Friday, 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 sprit-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!

Thursday, 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).

Wednesday, 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, 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

Tuesday, 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 & 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."

Monday, 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.

Saturday, 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...

Friday, 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..."

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Take It Personal Podcast "Talking Book + Supastition Episode"

"As the summer comes to an end, we felt the best way to transition was to let the music do the talking. We have new joints by Redman, Westside Gunn, DJ Muggs, Redman, Dres, Blueprint, Apollo Brown & Locksmith, plus we sprinkle in smooth favorites by Little Brother, Hieroglyphics, Felt, O.C. and take it back to '93 with classics by Fat Joe, Ultramagnetic MC's, Brand Nubian, MC Breed, Tha Alkaholiks and KMD to name a few. We also catch-up with our longtime friend Supastiton, who shares some great stories and was kind enough to allow us to remix one of his tracks too. Sit back, relax and enjoy the musical journey and peace to all of the Stevie Wonder fans out there - this cover is for you!" Listen to the dope interview with Supastition, along with great music.

Tuesday, 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...

Monday, 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)

Sunday, 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...

Friday, 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 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 2018 ... these are the OGs in the game that helped make it what it is today and they absolutely still carry on tradition. So... Sip the Juice...

Sunday, 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...

Saturday, 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....

Friday, 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 the project below...

Thursday, 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 available HERE.

Wednesday, 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! If you've heard the Murder Was a A Case project, you're aware of the charges that Snoop (and his bodyguard) were facing. In 1996, Snoop was acquitted on those charges, and according to the LA Times 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 exclusive '94 interview below...

Tuesday, 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.

Monday, 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." Released 5 years ago today...

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

Sunday, 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...

Friday, August 03, 2018

Take It Personal Podcast "Native Tongues Tribute" (Part 2)

Wrapping up the final installment of our Native Tongues Tribute, we bring you 7+ chock-full hours of classics, current jawns, remixes and even more collaborative efforts. Because a 7 hour show isn't ideal for streaming sites, we decided to turn Episode 30 into an A side and B side. This should also help eliminate the anxiety of having to sit through an episode 7+ hours long too. Special guest Mike G. of the Jungle Brothers stops by to share stories about DJ Red Alert, Chris Lighty’s OCD, the ultimate hip-house classic, touring the UK and Mike even sheds light on a possible NT reunion. We damn near cover everything imaginable our 2-part 13+ hour Native Tongue Tribute. On part 2, we've included progression mixes for both De La and Tribe. We dig deeper in the Black Sheep and J. Beez catalog. We’ve got gems from Queen Latifah, Chi-Ali with the help of The Beatnuts and we even delve in to the solo work of Phife Dawg, Dres and Q-Tip. Episode 30 has 121 tracks (210 total in the tribute), including a fresh DJ 360 remix for your listening pleasure. This episode should help cap off your summer and hopefully most of you will finish listening to this tribute by Labor Day. Take it in slowly or run through it like Emmitt Smith. Remember, we love adding little nuances, crazy samples, funny sound bites and little Easter eggs throughout our episodes, so listen and enjoy the sounds of Take It Personal. From all of us, we thank you for your continued support! - Philaflava.

Wednesday, 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, 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 1st 1995) and it's aged like a true classic in my opinion; it just keeps getting better with time. Dig in the crates and pull this one out today; run it like it was '95. Much respect to Ghostface Killah, who has a number of classics of his own in his catalog!