Monday, July 31, 2017

Marlon Craft: The Bronx, Tunnel's End Video Series

The Hell’s Kitchen rapper is posted at the 161 Street Yankee Stadium subway stop, spitting bars & will drop five exclusive music videos with MASS APPEAL, following him through all five boroughs of his city. In this edition, Craft references the legendary 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, where in 1973 Kool Herc threw what’s generally recognized to be the first hip hop party. There are a number of crafty touches on gentrification, specifically how The Bronx is one of the only places in the city that has resisted it so far. Stepping out of the 4 train, MCraft rhymes, “The BX, where hipsters ain’t driven up property yet.” His lyrics aren’t the only thing paying homage to his city. The beat on this track is a classic Big Pun joint: hard-hitting drums, piano riffs, with some spray paint shaking sound effects thrown in for good measure. Hit the tags, there's lots more to follow shortly.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Das EFX & Redman on The Arsenio Hall Show 7/31/92

Das Efx Redman Arsenio Hall Show July 31 1992

Before there was an Instagram, Das EFX's PR team issued this "Dasogram" to media, alerting us to their performance on The Arsenio Hall Show on Friday, July 31st in 1992. The Hit Squad made its presence felt with none other than the Funk Doc, Redman; holding Skoob & Krayz Drayz down on the turntables. The group performed their lead single, 'They Want EFX,' off the smash album, 'Dead Serious.' People forget how influential and forward-thinking Arsenio Hall was to support hip-hop on his show (in 1992!) and bring the music to millions of people. Many of the live performances on his show were the biggest platforms artists could reach at the time. 25 years later, enjoy the video clip below of the performance. I'm sure you'll find the All-Star tribute if you search Youtube, too.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Perceptionists "Resolution" (Album Stream)

"Released on Mello Music Group, Resolution is one of those timeless records. The first full-length from Mr. Lif & Akrobatik (The Perceptionists) in a dozen years reflects the struggles and near-death sagas that struck Mr. Lif and Akrobatik. During that span, Lif miraculously survived his tour bus plummeting over a cliff and bursting into flames. Akrobatik weathered a sudden aortic rupture and emergency open-heart surgery. The impact of those experiences forced the former Def Jux duo to contemplate fate, luck, and their own place within a world spinning out of control. But their ability to survive has allowed them to thrive. They’ve harnessed a radiant hard-won optimism that refuses to flinch from the evils of existence. With the Perceptionists, the personal is political and vice-versa. Akrobatik rhymes about his “desire to breathe in the sun before my skin dries out” but still refuses to be “the coward in a pretend hide out.” There are love songs over beats that sound like they could’ve been on Madvillainy, stories of cypher demolitions of would-be challengers, and dirty ass rhymes over dirty ass drums—as The Perceptionists sagely insist, that’s all the world really wants. It’s music from deep in the trenches, songs that confront the blitzkrieg of bad news but offer light at the end of the bombardment. If you listen closely, you can intuit a profound story of friendship and camaraderie between Lif and Akrobatik—lifelong friends trading bars with the chemistry of Tip and Phife, Andre and Big Boi, Erick and Parrish. They’re mortal men who made mistakes, gained experience, and obtained wisdom. This is Resolution." Stream the LP below.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

East Flatbush Project "Tried By 12" (CMJ, 12/98)

"Until the arrival of this record, the subterranean links between hip-hop and avent-garde techno were a well-kept secret. Given that many of electronic music's most daring practitioners grew up listening to hip-hop... this project is not the misalliance it might at first appear to be. Tried By 12 makes those links explicit and reveals the complicity of the two genres, which should never have been separated at all. This record's humble beginnings lie in the East Flatbush Project's original single "Tried By 12," a sparse, arid indie hip-hop single produced by Spencer Bellamy and released in 1997 to critical acclaim and widespread underground success. The folks at Chocolate Industries in Miami decided to ask their colleagues to remix the track in any way they saw fit..." Cont'd below...

"What distinguishes this effort from the plethora of remix work is that on first hearing, some of the reinterpretations bear absolutely no resemblance whatever to the original, but that impression is deceptive because they all retain the parched groove and moody, contemplative textures of the original version. Only Herbaliser's mixes are hip-hop in the traditional sense... This is where experimental electronics and hip-hop meet in a way that will change the received wisdom about each form." - CMJ, December 1998. The full review - based more in electronic music - is below.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Take It Personal Podcast "Back to Basics"

"Episode 13 has no tributes, no interviews and it's not 6 hours long. We bring it back to basics and focus on the music. With new joints by Perestroika, Supastition, Conway, Hus Kingpin, Everlast and MC Eiht, plus 90s classics from Redman, Organized Konfusion, Ultramagnetic MC's, Big L, Diamond D and A Tribe Called Quest, we got you covered. At the break, we discuss The Defiant Ones, which kind of turns into a Jimmy Iovine slob fest, but entertaining nonetheless. Please remember to rate and review our show if you're feeling it. West Coast Classics coming up next!"

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sto The Last "Afropunk 2017 Set" (EP Stream)

As I always say, creators are gonna create. Regardless of the medium, there are people born with innate talents and they manifest in different ways. Enter the good brother, Sto The Last. I don't know what talent came first: his writing, rhyming, poetry or his people skills, but combined they could turn any introvert into an artist on their way to Afropunk to perform in front of thousands of people. Sto & I have crossed digital paths countless times over the years; in many ways he reminds me of a good friend named Praverb, may he Rest in Peace. A selfless brother who put the culture first and nurtured relationships to the tune of others finding paths to success. Both of them MCs who found writing along the way, too. Sto works at Dead End Hip-Hop - home of some of the best album reviews - and has taken a crack at artist publicity where he's already seen success. When I read on my timeline that he was a contestant in the running for a slot on Afropunk, I was quick to lend my vote(s) and was proud to see he was chosen out of many to perform. Posted to Bandcamp is Sto's Afropunk EP; it's 5 short tracks, but it packs plenty of content. It feels good to see good people win; our wins are always hard-earned & less publicized. That said, dig into the EP, and as always, I recommend you follow the breadcrumbs wherever they take you. (Updated)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

DJ Eclipse "Dear Summer" (Mix)

"Been busy the last couple of weeks so haven't had a chance to rip some of my old radio tapes. I did however record a new mix for Street Legal Radio for their 4th of July episode. The recent nice weather in NYC had me feeling like listening to some 'feel good' music. I dug through some joints from the past decade or so from producers like 9th Wonder, Nottz, Dilla, Black Milk, Exile and others that make that shit that puts you in that vibe. Here's to a great summer." - via DJ Eclipse.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Eternia "Where I'm At: The Setup" (July 17, 2007)

"Where I'm At: The Setup continues the honest, heartfelt, sometimes feminist raps that were such a dominant and refreshing part of Eternia's debut, It's Called Life. From an often personal perspective, E opens up about love gone wrong ("On and On,” "You Ain't Real” and "Hold On”); abusive relationships on "M.V.P.” with Toya Alexis; the difficulties of being female in the often misogynist, breast-obsessed world of hip-hop ("Throw Some D's”); and the struggles that exist on the hard streets on "Struggle” with Wordsworth and Kenn Starr. A new New York resident, Eternia also gets homesick for Toronto on "The Mega,” "Northside '07” and "Homebase” with Nick Fury and Freestyle. Those familiar with Eternia will know she's equally skilled with raw braggadocio battle raps, which are displayed here in equal measure. She claims dopest female credentials on "The Setup,” wears the pants in the relationship fantasy of club track "Like a Boy,” eats your food on the extended metaphor of "Dinner is Served” and just generally brags and boasts on posse cut "Ladies & Gentlemen” with Polyrhythmaddicts. The beats, both dubs and exclusives, are an equal mix of banging boom-bap and smooth grooves, although there tends to be a high ratio of soulful R&B, which goes overboard on "Upgrade You” and "On Blast.” With a good mix demonstrating her varied skills, The Setup might just earn Eternia the respect she deserves Stateside." - Exclaim! Celebrate it's 10th anniversary below!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Blu & Exile "Below The Heavens" 10th Anniversary

Happy 10th Anniversary to arguably the best Hip-Hop album to be released in the last decade. I have no trouble saying it's my personal favorite, without hesitation. I drank the kool aid the first time I heard the Advance copy, which was slightly different (not better or worse) than the retail version. With less than 3000 copies in its original CD pressing, the scarcity of the album, coupled with the quality of the music, gave birth to an unofficial word of mouth campaign that gave the album its biggest push. It took a while, but it all added to the self-esteem value fans felt having been in the know and they gladly spread the good word. I remember employees at Fat Beats pushed to have the album listed on year-end lists when labels and journalists would call the store asking what people were buying, even knowing there weren't many copies in circulation. By the time an official vinyl pressing came around, I was eagerly waiting at the Fat Beats warehouse for the hand-numbered LPs to arrive, lol. "Below The Heavens" should be the benchmark for collaborative efforts and for artists like Blu who wish to be transparent and tell their story through lyrics. They successfully crafted one of the most relatable records and I believe it'll find new listeners for generations to follow. Shouts to J.Kim, who was instrumental in its success and Exile, whom I'd been following through Emanon and Dirty Science, as well as his early Eksile mixtapes. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

H3RO - 'Tragic H3RO' (Music Video)

H3RO Tragic H3RO

H3RO drops off the visuals to his latest record 'Tragic H3RO,' and you need to put eyes & ears on it! Since his first studio mixtape in 2010, H3RO has been attracting media attention and making a name for himself in the underground Carolina music scene. Born Justin Daniels, he grew up listening to hip hop with an affinity for lyrics & poetry. A student of the great Nasir Jones, the name H3RO manifested in '08 after the “Hip Hop is Dead” emcee dropped the single “Hero” off his Untitled LP.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Supastition - "Thanks, Ghost" (Free Single)

Supastition pays homage to Ghostface Killah on his brand new track, "Thanks, Ghost." The self-produced single is inspired by one of Hip-Hop's greatest storytellers, Ghostface Killah, as Supa documents some humorous incidents that happened while ironically listening to Ghost. The song serves as the first single in the 'Solitaire' monthly series where Supastition handles all of the writing, recording, mixing and graphic design for each track. You can stream and download the track (and instrumental) for free below. Follow Supastition for all updates on future releases.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bomb Shelta Association "Rebirth" (1998)

A "wow" throwback to 1998, my artist Eternia was in 11th grade at the time! That's crazy. The crew was Bomb Shelta and in '98, their album was called "Rebirth." In the MySpace days, the page said, "Formed in 1995 by Shylow, Fear and former member DJ Sinn, the BSA stood as a collective of MC's, DJ's and producers from across Ontario who's associations with one another were used to assist and better serve their common artistic goals as well as their individual endeavors .... "The Rebirth" album was recorded in 97/98; it was never released commercially, but garnered critical praise and gained worldwide recognition through word of mouth, hand to hand sales, and the internet." Been a lot of years since I put this song on, but below is the 1998 track, "Seven Deadly Ciphers." Props to Shylow & Expertise "First Division" and of course, Eternia, who sounds NOTHING like this today!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cage "Agent Orange" (The Source, 7/97)

"The verdict's been in. The form of shock-hip-hop labeled "horrorcore" that enjoyed some burn a few years back was about as interesting as a bad hangover. Granted, I'm as big a Gravediggaz fan as anyone, but basically, you'd have to possess some sort of sick gift in order to pull of that kind of act today. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Cage. Dancing on the tombstone of horrorcore's long-buried corpse, this New York underground MC's single forges into its own steez of lunatic-fringe hysteria - Cage, and producer accomplice Necro, save their best move for the ingenious B-side, the Clockwork Orange homage, "Agent Orange." Lifting its melody from the motion picture's theme music and its chorus from the Genius' Liquid Swords album intro, Cage frenziedly transports futuristic ultraviolent thug life mentalities to fantasmagorical rhyme ciphers. "See me twisting leak with my peeps from psychiatrics / Get high, run up in your crib and fuck your moms backwards / Lost in the dust / Don't give a fuck about dangerous / I'm in it for the whip, plus the cream and the headrussshhh..." Demented rap strikes again." - Sure Shot Single in The Source, July 1997.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

DJ Eclipse "Paid In Full" (30th Anniversary Mix)

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full album (originally released July 7, 1987), author Brian Coleman has teamed up with renowned DJ and radio personality DJ ECLIPSE to bring the world a new concept – a podcast using original interview tapes, blended with music including the tracks discussed in the interviews as well as the original music sampled to make those tracks. The interview in question, featured as the centerpiece of this new DJ Eclipse mix, was conducted by Coleman with the legendary MC Rakim in the early 2000s, and appeared in Coleman’s first two books, Rakim Told Me and Check the Technique [Volume 1]: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies. Coleman’s most recent book, Check the Technique Volume 2: More Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies, was released in 2014. Stream the "Paid In Full" 30th Anniversary Tribute below.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dephlow "Most Definite" (Album Stream)

"Most Dephinite" is a composition of raw content and thoughtful work, mostly in collaboration with Swiss producer Boom Beats. This is the 4th album from Dephlow and the second solo project since the critically acclaimed release of "Deph Threats" in 2015. This album carries on the tradition of Dephlow incorporating his life experiences and skill set in a more conversational tone. In his own words: "I've embedded pieces of my history throughout my music. My first album Deph Threats was released the year my father died. The follow up to that album "Most Dephinite" is being released on his birthday July 10. The first single My Brother's Keeper was released June 26 for my brother's birthday. If I achieve nothing else, I just wanted to offer my best to the people who I love most, and who inspire me to keep pushing." Stream Dephlow's "Most Dephinite" LP below.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Ty Farris "Ramen Noodle Nights" (EP Stream)

Detroit’s other best kept secret, Ty Farris is back with his latest EP, Ramen Noodle Nights. The 8-track project, which is a follow-up to his star-studded Live From Room 39 comes packed with production from go-to producer Trox, plus Thelonious Martin and Vanderslice — and gives a closer, more intimate look into the city of Detroit. Stream it below or purchase now on iTunes.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fel Sweetenberg & Finale "Two Kings" (Album Stream)

"Under the initiative of your favorite label, Fel Sweetenberg and Finale decided to carry out a collaborative project untitled "Two Kings". When the excellence of Detroit meets the excellence of Camden, it brings an uncompromising project where each rapper rivals with his lyrics and technique, all exacerbated by the minimalist beats of Fel who entirely produced the album. See y'all real soon to listen to the 1st extract of the future deserved triumph of these 2 kings!" - Effiscienz

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hus Kingpin & Big Ghost Ltd "Cocaine Beach" (Album Stream)

"Ayo the world is in turmoil b. I dont kno if yall heard but it turns out that global warming is a real thing. Icebergs meltin.. ocean levels rising...islands disappearing n shit..n the bee population is droppin at a CATASTROPHIC rate nahmean. Colony Collapse Disorder is real yo. Worker bees jus up n leave the hive n the queen gets left behind wit all the young bees to figure shit out on they own. Shit is tragic. Who is raising these young bees...b? Before you get to thinkin OH WELL ITS JUST BEES I GOT MY OWN PROBLEMS YO you gotta think bout the economical n agricultural impact that shit has. That shit affects you whether you kno it or not my g.. Ima break down the science for yall. First off bees dont only pollinate begonias n daffodils n shit.. They pollinate crops...such as fruits n veggies namsayin. So say you a mango or nectarine farmer n you gotta weak ass harvest on ya hands cuz the bees aint around to pollinate ya fruits n whatever...but you still gotta pay the fruit pickers n cop new tractors n shit.. You got no choice but to up the prices nahmean. So you sell that shit to Whole Foods for double...then Whole Foods turns around n doubles that price.. Next thing you kno people forced to pay $18.99/lb for damn nectarines. Regular hardworking families start takin out loans n killin they credit rating to buy produce for they babies n shit. Or worse..they say FUCK ALL THAT n stop eatin fruits n vegetables. Next thing ya whole family got scurvy b. You end up losin ya job cuz you never show up for work cuz you dyin from scurvy.. You got no health insurance.. Amidst all this fuckshit you still gotta worry bout all these environmental disasters...hurricanes, typhoons, fuckin tsunamis n shit. Meanwhile Korean Joffrey Baratheon tryna blow up the fuckin Western Hemisphere n Trump stays playin wild dick flute solos for Putin. AND you realize the KKK is alive n well on top of all this shit. Not just racist crackers in general.. cuz those inbreds never went nowhere...but these organized white nationalist supremacist shitheads n the nazi fuckfaces. And here come Kendall Jenner handin out Pepsis. All we got left is art. If you slept on Cocaine Beach its cool.. your loss G" - Big Ghost. Had to update to share that, stream it below.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Doppelgangaz "Dopp Hopp" (Album Stream)

"The New York duo of EP and Matter ov Fact have successfully created their own kooky nook in the rap world. The songs on Dopp Hopp are full of lyrical references to high and low-brow foodie culture, packed with curious medical conditions and sexual peccadillos, and involve a cast of oddball outcast characters seemingly snagged from an unreleased Harmony Korine flick. This curious blend is presented by hosts whose sartorial signature is full-length black cloaks. But while this sounds like the stuff of a cult movement, Dopp Hopp works because it contains some of the slickest, most expansive (and potentially radio-friendly) hip-hop production you’ll come across on any level of the scene. “Olympics” is a menacing banger that brutalizes speakers, “Future 86” serves up off-kilter space funk, and “Strong Ankles” is a psychedelic sex jam. Don’t fight it—give yourself up to the Dopp Hopp sonic gospel." (Updated, I added the review directly from Bandcamp). Listen below...

Friday, July 07, 2017

Capone-N-Noreaga "Ya Heard! Vol.1" (The Penalty Mixtape)

A dope promo tape from Capone-N-Noreaga in '98, featuring released and unreleased tracks from "The War Report," as well as tracks from Noreaga's "N.O.R.E" album & a few other joints thrown in. The tape is awkwardly called "Ya Heard! Vol.1: The Penalty Mixtape;" mixed by Cipha Sounds & hosted by Funkmaster Flex who comes loud as can be on the mix, lol. Pics by me, but fortunately DJ Step One already has a nice copy of it on Mixcloud, so props to him for saving me the time ripping it, head over to his page for lots more content. Blast off with Funk Flex & Capone-N-Noreaga, enjoy "Calm Down," "Married To Marijuana," "Blood Money" & other dope throwbacks. Listen below.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

MIKE "May God Bless Your Hustle" (Album Stream)

"The Brooklyn-based MIKE announced himself to the wider world earlier this year as a precocious 18-year-old rapper packing a stash of lyrics written from a startlingly mature perspective. (An endorsement from Earl Sweatshirt also helped spread word about his talent.) Named after a comment his mom made about his musical work ethic, MAY GOD BLESS YOUR HUSTLE is a deep listen that rewards close attention, as MIKE’s baritone voice drops buttery verses that deal with his ongoing battle with depression while expressing the same sort of oblique commentary that MF Doom practices so well. “My poppa hate the fact I never talk about my issues / I’m too dismissive,” he slurs on the self-aware closing cut, “ROCKBOTTOM/PEACE TO COME,” before the song and the project dissolves to a poignant end." - Bandcamp Daily // Listen to the project below...

Monday, July 03, 2017

David Begun "Marshall & The Soul Brother" (Album Stream)

Peep this mashup of legendary hip-hop producer Pete Rock with the illustrious lyricist Eminem. David Begun has layered Eminem’s lyrics over the beats from the Petestrumentals album and mixing in various Pete Rock original samples and scratches to form a picture of what Eminem would have sounded like over one of the most acclaimed producers of hip-hop music in the 90’s. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

Eternia "Much Vibe Commercial" (Video, 2002)

"As a Canadian youth, I watched Much Music rather religiously... especially documentary-style news programs like The New Music as well as off-beat specialties like RU Receiving and The Wedge (Big up Sook-Yin Lee! Big up Larissa Gulka!). In one particular episode of The New Music, there was a spotlight on this Toronto based event called Honey Jam which was an all female showcase of urban artists, one of which was Eternia. I remember thinking about how bold it was that she was one of few rappers amidst a majority of r&b songstresses, rolling with the boys but still holding it down for - and with - the ladies. This was obviously long before I ever saw myself as someone who would dabble with writing bars at all. I just loved the idea of an all female showcase of that type. I loved the sense of community and support Honey Jam evoked by bringing these artists together. Back then and even more recently, I was often told that my singing voice was a strength, so I focused on building my strength as a singer-songwriter. Now that my horizons have broadened, hearing Eternia do her thing in present day induces some very potent feelings of nostalgia, pride and respect. I didn’t really follow her career closely over the years but I’d heard and wondered about her every now and then. This video makes me feel like I’m watching someone I grew up with achieve goals, slay the game, and “fight the system” ... the system that attempts to leave little room for obscure femme artists to blossom at the forefront of their scenes. Many are dismantling that system today and I’m pleased to give thanks to lyricist like Eternia who graciously lead the way." (This post was edited to include writing via @Arbor_Vitae's IG in 2019 because it fit perfectly. Thank you).

Monday, July 03, 2017

Da Buze Bruvaz "Adebisi Hat" (Album Stream)

"Da Buze Bruvaz are a hardcore rap duo from Philadelphia. Both members of the legendary NY posse the LoLifes, founded by Thirstin Howl 3rd. Known for their outlandishly over the top non politically correct lyrics. They’re a throwback to the early mid-90’s underground Hiphop peak. Though they have released limited collectors edition vinyl in the past this is their first official LP. It has the rawness of a season of OZ in rhyme form. And should be taken with that type of entertainment value. It should probably be rated at Least R if not X. Definitely not for Kids, maybe not even for some adults." Listen to Da Buze Bruvaz's raw release, "Adebisi Hat," streaming below...

Monday, July 03, 2017

Abstract Orchestra "Dilla" (Instrumental Album)

Led by Saxophonist Rob Mitchell, Abstract Orchestra seeks to reflect the diversity of music sampled by Hip-Hop producers by presenting music that has the complexity of jazz, framed within the simpler structures of Hip-Hop. "Dilla" by Abstract Orchestra is a tribute to the work of the highly acclaimed and influential producer, J. Dilla, Rest In Peace. Stream the ambitious project below.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

DJ Step One & Mr. Tobes "A Queensbridge Project"

"Another mix, another collaboration. This time out I linked up with Mr Tobes and we've put together a selection of some of QBs finest from the early 00s. There was a flood of material coming out of Queensbridge at the turn of the decade and it was kind of hard to keep track of at times but the fact that Alchemist and Havoc were supplying beats for the likes of Cormega, Tragedy, CNN and an impressive array of Mobb Deep affiliates meant that the quality was usually on point." - DJStepOne

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Nas 'It Was Written' July 2, 1996

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On this day in 1996, NaS released his sophomore album, 'It Was Written.' A more commercial effort, NaS definitely received a fair amount of criticism for his direction on this release, as compared to his debut 'Illmatic.' The numbers show, however, that there was far more praise and had he not released this album, it's arguable whether or not Illmatic would have ever reached as many consumers and been heralded as such a classic. It Was Written was double-platinum, while Illmatic had sold nowhere near that at the time. Props to Steve Stoute and the Trackmasters for their work on the album, and of course, DJ Premier, L.E.S., Dr. Dre, Havoc and more. It surely had its misses, but there's a generation younger than mine that holds this up as their favorite NaS album. Go figure ... what do you think? In advance of the album, Columbia released Nas Is Coming with the July '96 stamp, and it featured The Source Freestyle, Silent Murder, Street Dreams, If I Ruled The World and Watch Dem N#ggas. The version of 'If I Ruled The World' was slightly different, if I remember correctly, but the smash single with Lauryn Hill would prove to be the push NaS needed in '96. Hit the tags to go back and read media reviews, but I remember stories of NaS' car being burned in the bridge (allegedly) in '96. A little dramatic, but I guess everyone feels entitled to a piece of the success when an artist blows up, or maybe it's just a hood myth to be ignored ... You decide.

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