Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Tribe Called Quest "Beats, Rhymes & Life" (CMJ, 9/96)

"A Tribe Called Quest is representing the future of its fourth, bottom-heavy release, Beats, Rhymes And Life. At a time when rap is plagued with studio gangsters, drugs, guns and predictable aural stimulants, ATCQ promotes responsibility, individuality and the need for rappers to break out of tired, self-defeating habits. Over its career, ATCQ has smartly exempted itself from the pitfalls of the rap business, and on Beats, it offers the knowledge it's gathered in a smart, powerful package that is motivating, inspiring and even compassionate ("Stressed Out")," check the visuals below...

"As demonstrated on "1nce Again" and "What Really Goes On?," the trio has nearly perfected its amalgam sublime, jazzy samples and the kind of bass-and-beat bombs that made The Low End Theory so alluring. Combine that with the group's cerebral poetics ("Phony Rappers" and "The Pressure"), and you have one of the most focused and potentially important records in recent memory. At a time when most rappers shun the role model title, the members of ATCQ assume it for themselves and attempt to lead hip-hop down the righteous path of rhythm, while not forgetting to shake their butts along the way." - CMJ New Music Monthly, September 1996.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Noveliss "Toonami Tsunamis" (EP Stream)

Noveliss of Clear Soul Forces is back with a brand new EP, produced entirely by Scott Xylo. Noveliss says, "I'm a huge Anime fan and if it weren't for Toonami I probably wouldn't be that way. When I was a kid me and my brother used to rush home for Dragon Ball Z and that was my first Anime. Then Gundam, then Cowboy Bebop, Fist of the North Star. Even classic Cartoons like Johnny Quest and Thundercats. Toonami put me on. Now even Naruto, Attack On Titan, One Piece. This is a tribute to some life changing television programing, short and sweet...Toonami Tsunamis." When I read the description, I thought to myself this one might not be for me, but I'm a fan of Noveliss, so I checked it out & was not disappointed at all! You can stream it below.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cookin' Soul x Reell "90's Mix"

Production duo Big Size & Zock aka Cookin' Soul from Spain & clothing brand Reell collaborated on this fresh 90s-themed mix. A 45-minute dose of classic cuts from the likes of Grand Puba, Chubb Rock, LL Cool J, Black Moon, Big L, Lord Finesse, Mobb Deep, O.C., Boot Camp Clik, Redman, Camp Lo, Queen Latifah, Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr, Smif-N-Wessun, Cypress Hill, Xzibit, Onyx, Keith Murray and so much more. Check out Reell if you're curious to see their line of clothes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

DJ Soul "3 Da Hard Way" (Mixtape, 1999)

Released around 1999-2000, this mix tape from DJ Soul is a dope Tape Kingz release that featured a really dope selection of tracks from Rakim, Common, Pharoahe Monch, M.O.P., Big L, Mos Def, Missin' Linx, The Beatnuts, O.C., Fat Joe, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Kool G Rap, Freddie Foxxx, Kurupt, Raekwon, Choclair, Gang Starr, 50 Cent, Big Noyd, and lots more. Props again to DJStepOne.

Friday, July 24, 2015

14 Deadly Secrets "The DJ Premier 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. Take a listen to the DJ Premier mix below.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Moment of Reflection

It’s been difficult to speak about this, especially at any length, so I’ve kept to sharing the links from Blueprint with more information. For me … I am just extremely grateful that my brother, Supastition, as well as Blueprint & DJ Rare Groove, were not severely injured in this car accident on the King No Crown Tour. You can see from the total damage to the van, it was a near fatal accident, but with God’s grace, they walked away from it virtually unscathed. The support that has been shown has been overwhelming, no question, and the money donated will surely be put to great use helping Blueprint get his business back up and running, but … much more than that is being able to learn (from a distance in mine & your case) how quickly things can go left. I urge you not to wait for life to show you how unpredictable it can be - tell people as clearly and as simply as you can how much you love and appreciate them. With that, countless other blessings will become more obvious & life much more purposeful. This will likely be the last I’ll speak on this, I just look forward to seeing Supastition get back home to his family safely. Peace and Love. - Sav

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Eternia "Off The Radar" (The Source, June/July 2010)

"Whoever declared Hip-Hop a man's treasure trove struck fool's good. Canadian MC Eternia is determined to break this misconception by proving that your favorite rapper can wear a skirt. Having conquered the independent circuit, the femcee has earned the admiration of both genders through her music. Her 2009 Get Caught Up mixtape garnered accolades across the board, fueled by the blogger and fan favorite "Foul Child." While composing her upcoming LP, At Last with MoSS, Eternia, a DJ Premier signee, chose to eliminate all label politics and shop the project with her PNC. "We kept it completely under wraps. No manager input, no label input, nothing. It was just us!" With the raw guitar riffs on "Day In The Life" and the lyrical carnage on "It's Funny," featuring Joel Ortiz, At Last strays away from the sound of industry paramour Nicki Minaj and her Barbie movement. But don't get it twisted; Eternia embraces her female counterpart. "I don't hate on [Nicki Minaj] at all. She's still paving the way. There's too few of us to be mad at each other." And with Eternia ready at the helm, ladies' night is in full effect." - The Source, June/July 2010. One small correction to this article: it was MoSS who was a signee to DJ Premier via DJ Premier's Works of Mart production company (at the time). Eternia & MoSS - as a group - were signed to Fat Beats Records.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

M.O.P. "Firing Squad" (Rap Pages, 11/96)

"While the group's 1993 debut To Tha Death had its moments - including the seminal Crooklyn street anthem "How About Some Hardcore" - the album's uninspired, monotonous production was its downfall. Thankfully, things have changed dramatically for the better. "This year n!ggas can't compare / Spectators hate us 'cause we're f#ckin' with Premier," growls an always amped-up Billy Danze to the delight of his nimble partner Lil' Fame (the nicest kid with a lisp since Erick Sermon) on the rousing "Salute." Like Q-Tip's work on official Queensbridge murderers Mobb Deep's opus The Infamous, Premier has his hands all over M.O.P.'s formidable Firing Squad. Serving as the unofficial overseer, Primo is behind the boards on the album's best cuts, and he also incredibly mixed the entire album, providing it with a sinister, continuous vibe." Check out "World Famous," cont'd...

"Unquestionably, Firing Squad is one of the year's finest releases. Processing more flavor than a plastic tin filled with Lifesavers, M.O.P.'s exhilarating music will force you to ignore the fact that the fellas' lyrics are so one-dimensional ... While not a classic masterpiece, "the eject from Select" was a tremendous power move for the fellas, and they have definitely positioned themselves at the top of the class of this fall's plethora of rap releases. I disagree with Lil' Fame - when I die, bury my ass with a copy of Firing Squad." - Rap Pages, November 1996. Read the full review below...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tha Soloist "Truminosity" (Album Stream)

Tha Soloist (Jersey City, NJ) connects with the talented producer B.B.Z. Darney for this new 12-track album, Truminosity. Tha Soloist boasts that the album took less than 30 days to complete, which suggests great chemistry between the New Jersey lyricist and Swedish producer, whose name stands for Boom Bappin Zombie Darney. Keep an eye out for more releases from each of these talents on the come-up ... and stream their collaborative effort, "Truminosity," below...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Starvin B "7 Train Lungs" (Album Stream)

SEASRA23 teams up with Starvin B to represent for Woodside with "7 Train Lungs". This is a boom bap journey through Queens with sounds infused and chopped on the MPK to bring you a new and gritty hip hop offering. "Seasra 23 dedicated countless hours into learning his machines and his approach to releasing this. Been doing projects with people all over the world. Many times during the journey, I've wondered, when will I be able to make something with someone from my hometown? The opportunity has been there many times but these ventures always lose steam. My musical cohorts from the area have either had cases to fight, family issues, pre occupation with drugs or lack of material or they just don't like me as a human being. We also have the idea in the back of our heads that, "Ahhh we will always be around each other, we have time." Either way, still no "Woodside/Sunnyside Starvin B" project. Until now..." Listen to "7 Train Lungs" below...

Monday, July 20, 2015

A.K. & The Audible Doctor "Something To Prove" (EP Stream)

South Side of Chicago meets Brooklyn with this collaboration between A.K. (Treated Crew) and The Audible Doctor of the Brown Bag AllStars. AMD is the homie and I've long been a fan of his production, so while I wasn't familiar with A.K. when I saw the e-mail announcing the latest collaboration, I knew the beats would knock & his hear for music would almost guarantee he'd only work with someone who was dope. It helps that the EP is available for free download, lol, but tha taside, let me just say you have no reason to hesitate, I've listened and it's highly worth the listen!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Stretch & Bobbito Show (April 18, 1996)

"From the OG, DJ Eclipse, who uploaded this incredible episode to Mixcloud: "It was a ritual to have to listen to 89.9 every Thursday night from 1am-5am. The show started in '90 and continued with Stretch & Bob together until '98. This particular episode I spun on was such an incredible show. It was the beginning of the NYC indie scene so you hear music from groups like Non Phixion, Arsonists, Natural Elements, Jigmastas and Juggaknots to name a few. Then you had the X-Men (Roc Raida, Rob Swift & Mista Sinista) up there doing routines (10:45). It was also the last broadcast from KCR's infamous Ferris Booth Hall studios. Stretch called to check in (90:15) which turned into a quick snap session with Lord Sear. Callers weren't safe from Sear either on the show (168:00). Bob played a demo set (151:30) and my set (45:16) was interrupted (68:21) so that Big L, Murder Mase, Killer Cam, Bloodshed and Beef The Thief (of Children of the Corn and BBO Enterprises) could get on the mic and totally destroy it. I mean what more could you ask for in a radio show?" Thanks, E!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Miilkbone "Da' Miilkrate" (The Source, July 1995)

"With many smooth tracks containing easily played baselines, piano and dreamy, music box-type sounds, there are many non-complex productions on Miilkbone's debut - but for the most part the end result is still funky. The album is not what you would consider especially memorable, but then again it's not exactly forgettable. In fact, it's nudged right between the two. The first single "Keep It Real," highlight's Miilk's penchant Slick-Rick-esque flow (rhyming on one track, responding on another) while hitting you with horns, bass line and a monotonous piano. "Where'z Da Party At?" uses Kool & The Gang's "It's Too Hot" as the foundation, while the hook is supplied by The Notorious B.I.G. It's East Coast G-Funk at its best, accompanied by a plethora of gibes, puns and plays on words that utilize past and present MCs and song titles." Peep the visuals to "Keep It Real," con'td...

"If the record company has any sense they will let the man from Perth Ambody's Delancy Projects (in New Jersey) just rhyme and refrain promoting him as the "The Caucasian Sensation" or anything similar. Why? Because Miilkbone has got skills, lyrics, flow and punchlines." - The Source, July 1995. Check out the full (mediocre) review below. Pick up a copy of the LP if you haven't already.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Slade Savage "Good Son / War Stories" 12" (1999)

Queens-bred MC, Slade Savage released this 12" in 1999. I've never really gotten into the A-Side, "Good Son," but I do dig the B-Side's "War Stories." The production was handled by Bezo, who flips the familiar "Wake Up Everybody" sample by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. The 12" was released by Mike Heron & Gerald Famolari's classic underground label, Hydra Entertainment. Hydra is responsible for niche-classics with Screwball, Powerful, Godfather Don, Triflicts (Creature & Gab Gotcha), and among others, an entire Hydra Beats collection available on vinyl. 

I don't know much else about Slade Savage - in fact, I don't even know if he's from Queens, but all the people I know attached to him from back in the 90s came up in Queens, so I'm just connecting the dots. If you're looking for more content, he's featured on another Bezo-produced joint called "Money Matters," by Budda Tye. Word was, he became a father (a few times over) and got a regular 9 to 5 away from music, so that's all I've got in the stash. Dig into this 12" below ... got more info? Beyond that, check out DJ Koco's "Underground's Finest," a nice tribute to the Hydra catalog.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Entrepreneurial Rappers (Billboard, June 5, 1999)

"It's no secret that many rap artists moonlight as entrepreneurs. Master P owns a real-estate agency and a sports management company, as well as other businesses. Sean Combs owns a successful restaurant and is embarking on a film career. Both Master P and Combs own record labels and clothing lines, as well. But clothing lines and record labels are not the only way for rappin' retailers to keep themselves busy when they're off stage. After bit parts in "House Party" and "Jungle Fever," Queen Latifah landed a starring role on the sitcom "Living Single." After the show was cancelled, Latifah returned to film in larger roles in movies like "Set It Off" and more recently "Living Out Loud" ... She also wrote an inspirational book for young women, "Ladies First: Revelations From A Strong Woman." Rap Veteran Spinderalla, Mos Def & Talib Kweli of Black Star and Lauryn Hill have all chosen distinctly different projects to help give back to their communities, establish themselves as a brand name or simply earn extra cash." Billboard looks into these artists and their successful business ventures outside of music, check it scanned above. Down below is an important message from Mos Def at Nkiru Books in Brooklyn, owned by him and Talib Kweli at the time.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Rumpletilskinz "What Is A Rumpletilskinz?" (The Source, 9/93)

"Perhaps you remember this group from Charlie Brown's line on "Sound of the Zeekers," when he said "Down with the Rumpletil and I love to hit skinz." Perhaps you got open to their debut single, "Attitudes." Well, regardless of where you recognize this group, you owe it to yourself to settle down with a pair of good headphones, your walkman and maybe a fat blunt, so you can best lose yourself in this album's sea of dope tracks. Jeranimo (former dancer of L.O.N.S.), L.S. (former roommate of Busta Rhymes) and Shanow form a recipe for hip-hop success with rough lyrics and smooth rhyme flow connecting with rugged beats and simple, energetic melodies that keep you absorbed in the music. At a time when everyone and their mother seems to be copying Busta Rhymes' gruff voice style, this group delivers an album that sets them apart from the crowd. The Skinz possess the ability to take elements of popular rap trends, flip the script and create a unique sound. If you can imagine a group with the verbal dexterity of the Leaders of the New School but capable of a rough Onyx-like delivery, then you know what to expect." Peep "Attitudes," cont'd...

"While you don't really have to fast-forward much here, those who like to skip around will strike immediate gold with cuts like "Sweet Theory," with its blend of rough voices and soothing melodies, and the crowd-moving excitement of "Hudz" and "Mad M.F.'s." For you kids with boomin' systems, we have "Is It Alright?" and "Earthquake," which are perfect for red light system battles. My favorite cut, "Mushroom Talk," takes the "get high" fad to a new level as the Skinz introduce 'shrooms to the musical drug scene. In terms of quality and consistency, this album easily has what it takes to compete with this summer's best. Strong Island wins again." - The Source, 9/93

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gang Starr "Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr" (1999)

"For most hip-hop artists, the arrival of a "Best Of" compilation signals the end of their tour of active duty in the trenches of creative combat. Gang Starr, however, are most definitely not your average hip-hop artists. Coming off of their critically acclaimed album with last year's universally heralded Moment Of Truth, and commemorating 10 years together as one of hip-hop's greatest units, Gang Starr's sixth album, Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr, assembles the group's greatest hits, widely acclaimed B-Sides, remixes, soundtrack contributions and two new tracks into one two-disc package. For hip-hop fanatics it is, quite simply, an essential collection. For the duo of charismatic frontman Guru and super-producer DJ Premier, it is an opportunity to reflect on their collective role as the most enduring and prestigious rhyme-and-beats battalion in rap music."

Big L, Rest In Peace. Guru, Rest In Peace...

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Beatnuts "Stone Crazy" (The Source, 7/97)

"The more you listen to the Beatnuts, the less you hear. Stone Crazy sounds like the work of connected long-shoremen. An inside job too good to be true. Concocted deep within the bowels of hip-hop's underground, Junkyard Ju-Ju and Psycho Les have created an album that once again takes us into their bizarre world where nobody's safe, the girls look so good and punks jump up to get beat down. With their debut EP, Intoxicated Demons, and 1994's still enjoyable, self-titled full-length, Les and Ju-Ju have exhibited a strict adherence to extolling the virtues of "fucking, drinking and smoking some shit," and with their latest (minus former partner Al' Tariq), these Latin playboys continue to bring the ruckus... As always, the Beatnuts say what they mean and mean what they say with a keen eye to every blow by blow detail." Peep "Off The Books," featuring Pun, below...

"While misogynist rants are in full effect, the record does have a darker, more sinister vibe as evidenced by the album's more enjoyable songs like the cryptic "N!ggaz Know," and the unabashed male bravado that laces the body of this album. Although the beats, this time around, aren't as instantly enticing as in the past, the psychedelic samples, lush melodramatic strings, and rough 4-track textures, coupled with the ever-improving rhyme flows of the two MCs, more than compensates. You'd be Stone Crazy to sleep on this record." - The Source, July 1997.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Raekwon "Glaciers Of Ice" (The Source, July 1995)

"Since the Wu-Tang's first release ("Protect Ya Neck"), success has followed every project associated with the Shaolin crew. Each product from the album to the solo joints has seen success, even though each is notably different from the next. Now, in preparation for his solo LP, Raekwon is hittin' fans off with a sample of what's to come with "Glaciers of Ice." The production is, of course, done by The RZA, who comes with vintage Wu-Tang material. It comes off rugged and eerie, complete with gunshots and a wailing vocalist in the background. But what really makes the track is the illified watery keyboard that shimmers throughout the track. The RZA proves that he's got no shortage of beats in storage. He clearly has the formula for phat tracks." Watch the video below...

"Lyrically, Ghost Face Killer and Master Killer join in to make this another destined street hit. But Raekwon sets it off with the opening verse: "Stand on the block, Reebok, gun cocked / Avalanche rock get paid off mass murderous services / Chef break 'em, watch the alley cats bake 'em / Po-nine made 'em, drop grenades and take 'em / Quick fast we reflect like the sky be blue true / Wu-Tang saga continue." If the album is anything close to this stand out single, expect more gold to fall into the Wu-Tang Empire." - Sure Shot Single in The Source, July 1995 // Save a copy below...

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Ty Farris "The Barcode 2" (Album Stream)

Detroit spitter, Ty Farris, releases the second installment of "The Barcode," which features production from an amazing producer named Trox, and Curtiss King. The tape is released in advance of his upcoming album "Room 39," which definitely has my attention. Props to DJ Eclipse, who has supported Ty Farris & got me onto his music. Stream "The Barcode 2" below.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Vince Staples x NPR "Microphone Check"

I like Vince Staples' personality and perspective on things; an old soul trapped in a generation that probably isn't best suited for his gifts, and yet he thrives and has a huge following. Go figure. They added, "Vince Staples made his debut album, Summertime '06, so that people who hear it will know how he felt then, as a young teenager in Long Beach, CA. 'That's when we understood the power we had in fear,' he says. 'Because it's either they're scared of you or they're better than you. And no one wants to feel like anyone else is better than them. So we established fear.' Who Vince means by "they" changes over the course of this interview, but throughout he acknowledges his complicity in a rigged system while laying the blame for its perpetuation at our own lazy, fearful feet. 'I saw that all of it was fake, from the streets to music to the government to my own family to my parents to — all of it was not real ... Look where I come from. Everyone's pretending they're not sad.'"

Friday, July 03, 2015

CNN "Married To Marijuana bw Calm Down" 12" (1999)

This an unofficial pressing of Capone-N-Noreaga's "Married To Marijuana" and "Calm Down," unreleased joints from around The War Report days, and "Yo!" from Sadat X. I'm especially thankful for the instrumentals, since the vocal versions had been floating around for some years. Otherwise, "Calm Down" was my favorite track on this 12", featuring Tragedy Khadafi & Nas. The rumor had been that Nas (allegedly) had issues with Tragedy removing his man's verse from the record, so he wouldn't clear the record for Capone-N-Noreaga to use on "The War Report." To smooth it over, Nas put Noreaga on The Firm album with his breakthrough track, "I'm Leaving." Afterall, his problem wasn't with Noreaga. That worked out to Nore's benefit as it helped jumpstart his solo career, and was the gateway to a lot more money. In the end, "Calm Down" is still very dope! Listen below

Friday, July 03, 2015

JuJu Rogers "The Life Of a Good-For-Nothing" (Album Stream)

JuJu Rogers is hip-hop artist from Berlin, Germany. 'From The Life Of A Good-For-Nothing' is JuJu's solo debut album on Jakarta Records, where he was once their first intern, now the label's latest signing. A true school vibe, mixed with soul & jazzy hip-hop + an effortless flow merge together styles that complement him as an album-based MC. The album's production is handled by JuSoul (who I've been a fan of since 2010), Twit One, Tufu, Knowsum & more + features from underground icon, Oddisee, and Mic Donet. One of my favorite tracks on the album is "The Story of Warren," but click play below and catch the vibe of the album, you can order it HERE.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Donald Mayhem "Skywriters" (Album Stream)

"For the past 15 years Thaione Davis has managed to remain steadfast within the ranks of underground hip hop both domestically and abroad. Over these years, he has stayed consistent with his contributions to the essence of the culture, providing a balance of raw grit open face lyricism over progressive boom bap soundtracks. With this being the release of his 13th studio album, he continues to paint clever wordplay over hard beats and has perhaps created his most comprehensive album to date. As the character Donald Mayhem, aka Donnie May, Thaione engages the listener to take flight on this vivid opus of commentary called SKYWRITTERS. This carefree delivery of urban poetry will truly define why he is often known as a "rapper’s rapper". One of the most fluid voices behind the microphone, he effortlessly weaves from braggadocio to social injustice warfare, to nightmare scenarios and even late night adventures on the west side of Chicago."

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Nas "It Was Written" (The Source, 8/96)

"Let out his "cage" at a certain barbecue thrown by Extra P, Nas Escobar revealed himself as a rhyme monster to be reckoned with. Commanding a lyrical expertise matched only by a select few, he captured the collective imagination of a hip-hop world suffering from withdrawal and fiending for fresh talent... Since then, he's displayed a proclivity for complex rhyme structure and philosophical "ghetto" profundity which can easily earn him a label as the "Aristotle of Rap." Before its release, Nas' debut album, Illmatic was billed as an automatic hip-hop classic, and Nas jumped into the game highly touted as hip-hop's savior. Neither disappointed. Illmatic was a rhyme revolution coupled with a tight blend of beats created by some of the biz's top producers. The only problem hip-hop's greedy ass fans could point to was it was too short... It Was Written, Nas' second album, should shut all the "it was too short" whiners up for good... From beats to rhymes, It Was Written is a convention of some of hip-hop's hottest talents: Stretch, Primo, L.E.S., Havoc and, peep this, Dre on production; AZ, Foxy Brown, Mobb Deep and Cormega on the lyrical side." A lot of videos from "It Was Written" have since been taken down, so here's Street Dreams (remix); f#ck R. Kelly though.

"On It Was Written, Nas Escobar presents his audience with a more mature version of the man he started introducing on Illmatic. Though his rhyme style has not changed drastically, the themes, viewpoints and creative angles flaunted throughout the album are sublime. Nas reveals himself not only as a rhymer, but also as a thinker ... Nas, like most philosophers, explores the realm of ideas through stories, using example as a device to show rather than tell. For Nas, ghetto reality is a grisly one, held captive by confusion and death ... Unlike the overwhelming majority of rappers whose rhymes are as coherent as Busta Rhymes' clothes, Nas spews out line after line of lyrics so dependent on each other that, if written on paper, it reads like a short story. Indeed, It Was Written is an audio anthology of ghetto stories told by one of hip-hop's most prolific writers. If ever there was a straight up genius in hip-hop, par excellence, his name would have to be Nas. Not just a hip-hop artist or rhymer or celebrity, Nas Escobar is a hip-hop visionary." - Rap Pages, 8/96.