Monday, May 30, 2016

Noveliss "Mic Swordz" (EP Stream)

"Fresh off of the success of "Toonami Tsunamis," Noveliss is back with his new EP "Mic Swordz." Always inspired heavily by Anime, Noveliss sharpens his blade in this 9 track ode to Microphone Swordsmanship. With a special appearance by Add-2, Mic Swordz has arrived." Peep the latest from Noveliss below, "Still at, Illmatic as Halftime / kick the fat rhymes at your favorite rapper until he flatlines / Lyrically in great shape, 1st place in a decathlon / Tell Zordon I need the Mastadon to crush your dad and mom..." I don't catch all the anime references, but he goes in for sure.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Royce Da 5'9 "Tabernacle: Trust The Shooter" (EP Stream)

In advance of his release of "Layers," Royce Da 5'9 drops off a promo EP, entitled "Tabernacle: Trust The Shooter." The 12-track EP features Styles P, Westside Gunn & Conway, as well as production from DJ Premier, Mr. Porter, AraabMuzick, Nottz & more. If this was released to get me hype for the album, you have succeeded, Royce! Do yourself a favor and stream the EP below.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Heather B "If Headz Only Knew" (The Source, 5/96)

"In case the name and face of Heather B are only familiar to you from that MTV Real World bullshit, go back and check your hip-hop history. Homegirl has genuine credits in this game, including a long association with the Boogie Down Production crew of old. A short while ago, Heather jumped back into the hardcore swing of things with "All Glocks Down," a joint whose pulsing beat and in-yo-face vocals made it a swift underground fave. Now the sister's returned with another hot piece of wax. "If Heads Only Knew." Kenny Parker keeps the BDP connect tight by laying down some swingin' percussion, thick bass and intermittent hits on the high end. With that kind of platform, all Heather has to do is execute; and she performs that function in spades, dropping a chorus that brooks no debate about where her mentals are at: "If heads only knew how I felt about the rap game, they'd know I ain't going out." Heather rounds out the vocal end of the joint with an aggressive delivery and battle-type lyrics reminiscent of BDP in its confrontational heyday ... If "If Heads Only Knew" is indicative of the material Heather can amass, a bigger and better presence in the hip-hop world is certainly there for her to seize." Much love to Heather B, from The Source in May, 1996.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kanye West Beat Tape 1997

"I miss the old Kanye, straight from the ‘Go Kanye… Well, some of his diehard fans got their wish today (May 23rd), as an enterprising type has liberated what appears to be one of Kanye West‘s very first beat tapes. Dated 1997, they sound exactly as one would expect beats in 1997 to sound: slightly jiggy and piano-heavy like the production of Puff Daddy’s The Hitmen team. Some of the beats were actually used too, for artists such as the Infamous Syndicate and Grav." - via 2DBZ

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cypress Hill "Insane In The Brain" (The Source, 6/93)

"The much-anticipated return of the boys from the Hill finds B-Real, Sen Dog and DJ Muggs kicking flavor similar to the material on their debut smash LP - and that's a good thing. The A-Side begins with an insane Latino voice saying, "Don't you know I'm loco?" and leads into a hardcore track that sounds like Pete Rock's "The Creator" coupled with deep bass and trademark screechy noise. B-Real shows and proves that his nasal flow never gets played, and after two billion other records have talked about smoking weed, it's almost reassuring to hear the standard Cypress tales of shooting down suckers and puffing mad herb. The hook utilizes Sen's baritone response voice - when B-Real says "Insane in the membrane," Sen calls back with "insane in the brain!" Check out the video...

"The b-side kinda reminds you of the Wild West, with its bouncy bass, long organ sound, and B-Real saying, "I'm comin' out blastin like Yosemite Sam!" Guaranteed: the nearly one million fans of the first Cypress LP will be grooving to these tracks, proving the old saying correct: if it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Sure Shot Single in The Source, June 1993. A full copy of the review is available below.

Monday, May 16, 2016

De La Soul & Common "The Bizness" (Live At Tramps, NY 1996)

Live at Tramps, NYC, 1996 is a live album recorded by De La Soul on May 16, 1996, at New York's famous Tramps nightclub, and released by De La Soul in 2004. In the clip below, De La Soul is joined on-stage by Common, to perform their gem of a track, "The Bizness," from the Stakes Is High album. Also on stage is Mos Def, hyping and doing background vocals. If you haven't checked their live album, it's definitely dope and captures a moment in hip-hop history. Audio is "ok," and videos like this will suffice if you missed it. It's been exactly 20 years since this was recorded, check it out...

Monday, May 16, 2016

2Pac "Tupac Finds The Afterlife In Last Video" (Vibe, 1997)

For those that weren't of age or if time has faded the memories, you might not remember how soon after 2Pac's tragic death we were given the somber visuals to his song "I Ain't Mad at 'Cha." This post in Vibe will take you back... "By now you've probably seen the video for Tupac's "I Ain't Mad at 'Cha": the one in which 'Pac is shot to death, goes to heaven, and becomes a guardian angel; the one that MTV premiered (and played hourly) three days after Tupac's real-life demise; the one that invited sensational headlines like: Eerie final video predicts death. Eerie? Sure, especially when you listen to Tupac rapping over the images, "Picture us inside a ghetto heaven / In my chest I feel pain." But hardly a surprise. From "Bury Me A G" to "If I Die Tonight," Tupac has always grappled with mortality (his own and others') in his music." Peep the visuals to "I Ain't Mad at 'Cha," cont'd...

"Even this final video is actually a variation on another video that Tupac himself directed for Oakland rapper Mac Mall's '94 debut, "Ghetto Theme." In that clip Tupac kills Mac Mall, whose spirit then haunts 'Pac and makes him repent his murderous sins. The difference in this version is that Tupac no longer plays the loser but the lost; leaving behind his homie, played by real-life friend Bokeem Woodbine, as well as us to mourn. "I Ain't Mad at 'Cha" is just the last chapter in the life of a man who never seemed fully comfortable with his place on earth. He often cited a troubled childhood, the lack of a father, an inability to fit in. Like many in our generation who've felt the same, he feared anonymity more than death, wondering if people would appreciate him more after he was gone. Seeing images of Tupac walking in the clouds while his friends grieve below, you can't help but hear another of his self-conscious lines, "How long will they mourn me?" How long, indeed." - Vibe 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Chino XL "Here To Save You All" (The Source, 5/96)

"Public Enemy first posed the question: "Why are you so hostile?" The answer gave voice to arguably the foremost emotion underscoring hip-hop, the confrontational. Since then, nearly every MC to have picked up a mic has employed infinite rhyme and reason in trying to build on that sentiment. Unfortunately, the expression has, for the most part, been diluted. Simply put, too much of hip-hop's rage has grown tired and impotent. These days it is the rare artist that infuses new energy into hip-hop's most tried and true well-spring. Chino XL is such an artist. Get ready to throw down props for his debut, Here To Save You All. First and foremost, Chino can rhyme. Last year, two of his unreleased songs - "No Complex" and a collaboration with Ras Kass called "Riiott!" - circulated throughout the underground, popping up on The Source's "Fat Tape" and on hip-hop radio across the country. The full album proves neither joint was a fluke. The 16 tracks on Here To Save You All are a densely-packed, tightly-wound, searing, non-stop verbal assault on everyone and everything." Watch the visuals to Chino XL's "No Complex," and more cont'd below...

"Chino takes the venerable practice of reworking pop culture and current event references into hip-hop contexts to a new level: O.J., Eazy E, the U.S. Invasion of Haiti, Woody Harrelson, teen pregnancy, Heidi Fleiss, Darryl Strawberry, welfare reform, even his own label - "My company (Rick Rubin's American Recordings) is fuckin' me like Arsenio does Eddie Murphy." You name it, they all get done. Still, what is perhaps most impressive about Here To Save You All is the fact that it's a record with equal amounts style and substance. Listen closely and you'll pick up more than laugh-out-loud jokes and disses. "No Complex" takes on the insipid materialism of much of today's hip-hop: "What I Am?" deals with growing up as a child of mixed ethnicity; and "Ghetto Vampire" and "Rise" delve into complex political and spiritual territory. The beats don't miss either. The album's production is laced with an intricate, Wu Tang-like flava. Although Chino is an East Orange, NJ native, a good portion of Here To Save You All was recorded in LA and the record successfully incorporates elements of both coasts' sounds. Here To Save You All is solid, dynamic and refreshing. It's both good and good fo ya." - The Source, 5/96. You can save a copy below + peep 2 of the adverts used to promo the LP.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Canibal Ox "The Cold Vein" (CMJ, August 2001)

"The members of Harlem's Cannibal Ox not only relish the ol' school, but a time before ol' school. During "Ridiculoid," from the duo's debut Cold Vein, Vordul Mega offers a stream of consciousness recollection: "I still remember the age of Coleco, a daily struggle, but I hold onto the vision - hip-hop at its best when it lacked television." If you take away rap's broadcasted glamour and everything it bore - the gold chains and the stretch 4x4s - you return to the era of politically empowered street griots such as Harlem's Last Poets. The urgent cries and idealistic ponderings of Mega and his partner Vast Aire often recall their conscious rap forefathers, mixing references to Jackie Gleason, Sigmund Freud and the Kennedy Curse into anecdotes about welfare mothers and that "anorexic space between love and hate." (Updated) ... Check out video of the Cold Vein record release party: the performance features Cannibal Ox, El-P, and Mr. Lif in front of a sold out crowd. This amazing show took place on June 24, 2001 at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Cont'd below...

"Producer El-P (formerly of Company Flow) spill-paints the tracks with rocket engine swooshes, moody bass notes and fax-machine feedback. It's not always the most head-bopping combination, but it allows room for the rappers' philosophical squiggles, which simultaneously decry the era of soundbites while utilizing its most effective weapon. You may be able to find funkier hip-hop tracks, yet you'll be hard-pressed to find a more brilliant report on the mindstate of Harlem youth - one that remains reverent to that neighborhood's poetic past." - CMJ, August 2001. (Updated).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Large Professor "The Mad Scientist" (The Source, 5/96)

"Except for his work on Tribe's Midnight Marauders LP, the Large Professor has been very much on the DL for the last few years. After his split from Main Source, heads were set for him to embark upon a solo career and blow up like many of his homies have. But the mastermind behind the 1991 classic Breaking Atoms decided to take his time. Not one to cash in or jump on the next trend, the Extra P made sure his shit was correct. And at long last, in the 9-6, he has returned. On "Mad Scientist," Large restates his lengthy resume and plots his return to prominence in the rap game" I'm called the mad scientist Extra P / About to set up shop and drop this next degree / On the masses / Yeah it's the live guy with glasses / From Flushing / Known for programming percussion." It's obvious that Large came up in an era when tight skills were a must. His crisp delivery makes it easy to understand every rhyme and his classic flow is an automatic head-nodder. The track itself works off a simple bass-and-snare kick and features a healthy amount of scratching." - The Source

You can see the full 12" review from The Source below...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Aloe Blacc & Rhettmatic "Blaccmatic" (Album Stream)

Rhettmatic explains, "For the last couple of years, in honor of my birthday (May 10), I've been releasing some music to the public as a thank you to everyone who've been supporting my musical endeavors throughout the years ... today is no exception. Everyone by now should be familiar with the talented soul singer, the man called Aloe Blacc. Unless you are not into Underground Independent Hip Hop or didn't grow up in the Southern California Music Scene during the 90's, you might not know that Aloe Blacc is also an incredible Emcee and is part of a group called "Emanon" with producer extraordinaire, Exile. What a lot of people may not also know that Aloe & myself recorded a whole album together back in 2004. How this project came about is basically, both Aloe & myself were at some type of crossroad in terms of what we wanted to do as artists, individually. Aloe was taking a break from Emanon in terms of exploring, recording solo projects & working with different artists.... As for me, I was also trying to expand my horizons as a producer. Everyone knows me mostly for being a DJ/Turntablist from the Beat Junkies & the only production work that I did that people are aware of is with the Visionaries. I wanted to branch out & work with different artists as well to see what else I can do that I can't normally do with my own group. We recorded 14 songs but had really 11 strong songs. The plan was to shop the project but it never got a chance to materialized because we both went on to other things: Aloe got signed as solo artist on Stones Throw & I went to work on the 4th Visionaries' album "We Are The Ones". Fast forward to 2016....I had a chance to revisit the album ... I reached out to Aloe to remind him about our project. Even as busy as Aloe is now, he took the time to listen back to the album & said it would be dope if people could here our progression. He suggested that we release this album as a FREE project & gave me the idea concept of the album title & cover artwork. I am very lucky that Aloe gave me his blessing to release this project that you are about to listen now. We hope you enjoy this time capsule & this little nostalgia from our musical past. And the saying goes...the rest is history. To everyone that's taking the time to listen to this piece of history, as well as those who've been supporting me & musical endeavors from the get go, thank you very much." - Rhettmatic <--- Happy Born Day!

Monday, May 09, 2016

DJ Soul "Common: Time Travelin" (Mixtape)

In 2011, in advance of Common's release of "The Dreamer, The Believer," DJ Soul and OkayPlayer joined forces to release this quality mix. It features a variety of rarities, remixes and lots of classic cuts from Common's back catalog. At some point, fans are going to have to give this Chicago MC his flowers, because he's had an incredible career: in and out of music. Yes, he's had a miss or two, but he comes back strong every time, so I except no less on "The Dreamer, The Believer." He's an album-based artist with deep roots in all the elements in the culture of Hip-Hop. Whether he's been tested to produce a hit, showcase his skills lyrically in battle, b-boy, act, or even freestyle, he's stood tall. I've seen him at the biggest award shows and right home at Fat Beats, you gotta support that. The fact that some of you don't kinda bugs me, focussing on all the wrong shit, lol.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Da Youngsta's "I'll Make U Famous" (The Source, 1996)

"Growing up is hard to do, just ask Da Youngsta's. Five years and three records ago, the threesome from Philly entered the hip-hop universe with a pugnacious, precocious sound that made up for whatever it lacked in maturity with a vibrant, infectious enthusiasm that embraced the group's youth. But on I'll Make You Famous - released by the venerable, independent Philadelphia rap label, Pop Art Records - Qur'an, Tarik and Taji are out to let you know they ain't no kids no more, despite the fact that all three are still under 20. Da Youngsta's are now to be known as the Illy Funkstas, and their first album as such seems intent on proving the importance of the distinction. This time around, 17-year Qur'an and company focus on the big boy concerns of swinging to survive, whether it's on the street, the mic or in the bedroom. The title single is a made-for-radio cruisin' jam that speaks on the pleasures the Funkstas have to offer the ladies. "Bloodshed and War," featuring Mobb Deep, teams the trio with one of their bigger influences in yet another hip-hop ode to the business of the street corner. "Verbal Glock" highlights the maturing confidence the group has in their ability to take on all MC comers..." Check out the video for their title track, cont'd below...

The rest of the review is mixed and speaks to the pitfalls in the album, saying "it lacks the elusive flava that makes good beats great records." You can check out the full review down below...

Friday, May 06, 2016

Group Home "Suspended In Time" (The Source, May '96)

"With a solid debut album and 2 hit singles under their wing, the Group Home strike again with track #5 off the Livin' Proof album: "Suspended In Time." The simplistic lyrical style they've been notorious for is pretty much erased on this hypnotic head mover. With its positive message surrounded by pure street essence, "Suspended In Time" is bound to make your system and your mental bump. The beautifully produced track is another tight masterpiece by none other than DJ Premier. The melodic sounds of mystical flutes embrace the beat while, in the same tradition as "Livin' Proof," he brings his infamous scratch technique to the Rebel I.N.S. line, "Don't talk the talk if you can't walk the walk" ... Score another hit for the Group Home who, with all the bullshit feedback, still manage to deliver the realness." - The Source (5/96). Image by Danny Hastings. Video below.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Fourfifths 'Earth Wind & Fire' 12" (1997)

Fourfifths 'Earth Wind & Fire' 12" (1997)

Fourfifths released this 12” in 1997 on Conception Records, which was a really dope label in Seattle, Washington. The label was co-founded by the Sharpshooters; Mr. Supreme & DJ Sureshot, in ’93. They released early records by Jake One, Diamond Mercenaries, Kutfather, Eclipse, Da Grassroots and even my brother, MoSS. The ‘Walkman Rotation’ compilation put together by J.Rocc may be one of their most known releases, because it showcased a little from each member on the roster. As for Fourfifths, it was Cuniform, Sub-Zero, and Nickle Slick, with a really dope remix by Jake One on this 12”. There are 2 variations, a blue sleeve and a green sleeve of this 12”, not sure if there’s any difference between them. The scratches on the 12” are handled by DJ Ace. Listen below.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Phoniks & Raashan Ahmad "Above The Clouds" (Album Stream)

The "Above The Clouds" EP is the newest collaborative release from bay area emcee Raashan Ahmad and Portland, ME hip hop producer Phoniks. It's infectious combination of electric piano loops, filtered basslines and lively drum breaks lay the backbone as Raashan exhibits his natural groove as an emcee masterfully over the project's 7 cuts. Positive lyricism and jazzy soundscapes invoke memories of artists like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul while featured emcees such as Virginia's Awon, Chicago's MC ADaD and Slimkid3 of legendary hip-hop group The Pharcyde each bring their own unique rhyme style to balance the sonic palette. All these factors lead to a jazzed out, feel good project that is both relatable and refreshing, perfect to digest on a sunny afternoon cruise this summer. - Phoniks. Stream/Download "Above the Clouds" below.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Doo Wop "The Best Of Freestyles Vol.1" (Mixtape, 1995)

"Doo Wop doesn't use the title "DJ" in front of his name, because the title "dee jay" does not fully describe Doo Wop's talent and ability. Known to many as "Da Bouncemasta," Doo Wop has made a significant impact in the hip-hop and mixtape world, and he is considered by most to be an urban street legend! Born in Los Angeles, California, but brought to the Bronx New York at the age of 2, DOO WOP has paid more than enough his share of dues." This compilation of classic and unreleased freestyles features Raekwon, AZ, Lost Boyz, Treach, M.O.P. and more. (Updated, new audio link).