December 31, 2020

Rest In Peace, MF Doom!

2020 couldn't end without one final gutt-punch, huh? The news is reporting that "Rapper MF Doom, known for his masked "super villain" persona, died back on Oct. 31, his wife Jasmine Dumile revealed on social media Thursday. He was 49. Dumile posted an Instagram message to her husband, real name Daniel Dumile, with the New Year's Eve revelation stating that the elusive rapper had "transitioned October 31, 2020." The influential rapper was the force behind beloved hip-hop albums "Mm..Food" and his collaboration with Madlib, "Madvillainy." "The greatest husband, father, teacher, student, business partner, lover and friend I could ever ask for. Thank you for all the things you have shown, taught and given to me, our children and our family. Thank you for teaching me how to forgive beings and give another chance, not to be so quick to judge and write off," Jasmine Dumile wrote on the official MF Doom Instagram account. "Thank you for showing how not to be afraid to love and be the best person I could ever be. My world will never be the same without you." Rolling Stone confirmed the rapper's death with MF Doom's representative Richie Abbott. No information on the cause of death was available." This one hurts. I have no words right now. Prayers to his loved ones. You'll also want to revisit this profile from Ta-Nehisi Coates on MF Doom in the New Yorker (2009).

December 31, 2020

Crimeapple "Mátalos Con Más Éxitos" (EP Stream)

Mátalos Con Más Éxitos” is a bottle of expensive champagne to pop in the face of the opposition. A toast to victories and killing enemies with more success. With Buck Dudley at the helm of production and Crimeapple providing the narrative for a celebration of more life and more wins, this latest release boasts 8 tracks with guest appearances from RLX, Da Flyy Hooligan and Sonnyjim. Fat Beats is said to be preparing the exclusive vinyl for this release, so stay tuned for that if you haven't already pre-ordered it. Props to these frequent collaborators, and dig into the EP below...

December 30, 2020

The Lyricist Lounge Show (4 Episodes, 2000-2001)

The Lyricist Lounge Show combined traditional comedic skits with the breakthrough concept of lyrical sketches, an innovative convergence of hip-hop music and theatrical narratives. Farcical comedic sketches pushed the envelope of political correctness, while lyrical acts showcased the talent of the show's resident rappers, who performed humorous vignettes with rhyming dialogue and hip hop beats. The lyrical sketches featured a variety of hip hop artists such as Q-Tip, Mos Def, Cee-lo, Common, Tash, Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, Krayzie Bone, Slick Rick, MC Lyte, and a host of others. The ensemble cast of the series included rappers Wordsworth, Master Fuol, and Baby Power (aka BabeePower). All three were responsible for creating, writing, and producing the lyrical sketches. Marty Belafsky, Tracee Ellis Ross, Heather McDonald, Mike Ricca and Jordan Black formed the comedic side of the cast, each with their own original brand of humor. Due to high production costs and conflict between the show's producers and MTV, the show lasted for only two seasons. As Wordsworth, BabeePower, and Master Fuol rap on the theme song: "Welcome to the lyricist lounge show, it's rappin' and actin', laughin', clappin', lights, cameras, action, we're the first ones to ever place a sketch to a beat, it's the avenue the street where hip hop and comedy meet..." Props to AndyMan187 for uploading and sharing four random episodes of the show, check them out below...

December 29, 2020

Cut Chemist "Mom's House: Sample Tape" (1993)

"In the last few months, I've been excavating old cassettes from the "Mom's House" era. This installment is a simple sample tape from 1993. Sample tapes are what I used to make in order to remember which loop ideas I liked as I listened to records I either just got or had sitting around for a while. Most are just one element. There are a couple of layered arrangements as well which means I had high hopes they would turn into something. Happy to say a couple of these samples found nice homes as you may recognize," explains Cut Chemist. Dust off these dope samples below...

December 29, 2020

38 Spesh "Interstate 38" (Album Stream)

Interstate 38 is the latest project from Rochester, NY's 38 Spesh. The rapper/producer has released a slew of impressive projects throughout the year, capped off by this latest 11-track LP, which features guest appearances from Che Noir, Ransom, Benny The Butcher, ElCamino, and more. The production on this solo effort is handled by StreetRunner, Buckwild, The Heatmakerz, Tricky Trippz, Rome On The Beat and 38 Spesh himself. Another solid LP release, check it out below...

December 28, 2020

Jay-Z "Vol. 3... Life And Times Of S. Carter" (12/28/99)

When you went out and bought the highly anticipated album from hip-hop's most arrogant lyricist, you prayed that he reached the level of his last album. By now, most of you are bumpin' Life And Times... to a point where new-school classics like "So Ghetto" and "Big Pimpin'" almost sent the rewind button into an early retirement. As hard as it is to repeat an album as timeless as Hard Knock Life, Jay-Z attempts to hit you with the same ingredients that made Hard Knock a classic. But let's not front. There's a lack of the type of hair-raising lyrics we've come to demand from Jigga. As you know, when the production doesn't support an MCs lyrics, problems arise. On joints like the irritating "Hova Song (In & Outro)," the corny "S. Carter," and the trendy "Pop 4 Roc," Jigga gets lazy over some sleepy tracks. However, when coupled with the right production, Jay-Z reveals why he is the most influential hip-hop artist alive today. Songs like "So Ghetto," "Do It Again," and "Come and Get Me," highlight Jay-Z's uncanny ability to transform bumpin' tracks into cleverly crafted hip-hop anthems. And even on his worst day, there's an industry of MCs who emulate his infectious flow and delivery." - The Source (4 Mics). Not my favorite Hov album, but revisit it below...

You Are About To Witness A Dynasty Like No Other...

December 27, 2020

X:144 & SPS ‎"M.E." (Album Stream, 2006)

M.E. is the powerful collaborative album by duo X:144 and SPS. Great production with creative flows and delivery throughout, this is an incredibly slept-on project. The album was released on CD in the fall of 2006 through Nonsense Records. I believe they were reppin' Florida, possibly in Orlando? I know there's a connection through Solillaquists of Sound, who are tour-heroes and gatekeepers down that way. X:144 is a mix and mastering engineer and has since worked with Lauryn Hill, Alchemist, Freddie Gibbs, Kool G Rap, Joell Ortiz, Blueprint and lots more. X:144's Twitch channel is incredible and informative too - you should check it out HERE; you'll catch me tuned in for the beat critiques, real-time mixing, mastering and special guests. The homie, Supastition, put me on and there's a family connection through my people's Boogie & Mauikai, too. Nuff said, check it below...

December 26, 2020

Gang Starr "One Of The Best Yet" (Instrumentals)

Last year DJ Premier released the first album from Gang Starr in over 15 years: One Of The Best Yet. The album had previously-unheard verses from the late Guru, joined by the likes of J. Cole, Talib Kweli, Ne-Yo, Nitty Scott, Q-Tip, Royce 5’9, Big Shug, Freddie Foxxx, and Group Home, among others. Premier has now released an instrumental version of One Of The Best Yet, which comes with the bonus track “Glowing Mic” which is a new take on the song “Mr. Gang Starr.” “Since the song ‘Mr. Gang Starr’ was previously released after we hadn’t worked together in so long, I noticed the multitrack session said ‘Mr. Gang Starr (Original Version),’” DJ Premier said to Rolling Stone. “The lyrics and the hook are totally different so I gravitated to it and I didn’t want to use the same title and confuse people. My search for scratch ideas landed me across a song I produced for Torae (‘For the Record’) in 2011. The line says ‘I destroy the mic for my glow.’ Instantly ‘Glowing Mic’ became the title simply from hearing that line.” Listen to the instrumentals and the bonus track, "Glowing Mic" below and props to 2DBZ for the description. R.I.P., Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal!

December 25, 2020

Supastition "Sounds of Xmas" + Naughty By Nature Christmas Card

Cormega shared an important message that echoes many of the sentiments that I wished to share today; he said: "2020 was a tumultuous year. Holiday season is hard to bear for those who may have lost loved ones during this challenging year. Think of your family and friends who lost someone this year and give them the gift of compassion and make sure they are OK. And if they aren't, do what you can to make sure they are. To all those who are feeling down at this moment, I send my sincere wishes of better days for you and I wish everyone a safe and good-moment-filled holiday season. Peace." Additionally, my brother Supastition released a song in 2007 that still captures relevant thoughts for the holiday season. The track is produced by D.R., and is a dedication to those less fortunate who are struggling during the holidays. You can hear that below, and as for the Christmas card above: if you were on their mailing list in the 90s, you undoubtedly got a Christmas card sent out by Tommy Boy Records. This particular card features Naughty By Nature and illustrations from the legendary Andre LeRoy Davis. The card says, "Have a Happy Holiday and a Naughty New Year! From your friends and family at Tommy Boy." I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however you celebrate. I also wish you good health and better days ahead. Keep the faith! Much love and thanks for checking out the site and all of the support. Last minute gift ideas? HERE.

December 24, 2020

Navy Blue "Song of Sage: Post Panic!" (Album Stream)

New York rapper-producer Sage Elsesser has released his new album under the name Navy Blue. The project, Song of Sage: Post Panic!, features Yasiin Bey, Billy Woods, Maxo and Zeroh. Producers like Evidence, Animoss, Chuck Strangers and more contribute behind the boards. The project is Elsesser’s second full-length effort of the year. Back in February, he dropped his debut Àdá Irin. The former skateboarding phenom and face of Supreme streetwear also appeared on the Earl Sweatshirt Feet of Clay bonus track “GHOST” and Mach-Hommy’s “Clout Dracula (Remix).” A close friend of Earl’s since childhood, Elsesser contributed to the art direction for I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside and also earned two songwriting credits on Frank Ocean’s Blonde. Along with the album, Navy Blue shares the video for “1491,” directed and edited by Ryosuke Tanzawa. Tanzawa previously worked with Google for the platform’s Art & Culture production for Black History Month and Schoolboy Q’s 2016 track “Dope Dealer” featuring E-40. Tanzawa’s reel also includes work with adidas originals, Reebok, and 1800 tequila. Hear Navy Blue’s Song of Sage: Post Panic! below. - OKP.

December 24, 2020

Run DMC "Christmas In Hollis" (Press Release, 1987)

The new RUN DMC single "Xmas In Hollis" is taken from the Very Special Christmas LP released on A&M. The LP features Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Whitney Houston and U2 to name a few. Xmas In Hollis will be the only single released from this LP and all money made will go to the Olympics for the Disabled. It is also featured on London's Christmas Rap LP. There is a 7" and 12" available, the 12" includes "Walk This Way," "Peter Piper" and "King of Rock" in other words a greatest hits. This has to be the best 'all new' Christmas single in years and with MARRS, Eric B, LL Cool J and Public Enemy in the charts right now, no one can deny the importance and force of Rap-HipHop. Looks like Christmas is all 'Rapped Up': Yo, Ho, Ho, Santa's chillin'. - Press Release, 1987. The track samples Clarence Carter's 1986 holiday song "Back Door Santa," as well as "Frosty the Snowman", "Jingle Bells", and "Joy To The World". The track was featured in the greatest Christmas movie of all-time, Die Hard, as well as many others. If you've never seen it, some Canadian and American hip-hop legends did an exclusive remake some years back, as well... check it out HERE! Merry Christmas, y'all!

Below is the official music video for Run DMC's Christmas In Hollis...

December 23, 2020

Phoniks "The Quarantine Tape" (Album Stream)

The good brother Phoniks is back with his latest release, The Quarantine Tape. The 12-track project boasts a collection of remixes from 2020, produced on Phoniks' SP-1200, MPC 2000XL and Maschine. The instrumentals are comprised of vinyl samples and live instrumentation, all compliments of the Portland beatsmith. You'll recognize vocals from Ahmad, INI, Erykah Badu, The Notorious B.I.G., The Pharcyde, Jay-Z, D.I.T.C., OutKast, De La Soul, Nas, Street Smartz, and more. A phenomenal tape, check it out below and click through to order the Instrumentals on CD, and more.

December 22, 2020

Jay Electronica "Exhibit C" (December 22, 2009)

Jay Electronica released his classic track, "Exhibit C," to iTunes on this day in 2009. Upon its initial leak months prior, the Just Blaze-produced track sent shock waves through the internet and the culture; it was hailed as an instant-classic, and Jay Electronica cemented his position as one of the greatest MCs of all-time-without-an-album. Just Blaze said some years back, "The situation is Jay moves at his own pace… He always moved at his own pace. I think the problem is now is that before there wasn’t any anticipation. That anticipation came, but he’s still just kinda like ‘Hey, my train’s on schedule.’ He loves to say that. That’s his saying… He has his own personal reasons for the way he moves. There is an album. It’s actually a damn good album.” Obviously, things have changed (just) a bit since then as Jay Electronica released two albums in 2020: A Written Testimony and Act II: The Patents of Nobility. Ironically, the same day as Exhibit C's commercial release, Jay Electronica announced that Act II would drop on Christmas (in 2009!). I don't believe I posted about the release at the time, but a vinyl version of "Exhibit A" and "Exhibit C" was released on Record Store Day in 2015 through Mass Appeal. Hopefully you cop'd that exclusive picture disk! Revisit it below...

December 22, 2020

El Jazzy Chavo "Aspects of Dystopia" (Instrumental Album)

Aspects of Dystopia is the sixth solo instrumental album by the producer El Jazzy Chavo out in Athens, Greece. This album is packed with hard knocking drums, fat basslines and atmospheric melodies. Based on the classic methods and techniques, El Jazzy Chavo brings new aspects of beatmaking/art to the surface. "Inspired by the urban routine, the everyday life misery, the working class struggle, the low-life cats that conquer the city. Aspects of dystopia, aspects of reality," he shares. Another fine instrumental release, dig into Aspects of Dystopia streaming below...

December 22, 2020

DMX "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood" (1998)

Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood - On the heels of his multi-platinum debut It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, DMX unleashed his dogs again on an album overflowing with raw energy and spiritual catharsis. The irascible Yonkers MC, 27 at the time of this recording, continues the Ruff Ryder legacy on this follow-up release. DMX's canine split-personality flow is like none other, not only rhyming over tracks, but barking expression over explosive beats. Production here--by Swizz Beats, PK, DJ Shok, Dame Grease--is mostly stripped-down, pure high-tech drum machine and synthesizer combinations that are sure to inspire emotional and adrenal responses in listeners. Although DMX is no new jack, he is part of a no-frills new breed of MCs that hold nothing back on the microphone: emphasis is on emotion rather on wordbending. Standout cuts include "Blackout," with guest appearances from fellow hip-hop heavyweights the Lox and Jay-Z; "Coming From," a duet with the queen of hip-hop/R&B, Mary J. Blige, which stuns the ears with a haunting piano loop; "The Omen," a bout with the devil featuring the demonic Marilyn Manson on the hook; and the opening cut on Side B, "Slippin'," an introspective look inside DMX's struggle to stay on top of his art while dealing with the perils of his reality. This is a very spiritual album, a testimony to one artist's struggle with the manifestations of good and evil. The final cut, "Ready To Meet Him," a conversation between DMX and his god, punctuates this realness." - All Music Guide, 2001. Revisit X's classic album below...

Jonathan Mannion also adds, "22 Years Ago Today: December 22, 1998, Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood was released. A few weeks prior, the magnificent DMX and I created visuals that would shake up the world. Arresting and disturbing, perhaps, on the surface... these images require you to go deeper. The primary meaning for me, because I deeply care about my friend, X, was that he be Divinely protected and covered with His blood. We checked all the boxes with this unforgettable set of images. Often emulated, the original still stands strong as the source and blueprint." Follow HERE.

December 21, 2020

Doo Wop "Xmas Jams" (Mixtape, 1993)

Xmas Jams is a mix tape from the Bouncemaster Doo Wop in 1993. The mix features tracks from Snoop Dogg, Erick Sermon, KRS-One, Jodeci, Shaq, Wu-Tang Clan, YZ, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Original Flavor, Das EFX, Rakim, De La Soul, Domino, 2Pac, and lots more. I know it's been a rough year, and 2021 doesn't promise to be much better, but hold your head and get through it - better days are ahead! Happy Holidays and thanks for rocking with me another year. Do not expect a tape filled with Christmas Jams, this is straight golden era shit right here. Enjoy the mix below...

December 20, 2020

Dela "Atmosphere Airlines 3" (Instrumental Album)

French producer Dela is back after a fairly long hiatus with a fresh installment in his Atmosphere Airlines series. Past releases have included tracks with Supastition, Large Professor, Blu, J-Live, Torae, Apani B, Finale, and more. Now living in Japan, Atmosphere Airlines 3 is mostly instrumentals with some additional vocals by Reigie, Sollie and Nadina Ali. The instrumentals were recorded between 2008 and 2010, so it'll give you that familiar jazzy and soulful vibe you've heard in the past. In the current climate of lo-fi beats and jazzy loops, Dela's music stands as an early blueprint and it's welcomed that he'd dig into the archives to release these tracks for us to hear. Dig in below...

December 20, 2020

Reef The Lost Cauze "The Airing of Grievances" (EP Stream)

"Welcome newcomers, the tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I've got a lot of problems with you people, now you're gonna hear about it!" Rest In Peace, Jerry Stiller. The Airing of Grievances is, in fact, the latest EP from Philly's Reef The Lost Cauze and is entirely produced by Haj of Dumhi. Lyricism with a genuine message, Reef The Lost Cauze has always stood tall as a man and protects the cloth we come from in the early days of this hip-hop shit. His IG is one of the most entertaining, because he kicks real facts about life, being a father, and takes no issue with calling out the bullshit. Naturally that extends to the music, so dig into it for a dose of the realness.

December 19, 2020

Drink Champs "Cormega Episode" (Podcast, Video)

On this episode of Drink Champs, N.O.R.E & DJ EFN chop it up with the legendary Cormega. As a Drink Champs alumni, Mega & The Champs dig deeper to discuss his career, Queens, settle some old beefs and a whole lot more! After receiving one of the biggest shout outs from Nas on his song “One Love,” Mega never looked back. Cormega talks about his success as an independent artist, breaks down the meaning of all his projects and what they all meant to his career. Mega also shares stories of Big Pun, The Jacka, Nas, The Firm and more! I don't post all the episodes of Drink Champs - although I am a fan! - but Cormega deserves his flowers as a man + artist, so dig into it below...

December 18, 2020

KLIM Beats "Winter Stories" (Instrumental Album)

Another phenomenal instrumental album from Ukranian beatmaker/producer, KLIM Beats. Winter Stories boasts eleven instrumentals, filled with jazzy loops; keys, strings and hard-kicks amidst other instrumentation. Grab a cup of coffee and if you can, look out the window to picture the snow-filled streets and holiday season in full swing. This is one of my favorite releases from KLIM Beats, but if you dig into the archives, you'll find a lot more selections from his extensive catalog, which is all available on Bandcamp. Many of his projects are also available on vinyl, so show 'em love.

December 17, 2020

Chino XL & Balthazar Getty "Chino vs. Balt" (EP Stream)

Los Angeles born-and-raised multi-talent Balthazar Getty has teamed up with one of the culture's most potent lyricists, Chino XL, for a collaborative EP entitled Chino vs. Balt. According to Hype Magazine, "freeform creativity and lots of late-night phone calls led to CHINO vs. BALT, the definitive collaboration between Balthazar Getty and Chino XL. With critical acclaim and cultural respect, Chino XL is known for his impressive penmanship and thought-provoking lyrics... The duo believes that making music both simple yet compelling is a true sign of mastery. The two veterans create a vibe that harkens to the golden age of lyricism and 90s hip hop roots, all while representing the present day sound." - The Hype Magazine. Listen to their collaborative EP below...

December 16, 2020

DJ JS-1 "Christmas Mixtape" (Volume 1 & 2)

Happy Holidays! A message from DJ JS-1 about the mixes included in today's post: "It's that time of year again. I just uploaded the 2 best Christmas mixtapes you will ever hear on my Bandcamp page. There is several genres of Christmas music cut up and mixed along with movie samples and phrases. We did these mixes a while back and they have been downloaded a lot already over the years. I am taking down my blog with all my mixes and they will only be available here from now on. Please support if you can with a share or repost. That helps. Thank You, Happy Holidaze!" Listen up below...

December 16, 2020

Pete Rock & The Soul Brothers "PeteStrumentals 3"

For the third installment of his PeteStrumentals series, producer Pete Rock takes a departure from the sample-heavy style that has earned him recognition as a living Hip-Hop legend. This twelve-track project is instead a collection of beats crafted by the producer, then reimagined by his stellar band, The Soul Brothers - drummer Daru Jones, keyboardist BigYuki, bassist MonoNeon, guitarist Marcus Machado and vocalist Jermaine Holmes; all critically acclaimed musicians in their own rights. After performing together across Manhattan, cementing their creative bond, Pete Rock & The Soul Brothers combined their individual musical influences and experiences to craft a smooth sonic experience that is truly the sum of all of its stylistic and instrumental parts. PeteStrumentals 3 is a masterful blend of Funk, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Soul, a mellow soundtrack for any occasion. Dig in below...

December 15, 2020

Dr. Dre "The Chronic" + "A Taste of The Chronic" (12/15/92)

The Chronic opens with the sound of a jail door slamming, and before the tumblers went click, Dr. Dre had a lock on the '90s. As a record, Dre's post-N.W.A. debut gave African-American resentment and ghetto nihilism a seductive, cinematic flow. As a cultural force, it rolled over all resistance, defining the entire country as Death Row Records turf and selling the West Coast gang mythos to the suburbs. "Dre fuckin' slowed down the '90s like The Matrix," Public Enemy's Chuck D says. "That record transformed everything--all that laid-back California shit." Dre says he makes "feel records," and the feel of The Chronic is riot-time Los Angeles, 1992, bitterness grazing across territorial lines, anger edging into stoned hilarity. The album's gaggle of rappers sounds reborn in rage, posing as "n!ggas with big dicks and AK-47s" like they're having the time of their lives. But all that anger flowed from a very personal need for revenge. "It was a period in my life when I had just left [N.W.A.'s label] Ruthless, and talk on the street was I wasn't going to be able to do it without those guys," Dre says. "So I felt I had something to prove." The Chronic rolls on drum-machine beats, like most rap albums, but Dre revolutionized the genre by deemphasizing samples, bringing in a Moog keyboard, live horn players, and crucially, multi-instrumentalist Colin Wolfe, who played the bass lines and eerie, high-pitched synths that provided the outrageously catchy hooks. Recreated P-Funk, Isaac Hayes, and Donny Hathaway melodies complete the essence of "G-Funk": cold-compress grooves applied to street-corner static, a budded-out haze that makes the anger seem serene and spacious. The cast was pulled from the 50 or so people who dropped by "the Lab" on a typical day to get high and get heard--MCs That N!gga Daz, Kurupt, RBX, the Lady of Rage. But the album's secret weapon is Snoop Doggy Dogg, a young Crip who'd recorded the underground hit "Deep Cover" with Dre the year before, and whose dry, graceful drawl dominates the record ("I guess I just wanted it a little more than everyone else," Snoop says). As he drops "a jimmy joke about your mama that you might not like," Snoop sounds lighthearted, almost giggly, like nothing can touch him.

Hip-hop's energy source had been going West for years, and The Chronic's four million copies sold, two Top 10 singles ("Nuthin' But a "G" Thang," "Dre Day"), and omnipresent videos, were the final victory. The album's barely ambivalent, skitlike vision of the ghetto as a bullet-riddled sex-and-drug party had white kids in front of the mirror enunciating "beeee-yatch," while conservative activist C. DeLores Tucker went on a Washington rampage against so-called "gangsta rap." It's even said that the album's success caused the price of the herb it was named after to skyrocket. The Notorious B.I.G.'s 1994 debut, Ready To Die, brought attention back East, but even he sampled Dr. Dre's "Lil' Ghetto Boy" and The Chronic's narrative structure. After Dre hit it was truly the G-Funk era: Snoop's Doggystyle debuted at No.1 in 1993, and Dre's stepbrother Warren G concocted the brilliant Regulate, then came the reserves-the Twinz, Tha Dogg Pound, etc. Violent drama became a hip-hop industry standard; even records by experimentalists like the Wu-Tang Clan and the Fugees needed a body count for credibility. The Chronic funded Suge Knight's Death Row, and it's doctrine of revenge articulated label policy on both coasts, leading to Knight's feud with Bad Boy's Sean "Puffy" Combs. For years after The Chronic, "never hesitate to put a n!gga on his back" was rap policy. Before things cooled down, Death Row's Tupac Shakur and Bad Boy's B.I.G. were murdered; Knight went to jail on a parole violation; Dre and Snoop eventually fled Death Row; and Snoop toured with 1995's Lollapalooza in a bullet-proof van. Today, Dre attributes some of the above--plus hip-hop's onslaught throughout the 90s--to the triumph of The Chronic. "If that record wasn't successful, at least 50 percent of that shit wouldn't have happened." - Spin Magazine (September, 1999). Dig in...

A full copy of Spin Magazine's feature on The Chronic in 9/99...

December 14, 2020

38 Spesh & DJ Green Lantern "1995" (Album Stream)

After spending most of 2020 flexing his production chops–producing projects for Che Noir, ElCamino (x2), Planet Asia, Rasheed Chappell, and Flee Lord–the product of Rochester, NY let off 6 Shots over the summer. And now, with his Interstate 38 album dropping on Christmas day, Spesh is keeping things in motion with his 1995 mixtape. Similar to last year’s 1994 mixtape, 38 Spesh is paying homage to past classics while breathing new life into some of the year’s most memorable songs. But unlike the previous drop, he’s handling all the verses himself–save for an outro from Che Noir. Press play and check out the Green Lantern-assisted 1995 below. - via 2DBZ (Props to Shake).

December 13, 2020

DJ Evil Dee "Escape From Hell" (Mixtape, 1997)

Much respect to DJ Evil Dee - this is his Escape From Hell mix tape from 1997 on Tape Kingz. The mix features a Hot 97 freestyle from Tha Alkaholiks and Monie Love, as well as tracks from Canibus, Rakim, O.C., Gang Starr, Ol' Dirty Bastard, EPMD, Common, Organized Konfusion, The Firm, Channel Live, Jay-Z, D.I.T.C., Mobb Deep, and more! I definitely miss hearing Evil Dee on Hot 97, but you can always tune into Da Beatminerz Radio, where they've been holding the culture down lovely through online radio for well over a decade. Dig into Evil Dee's Escape From Hell tape below... c'mon kick it! 

December 12, 2020

Khruangbin "Christmas Time Is Here"

I've loved this song since Khruangbin released the 7", but honestly, I wasn't in the Christmas spirit just yet. The tree is up, gifts have been purchased and now I'm ready to share what I consider to be one of the best remakes of what was already my favorite Christmas song, Vince Guaraldi’s timeless “Christmas Time Is Here.” The Houston trio of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar and Donald Ray Johnson on drums blends their numerous influences into something completely fresh and new. Let them tell it, they share, "Growing up the three of us all had very different Christmases,” says bassist Laura Lee. “But we recently discovered we all had the exact same favorite Christmas song. When we realized it, we sat down to play it and it came together instantly. In 15 minutes we had this recorded. It was like the best Christmas present ever.” With ambling sweetness and a fresh, beat-driven groove, Khruangbin have taken this oft-covered classic and made it wholly their own. Enjoy the song below and dig into the archives for more amazing music! 

December 11, 2020

Crimeapple "If I Don't See You In Paradise" (EP Stream)

Among the most creative and original MCs to come out of this new underground wave in the U.S is certainly Crimeapple. After releasing “Jaguar On Palisade” at the start of the year, the New Jersey rapper with Colombian roots returns with “If I Don’t See You In Paradise”. After a first listen this album already feels like an exceptionally tasteful project: from the artwork curated by illustrator Bernard Rollins to the beats put together by Michelangelo, Buck Dudley and RLX among others. Meanwhile, the Hackensack native MC busts out a smooth bilingual flow that fits perfectly with the musical backdrop provided. - ThrowUp. Listen to Crimeapple's If I Don't See You In Paradise below...

December 10, 2020

Redman "Muddy Waters" (Press Kit, 1996)

To those in need of funkdafied musical medicine blessed by herb-enhanced verbals, your prayers have been answered. In 1992, Reggie Noble introduced the world to Redman, the brainsick genius responsible for the instant classics "Time 4 Sum Aksion," "How To Roll A Blunt" and "Tonight's Da Night" culled from his gold-selling textbook-case debut Whut? Thee Album. 1994 charted Redman's continued progress as hip-hop's most illified patient with "Rockafella" and "Can't Wait" from his gold-selling follow-up Dare Iz A Darkside. Now with his Def Squad degree in wordsmith science proudly decorating the walls of his Newark "Brick City," NJ laboratory, Redman-a.k.a. The Funk Docta Spot-returns with his third in his anthologies of tales from the darkside-Muddy Waters. "Muddy Waters," Redman explains, "pertains to the idea that everything is from the dirt which is the essence. My last album Dare... was about comin' out the dirt. Now, the result of that is album where it has surfaced. I think I lost people on my last album, it went over their heads. This album, I got some more of the kind of music I'd want to do in a show. Straight up buddha head songs." True to this simple but highly effective philosophy, the LP prescribes the full range of what listeners have come to prize and expect from Redman: High-octane performances, entertaining idiosyncrasies, lyrical excursions into the familiar and foreign and, of course, the best in bottom heavy production as provided by Def Squad kingpin Erick Sermon, longtime Reggie Noble-associated Rockwilder and Redman himself. "My music is made for everyone but has a particular connection to buddha heads," Redman states matter of factly. "Don't get the album thinking I'm a be talkin' about spectatuclar stuff. You know why? Because you got different groups out here covering the political angle, covering the glamour angle. But nobody's kickin' it for the buddha heads that just want a sit back and rock." Within the funk gumbo of Muddy Waters there lies a wealth of healthy examples; tracks whose energy most strongly recalls Whut?, yet builds on the excellence of recent standouts. like "Funkorama" and his smash platinum plus duet with Method Man "How High." Revisit the LP below...

The full Muddy Waters press kit/bio is below...

December 09, 2020

Big Ghost Ltd. "The Unofficial Official Tape"

This right here is an epic collaboration! Big Ghost Ltd and Soles of Mischief have joined forces to release this collection of loosies, remixes, original incarnations of familiar Big Ghost Ltd joints, unauthorized joints, lost goodies, scrapped ideas, snippets, and all types of fun shit assembled by the legendary Soles of Mischief. If you're here for the music, they got you! If you were looking for some of the most down-to-every-last-detail style of packaging: cassettes, CDs, trading cards, magazine and more, then well... they had you, but you slept, because they're all sold out now! Fortunately, the infamous Hands of Zeus was kind enough to bless you with the audio from what was originally a physical-only offering. Thank that man in his infinite wisdom and generosity. Soles of Mischief is easily one of the most creative cats I've met in this digital space and Big Ghost has pushed the envelope and advanced the culture in music and with the pen for years now. The Unofficial Official Tape also has guest appearances from Guilty Simpson, Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn, Crimeapple, Willie The Kid, Hus Kingpin, Vic Spencer, Ankhlejohn, Ghostface Killah, Sheek Louch, Recognize Ali, DJ Grouch, Lukey Cage, Chris Crack, SmooVth, Milano Constantine, DJ Q-Bert, Giallo Point and more. Enjoy the project below, and hit the archives for a lot more content.

Below are more shots of the physical packaging/bundles...

December 08, 2020

J.Larry "According To Plan" (EP Stream)

J.Larry is a talented wordsmith from Panama City, FL. With a few projects dating back to 2016, his artistry remains consistent with the true essence of Hip-Hop. His latest EP is called According To Plan and is entirely produced by Disko Dave. The jazzy 6-track EP features Billy Mercury, Paige Joiner, and Ave. If you're unfamiliar with these artists, now is a great chance to get put on to something dope! Listen to J.Larry and Disko Dave's According To Plan below, then do some digging...

December 08, 2020

Donnie Propa "Straight From The Crate Cave" (Mobb Deep Edition)

Here's the latest mixtape from one of UK's finest DJs, Donnie Propa. Following the success of his Straight From The Crate Cave series highlighting the work of the D.I.T.C. Crew, Rawkus Records, Pete Rock, and separate releases for Jeru The Damaja, J. Dilla, Masta Ace and more; Donnie Propa has compiled a new Straight From The Cave mix for those poetical prophets out of Queensbridge/LI named Mobb Deep! The infamous duo of Prodigy and Havoc have made some of the most influential records to come out of Queens dating back to the mid-90s. Donnie Propa's all-vinyl mix takes you on a journey through many of those classics, dig into it below, and Rest In Peace, Prodigy! I'd tell you to cop the cassette, but I'm sure they'll be sold out by the time you see this!

December 07, 2020

Che Noir "After 12" (EP Stream)

Che Noir is back in the kitchen. After kicking off the year with Juno and following it up with the Apollo Brown-laced As God Intended (which is one of the best projects of the year in case you slept) in July, the Buffalo-bred emcee is keeping keeping her foot on the gas with her first official self-produced project, After 12. Locked in at seven tracks, including “Cruise Control” with Musalin, the EP features 38 Spesh, Ransom, Sa-Roc, RJ Payne, Jynx, and Amber Simone. - 2DBZ. Go listen...

December 07, 2020

The Notorious B.I.G. "Born Again" (Press Kit, 12/7/99)

"In faith, the phrase "born again" is largely symbolic, meaning a surrendering of one's soul to a higher will, faith in the unseen, a belief in the afterlife. Notorious B.I.G.'s second posthumous album, Born Again, is no memorial or tribute, it is a celebration of life. Here, we employ the phrase to breathe life into a legacy that was cut tragically short. Born Again is more than archival material unearthed to fill some void. Members of Biggie's own "family," including Lil' Kim, Lil' Cease and Puff Daddy, add verses too, given one more opportunity to flow with their hero and friend. It is a staggering achievement put together with dedication, reverence and true love by Bad Boy Entertainment." The press release continues with a bio discussing B.I.G.'s childhood; his come-up in the industry, as well as the release - and success - of both Ready To Die and Life After Death. Worth noting, it was B.I.G.’s demo rhyming over Big Daddy Kane's "Ain't No Half Steppin" that caught Puff's attention, he says. You remember that rhyme? "Microphone murderer, mass mayhem maker / B.I.G.'s on the mic, call the undertaker / Make an appointment / Schedule a interview / Because you know what Big Man's about to do..." In conclusion, it shares that "Born Again is a reason to rejoice and a chance to experience B.I.G. again in a way that he would have surely appreciated. Missing him is made that much more bearable because of the lasting legacy he's bequeathed - his music, his unmatched talent and his inimitable voice." While I agree with the sentiment and the intentions of this project, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I believe it fell short in its execution. Not nearly as bad as the Duets album that would later follow, but Born Again isn't an album we revisit too often. I do, however, consider Eminem's "Dead Wrong" remix to be one of the earliest tracks to set P2P platforms ablaze! I surely wish we had more music from B.I.G., but he absolutely did leave behind a legacy as one of the greatest rappers to ever touch a microphone. Rest In Peace, Notorious B.I.G.!

The Notorious B.I.G. - A Celebration of Life (Press Kit, 1999)

December 06, 2020

Roc Marciano "Mt. Marci" (Album Stream)

Mt. Marci is the 8th studio album from legendary emcee / producer Roc Marciano. This new album is in conjunction with Josue Thomas of The Gallery Dept, and without question is a must have for the true music / Roc Marciano fan. The 16-track full-length features Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Kool Keith, Trent Truce and Stove God Cook$. Mt. Marci was originally released through his website as an exclusive download ($40.00!), but is now available on all streaming platforms with physical copies and art pieces sure to follow along shortly. Where does it rank in his catalog? Listen below...

December 05, 2020

Your Old Droog "Dump Yod: Krutchy Edition" (Album Stream)

Your Old Droog has released his latest offering, Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition. The project follows three LPs released in 2019, but this year, the artist - who Consequence of Sound calls “one of the most prolific, beloved, and reliably clever New York rappers” - has leaned into his Eastern European roots for a surprising new project (Droog even raps one song entirely in Russian) that is as dope as anything he's released in his impressive catalog. Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition was executive produced by Mach Hommy, and mixed by Tha God Fahim, who both feature on the project alongside other guest appearances from Billy Woods, Tvoy, Phonte, El-P, and Black Thought. Hear Droog's LP below...

December 04, 2020

Brand Nubian "One For All" (30th Anniversary)

"A bootlegger's delight, One For All never achieved the sales figures it deserved, but Grand Puba, Sadat X and Lord Jamar's debut is still unquestionably one of hip-hop's most important records. The trio's brand of pure righteous funk is still able to rock any party," said The Source in 1998. In late September, Passion of the Weiss went back through albums that received the coveted 5-mic review in The Source and had this to say about the LP, "Brand Nubian’s debut (One For All) was a phenomenal album. It took many of the loose threads left by the Last Poets, the Jungle Brothers, KRS-One, Rakim, Public Enemy, and many of the future cartoonish excesses (of B-boyism and 5 percentism) that would eventually be championed by Wu-Tang, Jeru The Damaja, or, uh, KRS-One, and threaded the needle. They are the rap equivalent of the Black Panthers Free Lunch Program, a marriage of high minded political philosophy and grounded civic duty that produces real, tangible results. The trio produced an album that flexed brain and bottom, freeing political diatribe from the throbbing production of the Mind Squad and grounding it in the everyday, making it danceable and cool. The production team of Brand Nubian themselves, Dante Ross and Dave Hall set the stage sonically for Q-Tip and Tribe. And The Source was quick to jump on it, declaring itself as a publication that highly valued Brand Nubian and The Native Tongues brand of scholarly, racially informed, politically aware lyricism that maintained its funk at all times." Circle back to it one time...

From the article "Duel of the Iron Mics" + OG cassette...