Wednesday, 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 self-produced album, The Allegory, streaming below...

Monday, 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. Check it out below...

Friday, February 21, 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 and learn what happened with The Horseman. Check out the dope interview down below. Props to Jason Gloss & the Take It Personal team.

Friday, February 21, 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 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!

Friday, 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. 

Tuesday, 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.

Monday, February 10, 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.

Sunday, 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...

Sunday, 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".