Monday, April 30, 2018

The Nonce "1990" (Unreleased Album)

The discovery and release of The Nonce 1990 is an important milestone recorded during the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. Recognized as innovators of the LA Hip-Hop Underground, The Nonce was formed by two 17-year olds; Nouka Basetype aka Sach and the late Yusef “Afloat” Mohammed (R.I.P.). As The Nonce, the duo was part of the Project Blowed collective. Just after high school graduation in 1990, the young duo was given the chance to go into a professional studio. Their dreams of a record deal were soon dashed after the production company raised objections to their artistic choices. Unwilling to meet the demands, The Nonce walked away from the project, leaving behind the masters of the very tracks that make up The Nonce 1990. Daniel Borine, of the independent Family Groove label, discovered the lost material for this album in 2017. These 14 rare tracks by The Nonce predate their critically acclaimed 1993 single, Mix Tapes and the classic World Ultimate from 1995. What was once thought to be lost forever is now preserved for generations. The Nonce 1990 is now available to stream below via Fat Beats Distribution and Family Groove Records. Rest In Peace, Yusef Afloat!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Lloyd Banks "Victory" (Classic Freestyle, 2002)

Sometimes I go back and relisten to the old G-Unit, LOX and Dipset mixtapes, amazed at how much content was put out in that era. It's mind boggling! One of the standouts is the Victory freestyle from the punchline king, Lloyd Banks. Years back Banks explained why it was undoubtedly his biggest mixtape song ever: "That has to be overall the most–the biggest freestyle I had as far as impact wise. Even DJ Clue will tell you that’s when he felt I went from being a mixtape dude to the next dude they expect to pop from the mixtapes… Honestly, I knew what I was following behind. Biggie was one of my favorites. When I did ‘Victory,’ everybody knew that was one of his biggest verses. So to fall behind him, I knew there was pressure behind it. I just wanted to add a different feel. At that time, I was thinking punchline wise. A lot of people used to ask me, ‘Yo you going to run out before the album,’ but when I write naturally, I write witty. I write from the perspective of being different. So, that was one thing that never troubled me. There was a few lines [I liked]. I said, ‘I think I’m the last rapper to scare n*ggas since Craig Mack.’ There was even the Master P line and its funny because I have 100 percent support for Master P, but his sneaker was [ugly] at the time.” Banks adds, "That was the first freestyle I performed. Not only did it help me as far as my recognition goes, but it helped me performance wise cause I got used to being by myself for a whole verse. It’s hard to keep people in tuned for a whole verse with no chorus–on a mixtape too. The breakdown toward the end of the verse, is when I learned over time you can’t rap the same bar cadence throughout 50 bars, you got to at some point change it up." Banks ends it by saying, "I put my all into that, bar for bar.” - via Rap Radar. Happy Born Day to Banks, listen to Victory below...

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Nomadic "The Journey" (Album Stream)

A nice boombap sound from Miami MC, Nomadic, on his album "The Journey." I don't know much about Nomadic, but I do know Veks and BBZ Darney, who have worked on projects I've enjoyed, so it wasn't a major surprise when the kid was spitting' over some solid production. To let Nomadic tell it, "Welcome to the metaphysical, highly lyrical, multi-dimensional brain waves of an extraterrestrial on the microphone." Take a chance, give it a listen. I supported the album & copped a physical CD, too. (Disclaimer: his physical CD does not look like the image above, it needs to be repackaged). 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

DJ Whoo Kid & Stretch Armstrong "Unbreakable" (Mixtape, 2001)

After the success of DJ Whoo Kid & Stretch Armstrong's Murda Mixtape series, they returned to collaborate on Unbreakable, a mixtape released in 2001. The mix stands out in my mind because it highlighted the then-beef between House of Pain's Everlast and Eminem, who exchanged a few shots back and forth on record. It's interesting when you consider that the mix tape was Hosted by Eminem, lol. I guess it's clear where they fell on the beef. The rest of the mix includes freestyles from Em, D12, Prodigy and Franchise, as well as tracks from Xzibit, Beanie Sigel, Snoop Dogg, Sticky Fingaz, Memphis Bleek, Black Rob, Nature, Capone-N-Noreaga, Shyne, Dr. Dre & more. Listen below...

Friday, April 27, 2018

Eddie F. & The Untouchables "Let's Get It On" (1994)

Eddie F is from Mount Vernon (NY) and made a name for himself in the late 80s with production on Heavy D's Livin Large, Big Tyme and Peaceful Journey albums. He was also associated with fellow Mount Vernom natives Pete Rock & CL Smooth and is credited with creating the first "featured artist remix," where a track was musically reworked and replaced by an entirely new track along with a featured rap artist. It's no surprise that Diddy was said to have lived with Eddie F in his home studio in the early stages of Puff's A&R position at Uptown Records. He went on to be VP of A&R at LaFace Records and helped manage Usher, OutKast, TLC and more. In that same time, he released Eddie F & The Untouchables' album Let's Get It On on Motown Records. The compilation featured the only known in-studio collaboration of 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. at the time on the title track which also featued Heavy D, Spunk Bigga, and Grand Puba. They spit bars over the dope sample of Barry White’s “You’re the One I Need.” The 12" was serviced to DJs and included the acapella which was definitely a gem, pre-internet lol. Check out the single "Let's Get It On" below...

Friday, April 20, 2018

DJ Smooth Denali "When It Mattered" (Vol.1, Mixtape)

When It Mattered, Vol.1 is a 90s-themed mix from DJ Smooth Denali. The tape features tracks from A Tribe Called Quest, Common, Main Source, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, O.C., Jamal, Redman, Das EFX, Nas, The roots, Da Bush Babees, Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G., Gang Starr, Lords Of The Underground, House of Pain, Brand Nubian, and more. Smooth Denali's mix tapes are always solid, so throw it on and let it rock! Health and blessings to the good brother, listen/download below...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Nas "2000" (Mixtape, 1999)

Similar to the Death of Escobar project that found its way online, the Nas 2000 mixtape was an extremely popular bootleg that made its rounds on the streets of Queens (and around in the world) in the fall of 1999 ahead of the release of Nastradamus. Some of the records would later appear on The Lost Tapes, others were remixes, freestyles and feature records with Prodigy, Kool G Rap, Kid Capri, Nature, Large Professor, Biz Markie, Jay-Z, Lord Tariq and more. I've discussed a few of these records in the past and explained the importance of the white labels that leaked ahead of Nastradamus. In the days of the internet, nothing appears nearly as rare anymore, but back then, this was a big deal and everyone wanted to put their ears on these new records from Nas. This tape represents that special time in music for me, so listen below... Nas is still the G.O.A.T. Fight me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Illmatic Guru (Blend Mix)

Another fresh blend tape from DJ Tiger of Full Blast Radio... Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal (R.I.P.) over the classic beats of Nas' "Illmatic" album. A refreshing way of revisiting the ill concepts and messages of Guru over classic beats from DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, L.E.S., and Q-Tip. For more mixes and content, check out Full Blast Radio's Mixcloud page HERE. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize for "Damn"

Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer for “DAMN” makes him the first nonclassical or jazz musician to receive the prize since the awards expanded to music in 1943. In late January, the Compton, Calif., rapper Kendrick Lamar lost the Grammy Award for album of the year to Bruno Mars. “DAMN.,” Mr. Lamar’s fourth LP, was his third straight to be nominated but ultimately fall short of the trophy, considered by most to be the top prize in popular music. --- But perhaps not anymore. --- On Monday, Mr. Lamar’s “DAMN.” took home an even more elusive honor, one that may never have even seemed within reach: the Pulitzer Prize for music. Kendrick is not only the first rapper to win the award since the Pulitzers expanded to music in 1943, but he is also the first winner who is not a classical or jazz musician. “The time was right,” Dana Canedy, the administrator of the prizes, said in an interview after the winners were announced. “We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to - the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.” - NYT // Congratulations to Kendrick Lamar!! Listen to the LP one mo' gain, below...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

DJ Riz x DJ Eclipse "Fly Fishing Vol.5" (Mixtape)

DJ Riz and DJ Eclipse of the legendary Halftime Radio Show have joined forces to release "Fly Fishing, Volume 5" from Chopped Herring Records. With DJ Riz on Side A and DJ Eclipse on Side B, the mixtape features tracks from Meyhem Lauren, Doz Funky Baztardz, Shylow, Afiliashun, Cenobites, Junclassic, Class A Felony, Da Bruze Bruvaz, Nomaads, Brothers G.R.Y.M., Wiseguys, Horror City, Jazz Spastiks, Beneficience, Da Last Future, Masta Ace, Big Tabb, Definite Vacation 4 Suckas, Thirstin Howl III, 5-Elementz (R.I.P. J Dilla), Too Poetic and more! The cassettes were limited to 150 copies. DJ Eclipse & DJ Riz have always been known for supporting independent hip-hop, so it makes good sense to link with Chopped Herring for this mix. Listen to Volume 5 below...

Monday, April 16, 2018

DJ Premier Breaks Down Gang Starr's "Moment Of Truth"

"Guru's lyrical style, though seemingly monotonous, serves to uplift, enlighten, and energize listeners. "I used to be a counselor at a maximum-security detention home for boys 14-18 with charges ranging from murder to purse-snatching," he says. "So I had to learn to relate to them not like a preacher but more like a big brother or a cool uncle." That small glimpse into the mind of Guru says a lot, and it shines through even further on tracks like "Above The Clouds" and the title track, "Moment of Truth," which DJ Premier agrees is arguably the most serious track on their '98 LP. DJ Premier sat down for an interview on Tidal and did a track-by-track breakdown of Moment Of Truth, and like everything Premier does, it's insightful and shared with an amazing sense of clarity. I don't know anyone in the industry with a memory as solid as Premo's. Showing respect and giving credit where its due are integral parts of his character, and you feel that whenever he tells a story or shares a memory. That said, check out the video series (8 videos) below of DJ Premier breaking down several track off their most successful LP, Moment Of Truth. There's also an article from April, 1998 in Billboard below, where you can read a lil' bit about the marketing and label side of the project. Gang Starr is my favorite group and DJ Premier is my favorite producer, of all-time!

Article in Billboard Magazine, April 1999

Friday, April 13, 2018

Blu & Nottz "Gods In The Spirit..." (Album Stream)

"Blu & Nottz’s epic two-part saga officially reaches its final form with 'Gods In The Spirit, Titans In The Flesh,' which combines the previously released EPs into a single project that upgrades everything about the original. There is a care and attention to detail to this project that goes well beyond a standard reissue that clumps the previous projects together. GITS, TITF is a complete upgrade from the ground up with stunning new artwork by Dan Lish, remixed and remastered audio, and a reimagined tracklist featuring an ethereal new closing track (“Yesterday” feat. Sene & Elisa Meri). All of these fine touches really make the project a treasure for diehard fans, newcomers, and collectors alike. Blu personally wanted to restructure the tracklist because he believes it flows better than before, a sentiment that hits immediately when “Atlantis” kicks things off. And then there’s the one-two punch of hearing “End Of The World” (feat. Rashad) and “Heaven on Earth” back to back, which reveals the true nuances of these songs. “Gods in the Spirit was the beginning—an eye opener to the madness that me and Blu were about to unleash,” Nottz says, “While Titans in the Flesh unleashed the wrath.” “With both EPs now combined, it’s a wrap—the kraken has officially been released with reckless abandon,” Nottz adds." - via Coalmine Records. Listen below...

Monday, April 09, 2018

Hezekiah / Soulpete / Bodziers "Raw Road" (EP Stream)

"Raw Road" is a collaborative album by Hezekiah (Philly), Soulpete (Poland) and Bodziers (Poland). Soulpete and Bodziers handle the production on this EP, with Hezekiah on the lyrics despite also being a great producer. The incredible artwork is done by Johnny Lemonade and the EP features Range Da Messenga, 7even Thirty, Mike Beon, Spaad, and DJ Eprom on all the cuts. Listen below...

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

"5 Deadly Venoms of Brooklyn" (Mixtape, 1997)

5 Deadly Venoms of Brooklyn is a mixtape created by five classic New York City DJsP: P.F. Cuttin, Mister Cee, Tony Touch, DJ Premier and Evil Dee. The mixtape was recorded in 1997 and released by Tape Kingz on cassette tape. The name of the album is a reference to a well-known Kung-Fu movie, "Five Deadly Venoms." The mixtape consists of mixed tracks from Breez Evahflowin, KRS-One, Kool G Rap, Mobb Deep, Q-Tip, Shadez Of Brooklyn, Ak Skills, The Notorious B.I.G., Sunz Of Man, Jeru The Damaja, Guru, Camp Lo, Verbal Hoods, Channel Live, and many more. 5 Deadly Venoms of Brooklyn is widely considered one of the greatest hip-hop mixtapes ever created. In the book Ego Trip's "Big Books of Rap Lists," it is ranked on "Top 10 Greatest Mixtapes Ever" list. Listen below!

Monday, April 02, 2018

Conway The Machine "Blakk Tape" (Album Stream)

Griselda's Conway The Machine is back yet again with his latest effort, Blakk Tape. The 10-track effort features in-house production from Daringer, along with VDon, Beat Butcha & Bozack Morris. Conway is on the record (IG) claiming that this particular project is made specifically for the streets. You can hear it, this is some dark, gritty hip-hop. Conway the Machine and the whole Griselda Records have the strongest brand identity at this point, whether Conway announces that the project is for the streets or not, we know what it is and we know he'll drop consistently. That's a brand you can trust and it's clear why Shady Records invested in it. Dig in below.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Nuttkase "Boombapathy" (Mixtape)

An interesting remix project from Russian producer, Nuttkase. Using vocals from some of your favorite Apathy records, "Boombapathy" has nine remixes with instrumentals, and five bonus cuts to round out the project. The Demigodz MC sounds at home over these hard drums and 90s flavor. Hearing Ap reminds me once again to say R.I.P. to our brother Pumpkinhead. Check it out below.