Monday, December 31, 2018

DJ Sav One & DJ Dyllemma "FreeOfStyle" (Mixtape, 2012)

We put this mix together (in 2012) reminiscing on the days of golden era CASSETTE mixtapes. It should bring you back to that analog vibe with the sound, substance and live mixing. The theme is an ongoing debate over the two meanings of “Freestyle”: off the top of the head verses and/or unreleased writtens (discussed by Big Daddy Kane in the Intro as ‘FreeOfStyle’). The mix is 40 minutes long (all golden era content) and is 1 side of a forthcoming cassette release with original content on the flip-side. The sources are old cassettes, white label vinyl and an occasional CD. Peace to the all the DJs who laid the foundation and pushed the culture forward - this tape is as much an ode to those pioneering DJs as is to the MCs who held it down on the mic. - DJ Sav One (Update: Got a takedown notice, so a new post to update the embed link below). 1-track version HERE.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Reef The Lost Cauze "The Majestic" (Album Stream)

"The Majestic" is the brand new solo album from veteran Philly MC, Reef The Lost Cauze. One of the hardest working MCs, there's always new verses and features to hear with Reef, even some collab projects. But, it's a different beast when he locks in on a solo project. Add to it a Happy Born Day to Reef, there's a lot to celebrate here. The album is available across all platforms, but those of you who want a physical copy, you should click HERE to get it before it ultimately sells out. More than boasts of 'I'm a better MC than you' (he is), Reef speaks with the tone of a seasoned lyricist, sharing his experiences on record and perhaps suggesting where things have gone wrong in the world and the culture, like on "Naked," where Reef asks us to think of the bigger picture:

"...But what about the spirit, the soul that we carry  
In the end that's all we have when these old bones are buried 
When you meet God and he asks about your life 
He ain't gon' give a f#ck about your followers and your likes 
... get it right."

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Eddie Ill & D.L. "A Trip Below" (Mixtape, 1998)

Eddie Ill & D.L. hit hard with their double-cassette mix tape release "A Trip Below" in 1998. Reppin' the underground; the subterraneous-independent scene with all its purity, this tape transports you back to a special time for me in NYC. The mix features freestyles and tracks from artists such as J-Live, Kwest Da Madd Ladd, N.O.T.S. Click & Big L, Skam & Eminem, Reflection Eternal, Mike Zoot, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Mass Influence, Mr. Voodoo, Saukrates, Choclair, Scienz Of Life, Natural Elements, Mad Skillz, Poison Pen, Breez Evahflowin', Arsonists, Scientifik, Rawcotiks, Jemini Da Gifted One, Indelible MCs, Adagio, Juggaknots and EVEN more! It oesn't get much better than this... listen below.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cormega "Mega" (Album Stream)

Cormega (Mega) brings you a secret project entirely produced by STREETRUNNER with Co-Production by Tariq Azzouz. Mega describes this as art, culture and vibes. This project has only one feature by Havoc of Mobb Deep on the song “Live Your Best Life”. All Instrumentals are also featured on this release. Lyrics to all the songs are printed on the back of the vinyl record jacket and in CD and Cassette artwork. This is Cormega’s first solo release since his 2014 Large Professor produced “Mega Philosophy." Stream Cormega's latest effort "MEGA" below.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

DJ Beanz "Reigning Real: Money Miz Mix" (Mixtape)

Peace to the good homie Money Miz .... "You may or may not be familiar with Hip Hop aficionado, Money Miz. Well, if you’re not, we suggest you follow him! His impeccable taste in that Golden Era and new, grimey underground Hip Hop, inspired DJ Beanz to put together a mix for Miz. Mainly picking tracks from each of his favorite albums, one mix couldn’t cover 1/4 of the fire!" Stream the mix below, featuring joints from Mobb Deep, Termanology, Crimeapple, Cormega, Big Pun, Apathy, Jeru The Damaja, Conway & Elzhi, Hus Kingpin, Benny The Butcher, Raekwon, Jedi Mind Tricks, GZA, Evidence and more. While available, you can also download it HERE. Hit the follow. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Children Of Zeus "The Winter Tape" (Album Stream)

Some more dopeness from UK's favorite duo of Konny Kon & Tyler Daley, better known as Children Of Zeus. "The Winter Tape" is a free 14-track project, featuring production from Detroit's Black Milk, DJ Green Lantern, Beat Butcha & more, plus a nice feature from Milano Constantine. A thoughtful present to the fans to kick off our Christmas Eve, bundle up and lock in with The Winter Tape, available to stream in full and/or download below. Happy Holidays, y'all... stay safe and blessed! 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Ta-ku "25 Nights For Nujabes" (Instrumental Album)

"25 Nights For Nujabes," a beat a night for 25 nights in dedication to Jun Seba, better known as Nujabes. His music was so full of emotion and beauty. Ta-ku teams up with Jakarta Records to share his now-classic, "25 Nights For Nujabes" project for the first time as an official digital and vinyl release along with two completely new bonus tracks which feature Toronto-based producer Matt McWaters. Ta-ku says, "I have decided to finally release one of my favourite projects that I made back in 2013; "25 Nights For Nujabes." This has a very special place in my heart and is available now on your favorite digital platforms." Rest In Peace, Jun Seba. You can stream the project below.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Big Ghost Ltd "Starkstrumentals" (Instrumental Album)

Big Ghost LTD presents the Instrumentals to this year's release with Ghostface Killah "The Lost Tapes." Not too much to say about this one, just some really dope and soulful instrumentals that were right and exact for Ghostface Killah to bless. Make sure you give this a thorough listen and consider supporting the cassettes, vinyl and/or the deluxe packages that are available to "The Lost Tapes." If you're not already following Big Ghost Ltd. on social media, rectify that ASAP, click HERE.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Mic Geronimo "Shit's Real" (Video)

In a lineage of eMCees we've championed over the years, Mic Geronimo had a dope run in the 90s. "Shit's Real," "Masta IC," and breaking features for artists like DMX, Jay-Z, Ja Rule & more solidified a position for him between his peers. Some tough decisions - perhaps based on his own loyalties or career plans - didn't necessarily work out to his full advantage, but he shot his shot and his footprints are still felt on the golden era setlists of any true DJ and fan of hip-hop. When Nore went on the ledge and threw a lil' shade in his direction for how his career turned out, Mic Geronimo was quick to set the record straight about how he owns his own business and continues to live a blessed life, on his own terms. Mic's name popped up again in the Dame Dash vs Funk Flex beef, where Flex attempted to declare that if it wasn't for Def Jam, Jay-Z's career woulda went the way of Mic Geronimo. Where's all this shade coming from? Flex, you're reaching. Let me just say in case I haven't said it before, someone else's definition of success is subjective -- don't project your views and definitions on another person, you come off sounding crazy! Now, back to the music...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Knitting Factory: The Final Show (December 19, 2008)

Dec. 19, 2008: lowkey, this is a day in NY hip-hop history, people don’t talk about it much though. Remembering it on it's 10th Anniversary: It was snowing outside, my view was from the 2nd floor at 406 6th Avenue, better known as Fat Beats. It was our annual Christmas Party. Always a fun time with drinks and food, DJ sets and of course, more artists came through to show love if they got an invite. This night was extra special bc I was keeping an eye on the clock, knowing that it was the very last hip-hop show at Knitting Factory about 2 miles away. Peep the bill: Rakim, Black Thought, Souls of Mischief & you know every NY MC would touch that stage one final time. I was at every show - week day or weekend, I was in the building - so I wanted to roll through but it was getting late, snowing and I had some drinks in me, lol. I started to get texts about the show, who was killin it, who was backstage, etc etc. At some point, the texts went left bc of an incident I can’t really talk about, but suffice to say ...the final show was not without it’s drama outside the venue, unrelated to the music. I was tight about it too. Of course, I waited to see if Photo Rob would post photos of the show I never made - a big regret of mine - but I was amongst good friends and with Fat Beats closing years later, I’d probably regret it had I not been there too. Fortunately the good brother, Homeboy Sandman was in the building to perform & shared some of the show...

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Philmore Greene "Chicago: A Third World City" (Album Stream)

Chi-Town's Philmore Greene drops his new project, "Chicago: A Third World City," featuring Yardbrough, Rashid Hadee, Neak, FLYKelly, and more. With the exception of one song produced by Neak, the project is produced by Rashid Hadee, who you should definitely check out, as well. A socially conscious and aware effort, you can hear it in the music and see it in the artwork done by Zeph Farmby. Chicago needs artists to continue to be the voice for the voiceless. You might have caught his #PhilmoreMondays releases online, but this is my official sleeper choice for the month, dig into it below and follow Philmore Greene to stay current on his music. "Love is the only answer."

Monday, December 17, 2018

Brock Berrigan "Cadillac Mountain" (Instrumental Album)

Brock Berrigan is a beat maker, music enthusiast, multi instrumentalist, sample hunter, and alleged town drunk, lol. To describe the latest instrumental release, Brock explains, "Been working on this project for a few months now. Spent some time experimenting with some new sounds, tried to make this album a little different. Went back out to Utah to put the final touches on the album and finished it in a motel in the middle of the desert. Limited vinyl will be available, stream below.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Loud Records Holday Dinner (December 16, 1998)

On December 16, 1998, Loud Records / SRC (Steve Rifkind Company) held a special holiday dinner. In unique fashion, the holiday dinner menu was artist-themed. Examples, you ask? Ok, how about we start with the appetizers: Sadat X Calamari: batter fried calamari with basil mayonnaise and chili pepper cocktail sauce. Wu-Tang Tuna: sesame nori crusted tuna with grilled shitake mushrooms, watercress bean sprouts, snap pea salad, served with wasabi ponzu dipping sauce. Alkaholiks Pizza: margarita, tomato and basil sauce topped with mozzarella. Lastly, Xzibit Salad: baby greens with goat cheese, walnuts, mushrooms and mustard vinaigrette. Moving on the entrees, you could choose from the Raekwon Burger: hamburger with mesclun greens, tomato, onion and french fries; choice of American, Swiss, or cheddar cheese. Penne a la Mobb: penne putanesca (chopped over roasted tomatoes, anchovies, black olives and capers). Cella Dwella Chicken: roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and french beats. Yvette Michelle Veggies: vegetable plate - assorted grilled vegetables, cous-cous and sauteed spinach. I'd be full at this point, but they also had a Delinquent Habits dessert and more to keep you entertained throughout the Holiday dinner. If it were me, I'd grab the Alkaholiks Pizza and either the Raekwon Burger with American Cheese, plain, or the Cella Dwella Chicken. Much success to Steve Rifkind bringing Loud Records back. A throwback to his 5th...

It also reminds me of this - similar - but different and worth reading...

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Busta Rhymes "Extinction Level Event" (Press Kit, 1998)

"Busta Rhymes is more than aware that there are plenty of vipers out there who want his game. For example, a recent article put forth the notion that his tremendous underground appeal might wane under the weight of his ever-expanding hold on mainstream audiences. But Busta never flinches. For the man who had the courage to condemn rap's whole 'keepin' it real' mantra as "Propaganda," this new challenge is but a blip on his radar screen. Rap's most incandescent visionary has always been more interested in shedding light than heat. Which is why, throughout the '90's, Busta Rhymes has managed to fuse his everyday experiences as a black man, as a son, and as a father, with much more eternal concerns. Leading him - as he says - "To contemplate the shit between the lines." Selling millions of albums by remaining true to himself." Cont'd below...

"So it's with his boldest strokes yet that he's approached his third solo album, Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front.) The 19 song disc is an apocalyptic tour de force, with Busta - who now commands the listener's attention with a rock star's ferocity - unleashing thought provoking verses one minute, and spitting out euphoric hailstones of hectic, teeth clenching rhymes the next. E.L.E. is Busta's crowning epoch. A maelstrom of enlightened, turbulent wordplay about the impending millennium. But where other rappers have only recently immersed themselves in the year 2K, Busta has long wielded a futuristic sword about him. The day of reckoning has served as subtext of his two smash platinum plus solo albums, 1996's The Coming, and 1997's When Disaster Strikes. But it was during Busta's tenure with the legendary Leaders of the New School, launched in 1990, that he first explored such explosive subject matter. Many point to the Leaders second LP, 1993's T.I.M.E. as the beginning of Busta's fascination with the extinction theme." - Press Kit, 1998. Happy 20th!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Swizz Beatz x Nas "Echo" (Video)

Nas is in my top 3 MCs of all-time, but I was only willing to give "NASIR" two full listens before deciding that it just wasn't gonna grow on me. I've shared my thoughts on how it turned out, most of my criticisms falling on the post-production work by Kanye West. It's because of tracks like this Swizz Beatz and Nas collaboration, "Echo," that Nas can drop a poor project and still be championed as one of the greatest MCs of all-time. This is classic Nas: "We was Times Square pioneers, 40 deuce, 40-below boots / 40 ounce brew, the true Bishop from Juice / Runnin' wild, loose, me and my 40 troops were stupid / Style, it was snorkel coats, Polo gooses, ruthless..." Can you see it when you hear it too? I don't post many loose videos, I'm an album-minded fan and I like album-minded artists, but while I have very little interest in hearing a DJ Khaled album or a full Swizz Beatz album, when they feature Nas, I'm tuned in for THAT. No shade... I don't need to be at - or tune in to see - Nas and Kanye West's private listening in Queensbridge or accept an invite from Mass Appeal / Epic Records to see a private viewing of the "Echo" video, I just wanna hear it and enjoy it like a fan. Give me a 45 of this, and you'll have my $$$, but it'll take more to get me to cop the full-LP.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Notorious B.I.G. "Rapsheet" (Press Kit, August 1994)

Date: August, 1994 ... The Notorious B.I.G. Rapsheet was sent out to press as a unique piece of promo that shares some humorous "info" to hype the name switch from Biggie Smalls (1993) to The Notorious B.I.G. (1994) and his debut album, "Ready To Die," dropping a month later on September 13, 1994 via Bad Boy Entertainment. His criminal history included arrests for "Criminal possession and Illegal use of deadly rhymes," "Beat trafficking," "Criminal possession and use of a narcotic lyrics," and "17 counts of aggravated mic assault." The status on all counts? Acquitted!! (If you don't know ... now you know!) From B.I.G.'s alliances, nickname, counsel, DOB, race, sex, height and of course, B.I.G.'s hometown of "Representing B.K. to the fullest!," you can read more below. Originally released in 1994, you can order a full resolution copy, available in the online store with postcards and more...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Jonwayne "Yuletide Bangerz" (Instrumental Album)

A nice beat tape from LA rapper and producer, Jonwayne, to get you in the Christmas spirit this Holiday season. "Yuletide Bangers" features 17 beats, all chopped full original holiday samples, vocals and a bit of comedy thrown in. One of the more enjoyable beat tapes I've heard in a while. Listen...

Monday, December 10, 2018

Black Thought "Streams of Thought, Vol.2" EP (Album Stream)

Back in June, Black Thought released his debut solo project, a 9th Wonder-produced EP called "Streams of Thoughts Vol.1." We now have the second of three EPs in this series, "Streams of Thoughts Vol.2." This go around, Black Thought has enlisted the work of legendary producer Salaam Remi, most known for his work with Nas, The Fugees, Amy Winehouse, and Zhigge among others. My favorite song is the opening track, "Fentanyl," which tackles the topic of opioid addiction: the dangers of, who profits from it & the politics behind it. He does so over minimalist production, showcasing his flawless delivery and offering deep insights like:

"Another destroyed life was meant to be more righteous
in the face of this full-on opioid crisis
While the wolves pull the wool on and prey on vices
Still the dogs with the hood on is way more frightenin'
For death, you're not ready
Trust me, I'm deadly as the Fentanyl that killed Prince and Tom Petty..."

Monday, December 10, 2018

DJ Premier vs. Masta Ace (Mixed by DJ Tiger)

Big-up to DJ Tiger of Full Blast Radio, who put this ill blend tape together. Full Blast Radio is an online radio station from NY operating in Georgia. You can stream the mix below and click HERE for more information on DJ Tiger and Full Blast Radio. Much respect to Marco Polo and Masta Ace, who released a classic album together "A Breukelen Story," and of course, you always wanna follow the legend, DJ Premier, in all that he does HERE. Enjoy DJ Tiger's mash-up mix below ... Peace.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

DJ Eclipse "Pre-Season" Mixtape (1996)

Throwback to 1996 with DJ Eclipse's classic "Pre-Season" mixTAPE. A nice mix of tracks from Jay-Z, Jeru The Damaja, Royal Flush, Lord Finesse, Lil' Kim, Godfather Don, Sadat X, Ed O.G., Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Nas, De La Soul, KRS-One, The Beatnuts, Keith Murray, De La Soul, Organized Konfusion, The Roots, Al Tariq, Artifacts, M.O.P., Capone-N-Noreaga, Mobb Deep & more. Dig in below.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The House List Podcast "MF Doom Episode"

The 100th episode of Peter Agoston's House List podcast: "I wanted to do something extra special for the heads on this one - so who better than DOOM. Culled from a handful of conversations recorded onto cassette, MF DOOM and I discuss the then unreleased and to me, unheard, 'MM FOOD' album. This was originally recorded in May 2003 for an expansive cover-story I wrote on DOOM for Elemental Magazine. After listening to these again, there is no doubt in my mind how talented, intuitive and inventive DOOM is. It of course goes without saying, but I do feel like these chats I had with him shed much more light on how he willed some of the best hip-hop music of the last 20 years out of sheer desire to create, if even sometimes under a state of duress. A master collage-artist, poet, author, satirist, DJ, producer, performer. I truly hope this episode (like them all) will serve as a living document to his great accomplishments in music and art. I am appreciative of the time we had recording these and the few musical collaborations we did some 20 years ago now.Thank you to all the listeners as this is fully listener supported." Listen to it below.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pete Rock "Lost Sessions" (Instrumental Album)

"Pete Rock’s soul, jazz and funk-sampling beats soundtracked a healthy chunk of East Coast hip-hop during the mid-‘90s—and Lost Sessions rounds up 10 unreleased beats that were reportedly ear-marked for INI, his younger brother Grap Luva’s group. Key picks include the static and piano-powered “Aretha” and the dusky, deep jazz of “Vibes.” Elsewhere, “The Life I Live” nods to a sample source previously mined by A Tribe Called Quest and pairs fittingly with a tribute to that group’s fallen soldier on the nostalgic 'Rest Easy Phife.'” - Bandcamp // Listen to it below...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Grown Man Rap Show "Class of 1993 Reunion Mix"

Hosted by veteran DJ Toast and broadcasted live every Sunday night 10pm-12 midnight (ET) from 91.5 WRPI (Albany NY), Toast brings you 2 hours of the best in vintage & contemporary true school Hip Hop. This is a 2-part series, Episodes 190 & 191: Class of 1993 Reunion - DJ Toast dives in quick with tracks from Super Cat, Poor Righteous Teachers, Jeru The Damaja, Diamond D, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Fat Joe, Digable Planets, The Beatnuts, Ice Cube, Kurious, Shyheim, Onyx, Trends of Culture, M.O.P., Big Daddy Kane, Wu-Tang Clan, Tha Alkaholiks, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Dred Scott, Lords of the Underground & so so much more all the way through to the second episode (191) below. All classics, in my eyes. You don't want to miss this one, listen below!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Benny The Butcher "Tana Talk 3" (Album Stream)

"A continuation of Benny’s Tana Talk series. Tana is short for Montana Ave, the street Benny lived on in the Eastside of Buffalo, NY. This album serves as a platform for Benny to showcase his gritty, yet honest and heartfelt storytelling. The cover is a painting of an old baby photo of his deceased older bother, MachineGun Black (Rest In Peace)." - via Genius. Benny's Tana Talk 3 features Westside Gunn, Meyhem Lauren, Royce Da 5'9, and Conway The Machine. Another bar heavy project! Listen below...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The House List Podcast "Godfather Don Episode"

Godfather Don is the latest guest on the House List Podcast - hosted by Peter Agoston. "In what marks his first real, long-form interview - Godfather Don is extremely cool, affable and open. And that was mostly talking about music (we hoped and plan to get a more esoteric, next time)! He has been a personal favorite of mine for a long time. A lifetime resident of Brooklyn, we discuss it all. Picking up a guitar as a small child, to making beat-tapes with a guitar pedal. Many where introduced to Don's seminal work on Ultramagnetic MC's 'Four Horsemen' (Wild Pitch 1993) album, others with his actual debut 'Hazardous' (Select 1991). He had a prolific run doing the indie/underground boom between labels Fondle Em and Hydra, which resonates widely to this day (seen in the many limited reissues of his work). Yet all the while, Don has seemingly been shrouded in mystery. Now, Don is a actively performing Tenor Sax player around BK. He's recorded a new Jazz project, I saw him play - he's amazing. It's a fantastic transition into a different musical horizon. I highly suggest watching or listening, when you have the ability." Listen to the full interview below.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Phoniks "Down To Earth Remixes" (Album Stream)

A remixed version of Phoniks' first full-length solo project. Originally 2 years in the works, Phoniks dug through over 250 hours worth of recorded material when piecing together his solo debut. The album was comprised of jazz-tinged lo-fi head nodders with crunchy 12-bit drums, spaced-out filters, and delays + a sprinkling of horn loops and soul vocals. The remixed version of "Down To Earth" utilizes records from Nas, Mood, Outkast, Big L, Biggie, Capone-N-Noreaga, Jadakiss, Wu-Tang & more, to further help bring these instrumentals to life. Stream/Download it below.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Snoop Doggy Dogg "Doggystyle" 25th Anniversary

On November 23, 1993, Snoop Doggy Dogg delivered his classic debut album "Doggystyle." From "Deep Cover" to his co-starring (stand-out) role on Dr. Dre's "The Chronic," it was clear Snoop was an instant star! With all the hype, Snoop delivered with a grip of classic singles, dope interludes and a cohesive project. From the visuals to the storyline, it was curated flawlessly. The wave of Dre & Snoop hit the East Coast hard and lots of artists incorporated the sound into their releases. Take Biggie, for example, Puff had him do a promo tape aimed at fans on the West Coast ahead of "Ready to Die." It didn't stop there, of course, just check Dre's production credits for more obvious signs of their impact. I am not gonna touch on the East vs. West beef that was fueled by Puff & Suge + the media, so let's fast forward to DJ Filthy Rich, who dropped a 25th Anniversary mix to commemorate the release with album cuts, remixes, unreleased tracks & some raw blends. Dope shout-out to my homie, @
ToonCrew, who blessed DJ Filthy Rich with the artwork for this mix.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Large Professor "The LP" (Vinyl Reissue + Stream)

The LP” is Legendary Hip Hop Producer and Emcee Large Professor’s highly anticipated 1st solo debut album that was originally slated to come out on Geffen Records in 1995/1996. Due to label politics at the time, the album unfortunately was never released. 14 Years later in 2009 the official version of “The LP” became available on CD & Double Vinyl LP. For almost 10 years this Vinyl has been out of print and in high demand. It is now being offered again as a special limited transparent blue colored reissue. “The LP” includes bonus unreleased songs and a few rare unearthed alternate demo versions of classic tracks such as the “Mad Scientist”. It also includes “I Juswanna Chill”, “That Bullsh*t”, the title track “The LP”, “Hard”, “One Plus One” featuring NAS, the newly polished up “Queens Lounge” and many more including the unreleased single “Amaman” b/w “Bowne” that was available on the now out of print 12” vinyl. All songs are produced by The Large Professor except “Large Pro:Verbs” produced by Vandamator & “Spacey” produced by Toney Rome. This album is officially sanctioned by The Large Professor and being released through Paul Sea Productions. As Large Professor states “This album represents a time in the 1990s when Hip Hop was more about the good times, when artists were rich in music and rich in talent and it wasn’t about how much money you had.” This will definitely sell out quickly, so order a copy HERE now. Listen below.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Group Home "Livin' Proof" (The Source, 12/95)

"We first heard Dap back in '92, when he represented on "I'm The Man" off Gang Starr's Daily Operation. Then Group Home itself emerged with the banging "Supa Star." Much like that first single, their full-length debut, Livin' Proof, is a throwback to the days when MCs actually had something to say. "Inna Citi Life," the album's first cut, does exhibit some of the generic gun talk that has run rampant in the industry. But Livin' Proof has a distinct theme: revealing the nuances of East New York ghetto life. "Serious Rap Shit," "Sacrifice" and "Suspended In Time" display Group Home's love for hip-hop and their desire to use it as a vehicle for elevation. On tracks like "2 Thousand" and "4 Give My Sins," they actually show remorse for the dirt done to survive. The former's chorus -- "95 is yours but 2000 is mine" -- paints an optimistic vision of the future. One of the brighter spots on the album comes from Jeru The Damaja on an interlude: "When you have the voice to say something, say something / 'Cause this is for the seeds / The seeds are what grow into the flowers / So shine light and water seeds." This is advice every MC should heed." Cont'd after the video below...

"From a production standpoint, Livin' Proof comes tighter than Adina Howard's spandex. DJ Premier brings the steelo heads have been in love with for years -- butter loops over hard hittin' drums. It's the same flava the group brought on "Supa Star" and it's the same style that has made Premier one of the best producers in hip-hop. The only downside to the album are the at-times simplistic verbals of Lil Dap and Melachi The Nutcracker. Lyrical enthusiasts will not be blown away. Nevertheless, Livin' Proof packs enough punch and flava to keep a party live. All true heads should give this one a listen." - The Source, 12/95. Is this DJ Premier's best produced album? Listen HERE.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Jay Royale "The Ivory Soap" (Album Stream)

Jay Royale, the East Baltimore emcee delivers his debut LP, The Ivory Stoop, full of crafty lyrics over minimalist, boombap production. He features some of the finest MCs in the underground on the project, enlisting Ill Conscious, Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn & more.  The dusty beats & minimal loops maintain the feel of the peak-era sound from the early/mid 90’s. If you're unfamiliar with Jay Royale, then the features should tip you off as to what to expect, do give it a listen and trust it's on par with some of the best releases from the underground.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Mobb Deep "Hell On Earth" (Press Release, Enhanced CD)

"After hitting gold with their last album, Mobb Deep is right back in it with the album "Hell On Earth." The act's street infamy is taken to the next level by the album's musical reflections on life and death, which spring largely out of mixed events: Havoc's reunion with his prison-released young brother, Prodigy become a father, and a horrible car crash that left two friends dead. The album title refers to the simple fact that violence in our culture isn't created from words on a CD or images on a screen, but rather is a grim reality that art can only reflect. The opening track, "Animal Instinct," testifies to the cut-throat competition in rap and denounces the genre's pervasive "thug" mentality. The set offers guest appearances by Nas, Rapper Noyd and Wu-Tang's Chef Raekwon and Method Man." - Billboard, November 15, 1997. Below is a brief video running through some of the enhanced CD features that came with the album, and below that is the original press release for it.

The press release regarding the enhanced CD features on "Hell On Earth" says that the enhanced CD is included at no additional cost. It included 30-day internet access, a hidden song (using a password), as well as the the full LP, exclusive video footage, bio and photos and access to snippets from other albums on Loud Records. I mostly remember the home-screen cycling over and over, but I was not computer savvy back in the winter of 1996 ... I almost forgot about these bonus features.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

J.Period "The Live Mixtape" (Top 5 MCs Edition)

"J.PERIOD’s Live Mixtape is a first-of-its-kind Hip Hop mixtape, performed and recorded live onstage—in one take—by some of Hip Hop’s most celebrated MCs, and one of its most groundbreaking DJs. Recorded LIVE in New York City, The Live Mixtape [#Top5MCs Edition] features three legendary MCs—Rakim, Pharoahe Monch & Black Thought of The Roots—in an epic display of microphone mastery, seamlessly mixed by J.PERIOD, and re-igniting the timeless Hip Hop debate: Who’s your Top 5 MCs? Guest appearances include: Smif N Wessun, Black Sheep, Stro Elliot and Mumu Fresh."

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Big Ghost Ltd "The Black Album Revisited" (Album Stream)

"Ayo the purpose of this project was to hop in the DeLorean n transport the listener back to 11-14-03 to this alternate reality where another Black Album exists... Not the Prince or Metallica ones.. The Hov one still.. but a different Hov one. One where A-List celebrity producers played no part...n it was no politics involved nahmean. No hype or pitches to the artist from whoever whoever... Just the feel of that early 00s shit when the R.O.C. had established itself as the pinnacle n the heartbeat of the culture n the greatest rapper of all time pump faked his retirement." - Big Ghost

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Masta Ace & Marco Polo "A Breukelen Story" (Album Stream)

In 2018 we find hip-hop’s storied journeyman, Masta Ace, at the helm of another sharp, tightly wrought project. He’s traversed hip-hop’s ever-changing landscape for nearly three decades, navigating different eras while expanding his already extensive catalogue. Despite amassing 7 solo albums, 5 collaborative projects and countless additional one-offs, Ace is still trying to show and prove, still moving the needle forward for himself, his fans, and his career. Says Ace: “My goal on A Breukelen Story was to do more lyrical stuff. I’ve done a lot of concept songs, and a lot of topical records, but I made a point to put a couple straight rhyming joints on here to remind dudes I can still do this.” Marco Polo is not new to forming quality collabs with others in the art form, with notable stints on the Port Authority as well as it’s follow up, PA2, and others like 2016’s work with young MC, A-F-R-O, fittingly titled A-F-R-O Polo. Yet out of Polo’s previous collaborative efforts, this one stands out and is a bit more special, according to Polo: “Ace does not like to write random songs, its usually conceptual and topical,” he says. “But we do have some straight spitting joints on A Breukelen Story which is what makes this album possibly the most diverse of all of my collaborative albums.” MP & Ace's "A Breukelen Story" is now available via Fat Beats Records! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mick Boogie + Beastie Boys "Grand Royal" (Mixtape)

Originally released in 2012, MICK (f/k/a) Mick Boogie re-issued this mixtape through his Soundcloud page, along with the following message: "From 2012: In honor of the Beastie Boys being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week… I thought it’s finally the right time to do a Beasties mixtape. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time… something people have asked me to do for a long time, actually… but I wanted it to mean something. Now, it’s finally the right time. I present to you Grand Royal. 80 minutes of my favorite Beastie Boys rarities, remixes, demos, live versions, out-takes, and more. If you’re a Beasties fan, I guarantee you find something new and exciting on this mix!" At the time of the tape's original release (2012), the Beastie Boys had become the third rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Adam "MCA" Yauch was unable to attend the ceremony and passed away soon after from Cancer on 5/4/12: R.I.P. MCA. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

The House List Podcast "Swigga aka L-Swift Episode"

"Swigga once known as L-Swift has a story to tell. We do a deep dive live from the NorthEast Bronx in this revealing true narrative of how a young kid from St. Lucia in the Caribbean transplanted to New York City. Certain heads will know his work closely from the lore of his group Natural Elements, one of the city's most talented yet mysteriously never getting their proper due or platform. For added reference please listen to Episode 33 of this show to hear our talk with Mr. Voodoo (Natural Elements). Shouts to Eddie Brock (also a collaborator with Swigga in their group Northeast Wildcats), whom allowed us to record this conversation at his crib. Enjoy! The intro song is entitled 'Check Da Style,' produced by Charlemagne and released on Fortress Entertainment in 1995." The House List podcast is hosted by Peter Agoston. Another great episode, check it out below.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

25 Years Of The Wu-Tang Clan (Mini-Documentary)

Certified Classics celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) with the release of For The Children: 25 Years of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), a short film featuring members of Wu-Tang, family, and friends discussing the impact of the iconic album. Taking viewers on a tour through 36 Chambers, this film explores each song via untold stories from Wu-Tang Clan members, alongside personal reflections from many of today's biggest artists. Watch below.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

DJ Soul "Big Pun Tribute Mix" (Mixtape, 2011)

This mixtape was originally scheduled to drop in 2010 around the 10-year anniversary of Big Pun's passing, with iTunes profits going towards his family. Instead, DJ Soul released his Big Pun Tribute mix in 2011, featuring 35 tracks of unreleased, remixed and classic Big Pun. Everyone who grew up listening to Pun should already be up on these records, but this tribute is more of a celebration of the life of Christopher "Big Pun" Rios. It's a bit discouraging to me that Big Pun's name isn't more widely considered when discussing the greatest lyricists of all-time. His natural skill and charisma on the microphone made him an inimitable force. The first Latin rapper to go Platinum, Big Pun was a special artist. Big Pun would've celebrated his 47th birthday today! May he Rest In Peace. Props to Pun's son, Chris Rivers, for carrying on his legacy. Enjoy DJ Soul's Big Pun Tribute Mix below... 

Friday, November 09, 2018

DJ Filthy Rich "A Clan Called Wu: Enter The Marauders" (Mix)

On this day in 1993, two of the greatest albums of all time were released: Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. In celebration of these two classics, DJ Filthy Rich released a dope blend tape called A Clan Called Wu: Enter the Marauders. According to Filthy Rich, "The intent was not to improve on the originals in any way… that would be impossible, as I consider them both to be perfect bodies of work…Rather, it was about orchestrating a fun concept, and putting a totally new spin on these well-worn classics. The contrast of Wu’s gritty street raps over Tribe’s jazzy production works in a pleasantly unexpected way." Much respect to DJ Filthy Rich out in Toronto, support his latest mix with a listen below...

Thursday, November 08, 2018

DJ Mel Boogie ft. Eternia "GIANTS" / "The L.I.F.E. Project"

This year marked DJ Mel Boogie's 25th anniversary in the Canadian music landscape, making her not only a veteran, but also a trailblazer. For the past two years, MelBoogie has been working on an album representative of some of the most talented rappers in Toronto, accumulating into her compilation album, DJ Mel Boogie Presents the L.I.F.E. Project. On the L.I.F.E. Project, Mel Boogie has enlisted just female lyricists to flesh out her album: Eternia and pHoenix Pagliacci go head-to-head in a bar-for-bar battle on "Giants," Rah Digga shines on the posse cut "Blazin'" and LolaBunz and Keysha Freshh paint the most vivid imagery on "You're All I Need." In addition, the album includes JellyTooFly, Haviah Almighty, Lex Leosis, Ashley Jenelle, and more for a total of 14 sharp tracks. Producers who collaborated on this album include DJ Mercilless, Tone Mason, Big Sproxx, and more. Mel Boogie adds that she partnered with Sproxx to bring her project to fruition, which "has made me have even more respect for artists who pursue their passion while balancing work, school, children, and the day-to-day challenges of LIFE itself." Props to Exclaim for their review to include with this post, another integral part of the Canadian music scene. Salute Del F. Cowie & Erin Lowers.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Cut Chemist "Impeach The Precedent" (Mix)

In the midst of this week’s hectic midterm elections, beloved Jurassic 5 DJ, mix-master, producer, and solo artist Cut Chemist released an ultimate mix of songs that sample The Honey Drippers’ 1973 song, “Impeach the President.” The mix, cleverly titled Impeach The Precedent, rolls through 45 different songs within Hip-Hop that sample The Honey Drippers in various ways, be it taking the song’s drums, vocals, or lyrics. These are essential breaks. For many, the song’s lyrics may apply to the current Commander-in-Chief, just as they did during Richard M. Nixon’s time in office when it was first released: “Some people say that he’s guilty, Some people say ‘I don’t know’ / Some people say, give him a chance, Aw, some people say, wait till he’s convicted.” WhoSampled, a website that collects data on both songs that have been sampled and songs that use samples, cites 770 songs having sampled “Impeach the President,” from MC Shan’s “The Bridge” to The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Unbelievable” to Freddie Gibbs’ “One Mo’ Time.” This week, Cut Chemist mixed up 45 of those 770 tracks to lift the midterm voter’s spirit. Cut Chemist spins through the breaks of Audio Two’s “Top Billin’,” J. Cole’s “Wet Dreamz,” Nas’ “I Can,” and too many others over 45-minutes of history and scratching. If you did not notice the “45” is deliberate in a few ways, given the current President, as well as the 45th anniversary of the original sample source. - AFH. Also available via Bandcamp.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Take It Personal Podcast "Marco Polo & Masta Ace Episode"

"Episode 35 features Juice Crew legend Masta Ace and beat maker extraordinaire, Marco Polo. Their new album "A Breukelen Story" drops this Friday (11/9/18), but Take It Personal was lucky enough get the jump, so we have a handful of exclusives that can only be heard on this show! We also have new music from Pharoahe Monch, Action Bronson, DJ Muggs & Roc Marciano, Black Eyed Peas, O.C., Ghostface Killah and Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz. Peace to Masta & Marco, and please support "A Breukelen Story" when it drops!" Listen to the interview & lots of music below.