November 30, 2017

Cyhi The Prynce "No Dope On Sundays" (Album Stream)

Hurt to see my class walk, and I ain't get to graduate
My parents washed their hands with me like before you grab a plate
I was on punishment, still coming in after eight
The belt don't hurt no more, she can tell when she look at my face
I was a castaway, had to learn how to navigate
Through the alleyways then pull up on you the Cali' way
Huh, I did some shit I can't elaborate
Tried to serve some n!ggas I ain't know, that was my last mistake
And Satan, I know I'm one of your favorite soldiers
But I can't help you no more, cause me and Christ is getting...
- Cyhi The Prynce, “Closer"

I tried to cop a physical, couldn't find it for purchase, must be a tour-only exclusive or digital-only release. Either way, one of the best albums of the year. Most known for penning tracks behind the scenes for Kanye West, and unfortunately being one of his more vocal supporters, I couldn't hold it against him when I first heard the album. I highly recommend “Closer" + “Get Yo Money" and "God Bless Your Heart" from "No Dope On Sundays" - dig into the lyrics and wordplay on the album below...

November 29, 2017

DJ Revolution "Classic Posse Cut Mix"

DJ Revolution aka The King of the Decks crafted this 45-minute mix on Shade45 with some of the best posse cuts in Hip-Hop history. You'll hear tracks from Lord Finesse, Kanye West, Fat Joe, Craig Mack, D.I.T.C., Heltah Skeltah, Gang Starr, Sway & King Tech, LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest, Main Source, Heavy D, Jungle Brothers & lots more! What do you think the greatest posse cut of all-time is? To me, I've got "Scenario Remix" by A Tribe Called Quest and "Represent" by D.I.T.C. The most important, to me, however, has to be Main Source's "Live At The BBQ," because it introduced me to one of my favorite MCs (NaS) and the greatest hip-hop album of all time, "Illmatic." Dig in below...

November 28, 2017

Fabolous & Jadakiss "Friday On Elm Street" (Album Stream)

You'd be hard pressed to find two better lyricists than Fabolous and Jadakiss in the 2000s. The two New Yorkers have been murdering melodies, hacking up hooks and beating the life out of bass lines for around two decades. So it's only right they finally catch bodies together on the joint LP, Friday on Elm Street. Originally titled Freddy vs. Jason, the project was first announced last February via an Instagram post from Loso who captioned a photo of himself and Kiss, "Freddy Vs. Jason coming soon." Fast forward... the new LP boasts guest appearances from Styles P, Teyana Taylor, French Montana, Swizz, and Jeezy. - XXL. This is an album I love on paper, but had severe anxiety and apprehension about its lasting power in my headphones. One thing, however, cannot be denied, Fab and Jada released one of the best songs of the year with "Soul Food;" it's worth an entire project!

November 28, 2017

Digable Planets "Built To Last" (Mix)

The 'Built To Last' Radio Show is hosted by Corrado & I Joe, each Thursday from 8-9pm on Radio campus FM in Toulouse, France. I bounced in and out of France for a while on tour, but regrettably never got to roll through Toulouse. If I did, I'd definitely stop by and salute Built To Last for their amazing work on these artist-inspired mixes each week. Here's their tribute to Digable Planets, the phenomenal golden era group consisting of Butterfly (Seattle), Ladybug Mecca (Maryland), and Doodlebug (Philly) - which ironically formed in Brooklyn, New York. A lil' late, but listen to it below... 

November 27, 2017

MF Doom/Metal Fingers "Special Herbs" (Boxset)

MF DOOM is the man in the iron mask. The most mysterious figure in hip-hop has also become one of the most popular, supplying beats and rhymes for Gorillaz, De La Soul, Madlib, Danger Mouse, and Wu-Tang Clan, and drawing praise from heavyweights like Just Blaze, Nas, and Mos Def. Since 2002, MF DOOM has released numerous volumes of Special Herbs, one of the longest-running instrumental series in hip- hop history. With obscure loops and dusty samples galore, Special Herbs is a must-have for any MF DOOM fan or hip-hop head. In case you collect cassettes and support your favorite artists, MF DOOM’s Special Herbs series is now available on cassette for the first time in a limited edition 5xCassette box set. The link to 7-8 is gone, but enjoy Volumes 1-6 and 9-10 below. 

November 26, 2017

One Be Lo "Laborhood Part Five" (Album Stream)

The Laborhood mixtape series is a collection of songs that One Be Lo has made guest apperances on, aside from his solo material. The Laborhood Part Five mix features 14 tracks and is mixed by ConductorWilliams. The project also has appearances from Haseeb the Few, Journalist 103, Guilty Simpson, DJ Illogik, Tyrant, RoSpit, Curtis King and more. All 5 volumes of One Be Lo's Laborhood series can be heard and supported through his Bandcamp page, be sure to check them out! Dig in...

November 25, 2017

Raekwon & Ghostface in One Nut Magazine (1995)

Raekwon & Ghostface Killah One Nut Magazine 1995
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah One Nut Magazine 1995
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah One Nut Magazine 1995
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah One Nut Magazine 1995
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah One Nut Magazine 1995
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah One Nut Magazine 1995

One Nut Magazine was popular in the early-mid 90s; it was a FREE publication, done bi-monthly out of Connecticut. In October of 1995, Raekwon was on the cover of the magazine and above was the featured article, which of course, included Ghostface, too. Out the gate, Ghostface makes his presence known: “Everybody cannot be a rapper. It’s not meant for everybody. Like everybody’s not meant to be a boxer; or be a model. Everybody’s not meant for all that, man … It’s hard to sell records. It’s very hard.” He drops another gem later in the interview: “There’s gonna be a time when you can’t buy nothing or sell nothing, so what you gonna do? They gonna be talking about you better have a piece of gold or silver. So what we doing is getting prepared for what’s about to happen. F#ck all this rap shit. I do this shit, I love this shit and all that shit, but my babies come first, man.” Remember, this is the end of '95, but they had the foresight to know what was potentially ahead of them in this industry (and their careers). Not to mention, that was at a time when artists were actually making good money off rap. Rae & Ghost’s longevity has been built on consistency in skill and execution, but nothing is promised tomorrow today. Read the full article.

November 24, 2017

DJ Premier & Jay-Z "7:18" (Mix by Mick Boogie & Chi-Duly)

"What happens when you take Jay-Z’s most lyrical and personal verses & juxtapose them with DJ Premier’s most dark and precise works? The result is 7:18. This mixtape is a love letter to the hiphop we grew up listening to. This is for the people who grew up analyzing the b-side of every Gang Starr and Group Home single. This is for the people who listened to Jay’s “A Million And One Questions” a million and one times. This is music you should only listen to wearing Carhartt jackets and wheat Timbs. Do not listen to this album at a beach under a palm tree. This is music for a cold, grey day. Preferably enjoyed in a 1994 white Lexus. This is raw and uncut Brooklyn hiphop in it’s prime. A tribute to two of the best who ever did it, and in a way only we could bring it to you. We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed putting it together." Check out the 7:18 mix below...

November 23, 2017

The House List Podcast "Danny Hastings Episode"

Another great episode of the House List Podcast, this time featuring the iconic photographer Danny Hastings. The host of the podcast Peter Agoston had the following to say on the episode, "An incredibly cool convo with the one and only Danny Hastings. His legacy as a hip-hop album photographer is one of legend - having shot multiple covers for Gang Starr, Group Home, Jeru The Damaja, Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon, Eminem, KRS-One, AZ, Fat Joe, Big Pun, Souls of Mischief, The UMC's, Keith Murray, Mad Skillz, PMD, LL Cool J, The Lox, Tha Liks, Mobb Deep, Tony Touch, and many more." Listen to the full interview below and follow the legendary Danny Hastings on IG HERE.

November 22, 2017

uMaNg & D-Rev "Hunter's Moon" (Album Stream)

"Hunter's Moon is the second edition to the Autumn Breathes saga. Inspired by the dark imagery of the blood moon drawn by the astrologic relationship between the sun and moon, this piece is the darker of the two Autumn Breathes show casings, full of near-halloween, late-night energy derived from the erie instrumentals produced by B.B.Z Darney. Since working together before, Umang and D-Rev show they have increased their knowledge of the verbal chemistry they create together when making music from tracks one through ten. As said about the previous project: If one is a fan of the craft of Hip Hop Emceeing, the math that goes into making rhymed words equal to a rhythm, the ecstasy of understanding a metaphor on beat, and the delicacy of making a vivid mental picture on an instrumental, then this is the album for you." Listen to uMaNg Hunter's Moon below...

November 21, 2017

Camp Lo "The Get Down Brothers" (Album Stream)

On The Get Down Brothers, Camp Lo (Geechi Suede & Sonny Cheeba) completely pivot away from their '90s nostalgia into a much more futuristic and experimental sound. Although the production is different, their signature tongue-twisting and hype flows remain, creating a unique and seamless fusion packed into 10 dynamic tracks. They'll be releasing a double-CD set along with last year's On The Way Uptown (dig into the archives for more info) to celebrate 20+ years since their debut album, Uptown Saturday Night. Stay tuned for that, and dig into The Get Down Brothers below...

November 20, 2017

Pete Rock "Soul Brotha Beats" (Instrumental Album)

Soul Brotha Beats is a compilation of rare and hard to find looped versions of interlude instrumentals by the Soul Brother #1, Pete Rock. The beats were compiled by Takara Digital Recordds from various productions and compiled into this 14-track release. Don't ask if this shit is official, because I do not know - it looks bootleg AF, but the Chocolate Boy Wonda always comes correct on the instrumentals, so dig into these classics below from the Soul Brotha Beats release...

November 19, 2017

Z. Gillespie "Reveries" (Album Stream)

z. gillespie is a songwriter, instrumentalist and producer from Philadelphia. Known to me from working with Stoupe's Red Martina and Vespertina, his sound is in a similar vein to the Jedi Mind Tricks days. His latest offering, Reveries, is a half-instrumental and half-production album that features Malik B., Edo G, Planet Asia, Pace Won, Shabaam Sahdeeq and my brother, Supastition. Lots of bar-heavy MCs, my only complaint is that there isn't enough punch on the drums! Listen below...

November 18, 2017

The Halftime Show "Method Man & Redman" (11/18/98)

Big up to DJ Eclipse, this is 89.1 WNYU, The Halftime Show, on November 18, 1998 with DJ Riz & DJ Eclipse, featuring special guests: Method Man & Redman. In November '98, Red & Mef would have been on their second 'Month of the Man' campaign promoting Method Man's 'Tical 2000: Judgment Day' and Redman's 'Doc's Da Name.' The original campaign was run back in '94 for 'Tical' and 'Dare Iz a Darkside' through Def Jam and they have been going strong ever since with solo and collaborative releases. From DJ Eclipse: "Riz setting the show off and me getting on around 77 minutes in like usual. Mic break at 46:19 and again at 121:37 with guests Redman and Method Man. Not too much talking and then straight to the freestyle (125:07) with Red, Meth, Mr. Loose and La The Darkman. 20+ minute freestyle session right up to the end of the show." They played great underground records throughout - as always - so you'll wanna click play and enjoy the dope 2-hour show below...

November 17, 2017

Recognize Ali "Back 2 Mecca" (Album Stream)

This is Recognize Ali's third album this year! Back 2 Mecca is a joint album between Recognize Ali and UK producer Giallo Point. The 13-track offering features Estee Nack, Sage Infinite, SmooVth, PhybaOptikz, Daniel Son & Saipher Soze - although most are uncredited in the Bandcamp's tracklist. All production and cuts are handled by Giallo Point. Dig into their new collaborative effort below...

November 16, 2017

Asun Eastwood "Hollywood Briggs" (Album Stream)

Asun Eastwood is from Toronto, Canada. His latest 13-track effort is a tribute to a brother who passed away and he honors him through the music and title of the project, Hollywood Briggs. The production is handled by Futurewave, Uncle D.O.E., Onaje Jordan, Ol Man 80zz, Jon Jones and Finn, as well as features from Daniel Son, Flashius Clayton, Snacks, and Conway the Machine. This is a strong project from an artist whose NIMBUS project I also enjoyed, as well as features I'd heard on other artists' records. I don't know much about him personally, but the music is working and I'm keeping an eye out for more. Toronto has a ton of talent up North, it's bubbling heavy in the underground.

November 16, 2017

Raph Rashid "Back To The Lab" (Book)

You might know the black and white photo of J Dilla sitting in a stark, clean living room, just him at a table with a sampler. This and shots of Madlib taken in Los Angeles that day, were the last that Raph Rashid shot for his 2005 book, Behind the Beat, which captured producers in their living spaces. The book was reprinted several times. Many of the studios have since changed, moved, or shut down. But Raph never stopped shooting. From 2005 to 2016, Raph photographed another round – in some cases, another generation – of producers working in their home studios. I highly recommend his latest book, Back to the Lab, with photos of Flying Lotus, Just Blaze, El-P, Ant, DJ Babu, Mitsu, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Lord Finesse, Waajeed, Oddisee, Alchemist, Oh No, Diamond D, Khalil, Jake One, Rhettmatic, Young RJ, and quite a few more – including a visit with Dilla’s mother, and a look back on that day photographing the King of Beats. Back to the Lab is thicker than the previous book at 214 pages, and like the last one, it’s hardcover, 10×10″, full color, and beautifully designed. Above and below are just a few of the beautiful photos shared within its pages! Order a copy HERE.

November 15, 2017

The Combat Jack Show "Kardinal Offishall Episode"

On this episode, Combat Jack and A-King sit down with the T-Dot ambassador Kardinal Offishall. He’s talking his early years in Hip Hop, opening the door for artists from Canada globally, as well as his forthcoming project “Celebrity Marauders” + much more. Kardi shares some of the dopest stories from his journey thus far; a career that shows no signs of stopping. Listen to the latest episode of the Combat Jack Show below, and please keep Combat in your thoughts and all of your prayers.

November 14, 2017

Armand Hammer "Rome" (Album Stream)

"An unsparing indictment of everything. A scratched CD-R ode to the crew of the last nuclear submarine. ROME, the new album by ELUCID and billy woods as ARMAND HAMMER, is the sound of rats in the walls, fleeing. Terrifying, hilarious, chaotic, sleek, violent, implacable, ROME is a feast of words, a stylistic demolition derby over-production both layered and spare. Those tracks come courtesy of August Fanon, Messiah Musik, Kenny Segal, JPEGMAFIA, Fresh Kils and High Priest (Antipop), while appearances by Quelle Chris, Mach Hommy, Denmark Vessey and Curly Castro add to an already potent mix. ELUCID and woods are two of the most vital voices in the genre- as distinct as they are complimentary- at the height of their powers." Something different, stream it below...

November 13, 2017

DJ Sav One - A Rare ReIntroduction

DJ Sav One

This industry is tough for an introvert like me to navigate. I'm simply not willing to do what it takes to become part of the "in-crowd" ... I mean, especially for myself. On behalf of my artists, I stretch myself a bit to accommodate the needs of the industry and I do my best to make sure their efforts are seen and heard. Still, am I gonna cold call people all day? No. Go to networking events and shake every hand in the room, doing these bullshit listening parties? Not so much. Even a blog like this, people may find it on Google or an occasional (rare) link I'll share, but I don't EVER go out of my way to discuss it. So, if posting slows down, it means I'm working on other music things, but I can still be reached on social media. Hit me! You'll catch me making the most of the few words I speak. 

November 12, 2017

Aliano & Jakk Wonders "The Vanguard Heist" (EP Stream)

Aliano & Jakk Wonders are back again for a new EP, "The Vanguard Heist." As a follow-up to their debut project, "California Dreaming" EP, Aliano & Jakk Wonders enlist only one feature on The Vanguard Heist, Ruste Juxx. With hard beats and rhymes, it's another solid release to stream below...

November 11, 2017

The Combat Jack Show "Steve Rifkin Episode"

On this episode of the Combat Jack Show, they sit down with iconic record label executive and CEO of Loud Records, Steve Rifkind, at a special Live recording at the A3C Festival. Steve shares his journey growing up in Brooklyn, managing New Edition, creating SRC, signing iconic artists such as Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Wu-Tang Clan, Tha Alkaholiks, and much more. Most importantly - no offense to Mr. Rifkind - Combat Jack also updates us on his battle with cancer. #CombatCancer. Prayers UP!

November 10, 2017

"Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde" (25th Anniversary Mix)

"On Nov 17th 2017, Craft Recordings releases a 25th Anniversary Edition one of the greatest and most celebrated Hip-Hop albums of all time, The Pharcyde’s 'Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde'. The album will be available as a Deluxe Extended Vinyl package (original album on 2LPs + 3 12” singles) and 2CD (original album, plus a full disc of bonus material) with audio remastered by Dave Cooley (J Dilla, Madvillain, Madlib) and will include non-album tracks, remixes, and rarities. New liner notes by leading music journalist and author Jeff Weiss (Passion of the Weiss, LA Weekly) round out the package. The original album with remastered audio will also be available on vinyl and cassette. In celebration of the release WhoSampled has teamed up with Craft Recordings to present this exclusive mixtape..." 

November 09, 2017

Tony Touch "Hip Hop 34" (Mixtape, 1993)

Hip Hop 34 was the last tape that Tony Touch released in 1993 (via Tape Kingz). The mix featured cuts from KRS-One, Das EFX, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ice Cube, The Wreck Allstars, A Tribe Called Quest, Shyheim, De La Soul, YZ, Black Moon, Fu-Schnickens, Wu-Tang Clan, MC Lyte, Kwest Tha Madd Lad, Main Source, Souls of Mischief, Rumpletilskinz, UMC's, Akinyele, Tha Alkaholiks, Queen Latifah, and more! Tony Touch's mix tapes have always been dope, so dig in - updated audio - below...

November 08, 2017

RSXGLD "RSXGLD" (Album Stream)

Ro Spit and 14KT have built a small empire on their own as solo artists. Ro Spit has amassed a career spanning across 3 albums, 2 mixtapes, and countless of features including Royce Da 5’9”, Denaun Porter, Bun B, Freeway and Raheem DeVaughn just to name a few. Not to mention a reality TV show centered around his world famous brand Burn Rubber that was produced by Eminem. The production arm of RSXGLD, 14KT, is 8 albums deep into his career. KT has paired with some of the best in the game, having worked with a who’s who of today’s artists such as Roc Marciano, Black Milk, Bun B, Elzhi, Oddisee, Skyzoo, Jay Electronica, and more. Nothing, however, in their respective discographies has sounded more organic and masterful than the combination of Ro and KT. “Every project that I’ve done he’s been a part of,” says Ro. “To be honest, he’s my favorite producer.” The chemistry they’ve been able to develop over the years is evident throughout Ro’s discography. It’s only right that the two have taken their time to create an organic piece of work unlike anything they’ve done before. RSXGLD is the lyrical maturation of Ro Spit while this group pushed 14KT to new creative levels sonically. “Sonically, I’ve created in a way that I’ve never created before. It’s all different and out of my comfort zone.” This is a true, social experiment. This is music made from the soul that encompasses every aspect of the human experience. This is how you push beyond your limits. This is RSXGLD. Dig into their wonderful collaborative effort below... Much love to 14KT.

November 07, 2017

GZA "Liquid Swords" (Hip-Hop Connection, 1995)

"After the diversion of the Wu-Gambinos, 'Liquid Swords' finds the biggest band in hip-hop returning to their roots as rap's premier verbal swordfighters. The GZA may be the titular head of this particular empire, but once again the Wu represent nine deep with yet more classic material. 'Liquid Swords' isn't as musically experimental as Raekwon's LP, but the quality and depth of Rakeem's talent leaves you floored. This is the most straightforward record he's produced to date, but it's probably the most powerful. '4th Chamber' uses a synth line so dirty and amateurish it could be a Rolf Harris parody of G-Funk ("Can you tell what it is yet?"); 'Liquid Swords' is the first time rap has fucked with ska since BDP dropped "Edutainment'; the filthy beats of 'Swordsman' would be ditched as demos by bands who lacked this lot's courage and suss. But what matters most are the lyrics, and, as befits the solo work of the group's best writer, 'Liquid Swords' doesn't disappoint."

"Yet while The GZA drops jewels, his supporting cast threatens to upstage him - like the group were saving their darkest, deepest shit to see if they could test their own grand master. Method Man arguably shines brightest on the amazing 'Shadowboxin", while Raekwon, Master Killa and Killah Priest all drop some devastating rhymes. Even RZA, often unfairly dismissed as a rapper, kills it with his contribution to '4th Chamber', weaving the ebola virus, skin-bleaching and the eye in the pyramid into a single free-form verse that could be the album's best. Two years ago this would have been unreleasable, unthinkable. That 'Liquid Swords' will be devoured as enthusiastically by true heads as by the rest of the world is testament to just how strong a grip the Wu have over hip-hop. If they carry on like this, world domination is a formality." - Hip-Hop Connection, 1995. Revisit the LP above.

November 06, 2017

L'Orange "The Ordinary Man" (Album Stream)

“All art is magic,” Raymond Chandler once wrote. But not all magic is art. Sometimes, it’s a matter of trite card tricks, petty illusions, and fast twitch graft. But when the legerdemain of the unreal combines with the tangible and heartfelt, it can lift a veil that allows you to see the esoteric beauty and profound mystery of life. On his third album, L’Orange builds upon his previous catalogue’s cinematic film noir and cabaret jazz fixations, but adds a thematic focus, whimsy, and feverish urgency. It arrives after a tumultuous two-year saga in which a series of tumors grew in L’Orange’s right ear, which eventually led to almost total deafness on that side. Surgeries left him off-balance and dizzy. A natural fear gripped him, causing self-doubt about whether he’d regain the totality of his gift. But as it does quite often, turmoil spurred the producer to create his most poignant body of work. The Ordinary Man chronicles the narrative of a magician who discovered late in life that his peers weren’t actually pulling rabbits from hats. Crestfallen and disillusioned, he digs deeper to push his own show into uncharted territory, demonstrating ostensibly impossible feats for crowds too terrified to ask for the reveal. As the audience gradually realizes that his practice of the dark arts isn’t fraudulent, people from all around the world flock to him. Unfortunately, this loyalty to what he was rather than what he did becomes patronizing and dull—engendering a bitterness and disenchantment that leads him to finally disappear in front of millions of stunned onlookers. If Harry Houdini was a hip-hop head this is what he’d bump. - Mello. Enjoy the LP below...

November 05, 2017

Ghostface Killah "Ghost Stories" (Mixtape)

The Smoking Section, UpNorthTrips & Rapfan Presents: "Ghost Stories: Ghostface Killah's Storytelling Raps" mixed by the DJ for Run The Jewels, Trackstar The DJ. From Smoking Section, "Ghostface Killah is my favorite rapper of all time. Definitively and by far. One of the reasons he’s so great is his ability to weave stories and narratives like a new age Mark Twain in Wallabees. So imagine my delight at this mixtape by our very own Trackstar The DJ, chronicling Ghosts most memorable and compelling stories. It’s crazy to think that this tape has stories of project fights, hotel shootouts, church robberies, and dreams of Spongebob Squarepants. Don’t think of this as a mixtape. Think of it as a collection of stories from one of America’s greatest storytellers." Check out the mix below...

November 04, 2017

Rakim "The 18th Letter" (Rap Pages, 12/97) + EPK

"Five years is an age in pop, an eternity in hip-hop. No other artform relies so heavily on fashion, is so enveloped in urban trends that change with the seasons. Rap has crashed through more isms in the last ten years than most strands of popular culture manage in a century. So what of Rakim Allah? Little has been heard of the rapper since he and partner Eric B split in 1992. There was also a solo album scheduled in '94, but bootlegs leaked from the studio saw that project scrapped... Rakim's greatest fallibility is that while he knows he exists as one of rap's most articulate emissaries, he's also one of its least analyzed. 'The 18th Letter' conjures up the mystical enigmatics of Rakim Allah, a rapper not afraid to offer solutions, yet unwilling to offer himself out as a modern day pariah. And if it sounds at odds with rap's obsessive self-analysis, it's purely intentional." Cont'd...

"Remember That" and "New York" are deliberately grandiose attempts to romanticize rap's cultural heyday. But a measure of just how cynical hip-hop has become isn't apparent until the end, when a G-Funk version of standalone "Been A Long Time" is tacked on in an attempt to pacify the west coast. Elsewhere, much like the return of EPMD, it's business as usual. Eric B may have no involvement with this album, but the spirit of 'Paid In Full' remains. Rakim signifies the last link between street-battling and rap's independent era. At a time when a handful of conglomerates have swallowed up the remaining traces of hip-hop's autocracy, 'The 18th Letter' - ironically released on a major - is one of the few albums this year to recall the innocent playfulness of the late '80s. But is Rakim cursed to spend the rest of life incognito, popping up once every five years to remind us "Guess Who's Back?" As the album closes, an interviewer asks Rakim what the rapper would like to be remembered for. "My words," he says quietly. Strange then, that the last five year's have seen hip-hop's greatest communicator seemingly tongue-tied." - Rap Pages, Dec 1997. Is it a classic LP?

November 03, 2017

AbcntMnded "Griselda Records Mix" (Mixtape)

After hearing his Tribute Mix for Prodigy, I started paying closer to AbcntMnded's mixes. He curates great tribute projects with fine track selections and does his own custom artwork, which always grabs and holds my attention. This latest mix shines a light on the Griselda Records movement, making a ton of waves in the underground (and reaching the mainstream) right now. They are a true powerhouse, led by Conway the Machine and Westside Gunn. Adding samples and breaks into the mix was a nice touch, as well. Dig into this one below... and stay on the look out for these Buffalo, NY spitters, we'll see what the Shady deal leads to next. More mixes are sure to follow.

November 02, 2017

Noveliss "Caligraphy" (Tribute to Nujabes)

"I don't want to dance slow in the rain but I fall below the heavens with Blu playing / I'm through saying I'm through slaying these beats to make ends meet / I'm in deep, see / Dreams bought the car but don't pay the fees, the monthlys / I'm checkin' mics word to "3 Thou", you check to check / But if I fail to create and make heads nod, we neck to neck / Nevertheless my poetry's deep I never waiver / Even at a loss for words, I always find them on the paper / In search of myself, I get lost out in the nature, / too used to putting others before me the new danger / Family first, slayin' verses I get over focused / I worked too many hours this week, / which takes away from me releasing these ideas in my head / I get overloaded..."  - Noveliss, "Caligraphy"

November 01, 2017

DJ Premier x Mass Appeal "Off The Record" (Videos)

Of all the artists he laced with his signature beats, Premo always had a special musical kinship with Nasty Nas. Premier reminisced on the session in the first installment of MASS APPEAL's new series, "Off The Record," where we get the stories behind the sessions that birthed classics. Premier also spoke about recording "Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)" with Nas, recalling the Queensbridge rapper's initial approach to attacking the beat and how the title was a compromise between the two musical geniuses. Take a look back at the making of two DJ Premier and Nas bangers below...

The next piece I'll also share is DJ Premier discussing the Gang Starr classic, "Mass Appeal." Premo shares the familiar tale, “We were really making fun of radio, and it became one of our biggest radio records ... We were just saying radio was watering down our stuff, so we were like, ‘You know what? It always sounds like the music in the elevator.” They knocked this one out the park, watch below...