March 31, 2016

Fierce "Crab" (12") + "Unsigned Hype" (The Source, 1996)

If you dig dope piano loops, you're in a for a treat with Fierce's "Crab." Released on Wreck House Records in 1996, the track - which stood for Cowards Realistically Acting As Backstabbers - makes use of George Winston's "The Cradle" for the loop and the Newark, NJ MC tears into it. You might have caught him in The Source's highly-coveted "Unsigned Hype" section (9/96), check that above. Fierce had deals with both Elektra & Arista but nothing came of it, not even the mildly anticipated release of "Jersey Stand Up," which unfortunately never dropped. The beauty of the internet and our niche audience, there's always a label that'll cough up a lil' money for unreleased music from the Golden Era; especially if it's being discussed online with numbers on Discogs - labels look at that stuff, so maybe more to come? In the meantime, Fierce or Ferocious Intellect Equalling Rap's Cause and Effect can be heard below on both "Crabs" and "Come Close," check out the full 12" below...

March 30, 2016

Lord Finesse "World Series: Out The Blue" (Mixtape, 1996)

In the 1996 World Series, the Yankees beat the NL champion Atlanta Braves. After losing the first two games, they came back to win four consecutive games and became the first team to lose the first two games at home and win the Series. At the time, it was their 23rd World Series title but their first since 1978 (the year I was born!). That said, this is Lord Finesse's 1996 mixtape, "World Series - Out the Blue, Volume 1." It kicks off with a championship intro at Yankee Stadium, which suffice to say, hooked me out the gate! The rest of the mix includes joints from the Artifacts, M.O.P., PMD, Natural Elements, Dr. Dre, The Firm, Money Boss Players, Wu-Tang, Fat Joe, Sadat X, Ghostface Killah and, of course, joints from Lord Finesse. Listen to it below, thanks to DJStepOne.

March 29, 2016

Conway The Machine x Westside Gunn "Built To Last" (Mix)

The 'Built To Last' Radio Show is hosted by Corrado and I Joe, each Thursday from 8-9pm on Radio campus FM in Toulouse, France. The latest mix in their series of tributes to classic emcees and producers shows love to two of the best emcees to come up out of the underground in recent memory: Conway The Machine and Westside Gunn of the mighty Griselda Records. Their track record is filled with some of the hardest records and their business model is impeccable, certainly a great blueprint of artists that will follow behind them. You should dig into the tags and listen to all the other quality mixes from Built To Last. The finest selected and mixed, now check it out below...

March 28, 2016

Big L "Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous" (Rap Pages, 5/97)

"Soundtracks are so important. Let's face it, life is an epic, about as long as Ghandi and sometimes as exciting as a 3 a.m. episode of Barney Miller. It's up to the hero of our movie - fo' self - to maintain or fall by the wayside. In the immortal words of Wayan #1, "Every hero deserves a theme song," and Big L is no exception. I first came across the hero of this story in Ego Trip magazine in the Ignorant Lyrics of the Month section. Straight off Lenox Ave., Big L gives the listener a view of Harlem that many never see, but always hear about. In his world, wack MCs and bitches are banished, and citizens, such as Lord Finesse, rule with an iron mic. Apprenticing under the likes of Finesse and Showbiz & A.G., Big L is leaving the nest with obvious influences from his mentors..." 

"West Coast production to date is clearly based on love for the listener - the main concern is what appeals to the masses. East Coast preoccupations lie in abstraction or extreme simplicity, which results in a cloudy outing spanning all boroughs. The approach L takes clearly shows influences from both sides. The union of producers Lord Finesse, Showbiz and Buckwild was a wise move by L. You can hear they cared about this project. If you fight your way through $12 worth of testosterone and an occasional dead body of a family member, you're opened to legitimate hardcore East Coast battle rhymes that were sorely missed in 1994. Plus, these are some of the hardest beats from this particular crew in a while. Creating a listenable album in this genre is a goal not afforded by many, but Big L and his production team have provided a solid musical structure. Cleanliness is next to godliness in the heavens of Hip-Hop - the mix of vocal and production styles is immaculate here. No sloppy takeovers of beat to rhyme are in evidence. That's how L's living." - Rap Pages, May 1995.

March 27, 2016

Eternia in Now Magazine (March, 2011 - Juno Awards)

Ahead of the 2011 Juno Awards, which are Canada's version of the Grammy's, Eternia was featured in Now Magazine.... "When Eternia hit the studio with Toronto hip-hop producer MoSS after meeting him at a concert in Winnipeg, the 26-year-old MC found a musical partner who could push the energy and vivid, honest storytelling she's best known for even further. So deep was their creative connection that, nine months after their Juno-nominated collaboration album, At Last (Fat Beats), dropped, she's now grappling with separation issues. "In the last couple of months, I got hundreds of beats from all different types of producers, MoSS gave me, like, 10, and literally the minute he gave me them I wanted to write a whole album," says Eternia (aka Silk Kaya) from her home base in Queens, New York. 'There's just something about them that plucks at my heartstrings'." Cont'd...

"One of his trippy boom-bap beats struck particularly deep, unearthing unpleasant memories she'd long tried to erase. When she sat down to write what would become the recent single To The Future, blunt rhymes about sexual abuse and violence ("That same year, I was assaulted with a gun / These dudes locked me in a room / molested me for fun") gushed out. "The violin kinda rips at you," she says. "It's haunting and it's ripping you bare; that was the unspoken vibe of the track. Then I literally said, 'What are all the skeletons in my closet that I don't want my future husband to know?' I'll just tell them to the world." Enough time has passed that she's gotten distance from the song, and she's using its video to raise awareness for Kids Help Phone and to draw attention to the crisis of self that young women often experience. 'At the end I say (to my future husband), 'Why would you wanna? I got problems, so go on,' and that's how I felt when I wrote it. I don't feel that way now. The song's hopefully collectively releasing us of the burden, the guilt, the shame, the demons, the lack of self-love'." - Now Magazine, March 2011. Article below, and Juno Award materials above.

March 26, 2016

Statik Selektah "Tribute To Phife Dawg"

Rest In Peace, Mailk "Phife Dawg" Taylor. Statik Selektah paid tribute to the 5-Foot Assassin on ShowOff Radio Show on Shade45, and shared the following message: “Touring with Q-tip & A Tribe Called Quest since 06 … it's been an amazing journey, especially growing up off them. Phife will be missed. Rest In Peace, my man, Phife Diggy…” I can relate, I feel like we all grew up off A Tribe Called Quest, and surely Phife's "Microphone Check, 1, 2 what is this..." is one of those memorable moments we all remember vividly. Tune in below. R.I.P. Phife, I wish I could say more right now.

March 25, 2016

Elzhi "Lead Poison" (Album Stream)

"In the Spring of 2016, Elzhi will release his highly anticipated album, Lead Poison. Serving as a follow up to the instant classic, Elmatic, Lead Poison is poised to become Elzhi’s most desired album to date. With the help of Kickstarter backers, the album transitioned from an idea into reality. Highlighting a bevy of producers from 14KT to Karriem Riggins, the album serves as a recovery album that helps Elzhi confront the cloud. The album looks within himself and seeks peace of mind while fighting through the struggles in his life." Stream Elzhi's deeply personal Lead Poison below...

March 24, 2016

DJ Skarface "MadDILLAiny" (Mixtape, 2013)

DJ Skarface mixes the rhymes of Madvillainy with the beats of J Dilla (R.I.P.) to produce the MadDILLAiny mixtape. Nashville repping/Atlanta based DJ Skarface mixed together DOOM’s rhymes from one the greatest hip hop albums of recent times (Madvillainy) with beats from one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time (J Dilla) and came out with MadDILLAiny. The lyricism and production quality don’t really need an explanation but the mixing is time perfect and the beats chosen for the words are spot on, making this a superb effort from DJ Skarface. - via SampleFace.

March 23, 2016

Exile & Choosey "Ode To The Greatest: J Dilla"

The Los Angeles-reared producer also hosts his own Dirty Science Radio series, and for the latest installment, Exile has decided to pay tribute to one of his greatest influences — J Dilla. DS Radio Vol. 2 sees the production maestro flip samples made famous by Dilla on the MPC — with no loops, as San Diego's emcee Choosey flexes his best bars over the live beats. Listen to it below. - via 2DBZ.

March 22, 2016

Newstalgia "The Formula" (Instrumental Album)

"The Formula” is conceived as the score/soundtrack to an international spy film utilizing sample sources from international music. “The Formula” tells a story of murder, lies, deceit, espionage, terror and mystery over 18 tracks.It’s an action packed, thrill a minute, must hear audio adventure by Newstalgia. “The Formula”, playing in headphones and out of aux cords everywhere. Don’t sleep.

March 21, 2016

DJ Premier & Large Pro "Mini-Mix" by DJ Eclipse

As many of you know, both DJ Premier & Large Professor share a born day: March 21st. DJ Eclipse kicked off a dope mini-mix (30-minute medley) to celebrate the occasion on his Sirius radio show, "Rap Is Outta Control." Because you need to be subscribed to the channel to hear the full show, this mini-mix represents just a sample of the show, be sure to subscribe and tune-in for all future episodes of "Rap Is Outta Control." Check out the mix below, you know what to expect: classic shit!

March 20, 2016

The Halftime Show "18th Anniversary & Finale" (March 2, 2016)

"Here is the 18th anniversary and final episode of The Halftime Show. It features live beats by Large Professor, Evil Dee, Marco Polo, DJ Skizz and some new unheard Pete Rock flavor, DJ routines from Rob Swift, Mista Sinista & Precision and WAY too many MCs to name. Thanks to everyone that listened weekly, everyone that listens here and everyone that ever came through the show. We made history." Yessir! An incredible run, breaking so many incredible records and supporting the careers of damn near every artist to make an impact on the game in the last 20 years. Much respect OG. Follow DJ Eclipse's Mixcloud, and don't miss Rap Is Outta Control weekly on SiriusXM.

March 19, 2016

Binary Star "Masters Of The Universe" (Vinyl Reissue)

This (reissued) version of Masters Of The Universe is a celebration of Binary Star Music and production. The original WaterWorld album featured Decompoze songs like 'What it's all about' and 'Freakin' Flo's', also produced by Decompoze. Those songs were not included on the 2000 Masters of the Universe version, but are now included on this 2016 bonus edition of MOTU. All Out is also included as a bonus track as well as a few more surprises. All songs produced by OneManArmy and Decompoze for the Trackezoids, remixed and remastered by the Autocons. Senim may have officially retired, but Binary Star music continues to shine with OneManArmy (One Be Lo) and Decompoze performing these songs on tour. You can order a physical copy of the vinyl HERE. A true classic!

March 18, 2016

Shamus "Serving Life" (EP, 1997)

Following up on the discussion of Cover The Child of Destruction, it seemed logical to cover another Bronx MC - who also had production from Michelob - Shamus. Going back to '95, Shamus had a solid run dropping joints on his own independent label, Raw Tracks Records. Well-received and even charting at the time, singles leading up to his solo debut in '97, "Serving Life," included "Big Willie Style," produced by Ski Beatz, and "Neva Dream;" an apocalyptic track - produced by Michelob - that sounded on par with something off Mobb Deep's "Hell On Earth" album. As an independent release, "Serving Life" attracted a lot of attention, and so did the single "Tight Team," with production from Buckwild. It also featured a brother name Flu, who was in a group called Rugged Brood, also releasing joints through Shamus' Raw Tracks Records. Along with Flu, Rugged Brood had the members Paradox & Mad Max, also from the Bronx. Their 3 12" releases were kinda dope too, although I really only remember "Dwellin In The Darkness." From there, Shamus released music with a crew named Crime Wave. Their first single was "War Fair," years later more records were released, including the debut album "Scripture Won," which I've seen floating around but I never heard it so I can't say much about it. Suffice to say, "Serving Life" is a really dope, independent record that you can still find on CD, Vinyl and cassette (the cassette is more like a cassingle, it only has 5 tracks). For now, dig into the EP below and pardon my memory if I got the names or timeline mixed up.

March 17, 2016

Dibia$e "Baker's Dozen" (Instrumental Album)

Fat Beats Records is proud to present Baker’s Dozen, an exclusive vinyl series that shines a light on the best minds of instrumental hiphop, ambient, and electronic music. Each installment gives one artist carte blanche to capture their signature sound. Volume One highlights Los Angeles born / Sacramento based beat maker Dibiase, whose style is best described in his own words: 'It’s crazy to think that my equipment collection and beat making process started back in high school with just an 8 second Gemini sampler and a Sony Walkman. It was a super basic set up. Back then I used whatever I could get my hands on. Finding different samples, looping them up, running the layers back through the Walkman. Adding more layers and repeating that process until I had a beat. It worked. My process is a lot different now but in some ways it’s the same. I still do a lot of layering. I use a combination of hardware and software. Sometimes I start with a sample. Sometime I start with drums. It depends on my mood and the genre. Sometime I use a kit. Other times I will sample and layer drums, run them through another piece of equipment like the SP-12 or 404 to dirty them up, then dump them back into Ableton. I really don’t have a set way of doing things musically. I like to experiment with different technics and styles..." Peace to DIBIA$E, stream Baker's Dozen below...

March 16, 2016

DJ Friction "Mixtape 1" (1996)

A nice mix from Germany's DJ Friction, originally recorded in January 1996. The mixtape features joints from KRS-One, LL Cool J, Trends of Culture, EPMD, Junior MAFIA, Das Efx; with some R&B flavor thrown in, alongside a touch of international hip-hop. A solid mix to throw on and get some work done around the crib, to work out to or if you're just driving around town. '96 flavor below...

March 15, 2016

Scarface "The Fix" (Vibe Magazine, 2002)

"Someone once said that the rap game reminded him of the crack game. Though it's a facile comparison, there's no question that many hip-hop fans, plagued by redundant subject matter and recycled phrases, are fiending for substance like Robert Downey Jr. in a locked hotel room. It's only appropriate, then, that Scarface the original street pharmacist, step up with The Fix, his best album in almost a decade... On songs like "Sell Out," Face proves he can run with today's best, firing off polysyllabic rhymes with the nonchalance of Jada and the subtle depth of Nas... He has finally broken free of his patented pendulum flow, heightening the emphasis on the last words of each. Thematically, though, Face more or less sticks to the script his listeners have come to expect: The streets are coldhearted and your best friend will stab you in the back over a dime piece, a dime bag, or even just two nickels, so surrender yourself to spirituality and find peace. But like a truly great MC, Scarface finds new ways to address the same old problems... But rhymes alone don't make an album, and it's Face's superb selection of soulful, bass-heavy beats that propels The Fix along."

"...Blueprint alumnus Kanye West once again proves to be an able vinyl reanimator, offering up sweet organ samples on the Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel collab, "Guess Who's Back," as well as glassy xylophone accents and an abrasive, funky drum break on "In Cold Blood." And yet, the cement that holds the LP together is not the big-name beatmakers; it's the markedly improved production of Mike Dean and Scarface himself. Experimenting with creative arrangements on songs like the intense Nas collab "In Between Us," the two deftly defy the current formula for 16-bar verses and 8-bar choruses. As a genre, gangsta rap has had an incredibly hard time growing up; most of its artists run out of new things to say shortly after the release of their first album. But with The Fix, Scarface makes a compelling argument that gangstas can, in fact, mature. More importantly, they can use that hard-won wisdom and experience to create some of the best music of their lives." - Vibe, 9/02. Dig it...

March 14, 2016

Westside Gunn "Flygod" (Album Stream)

Flygod is the official debut album from WestSide Gunn featuring an all star line up: Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Meyhem Lauren, Your Old Droog, Roc Marciano, Skyzoo, Conway the Machine, Mach Hommy, DJ Q Bert, Chase & Keisha Plum. The production is handled by the Alchemist, Darringer, Camouflage Monk, The God Fahim, Roc Marciano, Statik Selektah, and Apollo Brown. Westside Gunn has generated something of a cult-like following through releases thus far, this is sure to tip the scale and create an army of supporters. Griselda Records is the future of independent, underground hip-hop - especially the hard, Timberland boots rap; I wish I was still in New York to catch them live! Listen to Flygod below and definitely support all the physical merch that's available.

March 13, 2016

Cam'ron "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (June/July 1998)

"Born Cameron Giles, the Harlem-raised rapper started out playing basketball with neighborhood homie Mason "Mase" Betha. Together, they gained fame on playground courts against future pro players like Minnesota Timberwolves' Stephon Marbury and Washington Wizards' God Shammgod. But b-ball wasn't their only skill; Giles and Betha also made a name for themselves among underground rap fans as Killer Cam and Murder Mase - the top draft picks of Harlem's rap renaissance. After Mase joined Bad Boy, he made sure his man Cam met the right people.  "He took me to B.I.G.'s house, and B.I.G. - God blesss the dead - was working on Life After Death; so he had mad beats in his house. I rhymed to every beat he put on. That was my audition." Although B.I.G. never had the opportunity to sign Cam himself, his partner, Lance "Un" Rivera, made Cam'ron his first signee to Untertainment Records." Check the visuals to the smash single "Horse & Carriage"... cont'd below...

"Cam'ron's singles, like "Pull It" (featuring DMX) and "Horse & Carriage" (featuring Mase), and "Magnum," the first release off the Woo Soundtrack (Untertainment), show off his unvarnished, almost spoken-word delivery and easygoing flow. A star player on a team of talented new MCs (Canibus, Big Punisher, DMX) expected to blow up this year. Cam's ready to take home the trophy with his album, Confessions of Fire, due in June. Like the third-team All-American point guard he was in high school, Cam knows how to change up his style to divert the opposition. "I could get on a song with Mystikal if I wanted to. That's the difference in my album. Everybody hears me on hardcore songs, and that's my favorite because I love doing them. But I got Jermaine Dupri on my album; Usher's on my album. Certain people can't do songs with people like that. Even if I got three verses on a song, all three verses will sound different. It takes time, but that's what's got to be done so I can keep your attention." Clearly, it's only a matter of time before Cam has his own tour..."

March 12, 2016

Boogie Down Productions "Live Hardcore Worldwide" (HHC, 1991)

"In his opening statement to the New York audience, Kris Parker claims that this is the first ever live rap album. I thought he might be right, but no, there has been another. Remember the '83 film "Wildstyle"? - that soundtrack was a live album too, and a very sought after one too! Despite this error, "Live Hardcore Worldwide" is an excellent collection recorded in venues all over the globe such as New York, London, Paris and Japan (sounds like a 'Chanel' advert huh?). BDP rush through all the hits - "Jack Of Spades," "Criminal Minded," "Ya Know The Rules," "South Bronx," and "Stop The Violence," to name a few, and a great thing about this live production is that the bass is that much more distinctive." That fact is most felt on the live performance of "Bridge Is Over," listen below...

"Along with various members of the BDP posse such as D-Nice, Harmony and Ms Melodie, KRS-One delivers a gleaming show punctuated by intelligent comments in between the jams. Some listeners may be astounded by various claims that Kris drops - like "Jesus was an African," etc - but as he's insisted, these statements are delivered in order to provoke thought, all part of the Human Education Against Lies project. And as well as being intelligent and conscious, KRS-One also sure knows how to work a crowd into a frenzy! Turn the volume up really loud and close your eyes ... feels like you're there doesn't it? Hey, stop pumping your first in the air!" - HHC, 1991. Listen HERE!

March 11, 2016

Mobb Deep "Young Love" (12", 1996)

Mobb Deep recorded ‘Young Love’ for their third album, ‘Hell On Earth,’ but sample clearance issues kept it off the album. It was released on a couple different releases, including a Pre-Hell EP, but most were unofficial pressings. ‘Hell on Earth’ was so hard, I don’t think the track would have even fit on the album regardless. How would this sound next to ‘Drop A Gem On Em”? It’s still a dope track in its own right, perhaps just not on "Hell On Earth." Reminds me more of "Hey Luv" w/ 112.

March 10, 2016

Scientifik "Lawtown's Finest" (R.I.P.)

"Two decades ago, a promising MC from small post-industrial Lawrence dropped some of the most tragically slept-on rap gems of the ’90s, in the Bay State or anyplace else. The critical album was called Criminal, and featured an all-star roster of producers including Diamond D of Diggin’ In The Crates and Wu-Tang Clan ringleader RZA. Tying together so much ingenuity was Scientfik, a versatile lyricist in a class all his own. Criminal may have been hobbled by a limited pressing and virtually no label support, but his canon has lived on in more ways than one. When Scientifik died in 1998, he had already paved the way for a slew of other Lawtown artists. “Lawrence holds an important place in regards to Boston hip-hop,” says Dart Adams, a music historian and journalist. “It’s the home of Krumb Snatcha, the W.O.L.V.E.S., Reks, Termanology, ST. The Squad … but it all started with Scientifik.” ... Still going by the name MC D-1, in 1990 Scientifik entered a rhyme contest at Club Seven in New Hampshire. His main competitor: Edo G, a rapper from Roxbury who would soon become a Boston legend. Scientifik wound up winning, but Edo thought the crowd was biased on account of the close proximity to Lawrence, so they took it to the bathroom to battle the matter out. “We went at it for about an hour,” Edo says. “Verse for verse. It went so long people started leaving.” Eventually they became friends, and started working together.... Less than six months later, Edo got a record deal. The two emcees agreed that whoever got signed first would help the other, and as such Scientifik was on hand for the whole recording of Edo’s 1991 debut. They kept at it, and when it was time to record Scientifik’s first opus, the 1994 album Criminal, Edo executive-produced with beatmaker Joe Mansfield. For the lead single, “Lawtown”—a track that veritably renamed Lawrence for the rap generation the team laced a crackling horn sample, followed by a bouncing bass line and the kind of thumping boom bap drum that defined the era. In his role, Scientifik flexed both his storytelling chops and his battle rhyme muscles...." Cont'd below via DigBoston + Lawtown's video...

"With such minimal promotional support, Scientifik wound up selling copies of Criminal out of his trunk around Massachusetts, and propping singles on college radio. He wasn’t bitter over record label letdowns, but had rather grown wiser in those years. Toward the end of his life, Scientifik’s readings on religion, self-help, and philosophy started influencing his music. Unreleased tracks like “Boston” (produced by Diamond D) and “Hard to Kill” (produced by Dialek) mixed vivid street lyrics and battle rhymes with references to the Five-Percent Nation, Louis Farrakhan, and God. Furthermore, his talent for penning dense rhymes was sharper than ever, and Scientifik was spending more time in New York securing yet another all-star lineup for his sophomore project, Black Jesus. But it never came. On June 4, 1998, Scientifik and his girlfriend Cora’s car was found overturned on the side of I-495, with a pistol about 20 to 30 feet from the vehicle. According to an article in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune from the following day, police determined that the former shot Betty and then turned the gun on himself. It was ruled a murder-suicide. Friends and family of the couple were shocked and confused, as were police. They had been together for 11 years, and had no history of violence. Most who knew them said the couple seemed happy. Rumors and speculation surfaced, but police never determined a motive. Only the couple knows what really happened in that car." - via DigBoston (October 13, 2004) Rest in Eternal Peace, Scientifik!!

March 09, 2016

J.Rocc & DJ Rhettmatic "Blunt Sessions, Vol.1" (Mix, 2006)

I almost skipped over this particular mix years back because I thought it was some 420-themed mix and I woulda been dead wrong! The Dynamic Duo of J.Rocc and DJ Rhettmatic created a fine mix of nearly 40 tracks featuring Coco T & Shabba Ranks, Jeru The Damaja, Lil' Dap, Black Moon, Nas, Boogie Down Productions, Pete Rock & Method Man, Gravediggaz, Queen Latifah, Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beatnuts, Mobb Deep, Gang Starr, Muro, James Brown and a mix of others. I'd consider this one of their more slept-on projects, so it's time to revisit it today! Listen below...

March 08, 2016

Reks "Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme" (March 8, 2011)

Corey Isiah Christie was a b-boy from Lawtown, MA. When he got around to discovering hip-hop, Reks was born.... For his sixth album, R.E.K.S., all Reks wanted to do was steer hip-hop in the right direction; give insight to the youth and show that rap is relatable to the youth. In an interview with Ghettoblaster Magazine, Reks shared: "We need to take control of our culture and not let the masses destroy it... This to me, is my most personal album, I would say. This one means the most to me because I shed a lot of tears and I gave more pieces of the man that I am on this album." I'm revisiting Reks' Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme album today on the 5th anniversary of its release because it's such a strong album in his catalog. Records like "Mr. Nobody," "Like A Star," "25th Hour" and others stay in rotation and deserve to be highlighted here. The album's production is incredible; handled by Statik Selektah, DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Pete Rock, Nottz, Sean C & LV, Sha Money XL, Hi-Tek, Fizzy Womack and more. I'm thankful for the few opportunities I've had to chop it up with Reks, and to see him grow into one of our genre's greatest lyricists and artists with purpose and a message. Give him his flowers! Oh... and I miss the BBQs at Statik's crib, too. Peep it below...

March 07, 2016

Kendrick Lamar "Untitled, Unmastered" (Album Stream)

"Demos from To Pimp A Butterfly. In Raw Form. Unfinished. Untitled. Unmastered," says Kendrick Lamar. Features and production by Thundercat, Adrian Younge, the homie Astronote, SZA, Cee-Lo, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Frank Dukes, DJ Khalil & more. "Every element of Kendrick Lamar's unedited unmastered tells you something about the Compton MC's provocative, multi-layered genius. Take the contrast of the collection's ultra-generic title and its attention-grabbing out-of-let field release. Take the retro-futuristic, Funkadelic-inspired grooves that simmer under tracks like "untitled 02" or "untitled 06." These are only the beginning of Lamar's hypnotic, nuanced nod to hip-hop's deep roots and unstoppable political and expressive currency. Songs like "untitled 03" and "untitled 05" - with layered references, wide-eyed jazz solos, and cutting insight - continue the brilliant reign of King Kendrick." As with all Kendrick projects, I recommend a purchase, but you can stream it below.

March 06, 2016

Group Home "Built To Last" (Mix)

The 'Built To Last' Radio Show is hosted by Corrado & I Joe, each Thursday from 8-9pm on Radio campus FM in Toulouse, France. This is another artist tribute mix, back home in Brooklyn, New York with the Gang Starr Foundation's Group Home. Lil' Dap & Melachi the Nutcracker are the duo behind the group, with DJ Premier at the helm on production for their debut LP, "Livin Proof," in 1995. To this day, "Supa Star" is still one of the hardest New York tracks in our state's whole collective discography. They've since released 4 more full-length projects (dig!), solo material and lots of features to go along widdit. Dig into the Built To Last mix and see what gems you (re)discover.

March 05, 2016

Grown Man Rap Show "Lord Finesse Tribute" (Mix)

The Grown Man Rap Show is hosted by veteran DJs, Paul Nice & DJ Toast. The show is broadcasted live every Sunday night at 10pm to 12am on 91.5 WRPI in Albany, NY. Last night they aired their Lord Finesse Tribute on Episode 62. Paul Nice kicks it off with joints from Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth, Show & AG, D.I.T.C., Artifacts, some of his early production with Dr. Dre, Leschea, B.I.G. & lots more. DJ Toast takes over for the second hour and jumps into some Big L, Brand Nubian, AK Skills, Xperado, Diamond D, A.G., & even touches the SWV "Right Here Remix," wow he went in with that one lol. Definitely some grown man rap shit, and I didn't even catch it all. Listen to it below...

March 04, 2016

DJ Whoo Kid "Murda Mixtape" (Mixtape, 2000)

DJ Whoo Kid's Tape Kingz release of Murda Mixtape 2000. The mix features a terrible intro, but lots of solid cuts from Nature, Jay-Z, Raekwon, The LOX, 50 Cent, Kurupt, DMX, Shyne, The Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim, Drag-On, Eminem, Nas, 2Pac, Mobb Deep, and more. The tape highlights beef and personal attacks like The Lox vs. Puffy, DMX vs Kurupt, Jay-Z vs 50 Cent and others. I'm not the biggest fan of Whoo Kid tapes, but take the good with the bad, it's got some joints on it. Updated.

March 03, 2016

Jeru The Damaja "Me Or The Papes" (The Source, 3/97)

"Perhaps inspired by such recent adversarial developments as the mixed reception to his Wrath of the Math LP and his thorny feud with fellow jewel-droppers the Fugees, Jeru avenges the damage of these dents in his prophet's armor with his last single serving. While "Me Or The Papes" resumes the saga of Jeru's previous ode to wicked women, "Da Bitchez," with a call for greater understanding, do not mistakenly conclude that the Damaja's gone soft with too much love to give. Jeru's true trump card arrives in the form of the B-side spin-off, "Me, Not The Paper," which cleverly reworks the original version's anti-materialistic message into a moody and personal diatribe directed at - you guessed it - fake thugs. If Premier's masterfully dissected piano provided the perfect musical romper room for the sun-toucher's earth lessons to frolic on the original, here his despondent chords of doom sublimely supply the sort of commanding forum some too often found missing from Wrath: "As long as there's breath left, I'll father the fatherless / If shit was real, Brooklyn'll snatch that chain off your chest / Don't fess, we know why you rock that vest / Hard on records, but really p#ssy, check it / I do this for me, and not the paper." The prophet hasn't sounded this surly since "Come Clean." - The Source (3/97). Poor quality, but peep the video below...

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

March 02, 2016

Hi-Tech & DJ Shok "Mass Vinyl Unofficial EP" (199x)

Let me first say, this is an unofficial EP. I was a fan of Hi-Tech & DJ Shok's production, just wanted to share some of their records on an old blog I had but since it's still live, figured I'd share it here. H-Tech is a NY cat, signed to DJ Shok's Mass Vinyl Recordings in the mid-90s. In '96, I heard "Book of Life," "Weak Minds" and "4 Degrees For The Streets." It was really "4 Degrees For The Streets" that caught my ear because of the cuts, I thought that shit was super dope. I can't say I had great copies of these records, so apologies for that, I tried to get Eclipse to rip them for me but life always got in the way. There were follow-up releases going through '96 into '97, even saw a compilation EP at one point, too, with artists on the label. Ei8 had a joint that was burning up mixtapes in Queens that flipped the "Cheers" sample, that shit was hard to me at the time too. Peace to Mike Nice who might've sent me a better copy of that record at some point. Stretch & Bobbito would play their records, Red Alert & DJ Eclipse too, which is probably hard for younger fans to understand, but we heard underground artists on the radio often back in the day. I probably should have researched this post, but I try to share from memory, for better or worse, lol. You can also find Hi-Tech on a dope record from Creative & some other joints. Peace to DJ Shok.

March 02, 2016

Emapea "Seeds, Roots & Fruits" (Instrumental Album)

Accomplished Polish beat-maker Emapea has made memorable appearances on many Cold Busted label compilations – such as in the IWYMI and Bust Free series – and has been selected for inclusion in Mark Farina’s next Mushroom Jazz installment. All this activity has mouths watering for the debut full length album from Emapea, and the appearance of Seeds, Roots & Fruits doesn’t disappoint one bit. Featuring sixteen exceptional tracks ranging from hip hop to acid jazz to psychedelic trip hop in the style of Mo’Wax, Emapea’s long player is indeed, as a wise man once said, “a journey into sound.” Seeds, Roots & Fruits rises above the average beats album to reveal the enduring depth of this young producer. Cop it on CD, vinyl and/or cassette, plus listen to it below...

March 01, 2016

Masta Ace ''Disposable Arts'' (Album Documentary)

Originally released in 2001, ''Disposable Arts'' is a thematic/concept album by Brooklyn eMCee Masta Ace. The concept follows that Masta Ace is being released from prison, his return to home and joining ''The Institute of Disposable Arts.'' The album contain many guest artists like Masta Ace's group eMC (Stricklin & Wordsworth), Apocalypse, Greg Nice of Nice & Smooth, Rah Digga, J-Ro of Tha Alkaholiks, King Tee, Jean Grae, Punchline, Young Zee and more. Also a bunch of different producers (Paul Nice, Domingo, Deacon The Villain of CunninLynguists, Xplicit, Ayatollah, Sabor and more), this album is seen as a timeless classic album and one of the most flawlessly crafter conceptual projects. In the documentary, you will see most of the contributors to the ''Disposable Arts'' album, with interviews, stories behind the tracks, and more content about the making of “Disposable Arts.” A great documentary, about a flawlessly crafted conceptual album! Dig in below. 

"...It's been five years at least, waiting for a peace
Bouncing off of these walls awaiting my release
Pacing like a caged lion with rage crying
All them days trying to engage with the iron
Stuck in between a rock and a hard place
I got down on my knees, looked into God's face
It's really not the same, is it? With low digits
And y'all ain't hold me down, ain't paid me no visits..."