September 30, 2019

JuJu Rogers "40 Acres N Sum Mula" (Album Stream)

JuJu Rogers teams up with Jakarta Records once again for his highly anticipated 2nd LP, 40 Acres N Sum Mula. The Schweinfurt born and bi-lingual JuJu Rogers comes from an army family. His father, a GI who owns an extensive Soul and Jazz collection of records and a German mother with Austrian roots. The new album 40 Acres N Sum Mula unifies the mind state of an Afro-German with the power of observation with German political landscape of Berlin. Heavy sampled beats from his debut album are replaced by contemporary musical landscapes, productions by outstanding musicians and producers from all over the world. JuJu Rogers had this to say: "Sound, lyrics and vibrations on this album represent a mixture of ancestral spirit and contemporary characteristics and lead you through the self-reflecting and rebellious thoughts of a black man born and raised in Germoney.”

September 29, 2019

Black Star "Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are..." (9/29/98)

"The BDP-inspired chorus of "Definition" ("1-2-3 / Mos Def and Talib Kweli / We come to rock it on to the tip top / Best alliance in hip-hop / Why-oh...") sums up the nature of Black Star's entire debut. Documentarians (of hip-hop's roots) par excellence, Brooklyn's Mos Def and Talib Kweli come correct with old school-flavored verbal finesse. "Children's Story" is a sly update of Slick Rick's 1988 classic, and "Respiration" is a supreme, rugged rhyme schism featuring Common. Backed by a bevy of boombastic beats from Da Beatminerz, DJ Hi Tek, and Shawn J. Period, Black Star remind us that hip hop is about lyrical skills -- not solely commercial excess." - Vibe Magazine, November 1998. Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star is an album I revisit quite often, so it's no surprise that I remember it on its anniversary every year. While new material has been teased for several years - possibly with Madlib behind the boards - no release dates are pending. Hip-Hop would benefit greatly from their collective return, and Mos Def should sit atop many lists as one of the greatest lyricists ever! I'd also argue for the "Flying High" remix to "Respiration" as one of Pete Rock's greatest remixes; he really put his foot in the beat, and adding Black Thought made it an absolutely perfect song.

An original 2-page advertisement for the Black Star LP...

September 28, 2019

DJ Evil Dee "Fat Beats" (Mixtape, 1996)

Respect to the good brother, DJ Evil Dee, who hit us with his Fat Beats mix tape back in 1996 via Tape Kingz. The mix features tracks from The Roots, M.O.P., Junior Reid, Jeru The Damaja, Big Noyd, A Tribe Called Quest, Large Professor, Finsta Bundy, Natural Elements, Sadat X, Da Bush Babees, Da Brat, Queen Latifah, De La Soul & Mos Def, Common, O.G.C., A+ & Prodigy, KRS-One, the Fugees, Artifacts and more! True to the title and honoring the record store, it's a mix of underground gems and there's no need to fast forward - put it on and let it rock. Respect to Evil Dee, C'mon kick it...

September 27, 2019

Jean Grae "The Evil Jeanius" (Album Stream, 2008)

"A FEELING THAT I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER..." First time vinyl pressing of one of the last decade's most curiously compelling hip-hop projects. A little backstory: Blue Sky Black Death are a production duo from the Bay Area, consisting of Ryan Maguire (aka Kingston) and Ian Taggart (aka Young God). They signed to Babygrande, releasing albums as collaborations with various Wu-Tang affiliates in addition to acclaimed instrumental projects. Jean Grae is an emcee, actress, comedian, and producer from Brooklyn, New York. Her career started in earnest around 1996 as a member of the hip hop group Natural Resource with James “Aggie” Barrett, releasing a string of well-received underground 12”s. By 2002, she too was signed to Babygrande, releasing her debut Attack of the Attacking Things, and later the acclaimed Jeanius LP, produced entirely by 9th Wonder. She worked on a number of mixtapes and experimental collaborative projects, including downtempo warrior The Herbaliser's Take London (2005), a spiritual predecessor to The Evil Jeanius. It’s not clear how exactly The Evil Jeanius came to be, but the combination of BSBD’s intuitive sampling, rugged scratching and brooding cadence matched with Grae’s razor-sharp rhymes make for some of the most potent heights reached by all parties involved. The record hits the ground running with "Shadows Forever," Grae’s fierce flow rushing over a sample of “Venus in Furs” by The Velvet Underground. “Strikes” is a harrowing tale of a murder in self-defense over glitchy muted snares. “It’s Still A Love Song” is a cheery, well, love song, backed with looped strings and pulsing organ samples. "Threats" is a distant cousin to Jigga's song of the same name, which finds Grae trading bars with Chen Lo over a gritty Etta James sample. The thing about gray area projects like this is they aren't really supposed to work, but this one does amazingly in spite of its cryptic origins, and we're thrilled to finally have it on wax. Turntable Lab exclusive variant on white vinyl." Listen below...

Back in 2008, Jean wrote a MySpace blog titled Jean Grae Is For Sale where she said "So, the economy sucks. I apparently have another unauthorized album for sale dropping Sept 30th and I figure, if everyones gonna make money offa me, why not make it directly and directly to the people who really love this shit anyway." She was speaking to the release of "The Evil Jeanius," and went on to publicly offer feature verses at $800/ea. My feelings now and at the time were that Babygrande misrepresented this album, and that tainted it for me... regardless of the fact that I really do enjoy it. These vocals could be from 2004 -- or perhaps even earlier -- we don't really know the full back story. In 2019, it's certainly not my intention (or my place) to dissuade you from supporting the vinyl, but just sharing memories I have from when it originally came out in 2008. However forced it may've been, the LP's marriage of Jean's vocals & BSBD beats is truly great!

September 26, 2019

Crimeapple "Langosta" (Prod. by MichaelAngelo)

Langosta is the latest track from Crimeapple, produced by Boston's MichaelAngelo. The 12" is more or less a maxi-single, featuring the LP track, instrumental, as well as a remix and the track "On The Menu" which has co-production from Buck Dudley. With the buzz the unsigned NJ lyricist has on the scene, I can see why the producer would opt to press vinyl of his joint with Crimeapple. Listen...

September 25, 2019

Starvin B x Discourse "Forever Queens" (Album Stream)

From opposite sides of the world Starvin B and Discourse come together to create an album that’s both new and traditional. A beautifully constructed soundscape that pays homage to traditions of hip hop but also takes it to new places. Both coming from two cultural melting pots that are Queens, NY and Melbourne, Australia, the two created a musical chemistry that resulted in them working together on many projects. Forever Queens is the result of a journey that started on tour in Australia in 2016 and finished in Sunnyside, Queens in 2019. Not just a physical journey, but musical, cultural and nostalgic one too. A true collaboration. The two recruited a veteran lineup of New York MCs to join them on the album featuring AG and Milano Constantine of D.I.T.C., and long time collaborator Foul Monday. It also features the musical talents of Plutonic Lab, Zima Locke and Discourse’s brother George Johnson. The songs are progressive and moody, featuring rich instrumentation and arrangements. Dig into their collaborative effort Forever Queens below...

September 24, 2019

Mister Cee "Hittin' Ya In Da Head" (Mixtape, 1996)

This is Mister Cee's Hittin' Ya In Da Head in 1996 on Tape Kingz. The mix tape kicks off with an exclusive freestyle from Common and continues with records featuring Lords of the Underground & Keith Murray, Mystidious Misfits, King Just, Raekwon, Heltah Skeltah, 8off, Mobb Deep, Miilkbone, Mad Skillz, Cella Dwellas, Masta Ace, Guru & Bahamadia, Kool G Rap & Nas, Sadat X, Smif-N-Wessun, Grand Puba, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Special Ed, GZA, Shabazz The Disciple, Onyx, Lost Boyz, Blackstract and more. I gave this tape a lot of run back in the 90s, tons of replay value. Props to DJ Step One.

September 23, 2019

Skyzoo & Pete Rock "Retropolitan" (Album Stream)

Retropolitan includes 12-tracks, all produced by Pete Rock, with features from Styles P, Benny The Butcher, Conway, Westside Gunn, Elzhi, and Raheem DeVaughn. It is more than an album of beats and rhymes - it’s two generations of legendary native New Yorkers putting it down and pulling no punches! Skyzoo and Pete Rock use this album to create a love letter and a wakeup call to the city, as they have witnessed its culture stripped away layer-by-layer. - via MMG. Listen to it below...

September 22, 2019

Carta' P x Parental "A Beautiful Mess" (Album Stream)

Carta’ P. aka “The Obvious Wonder” who hails from the talent-rich city of Mount Vernon, NY debuts with his full length solo album “A Beautiful Mess.” In collaboration with french producer Parental, the two combine to mix melodic samples, strong baselines and infectious drums in conjunction with stories about women, relationships, life as an adult, money, children and family. The combination of Parental and Carta’ P. help produce a sound very similar to the 90’s “Golden Era of Hip Hop”. The entire project was produced by Parental and written by Carta’ P. over the span of two years. The two have collaborated and recorded over twenty songs together. Throughout the project, you can hear the musical chemistry along with the development of the album. Carta’ P. is part of the hip hop underground group Adagio! from the mid to late 90’s. A lot of the same musical influences and lyrical creativity from Adagio! can be heard through this latest collaboration. Listen to it below...

September 21, 2019

D.L. & DJ Crossphader "Another L.I. Groove" (Mixtape, 2000)

In 2000, DL presented DJ Crossphader's Another L.I. Groove double-cassette mix tape. If you're familiar with DL and Crossphader, you know they represented the underground at the time and that's reflected once again in this mixtape. Lots of underground, independent joints from Bumpy Knuckles, Jeru The Damaja, Mr. Voodoo, Cali Agents, J-Rawls, Missin Lix, Mr. Complex, De La Soul, Cella Dwellas, The Unspoken Heard, Reflection Eternal, Bahamadia, El Da Sensei, Big L, Dilated Peoples, Siah, Phat Kat, Al Tariq, Apathy, Easy Moe Bee, I.G. Off & Hazardous, and a whole lot more! Wanna hear a bunch of shit that was poppin' in the underground in 2000? Listen to the mix below...

September 20, 2019

One Be Lo "The R.E.B.I.R.T.H." (2007)

Real Emcees Bring Intelligent Rhymes To Hip-Hop! The R.E.B.I.R.T.H. symbolizes several turning points in One Be Lo's life. He recorded the album after moving back to the United States after living in Egypt with his family for several years, and after working his way out of a record deal with Fat Beats Records. The disc was also recorded after the early passing of his daughter. When beatmakers gave Lo a limited selection of soundbeds based on his previous material, he decided to work with a brand new crop of producers. Armed with instrumentals by the likes of established musicians like 14KT, Jake One, Vitamin D and others, One Be Lo redefined his sound while showcasing the conceptual, poetic attention to detail that has served as the cornerstone to his career. “Born & Raised” chronicles the ups and downs of his hometown of Pontiac, Mich., and “Keep It Rollin'” pays homage to Michigan's daily grind with the metaphorical backdrop of its storied automobile industry. “War” turns the tables on terrorism stigmas with a tale of a man seeking revenge for his falsely accused and terrorized Muslim parents, and fan favorite “Gray” seamlessly shifts between topics such as inner-city violence, insecurity with racial ambiguity, and maintaining dignity in the music industry. Real Emcees Bring Intelligent Rhymes To Hip-Hop, and with The R.E.B.I.R.T.H., One Be Lo lives up to the task. Cop the first ever vinyl pressing of The R.E.B.I.R.T.H., on limited (500 copies) double blue vinyl; pressed by Young Heavy Souls Records. And, of course, listen to the album below...

September 19, 2019

Take It Personal Podcast "A Jazz Thing"

On Episode 51 of the Take It Personal Podcast, they pay homage to Jazz music. There is no Hip-Hop without this great artform. They've got joints from Digable Planets to De La Soul, as well as Freestyle Fellowship, Blackalicious, Madkap, Organized Konfusion, Sound Providers, Damu The Fudgemunk, the Artifacts, Buckshot LeFonque and Siah & Yeshua DapoED, just to name a few. Visit their website for the official track list for each episode and some brand new merch options. The homie Philaflava closes it out with a quote from the late great, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal, "Jazz ain't the past, this music's gonna last. And as the facts unfold, remember who foretold!" 

September 18, 2019

DJ Fase "What's On The Flip?" (Mixtape, 2017)

This is DJ Fase's What's On The Flip? mixtape, which represents classic 90's b-sides and remixes! The mix features tracks from A Tribe Called Quest, Masta Ace, Gang Starr, Tha Alkaholiks, Organized Konfusion, Fat Joe, Casual, Del The Funkee Homosapien, Godfather Don, Artifacts, Lord Finesse, Das EFX, Souls of Mischief, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Craig Mack, EPMD, The Roots, The Pharcyde, KRS-One, Frank-N-Dank, Jeru The Damaja, Big Shug, Black Moon, Noreaga, Smif-N-Wessun, Blahzay Blahzay, The Beatnuts, Pete Rock & CL Smooth and more! Dope series, stay tuned for more mixes...

September 17, 2019

Combined Operation "Sessions EP" (Reissue, 2019)

I was not expecting to see a re-issue of this underground Chicago gem: Combined Operation's "Sessions" EP from 1998. I'd written about this record - mostly for the cut "Basic Instincts" - back in '06 and got some great feedback on it, but, unfortunately, like so many other records from that era, I never had much information to share about the group. That is, until now: Combined Operation aka Co Op, consisted of 6 eMCees: Melo, Stimulis, Polaris, Skeyo, Majek, and Dash. The entire EP was produced by Drift, whose style set the tempo for the record with its gritty boombap soundscapes. The LP and CDs are now available in limited quantities, with full analog remastering. The artwork was hand-drawn by Andrey 'Bioniq' Glushchenko and commissioned by the good folks at Back 2 Da Source Records for this release. Props to them for giving the EP new life, along with some great people in the underground who continue to champion rare, independent hip-hop from the 90s. Special shout-out to UnikOne, who already had audio of my favorite track off it and was instrumental in tracking down much of the info included in the blurb for the EP. Visit his blog HERE.

September 16, 2019

DJ Alkemy x Shark "A Fish In A Bigger Pond" (Album Stream)

Sons Of Boombap founder, Shark (Canada), teams up with DJ Alkemy (United Kingdom) for a collaborative effort that combines DJ Alkemy's sample driven, yet organic sounding production alongside Shark's skilled writing ability that features storytelling tracks alongside some personal and honest insights. "A Fish In A Bigger Pond" features tracks with appearances from Ase Minor, D-Nick the Microphone Misfit, Adam Walsh, Ase Minor, Substance, Pun Ra and more. I've been enjoying this project and I know it's gonna get love on mix-shows, so get on it early and listen below...

September 15, 2019

Cousin Feo "Choripan" (EP Stream)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Cousin Feo and Dre Mendoza are back again with their latest EP, Choripan. "Continuing the work done on "Provoleta", we stay true to the game in it's essence, as it's always a tale of two halves. We continue honoring Argentina's legendary footballers while inspiring the streets that both made and praise them." The 7-track EP features Che Uno, Ricky Mapes, 1800Call$ol, Mir Nicolas, Maverick Montana, Bub Rock, Fastlife and cuts by Julian Ramirez. Dig in...

September 14, 2019

Happy Born Day, Nas! (The World Is Yours)

Nas was born just 20 46 years ago in the Queensbridge Houses, a project in New York City, but his spirit is somewhat older. "My soul's been rapping since the first man walked in Africa," he says. "At night, my spirit still goes hunting down there." With the release of his debut album, Illmatic, Nas is being hailed as a savior of sorts, a man who can return hip-hop to its hardscrabble roots. "For a while, rap was into this black-power sh!t," he says. "Then it was that gangsta shi!t. But here we are, just talking about a young black man in Manhattan." Growing up in the projects, Nas listened to the Jackson 5 ("ABC" all the time," he says) and began perfecting his rap style in high school. He had become interested in writing and saw rap as the most direct way to get it all down, the good and bad and funny things that happen in the street. "Music is what I invent," he says. "It's what I write in the down low. So I want everyone to hear it. Jews, whites, blacks, Asians. Even if they don't like it, they need to hear it. If I can go to class and learn Hebrew or Spanish, if I can go to church and learn religion, they can learn rap." To fans, Nas is a sort of hip-hop Proust, getting down all the detail that creates an emotion. For his part, Nas attributes his effect to a certain solemnity. "I sit down and write my sh!t like Clinton is about to call me to the mike," he says. "Like I could tell Mr. Rudy Giuliani, 'Yo, bitch, f#cking b!tch-ass n!@@-r.' Know what I mean? Like when I rap, everyone can hear me." - Rolling Stone, 1994. Happy Born Day, Nas - this felt like a nice article to share today.

September 13, 2019

DJ Shusta "Golden Remix Era" (Mixtape, 2015)

This is Germany's DJ Shusta's Golden Remix Era mixtape. The concept of the mix was that DJ Shusta took a bunch of maxi-singles and flipped them over to search for the remixes. I miss the days when remixes were entirely new beats, new verses, etc, but BDS kinda screwed that up. You'll hear tracks with the Gravediggaz, Jeru The Damaja, Kool G Rap, Artifacts, Grand Puba, Diamond D, Rakim, LL Cool J, Lord Finesse, O.C., Channel Live, Main Source, Das EFX, The Beatnuts, Nine, Redman, Da Youngsta's, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Black Star, Group Home, Mystidious Misfitss, Mad Lion, Red Hot Lover Tone, Keith Murray, Da Bush Babees, Big Noyd, Special Ed, House of Pain, 3rd Bass, Black Moon, Souls of Mischief, and a bunch more. Dope mix from DJ Shusta, I'm sorry I missed it in 2015.

September 12, 2019

Ty Farris & Trox "Room 39, Pt.2" (Album Stream)

Detroit emcee Ty Farris teams up with Portland producer TROX for Room 39 Part 2. A technical lyricist, Ty brings his brand of street savvy rhymes mixed with intelligent punchlines and metaphors over TROX’s robust stadium beats. The very loose themes of political discord and North Korea gently pulls the album together with the artwork and only a couple song titles without ever becoming too biased or moralistic. TROX uses a full spectrum and range of sounds in his production, not limiting himself to just a loop and drums. The Portland producer layers multiple elements and arranges his tracks intricately, without ever getting too complex. Always using some serious drums, TROX develops a grand, arena-like sound in his production. Whether he draws inspiration from his past with all of his own struggles and tribulations, or from his future in his daughter, Ty Farris always seems to source his ideas and storytelling sufficiently. An ultra-technical emcee, Ty comes with complex rhyme patterns and plenty of quotable punchlines. Known for his honest and direct flow, Ty has become an elite level emcee, praised by his peers for his talent and professionalism. Ty aims to create a different sound in each of his projects, separating concepts and maintaining unifying sonic experiences, while TROX knows just what to provide for Ty whenever they collaborate. - DRHH. Ty Farris had me at "Came a Long Way" with Lil' Fame. Listen to the LP below...

September 11, 2019

Funkmaster Flex "Best Of 1995" (Mixtape, Hot 97)

Mixtapes are amazing, but if you truly wanna relive the experience of back in the day, sometimes revisiting old radio shows captures the full energy of the times. While Funk Flex was hard to stomach at times, his aggressive, over-the-top delivery was still infectious in New York City, and when he blasted off, we were tuned in, LIVE! In November, 1995, Flex did a Best Of 1995 mix on Hot 97; it was reissued in Japan on CD over a decade later. The mix includes tracks from Ill Al Skratch, King Just, Redman, Naughty By Nature, The Notorious B.I.G., AZ, Channel Live, Raekwon, Keith Murray, Grand Puba, Ten Thieves, Frankie Cutlass, Da Bush Babees, Brooklyn Zoo, Nine, D&D All Stars and more! It's radio so expect that vibe, but it's still quality music and very nostalgic. Enjoy...

September 10, 2019

DJ Premier & Eternia "Live From HeadQCourterz" (9/10/10)

On September 10, 2010, Eternia was the special in-studio guest at DJ Premier's Sirius radio show, Live From HeadQCourterz. She was joined by producer MoSS via telephone, who together with Eternia formed the group Eternia & MoSS for their Fat Beats Records release, At Last, in 2010. The LP was voted by DJ Premier at #17 on his Top 25 albums of 2010. While at the show, DJ Premier and Eternia discussed her come-up in Toronto, broke down her influences, the content of the album and Premo cut up several of the tracks on air. In the audio below, I've included the bulk of their interview, as well as the various tracks he played throughout the night, which also included Joell Ortiz, Termanology, Dynasty, and more. There were a few call-ins aside from MoSS, who gave shout-outs and answered trivia questions. MoSS discussed the scene in Toronto, record digging, how he's a bit of a recluse and technology and social media aren't his best friends! Oh yeah, and I was there ... a bug on the wall, just sitting back, enjoying the accomplishment of making it up to DJ Premier's show and seeing firsthand how much of a supporter of the music and the culture he is, and how he does it with so much class! Much respect to DJ Premier and Panchi of the NYG'z, who was his co-host and one of the wittiest and most clever cats alive. Some additional takeaways from the interview are how Premo discusses the soul and feeling of music, and essentially how music has to make you feel and pull at your heart. He continues to keep hip-hop alive and adds his unique brand of funk, knowledge and experience to the music! Salute, Premo, and thank you to Eternia for trusting me as her manager. This was certainly a proud day, and one to check off my bucket list...

September 09, 2019

DJ Mu-R "Underground League" (Mixtape, 2004)

This is DJ Mu-R's double-cassette mix tape release of Underground League. Released in Japan in 2004, the mix tape was broken down into The Chill Vibe / Ice tape and The Energetic / Fire tape. It features tracks from Grooveman Spot, The Nonce, Mood, Mos Def, Urban Thermo Dynamics, Basement Khemists, Mass Influence, Choclair, MF Grimm, The Roots, Group Home, Grap Luva, The Beatnuts, Street Smartz, The Pharcyde, Lord Finesse, Count Bass D, Gang Starr, Madlib, Artifacts, A Tribe Called Quest, Frankenstein, Rasco, Jeru The Damaja and more! Listen to all 4 sides below...

September 08, 2019

Memphis Bleek "Next" Feature In Vibe Magazine (February, 1999)

Following the lead of his fellow Marcy Projects, Brooklyn cohort Jay-Z, Roc-A-Fella's future attraction has risen from street-corner hustler to rap sensation. Coming off his attention-grabbing appearances on Jay's Vol.2... Hard Knock Life (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), including the opening blast, "Hand It Down," Bleek is confident and determined not to make the same mistake he did when stardom first knocked on his door. "After I did 'Coming Of Age' on Jay's first album [1996's Reasonable Doubt, Freeze/Roc-A-Fella], I thought I was a superstar. I started slacking and stopped writing rhymes, so my label was like, 'We ain't dealing with shorty no more.'" For a while, Bleek felt torn between supporting his mother, two sisters, and an older brother by illegal means and going legit with his rap talent. But he decided to try and let his rhyme skills pay the bills. Patching things up with Jigga and company, Bleek's club-friendly contribution to '98's Street Is Watching album, "It's Alright," reenergized his career. "One week before that record hit the stores, Damon Dash (Roc-A-Fella CEO) sat me in his office and was like, 'Yo, I'm telling you, this song is going to put your name out there,' He was right." Now that Bleek's got a name ("Memphis stands for Making Easy Money Pimpin' Hoes in Style), his future shines brightly. As he presses buttons on his cellular, making studio arrangements to record his forthcoming debut, he says, "Everybody's lookin' at me like, shorty's coming up, but I feel like I came up. And with my album, I want to make everybody respect me for me. Not just 'cause I'm down with Jay." Bleek's paid the cost, now he wants to be the boss. - Vibe (Feb., 1999).

September 07, 2019

The 2000 MTV Video Music Awards (September 7, 2000)

The 2000 MTV Video Music Awards were held on Thursday, September 7, 2000. The awards were hosted by the Wayans Brothers (Shawn and Marlon) and it was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. For the second year in a row, DMX was a no-show for his scheduled performance, but Eminem held it down, as well as Nelly, Aaliyah and others. Speaking of Em and Aaliyah, they both had big nights collecting multiple wins. Some of the presenters included Dr. Dre, Method Man, Redman, Chris Rock, Jim Carrey, D'Angelo, Lil' Kim, Wyclef Jean and more. For the sake of irony, it's also worth noting that the founder of Napster, Shawn Fanning, made an on-stage appearance sporting a Metallica t-shirt. For those who weren't outside at the time, Metallica v. Napster, Inc. was the first highly publicized instance of an artist suing a P2P software company, and it encouraged several other high-profile artists to sue Napster too. The outcome of that lawsuit was that Napster was forced to search its system and remove all copyrighted songs by Metallica. That was also the final VMAs appearance for Aaliyah; she was killed in a plane crash the following August. R.I.P. Y'all might remember Em's performance that started outside of Radio Music Hall as Em was followed inside by a pack of Em-lookalikes; he performed "The Real Slim Shady" and "The Way I Am." Watch below...

September 06, 2019

DJ Camilo "R&B II: Feelin' It" (Mixtape, 1997)

Smoothing is out, let's take it to 1997 with DJ Camilo's R&B II aka Feelin' It mix tape. Camilo hits us with some blends and original tracks from Mary J. Blige, Tara Thomas (and CL Smooth), Dru Hill, Allure (and Nas), Zhane (and The Lox), Maxwell, Keith Sweat, The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, Tracey Lee, The Beatnuts, Gina Thompson, Erykah Badu, Montell Jordan, Alfonzo Hunter (and Keith Murray), Lauryn Hill, Leschea, The Truth (and Redman), Horace Brown, and lots more! Listen to the mix below...

September 06, 2019

Common "Let Love" (Album Stream)

Music has been the genesis of Common’s creative life. Let Love is the culmination of a journey. Common spent 2018 and 2019 immersed in self-care and, ultimately, catharsis. In the process, he underwent a transformation as he examined God, faith, fatherhood, community, and love. He unites with prominent forces from different eras of the culture to deliver a timeless dedication to hip-hop. As such, the record details his past and present and shines a light on a bold and bright future. Listen to Common's Let Love below and be reminded that Common is still one the most well-rounded artists. A little more features on this one than I'd really need, but most do add to the LP.

September 05, 2019

Doo Wop "The New Testament" (Mixtape, 1996)

Another dope Tape Kingz release from Doo Wop in 1996, The New Testament. The mix tape features tracks from M.O.P., Ghostface Killah, Big L, Camp Lo, Method Man, Keith Murray, O.G.C., Puff Daddy & The LOX, Hurricane G, Shaq, Rampage, Tragedy Khadafi & Capone-N-Noreaga, Royal Flush, Smoothe Da Hustler, Redman, Lord Tariq, Raekwon, Busta Rhymes, Trigger The Gambler, and more. You know what to expect here, a quality 90s mix of tracks from Doo Wop. Listen to the mix below...

September 04, 2019

Supastition "High Off Life Freestyle" (Video)

Supastition touches down at High Off Life for an exclusive freestyle over a classic J Dilla beat. This is a series dedicated to artists with flow, delivery, wordplay... and BARS! Supa showcases all that and more with this latest freestyle spittin' lines like, "Sorry dog, I'm different / I was brought up on Kool G / Better yet, Biggie in a Coogi / Ghostface with the mask, that's what it takes to WU me!" and "... I go for broke and I ain't talkin' chapter 11 / I got the holy ghost, better call a pastor or reverend / Hallelujh, I wouldn't donate a dollar to ya / Rappin' over your vocals, I understand why they boo'd ya / High off life with Z Rich and MiCxSiC, Supastition had to come through and kill it right quick / Like this..." Rest in Peace, J Dilla! Supastition put it down, catch these bars below...

September 03, 2019

Naughty By Nature "Naughty By Nature" (September 3, 1991)

The East Orange (NJ) trio of Naughty by Nature consists of lead rapper Treach, rapper Vin Rock and DJ/producer Kay Gee. Their self-titled album is the first by the group as Naughty by Nature, as their previous album, Independent Leaders, was released under the name The New Style. The group was mentored by fellow New Jersey native Queen Latifah and subsequently changed their name to Naughty By Nature. Naughty by Nature was a critical and commercial success, being certified platinum on February 6, 1992, thanks in large part to the smash single "O.P.P.", which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. Additional singles were "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" and "Uptown Anthem", which were both minor hits on the Billboard charts. "Uptown Anthem" was featured in the film Juice in 1992, and subsequently appeared on the film's soundtrack and is now included in the streaming versions of Naughty's LP. The success of "O.P.P." outshined the fact that Naughty By Nature released a classic album with some deep album cuts. "Yoke The Joker," "Guard Your Grill," the Queen-Latifah assisted "Wickedest Man Alive," and more, all serve to give the album a lot of replay value, even in 2019. I do not recommend you revisit Independent Leaders, but much love to Queen Latifah for seeing SOMETHING in that release that helped us get one of the best MCs in hip-hop history in Treach. Naughty By Nature was released on September 3, 1991. Revisit it...

Platinum advertisement for Naughty By Nature's self-titled album in '91 ...

September 02, 2019

Marco Polo "The Green EP" (EP Stream)

I saw this EP slide back across the timeline this week ... I'm pretty sure it's the same project that was a vinyl-exclusive several years back (via Six2Six Records, 2013). The artwork for The Green EP has been redone and the tracklist still boasts some incredible features from artists like Sean Price, Masta Ace, Copywrite, Guilty Simpson, Ras Kass, and MC Eight. I don't see the tracks from Constant Deviants from the early release, but they added a remix that includes Rock of Heltah Skeltah. The Green EP is obviously targeted to the weed heads out there, which I am not, but all of Marco Polo's releases put hard-hittin' beats and sharp rhymes on full display, so I'm here for that! Revisit the solid Green EP below, now on Good Felons Records out of Toronto... (Updated audio link below).

September 01, 2019

Joel Ortiz "Monday" (Album Stream)

"Working people normally dread Mondays. Not me though. I embrace them! Feels like another opportunity. Another chance. The beginning of what’s ahead. On “Monday” I talk about life. Old me, new me, and the guy that next Monday may introduce to you all," says Joell Ortiz. Monday is an album about keeping your head down and getting back to work; there’s nothing to do other than to persevere. With his new record, Ortiz pays tribute to the qualities that have allowed him to not only survive, but thrive in an unforgiving industry and era. It’s rooted in the present but still able to conjure the sounds and smells of an era that’s long gone – the kind of sharp perspective that can only be honed by years of dedicated work at the craft. Monday is a testament to sharpening one’s skills and approach in the face of immeasurable odds. There's great production on the album from Heatmakerz, Apollo Brown, Nottz, Big K.R.I.T., Justice League and more. Listen to Monday below.