Saturday, March 31, 2018

Lena Jackson "Darkness Brim" (Album Stream)

"North Carolina-based Lena Jackson transitioned from the poetry scene to spitting in ciphers. The 10 tracks that make up Darkness Brim present her as an MC with a smart flow who’s open to addressing issues like domestic violence and growing up in poverty: On the string-infused “Poor Kids,” she recounts a childhood of hand-me-downs. A self-determination streak continues through to the end of the project, where on the woozy, bass-heavy “End Of The Tunnel” she puts faith in the mantra 'let your passions take action.'" - Bandcamp // Listen to the project below...

Friday, March 30, 2018

The AK's "Laws Of Attraction" (EP Stream)

The AK's (Absoulute Konquest) is a young duo from Queens, New York; formed by Izrl and Horus. With fresh production by Philanthrope, Tusken, 2Late, Jahshoota, and Tides, the 6-track "Laws of Attraction" EP has a nice blend of Jazz and Hip-Hop with the young Queens spitters providing introspective lyrics, similar to the sound coming out the Don't Sleep Records camp. Thinking back on how quickly time flies, the 22-year old MC reflects, "My head was in the clouds and it was not in them books / bumpin' Mobb Deep's while peepin' all these halfway crooks." A dope introduction to The AK's, the project is available on vinyl through Germany's Radio Juicy label. Dig into the EP below.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Kevin Keith & The Dirty Dozen (3/19/94 w/ Da King & I)

There are dozens of classic radio uploads on DJ Eclipse's mixcloud page, and while all of them are dope, I know I'm just not gonna be able to sit through all of them any time soon. So, I'm handpicking, and the logic for this pull is the interview with Da King & I; as fans of Izzy Ice & DJ Majesty, it's nice to be able to go back and listen to old interviews like this. As Eclipse says, Da King & I "also brought up Duo Die (Free & Sid) who now go by Duo Live - veterans of selling CDs in front of Fat Beats. Funny enough, Izzy also shouts out Strictly Roots, who were in the place late from missing their spot on The Awesome Two's show. The Da King & I interview is at 26:34 and a freestyle with Iz and Free is at 52:18, carefully time stamped by Eclipse himself. Great work, check out his page!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Prhyme 2: DJ Premier & Royce Da 5'9" (Album Stream)

"PRhyme 2 is the second studio album by American hip hop duo PRhyme, consisting of Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier. Produced entirely by DJ Premier, the album features samples composed by producer AntMan Wonder. It was released on March 16, 2018 via their own record label PRhyme Records and INgrooves Music Group, and is a sequel to the eponymous album PRhyme. The album features guest appearances from rappers 2 Chainz, Big K.R.I.T., Dave East, Rapsody, Roc Marciano, Yelawolf, Chavis Chandler, bassist Brady Watt and singers Novel (as a part of duo Summer of '96 with Wonder), CeeLo Green and Denaun Porter." Not as great as the 1st, but do dig into it!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Westside Gunn "FLYGOOD ... Is Good All The Time" (EP Stream)

Keeping the fire coming, Gunn has teamed with producer Mr. Green for a new EP, FLYGOD Is Good… All The Time. “We were originally going to film the project, but scheduling-wise, we were never able actually to lock in a shooting date,” Mr. Green said to Hypebeast. “So, we ended up doing it audio-only. It was originally supposed to be more of a Live From the Streets film project than a music project, but it just sort of morphed into a dope music project.” - via 2DBZ

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rest In Peace, Mom.

My mom died today ... I'm trying to find the words, when even the feelings are foreign to me. Sigh. I've never felt hurt like this before. A lot of things don't feel fair at times in our lives, mostly it's our own preparation, decisions that could have gone another way or just a stroke of bad luck - it comes and goes. This, is something else. My mom was perfectly healthy a month ago. Yes, she had physical pain, but the same residual pain she'd had since the 90s when we were both struck by a truck on a street corner in Queens. I mean healthy in terms of her vital signs and body operating as it should. An infection was wrongly introduced to her body and she got very sick; she spent a month fighting it in the hospital and today we had to pull the plugs. She'd had several strokes at the hospital and it was at a point where her heart and her lungs were causing her more pain than we could bear to watch her experience. This whole ordeal has tested my faith to new limits, and has left me even more confused. We've been through too much for me to understand why God would allow her to suffer this way. I know that life must go on - death is a natural part of life - but the details I'm leaving out are what make this all so hard to swallow. I love you, Mom. Rest In Peace. I'll see you when I get there. I will not be doing a public GoFundMe, but hit me to help support.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Soho & Otesla "Evergreen Tape" (Instrumental Album)

Germany's Dirty Beauty label is back with another dope instrumental release. The latest is from Soho & Otesla, released on cassette and containing 22 solid beats. Soho & Otesla produced, mixed and mastered the "Evergreen Tape" themselves and add, "Spring is coming. The better days are shining through. Feel the life in the breeze. Feel the warm sun on your skin and enjoy the pleasant vibes from our friends." The dope artwork was handled by Ilya Gorev. Listen to the project below...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Meka "50 For 50: Happy Birthday, DJ Premier" (Mix)

Originally released last year, Meka (2DBZ) found a new home for his mix at MixCloud, so he's sharing it again, with the included note: "As a testament to my advancing age (and dwindling sanity), DJ Premier has been perhaps the most influential person in my musical life. In fact, it was his mastery on both the production boards and turntables which compelled me to try my own hand at this warped world called the music industry. Seriously, hearing “All 4 the Ca$h” for the first time all but confirmed that I would never be a doctor or lawyer. Sorry, mom... Anyways, I consider Chris Martin — along with DJ Jazzy Jeff — to be one of the greatest turntable maestros of all time, and they are the two motivating forces behind my own deejaying career. So, with Premo turning 52 years old today (March 21st), I crafted this mix in honor of him. Cramming 50-plus different songs (count them, if you don’t believe me) into this mix, I played old classics, recent bangers, utilized acapellas, and flipped the original samples. The entire thing took much longer than I thought, but it is one of my favorite mixes to date. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together." Listen below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Awon & Phoniks "The Actual Proof" Album Stream

"Brooklyn-born / Virgina-based emcee Antwan Wiggins, better known as Awon, and Portland, Maine hip hop producer Phoniks have been cutting ‘Golden Era’-inspired rap tracks since 2013. This year’s The Actual Proof marks their 5th endeavor back into the studio, their third release on their own music label, Don’t Sleep Records. First track True to the Facts harkens back to the conscious hip hop years of the early aughts, my personal favorite era of this ever-expansive genre. Gliding on a Bob James-inspired organ hook delivered by the great Phoniks and some smooth-as-silk flows from Awon and Anti-Lilly, True to the Facts is yet another reminder that jazz and hip hop are as aurally delicious of a combo as coffee and cream." Peep the stream below and definitely show support.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Thorough "Thorough Rhymes & Crazy Beats" (Album Stream)

If you've been following along, this is the third release I've posted from Jamaica, Queens MC Thorough. Thorough has a purist's sound - raw and unflinching lyrics over rugged beats provided by long-time collaborator CrazyBeatsP. He definitely commands the mic and makes me miss my neighborhood back home in Queens. If past projects weren't convincing enough, I think this album, "Thorough Rhymes And Crazy Beats," is really gonna win over a bunch of new fans. Everything down to the artwork shows great attention to detail, do yourself a favor and check it out below....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Eternia & MoSS "To The Future" (Video)

It took me a year to listen to “To The Future.” It was the one song I was going to listen to just as the fans would experience it on the day of the “At Last” LP release. Those plans changed when the test presses arrived and I was tasked with clearing them for final pressing. I sat - alone - in a back office at Fat Beats warehouse with tears in my eyes; sad ... angry ... but mostly humbled by E’s strength to put her life on the page so openly/vulnerably for the world to see. I have no words to express how that impacted/impacts me. When we decided almost a year after the release of At Last to make To The Future the 3rd and final video, we knew we needed to attach it to an organization that would help us raise awareness and offer an outlet for those with similar experiences to get help. Kids Help Phone in Canada stepped up and agreed to partner with us. MTV News gave it a nice push, then we took to the red carpet at the Juno Awards and continued to raise awareness with many established outlets who felt the messages of sexual assault, domestic violence, gun violence, and more in the song/video. Eternia 1st performed the track at Southpaw in Brooklyn with her live band to an applause that felt more gratifying than any other show.

A shout out to MoSS, who crafted the perfect gut wrenching beat and knowing that perhaps only Eternia could touch it, then stood proudly by her knowing the content would be hard for some to hear. It’s his favorite song and it was MoSS who said we needed a video. Salute that man, he wasn’t always easy to work with but he had a vision and he saw it through. Erica Shallow who directed the video and brought visuals to life. Amazing! Julia who did E’s make up; she brought E’s natural beauty out and the clothes were by Married to the Mob. I have to accept that maybe in my role I failed a bit because I’m sure many of you never heard this song - as much as we did and as much as we tried to get it out there, there was a glass ceiling & I never quite got thru it. It’s not too late tho! The message is as strong today as it was when E wrote, recorded, and made the video. Every 90 seconds...! The official video was released on this day in 2011 via Fat Beats Records. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

DJ Obsolete "The Mandela Effect" (Album Stream)

"The Mandela Effect" is entirely produced by German producer, DJ Obsolete; it is also available in vinyl and cassette from UK label, Village Live Records. The album has a great blend of instrumentals and vocal tracks, with features from Ill Conscious, Gee Bag, Blabbermouf, Warpath, Nomadic & Dysfunkshunal Familee. There's a lot of replay value in this project, so consider the physical copies after streaming it below. Let me know what you think (hit me on IG). Props to DJ Obsolete.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Jeru The Damaja + Nas + @ILLstrips

A quick big-up to the homie @IllStrips on IG, definitely a big fan of the work. If you are on Instagram, give a follow and support the independent art. On, but off, topic ... it's a disappointment that back in the 90s, we didn't get Nas & Jeru The Damaja tracks with production from DJ Premier. It's not a reach (is it?) - maybe I don't know the climate behind the scenes between them. Jeru had "Invasion" off one of the New Jersey Drive soundtracks, which sampled Nas' voice from "It Ain't Hard To Tell," but I blank to think of anything else. I wonder if The Fugees played a role, Jeru surely dissed the shit out of them at a later point. Nas had toured with them as label mates, that mighta made it difficult, but I dunno ... just thinking aloud. Another interesting parallel, Nas had AZ on "Life's A Bitch" off Illmatic and Jeru The Damaja had Afu-Ra on "Mental Stamina" off Sun Rises In The East -- neither artist was very feature-heavy in their projects anyway. Rap nerd stuff.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Recognize Ali "God's Vision LP" (Album Stream)

Recognize Ali shares gems from the underground with his latest offering, God's Vision LP. 16-tracks of gritty production and fierce rhymes from Ali, Sage Infinite, Crimeapple, Danie Son, Lil Eto, Vic Spencer, C-Rayz Walz, and production by Karnate, Tone Spliff, DJ TMB and more. Listen below...

Monday, March 12, 2018

Master P & the NBA (1999 Press Release + Video)

Percy Miller aka Master P was signed to two separate NBA contracts in the late 1990s. He played for  the Charlotte Hornets during the 1998 pre-season and the Toronto Raptors during the 1999 pre-season. When Master P was released in Charlotte, P explained his conversation with the GM, who said, "You are a helluva basketball player, but your music is pure filth and it's a Bible belt city." The above press release was an invitation to media so that P could set the record straight on his release from training camp in Toronto back in 1999. Master P shared that he was bitter at the way things went and that he was "disappointed in my teammates. I worked hard but nobody said how hard I worked," arguing that perhaps his teammates didn't have his back the way he felt he did for them.  In 2002, he played in the (CBA) Continental Basketball Association for Fort Wayne Fury. In 2003, he played in the (IBL) International Basketball League for the San Diego Stingrays. In 2004, he also played in the (ABA) American Basketball Association for the Las Vegas Rattlers.  He also owns his own basketball league, Global Mixed Gender Basketball (GMGB). To close this out, Master P added this message, "There are no limits when you work hard, chase your dreams, believe in yourself and most importantly trust God. God blessed us each of us with many talents. Don't be afraid to use them." Much respect to Master P - while his music wasn't necessarily my preference at times - his business sense and strategies have always intrigued me and I salute him for that.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Nas "God's Son" (Vibe Review, February 2003)

"Stillmatic, released last year amid a flurry of controversy, was a triumph, redeeming Nas' waning street credibility. But this latest, more mature album, God's Son, goes further than the lyrical infighting and antiwar propaganda of Stillmatic, boldly exploring themes of nostalgia, redemption, retribution, and responsibility. With grim determination, Nas sets out to give the currently vacuous genre of hip hop a swift kick in the ass like it was his own manifest destiny. He's definitely the right man for the job. Nas has always had a knack for coming up with the ill song concepts, and this album is proof. Its crowning jewel is "Get Down," a suspenseful rap story that traverses the violent streets of Queensbridge, the drug-addled South, and a tragic Crip funeral along Crenshaw Boulevard in L.A., delivered with the kind of artistry and skill that first made him famous in '94. Nas settles old scores on "Last Real N!gga Alive," on which he reveals juicy details about his unforgettable ride in Puffy's Range Rover before B.I.G.'s Ready To Die was released; being caught in the beef between Wu-Tang and Bad Boy; and perhaps most painfully, his feelings of betrayal when his daughter's mother slept with Jay-Z.... For "My Book of Rhymes," Nas flips through the pages of his old notebooks, beginning to recite what sound like potentially amazing songs, only to dismiss them as immature scribblings. He's disarmingly self-deprecating here, and gives us a rare look into his artistic process. His willingness to appear weak further cements his strength." 

"The risks he takes with the production are a big part of the allure of God's Son. In a time when a Neptunes beat is as essential as a savvy marketing plan, Nas goes in the other direction, giving producer Salaam Remi plenty of room. Remi waxes sentimental over hip-hop's Golden Era on songs like the breakbeat-infused "Made You Look" and the singsongy "I Can." Nas entrusts Alicia Keys to produce a war cry of epic proportions and soaring vistas on "Warrior Song," as she sings behind his seething lyrics, an African drum beat morphs into a marching-band drill..."

"Some time in the late '90s, Nasty Nas, as we once knew him, died - death by mediocrity and misdirection. Loyal fans who had received Illmatic as gospel were understandably disappointed by the blatant commercialism of his successive albums. Humiliated by his diminishing presence on urban radio, BET, and MTV; burning with a sense of righteous indignation; and fueled by the loss of his mother to breast cancer last year, Nasir Jones, the great lyricist, was roused to battle - resurrected, not surprisingly, by death." Updated with clips from "God's Son Live."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Milano Constantine "The Way We Were" (Album Stream)

Uptown's Milano Constantine releases "The Way We Were," produced entirely by DJ Skizz & Marco Polo. He's been around the scene going back to the days of rhyming with Big Pun & around the legendary D&D Studios. The album features Conway, Big Twins, Lil' Fame of M.O.P. & is currently holding down mixshows and college radio! You can and should stream it below.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Apathy "The Widow's Sun" (Album Stream)

"The Widow's Son" is the latest album from the Demigodz MC & producer, Apathy. It features Pharoahe Monch, M.O.P., Celph Titled, A.G., Locksmith, Ryu, and Diabolic, along with stellar production by DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Buckwild, Nottz, Stu Bangas, Chumzilla and more. Apathy's press release adds, "After developing a loyal cult following which spans over 15 years worth of catalog, seasoned veteran Apathy unleashes his 6th studio full length, which undoubtedly is one of the biggest albums of his career thus far. The Demigodz/Army of the Pharaohs MC maintains a hardcore vibe with surgically-precise writing and has brought along a who's who of legendary hip hop heavyweights to contribute on the project. Conceptually, the album is steeped within the mysteries of Freemasonry, showcasing songs that touch upon subject matter that only a Master Mason could craft. A theme running throughout the album that evokes intrigue with a sneak peak behind the curtain of an ancient fraternity. The concepts also delve in to the metaphysical, philosophical and spiritual -- Dissecting corruption of the government and holding a mirror to the ills of society, without losing the tradition of classic boom bap hip-hop." Stream it below and cop a physical copy HERE.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Bluntone "Space Is The Place" (Instrumental Album)

"Space Is The Place" is the latest instrumental offering from the Budapest, Hungary beatsmith, Bluntone. Released through Blunt Shelter Records, which considers itself "a safe spot for talented beatmakers, beat junkies and people who seek daily meditation in music along with healing vibrations." Well said... that's a nice dose of what's offered in Bluntone's 10 track instrumental release. Definitely give it a full listen below and hit the labels below for more of his releases.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Blu "The DS Dumb Style" (Mixtape)

Described as “dope underground mixtape beats sent to young lyrical emcees,” the 36-track offering features artists like Homeboy Sandman, ScienZe, Jabee, Roc C, Young R.J & MED, Sene, Blame One, and others, rocking Blu production. Blu steps up to the mic on a few of the joints, too. Dope to see him continue to flex on the production & hearing MCs get loose, check it out!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Cappadonna "Hip-Hop: The Mixtape" Prod. by Pete Rock

This is quite the mystery ... a Cappadonna mixtape, entirely produced by Pete Rock? With 0 promo? How can it be? There was a time when Pete Rock took to social media to announce a project in the works with a Wu member, but that's all I remember. Here we have a 12-track project (mixtape), which has it's highs and lows in terms of overall sonics - it clearly could have been mixed and mastered to bring it up to industry standards, but all in all, it's a solid mix to check out. I remember back when the original image for the cover art of "Iron Flag," hit the internet, then the final artwork was released and Cappadonna was photoshopped out because he wasn't on the album. Not much press about that either. I also remember the press kit for "The Pillage," which said "The stage is set for the Brooklyn-born/Staten Island-reared former security guard and present-day vocal dart thrower. Having appeared on over a dozen Wu-Tang joints, 1998 is the year for Cappadonna to shine. Representing the East Barracks projects in Park Hill, the life-long friend of the Wu breaks through with "The Pillage," the sixth dolo strike from the Clan." Well, he's back again, check out this latest effort from Cappadonna, "Hip-Hop: The Mixtape." If you have more info, hit the comments.