October 31, 2015

Pudgee The Phat Bastard "Think Big" (12", 1995)

Pudgee The Phat Bastard's "Think Big" was an unofficial, yet official release in 1995. With a personal relationship with B.I.G., they collaborated on a joint called "Think Big." The Bronx MC had production from Minnesota of the Money Boss Players, as well as Lord Tariq & Sadat X (depending on which version you get). Oddly, the original bootlegs do not list Biggie on the record, just Lord Tariq and in some releases, Biggie's verse is replaced by Sadat X.  Nevertheless, the track was not cleared for official release, because Layla Hathaway allegedly wouldn't clear the sample for the record. With Biggie's "Ready To Die" being released in the Fall of '94 and being on top of the world, you do what any sane person (or label) would do, bootleg the record, right? It's "odd" that "Think B.I.G." was used to promote "Life After Death" years later (see above) ... but I digress. The lyrics Biggie spit were ferocious to say the least; he certainly did not phone in his feature with Pudgee The Phat Bastard.

Whether it was the misfortune of sample clearances, an album that got shelved, or Fatal wrongly putting Pudgee's name in his mouth over a disagreement over who wrote Fatal's verse to "Live at the BBQ," the 90s could have been better to Pudgee The Phat Bastard. That said, with his album "Unreleased 92-98" finally being released on Back 2 Da Source Records (Belgium), hopefully there's some resolve there. Let me also say, the project is dope! It's got production from Nick Wiz & Trackmasters on multiple tracks, as well as Dr Ceuss, of course Minnesota (although no Biggie) and vocal features from some classic artists like Missy, Sadat X, Lord Tariq, and fan favorites Da King & I and Trends of Culture. Dig into the original 12" of "Think Big" below and cop his new CD HERE

October 30, 2015

Dr. Dre "Up In Smoke" Tour (Press Release, May 2000)

May 4, 2000: "Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eminem and Warren G have announced plans to join forces for a mammoth summer tour set to kick off June 15 in San Diego, CA. The "Up In Smoke" Tour - a historical summit of the reigning leaders of hip-hop - is being produced by Dream Team, LLC led by Magic Johnson, as well as Metropolitan Entertainment, Radio Events Group and Bill Silva. Along with the five multi-platinum and critically acclaimed artists, surprise guests are expected to make appearances along the tour route. These dates mark Dr. Dre's first-ever national live tour and will encompass approximately 40 shows in major markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. The "Up In Smoke" Tour - initial dates to go on sale this weekend - will feature an elaborate high-tech stage show. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eminem and Warren G - most of whom have known each other for more than 10 years - envision this tour to be a "family affair" that celebrates the diversity and mass appeal of their audience, bringing together fans of all cultures, races, ages and status." - Press Release, 5/00. Watch some of the show below.

If you'd like a copy of the press release, check it out below...

October 29, 2015

Jakk Wonders "Good Kid M.A.A.D. Flip" (Beat Tape)

October 22nd 2015 marked the 3 year anniversary of Kendrick Lamar's critically acclaimed debut album ''good kid, m.A.A.d city''. In honor of the albums anniversary, South African beatsmith Jakk Wonders flipped 4 of the samples that appeared on the young Compton rappers album. good kid, m.a.a.d flip includes flipped samples of "Poetic Justice," "The Recipe," "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" and "Compton." He's always hard at work, stream another solid beat tape from Jakk Wonders below...

October 28, 2015

J.Period "The Best Of The Roots" (Hosted by Black Thought)

"Called "the best Roots mixtape ever" by The Source Magazine and named Allhiphop.com's "Best Mixtapes of the Year 2006", J.PERIOD's official Best of the Roots is a one-of-a-kind collector’s item and a must-have for any fan of the best band in hip hop. Packed with over 50 tracks of Roots classics, rarities and exclusive J.PERIOD remixes, The Best of the Roots also features 6 exclusive new Black Thought freestyles and original tracks produced by J.PERIOD. Guest appearances from standout Roots crew members, plus Jay-Z, Rakim, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Big Pun, and more." Dig in...

October 27, 2015

Jay-Z & Nas End Their Beef (October 27, 2005)

"Jay-Z's highly anticipated "I Declare War" concert was promoted by New York's Power 105.1 as the definitive act of aggression. But without sparking a hip hop battle royal, Jay lights more fireworks than expected. Bypassing past beefs, Hov and Nas stand side by side before 15,000 shrieking fans at the sold-out Continental Arena in East Rutherfood, N.J., and declare ... peace? "It's bigger than "I declare war," Jay-Z explains as he introduces the QB poet and his former adversary, "Let's go Esco!" With 1996's "Dead Presidents II" - on which Jay sampled Nas's voice - as a befitting backdrop for his historic union, the Queens natives takes his position onstage next to Jay. Earlier in the year, the rap community got a peek at proposed peace when 50 Cent and The Game publicly put aside their squabble (however briefly...). But this meeting carried with it the weight of the hip-hop world and was truly a rap fan's dream come true. The pair's now landmark battle was born in 2001 at New York's Hot 97 Summer Jam, where Jay famously lashed out at Nas and Prodigy in front of a similar set of fans. Since then, that incident has been recooked and dissected ad nauseam. As the tension between Jay-Z and Nas continued to intensify, Nas would return with the stinging "Ether." And when Jigga spewed lyrics like "Left condoms on your baby seat" on "Super Ugly," the conflict became more malicious, more personal. While sparks from both sides have ceased in the last couple of years, a cold war ensued. A resolution seemed implausible. Then, this night: The two former gladiators stand together, motionless, bathing in the crowd's roar. "This is for hip hop," Jay-Z yells. "We love y'all." Peace, love, and hip hop, what more can a fan ask for? Aftermath: with only one more album left under his current recording contract, Nas is reportedly in discussions with several labels, including the Carter administration-helmed at Def Jam Records, where Nas may finally record a long-overdue collaboration with Jay-Z." - Vibe Magazine, January 1996. Another pivotal moment in hip-hop.

October 26, 2015

Donnie Propa & Masta Ace "The Ace Tape" (Mixtape)

Donnie Propa, in collaboration with the legendary Juice Crew MC, Masta Ace, have brought to us The Ace Tape. The mix tape features a selection of classics and hidden gems from Masta Ace's career as a solo artist and member of Masta Ace Incorporated. It appears the mix was done straight from vinyl and features just short of 20 joints from Masta Ace's extensive catalog. There are a handful of limited edition cassettes you can order ... I recommend grabbing one ASAP! Dig in...

October 25, 2015

Supastition "Chain Letters" (XXL, Chairman's Choice 12/05)

"On "That Ain't Me" off the punch line pro's sophomore album, Chain Letters (Soul Spazm), Supastition takes a few whacks at the dominant image of down South artists as just so many tat-flaunting, ice-grill-grinning crunkateers: "Unless I'm at a party pushin' up on a drunk freak / Aside from that Supa don't be f#ckin' with crunk beats / That ain't my cup of tea and I ain't knockin' it publicly / I'm here to redefine what you consider a Southern MC." The weight he carries might easily be viewed as a supa-size chip on his shoulder (dude spits attitude like the love child of MC Ren and Antoinette). But thankfully the individual links on his Chain exhibit plenty o' strength, be he relating relationship woes ("Split Decisions"), answering doubters ("Hate My Face"), "switching sides like Ben Chavis" and challenging both his mainstream and underground rap colleagues to step up ("Don't Stop.") - XXL Magazine, December 2005, Chairman's Choice; a copy is available below...

"Chain Letters" was released 10 years ago today on October 25, 2005. Listen below...

October 24, 2015

Onyx "All We Got Iz Us" (Press Kit, 1995)

"All We Got Iz Us is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Onyx's ultra-high-energy platinum debut album, Bacdafucup. Featuring "Throw Ya Gunz" and the thrash-rap anthem "Slam," Bacdafucup escalated Onyx to the heights of international body-slamming mania and became one of the most talked about, most popular albums of 1992. Now, they're back and they're grimmier than ever. "We were in no rush to make this album," says Onyx's Fredro Starr. "We ate, we hibernated, and now we're coming back mad phat." Onyx is comprised these days of Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz, and Sonee Seeza (fka Suave). D.S., the fourth original member of the group, is no longer with them. "This is the armee," explains Sticky. "He went AWOL." Produced by the members of the group themselves, All We Got Iz Us represents a considerable artistic leap forward for Onyx. What hasn't changed is their commitment to telling the tales of their hood (Southside, Queens aka South Suicide, Queens) and their vertiginous pinballing between moods of black despair and raucous joy." Cont'd below...

"The album commences with a little skit in which a suicidally-inclined young man is encouraged to act out his dire plan on the strength of the reasoning that he'd be "betta off dead." It ends over an hour later with "Maintain," a keep-your-head-up, anti-suicide anthem, and in-between, on "Last Days," Sticky even manages to joke about the suicide option, "Think of takin' my life, I might as well / 'Cept they might not sell weed in hell." If any one moment can be said to set the overall tone for All We Got Iz Us, it is the "All We Got Skit," which includes the following chorus: 'These evil streets is rough / Ain't no one we can trus' / Either roll with the rush or get rushed / 'Cause all we got iz us!'" - Press Kit (1995). You can read more in the press release and Onyx bio below...

October 23, 2015

PF Cuttin "Tape 38: Halloween Havoc" (Mixtape, 1996)

This is PF Cuttin's classic from 96, Tape 38 aka Halloween Havoc. The mix tape features cuts from Jeru The Damaja, Busta Rhymes, Lil' Kim, M.O.P., Shaq & Rakim, Keith Murray, O.G.C., KRS-One, Ghostface Killah, The Roots, Chuck D, Mobb Deep, Blahzay Blahzay, Poor Righteous Teachers, The Firm, Smoothe The Hustler, Erick Sermon, and more! This post has been updated to reflect the remastered, double-CD version that PF Cuttin released to his Bandcamp. Listen to the mix below...

October 22, 2015

Sa-Roc "Gift Of The Magi" (Album Stream)

Sa-Roc, originally from Washington, D.C. (now based in Atlanta), is a spiritual storyteller, and her control on the mic and strength with a pen is truly majestic and impactful, yet her commanding presence isn’t overwhelmed by her ego. While her lyricism can be spitfire at times, she is in full command as she changes up her flows. Sa-Roc fills both the student and teacher roles as a musician, in that her perspectives share wisdom gained from her experiences and her diverse musical influences, while also being a true listener, open to learning and soaking up new life lessons. Sa-Roc’s conscious, reflective and metaphysical lyrics are both complex and approachable. Her music is relatable and inquisitive – not only is Sa-Roc able to seemingly effortlessly engage an audience, she’s also able to get listeners thinking while getting lost in the music and vibin' out. As Sa-Roc says, "For me, the challenge is to keep focused, to keep working, to keep true to myself as a skilled MC." Enjoy Sa-Roc's latest effort Gift of the Maji below and read more at AAHH.

October 21, 2015

14 Deadly Secrets "Erick Sermon Mix"

"14 Deadly Secrets" was an idea of DJ Derezon & Tre The Boy Wonder for their Radio Show, the "Soundscan Mixshow". The idea: take a Hip Hop producer that had a major impact on the Hip Hop scene, then take 14 of his classic productions and find out about the stories behind those tracks. After successful mixes with DJ Premier and the RZA, they released Part 3 with the Green-Eyed Bandit of EPMD, Erick Sermon. In the mix, you'll find out crazy stories behind 14 classic Erick Sermon-produced cuts, featuring artists like LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Method Man, Blackstreet, 50 Cent, Keith Murray, Xzibit, Jamal, EPMD, Busta Rhymes, Redman, and Eminem. Not necessarily Erick Sermon's best or most popular records, but "14 Deadly Sectrets" mixes honor the producers work and what they gave to the Hip Hop Community. Much respect to Erick Sermon, listen below...

October 20, 2015

Reflection Eternal "Train of Thought" (2000)

"There's something wonderful about an MC who can make you think. Unfortunately, at times, they seem to be part of a dying breed. But Talib Kweli, the other half of Black Star is such an MC. After being in the shadow of the charismatic Mos Def, Talib defines himself as an artist in his own right with his debut, Reflection Eternal. Talib has an invaluable gift; a rapid-fire flow that's extremely audible and easy to follow. His rhymes seem conversational, filled with anecdotal instances, like a friend setting up a great story. His grade school teachers would be proud. Unlike some marble-mouth MCs, Talib learned how to e-nun-ci-ate. So although some of Reflection''s subjects may seem heavy (Black history, activism, politics), the words are smoothly digestible." Listen to "The Blast" ...

"Hi-Tek proves the dramatic musical backdrop to Talib's honest and revealing rhymes. Horn blasts set off the album on "Experience Dedication," while thumping, larger-than-life production dominates throughout ("Move Something" and "This Means You"). Even the tracks that deviate most from Hi-Tek's signature crisp, grandiose beats give this set its depth. A few such standouts are "Too Late," with its unusual world-music vibe and multi-layered instrumentation, and the ethereal, organic bumps of "The Blast" and "Love Language." The latter contains Talib's exploration of the fundamental emotional differences between men and women, and observations about romantic frustrations that seem more first person than third..." Cont'd below, and check the 2-page advert from Rawkus...

"Much of Talib's lyrical content revolves around attacking and mentally intimidating wack MCs, of whom he's particularly wary ... Ghostwriting requests aside, Talib might as well get used to the jealousy and envy. After all, who wouldn't want to be a thinking-person's MC?" - The Source 12/00

October 19, 2015

Joe Budden "All Love Lost" (Album Stream)

Fans have a love / hate relationship with Joe Budden ... I get it, I know. Building a cult-like fanbase over the years, Joe was one of the first to find dominance at utilizing social media and specifically platforms like BlogTV. Long before the podcast or shows on Complex or Revolt, Joe created a lane through vulnerability and letting his fans see behind the curtain. The narrative today might be that the fans didn't purchase the music once streaming hit or that the industry held him back or that he wasn't considered 'cool' enough amongst his peers... I don't know exactly, but what I do know, the fans and the industry-alike are missing out by not supporting this "All Love Lost" album. I think it's near-masterful from start to finish -- if you believe that music should be from the heart and create true emotion! Beyond that, his ear for production is at its best, and Parks' work behind the boards is top notch! Live instrumentation, layered vocals (from Joe and Emanny) made this truly one of my favorite projects of the year. Stream the full LP via Spotify below... and props to Rory and Mal on their collective Podcast with Joe; I'm tuned in for every episode. Back to the music, dig in...

October 18, 2015

Digable Planets "Blowout Comb" (Album Review, 1994)

"Rather than constructing their political identities as the prophets of a holy war or as morally justified criminals, the Brooklyn-based rappers Digable Planets see themselves as the "creamy spies" of their blaxploitation flick. Riding black politics for all they're worth, Butterfly, Doodlebug and Ladybug posit Afro picks, baggy jeans, and 'Tims' as both the symbols of and tools for a black cultural nationalism. Like Cleopatra Jones or John Shaft, fly threads and phat beats are essential in their quest to uplift the community. Refining their vision of an abstract bohemia from their debut album, The Digables now see themselves as an "intercommunal sound service" for a very specific audience of African-Americans." Check out "9th Wonder (Blackitolism)," cont'd below...

"On "Borough Check," The Planets (with Gang Starr's Guru) wax rhapsodic about Brooklyn, but the groove is so laconic and the references so arcane that the song becomes menacingly singular. It is an alienating soundscape: the beats are hollow and blunted, there are no hooks as galvanising as "Cool Like Dat" and the rhymes are still as obscurantist as ever with coded lyrics like "makin' bacon" (ie killing police) delivered so off-the-cuff as to render them almost meaningless. Unlike the cinematic violence of gangsta rap, which is spectacular whether you like it or not, the success (or failure?) of Digable Planets to create a soundworld that is disconcerting to whites is dependent upon your effort to scratch beneath the album's patina of suave jazziness and hipster slang."

October 17, 2015

DMX "Flesh Of My Flesh..." (Vibe, 2005) / Cover Art

Vibe: Cey Adams, Creative Director: "I was concerned about the similarities between DMX and Tupac with his shirt off, so photographer Jonathan Mannion and I thought we should do something really literal: a blood bath. But because DMX was such a loose cannon, we were afraid to ask whether he wanted to do it. If you present an artist with an idea, especially something that could be perceived as sacrilegious, they could just turn on you - and the record company is not going to protect you. But in the end, he was excited about the idea. Jonathan mixed up this concoction of Kool-Aid, Jell-O, sugar, and food dye to make the blood. I assumed the cover would be really controversial and we wouldn't be able to rack it in Wal-Mart, but I don't remember it being that big of a deal. Anytime you're working with DMX, it's memorable. You have to earn his trust, and you have to convince the whole posse it's cool. It's ridiculous to have to convince the guys sitting around eating craft services that the cover is a great idea, but that's the way it works in hip-hop." Photo by Jonathan Mannion.

October 16, 2015

Capone-N-Noreaga In The Source (May, 1997)

"After making their initial splash on the Queensbridge, all-star studded single, "LA, LA," featuring Mobb Deep, and Tragedy, Capone-N-Noreaga continue to infiltrate the rap game with further correspondences from the frontlines of urban warfare. Motherf#ck cable, CNN are a word warrior tag team whose roots span across the rough-hewn plains of the Q-borough, bridging Capone's foundation of realness, The Bridge (a/k/a Kuwait), with Noreaga's homebase of operations, Lefrak City (a/k/a Iraq), in a compelling crosstown Black-Latino connection. If the duo's associates, Mobb Deep, deliver a convincing portrait of hell on earth, think of CNN's environment as the earth in hell. Going out blasting, taking their enemies with them, Capone-N-Noreaga's well executed debut, The War Report, blazingly demonstrates that crime rap in the hands of the right thugs can be a plot beyond kidnapping the president's wife without a plan... CNN's transmissions were temporarily interrupted when Capone was recently sent on an impromptu up north trip for undisclosed reasons. With his partner unavailable, Noreaga discussed the unleashing of CNN's dramatics and mathematics to living rooms worldwide..." You can read the full interview, up above, definitely check it out... originally from The Source, May 1997. Below is an MTV interview from July 1998 after the release of "The War Report" and the "N.O.R.E." album, with an exclusive jail interview with Capone. Check it out...

October 15, 2015

Eternia "It's Called Life" (October 4, 2005)

"International media have labelled her "Canada's dopest female MC;” and with the release of her debut album, Eternia is also a champion of perseverance in Canadian hip-hop. It's Called Life is about all the elements in Eternia's struggle that have made her the strong MC she is today and each song is titled after these elements. Her confident flow spills over onto the clean mid-tempo bumping track "Evidence,” about how she got into the rap game on her own terms. "Hate” gets first prize for the thickest, cockiest, in your-face "F-you!” to the haters, making it a track of the year. Pieces of Eternia's story are woven throughout the album in a way that each one matches the mood of the music. "Control” is a brutally harmonious and brutally honest song about a control-freak ex-boyfriend. Eternia's creativity balances the diary effect of her album's candid content, and keeps it fresh. "Understand,” featuring Freestyle, is about the hectic trails of MCs on the road trying to make it. This same theme is flipped on "Balance,” a smoothed-out track about her love and support from both Canada and the United States. Eternia's talent and intelligence, both developed yet unforced, make this debut a proud statement. Now that she's elbowed her way into the game, she's bound to soak up a lot more serious experiences to refine into real rap music." - Exclaim!

October 14, 2015

De La Soul "Buhloone Mindstate" (HHC, 10/93)

"You were once informed that we had died, And what is death? Simply movin' from one place to another. You are now in the other." So reads the manifesto that accompanies 'Buhloone Mindstate,' the third unpredictable album from De La Soul. After the world gobbled up the plunkety tomfoolery of '3 Feet High And Rising' with such enthusiasm their road ahead was always going to be rocky. Their second outing was caught between deflecting expectations, preventing too much crossover success, and proving that they could still cut it. So on "De La Soul Is Dead" they were scared to be themselves in case the world said that's all they could do. But on 'Buhloone Mindstate' they are back in effect, letting their kookie poetry and omnivorous musical tastes take control without all the forced posturing of the previous LP. Unsurprisingly the rapping is harder and more assured than before, wrapped in layers of complex puns and clever images, with lots of references to other people's jams. But the music is definitely not what you were expecting, centered around acres of slinky jazz, with shimmering organs and smoking horn solos drifting around. Prince Paul is once more at the helm, and the ambience he creates is very reminiscent of early Tribe Called Quest ... Where 'De La Soul Is Dead' was a shock because they planned it that way, this album is a shock because they've mellowed and they're still great. De La Soul is definitely not dead." - HHC (October, 1993)

You can read the full review in Hip-Hop Connection (10/93) below...

October 13, 2015

Denmark Vessey "Martin Lucid Dream" (EP Stream)

"The lean & compact effort featured production by Denmark himself (who has produced for the likes of Danny Brown, Elzhi, Quelle Chris and more), as well as Dirty Science's Exile, Azarias, and T-White with vocal contributions by Guilty Simpson, Black Milk, Tanya Morgan and more. As a special addition, the 2XLP vinyl includes the album's instrumentals plus two bonus tracks "Katt Williams" and "Snowing in LA" produced by Odd Future's Earl Sweartshirt. The cassette also includes the two bonus tracks." Martin Lucid Dream is available via Fat Beats on cassette, and streaming below...

October 12, 2015

Jadakiss "#T5DOA" (Mixtape)

Jadakiss is promo'ing his upcoming album with the Top 5, Dead Or Alive series of freestyles. Kiss goes in over Incarcerated Scarfaces, Young Gifted & Black, Life's a Bitch, Hotline Bling, Grind'n & more, for a total of 14 joints.The project features Fabolous, Styles P, Swizz Beats & more. Everything has a hashtag these days, I am not mad at this one, plus I like keeping the freestyle culture alive, even if it's studio freestyles ... I like hearing artists on other joints & not worrying about samples, all that bullshit that keeps artists from being raw and creative. Is Jadakiss Top 5?

October 11, 2015

Inspectah Deck "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (October, 1998)

"...As Deck readies his long-overdue solo shot, Uncontrollable Substance (Loud) - which he describes as a "2009 block party from a 70's child" - the six-foot-three verbalist is troubled by the chaos that 1998s rap sphere brings. "It's a hectic business," he admits. "I hope no bullshit happens to me."  Maybe this concern has prompted the Inspectah to ease into a more calm lifestyle, complete with a home in New Jersey with his girl and her son... After losing his father, a painter and musician, when he was six years old, Deck endured a turbulent childhood spread between the housing projects of the Bronx, Manhattan's Lower East Side, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and finally Park Hill, Staten Island. But said transient upbringing served to provide Deck with ripped fodder for his rhymes. For the past five years, he's meshed the plight of the projects with everything from Spider-Man to Aztec pyramids. Wu-Tang jewels like "Protect Ya Neck" (1993), "Guillotine" (1995), and "Triumph" (1997), as well as stellar guest gigs on Gang Starr's "Above The Clouds" and Big Pun's "Tres Leches," have left fans fiendin' for more. "Right now, people out there (are) looking for guidance," he says. "My whole album is based on trials and tribulation. Look at me - I still came out on top. So there's still a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But you gotta go through the rain." And jealous one's envy aside, Deck sights are firmly set on Wu's infinite reign." (Vibe, 10/98). Check out "Word On The Street" below...

October 10, 2015

M.O.P. "Warriorz" (October 10, 2000)

"The call to war has long been answered by Hip-Hop's most gallant band of warriors, M.O.P. Lil' Fame and Billy Danzenie began diggin' in the trenches back in 1993 when they asked the classic question "How About Some Hardcore." Shortly thereafter, this Brownsville, Brooklyn regime returned to the field releasing the critically acclaimed albums, "To The Death" (1994), "Firing Squad" (1997) and "First Family 4 Life" (1998) forever leaving their mark on the 20th century. Now in the new millennium M.O.P. is back elevating their authentic hard core rap status while permanently defining their niche in hip-hop as rap's fearless foot soldiers. As the renowned "First Family" of Brooklyn, M.O.P. has taken their aggressive act into the studio once again. Finding a new home in rap powerhouse Loud Records, M.O.P. will release their 4th full-length album entitled, Warriorz early fall 2000. This album is the unabashed, complete manifestation of what M.O.P. is known for - their pounding hard-core rhythms, their flippantly defiant lyrics and their explosive live performances." Cont'd below...

"Teaming up with long time family member, the legendary DJ Premier, M.O.P. spits verbal flames over more than a half a dozen of Premier's hard hitting edgy tracks. No music connoisseur can deny M.O.P.'s passionate delivery over Primo tracks like "Follow Instructions" and "Roll Call" and the pounding beats juxtaposed to the adrenaline racing, urgently executed M.O.P. vocals. With additional production by Pete Rock, Buckwild, DJ Scratch, Laze E Laze, the talented Fizzy Womack (M.O.P. group member Lil' Fame) and DR Period ("How About Some Hardcore") "Warriorz" will definitely serve as a foundation to the group's lyrical fury." - Press Kit. The LP was released 15 years ago today.

October 10, 2015

GZA "Liquid Swords" (VHS, 1995)

A total of four singles were released for GZA's Liquid Swords. The second single was the title track "Liquid Swords," which was released over one year after "I Gotcha Back," and twenty years ago today on October 10, 1995. GZA later commented, "Usually I take a beat home and write to it for a few days, but it wasn’t like that with this track. I think RZA played the beat for me and I just spit to it right there. The hook was actually a routine from around 1984 that me, RZA, and Ol' Dirty would do: "When the emcees came, to live out the name..." Just like that." - Wax Poetics. To this day, the clock scenes still bug me out. GZA's sword was sharp with "Energy is felt once the cards are dealt / With the impact of roundhouse kicks from black belts / That attack, the mic-fones like cyclones or typhoon / I represent from midnight to high noon / I don't waste ink, n!gga, I think..."

October 09, 2015

The Game "The Documentary 2" (Album Stream)

The Game's The Documentary 2 is the sixth album from West Coast rapper and actor, The Game. The Documentary 2 is the sequel to his debut album, The Documentary, which was released in 2005 and is overwhelmingly considered a classic. The album includes guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Dr. Dre, Drake, Kanye West, Keyshia Cole, Busta Rhymes, DJ Quik, YG, and others. I've always considered The Game to be an album artist and if you dig through his catalog, he has remained consistent in all of his album releases. Definitely one of the premiere artists that helped bring the West Coast back, and even with all the namedropping and random beefs, he has earned his spot through his rhyming; his ear for beats, and being willing to rap with anyone, at any time. Y/N?

October 08, 2015

Company Flow "Funcrusher Plus" (Rap Pages, 10/97)

"Wall-to-wall carpeting of unruliness, polluted sound bites and grimy aural landscapes lurk in the mystical chambers of the so-called underground. A land where schmucks like Dr. Octagon rule yonder while sipping on ethanol-laced prune juice and any dilettante trying to step foot with phallus-tinged fantasies in order to produce the almighty loochie can be met with a swift kick in the rear from the likes of Crazy Sam's henchman. From this unique dimension, where the modus operandi runs the gamut of hell-bent ostentation to after-hour shakedowns of dolt A&Rs, we find the trio of Company Flow - a group of lads from the East who attempt to bring the lost art of skills, originality and flavor back to the forefront of Hip-Hop. As part of the Indelible MCs clique, Company Flow have already made a rep for themselves amongst denizens of stunted stairways with bargain-store, rapid-fire references and subdued staccato instruments that break down the walls on present day, glossy manipulations. With the current acclaim of indie-manufactured product, Funcrusher Plus is undoubtedly top of the line, featuring singles released earlier with brand new shiners to erect a full-length album." Check out the audio to "8 Steps To Perfection," cont'd below...

"Fans of these cats will be especially snug with the previous available "8 Steps To Perfection," which astutely highlights their metaphorical mastery as lyricists El-Pee and Bigg Jus drop cordial jewels like, "When I rhyme, it get crazy hot and lyrics don't know how to act" to the bizarre "I'll fuck Laura Engels only when she done with her chores." Cuts such as "Krazy Kings" and "Collide & Intrude" show off more of their verbal dexterity, with the latter featuring a booming bass, alarms, Pac-Man munching sounds and ample scratching from third member DJ Mr. Len. The action continues to scintillate with "Info Kill II" and, undoubtedly the best cut, "Population Control" - a mesmerizing spurt of proficient colloquialism. Showing an ability to avoid the temptations of radio-chummy show tunes or oily stained samples, Company Flow not only keep within the principles of underworld law and order but manage to create utterly ridiculous Hip-Hop as Funcrusher Plus proves that the haves still don't ... and may never ... get it." - Rap Pages, October 1997. Listen to "Info Kill" below...

October 07, 2015

Omniscence "Amazin" (The Source, October 1995)

"Omniscence ... a phat new lyricist hailing from Bear Creek, North Kakalak (NC). At the ripe age of 22, Omniscence "The Funky One Liner" releases his freshman single "Amazin'." Eight years of rhymin' have finally paid off for Omniscence as he shows and proves his vast awareness and seemingly limitless usage of metaphors and similes over a beat that would make Beavis and Butthead say "this guy rulez!" Amazin' does not require phat jeeps, loud walkmans or big speakers to fully enjoy its array of instrumental organization. The arrangement of drum taps and basslines are enough to make you believe you have a live band in your presence. In an age where originality seems to come a dime a dozen, this man seems to have some change to spare." Peep the audio to the track below...

"Amazin' offers a neweness and freshness the hip-hop world has been patiently anticipating. The essence of his metaphors are captured in phrases like: "I'm gettin' up in skins like Massenguil / that's the deal / not the Guru but I got mass appeal / pass the pill / and I'm a shoot the rock / like constipation put your sh!t on lock..." And in the second verse: "I be freakin' facts from here to Secaucus / bitches stalk us / put us on like British Walkers..." If one were to look into a crystal ball they would definitely see a promising future for Omniscence. The album won't drop for a few months, so the single will have to hold you over. But for now it should be known that Bear Creek / Greensboro, North Carolina has officially been placed on the hip-hop map." - The Source, 10/95

October 06, 2015

The Left "Gas Leaks" (EP Stream, 2010)

I remember back when Dart, Eric and Trav were pushing The Left hard through Bloggerhouse. We all agreed, they had an ear up on some classic hip-hop! I recently did a quick search for The Left in my laptop and up popped the LP, instrumentals, and then "Gas Leaks." I couldn't recall if these were demos I'd heard in those Bloggerhouse days or a separate EP that was released after "Gas Mask" dropped, so I did another search and there was the press release/blurb to remind me: "Coming off the success of their debut album Gas Mask, Detroit trio The Left, made up of producer Apollo Brown, rapper Journalist 103, and DJ Soko, are treating fans with the release of a brand new EP -- for free. Gas Leaks is comprised of unreleased material from Gas Mask, and while Gas Leaks was initially intended for release prior to the album, the group explains, "we wanted to bring a shock value for this album since it is was highly anticipated and Gas Leaks just puts more value and credibility to "Gas Mask." When I copped the LP back in 2010, the one track that disappointed me a bit was "Real Detroit," because it was different than the version that floated around prior to its release, however it did land on Apollo's producer LP, The Reset. There may (or nah) have also been a slightly alternate version of "Get In Where You Fit In," too, but my memory is fading. Either way, stream the 3 bonus tracks + instrumentals and the Real Detroit "remix" below. Props to Dart Adams, Trav G and Eric for their work behind the scenes helping to secure a label home for the album.

October 05, 2015

Nas "Surviving The Times" (Mixed by Teddy King, 2009)

I got this mixtape while working at Fat Beats in NY. I'll be honest, a lot of stuff I got during those years was eventually tossed aside, but this double-disc Nas mixtape from Teddy King has stood the test of time! It's a nice mix of vintage and especially rare cuts. You can click HERE for a full tracklist and download of the mixtape. Peace to Soundless Music, Teddy King & of course, the rapper Nas.

October 04, 2015

Common "Resurrection" (HHC, October 1994)

"Not heard much of Common Sense? Apart from having the same name as a brand of breakfast cereal that is supposed to do you good, this Chicago rapper gets on where Ahmad left things in his exaltations of true values. This isn't a hip-hop working of that old Tory back-to-basics bollocks, but a call from the shadows to let the blunts and beer bandwagon career by, and choose an older vehicle. The opening title of this, Common's second album, will introduce the first-timer to a real talent. Vocally, Common Sense treads common ground with the likes of CL Smooth and Souls of Mischief's Tajai; a freestyle flavor cantering along easily punctuated by the odd burst of pace. The single, " I Used to Love H.E.R.," highlights the individual nature of Common's lyrics. The rap takes a woman as an analogy for hip-hop, a woman that Common looked-up to when he was a kid, but now sees adulterated by pastimes...."She's just not the same with all these goofs doing her..." Cont'd...

"Throughout the lyrical subjects waver from the norm. Could you ever imagine a straight-up hip-hop track called 'Communism'? Common's done it and it works, while the beats of deejays No ID and YNOT keep everything in check, tight and phat, as if making sure Common doesn't stray too far off the hip-hop highway. There really is so much on this album that even an English lecturer would applaud - the plethora of metaphors, similes and allegories employed in particular. It just goes to show a little bit of Common Sense can go a long way." - Hip-Hop Connection, October 1994.

October 03, 2015

Add-2 "Prey For The Poor" (Album Stream)

Good news folks, Add-2‘s Prey For The Poor has officially arrived! And although it might not get as much press as some of today’s other releases, the Chicago emcee’s JAMLA debut deserves your attention. It’s crazy to think, but I’ve been supporting Add for damn near ten years now. We first connected during my days at HipHopDX, after he dropped his debut mixtape, Tale Of Two’s City, in 2005. From there, I ended up handling the artwork for Vol. 2: The Return Of the Menace in 2007, the DopeHouse (and Okayplayer) helped present Vol. 3 & Vol. 4 in the following years, and we’ve been backing every release – One Missed Call, Save.Our.Souls, More Missed Calls, and Between Heaven & Hell with Khrysis – ever since. Today is about Prey For The Poor though, and as expected, the Windy City spitter doesn’t disappoint. At 14 tracks – lead by the 9th Wonder-produced “Set It Off” and “Stop Play Rewind” with Rapsody – the LP also features Raheem DeVaughn, Sam Trump, Heather Victoria, and Jamla Woods – over amazing production from 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Nottz, Amp, Kash, and FC the Truth. - via 2DBZ. Listen to Add-2's Prey For The Poor below... (and HBD to me!)