Sunday, May 24, 2020

Jeru The Damaja "The Sun Rises In The East" (May 24, 1994)

Jeru The Damaja is an MC, Producer, and Photographer that has been an essential part of Hip-Hop culture for over twenty-five years, from his early collaborations with the legendary Gang Starr to the present day. ​Born (Kendrick Jeru Davis) in the East New York section of Brooklyn, Jeru honed his skill as an MC while navigating the often-deadly streets of his notorious Brooklyn neighborhood. In The late 80s, Jeru was fortunate enough to be introduced to Guru of Gang Starr by a childhood friend. Gang Starr first introduced Jeru The Damaja to the world on a track entitled “I'm the man,” from their 1992 Daily Operation album. Jeru's first two albums The Sun Rises in The East and Wrath Of The Math were produced entirely by DJ Premier and are hailed as Hip-Hop classics. In fact, The Sun Rises In The East was released on this day in 1994, and Chuck D's This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History says: With masterful production by Gang Starr's DJ Premier, the acclaimed debut from Jeru combined Five-Percent and Rasta doctrine with witty rhymes, reached #36 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on the R&B chart. The Sun Rises In The East produced the classic hits "Come Clean," and "You Can't Stop The Prophet." Fellow Gang Starr Foundation member Afu-Ra guested on the track "Mental Stamina," where Jeru was awarded The Dopest Rhyme of the Year in The Source for 1994. If you dig into my archives HERE, you'll find album reviews, original promo, publicity photos, sure shot singles, videos and lots more, so please use the search and tags to learn more about the album and his follow-up releases! For the last few years, Jeru has lived in Berlin, Germany, and is planning to release a new album in 2020, so stay tuned for more! Danny Hastings did the original art below.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Black Thought Freestyle (Lyricist Lounge 20th Ann., 5/23/12)

In 2012, the Lyricist Lounge was celebrating their 20th Anniversary with a show at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC with Black Thought as the host and a number of very special guests. Here's what I said at the time, "20 years of celebrating creativity and offering a platform for artists to express themselves as individuals and at the same time, within a tribe of like-minded artists. I salute Danny Castro and Anthony Marshall for their influence on Hip-Hop, especially the underground scene in NYC. Over the years, Eternia and myself have worked with Danny Castro, who without hesitation has always supported and maintained the focus on talent, skill and a dope live performance. Eternia has blessed stages with many of hip-hop’s true legends and we give thanks to Danny Castro and Lyricist Lounge for those opportunities... Check the flyer for all the amazing talent that will be blessing the stage. The Lyricist Lounge 20th Anniversary will continue next month with a show featuring Ghostface and Camp Lo at Prospect Park." As it happened, Prodigy, Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Da Bush Babees, Homeboy Sandman, Black Thought, Doug E. Fresh, J.Period, Kid Capri, Tony Touch and a ton of other legendary artists blessed that stage, including my artist Eternia. One memory I will never ever forget is Black Thought freestyling over Nas' classic "Represent" instrumental and the whole crowd was hanging on every word. Now that I'm currently living outside of NYC, it's memories like this that bring me right back home, so watch it back with me below...

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Luniz "I Got 5 On It" (Promo, 1995)

The Luniz are a hip-hop duo from Oakland, California, consisting of Yukmouth and Numskull. An article in Rap Pages (12/97) described the Luniz, saying: "Part of the secret to the Luniz' success can be attributed to the duo's uncanny ability to make most topics instantly appealing and engaging with effortless rhythmic interplay and revealing lyrics... What usually comes out of the Luniz' mouths are effortless verbal tirades of rhyme, life and game, mixed with clever undertones that are either comedic or serious depending on the content and tone of the track." Their bio offered a brief history on the group: Yukmouth and Numskull first hooked up "back in the day" (around '87) while attending Oakland's West Lake Jr. High School together where, as Yukmouth says, "We had a whole crew of n!ggas with us doin' shows". This crew of six, prophetically called B.W.P. (Brothers With Potential) recalls Numsjull, "did shows whenever and wherever we could. We even did lunchtime shows at schools everyday." While the other members of this group fell off, the two Luniz stuck it out as both rappers and buddies.... "We wasn't even tripping off rap, trying to come large or nuthin'. We always was rappin' though. And then the shit just got serious!" That was around the end of '92 when Yukmouth just got out of a year in juvenile hall. During his stay, he kept in constant touch with Numskull through letters, exchanging rhymes he'd written and suggestions of names for their future group. Note that even while incarcerated, Yukmouth was putting on shows. "I had a group in there too!", he laughs good-heartedly. Numskull also spent a couple of months in jail around that same period, during that time he smiles, "I wrote hella rhymes". This lighthearted reflection on such serious periods of one's life merely displays the Luniz' collective inner strength and craziness. It was shortly after this period in late '92 that the Luniz (then known as Luni Tunz) hooked up with Dru Down on tracks such as "Ice Cream Man," a sinister ghetto tale of a coke dealer told in a surreal fairytale-like manner. This soon led to the two landing a deal with Noo Trybe/Virgin, and the rest as they say is rap history." Their debut album Operation Stankola was released in July, 1995, and featured the smash hit "I Got 5 On It." The original song and a suspenseful orchestrated remix version play a crucial role in Jordan Peele's 2019 horror film Us, which garnered renewed attention for this classic cut. "I Got 5 On It" samples Club Nouveau's "Why You Treat Me So Bad" (1987), Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" (1973) and Audio Two's classic "Top Billin'" (1987). Reminisce below...

The original promo for the Summer '95 Motto "I Got 5 On It" and press bio...

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pete Rock & Camp Lo "80 Blocks From Tiffany's II" (Mixtape)

Bronx duo Camp Lo have teamed up with the one and only Pete Rock to drop 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s (a mixtape series available as a full-length). With the projects name paying homage to the BX gangs of the 70s, it’s only right that they bring it back to Hip-Hop’s essence in the video, graffiti, b-boys, rhymin’ on the project stairways, two turntables and a mic. Pete Rock, whose production work helped define the 90s “golden age” is a rare exception. Pete Rock is one of the few musicians who made his name in the aggressively unflashy 90s East Coast sound but has still managed to stay continually relevant without capitulating to changing tastes. 80 Blocks from Tiffany's offers proof that amidst the expeditions rap music’s launching into new sonic territories like EDM, noisy psychedelia, and quasi-industrial music, the classic boom-bap stuff still has a place featuring Mac Miller, MOP, Ab-Soul, Talib Kweli and more. Listen to their new project below...

Friday, May 22, 2020

The VHS (Vibe, April 2005)

Remember your first VCR? Now you could watch Purple Rain on a snow day or study Bruce Lee over breakfast, fast-forwarding to the good parts, slo-mo-ing the better ones, and, crucially, pausing for bathroom breaks.... Although TV stations began using magnetic tape back in 1956, the first home video system wasn't launched until 1975. That model, the LV-1901, supported Sony's ill-fated Betamax format, cost over $2,000 (TV included), and demanded another $20 for each one-hour tape. But in 1984, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled against Hollywood's claim that home-movie technology would destroy their livelihood (Napster, anyone?), RCA's alternative Video Home System, or VHS, took off. And while the first VHS VCRs were massive, top-loading slabs straight outta Star Trek, they were convenient and, at $300, much more affordable. Time magazine's December 24, 1984, cover heralded "a magic box that revolutionizes home viewing," and in 1985 alone, more than 11 million units were sold worldwide. Over the next 10-plus years, the VHS tape would reshape the way we saw the world. So long to worrying about "missing a show" or waiting for a movie to air on cable, and say good-bye to virtually every porn theater in the country.... Meet the video rental industry, wedding videos, and the "entertainment" center as furniture. And of course, you can't go straight-to-video - think Streets Is Watching and Baller Blockin, not to mention Girls Gone Wild - if the video doesn't exist. And yet, videocassettes are now the wave of the past. Since the introduction of the digital videodisc in 1997, DVDs have gone on to sell more than twice as much as VHS tapes ever did, and ironically, Hollywood couldn't be happier. Like the turntables before it, the VCR has been shoved aside as newer technology - DVD, DirecTV, and soon, Internet-streamed movies - swoops in. But as long as everything, from your school plays to your favorite celebrity sexcapades, is captured on tape, videocassettes will haunt us for decades to come. - Vibe, April 2005. Most content eventually ends up on YouTube these days, but every one in my generation has a box somewhere with memories captured on VHS, and to us, they are priceless pieces of our past. Yo! MTV Raps, Lyricist Lounge, Rad, Gleaming The Cube, The Box, Rap City; I could go on for days!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Young RJ x Mega Ran "2 Hands Up" (Album Stream)

2 Hands Up is a collaborative album between Young RJ of Slum Village and Mega Ran. The album is produced primarily by Young RJ with additional production from Abstract Orchestra and Daru Jones. It features MC Frontalot, Eric Roberson, Marcel P. Black, L.A. Salami, Illa J, Guilty Simpson and Slum Village. Young RJ has viewed the project as a chance to "not to be stuck inside a box of what my base would necessarily be looking for, to get back to just making good music based off of 'If it feels good to me, then that should be enough.'" It's a solid project; I think you'll dig it, listen below.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

KRS-One "I Got Next" (The Source, May 20, 1997)

"KRS-One is not your run-of-the-mill blowhard MC. His accomplishments alone could max out the word count on this review: inductor of the 16-bar rhyme style, the off-beat rhyme style, the first rapper to pose with guns on an album cover, controlling force behind the first legitimate live hip-hop album, harbinger of hip-hop reggae, etcetera, so on and so forth. And even when he's not pumping his fists in the air, entrancing all around him into a mesmerized state of adulation, you can still tell from his incisive musical platters that Kris is hip-hop's Cassius Clay: dope as fuck with a mouth to back it up. So when Lawrence "Kris" Parker presents his ninth album entitled I Got Next, it's easy to ascertain that he's not referring to holding down the next game of b-ball on the local asphalt. It means he's comin' with dat next feces and he can't wait for his turn to grab the spotlight.... The truth is that KRS-One hasn't gotten wack, but as a phoenix that constantly rises from the pyres of discarded fads and fetishes, he stands as a relic from the fabled hip-hop "Golden Age," and is undoubtedly held to a higher standard than your average mic wielder. And while his full-length capacity may have peaked with By All Means Necessary, you can't help but still yearn for the return of classic material. Broken down to its very last compound, Kris' music, like fine wine, gets better with age. And even when it's not a good year, his brew is much better than the bargain basement swill that destroys your liver and churns your intestines. KRS-One's albums, BDP or otherwise, have always remained pertinent and inventive. Overtly and overly genre expanding tendencies notwithstanding, I Got Next stands to be just as relevant. Even without a scholarly cut of the likes we've come to expect from the Teacher, this may still be the most mandatory mind music for the next millenium." - The Source (May, 1997). Read the full review and hear select cuts below...

KRS-One's "The MC" and "Step Into A World" from I Got Next...

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

DMX "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" (Press Kit, 1998)

In the book Queens Reigns Supreme, the release of DMX's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot is briefly addressed: "During its first week in stores, more than 250,000 copies of It's Dark... were sold, knocking country music superstar Garth Brooks off the top of the charts. But what made the first-week sales even more impressive was that DMX had received almost no MTV or radio play.... 'When X came,' Irv Gotti explains, 'it was a tidal wave. It was just one of those special things in hip-hop... People was just tired of the Puffy way of doing things and he just came and landslided the whole fucking country.'" The buzz had been created for the album almost entirely through the mixtape scene; DMX's official press kit for the release digs deeper: "Winner of The Source magazine's prestigious "Unsigned Hype" award for January of 1991, the native of Yonkers, New York has recently crashed the airwaves and mix tape circuit with a number of unforgettable guest appearances... including a fever pitch buzz for the release of his kinetic debut single for Ruff Ryders/Def Jam, "Get At Me Dog." Utilizing a classic, tension-filled BT Express guitar sample, the single's keen balance of street grit and dance floor bounce provides the perfect backdrop for the Dark Man X's unshakably aggressive vocal delivery; one whose distinctively hoarse timbre is but the table setter for the main course of irrepressible rhyme.... Having originally earned his name by way of his human beat boxing expertise, DMX later experimented with other acronyms true to his evolving, revolutionary vocal steez (Divine Master of the Unknown) while honing his skills around his home in Yonkers' School Street Projects. Along the way, he bumped heads and built long-lasting friendships with Y-O residents and Bad Boy Recording artists, The Lox.... With the entire Yonkers crew helping out on It's Dark and Hell Is Hot on the smoldering "Niggaz Done Started Something," the bonds obviously remain strong. The Album's additional sterling guest spots include Brooklyn's finest, Jay-Z, adding his acid-tongued wit and wisdom to the downtempo stinger, "Murdergram," along-side Ja who makes an impactful debut. But ultimately it's the range, cleverness and fierceness of DMX's solo showcases that truly distinguishes It's Dark and Hell Is Hot from the remainder of the rap hordes.... If the uncompromising nature of It's Dark and Hell Is Hot musical menu isn't enough to intrigue the fickle minds of rap fanatics, leave it to this human pitbull's own description of his newest creation to cut right to the heart of matters: "It's the same shit they been gettin', man: Raw dog, no condom, straight in the ass, real." This dog's day has arrived. Get at DMX." It's Dark and Hell Is Hot was released on May 19, 1998, but did not include "Murdergram," which was featured on the Streets Is Watching soundtrack that came out a week prior, May 12, 1998.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Rawkus Presents "Soundbombing II" (Snippet Tape, 1999)

Soundbombing II was reviewed in the August, 1999 issue of Vibe Magazine - Noah said: "Three years ago, the brains behind Rawkus devised a plan to nurture a crop of MCs just starting to blossom in New York City's underground hip hop scene. And now that the climate of hip hop is slowly beginning to shift away from the Puff-driven "ice" age, Rawkus prepares to reap the benefits of their harvest with the release of Soundbombing II. Unlike its predecessor, and especially the languid Lyricist Lounge Vol.1 (Rawkus, 1998), SBII illustrates the evolution of Rawkus's MCs from raw and unpolished to solid, skilled artists poised to give chart-topping rappers a serious run for their money. This newfound confidence and maturity is typified by the High & Mighty's "B-Boy Document 99" as well as Pharoahe Monch and Shabaam Sahdeeq's slamming collaboration, "WWIII." Both cuts bang with the up-tempo, high-octane power of Black Star's 1998 "Definition," the label's biggest hit so far. Even slower tracks, like Eminem's understated "Any Man" and the soulful title track by Dilated Peoples & Tash, maintain a high level of intensity. Rawkus has weathered the storm of R&B-infused, radio-friendly hip hop that has dominated for so long, and now the sun shines on more rugged styles. So pump up Soundbombing II and bask in the glow." In the Spin Magazine review (July, 1999), Neil Drumming adds "Rawkus's resident preacherman, Talib Kweli, strives to "turn jams into revolutionary parties," adding conscious-rap protein to the Reflection Eternal crew and on a duet with Bahamadia. The showstopper, however, is "Patriotism," by constant complainers Company flow, a clever, cacophonous slam of all things American... The cheerfully undanceable track and antiestablishment lyrics both reinforce Rawkus's rep as a label of originators and anchor Soundbombing II firmly at street level." Soundbombing II was released by Rawkus Records on this day in 1999, so revisit the original cassette snippet tape - mixed by J. Rocc and DJ Babu - below. 

Original promo sticker for Soundbombing II, colors have faded from storage.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Ice Cube "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" (30th Anniversary)

"If one album encapsulates the racial strife in L.A.'s concrete jungle before the 1992 riots, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted is it. The densely sequenced, frenetic Bomb Squad production laid down the rich sonic terrain for Ice Cube to rage against Oreo-cookie-sellouts, gestapo tactics, and female manipulation on this West Coast counterpart to Public Enemy's Nation of Millions. Humor and vitrol are juxtaposed, producing a visceral classic: "I think back when I was robbin' my own kind / The police didn't pay it no mind / But when I started robbin' white folks / Now I'm in the pen with the soap-on-a-rope." (Vibe, 6/02). The Adler Hip Hop Archive has a clipping that says, "It's the end of gangster rap," Chuck D said of Ice Cube's solo debut AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted in a fax from Public Enemy publicist Harry Allen last week. "That shit's so hard it's scary. You gotta cut it off, catch your breath, and then turn it back on. Cube says the word 'bitch' 83 times on that album." Chuck may be overstating the case. A preliminary Bitch Count revealed 51 occurrences of the B word. A F#ck Count, however, turned up 72 f#cks, or variations thereof (motherf#cker was included; pretty f#cking often, in fact), among them hiphop's first Andrew Dice Clay sample." In his 30th Anniversary Retrospective, Dart Adams adds, "Ice Cube’s output and evolution between 1988 and 1992 is easily one of the best and most impactful 5 year periods of any Rap artist in the genre’s history. It’s insane to think that span only covers Ice Cube between the ages of 18 to 23. By the time he was 25, he was considered a legend who was instrumental in launching several Rap careers, including Yo-Yo, Del The Funkee Homosapien (and Souls Of Mischief & Hieroglyphics), Threat, Da Lench Mob, Anotha Level & Kausion amongst others." Lastly, check out Brian Coleman's The Making of Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted HERE. Happy 30th Anniversary, listen to it HERE.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

“A Tribute to The Notorious B.I.G.” (Press Kit, May 1997)

"On Wednesday, May 14, at 12 noon over 200 radio stations across the country participated in a 30 second moment of silence in honor of the late Notorious B.I.G., followed by the world premiere of two new tribute tracks "I'll Be Missing You" and "We'll Always Love Big Poppa." At the same time, MTV aired the tribute video to "I'll Be Missing You." Bad Boy Entertainment's CEO, producer and artist Sean "Puffy" Combs comments on why he decided to honor Biggie in this way, "I wanted to tell B.I.G. how I was feeling. I wanted to have one last conversation with him. The concept of the tribute single was to express my personal feelings and the feelings from the Bad Boy family. This is our way of speaking to Biggie, letting him know how much we loved him." ... "I'll Be Missing You" features vocals by Combs with Evans and 112; it was written by Faith Evans and Todd Gaither (Sauce Money) and produced by Combs and Stevie J. The song was inspired by the Police hit, "Every Breath You Take" and the chorus of the song is reflective of Puffy's and Faith's personal feelings of B.I.G."

"The flipside, "We'll Always Love Big Poppa" is written and performed by Bad Boy Entertainment's newest group The L.O.X. The track is produced by Damon Blackmon and was first performed at B.I.G.'s funeral. "It was their personal artistic expression of how the group felt about Biggie and how he affected the lives of so many people," said Combs. "If you knew him, you would love him," said Jay from The L.O.X. "It is sad we had to do this song as our first video." ... Bad Boy Records, Arista Records and BMG Distribution have agreed to donate all profits from sales of the tribute single to a trust for the benefit of Christopher Wallace's two children, T'Yanna and Christopher." R.I.P. B.I.G.

The original press kit from May 22, 1997...

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Happy Born Day, Elzhi! (Playlist)

Happy Born Day to eLZhi, one of the greatest lyricists PERIOD! The bio on his website shares, "Before the world ever heard the name Elzhi, the young artist was sitting in the back of classrooms thinking of rhymes and spitting verses, while his friend Fes banged out beats on lunchroom tables and battled rival emcees on the blacktop after school. He sharpened every blade in his arsenal, developing his style to measure up against the competition in Maurice Maloneis Hip Hop Shop, the legendary proving ground for Detroit Artists that has produced some of the greatest emcees in the world. Elzhi spent years paying dues, writing songs, entering battles, and recording demos until he made his international debut on Come and Get It, a standout track from J Dilla’s album, Welcome 2 Detroit.  The critically acclaimed song drew massive attention to the mysterious artist, and made his EP, Out of Focus, highly sought after.  Following that, he released the critically acclaimed Elmatic as a tribute to Nas as well as to Elzhi’s hometown of Detroit." To celebrate his birthday today, I put together a quick playlist of tracks - mostly solo records with a few features mixed in. It is by no means a reflection of his full discography - in fact, it barely scratches the surface, but these do represent some of my favorite Elzhi cuts nonetheless. From his early "Out of Focus" EP to today, eLZhi remains one of our culture's most gifted lyricists, poets and MCs. Be sure to reach out HERE and wish him a Happy Born Day! The art above is by Aleks Skrok, you can order a poster HERE.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Happy 50th Birthday to Ghostface Killah!

Dennis Coles (born May 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Ghostface Killah, is an MC, songwriter, actor and member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Ghostface Killah is critically acclaimed for his loud, fast-paced flow, and his emotional stream-of-consciousness narratives containing cryptic slang and non-sequiturs. Pitchfork argues, "Ghostface has unparalleled storytelling instincts; he might be the best, most colorful storyteller rap has ever seen." That's pretty spot-on, in my opinion, but if you doubt it, he's got the discography to back it up! Today marks Ghostface Killah's 50th trip around the sun! In an interview with AOL - which I used for my FreeOfStyle mixtape - Ghostface says, "My lyricism is crazy different from people, because I got style. I have swag ... I swing from a different web than a lot of these other emcees... I can go from women, to my struggles, to how I feel that day ... It's all about using your mind, knowledge is infinite!" You can't argue Ghost's place as one of the greatest MCs of all-time, so once again, Happy 50th Birthday - give that man his flowers, and, in his own words, "With root beer thoughts, here's a tennis court for your birthday!"

An original Ghostface-inspired Birthday card, available HERE.

Friday, May 08, 2020

El Michels Affair "Adult Themes" (Instrumental Album)

Big Crown Records is proud to present Adult Themes, the latest full length offering from El Michels Affair. This album takes the band’s “Cinematic Soul” aesthetic literally and sends the listener on a journey through a whirlwind of moods and energies. The album plays like the colors on an artists pallet. Songs like “Rubix” and “Villa” are densely orchestrated with the hard-hitting drums that El Michels Affair is known for. On “Life of Pablo”, Leon’s son makes his first appearance on record and intros a song with an epic arrangement and a moving mood. “Hipps” is a drum heavy ballad that could’ve easily fit on EMA’s debut record, Sounding Out the City. Other compositions like “The Difference” and “Kill The Lights” are bare, melodic mood pieces with sparse drums and sophisticated chord movement. All of these tunes come together to make perfect backgrounds for dialogue and action. One of the beautiful things about instrumental music is that the listener can decide what the narrative is. With Adult Themes El Michels Affair has created a “choose your own adventure” in musical form. If you haven't heard Enter The 37th Chamber, hit the tags for that and more.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Jamo Gang "Walking With Lions" (Album Stream)

Jamo Gang consists of LA legend Ras Kass, NYC veteran emcee El Gant and J57 on production. The trio’s debut album Walking with Lions is now available via Fat Beats Records featuring DJ Premier, Slug from Atmosphere, Sid Wilson from Slipknot, Sick Jacken from Psycho Realm, and Slaine from La Coka Nostra. J57 handled all of the production except for “The 1st Time” which was produced by living legend, DJ Premier. Walking with Lions embodies head-nodder boom-bap infused with big sounding, lush soundscapes as Ras Kass and El Gant command the listener’s attention speaking on subject matter ranging from school shootings to what life would be like with a nuke arriving in 38 minutes. Enjoy the new album from my Fat Beats brother J57 and the Jamo Gang below...

Thursday, May 07, 2020

The 1992 Source Hip-Hop Awards

"Month after month, The Source Magazine sets out to cover the best hip-hop has to offer. But once a year, we're obliged to represent the best of the best. For the 1992 edition of The Source Hip-Hop Awards, we asked about 500 leading rap music experts from every region in the country to pick a winner among nominations in ten categories determined by the editors of The Source. The respondents were all readers of The Source - a sampling of fans, college and commercial rap radio DJs, and some rap retailers and video show hosts. Artists were nominated for awards based on their contributions to hip-hop music and culture for the twelve month period ending November 1, 1992. Artists with a debut album released during this period were considered "new," and were nominated separately from established artists. The Source Hip-Hop Awards were created to recognize outstanding achievement on the level of true hip-hop. The winners presented here are the artists who have moved the hearts, minds and behinds of true hip-hop fans across the country and around the world." The winner of the 1992 Source Awards were as follows: Ice-T as Artist of the Year-Solo; Cypress Hill as Artist of the Year-Group; Redman as New Artist of the Year-Solo; Das EFX as New Artist of the Year-Group; Pete Rock & CL Smooth's Mecca And The Soul Brother won as Album of the Year; A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" won as Single of the Year; Pete Rock was recognized as Producer of the Year; Mary J. Blige won as R&B Artist of the Year. The Video of the Year was awarded to Black Sheep for their classic "The Choice Is Yours" and Supercat was awarded the Dancehall Artist of the Year. For an additional breakdown of each award, read more below...

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Real Bad Man "On High Alert, Vol.2" (EP Stream)

Back at it again for the 2nd volume of On High Alert, the elusive Real Bad Man continues to bring that grimey heat you've come to expect from an RBM release. This time around, the LA-based RBM kicks it with some of the best MC’s in the game, curating a line up that puts most rap festivals to shame... Boldy James, Willie the Kid, Flee Lord, Eto, Elcamino, Blu, Lojii as well as rap icons like the Wu-master The Rebel INS aka Inspectah Deck and the one and only Plug One aka De La Soul’s Posdnuos, lace five fat tracks sure to blow out the speakers in your mom’s Jeep. Listen below...

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Wu-Tang Clan on Riker's Island (Stress Magazine)

During the Wu-Tang Clan's press-run to promote "Of Mics & Men" last year, they sat down with The Face for a candid interview. In that interview, RZA and Cappadonna address the rumors that Ol' Dirty Bastard had broke out of jail to attend a Wu-Tang performance. The conversation shifts to a separate story where the Wu-Tang performed on Riker's Island for ODB while he was locked down. The RZA shares, "We all went to the jail, and performed for Dirty in the jail. We had 40oz, Dirty's eating mad burgers in there too, fuck all that vegetarian shit!" RZA clarifies that it was around 1999-2000, "when they first locked him up and shit." Cappadonna shares that they performend "In the yard, I think it was C-76," which gives flashbacks of Raekwon wearing the C-76 Riker's Island t-shirt with Ghostface Killah down on canal street coppin' some cuban linx. Capp adds, "The inmates was in the yard with us. They wasn't locked up, they was standing right there!" The story pivots again to share the real story behind Ol' Dirty Batasrd breaking out of jail to play a show, but it was actually a halfway house and unrelated to Riker's Island. Stress Magazine did a brief article (below) about the Wu on Riker's Island in their magazine, but it was more about Dirty - Kane One shot some dope pictures that you can get a glimpse of in the article too. "With pounds and hugs his Wu cousins said peace, left loot in commissary and bounced back to Shaolin..." Check the interview with The Face for more Wu-mythbusters. Does anyone know of some video footage of the performance?

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Roccwell "Still Lovin' Boombap" (Album Stream)

Munich-based beatmaker Roccwell has released his production album Still Lovin' Boombap. This is grown rap featuring QNC, Craig G, M-Dot, Ruste Juxx, Born Unique, Wildelux, Maylay Sparks, Glad2Mecha and lots of razor-sharp cuts from DJ Danetic, 12FingerDan, DJ Case, DJ LP2, DJ Tricky and DJ Skruff. It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the new music that comes out weekly, but make sure you give this one a listen and pass on something else. Overseas keeps it boombap, listen below...

Monday, May 04, 2020

Take It Personal Podcast "R.A. The Rugged Man Episode"

"Episode 64 is the 4th show we've recorded during this damn quarantine. Despite some technical difficulties and R.A. battling what we thought was the coronoavirus, we put together a 30-track homage, including a lengthy comedic and sometimes contentious interview. We discuss the new album All My Heroes Are Dead. We talk Biggie and boxing. We discuss the days of Jive Records and working with Rawkus. We even learn about the super-group he was once apart of with Prince Paul & Bumpy Knuckles. Like most of our interviews, we do a chronological trip back to memory lane. Check-out R.A.The Rugged Man's new album All My Heroes Are Dead. It happens to be our favorite of the year (so far)." - Philaflava, Take It Personal Radio. Peace to R.A. The Rugged Man, listen...

Monday, May 04, 2020

Roc Marciano "Marcberg" (10th Anniversary, 5/4/10)

Today is the 10th anniversary of Roc Marciano's debut solo album Marcberg via Fat Beats Records. When you look at music representing the streets today, you can trace much of the blueprint back to this now-classic release. HipHopDX championed the project stating, "Marcberg is a hard-hitting, unremorseful classic based on the same code of ethics that made the golden era so immaculate." Today, Complex released an article where Roc Marci reflects on the album in its 10th year and shared some great insight, like: "At the time, I felt like the music I loved was lost. I wanted to make an album that spoke to me. I also wanted to put my best foot forward and show what I could do. It’s funny because me and Alchemist were talking about it recently, and he was like, “Yo, back when Mobb Deep was popping and New York rap was at its height, I felt like I was nice then, too. I felt like I could’ve participated in that era, too, but I missed [it].” So when I got a chance to actually do Marcberg, I felt like this was me coming in and adding my piece to the game. That’s what the creation of Marcberg was for me: it was like a chance to actually add my two cents in." When asked about the highs and lows represented in the album, Roc adds, "I mean, you can’t hide what you are. At the time, I was broke, so I’m speaking to the times, telling my story. You’ve got to tell the victories, and you talk about the losses, too. And it was a weird time in the game. Hustling and crack was phasing out—the streets wasn’t a feeding frenzy like it used to be. A lot of cats that came up from my era was trying to figure out what they was going to do next. A lot of cats caught bids and died in the streets and stuff like that. So [I was] trying not to fall into that category. I think the album reflects that." You can read the interview HERE. Revisit this classic on its 10th anniversary...

Original Fat Beats CD from the Brooklyn warehouse...

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Building Night Club + Kid Capri Live (Polaroids, 1989-1991)

Once upon a time—1989, to be precise—in New York City, a nightclub called Building was born. Housed in a decommissioned Con Ed power station, the club was unlike anything else on the scene, the creation of a cast of players on the cutting edge of downtown nightlife. Says Stretch Armstrong, "Building was where Kid Capri really made a splash. If you were into hip hop, you might know him, but if you were just more of a downtown club person who liked hip hop, you may not have known Kid Capri. He came to Building and utterly destroyed the place on a weekly basis. And, you know, that was before the internet, but the word of mouth was so strong, and what Kid was doing in that room, it just elevated him to a whole other plateau as a celebrity.... Kid Capri was the first deejay I ever saw who would regularly turn the music off, just like oozing with confidence, and with this super loud voice just command the crowd to do stuff. He would have them in the palm of his hand and the music would come back on at exactly the right time, just as he was getting the crowd into a frenzy. There was this give-and-take that was incredibly dynamic and powerful. He didn’t use the mic because he was making up for any deficiency as a deejay. It took his deejaying to another level because he was always nasty on the turntable, but the added dynamics of that crowd control, that was just something that people downtown hadn’t really seen." For more on the Building, there's an exceptional and lengthy article available HERE. Below is a live recording of DJ Kid Capri at Building, the short-lived New York hip hop club that existed from 1989-1991. via Stretch Armstrong.