September 30, 2014

J1K "The Vault Vol.1" (Instrumental Album)

"The Vault Vol. 1" is a collection of twenty of J1K's best stashed and new beats he has been working tirelessly on over the past two years. It is the first of a 3-part series. The Maryland beatsmith adds: "Thank you to the fans for all your support. The MCs who have been on the journey with me. And my beat machine. This tape would not have been possible without you three." Listen below...

September 30, 2014

Venomous2000 "A Moment To Reflect, Vol.3" (Album Stream)

This 25 track compilation is the culmination of Venomous2000's extensive collaborations and sessions during the years of 2012-2014. The album features production from DJ Manipulator, Trilian, Handbook, and additional production from producers all over the globe. All tracks were mixed and Mastered by Trilian out of Serbia! More to come - in the meantime, listen to the compilation below...

September 29, 2014

Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are "Black Star" (Rap Pages, 1/99)

"These two cats define the latest trends of lyricism, apparel and a cutting-edge lifestyle in the most prestigious underground circles. This album is nice; maybe the underground's best this year! Kweli is about dexterity, speed and head-twisting lyrics, which, on "Twice Inna Lifetime" (featuring Jane Doe, Punch and Words), ride the pounding bass bass bulges of the track perfectly, or even subtly, as on "Thieves of the Night" produced by 88 Keys: "A lot of cats who buy records are straight broke / But my language be universal, they be reciting my quotes / While R&B singers hit bad notes." From his tackling jaw-action on the revitalized BDP cut titled "Definition" or Slick Rick's "Children's Story." Peep the visuals to their single "Definition" and more, continued below...

"Mos Def, like Q-Tip of Tribe, is armed with a personality that's hard to hate. So are his microphone skills, which appear so flavorful in Caribbean tones and melodic flows at times; on "Brown Skin Lady," produced by J. Rawls, they weigh a ton on the backs of brothers craving girls looking like a casting call for Friends. Together they truly uphold the black, red and green flag in which pride can be savored. Also, DJ Hi-Tek must be commended for his six emancipated productions, of which "RE: DEFinition," "KOS Determination," featuring Vinia Mojica, and "Respiration," featuring Common, evoke a special classy edge and jazzy feel - the narration at the end and beginning of each song is effective along with the rest of the album." - Rap Pages, January 1999. Full review available below.

September 29, 2014

Deuces Wild: "A Bronx Tale" (Anniversary Mix)

"1993 was a keynote year for the "hip-hop movie." The term, although never officially coined, became a popular when movies such as CB4 and Who's The Man hit the big screen, A Bronx Tale was definitely not one of them. For starters, the movie took place in the the segregated sixties - two decades before hip-hop even took its first breath. There isn't a h movie's score and soundtrack contained no rap music, and remember, this is an era way before the term rapper-turnt-actor became popular. 20 (21) years later its easy to see how hip-hop has adopted A Bronx Tale into the culture. There enough lyric references to go around - vocal samples have been lifted from movies, and a handful of "A Bronx Tale" song/mixtape titles. In the past we've celebrated the important anniversaries of album releases, producer's birthdays, and even movie releases. So without further ado, enjoy this latest mix" - UpNorthTrips (Originally released in 2013), listen to the Bronx mix below...

September 28, 2014

Souls of Mischief "93 Til Infinity" (The Source, 6/93)

"While the San Francisco Bay and Oakland areas may have been put on the hip-hop map by cries of "b-aitch" and "Hammer Time," those who think that the Oaktown sound is exclusively comprised of "hoe" lyrics, heavy 808 drum kicks and genie pants are in for a rude awakening. From the streets of Oakland come an army of kids sporting 'fros, locks and slick heads, baseball bats and angry grins who are ready to claim a spot on the hip-hop wall of fame by tagging it up with a fat marker - Hieroglyphics '93. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien was the first slang talker to represent for the Hieroglyphic lyrical society. Now come four soulful kids (A-Plus, Opio, Tajai and Phesto) who have a penchant for maiming MCs who doze on their ability to articulate their definitions of self and proclamations of self worth. The title of their debut lets you know right away that these kids plan to be in the game for the long haul. With producers like Del, Domino, Casual and Jay Biz behind the boards the Souls can't lose. True to the Oakland sound, the funk is employed but it's more of an East Coast /  Meters groove than the Zapp or P-Funk flavor that you might be expecting. Still, the bass on most tracks is so deeply inaudible that it can be felt quaking your chest." Cont'd below...

"These kids have so many lyrics it's ridiculous. It would be an insult to try and give a sample of their breathless flow in print. Just imagine a nasal Organized Konfusion with a Daisy Ager's humble sensibility. Because of the weight given to the lyrics, most cuts will be most appreciated in your Walkman rather than in your jeep (just make sure you invest in your headphones that can handle the deep bass). For straight flavor skills check for "Disseshowedo." "Batting Practice," the incredible "Make Your Mind Up," and "That's When Ya Lost," which employs the talents of their potnah, Pep Love. When you combine the album's fifteen fat tracks with its many guest appearances and inevitable B-side remixes, it is clear that the Souls will be a force to be reckoned with from '93 till."

September 27, 2014

Kon & Amir "On Track Volume 1-2" (Mixtape)

The story of Kon and Amir begins in the record bins of Boston. A chance encounter at Biscuithead Records in 1996 would lead to one of the best-kept alliances in the beat digging world. Within a year of their meeting, the pair cut On Track Volume 1, the first in what would be a five part series of mix discs, infecting ears with seamless blends of unparalleled beats and breaks. Over a lifetime of collecting, they’ve unearthed records that define the word rare, pulling from the best in deep funk, soul, jazz, R&B, Latin, reggae, and of course, hip-hop. No bin is too dirty for Kon and Amir; these DJs have scoured all manner of records spots in their day, braving seedy barrooms and rabid fanatics along the way. Listen to Kon & Amir's On Track, Volume 1 and 2 (updated audio links) below...

September 26, 2014

Dunc "Cycles" (Instrumental Album)

Dunc represents the production side of the Maryland duo DTMD, aka Dunc & Toines Makin' Dollas. The 12-track instrumental project is entitled "Cycles," and Dunc explains, "Music is much like nature. Repeating patterns and cycles make up the natural world. This instrumental album reflects on the relationships of music and cycles that create the world we live in." Say no more, dig into it below...

September 25, 2014

Andre 3000 x NPR "Microphone Check"

Andre 3000 - André Benjamin, sometimes Three Stacks and always one half of the mighty OutKast - sat down with Microphone Check hosts Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley before a screening of the just-released Jimi Hendrix biopic in which he stars. He spoke about his current work with the Queen of Soul, how and why OutKast and the Dungeon Family 20 years ago put the city of Atlanta on their backs and what young musicians now can learn from his group's early days.

September 24, 2014

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien in Spin Magazine (9/91)

"I use tuh dream that late one night some kinda bomb would drop on Cali N' they'd wake up Afrocentrik! Well, Ice Cube's cousin, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, is frum Cali, and I jus' checked out hiz new disc. On tha cut "Mistadobalina" Del dropz jewlz sayin' it ain't tha clothes ya wear that'z getz ya over, but nowadayz it'z about buildin' a fountain of knowledge. Now I ask y'all, does this sound like West Coast? No! Del's a member of Cube's Lench Mob but he'z also got hiz own squad called the Hieroglyphics, and they kick tha funk while droppin' some abstract ideas!" Cont'd below...

"On "Sunny Meadows" Del sez: "In the region of the forest where tha marsh hair dwells / I sit and write scriptures by the old wishing well / Collect all my notes and sail a boat back to Berkeley / Tribes feel my vibes cause my style is kinda earthly / Some say it's wack but I ain't tryin' tuh hear it / As long as what I do contains my soul n' my spirit." This sure az hell ain't N.W.A.! Listen and you'll know it'z frum a kid who'z only 18 but loves some early funk muzik. I don't know how many more times artists can use Parliament stuff and still come off soundin' dope, but I loved Del's blends of George Clinton on "What's a Booty?" Forget P-Funk, this iz D-Funk! Somethin' tellz me that tha dayz of Del haz just begun." - Spin Magazine, September 1991 ("I Wish My Brother George Was Here.")

September 23, 2014

Geto Boys "Press Kit" (1990)

"Let's get a couple things straight. One, The Geto Boys are not obscene. The Geto Boys rap about the obscene: poverty, racism, growing up in a climate of fear, brutality, and neglect. Two, the Geto Boys are mad. Not just about the recent flap over their new self-titled Def American Recordings' album, but deep mad about the world around them. And anger is a scary thing. Their music can be scary too... They're wake up calls meant to shake up deaf Americans... Despite their fury, they are truly thoughtful and reflective young men. If anyone expects The Geto Boy to apologize for songs like "Fuck 'Em" or "Let a Ho Be A Ho," which unleash torrents of expletives in a blaze of profane glory, forget it. "All we do is speak for the black struggle," says Willie D. "Because of that, they say we're racist and sexist, or condoning violence. These are the same people that go out and watch Rambo blow up an army." ... "Stick a man in the 5th ward, and he'll learn how to think," says Bushwick Bill. All four were tough, got into trouble regularly, and were headed for lives of crime. Yet they were saved. "What we did," says Willie D., "is take all the bad things that happened to us, and formed them into art." The band, in its earlier incarnations, was the very first to develop the Gangsta Style of rap, predating even N.W.A. They became the hottest rap act in Houston, selling thousands of records throughout the mid-south, midwest, and panhandle regions." Cont'd below...

"With the new line-up complete, the next development came when Rick Rubin, founder of Def American Recordings and Def Jam Records, became interested in collaborating with the Geto Boys. The new album combines the very best of previously released Geto Boys songs as well as new songs, entirely remixed with additional production by Rubin... When Digital Audio Disc Corporation declined to manufacture, and Geffen Records refused to release The Geto Boys this summer, a new chapter had been written in the sinister story of recent American censorship. It marked the first time a manufacturer and distributor refused to press and ship a rap album based on lyrical content alone, and it put the Geto Boys under the national media spotlight. All sorts of media observers, label executives and industry pundits commented, but no one ever seemed to ask the Geto Boys for their opinions. Says Willie D., "It was funny to me. We've been together less than a year, and already we're making history." Added Bushwick Bill, "We do not curse for the sake of cursing. We're only stressing what goes on around us. It's like them people have us under a microscope." The microscope is flawed however, because practically none of the self-appointed judges of the Geto Boys' music have actually heard it... As long as young black men and women find in rap an artistic outlet for their frustrations and expressions, rap will thrive... It has indeed paid off. The Geto Boys have reshaped the twisted aspects of their past into something steel-hard and razor-sharp. For people not afraid of getting cut, there are many rewards to be found in the music of the Geto Boys. You just have to listen. Hey, it's only a record. It won't kill you." - Press Kit, September 1990.

September 22, 2014

Showbiz & A.G. "Runaway Slave" (The Source, 11/92)

"If you Rip Van Winkled on Showbiz & AG's debut PE, Party Groove/Soul Clap here's your chance to come correct on two brothers with pure hip-hop flowing through their veins. On the long play, this Bronx duo skillfully distill the essence of the asphalt into gargantuan polyrhythms and freestyle lyrics straight from the old-school outdoor jams. Miles would beam at their use of meandering horn riffs flowing in and out of the mix, obviously the rewards of 'nuff diggin' in the crates. These freeform samples add spit and polish to tracks that are otherwise down and dirty, and create more ambience than Panasonic Platinum. Meanwhile, the ill subliminal bass laces joints like "Fat Pockets" and "Silence Of The Lambs," making them true blunts for the Benzi box." Cont'd below...

"With drop-ins by Kid Capri, Fat Joe, and Freddie Foxx, and cameos by Black Sheep's Dres ("Bounce To This") and Lord Finesse and the crew ("Represent"), Showbiz and A.G. create a party on your stereo, flexing enough freestyle to make the unaware go senile. On the hardcore "Hard To Kill," A.G. says, "I love conflict and confrontation / Killin' enemies worse than Kennedy's assassination." Through your neckbone will definitely get a workout on these tracks, this is an album of nuance with many layers of words and sounds that will age like fine wine." - The Source, November 1992.

September 22, 2014

Future Joyner "Listen To Me" (Mixtape, 2011)

Future Joyner, who later changed his name to Joyner Lucas, released his "Listen To Me" mixtape back in 2011. I'd been watching his moves from afar since the Film Skool Rejekts released their mixtape, "The Workprint." Production on the mix is handled by The Audible Doctor, Apollo Brown, Cyrus The Great, Frank Dukes, DJ Prince, and others ... I like hearing him on soulful production and boombap, because his flow is so lyrical. However, I do see that his aim is higher than the underground; he clearly feels his pen is on par with the greats and the major labels and CEOs should be paying closer attention. I'm not mad at 'em! He continues to take steps forward and it's dope to see that the FSR mixtape was released as a cassette for this year's cassette store day. I hope people go back and dig into that one, I'll post about it one day soon too. Please continue to keep an eye out for this young MC, Joyner has got the raw talent and it WILL eventually all click for him... when the timing is right. Until then, enjoy these old mixtapes you might have overlooked.

September 22, 2014

GZA "Liquid Swords" (The Source, 12/95)

"Really now, what the hell else can one say about the Wu? We've run out of aggrandizements and wonderful metaphoric wordplay to describe the Shaolin massive. How often can they be called dope, def, ill, nice, unparalleled, exceptional, revolutionary, etc? Nevertheless, one statement can still be made witout plunging headlong into cliche: 1995 will go down as the signature year for the Clan. Let these numbers put things in perspective: 1 year, 4 solo albums from a nine man crew, over 2 million units moved. Now Liquid Swords, the long-awaited release from Genius, puts the cap on a period that will certainly be remembered as a definitive hip-hop moment... The GZA may just be the Clan's most accomplish verbalist. His verse on "Protect Ya Neck," the Clan's debut single, was touted as one of the best that year. Genius' rhyme steelo deosn't resemble the husky sing-song of Method Man, the craved unpredictability of Ol' Dirty, or the aggressive fast-faced delivery of Raekwon and Ghost Face. Rather, GZA comes across like a highly focussed master-craftsman. Throughout Liquid Swords he maintains a clear, precise flow, one that reflects deadly-sharp purpose and skilled execution."

"RZA's production continues to excite the spine. That's an astonishing fact when one considers the volume of work he's put out this year. Liquid Swords contains all the elements of RZA's increasingly sophisticated style: shuffling kicks, neck-snapping snares, haunting melodies via strings or vibe-like textures and penetrating bass tones. RZA's ability to mold a specific feel around each of the Wu, while maintaining an overall consistency, is uncanny... If the Wu message hasn't been beamed into your brain, rest assured: the GZA will offer swift remedy and swifter understanding. Folks may as well hand the key over, Liquid Swords has officially put shit on lock." - The Source, 12/95.

September 21, 2014

Audimatic "The Manual" (EP Stream)

This is last years free release of "The Manual EP" from Audimatic: The Audible Doctor on the mic & Maticulous on the beats. As Fat Beats alumni, the connection between AMD & Maticulous goes back several years and the chemistry is felt on the project. Coming in at just 6 tracks, it's a short EP with no features, but plenty of soul. They shine best on the tracks "Closer" and "New Shit" but definitely download the full EP and dig into it today. A year later, I'm still waiting on some new music from the duo, let's hope it comes through sooner than later. Peace to my Fat Beats brothers! 

September 20, 2014

Craig Mack "Project Funk Da World" (Review, The Source 1994)

The debut album from Craig Mack, "Project Funk Da World" was also the first album distributed through Puff's Bad Boy Entertainment. Puff and Craig Mack were both 23 at the time of its release, which is kinda crazy when I think back on it. "Flava In Ya Ear" was the smash hit single to promote the album, as well as the remix with an all-star line-up including The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Rampage, and LL Cool J. Easy Mo Bee produced that as well as the second single "Get Down," until they dropped the remix featuring Q-Tip, another solid banger. The Source gave the album 4 mics, which may have been generous at the time, despite some strong singles. Ben Smith wrote, "This summer, as if from nowhere, Craig Mack jumped into the over-saturated rap market and blew all fake, no skillz rappers out of the picture. His street anthem, the irresistible, hypnotic "Flava In Ya Ear" single had wack MC's on their knees, "burning, begging please," under Craig's devastating, off-beat attack. On Funk Da World, he resumes where the single left off, providing eleven tracks of East Coast's most rugged, raw, truly hardcore urban-contemporary-jeep-music." Cont'd below...

"While being touted as the next big thing, older heads who heard MC E-Z & Troop's 1987 classic "Get Retarded" will know that this Brentwood, Lond Island native is no new jack ... The Mack has seen hip-hop culture descend from the sublime days of '87 to the current state of ridiculousness, and now "Judgment Day" is here for all wack MC's who aren't "Real Raw." Throughout the album, he displays well-perfected mic skills, delivering them with a precision and discipline that's hard to beat ... Funk Da World's production - simple, hard beats and samples in the Hit Squad mold (principally by Easy Mo Bee and Craig) - complement Mack's serpentine flows ... we're given a refreshing, back-to-basics, solid collection that's more than enough for Craig Mack to funk da world." (1994)

September 19, 2014

Cam'ron "S.D.E." (2000)

"Cam'ron has already lived quite a life. In the span of his 22 years, Cam's gone from being a high-school All-American point guard to dealing drugs in his native Harlem to becoming one of hip-hop's brightest new stars. So with all the balling, hustling and rapping, it's no wonder that he's decided to name his new Epic album S.D.E. "I was just trying to show people that I can rap," says Cam'ron of his blazing gold 1998 debut, "Confessions of Fire." Back then, I was just showing everybody that I'm multi-talented and that I can flip any style." ... "My sports got me into college," says Cam. "College didn't work out. Got into drugs and then I ended up rapping. It ain't phony. I lived this." This tale is told in the title track "Sports, Drugs and Entertainment" with the help of B.I.G. who said it best...

The posse cut "Where I'm From," was an early exclusive on a DJ Clue mixtape, got me amped for the LP. To me, this is actually Cam's best project, although his rise with Dipset and the Diplomats would later launch his career to much greater heights. But, "Where I'm From" is straight rhyming, check it...

September 18, 2014

Nature in Spin Magazine (September, 2000)

"With hip-hop's current fixation on all things bling-bling, blue-collar rapper Nature sticks out like a 40-dog of brew in a case of Moet & Chandon. "People may look at my style in a bad way because they're used to the growling and the big chains," says Nature of his no-frills emphasis on skills. "They brainwashed. I gotta take 'em back and walk 'em through them steps again. 'Cause all the guys I ever liked did it like that." Growing up in the MC fertile Queensbridge housing projects in Long Island City, New York - which also spawned Marley Marl and Mobb Deep - supplied Nature (real name: Jermaine Baxter) with no shortage of musical role models. He's been assaulting urban eardrums since 1997 when fellow QB resident Nas recruited him for overhyped hip-hop supergroup The Firm (which included Foxy Brown and AZ). Dedicating his deadpan cadence to colorful crime-rhymes and ribald confessions ("Doggystyle was my favorite position,") Nature upstaged his jiggier colleagues on thug anthems like "I'm Leaving." But the Firm's champagne-dream image left the 27-year-old with a bad hangover. "We were supposed to be the ill rap crew," he says. "But I couldn't really be accepted rocking suits. It didn't feel street." Peep The Firm's "Phone Tap," cont'd below...

"No such paid-in-full posturing pollutes Nature's solo debut, For All Seasons. It's a crafty platter of metaphorical flair, compelling boy-meets-girl / girl-caps-boy-for-f#cking-around narratives, and vivid ghetto reminisces that recall Nas' early poetics. Furthermore, lines like "You know the motto: we live for today, f#ck tomorrow / We only makin' time for the ho's to swallow" (from "Man's World") demonstrate that Nature's knack for sublimely offensive observations remains intact. "With a lot of guys nowadays, their words kinda dissolve," Nature says. "But I know when I get on the mic, my whole verse isn't gonna go by without you sayin', 'Where those rhymes comin' from?' Comin' from the hood!" - Chairman Mao, Spin Magazine (September, 2000) // Save a copy of the feature below.

September 17, 2014

R.I.P Praverb The Wyse

On September 17, 2014, the hip-hop community lost one of its most enthusiastic, devoted soldiers, Earl Patrick McNease. Known to all of us as Praverb, he was a rapper, DIY marketing expert, blogger, but more importantly, a sincere human being whose mission seemed to involve helping everyone who came across his path.
Praverb was a great person and a selfless supporter of me, my artists, and the entire music industry. It’s easy to see upon reflection, Praverb was what it looked like to not yet be abused by time and the darker side of this industry. His love of music was pure and that made him an amazing reflection of why so many of us got involved in music in the first place. Please consider contributing to the GoFundMe page that was set up to honor his memory and help his family during this very difficult time. Rest In Peace, Earl Patrick McNease aka Praverb The Wyse. Forever and a day.

September 16, 2014

FloFilz "Metronom" (Instrumental Album)

"FloFilz is one of the most promising newcomers on the German beatmaker scene. His sound is deeply rooted in the Low End Theory (Tribe not LA) school of beats and his tracks regularly hit the six-digit plays mark on Soundcloud. FloFilz grew up in Belgium and lives currently in Aachen where he studies violin. When it comes to his own beats, jazz reigns supreme over nearly any other music. "Metronom" is his first official album and we are delighted to release it on Melting Pot Music."

September 15, 2014

Es-K "Serenity" (Instrumental Album)

"This album is dedicated to Ryan Nuckolls: September 30th 1987 - August 4th 2010. The most meaningful, emotional, and difficult project I’ve ever done wouldn’t have ever been possible without the help of the friends and family that surround me... Without music I have no idea where I’d be in my life... To all my other friends and family (music related and otherwise)… PEACE!!!!" - Much respect to Es-K on this instrumental release, "Serenity," representin' out of Burlington, Vermont. Dig into it...

September 14, 2014

The Beatnuts "Do You Believe" (Review, 1997)

If you ask me for my favorite cut from the illustrious career of The Beatnuts - without a pause - I'm gonna say "Do You Believe." It was released as the second single to their sophomore album, "Stone Crazy," in 1997. The Queens duo of Psycho Les & JuJu were also joined by Al' Tariq in their early days, as well as V.I.C. as part of their production team, but without diving into their back story, I do want to focus in on "Do You Believe," which was covered in The Source as a single: "Those intoxicated demos from the Q-borough are back with what devoted fans expected - some tight shit. This time around there's no jingles and one less member. Following last year's promo-only, undeniably bangin' release "Find That," "Do You Believe" continues to prove that the Ju-Ju and Psycho Les are still diggin' in them crates like bums on a McDonad's trash can." Watch the video below.

"Violent melody? Maybe, depending on how you react to the beautiful strings and sinking bassline. Thought the beat is somewhat less aggressive than most people would expect, that still doesn't stop Ju-Ju and Psycho Les from hittin' you in the head with pipelines like, "Do you believe in God? You do? Tell'em to save you, 'cause me and these n!ggas here we win't tryin to pay you / Regardless of the fact that it's close to home / I gotta finish your life so I can start my own." If "Find That" was the "pay me my money" song, then "Do You Believe" is the "we ain't paying you shit" song. Feeling brave? Just remember, they'll shoot your moms if they have to." (The Source 5/97). Updated.

September 13, 2014

The Notorious B.I.G. "Ready To Die" (The Source, 10/94)

"While an America that I don't understand worries about the immortality of Elvis, the evils of the fur industry and Oprah's love handles - the legendary "Everyday Struggle" leaves the rest of us stuck in a world where life's a bitch, cash rules everything around us and then we die (though not always in that order). Ready To Die, the debut from Brooklyn's own Biggie Smalls (a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G.), echoes this attitude in full Ghettovision color, showing us that the true "American way" is to hustle for yours. He shows us both sides of the coin. Whether underground in the crack game, or legit in the rap game - it's all the same shit. Lots of tricks, egos, beef, gas, jelly, $, sex, etc. After being on The Source's Unsigned Hype and hittin' with "Party and Bullshit" off the Who's The Man soundtrack, Biggie's underground reputation is about to blow up nationwide with this summer's illiotic bomb. Like a lyrical version of the movie The Killer, Big weaves tales like a cinematographer. Each song is like another scene in his Lifestyles of the Black and Shameless, the Tec and stainless. If you're looking for abstract poetry and deep scientifics, Big is not the one. But he's got style out the ass." Check out the visuals to Biggie's smash single "Juicy", the article continues below...

"The pitch, the timing, the role playing, the details are automatic and perfect. I can't do his flow justice on paper... peep Big and Method Man's bionic duet, "The What," for the ill slogan of the summer: "Fuck the world, don't ask me for shit / And everything ya get, ya gotta work hard for it (Honey, shake ya hips) / Ya don't stop (and n!ggas pack the clips) / Keep on." I can see the t-shirts on 125th St. already. Overall, this package is complete: ridiculous beats, harmonizing honeys, ill sound effects, criminal scenarios, and familiar hooks (see Mtume's beat on "Juicy" and the "I Get Lifted" beat on Big's "Respect")... Whether the street essence is your reality or whether you just like feeling hard through someone else's stories, Biggie will captivate you with his "machine gun funk." - The Source (October, 1994) // The full review is available below (click to enlarge). Revisit it HERE.

September 12, 2014

The Notorious B.I.G. "Ready To Die" (20th Anniversary Mix)

DJ Chris Read is at it again... In celebration of Biggie’s massive classic, 1994’s Ready to Die, Wax Poetics and WhoSampled present the Notorious BIG ‘Ready to Die’ 20th Anniversary Mixtape! Cutting between album tracks and the original sample source material, Chris Read provides a beautiful soundscape to pay tribute to one of the greatest debut albums ever released. Rest in Peace, B.I.G. Click through below to read the full list of tracks covered in Chris Read's exclusive mix.

September 11, 2014

3rd Bass "Pop Goes The 'Bass" (Spin, 9/91)

"...Although the duo finds cultural possessiveness understandable, neither is about to step from what he deems as his inarguable right to the music. And the demands can get deep, like it did when hellfire activist Sister Souljah rallied her young, black, and proud audience to the cries of "3rd Bass ain't down!" at last year's Malcolm X Conference. "I respect her for trying to uplift our youth," says MC Serch. "But unfortunately, she's looking at the polarization of the music. I didn't see Souljah in the Latin Quarters or the Rooftop. I could teach her a thing or two about the culture, about where the music comes from and where it's going. We were involved in the community that people never asked why. When I stepped to the LQ I was in there... I don't think we have jack shit to prove." Even in this hostile atmosphere, 3rd Bass has managed to do us lovely. Kitchen-sink mentality in full effect: the group's new album Derelicts of Dialect continues to push rap's boundaries by sampling everything from jazz to JFK; and with "Pop Goes The Weasel" headed straight for the Top 40, it seems as if the boys are about to get props despite their distaste for pop-rap..." Cont'd...

"It's depressing," says Pete Nice. "At this point, maybe two-thirds of rap is awful and the other third makes up for the rest of it. The problem is not so much with the artists but with the record labels that are starting to push artists like Gerardo and call him a rapper. The commercialization of rap makes it hard for good artists to get out there." ... But the main question remains, Where will rap be in the next decade? Serch cold-swipes me with his counterpunch. "It goes beyond making good music. As a white artist especially, I say this from the heart. If you're a thirteen-year old white kid in Kansas, then you better know twenty years of history before you make a record. And if you're making it when you're eighteen then you better know twenty-five years of legacy." - Spin

September 10, 2014

Rubberoom "Street Theme" (12", 1997)

We discussed Rubberoom here to cover some background information on the group, as well as their "Architechnology" album in 1999. I've been meaning to further discuss "Gothic Architecture" from '95 in more detail, but let's first take a trip back to 1997 for this solid 12" release of "Street Theme" and "White Hot Razors." Like "Architechnology," this was released on Indus Recordings, however neither track from the 12" appears on the album. The Chicago crew's signature sound is easily felt; hard drums, deep distorted bass, dope cuts and plenty of vocal strength on the tracks. Noticeably, S.P.O. is not featured, nor is Wititude AKA Fill Spector, and it'd later be announced that they'd gone separate ways from the group. It's also worth noting that "Bird Cage Management" was actually J. Bird, now known from Rhymesayers Entertainment. Explained in more detail by Kevin Beacham of RSE, "Around the same time of the “Street Theme” single, I had come across the Rhymesayers sound in the Twin Cities. That discovery would eventually lead to me connecting them with J-Bird in an effort to build opportunities for both crews by swapping shows in their respective cities of Chicago and Minneapolis. The next logical step was a national tour with Atmosphere and Rubberoom, tour Managed by J-Bird. It was on the tour that Rubberoom finally decided to disband and ended chapter one in their legacy. Meanwhile, Atmosphere still needed a manager and secured J-Bird for the position and only a few years later they would bring me on to the Rhymesayers team as well, but that my friends in a whole other story…" Well said, KB. Now, let's get into this "Street Theme" 12" below, and we'll dig back into some promo from "Gothic Architecture" on another day soon.

September 09, 2014

90s Cipher: 50 Cent, Noreaga, Punch & Consequence (Video)

Captured by Kurt Nice & Shades of Hip-Hop is this now-infamous freestyle cipher of a young 50 Cent, Consequence, Punchline, and Noreaga. It's dope to see this flashback of 50 Cent rhyming - before he got shot - and catch his youthful energy, which is matched only by the off-the-wall style and personality of Lefrak City's own, Noreaga. That said, if you ask me, it's Punchline that caught a body! As 1/2 of "Punch & Words" with Wordsworth, Punch was no stranger to the ciphers and Lyricist Lounge days of Hip-Hop; he was sharpening his skills with one of the best lyricists in NYC's underground scene. This video had been floating around for some time, but it was reposted by Nore's peoples, 57th Ave, back in 2010 or so. Props to them for the link, and re-sharing a time in Hip-Hop when MCs were vocally supportive of one another and weren't afraid to jump in a cipher (cameras or no cameras) and do their thing. Worth mentioning: Noreaga was early to support 50 Cent - through Trackmasters - on 50's song, "Money By Any Means" off the "Power Of The Dollar" album. This cipher would've went down around the time Noreaga was recording his N.O.R.E. album, which eventually went platinum on Penalty Recordings. Queens get the money. Peep the cipher...

September 08, 2014

The Combat Jack Show "Ice-T Episode"

From Combat Jack: "Ice T's been around for a while (understatement of the year) and came through to share his journey from the death of his parents in New Jersey to encountering gang culture in Los Angeles. From drugs to robberies to rapping to a record deal. A step by step of how the Body Count song "Cop Killer" changed his whole life, and how he and Coco (she's here too) managed to keep their marriage alive. There's a whole lot here. Ice T, uncensored." Listen to the episode below.

September 07, 2014

The Audible Doctor "Brownies" (Instrumental Album, 2007)

The Audible Doctor paid tribute to James Brown (and Dilla in many ways) with this original beat tape back in '07 called "Brownies," sampling James Brown records for each track. As the buyer and manager at Fat Beats at the time time, it was sold almost exclusively through the shop and online store, but it quickly gained popularity as customers from Fat Beats came from all around the world to support independent hip-hop. With added notoriety as the BBAS continued to promote and pick up steam, the project eventually sold out and went out of print. A label overseas then picked it up for pressing on vinyl and the project had a new life. For the vinyl pressing, the project had a sticker on the front boasting a quote from DJ Premier that said "The Audible Doctor got some good ears...For one, to recognize James Brown is such a ILL RESPECT to give to our Godfather of SOUL...and Number Two, to flip his samples like that into some new shit ... like Milk D said, "WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?" - the co-sign from Premo will forever hold its weight in gold at home and abroad. Beyond that, we had Large Pro at Fat Beats for an in-store and he was handed a copy of "Brownies," he went on radio soon after with Peter Rosenberg and gave the project a shout-out. Large Pro then executive produced an instrumental album that AMD released called "Doctorin" in 2012. Years later, I continue to listen to and support this instrumental album, thinking you will too.

September 05, 2014

Nas Interview (Hip-Hop Connection, 1993)

At 19-years old, a young Nasty Nas spoke with Hip-Hop Connection, check it out: "Large Professor, that was my man before he made a record," Nas explains. "He was just out here in Queens, my man introduced me to him 'cause he knew I could rhyme. I was about to stop till I met him. He had some beats for me and shit back in '89. Me and him was working together trying to come out and then he got a record deal and since me and him was cool he just put me on that record ("Live At The BBQ") to give me some light." In the music biz, it's often said that it's who you know that gets your foot in the door, but in Nas' case this wasn't so. "It was difficult getting a deal," says Nas. "Like nobody wanted to hear what I was saying they wanted to hear them other records like "OPP," when that type of shit was big... record labels didn't really know what time it was. I thought that was strong enough to get me a deal but it wasn't." He admits that "Back To The Grill" wasn't exactly his flavor at the time, "I didn't really wanna do it, but that's what got me my real light y'know." Moving on to "Halftime," Nas says "It means like intermission, when I be hearing a lot of bullshit or when the breaks come, that was like half time of the song" and that numbers and accolades didn't much to him, "I'm only concerned with the street vibe..." To close out the interview, Nas proclaims "I want to be President Of The United States." - HHC, 1993... I wonder if he still feels that way today?!

September 04, 2014

Strippoker "Reign Supreme / QB To CO" (12", 1999)

Here's a solid record from '99; Strippoker's "Reign Supreme" with a dope B-Side, "QB to CO" & "The Black James Bond." The A-Side features Craig G, DV Shines & Mista Sinista. I don't know much about Strippoker or the producer Art Well Smart, but I've always enjoyed "QB To CO;" it's got a rugged beat and sounds like that late 90s underground sound. It's not especially rare or hard to find, but something a lil' different to post up for the vinyl heads that visit the site. Got more info? Listen.

September 03, 2014

Debonair P "Debonair Blends 5" (Mixtape)

Debonair P is a Melbourne-based DJ, producer, engineer and label owner (Gentleman's Relief Records). He put together a nice blend of underground hip-hop tracks from the 90s, cycling through dozens of tracks in around 60 minutes. You'll hear joints from PMD, Frankenstein, Redman, Jaz-O, Royal Flush, Masta Ace, Lord Digga, K-Def, Adagio!, AK Skills, Sic Sense, Souls of Mischief, Afu-Ra, Ghetto Concept, Lone Catalysts, Godfather Don, Nas, Nick Wiz, Jamal, Saukrates, Big Daddy Kane, Reservoir Dogs, Rakim, Nomaads, Thrust, and lots more. Listen to Debonair P's mix below....

September 02, 2014

Chris Read "Classic Material: 1993" (Mix, 2011)

This mix in Chris Read's 2011 Classic Material series pays tribute to the hip hop of 1993, a year which many consider the pinacle of the so called early 90s golden era. Sampling and production techniques honed during the early 90s had reached a natural maturity by 1993 with key golden era producers such as Pete Rock and the Beatnuts establishing their own trademark sounds. The East Coast also ushered in a new harder edged sound with Wu Tang and Onyx both delivering gritty debuts. On the West Coast, the ‘G Funk’ sound which found its feet the year prior delivered arguably its most accomplished album in the form of Snoop’s seminal LP, Doggy Style. 1993 was also a great year for emerging undergound acts carving out their own sound, Souls of Mischief being a notable example. Dig into the archives for more of Chris Read's Classic Material mixes... listen below.

September 01, 2014

9th Wonder "Bladey Mae" (Beat Tape)

9th Wonder's "Bladey Mae" beat tape was released in the Fall of 2013, but disappeared from the net soon after. In an attempt to revist the tape, let's look back at what 9th Wonder shared when it was  first released: "This past weekend, I met my grandma, Beulah Mae Jarrett Douthit’s family (my dad’s mother) for the first time. My grandma passed in 1965, so I’ve had no connection to her at all. I listened to the elders talk about her all day. One elder in particular, her oldest niece, who’s 78-years-old, told me that her nickname was ‘Bladey Mae’, because of the blades she carried around in the purse and pockets, to protect her children from a segregated South, one of them being my dad. I was looking for a name for a new beat tape, and that one just came out of nowhere." I've included a YouTube link (not mine) below to listen to the 45-min tape - if it gets taken down, let me know.