March 31, 2014

Dibia$e "Excuse The Tape Hiss" (Instrumental Album)

"This project I went back to my roots. Running stuff through the 4 track then through the tape deck. Also ran stuff through the 404 then dumped back into Ableton. Back in the day i was just all about hardware and against using any software. Through time, I learned to utilize both and combine them like Voltron. I remember making beats on a 8 second sampler, a yellow Sony walkman and a tape deck, just layering loops. Each time I would layer sounds, I would get more tape deck hiss. People would criticize that sound the most about my old beats "there's too much hiss." Then I kinda dreaded the tape hiss for that reason but nowadays people are more accepting of the tape hiss. So, if you like your beats squeaky clean...please Excuse The Tape Hiss." Enjoy the beat tape below...

March 30, 2014

DTMD "3 & Out" (EP Stream / Download)

DTMD, a.k.a. Dunc & Toine Makin' Dollas. It's been 2 years since their Mello Music Group debut album "Makin' Dollas" attracted listeners to their smooth production and astute rhymes Dunc is back behind the boards and Toine in the booth for this Free EP "3 & Out," which should hold listeners over until both Toines and Dunc release material of their own, as well as their follow-up LP. I highly recommend going back and listening to "Makin' Dollas" if you somehow slept on that release and keep an eye out for what's to come next. In the meantime, listen to DTMD's "3 & Out" EP below...

March 29, 2014

DJ Cash Money "Old School (Need To Learn-O)" (Mixtape, 1994)

"This infamous green tape was released around 1994. This was the first tape out of my Old School Need To Learn-O series... Out of all the mixes I have done, this tape is my favorite because the songs on this mix are what got me into Hip-Hop. This is Hip-Hop at it's purest form... This is one of the most sought after mixes I have done... Also, this is Pre-Serato, which means all vinyl records were used... This is my gift to all of my fans... Enjoy!" Big ups to DJ Cash Money, enjoy the mix below...

March 28, 2014

Big L "Lifestyles Ov Da Poor & Dangerous" (The Source, 3/95)

"Big L is an MC that many have been checking for since his appearance on Showbiz & A.G.'s "Represent." Since then, everybody's been so busy trying to represent that hip-hop is now being mis-represented by thousands of wannabe MC's. But Big L has finally re-emerged with Lifestyles... to make MC's think twice before picking up a mic. He comes with ill animated lyrics, combined with metaphors that stun: a combo sure to have suckaz on the run. From the smooth beginning of "Put It On" to the crashin' conclusion, "Let Em Have It L," Lifestyles... is pure nineties B-boy theme music coated with rough basslines and innovative horn loops. From the demonic life of the city ("Danger Zone") to layin' pseudo gangstas to rest ("All Black"), L dominates like few MC's before him." Cont'd...

"There are two posse cuts to check for and both are dangerous collaborations. The first, "8 Iz Enuff," features Big L's crew. Each member is nice enough to take out most MC's, but none impresses more than L. The other, "Graveyard," features missing-in-action favorites Lord Finesse and Grand Daddy I.U., who gives his best performance since his debut. "I Don't Understand It" is a joint that every MC that's ever picked up a mic, pad or pen should listen to. Big L expresses his views on the game and how shit's got to change, and advises MC's: "If ya ruff stay ruff if, ya dapper stay dapper / and don't try to look or even sound like another rapper." Lifestyles... is done on a pure street level and may not appeal to some, but all will be able to respect Big L's lyrical skill." RIP.

March 27, 2014

T-Max "Time To Explode" (EP, 2014)

Boston Representative T-Max teams up with Crooked Cat Records to share some unreleased gems from his 90s archives. The first of two 2 EPs, "Time To Explode" features 6 unreleased cuts picked from 2 unreleased albums: "Alley Walker" in 1993 and "Bless All Get Money" in 1996. All 6 tracks were produced by Dow Brain, Brad Young and Danny Wood. The EP is available as a limited edition vinyl, 350 copies. T-Max was featured in The Source's Unsigned Hype back in '95 and is most known from his 12" releases for "Relax Your Mind" and "Execution Style," as well as some loose compilations. Hit up the tags, at some point I'm certain to post more from T-Max. Meanwhile, listen to the EP below.

March 26, 2014

Digable Planets "Excerpt from Tour Manual" (Summer '93)

In the summer of 1993, Digable Planets joined Sade on a national tour, promoting their debut album "Reachin (A New Refutation of Time & Space)." I caught a glimpse of the tour manual that was supplied to the artists from the road manager at the time. It included this note in the inside fold, which as an artist manager myself, was always something I kept close as a reminder: "Continuous moaning and whining is uncalled for. If a situation arises that causes a problem - don't just moan, come and see me and I will do my very best to resolve the situation. I am here to help you, but cannot do anything unless I know about it. We have a great group of people on this tour and I am looking forward to working with all of you. Thanks for listening." Yes, conflict resolution is an important job for any manager - especially with multiple people involved, things can get crazy.

March 25, 2014

Eminem "Unsigned Hype" (The Source 3/98 + Update 2/02)

"Wow, it's been a few months since we've profiled a creme-de-la-creme MC in need of some nurturing from a record company. During our ninety day hiatus, however, our ever-reliable "Flavortracker 2000" came across a target that, in many ways, redefines the term ill. He goes by the name of Eminem. After making a buzz in the Detroit area for quite some time, he just recently gained the hip-hop nation's attention with his impressive showing in events like the Rap Olympics. One glimpse of the contents within his Slim Shady demo, one can't help but recognize that this rapper of the Caucasian persuasion's got skills. As far as flow, he keeps it simple, yet extremely effective. In "Murder, Murder," he kicks a humorous tale about a bank heist gone wrong... Another guaranteed reminder is the semi-demented "Just The Two Of Us," a crazed tale about the actions Eminem takes upon his baby's mother. With wifey placed uncomfortably in the back of his trunk, Em drives far and wide explaining to his seed the reasons why "daddy had to bury mommy." Point blank, this ain't your average cat. This Motor City kid is a one-of-a-kind talent and he's about to blow past the competition, leaving many melted microphones in the dust." - Unsigned Hype (March, 1998).

"Updated in February, 2002: "Not long after Eminem was featured in Unsigned Hype, Dr. Dre got a hold of his tape. "When Dre heard my tape, it helped that I wasn't just a nobody because I was in Unsigned Hype." The Detroit native was soon signed to Aftermath/Interscope and sent into the lab to record his major-label debut album, The Slim Shady LP. The video "My Name Is" was shot and delivered directly to MTV before any promotional CDs, tapes or vinyl were even pressed. Millions of people would soon realize the same thing that we'd predicted first: Eminem is a superstar." 2/02

March 24, 2014

Anti-Lilly "Stories From The Bass Section" (Album Stream)

Anti-Lilly is an introspective lyricist from Houston, Texas. He is one of a few young artists whose careers I steadily follow, and I've already seen a lot of growth in his music. He shares, "Ever since Phoniks first reached out to me and started sending music I knew that we would have an amazing chemistry together. My first time listening to his production, the horns immediately put into a zone which allowed me to express myself like no other way before. His sound reminded me of J Dilla or Pete Rock... After Memoirs I was looking to keep more of classical jazz sound; after recording a few songs together we both decided it only made sense to create an album. What we ended up creating is without a doubt my greatest work up to date. I’m sure Phoniks feels the same. Sonically everything was inspired by an older era of Hip-Hop, I personally drew inspiration from Black Star, UGK, Scarface, Nas and other great storytellers from that time." From what I've heard in 'Stories From The Brass Section' and 'Memoires & the 90s', his potential is limitless and what I dig most is that I can hear the therapy in his bars. After-all, what is art if not something that makes you FEEL? I'm definitely keeping an eye out for more from both artists and Don't Sleep Records. Dig in...

March 23, 2014

Rubberoom "Architechnology" (Album Review x Stream, 1999)

Rubberoom Architechnology Hip Hop  Nostalgia Album Review

'Architechnology' was released by the Chicago crew Rubberoom in 1999 on 3-2-1 Records. In press back in '94, there were 6 members (also known as the Savage Six). Three MCs: Meta Mo, Lumba & S.P.O. and three producers: Fill Spector, Fanum and the Isle of Weight. Their original 4-track demo was called "An Introduction to the Savage Six." However, by the time 'Architechnology' was released, press and bios had limited the group to Meta, Lumba, Isle of Weight and Mr. Echoes from The Opus. Either way, the crew had a very hard, but eclectic style, with ill basslines and a heavy focus on scratching - there were 13 local DJs featured on the album. 13! "More ominous aural backgrounds" make you feel like the storyline could take a turn towards apocalypse at any moment. You'd have to go back to '93-94 to find their first independent 12", then in '95 there was an EP called 'Gothic Architecture,' which I remember on cassette but there may have been vinyl too (Yes?/No?).

Rubberoom Architechnology Hip Hop  Nostalgia

In 2011, I saw their Bandcamp page added a project called "Rebooted (The Mixtape)" and in 2012 they released "Rubberoom...The Singles." I believe they also had some T-Shirts available at the time. Today marks the 15th anniversary of Archnitechnology's release! If you have any updates or corrections, hit me in the comments. Album review by CMJ & photo below is from '96 in a short Billboard article on Chicago's hip-hop scene. Props to Big Juss from Company Flow for putting me on to them. Head over to their Bandcamp to listen to additional releases & I'll add a 12" one day too.

March 22, 2014

Wu-Tang Clan "Wu Duets: 10 Deadly Combinations" (Mix)

"With a 10-man team led by the grimiest producer in the 5 boroughs, it’s been easy for the Wu-Tang to come up with ill combinations of MCs to create unforgettable rap songs. Even when members of WTC went solo, their albums still sounded like Wu projects, with tons of features and posse cuts ... we thought it would be dope to focus solely on Wu Duets, when two different Wu-Tang Clan MCs go dart for dart on one banging track. Sure, it’s easy to get everyone to hop on a beat and pile on the verses, but finding the bomb combo can sometimes be tricky. Well, not for these dudes. Sharpen your swords, let’s duel." - via UpNorthTrips (Originally released in Oct, 2013).

March 21, 2014

Large Professor "Main Sorcerer" (Mix)

"Large Professor is a man of many names: Large Pro, Extra P, The Professor At Large, The Mad Scientist, the list goes on — and so do his talents. The heralded Queens representer is recognized for an alchemy of masterful production and his ability to rock a microphone. His status in hip-hop’s history is secure." In order to acknowledge Large Professor's continued contributions to the rap game, UpNorthTrips presented this special mix of 10 bangin' Extra P-produced remixes. The mix features tracks from Rob Swift ("Dope On Plastic"), Slick Rick ("It's a Boy"), Lord Finesse ("Isn't He Something"), Organized Konfusion ("Stress"), Mobb Deep ("Peer Pressure"), Gang Starr ("Gotta Get Over"), Kool G Rap & DJ Polo ("Bad To The Bone"), Common (Sense) ("Resurrection"), Nas ("Nastradamus") & the Beastie Boys ("Sure Shot"). I chose today to share this older mix because it's Large Pro's Birthday today; Happy Born Day to the Extra P! Listen below, mixed by UnitedCrates.

March 20, 2014

Gang Starr "Ex Girl To Next Girl" (The Source, 10/92)

"If you are looking for something to invest your hard earned money in, you can't go wrong with this megaplate by Gang Starr. "Ex Girl To Next Girl" is a song that best exemplifies the "Gang Starr sound." Its lovely horn loop, coupled with DJ Premier's unparalleled scratching, take smoothed out rap to new heights. Combine that with Guru's jazzy, laid-back lyrical flow and you have an instant hit. Guru remembers his mackin' ways while kicking an interesting tale about ex-lovers." (10/92)

People the full review, which includes the remix and classic cut, "Dwyck."

March 19, 2014

Dred Scott "Breakin' Combs" (The Source, 5/94)

"Lyrically, I can't pass an overall judgment on Dred Scott's style or skills. This is because his album displays so many different styles, with different levels of quality. Tracks like "Back In The Day," (a lyrical bio) "Duck Ya Head," and the "The Story," display perceptive narration at its best, using simple rhythm and insightful attention to detail. But on "Can't Hold It Back," his flow is borderline ruff 'n' rugged. At one point he even does a sing-song thing (similar to Ol' Dirty Bastard's flow) that's painful. Then on "Check The Vibe" the flow again switches to a subdued, jazzy, blase blah flow. Honestly, sometimes I couldn't figure out if it was the same person rapping. This was a problem on cuts where Dred Scott is joined by labelmate Tragedy, but whichever one was rapping, they freaked it so I guess that's cool. While versatility is dope, it can get disconcerting and disjointed. Musically, his self-produced beats are pretty fat, with quality basslines, sharp drums and catchy choruses ... I can't say that this album is a must have, but I can't really know it either. Dred Scott keeps it real but only time will tell whether he'll survive this rap game." - The Source, 5/94. Revisit it below...

You can read/save a copy of The Source's Breakin' Combs review below...

March 18, 2014

Onyx "#WakeDaFucUp" (Album Stream)

#WakeDaFucUp is the sixth studio album from the legendary Southside Queens group, Onyx. The album is entirely produced by German production team/group, the Snowgoons. The 14-track offering features guest appearances by Sean Price, Papoose, Cormega, Reks, Snak The Ripper, A$AP Ferg, and more. (Update: In 2016, Onyx re-released the album as #WakeDaFucUp Reloaded with additional features from Ali Vegas, Nature, Steele of Smif-N-Wessun, Sadat X, Chris Rivers and Sicknature). While Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz make appearances on the album, the third member, Sonny Seeza, does not appear. As this was Onyx's first album in over a decade, Onyx takes their fans back to their traditional, hard, in-your-face brand of hip-hop with this album. Dig in below...

March 17, 2014

DJ Woody "Fly Fishing" (Mixtape, 2013)

Chopped Herring Records was founded back in 2001. The same year DJ Woody became the first European DJ to win the International Turntablist Federation World Championships. Chopped Herring Records' owner Pro Celebrity Golf and Woody had crossed paths on numerous times spinnin' in Manchester and the North West of England during the 90's, so it only seems natural that C.H Recs and DJ Woody should 'hook up' for a mix at some point. 'Fly Fishing', a selection of released and unreleased tracks on Chopped Herring Records, mixed by DJ Woody is something we've been thinking about for some time. Since the Herring catalogue has grown dramatically in the last couple of years it seemed an appropriate time to get in touch with one of the greatest DJ's to ever do it to de-bone some Herring fillets in his inimitable, flavasome way. Chopped Herring Records and DJ Woody proudly present 'Fly Fishing' featuring Da Henchmen, Da Dysfunkshunal Familee, Action Bronson, Finsta Bundy, Horror City, Meyhem Lauren, Natural Elements, Tha Grimm Teachaz, Q-Ball & Curt Cazal, D-Stroy & Tony Touch, North Bronx Alliance, and more! Listen to the mix tape below...

March 16, 2014

Jon Connor "Best In The World" (Mixtape)

The latest tape from Jon Connor out of Flint, Michigan is a mixtape called "Best In The World," and pays tribute to Chi-Town's Kanye West. Featuring 20 tracks, hosted by DJ Drama, Jon Connor goes in over some of Kanye West's finest cuts like "Jesus Walks," "Can't Tell Me Nothing," "Power" and more. Having signed to Aftermath recently, it's dope that Jon Connor continues to feed the streets with promotional releases and build his loyal fanbase. I look forward to the next in this seemingly conceptual mixtape series, perhaps another dope producer? We'll have to wait and see, but in the meantime, enjoy a great mixtape from the people's rapper - available to stream or download below.

March 15, 2014

Black Moon "I Got Cha Opin" (The Source, 4/94)

The advert boasts "the new single from the album "Enta Da Stage," remixed by Da Beatminerz. Also featuring "U Da Man" remix and a brand new cut, not on the album, "Killin Every N!gga." This 12" was released at end of March in 1994 and was the third 12" used to promote their debut album on Wreck Records. Once again, the group had the support of The Source, coming through with a review of the release, saying "Five-FT, Evil Dee and Buckshot prove that the album was just the beginning of their madness as they return to burn with an action-packed new single. Now, some of you might be wondering why Black Moon felt compelled to do a remix, because just about every track on their album was slammin. Well, let's just say that Black Moon are one of the few groups who understand the notion of giving the fans a lil' extra and leave it at that." Not only is the remix of "I Got Cha Opin" a total musical reconstruction that features a new string heavy beat and flowing Barry White-inspired arrangement, but there are all new lyrics to boot. Needless to say it's more than worth your attention." - The Source, 4/94. This is probably my favorite remix from the entire "Enta Da Stage" project. I always loved the line "I’m coming to you from the underground with Thunder sound / Number one question: “Yo, how can I be down?” There was pride in the sound they were creating out of NY at the time. Check out the music video for the single version below...

You can save a copy of the original review in The Source below...

March 14, 2014

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib "Piñata" (Album Stream)

Freddie Gibbs is the product of violent, drug-laden streets but unlike most rappers with similar resumes, he brings the block to the booth without inhibition or an exaggerated rap persona. Piñata, a 17 track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of his transparent approach to making music, combining an at times stark honesty with electrifying talent as a lyricist and performer. Piñata is “a gangster Blaxploitation film on wax,” says Gibbs, who came up on the streets of Gary, Indiana, the disregarded city previously best known for producing Michael Jackson. Here he is joined by Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Domo Genesis, Ab-Soul and a host of others in setting his soliloquies of the streets alongside film snippets and dusted funk, soul and prog musical tapestries. As a producer, Madlib, quite simply, is music, and ten years into his career—a time when other artists become comfortable —Gibbs remains restless, focused, with an eye on the competition and their position relative to his ascent. This is because mentally, he’s still on the corner hustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. With Piñata, Gibbs confirms that he is anything but average. I got put on to this album early through House Shoes, but while I don't necessarily hear what he heard, I'm promising to sit with it more, because...Madlib.

March 13, 2014

Public Enemy "The Enemy Strikes Live" (VHS, 1992)

This is a VHS rip of Public Enemy's The Enemy Strikes Live from 1992, Live at the historical Apollo Theatre on 125th Street in Harlem, New York. The video includes tracks like "Bring The Noise," "Fight The Power," "Don't Believe The Hype," "911 Is A Joke," "Can't Truss It," and lots more! Chuck D rappin' over the "Deep Cover" instrumental, Flavor Flav bringing out his kids, and when they hang a KKK are must-see moments of this VHS. They pushed the envelope every time and Chuck D is easily one of the most important voices in Hip-Hop. "Unless we realize we are family, we ain't never gonna get shit... We gotta find a way for us to stick together as family." Watch the VHS performance below...

March 12, 2014

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo "On The Run" (The Source, 7/93)

"Kool G Rap" has long been regarded as one of rap's premiere story tellers. This remix tells you why. The second single off of his Live & Let Die LP, "On The Run" is the story of a mob courier who, after stealing a shipment of product and money, must escape the mob's revenge while protecting his wife and child. Unlike the LP mix, which was comprised of head-nodding guitar riffs, the Trackmasters remix replaces the funk with low key snare patterns and slow, sinister piano progressions. The musical result is an atmosphere of anticipation, contemplation and danger. The plot is familiar - "I got a job with the mob makin' Gs / Doin' some  pick-ups deliveries and transportin' keys / Yeah they got me a like flunkie money / I'm ridin' around with ten kilos in side my trunk G / And I'm tryin' to ignore it / The thought alone makes me shiver / Damn, what if I get caught / They'll find me floatin' in the Hudson River" - but it's execution is nothing short of masterful. From the gunfights to the traffic jam on the way to the airport, when G Rap speaks, the tension builds, the adrenalin rises and images of cinematic mayhem roll through your mind." - The Source, 7/93 - One of my favorite tracks from '93, check out the visuals to "On The Run" below...

You can save a copy of the full Sure Shot Single review below... 

March 11, 2014

Gang Starr Foundation "Yo! MTV Raps" (Video, 1994)

Fab 5 Freddy and Yo! MTV Raps pay a visist to D&D Studios and conduct a 2-part interview with DJ Premier, Guru and the Gang Starr Foundation in 1994. You'll see Jeru The Damaja, Lil' Dap, DJ Scratch (EPMD), Afu-Ra, Eddie Sancho, and more. They go into the bat cave and DJ Premier lays down some fundamentals on being a DJ, producer and eMCee. The vinyl is the source of the music, it always has to be available. Without vinyl, there wouldn't be hip-hop. That's our contribution... bringing it back... I wanna see brothers just represent skills. Have people rock! Harcore is using the raw materials: records, the beats, the mics and gettin' busy. Very little resources can make a big thing." More from Jeru The Damaja, DJ Premier and Lil' Dap of the Group Home in '94 below...

March 10, 2014

DJ Finesse "B.I.G. Over Premier" (Mixtape, 2013)

Last year, DJ Finesse released his great "B.I.G. Over Premier" mix ... "This month marks the passing of the lauded rapper Notorious B.I.G. and to honor his legacy, New York resident DJ Finesse debuted a special tribute during DJ Premier's Sirius/XM show "Live From Headqcourterz" on March 8. The mix showcases Biggie's a capellas paired with Premier-produced beats. While the original tribute was shorter for air-time, Finesse extends the tribute for hip-hop fans here with a special intro by Premier himself." Listen to the mix below! R.I.P. Notorious Big (May 21, 1972 - March 9, 1997).

March 09, 2014

Chris Read "Classic Material: 1990" (Mix, 2011)

This mix in Chris Read's monthly Classic Material series paid tribute to the hip hop of 1990, a year when hip hop really spread its wings with a diverse range of new sounds breaking in all corners of the US and overseas. 1990 is probably most celebrated as being the birth of the ‘afro-centric’ era, with debut albums from X-Clan, Professor X, Poor Righteous Teachers, Tribe, Brand Nubian and many others hitting the stores during the year. But 1990 was also an important year for the artists from the opposite end of the spectrum: Compton’s Most Wanted, CPO and Above The Law all released debut albums proving LA had more to offer than just NWA. Aside from new developments, established artists including LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy and EPMD all dropped certified classics. Hit the archives for more of Chris Read's Classic Material mixes, and listen below...

March 08, 2014

Gang Starr "Hard To Earn" (Album Review, 5/94)

"As the title of their much-anticipated fourth album suggests, respect and credibility in hip-hop are hard to earn and even harder to hold on to. But looking back on their collective body of work, Gang Starr has always been right on point. Every since they let it off with songs like "Manifest" and "Deep Concentration" from their debut, Guru and Premier have grown and improved, consistently pushing the artform to its highest levels and proving themselves true ambassadors of the street. It's been a long time and winding road, but their commitment and hard work have finally put them at the top of their game." Check out the visuals to "Mass Appeal", The Source review continues below...

"Though their last set, Daily Operation, never quite got its just props, it's going to be tough to front on this one - especially when you consider hip-hop's recent return to Old School values and public demand for the real shit like Wu-Tang and Jeru The Damaja. Following his top-notch work behind the boards for KRS-One, Premier comes strapped with an arsenal of subliminal sounds and loops - not to mention neck-snapping beats - that will definitely f#ck some heads up. He does some especially nasty things with the piano on "Words From The Nutcracker" and "F.A.L.A." Cont'd below...

"Meanwhile, Guru, despite his mellower jazz excursions, invites us into his "darkest, deepest thoughts," which are delivered in the dead-on monotone that we have come to know so well. Whether getting abstract on "Brainstorm" or telling true tales of his exodus from Boston to Brooklyn ("The Planet") and the dues-paying that paved the way for his success, Guru proves that he is still at heart, the ill kid. Lyrically and musically, this album shies away from all of the proven formulas and ups the ante on creativity - the way it should be done. With the rest of the Gang Starr Foundation - Jeru, Lil' Dap, Melachi and Big Shug - riding shotgun and with Nice & Smooth guesting on last year's slammer, "Dwyck," this joint has more than its share of high points. Hard To Earn is definitely a welcome breath of fresh air during this otherwise stale period of rap." - (5/94).

March 07, 2014

Nine "Nine Livez" (The Source, 1995)

"The combination of hip-hop with reggae/dancehall has been responsible for some of the most original flavas in recent memory: Mad Lion, Shabba, KRS and Latifah are just a few examples that come to mind. Charging into this territory now comes Nine, an MC representing the Boogie Down Bronx who first licked shots on the remix to Funkmaster Flex's jam "Six Million Ways To Die." Nine's debut long-playa combines a raspy ruffneck rhyme flow with top-notch hip-hop production that will have both banjees and hardcore heads bobbin' alongside each other. "Redrum" is a sinister jam that mixes Nine's rude boy flow with a Premier-style piano-and-horn loop ("Everybody wan' Heaven / dem no want dead / redrum!"). On cuts like "Who U Won Test" and "Ta Rasss," Nine serves wannabe MC's with some battle-tested hardcore lyrics ripped over tight reggae grooves.... There are also some moments of deep lyrical intelligence: "Fo Ever Blunted" is not your obligatory tribute to the cheeba-cheeba, but a wisdom-dropper about the many reasons why young brothers nowadays feel the need hit the weed: "Mad stress / thank God for the buddha blessed / now it's off my chest / until tomorrow it'll happen again / I'll still be hunted / I'll still be wanted / so I'm so fo' ever blunted." Things do fall off a bit on side two: "Tha Cipha" ironically disaplys some of the tiredest lyrics on the LP. The "Redrum" remix, entitled "Everybody Whon Heaven," also starts to drag and reveals more lyrical deficiencies. But overall, Nine Livez is a strong debut by an MC with an original style who beats are 90% on  point." - The Source (April, 1995). Revisit Nine's debut LP below...

The Source's review of Nine's Nine Livez (4/95) is below...

March 06, 2014

Geto Boys "Till Death Do Us Part" (The Source, 5/93)

"...when the album actually starts, the real story is Big Mike. Formerly a member of the Convicts, his lyrical flow is right up there with Scarface's. And from the first taste of Mike on "G.E.T.O.," you realize that he is a welcome replacement after Willie D's departure... Bushwick's little, Black, Chuckie ass is just as bugged as he was on his solo album, Little Big Man ... Later on the album he eats somebody's eyeballs ... that's nasty. On the production tip, you can't say that they seem to have an LA or a New York influence. They always made music like this, with the low end and the gospel-sounding samples over a drum machine on every song. They must have found their niche because the sound hasn't really changed from album to album." Check out "Six Feet Deep," cont'd below...

"Once again Scarface's lyrical antics are some of Till Death's high points. And unless you've been  under a rock for the last five or six years you already know to expect dope shit from that rhyme-writing, gun-toting brother. "Attention motherf#ckers! About face / Salute the one that hit 'em up, quick to get 'em up / ... Quick to not give a f#ck / Never bringin' the false shit / I left the mic for a year and I still ain't lost it." One day on the phone, Face told me that he didn't think I liked his record, "New York don't like gangsta music." Shut up, brother! Your shit is dope." - The Source, 5/93

March 05, 2014

Mr. Wiggles "Rock Steady Break Beats" (Vol.1, Mixtape)

This mixtape is from Bronx, N.Y. DJ, and Rock Steady crew member, Mr Wiggles. Steffan “Mr. Wiggles” Clemente is one of the most dynamic and influential figures in Hip-Hop culture. He is a member of the world renown Rock Steady Crew and The Electric Boogaloos. He's been blessed with the ability to dance, act, choreograph, teach, produce music, and is a gifted Grafitti artist. “Mr. Wiggles is Hip-Hop’s jack-of-all-trades – skilled in Popping, Locking, Bboying, Graf-writing and MCing…” (Rap Pages). I just wanted to shine a quick light back on his classic "Rock Steady Breaks" mix... Volume 1 (there are a few others). Considered one of the holy grails of break-beat tapes, you'll wanna dig into this classic mix below. Anyone know exactly what year this tape hit the pavement? Dig in...

March 04, 2014

Fashawn "Ode To Illmatic" (Mixtape, 2010)

An 11-track mixtape from Fashawn - Hosted by DJ Green Lantern - that goes track-for-track through Nas' debut opus, "Illmatic" - with the inclusion of an original bonus remix to "Represent." Ironically, the first time I met Fashawn was back in 2010 (or... maybe it was '11?) at the A3C Festival. They booked Eternia for a few appearances, one of which was a Tribute to New York show. The concept was that artists would spit lyrics to classic tracks from New York, ahead of Big Daddy Kane's headlining performance. Eternia chose "Excursions" from A Tribe Called Quest and our brother Jarobi came out to perform with us, which was dope. Anyhow, earlier that day in the hotel lobby, I was sitting next to Fashawn who looked like he was writing a verse. At some point we introduced ourselves and I asked what he was working on ... he told me that he was going over the lyrics to a track from his "Ode To Illmatic" project; he was performing at the show, too. I told him he had it easy - at least he had a joint already, lol. I liked his energy; nice dude and obviously talented! He and Elzhi were working on this project around the same time, and it's possible that since Fashawn dropped first, Elzhi went back in the studio and came up with the idea of Will Sessions recreating the beats; a phenomenal idea and easily one of the greatest mixes of all-time! (Updated audio link.)

March 03, 2014

De La Soul "3 Feet High and Rising" (Spin Magazine, 2005)

"Hip-Hop never had a lawn. Despite a multitude of late-80s voices - from the gangland range of N.W.A. to the political theory of Public Enemy to the mystical modernism of Rakim to the booty mania of 2 Live Crew - it was a given that almost every MC was grounded in the tough-nut rituals of street life. "It's just a ghetto thang," echoed the enigmatic chorus on De La Soul's debut album, "3 Feet High and Rising." But not only did De La talk about having a lawn - the group's three teenage members grew up in the Long Island suburb of Amityville after their parents moved from the Bronx and Brooklyn - they were concerned about the potholes in it, which, in fact, was a metaphor for rival MCs stealing their rhyme style, which was the basis for a song ("Potholes In My Lawn") that featured a Jew's harp and a guy yodeling." Watch the visuals to the track, cont'd below...

"With its flowery Day-Glo graphics, game-show skits, lyrical anagrams, and oddball samples (Steely Dan, Hall and Oates), 3 Feet High and Rising was a vision of the unhinged fun that hip-hop could have if it got the fuck out of the city.... "It was more relaxed (on Long Island)," says Prince Paul, an Amityville DJ who had gained some local fame as a member of Brooklyn vets Stetsasonic but had never produced a record before 3 Feet High. "You had tensions, but it was more average, universal things. Rather than being focused on what was going down in the 'hood or with whatever gang, our thing was more like, 'Hey, we don't like popcorn.' De La Soul's MCs, Posdnous and David "Trugoy" Jolicoeur (along with DJ Vincent "Mase" Mason), didn't boast to boost their self-image; they teased and tweaked. Messages were delivered in twisty syntax (as on the anti drug song "Say No Go")."

"On "The Magic Number," Mercer rapped: "Difficult preaching is Posdnous' pleasure." Recalls Jolicoeur: "We wanted to have people desperate to figure things out, and listen over and over to try and understand." That in mind, he borrowed a Johnny Cash record ("Five Feet High and Rising") from his father, inspiring the album's cryptic title. Aided by the single "Me Myself and I" - with a brightly lit sample of P-Funk's "Knee Deep" - the album was an instant hit, crossing over to college and European audiences. Digs that the group were "hip-hop hippies" (occasioned by their playful "D.A.I.S.Y. Age" ethos) hurt, but now they look back fondly on those days of childlike abandon. "The beauty of that record was that we were so naive," says Prince Paul. "Unfortunately, you can't go back to being stupid, unless you take some bad mind-altering drugs." - Spin Magazine, 7/05 // 5/10. Today is not the anniversary of 3 Feet High and Rising's release, but revisit it nonetheless! A classic!

March 02, 2014

Jonwayne "Passing Fancies" (2013)

A rare loosie post, as I was sitting with Jonwayne's "Cassette 2" project via Stones Throw Records earlier today.... the track is called "Passing Fancies" and it is a great display of both his production and rhyming if you're not familiar with his music as of yet. Philip Morris smacked Stones Throw over Jonwayne's first Cassette release, click HERE to see the documentation over the use of the Marlboro logo on that release. Due to that fact, this project is released only on cassette - there are no CDs, MP3s or vinyl releases for Cassette 2. Thankfully, Stones Throw did upload the single for this track, so check it out below and I'm sure you can still find a copy of the cassette for re-sale on Discogs. Cassette 2 is 36 mins of raps and beats featuring Jeramiah Jae, Zeroh, and Quelle Chris. Shout outs to the old guy at the shell station for letting Jonwayne keep his pen so he could write these verses. Mental note: support more of Jonwayne's music on this blog/music journal.

March 01, 2014

Blu "Soul Amazing Part 2" (Mix)

The latest in Blu's official "Soul Amazing" mixtape series: Part 2 features Blu verses originally on tracks with Big Tone, MED, Co$$, Sene, Asher Roth, S1, Pac Div, Bilal, J. Period, Andy Allo, Hezekiah, Fashawn, J Dilla, The Roots, Lupe Fiasco, 9th Wonder, Exile & a dozen or two more! Please keep these mixes coming, I'm locked in on each and every one of them, in perpetuity. Stream it below...