, Biz Markie signed with Len Fichtelberg's Prism Records and brought out a number of wonderful recordings that have further established him as something of a cult hero among the hip-hop hardcore. The success of tunes like "Make The Music With Your Mouth Biz," "Nobody Beats The Biz" and "Pickin' Boogers," prompted Fichtelberg to go into partnership with Biz's manager, Tyrone Williams, and launch Cold Chillin' Records as an exclusive rap label, with Marley Marl producing all of the releases by the likes of Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, T.J. Swan, and Kool G Rap, and other Cold Chillin' artists. Future product by Biz Markie on Cold Chillin' promises to build on his reputation as one of the newest and most innovative rap artists on the scene today. - Press Kit, 01/88.  Biz Markie's debut album, Goin' Off, was released on this day in 1988. It features the tracks "Pickin' Boogers," "Biz Is Goin' Off," "Vapors," "Make The Music With Your Mouth Biz," "Nobody Beats the Biz" and "This Is Something For The Radio," among others. While the album isn't available to stream through Spotify, the compilation, "Biz's Baddest Beats" is, which features all the singles from the album. Ironically, I borrowed this album from the Tower Records in the Village back in the day, lol. I remember it like it was yesterday. The masterful art-piece below is by TKO Sato. Much respect, Biz!