November 30, 2016

Royce Da 5'9 'Tabernacle' (Prod. by S1)

It's approaching the end of the year and while I don't do lists, I am convinced that Royce Da 5'9 has the song of the year with his S1-produced track, 'Tabernacle.' For a veteran emcee to dig deep and share so much this late in his career isn't an artist reinventing himself, it's an artist discovering himself. His path to sobriety has been inspiring and I wanna put it in the atmosphere that I'm pushing for him and think 'Tabernacle' is an incredibly impactful record that deserves all the accolades that our culture unfortunately doesn't truly offer to artists with his skill-set. If it did, he woulda been outta here many years ago! His 'Layers' album and the prequel, 'Trust The Shooter' are both available and should be supported. The moving visuals for 'Tabernacle' are below, check it out.

November 29, 2016

Fatt Father "Veterans Day" (Album Stream)

Detroit MC Fatt Father and D.R.U.G.S Beats have collaborated on a new project entitled Veterans Day. The 22-track offering features Royce Da 5'9, Kuniva, Miz Korona, Nolan The Ninja and more. Fatt Father shares that they have "cooked up the ultimate feast with all of the trimmings; every verse, hook, bass line, feature and sample is well-crafted and adds to the album's rawness." Speaking to their attention to detail, the album is also available in V-Day Drive, pre-loaded with the album and bonus tracks; music videos and Fatt Father's previously released album Fatherhood. It comes in a metal carrying case and has 8GB of storage. In addition to great music, it has 5GB of free space and you can wear it as a chain around your neck. Pretty dope concept - click through to order!

November 29, 2016

Ei8trak "Cheers" (1998)

Ei8 is short for Ei8track; an MC out of the Bronx, New York. He was down with Mass Vinyl Recordings; a label discussed on here a few times from the 90s. Ei8 was part of the group Parallax (and now part of The Faculty). He dropped a couple 12" releases in the late 90s, and this one in particular had a B-Side joint called "Cheers," with production from Garsha Vega. He flips the popular television show theme to "Cheers," and with the hard drums, actually pulls it off. I first heard the track on a mixtape by DJ Promo, who serviced mixtapes to a spot called Numbers Records in Queens in the 90s. There was one on Fresh Pond Road that relocated to Myrtle Avenue and one in Jackson Heights. Anyhow, the 12" features another B-Side joint called "Are You Ready Son?" with fan-favorite Hi-Tech too - both songs making it worth picking up a copy of this 12". If anyone has any of those 90s tapes from DJ Promo, please shoot me an email about 'em. Listen below and props to Mike Nice.

November 28, 2016

Clipse "Hell Hath No Fury" (Spin, 9/06)

"On their long-awaited second album, the fraternal Virgina duo of Pusha T and Malice work from a starkly limited production palette - busted breaks with slivers of keyboard melodies, provided entirely by their benefactors and neighbors the Neptunes - and lyrics concerned almost exclusively with a single subject. And from that they've created an album of incredible skill and depth. Hell Hath No Fury is ostensibly about drugs, and Clipse are the most believable of the current dealers turned rappers. But veracity isn't the point, it's artistry, and this album is a how-to manual on the craft of MC'ing. In the duo's hands, the simple statement that they brought fur coats with drug money becomes: "Pyrex stirrers turned into Cavalli furs / Full-length cat / When I wave, the kitty purrs." 

"Songs like "Mr. Me Too" and "Trill" (which functions as a kind of anti-club-song club song with its deadpan chorus sung by Pharrell Williams) cover the well-trod ground of street acumen and material wealth. But here, those subjects are addressed with startling flair. On "Chinese New Year," Pusha opines, "Mask on face / Gun in hand / I was in and out of homes like the Orkin man / Never listened to my parents, like an orphan, man." It's the same old song, sure. But on Hell Hath No Fury, Clipse transform cliches into poetry." - Spin Magazine, September 2006. Promo brown bags below...

November 28, 2016

Take It Personal Podcast "ATCQ Tribute Episode"

The new podcast, Take It Personal is back with episode 2, saying "Sometimes sequels are just better, like a lot better. Take The Empire Strikes Back, Low End Theory, The Infamous and De La Soul Is Dead for example. Take It Personal Episode 2 is our best yet! Not only is this an A Tribe Called Quest tribute show, but we're playing joints by Ultramagnetic MC's, Black Thought, Company Flow, Mos Def, Vinnie Paz, Nas, AZ, Ras Kass, D.I.T.C., Atmosphere, MarQ Spekt & Blockhead to name a few. Join Jason Gloss aka Philaflava, Kevlar & DJ 360 on musical journey you won't want to end. Or maybe you will, you probably will..." Check out Take It Personal's tribute to A Tribe Called Quest...

November 27, 2016

Donnie Propa "Straight From The Crate Cave" (Pete Rock Edition)

UK DJ, Donnie Propa, has teamed up with Village Live to present 'Straight From the Crate Cave: Pete Rock Edition.' This marks the first in the new mix series - Straight From The Crate Cave - but if you dig into the archives, there are also fresh mixes covering Masta Ace & J Dilla. The legendary Pete Rock has an extensive catalog to choose from, but the mix manages to run through a nice selection of album cuts, classics, and remixes. The mix was entirely done from vinyl - which I respect - and aside from being released digitally, there are also some limited-edition cassettes available (at the time of this post). You can listen to the mix below. Cop the cassette and show your support!

November 26, 2016

Chino XL "Father's Day" (Prod. by Apollo Brown)

Chino XL is a friend of the site; a great dude and world-class lyricist. Releasing a project about every 5 years, he's remained consistent even in those long gaps. Like many artists of his caliber, I charge that to being meticulous when writing and recording. I consider his debut album, 'Here To Save You All,' a real gem in '96 on American Recordings, but I'm gonna fast-forward to 2012 to his double-disc release, 'Ricanstruction,' on Viper Records. As soon as the drums came in on 'Father's Day,' I knew it was Apollo Brown on production. Chino shows his range both lyrically, conceptually and vocally on this introspective and heart-felt record about his daughter. I imagine he performs this at shows and its life changing for the audience. 'This isn't happenin' to you, I'm like Superman / And I could protect you from anything, I was really scared...' Our vulnerabilities make us human and he captured that beautifully making him an incredible artist... and father. Salute, Chino XL! Dig in...

November 25, 2016

Raekwon 'Wishing On A Star' / 'We Wanna Thank You'

'I write poems to flip tails, and letters to judges to get deals / I miss the good days, you know, the hood days / Now we sit in mansions on good grades...' I woke up with this track playing in my head, so boom, I turned on Raekwon's 'We Wanna Thank You' project from 2014. The mixtape held the concept of rapping over the raw original samples. He's got the right vocal tone and flow to pull this off perfectly. The Chef's definitely an old soul, it comes through in his music and his guiding principles; a gem of a dude from the good days. Word is, he's working a new project that will have a soulful feel to it, so he's still in the kitchen cookin' up new work. I'm here for it... Salute the Chef for this one, you can download the free project HERE and listen to Rae's "Wishing On a Star" below...

November 25, 2016

2Pac "R U Still Down (Remember Me)" (Vibe, 2/98)

"When Tupac Shakur died, in 1996, he didn't need an obituary. His archive of start-some-shit soliloquies, ghetto ballads, and odes to various revolutions thoroughly recounted the artist's turbulent life and even foreshadowed his demise. Now, under the watchful eye of Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur - who sued Death Row Records for control of hundreds of unreleased songs, which she culled to produce the double CD R U Still Down? (Remember Me) - hip-hop's complex crown prince is given new voice. This 24-track retrospective, recorded between 1991 and 1994, is far from being 2Pac's greatest work; an unnerving sense of deja vu permeates the sprawling opus. For example, "When I Get Free," sans the countrified twang, sounds like 1992's "Soulja's Story," revisited and is resonate with the latter's warbled voice distortions. "Thug Style," one of the record's few stellar moments, is nevertheless reminiscent of 1995's "Old School," in which Shakur articulates his East Coast conception while basking in California love. Like 'Pac's erstwhile Digital Underground homies once surmised, on this album it's mostly the same song." Revisit the album, cont'd below...

"Hidden in the mire, however, are the intoxicating f#ck you-isms of "Lie To Kick It" and the lovelorn lament of "Do For Love," proof positive that 2Pac was sharpest when his subject matter got around. Although the production (courtesy of Mike Mosley, Warren Go, Johnny "J" and others) is a bit dated, it's the 2Pac of the '90-'91 DU era that commands attention. Riding the party-hearty sounds of Parliament's "Flash Light," the lively "Let Them Thangs Go" provides temporary relief from the fatalistic aura of Shakur's later work. But the fun doesn't last; instead, there's much gruesome irony. "I keep my finger on the trigger 'cuz a brotha tryin' to kill me," 'Pac screams in the scathing "Hellrazor." Too bad 2Pac wasn't around to regulate the project, because if he was, R U would probably have been an excellent EP instead of an LP-squared. Either way, remember him we will."

November 24, 2016

Andre LeRoy Davis 'The Last Words' (The Source, 1998)

Andre LeRoy Davis 'The Last Words' (The Source, 1998)
Andre LeRoy Davis 'The Last Words' (The Source, 1998) 2

Hip Hop Illustrator Andre LeRoy Davis is responsible for all your favorite illustrations as part of The Last Word in The Source. My personal favorites were the Biggie illustration pictured above, Nas vs. Jay-Z, KRS throwing Prince Be (R.I.P.) of PM Dawn off-stage and another of Slick Rick when he was locked down. Born in Brooklyn, Andre LeRoy Davis' work dates back over 25 years and he pushed the envelope on calling various artists to the table for some of their f#ckshit, generally bringing unique humor to an industry that often takes itself way too seriously. It's worth noting that he retained ownership of all his illustrations, a nice power move that I recommend to all artists regardless of their place in the industry. From hidden messages to inside jokes, fans of hip-hop from back then or who discover them today can agree that The Last Word's satirical views were a standout in each magazine and remain an important piece of hip-hop history. I'd love to know which artists took the most issue with his art and some of the smaller details in each, but you can enjoy a sample of his work above from The Source, January 1998. Visit his site for prints/merch options.

November 23, 2016

DJ Clue "Scarecrow's Birthday" (Mixtape, 1994)

Takin' it to 1994, this original DJ Clue mix tape is special, because it kicks off with The Notorious B.I.G. threatening DJ Clue on Hot 97. The story has been told a few times - at least behind the scenes - where Biggie was looking for Clue over him leaking some joints from "Ready To Die." Whether a .22 was involved or not, we'll just say "allegedly" and R.I.P. Biggie. The mix features joints from Wu-Tang Clan, Black Moon, Nas, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Flatlinerz, Ill Al Skratch, Bas Blasta, Common, Heavy D, Da Youngsta's, Gravediggaz, A Tribe Called Quest, Jeru The Damaja, and more. I mean, it's the golden era - 1994 - you could throw a dart and land on some classic shit! Dig into it...

November 22, 2016

Bluntone "Lost & Found" (Instrumental Album)

As promised, here's another one from Hungarian beatmaker, Bluntone: 'Lost & Found;' an instrumental project with 21 tracks from the producer's archives. These instrumentals are jazzy, lo-fi flips with dusty drums and plenty of head-nod. If you've been following, I posted about his 'Blunted Remixes LP' in a previous post. That project came out in 2015 and was my introduction to his work. Due to the fact that I haven't had a blog to discuss music in some years, I'm circling back to cover a lot of these projects even though new releases may be available, such as 'Orbiting Rawbits,' which features Awon, Peebs the Prophet, Moka Only, Tableek, and more. Let this instrumental project play out, it'll put you in a good headspace to get through the day. Dig into it...

November 21, 2016

Rahlou 'Pillows' (Instrumental Album)

'Pillows' is the debut instrumental album from Gummy Soul’s newest artist, Rahlou. While awaiting his first born child, the Brooklyn based DJ and producer created 'Pillows' after a chance encounter with Gummy Soul founder Wally Clark. “I met Rahlou on the street in Atlanta,” says Clark. “He came up to me because of this Carla Thomas record he saw me holding. We hit it off immediately, and a couple days later he called me, because he got a line on a collection his record dealer friend was giving away. When we showed up, this guy had 25 crates on his porch, that he just wanted gone. So we filled a Volvo station wagon up to the brim, and drove with stacks in our laps. And as we started going through the records, I began teaching him about how I made beats to help him transition from the MPC to the digital world." Pillows is a collection of beats that came from those first sessions, and is a warm introduction, that's sure to keep you cozy, as the days grow colder.' (GummySoul) The project was released 4 years ago today in 2013. Revisit this fine project below....

November 20, 2016

Jay-Z 60 Minutes Special 11/20/02 (VHS Video)

Jay-Z 60 Minutes Special 11/20/02 VHS

This is the 60 Minutes interview with Jay-Z leading up to the release of his '02 project, 'The Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse.' The interview attempts to gain insight into the life of an artist/hustler/entrepreneur (all interchangeable, depending on location, according to Dame). Questions like: What's flow? Were you a drug dealer? Did you really shoot your brother? are just a sample from the interview. Jay-Z, at certain points, responds to questions with 'that's over the line' or 'that's harsh', but he does acknowledge the different world the interviewer comes from, which brings me to the main takeaway from the video: you can see the business mogul Jay-Z would become. His ability to make the interviewer feel comfortable and humanize events in his life that may have otherwise been judged, that's just one of Hov's many many gifts. Lyor pointing out that over 65% of sales are to suburban white kids is nothing new, but it does explain why over 65% of people don't know the artists I listen to, lol. And, of course, classic Dame hitting us with perspective in the limited time he got in front of the camera. He's abrasive, but always on point: respect it!

November 20, 2016

G. Dep "Child Of The Ghetto" (Vibe, January 2002)

"If you're gonna cover Eric B. & Rakim's "Microphone Fiend" on your debut, you better be carrying  your balls around in an extra-large wheelbarrow. Harlem's G. Dep is the rare MC with the skills to do the legendary track justice, asserting his place in Rakim's lyrical lineage with a taut, gangstafied remake. That cut, like his debut, Child Of The Ghetto, is an important one. It heralds the arrival of a loose, muscular new voice with nothing to prove - one that lashes around spartan tracks with serpentine power. G. Dep doesn't drench his reality raps with extraneous references to bling-bling he doesn't have. (On "Everyday," he raps, "Girls don't respect when you call them collect.") Cont'd...

"On the title track, he gives a quick resume check, tearing through his ghetto cred with heavy-lidded aplomb. He doesn't need to, though - his history is alive in his hectic rhyme flow, effortless authenticity, and reckless attitude. Lyrically, he recalls an earlier era, when bragging was the backbone of hip hop. Tracks like "Special Delivery," for example, are nonstop self-acclaim festivals. But this album is less about his lyrics than his vibe: From the minute G. Dep starts spitting, your head is bobbing. Period." - Vibe, January 2002. Remix to "Special Delivery" above, full review below...

November 20, 2016

Ghostface Killah "Bulletproof Wallets" (Vibe, 12/01)

"Listening to Ghostface is like watching theater, each rhyme acted out onstage. Over a cadre of chamber instruments orchestrated by the Alchemist, "The Forest" begins with Ghost crooning Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" (off-key, of course) before bursting into a gangsta fairy tale... Ghost goes into character for each line, manipulating the parts like a master puppeteer... Restraint is a foreign concept for Ghost. It's as if every verse were his last. Words spill out with the desperation of a man fighting his way through quicksand. And it's that urgency that makes him so compelling... Compared to the steely reserve of his peers, Ghost's flow is molten, a liquid of vowels and consonants, not just words. Frame Ghostface in any musical context, and he exhibits the same flair... Producers like RZA, the Alchemist, and Digga conjure up the ideal backdrops for supporting the immediacy of Ghost's stories: robust, flush, and often, loud. On "Maxine," Ghost and Raekwon play two female leads in a deadly crack game, and the best possible context for such a story is the booming blaxploitation band RZA brings into the studio. Ghostface can plumb his own feelings, too... Few rappers surrender to vulnerability as Ghostface does, and that's what makes him endearing... In the wake of all this, you re-evaluate the verbal skills other rappers offer. Jay-Z perspicuous anthems are glorious but still hint of restraint, while DMX is more field hollers and mottoes than actual verses and rhymes. Most rappers are like Missy Elliott, all sound effects and cooing, the perfect percussive foils for studio producers looking to pop your collar. But Ghostface? He's an MC superhero. Rappers, grab your shoes and run. Wallabees. Blue and cream." - Vibe, 12/01

November 19, 2016

Foxy Brown "Ill Na Na" (Press Kit, 1996)

"Vocally soaring through the rap soundscape like a hip-hop diva, 17-year old Foxy Brown is taking no prisoners on her beautifully crafted debut disc simply titled Ill Na Na. "I think my album may surprise a lot of people," says Foxy. "Some seem to have made the assumption that I only rap about clothes, diamonds and cars. In my previous remix performances I touched on those things, but on Ill Na Na I finally get my chance to perform full length song and prove that's not all that I'm about." Without previously releasing even a single, Foxy Brown has become one of the most popular artists of '96 after appearing on a number of the most important Black records of the year. "I owe a lot to LL Cool J. He gave me my break by asking me to rap on "I Shot Ya," explains Foxy. "On that song my voice was like lighter fluid being poured on a flame - the fire became greater." In addition to LL's now classic jam, Foxy's smoky voice would go on to lace Total's "No One Else," remix, the proclaimed rap duet of the year "Ain't No..." with Jay-Z, Toni Braxton's "You're Makin' Me High" remix and Case's brilliant platinum-plus single "Touch Me, Tease Me." ... After a fierce bidding war with other labels, Foxy decided to make Def Jam her musical home." Revisit Foxy Brown's LP + press bio cont'd below...

"On Ill Na Na, Foxy offers a fresh outlook on life as a young Black woman today. She explores a large scope of issues that relate to her experience growing up in Park Slope, Brooklyn as well as spending time on the diverse streets of Manhattan. She makes no apologies for her views, sensuality and natural confidence. "I try to make my songs as realistic as possible," explains Foxy. "Since I write all my own material, I can only explore my own experiences. I try and touch on everything and illustrate the common bonds between young people and especially young women. I'm enjoying my youth and feel that now is my time to shine." Produced by Trackmasters, Puffy, Mobb Deep and more, Ill Na Na's first single couples Foxy with Blackstreet on the soon to be smash entitled "Get Me Home." - Press Bio, 1996. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the LP's release. 

November 19, 2016

Mobb Deep "Hell On Earth" (Hip Hop Connection, 1997)

"While 1994's "The Infamous" was a record as startling as anything else released that year, Mobb Deep were quickly overlooked as Wu-mania took over the hip-hop industry. Which was unfortunate, because "Shook Ones Pt.2" was an urban drama played out to the hilt, balladeering its way across an emotional landscape ravaged by loss of innocence and cultural segregation. And though the formula hasn't changed significantly for "Hell On Earth" - the duo still choose to produce themselves - their third album finds Mobb Deep more concerned with the present rather than the afterlife..." Cont'd...

"Drop A Gem On 'Em, a thinly-veiled broadside against the late Tupac Shakur (well, he started it!) uses the same sweeping cinematica perfected by themselves on "The Infamous," as they calmly negotiate their grievances against the rapper. "Animal Instinct" and "Still Shining" carry similar themes, as if New York is the place where dreams are made and broke. In this respect the album differs little from their contemporaries and, earnest as that sounds, is no significant departure. But then, what did you expect - a fusion of Swahili and salsa? Granted, on many tracks the song remains the same, but then the original was such a devastating bona fide classic anyway." - HHC.

November 18, 2016

Rapsody "Crown" (EP Stream)

"Crown" is a 10-track EP from North Carolina's Rapsody. It features Raphael Saadiq, Ab-Soul, Anderson Paak and Moonchild, as well as production from 9th Wonder, Nottz, Eric G, Khrysis & Kash. Another solid release from JAMLA's first lady, as she continues to soak up market share across all demographics. Tune into the "Crown" EP below, I am not sure if physical copies will be available.

November 17, 2016

Millenium "Fantasia" (Press Kit x Chairman's Choice, 1999)

"Millenium was born in Baltimore and raised in Washington D.C. Rap was just something cool to listen to until he heard Wu-Tang Clan's "C.R.E.A.M." That's when rap took on a more important role in his life. That's when the pen hit the paper. And fellow D.C. rappers hit the floor as he won contest after contest in school talent shows and radio station on-air battles. Millenium has put together an impressive collection with KAOS Theory. CMJ, a music trade publication, stated, "this young lyricist ... attacks the mic with the combined charisma of Notorious B.I.G. and Keith Murray. From gritty jewels like, "Run, Run, Run," to the souled-out "Fantasia," Millenium proves age still ain't nothin' but a number." Make sure that Kaos Theory is in your sound system, if you don't you may experience the chaos of the Y2K bug. How far will you go?" - House Of Abdul Records, Press Kit. In 1999, Millenium received praise in the coveted "Chairman's Choice," as well... "Eighteen-year-old Washington, D.C., product Millenium freely admits that Wu's paper-chase primer inspired him to pursue rap music seriously. Fortunately, the Chocolate City man-child has put his influence to good use. Witness Millenium's own elegantly gruff "Fantasia" (House of Abdul, 703-751-131), the B side to his own "How Far Will You Go" single. Celestial strings and the sampled voice of the forever-solid-gold Dionne Warwick crooning "This enchanted love of ours..." provide a provocative setting for a story line that traces young infatuation through betrayal and lost love to, ultimately, death. Life as a shorty shouldn't be so damn difficult." Dig up his album "KAOS Theory" and listen to "Fantasia" below...

Below are copies of the press kit, Chairman's Choice & CMJ articles...

November 16, 2016

Bluntone "Blunted Remixes LP" (Album Stream)

I'm gonna come clean right out the gate, it was the artwork for this project that caught my eye. The dusty clouds and orange haze, I knew it was gonna be some filthy boombap material. I was spot-on with that prediction. Bluntone is a producer from Hungary and his 'Blunted Remixes LP' delivers 14 well-produced remixes of familiar tracks by KRS-One & Das Efx, Redman & Method Man, AZ, Wu-Tang, Big L, Kool G Rap & Nas, Biggie, Lord Finesse & OC, Sean P and more. The info on the release says these are various remixes from the last 3 years, so I'm guessing he must have an active Soundcloud; I'll have to check that out. The vibes are mellow, but the drums are hard and he reworked these tracks very nicely. This is only the first project from Bluntone I've heard so far, but I know it's from his back catalog (2015), so I'm certainly gonna go do some diggin' and see what else I've been sleeping on. You can stream the LP below. Look out for more from Bluntone coming soon.

November 15, 2016

DJ Droppa "Keep It Movin' Volume 4" (Mixtape)

Some newness curated by DJ Droppa on 'Keep it Movin' Volume 4,' featuring tracks from Ill Conscious, Mecca 83, Soundsci, Evidence, Apathy & OC, Ghostface Killah & Apollo Brown, Pete Flux & Parental, Hex One, Jeru The Damaja, Jazz Spastiks, Moka Only and a dozen more. A nice mellow vibe with some jazzy hip-hop, international vibes and boombap treats -- throw it on and enjoy below, via Mixcloud. You can follow DJ Droppa, and check out more of his underground mixes over HERE. Enjoy.

November 14, 2016

A Tribe Called Quest "We Got It From Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service"

It's hard to package into words what a new project from A Tribe Called Quest means to a kid like me, who grew up on their music. My emotions split off in so many different directions. As bittersweet as it can feel at times, this is a beautiful moment - we haven't had an album since 1998, and now having Jarobi back in the fold definitely makes it extra special to me - that's family! I suppose I need to sit with it, unpack it and then come back to talk more about it. For now, I'll leave it to the description they've sent, "A Tribe Called Quest - Q-Tip, Phife Dawg (who passed away on March 22nd, 2016), Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White - the groundbreaking 90's group that forever transformed the urban music landscape reunited on their first and last studio album together in eighteen years. Guests on ''We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service'' include; Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, Jack White, Andre 3000, Busta Rhymes, Consequence, Anderson.Paak, and Talib Kweli." It's hard to click play, but once you do, that old feeling comes rushing back. I feel like a kid all over again... where's my walkman? Give thanks and listen below! Rest In Peace, Phife.

November 14, 2016

Bluestaeb "Rodalquilar" (Instrumental Album)

"Bluestaeb is one of the key figures of the new generation of up and coming beat producers from Berlin/Germany. Equally influenced by Dilla and Ta-ku they won’t let them label you as “future” or “boom bap”, the actually maneuver in between those sounds effortlessly. “Rodalqulilar” is Bluestaeb’s debut on Jakarta Records, and will take you on a journey to the spanish town of Rodalquilar, where Bluestaeb spent quite some of his childhood in his parents house." Listen below...

November 13, 2016

Has-Lo 'In Case I Don't Make It' (Chairman's Choice)

Has Lo 'In Case I Don't Make It' Chairman's Choice

'In Case I Don't Make It' deserves every ounce of praise its received, including Chairman's Choice, a highly coveted feature by Chairman Mao. Has-Lo was a one-man show on this project, handling every element with precision. I met Has-Lo at the old Fat Beats warehouse in May of 2011; I remember discussing the album with him - how I felt it was dark and gritty in places and that I really appreciated his transparency on the record. When I said 'dark,' he kinda looked at me like 'why do people keep saying that?' lol, then told me what to expect on future projects. He's right, his back catalog, as well as material he's released since, shows a wider range of colors, styles, and emotions. He's been at it for some years in Philadelphia, even has connections to my man, Esteban, so he's an artist I watch closely to support. One of my favorite tracks on the project is 'Storm Clouds;' that track is so tough, but the whole album is great, check it out below via Mello Music...

November 12, 2016

The Diary of Prince Paul (Mini-Documentary, 2003)

The Diary of Prince Paul 2003 Politics of the Business Documentary

In March of 2003, Prince Paul recorded a documentary called 'The Diary of Prince Paul' (How One Man Deals with the Politics of the Business) as promo for his album, 'Politics of the Business.' The documentary - and I say this in the nicest way possible - is a complete waste of time, lol, but isn't that the humor behind it? I hope so - if not, my bad Paul! Watch a failed Fat Beats in-store, prank phone calls to Lyor Cohen and 50 Cent (Ray's Pizza); ridiculous choreography and more of Prince Paul's bizarre sense of humor. Having made classics with De La Soul, Gravediggaz, Stetsasonic, Handsome Boy Modeling School and his own efforts with 'A Prince Among Thieves' and 'Psychoanalysis (What Is It?)', you may not consider 'Politics of the Business' one of his best works, but once you grasp the concept, much like this mini-documentary, you appreciate the project a lot more. Salute to Prince Paul, genuinely one of the best to ever do it. Enjoy the mini-doc below...

November 12, 2016

Snoop Doggy Dogg "Tha Doggfather" (Bio / Video, 1996)

Take it to the West Coast one time, with Uncle Snoop on his album from '96, "Tha Doggfather." At the time of the album's release, his debut album "Doggystyle" had sold over 5 million copies, and the 1-sheet for the record says, "Tha Doggfather reasserts Snoop's standing in the hip hop game. But while the hardcore gangsta cuts and the sexually explicit funk remain, there's a notable change. "People will be shocked," says Snoop, "at the production, the music, and the values and meanings of the songs. I'm bringing rap back to the roots, the fundamentals, tight and easy. Rather than just write for the streets, I write for everybody now. I want to be the first rapper in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame." The first single was "Snoop's Upside Ya Head," but I dialed into the 3rd single and title track from Snoop's sophomore effort, "Doggfather." 20 years later now, revisit Snoop's album below...

November 11, 2016

Wu-Tang Clan "Enter The Wu-Tang" (7" Deluxe Casebook)

Get On Down Presents: Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) complete album on 7" for the first time ever, housed in a deluxe casebook created in full collaboration with The RZA. The groups classic (November) 1993 debut album is presented as a set of six 7-Inch vinyl records (with a bonus seventh 7-Inch). The entire set is housed in a premium leatherette outer slipcase holding the unique hardcover casebook, with six 7-inches as book pages, in addition to a liner notes book and two custom Wu-Tang Logo 45 adapters. The bonus seventh 7" is Protect Ya Neck (Bloody Version) b/w Tearz aka After The Laughter Comes Tears - the same A and B-side as the originally first self-released single, with recreation of original Sony picture black-on-white sleeve graphics. The casebook also features a 56-page in-depth liner notes book (aka The Shaolinthology), with new RZA input / interviews, extensive research by journalist Chris Faraone, album lyrics, rarely-seen photos and other rare images from the Enter The Wu-Tang era. If you are a Wu-Tang Clan fan – and what self-respecting hip-hop junkie isnt? – this is a trophy that you will be proud to have on your shelf, to celebrate the influence of one of musics most influential groups. A brief video of the project is below and much respect to Chris Faraone for his excellent work on the book. Order a copy HERE.

November 10, 2016

DJ Vlad "The Butcher" (Mixtape, 2003)

DJ Vlad is not one of my favorite media personalities, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't into a few of his early mixtapes - especially the Rap Phenomenon series with 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G that I've already shared on here. "The Butcher" was a mixtape he released in 2003 featuring an intro snippet from Bill the Butcher's character in the film Gangs Of New York, as well as a handful of solid blends with Biggie, 2Pac, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Pun, Bun B, Busta Rhymes, Buju Banton, Ludacris, Eminem, The Diplomats, Big L, Mos Def, Obie Trice and more. There's a couple freestyles mixed in from Mos Def and Eminem, too. Obviously VladTV is a successful media platform today, and I don't knock his hustle or come-up... it's just not for me and I wish some artists stayed off that couch. 

November 09, 2016

Wu-Tang Clan "Enter The Wu-Tang" (The Source, 2/94)

"With the success of the posse jam "Protect Ya Neck" (the independent release that rocked all summer), as well as the solo track "Method Man" (the single that's still runnin' shit now), it should come as no surprise that the full LP release from gatin' Staten Island's first rap dynasty will be ruling benzi boxes and Walkmans all winter long and then some. Why? Because this is not just another rap album with gangsta themes and gun smoke. This album is the manifestation of classic kung-fu type styles infected with the realities of ghetto life/death and strong, Old School b-boy memories. In the late '70s and early '80s, a generation of NYC b-boys fell in love with imported martial arts films... B-boys were amazed to see the characters perform superhuman acrobatic feats and employ incomprehensible fighting styles while looking cool, composed and relaxed. Soon the innovation and imagination that was revealed in darkened Times Square movie theaters would be taken back to the inner-city projects, basements and parks as b-boys citywide mimicked Shaolin-like disciple and dedicated themselves towards honing their artistic, lyrical and physical techniques to perfection and elevating hip-hop culture to fine art." Video to "Protect Ya Neck," cont'd below

"Fast-foward a decade and hip-hop has become a major part of mainstream American culture. It is profitable, it is in demand and it has been exploited. Art has been replaced by fast money and heart has been replaced with image. And the once packed 42nd St. theaters and their kung fu marathons have withered and faded away. But that's not to say that true hip-hop is dead; the true bboy monks have just gone deep underground. Last year the Fu-Schnickens skimmed the surface of Shaolin thought, but it was the duty of the Wu-Tang Clan (The Rebel INS, Shallah Raekwon, Method Man, U God, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ghost Face Killer, Prince Rakeem and The Genius) to reincarnate and bring back the verbal killing techniques of a forgotten hip-hop era." Video to "Method Man," cont'd...

"This album is a throwback to the days of 1986-1987, when rap was filled with honesty, greatness and skill. The days when incredible crowd-moving demonstrations were backed with sparse, rhythmic and incredibly hard, chest-pounding beats. Beats that concentrated on raw dopeness instead of slick production and beauty. Never since Criminal Minded has an album been so stripped down and pure. Songs like the "Mystery Of Chessboxin'" or "Wu-Tang 7th Chamber" display furious freestyles that sting as the Clan lyrically combinate and reform back-to-back-to back. While their depictions are graphic and extreme, the Wu are not studio savages looking for a gimmick. They are a clan of strong brothers who have banded together to survive in a world hell-bent on consuming them. And within the chaos there are sharp moments of reflection, understanding and clarity. "Can It Be All So Simple" is a look back at the hard days of the past. "Tearz" is about losses through the years and "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)" is an all out gotta-get-mine story of survival. This record is harsh, but so is the world that we live in. For b-boys n' girls who come from the core of the hard, this is the hip-hop album you've been waiting for. Simply put: "The Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuthin' to f#ck with." - The Source, February 1994. // All that, yet it still fell short of 5-mics!?...

November 08, 2016

DJ Spinbad "Illection Mix" (Mixtape)

Today is election day and we all (in the U.S.) have a decision in front of us - we have to cast our vote to pick the next President of the United States! You are entitled to your opinion, your political party and your affiliations. I even understand those of you who feel like it's choosing between the lesser of the two evils - I get it, these are unusual times! However, I think it's imperative we all get out there and vote today. To keep this on brand... I am sharing this mix that Spinbad recently posted - a ridiculous “Illection” mix that should be your soundtrack for the entire voting and election day experience. Stream it in full below and make sure you GO OUT AND VOTE. In my opinion, some of DJ Spinbad's mixtapes changed the game, and his skills are undeniable! Icons such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the late DJ AM have called the native New Yorker their “favorite DJ”, mostly due to his masterful technical skill, party-rocking ability and musical versatility. Spinbad is definitely a DJ to study and model yourself after... So, all that said - pop this in and hit the pavement to go out and VOTE today!

November 08, 2016

Best of Track One (Spotify Playlist)

Not entirely unique, but here's a quick themed playlist - the best of track ones (not including album intro's). From old school classics to true school bangers, these are some of the best first tracks on rap albums. The playlist may be updated, but for now it includes: Black Milk, Camp Lo, Beanie Sigel, ATCQ, Binary Star, Mobb Deep, Common, Cannibal Ox, Blu & Exile, Big L, Kanye, Naughty By Nature, Run DMC, Brand Nubian, EPMD, PRT, Eric B. & Rakim, and 2Pac. I left some off intentionally to spark a debate and others based on preference, but feel free to call me out on what I've missed. It's really just a trial, still not all that familiar with Spotify's playlists. Got any good tips? Lemme know!