August 31, 2016

Happy Born Day, Fab 5 Freddy!

Born Fred Brathwaite to Jazz loving parents in the Bed Stuy section of Brooklyn N.Y., Fab Five Freddy’s introduction to pop culture came courtesy of a name check on the pop group Blondie’s 1980’s hit, “Rapture”. “Fab 5 Freedy told me everybody’s fly”. That line was Fab’s calling card and introduction to the world of pop culture. He initially exploded on the scene in the late 70’s as one of the first Graffiti artists to exhibit his paintings internationally. Fab was key in getting the art-world to realize NY graffiti was spawning a movement that would eventually pulsate globally, and give birth to street art. Like many creative figures from the NY scene in the 80’s, Fab would explore other modes of creative expression. At the seminal Times Square Art show, he linked up with budding filmmaker Charlie Ahearn and came up with the idea that eventually became the cult classic and first film on Hip-hop culture, “Wild Style”, which he also produced, stars in and composed all the original music for. After numerous solo exhibits, Fab wanted to reach a broader audience so he decided to direct music videos. His first assignment was the song “My Philosophy” for KRS-ONE. Fab would go on to direct numerous videos and commercials for artists like, Queen Latifah, Nas, Snoop Dogg, and companies like Pepsi. Shortly after settling in behind the camera in the late 80’S, he was asked to host a program called YO! MTV Raps, which immediately became the highest rated show on the channel and blasted Hip-Hop culture into the living rooms of mainstream America and millions in countries around the world. Today Fab is focusing on making visual art, exhibiting his work, and was featured in the Los Angeles Museum Of Contemporary Art, “Art In The Streets”; the block buster exhibit that was a historical survey on graffiti and street art. Show some love to Fab 5 Freddy, a true pioneer, who celebrates his Born Day today! Updated below with a throwback video with 2Pac.

August 30, 2016

DJ B-Mello "Nine-Five, Pt.2" (Mixtape, 1995)

This is a bangin' mix tape from Seattle's DJ B-Mello... this one is called Nine-Five, Pt. 2. The '95 mix tape includes joints from Jeru The Damaja, Lord Finesse, Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, Frankie Cutlass, Common, Method Man, Large Pro, Ten Thieves, Black Moon, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Channel Live, Mary J. Blige, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Heather B and more. You know what to expect, dig into it below...

August 29, 2016

Eternia "Keep U" (Prod. by Apathy)

"Sometimes the summer time brings back memories ..." Enter "Keep U," the new track from Eternia,  produced by Apathy of the Demigodz. Exclaim Magazine adds, “Taking stock of the music she has released over the years, Eternia certainly has a case to be ranked as one of Canada’s most consistent hip-hop lyricists. Critically acclaimed, she’s snagged two Juno noms and a Polaris long list selection for At Last, her collaboration with producer Moss in 2011. It’s been a while since she’s released anything new, but "Keep U” impressively breaks the silence on her hiatus…" Listen below...

August 28, 2016

Its Overture "The Hot 97 Tapes" (Summer Of '96 Mix)

Well said by Its Overture, "An unauthorized fever dream remixing memories of Hot 97 in the summer of 1996." The mix features tracks from Nas, Royal Flush, Jeru The Damaja, Nine, Wyclef Jean, A Tribe Called Quest, Monica & Treach, Common, Lil' Kim, Real Live, Jay-Z, Big  Noyd, Heltah Skeltah, Artifacts, O.C., INI, Mobb Deep, The Dogg Pound, 2Pac, Outkast, Junior Mafia, Shadez Of Brooklyn & so many dope chops from Hot 97 ads, drops, tags, and lots more lol. A truly unique concept, gotta give props to Macabee & Riverse for putting it together as a kid that grew up listening to Hot 97. Listen to the mix below, "The Hot 97 Tapes," the summer of '96 mix ... reminisce with it below...

August 27, 2016

Blu "Soul Amazing Part 6" (Mix)

Back at it, here's part 6 in the "Soul Amazing" mixtape series from Blu. This installment features verses from tracks once featuring Fate, JR & PH7, Co$$, Kero Uno, L'Orange and Kool Keith, Oh No, ScienZe, K-Def, Maticulous, Red Pill, Ivan Ave, and, as usual, lots more! As a fan of Blu, each mix is essential to your collection, check it out below, and hit the tags for the full mixtape-series. 

August 26, 2016

Mr. Thing Celebrates 25 Years of Pete Rock & CL Smooth (Mix)

WhoSampled celebrated the ‘All Souled Out’ 25th Anniversary with a separate mix I already posted, but in celebration of 25 years in music, the Mount Vernon duo are embarking on a world tour. In support of 2 shows in London, former DMC champion and BBE Music recording artist DJ Mr. Thing has put together a great mix looking back on Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s 25 year career comprising of classic tracks and album cuts alongside the original samples. Listen to this great mix below...

August 25, 2016

Lupe Fiasco in The Source + 1st & 15th (Mixtape, 2006)

"...Three years ago, the 21-year-old Chi-town native lyrically mesmerized Jay-Z over the phone. The two have kept in touch ever since, meeting up to listen to each other's unreleased lab work. "The whole time, Jay was on the radio saying, 'Yo, Chi-town, I got one of your n!ggas from the West Side,' " says Fiasco, whose government name is Wafalu Muhammad Jaco. "We always had that relationship. But signing to the Roc, it just didn't pan out. The situation wasn't there." Still, thanks to Jay's statements, major labels like Bad Boy came calling. In the end, Artist's L.A. Reid snatched the young rhyme slayer through his production company 1st & 15th. "I just love his wordplay," says Jay-Z. "Everybody is stale right now, so he's refreshing to me." Fiasco's signing with Artists was his official introduction to the game, giving his whole fam at 1st & 15th the opportunity to get their movement jumping. Not only is Fiasco the production company's premier artist, he also works as president and co-owner while his manager, Chilly, is CEO.... Being a leader comes naturally to the rhyming Muslim. Lupe's been a black belt in several martial arts since his youth, and though he later succumbed to street life, he's given up the hustle for good. Today, he watches his fries get cold as he waits for two guest spots from Jay-Z." - The Source Magazine. You can save a copy of the article below...

Check out the Lupe's "Fahrenheit 1st & 15th" mixtape below...

August 24, 2016

J Dilla "Back To The Crib" (Mixtape)

It's already been a decade since J Dilla - the mercurial producer and rapper from Detroit - passed away and his posthumously completed album, The Shining, saw the light of day on BBE Records. As they prepare to release the project on 7" for the first time, we're extremely honored to get our hands on a never-before-heard mixtape by the master himself. Made some time between mid-1999 and early 2000, it's a fly-on-the-wall showing of what Jay Dee had blaring out of his speakers while on the sofa or by the MPC. Sink into your own couch and press play to enjoy the mixtape below.

August 23, 2016

Brock Berrigan "Way Of Life" (Instrumental Album)

Way of Life is the latest 15-track (instrumental) offering from the mysterious producer who goes by the name of Brock Berrigan. The masked-avenger of production returns with another solid instrumental album, chopped full of comedic vocal samples, live instrumentation and ill-vibes. There's lot of energy and a cinematic feel on Way Of Life that's sure to help the break the monotony on the tail end of this summer season. Listen to and support Brock Berrigan's Way Of Life below...

August 22, 2016

Redman & Joe Budden on Hot Ones (Videos)

Something different... Hot Ones' host Sean Evans asks his celebrities guests questions while they attempt to complete rounds of chicken wings coated in spicy hot sauce. Sound entertaining? It is! Taking it to Jersey one time two times, they have legendary MCs Redman and Joe Budden on the show. These are two of the most entertaining episodes of the show. I think the concept is genius and these episodes make me laugh, so as this is a journal of sorts, I wanna make mention of it here so I can remember to go back when I need a laugh, lol. Sound fair? Ok then... The Redman episode says, "Over more than two and a half decades in the game, the rap veteran and How High star has toured the world with Method Man, put out some of hip-hop's most memorable albums, and repped his Jersey roots to the fullest. Now, watch him risk it all while taking on some of the most brutal hot sauces on the planet." The Joe Budden episode says, "The Jersey City emcee may be stirring up headlines these days with his string of Drake disses, but let's be real: We've always wanted to get Joe into the hot seat. The hip-hop rabble-rouser proves that whether it's a hot-sauce duel or a rap battle, he never backs down." Looking for a good laugh? Watch both great episodes below...

August 21, 2016

DJ Steve1nder "In The Rain" (Mixtape, 2010)

DJ Steve1nder tags this album as "my ode to songs about rain." It sounds sad and blue, and maybe it is at times, but the hour-long mix really works. I love a quality-themed mix, and DJ Steve1nder delivered something unique and memorable to me even all these years later. It was originally released in 2010 - or at least that's when I first heard it? If the weather fits the theme, then give this ambitious, genre-crossing and meshing mixtape a full listen below... what more can I say? Dig in...

August 20, 2016

DJ Hedspin "The R Mixtape, Vol. 1" (Mixtape, 2010)

Vancouver’s DJ Hedspin in conjunction with Sharks+Hammers came together to produce this new lively Rakim mixtape back in 2010. It’s a compilation of some of Rakim’s greatest records that unarguably shaped his illustrious career. It’s one big mix that’s been cut, mixed, chopped and scratched to perfection. Obviously you'll hear solo joints, as well as Eric B. & Rakim records, but this mix touches the samples from Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Bobbi Humphrey, Bob James, Cecil Homes, Bill Withers, James Brown, The JB's, The Soul Searchers, Kool & The Gang, Funkadelic, Eugene McDaniels, and more, too. Plus some features from Jody Watley, DJ Premier and Kanye West, Truth Hurts, Talib Kweli, Gang Starr, Nas and Alicia Keys. Dig into (and download) The R Mixtape, Volume 1, below...

August 19, 2016

Royal Flush "Ghetto Millionaire" (The Source, 3/97)

"One in 650,000! That's your chances of being dealt a Royal Flush: the perfect hand in a game of straight Poker. Likewise, the odds of you purchasing a classic album in the game of hip-hop nowadays seems close to those numbers as well. So why, pray tell, do we continue to support this art form amidst such unfavorable odds? Well, mom dukes always told us not to gamble, but the possible musical rewards seem to turn even the most frugal of betters into compulsive high-rollers in search of that elusive jackpot. With that said, let us ante up, gentleman... Introducing Royal Flush, today's featured gambler, and accompanying him to the betting table is Ghetto Millionaire, his debut album. Far from a long shot, the Flushing, Queens native first secured himself a seat at the soloist table via his laudable contributions on labelmate and confidante Mic Geronimo's The Natural, and his underground shiner, "Movin' On Ya Weak Production." Check "Iced Down Medallions," cont'd...

"Following in the tradition of great MC's from his hometown, Flush displays an unyielding flow and fierce syntactical rhetoric on the plush "Iced Down Medallions," featuring Noreaga, the brilliant NYC pledges of allegiance "Rotten Apple" and "Worldwide," and the breezy Buckwild-blessed "Everyday Dream." With the topic of domestic abuse currently high on the nation's consciousness, Flush's ice-cold narrative "Hard Times" is sure to garner some attention. Fed up with the physical abuse of his father on his family, Flush decides to take matters into his own hands: "I went downstairs and grab the nine right from the sink / Came back upstairs and put the shit right up in his face / What up now daddy? / I shot him in his face and smiled gladly." Powerful stuff. Despite the occasional attempt at radio-chummy fluff - the Michael Jackson inspired "I Can't Help It" and the millionth use of Roy Ayers on "Shines," Royal Flush's Ghetto Millionaire is, overall, a safe bet. Put your money where your mouth is and recognize one of the Q-Borough's most talented newcomers."

August 18, 2016

14KT "DAMN U Mix" (Part 1 & 2, 2010)

If you're a fan of Ypsilanti's producer/MC 14KT, then diggin' into the archives for older material is never a loss. Below are two episodes from Karat Gold Radio... the 1st episode was recorded ahead of the 2010 Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle, where 14KT was a finalist. The Athletic Mic League / Lab Techs producer linked up with DJ Rhettmatic of the World Famous Beat Junkies to release the "DAMU U" mix they did featuring some of 14KT's best production. The second episode announced that 14KT had WON the Red Bull Beat Battle championship! To celebrate, 14KT connected with DJ Graffiti to hit y'all in the head with a second part to the "DAMU U" mix that KT and Rhett had created previously. It features some of 14KT's best production and includes beats that 14KT featured in the battles. You'll hear tracks and remixes with Invincible, Jay Electronica, Erykah Badu, Obie Trice, Buff1, Kanye West, Danny Brown and more. If you haven't heard his Nowalataz instrumental album, I recommend you check that out immediately after this post! Listen below...

August 17, 2016

Cypress Hill "25th Anniversary" (Mix by DJ Matman)

To mark the 25th anniversary of Cypress Hill's smoked-out, self-titled debut LP, DJ Matman has cooked up a sweet mixtape featuring album tracks, remixes, and original sample material. You should already be familiar with all the classics included on their debut album, but the real gems lie in the walk through these classic original samples from The Bar Kays, Booker T. & The MG's, Curtis Mayfield, Grant Green, Jack Margolis, Muddy Waters, The J.B.'s, Kool And The Gang, Jimmy McGriff, Willie Hutch, Grand Wizard Theodore and lore more. Peace to DJ Muggs, B-Real and Sen Dog.

August 16, 2016

Alicia Keys "Next" Feature in Vibe Magazine (June, 2001)

The 20-year old, who often opens her show by playing Tchaikovsky, smoothly croons the first verse, revealing herself as more than just another ingenue. In this moment, and throughout the songs on her debut album, Songs In A Minor, she exudes the impassioned depth of an old-school soul veteran. "I feel an emotional connection with artists like Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, and Nina Simone," she says. "I study them. My dream is to be that good someday." Many industry observes think that she's well on her way. Her album has strong prerelease buzz, and she's even gotten props from one of her idols, Roberta Flack. "Alicia has a remarkable gift," says Flack... "There's something unique and special that sets her apart." Born in Manhattan, this daughter of a black man and an Italian woman has been developing her talent since composing her first song, a puppy-love ode called "Butterflies," at the age of 14. From that point on, she aggressively pursued a music career, cutting demos and even recording briefly with Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label, which resulted in her appearance on the imprint's 1998 Christmas album. But her career began taking off once she met industry legend and former Arista Records president Davis, who signed her to his new label, J Records. Keys says that she "clicked" with Davis because he allowed her to take creative control of her tunes. "He respected and encouraged my songwriting," she says. "And he believed that I was good enough to hold my own in the studio." Indeed, Keys serves as writer/producer on much of her album, including her first single, a haunting R&B ballad titled "Fallin'." But, true to her love of pioneering artists, the set also features a cover of the Prince classic "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?" "My album has songs that I pray will stand the test of time," she says. - Next, Vibe Magazine (June, 2001). I met Alicia Keys once in the early 2000s, she was amazing! Listen below...

August 15, 2016

DJ Eclipse - "Soul In The Horn" (Mix)

"Last week (7/29/16) I was a guest DJ at Natasha Diggs and D Prosper's "Soul In The Horn" party along with my man DJ Buck. Like the name states the theme is to play all records with horns in them. I liked the set I had prepared for the night and since I didn't record it live at the party, I decided to recreate it live at home. This is what I played that night (except a little tighter) plus a few more that I didn't get a chance to rock." - via DJ Eclipse's Mixcloud -- check it out below...

August 14, 2016

DJ Rhettmatic & DJ Shortkut "On The Road Again" (2000)

DJ Rhettmatic and DJ Shortkut collaborated on the On The Road Again mix tape in 2000. The cassette was released on their Beat Junkie Sound imprint and featured tracks from Dilated Peoples, Visionaries, Styles of Beyond, The Creators, Foreign Legion, Swollen Members, Royce Da 5'9, Muro, Square One, Reflectional Eternal, Slum Village, Phat Kat, Phife Dawg, Guru, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Cali Agents and more. As a hip-hop head on the East Coast, the track selection for this mix tape wasn't my particularly my favorite at the time, but revisiting it all these years later, I hear a lot good elements that I overlooked back in 2000. Props to DJ Rhettmatic, listen to the mix below...

August 13, 2016

Gensu Dean & Denmark Vessey "Whole Food" (Album Stream)

This full-length collaboration between Gensu Dean and Denmark Vessey comes packed with all the vitamins and nutrients you could possibly need without any of the frivolous packaging. The pair’s debut as a duo on Mello Music Group imagines mugshot spreads in Newsweek and blood dripping down starched white aprons, and there are no $6 cappuccinos in sight. Over the past year, Vessey had developed into one of the most buzzed-about rappers in the underground circuit. The Detroit native dropped one of 2015’s most critically acclaimed records with Martin Lucid Dream, a heady, pointed treatise on the state of America’s shared psychosis. On Whole Food, he expands his purview to encompass the whole human body, from the biscuits and gravy weighing down your stomach to bullet wounds in your abdomen. And he does it all with empathy, wit, and supreme technical skill. For his part, Dean continues to be one of hip-hop’s best kept secrets, a masterful sample chopper whose attention to detail makes him one of the best. Gensu and Denmark piece together one of the loosest, most visceral records in recent memory, one that’s filled with punishing bass lines, clever asides, and astute observation. Dig into another dope release from Mello Music Group below...

August 12, 2016

New York Live, WNYU (April 10, 1996)

"Here's a little more then half the show from this night. Luckily I have all the guests. The X-Men are introduced on the first mic break (5:12) and then proceed to get busy. Roc Raida goes first (7:13) then Rob Swift (11:08) and finally Mista Sinista (18:21). After their sets they get on the mic and discuss a little of the history of the X-Men as well as their new VHS release "X-Ercize" put out by Fat Beats (24:02). DJ Riz gets back on afterwards and plays some more new joints up until the next mic break (53:18) where Mayhem announces INI is about to get on, but not before Pete Rock gets on the wheels for a bit (56:37). INI finally join in (68:05) with an interview and freestyle and then the show goes right into Lace Da Booms (80:37) who closes out the night." - via DJ Eclipse. Listen below...

August 11, 2016

Dirty Harry "In The Line Of Fire" (Mixtape, 1999)

In 1999, Dirty Harry dropped In The Line of Fire, another great mix of original tracks and Dirty Harry's infamous remixes. The tape included joints with Nas & Puff, Monica, Total, Foxy Brown, TLC, Mobb Deep, Ja Rule, Nature, Sauce Money, Ghostface Killah, Slick Rick, DMX, Faith, Sade, AZ, Redman, Cuban Link, Black Rob, and a lot more. I've always been a big fan of Dirty Harry, so it's always dope diggin' back into these old remixed tapes. Listen to In The Line Of Fire below. (Updated)

August 10, 2016

Hard 2 Obtain "Ism & Blues" (Reissue)

Peace to the fam over at Deep Concepts Media ... this is their latest cult-classic reissue, Hard 2 Obtain's "Ism & Blues." In early 1994, Hard 2 Obtain caught fire with its smash underground single “LI Groove,” a tune that affirmed through a Rakim sample that the trio represented “New York, from Long Island.” On the strength of H20’s newfound respect among Hip Hop’s cypher legions, H2O dropped “Ism and Blues” - the album has hazy funk and jazz echoes with a rapper’s delight format. MCs Taste and DL are B-Boys in the traditional sense, playing off each other nicely with call and response rhymes. “LI Groove” may be H20’s only real claim-to-fame track but “Ism and Blues” does contain a few other hidden highlights. The horn-heavy “Ghetto Diamond” is a fortified ode to beautiful women of a Hip Hop persuasion and “Heels Without Souls” fuses Hip Hop and the R&B-styled vocals of Vinia Mojica (A Tribe Called Quest) with some flair. This largely slept-on album also features a guest appearance from New Jersey underground stalwarts the Artifacts and boasts production from the Stimulated Dummies aka SD50s. The album rooted in jazz, R&B, and an old school Hip Hop aesthetic caught a ripple of popularity with the non-mainstream Hip Hop audience but, rather unfortunately, the threesome were never heard from again, that is until now. Listen...

August 09, 2016

Ras Kass "Anything Goes" (The Source, August 1996)

"During this time of bicoastal animosity it's good to hear an MC who isn't easily categorized, and thus restricted, by his/her geographical location. Ras Kass, a fixture within the Southern California underground for some four or five years, does the listener a favor and lets his lyrics represent himself ... Both his delivery and production are solid and entertaining, although the lyrics are surprisingly commonplace for an innovator of Ras' stature. The song resolves around its chorus - "Big bank take little bank / Anything goes / Legal or illegal / However you make your cash flow" - and is shaped by Ras Kass' attitude of nonchalance and detached observation. He observes, like KRS-One, that "capitalism is pimps and hoes" and that "nowadays fools don't how to act / cuz we all wanna be Tony Montana," with the same monotone delivery he employs when commenting on his daily activities, his preference in woman and the po-po." Watch the video for "Anything Goes" below...

"At best, Ras Kass's lyrics are witty and his delivery casual and conversational. Anything goes is sure to get some airplay outside of the left coast, yet you probably won't be hearing it booming from many rides or on many mixed tapes. It seems as if the dictates of the industry and the market have Ras Kass playing it safe, accepting the mundane - as defined by Ras's stratospheric abilities - rather than risking the extremes of a hit-or-miss single that may make or break a burgeoning career." - The Source, August 1996; save a copy of the review below if you're interested.

August 08, 2016

Ali Vegas "Generation Gap" (Billboard, 12/9/00)

"One day, Ali Vegas is in the office freestyling for the TrackMasters production staff, and days later the 18-year-old MC from Queens is in the studio with the hit squad, recording songs that comprise his debut album, "Generation Gap," dropping on Trackmasters/Columbia Feb. 27. His first single, "Theme Of N.Y.," is commercially released Dec. 12. Vegas (aka Ollie Williams) has create a strong buzz by appearing on mixtapes with songs like "The Specialist" and "Gangsta's Life" featuring Capone (Capone-N-Noreaga). As a pre-pubescent rapper, Vegas was fortunate to have hip-hop artists like members of Onyx, Tragedy and Panama P.I. mentor him so that he was more than prepared when opportunity knocked." You can stream the full "Generation Gap" project, cont'd below...

"I was young, and a lot of people don't (work) with young people because they have got to go through court processes and everything," he recalls. "I got a lot of experience because those guys kept me around." His album features tracks with AZ, Capone, Panama P.I., as well as the Urban Wolves - his clique. In-house producers from Urban Wolves Entertainment join TrackMasters in producing Vegas' set. "I just want people to respect me," he says about the hopes of his debut set. "Cause you can make a hot record and people don't respect you. I want respect." - Billboard, 12/00.

August 07, 2016

Thank You, Praverb The Wyse.

Reflecting on our brother, Praverb the Wyse, in the back of my mind today. I've said before, but he still inspires me in his absence; gives me something to aspire to with how he carried himself and brought light to others. Over the years, we’d spoken on e-mail and social media countless times and I always knew that if I made a suggestion, shared a vision or championed an artist, he would go to great lengths to carry that vision forward - whether I knew it or not. To me, that made him twice the man I ever was, because I always shy’d away from things, and I knew he was a torch-bearer for ideas I’d leave lost in a notepad. I am sorry that he didn’t hear that from me (more) directly; it’s a reminder to celebrate the people behind the scenes that work tirelessly and selflessly to advance a culture that can be so thankless at times. I honor you only by becoming more like you; staying inspired, and by paying it forward for those to follow behind me/us. As he humbly once told me, "It will get better fam..." Rest In Peace, Earl Patrick McNease aka Praverb The Wyse... you are missed.

August 06, 2016

DJ Mitsu The Beats "Celebration of Jay" (Album Stream)

"...Even after his passing I greatly respect him (J Dilla) as a mentor, and I have longed to dedicate an album for him in order to reflect on my present self. The intension of this album is not to imitate, but to present myself while reflecting on how his influence has helped me to find my own style. This is a dedication of my style to him, which would not have been possible without his influence. I will continue to respect him. Thank you Jay Dee / Jay Dilla." - Mitsu The Beats. Hear the album below...

August 05, 2016

"Make Some Noise" (Toronto Hip-Hop Documentary, 1994)

"Make Some Noise" is an hour -long documentary that examines the underground rap music scene in Toronto. It focuses on the rappers, disc jockeys, managers, producers, radio annoucers, and personalities who helped create Canadian hip hop culture. It includes a rap-star cast which includes early appearances by Ghetto Concept, Thrust, a youthful Mos Def, Dan-E-O, Wio-K, Da Grassroots and Farley Flex. The backdrop of the film mostly takes place in the neighbourhoods of Rexdale, Bloorcourt, Scarborough and the once lauded CKLN, Ryerson University’s community radio station. This essential survey of Toronto's burgeoning rap scene in the early '90s received a Special Jury Citation for Best Canadian Short Film when it screened at the Festival in 1994. Produced at a time when, despite the breakthrough success of Maestro Fresh-Wes, hip hop was still largely absent from Canadian airwaves, the film profiles some of the key players of the era, from groups like Nu Black Nation, Da Grassroots, and Ghetto Concept to producers, DJs, graffiti artists, and record-store owners. Featuring dynamic performances and frank testimony from the young musicians (most of whom hail from Rexdale) about still-pressing issues — institutionalized racism, police harassment, the stereotyping of Black musicians as "gangstas," etc. — Make Some Noise remains as vital and relevant as when it was made. Directed by Andrew Munger. More information available at UGSMag.

August 04, 2016

Joe Budden Freestyles on Funk Flex (Video, Hot 97)

By now, it's pretty clear that I'm an album guy -- I don't post a lot of singles, loose tracks or videos. That said, there are moments that impact the culture that don't land on an album, ie: performances, freestyles, interviews, etc. I try to make mental notes and tie that into related content, but some shit ultimately stands on its own. Enter the Funk Flex freestyle series on Hot 97. Flex has been embracing the battle scene of late, and has always recognized the value of beef in hip-hop. Plus, to give the man his flowers, he has definitely championed classic hip-hop for decades. I don't imagine I'll appreciate all the artists he brings up to his show - after-all, it's 2016 and this is Hot 97, but I've been a career-long fan of Joe Budden and with all his detractors on standby, it's important to celebrate when it just comes down to the music, because that's where you can hardly discredit the man's skills. Lines like "No argument, follow in the blueprint that my hood wrote / So every footnote put my foot in that quote," or "Play superhero here, might lead to a dead pool," showcase his lyricism, and we can't forget that Drake sent shots in Joe's direction first, so the bars "Besides you jabbed first, but both knew my jab back harder / A tad fast like Zab at the sparring" are well placed in the session. With retirement looming in the background - even with the Rage And The Machine album on the way - it's dope to see Joe just get back to pure rhyming, check it out...

August 03, 2016

RahSun & Big Pun "I'll Be Around" (Reissue)

I can recall back in '98 when I came across RahSun's "I'll Be Around" maxi-single CD. I caught the feature from Big Pun & copped it on the strength but as soon as the baseline moved my speakers, I knew it wouldn't be a purchase I'd regret. Of course, Pun tore through the track with his ferocious flow & while I never copped RahSun's LP, "It's Not A Game," I probably would have it if I had come across it soon after I purchased the single. Lyricist Lounge threw a show in NY around the same time with Rah, Eminem & even more raw talent just passing through to show out on the mic. Years later now, a re-issue has been posted online of the maxi-single & the "It's Not A Game" LP. You can stream the track below & props to Joe for holdin' Pun down on the pampers.

"My Twinz already know, 
I'm always amped and ready to roll
Lendin me dough for Pampers when it was twenty below
That's how I know who to trust
That's how I know for who to bust..."

August 02, 2016

Cocaine 80s Discography (4x EPs)

At the helm of Cocaine 80s is super-producer No I.D., along with Common, James Fauntleroy, Kevin Randolph, Steve Wyreman, Rob Kinelski, Makeba Riddick, Jhene Aiko & more. They joined forces in 2011 and have since released four projects, the most recent of which being “The Flower of Life” in 2013. The group, with No I.D. on the production, uses their different individual styles to create an alternative hybrid style of Hip-Hop & RNB. On their 2012 EP, "Express OG," Nas was featured on the song "Chain Glow," and in return Cocaine 80s was included on Nas' "Life Is Good" album - also in 2012 - on the song "Where's The Love." With a total of 4 releases (28 tracks), so far everything has been released for FREE. Seems too good to be true, I'm with you, but creators are gonna create, and sometimes "FREE" cuts through a lot of the red tape. I haven't heard news of more new music, but in the words of HeadQcourterz, I'm keeping my "Head up, eyes and ears open!" (Rest In Peace).

The Pursuit EP (Download HERE) | Ghost Lady EP (Download HERE).
Express OG (Download HERE) | The Flower Of Life EP (Download HERE).

August 01, 2016

Big L "The Danger Zone" (Album Stream, 2011)

The Danger Zone is the fourth and final posthumous album by the late great Big L, released on RBC Records. Big L's brother Donald Phinazee produced most of the album and other production came from DJ Phantom. The album was originally announced on April 12, 2011, and features artists such as Gang Starr, O.C., Herb McGruff, A.G., Roc Raida, Lord Finesse as well as other D.I.T.C. members. It is the second album that contains unreleased and unheard tracks and freestyles after Return of the Devil's Son. I haven't checked this one out yet, but it's Big L, it cannot be bad! Rest In Peace, Big L.