November 30, 2014

De La Soul "Train of Thought" (Mixtape, 2009)

Originally released in 2009 around the 20th Anniversary of De La’s classic debut, 3 Feet High & Rising, DJ Manifest put together a nice collection mix of their classic music. I still revisit this mix from time to time and thought it'd be worth sharing with y'all. Also check DJ Platurn's mix (So This Is De La Heaven), which is incredible! De La Soul doesn't get mentioned enough in the greatest groups of all-time... and I wonder if it's because any feuds between them were never public and they just do their music and remain consistent! The catalog is surely there... if you doubt that, listen below.

November 29, 2014

Full Circle "Infinite Edges" (Album Stream)

Full Circle consists of the hip-hop duo Still Waters and Bes Kept. Reppin' Toronto, they bring a solid release with this debut album "Infinite Edges." It's 16 tracks of soulful production and tight flows, which is sure to keep me listening and supporting future releases as well. Not much else to say, it's released independently with one feature from UZ, otherwise it's all Full Circle. Check it out below...

November 28, 2014

DJ Eveready "The Midnight Shift" (Mixtape, 2009)

Peace to the talented DJ Eveready out in Sydney, Australia who put this mixtape together back in 2009. "The Midnight Shift" features a mix of classic cuts and smooth blends from artists like The Notorious B.I.G., Blu & Exile, Jaylib, Big L, Showbiz & AG, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Channel Live, Lords Of The Underground, Das EFX, Masta Ace, Funkdoobiest, Common, Percee P, Copywrite, Y Society, The Roots and more! Check out this throwback mix from DJ Eveready down below...

November 27, 2014

DJ Neil Armstrong "Original" (Mixtape, 2001)

"If u don't know now u know, cause I have a crush on u but I need one more chance, another chance for u to call Neil big poppa. But warning, f#ck around and I get hardcore on all u playa haters. The 5th rock like the Zulu Nation. But don't call the 900 number asking whose in the house cause you'll be sad & blue when I walk on by. U must release yo delf, cause the 5th is nuttin' to f#ck wit. Cherchez Le Neil and eye know that the ladies won't say no go when I'm zone coasting for the bitties at Bobs lounge till the breakadawn. Let's stay together, cause this for the player in u. Close the door girl, let's get biz. I'm in love with MJ. She's outstanding and got me curious about her sexual healing. But it's been a long time since she's called me. It's all good, I still make loot to make me happy. But life's a bitch, and I'm yearning for her love. It ain't hard to tell though, it's only human nature, cause nobody beats my biz and there ain't no half steppin. Let me slow down a sec, remembering when ice ice baby shined. But now slim shady represents for the next episode. And today is always a good day when you're the flavor of the month cause u know my steez is to be on the next level. Always doin it well and u dare ask, can I kick it? I'm killing it softly with my mindblowing flow. I will always be a hip-hop junkie, whenever I hear someone rhyme slow or quick. And from now till infinity, this is how we chill." Catch it all below... (Updated to Neil's official link).

November 26, 2014

Marsellus Wallace & Skeme Richards "Cops Crooks & Spies" (Mix)

"A year ago I was approached by Jamison Harvey from Flea Market Funk and asked to do a mix for them. I've always had a lot of respect for what they do, and always enjoyed listening to their mixes as well. I also wanted to somehow include my Butta Brother Skeme Richards. So we got together, and came up with an idea. I would do a mix, and Skeme would dub dialog from his massive VHS collection and lay it on top. Kind of a soundtrack for a movie that never happened. So, that's what we did! With that said, we present to you "Cops Crooks and Spies"." - Marsellus Wallace. Dig in...

November 25, 2014

Revival Of The Underground EP (Volume 1, 1998)

This is the first of two EPs in a series called "Revival Of The Underground" in 1998 on Smack Entertainment. The NJ label reached out to four acts for this first installment: The Alamo, Red Eye, Ghetto Seals & Rhemslepe. The only act to repeat on Volume 2 is The Alamo, who actually delivered a better track with "Never Judge A Book" on the 2nd EP, but "X Marks The Spot" here is pretty solid too. You might also dig "Do What Ya Wanna Do" from Rhemslepe - otherwise I'll be honest, this highly sought-after (and expensive) piece of vinyl isn't all that impressive (to me!). If for nothing else, I wanna let you hear it for yourself, because it wouldn't be the first time scarcity made someone overspend on something then be a little disappointed later. That said, listen to the Revival EP below...

November 24, 2014

The Pharcyde "Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde" (The Source, '92)

"Post-Native Tongues hip-hop has spawned a host of groups that are less worried about posing and fronting like the hardest hard rock, slinging cane and shooting cops, than they are about innovating new styles, concepts and making hip-hop fun. The Pharcyde, a group of four young rappers from Los Angeles, combine the quirky, off-beat charm of a Daisy Ager and the sing-songy vocal tones of those down-to-earthlings who reminisced about Tennessee with an intense enthusiasm and energy akin to the Leaders (LONS). While parallels can be drawn between the Pharcyde and their East Coast brethren, don't confuse their similarities with unoriginal flava or lack of mic skills... This debut is packed with soulful pianos and organs that combine with head-nodding basslines that are as much fun as a day at Great Adventure. They exhibit fine mic control on tracks like "Oh Shit" and "I'm That Type" as the foursome kick seemingly bottomless run-on sentence type rhymes." Cont'd below...

"They flow lovely on "Ya Mama," a cut where they exchange "mama" jokes over a futuristic beat. The joint is comedy! On "Other Fish," Tre flips the script over some breezy, calypso-tinged beats as he rhymes about a honey dip who's kicking it to another brother who's living fatter: "I won't play second fiddle / To no man and stand firm on this ... No I won't dis / I'm just on to other fish..." The Pharcyde will inevitably face acceptance problems as their left-handed, yet inventive concepts might be too esoteric for some b-boys. Nasal vocals over tracks that contain much live instrumentation and sparse amounts of scratching may force some to ponder their role in the world of hardcore hip-hop. Sincerity and enthusiasm for the art form hopefully won't be mistaken for happy-rap crap. The question many will have to answer for themselves is whether a trip to the Pharcyde is a step backwards or a leap into the future? Most will just enjoy the bizarre ride." - The Source, 1992.

November 23, 2014

Snoop Dogg "Doggystyle: The Samples" (Mix)

Last year, DJ Snoopadelic created an exclusive mix for the 20th Anniversary of "Doggystyle." We're now in the 21st year, but again, I wasn't able to post this last year, so let's look back at it: November 23rd marks the 20th Anniversary of Snoop Dogg’s highly-acclaimed "Doggystyle," in which his lyrical realism and distinctive vocal flow forever changed hip-hop and helped define the genre into what it is today. In honor of this date, Snoop has created an enticing mixtape of the samples used on "Doggystyle." Never done before, Snoop offers exclusive commentary about each song and the behind-the-scenes stories that went on during the making of the historic record. The mix offers fans a once-in-a-lifetime experience to hear first-hand, the creative process behind the record.

November 22, 2014

The Roots Freestyle (On The Go! Video, 1995)

The original, uncut footage of Black Thought & The Roots' on camera freestyle. The video is taken from the 1995 recording of the On The Go Repeat Offender Graffiti Video. It was produced by Stephen "Espo" Powers and Ray Hayes, who also films the video. Peace to MEEZ, and love to Philly. On The Go began in '89 as a newsletter created by ESPO, who partnered with Ari Saal Forman and turned it into an official publication developing a worldwide, cult-like fanbase for niche content with a cross between Hip-Hop, urban lifestyle and graffiti. Peep The Roots' freestyle below...

November 21, 2014

DJ Premier "Gang Starr: True Heads Merch Mix"

"This is for the true Gang Starr heads that not only love the classic singles, but love the rarely played album cuts, B-Sides, rare collabos and not your regularly mixed records. We wanted something to go along with the launch of our Official Gang Starr Shop and we will continue to keep the legacy going. Shouts to GURU and Lil Guru (KC), Lana, Justin, the whole Elam family and the Gang Starr Foundation for staying strong throughout the whole loss of our soldier, father, lyricist and MC. Love can never be shattered and that’s what we bring everyday all day." - DJ Premier

November 20, 2014

Saafir "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (November, 1994)

"Saafir speaks in a rhythmic, agile baritone. It reminds you of the time he nearly stole an entire album from Casual with a 32-second freestyle. Saafir, the "Saucee Nomad," is a charming rogue, the kind of brother who puts you at ease with his savoir faire while scheming to steal dollars from the woman sitting next to him. "I'ma tell you right now, I'ma take all her money - definitely," he promises with a devious smile. "I had a girl when I was 15, right?" he mumbles between ferocious sandwich bites. "And when I said this little rhyme, she laughed for hella long. She said, 'You need to give up rapping, 'cause it sounds like you un-rapping.' That's why I rhyme, for the mothaf#ckas that doubted." His ex-girlfriend wasn't off the mark. Saafir is quite the un-rapper. Words unravel at the seams when he wields the microphone, and rhymes break off in strange places, dipping and sidestepping - like John Coltrane's "sheets of sound." On Saafir's debut album, Boxcar Sessions, he attacks your ears and then goes for the jugular, the metaphors hitting you from all sides." Cont'd...

"I have to be in control," he says. "I had no control over my childhood. I've been in group homes and jails since I was 12. So to have some kind of control or stability is like heaven to me." After years of blowing up the spot all over the Bay Area, Saafir started hanging with Tupac ("He wanted a boy; I'm a man, so I had to move on") and later rapped with Digital Underground. At one of Tupac's video shoots, he met the Hughes brothers, who eventually cast him in Menace II Society as Caine's cousin who gets murdered in the car. His striking features, gift of gab, and mind-blowing rap prowess helped land him a record deal with Warner Bros. And now he's just "trying to be more innovative than the next muthaf#cka." Saafir's not worried about people understanding his abstract poetics, though. "N!ggas don't like to think," he says plainly. "But my mind won't allow me not to. I have to make sense. Other rappers are so transparent, but I know I'ma reach 500,000 people just like me. Plus, a lot of females will feel me 'cause my emotions are intense. And I'm cute. I'm gonna blow up, man. I refuse not to." - Vibe, November 1994. Click to enlarge below to see the full feature in Vibe.

November 19, 2014

Animosity "Get Touched" (12", 1997)

Back in 1997, Broken Records put out this 12" by Animosity called "Get Touched." It was only a 1-track single, but it had production from DJ Shok, who had an endless supply of underground gems, and also landed the hit single "Slippin" from DMX after signing a production deal with Ruff Ryders just a year after this 12" was released. It makes me wonder if any underground MCs passed on the beat to "Slippin" and have been kicking themselves ever since, lol. Nevertheless, him and Jaybiz worked on a lot of stuff together, so seeing them as executive producers on Animosity's "Get Touched" should be more than enough to support it. I can't say that the rhymes or flow are extraordinary, but the beat is as hard as you'd expect with plenty of kick to it. Even if you dig it for the instrumental, it's a 12" you can pick up for a few dollars at most. Listen to the full 12" below...

November 18, 2014

Mary J. Blige "Hardcore Rap & Mary J. Blige Records" (Mix)

"Some of history's mightiest Queens have been celebrated and regarded for their beauty, charm, and talent. Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Elizabeth are a few who've ruled full of ferocity, emotion and dominance. In music terms, the title, "Queen", isn't taken lightly. An artist's impact and longevity to their craft are important elements to take into consideration before that honor is bestowed. When it comes to the Queen of R&B, there are many names that are synonymous with that legacy through the decades. When it comes to Hip Hop and R&B, there is only one name that can hold the weight, Mary J Blige. Twenty years removed from the release of her debut album, we've witnessed the coronation from young talented singer from Yonkers to The Queen of Hip Hop and R&B. Eight multi-platinum albums, nine grammy awards, and countless classic contributions, Her Highness' music spans over three decades. She is the only artist with Grammy Award wins in Pop, Rap, Gospel, and R&B." Mixed by UnitedCrates & presented by UpNorthTrips, originally released in 2012. Dig into it...

November 17, 2014

Ghostface Killah "36 Seasons" (Album Sampler)

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a huge fan of the old cassette samplers and mix-CDs that came as promo ahead of albums, especially back in the 90s. You don't see it as much anymore, fans have a short attention span, which should work to its advantage, but I guess the feeling is once they hear the snippets, they may not go back and click for the album? I dunno. But, here Ghostface drops an album sampler for his new album, "36 Seasons," which is billed as the 'revenge concept album', you don't want to miss that in its entirety, do ya? For now, check the album sampler, which may get lost in time and the infinite shelf space of the internet if cats like me don't make a footnote for it on sites like this, toot toot. Click HERE for the full '36 Seasons' album, via iTunes.

November 16, 2014

Das EFX "Straight Up Sewaside" (Press Kit, 1993)

"It was during the spring of '92, a natural time for new beginnings, that dread-headed duo Das EFX exploded out of the underground with Dead Serious, the startling debut that injected hip-hop with a badly-needed dose of dopiness. After a million miles of touring and over one million copies sold, Krazy Drayz and Books are ready to set it off again with Straight Up Sewaside... Forget what you heard, and hold tight for something brand new as Das EFX sparks up a fat one for '93. The stiggedy-stuttering style of speak may have helped them make their mark, but since nuff imitators jumped on the bandwagon, the group took their lyrics to the next level. So did the production team of Solid Scheme, who are causing sonic booms with their locomotive trunk-funk. The doubters may have thought Das EFX fell off, but the only place these boys fell was deeper into the nether reaches of the sewa. Just slide open the manhole and get a whiff of "Freakit," the first single, and you'll know that Das EFX is back to freak the funk with a vengeance.... It's been a whirlwind rise to the top for Drayz and Books since their days together at Virginia State University, where Das EFX (which stands for Drayz and Skoob Effects) was born. Here, these two English majors developed their distinctive style, taking it to the stage at college talent shows. Then the rocket ride took off. When they heard that one of their favorite rap groups, EPMD, would be judging a talent contest in nearby Richmond, they jumped at the opportunity to catch wreck, and blew up the spot. But instead of awarding them the $100 first prize, Parrish Smith (the P of EPMD) approached them afterwards and expressed his interest in getting them a record a deal. P lived up to his promise, and rest, as they say, is history." - Press Kit, 1993. They had a style all their own, big up Das EFX.

I've always loved this album, revisit it today.

November 15, 2014

Big L "Uptown Renaissance" (The Source, April 1995)

"We first heard from him on the Lord Finesse remix of "Yes You May," after Lord Finesse overheard him rhyming on 125th street. Then it was on Showbiz and AG's "Represent," where he did just that. It was these first appearances on wax that gained him mad recognition in the underground world of hip-hop. Now that he's made a little noise in hip-hop, he's stepping into the spotlight to reclaim some of the ground he lost in the ongoing struggle between East and West. With the release of his debut album Lifestyles Ov Da Poor and Dangerous, Big L has plans for his uptown crew, Children of the Corn (Herb McGruff, Budda Bless, TWAN, Killa Kam, Trooper J, Terra and Mike Boogie), who want to bring acclaim back to Harlem." Read below for the full interview in the April, 1995 issue of The Source, where L claims he was the originator of "horror-core" with his "Devil's Son" single, info about his crew, Children of the Corn, production from the D.I.T.C. crew and his debut LP, Lifestylez...

November 14, 2014

Nolan The Ninja "illphoria" (Instrumental Album)

Ultra gritty producer/rapper Nolan The Ninja (Detroit) brings a boom-bap flare to his latest release illphoria. A blend of instrumentals and reworks, illphoria sounds straight off a cassette. Muffled, dirty, dusty and featuring some of hip-hop’s classic songs (“One Love,” “Hell On Earth,” and others), illphoria is a modern gem for old-school heads. Fans of the rough and gritty will nod their heads to Nolan The Ninja’s instrumentals, bask in the lush samples and the seemingly never-ending vinyl static that gives this album an extra raw touch. Well said, Hip Hop Speakeasy. Listen to illphoria below...

November 13, 2014

Ol' Dirty Bastard "Wu Warrior: Remembering ODB" (Vibe, 1/05)

"The fans playfully chanting, "ODB! ODB!" inside the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherfood, N.J., on November 12 had no idea he would be dead in less than 24 hours. After missing the Wu-Tang Clan's first East Coast concert in five years, Russell "Ol' Dirty Bastard" Jones collapsed at approximately 4:35pm the next afternoon inside 36 Records LLC, Wu's New York City studio, after complaining of chest pains earlier that day. By 5:04pm, he was gone. As Vibe goes to press, the exact cause of death remains unknown. // One of the most unpredictable entertainers ever to grab a mike, Dirty always delivered intense realism - whether rapping, yelping, screaming, or absentmindedly singing. Arriving in 1993 with the Wu's debut, Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Dirty, who eventually created a slew of aliases (Big Baby Jesus, Ason Unique, Dirt Dog, and Dirt McGirt, just to name a few), was in a chamber all his own." (Updated: playlist added below...)

"Unfortunately, the rapper's tragic passing two days before his 36th birthday didn't come as a complete surprise to those familiar with his past. Erratic behavior and a history of drug abuse and arrests led to ODB spending time in prison for violating probation and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Although the comedic but trouble genius had been released in May 2003 and immediately signed a deal with Roc-A-Fella, the possibility of implosion was tragically persistent. // Troubles aside, Dirt's influence was immense. He garnered a Grammy nomination for his 1995 debut, Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, and hits like "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and "Got Your Money." He was one of the first hard-core rappers ever to spit 16s on pop ditties, blessings Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" remix and Pras's "Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are)," while his carefree crooning undoubtedly persuaded a whole generation of thug rappers to sing. We'll remember most, however, his hilarious antics, like bum-rushing the stage at the '98 Grammys ("Wu-Tang is for the children!"), or taking a limo to get food stamps with MTV news. Ol' Dirty Bastard may have had problems, but he truly birthed a unique style. Here, those who knew and loved him share their memories of one of the most dynamic performers hip hop has ever seen... (read below)" - Vibe, 1/05.

November 12, 2014

Killer Mike & El-P aka Run The Jewels x NPR "Microphone Check"

"Killer Mike and El-P, underground kings from Atlanta and New York respectively, met four years ago, made an album together, and then joined forces under the name Run the Jewels, something far beyond the sum of its parts. "We're a group comprised of two dudes who met at crossroads, who had come out of crossroads deciding to go out and hunt and kill," says El-P, who produces as well as raps. "When we met, we had both individually decided we were going to go for ours. Like, no more playing around." Microphone Check co-host Ali Shaheed Muhammad was moving on the only morning Jaime and Mike had time to sit down in New York City after they dropped their second album, Run the Jewels 2, so this interview was done by Frannie Kelley solo." Listen to the NPR interview below...

November 11, 2014

Joe Budden "Some Love Lost" (EP Stream)

A confusing release with this one, Joe Budden drops off the latest project in his catalog, "Some Love Lost." Leading up to the album was a 'SomeLoveLostSeries,' featuring solid tracks that aren't featured on this project. It's an indie release, so it's not to fulfill a contract obligation, why not hold it and put the best foot forward ... Fans of Joe know, some of his best records have gone on other artists' projects, as loosies, or entirely unreleased. Maybe it's just to keep us fans guessing? lol. One thing for sure, the track "Only Human" could carry most artists' whole project, coming in at 8:46 long, Joe let the pen bleed on this one. I wouldn't be surprised to see it resurrected on a future release if this one misses the mark with sales. "OLS4" is another fantastic track, which deserved the visuals it received, definitely go check that HERE, and the rest of the EP is not bad either ... it still feels unfinished, like SOMEthing was left off ... but please don't let that keep you from listening!  

November 10, 2014

Scarface "The Untouchable" (Rap Pages, 5/97)

"Brad Jordan may as well become an author or screenwriter. Marking the tenth anniversary of his career in the rap music game, The Untouchable, Jordan's fourth oratorical cinematic / literary work under the name of his Scarface alter ego, is the apex of his gangsta career. Much like those he was influenced by - filmmaker Brian DePalma and author Mario Puzo - Face has been able to make the ordinary un-ordinary. He, above any other gangsta rap artist, has made each album a soundtrack for the worst aspects of Black life in America. In opposition to his recent socially conscious Geto Boy mindset, Brad Jordan here reintroduces the Scarface g-rap fans have grown to love on the title track, once again displaying the ability to intertwine eerie, haunting piano chords with soul-inspired bass action while shooting 187 narratives. This is showcased best on the cuts "Sunshine" and "No Warning." Much of the album follows the same formula of heavy-hitting musicianship combined with tales of how his crime-savvy characters justify their ruthless, mobster survival tactics in a world full of sinners. Scarface's shit never gets boring, only more interesting." Check "Smile", cont'd below...

"Two tracks in particular, "Smartz" and "Smile" (featuring Tupac), tug at Jordan's consciousness; here, he shares his insights and personal pain while viewing the plight of his people. Another musical gem is "Money Makes The World Go Round," which teams Face with Devin of the Facemob and Daz, whose bouncy harp chords and xylophone chimes add diversity to his bluesy gangsta album... The Untouchable can be chalked up as another successful venture for Scarface. In this gangsterized Hip-Hop society, Face's personality and lyrics remain fresh and avoid trite status. His ability to take street savvy and pair it with superhuman feats have always been his forte. The Untouchable is a mirror of the ugliest urban Amerikkkan realities. It's what Face has been puttin' down since he started. He's the best there is at what he does, which is why he remains untouchable." - Rap Pages.

November 09, 2014

Erick Sermon "Stay Real" (The Source Review, 11/93)

"Some fake the funk and the Main Source know it / How do I know? / Because MTV shows it." With the first single off of his anticipated solo album, Erick Sermon once again proves his commitment to rap and reminds everyone that he can handle his business. "Stay Real" is an attack on rap's increasing mediocrity. Things need to improve and E-Double believes that the first step toward a solution lies in identifying the problem ... Again, there are shades of EPMD apparent. "Stay Real" is virtually a sequel to last summers "Crossover." The Zapp grooves are in effect, the muddy basslines are refurbished, and the rhymes are filled with boasts and attitude. Erick's unique deadpan cadence continues to work as it has for the past six years. While expectations for Erick as a solo artist were not fully realized with "Hittin' Switches," "Stay Real" should make sure that his album gets off to a good start." - (Sure Shot Single in The Source: November, 1993). Check out the video below...

November 08, 2014

Black Rob "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (November, 1998)

"Decked out, appropriately, in a black T-shirt, shorts, and a baseball cap, Bad Boy Entertainment's next ghetto superstar is all raw energy, elbows, and enthusiasm - first practicing lyrics in a head-bobbing cipher with Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s Lil Cease and Hitmen producer Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie. "Yo, I say the sick shit," a calmer Black Rob (aka Rob Ross) says later in hushed tones, sinking into a studio lounge couch. "The way I talk on the mike is the way I talk when I'm face-to-face with you. Ain't nothin' watered down. I don't talk about Rolexes, minks, or Cristal 'cause I don't have that." What the twentysomething East Harlemite does have is a compelling affinity for urban narratives, most of them based on his own experiences as a self-confessed street extortionist who's "done bids since age twelve." Last year, his sandpapery vocals garnered widespread attention on Puff Daddy's spellbinding yarn "I Love You Baby" and Mase's recent posse cut "24 Hrs. To Live." (Updated) Cont'd...

"But unpretentiously vivid Life Story tracks like the vengeful, guitar-tinged "Muscle Game" and the potent first single, "I Dare You" - which is also featured on the upcoming Slam soundtrack (Epic) - signal a direct contrast to Bad Boy's signature Dolce dreams and Bentley wishes. Having already patiently waited three years as a Bad Boy signee for his chance in the rhymelight, Rob now sees his arrival as part of a well-executed larger plan. "Puff always had me on the back burner," he analyzes. "But being that all these hardcore n!ggas is comin' out now, I see that it's time for me to blast off. You don't bring a motherf#ckin' .38 to a gunfight. You gotta bring something more. I'm just the Bad Boy Desert Eagle." Prepare for the blitzkrieg, it's about to be on." - Chairman Mao, Vibe (11/98)

November 07, 2014

Black Moon "Buck 'Em Down" Remix (Review, 1994)

"Buck 'em Down" was the fourth and final single released from Black Moon's debut album "Enta Da Stage." It was released a full 2 years after the debut single, "Who Got Da Props" hit back in '92. Black Moon shifted the sound in New York with this album and controlled underground radio during its run. The Source reviewed the single in November '94, saying: "Black Moon picks up right where it left off last time - full of potent power and mind-expanding thrills. The superb last single - "I Got Cha Opin" b/w "Killin' Every N!gga" - was really Black Moon's best work to that point, perfecting the sometimes uneven production on the debut LP and clearing the way for pure brilliance on the beats and lyrics. This new single elevates Buckshot into the realm of the very few MCs who consistently set trends on the mic. Cold as ice, yet contemplative and keen, Buckshot has complete command of the track guiding his vocal chords through a melodic delivery thick with verbal gymnastics. The track is a true remix, a clear improvement on the original. Evil Dee and Mr. Walt have positioned the thumping beat out front, while a subtle bass and guitar linger in the back. At the end of the cut, the kick and snare drop out and the underlying sample runs on with the hi-hats - a tasteful and soulful touch." The 12" came with the dope "Murder MCs" on the B-side. Watch the video below.

Save a copy of the original review in The Source below...

November 06, 2014

Black Milk "If There's a Hell Below" (Album Stream)

On Black Milk’s 6th solo rap LP, "If There’s A Hell Below," Black continues the narratives he started on his 2013 release "No Poison No Paradise." This time, rather than speaking through the character Sonny Jr., Black paints pictures from a first person perspective of someone raised and living in one of America’s toughest cities, and the ups and downs of pursuing a career in the arts. The stories reflect how he and the people where he’s from feel or have felt - if there’s a hell below, maybe we’re already in it. Another great release from Black Milk. Props to Fat Beats. Stream it below.

November 05, 2014

Dante Ross x NPR "Microphone Check"

Dante Ross, A&R man extraordinaire, keeper of stories about everyone from Ol' Dirty Bastard to De La Soul to Cypress Hill, the Beastie Boys, Queen Latifah and Pete Rock, sat down with Microphone Check to remember the old days and stare down the present. Great interview, listen to it below...

November 04, 2014

Apollo Brown & Ras Kass "Blasphemy" (Album Stream)

Blasphemy, the collaborative album from esteemed Mello Music Group producer Apollo Brown and Ras Kass, is a thought-provoking and highly personal treatise on the unspoken. The sub-rattling and operatic opener “How to Kill God,” a scathing indictment of major religions and the transgressions enacted in their name, serves as a statement of purpose. No “ism” is out of bounds, no topic too untoward. Whatever you hold sacred isn’t above aggressive inquiry.  Behind the boards, Apollo Brown orchestrates with divine aural vision. ThoughBlasphemy is his first album with a west coast rapper, he doesn’t retread g-funk synth grooves. He also forgoes the minimal, rubbery bounce popular with the current crop of west coast talent. Amidst a sea of production crafted for the drug-addled turn up, his work is a life preserver, saving ardent hip-hop fans with hard-hitting beats made buoyant by donuts of soul and blues. On his deftly layered suites, drums hit with the force of an unabridged Bible to the dome, the samples masterfully selected and utilized. Listen to it below...

November 03, 2014

Positive K "The Skills Dat Pay Da Bills" (The Source, 12/92)

Although this is his debut, this Brooklyn gent should be no stranger to the hip-hop community. His rep dates back to classic jams like "Step Up Front," "A Good Combination," and his debut with MC Lyte, "I'm Not Havin It," not to mention his dope cameo on the first Brand Nubian album. Now the time has finally come for Pos K to deliver his potent lyrical content to the masses. The Skills... is a solid collection that should not disappoint old and future fans. From the jazzy vibes of "Shakin'" and the trunk o' funk groove of "How The F*?#! Would You Know" to the slammin' current single, "I Got A Man," Positive comes correct with his "clean cut and dapper" trademark style. He also sports a new and improved delivery on a few cuts as well... Positive K is one of those rappers that consistently comes out with the cold rock stuff, but remain virtually unnoticed due to the absence of a commercial hit. But don't be fooled with this album Positive K has his rent paid for the year. - 12/92

November 02, 2014

Fel Sweetenberg "Psalms of a Soldier" (Album Stream)

Fel Sweetenberg is an eMCee/producer from Camden, New Jersey. All tracks on "Psalms of a Soldier" are produced by Apollo Brown from his "Thirty Eight" album, except "Potatoes," "Avoid Misery," and "Dangerous Infections," which are from Apollo Brown's "Dice Game" album with Guilty Simpson. The project was released by Effiscienz, with a feature from Starvin B. Listen to it below...

November 01, 2014

Da Grassroots "Body Language" (12", 2000)

Da Grassroots were on Conception Records, and this is there 12” from 2000, ‘Body Language.’ The Canadian production team consists of Mr. Murray, Mr. Attic, and Swiff. ‘Body Language’ is credited to Mr. Attic on production and features fellow-Canadian legends Choclair and Saukrates. ‘Body Language’ was the third single from Da Grassroots’ debut album, ‘Passing Through Time,’ which was well-received in the underground and we considered them pioneers in the indie scene up in Toronto. I remember seeing the track get ‘Heavy Rotation’ in Vibe in January, 2001. The Canadian support also extended to Arcee, K-os, Thrust and Ghetto Concept, also featured on the album. Following the success of ‘Passage Through Time,’ each member of the group began working on various solo projects. The artwork for the 12” was a nude model sitting poolside, which I always thought was kinda tacky (like all the Game Recordings vinyl), but the record is still solid, so check it out below…