July 31, 2018

Ankhlejohn & Big Ghost Ltd "At Eternity's Gate" / "Van Ghost"

"Fueled by the artistic vision of Big Ghost and the iconic paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, Van Ghost is a cinematic collaboration between the underground’s chief trash talker and the grimiest rapper south of New York. Strap yourselves in." A fine breakdown from The Crate Dig serves to introduce this project well. Below is a nice selection from the album, "At Eternity's Gate," featuring Lil Eto, Fly Anakin & a fire verse from Crimeapple, who I've been following since I heard "Turner & Hootch" some years back. When it comes to textures and the layers of art embedded in the final products Big Ghost Ltd not only co-signs but partakes in, I see big steps for our brand of hip-hop in 2019. 

July 30, 2018

Soulchef "Foreign Affairs" (Album Stream)

SoulChef is a producer from Auckland, New Zealand - his production style offers a smooth and versatile blend of jazz, soul & hip-hop instrumentals. His latest offering, Foreign Affairs, showcases collaborations with Noah King, Steph Pockets, Hydroponiks, Bams, Spektra De La Rima, Es, DJ Mercilless, Jas Mace, Awon, Dephlow, Stimulus, Uptown Suite and DJ Rod Roc. Check it out below...

July 29, 2018

DJ Neil Armstrong "2 Original" (Mixtape, 2002)

Much love to DJ Neil Armstrong, one of the kindest and most talented DJs I've had the pleasuring of meeting. Whether you know him as Jay-Z's old tour DJ or from his unique blend of mix tapes, you're in for a treat if you've never experienced his 2 Original mix tape. Quite possibly better than the Original (pun intended), which is already heralded as a classic, Neil returned in (2002) with 2 Original showcasing razor sharp attention to detail and ingenuity. Before sample mixes were overpopulated, Neil was already blending unique sounds and crossing genres with his track selection, so these mixes were a natural progression. On the hip-hop side, you'll hear tracks from Diamond D, Jay-Z, Ras Kass, Nas, Method Man, Smif-N-Wessun, Grand Puba, LL Cool J, AZ, Common, Pharoahe Monch, Fugees, Artifacts, Das EFX, Biggie, Slick Rick, Jeru The Damaja, The Pharcyde, M.O.P., De La Soul, 2Pac, Luniz, and more. I miss seeing Neil over at Fat Beats; he's definitely family. Listen below...

July 28, 2018

DJ Clue "Summatyme Shootout, Pt.1" (Mixtape, 1995)

Another Clue tape for ya... this is Summatyme Shootout (Pt.1). It was released in 1995, and features tracks from The Firm, Jay-Z, Lil' Kim, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Keith Murray, Ghostface Killah, KRS-One, Capone-N-Noreaga, Common, A+, Heltah Skeltah, Lost Boyz, The LOX, as well as R&B cuts from Shai, Horace Brown, 112, Gina Thompson and a freestyle to kick the tape off from Nas. Dig in below...

July 27, 2018

Scott Storch "Still Storch" (Documentary, 2018)

There are few music careers like that of Scott Storch. The esteemed producer-songwriter made his initial mark in Philly as a key member of the Roots. A great start, but just the beginning of a wild ride to the top. Storch’s way with crafting hooks and shaping melodies, as well as his knack of being in the right place at the right time, brought him to Cali, where the inspired keyboardist began shaping the sound of pop, hip-hop and R&B, working with an array of artists that stretch from Dr. Dre and BeyoncĂ© to 50 Cent Christina Aguilera. The hits rolled in, the money stacked up, and creativity exploded. A big chunk of the 2000’s best music has Storch’s name on it. Then, through a string of drug troubles and monetary woes, he dropped out of sight for decade. It was the music’s loss. Now he’s back in action, and our intimate profile ‘Still Storch’ paints a portrait of a man who’s seen it all and is still cranking out great tracks. These days his studio hosts artists such as French Montana, Chris Brown, A$AP Ferg as well as talented newcomers like Kyle and Thutmose. A victory come-back. For hip-hop fans, ‘Still Storch’ is a must-see mini-doc, an extended look at talent, addiction, and an unyielding passion for artistry. Dig into the full Still Storch documentary below...

July 27, 2018

DJ Backspin "Spring '95" (Mixtape, 1995)

This is DJ Backspin's Spring '95 mix tape. Kickin' off Side A with some freestyles and blends from Lords of the Underground, Naughty By Nature, Wu-Tang Clan, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Audio Two, Big L, MC Lyte, Monica, and Screwball. Over to the B-Side is underground gems from Queen Latifah, Mobb Deep, LL Cool J, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Pudgee the Phat Bastard, Kamakazee, Kool G Rap, O.C.M., and more. It's not necessarily one of my favorite tapes, but it's still got plenty of joints to dig into...

July 26, 2018

Company Flow "Funcrusher Plus" (CMJ, 1997)

Every couple of years a record comes along that has the potential to shake up the rap world, or at least make it reconsider its direction. Whether said record actually accomplishes this goal is, of course, a matter of how much exposure it receives. With that in mind, let's hope that the whole world gets a chance to hear the debut album from New York City's proud underground sons, Company Flow. Comprised of El-P (who produces most of the material here), Bigg Jus and their DJ Mr. Len, this trio takes 1997's bloated, materialistic rap aesthetic and stomps on it until it's left with rap's DNA: beats and lyrical skills. Using the rawest and hardest drums imaginable with lots of claustrophobic background static, these rappers mow down track after track with their slashing wit, mind-bending metaphors, headstrong sense of purpose and cutthroat flows, constantly challenging other rappers (especially major-label ones), as well as the notion of hip-hop as a way of life. Going out on a limb like this is risky, but Co-Flow has arrived, and it looks like the group plans on staying for a while. This is hands-down the most important rap release of 1997 thus far. - CMJ New Music Monthly (September, 1997). Unfortunately, Funcrusher Plus isn't available on any of the streaming sites, so just dig into the archives for other related content instead. Damn you, Rawkus.

July 25, 2018

J.Period & DJ JS-1 "In The Trunk" (Mixtape, 2004)

J.PERIOD teams up with turntablist and Rock Steady Crew representer DJ JS-1 to create a block-rocking mixtape guaranteed to break every speaker in its path. Featured in The Source “Hottest Mixtapes,” Scratch Magazine, and MTV “Mixtape Mondays,” "In the Trunk" boasts over 40 tracks of classic jeep-beats from all eras of hip hop – the perfect mixtape to bump in whips worldwide. The mix features tracks from LL Cool J, Masta Ace, Dr. Dre, OutKast, Lost Boyz, Das EFX, D-Nice, EPMD, Notorious B.I.G., MC Breed, Ice Cube, KRS-One, Dead Prez, Channel Live, Heavy D, Nas, Tribe, Kool G Rap, O.C., Artifacts, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, Eazy-E, Too $hort, and more. Listen below...

July 24, 2018

Many Fazes "I'm Hip" (The Hip Hoppers, 1990)

"Coming from one of today's most exciting New York labels, "I'm Hip" is to 90's hip-hop what other Big Beat classics like Truth "Open Our Eyes" and Precious' "Definition Of A Track" are to garage and hip-house - the essence. Unlike some of Backroom's previous half-hearted attempts at street-style beats and scratching, "I'm Hip" slams hard from the get-go, with a jazzy keyboard groove backed by nice cuts and killer bass which is Backroom's trademark. Perhaps most important, the hype beat is matched perfectly by the MC's smooth delivery of catchy rhymes on a tireless theme: themselves. With so many rappers concentrating on righteousness these days, it's almost a relief to hear brothers like Many Fazes concentrate on their flow rather than subject matter. Claiming to stomp "young whippersnappers and snap' rappers like breadsticks," Many Fazes rhyme back and forth around all types of beats without missing a stride. For those looking to get deep into the hardcore rhythm, the "Boomin' Beats For The Freaks" mix is an excellent breakdown featuring the instrumental track cut up in a slightly offbeat style for maximum effect... If there is any justice in the world (or New York), this record should be ruling the hip-hop airwaves and club circuit by the time you read this." - The Source (Summer, 1990). // This is a real gem... I wish I had more info on Many Fazes.

July 23, 2018

Saba "Care For Me" (Album Stream)

This album was recommended to me by someone that knows I enjoy music that evokes emotion. "Trust me, you'll get into it," I was told. At first, it wasn't my particular brand of hip-hop, but sure enough, it did grow on me and did evoke emotion, which is the sign of a true artist. So, with that said, I also read this via Vinyl Me Please & thought to share it: "Care For Me is the most intense, isolated 41 minutes Saba’s ever released ... the final result is a stunning meditation on grief, survival and growth. The bright palettes of vibrant optimism streaked across much of his earlier works are slathered in greys and blues. It’s neither easy nor palatable, but personal and unafraid. We’re not dealing with any superhero, we’re dealing with Tahj Malik Chandler: a man who’s spent several years teetering from stardom in his city into the national spotlight, losing his stride, finding it again and losing it once more when he lost his cousin. Saba’s finally making the music he’s dreamt of: the rapping is precise and direct, the melodies are piercing and catchy and the weight of every bottled emotion lands until it shatters the heart. Not to mention how it’s so West Side, the traces of his familial importance are left like Remus crumbs: his grandmama’s splotchy grass plot, memories of childhood conflicts and getback, how Walter finessed him a prom date and asked for some extra bread for a prom suit. The detail would suggest several agonizing months of laborious writing, editing, synthesis… but none of it was by design. It was a tribute for a fallen link in the bloodline, a therapeutic breath in a fucked-up time." Give it a chance & stream it below (Updated stream).

July 22, 2018

Reks "Grey Hairs" (July 22, 2008)

"Like Termanology, Reks is another hard spitter from the patriot state that utilizes expert production from DJ Premier, Large Professor and Statik Selektah to bring back that roughneck rap that lives these days both in blogs and boomboxes. Aptly titled Grey Hairs, Reks shows that greatness takes time and consumes stress, but four years after his last album, Reks reintroduces himself with a megaphone in his mic. “Say Goodnight” is the epitome of what Reks brings to the table. DJ Premier supplies a beat that updates his formula, as Reks uses the original texture of the composition to alter the timing in his delivery and emphasize cadence.... Rhytmatic Eternal King Reigns Supreme lives up to his name with coded-language verses, connected by scratch-choruses. Just as the album opens with a nod to east coast boom-bap, the second half goes into the pensive perspectives that the region has traditionally given us from Edo G and Guru. “Premonition” is a joint effort with Termanology and Consequence that finds the three analyzing their drive to be here, and why patience is a rare virtue in Hip Hop. As quickly as Reks can kick in a door with a hot 16, he can point to a window that was previously unseen in another. While DJ Premier‘s progressive production deserves affirmation, Large Professor‘s effort (“Stages”) is the real shocker. The chop-master also utilizes scratches and a collage of samples to add a true gem to his catalog. The song splits into a look at performing stages and phases of art, fitting for an emcee hitting his stride, and a producer updating an approach similar to his Illmatic work.... The Showoff Records label brings the ’90s quality to the music with a contemporary approach and pace to getting it out, and Grey Hairs is likely to still sound meaningful when we’ve all got them." - Jake Paine, HipHopDX. One of the best albums of 2008 and still a project I keep in rotation. Revisit this gem on its 10th anniversary today.

July 21, 2018

The Offical Hip-Hop Nostalgia E-Store Is Now Open!

I was hesitant to do it, and maybe it won't last long - who knows - but the official Hip-Hop Nostalgia online store is now open for business. I do not have infinite shelf space, so all items should be considered limited edition, get 'em while you can. I have done my best to make the highest quality available and offer the lowest shipping + bundles, but the website only allows me but so much room to communicate certain options, so if you want something customized or the cost seems too high for you, just contact me directly and we'll work something out. I'm online at @DJ_Sav_One and the website is HERE via Big Cartel. We'll see how this goes, your support will help determine that to a great degree. All sales go to legal and medical fees surrounding the tragic death of my mom earlier this year. It's 100% out of necessity, so if this doesn't work, I'll definitely have to focus energy elsewhere, so yeah, hit me up with any feedback or ideas, or anything else to help make it work. Peace and thanks to everyone that has reached out and offered support. Salute.

July 21, 2018

Crimeapple "Perfect 1 & 2" (EP Stream)

Perfect is the latest EP series from Crimeapple and Buck Dudley. Originally released digitally in September with Buck Dudley on the boards, the EPs were short enough to combine the 2 releases on one vinyl release. With exclusive new artwork on the limited edition vinyl, these should sell quickly! The EP features Hus Kingpin and D Rugz with Crimeapple's signature wordplay and raw flow over Buck's gritty production. Both EPs can be streamed below, click through for more information about the vinyl. I expect more collaborations between Crimeapple & Buck Dudley to follow soon.

July 20, 2018

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo "Live And Let Die" (The Source, 1993)

Beginning with his 1987 single, "It's A Demo," and continuing with "Streets Of New York" and the two "Symphonies," Kool G Rap has built a strong following as one of New York's most respected underground MC's. But as dope as he is, he has never gotten his props on a national level. To fix that, he mixes the best of both worlds on his new joint. Live And Let Die has Kool grabbing a trunkfull of that West Coast funk, slowing down his rapid delivery (so the rest of the country can understand him) and once again coming through with an all-out "you do me wrong, you'll get fucked up with a quickness" vocal assault. As always, his rhymes are top notch. Peep a couple lines from the anti-fist, pro-gat "Go For Your Guns:" "You punk n!@@as better stop or chill / 'Cause my Glock can kill 20 motherf#ckers with boxing skills / That's how I put a n!@@a's head out / The murder scene needs more than Visine to get the red out." ... The rawness of this album got to be a little hot for Warner Bros., who broke north, forcing Cold Chillin' to distribute it themselves. Sir Jinx from the Lench Mob produced all but three of the cuts (Trackmasterz handled the others which are only available on CD and cassette), and successfully found a way to bridge Kool G's N.Y. stylee with the West Coast flava. Big Daddy Kane trades off the mad swift verses on "#1 With A Bullet" and Mr. Scarface, Bushwick Bill and Ice Cube join in to play like the Afrikan Corleone family on the superior "Two To The Head." Even Jinx gets into the act, with a cameo on the hilarious "Operation C.B. (Cock Block)." Different from his previous works and not quite as ground breaking as Road To Riches, Live And Let Die is a ruffneck album that, despite its harsh content, should finally take Kool G Rap & DJ Polo "above ground." -  The Source, 3.5 Mics (February, 1993). Oh, and Happy Born Day, Kool G Rap!

The original 3.5 mics-review in The Source, February 1993. 

July 19, 2018

Donnie Propa "Diggin' In The Crate Cave" (D.I.T.C Mixtape)

The UK's Donnie Propa has released his latest cassette mix, Diggin' In The Crate Cave, a mixtape of classics and hidden gems from the legendary D.I.T.C. crew. The mix is all-vinyl and available for limited edition cassette from Village Live Records. Much respect to the whole Diggin in The Crates crew: Lord Finesse, Big L (R.I.P.), O.C., Fat Joe, Buckwild, Showbiz & A.G., Diamond D and more. Dig into Donnie Propa's back catalog to hear great tribute mixes to Jeru The Damaja, Masta Ace, Pete Rock, J Dilla, Nottz and more. Cop the cassettes while they are available, too. R.I.P. Big L and Party Arty.

July 18, 2018

DJ Juice "Volume 22" (Mixtape, 1994)

Volume 22 was released by DJ Juice around 1994, and is a dancehall/reggae mix tape. DJ Juice holds down Side A and Selecta Bam Bam holds down Side B on the tape. They hit us off with a bunch of really dope blends and tracks from Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton, Mad Lion, Rayvon, Patra, Mega Banton, Terror Fabulous, Jamalski, Cutty Ranks, Lady Apache, Burro Banton, Johnny P, Capleton, and lots more! If you dig dancehall tapes from the 90s, especially with blends, dig in - this is for you...

July 17, 2018

Guru, Still One Of The Best Yet (R.I.P.)

East Coast Hip-Hop pioneer Guru, leader of gritty duo Gang Starr and rap-jazz fusion project Jazzmatazz, died on April 19th in New York after a yearlong struggle with cancer. He was 48. "He had one of the most distinctive voices in music," says A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip. “If you wanted to understand rapping, story-telling, if you want to get thugged out, if you want to get political, you could listen to Gang Starr. They just encompassed everything that hip-hop embodied.” With his gruff monotone and stark, no-nonsense lyrics, Guru and his partner, DJ Premier, defined a stripped-down strain of Nineties New York hip-hop. Guru - born Keith Elam - actually grew up in Boston, the son of a judge and a public-school library administrator. He graduated from Morehouse College, worked as a social worker and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology before he dropped out in the mid-Eighties to pursue a music career. Over a 14-year span, Gang Starr released six LPs, and scored two gold albums and several Top 10 rap singles, including "Mass Appeal" and "Take It Personal." With Jazzmatazz, the rapper collaborated with jazz greats like Herbie Hancock and Branford Marsalis. "Guru was like a vanguard of rap," says Nas. "He was never negative - he was just saying what was going on in the streets. Along with A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Public Enemy, Gang Starr helped expand the possibilities of hip-hop, still a nascent genre when Guru and Premier came on the scene, and helped inspire a generation of innovators. “Gang Starr’s music was the soundtrack to me falling in love with hip hop,” says Talib Kweli, who was a 14-year-old aspiring MC in 1990, when he first met Guru and Premier at New York’s New Music Seminar (“Guru and his crew snuck me and my crew in,” he says) and later toured with the duo. “Guru was a friend, a mentor, and a legend. He will be forever missed.” - Rolling Stone, 4/22/10 // Rest In Peace, Guru. 

July 16, 2018

Children Of Zeus "Travel Light" (Album Stream)

It’s been a long road leading to this album for Tyler Daley and Konny Kon. They first embarked on their expedition into the music game two decades back - Tyler entered the scene as a songwriter, producer and vocalist, originally under the moniker Hoodman, whilst Konny began MCing, DJing and beat-making for hip hop crews The Microdisiacs and Broke’n’£nglish, along with DRS & Strategy. To date, Children of Zeus have released three sell-out singles on First Word (‘Still Standing’, ‘I Can’t Wait’ and ‘Slow Down’) and a compilation EP comprised of tracks made by the duo over the last decade entitled ‘The Story So Far…’. Children of Zeus are finally at the stage where they are releasing their debut album proper; the over-riding ethos of which is about keeping their eyes on the road ahead, whilst shedding the baggage they’ve accumulated over the years - ‘Travel Light’. 

July 15, 2018

Marlowe "Marlowe" (Album Stream)

L'Orange & Solemn Brigham's Marlowe is a triumph of ambition, a rap bricolage blending prohibition and civil rights-era samples with Asian psychedelic rock flourishes. Solemn Brigham controls the microphone like a general who can’t help but be right. His flow is a blitzkrieg. It’s an Olympian sprint, gliding over snares and kick-drums like hurdles. He’s a showman seeking revolution—resolute in his desire to strike equilibrium between awareness and entertainment. Solemn applies the fictional protagonist’s search for the truth towards different ends. His crimes are existential yet specific, rooted in the injustices of the past and the attempt to redress them in the present. He’s an artist perennially seeking something to fight for, channeling energy from the music of the civic rights era, stealing timeless rhythms and inflection from classic funk and soul. Over the course of 17 tracks, Solemn hurls sharp darts at counterfeits trying to crack his religion, the onslaught of time, and prevaricating rappers—all while paying homage to those who paved the road for him. He bounces off the beats like a trampoline placed in a speakeasy, doubling up on the vocals, burrowing into dense cryptic tangles of slang and then stretching them out with melodic ease. With dazzling cinematic mise en scene, L’Orange crafts a world that sounds like an old-time medicine show dropped into 90s Brooklyn, with Solemn summoning the holy spirit of Big L. Cymbals crash, drums pound, fuzzy guitars ride out, a bronze rain of horns cascade. This is gorgeous celestial dust, high-powered fuel with every syllable meticulously ordained. Dig into Marlowe via Mello Music Group...

July 14, 2018

Too $hort "Shorty The Pimp" (July 14, 1992)

Short Dog is back, and boomin' with a trunk of funk aimed straight for your earhole. This time out there are few breakbeats and turntable scratches, only deep grooves that drip over the tracks like hot molasses over buttermilk bisquits. Since Too Short is from the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of rap, don't expect much deviation from the formula that has brought him platinum success. Look for a lot of bass, sex and home pride. Although not as prevalent this time around, a few explicit sex rhymes get kicked ("I Ain't Nothin' But A Dog" and "Hoes"), and he drops science about life on the streets of Oakland. On "I Wanna Be Free," he tells us that "You can wear what you want even blue or red / But cross the wrong brothers and end up dead," and speaks the truth about police harassment. He sends a sharp message to his critics on "In The Trunk" and "It Don't Stop." Short teams up with Tony Toni Tone on "Hoochie" and showcases his comedic side with "Step Daddy." The album's posse cut not only features Dangerous Music posse members Pooh-Man, Ant Banks and Mhisani, but its title sums up the entire album's vibe: "Something To Ride To." Grab this tape, get in the car, and drive, because Short Dog is definitely in the house again." - The Source, 4 mics (1992). My favorite track on Shorty The Pimp is "So You Wanna Be a Gangster," which was also featured on the Juice soundtrack in '92. I wish they'd included the DJ Premier Remix to "In The Trunk" on the LP, but pick up the 12" for that track. Revisit the legendary Oakland MC's Shorty The Pimp below...

July 13, 2018

DJ Skizz "High-Powered" (EP Stream)

New York City-based producer DJ Skizz has previously dropped full albums with Big Twins, Da Villins, and D.I.T.C. affiliate Milano Constantine. However, this summer he’s back with another producer compilation in the vein of 2016’s Cruise Control. This DJ/producer who was at the front-lines of Your Old Droog’s breakthrough has developed close relationships with a number the game’s most respected MCs, and they are always down to hop on a track at his request. For High-Powered this Brooklyn beatologist once again uses his proven formula of pairing Hip-Hop’s giants with up-and-coming talent. You get established names like Freeway, Planet Asia, M.O.P’s Lil Fame, and Jedi Mind Tricks Vinnie Paz, next to emerging voices with a buzz like CRIMEAPPLE, Ty Farris, and Battle Rap extraordinaire Nem$. Just like on Cruise Control, Skizz produces all cuts on this new offering with the exception of one track that he co-produces with Frank Dukes (“Perfect Storm”). If you heard any of his joint albums from 2017, you know the artist born Zach Raemer’s sound is characterized by hard boom-bap drums, thumping basslines, and dusty loops. Listen to High-Powered below...

July 12, 2018

Kwest Tha Madd Lad "This Is My First Album" (The Source, 1996)

Just when you thought it was safe to cop some attitude, roll out the same ol' beats and rhymes, sign a record deal and start counting your money, along comes Kwest Tha Madd Lad with This Is My First Album. That's right, no pseudo gothic lettering, no dramatic conquer-the-world symbolism, no bullshit. Just a bunch of well-paced, much-needed humor and humility. Kwest is a throwback to a long gone era in hip-hop, when raps were as much about straight storytelling and making folks laugh as they were about braggadocio and bombast. His rhymes are infused with fun-lovin' spontaneity, clever lyrical calisthenics and smile-in-spite-of-yourself tales. But his quick mind, and quicker tongue, are most often reserved for one thing -- punany. There's no other way to say it. So Kwest does, again and again... Admittedly, there's nothing new to rapping about hittin' skins, and at times Kwest's racy rants grow monotonous. But he usually comes off like a dirty little kid shrugging his shoulders and running for cover. You want to wash his mouth with soap, but you're laughing too damn hard to catch him. "I Met My Baby At V.I.M." is so bad it's good, and its one-of-a-kind sample of the early '80s tag line for a famed New York area clothing store is priceless. Other tracks that highlight Kwest's range include "Herman's Head," which speaks to the ravages of crack, and "Blase Blah," a ferocious, off tha head soliloquy that leaves one reeling. The production is equally diverse, intelligent and straight up fun. It's subdued and sparse, sprinkled with funky beats that complement Kwest's rhymes perfectly.  - The Source, 3 Mics (June, 1996). Listen to the deluxe version below...

Original sticker and full album review in The Source...

July 11, 2018

Dread Solo "I Think We've Met Before" (Instrumental Album)

Creators are gonna create; it's essential to their being. When I read the caption to my brother Dread Solo's debut album, "I Think We've Met Before," it says: "It took me 26 years to make this abstract narrative. This is some of the realest art I've ever made" ... I can't help but exhale. I can understand that, and I'm instantly gonna support it. Known to me (first) as a journalist, then as a sketch artist, and now as a producer, I can sense that desire to create is always working within him. I'm glad he's found quality outlets for that creativity and as with his other endeavors, they have been met with success and acclaim. Dig into this 17-track opus below, and appreciate his expression from behind the boards. Props to Awon on "Night Shift;" dope to see them working together, too.

July 10, 2018

Kool G Rap & 38 Spesh "Son of G Rap" (Album Stream)

Kool G Rap doesn’t let his legend status stop him from continuing to do what he loves. Last year, the Corona, Queens veteran dropped his ‘Return Of The Don’ album with producer MoSS, and in 2018, he’s following up the solid effort with a collaborative album full of heavy hitters behind the boards and on the mic, alongside Rochester native 38 Spesh, who linked with Griselda Records’ Benny the Butcher earlier this year for the well-received ‘Stabbed & Shot’ album. Son Of G Rap’s tracklisting boasts veteran features like Cormega and AZ while also brandishing newer school spitters like Freddie Gibbs and Meyhem Lauren and Griselda Records’ Benny The Butcher. Behind the boards, as mentioned, KGR summoned production akin to MCing prowess. Alchemist heads up “Land Mine” while DJ Premier and Pete Rock lay the beats for two tracks each. Album mainstays Midnite and 38 Spesh handle most of the rest of the production. Overall, the project is a lot of what you’d expect from Kool G Rap: grimy street rhymes full of stories of peril and the beats to match. On “Land Mine,” the duo of 38 Spesh and Ransom provide a rather introspective look-back on their troubled come up while a song like “Flow Gods” reminds everyone that G and his assembly are nothing to be taken lightly when it comes to witty wordplay and velvety smooth bars. Dig in...

July 09, 2018

Geto Boys "We Can't Be Stopped" (July 9, 1991)

The Geto Boys' fourth album, We Can't Be Stopped, hit the music world like a hurricane... It's no secret that this trio of misfits was put together by J. Prince, founder and CEO of Rap-A-Lot Records. The Geto Boys were his vision and a brilliant one at that. These three distinct voices and personalities meshed well on record, but in real life, the Boys rarely spoke. In fact, throughout the entire recording of We Can't Be Stopped, they were rarely in the studio together. In general, each member would come to the studio separately, lay their verses and then leave. It wasn't until the final period of the process that I really saw them all working together. Regardless of all that, We Can't Be Stopped is the album that kicked off this entire Southern revolution we are currently enjoying... [The cover of We Can't Be Stopped] showed Scarface and Willie D wheeling Bushwick Bill down a hospital hallway on a stretcher, just days after the diminutive rapper had shot his eye out. The cover was a shocking piece of macabre art, one that perfectly represented the psychosis of these three tortured gangsta geniuses. It was the perfect intro to an album full of tortured, gangsta genius gems including the mega hit "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me." "I guess I would say that one of [my favorite Rap-A-Lot albums] would have to be We Can't Be Stopped." J. Prince remembers, "And I say that because "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me" did so much for the South, period. It was the song that got the South our respect, and [it] made people start listening to us and reckoning with us from radio to everybody..." We Can't Be Stopped kicked the music industry's door down and introduced the world to a whole new coast, one where the place was a little slower but the fire burned just as hot. - 20 Essential Southern Albums, Ozone Magazine. Salute, Matt Sonzala. There were some distribution issues surrounding the album's release, so the official release date is fuzzy, but as far as I can see, We Can't Be Stopped was released on July 9, 1991. Got more info?

A random sketch of the We Can't Be Stopped artwork...

July 08, 2018

July 8, 1994: Invitation to Fat Beats on E 9th Street

July 8, 1994: "In the late seventies Hip-Hop music was being sold out of the trunks of automobiles. On July 14 you and your associates are invited to Fat Beats, New York's unique Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and affiliates music store. Fat Beats grand opening will have art work by Andrew Marzan, Carlos Paul, Chris Nesbitt, George Guzman, Nuri Bell, Sean Mitaynes, and Zak. The fat beats will be provided by William Bagley. Drinks and refreshments will be served and the party will start at 7pm. Fat Beats is located at 323 East 9th Street Between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Hope to see you. Sincerely, Joseph Abajian (Pres/Founder of Fat Beats)." Joe Abajian aka DJ Jab is easily one of my favorite people I've met in this music thing; he's always been a stand-up guy and to this day, the direct line to him is always open. I'd love to visit Fat Beats headquarters in LA; it's on my to-do list.

July 07, 2018

DJ Missie "Hip-Hop, Volume 4" (Mixtape, 2005)

This is Hip-Hop Volume 4 from Japan's DJ Missie. The tracklist doesn't introduce you to much, but DJ Missie is one helluva skilled technician. The mixing is tight, cuts are razor sharp and there's plenty familiar to listen to with Missie's mixes. You can expect to hear Eric B. & Rakim, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, UMCs, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock, Big Daddy Kane, Queen Latifah, Naughty By Nature, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, The Pharcyde, Casual, Guru, LL Cool J, Redman, Common, A Tribe Called Quest, Das EFX, Slick Rick, Masta Ace, and more! Dig into DJ Missie's Hip-Hop Volume 4 mixtape below...

July 06, 2018

DJ Dopeshoes "Sole Food..." (Mixtape, 2010)

Seattle / San Diego's DJ Dopeshoes of HomeGrown Blends effortlessly blends Funk, Hip Hop, R&B and Soul into her mixes/sets. Her Sole Food: Cold Bologna, Mayonnaise & Bread mix demonstrates a consistent vibe and knowledge of tempos and rhythms with unique selections. It features many of her personal favorites in both old school, and then-recent hip hop, as well as funk and soul. In her own words "This is a largely retrospective mixtape for afternoons, bbqs, and whenever the hell else you feel like it." Sole Food features tracks from Masta Ace, People Under The Stairs, D.I.T.C., Common, Mad Kap, Funkdoobiest, Scarface, Marvin Gaye, Marco Polo, Chill Rob G, Organized Konfusion, Grand Puba, Mary J. Blige, DeBarge, Eric B. & Rakim, Dr. Dre, Donny Hathaway, One Be Lo, Spice 1, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, De La Soul, Casual, Jungle Brothers, Diamond D, Bill Withers and more. It was originally released in 2010, but the music is timeless, so grab a plate of this Sole Food...

July 05, 2018

RZA as Bobby Digital In Stereo (Press Kit, 1998)

RZA is usually associated with his work on all the platinum-selling Wu-Tang albums and his production efforts on albums by Raekwon, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Gravediggaz, Bjork and the "Bulworth" soundtrack. But his creative sensibility extends far beyond music. RZA's Bobby Digital concept combines all of his artistic talents. The character of Bobby Digital is entirely RZA's invention. The film Bobby Digital is also RZA's brainchild -- he is producing, writing, directing and starring in it. To accompany the film, RZA made the soundtrack RZA as Bobby Digital In Stereo, his debut solo release on Gee Street Records. The history of Bobby Digital is explained in the film: While RZA is conducting experiments at a laboratory on Wu Mountain, he stumbles upon a formula for self-transformation. Dipping a blunt into this elixir of "honey," he inhales and begins to hallucinate. When he finally comes to, he is confronted by the consequence of his experiments -- he has created an actual person. Completely independent of RZA, his name is Bobby Digital. Bobby is a self-indulgent creature of the flesh who loves to womanize, party, spend money and wear the latest fashions. An eye patch over one eye conceals a micro-computer that is linked directly to Bobby's brain. The device enables him to have supernatural powers. And Bobby does not hesitate to put them to use. In short, he is a ghetto celebrity, admired and feared for his astounding ability to manipulate the world around him for his own benefit. Joined by Method Man, Masta Killa, Killa Army, Black Knights of the North Star from Cali, RZA breaks new ground by performing as Bobby Digital on the soundtrack. There is no doubt that Bobby Digital will not be the last masterpiece from this dynamic and prolific artist. - Press Kit, 1998. This album was years ahead of its time! Revisit it...

Today is also the RZA's Born Day! Salute that man!

July 04, 2018

DJ Jazzy Jeff x Mick Boogie "Summertime Vol.9" (The Mixtape)

They are back again! DJ Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie drop off Volume 9 in their Summertime mixtape series! This year's classic mix includes tracks from Rhymefest, Amerie, Michael Jackson, T.I., Arrested Development, Justin Timberlake, The Beatnuts, The Game, OutKast, Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Ice Cube, Stetsasonic, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys & Q-Tip, House Of Pain, Nelly, Stevie Wonder, Chicago, EPMD, Nas, Lord Finesse, Black Sheep, Slick Rick, The Jackson 5, Mark Morrison, Raphael Saadiq, The Pharcyde, Pete Rock & CL Smooth and lots more. Enjoy the mix below! Happy 4th!

July 03, 2018

Roc Marciano "Warm Hennessy" (EP Stream)

Roc Marciano's Warm Hennessy EP is a compilation of previously released singles produced by Arch Druids and featuring Dino Brave (of The UN), and Hus Kingpin & of Tha Connection. Slated for a vinyl release, this is also the first time the highly sought after J-Force, Nuance and Bankrupt European remixes are available on vinyl, in both the original and instrumental form. That J-Force remix of the title track is super HARD! Listen to Warm Hennessy from Roc Marciano and Arch Druids below...

July 02, 2018

DJ SP "Watch The Sound" (90s Hip-Hop Video Mix)

Watch The Sound is a phenomenal 90s Hip-Hop video mix by Amsterdam's DJ SP (Fat Beats alumni in Amsterdam). DJ SP has been a video collector for about 8 years, amassing over 15,000 videos (not all hip-hop). He adds, "I tried keeping the mix pretty balanced. I could've gone way more obscure with it, but for an introduction it should have some familiarity. It definitely has shit that people won't know about, a couple of surprises. Especially the younger crowd will be scratching their heads about some of the videos. I didn't want to make a 90s party banger mix but it definitely has some 90s hits... I'm not concerned with the hype of the moment, I want people to listen to it in ten years still. At least, that's what I want. I don't want to listen to it twice and feel like 'aight, I'm done, next.' ... I try to make timeless mixtapes that surprise even me." Peace to SP, watch the video mix below....

July 01, 2018

Adonis & V Don "This Thing of Ours" (Album Stream)

This Thing Of Ours is the new collaborative project between Long Beach-lyricist, Adonis, and the fine production of V Don. Crisp drums and creative sample flips provide the perfect backdrop for Adonis to offer his insightful lyrics and smooth flow. At just 9 tracks, the project moves quickly and the features from Tedy Andreas, Eto and Dell add nicely to the overall sonics of the album. This Thing Of Ours is now supported by Germany's FXCK RAP label, which should mean physical copies are on the way. I've updated the audio link below, and I hope these two continue to work together...

July 01, 2018

DJ Filthy Rich "90's Canadian Hip-Hop" (Vol.2, Mixtape)

DJ Filthy Rich is back once again, out in Toronto showing love to Canada on 90's Canadian Hip-Hop, Volume 2. He digs in the crates to pull out some lesser known joints celebrating Canada Day this year. You'll hear tracks by Maestro Fresh-Wes, Split Personality, B Kool, UBAD, Redlife, Choclair, Thrust, Nefarius, Bishop Brigante, Mathematik, Saukrates, Dan E O, Kardinal Offishal, Rascalz, Sic Sense, Ghetto Concept, Frankenstein, Brass Tacks, Citizen Kane and more. Check it out below...