December 31, 2015

D.I.T.C. "Diggin' In The Crates" (Vibe, March 2000)

"Diggin' in the Crates are to rap as the Portland Trail Blazers are to the NBA - deeper than Bill Gate's pockets and brimming with skills and chemistry. After years of functioning as a loosely knit collective, D.I.T.C. have assumed a Voltron-like formation to create an LP chockful of their widely revered punchlines and metaphors. With Fat Joe, A.G., O.C., and the tragically deceased Big L sharing the majority of mike dity - plus Diamond, Show, Buckwild, and the unfadable DJ Premier behind the boards - it seems that they've got every base covered." Cont'd below and check out "Day One" ...

"From the pounding primo opener, "Thick," to the sobering vinyl-classic closer, "Day One," D.I.T.C. hit like a freight train, crushing all in their path. With knocking drums and somber melodies, the mid-tempo beats on songs like "Champagne Thoughts" perfectly complement the collective's energetic style. Unfortunately, the LP's greatest moments are also its most depressing, as Big L rips verses like, "You frontin' cause yo' whip's a Range / But it's a 4.0 / You nerd n!gga / You heard Jigga  Now get yo' change" - begging the painful question, What if? But despite the morbid splendor of L's ultimate glory, D.I.T.C. come correct, adding another solid notch to their belt." - Vibe, March 2000.

December 30, 2015

9th Wonder "Rhythm Roulette" (Mass Appeal, Video)

Rhythm Roulette is a YouTube series, hosted by Mass Appeal, where producers give us an inside look at their process of making beats ... and their in-house studios. Each producer is blindfolded before choosing three records from a local record store to use for their samples. Their latest guest is North Carolina's highly acclaimed producer and educator, 9th Wonder. After visiting the Record Krate in Raleigh, NC, he emerges with Charly McClain, The Temprees and Jermaine Jackson "with the Michael Jackson knock-off coat on." I won't tell you how it goes, but suffice to say, 9th's personality and the joy in his creation will spark inspiration and this will easily be one of the series' most popular episodes. Be sure to watch until the end to hear Rapsody spit some bars on the spot! I'm not a producer, but I definitely enjoyed this video, and I'm sure you will, too! Dig into it below...

December 29, 2015

Awon & Phoniks "Knowledge Of Self" (Album Stream)

"Knowledge of Self" is the 2nd official offering from Hip-Hop duo Awon & Phoniks. Coming over 2 years after releasing their debut album "Return to the Golden Era" in Summer of 2013, the Newport News, VA emcee and Portland, ME producer have been working diligently on their follow-up. While the debut LP was a throwback to 90's hip-hop in every sense, with lyrics focusing on Awon's troubled youth and tales of street grandeur, their 2nd LP sees the group maintain their signature sound while refining things both musically and lyrically. This time Awon is speaking from the present, educating youth on tracks like 'Reflections' and speaking on current social climates in 'Summer Madness' and 'Profit Off My Pain'. He has adapted his rhymes to more relevant topics while keeping his all-natural flow groove-locked in the pocket. The duo also capitalized on the networking opportunities their first LP provided, collaborating with a multitude of talented artists from all over the globe such as Oslo's Ivan Ave and London's Heeni. Phoniks shows his maturation as a producer on tracks like the trunk rattling 'Do They Really Love You' and 'Be Real With It' featuring jazzy piano chops, subtly layered samples and off-beat, un-quantized rhythms. While the debut LP was crafted with the artists in isolation, recording and emailing each other from their respective bedroom studios, "Knowledge Of Self" was made possible by traveling across the east coast and working together in state of the art recording facilities. The tracks are given a warm punch from being recorded through top notch microphones and preamps and bounced down to analog tapes. Across it's 13-tracks, Awon & Phoniks make their best case at providing fans with one of the most well-rounded, impactful hip-hop projects of 2015. Not only have they returned to the Golden Era, but this time they have done it with a seasoned wisdom. Knowledge Reigns Supreme." - Don't Sleep Records Enjoy the stream below and hit the tags for more from Awon & Phoniks. (Updated, 2018)

December 28, 2015

The Halftime Show "Eminem & Royce Da 5'9" (September 23, 1998)

"Here goes another Halftime show from '98 with guests Eminem and Royce Da 5'9" (85:53). Short interview right into the freestyle session (if only cats today were as hungry as the 90s generation). As usual, Riz sets off the show lovely and then half way through I get on to finish up. Always good listening to the mic breaks to see what was going on during that time (i.e. Tramps shows, Fat Beats in-stores, new mixer...thanks Fat Beats!). So much good music played!" - via DJ Eclipse's Mixcloud.

December 27, 2015

The Firm "The Album" (Rap Pages, December 1997)

"When Dr. Dre left N.W.A. to start Death Row Records with now-convicted felon Marion "Suge" Knight, he brought with him a sparkling track record peppered with numerous gold and platinum records. Unfortunately for Dre, since he escaped Death Row's death row to establish Aftermath Records, he has been unable to duplicate earlier achievements. His label debut  bombed and the Firm, a conglomerate of rappers masquerading as money launderers and cocaine traffickers, fails miserably. The Firm, consisting of Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ and newcomer Nature, first appeared on Nas's It Was Written on "Affirmative Action cut. "Affirmative Action" spun far-fetched tales of cocaine trafficking via Columbia and deals that suddenly turn sour. The insanity continues on the Firm. Instead of only one song depicting such foolishness, the entire album consists of uninspired, rehashed concepts pilfered from movies, such as Goodfellas, The Godfather, Casino and, of course, Scarface. Trackmasters shares production duties with Dre and seem satisfied with making records that probably pose as clever and original pieces of work to most of today's teens. For instance, "Hardcore" is a ripoff of Cheryl Lynn's "Encore," "Firm Biz" bites Teena Marie's "Square Biz" and "Fuck Somebody Else" boldly jacks the Jones Girk's "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else."

"With the Firm's roster of MCs, one would expect this album to be laced with hit. Nothing could be further from the truth. The lyrical content of this debacle is bland. Nas continues his love affair of Latin American-mafioso-Cali cartel fantasies. Usual escapades of bartering p#ssy for loot, as well as breaking down the mathematics and intricacies of the drug trade are detailed by Foxy - again! AZ continues his career as the connected-but-not-yet "made" underling, and Nature never appears comfortable behind the mic. He ends up as the odd man out in the Firm's musical soiree. The Firms is a partnership that desperately needs to be dissolved." - Rap Pages, December 1997. Honestly? While my aim is to only post about content I enjoy - and I do think this album had a few redeeming moments - I have to agree, this album really did disappoint me a bit back in '97. So, I post this only to say, even though it features some of my favorite artists, they had a fair share of misses, too! Or, maybe I need to remove expectations from it, because with that collective, it shoulda been amazing!

December 26, 2015

Brand Nubian "Foundation" (Rap Pages, 1998)

"Few rap groups manage what Brand Nubian have: recording a reunion album that equals their previous work. Working with their original lineup for the first time since their masterful debut project, One For All, Grand Puba, Sadat X, Lord Jamar and DJ Alamo (who's now an official member of the group) demonstrate how to deliver a credible, hard-hitting Hip-Hop collection that addresses a variety of topics on Foundation. Focusing on respect, pride, love and struggle, the New Rochelle quartet rap lyrical circles around their myopic competition... While the multitude of overtly positive messages is sure to please their original fan base, several selections will thrill cats who've never experienced Brand Nubian. "The Return," a gritty, flute-backed, chest-thumping celebration that bumps harder than turbulence, wins with a bevy of punch lines and well-placed scratching..." Cont'd...

"Even though the work of the Puba-less Brand Nubian and Puba's solo songs touched on worthy topics and included dazzling wordplay, they work better as a unit than they did separately. The former Derek X's abrasive voice sounds much more appealing when complemented with Jamar's husky presentation and Puba's often playful demeanor. Likewise, Foundation's production far exceeds any of Nubian's work since One For All. Beatmasters such as DJ Premier, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Diamond D and Grand Puba contribute a myriad of aural moods that fit Brand Nubian's lyrics like shrink-wrap.... Expertly executed, Foundation's poignant subject matter and super production reestablish Brand Nubian as premier Hip-Hop spokesmen." - Rap Pages, 1998. Revisit this LP today!

December 25, 2015

Alter Ego & Dan Murphy "Christmas" (Beat Tape)

Merry Christmas! A nice present from Australian producer Alter Ego and Dan Murphy, who bring you this Christmas beat tape. They stumbled across a bunch of cheap Christmas vinyl and decided to make this album for the festive season, and we're glad they did! Nice chops and boombap drums make for a fine beat tape! The project is released through the Home Chopping Network, you can download it using the 'name your price' option on Bandcamp... maybe you feel generous during the holidays! Alter Ego is a good dude, make sure you support this and keep an eye out for more music!

December 24, 2015

Doo Wop "95 Live II" (Mixtape, 1995)

"95 Live II" is the follow-up to the classic "95 Live;" released in the winter of 1995. Doo Wop came back strong with another classic tape - representin' the 5 boroughs, it has exclusive freestyles from KRS-One, Treach, Keith Murray, Redman, Mobb Deep, AZ, Lost Boyz, Smif-N-Wessun, Mad Lion, Channel Live, King Just, as well as tracks that were hot at the time from GZA, Smoothe Da Hustler, Notorious B.I.G., Group Home, Raekwon, Blahzay Blahzay, Nine, Fat Joe, Foxy Brown and lots more. As always, hit the tags below to follow the breadcrumbs, and enjoy this classic Golden Era mix tape...

December 23, 2015

Peace Of Mind "Drum Addict" (Instrumental Album)

Peace Of Mind's “Drum Addict" is his long awaited return to form and his re-dedication to his art and his first love of making music. Over 22 tracks, he crafts yet another monstrous opus full of tracks you'll put on repeat that will have heads nodding and faces scrunched up worldwide. Listen...

December 22, 2015

The Pharcyde "LabcabinCalifornia" (20th Ann Mix by DJ Spinna)

The Pharcyde is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their iconic album Labcabincalifornia by releasing a commemorative mixtape. In a collaborative effort, the #BeamMeUpSpinna mixtape is mixed by NYC’s DJ Spinna and features “Nasty Habits”, an unreleased joint from the vault that features Ralph Tresvant & Bobby Brown. They also asked a group of producers to remix and add their own personal spin on a few of the Labcabincalifornia songs that you all know and love. The Pharcyde’s sophomore album “LabcabinCalifornia” was originally released on November 14th, 1995. The group enlisted a young and then unknown James Yancey aka J DILLA to produce beats, like the cult classic “Runnin.” They also collaborated with director Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation”) on the video for “Drop.” Labcabincalifornia was a solid LP that reinforced their steadfast refusal to tread familiar artistic grounds. Listen & enjoy the 20th anniversary mix below...

December 21, 2015

Grown Man Rap Show "Buckwild Mix"

DJ Toast & Paul Nice broadcast live every Sunday Night (10-12am, EST) at WRPI in Albany, NY. This is Episode 50 - quite the milestone - a dope tribute to D.I.T.C.'s super producer, Buckwild. Paul Nice's set kicks off with tracks by O.C., Lord Finesse, Mic Geronimo, Akinyele, Special Ed, Mad Skills, Royal Flush, Celph Titled, FatJoe, Alkaholiks, Brand Nubian and more. Then DJ Toast steps up & adds cuts from Organized Konfusion, WC, Kool G Rap, Show & AG, Big L, Street Smartz, Black Rob, Kool Keith, a few samples thrown to round out their outstanding tribute mix. Listen to the tribute mix below!

December 20, 2015

DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro "Tape #10" (Mixtape, 1991)

DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro released Tape #10 in 1991. Unlike many of their later tapes in the mid-90s, this tape doesn't mix in R&B and Dancehall, it's focused on the best hip-hop that was out at the time. You'll hear cuts from Naughty By Nature, Nice & Smooth, Geto Boys, Ultramagnetic MCs, Tim Dog, Ice Cube, Leaders of the New School, Black Sheep, Jungle Brothers, Fu-Schnickens, Positive K, Heavy D, A Tribe Called Quest, Slick Rick, Rakim, Grand Puba, Scarface, Showbiz & AG, Cypress Hill, Big Daddy Kane and more! They were locked in, check out another dope mix below... (Updated: Props to J.Nickelz for the fresh audio link!). In 2008, G-Bo The Pro was making custom USB drives with all their mixtapes... maybe you can still get a copy if you reach out!? Listen below...

December 19, 2015

The Notorious B.I.G. "Live Footage In London" (Video, 1995)

Last year, UK's pioneering DJ and radio personality, Tim Westwood, unearthed some rare footage of The Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy and Lil' Cease out in London, performing at the Hamersmith Palais on March 19, 1995. With exceptional audio quality, you can watch and hear a rare set from Biggie, which sadly there isn't much of on the internet due to his untimely demise in 1997. They run through many of his classics, like "Who Shot Ya," "Warning," "Gimme The Loot," "Juice" and a couple hype tracks. Biggie was taken from us far too soon. Rest In Peace, The Notorious B.I.G. Watch it below...

December 18, 2015

Ice Cube "Kill At Will" EP (The Source, 2/91)

"Let's get this straight from the giddy up - Ice Cube fans will not be disappointed by this EP. Cube's rhymes are in there as usual and the production by Sir Jinx and the rest of Da Lench Mob may not be on the same classic level of Amerikkka's Most Wanted but don't sleep. There are three remixes plus brand new cuts. "Jackin' For Beats," "The Product" (Ice Cube's hype recital of his past and present), the somber "Dead Homiez," (a dedication to deceased friends) and even the quick shout jam "I Gotta Thank" will keep the hardcore masses satisfied till the vinyl becomes warped. Of the remixed jams, "Endangered Species" stands out the most, as new breakbeats and basslines solidify Cube and Chuck's powerful lyrics. The cut that mostly likely will have people saying "Oh Shit!" is "Jackin' For Beats." On this track, Cube holds true to the song's title as he rhymes over beats from "Call Me D-Nice," "So Wat Ya Sayin," "The Humpty Dance," "Big Ole Butt" and others. No Sa-Prizes here. If Ice Cube is only out for one thang, it's coming out with dope records." - The Source, 2/91.

You can save a copy of Ice Cube's Kill At Will in The Source below...

December 17, 2015

Skyzoo "Best Of Skyzoo" (Mixtape, 2012)

Ahead of the release of Skyzoo's A Dream Deferred album, Skyzoo and DJ Prince dropped this mixtape in 2012. With some audio from Skyzoo talking on various topics spliced throughout, it takes you on a nice trip through some of Skyzoo's best tracks, which also include snippets, freestyles and underground gems. DJ Prince has held it down for Skyzoo for several years and was also a key factor in the Film Skool Rejekt's mixtape back in '08. Check out the Best of Skyzoo mixtape below...

December 16, 2015

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 40" (Mixtape, 1994)

Another dope mix tape from '94, this is Tony Touch's Hip Hop 40 on Tape Kingz. The tracklist is stacked with now-classics from artists like O.C., Mobb Deep, Bas Blasta, Gravediggaz, GZA, Lord Finesse, Nas, Brand Nubian, Notorious B.I.G., Common, Da Bush Babees, Super Cat, Method Man, Lords of the Underground, Redman, PMD, Boogiemonsters, Wu-Tang Clan, Fat Joe, Tha Lowa, Black Moon, Craig Mack, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Channel Live, Artifacts and more. Updated audio below...

December 15, 2015

EPMD "Business As Usual" (The Source, 1991)

"EPMD got biz! I got this tape three weeks ago and it's been in my walkman ever since mainly because it's dope from beginning to end. The first side starts off with two cuts featuring two of their boys. "Hardcore" shows off the rough, "knockin' heads like Mike Nunn" style of Redman over a slow beat and a lazy loop. And LL Cool J displays much skills on "Rampage," which is sort of a modified "Jinglin' Baby" complete with the chorus - "Slowdown, Baby," instead of "Jinglin' Baby." After that it goes into "Jane 3," the third of the "Jane" series about a girl that they ran into on each album. Flip to the B-side and "Rap Is Outta Control" will have you flipping; they drop crazy lyrics over the most simple (sounding) of tracks. "Funky Piano" is time for DJ Scratch to get off... and does he. It was no accident that Scratch won the DJ Battle for World Supremacy in '89 and I think he proves that here when he cuts up "Pump Me Up" from the old school jam of the same name.... There are still several hype cuts that I haven't mentioned. Believe me, the whole thing is dope." I don't know if it's my imagination or if Erick and Parrish actually got better on the mic? They have always been great lyricists, but on this LP they rock styles that we haven't seen from them before... I hope that EPMD will never change, because they are one group out there that's not trying to be like someone else. All they want to do is improve on their own act and this album proves that they're not bullshitting." - The Source, February 1991. Revisit this classic album from EPMD below...

EPMD's Business As Usual in The Source, February 1991...

December 14, 2015

The Halftime Show "Non Phixion, Arsonists, Big L" (Aug 19, 1998)

"This show had mad guests this night. After a short interview (53:58), Non Phixion, Arsonists and Necro hit the mic for an ill freestyle session (62:45). Then a little later A.G. and Ghetto Dwellas get busy (101:49) leaving it to Big L to close it all out (112:16). Even hearing Q-Unique talk about his MC battle at Club Vinyl (51:45) is dope when he runs down the list of emcees that made it past the prelims (i.e. Pumpkinhead, Poison Pen, etc). These shows captured the essence of what was going on in NYC in the 90s. #RIP Big L #RIP Party Arty" - via DJ Eclipse. Listen to this classic show below!

December 13, 2015

Brock Berrigan "Diamond In The Rough" (Instrumental Album)

Diamond In The Rough is the latest release from the man of mystery, Brock Berrigan. The 18-track instrumental album brings his smooth brand of production with crisp drums, instrumentation and entertaining vocal chops spliced throughout for an entertaining listen. I dunno where in the world Brock Berrigan was when he made Diamond In The Rough, but it's available now for your enjoyment.

December 12, 2015

Just Blaze "TAKEOVER" (Abstract Radio Show Mix)

Just Blaze dropped by Q-Tip's Abstract Radio Show on Beats 1, and dropped an exclusive two-hour mix of hip-hop classics from his back catalog, original samples, and also opened the vaults to share some reworked and unheard gems. This is as feel-good as it's gonna get right now, so revisit this mix below and be reminded of the legendary Jersey producer who helped fashion the sound of New York hip-hop in the early 2000s. Some of the gems include Usher‘s “Throwback” with Rico Love, Joe Budden‘s “Pump It Up” with a verse from Busta Rhymes, Kanye West‘s “Touch The Sky” with Robert Glasper, an alternate version of Freeway‘s “Flipside,” Rick Ross‘ “Lord Knows” verse over the “Computer Love” beat and also a Juelz Santana and Jim Jones featured “I Really Mean It” with Cam’ron. Just speaks with his hands and the music, but takes time to shout out the pioneering DJs that've held down radio over the years. Much respect to him for that. Ok, really now - listen below...

December 12, 2015

Chairman Maf "Soup" (Instrumental Album)

Sheffield, UK's Chairman Maf is back with "Soup," the follow up to last years highly acclaimed "Paint." "Soup" is 11 new tracks of melodic boom bap hip hop. At the time of its release, Maf's team declares that "it is his best (and possibly last) release... So sit down, grab a bowl and eat up." Listen below...

December 11, 2015

DJ Babu "Barbershop Classics" Vol. 2 (Mixtape)

DJ Babu presents Barbershop: Hip-Hop Classics, Vol.2. The mix features classic cuts from the golden age of hip hop and specifically heavy doses of dope lyrical skills, creative production and conscious vibes ready to spark tons of conversations of memories from the 90s. Ambitious of DJ Babu to kick the mix off on a high note with Camp Lo's "Luchini," arguably one of the most hype tracks of the 90s! From there into "Feelin' It" by Jay-Z and an emphasis to look out for freestyles by Big L, 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G.  Much respect to DJ Babu of the World Famous Beat Junkies! Dig into it...

December 10, 2015

Paranom & Purpose "Life Outside The Frame" (Album Stream)

"It was at the end of last year that the Tragic Allies crew members Paranom & Purpose stepped outside their clique for a minute to record Life Outside The Frame. What they created was a varied selection of songs ranging from upbeat and catchy, to laidback and contemplative, making the LP unmissable for anyone searching for god-body rap with steez. As the newest recruit to the T.A roster, Paranom has proved his microphone abilities beyond a doubt, writing constantly creative bars and huge hooks with nothing but respect for the culture, lyrical depth, and skill. The tranquil jazz that Purpose has been diggin’ for suits the MCs’ chilled style well, and makes this lengthy track list seem short by keeping their songs to the point and highly musical." - via EyeKnowHipHop. Listen...

December 09, 2015

Q-Tip Lecture at Red Bull Music Academy (NY, 2013)

"Q-Tip is one of hip-hop's greatest MCs and producers. As a member of A Tribe Called Quest, he helped to shape the sound of hip-hop throughout the ’90s. The group’s exceptional run of full-lengths became a blueprint for MCs looking to balance the literate and the absurd, as well as producers searching for the perfect (and unexpected) break. Since Tribe’s split in '98, Q-Tip has kept busy with a solo career that has included multiple solo albums, countless productions, and guest appearances in places both expected and improbable. In this talk at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy, Q-Tip discussed standout Tribe cuts, working with J Dilla, the Zulu Nation, and more." (Updated, 2017, added new photo; art by Larry Cooney Jr.). Enjoy the interview with Q-Tip below...

December 08, 2015

"Ghostface Killah and Ultimate Breaks & Beats" (Mixtape)

Ghostface Killah and Ultimate Breaks & Beats is a shockingly on-point mash-up of classic Ghostface Killah and Wu-Tang material with some of hip-hop’s most revered breaks. Ever wonder what “C.R.E.A.M.” would sound like over The Godfather’s “The Big Payback”? How about the blistering verbiage of “Run” over Jimmy Castor‘s “It’s Just Begun”? The Skillz Beats-helmed (and President Obama-hosted) Ghostface Killah and Ultimate Breaks & Beats has all the answers, Sway. -via OKP. It's rough in spots, but an entertaining listen nonetheless. Artwork is great! Give it a spin down below...

December 07, 2015

Fredfades & Ivan Ave "Fruitful" (Album Stream)

The dynamic duo from Oslo, Norway FredFades and Ivan Ave step in with a solid 12 track album “Fruitful,” out now on Germany’s Jakarta Records. The sound is rooted in hip-hop’s Golden Age of the early to mid 90’s. The chemistry between the production of FredFades and Ivan Ave’s vocal bring us back to acts like Pete Rock & CL, DJ Premier & Guru, J Rawls and J Sands (Lone Catalysts) and the more recent classic “Below The Heavens” from Blu & Exile. Beautiful, jazzy and soulful production from Fred Fades + intelligent lyrics and incredibly smooth flow from Ivan Ave. That’s all you really need to know. Pure rap music with no gimmicks. - via Music Is My Sanctuary. Listen...

December 06, 2015

Black Sheep "Non Fiction" (Vibe, 1/95)

"If you're looking for another A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, forget it. But the bad boys who were down with the mostly defunct Native Tongues and Flavor Unit crews are back after a three year hiatus. And with the new Non-Fiction, Black Sheep show another side of themselves. Right away, in the "Non-Fiction Intro," the Sheep - Dres and Mista Lawnge - inform you that Non-Fiction is "something else." Their second album is way less humorous and "honey"-conscious than the first. And Black Sheep's music has shifted: it's simpler, more eerie, and more jazzy. On tracks like "Who's Next?" and "Gotta Get Up," they hold off on Wolf's signature cowbells, while bass lines and horns get muffled and sped up. "Summa tha Time" has a nice Latin mellowness - the piano and flute strut behind vocals from the (Black Sheep-produced) girl group Emage. Not just another hip-hop / R&B jam, "Summa" is a real, head-nodding groove." Check out the single to "Without A Doubt," cont'd...

"The way Black Sheep rhyme, however, has not changed. In the aptly titled "Autobiographical," Dres flips the script on himself, recollecting his badass days and flowing in a non-hyper, Native Tongues-style, storytelling manner. It's a detailed, almost visual vignette about a boy who constantly lives close to trouble. And on "Let's Get Cozy," Mista Lawnge describes an explicit sexual prelude, reassuring fans that the "Sugard#ck Daddy" can still be as nasty as he wants to be. Tunes like "Peace to the N!ggas," "Me & My Brother," and "We Boys," though, suffer from sophomore slouchiness. The production on these cuts is lazy - hooks aim high and miss. But mercifully, on Non-Fiction Black Sheep seldom fall into playing the tired game of who's-hard-and-who's-not. Does hard necessarily equal hoodlum? For Black Sheep, it's just not that simple." - Vibe, January 1995.

December 05, 2015

Marley Marl & Pete Rock "Future Flavas" (Hot 97, 1/22/95)

Another classic drop from the OG, DJ Eclipse, who shares: "Took me a while to figure out the date on this one. I had it written on the case insert, but my good friend Al Lindstrom who I lent this tape too (and a few others) would give them back to me without the case inserts and he would make his own labels and apply them to the tapes (gee, thanks Al). This may actually be the earliest Future Flavas show I have with Marley Marl & Pete Rock, and one of their earliest shows period (they started in January/95 just not sure which week). On this one it starts with an alternate version of Pete Rock & CL Smooth's "I'll Take You There" which I don't recall hearing before. And then CL freestyles a familiar verse later in the show (49:45)." Dig into this classic episode of Marley Marl & Pete Rock's Future Flavas on Hot 97, January 22, 1995 ... Da Bush Babees, O.C., Showbiz & AG, Channel Live, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Rottin Razkals, Method Man, Funkdoobiest, LL Cool J and more...

December 04, 2015

Brand Nubian "One for All" (25th Anniversary Mixtape)

“This Weekend (4th December 2015) marked the 25th Anniversary of the release of Brand Nubian‘s classic debut album ‘One for All’. Notable for its use of unconventional sample material (see use of Edie Brickell’s ‘What I Am’ on the smash single ‘Slow Down’), this landmark release of the afro-centric era treads an unlikely path between political commentary and humorous braggadocio. In celebration of the album’s 25th birthday, we’ve teamed up with Wax Poetics to present an exclusive mixtape containing tracks from the album, alternate versions, remixes and, of course, original sample material used in the album’s production.” Chris Read's mixes are always dope, check it out below...

December 03, 2015

Jeru The Damaja "Can't Stop The Prophet" (The Source, 12/94)

"For all of the unfair criticism Jeru caught over "Bitchez," the fact that he's a hip-hop philosopher with long term visions on how to master and improve the game was never lost on anyone who got past Premier's beats on The Sun Rises In The East. If the original version of "Prophet" earned Jeru mad respect from hip-hop intellectuals, then the Pete Rock remix should silence detractors and bring glee to the primitive. Peep the production credits. Look at them again. Yes, both Premier and Pete Rock - arguably the flyest beat ministers in the hip-hop cathedral - worked on "Can't Stop The Prophet." After Doug E. Fresh's "The Show" provides an intro, Pete chops up the bassline, and allows hollow vibes to echo up and down the track ... The arresting track is a perfect backdrop for Jeru's clever comic-book-styled metaphor. In Downtown Brooklyn, he tells us, a battle wages - between Ignorance and the Prophet. Using his razorsharp lyrical knives to get through Ignorance's henchmen Animosity and Envy, the Prophet is forced to kill Ignorance's girl, Jealousy. Jeru's use of an extended metaphor to prove a point - that intellectual strength could triumph over the root causes of plagues cuffing our community's growth - represents the future of hip-hop." The Source, 12/94. (Updated, 2018: I included an official version of the video + Jeru The Damaja discussing the roles Danny Hastings and Chris Cortes played in the classic visuals for the album). Watch it below...

If you'd rather read it directly from the source - or save a copy - check it out below.

December 02, 2015

Dephlow "Deph Threats" (Album Stream)

Last year, Dephlow made his debut with Dephacation - a collaborative album with fellow Virigina emcee Awon and Porland, ME producer Phoniks. He later reappeared on a pair of tracks on Awon and Phoniks' Knowledge Of Self LP. And now, it's time for the Hampton, VA native to release his debut solo album. Produced by Phoniks, Deph Threats clocks in just under an hour with 14-tracks that focus on inequality, social injustice, and self-reflection. Features include Awon, Anti-Lilly, Envy Hunter, F. Draper, Tiff The Gift, Nehemiah Bell, and My Main Man Keion. Dephlow adds, "This album was started during a period of my life that should've made creativity impossible. I dedicate this album to my father Leon, my best friend's father Joe, to my sister's mother Katherine, and to everyone who has lost someone they love to cancer. I wanted this album to sound aggressive and angry, but I believe God had another plan and a message of resolution and strength for me to deliver. I have no other way to describe how I put those thoughts together. I couldn't make this album the same way today. I will never forget hearing the masters for the first time. I took a ride and eventually had to pull the car over and just sit there and listen. I knew we achieved something that could live forever even if I never put another solo album out. This album is that powerful."

December 01, 2015

DJ Platurn "The Best of A Tribe Called Quest II" (Mixtape)

Volume 1 of The Best of A Tribe Called Quest came out roughly 10 years ago. It made its way around the world and back, influenced countless other Native type mixes, and even played a role in the editing of the Tribe documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life, itself. It was only right for DJ Platurn to bring Michael Rapaport in put his unique touch on Volume 2. DJ Platurn shares that Michael Rapaport talked "the perfect amount of shit and wisdom" on the mix. Enjoy these vibes and stuff. (Updated: the audio link from DJ Platurn's Bandcamp is down, so I've updated the audio below). Dig...