February 29, 2016

One Be Lo "The Original B.O.R.N. O.N.E.S." (Album Stream)

"What happens when One culture takes over another? What happened when Christianity met the indigenous peoples in the New World? What happened when the Ottomon Turks invaded Constantinople? This picture was taken at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. Here is one of the Original Mosaics that was plastered over after Constantinople was conquered by the Turks. The Church was converted in a Mosque, and the name of city Constantinople was changed to Istanbul. In the early 20th century, the Mosque was converted into a museum and experts were brought in to remove the plaster to reveal the original art work. So what happened when Chief Seattle Bean One met Chief Pontiac One Be Lo? The history of this work reminded me of the music that I originally recorded with Bean One in Seattle back in 2006. The Born Ones (Bean One recorded Nahshid once Nahshid entered Seattle) is finally here. We started working on this album together in 2006 and then due to other circumstances we put the project on pause. While we both continued to record more music, this project sat on my hard drive until January 2016. I decided to uncover these original copies, for the world to see. Releasing this project during Black History month is symbolic, because here One Be Lo writes and records his own history. 80% of this project is the original recordings of 10 years ago. To keep the project relevant, I decided to uncover some of the issues being addressed right here in 2016 and beyond. This is what happened when Chief Seattle met Chief Pontiac, and now the Original Born Ones are reborn." - One Be Lo. Stream it below.

February 28, 2016

Gang Starr "The Legacy" (Mix by DJ Leroy Rey)

DJ Leroy Ray has compiled this hour-long compilation called "The Legacy." It features Gang Starr bonus tracks, b-sides, soundtrack exclusives, and cuts produced by DJ Premier also featuring Guru on the guest verse. It has been compiled and sequenced to sound like a full-length album. Although the tracks are not really rare of hard to find, it's a nice tribute to Guru, R.I.P. (Updated audio).

February 27, 2016

Squeeze Radio "Show Finale" (February 24, 2016)

"This is it. The last Squeeze Radio episode via 89.1FM and perhaps the last episode via terrestrial radio ever. It's fitting that the last episode was more of a family reunion than anything else. Each guest on this episode is directly linked to the Squeeze Radio show family, from Stretch and Bobbito who opened the doors to The Higher Up (whose producer happens to be Breeze Brewin's son) to Timeless Truth. All talented folks, all fam. 13 years. It's been a lovely run and we thank anyone who's ever been a guest, an intern, a listener, a friend to the show. It's been our pleasure to do this for you and we hope you've enjoyed listening as much as we've enjoyed doing it. From our family to yours we say thank you. We appreciate you tuning in and we hope you continue to do so when we return. SQUEEZE 'EM!" Much respect & thanks to Sucio Smash and the Squeeze Radio family. Salute!

February 26, 2016

Rawcotiks "Unsigned Hype" (The Source, 3/97)

"...Though it's safe to say things have changed since Tito from The Fearless Four picked up the mic, the Hispanic MC has yet to earn his/her well-deserved title as a mic-wrecka. A glimpse through the Rawcotiks' demo might change your perspective on Hispanic mcees/lyricists. Rawcotiks consists of two impressive vocalists: Jeff Valentino and Butta Lee... Each armed with his own distinctive style, and can paint vivid pictures of topics which range from currency to skills to the ever-present wack MC. As Lee's unpredictable change of style naturally mixes in with Valentino's diverse use of rhyming syllables, each song on their demo carries a different vibe - lyrical, hardcore, criminal or reminiscent: "I'ma continue the struggle / until it's time for the shovel to hit the earth / that's when it's time to disperse..." Representing Washington Heights, New York, these two mcees have the potential to retrieve much needed recognition for the Latino segment of the hip-hop nation... if given the chance. And it's a chance record labels have to take in order to experience the sound and feeling of original acts in hip-hop." - The Source (3/97) / Updated, check "Hardcore Hip-Hop," below.

February 25, 2016

Mos Def & Talib Kweli at Fat Beats (October 26, 1997)

DJ Eclipse has dug into his archives once again - this time pulling out some classic footage of the Fat Beats 1 Year Anniversary in L.A. on October 26, 1997. In E's own words, "All Mos had out at that time was the "Universal Magnetic" 12" (not including features and UTD). Once he brings out Talib Kweli, you can hear the early beginnings of what would soon become Black Star. Shout-out to the Beat Junkies and Skratch Piklz who also rocked that show." Hit the tags below for lots of other memories from Fat Beats, and I do hope the OG continues to bless us with more rare footage!

February 24, 2016

DJ Clue "Winter 1" (Mixtape, 1995)

Another one from DJ Clue, going back to the Winter of '95, competing with Doo Wop's scorching hot "95 Live" tapes that dropped around the same time. This mix tape is more heavy on the R&B blends, choppin' vocals over some classic beats, with some now-classics thrown in, as well. Ron G-style. You can hear joints from Junior M.A.F.I.A., Yvette Michelle, Total, The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, GZA & Method Man, LL Cool J, AZ, Mary J. Blige, Monica, Cypress Hill, Blahzay Blahzay, Groove Theory, Das EFX, and more. A nice cuffin' season type tape, dig into it below. Props, again, to DJ Step One.

February 23, 2016

The Roots "Things Fall Apart" (Rap Pages, 3/99)

"What is it about these cats that makes them shine through on any project? Is it the wordsmith vocals of Black Thought and Malik B., or the musical stylings of Kamal, Hub, ?uestlove and Rahzel the Godfather of Noyze? In truth, it's both. The two elements combine like hydrogen and oxygen to make a sound so fluid Aquaman would drown. On their fourth CD, aptly titled Things Fall Apart, they do, though not in a detrimental way. The Roots simply choose to travel a musically less familiar path - that of a stripped-down sonic mixture - carrying with them only the bare essentials. This minimalist approach is a new avenue for the crew, but one they maneuver with ease, ever careful not to tread lightly and feign a noncommittal stance. Things Fall Apart is an opus that gathers speed along the way, the whole while subtly introducing the impressive lyrical skills of Dice Raw."

"Step Into The Realm," a harp-based track, stops and starts like an instant-replay highlight shifting from fast-forward to rewind, while the cool-out vibe of "Ain't Sayin Nothin New" smoothly soothes. "Double Trouble" (a pairing with Black Star front man Mos Def) and the Hip-Hop ode "Act Too (Love Of My Life)" - for all intents and purposes "I Used To Love H.E.R." revisited, with an assist from Common - are both worthy tag-team duos. "You Got Me," perhaps the best joint on the album, sees the fellas reuniting with their collaborative compadre, the ubiquitous Erykah Badu. The catchy singsong hook and minuscule guitar loop will catch heads off guard. Thought not groundbreaking like Do You Want More?!!!?! or saturated with guest appearances like Illadelph Halflife, Things Fall Apart is a welcome return for The Roots." - Rap Pages, March 1999. Full review is available below.

February 22, 2016

Mystic "Fatherless Child" (Spin Magazine, October 2001)

"Mystic's mother found out her daughter had been raped in adolescence the way most fans will - by listening to her album, Cuts For Luck and Scars For Freedom. "It was never discussed," says the 27-year-old Oakland-bred rapper-singer. "I didn't want my mom to think that she'd done anything wrong." Perhaps not coincidentally, Mandolyn Wind Ludlum chose the nom-de-rhyme Mystic because it means "holder of secrets." Her stark, minor-key tracks tell noir tales of ghetto strife, as she alternates between tough-love flows and breathy, resolute vocals. She may be secretive, but Mystic has no problem sharing with the public what she couldn't tell her Mom. The confessional "Fatherless Child" ponders the effects of her dad's departure from the family. "My mother left my dad," she says. "He was a drug addict, an alcoholic, and a philanderer." Soak in the lyrics of "Fatherless Child"...

"Both on a hippie commune near Loma Lake, California, Mystic moved with her mother to Hawaii and Guadalajara, Mexico, and lived all over California through her teens. She started "wilding out" on drugs with surfers and burnouts in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Oakland. Then, at 16, a radical English teacher politicized her, and she found her calling in the spoken-word scene. She met reggae artist Jamal-Ski, who told Mystic her poetry was dope. "I felt I'd been given a gift," she says. "I kept thinking, 'If I die, it would be unfair not to do what I'm supposed to with my life'." In 1998, Mystic went on tour with Digital Underground, whose Shock-G (a.k.a. Humpty Hump) produced some of her debut. Sadly, the same day she a recording contract, her father died of a heroine overdose. "We had found peace," Mystic says of their relationship. And though he never heard "Fatherless Child," she says, 'When I sing that song, I know he hears it'." - Spin Magazine, October 2001. 

February 21, 2016

Statik Selektah x Crooked I "Statik Kxng" (Album Stream)

Statik KXNG is the eponymous debut studio album by hip hop duo Statik KXNG, consisting of producer Statik Selektah and eMCee KXNG Crooked. The album was released through Penalty Entertainment and Statik's Showoff Records. The album features only one guest appearance and that is Termanology who is in the group 1982 with Statik Selektah. Catch these bars from Crook! 

February 20, 2016

Ivan Ave "Helping Hands" (Album Stream)

"It must be the contrarian in me but while everyone was losing their mind over the new Kanye release and 90% of my damn newsfeed was Kardashian and Yeezy-related, all I wanted is to listen to the new album from Norway’s Ivan Ave which I ordered on cassette." <-- I'm with you on that, Lexis! "Titled “Helping Hands”, the 11-track album is out now on the always fabulous German label Jakarta.  It features spectacular production by American beatsmith MNDSGN who had collaborated previously with the Oslo based MC on “Forks” which also appears on the record. Also highly recommended is Ivan Ave’s “Fruitful” record released late 2015, entirely produced by his frequent collaborator, fellow-Norwegian producer FredFades. Out now on Vinyl, Digital and Cassette!" - MIMS.

February 19, 2016

DJ Filthy Rich "90's Reggae-Hip Hip" (Mix)

Toronto's DJ Filthy Rich drops off his latest mix, a classic blend of 90s Dancehall and Hip-Hop featuring artists like Lady Saw, INI Kamoze, The Fugees, Super Cat, Shabba Ranks, Patro, Lil' Vicious, Cutty Ranks, Mad Lion, Capleton & Method Man, Smif-N-Wessun and lots more. Filthy Rich been doing his thing for a minute, so trust this is a dope mix of 90's dancehall artists over 90's Hip-Hop beats. Both official tracks and remixes, as well as his own exclusive blends. Everything from popular hits to obscure white label-only remixes. Update: The original link is gone, so I've had to update this with the YouTube audio, but check it out below and follow the tags for more mixes.

February 18, 2016

Black Star in Spin Magazine (11/98) + Live with Common (Video)

"People think you just have something on your mind and you just say it over a beat," says Mos Def of the current proliferation of wack MCs. The 24-year old is nestled inside the back offices of Brooklyn's Nkiru Books, sitting across from Talib Kweli, 22, and his equally frustrated Black Star cohort and one of the store's owners. "Rapid-fire staccato delivery," Kweli says, flipping off a typical rap cliche. "It's just n!ggas talking." "It doesn't mean anything," echoes Mos Def. "Me and Mos always say that if Charlie Parker and Miles Davis could rhyme..." "What would Tipper Gore say then?" Black Star's self-titled debut album is an Afrocentric bookstore in its own right, referencing everything from John Coltrane's "Naima" to slave ships to bleak premillennial times. But thankfully, the gravity in their rhymes never slows down their animated styles or their brooding jazz and reggae walking beats. It's a sound that recalls the best of early-'90s hip-hop, upping the ante on EPMD's mellow grooves and A Tribe Called Quest's playful gift of gab." Watch a live throwback with Common, cont'd...

"While the duo's shows have earned them a reputation as NY's slammingest hip-hop act, the two do more than just wow the kids. Mos Def has acted on NYPD Blue and the short-lived Brooklyn South, although he's more often recognized for the Visa ad he did with Deion Sanders. Kweli, for his part, wants to open a theater and a school. "The black community has plenty of hair and nail salons," he says. There's also plenty of retro-leaning hip-hop, which is why Mos Def is quick to point out that Black Star are hardly revivalists. "I'm not gonna diss my history by trying to re-create it," he says. But I respect it and apply it to what's going on today. That's what Black Star is about: bridging yesterday and today without compromising either." - Spin, November 1998.

February 17, 2016

Fashawn "The Ecology" (Album Stream)

The Ecology is the second studio album by Fashawn. The album is released on Nas' Mass Appeal Records, where Nas also serves as executive producer for the album & is featured on the project along with Aloe Blacc, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Dom Kennedy. It's hard to match up to his Exile-produced debut "Boy Meets World," but this is another solid offering from Fashawn, who I met at A3C some years back - a good kid and a great artist. Much respect to him, stream it below!

February 16, 2016

DJ Ross One "Rap Tees" (Book)

One of the world's foremost collectors of all things hip-hop, DJ Ross One presents a much sought after collection of T-shirts in this lushly produced and detailed catalog showcasing over 500 of the genre's best. Rap Tees outshines all other rap tee collections and will be the definitive reference for generations to come. Providing not only a valuable reference and style guide to these ultra-rare shirts, Rap Tees is also a unique chronology of the history of hip-hop. Beginning with the earliest rap concert shirts from the Sugar Hill Gang and New York Fresh Fest, circa 1980-84, and spanning the next two decades, Rap Tees includes rare shirts from a wide selection of the who's-who of the business including: Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Beastie Boys, Eric B and Rakim, Wu Tang Clan, Jay Z, Nas, EMPD, and many, many more. Rap Tees bookends the golden age of rap with unique street-corner memorial shirts commemorating the deaths of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Unlike typical rock n' roll shirts, hip-hop tees were often made in extremely limited quantities. The elusive concert, promotional, and bootleg tees included in this book are nearly impossible to find on the open market. Only DJ Ross One could track down these gems in this one-of-a-kind book, making Rap Tees the consummate guide for these unique pieces! Order HERE.

February 15, 2016

Mister Cee "Classic Dancehall Chunes" (Mix)

The Finisher Mister Cee's classic dancehall chunes, live on Hot 97's Thursday throwback. A solid hour of vibes and hits from some of the biggest reggae and dancehall artists. Except tracks from Beenie Man, Shaggy, Shabba Ranks, Capleton, TOK, Mr. Vegas, Ska, Bob Marley, Sister Nancy & a whole lot more. For those not from the East Coast, whether in NY or Toronto, you may not realize how integral dancehall was to 90s hip-hop culture, especially at parties and in the clubs. We threw on Dancehall & the show always went UP, some of the most important records to have in your crates.

February 14, 2016

Chairman Mao "The Loser's Seat: Anti-VDay Soul Mix"

Four years ago for Valentine’s Day, Chairman Mao recorded this soul mix as an installment of his now defunct Spine Magazine radio show, “Spine Blowing Decisions.” It’s a collection of some classy ’60s and ’70s crossover soul 45s – most of which share the distinction of being melodically catchy, but lyrically largely about heartbreak, doubt, and/or misery. Feeling blue on V-day? We got you...

February 13, 2016

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 53: Funkin' You Up" (Mixtape, 1996)

Tony Touch's "Funkin' You Up" is also known as Tape #53. It was a Tape Kingz cassette release from 1996, featuring tracks from Rampage & Busta Rhymes, Redman and Method Man, O.G.C., Mobb Deep, Keith Murray, Mama Mystique, Snoop, Hi-Tech, Jaz O, Big Noyd, Ras Kass, Non Phixion, Ghostface, Boot Camp Clik, King Tee, KRS-One, Mother Superior, Lil' Cease, Frankie Cutlass, Foxy Brown, MF Grimm, Ak Skills, Lost Boyz and much more. Listen to this '96 throwback mix from Tony Touch below...

February 12, 2016

Revolutionary Rhythm "Raw Rhythm Vol.1" (Album Stream)

While I've seen some solo releases here and there from artists out of Revolutionary Rhythm, I've been keeping eyes and ears out for the collective of Kid Abstrakt, Predominance and DJ Million Faces to release a new group project. R2 really blew me away with the growth in SoulVibes in 2012 and The Art Gallery in 2014. I'm very excited that they are back with Raw Rhythm Vol.1. The project features production from Dee Soul, Nu Vintage, Vanilla, saib, The Deli, Moods, and Je$u$. The LA crew keeps the vibe going with this offering - laid-back, but heavily driven by their flow and lyrics.

February 11, 2016

Lord Finesse "The Awakening" (The Source, 2/96)

Lord Finesse has been an underground force representing the Boogie Down since his '89 debut, Funky Technician. Back in the day, Finesse shined by using funky drummer beats and a steady rhyme flow that was second only to Kane's in its successful reliance on clever similes and metaphoric wordplay. More recently, Finesse has maintained by producing tracks for Big L, Fat Joe and Biggie Smalls. The Awakening features a posse of NYC All-Stars lending a hand as this Old School hero attempts to stand with the lyrical lords of today. Finesse's strong suit has always been his production skills and on The Awakening, the beats more than hold their own against the work of the hot producers of the moment. All the tracks sport that classic East Coast flavor; heavy on the drum kick, perfectly suited to an MC getting his flow on. On "Time To Bounce" and "Hip 2 Da Game," Finesse definitely scores lyrical points, but his steelo can't altogether escape its dated feel. The best of his solo cuts is "Food For Thought," a cautionary tale that displays his strong storytelling skill. The EP's high point is "Brainstorm," a joint completely scorched by the vocal heat whipped up to O.C., KRS and Finesse... Finesse deserves much love and respect for staying tight all these years while so many others have fallen off. And there is no doubt that the ranks among the higher echelons of butta beat-crafters, as evidenced by his excellent work on homie Big L's debut release. But in comparison with their punch-line oriented usage of simile and metaphor, simply don't possess enough dimension to sustain a solo release. Still in all, The Awakening is a welcome joint from a man who has long personified hip-hop's favorite mantra: "True to the game." Revisit the album below...

Below is the full review in The Source (February, 1996)...

February 10, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Prince Paul Episode"

From Combat Jack: "I remember being at club Pay Day back in the summer of '88. All the dope girls and dope boys were out in their freshest gear. That was my first time seeing the original Hip-Hop band Stetsasonic in the building. Little did I know their DJ, Prince Paul, was only just beginning. 3 classic De La Soul albums; classic albums from the Gravediggaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School, and working with legends like Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, DOOM and more. One of my generations super producers, Paul walks us through his life and history. This is for the culture." Listen below.

February 10, 2016

J.Rocc x Mobb Deep "The Infamous" (20 Year Tribute Mix)

In celebration of the re-issue of Mobb Deep's The Infamous by All City Music, they had J.Rocc of the World Famous Beat Junkies bless them with this exclusive mix of Mobb Deep jawns + music that inspired the album. You can and should check out one of the greatest DJs of all-time put it down like only he can, listen to "The Infamous 20 Year Tribute Mix" below. (Updated audio link).

February 10, 2016

Rakim Lecture at Red Bull Music Academy (NY, 2013)

"Hip-hop's golden age began in 1986, the day Rakim stepped to a microphone to record “Eric B Is President.” Only 18 years old, Rakim had a smooth, effortless flow that brought a cool melodicism and high intelligence to the rap game. His partnership with his DJ, Eric B, yielded four great albums and numerous classic singles before Rakim split for a solo career. Despite initial success with 1997's The 18th Letter, he endured several frustratingly fruitless years signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath, working on an album that never came. Yet in 2012, The Source named him the greatest MC of all time. In this talk at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York, Rakim discussed living in the moment, the ’80s, and the various challenges of the music industry." Art by Tasiir Franz.

February 10, 2016

?uestlove "J Dilla Tribute Mix" (Live on Hot 97)

James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee. Dilla continues to inspire and on the 10th Anniversary of his passing, I went back to a mix by ?uestlove of The Roots on Hot 97 in 2012. Quest pays tribute to his friend and cultural icon... listen to the mix below, no tracklist necessary - it's all dopeness. Rest In Peace, J Dilla.

February 09, 2016

Grown Man Rap Show "Brand Nubian Mix"

DJ Toast and Paul Nice broadcast live every Sunday Night (10-12am, EST) at WRPI in Albany, NY. This is Episode 58, a tribute to legendary group, Brand Nubian. Paul Nice's set kicks off with some original samples, then group tracks, solo tracks, and some joints from Masters of Ceremony + Pete Rock & CL Smooth mixed in. DJ Toast steps up and goes straight hip-hop with more group and solo tracks, then tracks by Cormega, The Beatnuts, and more. They deliver each week, keep it locked!

February 08, 2016

Praverb The Wyse "The Legacy" (Album Stream)

The Legacy: Dedicated to the Life & Rhymes of Praverb the Wyse. Rest In Peace, my good friend. The LP features J-Live, Kenn Starr, Supastition, M-Dot, & more, produced by Soulmade. I'll let the music speak for itself & know that all profits from the sale of the album will benefit his wife and child, so please do dig into your pockets on this one. Much love and thanks. R.I.P. Praverb The Wyse.

February 07, 2016

DMX "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (1998)

"You know how there's always one song that sets off a party as soon as the first note pours out the speakers? Well, right now, DMX has got that song - the one that makes kids bum-rush the dance floor and bark along with his signature "Where's my dogs at?" call-and-response refrain. And fans of DMX's no-preservatives-added hip hop hungrily await more of the same from his upcoming album, To Hell And Back (Def Jam), due late this spring. Even other celebs are feeling him. Appearing on albums by artists as diverse as LL Cool J, Mase, Mic Geronimo, and Cam'ron, DMX is clearly about to pull a "Foxy Brown." Everyone wants a piece of him' over the next few months, he's got joints coming out with Ice Cube and Jermaine Dupri, as well as a lead role in Hype Williams' first feature film, Belly, due out later this summer. "I stay getting love like that, and I love it. I'm gonna feed everyone," he says about his popularity." Watch "Get At Me Dog" and continue reading below... 

"But to care for his growing kennel of fans, DMX is also establishing his own presence. Case in point: "Get at Me Dog" was originally a collaboration with fellow Yonkers natives the Lox. Although label reps appropriated the song and turned it into a soliloquy for the rapper's own album. "I really wasn't feeling the revised solo version. I didn't see the meaning in it at first," says DMX. "Now I see it was done to let brothas know I'm here. There's dogs out here who don't have a voice. I'm here to soak up their pain and make it felt everywhere by spitting it out to a hot beat." - Vibe, 1998.

February 06, 2016

Broadway "Must Get Paid" (The Source, 2/96)

"Don't get it twisted, Mr. Dion Broadway is no new jack to the hip-hop community. He got his share of airplay in early '95 with "Brothers Die'n Everyday." And who can forget the '94 headbanger "Beg No Friends," featuring Fat Joe, Grand Puba and Chill Will F.T.E. Now an "official" member of the BDP camp, Broadway comes at ya with his latest. Broadway demonstrates a wiser, more on point version of reality rap. Strapped with pure Bronx essence and tight production from the blastmaster himself, Broadway delivers quality hip-hop with a raggamuffish style that should appeal to underground racketeers. "Must Stay Paid" takes its catchy hook from the BDP classic "Criminal Minded" - "Rebel, renegade, must get paid." Dion's off beat-on beat rhyme steelo, a bit of stadium ambience, and Red Alert's infamous "Yeeeah" make the joint complete." Peep the visuals to the track below...

"It's good to see that the BDP camp can still roll with the sign of the times and still be able to provide new flavors after years in the circuit. With tight credentials and experience on his side, Broadway should shine like the street itself." - Sure Shot Single in The Source, February 1996. The hook is still infectious after all these years, and KRS-One's production is hard. To view or save a copy of The Source's full 12", click below, and definitely check out "Beg No Friends," too. Peace!

February 05, 2016

Jordan Ferguson "J Dilla: Donuts 33 1/3" (Book)

"From a Los Angeles hospital bed, equipped with little more than a laptop and a stack of records, James "J Dilla" Yancey crafted a set of tracks that would forever change the way beatmakers viewed their artform. The songs on Donuts are not hip hop music as "hip hop music" is typically defined; they careen and crash into each other, in one moment noisy and abrasive, gorgeous and heartbreaking the next. The samples and melodies tell the story of a man coming to terms with his declining health, a final love letter to the family and friends he was leaving behind. As a prolific producer with a voracious appetite for the history and mechanics of the music he loved, J Dilla knew the records that went into constructing Donuts inside and out. He could have taken them all and made a much different, more accessible album. If the widely accepted view is that his final work is a record about dying, the question becomes why did he make this record about dying? Drawing from philosophy, critical theory and musicology, as well as Dilla's own musical catalogue, Jordan Ferguson shows that the contradictory, irascible and confrontational music found on Donuts is as much a result of an artist's declining health as it is an example of what scholars call "late style," placing the album in a musical tradition that stretches back centuries." You can order it HERE.

February 04, 2016

Ill Biskits "God Bless Your Life" (12", 1994)

Ill Biskits are Deeda & Kleph from Virginia. "God Bless Your Life" was originally released on Khari Entertainment in 1994. Khari Entertanment was a NY label and because the B-Side "22 Years" was produced by the Funky Man, Lord Finesse, some heads thought Ill Biskits were from NY too. In 1995, they signed to Atlantic Records off the strength of the buzz of "God Bless Your Life," and it was reissued as a 12", along with a second single, "Chill Factor," and limited copies for their debut album, "Chronicle Of Two Losers." Their run from '94-96 was all I recall from the MCs as a group, although Kleph released a 12" ("The Dawn") in 1998 that I'm not sure I've heard. In 2007, copies of a 2CD version of "Chronicle of Two Losers" showed up at Fat Beats; said to be released via Khari Entertainment. The second CD had bonus tracks including the Lord Finesse-produced "22 Years," the dope remix to "God Bless Your Life," 3 instrumentals and a demo mix for "Beyond Understanding." Unfortunately, Ill Biskits member Kleph passed away a few years back (2012) due to a heart attack. Rest in Peace, and condolences to his peoples. You can stream the "God Bless Your Life" 12" below...

February 03, 2016

Nas "Death Of Escobar" (Vibe, February 2001)

"With 1994's Illmatic, Nasty Nas's intricate street lyrics drew him comparisons to Kool G Rap and Rakim. His music also got respect from those people in the ghetto who needed a knowledgable voice to expose their struggles and reassure them that there was hope for the future. Nas's well-received first CD was followed by three more successes - It Was Written, I Am..., and Nastradamus - and a new "Nas Escobar" persona, a generic Moet-sipping "mogul" in white fur coat and iced-out accessories. While his post-Illmatic work sold millions, true fans pined for Nasty Nas. Instead of the elaborate skits and soulless rhymes of his works as Nas Escobar, the new tracks, bootlegs, and remixes on D.O.E. are old-school Nasty Nas: Like Ice Cube's classic "Jackin' For Beats," "The Foulness" finds Nas spitting over four dynamic beats. The Slick Rick-flavored "Rise & Fall" details one man's epic struggles in the rap game. For "Poppa Was A Playa," Nas tells a sad tale of his father's misogyny. The seamless blending of old and new material continues on tracks like "Tales From Da Hood," about murder-happy drug dealers, and "Your Mouth Got You In It." While bootlegging kept fans away from much of his material, D.O.E. is well worth the wait." - Vibe, February 2001. 

An obvious argument would be that this was the first glimpse of Nas and Columbia's plans to release The Lost Tapes (2002). There isn't a whole lot of overlap on the resulting tracklists, but conceptually, it's (very) similar. The track above (updated), "Tales From The Hood" was released as a Clue-exclusive on Hev E. Components, Pt.2; some of the remixes dropped loosely here and there, but for the most part, the tracks were leaked on white labels between I Am and that other project that I pretend to not exist, lol. Ie: "My Way," "Worst Enemy," "Drunk By Myself," and "Hardest Thing To Do." In 2002, there were snippets on Stillmatic, as a prelude to The Lost Tapes that included "Make It Last" and "You Gotta Love It," which are on D.O.E. and others just on The Lost Tapes. Unfortunately, "Rise and Fall" hasn't landed on anything, and it should, and I'd push for the original "Sinful Living," "Tales From The Hood," and a few others. When and why things changed is unclear, but the results were flawless; The Lost Tapes is a top 5 release from Nas's catalog. Bring on part 2!

February 02, 2016

Beneficence "Basement Chemistry" (Album Stream)

Brick City veteran and Ill Adrenaline Records co-founder Beneficence unleashes his 6th solo LP "Basement Chemistry". Armed with the true sounds of the golden era Benef drops rejuvenated flows and shares mics with hip-hop's elite lyricists. The lineup includes Inspectah Deck (of Wu-Tang Clan), Masta Ace, MC Eiht, El Da Sensei, AG (of D.I.T.C), Dres (of Black Sheep), The Legion, Chubb Rock, MindsOne, and Estee Nack (of Tragic Allies). Production handled by DJ Spinna, Da Beatminerz, 12 Finger Dan, Confidence, L'Orange, Presto, KON Sci, Jazz Spastiks, and many more. Obscure samples, intricate cuts, and official boom bap sound! Stream Beneficence's latest LP below!

February 01, 2016

Pharoahe Monch "Prisoners Of War" (Hip-Hop Quotable, 2/92)

Organized Konfusion are from Queens, New York, comprised of Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch. Organized Konfusion was originally founded in 1987 under the name Simply II Positive MC's. They signed to Hollywood Records for their debut self-titled album in 1991. The album was commercially unsuccessful but critically acclaimed, as was the follow-up, Stress: The Extinction Agenda (1994) and the duo moved to Priority Records for the concept album The Equinox in 1997. Monch has also launched a successful solo career, highlighted by his albums Internal Affairs, Desire, W.A.R., and P.T.S.D. Prince Poetry has released several solid joints as well. Prisoners of War was featured on their debut album and even as an album cut, it was featured in The Source's "Hip-Hop Quotable" for "Dopest Rhyme of the Month" in February, 1992. Pharoahe said, "Still I've been illin' and drillin' your brain / Like a villain I came in the darkness to spark the literature for sure / When I rhyme for the prisoners of war..." You can check out the audio to the track HERE, lyrics below. He's an alien, 100%!