August 31, 2015

Sean Price "Songs In The Key Of Price" (Mixtape)

This is the first posthumous release of Sean Price. The plan was to release the mixtape on August 21st, 2015. He passed away on August 8th, 2015 but the mixtape was still released as planned. The iTunes release only has 8 songs but the digital download as well as the physical CD from Duck Down contains 30 songs. The title is a play on Stevie Wonder’s 1976 Motown classic Songs in the the Key of Life. The original artwork (not featured above) also mirrored Stevie Wonder’s classic. #riP!

Keychain bottle opener (promo) from Sean P.  - R.I.P.

August 30, 2015

Bamboo "From The Get Up" (12", 1999)

A nice 12" release from Bamboo (who immediately shows love to Queens) in 1999 on Honcho Mogul Industries & Roadrunner Records. "From The Get Up" was produced by Domingo and was released as a single for his production album "Behind The Doors On The 13th Floor." For those unfamiliar with Domingo, he produced "The Dream Shatterer" on Big Pun's Capital Punishment, "Success" by Fat Joe, as well as joints with Masta Ace, Eminem, KRS-One ("The MC"), Ras Kass, and hundreds more. If you dig "From The Get Up," you'll also hear Bamboo on "Not The Ones To Sleep" on Domingo's first album and he's featured on his 2014 release "Same Game New Rules." I'd read rumors that Bamboo died, but I never heard that from Domingo so I generally ignore online rumors. Also check out "Bronx Legends Never Die" with Big Pun (R.I.P.) and "The Most Underrated" LP. Listen to the 12" below.

August 29, 2015

maticulous "maticulous LP" (Album Stream)

Brooklyn by way of PA producer maticulous returns with his first full length project "The maticulous LP." Soulful, lush beats with booming drums provide the backdrop for a diverse line-up of eMCees that include: Your Old Droog, Blu, Masta Ace, Lil Fame, Rah Digga, Guilty Simpson, yU, Rock (Heltah Skeltah), & more. It is evident that maticulous stays true to the classic hip-hop sound while moving it toward the future. Dig into my Fat Beats brother's latest effort, The maticulous LP, below...

August 28, 2015

Method Man "The Meth Lab" (Album Stream)

It’s been nearly a decade since the world was treated to new official music from celebrated rapper and pop-culture icon, Method Man. The Wu-Tang Clan’s most successful member is getting back to music with his new album ‘The Meth Lab’ via Hanz On Music / Tommy Boy (Ghostface Killah/Sheek Louch). Recorded in Staten Island and featuring lifelong cohorts and SI residents Redman, Raekwon, Hanz On, Streetlife, and Inspectah Deck, along with Uncle Murda, Cory Gunz, and Mack Wilds. The album features production from Ron Browz, Allah Mathematics, J57, and 4th Disciple and is exactly what his fans have been craving - 17 new and gritty tracks dripping with Mef’s lyrically imaginative, deliberate and laid-back style. Props to my brother, J57. Listen to The Meth Lab LP below...

August 27, 2015

Haseeb The Few & Curtiss King "The Daisy Chain" (EP Stream)

Southern California emcee, HASEEB, and producer, Curtiss King, come together to bring us the collaborative effort known as The Daisy Chain. This EP is packed with smooth, witty, narratives, backed by soulful, yet powerful instrumentals. Short and sweet, this EP is a glimpse into the talents of two unique artists, with dope features from One Be Lo & Freeway. Also check out "Laborhood Pt.4" from One Be Lo, which features a track with Haseeb The Few you're sure to enjoy, as well.

August 26, 2015

Dru-Ha Pens a Letter For Sean Price (R.I.P.)

Following the sudden and tragic loss of Sean Price a few weeks ago, Dru gathered his thoughts and wrote an extensive letter to and about his friend: "We go so far back, I remember he had his fun with the beepers too. In a late night nocturnal studio session at D&D he would sneak off and page my beeper with a popular rappers number and watch me call them back. Some how I’d end up on a call with the likes of a Jeru the Damaja, asking him what he wants, and him asking the same of me; both equally confused on how we connected, Sean in the studio cracking up. The practical jokes at my expense didn’t end there, and I adored them. They were personalized and imaginative. He never made you feel bullied or humiliated (unless you had fur on your shoes) it was always something we could laugh at together after the pranks unfolded. In early Heltah Skeltah interviews, when he became predictably bored with the questions, and I had still had a flickering rap career from my verse on Black Moon’s “U Da Man”, straight faced, he told various reporters that I was recording an album with Bon Jovi. Later when I stopped traveling on the road with Sean, whenever he found himself in Baltimore he would tell the audience in the middle of his set that I wasn’t there because I watched the Wire and I was too scared. In present internet days, there’d be times with no warning, where he might go on a twitter rampage encouraging people to send me their demos and beats. My timeline and email would fill up. That was Sean with his mischievous and appropriately inappropriate sense of humor. He made us laugh till Tek had water in his eyes and all of our stomachs hurt… But at the heart, he played for one team throughout his career. He declared “I’m Boot Camp 4 Life” and no matter how turbulent times could become, he never waivered. He knew that his BCC kin loved him unconditionally, accepted his irrational ways, and most importantly that they could rhyme on his playing field. He always insisted that Rock was the better MC in Da Incredible Rap team of Heltah Skeltah, and told me on more than one occasion that coming up through the game, Steele was his favorite MC. Buck was a mentor and trusted confidant. We never had to ask, he proudly wore the Duck Down uniform, hats, shirts, hoodies, jackets, whatever, he carried our flag with him. Most importantly it seemed to him, he represented for Brooklyn..." r.i.P.

August 25, 2015

Prince Paul "It's Not The Size of Your Mix..." (4-Parts, 2015)

Let's get this straight, Prince Paul is always on some other shit. His ingenuity and sense of humor, combined with his natural skillz as a DJ/Producer, he's always shifting the boundaries of hip-hop. When Prince Paul began uploading a series of mixes covering what he had in rotation, it was immediately a no-brainer to listen closely. There's no way to label the content of the mixes, except to say it's a wide range of tracks; the new to the old, the old to the new; once again stretching ears to accommodate new sounds and cover hip-hop's ever-expansive genre of music. At this point, there are a total of four mixes in his series labeled, "It's Not The Size of Your Mix, It's How You Use It." Yes, he's a genius!! No tracklists needed or available, so just dig-in to all four mixes below...

August 24, 2015

Large Professor x NPR "Microphone Check"

"Last spring, way back in 2014, we sat down with Large Professor, partly on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Illmatic but mostly because he's the reason for much of the New York rap we both love so much." Both reasons make sense to me, listen to the full interview in 2 parts below and much respect to the Extra P, one of the most unwavering, stand-up guys in this whole music thing. 

August 23, 2015

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 57: Wreckin' Shit" (Mixtape, 1998)

Tony Touch's Hip Hop 57 aka Wreckin' Shit was released via Dope On Tape in 1998. It features cuts from Jay-Z and Sauce Money, Big Pun, Show & AG, Heltah Skeltah, Gang Starr, All City, Noreaga, Cypress Hill, Funkdoobiest, Onyx, Cappadonna, Def Squad, The Notorious B.I.G., Heather B, Dilated Peoples, The LOX, Cocoa Brovaz, Black Moon, X-Ecutioners, Canibus, LL Cool J, Masta Ace, Cam'Ron and more. Props to DC Avery for the quality rip. Another dope Tony Touch mix, updated below... 

August 22, 2015

Phoniks "Shaolin Summer" (Funky Remixes of Classic Wu-Tang Hits)

It's a "Shaolin Summer," compliments of Portand producer, Phoniks. The Don't Sleep Records founder drops off the latest in his series of remixes, this time throwing darts with the Wu-Tang Clan. With 12 tracks, the remixes include cuts that slice through the catalogs of multiple Wu members, as well as their group efforts. Thought to be some of the best produced albums already, it's an ambitious project, but Phoniks comes out on the other side unscathed, and you won't be disappointed in how they turned out. My favorite remix is "Back In The Game," but check out the full project below.

August 21, 2015

Mister Cee "Forget About It" (Mixtape, 1999)

I missed this tape entirely back in '99... Mister Cee's Forget About It was released via Tape Kingz and the artwork/title alone shoulda forced me to check it out. Cut me some slack, there were entirely too many mixtapes droppin' in the late '90s. This one, in particular, includes tracks from Big L, Rahzel, Charlie Baltimore, Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, Made Men, Nas, Ja Rule, Slick Rick, DMX, Black Rob, Common, EPMD, Nature, Ruff Ryders, Cam'ron, Black Moon, Redman, Sauce Money, Inspectah Deck, 50 Cent and more. It's nothing amazing, but Donnie Brasco was a great movie, so the vocal drops alone making it a fun listen lol. Props to DJ Step One for another one, listen below...

August 20, 2015

Clipse "Lord Willin" (One Sheet, 2002)

The first group off of the Neptune's label, StarTrak, is having an explosive year. With the help of their two hit singles, Grindin' and When The Last Time, their debut album Lord Willin' is RIAA certified GOLD!!! Clipse also appeared on Justin Timberlake's breakout single "Like I Love You," and performed with him on MTV's Video Music Awards. Catch them this fall on tour with Nelly. See what the critics are saying below, as far their review at HipHopDX, saying, "Virginia is the state for lovers. So, it’s rather fitting that heads in Roanoke, Richmond and over in Newport News really adore their hip hop. But it wasn’t until Missy Elliott and Timbaland boinged and zonked their way into the mainstream conscious that they truly had an MC to call their own. They finally have another. The Clipse, the gritty, powder-obsessed duo of Malice and Pusha T, is anxious to do for VA what Outkast and Goodie have done for GA–put their state permanently on the rap map. “Grindin’,” the team’s sizzling Neptunes-produced monster, isn’t their debut to the world, it just seems that way. Actually, the underground smash from a few years back, “The Funeral,” was the first time most folks ever heard the Clipse. But for some reason, that cut never got love in clubs outside of Virginia Beach."

"The 2002 gutter anthem, “Grindin’,” on the other hand, could get an old folks home in Austin, Texas, crunk. Now if for some odd reason that song’s thunderous claps and ferocious clamors don’t do it for you, there are plenty of other head-nodding opportunities orchestrated by those kooky Neptunes, including the hometown chant “Virginia,” the string-ripped “Gangsta Lean,” “I’m Not You,” with the LOX, and the Fabolous-joined “Comedy Central.” The only thing not really funny with Lord Willin’ is its content. Seemingly having a past filled with more drug selling than Walgreen’s, Pusha and Malice can’t stop talking about bricks, ounces and baking cake. Every song (including two remixes of “Grindin’“) touches on some aspect of weight moving, and the shit grows a bit taxing halfway through. But you won’t hear anybody in VA complaining about the lyrics. They’re just happy to have someone from their side of the tracks not named Timbo or Missy making a lil’ cream." - HipHopDX

August 20, 2015

Supastition "The Deadline" (2004) + "Boombox T-Shirt"

Back in 2004, North Carolina's own Supastition released one of his most popular tracks to date, the !llmind-produced track, "Boombox." It was featured on his 10-track EP, "The Deadline." Listeners are also drawn to that EP because of the track "Fountain Of Youth," which has landed on various playlists and probably has the most streams of any track in his back catalog. "Boombox" still remains one of the best tracks live because of its raw energy, headnod and catchy hook, "Let It Bang In Ya Boombox!" Supastition has now released some limited t-shirts with the design above, sizes Small to 4XL, which should cover everyone! Head over to Supastition's offical merch store to cop one, and in the meantime, dig into this 2004 throwback, the Supastition and !llmind-produced "Boombox" below...

August 19, 2015

Finale "Odds & Ends" (Album Stream)

"Odds & Ends" is the new album from Michigan's Finale, produced and mixed entirely by Oddisee. Mello Music further describes the album saying, "Finale needed to live. Such a fundamental and basic idea often gets overlooked in the fast food mentality of popular culture. You can make music without something to say, but it rarely lasts. The records that stick with us are usually those with a deeper understanding of the complexities of life: every day choices we make, those selfish and selfless acts that comprise our daily existence. Odds and Ends captures those elemental contradictions. Produced entirely by Oddisee, it marks Finale’s return following a half-decade hiatus. In that span, the Detroit stalwart took a break to experience growth in his life. He came to terms with his place in the world, endured regrets, and wrote relatable stories about himself, and those around him. Cameos occur from a-alikes Homeboy Sandman and Bilal Salaam, Kenn Star and Big Tone, but the show belongs to Finale—back from hiatus, rapping like he’s ripping shoulders out of sockets. Pitchfork said about his last album, 2009’s, A Pipe Dream and A Promise: “there are so few MCs working today who are able to carry this much of an album on their own.” Since then, Finale’s only mastered the art and refused to allow it to be disposable. This is a record for the family that he gained and the friends, collaborators and leeches that stuck around when he didn't have anything left to give. It’s for ones lost along the way while he tried to find something more than what he had to begin with. This isn’t the same Finale. Struggle and success seep through every word. It’s music on its own terms. He picked the mic back up and shut the competition down."

August 18, 2015

DJ Priority x Ghostface "Iron Cinema" (Remix Album)

DJ Priority brings us this fresh remix project of his own production and Ghostface Killah's vocals. 9 joints and 7 instrumentals, DJ Priority did his thing and I can understand why he'd be inspired by Ghostface Killah; one of the best to do it. "Iron Cinema" also features Raekwon, Cappadonna, MF Doom and more. I believe DJ Priority is originally from New Jerusalem, much respect and support.

August 17, 2015

J.Period "The Best Of Big Daddy Kane" (Mixtape)

Praised by MTV Mixtape Mondays and and named "Mixtape of the Year," J.PERIOD's Best of Big Daddy Kane is hosted by Big Daddy Kane himself, and pays tribute to King Asiatic Nobody's Equal like no other mixtape in history, layering Kane’s own personal commentaries with the hottest moments from every stage of his career, plus exclusives, rarities and remixes and more. This mixtape gets the job done. Props to J.Period and Big Daddy Kane, check out the dope mix below...

August 16, 2015

Ayatollah & Widowmaker "Colossus" (Instrumental Album)

COLOSSUS is a producer trio consisting of legendary producer Ayatollah (producer of Mos Def's "Ms, Fat Booty", Styles P's "The Life", etc), Blue Healer of WIDOWMAKER, and Guttah Grey of WIDOWMAKER. This record is boom bap sample based madness at it's finest! A collaborative effort a year and a half in the making, and now released featuring 21 instrumentals. The project was released in June, I'm late to the party! It's a fine instrumental project, definitely dig into it below...

August 15, 2015

DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro "Tape #9" (Mixtape, 1991)

Hopefully you are already up on the DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro mix tapes from the 90s. Some of the best and most diverse mixture of track selection, genre-crossing music and original blends! By the mid-90s, these were must-own tapes. Let's jump into Tape #9 from '91, which features Hip-Hop & RNB flavors from Nice & Smooth, Naughty By Nature, Leaders of the New School, Brand Nubian, Tim Dog, Showbiz & AG, Slick Rick, Main Source, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, PM Dawn, S.O.S. Band, Black Sheep, and more! A lot of the original audio links are dead for their mixes, but props to Dailey Maddawg 76 for the quality rips. They are all updated, so revisit these tapes.

August 14, 2015

D-Bo x Esco "New York State Of Mind: The 90s Sound" (Mix)

Brooklyn Radio’s King D-Bo & Esco team up for “New York State of Mind: The 90’s Sound,” a special mix representing the classic New York Hip Hop sound associated with producers from New York City in the early to late 1990s, such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, KRS-One, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, EPMD, RZA, Marley Marl, Large Professor, Prince Paul and Scott La Rock. This golden age New York based sound is characterized by skeletal beats, samples cribbed from hard rock or soul tracks, complex wordplay and punchlines. Another definitive characteristic of this sound is the ability to sample different beats from a wide variety of sources ranging from jazz, funk and soul to rock & roll. This compilation is a collection of some of the rarest Hip Hop songs from the 90’s by some of the best Rap artists of that time from New York City, which truly represent the authentic, 90’s New York Hip Hop sound. In the mix, you'll hear tracks from E. Bros, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Nas, Godfather Don, Grand Puba, People Without Shoes, N.B.A., Big L, Bee Why, and more. You can download it HERE

August 13, 2015

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 56" (Mixtape, 1997)

Tony Touch released Hip Hop 56 aka Hotshit in 1997 via Tape Kingz. A lot of underground heat on this one from Gang Starr, Busta Rhymes, Big L & Fat Joe, EZD, O.C., Diamond D, Wu-Tang Clan, The Firm, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Cocoa Brovaz, Mos Def, Hurricane G, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, McGruff, Canibus, Tha Alkaholiks, Killah Priest, EPMD, Nice & Smooth, Fat Joe, Common, Jay-Z, Organized Konfusion, Positive K, Boot Camp Clik, Rakim, Masta Ace and even more! Dig into Hip Hop 56 below...

August 12, 2015

Finale "Bits & Pieces" (Promo Mix)

DJ House Shoes put this promotional mix together in advance of Finale's latest Mello Music Group release, "Odds & Ends." A refresher course for those familiar, and an introduction for those who may not be caught up on Finale's catalog. In true House Shoes form, a few exclusives are thrown into the mix for good measure. Get into this Detroit sound below, and be sure to support the new LP via Mello Music Group. Peace to Finale (and Invincible; I've always wanted a full LP from them!). If you haven't heard Finale's album, A Pipe Dream and a Promise, please do the knowledge immediately!

August 11, 2015

Your Old Droog "The Nicest" (EP Stream)

Your Old Droog was Nas once upon a time. Last year, the Brooklyn MC set Rap Twitter ablaze when he dropped Your Old Droog EP out of nowhere. However, people weren't talking about the music per say. He sounds like Nas, or at least that's how everybody felt at first listen. Rumors started to spread that Droog was Nas' Internet alter-ego, a way to keep the chip-toothed Don as relevant as ever, a way for the veteran to stay sharp and creative. Droog is back a year later with The Nicest EP, a six-track onslaught of clever rhymes and smooth beats produced by DJ Skizz, El RTNC, and Marco Polo. Premiered by Complex, check out The Nicest below as well as their interview with YOD.

August 10, 2015

J-Grand "Volume 5: Big In The Street" (Mixtape, 2000)

This is J-Grand's Big In The Street Mix (aka Volume 5) from 2000. This is another tape from DJ Step One's collection that I just don't know anything about. There were too many mix tapes released in the early 2000s, clearly I missed some good ones. This tape underground gems from Talib Kweli, Eminem, Nature, Cali Agents, Illacoin, M.O.P., Snoop Dogg, Capone-N-Noreaga, Pacewon, Dilated Peoples, Stimulated Dummies, Choclair, Big L, Ras Kass, Shyne, Outsidaz, Sauce Money, Bumpy Knuckles, Ghostface Killah, D12, F.T., Busta Rhymes, Thirstin Howl, Cam'ron and more. Dig in below...

August 09, 2015

DJ JS-1 "WikiBreaks" (Mix, 2011)

From the man himself, DJ JS-1: "The "WikiBreaks" mix is a lil' over an hour of breaks from funk, disco, re-edits, and some hiphop tracks that are not the most popular. I made most of the mix using two turntables, and then added some scratches and phrases from movies, pop-culture, commercials, etc...  I hope you realize and appreciate the value of a good mix. There is an over-abundance of wanna-be DJs: posers, strippers, clowns, reality tv losers, athletes, d-list celebs, promoters, anyone with a laptop, and even the coat-check chick spins... It takes more than just playing what people know and like, or playing some exclusive detox tracks that are HORRIBLE and no one gives a shit about anyway, or just scratching really fast, or just "mashing up" any two different songs, or having "catchy" artwork, or playing an electro song that sounds like its 98 minutes long, etc... It takes a whole lot, that apparently most DJs lack, or are simply lazy and ONLY do DJ for $, not for the love of what it means to be a DJ. So whenever any DJ puts together something that obviously took time and dedication, we should appreciate their effort to keep the true mixtape essence alive... "Tradition means that we need to end what began well and continue what is worth continuing..." Well, I'll continue to keep making really dope mixes with good music, over here... " Dig into the mix below...

August 08, 2015

A Tribe Called Quest "Scenario Remix" (The Source, 5/92)

"Freestyle fanatics will be bumrushing record stores when they hear the latest offering from Quest's gold album. Rocking over an entirely new beat stacked with crushing drums and a pimped-out bass line, the already incredible duet between The Tribe and Leaders Of The New School is fattened with all new lyrics and a few new voices on the mic. Q-Tip, Phife, Charlie, Dinco, and Busta come off lovely as usual, but it is Cut Montior Milo (L.O.N.S. DJ) and Hood who almost steal the mic. Hood has since passed away but his contribution as lead off MC will not be forgotten. Also included is the original "Scenario" and the hype instrumental of the remix. The B-side, "Butter," is one of the best cuts on the album and is a solo showcase for the skills of Phife Dawg." - The Source, 5/92

"The release of A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario," the third single from their gold album, The Low End Theory, has been marred by the tragic death of an artist who is featured on the remix. An MC named Hood, who goes first on the song, died only two days after recording his debut on wax. Hood (Troy Anthony Hall), was reportedly beaten and shot in the head outside of a group home in Harlem where he often resided ... Q-Tip, who was introduced by (Kenny) Lee (close friend and manager), had become a close friend of Hood's. It was Tip's initiative that gave Hood the opportunity to appear on the remix ... "Every time I saw him he was rhymin', he was dope. He really seemed like he was sold on coming out and working hard. The day we taped (the "Scenario" remix), he went in the studio, took his shirt off, and went in the booth. He did it in one take," says Q-Tip. At the very least, we can be thankful that Hood had the opportunity to be immortalized on wax before he died. His memory will live on in hip-hop forever." - The Source, 5/92 ("Ear To The Street"). R.I.P., Hood. (Updated)

August 07, 2015

L'Orange & Kool Keith "Time? Astonishing!" (Album Stream)

If there’s a secret to time travel, Kool Keith owns the patent. Even a flying DeLorean seems too conventional for the Bronx legend. He’d more logically orbit throughout the galaxy in a gleaming chrome spaceship, teaching the stars and aliens new forms of originality. He is too weird to live, too rare to die, too uniquely ultra-magnetic to be accurately mimicked. Time? Astonishing! is the latest dimensional warp from hip-hop’s premiere astral traveler. His union with MMG producer L’ Orange finds him exploring uncharted terrain: choppy volcanic rock planets, ice glacier moons, new surgical procedures, and fresh rappers to toss into the ether. The scalpel remains eternally sharp. The themes aren’t dissimilar from his past opuses as Dr. Octagon and Black Elvis. But L’ Orange’s production appropriately coaxes the most appealingly baffling gonzo vision from Keith since his days collaborating with Dan The Automator. Welcome to the new world, even more sinister and suspenseful than the last one. We live in astonishing times: abstract, absurd, and indelibly Kool. The album is about a man in the early 20th century who is a bored explorer and finds technology to go into the future - but he does so without any sense of adventure. He travels through time as if he is traveling to Tuscaloosa. He is then hospitalized as insane and then goes into suspended animation (a metaphor for his subconscious while sedated in the hospital). The adventure begins only after the album is finished, the record is all the thoughts and introspection before things really begin. - MMG

August 06, 2015

Nine "Cloud 9" (Rap Pages, October 1996)

"The skinny on Cloud 9 is that Nine's comical voice and throughly down-to-earth writing are almost an engaging enough combo to overcome most of the questionable choices that infiltrate his music. Almost, if nothing here matches the flowing grace of his own hit single from two years ago, "Whatcha Want?," at least a handful of songs provide their own winning moments. The LP's first single, "Lyin' King," takes dead aim at studio hustlers and strikes a bull's-eye from its hilarious opening sentiment. "I heard your album and I don't believe a word of it." The survival-driven "Make Or Take," featuring Nine's equally ruff-voiced labelmate Smoothe Da Hustler, may make your throat sore from just hearing it, but remains listenable thanks to thoughts like "Six million ways to die, but only one to live / I need enough money to spend, enough money to give." Meanwhile, Cloud 9's introspective closer, "4 Chicken Wings and Rice," recounts meager days gone past with a dope down-tempo groove and an affecting eye for detail: "Thirty cents away from a dollar / Goin' to the store for a 40 of water." Of course, check the visuals to the underground gem, "Lyin' King," cont'd below...

"Production-wise, much of the LP retains the string-concerto characteristics of producer Rob Lewis's work on "Whatchu Want," only the result is not quite so memorable. Complicating matters is an unappetizing menu of guests. In addition to the downright annoying King Just, 3rd Eye and female MC Uneek display similarly overbearing tendencies on "Richman Poorman" and "The Product," respectively. Dancehall don Bounty Killer also makes an unnecessary appearance on "Warriors," in light of Nine's own charming off-key patois, crooning on the last LP's "Redrum." While in the end the rap veteran's passion for his profession is convincing enough, these pitfalls make for an occasionally frustrating package. On the suitably dark "Every Man 4 Himself" Nine advises, "Don't chase dreams, chase paper." Cloud 9's inconsistencies suggest the chase is not yet over." - Rap Pages: October, '96.

August 05, 2015

Grand Puba "2000" (Hip-Hop Connection, 8/95)

"Around '92 Grand Puba had the mad flava. After splitting from Brand Nubian he was appearing on everyone else's tracks, and stealing the show on every posse cut he appeared on. It was the building up of this profile that made his '93 debut album something of a disappointment. Undoubtedly Puba had the lyrical skills, but the production let him down. On '2000' there are no such problems. It's more musical than his last effort with mellow, laidback, radio-friendly loops rather than just the hard beats, with the likes of Quincy Jones and Barry White getting slung into the SP1200." Cont'd below, but first check out the visuals for Grand Puba's smash single, "I Like It."

"It could be seen as more commercial, but not so much as to offend the hardcore ... And Puba is by no means backward in coming forward to the mic, still the master of the slick metaphor and clever rhyming couplet ... Subject matter is traditional Puba bragging and boasting of his prowess with the hoes and on the mic ... With Puba's ever present lyrical ability and the easier-on-the-ear production, there isn't a weak track on '2000.' A consistently pleasing effort." - via Lee Pinkerton at Hip-Hop Connection, 8/95. The full 2000 album review can be read below. Revisit the album HERE.

August 04, 2015

Jeru The Damaja "The Sun Rises In The East" (The Source, 1994)

"It's evident, even to idiots, that this thing called hip-hop has been afflicted by a flood of mediocrity disguised in Karl Kani jean-suits, accessorized with cellulars and Saturday Night Specials. As a result, cynicism has strained the acceptance of happy-go-lucky formulas that worked for artists just six months ago. But as the hip-hop stakes have been raised to demand more pure rhymes and rhythms, Jeru The Damaja has stepped up to the challenge, his long-awaited debut with him. A long-time member of the Gang Starr crew, D. Original Dirty Rotten Scoundrel has rhymed on cuts such as "I'm The Man" and, most recently, "Speak Ya Clout." But the real truth came with the evolution of Jeru's first solo single, "Come Clean," from underground secret to bonafide hip-hop classic. A testament to his talent, Jeru balanced "mass appeal," respectability and longevity, without compromising shit. While his name isn't on the front cover, producer DJ Premier is as essential to this album as Jeru himself. Primo is already a legend in the beat field for his tracks with Gang Starr, Mobb Deep, Nas, etc, but with Jeru he goes further against the grain with a collection of simple but dense beats. He uses flutes, harmonic discord, bugged-out sound effects, even static to fill in his compositions. The music is more abstract than anything you'd hear on his Gang Starr record, but the gamble works. Throughout the album, you remain mesmerized while Primo cuts and scratches like a spit-out razor." Revisit Jeru The Damaja's classic LP, The Sun Rises In The East, cont'd below...

"As for Jeru, the music both contrasts and compliments his disjointed flow and deep poetical lyricism. Like a portrait in rebellion, Jeru is frighteningly nonchalant with his punch lines and philosophizing. All of the tracks are ill, but the stand-outs include "D. Original," "Come Clean" and "Da Bitchez." The masterful metaphors of "Can't Stop The Prophet" have Jeru (in the guise of a super-hero) chasing the personification of Ignorance, as his agents: Deceit, Anger, Despair and Animosity conspire to destroy him by cutting off his dreds and poisoning him with pork chop venom. But the most powerful cut on the album is "Ain't The Devil Happy." Primo combines violins with kick drums and an evil laughter hook that sounds like it was sampled in hell... While only 10 cuts, The Sun Rises In The East is short but well worth the money for those who think they can handle Jeru's mindspray. This is not happy music, there is no G-Funk involved, and you must pay attention." - The Source

August 03, 2015

Special Ed "Revelations" (The Source, 8/95)

"He's back. It's the specialist, Special Ed comin' straight outta Flatbush. The youngest in charge is all grown up, legal and neva goin' back. And he's coming with lyrics and a flow which transport the listener to an open mic session. Ed's flow is reminiscent of a freestyle off-the-top session straight off a dubbed underground mixtape. "Lyrics," the voice of KRS-ONE echos, "lyrics, somebody want lyrics?" Adjacently, a deep, bouncing bass attached to an in-an-out guitar commences to make the head bob. Ed then proceeds with what seems like unarranged verses that twist, babble, flow and stumble, but still manage to land on solid lyrical feet. He displays lyrical dexterity by droppin a succession of rhymes that end not with any one particular word, which then catapults Ed to switch and flow in a totally different topical direction altogether. This technique and style is employed throughout most of the album." Check out the visuals to Special Ed's "Neva Go Back," below...

"The production through the entire album makes use of devious, sinister basslines that occasionally ride high-hates, bass drums and hard-ass snares. One drawback that might hinder some people's "earousal" is the consistent similarity in pace, speed and beats-per-minute on most of the tracks. But six years later, Ed's still got it made, he's still magnificent and now he's coming new and improved." - The Source, August 1995. The album was released under the title Revelations, with "Neva Go Back" as the lead single to the LP. The full Revelations album review is available below...

August 02, 2015

Yaggfu Front "Action Packed Adventure" (1994)

Yaggfu Front was a North-Carolina-based Hip-Hop Group, consisting of the members Spin 4th, D’Ranged & Damaged, and Jungle Bel. Thanks to Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists, I learned that their name was actually an acronym for “You Are Gonna Get Fucked Up If You Front.” Working as late night DJs at NCSU (WKNC), they allegedly landed the first major record label for a Hip-Hop artist out of NC with their deal with Mercury Records. Their first studio album, “Action Packed Adventure,” was released in 1994; a unique conceptual album with an infusion of Hip-Hop and Jazz. They left the label soon after, and didn’t return until 2002 with the release of “The Secret Tapes,” which was a compilation of material recorded between 1992 and 1996. One of their more known records was “Slappin Suckas Silly;” the remix version featured D.I.T.C’s Diamond D. Other than that and their first single, “Lookin For A Contract,” additional 12” releases included “Left Field" and probably my personal favorite, "Busted Loop," which had a great video to accompany the 12" release. Despite a small amount of music, their humor, instrumentation and scratches on the records have left enduring fans still celebrating their music all these years later. Peep the "Busted Loop" video...

August 01, 2015

LA Leakers x Raekwon "Only Built 4 Cuban Leaks" (Mix, 2009)

Originally released in 2009 ahead of "OB4CL2," this is "Only Built 4 Cuban Leaks," by the L.A. Leakers and Raekwon The Chef. They released it again today on the 20th Anniversary of "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx." A day indeed to celebrate Raekwon and his debut solo album. Justin Credible and DJ SoulMilk give us all classic Wu-Tang Clan and Raekwon joints! It speaks for itself, so dig into the mix below...