March 31, 2020

Nipsey Hussle x DJ Premier "The Premier Hussle" (Mixtape)

Several thousand people showed up to the Staples Center to honor the memory of Nipsey Hussle after his tragic death 1 year ago. He was shot and killed right outside the very clothing store that he owned and operated, but as an artist and community activist, Nipsey Hussle created a legacy that will be felt for generations of people who were inspired by his message of ownership, independence and persistence in the face of adversity. It's important to celebrate those we love while they're here, but it's also important to remember and honor their memory in absence, too. This project by Altered Crates was released 11 months ago, mixing Nipsey Hussle vocals and DJ Premier's beats - you may enjoy it and it'll give a chance to hear his voice in a unique way. R.I.P., Nipsey Hussle.

March 30, 2020

J.Period Presents "The Abstract Lost Tapes" (Q-Tip Mix)

This is Volume 2 of J.Period's (Abstract) Best series, dedicated to the legendary Queens MC and producer, Q-Tip. The mix features an ill freestyle by Black Thought over Tribe's Steve Biko, as well as the unreleased Q-Tip for President, Renaissance Rap with Busta, Raekwon and Lil Wayne, as well as a bunch of remixes, exclusives and more with Zion I, De La Soul, The Roots, Nas, Slum Village and a lot more. Much respect to Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest and Rest in Peace, Phife Dawg. Dig into it...

March 29, 2020

El Gant "Gantiago" (EP Stream)

Gantiago is a 4-track offering from the Jamo Gang-lyricist, El Gant. The New York representative says this is his first solo release 2016! It hits hard with production from Rob Viktum, J57, Motif Alumni and J Blanc, as well as features from Ras Kass, DJ Ready Cee, Jonny Vulgar, Turk and Georgette. Known in the NYC underground as one of the best spitters, his profile has been raised with group work and a lot on mixshows like DJ Premier's Live From Headqcourterz and DJ Eclipse's Rap Is Outta Control. El Gant says the Gantiago "will only be available for a limited time!" Listen...

March 28, 2020

ODB "Unique: 'Return to The 36 Chambers" (Documentary)

Amazon Music celebrates the 25th anniversary of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s landmark debut solo album with "Unique: 'Return to The 36 Chambers: 25 Years Later". Released March 28th, 1995 this documentary traces Ol Dirty Bastard’s rise from unsigned hype to household name, exploring key moments in the rapper’s life and the music that defined his debut solo record - from ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ to ‘Brooklyn Zoo.’ Unique features freestyles and never-before-seen footage of the artist born Russell Jones, whose iconic and zany rhyming style catapulted him into the mainstream. The documentary also features interviews from Wu members Raekwon, RZA, and appearances from ODB’s widow, Icelene Jones, Barson Unique Jones (also known as the Young Dirty Bastard), Bobbito Garcia, and more, like Dante Ross, who has some great insight on the album and hip-hop history as a whole: i.e. ODB pissing on LL Cool J's plaque at Chung King studios, which is a story that won't make this documentary but is incredible, lol. A key takeaway is RZA sharing that Shimmy Shimmy Ya "was basically done in my bedroom that in daytime it was a studio, at nighttime I would roll this mat on the floor and me and my family would sleep on the floor. So it’s ironic. It was the last poverty recording.” Amazing! Celebrate the life of Ol' Dirty Bastard and watch the documentary below. 

R.I.P. Russell Tyrone Jones aka Ol' Dirty Bastard.

March 28, 2020

Big L "Lifestylez Ov Door Poor & Dangerous" (Press Kit)

Big L Columbia Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous Publicity Photo Press Kit Hip-Hop Nostalgia

Here's the text from the original press kit that was sent out in advance of Big L's 'Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous,' which turned 25 today: "1994 will go down in hip-hop history as the year the East Coast returned to reclaim its spot in the rap world. And with the emergence and success of Staten Island’s Wu-Tang Clan, Brooklyn’s Notorious Big, and Queens’ Nas, the foundation has now been set for the 1995 debut from an uncompromising MC from New York’s forgotten rap borough. Representing Manhattan, or more specifically, 139 Lenox, Harlem U.S.A., is 19-year old Big L; a lyrical terrorist whose debut is sure to put him in the same class as this next school of dope MC’s. But, this type of recognition and acceptance was hard to earn and didn’t come easy to Big L. Dropping undeniably dope verses on Lord Finesse’s ‘Yes You May’ remix as well as on Showbiz & AG’s ‘Represent’ (his first appearances on wax) gained him mad props from thousands of underground hip hop fans but it didn’t necessarily help him gain his own record deal as quickly as he anticipated. ‘A lot of labels didn’t want to sign me at first,’ Big L recalls. ‘I was about ready to give up cause I was like ‘damn, I don’t understand.’ I knew I was better than 99% of the rappers that are signed.’ Big L feels the reason for his initial inability to land a recording contract didn’t have anything to do with lyrical skills or talent but was the result of his lack of an image or gimmick that could be sold to the public. Big L is nothing but a pure MC. A master of ceremonies. The essence of what hip hop was built on.” Also, see my post for the Mr. MVP EP and Rest in Peace, Big L. Additionally, "Just The Facts" is below... (Reposted 3/28/2020, the 25th Anniversary of Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous).

Big L Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous Hip-Hop Nostalgia

March 27, 2020

Fifth Element Closes Its Doors (A Letter From RSE)

"Fifth Element has been a fixture in Minneapolis since it first opened in 1999, but it's also proven to be a destination for Hip Hop fans worldwide. Countless memories have been made in that time and space, while serving our local community as well as traveling visitors and artists alike, and we are thankful for all the love and support you've given us in return over the last 20+ years. Rhymesayers and Fifth Element have always sought to continue building upon our foundation while seeking to grow and evolve with these ever-changing times. Last year, while discussing our next steps for 2020 and the coming decade, we began developing some creative new strategies to better serve the needs of our artists and our community, and we're excited to begin this work. With that outlook in mind, and with respect for recent events requiring temporary closure, we've chosen to permanently close our Uptown Minneapolis retail store. As of April 1st, will transition to, which will continue to be the official source for all things Rhymesayers Entertainment. Please continue to support independent artists and businesses as best you can in these challenging times. Stay safe and stay tuned for more new and exciting chapters in our story, for 2020 and beyond. Much love, Fifth Element & Rhymesayers Entertainment." // Thank RSE for all they've done and continue to do for the culture! Please keep supporting RSE and all their artists!

March 26, 2020

Brad "Scarface" Jordan (Greatest Rapper Of All-Time?)

With news of Brad "Scarface" Jordan testing positive for the coronavirus, it's important we lift him up in prayer, continue to give him his flowers while he can smell them and recognize him as potentially one of the greatest of all-time. To do so, let's look back on my brother Justin Hunte aka The Company Man's #TBDShow discussing Face: "Let’s do the math. 7 group albums since 1988 as part of the Geto Boys. One platinum (We Can’t Be Stopped). Two Gold. (Till Death Do Us Part & The Resurrection). 11 solo albums since 1991’s Mr. Scarface Is Back. 3 Platinum (The Diary, The Untouchable & My Homies). 4 Gold. At least 3 certified classics. The Geto Boys Grip It On Another Level received 5 Mics in The Source. The Fix received 5 mics in The Source. The Diary received a perfect score in The Source and XXL. Mr. Scarface Is Back is absolutely in a classic conversation. Super pioneering piece of work. We’ll get back to that. Face was honored by BET with the I AM Hip Hop Award in 2015. He won best lyricist of 2001 at The Source Awards, beating out Jay-Z, Eminem, Prodigy, and Talib Kweli. That’s a diverse ass class. 29 years. Incredible productivity. Commercial impact. Spilling critical acclaim. That combination helps put into context why Scarface is consistently considered your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. Every region is littered with emcees that revere the legendary Brad Jordan. Scarface may be the greatest rapper of all time." Get well, Brad!

March 26, 2020

DJ Blend Daddy "Eazy E: Coming Str8 Outta Compton" (Mix, 2015)

One of the more popular items on this site (so says Google) is my Eazy-E post where I shared the pamphlet that was handed out at Eazy E's funeral. I think Vlad or someone snatched and shared it, triggering the algorithms and what-not. Since, I haven't posted much about Eric "Eazy-E" Wright and shame on me. With the success of Straight Outta Compton and one of the more storied careers in hip-hop as a solo artist and a founding member of N.W.A. / Ruthless Records, we need to look back on his music and career more often. As Ben Westhoff says, "He's remembered by some as a footnote rather than a hip-hop colossus who changed everything." We all need to do better in that regard. Enter DJ Blend Daddy who released "Eazy E: Comin' Str8 Outta Compton" as mixtape in 2015. Running through solo records and N.W.A. tracks with live cuts, unique transitions and subtle blends, DJ Blend Daddy creates an album experience that runs through Eazy-E's catalog and helps us all set the record straight. There are over 30 tracks on the mix below, dig in and enjoy! R.I.P., Eazy-E.

March 25, 2020

Lyric Jones "Acquired Taste" (Maxi-Single)

Lyric Jones drops off a 3-track maxi-single entitled Acquired Taste. With all 3 tracks produced by Giallo Point, it also includes the 3 instrumentals. Giallo Point's minimalist production provides a nice backdrop for Lyric's slow flow and introspective rhymes to shine on the tracks. A nice feature from Skyzoo on "Purple Hwy" helps make it a solid release to bless mixshow DJs and feed the fans some honest-to-goodness music. I trust Jonesy has some visuals on the way, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, Lyric is good peoples... support her new project below! I miss maxi-singles, too lol

March 24, 2020

Jaguar Skills "Hip-Hop Time Bomb: 1990" (Mix)

Here goes a throwback mix of gems from 1990 from DJ/Producer Jaguar Skills. In his words, "details of his real name, age and home town are left largely unconfirmed," but what is clear is his selection of dope tracks for this 90s mixtape. You will hear tracks from LL Cool J, Digital Underground, Boogie Down Productions, EPMD, K-Solo, Ice Cube, Gang Starr, Eric B. & Rakim, Chubb Rock, N.W.A., and more mixed with original samples, breaks and skits in between. A fine mix, click play below...

March 23, 2020

Phife Dawg "The Don Juice Files" (Mix)

The Hip-Hop community lost our beloved brother Phife Dawg 4 years ago yesterday (3/22/20). In honor of his memory, here is a sophomore album that never was - The Don Juice Files - it contains a sequence of some of the best solo material Phife released outside of his lone solo album in 2000 (Ventilation: Da LP), compiled by DJ Leroy Rey. Call it a round-up of loosies, a few rarities and some forgotten gems. Much love to Q-Tip, Jarobi and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest. Rest In Peace, Malik Izaak Taylor aka Phife Dawg (November 20, 1970 - March 22, 2016). Listen...

March 22, 2020

EL Maryacho & Nowaah The Flood "Harbingers of Death" (EP)

Swiss producer EL Maryacho and Dallas, TX emcee Nowaah The Flood have collaborated on a new EP entitled Harbingers of Death. The 8-track effort is only 16 minutes - including skits - but packs a nice punch with Nowaah The Flood's slick flow over EL Maryacho's sampled loops. Dig into the archives for a couple beats tapes and a past release from EL Maryacho. Give the EP a listen below...

March 21, 2020

Happy Born Day, DJ Premier: Royalty!

Happy Born Day to true hip-hop royalty - the Greatest Of All-Time - DJ Premier! You can't find a more talented, more respectful and more principled man in this whole entire industry. A true giant in the culture and a towering exception to the rule that you should never meet your heroes. May he continue to rep the best of the culture and live a long, happy life. We love you, Preem! Salute OG. "Y’all mothaf#ckas really don’t know what this hip hop is all about... So while you keep on faking the funk, we gonna keep on walkin' through the darkness, carryin' our torches. Underground will live forever, baby! … And on that note, let's get back to the program…" Gang Starr, one of the best yet!

"Wherever I go, I want to take nothin' less than the best
Whatever I choose, I choose to do
I have to stand out from all the rest"

Update: Much respect and thanks to Preemo for sharing his 54th Birthday with us last night on IG Live. He blew out the candles on his cake and did an exclusive set with HOURS of dope music. He shared some exclusive joints like a remix for Madonna, an unreleased track he produced for KRS, dub tracks for Jeru The Damaja and all around just his funky selections of breaks, production, classics and more. During this pandemic, it lightened the mood and brought together a culture of hip-hop heads. Props to Apathy, Statik Selektah, Dstroy of the Arsonists, Swizz Beatz, Raekwon, LL Cool J, Posdnuos, Fat Joe, Just Blaze, 9th Wonder and so many others that were in the chat showing love to the legend. It felt like 1994 in there last night, a memory I won't forget. Royalty! 

March 20, 2020

A Tribe Called Quest "The Anthology" (Promo Mixtape, 1999)

In 1999, this mixtape was a promotional (cassette) release for A Tribe Called Quest's "The Anthology" compilation. It was mixed by DJ Noise and features a solid intro, as well as cuts like "Steve Biko," "Push It Along," "1nce Again," "Foot Prints," "Buggin' Out," "Mind Power," "The Chase (Part 2)," "Oh My God," "Busta's Lament" and "The Pressure." I think we can all agree that during these difficult times, we look back on better days and surely A Tribe Called Quest's music was the soundtrack to many of them (at least it was for me!). With that said, dig into this short mix below, and Rest In Peace, Phife!

If you want the full artwork, the back cover art is available below.

March 19, 2020

Adagio! "New York To Philly" (Album Stream)

Next up on "90's Tapes" is another grail from the Eastcoast, this time they are more than excited to present the first ever anthology of Adagio!'s classic cuts from the golden era. Adagio! (pronounced "A-dee-gee-o") stands for "A Definition of Ambition, Goals, Interest and Organization!". The Juggaknots-affiliated New York and Philadelphia based underground hip-hop duo consisting of Rayme Supreme (Raymond Fogle) and Big Cousin also known as The Obvious Wonder (Brian Pritchett aka Carta' P.) had a few 12" releases from 1996 that still appear on many wantlists. These are definitely some mid-90s underground bangers, check them out on all formats. - via Bandcamp

March 18, 2020

Torae "100% Torae" (Mix by DJ Stickmand)

This is Brooklyn Radio's DJ Stickmand paying tribute to Coney Island's own, Torae. 100% Torae features nearly 30 joints from Tor's 10+ year catalog. Torae is the true concept of a ‘renaissance man’ -- rapper, radio personality, host, entrepreneur, actor and more. Taking on a fast-food job in his teenage years to cover studio costs, Torae’s investment in his music career paid off in 2007 when he dropped his breakthrough mixtape Daily Conversation. That release led to him going on his first tour the same year and set up his collaborative studio album debut Double Barrel, with producer Marco Polo on Duck Down Records in 2009. Shortly after he released his solo debut album For The Record and his follow-up sophomore LP Entitled. Torae has since released a collaborative EP with Praise entitled "All Praises Due" in 2018, which I highly recommend. Torae is celebrating his Born Day today, so give him a shout-out and listen to DJ Stickmand's 100% Torae mix below...

March 17, 2020

Raekwon x Ghostface Killah "Built To Last" (Mix)

The 'Built To Last' Radio Show is hosted by Corrado and I Joe, each Thursday from 8-9pm on Radio campus FM in Toulouse, France. The latest mix in their series of tributes to classic emcees and producers shows love to two of the greatest ever to bless the mic, Shaolin giants of the Wu-Tang Clan: Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. Rae & Ghost have blessed us repeatedly over the years with their witty wordplay and clever rhymes, so dig into this fresh selection of tracks by Built To Last.

March 16, 2020

Take It Personal Podcast "Indie Hip-Hop Tribute Pt.2"

Episode 60 is the 2nd installment of Take It Personal Radio's indie hip-hop tribute. This time they’re joined by Shawn J. Period, a major player in the indie movement. They discuss his days on Big Beat, his first group Down South and his collaborations with Mos Def, Heltah Skeltah, Da Bush Babees, Mad Skillz and The Artifacts. This is an XXL episode clocking in over 5 ½ hours of music and discussion. You'll hear joints from Company Flow, Kool Keith, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Non Phixon, MF DOOM, J-Live, Wee Bee Foolish, The Arsonists, Eminem, People Under The Stairs, 7L & Esoteric, Jedi Mind Tricks, Natural Elements, Godfather Don, Juggaknots, Royce Da 5’9, Pharoahe Monch, Common, Mr. Lif, Atmosphere and so much MORE! "If you were all up on IRC, AOL or Prodigy chat, copped records at Fat Beats after a slice of Joe's Pizza, maybe ordered from Sandboxautomatic or Hiphopsite and repped labels like Fondle ‘Em, Rawkus, Def Jux, Stones Throw, Hydra, GuessWyld, Eastern Conference, ABB, Anticon, Hiero or Rhymesayers, then THIS episode is for your!" Sincerely, the Take It Personal Crew. Much respect to the good homie, Philaflava. Listen to the tribute below...

March 15, 2020

Jadakiss "Ignatius" (Album Stream)

Two years after Jadakiss signed with Roc Nation, the veteran MC has released his first album under the label. The album is called Ignatius; and it is dedicated to former Ruff Ryders A&R Ignatius “Ice Pick” Jay, who passed away in 2017 after a bout with colon cancer. Ignatius features appearances from Pusha-T, Ty Dolla $ign, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, John Legend, and more. The album’s first single is “Me,” which is a breakdown of the rapper’s 20-year career. One of the standout tracks from the album is “Huntin Season,” which features a verse from Pusha-T. The song is about hunting down rival rappers. Ignatius is the first solo album from Jadakiss since 2015, when he released Top 5 Dead or Alive. In between that time, Kiss dropped Friday on Elm Street with fellow New York City rapper Fabolous. - OKP. There are some tracks that I skipped over, but there's a lot of heart in it. Listen...

March 14, 2020

Jay Electronica "A Written Testimony" (Album Stream)

A Written Testimony is the long-awaited debut studio album from Jay Electronica. It was recorded over 40 days and 40 nights, starting December 26th, 2019. It includes appearances from Jay-Z, Travis Scott, James Blake and The-Dream, as well as production from NO I.D, Swizz Beatz, Hit-Boy, The Alchemist and Khruangbin. That's the official breakdown, but when you listen, you will have to decide for yourself, is this really the official debut studio album from Jay Electronica? Is it featuring Jay-Z or is this a collaborative album a la Watch The Throne? And why is Jay-Z the first voice you hear on the project. One thing is clear, Jay Electronica is a true MC! He and Hov brought something great out of each on the album. It's full of lines that will force listeners to pause, Google and reflect, which brings light to his faith and spreads a good message overall. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, nor is he my favorite artist, but I do hope that the weight of a release has been lifted and he'll get right back in the studio. Preferably with Just Blaze on the production, because however intentional it might've been, the production is kinda frail on this LP.

March 13, 2020

Happy Born Day, Common! (Best of Mixtape)

Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. (born March 13, 1972), better known by his stage name Common (formerly Common Sense), is a hip hop recording artist, actor, poet and film producer from Chicago, Illinois. Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? and maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. Over the years, Common has released music under various other labels such as Relativity, Geffen and GOOD Music, among others, and classic albums in Resurrection, One Day It'll All Make Sense, Like Water For Chocolate, Be, Finding Forever, and more! In celebration of Common's birthday today, this is a Common "Best Of" mix that features Fat Joe, Q-Tip, Erika Badu, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, No I.D., Ghostface, J Dilla, Guru, Royce 5'9, Brand Nubian, Mary J Blige, The Roots and more. Happy Born Day, Common; a shining example of a classic Hip-Hop artist!

March 12, 2020

Allen Iverson "The Crossover" (March 12, 1997)

Allen Iverson came into the NBA as the No. 1 overall pick from the 1996 NBA Draft. The Georgetown product would go on to own the NBA during his prime, with his impact both on the court and culturally shaping the league for the decade that followed. But on March 12, 1997, it was one single play against Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan that we remember as Iverson’s announcement to the league. 23 years later, take it back to '97 and watch him cross-up Jordan. Iverson was one of my favorite players to watch - he had heart and fans genuinely wanted to see him overcome his struggles and succeed. Philadelphia has always been a working-class town and that extends to its artists and sometimes the fabric of the players their team's attract. He rep'd well. So far I haven't seen an Iverson documentary that showcases his full impact on and off the court. 

March 11, 2020

DJ Eclipse "Test The Hi Power" (Dancehall Mix)

Much thanks to DJ Eclipse, who put this classic Dancehall mix together for our listening pleasure. The 2-hour mix features tracks from Freddie McGregor, Shabba Ranks, Johnny Osbourne, Beres Hammond, Cutty Ranks, Ninjaman, and lots more. Plenty of classic records from the generation that helped birth the dancehall scene that crossed over and became a worldwide phenomenon. Dig in...

March 10, 2020

Why "The Wire" Is SO Brilliant (Video)

I regret that I haven't done a better job representing the great television shows and movies I've been watching over the years. I try to make it a point to share info about documentaries and videos that impact the culture, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to talk more about television and movies. And truth be told, I watch a lot of stuff that deserves a place on this site. Maybe it's my OCD and the idea of putting as much energy into films/TV as I do music might be a bit overwhelming. So, for now I'm just gonna say that from time to time, I'll make it a point to highlight more content. By now, I am sure everyone has seen the classic show based in Baltimore called The Wire. Every now and again I revisit The Wire, and each time I learn something new and appreciate more of what David Simon was trying to convey in the different episodes. Man was that a layered show. Arguably one of the best and most well-executed shows of our generation. That said, nothing new to share here, just a reminder that even if you've seen The Wire, you should revisit it from time to time! It's an experience worth its replay value. The video below says it better than I would, so check it out below. Who do you think is the best character from The Wire? DM me.

March 09, 2020

Lords of the Underground "Here Come The Lords" (1993)

Yes, my Brothers and Sisters, the Lords have come. Here Come The Lords is their much-anticipated debut, featuring their current single "Funky Child" and their first singles "Psycho" and "Check It (remix)." Veteran producer Marley Marl and his House of Hits back these brothers up lovely with dirty, nasty, grimy, underground FUNK. The LP's co-producer K-Def creates some standout tracks, too. Mr. Funke and Doitall freak the rhymes with buckwild theatrics, verbal acrobatics and all that - without overdoing the triple-time tongue thing like the latest round of Treach/Das disciples. And even DJ Lord Jazz hits the mic one time nicely on his tribute, "Lord Jazz Hit Me One Time (Make It Funky)." This is one of my favorites because it has a laidback vibe, but still rocks rugged. I was also into the cut, "Chief Rocka." Producer K-Def dropped his drawers and got butt-naked on this one (pause): simple, yet funky bass and drums, thickened up with unobtrusive accents. Mr. Funke and Doitall weave the lyrics in and out of the rhythm, flowing similar to Puba or Sadat X with a bit more psychokinetic-almost-Busta flavor. Tracks to check for include: "Grave Digga," speaking on topics from MCs who fall off to AIDS, i.e. ignorant brothers who "...start the tactics without a prophylactic...down wit' OPP / now you're down six feet under"; "Keep It Underground," about preserving rap's street flavor; "Lord's Prayer," blasting shady church operations; and their theme cut, "L.O.T.U.G. (Lords of the Underground." ... The majority of songs are in there, dropping a variety of gritty beats, Pete Rockish horns, and some good call-and-response hooks. The material will work well for live sets, if their energy on stage is as hyped as it seems on record. - Rap Sheet (6/93).

You can read the full review in Rap Sheet Magazine below...

March 08, 2020

Gang Starr "Hard To Earn" (March 8, 1994)

“All you kids [who] want to get on and shit,” Guru says as Hard To Earn begins. “Just remember this. This shit ain’t easy. If you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it, mothaf#cka.” ... The project, released March 8, 1994, is the fourth studio album from the Gang Starr duo and it features Gang Starr Foundation’s Group Home, Jeru The Damaja and Big Shug, among others. Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn is generally acclaimed by critics. AllMusic, for example, awarded the album a 4/5 in its review: “Gang Starr came out hard on their 1994 album, Hard to Earn, an album notably different from its two predecessors: Step in the Arena (1991) and Daily Operation (1992)... While those two classic albums garnered tremendous praise for their thoughtful lyrics and jazzy beats, Hard to Earn seems much more reactionary, especially its lyrics… There isn’t a song on the album that’s a throwaway, and even the interludes are stunning.” Rolling Stone also rated the album favorably, offering a 4/5 rating for the collection. “It’s a boom-boom-static revelation that bops cool and confident like a mack,” Rolling Stone said of the album at the time of its release. “It offers rugged and multilayered orchestral maneuvers – cinematic urban blues, tracks full of strafing noise, bouncy beats, gooey grooves and moody chanting that seems to evoke spirits. Wordwise, it gives up screams of protest, assertions of selfhood and no-bullshit examinations of the world… Gang Starr have brazenly defied trends, and the result is an achievement like Hard to Earn.“ Click play and keep reading about Hard To Earn...

Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn contains several notable selections often celebrated by Gang Starr fans. “DWYCK,” “Code Of The Streets” and “Mass Appeal” are among the album’s most critically applauded cuts. “DWYCK” and “Mass Appeal” were also listed in DJ Premier’s list of his Top 50 songs featuring Guru, a list published in 2011. In September 2013, DJ Premier spoke about his vision for “Mass Appeal” and how it came to fruition. “So, when it came to ‘Mass Appeal’ I already heard it in my head,” Premier said at the time. “Not the actual sample, but just what it should sound like. I’ve already kind of planned something in my head. We like to do our singles right when it’s due. That’s why it always sounds so fresh when you hear it. And it sounds like it was just made just now. A record like ‘Mass Appeal,’ the reason why we made it is because that’s right when radio started teeter-tottering towards watering down the Hip Hop and we were just really bugged out that it had gotten to that point…It’s like we knew this was gonna be one of our bigger records and it was one of our bigger records that went straight to radio.” - DX. Revisit & celebrate this classic today!

March 07, 2020

Reminder: Follow Me On Instagram: @DJ_Sav_One

A(nother) rare plug ... I should clearly be doing this more often! Don't forget to follow me on my Instagram page for promotional items and stickers; tapes, videos and vinyl - whatever else I feel like sharing on there! If I were smart, I'd link my posts directly to/from this site, but that doesn't feel authentic to me. I'd rather post directly and control the look and feel of everything. Anyhow, above and below are a few scattered images I've shared to my IG, and randomly selected to share here. These two worlds don't overlap as much as my IG and my online store. I communicate often with people between those pages, but very rarely do I get messages or comments from people that also read this site. Perhaps because I don't ever share links from here? Duh. Anyhow, if you see content on my IG that you think would make for an interesting post or you have questions, hit me up HERE

March 06, 2020

Happy Born Day, Beanie Sigel! (Playlist)

Dwight Equan Grant (born March 6, 1974), better known by his stage name Beanie Sigel, is an MC and actor from South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He first became known for his association with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records, releasing his debut studio album The Truth through Roc-A-Fella in February 2000 to critical and commercial success. Sigel's second studio album, The Reason, saw similar commercial success, but received mixed reviews from critics. His third - and my favorite of his albums, The B. Coming, was critically acclaimed and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200. After a short break from music, Sigel returned to Roc-A-Fella in 2007 and released his fourth studio album The Solution in December 2007. After leaving Roc-A-Fella once again, Sigel's fifth and sixth studio albums, The Broad Street Bully and This Time were released independently in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Sigel had numerous legal issues throughout his career, including a trial for attempted murder that took place between 2004 and 2005, and eventually lead to Sigel's acquittal. On March 30, 2012, Sigel told Statik Selektah on Shade 45 that he would be working on a collaborative album with southern veteran, and long-time friend, Scarface titled Mac and Brad. Scarface also tweeted the announcement at the same time... and I WANT that album! On his born day today, I'm gonna attempt to put together several tracks into a playlist that represents the best of his catalog... to me. Let me know how I do and if you see Beans or Face, tell them I want that Mac and Brad album!

March 05, 2020

DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro "Tape #20" (Mixtape, 1995)

Tape #20 from DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro was released in 1995. The mix kicks off with an intro from Method Man & Redman, then joints from D-Stroy, Biggie, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Group Home, Boot Camp Clik, Mobb Deep, KRS-One, Naughty By Nature, Frankie Cutlass, Pudgee The Phat Bastard and more. The B-Side flips into an all-dancehall mix, featuring Barrington Levy, Shaggy, Capleton, Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton, Supercat, Red Fox, Junior Reid, and more. Listen to it below...

March 04, 2020

Shawn "Jay-Z" Corey Carter (Resume, 2008)

VIBE put together this resume in September, 2008 to highlight the achievements of one of the greatest of all-time: Jay-Z. With education from George Westinghouse High School in Brooklyn and the school of hardknocks in the Marcy Projects, Billionaire Hov rose to become "An entrepreneur and recording artist who has established and led corporations and products to new levels of international success in a variety of industries and cutting-edge markets. Proven ability to create and mold a brand image and successfully convey that vision to the masses, resulting in significant growth of enterprise value." Who you know fresher than Hov'? Riddle me that. Is Jay-Z the G.O.A.T.?

March 03, 2020

DJ Beanz "Deadly Venoms" (Album Stream)

Deadly Venoms is the debut album from Boston's DJ Beanz. Beanz has recruited a grip of today's best lyricists in the underground, like Ty Farris, Termanology, Lil Eto, Hus Kingpin, SmooVth and more. Her underground radio show also supports these artists and many of your favorite MCs, so it's important to support her right back. Peace to the good brother, Money Miz. CD and Vinyl available.

March 02, 2020

Raekwon "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" (Classic Material)

"I started doin' my thing when I was like 15 or 16. Hallway style, in the staircases," recalls Raekwon The Chef, one of the Wu-Tang Clan's mightiest swords. "It was like a hobby back then. You know, punch the beatbox out with your face towards the wall." Straight from these humble recreational Staten Island beginnings (Rae's first crew was called the Rec Posse) rose one of the most important forces in the history of hip-hop: the Wu-Tang Clan.... Only Built was recorded in early 1995, mostly in the basement of RZA's newly-purchased Shaolin duplex. No nonsense involved, just beats and rhymes.... (Classic Material: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995). Rae breaks down a few classics below...

March 01, 2020

Shabaam Sahdeeq x J57 "Precious Stones" (Album Stream)

Precious Stones is a collaborative album between underground legend Shabaam Sahdeeq and the 'drum god' J57! This gem of an album is solely produced by J57 with features from Jamo Gang, Planet Asia, Nems, El Da Sensei, DV Alias Khryst, Casual, Tristate and lots more. J57 continues to showcase his range as a producer, mixing up different styles, sounds and patterns to bring out unique flows and complex deliveries from all the artists involved. This project is long-awaited when I think back to the Fat Beats days. Planet Asia and DJ Muggs were doing an in-store for Pain Language and after the store was shut down, we set up a cipher with Planet Asia, Shabaam Sahdeeq and the Brown Bag AllStars - beats by J57 and The Audible Doctor. Shabaam was spitting FLAMES over J57's beats, I guess it was only a matter of time before they connected for an album!