July 31, 2016

Soul Kid Klik "Mortal Combat" (12", 1997)

Back with some more heat from the underground in 1996; Soul Kid Klik’s “Mortal Combat” 12” on Roach Music. Soul Kid Klik were a New York-based crew that was formed by producer/MC G-Clef da Mad Komposa in the mid-90s and were at one-time affiliated with the Wu-Tang Clan. Reppin’ different boroughs of New York City, the Soul Kid Klik consisted of G-Clef, Blakspik, Goodfella Mike G, Storm Da Ghetto Mutant, DJ Spinbad and Infamous Mr. Savage. While “Mortal Combat” was the first single, it was followed by a couple more 12” releases and finally a debut album in 2001, “Invisible Army” on Hip-Hop Enterprise. In addition, there were several solo releases during the same timespan, however I haven’t heard the bulk of them to suggest what to check out. Update: If you’re curious to hear “Invisible Army,” you can check it out HERE as it’s recently been uploaded to Bandcamp. Vinyl is now available too. Peep "Mortal Combat" and Da Mad Scientist remix below...

July 30, 2016

A Tribe Called Quest "Beats Rhymes & Life" (20th Ann Mix)

“30th July 2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest‘s 4th and penultimate studio album, ‘Beats Rhymes & Life’. Produced almost entirely by the Ummah, a production outfit featuring a young J-Dilla, it’s rich in samples and displays a bass heavy, more stripped down production sound than previous albums. Also heavily featured is Consequence whose career was largely kickstarted by the release. Released 3 years after the group’s seminal ‘Midnight Marauders’ with recording said to have been affected by internal differences in the group, the LP failed to gain the critical acclaim of previous offerings at the time of release, critics suggesting it lacked the chemistry evident on earlier albums. 20 years on however it remains a great listen. In keeping with tradition we’ve teamed up with Wax Poetics to present this exclusive mixtape of album cuts, alt versions and of course original sample material mixed by Chris Read.” Another great mix, please listen below...

July 29, 2016

DJ Skizz "Cruise Control" (Album Stream)

Different Worlds Music Group/Fat Beats are thrilled to announce the release of the latest album from DJ Skizz, “Cruise Control,” available everywhere now. Cruise Control is DJ Skizz’s 2nd official producer album (B.Q.E., 2013). Over the last couple years, Skizz has been laying down the groundwork for Your Old Droog, while producing and working as his tour DJ. He has also been producing for other notable artists, all the while creating his own label/imprint, Different Worlds Music Group. This will be the 2nd official release from Different Worlds. The label released Timeless Truth’s critically acclaimed “Cold Wave” album this past February. “Cruise Control is a sonic progression,” says Skizz. “This album takes you from where B.Q.E. left off- it’s still that raw boom-bap, but this album is a bit more slick and melodious.  On this album, Skizz recruited a mix of veteran OG MCs (O.C., Planet Asia, Roc Marciano, Evidence, etc) as well as up-and- comers (Your Old Droog, Conway, Hus Kingpin, Da Villins, etc) to provide a dope cohesive and original album that is set to be the official Hip-Hop soundtrack for the summer of ’16. Listen below to the Cruise Control album...

July 28, 2016

Masta Ace "Take A Look Around" (Press Kit, 1990)

"Achieve Cause Today Is Over Now
As Clearly As Time Is On No
Apparent Course Toward Improvement, Only Negativity"

"Take the first letters of this bold statement, put them together and you've spelled out Action to the 3rd power: the credo of one of today's most exciting, original and aware young rappers: Master Ace. More than just a master wordsmith, Ace, and his accomplished DJ Steady Pace, are laying out a gameplan for the '90s, in a musical manifesto that stresses hope, optimism and achievement. It's a powerful messaged summed up in streetwise language and irresistible rhythms on Master Ace's brand new album for Reprise/Cold Chillin' Records, Take A Look Around, featuring the def new single "Me And The Biz" -- a tribute to producer Biz Markie and the subject of one of the freshest videos of the season." It adds, "A lot of people think that Master Ace is a duo," asserts this college educated rapper from the streets of Brooklyn. "It's really a group of likeminded people, who are heavily involved in the battle against dope, violence and despair." Masta Ace is just the spokesman...

Below is a portion of the press kit mentioned above, from 1990.

July 27, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Masta Ace Episode"

On the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, the crew takes it to Brownsville, Brooklyn with Juice Crew member Masta Ace. They discuss everything from his early beginnings in hip hop; the creation and break up of the legendary Juice Crew; his journey that strayed him away from the street, as well as serious battles with his health, and why MCs never have an expiration date + much more. Most interviews with Masta Ace don't scratch far enough below the surface, it makes sense that Combat Jack would be an exception and bring out a lot in this interview. Listen below.

July 26, 2016

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 43" (Mixtape, 1995)

It's the Rican Renegade on the control... Tony Touch in the place to be, it's Hip Hop 43. Tony Touch's next tape, Hip Hop 44, would end up being my favorite mix tape he'd ever release, but 43 had some really dope joints, too. Tracks from artists like The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Cella Dwellas, Miilkbone, Tha Alkaholiks, Jeru The Damaja, Showbiz & AG, Cash Money Click, Jemini The Gifted One, Smif-N-Wessun, O.C., DJ Eclipse, Funkdoobiest, E. Bros, Nine, Tragedy Khadafi, Masta Ace, Redman, Da Bush Babees, and more! It's noteworthy that Tony Touch had a snippet from the original demo mix of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Who Shot Ya?" on this tape. The lyrics are slightly different from the final version. Anyhow, dig into another dope Tony Touch mix below... (Updated audio link).

July 26, 2016

Dag Savage "Salvation" (Mixtape)

Back in 2012, Exile and Johaz aka Dag Savage, dropped their Salvation mixtape. The 12-track mixtape features Fashawn, Blu, Gonjasufi, Blame One, Turtle, Aloe Blacc, ADAD, Brea, Justin Taylor and J. Mitchell. Basically a showcase of artists that you typically hear on Dirty Science releases, this mix is just a nice project to revisit from time to time. Since it's in rotation today, I thought I'd re-share it for you to listen to, as well. If you give it a listen below, let me know what you think... and also dig back in the archives for their debut album and another mixtape I'd shared in 2014. Dig into it below...

July 25, 2016

50 Cent "50 Cent Is The Future" (Mixtape, 2004)

Even before he had everyone in the club working it out, 50 Cent knew he had to appeal to the masses. The Future is the genesis of a new subgenre: gangsta pop. Though 50 and his fledgling crew of pals pack this protean effort with plenty of grimy street dreams, the seeds of a rap balladeer were firmly planted here. A triumph of muscular melody. - Vibe, March 2007. Any idea what they just said? lol. To summarize: 50 Cent Is The Future was a classic mixtape on the streets... 50 Cent and G-Unit had it on lock at the time. The G-Unit Radio series; God's Plan; No Mercy No Fear, even Guess Who's Back before them - he had fans captivated and his solo debut release Get Rich or Die Tryin overdelivered on all his promises of greatness. While greater success and access to more revenue streams have taken him further away from music as of late, 50 Cent's legacy was cemented early, and it's still enjoyable to go back and listen to this early material. That said, listen to 50 Cent Is The Future below and way off topic, that Carl Banks (Giants) jersey is still dope to this day too!

Check out the tracklist and a copy of the Vibe review below...

July 24, 2016

DJ Matman "90's RNB: The O.G. Remixes" (Mix)

There's no room on this planet for people that didn't appreciate 90s R&B, especially the dope remixes! So, let's slow it down a little on this Sunday evening. While DJs like Ron G basically helped birth the blending of R&B with Hip-Hop beats and collaborations, there were a lot of go-to artists in the 90s that were featured on countless joints once it was brought to the mainstream. Artists like Mr. Cheeks, Method Man, Craig Mack, Treach, Biggie, Pun, Fat Joe, Jay-Z, Redman and lots more. In this mix by the talented DJ Matman, you'll hear tracks by SWV, Allure, 702, Boyz II Men, D'Angelo, Groove Theory, Horace Brown, Mary J. Blige, Christion, Monica, Jodeci and lots more + some of the MCs mentioned above. "90's RNB: The O.G. Remixes," check it out below! I damn sure miss the 90's!

July 23, 2016

Main Source "Breaking Atoms" (Spin, 1992 + 25th Ann. Mix)

"K-Cut and Scratch (Toronto) discovered rap after moving to Queens, New York, in the late '70s. They met up with member Large Professor in high school and a team was born. Large Professor went on to do studio work for Roxanne Shante and Kool G Rap, and the trio worked together on tracks for Queen Latifah. The three may come from different places, but as far as music is concerned, they're in the same tribe. And it was clear that they wanted "to come up with a whole new joint." Blending jazz and pop and reggae licks, Main Source created a sound that transcends the usual hip hop sonic cliches with wit, innovation, and style." - Spin Magazine, January 1992. To honor a masterpiece in Hip hop music, Hellee Hooper put together this dope mix to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Breaking Atoms by Main Source - although the actual release date is debatable - it's more likely closer to January, 1991. Either way, much respect to the Xtra P, listen to the mix below!

July 22, 2016

DJ Clue "Halloween Hold Up Pt.II" (Mixtape, 1995)

DJ Clue's Halloween Hold Up Pt.II is a mix tape from 1995. It features a solid list of tracks from artists such as Mobb Deep, LL Cool J, Smif-N-Wessun, Smoothe Da Hustler, Fat Joe, AZ, Total, KRS-One, Tha Dogg Pound, Das EFX, D'Angelo, GZA, Fugees, Erick Sermon, Akinyele, Ol' Dirty Bastard (R.I.P.), Mic Geronimo, Lord Finesse, and more. Props to J.Nickelz, listen to the DJ Clue tape below...

July 21, 2016

Soulmade "One For:" (Instrumental Album)

Soulmade's first instrumental LP is called “One For:” The idea is: “One for…”; each beat is dedicated to one or more special people. With great attention to detail, the 14 beautiful Boombap instrumentals were created, and give-off his unique Soulmade flavor. The tracks are rounded off with well-selected cuts, also by Soulmade. Vinyl for the album is available via Daily Concept in Germany. I really dig for these types of projects, throw it on and let it provide the vibe below...

July 20, 2016

Andy Cooper "Songs From My Younger Days" (Mix, 2016)

Enjoy this 30-minute mix of classic Hip-Hop from Andy Cooper of Ugly Duckling. It features funky turntablism and exclusive vocal routines from Andy Cooper. 'Songs From My Younger Days' includes music by all the staple acts of Rap's Golden Age, plus cool surprises for listeners who value skillful and imaginative blending. Artists like Kid-N-Play, The Beatnuts, Eazy-E, Big Daddy Kane, Jungle Brothers, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, A Tribe Called Quest, Showbiz & AG, Das EFX, EPMD, Gang Starr, King T, Diamond D, Run DMC, Queen Latifah, and more! A warning included with this mini-mix, "I must warn those with delicate, digitally-trained hearing, you may detect audible cracks and pops which will sometimes occur due to the employment of a silly thing we antiquated Hip-Hop enthusiasts call vinyl; look it up." Be clear... I'm here for all of it! Dig in below...

July 19, 2016

Rasheed Chappell "Future Before Nostalgia" (2011)

Another super talented MC that I've been following for several years, the homie, Rasheed Chappell. I was first introduced through my friend and co-worker at Fat Beats, DJ Dyllemma, when he and I were doing mixes together. He played me "Building 8," and my ears were wide open, then through the scene, Rasheed and I crossed paths at shows, PNC Studios, etc. I put Eternia on to the music, she became a fan and connections were built that are still strong to this day. An untold story: Rasheed was scheduled to do an interview with my homie, TCM, at PNC Studios years back and I was planning to check with him about possibly managing him. The music Gods had other plans - Rasheed was unable to make it in-studio for the interview, he had to do a phoner instead. Not long after, I was proud to hear that my OG, DJ Eclipse, was actually managing him, so it worked out better in the end, lol. Anyhow, check out Rasheed Chappell's phenomenal project, "Future Before Nostalgia," with Kenny Dope (released in 2011), and be sure to purchase a copy HERE! Listen below...

July 18, 2016

The Combat Jack Show "Stretch & Bobbito Episode"

For the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show, the crew brings out the legends of New York indie radio, Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia. The Stretch & Bobbito show lives in a special place in Hip-Hop history because it jumpstarted the careers of damn near every legendary MC to come out of the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. Kids like me stayed up late on school nights with our headphone jacks in & our fingers on record, then listening back to make a shopping list of what records to cop at the local record store that week. 20 years later, the internet still circulates copies of those shows from tape to MP3, and I still have the same feeling MCs had in the "Radio That Changed Lives" documentary when Stretch & Bobbito played them back their live freestyles from the 90s. It's great that their chemistry is still there, as well their warm sense of humor, and they still have a fresh perspective to offer all these years later! You'll wanna listen to this one, click play below.

July 17, 2016

The Roots "Clones" (The Source, July 1996)

"Sometimes you wish hip-hop could be distilled to a simple equation: talent = success. Unfortunately, it ain't that clear-cut. Case in point: an incredibly talented group outta Illadelphia puts together a debut work that receives critical acclaim, but generates no commercial explosions. Any fool knows that the Roots measure 10 plus on the hip-hop Richter (guess that makes the general public a bunch of geniuses). But if there's a great arbiter of hip-hop fairness, the second time around may prove to be the charm for Black Thought, Malik B & co." Watch the visuals to "Clones," cont'd...

"Clones" and "Sections" are clear indicators of the direction in which the crew seems to be headed. Musically, they've eased back from the live band feel in favor of a more conventional sound. And both joints come with much more of a lyrical edge than most Roots faithful may be accustomed to, particularly "Clones" - which also features capable wordplay from M.A.R.S. and Dice Raw. While Malik B has always had a penchant for flipping on n!ggas, Black Thought could usually be found developing complex verbalistics on varied subjects ... It's too early - and probably incorrect - to say that the Roots are retreating from their original steelo, but they rip through this first single and leave a pointed mission statement on the brain: we are f#cking dope MCs." - The Source, July 1996. 

July 16, 2016

DJ Filthy Rich "90's Canadian Hip-Hop" (Vol.1, Mixtape)

DJ Filthy Rich represents the North with his latest Canadian (90s) classics mixtape: Northern Touch. The mix features rare joints, cult classics and original blends with Rascalz, Choclair, Infinite, Elemental, Saukrates, Maestro Fresh-Wes, Citizen Kane, Madlocks, Nas-T, Sic Sense, Ghetto Concept, Kardinal Offishall, Dan E O, K-OS and more. Peace to DJ Filthy Rich out in Toronto, listen below...

July 15, 2016

Friday Night Street Jam (February 4, 1994)

"I know pretty much every Flex show I've posted starts with the Cold Crush intro, but I will NEVER get tired of hearing that. The way they took their old routines and incorporated Flex into it was so classic. Should have been a hit record. Speaking of classic, Flex hooks up with Mr. Magic to discuss Magic's early beginnings in Hip Hop, stepping away from music, coming back and how he connected with Marley Marl and the Juice Crew. Flex also had Shyheim The Rugged Child as a guest (35:40) who after talking about his connection to Wu-Tang jumps into a freestyle." - via DJ Eclipse.

July 14, 2016

Slum Village "Detroit Deli" (Vibe Magazine, 7/04)

"With soulful samples, witty lyrics, and memorable cameos, Detroit Deli is a breakthrough for Slum Village. Potential singles abound, whether it's "Old Girl/Shining Star," about the troubles endured by round-the-way women; or "Selfish," an R&B-inspired relationship song featuring Kanye West and John Legend; or "Do You," an old-school gangsta track featuring Michigan's MC Breed. A few so-so moments, like the jarring appearance by Dirt McGirt (ODB) on "Dirty," prevent the album sounding flawless. No matter, with Deli, Slum Village claims its rightful place in hip hop's global village."

"And deep inside my bones I'm believing 
that my poems that I'm reading is the songs to my freedom
But life can be known as deceiving, what I'm shown isn't pleasing
Makes me wanna throw stones at a deacon in his home when he preaching
See that's Satan making my heart cold as a breeze till it's frozen from freezing
Gotta get right, I might not make it over this evening
Cause your time period is shorter than breath going from wheezing..."

July 13, 2016

Gang Starr "Full Clip" (Spin Magazine, 10/99)

"If the history of American pop boils down to the beat, and if good beats do indeed last forever, Gang Starr's extraordinary longevity was inevitable. If PE's Bomb Squad was hip-hop's Mingus, extending and inventing form and sonics, and the Native Tongues the Art Ensemble of Chicago, breaking down genres with an Afrocentric playfulness, then Gang Starr was like Basie, who believed that the "essential thing was the time, the rhythm." That is the common thread running through Full Clip's 32 cuts: Swing. Head-nod. Repeat. Even though Gang Starr's influence far outstripped their sales figures (only their most recent album, last year's Moment of Truth, went gold), they proved the centrality of the beat better than nearly anyone in hip-hop. Most of that was due to the production wizardry of Texas-born DJ Premier, who consistently carved sonic masterpieces out of little more than snare and high-hat snaps. His tracks perfectly complemented laconic frontman Guru's sidewinder flow and pointed lyrical observations. The breakthrough "Jazz Thing" (from the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack) and Guru's Jazzmatazz projects briefly earned him and Premier a rep as hip-hop abstractionists. But tracks such as "Credit Is Due," "I'm The Man," "DWYCK," exposed much of the talk about "progressive rap" as mere doubletalk. For Gang Starr, rap progress was mainly achieved by refining, reworking, and reinforcing those nonstop block-rocking beats." - Spin (10/99)

July 12, 2016

Dirty Harry & Big Mike "Bad Boy Reloaded" (Mixtape, 2003)

DJ Dirty Harry & Big Mike collaborated on this official Bad Boy Mixtape in 2003. If you checked out the 4-part series of Bad Boy mixtapes, you have an idea of what this is: joints from the likes of The Notorious B.I.G., Diddy, 50 Cent, Foxy Brown, Mario Winans, Craig Mack, Black Rob, Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Carl Thomas, Nas & Rakim, Snoop Dogg, Loon and more. If you didn't hear those original Bad Boy tapes, make sure to hit up the tags and go back to enjoy those, too. Listen below...

July 11, 2016

Total Eclipse x Mista Sinista "X-Men Xtravaganza" (Mixtape, 1996)

Two of the X-Men - Total Eclipse and Mista Sinista - collaborated on this mix back in 1996 called X-Men Xtravaganza! This original mix tape features tracks from the Refugee Camp AllStars, Camp Lo, M.O.P., Mobb Deep, Foxy Brown, Ghostface Killah, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Redman, PMD, Jam DOT, A Tribe Called Quest, and more '96 flavor. Total Eclipse and Mista Sinista are two of the dopest turntablists, and surely they flex their skills, but they let the music do most of the talking on this one. Listen....

July 10, 2016

Nature "Queens Classics" (Album Stream)

The Queens kid inside me is rejoicing at the release of Nature's "Queens Classics." Nature had a real run in the late 90s! Having a hand in some of the greatest mixtape cuts, unreleased tracks and definitely Queens classics, this run through his back catalog should stir up a lot of nostalgia for anyone that kept an ear to the street at the time. The 15-track compilation features tracks with Tragedy Khadafi, Blaq Poet, Nas, Noreaga, Littles, E Moneybaggs, ACD and more. There's only track I don't see on here that I've always tried to get my hands on; the track floated around with the names "If I Ain't A Thug" and "Bitch Ass Cat," not sure what it was officially called. Anybody? I also remember coppin' white labels with the tracks "Jungle Music," "Magic & Bird," and other tracks on the project that give me similar memories to reminisce on. Get nostalgic, dig into this one below...

July 09, 2016

Homeboy Sandman "Unsigned Hype" (The Source, 6/08)

"Chris Rock should be psyched to know that Homeboy Sandman keeps it real instead of real dumb. The Elmhurst, Queens MC is equally book smart and street smart, and, most impressively, he showcases attitude and aptitude on beats. Outside of music, Sandman earned an Ivy League diploma from U-Penn and a New York City teaching fellowship before he turned twenty-three. Considering his academic feats, headhunters might argue that he's far too employable to be rocking underground bills at New York spots like Crash Mansion and the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe. But this dude is not about the cash. Sandman's sole purpose is to get authentic rap artists some mainstream shine. "I want every record in this collection / On every radio getting reception / In every neck of the woods and neighborhood in every direction," he rhymes on "Extreme Measures." Always advancing down inventive paths, Sandman chases last year's Nourishment with Actual Factual Terradactyl, which features production from Madlib, Skammadix and his go-to beat team, 2 Hungry Bros. And if his history of dropping eternally eclectic singles like "Lightning Bolt" and "Knock Em Out" is any indication, the only thing to expect is to not know what to expect." - The Source, June 2008. With all the success he's seen since, if you ask him if things have changed? He'll answer, "Not Really."

July 08, 2016

Jean Grae & 9th Wonder "Jeanius" (2008)

"I remember first hearing a leaked version of 'Jeanius' back in 2003 and thinking DAMN this is definitely one of the iller female MC's I've heard in a while. I really recognized the voice and couldn't put my finger on where I'd heard it before. It was only later I came to realize Tsidi Ibrahim went under the name What? What? and had a rock solid discography dating back to the mid-90's where she put in work with the group Natural Resource and got busy on a bunch of ill shit. If you're still sleeping, give your f#cking head a shake." - The Find Mag. I remember the leaked version quite well, too. In fact, I still listen to it often. I also remember the in-store at Fat Beats and the artwork inspired by Das EFX, Black Sheep, Raekwon and Public Enemy. Jean's mind inspires me through her wit, her humor, creativity and natural skill on so many fronts. It's impossible to box her in, and yet I'm certain fans and media alike try their best to do it, whether they know it or not. Despite being winter, it was as hot as the Knitting Factory basement in Fat Beats the night of Jean Grae & 9th Wonder's Jeanius in-store. Talib Kweli was in the building. Jean had made him a to-go plate of chicken and rice (or something similar); he sat at the counter and enjoyed it as fans packed into the store looking for copies of the album, a live performance and autographs from both Jean and 9th. TCM even sneaked an interview on the low, while others waited impatiently, lol. Jean signed my copy "We still need these!," as if my copy of the album was the right place to take a dump on Fat Beats... I respected it though, lol. They were, however, kind enough to give me a shout-out that made working their in-store and tolerating the customers all the worth it... you can peep that HERE. I'm thankful I've had numerous opportunities to tell Jean directly how her music has touched me (especially "Fade Out"), and I'm also glad she continues to release music, videos, a web-series, and so much more. My favorite cuts off Jeanius are "8," "Don't Rush Me," "My Story" and "Love Thirst." The album isn't currently available through streaming platforms, so I hope you cop'd one of the physicals! You can see my footage from the in-store at Fat Beats HERE, HERE, and HERE.

July 07, 2016

Joe Budden "Wake" (Prod. by araabMUZIK)

"Introspection means dig deep, let's look below the wealth
I wanna know myself
How you tell bitches know they self
When you don't even know yourself?
You wouldn't know yourself
Say he Canadian, maybe Asian, Croatian
Be sounding like his Jamaican friends, depend on what state he in
I think you rap good, but you a movie star
So that owl's appropriate, we don't know who you are
Where did the boy's brain change? Was it the club scene?
Now you sound like you use people and love things
But later for how you use people and love things..."

I look at this "battle" and say to myself, there's 0 incentive for Drake to jump in this beef; he leverages his celebrity too well. It speaks for itself. Tracks like this, however, further prove that Joe is a top tier lyricist and he's the sibling-like rapper that knows exactly what to say to hit where it hurts, lol. In the end, this will be a loose track in the catalog of a superior MC that continues to showcase the best of his abilities on tracks that never end up on an album. I can say that for "Whatever It Takes" and several others he's recorded as features and mixtape cuts over the years. I salute his pen, and wish we'd get more but we won't. And that's okay, I think Joe's gonna find more success in media than rap, and there's no defeating Drake in the long-run, the conversation will just shift (win or lose) and things will go back to regularly scheduled programming. Either way, enjoy below and go back and re-listen to "All Love Lost," definitely one of my favorite albums from 2015.

July 06, 2016

DJ Adlib "Tales From The Tablist" (Mixtape, 2002)

I was originally planning to do a separate post to cover an MC out of Cincinnati, OH named BJ Digby aka Holmskillit, but the track I was gonna post ("Surrender") wasn't released on an official album or 12" by BJ Digby himself, it floats around on compilations and 12" releases with other artists on B.U.K.A. Entertainment, so my thought instead was to post up this fresh mixtape by DJ Adlib. The mix kicks off after the intro with "Surrender" and then covers tracks by Dave Ghetto, Planet Asia, Geology, Kan Kick, Mr. Complex, Lone Catalysts, Wee Bee Foolish, Declaime, Kazi & Oh No, Quasimoto, Lord Finesse, O.C., INI, Thurst and more. As a whole, a more enjoyable listen throughout. I do wish, however, that BJ Digby would have released a full LP at the time (if he did and I'm wrong, please correct me?), because "Surrender" is a really dope track (prod. by Usef Dinero) from '02. In 2007, he released a project with J. Rawls as Holmskillit that's worth checking out too. Peep the mix below...

July 05, 2016

Nolan The Ninja "He(art)" (Album Stream)

"Nolan The Ninja is a throwback in many regards. In an era where many are just thrust into the realm of music without having gone through a proper stretch of artistic development, Nolan has been through the gauntlet and honed his abilities to the razor's edge over the past few years. Nolan's debut LP "he(art)" is the culmination of years of performances and recording until he was ready to deliver a concise, well-rounded album that represented his evolution into a fully formed artist. "he(art)" exhibits the growth, depth and introspection you'd expect from an artist coming into their own and finally realizing their true potential. "he(art)" takes you on a journey of a young man from Detroit finally seeing his lifelong dreams of becoming an emcee following in the footsteps of his idols and influences coming to fruition. "he(art)" showcases production from several prominent beatsmiths including MoSS, Def Dee, Nick Speed while also boasting features from rhyme veterans and up and comers alike such as Phat Kat, Guilty Simpson, Finale, Noveliss and Red Pill (Ugly Heroes). After listening to this project it will be clear to the listener that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the sky's the limit on this remarkable talent. The heart is what sets everything else in motion in the human body and without love for the art of the craft you will never try to achieve greatness."

July 04, 2016

DJ Jazzy Jeff x Mick Boogie "Summertime Vol.7" (The Mixtape)

"Deja vu, tell you what I’m gonna do..." is hit you with Volume 7 from DJ Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie in their Summertime mixtape series! As always, the perfect soundtrack to summer, I look forward to it each year and they never disappoint. This year's installment features tracks from De La Soul, Tony Toni Tone, Jill Scott, Total, Jay-Z & Nas, Salt N Pepa, Big L, Chubb Rock, EPMD, Eric Clapton, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Mary J. Blige, Mad Lion, Capleton, Foxy Brown, Puff & Mase, Talib Kweli, 50 Cent, OutKast, Troop, Vanilla Ice, David Bowie & Queen, Hall & Oates, Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Biggie, MC Lyte, TLC, Aaliyah and lots more. Listen to another great mix below!

July 03, 2016

Ugly Heroes "Everything In Between" (Album Stream)

Few things are more ugly or heroic than telling the truth. Life is often bleak, brutal, and over all too swiftly. Leaders are corrupt. Job prospects are limited. But between the lunacy and squalor, there exists those who make it all worthwhile: family, friends, and ruthlessly honest artists who remind you that you aren’t alone, shedding light on those dark nights of the soul. As Michigan’s anti-Surgeon General, Red Pill quips: “We may not be the heroes this world needs, we're definitely not the heroes this world wants, but at least we're here.” His partners in Ugly Heroes are Chicago MC Verbal Kent, and Detroit producer Apollo Brown. Their sophomore Mello Music Group release, Everything In Between, offers diamonds of wisdom amidst the existential dumpster fire. It’s been said that if you go down deep enough, past the personal, you eventually reach the universal. Ugly Heroes embody that axiom, unraveling their own stories, self-doubts, and bouts with depression to arrive at something as profound as it is vulnerable. Apollo Brown warps soul music and bayonet-hard drums, creating a singular form of soul-coughing dirty-sky symphonies. Levitating boom-bap for the 21st Century. In a frivolous world, Ugly Heroes prove that talent will always reign supreme and honesty can never become obsolete. Listen to the latest Mello Music Group release below...

July 02, 2016

Nas "It Was Written" (Hip Hop Connection, 8/96)

"The question remains - is it too much to pin our hopes on one man? We know Nas has the talent but lest we forget, this Queensbridge original is still young. Still, you can't help thinking Nas has the character to unify our increasingly disparate community. He knows that It Was Written will get the microscope treatment big time... Nas' Illmatic was a hip-hop milestone that Trackmasterz, L.E.S., Premier (again) and Dr. Dre are charged with emulating and then some. Columbia's confidence for their prodigy meant Illmatic bore the production of the best. It's a hard act and it'll take time before the effects really kick in to follow, but early indications point to success - Premier performs his magic again and Dre finally snuffs out rumors that he's a one-trick kid..."

"Yet the focus has to be on the lyrics. On It Was Written Nas' thoughtfulness and intelligence continues to shine, his flow is just as intoxicating as it was way back on 'Live At The BBQ.' Favored topics revolve around keeping your wits about you, keeping your nose clean and keeping it real. 'If I Ruled The World' is a familiar flight of fantasy about the perfect life while 'Silent Murder' samples Soul II Soul and catches Nas urging his brethren to "keep a lid on your tongue" when hauled in by the constabulary. As ever, the welfare of his peers remains paramount, an assumption cemented by 'Affirmative Action,' where Nas' Firm of Foxy Brown, AZ and newcomer Cormega exchange verses with their illustrious cohort. It all confirms that this isn't Illmatic II but then it couldn't be. The world's kept on moving on since then and now there's a lot riding on Nas. We need him to do well again. Will he? Maybe, but only time will tell. Whatever's written, it's now down to the likes of you."

July 02, 2016

De La Soul "Stakes Is High" (20th Anniversary Mix)

“This month (2nd July more precisely) marks the 20th anniversary of the release of De La Soul’s fourth studio LP ‘Stakes is High’. A departure from the sonic identity of previous long play offerings, the album addresses social issues and the changing state of hip hop in ’96 over production from the likes of the late great Jay Dee and ATCQ collaborator Skeff Anselm among others. Guest vocals come courtesy of Common and a young Mos Def. In celebration we’ve teamed up with Wax Poetics to present this exclusive mixtape featuring tracks from the LP, alternate versions, remixes and original sample material used in the the creation of this much loved classic.”

July 01, 2016

Pete Rock & CL Smooth "All Souled Out" 25th Anniversary Mix

“This week marks the 25th Anniversary of the release of Pete Rock & CL Smooth‘s classic debut EP ‘All Souled Out’, the 6 track Extended Player that placed one of hip hop’s best loved Producer / MC duos on the map and set the stage for two of the most revered albums of the early 90s, 1992’s ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother’ and 1994’s ‘The Main Ingredient’. In celebration we’ve teamed up with Wax Poetics to present this exclusive mixtape featuring tracks from the EP, alternate versions, interview snippets and of course original sample material used to create this timeless classic."

July 01, 2016

Geto Boys "My Mind's Playing Tricks" (The Source, 1991)

"When "My Mind's Playing Tricks On Me" blew the fuck up, we were surprised. It got props on both coasts and in the middle, and scored on both Video Jukebox Network and Yo! MTV Raps. But we shouldn't have been surprised. The Geto Boys have always shown major skills, and "Mind Playing Tricks On Me" brought them together to create four of the most chilling minutes in hip-hop. Surreal and substantive, the single took us on a terrifying trip through the mind of gangster under the gun. With Willie D, Scarface and Bushwick Bill as guides over a powerful beat sprinkled with a light guitar chord, "My Mind's Playing Tricks On Me" was an experience that was not matched. Even before the single dropped, the Geto Boys proved that they couldn't be stopped... by anyting. After Geffen Records refused to distribute their major-label debut and the group left Rick Rubin's Def America, many though that they would fade away into obscurity. Wrong." Peep the visuals, cont'd below...

"After Bushwick Bill, drunk and depressed, shot his eye out, many thought that the Geto Boys were too crazy and self-destructive to matter. Wrong. Instead of wallowing in the Geffen-Rubin mess, they went back to Rap-A-Lot, the Houston independent label, and hooked up with Priority to get their shit out. Instead of running from tragedy, they embraced it, going far enough to put a picture of an injured, hospital-gowned Bushwick Bill - flanked by his partners - on the cover of their next album, the appropriately-titled (and fiercely compromising) We Can't Be Stopped. The cover may have been hard to swallow, but the album wasn't: the record went gold without a video in a time when "no video" supposedly equals "no sales." If that's not enough, Willie D and Scarface dropped solo records, which sold buck wild - with Bushwick Bill not too far behind. Going into 1992, the Geto Boys are no longer a novelty act; they have became a true rap superpower." - The Source, 1991.