February 29, 2020

Guru "Gang Starr Mix Freestyles" (2005)

It's not all that noteworthy, but this is only my second leap year post (on this site). Back in 2016, I shared my brother One Be Lo's new album (at the time), The Original B.O.R.N. O.N.E.S., which is still a solid album, dig that up! This year? I was gonna do a post about Ja Rule, who celebrates his born day today, but I wasn't in the mood for that. So... I looked at my desktop screen, and on it was a file I'd downloaded from DJ Step One's website about Guru. Guru hosted a mix tape back in 2005 called The Official Gang Starr Mix CD, where he dropped a handful of exclusive freestyles. I owned that CD at the time and even included one of Guru's freestyles from it on my niche mixtape called FreeOfStyle in 2012. DJ Step One made one single MP3 out of all the individual freestyles on there, which I think is genius, and very much worth sharing/revisiting. Guru was a one-of-a-kind artist - his voice and the messages in his music were an integral part of my childhood. Click the tags, you'll see references time and again that Gang Starr is my favorite group of all-time, so it's no surprise DJ Premier and Guru pop up every couple of months on this site. I'm constantly revisiting the music and remembering memories where they were the soundtrack. Peep some tracks as elusive as 2/29...

February 28, 2020

Planet Asia x 38 Spesh "Trust The Chain" (Album Stream)

Planet Asia has recorded a number of albums with single producers (or production teams) throughout his prolific career. He has dropped classic material with DJ Muggs, Apollo Brown, Gensu Dean, DJ Concept, and of course his boys DirtyDiggs. However, according to King Medallions himself, his 38 Spesh-produced album "Trust The Chain" might be his best single-producer album yet. The pairing of PA’s funky linguistics and Spesh’s soul loops is a match made in Hip-Hop heaven. To further bolster the flavor on this fly affair, the LP also features Rasheed Chappell, The Musalini, Fred The Godson, and Elcamino. Planet Asia has definitely earned his spot in the sun... enjoy his new LP below.

February 27, 2020

UFO Fev & Statik Selektah "Fresh Air" (Album Stream)

East Harlem's own UFO Fev hooks up with the legendary DJ/Producer Statik Selektah for his latest release, “Fresh Air”. Entirely produced by Statik Selktah, “Fresh Air” combines smooth, soulful driven loops to which Statik is best known for. Accompanied by UFO Fev's slick verses, the listener can visualize the sharp wordplay provided by the NYCHA-raised emcee. In a time of repetition, “Fresh Air” is just that: Fresh Air! Don't let this one slip through the cracks, UFO Fev's projects have all been solid - dig back in the archives for the EPs produced by BackPack Beatz, too! Listen...

February 27, 2020

DJ Smooth Denali "Follow The Leader" (Mixtape)

Smooth Denali asks who's the greatest MC on this mixtape featuring Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, KRS-One, LL Cool J, Slick Rick and Kool G Rap. Smooth Denali runs through selected tracks from each of their catalogs, presenting some of his favorites from each MC and then leaves the decision up to the listener. Who do you got? As an MC, I'd take Rakim from this list ... but as an overall artist, I gotta take Big Daddy Kane, because his live show tips the scale. He's a tremendous performer! IMO. I'm not sure when DJ Smooth Denali released this particular mix, but luckily the music is timeless.

February 26, 2020

Royce Da 5'9 "The Allegory" (Album Stream)

Most known for his confident wordplay, revealing accounts of his life growing up in Detroit, overcoming addiction, and holding Rap peers accountable, Royce sits with Hip-Hop’s elite and continues to be one of raps most trusted brands. Through his hard work and dedication to his craft, Royce has built and maintained a cult following and the artistic pedigree of Ryan Montgomery has never been called into question. Instead, through recent releases, including Layers (2016), and Book Of Ryan (2018), Royce has been credited as a leader in the culture by making thought-provoking, thematic releases. The once self-proclaimed “best-kept secret” of Rap, this platinum-selling, list-topping MC continues to earn his accolades though his ability to release new music with an unmatched consistency. Enjoy Royce's Da 5'9's self-produced album, The Allegory, streaming below...

February 25, 2020

Elcamino x 38 Spesh "Martyrs Prayer" (Album Stream)

Elcamino is one of the most important talents emerging from Buffalo, New York currently, and yet he’s still treated as the stepchild of Griselda. As with Benny The Butcher before him, he’s been quietly playing the background until it’s his time. However, considering the momentum he built in 2019 and what he has planned for 2020, that time might be right now. After dropping his self-titled debut in early 2018, Camino appeared on almost every track on Benny’s "A Friend of Ours" EP the same year. He then followed that up with a strong sophomore effort titled "Walking On Water." In 2019 the Buffalo rapper dropped his third LP, "Don’t Eat The Fruit," the well-received "Lot and Abraham" EP, a joint project with Dutch beat architect Oh Jay titled "Where’s My Pyrex?," and finished the year strong with his "Elcamino 2" album. You would think that would be enough to start getting on the media’s radar, but as to not leave anything to chance, he's dropped yet another album titled "Martyrs Prayer." This latest offering is fully produced by 38 Spesh. Listen to it below...

February 24, 2020

Real Bad Man "On High Alert, Vol.1" (EP Stream)

Real Bad Man is a clothing brand based in Los Angeles…known for bold psychedelic graphics that "sample" imagery from the worlds of music, art and genre films. Now Real Bad Man is making music too, taking the same ethos of their clothing and bringing it to rap music with their release of ON HIGH ALERT, Real Bad Man’s first official release coming out through Tuff Kong Records in Italy. The five song vinyl album features a curated blend of new as well as iconic MC’s such as Roc Marciano, Kool Keith, Eto, Maxo, Masta Ace, Flee Lord, A.G., Pink Siifu, and Sadat X rapping over beats produced and arranged by REAL BAD MAN. The album is filled with the type of sample-heavy hard drum rap beats you’d want to hear your favorite MC’s to spit over. Listen to the EP below...

February 23, 2020

Take It Personal Podcast "Ras Kass Episode"

On Episode 58 of Take It Personal Radio, they continue with Part 2 of their Homage to Collabos special. They’re joined by one of the greatest lyricists to bless the mic, Ras Kass. They discuss collaborating with Xzibit, DJ Premier, Dr. Dre and Saafir. Additionally, they learn about his relationship with Coolio and the initial concerns with appearing on Chino XL’s "Riiot," as well as finding out 2Pac once requested 50 tickets to his show + learn what happened with The Horseman. Check out the dope interview down below. Props to Philaflava and the Take It Personal Radio team.

February 22, 2020

Phoniks "Time Goes By" (Instrumental Album)

Coming off the heels of being highlighted in a new Netflix documentary called "Underdogs," Don't Sleep Records artist and co-founder, Phoniks, is back at work releasing his new atmospheric instrumental tape titled "Time Goes By". Phoniks weaves foreign jazz loops, soundtracks and soul b-sides together with apocalyptic movie samples, DJ cuts and vinyl drums to form a cohesive 18-track album. Phoniks continues to evolve his sound, bringing more live instruments into the mix than on any of his previous projects. The album opens with jazz chords played off a midi keyboard, using sound design techniques to make them feel like they were sampled out of a dusty attic somewhere, before homogenizing with real vinyl loops as the beat drops. Despite the addition of more instruments, it's still the crate digging ability and ear for melodic jazz samples that drives the sound across the albums 41 minute runtime - via Bandcamp, stream it below. Don't Sleep! Cop the vinyl, too.

February 21, 2020

Audio Two "The Untold Story of Audio Two" (Teaser)

Audio Two consists of brothers Milk Dee and Gizmo. Milk Dee is widely known for his pitched, off-beat rhyme style, and his infatuation with milk. In his video for "I Don't Care," he is seen riding around Brooklyn in a milk truck drinking milk, which helped promote his image. In 1987, Audio Two dropped their classic single "Top Billin" which helped change the Hip Hop landscape. "Top Billin" has been sampled over 300 times! Audio Two and their sister, MC Lyte, were signed to the First Priority Records label, of which their father was president. Now, it appears there is a documentary in the works telling The Untold Story of Audio Two. It's just a teaser at this point, but check out the video below - directed and produced by James Kraze Billings for King of Content Productions. 

February 20, 2020

Thorough "King Articulate" (Album Stream)

Queens MC Thorough returns with another standout project titled King Articulate. His last project Cassette Tape Malfunction was one of the more slept-on projects of 2019 - and Thorough Rhymes & Crazy Beats before that - but it was certainly well-received by readers of this site. King Articulate is an 11-track project with solid production handled by long-time collaborator CrazyBeatsP, as well as DJ Proof, the OG Pete Rock, as well as features from Illa Ghee, Sadat X and more. As an artist that appears to release music independently, I am surprised he doesn't utilize Bandcamp's platform in addition to the other streaming sites, but I'm sure he has his reasons. Listen via Spotify below and keep an eye on him, he's gonna continue to bubble up in the underground.

February 19, 2020

EL Maryacho "That's Soul 2" (Beat Tape)

That's Soul 2 is the latest beat tape from Swiss producer EL Maryacho. The 10 instrumentals released on the project boast just what the title suggests... pure soulful, boombap hip-hop. EL Maryacho has produced for Planet Asia, Edo G, Estee Nack, Pace Won, Recognize Ali and more... keep an eye out for more, and as always, dig into the archives for past releases! Listen to it below...

February 18, 2020

Mick Boogie "Pretox" (Mixtape, 2005)

Fans are still anticipating Dr. Dre's Detox album in all its glory. It's been roughly two decades since 2001 was released and Dre has shelved more albums than he's released. At least we have this mix from Mick Boogie to look back on: the Pretox features alternate versions, remixes, and featured production from Dre alongside artists like Snoop, Daz, Lady of Rage, Ice Cube, Truth Hurts, Rakim, Nature, Nate Dogg, Kurupt, B-Real and more. The Pretox mixtape was originally released in 2005, revisit it below... and don't hold your breath for Detox  any time soon. Happy Born Day, Dr. Dre!

February 17, 2020

Che Noir "Juno" (Album Stream)

Within a few short years Buffalo's Che Noir has established herself as queen of Upstate NY, and one of the top MCs in underground Hip-Hop, as well. Last year's "Thrill of the Hunt 2" won over the critics, and silenced the haters all in short order. To start 2020 off right Che is back with "Juno," an exceptional body of work which continues the Roman mythology motif she developed on "Thrill of the Hunt 1 & 2." Juno features Lil' Eto, Planet Asia, Ransom, Jai Black, Street Justice and Klass Murda. I'm anticipating some notable producers will be recruiting Che Noir for collaborative albums soon, too. I'm here for it! In the meantime, check out Che Noir's new album, Juno, streaming below...

February 16, 2020

Benny The Butcher & J Dilla "Butcherin' Donuts" (Mixtape)

In 2020, one of the most exciting MCs of late is Benny The Butcher. One-third of the Griselda group, the Buffalo, New Yorker goes full speed ahead at being one of most prolific high-quality feature MCs in quite some time. Out of relative obscurity over years in the game, Benny is among the best in the business, now in his mid-thirties. Benny’s career was molded in the streets of Buffalo at the same time Dilla was lacing Common, Q-Tip, and working with his Stones Throw Records family. The Butcher never got a batch of donuts from the Detroit, Michigan producer. However, the Altered Crates crew continue their penchant for surgical mash-ups with Butcherin’ Donuts. The nine-track effort fuses Dilla beats with Benny raps, including guest shots from Black Thought, Westside Gunn, Styles P, Conway The Machine, and 38 Spesh. As always, Altered Crates looks far and wide for sources that fit together nicely. The 9 songs show the range in both artists. - AFH

February 15, 2020

Mach-Hommy "Saturday Night Lights, Vol.1-2" (EP Stream)

Mach-Hommy has adopted the unlikely art of camouflage to disrupt the so-called rap game. Residing somewhere between the snares, kicks and the syncopated regions is a space-time continuum stretched to the whim of what can be considered, at face value, street poetry. But the value increases when the face isn’t revealed. Saturday Night Lights Vol. 1 & 2 is a priceless collection that finds Mach weaving reinforced rhymes, like a designer Kevlar, with frequent co-conspirator Tha God Fahim. Together they create a sophisticated texture, a palpable wisdom, there is a mystical God MC energy here. Like all of Mach’s work, SNL will only be released in limited physical quantities and may disappear without warning. Listen to this Nature Sounds release below...

February 14, 2020

Dirty Harry "Dirty Luv" (Mixtape, 1996)

Originally released in 1996, this is the first installment of Dirty Harry's classic mix tape series, Dirty Luv. The tape is hosted by Angie Martinez, but the music really does all the talking. As it's Valentine's Day, and I probably should've shared this years ago, pop this in with your significant other and let it rock. The mix includes tracks from Jodeci, Teddy Pendergrass, Prince, Force MD's, Guy, Bobby Brown, Stacy Lattisaw, Michel'Le, Sukiyaki, Johnny Gill, Silk, SWV, Chaka Khan, Denise Williams, Rick James, Isaac Hayes, Bill Withers, Frankie Beverly, Mary Jane Girls, Michael Jackson, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, Cameo, Al B. Sure, Keith Sweat, D'Angelo, Mtume, The Isley Brothers, Johnny Guitar Watson, and lots more. Be clear: this is not a tape to listen to alone! Timeless music!

February 13, 2020

2Pac "All Eyez On Me" (February 13, 1996)

On October 11, 1995, Tupac Shakur was sprung from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York... He started recording almost immediately and four months later, on February 13, 1996, Death Row unleashed Tupac’s fourth solo album, All Eyez On Me... The music Tupac Shakur recorded is among the most personal in Hip Hop history... Tupac’s chaotic personal life had a symbiotic but ultimately self-destructive relationship with his music... Euthanasia was the initial title for Tupac’s Death Row debut until it was wisely changed to All Eyez On Me during the recording process... As he explained to MTV’s Bill Bellamy in December 1995, “It’s called All Eyez On Me. That’s how I feel it is. I got the police watching me, the Feds. I got the females that want to charge me with false charges and sue me and all that. I got the females that like me. I got the jealous homeboys and I got the homies that roll with me. Everybody’s looking to see what I’mma do now so All Eyez On Me.” The album was originally intended for a Christmas release but was pushed back as Tupac continued to record and shoot videos for the album’s singles... Both Tupac’s incarceration and release from prison profoundly affected All Eyez On Me. His strenuous work ethic became even more tireless while he was signed to Death Row. A major reason why is because of Tupac’s legal status. He was on bail pending the appeal of his sex abuse conviction and Tupac knew he would probably have to return to prison if his appeal was denied... Recent events in Tupac’s life outside the prison system also weighed heavily on his mind during the All Eyez On Me sessions. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds during a botched robbery at Quad Studios in NY on the eve of his sex abuse conviction. His morbid premonitions felt realer than ever to him at Death Row and he wanted to make sure there was a vault of recordings “in the event of [his] demise.” Revisit the LP below and continue reading...

All Eyez On Me is a larger than life and highly polished commercial album... It is a 27 track strategy for a takeover of the rap music game... His April 1995 Vibe magazine prison interview detailing the shooting at Quad Studios ruffled feathers in New York and Suge’s friend Jake Robles was murdered in Atlanta in September 1995, allegedly by a bodyguard of Bad Boy Records CEO Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Tupac felt betrayed by Combs and The Notorious B.I.G. for their words and actions following Quad Studios and his anger is palpable on All Eyez On Me... The songs of All Eyez On Me combine into one of the most complete displays of Tupac’s lyrical and storytelling gifts... The first disc alone is one of Tupac’s greatest achievements but he did not stop there. The deeper cuts for Tupac’s more devoted fans fill out the second disc. That is where hardcore listeners most feel the love he had for his Northern California roots and can appreciate the least discussed tracks of this seminal album... The album is exceptional in every way a Hip Hop album can be measured and Tupac worked his ass off to help ensure its place in history. - DX (Full article: "Celebrating 2Pac's Magnum Opus.")

February 12, 2020

V Don "Black Mass" (Album Stream)

V Don is back with a brand new full-length entitled "Black Mass”, a project showcasing his work behind the boards. The Harlem-based producer has previously crafted beats for artists such as Westside Gunn, A$AP Rocky, Styles P and Trae Tha Truth. V Don’s new release is comprised of 12 tracks and features many of his frequent collaborators, such as Adonis, Dark Lo, Rigz, Smoke DZA, Eto, Sauce Heist, Dave East, Elcamino, Willie The Kid, and more! Dig into V Don's Black Mass below...

February 11, 2020

Ghostface "Supreme Clientele" (20th Ann. Mix by Filthy Rich)

20th Anniversary tribute mixtape of Ghostface's 'Supreme Clientele' by DJ Filthy Rich, featuring OG samples, flips, blends, rarities and b-sides. Filthy Rich says, "At the time, I didn't think Ghost would be able to top 'Ironman', especially during the year 2000, when a lot of the albums coming out were watered-down trash. Not only did he manage to beat the sophomore jinx and deliver his best LP, he gave us a Top 5 album from the whole Wu discography. 'Supreme Clientele' featured Ghost at his lyrical pinnacle, flowin' over bangers from RZA, Mathematics, Juju (The Beatnuts), Hass-G (UMC's), Carlos Broady, and even his barber Black Moes-Art. As I usually do on my tribute mixes, I included the original songs, and this is one of the strongest collections of soul/funk samples that I've ever seen on an LP. Just lookin at that album cover with Ghost holdin the old-school mic like he was the 5th member of the Chi-Lites... you just KNEW he was coming with the ill soul samples. Everything from The Dramatics to Gladys Knight to Baby Huey to Lyn Collins... all ingredients that went into making this opus. Happy 20th to Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele." Listen to the mix below. Unfortunately the audio was taken down, so until it's reposted, listen to Ghostface's album below...

February 10, 2020

DJ Matman "Jay Dee The MC" (Mixtape, 2016)

Jay Dee The MC is Dilla's greatest verses mixed by DJ Matman. Much has been said about J Dilla aka Jay Dee's incredible production skills, and as one of hip hop's G.O.A.T.s in that field, his talent as an MC has often been overlooked as a result. The innate sense of rhythm that is so evident in his music also shines brightly in his vocal performances, and while his lyrical content was often limited to a fairly narrow range of topics, his cutting delivery, flow and musical nuance made him a beast on the mic. This mix focuses on some (but far from all) of DJ Matman's favorite Jay Dee verses: both well-known and obscure, cut up and mixed in his usual style and featuring interview snippets from the "J Dilla: Still Shining" documentary. J Dilla passed away on this day in 2006. RIP. Matman's mix was originally released a few years ago, but dig into it below, and continue to celebrate Dilla Month.

February 09, 2020

Beat Factory "Rap Essentials" (Elements, Winter 1996)

"Rap Essentials Volume 1 is the first Hip Hop compilation consisting of Canadian artists ranging from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal." The compilation features Rascalz, Concrete Mob, Down To Erf, Kardinal Offishal, Black-I, Wio-K, Red Life, Dan-E-O, Scales Empire, Choclair, Citizen Kane and Ghetto Concept. While I enjoyed the second volume in the Rap Essentials series just as much, this was certainly a ground-breaking project in support of Canadian Hip-Hop. These compilations would go on to support Infinite, Tara Chase, Madlocks, Michie Mee, Marvel, Sic Sense, Crooks Of Da Round Table and lots more as well. I definitely point to Tara Chase as the stand-out artist from these compilations - the joint "Autonomy" (produced by Saukrates) still goes, as does her separate release, "Northside," produced by Merciless. It's dope that Elements Magazine covered the project as a Canadian publication, but interesting that they knocked some songs for lack of originality and sounding "WAY too New York influenced." In total, however, they praise the project and "the whole staff at Beat Factory for finally actually doin' something for Canadian Hip Hop music as opposed to all talk and no action by too many other people in the past or half ass lop sided projects no one ever heard about. Buy it. Do not front." These days Toronto (Canada as a whole) has a strong(er) presence in mainstream music, but it's always had raw talent in the underground. No screwface. Oh! and, Jay Swing and Flipout - editors of ‘Elements Magazine’, CiTR’s Hip Hop publication that lasted for 8 issues in 1995/1996 - are putting out a coffee table book to celebrate the mag's 25th anniversary! When I have more information on that, I will certainly put you on to it. Salute to them.

Check out the full review in Elements, Winter 1996...

February 09, 2020

Navy Blue "Àdá Irin" (Album Stream)

Àdá Irin is the debut album by Navy Blue (Sage Elsesser). The title is a Yoruba term for an iron hooked knife or cutlass, sacred to the Spirit of Iron (Ògún). Navy Blue announced the album on Twitter hours before its release and dedicated Àdá Irin to his grandfather, Madison T. Shockley. Navy Blue, better known as Sage Elsesser, is a rapper, skateboarder, and occasional producer for the likes of NYC underground acts like Cities Aviv, the DUMP GAWD unit and sLUms collective. Dig into Navy Blue's 11-track offering below, which I find deeply personal + it has a lot of replay value...

February 08, 2020

Prodigy "Rewind: The Tape Deck 2010-2019" (Mixtape, 2019)

Rest In Peace, Prodigy ... still in our memories. A few months back, Hip-Hop Is Read put together this compilation mix in tribute of Prodigy's contributions between 2010-2019. To close out the decade, we look back all these records and verses from Prodigy; tracks that also feature The Alchemist, Roc Marciano, Mobb Deep, Nas, Durag Dynasty, Slim The Mobster, Mac Miller, Vado, 50 Cent, Styles P, M.O.P., Statik Selektah, Your Old Droog, and more. Artwork by Weird Art Society and John Bernhardt. Props to HHIR, holding it down since 2007. Dig into their fresh Prodigy mix below...

February 07, 2020

J Dilla "Next" Feature in Vibe Magazine (June/July, 1996)

"I met Tip backstage at Lollapalooza in '94," says the humble Detroit native. "I had a group that John Salley was managing -- so I gave Tip a tape, and the same day he called back. He was, like, 'Yo, who did these beats?' After that, shit just took off." Q-Tip hooked Jay Dee up with the Pharcyde, and Jay ended up producing the hit singles "Runnin'" and "Drop" for Labcabincalifornia. Then he created some of the best moments on Busta Rhymes's recent The Coming. With a strong ear for vibrant jazz melodies, Jay Dee's work slips snugly into the low-end-y creative slot vacated in the wake of Tribe's 1993 Midnight Marauders. Fittingly, Jay Dee, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad recently formed a production alliance called the Ummah (Arabic for "brotherhood"), and they share track duties on Tribe's forthcoming Beats, Rhymes and Life. "We had a brotherhood from when we picked up," Jay Dee explains in an easy midwestern drawl. He has reached quite an esteemed place -- especially for a self-described nerd who once aspired to be an Air Force pilot. Today, Jay Dee is charting the trajectory of his rising career. Plans include securing a deal for his Motor City crew, Slum Village (for which he produces and rhymes) as well as imminent collaborations with De La Soul, Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s Lil Kim, Common, and Pete Rock. But while getting such props can make living up to your rep difficult, Jay Dee doesn't think so. "I'm steppin' back and lookin' at everything," he says evenly. "I'm tryin' to stay on some new shit. 'Cause people fall off every day." He pauses, "And I ain't the one." - Next, Vibe Magazine (June/July, 1996). Always loved Jay Dee's energy. R.I.P. J Dilla.

February 06, 2020

50 Cent "Get Rich or Die Tryin" (2/6/03)

Get Rich or Die Tryin' is the debut studio album by 50 Cent. It was released February 6, 2003, by Shady Records, Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope Records and Universal Music Group. Its initially planned released was pushed 7 days ahead due to heavy bootlegging and internet leakage. The album was produced by Dr. Dre and Eminem, and featured guest appearances from Eminem, Nate Dogg, Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo. The album debuted and peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling over 872,000 copies in its 1st week. It generated over 5 singles, including the #1 hits "In da Club" and "21 Questions", and the international hit "P.I.M.P." By 2016, Get Rich or Die Tryin' sold 8.4 million copies in the United States and is certified 6x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Upon its release, the album received favorable reviews from most music critics and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap album, losing to OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below at the 46th Grammy Awards. It ranked #37 on Rolling Stone's list of best albums of the 2000s (for what that's worth). Very few artists have lived up to their hype on a debut album like 50 did on Get Rich. The hit singles carried the album to its success, but "What Up Gangsta" and "Many Men (Wish Death)" still hold the most replay for me in 2020. Revisit it below...

Some extra promo items from Get Rich or Die Tryin' in 2003...

February 05, 2020

Andre 3000 "Rewind: The Tape Deck 2010-2019" (Mixtape, 2019)

Since 2007, Hip-Hop Is Read has curated numerous compilations and mixes with artists' music, samples and so-forth. End of last year, they released a handful of decade wrap-ups including Nas, Your Old Droog, Prodigy; and this one is Andre 3000 of OutKast. One of the nicest and most innovative artists in our culture, it's nice to Rewind the Tape Deck with this mix of tracks from 2010-2019. You'll hear tracks with Beyonce, GoldLink, Future, Ciara, Ludacris, T.I., Chris Brown, Drake, Kanye West, Fabolous, Rick Ross, Lloyd, Lil Wayne, James Blake, Gorillaz, Ke$ha, B.o.B., Young Jeezy, Frank Ocean, Anderson .Paak, Big Boi and more. I'll be honest, many of these songs cross too far over, but I still respect his ingenuity and what he brings to every track he touches. Dig into it...

February 04, 2020

Happy Born Day, Cam'ron! (Playlist)

Before Cameron Giles became Cam'ron the rapper, he made a name for himself on the basketball courts. After high school, Cam was offered scholarships from everywhere including North Carolina, Syracuse, Duke, Florida and Southern California. Unfortunately, his academics prevented him from attending a Division 1 program and he enrolled himself into a small college in Texas. Unsatisfied, Cam soon found himself back in his old famed Harlem neighborhood, hustling on the streets. Then he turned to the microphone and dropped freestyles on some of New York's legendary mix tapes with his fellow Manhattan Center High School basketball teammate, Mase. Along with Bloodshed (who later passed away), "Killa Cam" and "Murder Mase" (as they were known back then) formed Children Of The Corn. Then destiny ran its course: Mase introduced Cam to the late Notorious B.I.G.: Cam rhymed for B.I.G.; B.I.G. called his partner Lance "Un" Rivera; Un signed Cam. The rest is history. Celebrating his Born Day today, I put together a quick playlist of tracks that run through Cam's catalog and showcase some of my personal favorites. From solo work to feature verses and songs with the Dipset/Diplomats family and even Children Of The Corn, I pulled from all of it. Cam is an extremely witty and colorful artist with an effortless flow, and hopefully this playlist shows his true range as an artist. Following in the footsteps of Dame Dash, he's also one of the most savvy business-artists. Anyhow, much respect to Killa Cam, dig into the playlist below and Happy Born Day!

February 03, 2020

Supastition "Man vs. Machine" (Video)

In the Man Vs Machine music production series, MC/producer Supastition walks you through his personal process of crafting music. On each episode, Supa will create a beat on the spot using the Maschine - along with other software/hardware - and then write and record a verse to the beat. One man controlling and recording every single part of the process! [Disclaimer: This is not a beatmaking tutorial]. As an MC, North Carolina-native Supastition has been recording music for over 20 years alongside the likes of KRS One, Royce da 5'9, Little Brother, RZA, and many others. As a producer, Supa started production on his debut album (7 Years of Bad Luck) in 2002 but temporarily stopped producing while working with the likes of Jake One, !llmind, M-phazes, Symbolyc One, Stoupe, Apollo Brown, Nottz, and more. Much respect to Supa sharing his process - watch below...

February 03, 2020

Juicy The Emissary "Timber!" (Instrumental Album)

The follow up to Juicy The Emissary’s fantastic 2017 SCM debut isn’t truly a follow up. The A-side of 2019’s “Timber” was found by SCM head House Shoes in 2016 while digging around on SoundCloud. ‘Shoes hit Juicy and let him know he was interested in releasing it on Street Corner Music, he just needed him to give him the B-side tracks. Juicy said he would oblige, but told ‘Shoes he had just finished another project and would sent that thru as well. That project would turn out to be ‘Attention Kmart Choppers’, one of the illest beat tapes ever in the medium. Juicy dissected a vault of Kmart’s musical library that would be played in-store while customers shopped in the 1980’s. He eventually completed the B-side that ‘Shoes needed to complete the album that initially garnered his interest in Juicy. And here it is. Timber. Chop Chop. Also available on LP via Fat Beats.

February 02, 2020

Natural Elements "1999" (20 Year Ann. Mix by DJ Eagle)

Natural Elements acquired a record deal with Tommy Boy Records in 1998, the same year they released their first single "2 Tons/Live It Up" under their indie division called Tommy Boy Black Label. The situation would soon turn out not to be ideal as Tommy Boy continually shelved their debut album due to not knowing how to market and promote them. Issues between the group and label would soon lead to Natural Elements leaving Tommy Boy. The debut album was ultimately never released in spite of the hype it accumulated. The group eventually took a small hiatus and disbanded due to personal issues. Kings Link Recordz released a compilation of tracks from those sessions in 2009 on CD only but this time around HHE will commemorate the legacy of Natural Elements by dropping it both on vinyl and CD. All the tracks have been fully mastered for both vinyl and CD as always and the artwork has been redone in the colours of the NY Knicks to represent their hometown to the fullest. The tracklist has been mildly redone, with a shuffled tracklist and the classic previously unreleased "Life Ain't Fair" track was added to the tracklist instead of "MTV". 

February 01, 2020

NahRight Presents "Griselda Megamix" (Mixtape, 2017)

Three years ago, Nah Right's Stan Ipcus released over an hour of bangers in this “Griselda Megamix.” The megamix includes original tracks and freestyles with Griselda Records artists Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher, as well as features from Your Old Droog, Prodigy, Sadat X, Action Bronson, and production by Daringer, The Alchemist, Roc Marciano, Green Lantern, Big Ghost Ltd, Statik Selektah, Apollo Brown, Nicholas Craven and more. Dig into it...