Saturday, August 31, 2019

Take It Personal Podcast "Ice Cube Tribute"

"Ice Cube released 3 consecutive classic albums, 4 if you want to count his EP (Kill at Will). And it’s not like he just put out consecutive classics like Redman, Scarface, Jay-Z or ATCQ, I’d argue that AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate are the TWO best back-to-back debut and sophomore releases by any rapper, ever. The magnitude of those releases can’t properly be articulated. They were flawless. They were influential. The had this tremendous impact too, and not just in hip-hop, but in the world we live in. These album helped mold us, even shape the way we think about certain things. It gave us insight on issues we had no idea about. Ice Cube, like Slick Rick, was as fantastic storyteller and his ability to carry a story was truly special. The Predator is classic material, but not in the same vein as the previous efforts. Lethal Injection was the last really great Cube album. I know nostalgia is a muthafucka and we always have a soft spot for our favorites but if we’re being honest with ourselves, the Ice Cube we knew and loved had taken a great detour after 1993. After his movie dominance, it only made sense Hollywood would take him away from music, which explains why his next album didn’t drop until half a decade later. You have great rappers but if they don’t have the right producer their work can fall on deaf ears (see what I did there?). The Bomb Squad and Sir Jinx were monumental in making Ice Cube as great as he was during this era. If he isn’t among your top 10 rappers of all-time, you either don’t know or simply forgot. After you listen to our Ice Cube Tribute Mix, you’ll have no other choice but to include him in your list." Props to Philaflava, DJ 360 and Kevlar, check out their latest episode below.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Vitamin D "Momma's Basement" (Album Stream)

"This album is a tribute to my old neighborhood (The CD) and a description of how it was when I lived in my mom's basement. I employed a lot of the production methods that I used in the late 80's when I 1st started messing around with records and samplers. You may notice skips, clips, things going off time or the fact that most of this stuff is not on a tempo grid. This is intentional. I allowed the same mistakes I made when I was 1st learning how to do this. Even used a hand held on a couple songs. It felt good to be this free. I hope you can feel the love. Enjoy!" - TallHomey 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Book Of Rhymes Podcast: Royal Flush (Episode 10)

Book of Rhymes is a brand new podcast, hosted by Donwill of Tanya Morgan and executive produced by Classic Material x Mika. After successful episodes with Black Moon, Smif-N-Wessun, Benny The Butcher, Marco Polo & Masta Ace, Pharoahe Monch, Mic Geronimo and more, the Book of Rhymes podcast is back with episode 10 featuring another MC out of Queens, Royal Flush. They talk about growing up Queens and meeting Mic Geronimo, stories about how he created his album Ghetto Millionaire, and of course the infamous lyric breakdown. Check it out below...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Chief Rock x Sneadr "The Raw Grain" (Instrumental EP)

Italian producer Chief Rock and Dutch producer Sneadr have joined forces to collaborate on The Raw Grain, a 7-track EP that features hard-hitting boombap instrumentals made with an Akai S950 and MPC2000XL. Two of the instrumentals were made in collaboration with Ness One on the saxophone. Dig into this nostalgic sound immediately, and look out for their vinyl release. Enjoy...

Monday, August 26, 2019

RJ Payne "Square Root of a Kilo" (Album Stream)

RJ Payne returns with his latest offering, Square Root of a Kilo. Out the gate, the intro boasts co-signs from Pharoahe Monch, Lord Finesse, Mathematics, Buckwild, Doo Wop and more. Production is handled by Daringer, DJ Shay, PA Dre, Vettrax, B!nk, Rushmore Muzic and others. Dope to hear Elzhi on here, as well, as its clear RJ Payne is standing next to some of the best lyricists to show he's a student of the game that's next to make his presence felt. Don't sleep on RJ Payne, listen below...

Friday, August 23, 2019

Little Brother "May The Lord Watch" (Album Stream)

May the Lord Watch is the fifth studio album from hip-hop duo Little Brother (Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte). The album is the duo's first album since 2010's Leftback release. The album's development secretly began in 2018, after Rapper Big Pooh, Phonte and 9th Wonder reunited during September's Art of Cool festival. However, this wasn't made public until shortly after Big Pooh and Phonte announced the group's reunion as a duo in May 2019. Like the previous album Leftback, there was no production input from 9th, who went onward from the group to embark on a solo career as a producer and CEO. Instead, the album was primarily produced by longtime collaborators and Soul Council members Nottz and Khrysis. Producers Black Milk, Focus..., Devin Morrison, Blaaq Gold, and even Phonte himself also contributed to the album's production. Sharing continuity with The Minstrel Show, the album's theme continues the running concept of a fictional television network called "UBN", which is a satire of stereotypical programs, advertisements, and pop-culture for African-Americans. In multiple interviews and podcasts - including the Premium Pete Show - it was revealed that 9th Wonder was originally supposed to be a part of the reunion album, under its original title Homecoming. The title was changed due to Beyonce releasing Homecoming: The Live Album to coincide with her concert film Homecoming. Phonte and Pooh decided to continue the project without 9th after several disagreements over beats and production on the album. - Wiki

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Rapsody "Eve" (Album Stream)

Eve is the third studio album from North Carolina's Rapsody. Each track on this 16-track release pays homage to influential black women, including Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Myrlie Evers, Aaliyah and more. The project features production and instrumentation from from 9th Wonder, Eric G., DJ Battlecat, Khrysis, Nottz, Terrace Martin and more. Eve also has vocal appearances from D'Angelo, GZA, Mereba, Elle Varner, JID, SiR, Queen Latifah and J. Cole. Empowering lyrics and strong production throughout, it is easily one of the more important Hip-Hop albums to be released in recent memory. I suspect it will be heavily championed and rightfully so. Please check it out below...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Blu x Damu The Fudgemunk "Ground & Water" (Album Stream)

With Ground & Water, Blu and Damu The Fudgemunk have released yet another standout project as part of their already-incredibly noteworthy catalogues. But this time, they’ve done it together. After collaborating in different ways over the years, the two joined forces for a release that’s every bit as dope as you’d hope considering who’s involved. From the Los Angeles rapper’s tight-as-ever rhymes to the Washington, D.C. native’s crunchy production, Ground & Water captures exactly why Blu and Damu are so revered. For Damu, that meant diving into the storied discography of his new partner-in-rhyme. While the producer always thought highly of the emcee’s talents, he says he realized that Blu’s much greater than people give him credit for. The story is one that treads personal, introspective territory that Blu delivers like only he can. The project, whose stunning artwork is designed by the legendary Joe Buck will also be available in the coming weeks on vinyl, CD and cassette, through Redefinition Records. Give Ground & Water a thorough listen below...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Recognize Ali "Underground King" (Album Stream)

Recognize Ali's third release this year is "Underground King." A 16-track effort, which features appearances by Vinnie Paz, Lyric Jones, Tristate, Skyzoo, Born Unique, Milano Constantine, Tragedy Khadafi, Big Ghost Ltd. and more. I'm not familiar with all the producers on the record, but they came with solid beats and all the MCs matched its intensity. It's got real mixshow appeal. Listen...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Custodian of Records "The Sampler Platter" (Album Stream)

NJ producer The Custodian Of Records has released his latest record, The Sampler Platter. The 17-track offering features Chuck N Lock, Flashius Clayton, Daniel Son, Sleep Sinatra, Gun Dola, Estee Nack, Fla-Fla (of Sparrow The Movement), Milano, and more. The project also comes with several instrumental tracks. I believe this is may be a digital-only release, so check it out below!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Marlon Craft "Funhouse Mirror" (Album Stream)

"Marlon Craft, live from Hell’s Kitchen, New York, raps for truth. In 2019, with the release of his debut album, Funhouse Mirror, Marlon has fully transitioned from an up-and-comer rapping to prove he belongs, into a comfortable, confident artist working from a deeply personal place.... Funhouse Mirror captures the need to be introspective to hit at outward, universal realities. Marlon tackles himself, but he also tackles systemic inequality. He addresses his loneliness while tackling toxic masculinity. Funhouse Mirror is both broad and insular, colored by incredible pops of jazz, blooming live instrumentation, and endless, spiraling flows. The record is bursting with ingenuity. Marlon is worldly and focused. It’s his best work to date." - DJBooth // Listen to Funhouse Mirror below...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

DJ Filthy Rich "Creep Wit Me" (25th Anniversary Mix)

Here's the official Creep Wit Me 25th Anniversary Mix by DJ Filthy Rich - Hosted by Ill Al Skratch and featuring an exclusive song called 'Learn Today'. Filthy Rich adds, "When the sun's out and summer rolls around each year, there's a few things I gotta play... 'Summertime' by Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, Lost Boyz 'Lifestyles...' LP, and Ill Al Skratch's 'Creep Wit Me' album. The Brooklyn-Uptown connection of Mr. Rhaspy, Al Skratch (Washington Heights, NYC) and Big Ill The Mack (Flatbush, Brooklyn) effortlessly rhyme back and forth, dropping fun lyrics over dope beats (courtesy of producers LG The Experience & LoRider). On this mix you'll find their album cuts, some unreleased tracks, and my own custom blends." Check out their unique brand of laid back rhymes with a vaguely menacing edge, as they were originally described in their "Next" feature in Vibe Magazine back in '94. Listen to the DJ Filthy Rich mix below. Updated: New link added.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Elzhi "Witness My Growth" (The Michigan Journal, 1/05)

Have you heard Elzhi's Witness My Growth project? "From the tip-off of the intro, Elzhi doesn’t just want you to acknowledge him as one half of Slum Village, but rather the emcee laying vocals in the basement with Waajeed circa 2000, the cat representing Fenkell Avenue, and the friend who cried when fellow rapper Bugz died. The majority of the 24 songs on this two-CD mixtape are not current, more like a lost tapes collection put together to show the evolution of Elzhi. Production from J. Dilla, Houseshoes, Nick Speed, Alchemist, Kareem Riggins and BR Gunna provide the right balance of raw and familiar melodies for Elzhi’s rapid-fire flow. Fellow Slummate T3 joins him to slay enemies on the gritty “Haters”; he gives props to the folks he grew with over a remixed version of Woudini’s classic “Friends”; and Dwele lends his vocals to the choral “All I want.” Big Tone, Yaknus and Detroit diva Rhian Benson also make cameos. Witness My Growth isn’t a bunch of moldy thrown-together tracks; instead it shows the eagerness of a young Elzhi taking baby steps forward — an anthology of work designed to tell a story." - Metro Times, 2/2/05. Dig into Witness My Growth...

Also, a dope feature article on Elzhi in the Michigan Journal, January 2005.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Professor P & DJ Akilles "Remember" (Album Stream)

Remember is the brand new 10-track LP from the Swedish duo Professor P and DJ Akilles. Big fan of their past work and have been really looking forward to this release, as well. They delivered yet again with insightful lyrics, classic vocal samples and sharp cuts over solid production. The LP features guest appearances by Lil Fame and Defari and has been released on 12" gold vinyl, packaged in a heavyweight gatefold sleeve. Don't lose sight of why we all fell in love with Hip-Hop in the first place, check out Remember with Professor P & DJ Akilles. Order the LP HERE.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Me & Styles P (An Interview From 2009)

About 10 years ago, I had the honor of chopping it up on the phone with Styles P for an interview. It was around the time Jada was dropping “The Last Kiss,” because we talked a bit about that album, but it wasn’t a promo thing, just two guys discussing Hip-Hop. Right off the bat, he made his position clear, saying, “I'm a blue collar MC.” He was proud (and reflective) on the fact that he was alive, and that he was more than "relevant" in a culture that’s been holding him down since 1995. I asked him to help me understand better what “The Ghost” meant to him - he paused and said, “being in the zone; a different space; having an open mind towards things that others don’t; using your third eye; a feeling of being here before and knowing you are gonna be here later” and while it wasn’t necessarily crystal clear, I understood that he was speaking to a duality that represents the man he is in life and in music. To a degree, that feeling of being a Gangster & a Gentleman.

There was a calmness about him, but there wasn’t a point where I'd lost sight of the fact that this was one of the hardest living eMCees in Hip-Hop. When the conversation shifted to image and the youth, he was quick to shoot them bail and say he was proud and happy for anyone to be able to make a living and feed their family. But, he added "It’s upsetting also that they don't know that rap is also Hip-Hop.” That’s an important distinction he was making. “They think they are just in the rap industry and they don't have the slightest idea of their past, the history, or how they are supposed to be an MC.” In the end, however, he remained optimistic, “You’ve just gotta stick to your guns and do what you do best. It's people like you - who are asking me these questions and love this real hip-hop shit - that lets me know the whole world ain't f#cking crazy, so I'm alright!” A legend and an OG, Styles P closed it out by advising artists to maintain a solid work ethic, and brought it full circle because as a blue collar MC, he leads by example. Go check out his Juices For Life company and support all his efforts: podcasts, mixtapes, albums, live shows, etc! Final words from Styles P...

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Kxng Crooked "Menace II Sobriety" (EP Stream)

I almost skipped over this short EP from Kxng Crooked, but this EP goes super hard! I owe thanks to the homie Rhymecology, whose strong review made me give it a listen, check it: "Holy shit! I love this project. The 4 track EP by @kxngcrooked is the first to give me chills in awhile. In an ode to Menace, I Got 5 On It, Gangsta Paradise and I Gave You Power, Crooked spits his multi syllabic and emotional fire that has me texting my boys like “have you heard this?” ...Like Elzhi did with Elmatic, he has a few lines that pay homage to the songs he is rapping over but he has his own style which is quatrains filled with 4-8 rhymes and raw passion that should WAKE these non writing mumble rap acts and their fans the hell up... The emotion and detail of Life of a Bandana is storytelling at its best. Menace 2 Sobriety is a beautifully written song which details the mind set of a man taken over by alcoholism, FkFame brings us back to the days of emcees rapping for the art and not the glory while Flowers reminds us to appreciate our Artists while they here... People who follow me pretty much like the same shit I do, so I recommend this..." Listen to Menace II Sobriety below...

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Westside Gunn "Fly God Is An Awesome God" (Mixtape)

Flygod Is an Awesome God is the latest mixtape by Buffalo rapper Westside Gunn via Griselda Records. It includes features from Sauce Walka, Raekwon, Hologram, Meyhem Lauren, Conway the Machine and Benny The Butcher. Dark, but often soulful, Fly God Is An Awesome God features production from Madlib, DJ Muggs, JR Swiftz, Denny Leflare, Sadhugold, Al.Divino, The Alchemist and, of course, Daringer. Much respect to Raekwon the Chef for the gems in the intro, listen below!

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Brock Berrigan "The Scenic Route" (Instrumental Album)

Brock Berrigan is a beat maker, music enthusiast and multi-instrumentalist. His latest offering is titled The Scenic Route, which he explains saying: "Most of this album on the road in Utah overlooking canyons and hiking through national parks. All the background sounds were recorded in Utah, including the Native American chants. This is a culmination of my ten years of making beats, combining everything I have learned along the way into this album. I wanted to convey the feeling of driving through the desert in a convertible into musical form, taking the scenic route." Sounds like Brock Berrigan is living the dream, salute that man! And, stream The Scenic Route below...

Friday, August 02, 2019

Kev Brown & J Scienide "Drum Machine Tape Cassette" (Stream)

Low Budget Crew veteran Kev Brown has teamed up with J Scienide for a collaborative album titled Drum Machine Tape Cassette. The new LP is comprised of 13 tracks, with guests including my brother Supastition, Kenn Starr, Hassaan Mackey, yU and Finale, and more. This will be a contender for album of the year out of the underground, don't wait for anyone else to cosign it, just dig in!

Thursday, August 01, 2019

RJ Payne "Leatherface" (Album Stream)

RJ Payne is a Brooklyn-bred, Philly groomed MC, who drops off his latest project, Leatherface. RJ delivers his lyrics with confidence and a level of charisma that's sure to be celebrated in the underground. As a signee to Benny The Butcher's Black Soprano Family imprint, it's dope to see Benny show up on the track "Butcher Meets Leatherface," which is the lead single. I'll admit, his projects before 2019 went below the radar for me, but hopefully you go back and dig into some of his back catalog. RJ is an MC to keep an eye on, I expect him to impact the industry much the same as the Griselda squad has done in recent years. Peep Leatherface below and more in the archives.