April 13, 2021

Kurious "Built To Last" (Mix)

Back with another mix from France's Built To Last radio show, this time paying tribute to Kurious Jorge. The Puerto Rican and Cuban MC released a gem of an album in 1994 entitled A Constipated Monkey. Signed to Columbia Records via Pete Nice and Bobbito's Hoppoh Records imprint, the album is celebrated by underground heads and influenced many artists that came after him. Since the passing of MF Doom, I have noticed a lot more love being shown to Kurious - which is great - as he appeared on 1999's Operation Doomsday. On the label at the same time as Nas was set to drop his debut opus, Illmatic, and The Fugees were touring for Blunted On Reality, maybe Kurious didn't garner that same level of stardom, but no doubt his debut album was an impactful record stylistically, certainly to me. Good peoples, too! Props to Corrado and the whole Built to Last crew for this tribute, dig into the mix and hit the archives below for a lot more of their dope tributes...

April 07, 2021

DAS EFX "Dead Serious" (Press Kit)

NOT. That is the only word that will wipe away your assumptions, expectations, and comparisons. DAS EFX, like a multi-million dollar film, laced with special EFX, must be experienced, NOT described, discussed, or analyzed. Dray and Skoob are NOT simply blessed with rap skills like Grand Puba, or Busta Rhymes. They do NOT simply rap with turbo speed like Treach or Wise Intelligent. They have created a style, which many will imitate, but NOT many will succeed. DAS EFX, (an acronym for "Dray and Skoob EFX"), is a style that could easily be bottled and sold. But instead they have cornered the market with 11 diggedy-dope tracks on their debut album, Dead Serious. The question is who would dare try to do this themselves? Just like a high EFX stunt in a film, people should probably NOT try this at home. Dray, (aka Krazy Drayz), says of their sound, "Our music is with a lot of effects. The style is so unique, a lot of people think it's one person rhyming." His partner in rhyme, Skoob (aka Books), reveals what he thinks is the key to their style. "We have a little secret. What it is, we were away from Hip Hop. We were in Virginia, going to Virginia State so I guess by NOT being exposed to what was going on up here, our style developed so differently. I think that had a big effect." "We were exposed to NO rap shows...at all," says Dray.  Revisit their debut LP, cont'd below...

DAS EFX got "here" via a rap content held in Richmond, that EPMD was judging. The club was a "hole in the wall." Their hopes raised with the sight of Erick and Parrish walking in. The show began and groups were getting scores as high as 7's, 8's, and 9's. When it was their turn to go up, they heard cynics commenting on their dreadlocks. "De La Soul look-alikes," they heard rumbling through the crowd. They got busy, and the crowd warmed up. "I remember glancing back and seeing Erick in the seat jammin' next to Parrish. We finished and our scores were mad high. Parrish pulled me to the side and said 'Before you leave, gimme your phone number.'" When it was time to announce the winners, it was NOT them. "We were like, 'That's it, we're about to graduate. Forget rap,'" says Dray. Then, Parrish walked across the stage and he leaned over and whispered into his ear, "Would you rather have the $100 or a record deal?" The record deal, and the rest is DAS EFX. Cont'd below...

The first rickety-rockin' single, "They Want EFX," is a slippery, funky tracks with the DAS EFX in full effect. The humorous and playful rhyme runs from engine-run rhymes to slowed-down acapella chanting to a razor sharp hook that will bob your head without you knowing. Dray says, "We don't just like writing two sentences that rhyme together. We like taking one idea from one place and put in another. How many years has it been that if somebody wants to rhyme, the last word of the first sentence rhymes with the last word of the second sentence. We'd rather make the first word rhyme with the third word, and the last word rhyme with the first word of the second sentence, and two in the middle, and, if you can, let's get another word that rhymes with the first word and still have the last ending word rhyme." DAS EFX is the dawn of a new age in rap music. Not since the Native Tongues movement has such unbridled creativity been unearthed. Dray and Skoob have one hope, "We want to bring entertainment back to it. Let's make it fun again. We want to have fun with it. I want to be able to listen to my own stuff and enjoy it." Like their mentors EPMD once said, rap is finally outta control. "So tiggedy tell your friends that here comes DAS EFX." - Press Kit, '91.

April 05, 2021

Nas & Madlib "I Am...Naslib" (Mixtape)

Jimmy Green drops off this latest mix, blending two legendary artists: Nas and Madlib. I Am...Naslib reimagines Nas' vocals from I Am... with beats by the eclectic beatsmith, Madlib. Today I saw a debate on my brother RappinandSnackin's IG about whether or not I Am... was a classic - surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of his followers contended it was a classic. Erroneous! Now, I Am... one of the biggest Nas fans there is, but I was also there from that album's rollout, leak, release and the mediocre responses that went along with it. A couple of the worst tracks in his entire catalog are included on I Am... so I'd say far from a classic, but still an enjoyable listen when you remove the stretch marks and questionable features/production. Enter Madlib and Jimmy Green's remakes for this project, giving new life to these Nas vocals. I Am... here for it, listen below...

April 04, 2021

Mello Music Group "Bushido" (Album Stream)

In feudal Japan, the Bushido Code defined the way of the samurai. It was a blueprint to conduct warfare with honor: a system built upon the qualities of rectitude and courage, honor and loyalty. In the modern world, these historical tenets may seem antiquated, or sometimes even obsolete. But the power of tradition is resolute and unyielding. The art of the rugged drum and the razor tongued rap are timeless. After a decade in the music business, Mello Music Group has witnessed the dealings and promises of the record industry. Running counter-clockwise to the mainstream ethic, Mello has settled on its own code of conduct and value system. Their catalogue is a practical and spiritual guide to the essence. While the sounds are varied, an MMG release ensures that the art comes first, the artists are religiously devoted to the upholding of standards and values. This is Bushido, the latest Mello Music compilation gathering the current roster and the label’s closest brethren. This isn’t merely an anthology, it’s a fully formed vision of what hip-hop can be. A meticulously assembled arsenal of past, present, and future. The album includes production from The Alchemist, The Lasso, L'Orange, Kensaye Russell, Oddisee, Elaquent, Iman Omari, Quelle Chris, Namir Blade, Apollo Brown, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Eric Lau, Nottz, !llmind. It also features Quelle Chris, Open Mike Eagle, Solemn Brigham, Homeboy Sandman, Oddisee, Zackey Force Funk, Skyzoo, Namir Blade, James Shahan, Joell Ortiz, Dueling Experts (Recognize Ali & Verbal Kent), Stalley, RJ Payne, Murs, Cambatta, Kool Keith, B-Real, and The Perceptionists. Hear Bushido streaming below...

April 03, 2021

The Boom Bap Show "Don't Sleep Records" (Mix)

The Boom Bap Show pays tribute to Don't Sleep Records with this latest mix. Started by Phoniks and Awon, Don't Sleep Records is one of my favorite independent labels putting out music today. Their art and come-up have been documented in the docu-film Underdogs and amassed a solid fanbase through their many releases. The mix features tracks from Awon, Phoniks, Dephlow, Peebs the Prophet, Tiff The Gift, Mz Boom Bap, Anti-Lilly and more. Please make it a point to dig into the archives below for all the releases on Don't Sleep Records since I've been posting music to this site.

April 02, 2021

Bahamadia "Kollage" (April 2, 1996)

The Philly jawn with the blowout 'fro and La-Z-Boy flow is one of the most slept-on MCs to demolish a cipher - male or female - and was revered as underground royalty before ever releasing a record. With a delivery so laid-back, it's easy to imagine her gutting a cigar before laying down the tracks for her debut album, Kollage. The album's soulful soundscape -- etched with funk-filled valleys and jazzy peaks -- was constructed by Ski Beatz ("Uknowhowwedu") and fellow Illadelph crew The Roots ("Da Jawn"). On "Innovation" she muses, "Flame combustion / Thrustin' new versions of verses / Over kids heads like halos / Bendin' they brain cells like indon-o-va-shun." Simply scintillating. - Vibe (August, 2008). CMJ added (in June, 1996), "With the simple and supremely funky production of DJ Premier, N.O. Joe and the Beatminerz, Bahamadia raps with a conversational style, relying on poetic, instinctive rhymes, as on the bass-jacked "Word Play" and "Spontaneity." "I Confess" plays off Marvin Gaye's "Lets Get It On" for one of the album's poppiest moments, while "Uknowhowwedu" is a shapely tribute to Philly's hip-hop roots. Speaking of roots, fellow Philly natives the Roots add a dose of live funk on "Da Jawn," while Bahamadia dukes it out with MCs Black Thought and Malik. Packed with easily digestible rhymes and a peerless production, Kollage unquestionably chalks one up for the ladies." Revisit Bahamadia's classic debut album Kollage below...

The review in Vibe + original sticker from 1996 are below...

April 01, 2021

DJ DS "Goes Back To School: 1990" (Mixtape)

DJ DS says, "After a two-month hiatus it’s time to go ‘Back to School’ and to my 5th year, 1990! This was the first half of my final school year and the penultimate mix in this series. No idea what happened here as these mixes have averaged one hour and twenty minutes. This one clocks in at nearly an hour longer! This time around, I’m messing more with the original breaks and samples, alongside the usual doubles, samples, movie quotes from that year and all that good stuff! Thanks again to both of my daughters, DJ Jimmy Green, DJ Repo, Rob Pursey and the legendary Percee P for the vocal drops!" DJ DS continues to level up, dig into 1990 and hit the archives for more below...

March 31, 2021

Gang Starr "Moment of Truth" (March 31, 1998)

Only a few rap groups have managed career-long consistency, among them A Tribe Called Quest (whose new album will come out in June) and Gang Starr. "Moment of Truth" (Noo Trybe/Virgin) is the latter's fifth album, its first in four years. The wait's been worth it, as DJ Premier once again brings his unmatched production skills to bear on rapper Guru's authoritative missives. At the start of the new album, Guru boasts, "We update our formulas. . . . The rhythm style is elevated, the style of beats are elevated. . . . There's always a message included." Indeed, messages stressing knowledge and self-determination are sprinkled throughout: "Take responsibility . . . make your moves right and exact . . . if we don't build, we'll be destroyed . . . each one teach one . . . cultivate, multiply, motivate/ Or else we'll die." In the title track, Guru admits to a looming depression fueled by both social history and personal weakness: "I'm ready to lose my mind/ But instead I use my mind," he says, further rejecting drugs and alcohol because "all that's going to do really is accelerate/ Those anxieties that I wish I could alleviate." Later, in "What I'm Here For," he rides a mesmerizing piano loop and declares, "While some choose greed/ I chose to plant seeds for your mental spirit and physical temple/ Bob your head to it/ There's the water, you've been led to it." "Royalty" teams Gang Starr with Jodeci's K-Ci and JoJo on an anthem that's both gently critical and unconditionally affirming. There are also several collaborations with other rappers, the most interesting being the orientally flavored, mystical-leaning "Above the Clouds" with Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck, and "Betrayal," a languid "Mean Streets" parable about money, greed and lust that effectively teams Guru with former Geto Boy Scarface. (The WP article continues below, click play and keep reading...)

While there are a few questionable digressions -- "She Knowz What She Wantz" is lame and slightly misogynistic -- the most vituperative tracks are reserved for "wack" rappers and pretenders, from the back-on-the-block surge of "You Know My Steez" and Big Apple-centric "New York Strait Talk" to "The Rep Grows Bigga," which mixes verbal beat-downs on ghetto celebrity lifestyle with frustration over the distance between the group's commercial success and its artistic impact. Guru's raps seem particularly invigorated this time around -- the monotone delivery sharp, the flow smooth, the lyrics straightforward and uncompromising -- but it's still Premier's production that lifts "Moment of Truth" above the competition. Premier favors clean, distinct beats that avoid gimmicks and commercialism. With few exceptions, they draw the listener into the messages with clever, mesmerizing sonic textures that bear repeated listening. - The Washington Post (4/15/1998).