April 30, 2019

The Untold Story Of Ill Al Skratch (Mini-Documentary)


Ill & Al Skratch had the summer of '93 in a choke-hold with their infectious smash hit "I'll Take Her" and "Where the Homiez?". The Brooklyn/Uptown connection then dropped their album "Creep Wit Me" in 1994, only to be bamboozled by their production company and label. Finally, we have their side of the story on this brand new mini-doc. "This is a story of persistence and determination ... the ups and downs of the music business should never deter you if you're destine to win." This Ill Al Skratch mini-doc is created, written and produced by James "Kraze" Billings. Ill Al Skratch will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Creep Wit Me this August. Enjoy the video documentary below...

April 29, 2019

Slick Rick "The Great Adventures Of..." (30th Anniversary)


In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Slick Rick’s debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, Def Jam/Urban Legends/UMe will release a deluxe edition of the album. The new 30th Anniversary Edition adds Rick’s previously unreleased demo recordings for “Children’s Story,” “A Teenage Love,” “Mona Lisa,” and “Hey Young World.” The Deluxe 2LP vinyl packages include a booklet with reproductions of lyric sheets and photos, as well as a reproduction of Slick Rick’s infamous eyepatch. The Deluxe Edition also features an ode to The Great Adventures written by the legendary Nas. This incredible deluxe edition for the 30th Anniversary is available HERE, cop it!

April 28, 2019

Farma Beats "You Stole My Beat" (Beat Tape)


Farma Beats comes from the North side of London and his production has been featured on tracks with Mach Hommy, Conway, Rome Streetz, Mooch, Jay Nice, Lee Scott and many more. His first beat tape is entitled "You Stole My Beat" and features about 20 cinematic instrumentals. I was enjoying listening to this earlier today and thought I'd share it for the readers who enjoy quality beats. To the artists, the title is quite obvious, stop jackin' the beats ... if you're looking to work, hit 'em up...

April 27, 2019

Erick Sermon "Vernia" (Album Stream)


Vernia is the eighth solo studio album by MC and record producer Erick Sermon. Together with Erick Sermon, production was handled by DJ Battlecat, Apathy, Rockwilder, and more. The album also features guest appearances from AZ, Big K.R.I.T., David Banner, Da YoungFellaz, Devin the Dude, Keith Murray, Nature, No Malice, N.O.R.E., Raekwon, RJ Payne, Styles P, Too $hort, and Xzibit, just to name a few. I feel people are gonna sleep on this album, but it's a real solid release! I met Erick Sermon with PMD at Fat Beats for their We Mean Business album. Several days later I was at an event and Sermon went out of his way to come over and show love. That was humbling - he's good peoples.

April 26, 2019

Willie The Kid & DUS "City Lights" (EP Stream)


On the heels of their successful lead singles 'Jewelry' and 'Dreaming,' Grand Rapids, Michigan emcee Willie The Kid and New Jersey producer DUS proudly present their new EP titled, City Lights. With a rare type of chemistry, DUS & Willie paint a vivid picture as they take listeners on a journey through their world. Listen as the grimy jazz influenced sounds of DUS serve as the perfect backdrop for WTK's confident raspy verses that are equal parts braggadocious and introspective.

April 25, 2019

Mobb Deep "The Infamous" (Review, Elements 5/95)


"Gunshot! Lighta! Daaamn! I can't say enough about this album. I just feel lucky to have peeped it early. Ever since "Peer Pressure" and "Hit It From The Back" on their last album, I knew these "official Queensbridge murderers" were on some other shit. As for "The Infamous," expect more of the raw from Prodigy and Havoc. If you liked "Shook Ones" Pt.1 & 2 then you'll love the rest of the tracks on this sophomore release from the Mobb. "The Infamous" is nothing short of phenomenal rhyme skills on rugged tracks with that undeniable New York vibe. Every track is right and exact but look out for "Your Beef Is Mine" featuring Nas and Raekwon The Chef..." Cont'd below...



"On the Abstract produced "Give Up The Goods" the Mobb flips some ill shit over the same sample used in LL's "Pink Cookies" remix. The second single, "Survival of the Fittest," is very reminiscent of "Shook Ones Pt.2" but nonetheless captures the true essence of Mobb Deep's outlook on every day life. Q-Tip also lends his production skills and makes a guest appearance on "Drink The Pain Away." Other tracks getting honorable mention are "Cradle To The Grave" and "Temperature's Rising" but to me "Trife Life" is the straight up shit. Don't sleep on this one - beg, borrow, or steel the ducats for "The Infamous." Definitely one of the best albums of 95. The Mobb comes equipped for warfare beware..." - Elements, May 1995 (CiTR - U of BC). R.I.P. Prodigy. "The Infamous" (4/25/95)

April 24, 2019

Neak "KWESBAAR" (Album Stream)


What are you VULNERABLE to? That's the ethical question Neak's self-produced album asks of oneself... Soaked in the elements of hip-hop, jazz, soul, funk, and driven by heavy synthesizing and collaborative instrumentation, Neak designs a musical platform allowing him to discuss his greatest insecurities, agonizing internal fears, and featuring the trials and tribulations of people through many walks of life. Employing fluent rhyme schemes on striking subjects like, "Lost Fathers," and "Gold," to crafting a tribute to soul/jazz/funk legend "Kool and The Gang" on "Dreamer's Sadness" where Neak orchestrates vintage synth leads, he plays himself. KWESBAAR pushes his musical prowess to a level beyond his past; demonstrating his love for retro production and true-to-life raps. Collaborating alongside a multitude of skillful musicians such as trumpeter Sam Trump, pianist Aminata Burton, alto sax player Caroline Davis, and rap luminaries such as GLC, Rita J., and Rashid Hadee, this album is nothing short of a masterpiece inside and out. KWESBAAR is Neak's first introduction as an all-inclusive producer using the landscape of his life as a classroom moving from his current consciousness, to the next. "If I don’t show my soul in these lines how the hell they gon’ feel it?" It's early in the year, but I'm earmarking this for one of the best releases of '19... dig in!

April 23, 2019

Eto & Superior "Long Story Short" (Album Stream)


From Hell’s Roof to the Rhine Valley, Rochester, NY emcee Eto (formerly known as Lil’ Eto) and German-Spanish producer Superior have joined forces! The resulting full-length collaboration is entitled “Long Story Short.” Eto’s penchant for balancing the pain of the street and the progression of the hustle is a perfect foil for Superior’s cinematic and somber beat-scapes. Speaking on the collaboration, Superior said “My previous releases were rooted in my love of boom-bap. However, when I linked up with Eto, I started producing specifically with him in mind and keeping it more atmospheric in keeping with the coldness of his environment and narratives.” With a gripping chemistry throughout the only guest spots on the project is from Skyzoo and Toronto rhyme-counterpart, Daniel Son. Dig into Eto and Superior's Long Story Short collab LP below...

April 22, 2019

Your Old Droog "It Wasn't Even Close" (Album Stream)


Without warning or regard, Your Old Droog has delivered his fourth studio album, It Wasn’t Even Close. Released out of the thin blue, the Coney Island rapper’s new project feature’s a who’s who of underground and terrestrial kings, including Wiki, Mach-Hommy, and the mighty DOOM. It Wasn’t Even Close follows Droog’s 2017 album, PACKS, which was released just a few years after rumors of Droog being a pitched-down Nas were debunked. Since then, he’s risen to local hero status as one of NYC’s most gifted and wickedly witty pens. Available digitally; on CD and vinyl. Listen below...

April 21, 2019

The Eaze Up Show "A Tribute to Fondle 'Em" (Mix)


"For those that followed and listened to Underground Hip Hop Radio and DJ legends, Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia throughout the 90's, it would not have come as any kind of shock to know that both branched out with their own record labels, Stretch with Dolo & Bob with Hoppoh (w P.Nice & Daddy Rich) then Fondle' Em. The legend goes that the label name was just a gag but after The Cenobites (Kool Keith and Godfather Don) project rightly flipped wigs, Bob realized there was a new home for quality Underground Hip Hop records sold strictly on wax & his label's office and HQ were essentially his living room with Sandbox Automatic as the official website (it's still up online btw). A plethora of some of Underground Hip Hop's finest are featured, I hope you enjoy what I have selected and put together here and it was only right that I ended this tribute show on what to me personally is the greatest recording on the label." Listen to the tribute below...

April 20, 2019

Dr. Dekay "This Time Around" (Mixtape, 1999)


DL Presenets this nice double-cassette mixtape from Dr. Dekay called This Time Around. The mix tape was released in 1999 and features a ton of independent, underground hip-hop gems from artists such as Jigmastas, Slum Village, Ed O.G., El Da Sensei, Network Reps, Basement Khemist, Black Star, Oldworldisorder, Frankenstein, I.G. Off & Hazardous, Neek The Exotic, Freddie Foxxx, Natural Resource, Pumpkinhead, Arsonists, Natural Elements, Choclair, Godfather Don, Royce Da 5'9, Ill Advised and a lot more. This is another one of those essential underground tapes, dig into it below...

April 19, 2019

Nas "Illmatic" (25th Anniversary Mix by Chris Read)


April 19, 1994, saw the release of one of what would go on to be recognized as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, Nas‘s seminal debut, Illmatic. Following much-talked-about appearances on Main Source‘s “Live at the Barbecue,” MC Serch‘s “Back to the Grill,” and the release of the now classic soundtrack cut “Halftime,” Illmatic delivered on the hype with a compact ten-track offering helmed by the cream of mid-’90s hip-hop production talent: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and L.E.S.. Pairing crisp head-nod drums with an eclectic palate of jazz, funk, and soul samples, the all-star lineup of producers prepared a musical backdrop over which Nas delivers a no-holds-barred guided tour of life growing up in New York’s Queensbridge projects. Sampled cuts range from the timeless jazz of Ahmad Jamal and jazz-funk of Donald Byrd to the pop of Michael Jackson via well-sampled staples by the likes of Kool & the Gang. In celebration of the album’s twenty-fifth year, WhoSampled presents an exclusive mix of album cuts, remixes, interview snippets, and of course tracks sampled in the album’s making. Mixed by Chris Read, definitely check it out below...

April 18, 2019

Book Of Rhymes Podcast: Black Moon (Episode 1)


Book of Rhymes is a brand new podcast, hosted by Donwill of Tanya Morgan and executive produced by Classic Material and Mika. For their debut episode, the Book of Rhymes podcast sits down with the legendary hip-hop crew, Black Moon. Helping to define the sound of Hip-Hop - especially in New York City - during the Golden Era, they discuss their early singles; their debut album "Enta Da Stage" with Nervous Records, as well as Duck Down Records and their overall impact on music culture. Peace to DJ Evil Dee, Buckshot, 5 ft MC, and of course Mr. Walt and Dru-Ha. 

April 17, 2019

Purpose "The Iron Throne of Microphones" (EP Stream)


Purpose of the Tragic Allies steps up to celebrate the return of "Game Of Thrones" by producing, writing, recording and mixing his latest EP, "The Iron Throne of Microphones," which is based off the "Game of Thrones" books and television series. A unique concept with a huge built-in audience; I hope it reaches some new listeners. Whether you're a diehard fan or never watched an episode, I think it's still a solid listen! I like to see artists pulling creatively from different sources, so much respect to Purpose and the Tragic Allies crew. Dig into their back catalogs, lots of dope content!

April 16, 2019

Tone Spliff "Ardore Melodico" (Album Stream)


Ardore Melodico is the latest production album from LA's Tone Spliff. His 19-track effort features a number of incredible lyricists such as Big Shug, Ill Conscious, Supreme Cerebral, Zagnif Nori, Recognize Ali, C Rayz Walz, Sadat X, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Daniel Son, Edo G, Pace Won, Illa Ghee, Kool Sphere of Verbal Threat, Ruste Juxx and more. Tone Spliff has been puttin' in work for a long time... I remember working with him on a track from my artist Eternia in like 2010 or 2011. Anyhow, this is a really solid project - nice production, sharp cuts, and plenty of bars to digest. Dig in below...

April 15, 2019

DJ Craig-G & DJ P-Nice "Back In Business" (Mixtape, 1997)


This is DJ Craig-G and DJ P-Nice's 1997 mix tape called Back In Business. The mix tape kicks off with an ill freestyle from Mase and the LOX, then features tracks from Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, EPMD, Mariah Carey, Queen Pen, O.C. & Big L, Cocoa Brovaz, Puff Daddy, Nas, Raekwon, Big L, Lil' Kim, AZ, Cru, Rakim, Genovesee, Capone-N-Noreaga, McGruff and more. Lots of East Coast classics on this tape, mostly from the Bad Boy Records family. After my first semester in college, I bounced down to Miami for a year, I remember runnin' a lot of these records and missing New York lol. Listen below...

April 14, 2019

Sleep Sinatra "Sources Of Nature" (Album Stream)


"Sleep Sinatra is truly a poet. He just happens to rap his poems over beats. On Sources of Nature, The Nebraska emcee continues to explore the ideas of existentialism and spirituality, common tropes that he’s covered in the past with lyrical dexterity. Defining his raps as conscious is only one aspect of Sleep’s skill set as a lyricist. On his latest endeavor, Sleep Sinatra teams up with meticulous beat constructor, New Jersey’s The Custodian of Records." - Deeply Rooted HipHop. Listen below...

April 13, 2019

Mastermind "Tape 36" (Mixtape, 1997)


Another ill mix tape from Canada's legendary DJ, Mastermind. This is Tape 36 from 1997. The tape features tracks from EPMD, AZ, Capone-N-Noreaga, Royal Flush, B-1, Snoop Dogg, Infinite, Nas, The Beatnuts, Naughty By Nature, A Tribe Called Quest, Wyclef, Buckshot, Special Ed, Hilfiguz, Redlife, Redman, Tha Alkaholiks, KRS-One, Puff Daddy, Tracey Lee, and more! Mastermind showed love to the underground, and his tapes were always official. Dig into Tape 36 below, and thanks to DJ Step One.

April 12, 2019

Boot Camp Clik "The Basement Cypher" (Rap City, 2003)


Here's some throwback footage of the Boot Camp Clik at BET in the Basement for the Rap City cypher. With DeeJay Logic on the 1s and 2s, Big Tigger sets it off (as per usual), then we got the Boot Camp Clik's O.G.C., Sean Price, Bucskhot, and General Steele droppin' bars. Sean Price uses this verse on "60 Bar Dash" off Donkey Sean Jr, where he says "Pootie Tang n!@@as always got a lot to say / Ain't talking 'bout shit though, sa-da-tay / Classical soul, I got the nastiest flow / Sean Price, big gun by the grassiest knoll / Can't see me coming, like I was fucking a blind b!tch / Grabbing the radio and then commence to rewind this / Leave it alone, or you can bleed from the dome..." This clip was recently reposted to the official Duck Down YouTube page, I think it was originally from around '03. Rest In Peace, Sean Price and salute the whole Duck Down Records family. Watch below...

April 11, 2019

Knowledge The Pirate "Black Cesar" (Album Stream)


After shaking the underground scene with his debut full-length "Flintlock" in 2018, Knowledge The Pirate, one of the most buzzing names in the scene, is back with his sophomore album "Black Cesar." The 15-track effort offers production by E.L.E.M.N.T., Roc Marciano, Don Cee and Knowledge The Pirate. It also features a verse from Roc Marciano, who played a big role in the success of Flintlock. I would've passed on this project off the artwork, but fortunately I've heard Knowledge's music and know better than to sleep on it. Dig into the LP below and cop the album on CD, Vinyl & Cassette...

April 10, 2019

DJ Spinbad x DJ JS-1 "The Cold Cutz Remixes" (Mixtape, 1996)


This is the original classic mixtape DJ JS-1 did with DJ Spinbad in 1996. According to DJ JS-1, they sold thousands on cassette and it set the bar very high for any concept mix that came after it. It was done on a broken tascam 4trk, and all of the acapella remixes were done using only turntables, re-scratched hooks, movie samples, and lots of dope cuts. One of his personal favorites, enjoy it below featuring tracks with KRS-One, Redman, Common, Alkaholiks, T La Rock, The Pharcyde, Gang Starr, Mad Skillz, Kool G Rap, Jeru The Damaja, Casual, Nas, Organized Konfusion, Busta Rhymes, Nice & Smooth, GZA, 3rd Bass, EPMD, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. & Rakim, Mobb Deep and more. Dig into it...

April 09, 2019

Queen Latifah "EPK" (Tommy Boy, 1991)


"Latifah is the name, meaning delicate and sensitive..." This is Queen Latifah's video EPK, released through Tommy Boy Records, possibly in 1991? Latifah shares some insight in the EPK on her style and music: "I was never one who wanted to sound like anyone, I just do what makes me feel good. Whatever comes to mind is what I put on paper... I like to sing and I like to rap, so it was only natural that I'd go into other things... I like reggae music, so sometimes I sit back and try to think of a lil' reggae-style melody." Latifah also shares about her role as an artist, "I definitely feel a responsibility as a musician, a rap artist, to say something positive... we reach so many kids. We have to leave something for them; it's not just about - make money and get out the business - it's about leaving something that will carry on. Something more important than money." The EPK features The 45 King, Ice-T, Lakim Shabazz, Daddy-O (Stetsasonic), MC Lyte, and more. Unfortunately, Tommy Boy didn't share any info along with the upload, so it's only a guesstimate that this was around '91.

April 08, 2019

Prince Rakeem (RZA) "Ooh I Love You Rakeem" (1991)


Prince Rakeem's first record in 1991, "Ooh I Love You Rakeem," was marketed in the typical way that Tommy Boy Music handled new artists' projects. Commit only to a single. Put some money into a relatively inexpensive video. See how it does. If it pops, pick up the album option. If it doesn't, consider dropping the artist. Monica Lynch liked Prince Rakeem. After his first single tanked, she wanted to hear something that made her believe a second release would be worth the investment. But after Rakeem dropped off the charts, he dropped out of sight. She heard that he was somewhere in Ohio. She didn't know why. The truth was that, after the long buildup and quick evaporation of his record, Robert Diggs was desperate. Broke and angry, he began dealing drugs and plotting petty capers. But Diggs was a small-time player in a game with established contenders. Faced with too much competition in New York, Diggs and a friend, Dennis Coles (Ghostface Killah), decided that they would set up shop instead in Steubenville, Ohio. For a time, Diggs made money. But then he got into a shoot-out after being ambushed by a local crew. One of the bullets from his gun ripped into the leg of a kid named Willie Walters. Diggs ended up in jail, charged with felonious assault and attempted murder. At the trial in the spring of 1991... only Digg's frank testimony saved him from 8 years as the jury acquitted Diggs (Prince Rakeem/RZA) - The Big Payback, Dan Charnas.


The promo was a disaster, it's no wonder RZA went full gold-fang'd Gravedigga on 'em...

April 07, 2019

Killer Mike "Anger & Ambition" (Mixtape, 2009)


Originally released in August 2009, Trackstar The DJ and Smoking Section collaborated once again on their release of Killer Mike's Anger & Ambition mixtape. Hosted by Killer Mike, they run through what they feel are some of the best records in Mike's collection up to that point. With the rise of Killer Mike's presence in the mainstream through Run The Jewels, his community outreach, TV shows and activism, it may do you well to go back through some of Killer Mike's earlier material. His catalog is DEEP! He's never wavered in his message, nor his skill on the mic. Dig into the mix below...

April 06, 2019

DJ Sandman "Tape #120" (Mixtape, 1996)


Props to DJ E-Freezy for hittin' us off with some mix tapes from DJ Sandman. This is Tape #120 aka Mission Impossible, released around 1996. As I said before, the freestyles with Big L, Masta Ace, Method Man, RA the Rugged Man & others are what caught my attention, but I'd heard them before the mix tapes and never owned personal copies of the tapes. This particular tape kicks off with exclusive freestyles from Method Man, Q-Tip, Smoothe The Hustler & Trigger The Gambler, Channel Live, and then tracks from Nas, Heltah Skeltah, RZA, Cypress Hill & Fugees, Artifacts, De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Def Squad, Junior M.A.F.I.A., 2Pac, Nas, Mobb Deep, Akinyele, The Roots, Bahamadia, M.O.P., Skin Deep & Keith Murray, SWV, Ill Al Skratch, LL Cool J, and more! Dig in...

April 05, 2019

AG & Cuns "Bronck's Kill" (EP Stream)


Over the last couple of years, legendary Bronx lyricist and D.I.T.C. immortal A.G., and Roman producer Cuns have been working on the low, creating and shaping the 5 tracks featured on their brand new EP entitled "Bronck's Kill". On this new body of work, Cuns has managed to create the perfect soundscape for A.G.'s unique style, intricate rhymes and seamless storytelling. The EP features verses from Recognize Ali and Sage Infinite. Dig into the EP below via Tuff Kong Records.

April 04, 2019

Lyric Jones & Nameless "GA$ MONEY" (Album Stream)


Emcee, singer, songwriter and drummer, Lyric Jones teams up with producer Nameless to bring the world a solid well-rounded project titled, "GA$ MONEY." The duo found common ground as they both were creating this project long distance while she drove Lyft & Uber majority of the time as he was a truck driver. The title came about while joking about "Gas money" being the bare minimum required for their presence or services in the music business - often times people wanting their gifts for free, this tying in how they both drive all day to make ends meet. Dig into their LP below...

April 03, 2019

Mastermind "Tape 22: No Gimmicks '96" (Mixtape, 1996)


This is Tape 22 aka No Gimmicks from Canada's DJ Mastermind in 1996. The tape features tracks from Special Ed, Busta Rhymes, Jamal, the Fugees, Mic Geronimo, Masta Ace, Bahamadia, GZA, Group Home, Triflicts, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Big Noyd, 2Pac, LL Cool J, Blahzay Blahzay, Broadway, Erick Sermon, J-Live, Saukrates and more! Another fine mix tape from DJ Mastermind, dig in below...

April 02, 2019

Awon "Soulapowa" (Album Stream)


I woke up to the incredible sounds of soul pumpin' through my speakers today. Yup, I stretched my arms at 6:15am, saw an e-mail that the new Awon album was released and 'popped' it in to get my day started. Some jazzy keys, a nice break... my eyes are opening... then the bars come in - "...the first amendment, exercised with a criminal vision..." - my day is off to a great start! Peace to my brother from Philly, Dread Solo, on the production for "Dark Roast," which ends with a proper applause. MZ Boom Bap is up next, and when the cuts come in after Awon's first verse, it levels up. This is feeling like Awon's sharpest and most concise effort thus far. "Keep it real, that's that..." (Peace to N.O.R.E.) By the time the soulful chop from Phoniks bleeds through the speakers, I'm floating through my morning rituals. I had to pause the album to cop the CD and show support...


The LP's AZ-like feature comes from Houston, TX's Anti-Lilly on two cuts. His message is always on point and breathes added life into the project. All in all, if you've been a fan from day one or this is the first time hearing Awon's music, this project has a timeless feel to it and while I must sit with it to break down and digest the lyrics properly, I'm standing firm that this may be his best project released to date. I'm gonna fire off a text to let him know how I appreciated his album as the sun starts to peak through. I hope the rest of the world is waking up with me, as Awon ironically says "...sleep while you alive and wake up in a coffin..." lol. I hear you, brother. Listen to Soulapowa below...

April 01, 2019

DJ Crossphader "The Basement Experience" (Mixtape, 2000)


These double-cassette mix tapes from DL and DJ Crossphader are still hella niche, but who can't appreciate some dope indie backpack hip-hop shit from 2000? lol. They kicked the year off strong with The Basement Experience... the double mix features a ton of joints from artists like Common, Ran Reed, Reflection Eternal, De La Soul, Large Professor, Mass Influence, Dilated Peoples, Slum Village, L-Fudge, Freddie Foxxx, Black Thought, A.G., Cella Dwellas, Rascalz, Jigmastas, Mr. Complex, The Unspoken Heard, Mad Skillz, Gauge, I.G. Off & Hazardous, Louis Logic, Pharoahe Monch, Masta Ace, Screwball, B-1, Lone Catalysts and more. Dig into the archives for more, and listen below...