Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jakk Wonders "Good Morning Baltimore" (Instrumentals)

Brand new for 2016! The South African beat maker Jakk Wonders (who worked with Skyzoo and Rapper Big Pooh on last year’s ‘Cruel Intentions’ cut for the Praverb tribute album) kicks off the new year with a brand new beat tape. Good Morning Baltimore is a 10 track tape which is an ode to the hit HBO drama ‘The Wire’ which aired from 2002-2008. The rugged B-more inspired instrumentals are streaming below, check it out! I love The Wire! 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Shorty Long "Shorty'z Doin' His Own Thang" 12" (1994)

This 12" dates back to 1994; the debut single from Shorty Long(stroke) from the BX. "Shorty'z Doin' His Own Thang" was produced by Lord Finesse & released through Shorty's own imprint, "Long Shorr Records." Once you hear the horns, you know it's the Funky Man; add to it vocal chops from fellow-D.I.T.C. crew member Diamond D (+ Sadat X) and you had a joint that was heating up for a while. His follow-up single, produced by DJ Mike Smooth, didn't catch as much attention, and like many talents in the 90s, we didn't receive any additional records at the time. Yet, there's more...

In 2008, DJ Mike Smooth presented "The South Boogie EP" by Shorty Long, on One Leg Up Records. It was a 7-track EP of unreleased joints recorded between '94 and '96, which featured production from Showbiz, Buckwild, DJ Mike Smooth & Ahmed. With that release came more information: Shorty Long was from the same housing projects as much of the D.I.T.C., Forest Housing projects. It adds that Mike Smooth was made a partner in Long Shorr records back when he recorded that second 12" so together they were connected with One Leg Records in '08 and that's how these gems were unearthed for the EP release, which is also available on streaming platforms.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Soul Khan "Hugo & Rufus" (EP Stream)

Leave it to Soul Khan to be inspired by & dedicate an EP to his two dogs, Hugo & Rufus. One of the sharper minds in all of hip-hop, you wouldn't want to battle him on politics, current events, or go bar for bar with him neither. The short project is produced by fellow-Brown Bag All Star, Deejay Element & mixed by BBAS associates DJ Brace & Tenacity. While we're at it, let's give a shout-out to Brenden Goodcuff for the artwork. Now, back to the music ... stream it below and get in his mentions and ask for some more new music; tell him Sav sent you and that it's overdue.

Monday, January 25, 2016

GZA "Liquid Swords" (Press Kit, 1996)

Geffen Records sent out a press release 20 years ago (January 25, 1996) to announce that: "Liquid Swords, the solo album from Genius of the Wu-Tang Clan has been certified Gold only two months after its release. The album, featuring GZA's masterful flow, coupled with intricate rhymes and tight production from RZA, is also a benchmark for Geffen Records. It is the label's first gold certified hip-hop album. Wu-Tang took the scene by storm in 1994 with their underground smash hit "Protect Ya Neck." The group's debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) achieved platinum success and is credited with bringing hip-hop back to the raw esssence many fans felt had been missing in the scene. Method Man's solo venture went onto sell more than a million albums (certified platinum), while Ol' Dirty Bastard and Raekwon's LP's were certified gold." In November 1995, Rolling Stone said "Liquid (Swords) is an intriguing paradox of wordplay...and wisdom." I agree with that, 100%.

The press release goes on to say, "The fast success of Liquid Swords has proven without a doubt that 1995 was the year of the Wu-Tang Clan. Genius' album is chock full of clever metaphors and dope rhymes. Look for "Shadowboxin" and "4th Chamber," the next singles from the GZA in early March." To me, "Liquid Swords" is one of the greatest winter albums of ALL-TIME. It was the fourth solo effort from the Wu-Tang - not including The Genius' debut years prior - and with its dirty sound and familiar ingredients, it's top two in all of the Wu-Tang solo efforts. Watch the video for "Shadowboxin" with Method Man & "4th Chamber" with Ghostface Killah & Killah Priest below. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Funkmaster Flex "Friday Night Street Jam" (March 18, 1994)

"As usual, Flex rocks a nice set of Hip Hop, R&B and Reggae which were all popping in NYC during the 90s. Not sure where else you would have heard an SWV record mixed into a Kool G Rap record let alone a 1982 live performance from the Cold Crush Brothers. Played on commercial radio?!? Now that's good radio. New York had the Palladium in full effect as well as the Source Awards. Flex mentions that Nas will be stopping by tomorrow (I think I have that freestyle taped) and Mister Cee appears near the end for a guest blend set (171:38). Here's just over 3 hours of the 4 hour show. If only they made hi bias tapes longer back then. Oh well." - via DJ Eclipse's Mixcloud

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wicked "Marco Polo Produced" (Mix, 2002-2015)

Big-up to Wicked for droppin' off this fine tribute to the production of Marco Polo with his latest mix featuring various productions between the years 2002-2015. There's no official tracklist that I could see, but you'll hear joints with Pumpkinhead, Torae, Large Professor, Hannibal Stax, Boot Camp Clik, DJ Revolution, Neek The Exotic, Masta Ace, and lots more. The mix was recorded live with ALL vinyl. Check out Wicked in the mix on The Wicked Takeover, 90.1 KZSU Stanford Radio. Listen below...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Torae "Entitled" (Album Stream)

Coming off the success of last year’s collaborative album “Barrel Brothers” with Skyzoo, Torae returns with his sophomore album, “Entitled”. Picking up where his debut “For the Record” left off, we find Torae back in his zone of witty and thought-provoking lyrics over stellar production. The album features production from Grammy Award-winning producers such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Nottz, and Denaun Porter. Guest features include: Grammy-nominated acts like Phonte (of Foreign Exchange/Little Brother), actor/singer/songwriter Mack Wilds, and Teedra Moses. “Entitled” also features the Pharoahe Monch-assisted “What’s Love?” previously unavailable on CD or vinyl formats. Glad they included "What's Love?", that Praise beat is insanity, stream it all below.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Juggaknots in Vibe Magazine, (March, 1997)

"If the Juggaknots weren't MCs, they'd definitely be dope filmmakers. Bronx-born siblings Breezly Brewin' and Buddy Slim surface from the sub-underground to take angst-tale rhymes to impressive heights with their self-titled debut. Buddy's hypnotic blend of jazz and lyric sonics wins big on cuts like the vigilante saga "Loosifa," "Clear Blue Skies," with its musings on race, and "Romper Room," which details the loss of innocence. Each is a cinematic gem that raises the stakes for modern-day griotry. Edit in visually jagged endings like the one on "I'm Gonna Kill U" - "I'll get up closer to her gate / I figured that he wasn't bluffin' / The honey I was with was strictly body-bag stuffin'" - and you'll see the Juggaknots take home the Oscar." - Vibe Magazine, March 1997.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Illegal ‘Head or Gut’ 12” (1993)

I think everyone is familiar with this 12”, but it was released in 1993 on Rowdy Records, Dallas Austin’s label. Illegal was Jamal (Philly) and Malik (SC), with production by Erick Sermon. Their debut album ‘The Untold Truth’ was a pretty dope (red) cassette with production by Diamond D, Erick Sermon, Dallas Austin, Spearhead X, Biz Markie and among others, Lord Finesse. Pretty dope, right? They had moderate success, but it was enough to convince me to buy the cassette and vinyl as a 13-year old kid lol Jamal went on to release a great solo project called ‘Last Chance No Breaks’ with the standout single, ‘Jamal Fades Em All’, while Malik later worked on projects with Monica, his cousin Snoop, Warren G, and put out a solo effort in 2005. The one 12” single Malik released on Rowdy called ‘Malik Goes On’ I can’t remember at all, but I’m interested to hear it. Oh and yes, ‘Head or Gut’ dissed the shit out of Kris Kross with writing by Jamal and Erick Sermon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

BJ The Chicago Kid "D'Angelo Tribute" (EP Stream)

BJ The Chicago Kid pays to tribute to the vocal legend, D'Angelo & his "Untitled." In his words, "I had to celebrate his genius by paying homage to his legacy while he continues to kill the game and make great music. It’s a new year and there’s no better way to start it off than taking it back to where it all began for me. This is real Soul/R&B." Dope enough for me to share it, listen below!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Heltah Skeltah "Nocturnal" (The Source, 7/96)

"This seems to be the master plan for hip-hop domination: first, set things off with an undeniable masterpiece, such as Black Moon's debut Enta Da Stage. Next, put on other members of your crew, who proceed to amaze and astound in their own right - see Smif-N-Wessun's Dah Shinin. And then, just when headz are salivating for any piece of work bearing your imprimatur, start your own label and sew things up with more dope product. This is how far Brooklyn's Boot Camp Clik has come in just three short years. The next group up to represent Bucktown is Heltah Skeltah, whose debut, Nocturnal - on Buckshot's own Duck Down Entaprizez - may just vault the Clik into the same category as the other East Coast super crews. Heltah Skeltah is made up of the high-powered MCs Ruc and Roc, who were introduced as two-thirds of the Fab 5 cipher on "Leflah Leflaur Eshkoshka." Make no mistake: these two rip the mic like a two-headed monster, with Ruc's deep-voiced flow perfectly situated as the backbone to Roc's hard-as-nails delivery." Cont'd below...

"The production is also solid, designed to highlight rather than overshadow the MCs. Most of the work is handled by Beatminerz Baby Paul, Mr. Walt and Evil Dee, who create multi-layered soundscapes using ambient samples to prop up the simple drum-propelled tracks. But the centerpiece of this LP still remains the endless stream of tight verses kicked by Ruc and Roc. So far no member of the Boot Camp Clik has slipped up. Nocturnal continues this tradition of dopeness." - The Source, 7/96: read the full review below...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mr. Lif "Live Long & Prosper" (CMJ, 1/01)

"Ducking out a staggeringly long concert at New York's S.O.B.'s ... I bump into Mr. Lif, lugging his travel bag through the crowd. Despite the early hour and having been up until four in the morning politicking, the MC is still pushing himself to shake hands and meet fans. He reminisces about falling asleep on buses back in his hometown of Boston and walking home in the rain carrying his own promotional material. At 25, Mr. Lif finds himself on the bus a lot these days, traveling from show to show, trying to stay awake and coming to terms with the practical side of his great love - hip-hop... It was back in '94, when Lif was a student and a year-round athlete at Colgate University, that he had his first great awakening. "I felt like I had no time to actually think about what I wanted to do." Sleepwalking through the doldrums and "doctrine" of school, the idealistic undergrad needed to refocus. "So I just took a step back and let some energy flow through me and that's what happened," he remembers. "I was overwhelmed by the passion to MC. "On Enters The Colossus, his debut EP, that passion manifests itself in his edgy, intimidating tone and relentless delivery."

"But the aural image of Mr. Lif as a ferocious gladiator is betrayed in person by a poet's pensiveness - not to mention wire frames endlessly slipping to the tip of his nose... Lif says his name, short for "uplift," suggests a "struggle for openness." He prizes "the willingness to, once you feel completely founded in a certain way of thought, not to be afraid to the point of paralysis to completely shatter that and start over." Since embracing music in college, Lif has had to shatter his own perception of the career artist and learn the business of making records. To that end, he created his production company, Thought Wizard (under the Def Jux label, headed by Company Flow's El-P). "Thought Wizard's not a label. It's kind of ambiguous even in my mind," he says. "I knew that I wanted to set something up to shelter myself and have a business structure to bring forth my acts." Besides being a soloist, Lif is a member of two Boston rap groups: the Knights Of The Roundtable with T-Ruckus and Insight, and the Perceptionists with Akrobatik. Thought Wizard is the name under which these groups can fund and assemble material as they see fit. "It's grassroots right now," Lif laughs.... Mr. Lif may be up late handing the business side of his art, but that independence is what really allows him to sleep at night." - CMJ , January 2001.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blacktract "Diary Of A Mad M.C." 12" (1995)

Blackstract was two brothers - WIC and Dadidas - from East Flatbush Brooklyn, New York in the mid-90s. Blackstract released three 12" releases between 1994-1996, all on Stikman Entertainment. I first heard of Blackstract through Mister Cee, who was always around in the New York scene and said to keep an ear out for them. Their first 12" is probably the most obscure - "I Stole Your Girl" - released in 1994. The track flips the same sample they'd later use on "Diary of a Mad M.C.," but the first 12" is produced by WIC, the rest of the tracks are produced by New York-known producer, Saran Rap. It also used a familiar vocal sample from Audio Two's "Top Billin;" it's a funny story-telling joint about what happens to your girl if you go to jail, lol. It had "40G's & A 9" on the B-side. In 1995, Blackstract released "Diary Of The Mad M.C." with a new flavor and concept, talking about being an unsigned artist on the come-up, navigating the industry. They were definitely conceptual artists, and while the sound was kinda Gravediggaz-ish, it wasn't on that same horrorcore tip. "A New Nightmare" kicks off with a vocal sample from Biggie, then tells the tale of what nightmares keep then up them up at night. Their third 12" was also produced by Saran Rap with "BKNY" and "Streets." At some point, there was an unofficial Blackstract release - no label - just a CD-R with all the singles from each 12" and a few sold on Discogs, not sure who was behind that, but if there's more in the stash, I'd definitely listen. They got love on college radio and had Mister Cee's cosign, I guess things just didn't pop off enough for them, or who knows, maybe life got in the way. Either way, listen below (ignore that it says 0:00, it plays just fine ... dunno why that happens).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2Pac "Rap Phenomenon II" (Mixtape, 2003)

I'm comfortable saying that this is arguably one of the best blend/mix tapes ever made. A mix collaboration between Dirty Harry, Green Lantern & Vlad. It's a timeless mix of 2Pac's vocals over various beats, with some new features added from Busta Rhymes, Scarface, XZibit, Jadakiss, DMX, Wyclef Jean, Big Pun, Bun B and more; giving a new spin on Pac's material that was never successfully achieved with all the posthumous albums released after 2Pac's tragic death. It was originally released in 2003/2004 and via word of mouth, it quickly became a classic. I'm happy to update this post with an official link from Green Lantern, so the quality is a bit better. Check it out!

You can peep the full track-list to the mixtape below....

Friday, January 08, 2016

DJ Clue "Birthday Blizzard '96" (Mixtape, 1996)

The historic "Blizzard of 1996" hit New York City from January 6 to January 8, 1996, and left us buried and paralyzed under 20+ inches of snow. That blizzard is immortalized on this mix tape, where DJ Clue, who was born on January 8th, also had to celebrate his born amidst the blizzard. It's small things like that which add more sentimental value to me as a listeners and as a fan. I was there! As for the mix, it features tracks from Blahzay Blahzay, Ghostface Killah, Group Home, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Real Live, GZA, Lil' Kim, Royal Flush, The Fugees, Fat Joe, Wu-Tang Clan, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Keith Murray and a whole lot more. It's ironic that he released a similar mixtape two years prior, but I remember that blizzard hitting Syracuse harder than New York City. All that said, Happy Born Day to DJ Clue and props to DJStepOne for the link on Mixcloud, be sure to follow him.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Nasty Nas x DJ Premier "Pre-Illmatic" (Mixtape, 2006)

Not to be confused with the Nas demo tape, this is the Pre-Illmatic (blend) mixtape. It's got a few originals, but it's pre-dominantly blends of Nas vocals over DJ Premier instrumentals. To complete the task, four DJs stepped up with their own mixes: DJ Money Mike & Lt. Dan handle the bulk of the blends, with additional joints from King Smij and Wiz Hoffa. I'm not sure of the exact date of its release, but after Scratch Magazine featured DJ Premier and Nas in their January 2006 issue as their cover story, and with fans long-awaiting a full collaborative LP, Blend Bullies and Noize Mob DJs capitalized on the buzz releasing this Pre-Illmatic mixtape. Listen to the mix below. (New link).

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Fat Joe "Don Cartagena" (1998)

Taken from the original press kit from Fat Joe's Don Cartagena: "With the wisdom and experience of a Don, Fat Joe brings to life street morality, Mafia fantasy and hardcore realism, delivering "Don Cartagena," his third and best album to date. On "Don Cartagena," Fat Joe plays musical auteur directing each track dramatically and intensely. Fat Joe - aka Joey Crack - wields an album with diverse tentacles, reaching some of the complexities and contradictions of Hip-Hop. Through the course of his six years in the industry, having fostered relationships with major players, and after growing up in squalor of the South Bronx, he has good reason to call himself the Don of Rap." In my eyes, this was Fat Joe's last (near) classic album, and while I don't run to it often in my crates, you cannot deny his ear for production - especially on this project. Vibe had this to say about "Don Cartagena" in October, 1998: "Third time's a charm for Bronx bad boy Fat Joe. After two marginal releases on Violator/Relativity, Joey Crack returns with Don Cartagena - a refined arsenal of explosive songs ... Don Cartagena proves that the game ain't over until Fat Joe rhymes." Check out the video below for the smash track "John Blaze," featuring Nas, Big Pun, Jadakiss, and Raekwon.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Blahzay Blahzay "Danger II" (Review, 1996)

"Quick, name the two joints that had Brooklyn hard-rocks puffing and posturing with pride over the last few months of '95. Give up? Does the phrase "When the East is in the house" ring any bells? How 'bout, "Your death threater, sender / Head spinner / Rap beginner / Light dimmer / Three knock-out winner?" If the names Blahzay Blahzay and Smoothe Da Hutler, along with his brother Trigga, haven't popped into yo cerebrum as yet, you need to go to the back of the class and stick your face in the wall. Well, to the delight of the fates and lyric-lovers all over, these two acts have joined forces to revisit Blahzay's "Danger." You'll wanna click play below and then continue reading ...

"Blahzay's Outloud opens things up in his strident, straightforward baritone. "Medina animals eat you like purina / Cat chow I never bow still I aim to please / Drain what you got as if I was your main squeeze / Wack MCs ease / The end is here at last / Jet real fast with your tail between your ass." But it's the presence of Smoothe and Trigga that significantly ups the lyrical ante on this joint, particularly Trigga, who delivers a razor sharp piece of vocal ass-whip: "The misdemeanor / dreamer / money schemer / slip the clip in the infrared beamer." More dangerous indeed." All verses go!

Monday, January 04, 2016

DJ Boogie Blind "Definitive D.I.T.C." (Mixtape)

Much respect to Boogie Blind of the world famous X-excutioners. This is his "Definitive D.I.T.C." mix, showing love to one of the greatest all-star crews, Diggin In The Crates. A double-CD mix, Definitive D.I.T.C. runs through over 50 tracks, including joints from Diamond D, Showbiz & AG, Big L, O.C., Fat Joe, Buckwild, Lord Finesse, some posse cuts & random features thrown in for good measure. With a catalog as extensive as the Diggin in The Crates crew, it's hard to catch it all, but this is no doubt a phenomenal mix by one of Hip-Hop's greatest DJs. Props to DJ E-Feezy for the stream below, check his page for lots more content. Big L, Rest In Peace! 

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Das EFX "Straight Up Sewaside" (HHC, 1/94)

"With the roaring success of "Dead Serious" already under their belts, Dres and Scoob must have been at something of a loss as to what to do next. They'd invented a new style of vocal delivery that was immediately taken on board by the likes of Ice Cube and others, and given us one of the funkiest albums of recent years. "Straight Up Sewaside" is almost a step back from its predecessor. It's easier to listen to, in that you can readily understand more of the lyrics, and it's got more immediate commercial potential, even though there certainly isn't another "Mic Checka" on it. The beats are, as per usual with Das Efx, mostly mid-tempo rolling funk loops, some of which are very similar to those on "Dead Serious" - "Gimme Dat Microphone" and "Freakit" being prime offenders. Lyrically they're as mad and cocky as ever, but it's always good to hear some old skool-type foolin' going on. When it comes to lyrical ideas Das Efx are extremely old fashioned, yet still incredibly ahead of most in terms of execution. But for all the technical proficiency of "Straight Up Sewaside," they still sounded better when they were less intelligible." - Hip-Hop Connection, January 1994.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Nintendo Entertainment System (Vibe, January 2006)

"In October 1985, fear of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union kept Americans up at night. Little did those adults know that while they fretted, the Japanese staged a peaceful invasion - right into the minds of their children - with a new gaming product called Nintendo Entertainment System. By 1989, one out of every four American homes had one, making previously popular pastimes (like playing outside) for the birds, literally. Really, how could you go for a bike ride when King Koopa was holding Prince Toadstool hostage? When you became Mario, you took an oath, and it was your sworn responsibility to squash as many Goombas and  boot as many Koopa Troopas as you possibly could - rain, sleet, hail, or snow. Or sun. Of course, Nintendo wasn't the first home gaming system. Pong had pinged into homes in 1975, but it only allowed you to play that one game. Atari had us grippin' the grain into the early '80s with the faux-wood-paneled 2600, which supported a plethora of cartridges. So when Nintendo came along with its 8-bit processor (and the then high-definition graphics it enabled), glorious gray box, and rectangular controllers (which truly took the joy out of joy sticks...), it was basically a wrap. The competition was nil." Cont'd below...

"You wanna sip Mo' on my living room flo' / Play Nintendo with Cease and Nino."

"It was more than the bits, however, that kept the biters at bay. Sega made a run at Nintendo in 1986 with its own 8-bit machine, but Nintendo and its colorful characters had already won our hearts and minds. Whether it was the Mario Bros (who really were super), Link and Princess Zelda, or Samus from Metroid (as a child, beating that game was like living The Crying Game, if you smell me), we felt a personal connection to the characters and their plights. Which is why, 20 years later, these same titles live on in their fully rendered, 3-D sequels on Nintendo's latest mech warrior, GameCube. And with the home gaming now a $10 billion industry, we're finally seeing the fruition of the quiet foreign invasion staged two decades ago. Damn you, Mario! Damn you!" - Vibe, 1/06.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Dr. Dre "Tale of 2000" (Vibe Magazine, January 2001)

"When Dr. Dre formed Aftermath Entertainment and released his first flop (The Firm), it appeared he had lost his connection to the streets. After a brief hiatus, the Good Doctor cut his losses and reestablished himself as the controversial gangsta producer/rapper that hip hop fans love to love. That love only grew in 2000: Dre produced The Marshall Mathers LP, the tightly anticipated follow-up to Eminem's The Slim Shady LP, which landed EM a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Eminem's mike skills are undeniable but without the oomph of Dre's obscure samples and relentless sound structures, would anyone know his name? Dre returned to his roots of weed, sex, guns, and, of course, Snoop Dogg on Dr. Dre 2001. Lauded for its high-octane production, 2001 proved Dre hadn't lost his Midas touch. And while he enjoyed great success as a producer, Dre made 2000 his most prosperous year in half a decade by organizing and headlining Up In Smoke. One of the most successful traveling shows in rap history, Up In Smoke featured the superstar power of Dre, Eminem, Ice Cube, Xzibit, and Snoop; wowed audiences with its spectacular visuals... Nineteen ninety-three may have been the inception of Dre Day, but 2000 was unquestionably the Year of the Dre."

Vibe added these stats, "Tale of 2000: Sales - Dr. Dre 2001 (5.6 millon). Credits: produced Eminem's multiplatinum CD The Marshall Mathers LP. Props: MTV Video Music Award for "Forgot About Dre" (Best Rap Video). Game: The Up In Smoke tour stopped in over 25 cities nationwide, selling 521,000 tickets for a profit of more than $24 million." - Vibe Magazine, January 2001.