Sunday, March 31, 2019

Rest In Peace, Nipsey Hussle (March 31, 2019)

"We are at a great loss today. This hurts. Straight to the point. It’s dangerous to be an MC. Dangerous to be a b-ball player. It’s dangerous to have money. Dangerous To Be A Black Man. So much hatred. We live like our brothers and sisters in third world countries live. Right in America. Decisions we make about our own life be based on decisions cuz we might not live. Its so deep rooted. It’s not a easy fix. Hard to fix anything when kids are still living in poverty. I ain’t shutting up though, Nipsey is a True voice. He will never be silenced. He still is A stand up General for the People who never left his people. He is Loved by the people. Prayers for his family. Let’s keep pushing Truth for The Man. Love You, King Nipsey Hussle / Ermias Asghedom Respectfully" - Nas // He was an authentic artist; truly forward-thinking, positive and ownership-minded - all of which made him an important voice for this generation. It's a truly sad day. My thoughts are with his loved ones. I know that he's inspired today's youth to be better, do better and that's a legacy. R.I.P.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Choosey & Exile "Black Beans" (Album Stream)

"Hailing from LA by way of San Diego, Choosey uses Black Beans to make important statements in favor of black and brown unity at a time when his voice is most needed. Autobiographical moments like “I Did” follow in the footsteps of Exile produced masterpieces including Blu’s Below The Heavens and Fashawn’s Boy Meets World, as his soulful beats have always brought honesty and introspection out of the Dirty Science crew. Black Beans captures the feeling of the beautiful struggle while navigating life’s potholes throughout sunny Southern California. Taking the good with the bad, Choosey honors family and his significant other while attacking society’s ills including police brutality and gentrification. Though Black Beans is consistent with Exile’s sound, with this effort, he sampled from a number of sources and an era that best reflects Choosey’s story personally. Combining street smarts and book smarts, the album is sure to impact listeners as he’s a testament to following his dreams while surviving everything from the daily rat race to coming up in territories surrounded by gang activity." This is a really dope album, sit and digest this one below...

Friday, March 29, 2019

EPMD "Business Partners" (Vibe, 8/08)

EPMD brings the suburbs to hip-hop - and the funk to the party: "Sporting fishermen hats and a slack style, Long Island duo EPMD's debut, Strictly Business (Priority), was the first hip-hop album to celebrate the splendor of suburbia. "It was the Just-Ice single 'Latoya' that inspired us to rap in the first place, but we didn't come from the same kind of environment," says Parrish Smith. "Me and Erick Sermon grew up near the water, so we thought the caps would best represent where we came from. We were confident in our skills, so we had no problem being different." Signed to the now-defunct Sleeping Bag Records (where labelmates included Mantronix, Just-Ice, Cash Money & Marvelous and Nice & Smooth), the duo's first demo contained the original mixes of "It's My Thing" and "You're a Customer." Laughing at the memory, Smith says, "We didn't even know what samplers were then. We recorded everything on tape and spliced it together later." While their name stood for Erick and Parrish Making Dollars, the moniker EPMD soon became synonymous with soulful samples and computerized funk... the Sermon/Smith style laid the sonic foundation for Dr. Dre's soon-to-come G-Funk." An example of that is their smash "You Gots To Chill," watch below...

"Indeed, famed West Coast radio station 93.5 KDAY, whose program director Greg Mack was instrumental in helping Los Angeles develop its own hip-hop aesthetic, was one of the first to play "It's My Thing." Virgil Simms, Sleeping Bag's then vice president of promotion, says, "Mr. Magic and Marley Marl showed us much love at home in New York, but it was the reaction from KDAY's audience that helped break that single. We had the clubs on lock." ... Sermon says the group just flipped the records they liked. "Strictly Business was recorded and finished in two weeks at producer Charlie Marotta's studio," says Sermon, who experienced solo and group success with Def Squad after the group split in 1993. "Me and Parrish wasn't using James Brown samples because we were listening to different kinds of things; we simply sampled what we were feeling." ... Touring and working ... the boys from Brentwood are back together - and still about their business." - Vibe

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Eddie Ill & D.L. "Scens Of The Underworld" (Mixtape, 1998)

When we talk about CLASSIC underground mixtapes, Eddie Ill & D.L. must be in the conversation. Always reppin' the best of independent, underground hip-hop, their double cassette tape release, "Scenes of the Underworld," has been championed since its release in 1998. The mix tape features cuts from Mr. Complex, Pumpkinhead, What? What? (Jean Grae), Basement Khemist, El Da Sensei, 7L & Esoteric, Brooklyn Academy, Choclair, Consequence, Saukrates, Craig G, Rasco, J-Treds, Medina Green, Lord Digga, Jigmastas, Thrust, High & Mighty, Lootpack, Missing Linx, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Dynasty, Ran Reed, Black Star, I.G. Off & Hazardous, Freddie Foxxx, Godfather Don, Screwball, B1, Company Flow, Masterminds and, somehow, even more! This takes me back to a time in NY that was very special to me. Dig in the archives for more... and thanks to DC Avery for the updated audio below.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien "Press Kit" (1991)

How Funkee can one Homosapien be? "With clever rhymes and a humorous style, DEL tha funky homosapien is staking his claim on the hip hop scene, as well as reclaiming his home, on his debut single "Sleeping On My Couch (And I'm Tired of That)." Over a fat mid-tempo beat, funky horns and live piano riffs, Del orders his homies to stop freeloading at his crib, eating his food and playing his video games: "And you can save your crocodile tears / Don't even start with the sob stories / I got enough from the other seven brothers / In the den playing Genesis / Damn I can't win at this." With the Bridges of Funkenstein, former background singers for Parliment-Funkadelic, picking up the chorus, it's a sound that's straight up funk." Peep the visuals to the track, cont'd below...

"Hailing from Oaktown (Oakland, CA), Del's sound is distinctive from West Coast hip hop. Along with his crew, the HIEROGLYPHICS (Randy (DJ), Kwame, CM-PX, Bert, Kalif, and The Emperor), Del combines clever lyrics with an amusing, offbeat delivery. With Ice Cube and DJ Pooh at the helm, Del's production style combines 70's P-Funk with 90's hip hop to form a new sound that can only be described as "D-Funk." Although he's 18 years old, Del is definitely not a new jack. He co-wrote "Jackin' For Beats" and "Make Way For The Motherlode" for Yo-Yo. He also makes an appearance on Cube's Amerikkka's Most Wanted, calling in on a simulated radio talk show to say "F#ck the radio!" But radio most definitely will be funkin' with Del on the "Sleeping On My Couch," and the radio-friendly tracks from his soon to be released debut album, I Wish My Brother George Was Here (Street Knowledge/Elektra Entertainment), 'cause Del's too dope to ignore." - Press Kit, '91

Not to gloss over it, the press release (1991) confirms that Del co-wrote his cousin Ice Cube's "Jackin' For Beats," at the young age of 17-18. It's clear that Ice Cube doesn't need a ghostwriter, yet he threw Del work (for Cube and Yo-Yo), trusting that his pen was strong enough to write for one of the greatest lyricists of all-time and a true pioneer in music as a whole. That's as impressive a stat as you could ask from an artist that had yet to release their debut single. To repay the favor, I believe Ice Cube played a role in writing one of Del's break-out tracks, "Dr. Bombay," also on I Wish My Brother George Was Here. They kept the money in the family! Watch the visuals below...

The original press release, as well as the Dr. Bombay one-sheet are below.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Happy Born Day, Large Professor! (Mix CD, 2002)

In celebration of Large Professor's born day today, I'm posting up this promotional mix CD (originally a radio set) that was released in 2002 ahead of Large Pro's 1st Class album by Matador Records. DJ Crossphader and Mista Sinista collaborated on the mix, running through classics from Large Pro's catalog as a solo artist and a member of Main Source, as well as remixes and Extra P's production. One of the greatest MC/Producers in hip-hop history and our culture's greatest dot connector... Large Pro is the bridge connecting numerous artists, and facilitating countless collaborations over the years. Happy Born Day to the Extra P! Peep the retrospective mix below...

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Notorious B.I.G. x Irn Mnky "The Life Of Castro"

UK producer Irn Mnky has released a remix tape of his production and vocals from The Notorious B.I.G., and it's actually a solid project! I know we can't just leave well enough alone and there are tons of Biggie tapes because he was such a beloved figure in hip-hop, but I sense this was a labor of love, and it works! The project is available on cassettes, CDs and of course, on stream below - I can't promise Puff and 'em won't come snatch this off the web, so listen now... R.I.P. Biggie Smalls.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

DJ Muggs x Eto "Hell's Roof" (Album Stream)

Hell’s Roof is a 12-song album by DJ Muggs and Eto, which uses haunting samples, dense drums, and introspective rhymes to paint a dark story about life in a city that ranks among the poorest in the country. According to a census poll, 33% of Rochester’s residents currently live in poverty and a staggering 50% of children live below the poverty line, putting Rochester in the Top 10 poorest cities in the USA. With poverty reaching epidemic levels, residents turn to life on the streets as a solution, the same space where Eto has honed his skills. The collision of the legendary West Coast producer and the young roughneck spitter creates a powerful sound on HELL’S ROOF. Listen below...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

De La Soul "Interview At Hofsta University" (P5 Show, 1989)

Here we have a rare interview of De La Soul on Hofstra University's P5 Show (Post Punk Progressive Pop Party) with the much respected host, Jeff Foss. The interview was done around the release of their debut album 3 Feet High & Rising and they debuted the song "Tread Water" on the show. It's interesting to hear them mention that Tommy Boy had offered $500-1000 to anyone who could guess the identify of the singer in the original sample for "Plug Tunin" as well as the name of the record and the label it was released on. Allegedly, no one ever guessed it - this is pre-internet, lol. As you may have heard Jeff Foss passed away last year, so I want to send my condolences to his family. I attended Hofstra University as a freshman in '96, stayed on campus too. I was born and raised out in Queens, which is technically on Long Island, but it often felt like another world. I saw Boot Camp Clik perform live there and of course, I knew of DJ Riz who worked with Jeff Foss and was also an athlete at the school years prior. This audio falls short of an actual interview, it's just a small snippet, but I've been meaning to send my condolences and the audio intrigued me enough to share so, thanks to Links763 for the upload. Do you know the sample?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Recognize Ali x Icon Curties "Ghost Protocol" (EP Stream)

Recognize Ali joins forces with Italian producer Icon Curties for this latest effort, Ghost Protocol. The short EP features just 5 brief tracks with appearances by Eto and Bio/B. If you enjoyed Icon Curties production album Modus Operandi - which you should have - you will enjoy this as a small follow-up to that release and Ali's growing catalog. You can stream the EP below, check it out! 

Saturday, March 09, 2019

DJ Soul "THINK B.I.G." (Mix, 2017)

On March 10, 2017, DJ Soul recorded a tribute mix for The Notorious B.I.G. mix on Q-Tip's Beats1 radio show, "Abstract Radio." The mix consists of all original material that B.I.G. recorded when he was alive - demos, freestyles, B-sides, original version of album cuts, singles as well as original samples. It's roughly two hours long and was released today by DJ Soul. You can't go wrong with another Biggie mix, so click play and enjoy one of the best to ever do it.... Rest In Peace, B.I.G.

Friday, March 08, 2019

DJ Smooth Denali "Biggie Smalls Is The Illest" (Mixtape)

Biggie Smalls Is The Illest is not only a lyric, nor just the title of this mix; it's a damn fact! Every time I hear a tribute mix to the late Notorious B.I.G., I think to myself "damn, he was just 24 when he passed!" What a f#cking shame! There's no filler in his catalog, no fluff; not a ton of demo versions for tracks left on the cutting room floor... but, the same part of me that mourns his death, celebrates his life because he truly was the illest. I'm thankful that he released "Life After Death," because the range he showed on that album told me all I needed to know about what he was truly capable of in music. Sure, Ready To Die is my favorite of the two projects, but Life After Death was a glimpse at a future we never got to see through B.I.G.'s eyes. DJ Smooth Denali adds his unique spin on a tribute to the late great with some blends, album cuts, unheard versions, remixes, and original samples from B.I.G.'s short - but classic - catalog! R.I.P., Biggie Smalls. Listen below...

Friday, March 08, 2019

Flatpocket "Dispo II Dispo" (Instrumental Album)

Twit One and Lazy Jones are the German production duo Flatpocket, and their latest beat tape is called Dispo II Dispo, which translates to "Overdraft to Overdraft" in English. It serves as a follow-up to their 2012 debut album "Geldfundphantasyen," which means "Finding Money Fantasies" in German. According to their press release, "Even though Flatpocket talk about money all the time through samples and made-up dialogues, the subject is actually the rejection of materialism" from their perspective. A mix of dope breaks, vocal chops, keys and more; it has a couple light features sprinkled in to make it a continuously dope and entertaining listen. My sleeper choice, listen below...

Friday, March 08, 2019

Gang Starr "Hard To Earn" (25th Ann. Mix by Filthy Rich)

From DJ Filthy Rich, "DJ Premier & Guru (R.I.P.), the duo more popularly known as Gang Starr, released their 4th album 'Hard To Earn' on March 8, 1994. Tired of being labeled as 'jazz-rap', Preemo decided to move away from sampling jazz records, and instead opted for a stripped down style of production. The result was a raw, harder hitting sound, and arguably their best album ever. 'Hard To Earn' is near & dear to me, so I had to get back in the lab and record this 25-year tribute to this legendary album. I've gathered their hits, album cuts & b-sides, and combined them with some original samples, interview soundbites, and my own custom blends. ARTWORK by @tooncrew"

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

RZA "The RZA Hits" (Press Kit, 1999)

"Razor Sharp / Epic presents The RZA Hits, fourteen ear-melting highlights from the everlasting Wu-Tang legacy. Compiled here for hip-hop fiends, clueless non-believers, Wu completists and rap newcomers are some of the most memorable cuts out of the Clan compound. The RZA Hits offers living proof of the power, magnitude and influence the RZA and his cohorts have had on hip-hop since they burst from the underground back in 1992. Sprinkled with engaging narration courtesy of the RZA, the RZA Hits extracts from six entries in the mighty Wu-Tang group/solo album catalog: their classic debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers); Method Man's Tical; Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version; Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Link; GZA's Liquid Swords, and Ghostface Killah's Ironman." - via Razor Sharp/Epic Press Release, 1999.

Of all the classic cuts included, the only track not produced by the RZA is "Brooklyn Zoo," which was done by True Master & Ol' Dirty Bastard. The compilation was released in 1999, and aside from maybe "Wu Wear" and "Winter Warz," which was snuck on Ironman after the Don't Be A Menace soundtrack, any real head been had all these cuts. But, if you need an excuse to revisit these classic cuts, today I'd start with "Ain't Nuttin Ta F Wit" below and fall down the YouTube rabbit hole. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Thrust "Past, Present, Future" (EP, Reissue)

"Christopher “Thrust” France (born July 8, 1976) may be best remembered for his verse on the Rascalz classic, DJ Kemo produced “Northern Touch“, featuring Canadian notables Choclair and Kardinal Offishall. But his legacy stretches much further than a dope 12” or a couple of popular music videos. Living in Toronto – Thrust’s home and arguably the center of mainstream “urban” culture in Canada – it’s clear that the man’s incredibly popular. Little known fact: Thrust appeared in a 1990 Kids in the Hall skit (he was 15 at the time) and for the past few years, he has served as a music instructor, teaching hip hop production (as well as the occasional history lesson) at Harris College. He is probably the youngest Canadian hip hop artist to date and gained much of his hip hop identity from the source – summers in New York City circa late ‘80s-early-‘90s. With the exception of some pioneers: Michie Mee, Maestro, Dream Warriors and a handful of others, few in Canada were making rap music or breaking into the U.S. market, getting radio play or making a living on it. In the days before broadband and before everybody and their best-friend’s homie rapped or made beats, hip hop in Canada only played on a few select radio stations across the country. This is the environment where Thrust came up in, which makes him a significant figure – even if you can’t name one of his albums." Thrust's "Past, Present, Future" EP was originally released in 1995. It is now being re-issued on vinyl and CD from Smoke On Records. The limited edition copies can be purchased HERE. Additionally, click HERE for a nice video interview with Thrust for more info.

The hype sticker on the original vinyl EP from '95...

Monday, March 04, 2019

Blu x Oh No "A Long Red Hot LA Summer Night" (Album Stream)

The work of acclaimed L.A. rapper Blu is a hip-hop time capsule perfectly embodying the vibrant culture of the City of Angels. With no signs of slowing down, the talented artist continues to supply listeners with vivid lyrical imagery over exceptional production. The latest addition to his catalog is A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night, a new album entirely produced by Oh No. The son of singer Otis Jackson and younger brother of beat god Madlib, Oh No has been among the most consistently relevant artists on the independent hip-hop scene since the release of his influential debut album 15 years ago. Now, these two unique and innovative artists are joining forces for an impressive full-length album. With Oh No’s dynamic, soulful production setting the stage, Blu’s effortless flows and streetwise storytelling are on full display. The LP features guest appearances from Abstract Rude, MED, Self Jupiter, Ca$hus King, and more. Listen to the album below...

(Bonus) Update: check out this exclusive Oh No beat set with Blu...