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 below and on CD and Vinyl via Fat Beats.

October 30, 2017

Big Daddy Kane "Taste Of Chocolate" (Tootsie Roll Promo)

"Big Daddy Kane gave one of his most consistent efforts with Taste of Chocolate, his third album. Kane not only had first-rate technique and rhyming skills working to his CD's advantage, he also had quite a bit of excellent and varied material to choose from. Though he still spends too much time bragging about his microphone skills, such hard-hitting numbers as "Mr. Pitiful" and his sobering "Dance With The Devil" show just how substantial he can be. This time, Kane is joined by a number of distinguished guests, including Barry White (who is typically charismatic on the rap ballad "All of Me"); Malcolm X's daughter Gamilah Shabazz (with whom he duets on "Who Am I") and the raunchy comedian Rudy Ray Moore. When Kane and Moore exchange insults on "Big Daddy Vs. Dolemite" things get outrageously entertaining." - Alex Henderson // Taste of Chocolate was Big Daddy Kane's first album to go gold, reaching #33 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the R&B chart. According to Chuck D's This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History, it was released on this day in 1990. Listen HERE and check out the promotional 13" tootsie roll that was released in 1990 along with the album. 

October 29, 2017

Pharoahe Monch "Evolve" (The Source, 1995)

"The majority of us don't even recognize that Amerikkka is outgrowing its need for our generation. Now, some might say Amerikkka has used us enough. True, but with the numerous, recent government attacks on welfare, senior citizens aid and educational programs, we at least need to be more useful to ourselves and our families. When your world is encompassed within a six block radius, you are limiting your knowledge to that circumference. If in this psychological circle around your being, you find total paradise as such - $10 for weed, $1 for Phillies, $2 for a 40 oz. and $3 for chicken wings and pork fried rice - you are indeed living a shallow existence monetarily and spiritually. As MCs, we have a definite voice of power. Our words will be forever immortalized on vinyl, tapes, CDs, etc., for generations to peep beyond our own existence. No, it is not every MC's responsibility to bring wisdom to the light because creativity shouldn't be limited to just teaching. However, if you possess the ability to open someone's eyes, move masses and expand their world but you refuse to, then you have forsaken your gift from The Most High. As it stands now, our industry does not reward intellect over ignorance, especially when the negative influences are a billion dollar commodity. The youth have to reach out for more and demand better from life and art. If we don't, our culture will implode - growing smaller until we ultimately cease to exist." - Pharoahe.

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. 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." Revisit it below...

Full review in Hip Hop Connection (January, 1998) ... 

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.” 

October 26, 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. Dig into it below...

October 25, 2017

Grand Puba "Reel To Reel" 25th 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? Hard to say. "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 - be sure to give it a listen below...

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!

October 23, 2017

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

Watch The Pendulum Swing is the debut album from producer and turntablist, Es Nine. The 11-track 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. There are solid cuts on this album, and Es Nine is good peoples. It was my pleasure to help him secure the Supastition verse on "Outside Looking In," and "The Fame Game" with Fashawn would definitely work at radio, in my opinion. Stream Es Nine's Watch The Pendulum Swing album below...

October 22, 2017

Reef The Lost Cauze "Lecture at Rider University" (Video)

Working alongside the American Studies program at Rider, Sharif Lacey aka Reef The Lost Cauze spoke to a group of students and music lovers.... Lacey touched on topics such as the cultural roots of hip-hop, the difference between classic and modern hip-hop music and why the genre matters now more than ever. “If you wake up like me, you wake up every day kind of terrified of what’s gonna happen next,” he said. While Lacey said that hip-hop music has been politically charged and socially conscious for decades - rap group Public Enemy spoke out “in rage” during the crack epidemic in the early 1980s - modern artists such as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Joey Bada$$ are shedding light on current political issues. “I think that’s the most important thing that hip-hop can offer to our kids and for our future” ... Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Lacey said he had a “stereotypical” upbringing: drugs, poverty, crime and an absent father. To combat this, he decided to “educate and empower” himself by listening to rappers such as Public Enemy, Kane, Rakim and Poor Righteous Teachers. “All these guys told me something that I wasn’t being told by anybody else. It kicked down that door, that we understood what was going on in the world.” ... Whether it’s word-of-mouth, social media or through student’s physical presence at Rider, Lacey encouraged the audience to speak out on issues that matter to them. “It’s going to be vital for you to use your voice in this time” ... “We’re in a world of trouble, and it’s not gonna change unless we band together!” - Rider News. You can watch the full lecture from Reef The Lost Cauze below...

October 21, 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...

October 20, 2017

The Combat Jack Show "The Return of Redman Episode"

​Damn, because this isn't something I feel should come from anyone but the man himself, I ask that you please listen to the audio PSA from Combat Jack that explains his absence. Reggie 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, and 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 and the (un)usual comedy you'd expect from the humble - but hilarious - legend. Listen to this latest episode of the Combat Jack Show below...

October 19, 2017

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 33" (Mixtape, 1993)

This is Hip-Hop 33, by Tony Touch. Released in the golden era of hip-hop (1993), this mix tape is packed full of now-classic cuts from Wu-Tang Clan, Black Moon, The Alkaholiks, A Tribe Called Quest, Original Flavor, Rakim, Da Youngsta's, The Whooliganz, MC Lyte, D-Nice, 2Pac, Jeru The Damaja, Joe Fatal, Akinyele, KRS-One, M.O.P., Das EFX, De La Soul, Souls of Mischief, and more. Listen below, and props to DJStepOne for having the crisp rips already up on Mixcloud. Follow his page for lots more!

October 18, 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.

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? 

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. What do you think? Either way... check out the sounds below.

October 15, 2017

Method Man & Black Thought (Sway In The Morning, Video)

Black Thought and Method Man appeared on Sway in the Morning to promote HBO’s new series The Deuce. Sway called both legendary MCs to the carpet to drop some BARS and for five straight minutes, the two MCs went back and forth, spitting FIRE! over a J.I.D beat. Black Thought is one of the nicest MCs in the history of Hip-Hop, but there's always been something special about Method Man - his charisma and his presence on the mic pulls you in and I must say, he's sounded sharp as ever as of late. I think Method Man showed up the most on Wu Tang's The Saga Continues album. That said, Black Thought is certainly not one to be outshined, so while he only dropped 2 verses to Meth's 3, when you digest the bars, it's HEAVY! These are moments that stop the culture and make you fall in love all over again. Props to these giants of hip-hop and Sway for always making it about the music and the culture, first! He's a true pioneer and hip-hop doesn't look the same without his  steady contributions over the years. Watch the Method Man and Black Thought cipher below...

October 14, 2017

Edo. G "FreEDOm" (Album Stream)

Edo.G's latest Album FreEDOm couldn't come at a more appropriate time in history as we are in an age where it seems like our freedoms are slowly getting taken away with a corrupt dictator in office. FreEDOm has a sound that is reminiscent to one of your favorite Hip-Hop albums with songs that touch every part of your life. Edo.G's conscious lyrics over banging beats are bound to resonate and inspire. FreEDOm is Edo.G’s 15th studio album produced by up and coming producers Torchbars, Kelz With Tha Heat, Sir Williams, Geronimo X, DJ Scienz & more. If the album wasn't enough, it includes a full-length documentary based on the ED O.G & Da Bulldogs hit song "I Got To Have it". This ground-breaking documentary is a true artistic masterpiece on how one song can change your life. This is an in-depth look into Edo.G's journey through the music industry being dropped from a major label to finding his way independently. It highlights his life and career from his early teenage years to the present day. Through touring the world and making a positive impact with his music, Edo.G’s continued relevance in Hip Hop is not to be questioned. FreEDOm is also available on Limited Edition Colored Vinyl & Cassette via Fat Beats. Dig into the album below...

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 and designer of the Wu-Tang logo, Mathematics. RZA takes an executive producer credit, but it's clear he's not at the helm on production and 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 and they don't hide the distinctions in the titling and 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" and "If Time Is Money," which are my top picks from the LP, and hopefully we'll get a more official, more cohesive Wu project before things fall apart and there's no putting it back together. 

October 12, 2017

Slaine vs. Termanology "Anti-Hero" (Album Stream)

Since the beginning of their respective careers, Slaine & Termanology have been on a seemingly inevitable collision course. Over more than a decade, with each new album or devastating verse, the two New England hip-hop heavyweights have continually raised the stakes, providing each other the fuel to push their lyrical intensity and creative output to new heights. As individuals, they helped spark a renaissance of classic East Coast hardcore rap; as a team, joining forces for the long-awaited full-length collaboration LP Anti-Hero, they are cementing their status as battle-tested kings of the underground. Backed by an all-star roster of veteran producers and guest emcees, Slaine and Termanology have created an album that distills their distinct talents and points of view into a cohesive artistic vision that is sure to become a classic. Anti-Hero proves that, even after all these years, Slaine and Term are still pushing each other to grow stronger. Dig in below... (Updated).

October 11, 2017

DJ Eclipse "5 Minutes of Funk" (Video)

Watch this video below of DJ Eclipse tearing it up on Funkmaster Flex’s turntables and you might guess he has a superstar attitude to go with his massive skills, but E is truly the nicest dude in the world. We met him at Fat Beats in the 90s, the brick and mortar epicenter of underground hip-hop, where he was the manager. Despite burning the candle at both ends, co-hosting The Halftime Show and DJing for Non Phixion, Eclipse always greeted us with a smile and a pound, and 20 years later, he’s still that humble, friendly guy. You can still catch him burning up the airwaves with the best hip-hop records you’ve never heard before, on Sirius’ Rap is Outta Control radio show. - ItsTheRub. I can't say it much better than that, sentiments I can echo word-for-word - much love to the OG!

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...

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 and 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. 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. A little something different, do yourself a favor and click play below...

October 08, 2017

Rest In Peace, DJ Stef + "Hip-Hop '94" (Mixtape, 1994)

Stephanie Ornelas aka DJ Stef is a Bay Area icon! "She was a gifted DJ with an enormous vinyl collection; a graphic designer and self-taught web developer with an impressive client base; a hip-hop journalist who enthusiastically embraced the internet before it became mainstream; and a gregarious networker who introduced future spouses, business partners, and creative collaborators to one another.... In the early ’90s, Stef founded an influential hip-hop zine called the Vinyl Exchange, where she covered underground artists like DJ Shadow and J-Rocc. The zine evolved into a message board and, eventually, an online magazine with a YouTube show. Up until her death, Stef remained active in the scene: She maintained a popular DJ residency at Drake’s Dealership in Oakland through this past summer, and she was prolific with her graphic and web design business, boasting clients like the show Entourage and the San Francisco nightclub Monarch.... The Bay Area is better for her having been here, and she won't be forgotten. - via Nastia Voynovskaya // Rest In Peace, DJ Stef... this is her Hip-Hop '94 mix tape, featuring artists like Smif-N-Wessun, Ultramagnetic MCs, Tribe, Gang Starr, Da King & I, Jeru, Mobb Deep, and lots more. Thanks, Mike, for the audio. Listen below...

October 07, 2017

Jean Grae "The Bootleg Of The Bootleg EP" (2003)

"Jean Grae is self-aware, if nothing else. At times captivated by a world of fantasy to hide her real thoughts, for the most part she is brutally honest with herself and the listener. Delivering her personal mantra on her second solo effort, the Babygrande release is as lyrically visceral as they come - a great irony for a woman who named herself after a fictitious comic book character. After venting throughout her solo debut, Attack of the Attacking Things, the former What? What? of the collective Natural Resource, is still using the mic as her therapist and the rolling tape as her personal diary. The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP, her second solo effort in as many years, is a perfect name for the record. Often used as a way to give the world what the major record distributors and marketing teams won’t touch, the bootleg is an open canvas for many rappers these days. It limits the constraints of other hands touching one’s product and goes directly to the consumer. The abstract thought of bootlegging an original bootleg allows for even less diluted material - simply a novel idea." Click play on Jean's Bootleg Of The Bootleg EP, and continue reading below...

"On Bootleg, Grae’s six full songs and a 45-minute freestyle session allow for plenty of quality material to reach the listener. “Hater’s Anthem” is her response to her detractors over an Alchemist -like beat, and the wah-wah of ’70s funk on “Take Me” is a cry for help, as Jean Grae admits, “I am blinded like a junkie shooting up with emotional Novocain.” And those are only the first two songs on the EP. “My Crew”, with its subtle Jay-Z sample in the background, is the admission to troubles of hip-hop today. “I represent for a nation/Thought we was in it together/But I guess it gets strange when money rains in sunny weather,” she raps. “….Rap’s dead/ Rap sucks/ But thanks to y’all for killing it/ Grilling it down and spilling its guts and filling it back up with trash/I mean cash….” Once again, self-aware and brutally honest. The most impressive of all the music are Grae’s rhymes over the relatively happy beat of Scarface’s “My Block.” The frank tone is striking as she recites lyrics that will leave the listener with raised eyebrows by the second line. “I’m feeling numb, thinking of changing my name to crystal meth/ Playing this game, holding my mic like a pistol/ Aiming at death/ And I love nobody/ Alone in this world, that how I came in it/ But shit can flash and reverse the same in a minute,” she raps.... Jean Grae also shines as she manages to rhyme over Jay-Z, Nas, and Eminem beats as well as the originals. During the 45-minute mix that follows the original six tracks, Grae provides her version of the hits.... For those who haven’t heard the first album, pick up the Bootleg." - HipHopSite. Revisit the EP, now available as a "Deluxe Version." 

October 06, 2017

Skyzoo "Peddler's Theme" (EP Stream)

Peddler Themes serves as a prelude to Skyzoo’s upcoming album In Celebration of Us, which is scheduled for a Winter 2017/early 2018 release. The EP picks up where Skyzoo left off on his previous project Music for My Friends, continuing the album’s sound and reflective/nostalgic content of what Sky learned from and did during his neighborhood days. A nice EP, listen below...

October 05, 2017

Jedi Mind Tricks "Before The Great Collapse" (2004)

"Before The Great Collapse" was released in 2004 by Jedi Mind Tricks on their fourth studio album, Legacy Of Blood on Babygrande Records. The track is essentially a suicide letter from Vinnie Paz to his mother. The song is the first single performed solely by Vinnie Paz and was followed up by a response in "Razorblade Salvation" on their Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell album. Stoupe's production and sample choices match the melancholy vibe of the song to near perfection. The chemistry between Paz and Stoupe on record was always palpable. I know there are fans that can directly point to these songs as the reason they are still alive today - that's the power of music. JMT's cult following was the one of the strongest in music at one time. If you don't believe me, click through and take a look at the comments below the audio posted below! These days we have 'emo rap' as a full-on-genre, but back then, it was just MCs being transparent and speaking their truth on the highs and lows of life outside of music. Music has always been therapy and ironically, many of our greatest artists have been the most tortured souls. Happy (40th) Birthday to Vinnie Paz! 

October 04, 2017

Eric B. & Rakim "We're The Opposite of the Beastie Boys" (1987)

Eric B. & Rakim Smash Hits Magazine Beastie Boys "Hip-Hop Nostalgia"

Smash Hits was a pop magazine in the UK from the late 70s into the 2000s. This article with Eric B. & Rakim was featured in their November-December issue in 1987. In the brief interview, Eric B made reference to them being the opposite of the Beastie Boys and while it wasn't the focus of the article, headlines do sell, lol. "Yeah, we're like the opposite of the Beastie Boys in a way," Eric B says in response to being 'a serious pair.' "Now people see them as being rowdy and unpleasant but I just see them as living out everybody's fantasy. Everyone wants to behave loosely and badly and just do what they feel like doing. But we're not like that -- our stage act isn't a whole lot of laughing clowns dancing about on the stage -- it's a serious 45 minutes. Our songs are about serious everyday situations that people can relate to." The article, promoting their Paid In Full release, also includes the lyrics and a breakdown of some of the bars about positivity and their ultimate message on the song, 'Don't be a stick up kid!' That's sound advice! Peep the technique from Rakim below...

October 03, 2017

J-Zone "Root For The Villain" (Book) + Video

"My name is J-Zone. If you actually know who the hell I am, either you listen to way too much rap music, you're a Tim Dog fan, or you stood outside my distributor's warehouse the day my CDs and records were destroyed. I was on the hip-hop come-up, then I came down - hard. Splat. Some critical success, incessant praise from pop stars and hip-hop legends alike, and then...abysmal commercial failure. I did tours on Greyhound buses filled with wide-bodied, Jheri curled women and knife-wielding gang members. I witnessed my life-long passion for music dissolve in 12 hours and my final album sell a whopping 47 copies in its first month for sale. I left my little-known spot in a small, niche quadrant of the hip-hop world and joined my fellow overqualified stiffs with useless college degrees in the world of dead end jobs. For some sick reason, I find all of the above hilarious and have made an omelette out of any egg that wound up on my face. The book has chapters dedicated to cassette tapes, defunct record stores, the SP-1200 sampling drum machine, hip-hop recording studios of the 1990s, and overlooked rap artists all point to my fascination with the obscure. A collection of memoirs and think pieces written by a curmudgeonly commercial failure who is somehow laughing hysterically at both himself and the stupidity of the world large probably won't become a New York Times best-seller, either. Be honest though, you need something to place drinks on when you have company; at worst, my book is a perfect cocktail coaster...." Order a copy of Root For The Villain: Rap, Bullshit, And A Celebration Of Failure" HERE. And, as a bonus, check out this classic video of J-Zone arguing for cassettes as the greatest form of media ever created! Yes/No?

October 02, 2017

Boodah Bros Show Freestyles 90s (R.I.P. Kool DJ Law)

Props to Roc Smith, who uploaded these dope freestyles from Mad Skillz, SupaFriendz, Black Thought, Boot Camp Clik, Sadat X and Xzibit from the Boodah Bros Live From The Hood radio show on 103 Jamz back in the mid-90s. 103 Jamz is based in Norfolk, VA. Back in 2010, the hip-hop community mourned the death of 103 Jamz Program Director and radio personality, DJ Law, from the Boodah Brothers. DJ Law co-hosted the show with Big B, and Law had worked at the radio show since high school back in 1992. Rest In Peace, Kool DJ Law. Peep these freestyles below.

October 01, 2017

DJ Matman "Classic Material: 1995" (Vol. 1-2, Mixes)

"It's nineteen ninety-five..." DJ Matman dropped these 2 flawless mixes in 2011, representing some of the best tracks from 1995. On his Mixcloud, he provided some backstory: "Earlier this year (2011), I was asked to DJ a guest slot at London's Classic Material, a club night dedicated to chronicling the history of Hip-Hop, year by year. I was asked to spin at the 1995 event, a great year for hip hop and of particular relevance to me as it was around this time I started my addiction to buying Hip-Hop records, spending all my spare cash and lunch money on LPs & 12's! I ended up playing over 2 hours at Classic Material, and these mixes represent how I put it down that night, and in roughly the same order." The 2 volumes feature tracks from Big L, Lost Boyz, Blahzay Blahzay, Boot Camp Clik, Camp Lo, Show & AG, Heltah Skeltah, Biggie, Das Efx, Masta Ace, Mobb Deep, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Ol' Dirty Bastard, Raekwon, KRS, Group Home, Tribe and so much more. I recommend and support all his mixes; his track selection is dope and skills are always on point. Both mixes are below.