May 31, 2015

J-Live "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (July, 1997)

"Twenty-one-year-old Jean-Jacques Cadet is goin' places... "I want an album that's gonna be classic in the eyes of true hip-hop listeners," the Uptown N.Y.C. kid says of his forthcoming debut LP, Timeless. The early word on J-Live didn't just start because his Raw Shack independent single, "Longevity" b/w "Braggin' Writes," sold 12,000 records, but because he both rhymed and manipulated the turntables on "Braggin' Writes" - a highly impressive feat he duplicates during performances.  The single's success led to last year's release of "Can I Get It" b/w "Hush The Crowd," which sold even better, as well as the tight DJ Spinna remix of "Braggin' Writes." Undergraduate J is well schooled also in the industry's emphasis on image over content, "Before (releasing my first single), people were like, "Oh, word you rhyme?" he remembers. "Some say I don't fit the descript." Sulmers says J-Live's regular-guy appearance has come under scrutiny. "We had a meeting with one of the labels, and they said, "What does he look like?" We were like, "Well, he makes good records" lol ...When he ain't playin' ball or chess, (he) stays at home or in the library studying. "I'm just your average Joe when it comes down to it. I just like to rhyme." - Vibe, 7/97

May 31, 2015

Death Camp "Sleep All Day" (12", 1995)

This is another nice 12" vinyl from 1995, "Sleep All Day" by Death Camp. It was released on StepSun Music Entertainment, which was most known for putting out the Troubleneck Brothers at the time. Although it's uncredited, the production is handled by the legendary Blastmaster KRS-One, who you hear at the opening of the track like he'd done on other singles he's produced for other MCs. This is the only 12" release I'm aware of from Death Camp, and to be fair, it's not even an official release because the only copies are test presses. Between Channel Live's success with "Mad Izm," Mad Lion heating up the charts in years prior, as well as KRS' own self-titled release around that time, I'm not sure what went wrong. KRS made sure to sample his own Boogie Down Productions record "Criminal Minded," but perhaps one of the two other samples raised a red flag, I dunno. Either way, as they say, the rest is history ... you can listen to "Sleep All Day" below. Got more? Send my way!

May 30, 2015

Showbiz & A.G. "Goodfellas" (The Source, 7/95)

"Goodfellas marks the return of underground heavyweights Showbiz & A.G. For those who slept the first time, we recommend you pay attention as the Uptown duo slide in right where their debut left off. With their latest, they remain true to the punchline-filled, freestyle flow they have come to be known for. While Showbiz passes the mic to A.G., who controls it through the entire album, he continues to dominate behind the boards, creating a big-band hip-hop sound set off with hard hitting snares, accompanied by screeching trumpets and saxophones. On the mic, A.G. continues to stomp out wack MCs and proves he really is a hip-hop giant... The first single, "Next Level," is also given extra life with a tight remix that will fit in at any gathering. Throughout, Showbiz keeps the tracks balanced. For every hard-hitting, cock-the-glock, knuckle-up type cut, there is a joint that makes ya wanna get lifted and just lounge. And with no gimmicky hardcore rhymes, A.G. shines with lyrics that are poignant and full of humor." - The Source (July, 1995). Revisit the Goodfellas album...

The full album review for Goodfellas in The Source is below...

May 30, 2015

Naughty By Nature "Poverty's Paradise" (Billboard, 1995)

'Poverty's Paradise' was Naughty By Nature's third album, it was released on this day in 1995 through Tommy Boy Records. With a knack for writing hits, Treach, Vinnie & Kay Gee, had 'O.P.P.', 'Uptown Anthem,' 'Ghetto Bastard,' and 'Hip Hop Hooray' under their belt, but it was also weighing them down. When their sophomore album produced the one hit in 'Hip Hop Hooray,' the industry responded with 500k less in sales than their debut. With a 2 year gap to work on other ventures, Naughty returned with Poverty's Paradise and I'm certain the label was pushing for more hits. They pushed 'Craziest' and 'Feel Me Flow' heavy on national radio, I still remember the 'Hot 97 is the Craziest' campaign. To me, the best tracks on the album were 'Clap Yo Hands' and Treach's powerful meaning of the chain around his neck on 'Chain Remains.' In 1996, the Grammy Awards introduced the 'Best Rap Album' category and 'Poverty's Paradise' went up against 2Pac's 'Me Against The World,' Bone Thugs' 'E 1999 Eternal,' 'Return To The 36 Chambers' by Ol' Dirty Bastard & 'I Wish' by Skee-Lo - Naughty by Nature took home the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album that year. With the exception of ODB, each was also nominated in additional rap categories, as well. Would you take 'Poverty's Paradise' over 'Me Against The World'? That's a tough one for me... both are solid.

May 29, 2015

Hus Kingpin & SmooVth "Smash Bros" (EP Stream)

The rap "Splash Brothers" are Hus Kingpin & SmooVth. Their 11-track EP, "Splash Bros" features Rozewood, Mavelous Mag, Conway the Machine, Roc Marciano, The Audible Doctor, J57, Eyedee and more. This is gonna make its way around the internet, for sure, but if you haven't peeped it yet, go ahead and stream it below! Hus and SmooVth deliver with straight beats and rhymes, dig into it...

May 28, 2015

Ruck N Wiz "A Journey Through The Samples" (Mixes)

Through countless hours of diggin' and recording at the studio, Swiss DJs Ruck N' Wiz proudly present "A Journey Through The Samples" which is broken into three extensive volumes, and features several hundreds original samples in a continuous mix. The mixes cross all the genres from Soul to Jazz over to RnB & Funk and even Rock & Latin. There's too many artists to begin to list them, and I'm not sure on the rules on snitchin' over samples lol, so dig into all 3 the mixes below! 

May 27, 2015

Bahamadia "Uknowhowwedu / True Honey Buns" (Review, 1995)

Bahamadia released her debut album "Kollage" on April 2, 1996. Her conversational style, monotone flow, and poetic rhymes were meshed with the funky production of DJ Premier, Da Beatminerz, N.O. Joe, Guru, The Roots, and more, creating a classic album from the Philly MC. One of the stand-out tracks was the second single, "Uknowhowwedu," with production from Ski-Beatz and DJ Red Handed in 1995. A brief back story and review of the single from The Source says, "Many have heard the lyrical styling of Bahamadia on duets with Guru and The Roots and on an all-star female lineup on Big Kap's "Da Ladies." Having established a sizable following with those who appreciate spoken word a la hip-hop, Bahamadia delivers for dat ass in her self-proclaimed "off beat flow." Watch below.

"Uknowhowwedu" is a mellow lil' ditty with a catchy hook and groovy track. The swinging beat offsets Bahamadia's monotone delivery. Her voice is slightly reminiscent of the abstract poet -  especially when all Philly crew is told to "rock, rock on." Years later, this is still one of Bahamadia's most popular cuts, as well as the B-Side "True Honey Buns," produced by the greatest of all-time, DJ Premier. "Wittily getting her point across, Bahamadia freaks the science of "it ain't what you do, it's how you do." (Angela Bronner, The Source). Check out the video for "True Honey Buns" below.

May 26, 2015

Jemini The Gifted One "Scars and Pain" (HHC, April 1995)

"At 25, many rappers have had their time in the spotlight, hung up their mics and found a new career. But Jemini, an emcee from the age of 12, has only recently got a record deal - and he's putting all his years of experience into the project. To hear that Jemini has been waiting ten years to get signed will come as a surprise when you hear what he has to offer. A fluid and sparky delivery is accompanied by phat beats to kill for. Before his chance to drop plastic, the interim period has been a mixed one - switching between modeling, commercials, radio jingles, writing and dancing for several groups. Indeed he only grabbed his deal through a stroke of luck. A tape he made with Goldfinger - a fellow Brooklynite and mix deejay signed to Mercury with his crew, Full Metal Jacket - had made its way to the record company. "The A&R at Mercury heard a tape with four cats on it. And he dug me!" ... Like many others he cut his teeth on emcee battling, although he's keen to downplay its role. "It was just what was going down at the time. Right now it's like a rites of passage for a lot of young rappers. There's a misconception that freestyling is coming off the top of your head... Back in 1982, freestyle was just as simple as this, the bottom line was just handling your business in a freestyle atmosphere. You're not cutting a demo, not necessarily doing a show or cutting a record," he advises. "When jazz musicians get together to do a free-form jazz session, those jazz musicians are doing different riffs and notes they've practiced all along, but they get there they do it in a freestyle atmosphere... When you're freestyling, you can write rhymes, it's just that when it comes to your turn you are expected to be able to handle your business, you entertain people and they go away saying, 'He's dope'." #FreeOfStyle Cont'd below...

"With Brooklyn once more showing the hip-hop world the way, Jemini has struck at the right time ... and like all inhabitants of the borough, is quick to pay his dues. "Brooklyn is the epitome of keeping it real, and it don't get no realer than Brooklyn. Brooklyn is gritty, Brooklyn is hardcore, Brooklyn is survival of the fittest and Brooklyn is Jemini," he gushes. On tracks like "Can't Stop Rockin' (Tribute)." the title track "Scars and Pain" and "Funk Soul Sensation," Jemini introduces his twin personality. But it isn't no Redman-like schizophrenia, as he affirms. "One character is The Gifted One, the laidback, articulate, logical one. He's the one who wants to break it down with words, whereas The Funk Soul Sensation wants to break it down with adrenaline, with emotion, with the 'Raaaaaaa!'." And Jemini has his own recipe for success. "Use what you have in life, acknowledge what's going on around you and be able to think quick on your feet. But the most is that I feel you got to be able to read a lot - that's how you become familiar with words and phrases and be able to connect them all together." Sound advice from one still young but old in the ways of hip-hop." - Hip Hop Connection, 4/95.

May 25, 2015

Fabolous & DJ Clue "Friday Night Freestyles" (Mixtape)

For the past three months, Fabolous and DJ Clue have been heating up the internets with their weekly Friday Night Freestyles. From Nas to JAY Z, Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep, classic tracks were picked off one-by-one for eleven weeks straight. Now, as promised, an official mixtape is released. My generation had the illest freestyle sessions and mixtapes, these days feel like they are long gone, huh? Peep throwback joints with Noreaga, Joe Budden, Stack Bundles (R.I.P.) and more.

May 24, 2015

Common "Be" (Vibe Review, June 2005)

"With fellow Chi-Towner Kanye West behind the boards, Common returns with his sixth and perhaps best efort to date, Be. Like a train ride through the 'hood, the concise, 11-track opus steamrolls through the images, stories, and emotions of urban folks getting by any way they know how. Overflowing with passion, honesty, and optimism, Be gets to the root of human experience - all the while staying beautifully soulful and funky. The lucid block imagery and stripped-down beat of Be's first single, "The Corner," sets the raw, back-to-basics tone for the rest of the album. Pounding drums and a sparse bass riff open up space for Common to fire away photographic descriptions... Common's egalitarian vision comes through even harder on "Testify," a narrative about a girlfriend going through the tribulations of her boyfriend's trial, and "It's Your World," a tale about a college dropout who becomes a prostitute... Common's details of heroines standing by their hustlin' men while associating with "thieves and baseheads," capture the utter despair of being backed in a corner." Check out the visuals to the Kanye West-produced track, "The Corner," cont'd below...

"But for all of Be's poignant moments, the largely '70s-laced production keeps the album triumphant and head-nodding throughout. Jay Dee drops wicked drums and a chopped Marvin Gaye vocal sample on the warm and fuzz "Love Is." Kanye stretches a trumpet note over a twisting wah-wah guitar and record-scratching on the battle song "Chi City," prompting Common to shoot off venomous punch lines.... If anything, Be gets docked for Common's recycling of topics and lyrical tricks. Some will argue that lines like "I stand for the blue collar" are self-righteous. Still, he more than makes up for these banalities with his evolution from a 40-toting street poet to an earthy soulchild to a dynamic artist. Yes, Common Sense is back and better than ever. Grab a plate, and feed your mind, body, and soul." - Vibe Magazine, June 2005. Check the full review down below...

May 23, 2015

Geto Boys "Six Feet Deep" (1993)

"Til Death Do Us Part" is the fourth studio album from the Houston "gangsta rap" group the Geto Boys. With production from N.O. Joe, the album was released in March 1993 on Rap-A-Lot Records. Big Mike joined the group in Willie D's absence, joining Scarface and Bushwick Bill. With the Commodore's "Easy" as the major sample on the track, "Six Feet Deep" was released as a charting single from the album with a video to accompany its release. Scarface reflected on the record with Complex, sharing: “That record came about because I lost a really good friend of mine on June 28 named Rodney Parker. Rodney had gotten out of the streets and everything, he was just sitting in this club and a motherfucker shot him in the chest by accident. That ‘Six Feet Deep’ was a record that was heartfelt  ... Growing up, I thought about being in darkness. I always imagined waking up alive in a coffin. I'm six feet under the ground so I can’t get out and I just live there forever, until I die again. I would imagine being in darkness and you can’t move, the darkness is stopping and altering all your movements. You can’t touch, you can’t feel, you can’t see, you can’t move, you’re just in darkness. I was thinking about that as a kid. My biggest fear is my children growing up and having those thoughts. I try to keep them as busy as I can and make them feel love." It's clear that Scarface has battles with his own demons and depression. He turned his pain and darkness into art and light for others going through it too. Scarface is in my top 10 greatest eMCees of all-time.

May 22, 2015

Phife Dawg "If Men Are Dogs" (12", 1997)

Here's a lesser-known 12" from Phife Dawg of the legendary A Tribe Called Quest. It's not especially rare, but it's not featured on his solo album "Ventilation: Da LP" in 2000 and was never released properly as a single back in 1997-1998. I dig when Phife busts out the West Indian flavor in his rhymes/flow. The minimalist production and humorous storytelling makes "If Men Are Dogs (Then What Are You)" a catchy track, but he could have done without the female vocals on the hook. It sounds overproduced for a track that's otherwise straight out the basement. If Phife didn't know this wasn't gonna make it to commercial radio, I'd bet he learned quickly. Sorry, Phife, you know it's all love. I hope he digs into his archives one day soon and gives us a lot more material. Listen below...

May 21, 2015

The Roots "Silent Treatment" (The Source, May 1995)

"A love song may not be the best way to establish yourself with the hip-hop core - especially when you're a group with "alternative" leanings to begin with. But with their new single, "Silent Treatment," Philadelphia's The Roots deliver a very atmospheric jam. They wisely avoid the artsy-fartsiness favored by other "alternative" groups and drop drums that swing like an old-fashioned breakbeat! Their bassline - moody, pensive and soothing - ties it all together into a complete package. The Roots know hip-hop kids ain't out to hear about this "love shit," so they effectively present their subject in slang-filled terms. Any self-respecting hip-hop kid couldn't be paid to subject himself to LL's "I Need Love" in '94. So releasing a song like this, a romantic ditty in a violent age, is akin to taking a bit of a chance..." Watch the visuals for "Silent Treatment," cont'd below...

"If The Roots hadn't brought it to us raw, nobody'd wanna hear it; but they did, which is why "Silent Treatment" works. F#ck weeping and giving flowers! They're not getting dewy-eyed cause she's passing them by! They're dropping jew-els (like the following) from a cinematic B-Boy's perspective and getting their point across: "I puff an El on fifty deuce / while I walk in the rain / heart feeling, killing pain while I'm hopping the train / Dial the number to the rest and ain't no messages left / regardless my chest thump from stress / Yo it's a mess." Another deserving work, The Roots' "Silent Treatment" may help earn them the credit they deserve." - The Source, May 1995.

May 20, 2015

Double XX Posse "Press Kit" (1995 + Videos)

"Comprised of primary members Sugar Ray and BK, this Killtown (Jersey City) New Jersey outfit ain't no '95 new jacks. In 1992, the duo caught wreck and scored a #1 Billboard Rap Single with the street anthem classic, "Not Gonna Be Able To Do It," creating a new catch phrase in the process. Their acclaimed Big Beat / Atlantic debut album, "Put Ya Boots On," also featured such butter joints as "Ruffneck," "Executive Class," and "The Pure Thing." The buzz created by "Not Gonna..." enabled the group to venture out on a nationwide tour. Sugar Ray and BK have been tight since Double X's original days of "H&R Block" - that is, hustlin' and rappin' in the thick of Killtown." Cont'd below...

"Now in the nine lb., Double X return with their new, 12-cut deep Big Beat / Atlantic album, "RUFF, RUGGED, AND RAW." BK explains the album's title: "That's where we're coming from, that's how our album is broken down. We're not trying to water shit down." The point is made quite apparent on the album's slammin' first single, "Money Talks," produced by Lord Finesse ... the listener should have no problem understanding the theme of this cut ... every hip-hop junkie should be able ta' do it." ... Check out the video for the Lord Finesse-produced "Money Talks" below. (Updated)

A review of Ruff, Rugged & Raw in The Source, June 1995...

May 19, 2015

Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs "Love Comes & Goes" (1993)

Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs released "Love Comes & Goes" - produced by Diamond D - on their second album, "Roxbury 02119" in 1993 on Chemistry Records. I believe it was the second 12" release, which actually dropped in '94. Ed O.G. had already dropped "Be A Father To Your Kids" on his debut album "Life of a Kid In The Ghetto," which was the song that got me interested in his music, so by the time "Love Comes & Goes," I saw him as an artist with relatable content and sharp messaging. On the West Coast, Scarface and the Geto Boys were releasing "Til Death Do Us Part," which featured the song "6 Feet Deep;" arguably one of the most emotional cuts in Hip-Hop history. Next to "Love Comes & Goes," they showed an interesting parallel of both coasts and human emotion as a whole. Let's tackle one at a time; dig into Ed O.G.'s video below, and up next will be "6 Feet Deep."

May 18, 2015

Dr. Dre "Straight Offa Death Row" (Vibe, 1996)

"Another California earthquake ripped through the hip hop nation and once again its epicenter was Death Row Records. Dr. Dre, cofounder of the four-year-old company and the creative force behind its $125 million success, has reportedly left to form his own label. At press time, none of the parties involved would comment on Dre's departure, but sources told VIBE it's just a matter of time before he signs with Interscope and announces his new plans. Since January, rumors of Dre leaving Death Row ricocheted through the industry like stray bullets. The alleged reasons were myriad: Death Row cofounder and CEO Suge Knight was upset that Dre didn't appear on Saturday Night Live with Tupac in February or show up at Snoop Doggy Dogg's murder trial; that Dre wanted to introduce rock, reggae, and jazz into Death Row's musical mix while Knight wanted to stick to hip hop and R&B; and that Dre was leaving to hook up with Def Jam's Russell Simmons. Neither Death Row nor Interscope would comment. Simmons, however, wanted to clarify his role in the drama. "The rumors of me signing Dre are false," he says. "I'd pay any amount of money to be in business with him, but we've had no discussion." - Vibe Magazine, 6-7/96. These were pivotal times in hip-hop.

May 17, 2015

Your Old Droog "Kinison" (EP Stream)

It's not every mixtape that name-drops Robert Johnson and names tracks after Sonic Youth. Your Old Droog's new Kinison EP does both of those things, as well as making an anti-rap comedy routine by the late comedian Sam Kinison it's intro. Clearly inspired by rock music, the EP includes previously-released track "Porno For Pyros" (which is, not incidentally, the name of another rock group) and callbacks to rock legends like Neil Young and Shirley Manson on nearly every track. In other words, yeah, we definitely know this dude isn't Nas now. Production on the Kinison EP is handled by El RTNC, DJ Skizz and Marco Polo. Dig into Your Old Droog's latest EP offering, Kinison...

May 16, 2015

The Combat Jack Show "Kool DJ Red Alert Episode"

The latest episode of the Combat Jack show features the legendary Kool DJ Red Alert. I had the pleasure of meeting him once at Fat Beats. He walked in humbly, walked straight to the back of the store and looked around. I recognized him immediately, of course, and instead of approaching him, I went to the back and alerted DJ Eclipse, who came out and greeted him in the back. As E walked back, he gave me a nod & I went over and offered help and paid my respect and admiration for all he's done for the culture. I'm glad that I got to do that; it's one of the many reasons I miss having Fat Beats in New York. Anyhow, the man of great character I met that day shows that same warm personality on the Combat Jack Show, where he gives a history lesson on the days of Kool Herc, Afrika Bambataa, Boogie Down Productions, the Juice Crew & of course, the birth of the Native Tongues and his years at Hot 97. All this and lots more, believe it ... Listen to the interview below...

May 15, 2015

Onyx "Slam" (The Source, May 1993)

"After you've thrown your guns in the air and ripped out hearts and put them into rhymes, what is there left to do? Well, if you're Fredro, Sticky Fingers, Sonny Caesar and Big DS, the fun is just beginning. Pick a corner, build up speed, and just slam. With this one, Onyx is set to introduce the art of slam dancing to the youth of Black America. Crashing into each other and passing the mic back and forth, the hard heads attack the track's spare bass and drum sounds with a frenzied level of energy that picks up right where "Gunz" left off. The lyrics are hard and foul, and the shout-along chorus demands that "B-Boys make noise." Check out the official music video to "Slam" below...

"Once again, it is Sticky Fingers who comes off with the sickest, All-Madden performance. With vocal chords straining, he shrieks "I'm a B-Boy standin' in my B-Boy stance / Hurry up and give me the microphone before I bus' in my pants / The mad author of anguish / My language, polluted / Onyx is heavyweight and still undisputed." The carnage continues..." - The Source Magazine (May 1993).

May 14, 2015

Divine ScienZe: King I Divine & ScienZe

I came across Divine ScienZe's "Beyond The Point" as a loosie in a random playlist, enjoyed it enough to make me dig back and find out the who, what, where and why of its release. Divine ScienZe is ScienZe & King I Divine: their 2nd album is called "The Wake Up Album," which is aptly titled, since I was clearly sleeping on this and their self-titled debut. Speaking of their debut album, you will find a dope track called "Happiness Is" on it, which features fan-favorites Blu & Sene, and since there are so many dots that connect me to Sene and Blu, I imagine I musta been tipped off to its release, it just got lost in the shuffle. Too much noise! (I'm speaking to myself, but I'm sure you can relate, right?). Nevertheless, the right thing to do when you discover something dope, you should pay-it-forward, so below are "Beyond the Point" and "Happiness Is," click through for the full albums...

May 13, 2015

"Founding Fathers: The Untold Story of Hip-Hop" (Documentary)

Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore; these are all names associated with originating hip hop. But what about the people that influenced them? Of course, the legends of funk, R&B, Soul, Reggae, Disco and more were huge influences on the acknowledged pioneers of the art we call hip hop. The documentary “Founding Fathers: The Untold Story of Hip Hop” explores the history of the culture that is not often exposed. Narrated by Chuck D of Public Enemy, the documentary is a factual report about unsung DJ’s who contributed to the foundational principals of the music known today as Hip Hop. This documentary transports you to a journey back to the early underground disco days of the streets and parks throughout New York City. “Found Fathers” was produced and directed by Hassan Pore and Multi-Platinum Producer, Ron “Amen-Ra” Lawrence. Take a hour and a half and get educated. - via Quite Trill. Watch the documentary below...

May 13, 2015

King Just "No Flow On The Rodeo" (The Source, 5/95)

"Although the infectious chant "Hey ya, hey ya, hey ya ho!" had heads assuming King Just - another Shaolin native - was a Wu-Tang affiliate, it nonetheless emerged as one of the brightest moments in 1994. From Tallahassee to Compton, Just's voice - with those of the Shaolin Soldiers - could be heard catching wreck. Aware of the comparisons to Wu-Tang made by many fans, and knowing that his Shaolin Soldiers were similar to the colorfully-titled Killer Bzz, Just, who happens to be one of Method Man's old homies, respectfully moves away from the sound of his debut. With "No Flows On The Rodeo," he begins to come into his own style, which, over warrior beats, displays a take-no-prisoners attitude. The single's drums avoid the circular swing popularized by the other group; its rhythm thumps hard; it's more distinct; and best of all, his lyrical flow has developed." Cont'd below...

"From the Raekwonesque verses heard on his first joint ("So feel the bast of the Hell-Raiser's gun"), he focuses on delf and begins to build a recognizable identity. To do this, he effectively combines the improvisational flair of a Keith Murray with the precariousness of an Ol' Dirty Bastard and fuses that to his own confrontational concepts. A psychotic lyricist who doesn't need to be grimy, Just's forte is the drunken technique - a cognent, metaphor-laden approach that swings on counterfeit, free cheese "... I'm thinking / of a fucking masterplan! / To be the man / that made me the man that I am / Goddamn / the nigga slams / like NBA jams," he bluntly states, a bit Meth-like but lending 'ams' his own touch. Still and all, Rome wasn't built in a day, and it appears that King Just has found a definite sound of his own that should work for everybody." - The Source (May, 1995).

May 12, 2015

Big L, McGruff, CL Smooth "NY Freestyle" (12", 1999)

"NY Freestyle" features Harlem's Big L and Herb McGruff - early members of Children Of The Corn - as well as CL Smooth and I-Born. The B-Side track is "Throw It Up" from Buckshot of Black Moon & Kasino, who was down with your favorite rappers out of Yonkers. Both tracks were featured on The Union's "Organized Rhymes" compilation the same year (1999). The 22-track compilation also had joints with Rass Kass, AZ, O.C., Masta Ace, Channel Live and a lot more. As a bonus, the 12" also comes with the instrumentals to both tracks. Rest In Peace, Big L. Listen to the full 12" below...

May 11, 2015

Doo Wop "A Bronx Tale" (Mixtape, 1998)

A throwback mixtape from from Da Bouncemasta Doo Wop in 1998. The mix features freestyles from Fat Joe, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, Big Pun, AZ, CRU, and Camp Lo, as well as tracks by Jay-Z, Nas, KRS-One, M.O.P., McGruff, Def Squad, Showbiz & A.G., and others... It's not the best mix in Doo Wop's classic catalog of mixtapes, but still a dope listen all the way through. Updated, new audio link.

May 10, 2015

Funkmaster Flex & The Ghetto Celebs "Nuttin But Flavor" (1995)

I always give props to Nervous Records/Wreck Records, even Weeded Records. When you saw the logo, you knew what it was, 100%. As for Funkmaster Flex - in his position at Hot 97, Flex has held it down for 20+ years, not including mixes, his role in breaking artists, etc etc. Admittedly, I've had more than a fair share of gripes with how he moves, especially in today's clickbait culture ... but from the beginning, you can't deny his place in Hip-Hop history. Don't get me started on The Tunnel. And for the nostalgia, I dig the old packages labels would send to DJs and tastemakers, as promo, for feedback and support on upcoming records. The above kit says "No feedback, no product, no joke!" If you wanted that free product, you hit them back with the feedback, believe it... lol.

May 09, 2015

Open Transport Documentary (1998, VHS)

The "Open Transport" documentary was originally released in 1998 on VHS. It unearths footage from live shows and interviews with various artists that were coming up in the underground scene in the mid-late 90s. Specifically, the hour-long doc features Pharoahe Monch, Mr. Lif, Apani B, DJ Babu & Rhettmatic, The Last Emperor, Cali Agents (Planet Asia & Rasco), Mass Influence, Non Phixion, Reflection Eternal, Unspoken Heard, J-Live and so much more. Someone was kind enough to rip a copy already to YouTube, so with that, definitely clear an hour in your schedule and hit play below.

May 08, 2015

Jeremiah Jae & L'Orange "The Night Took Us In Like Family"

"Enter those bloody alleys blocked off with yellow tape and chalk outlines. Secret backrooms riddled with sly crooks and blunt smoke. Slink into the underworld, the seedy shadowland owned by Jeremiah Jae and L’Orange on their noir-inspired opus, "The Night Took Us In Like Family." L’Orange’s carefully severed cinematic clips hold the frame steady. The Windy City-raised Jae muscles the narrative forward—the hitman creeping. Beats bend sinister with imagery aiming for the temples. Jae invokes dark clouds, crowns of thorns and LSD eyes. Bars written in dirt. Samples are disembodied and ethereal. It’s like a grand jury indictment doubling as a Greek chorus. A song title like “Ice Obsidian” says it all. This is frozen lava, black and white celluloid, the spoils won by sinners. Watch your back rap. Guest stars include New York poison dart-thrower, Homeboy Sandman and Blackalicious’ Gift of Gab. The chapters flesh out the story: The Conspicuous Man skulks into “God Complex,” “The Damning,” “Revenge and Escape.” Jae and L’ Orange build their world as a catacomb and find a way to escape just as the walls feel like they’re closing in. It fades out as “A Macabre Instrumental” plays. The funeral is closed casket. The memories aren’t easily disposed." Dig in below...

May 07, 2015

Oddisee "The Good Fight" (Album Stream)

Oddisee makes music that rattles in your bone marrow. It’s imbued with love, honesty, and selflessness. It’s virtuosic in its musicality, direct in its language, and infinitely relatable. In a landscape overrun with abstract indulgence and shallow trend-chasers, the Prince George’s County, Maryland artist has created 'The Good Fight', a record that reminds you that it’s music before it’s hip-hop. Released on Mello Music Group, it’s for the fans and for himself. It finds the musical heavyweight balancing between craft, career, and successfully growing into the world around him. For Oddisee, 'The Good Fight' is about living fully as a musician without succumbing to the traps of hedonism, avarice, and materialism. It’s about not selling out and shilling for a paycheck, while still being aware that this is a business requiring compromise and collaboration. 'The Good Fight' acknowledges the stacked odds, but refuses to submit. Stream it below via Mello Music Group.

May 06, 2015

Mobb Deep "An Eye For An Eye" (Alternate Version, 1995)

Mobb Deep has been in the business of making hip-hop dreams come true since squashing their recent beef and returning to the studio to cook up more heat. The celebrated duo has prepped a massive collection of tracks to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the completion of The Infamous LP, including an alternate bonus version of the album that landed in 1995 entitled The 1994 Infamous Sessions. The latest from the project finds Queensbridge and Shaolin connecting to deliver an alternate version of the Mobb classic “Eye For An Eye” (Your Beef Is Mines) that features Havoc and Prodigy rocking with Nas, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. In an interview with Complex, Loud Records A&R, Schott Free said "We had everything straight with ‘Eye for an Eye,’ Ghostface came in and did something [on it]. We were talking about coming with an ‘Eye for an Eye (Remix)’ and we were gonna put Ghost on there. On the strength, I hit him up one day like, ‘Yo, come through.’ He was more than happy and he came with this rhyme and killed it over that beat. I wish to God I woulda just paused for a minute and put the shit to that. But nobody did. The rhyme Ghost used on [‘Real Live Shit’], he wrote that to the ‘Eye for an Eye’ beat." Check the track below to listen to “Eye For An Eye” (Alternate Version). Purchase The Infamous Mobb Deep via iTunes. It's offline!

May 05, 2015

DJ Private Ryan "Nostalgia, The Lost Tapes" (Dancehall Mix)

DJ Private Ryan presents Nostalgia The Lost Tapes, a 90s Dancehall mixtape. The mix chronicles some dancehall riddims and singles from the late-90s. In the mix, you'll hear artists like Buju Banton, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Ken Boothe, Tanya Stephens, Mr. Vegas, General Degree, Wayne Wonda, Frankie Sly, Toni, Saha, Cham, Red Rat and lots more. I grew up on dancehall from the late 80s to mid-90s, but there's a lot of tracks on this mix that I really liked and will have to check out. If you're in the mood for some dancehall music, check out this solid mix from DJ Private Ryan below...

May 04, 2015

14 Deadly Secrets "The RZA Mix"

14 Deadly Secrets was an idea by DJ Derezon & Tre The Boy Wonder for their Radio Show, the "Soundscan Mixshow." Take a Hip Hop Producer that had a major impact on the Hip-Hop Scene, take 14 of his classic productions and find out about the stories behind the tracks. You´ll find out crazy stories that you didn´t know ... "14 Deadly Secrets" mixes are a tribute to the producers work and what they've given to the Hip-Hop Community. Definitely take a listen to this special RZA mix below...

May 03, 2015

HDM ‘Da Professional’ (12", 1997)

HDM aka Hype Da Madman released ‘Da Professional’ 12" on Jungle Nills Records in 1997. I've read posts online that say he was from Brooklyn, another said New Jersey, but I'd always known him to be from Staten Island? Either way, the 12" was released on vinyl and cassette with ‘Real MC’s’ on the B-Side. Going back to the 'Shadowz In The Dark' 12”, ‘Da Professional’ is produced by Monochrome and ‘Real MCs’ was produced by Nick Wiz. HDM also released a 12” as Sho-Nuf on his own label, HDM Entertainment, called ‘No Nice Timez.’ The 12” came with two other tracks and was also released in 1997. His original logo pictured above was pretty dope, it was included on the B-Side label and as the cassette artwork for ‘Da Professional.’ As for 'Real MCs,' Pharoahe Monch wanted the beat for Organized Konfusion's 'Equinox' project in 1997, but HDM had already pressed the vinyl, so Nick Wiz missed out on that placement. HDM was also on the demo version of Mobb Deep's 'Right Back At You,' but allegedly Prodigy wanted him to change his verse, which didn't happen and, in the end, they went with Ghost & Rae instead! He was featured in Unsigned Hype (3/93) as part of Staten Island's Red Eye Krew with Oob and Jun Jak, just to give more back-story.

May 02, 2015

Clear Soul Forces "Fab Five" (Album Stream)

Detroit’s Ilajide, E-Fav, Noveliss & L.A.Z. (aka Clear Soul Forces) armed with an arsenal of thunderous beats from rising producer NAMELESS combine to form the Fab Five. The group’s vision – combining Golden Era rhymes with a contemporary style – is as clear as ever here, heightened by their collective synergy with Nameless, who handles the majority of the production on the LP, reprising his role as producer to Clear Soul Forces from “Unlimited Bounce”, a highlight off of their last full-length, Gold PP7s. Fab Five ushers in a new era for Detroit’s storied musical tradition – the city that produced Motown, Jay Dee and Eminem has seen a revival of late, with the likes of Black Milk, Danny Brown and Royce Da 5’9” weaving the city’s rich history into their work in increasingly inventive ways. Clear Soul Forces & NAMELESS continue the tradition nodding to the Motor City’s artistic legacy while carving their own path. With production by NAMELESS and raps by the four Detroit emcees, the Fab Five are here to save Hip Hop the only way possible, with quality rhymes over quality beats. Stream the "Fab Five" album from Clear Soul Forces below... Props to Noveliss.

May 01, 2015

Camouflage Large Clique "Hitmen Holdin Steel" (12", 1996)

Brooklyn was keeping the underground on lock, and this should be a familiar sound - even if the group itself wasn't familiar to you back in '96. Their debut 12" as Camouflage Large was released in 1996 on Close Range Records, it was called "Hitmen Holdin Steel" with "Cocbacda 9" on the B-Side. Clique member E-Knight held down the production with DJ Gold Finger on the cuts, mixed & recorded by Joe Quinde at D&D Studios, who is the man you see on many classic records from Gang Starr, Guru, Da King & I, Black Moon, Camp Lo, and so many more. Their second 12" came in 1997, "Regulate," along with "Hear Me Out" and "Heavy Hitters." It was released a year later on their own label, Camouflage Large Records. The production was handled by Jovonn on the lead cut and Latief on "Hear Me Out" & "Heavy Hitters." E. Knight went separate ways and had future joints with N.Y. Confidential. I'm not aware of any group releases since, but - as always - follow the breadcrumbs!