August 31, 2018

Joe Budden "Whatever It Takes" (2005)

"I know you feel for me deep in your heart
Doctors, meetings, pills couldn't keep us apart 
But, now you got a deal and you wanna get rid of me 
We roommates, I'm in your head, Joe, you live with me..."

It's no secret that Joe has battled with depression - he's one of a few artists that has been open and vocal about that, and... well, just about everything over the years. The original version of this track is nothing compared to the soulful backdrop that Clinton Sparks adds on the remake, which was featured on Clinton's 2005 release, Maybe You Been Brainwashed. The Mood Muzik MC brings up a number of issues on the record including: depression, record label woes, problems with his baby mother, addiction, feeling wildly misunderstood, and lots more on the 7-minute cut. When the album was reviewed in 2005, Vibe said "And when Joe Budden emotionally cries out for understanding on "Whatever It Takes," Sparks is right there providing spirit-lifting soul sounds." An ironic fact about music is that when an artist reaches a point where the music becomes therapy, those lyrics/songs ultimately become inspiration/motivation for the listener. You may look at it as "emo" rap, but just ask Joe how many fans have told him that his music helped get them through a difficult time in their lives; it may have even saved their life. Oddly, some of Joe Budden's best work is not featured on his retail albums, it's snuck on mixtapes, loose verses, features, or it's the unlikely B-Side to a 12" that has Puff Daddy on the A-Side. However you chop it up, these are the types of songs that helped build Joe's fanbase, and even if his measure of success called for him to switch careers, fans can still cherish the music he's left behind and the perspectives he offers (along with Rory and Mal) on his podcast. Listen below and "Please leave the kid in peace." Happy Born Day, Joe!

August 30, 2018

August Greene "August Greene" (Album Stream)

"In early 2016, musicians Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins found themselves in the studio, crafting the soulful backdrop of Common's 11th album, the politically charged Black America Again ... As the trio created, they began to notice something different taking shape-something rooted in the warm R&B sounds of yesteryear but still very much in the present. It was soul music with a modern bounce, a jazz-rap hybrid in the spirit of A Tribe Called Quest. It fully encapsulated the black experience: the serenity and pain through which we channel gorgeous art, the beauty and struggle of simply trying to exist. Equally peaceful and profound, the music they captured laid the foundation for August Greene, the newly formed supergroup of Common, Glasper and Riggins. The artists come to this project having reached great respective milestones over the years ... August Greene speaks to those pushing through the dark for brighter days. It's a masterpiece from which virtue can shine." - via Marcus J. Moore (read the full, exclusive album review at Amazon). Dig in...

August 29, 2018

Craig Mack "That's My Word" EP

Tape Deck King presents THAT’S MY WORD, an EP dedicated to the memory of Craig Jamieson Mack (10/05/1970 – 12/03/2018). British DJ, Tape Deck King, has compiled an 8-track EP made up of tracks Mack dropped in 2000, alongside snippets from an interview with Tim Westwood and Marley Marl from the same year. During the interview, Craig Mack announced the name of a project he was set to drop that summer, but it never came out. That project was ‘That’s My Word." via UrbanVault.

August 28, 2018

Avantdale Bowling Club "Avantdale Bowling Club" (Album Stream)

This is one of the most surprising releases of the year to me. Avantdale Bowling Club is a powerful, personal, and deeply musical piece of work. Without the liner notes in front of me to check the track credits, all that is really known to me is that the creator and MC behind Avantdale Bowling Club is New Zealand's Tom Scott, who better than me can sum up the heart of the album ... "This record is about... growing up. I think. It's about dealing with your own stuff for once. Accepting responsibility, maybe. It's a self help book addressed to myself. And just like every other piece of art ever made in history of the hominid, I was going through some shit when I was making it. I'd just left home and everyone I knew, looking to chase a dream. It was an awkward phase, like stage two puberty. I was learning how to be grown. Humility had my pride in a headlock. I was the old man at the art exhibition, the young boy at the art gallery. Everyone was in a K-hole, I was at K-Mart." Hear Avantdale Bowling Club's self-titled album below - right now, it's a highly recommended listen...

August 27, 2018

A Tribe Called Quest "The Love Movement" (Press Kit, 1998)

"8/27/98: New York, NY - A Tribe Called Quest will release their last album, The Love Movement on September 29. The group has decided to disband after being together for ten years. The group will be featured on the October cover of The Source Magazine with an exclusive interview discussing their disbanding. The magazine hits newsstands on September 1. The first single off the album is "Find A Way/Steppin' It Up." According to The Source Magazine, "Find A Way... is a good ole fashioned ghetto love story. Short and simple, this playfully innocent tale possesses that level of youth expression Tribe has always been known for." The video is currently on MTV, BET, and the Box."

"There will be limited number of collectors' editions of the album which will include 6 bonus tracks; "Moneymaker," "Hot Sex," "Scenario (Remix)," "Jazz (We've Got," "One Two S**t"(featuring Busta Rhymes) and "Oh My God (Remix)." The Love Movement is a sonic and spiritual revolution on wax that manages to break new ground without ever losing its sense of playfulness. The album is produced by the Ummah. A Tribe Called Quest build their socially conscious rhymes upon a foundation of positive hip-hop vibes. The combination of their strong jazz influences, with a trademark ability to combine rap styles and blend rhythm and rhyme, has resulted in critical acclaim and platinum status for their last album, Beats, Rhymes & Life." - Press Release, 1998. Is it a classic, too... or nah?

August 26, 2018

Jamall Bufford "Time In Between Thoughts" (Album Stream)

We’re always looking forward to the next thing. We look towards the next show, the next shoe, the next time with that woman or man, the next paycheck. What about the time in between those things? How do we feel during that time? About life? About ourselves? Believe it or not, there’s more time in between those events than actually experiencing those events. Time In Between Thoughts is Jamall Bufford’s attempt to capture those moments and hold on to them. On his 6th studio album as a solo emcee, Bufford tapped into what brought him piece of mind. It turns out it’s the moments when he isn’t bombarding his brain with a trail of thoughts on top of thoughts. If that movie or that new car doesn’t bring you the joy you thought it would, or maybe the joy doesn’t last as long as you thought it would, it might be more beneficial for us to value those small moments of thoughtlessness and symbolic silence whenever they happen to come around. We’re always thinking about bills we have to pay, the health of our family members, the gov't, and all things heavy in the world. Time In Between Thoughts is that split second of weightlessness. It may not last long, but we can try our best to recreate it throughout our day, on a daily basis. Great concept, dig in...

August 25, 2018

DJ G-Brown "Primo's Favorites" (Mixtape, 2001)

DJ G-Brown released Primo's Finest: Best of DJ Premier in 2001. It features a wide list of DJ Premier's most flavorful production credits. The mix includes artists like Rakim, The LOX, Freddie Foxxx, Royce Da 5'9, Nas, Jeru The Damaja, Gang Starr, Mos Def, Jay-Z, Group Home, KRS-One, Bahamadia, Rah Digga, Capone-N-Noreaga, Craig Mack, Janet Jackson, Big L, and lots more. DJ Premier is the greatest Hip-Hop producer of all-time... fight me in the comments! Listen below...

August 24, 2018

Demuja "Can't Defeat" feat. Anti-Lilly

When you dig an artist's music, you dig for an artist's music. Makes sense, right? Well, that's how I stumbled upon this record from Demuja, featuring the good homie, Anti-Lilly, out of Houston, Texas. The track is called "Can't Defeat," and it is featured on Demuja's album "Hidden Paradise." Demuja is an Austrian producer & DJ with an emotive style of production bordering on soulful, jazzy hip-hop in the case of "Can't Defeat," and a more house-infused style on much of the remaining tracks on the project. Anti-Lilly delivers, making the pen bleed on the page with more introspection, like:

"And when you come up, better watch your directions 
Look a man in his eyes and listen to that voice inflection 
Perspectives change and intentions ain't never known 
It be the same people you trust that be plotting shit on the low 
I done seen it, done felt it / Never felt so helpless..."

August 23, 2018

Mac Miller "Swimming" (Album Stream)

Mac Miller has accomplished every goal he ever set for himself. At least that's what the magazines say about the Pittsburgh kid, and they're right enough. With his first album he became a grassroots rap megastar. With his second he bared his weird soul and was praised for it. His 11 mixtapes boast a couple bucket lists' worth of collaborators, from Bun B and Kendrick Lamar to Rick Ross and Juicy J. And in the same year that he toured the U.S. backed by a psychedelic soul band, he rapped all over Europe with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz. He did indie. He's doing major. He even bought himself a ridiculous house in the Los Angeles hills and made a TV show about it. Hell, he made a jazz record. Introduced by the sonically laid-back and funk/R&B-heavy tracks "Self Care," "Small Worlds" and "What's The Use?", Swimming is the latest exploratory offering from Mac Miller and follow-up to 2016's The Divine Feminine. Personally, I think it's a great record, and Mac shows a ton of range!

August 22, 2018

DJ Eclipse "Wild Pitch Blends" (Mixtape, 1994)

Originally released as a very limited promotional cassette back in 1994, DJ Eclipse - who was National Director of Retail Promotion at Wild Pitch at the time - blended some of the best records from the Wild Pitch Records catalog. The 19-track mix includes joints from Latee, Gang Starr, O.C., Foul Play, Total Pack, 3rd Eye, The Coup, Nick Swing & Bamboo, Chill Rob G, Jamose, TND, N. Tyce, Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth, and Large Professor. Now-classics aside, it's the vaulted material from Total Pack and Foul Play that have always made this such an attractive release. With re-issue culture in full-swing, I'm sure these records have since been unearthed, but back then, DJ Eclipse was (and still is) holding onto some exclusive gems! I wish Eclipse would have released more material through his imprint, "Eclipse Records," but that's a story for another day. Update: the audio link was removed, so unfortunately we'll have to listen to the mix tape through crappy YouTube until I can (remember to) update the link to a better streaming platform. In the meantime, listen to it below...

August 22, 2018

GZA "The Lost Art of Lyricism" (Playlist)

GZA shared a post about The Lost Art of Lyricism, and as today is GZA's birthday, I thought it was worth revisiting... "Music is forever changing. Hip-hop is not going to be what it was 15 or 20 years ago. Everything changes. There are different sounds, different dances. But at the end of the day, to me it’s all about the lyrics. Hip-hop started with street poets with great lyrical skills, and that’s what hip-hop has always been about for me.... For me it goes back to the 80s — 1986 to 1989. Take somebody like Big Daddy Kane, his first record was “Raw.” When Kane came out as an artist, I’d get chills from his music because it would be so dope and so lyrical and so strong and so fresh and so new...  Same thing with Rakim: He rolled with a bunch of hardcore street dudes but he never talked about running up in the club and blasting dudes. He was beyond that. He spoke about his lyrical skills. Or take an artist like Nas, he’s one of the greatest out there. He’s done his party-type music, but he’s always been lyrical with it and had good analogies and had good wordplay and good sentence structure and good visuals without talking about running the block and smoking people...

Rappers aren’t grabbing you anymore, it’s not pulling me in... I’m sure there are great lyricists out there today, but when you look at mainstream hip-hop, lyricism is gone. There are some artists out there that think they’re great storytellers, but they’re not. Nowadays there are certain things I don’t hear anymore from rappers: I haven’t heard the word “MC” in so long; I haven’t heard the word “lyrical.” A lot of rappers think they’re hardcore or say they’re from the streets and there’s that thing where they always say, “I live what I rhyme about, I rhyme about what I live.” But you don’t always have to do that. Because for me it’s not about telling the story — it’s about weaving the tale... It’s all about tapping into life. I think sometimes most rappers’ imaginations are sterile. I can write about anything and it will be interesting. If someone gave me a beat to a song and said the title of the song was called “Drinks On Me” and then gave it to another artist, lyrically theirs would probably be all about the same types of things and mine would be completely different. I wouldn’t talk about buying bottles up in the club; I’d talk about someone that’s putting date rape drugs in drinks. You have to use everything as a vehicle. If I’m writing about a pencil I might say something like, “So I bang him in the head, just lead / No eraser / One shot, no chaser / Who’s your replacer?” It’s all a metaphor, in a sense. When you say, “So I bang him in the head / Just lead” that could be about the pencil or the gun. In a way I’m still saying the same thing other rappers are saying, I’m just saying it differently. When I was in Wu-Tang, and even before that, it’s always been about being lyrical — who can craft the wittiest, the most intellectual, the smartest and the cleverest rhymes. It’s always been that for us as MCs from Day One. It’s the same for me now. It’s all about the story. - GZA, 2015. Enjoy the quick playlist updated up above, original sticker below...

August 21, 2018

Eastern Conference Records "OG Demos, Vol. 1" (EP Stream)

I love seeing projects like this get unearthed for our listening pleasure! If you stayed up late at night with a finger on record, listening to shows like Stretch & Bobbito, then all the MCs, producers and DJs highlighted on this project will be very familiar to you! Artists like Cage, The High & Mighty, Kool Keith, Jean Grae, Copywrite, Tame One, Smut Peddlers, Breeze Brewin and more! Dig in below...

August 20, 2018

Dirty Harry "From Dusk Til Dawn 2" (Mixtape, 1998)

Another dope mix tape from Dirty Harry, one of the true kings of original remixes. From Dusk Til Dawn 2 was released in 1998, featuring various remixes and original tracks from Too Close, Fat Joe, AZ, Aaron Hall, DMX, Alicia Keys, Teddy Riley, The Notorious B.I.G., Cappadonna, Big Pun, 4Kast, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, Sunz of Man, Cam'Ron, Canibus, the RZA, and lots more. Some of the tapes age better than others, but all Dirty Harry mixtapes are worth revisiting, so listen below. (Updated link).

August 19, 2018

Nine "Lyin King" + "The 9 Commandments"

The only thing worse than listening to an entire album and learning ZERO about an artist, is listening to an entire album and not believing a goddamn word of it. Props to Nine, who released 'Lyin' King' on his sophomore album "Cloud 9" in 1996. I believe there was a reissue not too long ago and it recently celebrated it's 22nd anniversary earlier this month. Ironically, Nine is back with a new project called "The 9 Commandments" that I'm eager to check out ... Allegedly, it's material that was recorded around the time of "Cloud 9" so I trust it has a real vintage, boombap sound. I've also heard some of his new-new work with the overseas fam, the Snowgoons, and that sounds tight, too! I can remember driving from NYC up to Livingston Manor, which is upstate NY, and the only CD we had was "Cloud 9;" there wasn't a single complaint the entire trip, lol. In the era of car systems, the Rob Lewis-produced joint "Lyin' King" was knockin' out the trunk. If you're feeling nostalgic, click below and peep the visuals. "Even I exaggerate when I create / But I don't perpetrate and illustrate / To sound great, cause it's fake!" Salute to the OG, Nine; been in the industry long before the mid-90s and glad he's still releasing music today... support it and expect more music soon...

August 18, 2018

Black Sheep "Tortured Soul" (Album Stream)

Tortured Soul is the latest project from Dres of Black Sheep. Reppin' the group, Dres has enlisted production from Showbiz, Bean One, Paten Locke, Jim B, J. Sands and more, as well as features from Red Alert, Chi-Ali, Sadat X, Alexander Simone, Shalence and more. Dres released From The Black Pool of Genius in 2010 and a collaborative album with Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest, called Speed of Life, as the group EvitaN in 2012. Tortured Soul is a welcomed addition to Dres' catalog and I recommend giving it a listen below. Dres has always had a smooth, silky flow and he delivers insightful content on this album, over solid production from some fan favorites. R.I.P. Phife Dawg.

August 17, 2018

Eric B. & Rakim "Juice (Know The Ledge)" G.O.A.T.

I feel like I'm gonna be redundant here, but my favorite hip-hop track of ALL time? Eric B. & Rakim's "Juice" (Know The Ledge). I don't even sway in my opinion - it's as consistent today as it was in the early 90s. "Juice (Know The Ledge)" embodies everything I want in my hip-hop: Driven lyrics over a moving beat, an ill bassline, and fresh cuts. It helps that the visuals match the track and we had a classic movie to go above and beyond that. Rakim was it to me ... he wasn't like anything before him and he shifted everything about flow afterwards. I had NO clue what Eric. B or Rakim looked like in the earlier years; I hadn't seen them live or in a video, but I heard the music and created a solid image in my head. It's not often that the artist looks JUST like what you had in your mind. And, if you see Rakim in 2018 ... if you see Large Professor in '18 ... these are the OGs in the game that helped make it what it is today and they absolutely still carry on tradition. Sip the Juice!

August 17, 2018

Loop.Holes "Back In Bap" (Instrumental Album)

Loop.holes started in 2013 when typeraw took the initiative to form a group with 5 of his favourite musicians and friends from Norway: Filliboom, Loot Fattig, Marshtini, Henc-Beats and Vizcatiabeats. All with a fellow passion for jazz, soul and especially the 90's Hip-Hop phenomenon, Boom Bap. After a while they started producing classic tracks for a number of MC's like Epidemic, Melanin 9, Ill Conscious, and too many other ill individuals to mention. Loop.holes are now releasing their first album BACK IN BAP on Millennium Jazz Music, which is a combination of instrumentals released online and from different projects with other artists. A fine release, check it out below...

August 16, 2018

Cuban Link "Chain Reaction" (Vibe Magazine, 2005)

Withstanding Big Pun's immense shadow and Fat Joe's verbal wrath, Cuban Link shines with introspection on his first solo release. Chain Reaction finds the former TS member cleverly moving from the streets ("Talk About It") to the sheets ("My Lady"). Whether spitting alongside Avant's crooning or Jadakiss's rough rhymes, Cuban adapts to each track, especially the grimier ones. "I've been gone for a minute / N!@@as thought I was finished," he raps on "Tonight's the Night," "But the scars that I caught just added more to the image." And that's how he stays a cut above. - Vibe Magazine (September, 2005). I've always enjoyed Cuban Link's music - from guest features to "Flowers For The Dead" and his latest tribute to Big Pun with "Letter To Pun," I still think there's plenty of room for Cuban Link in this industry. That said, having Fat Joe as an "enemy" has never been something I'd recommend, so I hope they eventually reconcile their differences. "In retrospect, I always respect the man that you were / A man of your word that always put his family first / With talent superb all you wanted was to be heard / And You got your chance all of your fans are proud of your work..." R.I.P., Big Pun. Listen to Cuban Link's '05 Chain Reaction below...

Vibe Magazine's album review of Cuban Link's Chain Reaction...

August 15, 2018

Soul Kid Klik "Invisible Army" (2001)

Soul Kid Klik are a New York-based crew that was formed by producer/rapper/Jazz musician G-Clef Da Mad Komposa in the mid 90's and were Wu-Tang affiliated at one point. The crew - also consisting of Blakspik, Goodfella Mike G, Storm Da Ghetto Mustant, DJ Spinbad and Infamous Mr. Savage - hailed from different boroughs of NY and delivered some impressive tracks that were championed in the underground in 2001. Their album, Invisible Army, was released on CD through Hip-Hop Enterprise, but since the music was championed mostly by vinyl heads, their reissue of the album on vinyl will appeal to their niche audience. You've probably heard "Mortal Combat" and "Desperate Times" on mixtapes, now hear the full LP below and click through to cop the vinyl LP.

August 14, 2018

Neek The Exotic "Hell Up In Queens" (Album Stream)

Queens, New York M.C. Neek The Exotic returns with a dope new album "Hell Up In Queens". This album is pure Hip Hop at it's finest featuring stellar production by Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest on the title track "Hell Up In Queens", Large Professor produced the very hypnotic track "Bax N Nex", Kwame produced the super catchy track "O.G. Season" that features Hip Hop heavy weight Bumpy Knuckles. Additional production handled by new up & coming producers Kapital who blazed tracks like "Chronic Bars" & "What U Want Me To Be" and others. The hard hitting "Still Fakin' The Funk" features Fredro Starr from ONYX which will be the first music video. Neek also brought along some young new talented artists such as Stoxx, Fame Feddi & Merc The Big Body Benz who are also featured on this album. This is a well thought out and put together album from Neek, who has continued to stay relevant in Hip Hop since day one when he was featured on MAIN SOURCE's 1992 "Fakin' The Funk" from the White Men Can't Jump Motion Picture Soundtrack. He has had a slew of releases since then such as his groundbreaking first 12" single "Exotic's Raw" in 1997 and the 1999 "Backs N Necks" EP featuring and produced by his long time childhood friend and collaborator Large Professor. The Queens Hip Hop duo also released 2010's "Exotic Species" & the 2011's "Still On The Hustle". Neek The Exotic makes a statement on his new album letting the world know that he is still not Fakin' The Funk. The Red Mamba is back and it's gonna be Hell Up In Queens! Listen below...

August 13, 2018

Kev Brown "Homework" (Album Stream)

After a 13 year hiatus, producer/MC Kev Brown has finally released the sophomore sequel to 2005's influential cult classic, "I Do What I Do.” Entitled, "Homework", "Homework" was composed organically and at his own pace, in the comforts of his own home; hence the title. Kev's trademark sound has been emulated over the last decade by so many artists and his sonic impact is very evident even among his contemporaries. It all started on the Akai MPC2000xl and the rest is history. Kev Brown's debut album was groundbreaking in so many areas. It would be no surprise that Hip Hop would ask for the next installment and he's nowhere near done leaving his mark. "Homework" is a seamless nonstop exhibition of KB's range. Kev raps confidently and wisely throughout the album's 27 tracks. Lyrically, it's personal, introspective, comedic, observatory and witty, delivered in Kev's smooth baritone style. Vocals are equally complimented by instrumentals all produced by the man himself and fluidly morph into instrumental compositions too good to be considered interludes. The album was composed using several different samplers and recording technologies, but the vibe is never compromised. Returning to his roots, this a very "Hip Hop" album. The drums are hard, the recordings are unpolished, samples are obscure, manipulated and unrefined. "Homework" is the perfect game plan for today's climate. And for those who haven't, do your homework on this man!

August 12, 2018

DJ Total Eclipse "The J Tape" (Mixtape, 2012)

The J Tape was released in 2012 by DJ Total Eclipse of the X-Excutioners and features tracks, mash ups, and remixes from famous artists sporting the J name (J. Dilla, Jay-Z, Jay Electronica). Influenced by the works of the legendary J. Dilla (RIP), Total Eclipse decided to mix Dilla's incredible production with the vocal stylings of Jay-Z, one of the greatest MCs of all time, and Jay Electronica, one of the most exciting artists to arrive on the Hip-Hop scene in a number of years. Total Eclipse recently re-released this mix to his own page, so I thought it was worth revisiting and sharing here below...

August 11, 2018

M.O.P. "First Family 4 Life" (Vibe, 9/98)

"With First Family, M.O.P.'s harrowing third full-length album (they also released an EP, Handle Ur Bizness, earlier this year), Billy Danze and Lil' Fame step up to get their rep up, with Fame tackling much of the disc's production. Billy has developed lyrically since M.O.P.'s 1994 debut, at times setting aside his gun-clapping escapades to take on more compelling issues, such as the welfare of his "seed" ("What The Future Holds"). "4 Alarm Blaze," an energetic, bang-your-head-into-the-wall masterpiece, balances nicely against the album's more sedate tracks, including the emotion "Blood, Sweat, Tears." With helping hands Premier, Laze E. Laze, and Da Beatminerz, this Brownsville, Brooklyn duo prove that the key to longevity is growth." - Vibe Magazine, September 1998.

You can peep the full review from Vibe Magazine below....

August 10, 2018

Awon & Phoniks "Return To The Golden Era" (Album Stream)

Unfortunately, this site wasn't up and running when the Virginia MC, Awon, & Portland producer, Phoniks first collaborated on their debut release of "Return To The Golden Era." However, I was surely tuned in for the nostalgic vibes and sound reminiscent of the golden era of hip-hop (the 90s). To celebrate it's 5th anniversary, a vinyl repress is now available - pressed on ultra clear, with gold splatter vinyl ... courtesy of Don't Sleep Records. I'm told the tracklist is slightly different from the original LP: mainly, interludes have been removed and the original version of 'Rule Of The Gun' has been replaced by the remixed version. The vinyl also includes the 'Get Yours' remix for the first time ever on vinyl, replacing the 'Move Back' remix from the original LP. For certain, prices will increase considerably via resellers once these are sold-out, so get in on the ground floor and support independent art at Don't Sleep Records! You can (and should) stream this project in full below...

August 09, 2018

A Tribe Called Quest, Represent! Represent!

This is an album that is so perfect and so cohesive ... yet, sometimes I oddly forget to mention it amongst my favorite albums of all-time. Maybe ... it's because I felt like that after Midnight Marauders, too? Come to think of it, I don't often place any of Gang Starr's albums in my favorite of all-time either, even though they were my favorite group and I ran "Daily Operation," "Hard to Earn," AND "Moment of Truth" 'til the tapes popped. It seems easier to choose a stand-out like "Illmatic" or "Liquid Swords" or "OB4CL" because that was the bar for that artist. If that comes off wrong or puts shade on their other releases, that's not my intention. When I really sit with it, "The Low End Theory" is 100% on my top list, so is Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's "Mecca & The Soul Brother" and a new school classic like Blu & Exile's "Below The Heavens." I like my albums sonically consistent. I like life before there was a skip button and artists crafted albums with the cassette tape in mind - no one wanted to fast forward through an album and burn up their batteries, lol. Have me out here with a pencil, skipping tracks manually, looking type crazy. In any event, I miss Phife, may he Rest In Peace, and I don't think there will ever be a group like them again. I do love that Jarobi stepped back in, I got a ton of love for him, and if there are more things from Tribe, I'm totally here for it. Thank you for giving us classics. Keep bouncin'. Postcards are available HERE!

August 08, 2018

Snoop Dogg "Straight From The Streets" (Interview, 1994)

Back in 1994, Snoop Dogg granted an exclusive interview with Straight From The Streets as he faced the trial of his life. Only a few people were willing to go on camera to speak on his behalf. It is great to know that Snoop Dogg has delivered on his promises to help the people from Long Beach, CA. Straight From The Streets is considered one of the best shows to produce positive stories about the urban community. It's also a blessing that radio personality Kevin "Slow Jammin" James is back on the air, on Snoop Dogg's radio station - on Cadillacc Music from 5pm - 10pm (Monday - Friday). This video and info was uploaded by Upfront, much thanks for sharing! In 1996, Snoop was acquitted at trail after murder charges were brought against him. According to the LA Times, Snoop said: "They made the right decision, you know what I’m saying? This has been an ordeal that has affected our lives for the past 2 1/2 years. I was just trying to figure out if I was going to be here to raise my son." I met Snoop back in 2011, and even though it was a brief encounter (10 mins or so), I can say he led with love and peace, and humbled me with his positive energy. His position as a pioneer, OG and legend is cemented in this culture! Enjoy this interview from '94 below...

August 07, 2018

Blu "Soul Amazing Part 7" (Mix)

The latest in Blu's official "Soul Amazing" mixtape series: Part 6 features Planet Asia, ScienZe, DJ Manipulator, Nottz, Exile, Sene, Tranzformer, DV Alias Khrist, Georgia Ann Muldrow, SRAW, DJ Concept, Co$$, Rapper Big Pooh and lots more... Stream it below, hit the tags for all the past mixes.

August 06, 2018

Eternia "Final Offering" | A Tribute (2013)

"Eternia returns after a two year 'hiatus' with an epic verse. Unloading a hailstorm of questions pointed at herself, God, her family, her friends, and her very purpose, 'Final Offering' tackles the lows of life, a topic most people avoid with repression and distractions. Eternia dives in, unafraid to reveal her insecurities and self doubt while challenging the very tenets of faith and foundation of family that she was raised on. She is joined by pHoenix Pagliacci, a burgeoning triple-threat in the Canadian music scene, who soars on this track with a poignant reminder to Eternia, and anyone else who is experiencing similar lows, of what "Hii Power" really is." It was released 5 years ago today...

It's a blessing when legends like Missy and Monie Love show support, too.

August 05, 2018

The B.L.U.N.T.E.D. Crew "The Triangle" (1999)

The B.L.U.N.T.E.D. Crew (Beats & Lyrics United To Set New Trends Through Every Dialect) is a three-man crew consisting of T.O.R., Crazi Cee and Jay Blake. They released their one and only album "The Triangle" in 1999 on Prominent Entertainment Records out of Philadelphia, PA. With production from Chazz Abyss, The Pucker, and Stingray, the 16-track project is consistent with the sound coming straight out of the underground in the mid-to-late 90s. Only about 1000 CDs were pressed, along with a couple 12" singles (Update: and a more recent 7" release from HHV for one of their stand-out tracks, "Keep Your Head.") I noticed that recently "The Triangle" was added to Spotify, so I thought I'd share the album with my readers who appreciate independent hip-hop. Check it out below...

August 04, 2018

Dirty Harry "Tape #1" (Mixtape, 1995)

Today's selection is Tape #1 from Dirty Harry, one of the best mixtape DJs and blend-tape DJs, period. Released in 1995, the mix tape features Hip-Hop & RNB tracks/blends from Adina Howard, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Method Man, Nine, Big L, Mary J. Blige, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Craig Mack, Keith Murray, Queen Latifah, Rakim, Black Moon, Mobb Deep, Redman, Brand Nubian, and lots more. Dirty Harry wasn't the first DJ to blend Hip-Hop and R&B, but he was so on point with it!

August 03, 2018

DJ Soul "Frozen Files" (Mix, 2010)

The Frozen Files was a show on East Village Radio run by Matty C and Schott Free, known through Loud Records and Matty C was influential over at The Source (Unsigned Hype), too. This live guest mix features DJ Soul, who ran through joints from Roc Marciano, The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Redman, Mobb Deep, McGruff, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Black Moon, Cocoa Brovaz, Big Pun and more. The show originally aired on June 30, 2010, but I came across it in a random folder, so decided to revisit it today - thankfully it's already posted to Mixcloud, via DJ Soul

August 02, 2018

Funkmaster Flex "Return Of The Tunnel #11" (Mixtape, 2000)

Return of the Tunnel #11 is a double-CD mixtape from Funkmaster Flex. It was released in 2000 and features a mix of Hip-Hop & RNB tracks from artists like 112, Biggie, Faith, Mase, Mary J. Blige, Dru Hill, Case, Foxy Brown, Christion, Jay-Z, Jodeci, Raekwon, Carl Thomas, Prodigy, Shyne, Aaliyah, DMX, Mya, Jadakiss, Dr. Dre, LL Cool J, Donnell Jones, Ruff Endz, The LOX, Eve, Memphis Bleek, The Murderers, Cam'ron, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Ruff Ruders, Kurupt, Rah Digga, Busta Rhymes, and more! I think this mixtape may've been more Big Kap than Flex, but I'm sure Flex's name attached to anything to do with The Tunnel helps it move more units. Revisit these classic tunes below...

August 01, 2018

Raekwon "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" (23rd Anniversary)

We've likely debated the greatest solo album from the Wu-Tang Clan already, but generally (for me) it comes down to the time of year you ask me: in the winter, specifically, I'm rollin' with GZA's Liquid Swords, because it's a perfect winter album, but the rest of the year I'm on Rae's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. It was released 23 years ago today (August 1, 1995) and it's aged like a true classic in my opinion; it just keeps getting better with time. Rae, Ghost and RZA captured a cinematic vision to perfection with this release. Dig in the crates and pull this one out today; run it like it was '95. RZA's run was incredible at this time, he just kept elevation and outdoing his own creations.