Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Blu & Exile "In The Beginning: Before The Heavens" (Album Stream)

10 years after Blu & Exile released their magnum opus "Below the Heavens," the California duo have reunited to release 14 tracks from the original 2007 sessions. "In the Beginning: Before the Heavens" contains rare songs and unreleased gems – the best of the best chosen from over 40 songs in the vault. In The Beginning: Before the Heavens is made of up songs that are raw and untouched, keeping the authenticity of Blu and Exile’s creativity at the time. The album has guest appearances from familiar names like Dr. Oop, Donel Smokes, Aloe Blacc, and Blame One. While “Soul Provider,” “Another Day,” and “Party of Two” appeared on Blu’s Lifted EP, the majority of these songs showcase Blu rapping at his peak, maintaining his underground attitude as he dishes on reaching star status (“Constellations”), getting radio play (“On the Radio”), or opposing views in a problem-ridden world (“You’re Gonna Die Someday”). Exile, meanwhile, builds a golden hip-hop era feel with head-nodding samples and DJ scratches. Available via Fat Beats

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Mood "Doom" (Hip-Hop Connection, 1/98)

"Lauded by their label as "the end of hip-hop as we know it," Mood - a three piece from Cincinnati, Ohio - are taking a more political and philosophical slant on the rap game. Of course, plenty of rappers have tried to get deep on us, but Mood's apocalyptic rants have more substance to them than most, making references to journalists and CIA figures to back up their shadowy conspiracy theories. "Esoteric Manuscripts" gives a good pointer to the Mood style, with its eerie guitar strum and tinkling glockenspiel, while the beat provides a crisp crunch as satisfying as a packet of Pringles. 'Karma' shows off the skills of rappers Donte and Main-Flow to best effect, as they overlap and intertwine their solid, flamboyant flows." Check out the banger, 'Karma,' cont'd below...

"The production - handled partly by their deejay, Jahson, and also Hi-Tek of Reflection Eternal - also has some nice touches, but what lets Mood down is their beats. Created completely by drum machines, they don't provide enough of a spread of rhythms to hold your interest for 19 tracks. For all their doom-laded tales, Mood are showing us something positive: that hip-hop's got somewhere to go after the big willies have gone limp. (II)" - Hip-Hop Connection, January 1998.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Nasty Nas & The Extra P "The Lost Album"

The inspiration for this project might have been best summed up by Nas himself: "Large Professor was the one that really started working with me first…so we were on to a lot of crazy ideas…he really could have done the entire [Illmatic] record and in the beginning, I wanted him to. Once I was working with him, why would you need to go anywhere else? You got HIM…so my thought was that one day it would happen and he would do the whole thing" Since that day has yet to come, we put together our own version of this elusive "lost album." Drawing from the wealth of post-Illmatic Large Pro instrumentals and Nas acapellas, we carefully paired some of the best examples of two artists at the top of their game, highlighting some underrated works while reimagining hooks and adlibs to help fuel the illusion of an authentic collaboration - via ItsOverture

Friday, October 27, 2017

Alps Cru "Time Machine" (EP Stream)

Newly recorded boom-bap goodness from international cult-favorites Alps Cru has arrived! The latest limited-edition vinyl release of Alps material from F5 Records features two never-before-heard beats made by DJ Alejan on the ASR-10 in 1996. Shorty Live and P Da Wicked’s effortless chemistry is on full display on the first half of the EP. El Da Sensei joins them as they travel back to the golden age over a vintage DJ Alejan beat on “Time Machine.” The second half of the EP features Shorty Live (aka Brank Napp) on the solo tip. As Brank Napp says on the DJ Crucial-produced banger “Facts” – “This is more for the more mature who want more from a rap song.” 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Grand Puba "Reel To Reel" 20th Anniversary Mix

A brief description of the mix was put up by Hellee Hooper, explaining "To honor a masterpiece in Hip hop music, I have put together this mix to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Reel To Reel By Grand Puba." For years, I only had this album on cassette, and while I do think it's a great album, cassette probably wasn't the best format because there was a bit of filler on the album, which damaged the replay value for me. That said, I honestly do think Grand Puba was heavily slept-on as an MC, trendsetter, and a potential star rising up from his crew, Brand Nubian. Word around town was always that he was hard to work with (allegedly), which might have been holding him back. "Big Kids Don't Play" is still one of my favorite joints though lol Now is a good time to revisit Grand Puba's "Reel To Reel," props to Hellee Hooper on the mix, listen below.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Nature "Queens Classics 2" (Album Stream)

I haven't stopped rockin' Volume 1 of Nature's "Queens Classics," now he's back with a second throwback release! More Queens hood classics with tracks featuring Half A Mil (R.I.P.), Styles P, Nas, Pete Rock, Noreaga, Fat Joe, FT, Capone-N-Noreaga, DJ Clue, Littles, 50 Cent & lots more. Hit the tags to dig up the first Queens Classic, and dig into this release below to get that old feeling back!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Es Nine "When The Pendulum Swings" (Album Stream)

The debut album from producer / turntablist Es Nine. The album features Hip-Hop heavyweights Fashawn, Rakaa Iriscience (of Dilated Peoples), A.G. (of D.I.T.C.), Supastition, Wildelux, Glad2Mecha, Fo Chief, A.V.I.U.S., Riley Boone, Ruby Z and a remix from Marco Polo. Stream it below.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Combat Jack Show "The Return of Redman Episode"

​Damn, because this isn't something I feel should come from anyone but the source, I ask that you please listen to the PSA from Combat Jack explaining his absence on this episode. With that, he is in my thoughts and prayers, and I will certainly reach out to express my support and encouragement. Exhale ... now, this is a special live taping of the Combat Jack Show, where their guest is none other than the Funk Doc, Redman & guest hosting is honorable member of the show, super-producer Just Blaze. I was eager to hear Red give an update on Muddy Waters 2, but he also touches on the current climate in Hip-Hop today, his new show on VH1 & the (un)usual comedy you'd expect from the humble - but hilarious - legend. Listen to this episode of the Combat Jack Show below.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Deltron 3030 Comic Book (CMJ, January 2001)

Back in January 2001, CMJ New Music Monthly released this fresh comic short in support of Deltron 3030's debut self-titled album. If you don't know, Deltron 3030 consists of Del The Funky Homosapien, Dan The Automator and Kid Koala. I'd consider the album to be a cult-classic, which also sees featured work from Prince Paul, Mr. Lif, Peanut Butter Wolf, MC Paul Barman, and more. There's a large portion of hip-hop heads who were also heavily into comics - for example: Pete Rock, DJ Eclipse, Method Man and numerous others. Wu-Tang was featured on the cover of this CMJ issue in support of The W, and there was also a nice feature with Mr. Lif you can read HERE. Check out "three hip-hop heads traveling through a post-apocalyptic, post-World War IV universe" when you hit play on the album. The comic also features Ice-T, Kool Keith and more; check it out above and the album review is below, which considers the album 'half-baked.' You agree or disagree? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hex One "Words Worth A Thousand Pictures" (Album Stream)

"Fueled by today's lack of appreciation and the decline in the art of the lyricist, Hex One's latest album 'Words Worth a Thousand Pictures' aims to take a stand for those who are truly masters of their craft. Technical, yet with a clear and concise message and deeply personal at times, Hex One offers a glimpse into his life as an MC and the world he lives in as seen through the scope of his lens. Backed by hard headnodic beats, deep, soulful samples with east coast and jazz influences, and booming drums and bass lines, Hex masterfully shatters contemporary society's notion of Hip-hop being a lowbrow genre of music. Despite music itself being highly subjective in nature, he aims to remove some of this subjectivity and boldly proclaim that some art simply takes more skill than others and talent is most certainly measurable. The ironic disconnect, however, between this measure of talent and the measure of one's success poses to be one of his life's greatest woes. The album is thus presented with a subtle melancholic tone throughout, as he struggles to come to terms with this realization. The bigger irony perhaps being that he does so with the same intricate attention to detail and lyrical prowess that is undervalued and overlooked in Hip-hop's musical landscape today. His philosophy remains: if a picture is worth a thousand words, so too can a poets words be worth a thousand pictures." Stream Hex One's "Words Worth a Thousand Pictures" below.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Prince Paul "The Redux" (Album Stream)

To kick it off, the ever-talented producer, Prince Paul, says: “I make albums. It’s old and it’s an antiquated idea of making music, but that’s what I make.” Prince Paul adds, "I worked pretty hard on it and the concept is simply ‘getting a second chance to get it right.’ Upon listening you will get exactly where I’m coming from! Kind of cryptic but then again my work has always been.” The Redux is a second attempt at Paul’s 2003 album Politics of the Business, which he feels was slept on both by the critics and the public at large. Check out the sounds below.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Innate "Ways To Go" (Album Stream)

"Innate is now at the helm of his blossoming solo career and has reemerged with Ways To Go. Entirely written, produced and recorded by Innate, the new project is his first solo effort and an attempt to make his mark on the culture. Featuring sample-heavy production and infectious yet conscious hooks, Ways To Go veers slightly away from the mostly optimistic tone of Such As I, delving deeper into Innate’s personal life and experiences with loss, self-awareness, and what it means to be an artist. While the album is free from the clutter of excessive features so routinely used on contemporary recordings, Innate enlists E.P. for “Long Road” and vocalist Nate Jackson for “Big Sur.” In a world where unrelated singles seem to flow endlessly off the conveyor belt of mainstream music, the seamlessly woven nature of Ways To Go is a breath of fresh air. It’s ultimately a narrative commenting on everything Innate has learned over the years, as well as an acknowledgement he still has a ways to go. With a wealth of experience behind him, he understands the journey is the lesson and the lesson never ends." Listen to Innate's Ways To Go LP below...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Wu-Tang Clan "The Saga Continues" / "People Say"

"The Saga Continues" is a new compilation album from the Wu-Tang, entirely produced by long-time producer & designer of the Wu logo, Mathematics. RZA takes an executive producer credit, but it's clear he's not at the helm on production & much of the album is pieced together from verses collected over the years, then curated by Mathematics. In some ways, I wasn't mad at it - Method Man sounded razor sharp in the songs he's on, as does frequent collaborator, the Funk Doc, Redman. That said, it's clear this is not a Wu-Tang Clan album & they don't hide the distinctions in the titling & the pairing of MCs on the tracks. I don't suspect there will be a tour in support of the project, so it might come and go with today's shelf-life for music. Enjoy "People Say" & "If Time Is Money," which are my top picks from the compilation, and hopefully we'll get an official, more cohesive Wu project before things fall apart & there's no putting it back together. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Twit One "Hay Luv" (Instrumental Album)

Twit One is one-half of the German production duo Flatpocket. This is Twit One's 15-track follow-up to "The Sit-In," which was released in 2015. There are a few spoken word features, but it's predominantly an instrumental album, with a mix of interludes and short chops. My favorite track on the tape is the very brief (30 seconds) of "Stumbled," I can vividly hear One Be Lo on that beat. If you haven't already heard Twit One's work with Lazy Jones as Flatpocket, I highly recommend hitting the tags and listening to that first, then come back and enjoy "Hay Luv," streaming below...

Monday, October 09, 2017

Children Of Zeus "The Story So Far" (EP Stream)

First Word Records are very proud to present an EP by Manchester's finest Hip Hop and Soul exports, Children of Zeus. Konny Kon & Tyler Daley met back in 2005, after both performing a show near Paris in their respective crews, Broke'N'£nglish and Body Roq. The duo met up back home in Manchester, spurred on initially by a mutual admiration of each others music, and produced their first track together, aptly entitled 'Coming Home To You'. As they've grown within the family of Manchester's music scene, they've provided a tonic to the city's bass-orientated club scene, breathing Soul back into the city, whilst maintaining their heritage of Hip Hop swagger. As an MC, Konny takes no prisoners, whilst Tyler (a prolific MC in his own right) has gained a rep as one of the UK's strongest Soul voices. Both artists have been blessed with the talent of beat-making. A combined craftsmanship upon the boards and in the booth. This EP is a compilation of the creations the duo have produced themselves over the past decade, put together to appease their loyal followers thus far, and as an introduction to those yet to discover their talents. A snapshot of what has been, and a mere taster of what's to come. A collection of raw, gritty, Hip Hop Soul music. This collection signals the end of the first chapter. A prologue even. Get on board now. The time is right. This is the story so far... Do yourself a favor and click play on the stream below.