June 06, 2021

De La Soul "De La Soul Is Dead" (30th Ann. Mix by Filthy Rich)


Toronto's DJ Filthy Rich is back with another fine tribute mix! This time around, he pays tribute to De La Soul's 30th anniversary of De La Soul Is Dead. The album was originally released in 1991 (on that label ya'know) and featured tracks like "A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays," "Millie Pulled A Pistol on Santa," "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" and "Keepin' The Faith," among others. Filthy Rich's mix touches on the original samples, blends, remixes and more, which elevates the album from what might've been top 3 (or 4) to a nostalgia-filled trip down memory lane that makes it feel even higher on their best-list. When you've had as storied a career as De La Soul has, you can throw a dart and land on something phenomenal. All that said, click play below and enjoy this 30th anniversary mix...

May 31, 2021

Apathy "Where The River Meets The Sea" (Album Stream)


The trials and tribulations of real life tends to bring out the best in artists. Hearing the maturation of emcees in real time brings us closer to their experience, and reminds us of ours. Apathy is no exception to this rule. After losing his father to cancer, becoming a father of two, and dealing with life’s ills, he proves to be a skilled navigator on the river of life. Apathy's 7th studio album, "Where The River Meets The Sea", is not only a geographical nod to his origins, but also a metaphor for the long winding journey through life which ultimately leads to the cosmic sea of eternity. No stranger to hip hop aesthetics however, Ap can’t resist flexing his lyrical ability on braggadocio laden tracks, ensuring he delivers an album for his fans across the board. The LP features Styles P, Lil Fame, Snak The Ripper, Chris Webby, Pep Love, Tajai (of Souls of Mischief), ANoyd, Hayze, plus vocalists Brevi and Bennett. Production by Apathy, Stu Bangas & Teddy Roxpin. Listen to Apathy's latest LP below...

May 27, 2021

DeJoe "In The Mix" (Presented by 90's Tapes)


Berlin-based hip-hop record label and imprint of HHV, 90's Tapes is introducing a new mix series titlted, In The Mix. In their own words, "We want to present more and more DJs from our community and crew to show support.... The first participant is Berlin's finest and legendary graffiti artist DeJoe from SOS / TDS / SBB / N3M. He lives the hip-hop culture 100% and has been kicking walls, trains and the ones and twos since the 80s. Play loud and feel the vibe!" Their mix features tracks from Godfather Don, Adagio!, Boogiemonsters, Mathematik, Baltimore's K-Mack, The B.L.U.N.T.E.D. Crew, Originoo Gun Clappaz, Science of Sound, Lost Boyz, The Nonce, Hi-Tech, Keith Murray, Da Bush Babees, Kool G Rap, Cella Dwellas, and more! Peep the mix from 90's Tapes below...

May 13, 2021

Chris Read "Nineties Dancehall Hip-Hop" (Bonus Mix)


The Classic Material ‘bonus’ mixes fill the gaps in the original Classic Material Hip Hop History mixtape series, exploring specific sub genres or spin off genres not covered in the main series. #6 delves into Mid 90s Dancehall Hip Hop, the pairing of Ragga/Dancehall vocals with classic Hip Hop production. "The mix features artists who hung their hat on that particular fusion (Mad Lion, Bobby Konders), Hip Hop styled remixes of Dancehall cuts (see DJ Muggs’ remix of Danny Red), Dancehall artists who vocalled Hip Hop beats (Mega Banton, Lady Apache), pairings of Dancehall Acapellas with Hip Hop production from the era exclusive to this mix and similar pairings put together by others (thanks Matt Nelkin). The date range of ’91-99 is slightly misleading – most of the action really occurs around ’92-95 and the tracks all boast the classic Early to Mid 90s production sound. Tracks from either end of the decade are really outliers (there’s only one track from ’91 or ’99 and none at all from ’98 for example). As with previous editions, the artwork is a pastiche of a popular sleeve from the era, in this case Nervous/Wreck‘s ‘Weeded‘ sub-label, responsible for the imprint’s more Reggae influenced output and several of the tracks on this mix." Another fire mix, listen to it below...

April 26, 2021

Beneficence & Confidence "Stellar Mind" (Album Stream)


Brick City native and close Artifacts affiliate Beneficence drops his seventh album entitled "Stellar Mind", entirely produced by longtime collaborator and Boston producer Confidence (of Rashad & Confidence). Benef’s & Conf’s latest installment is a mastery of beats, rhymes, jazz loops, and soul at its apex. With slick vocals and blue-collar aesthetics, it gives the listener head-nodding street anthems and stays true to its roots. Beneficence & Confidence is a dream team that boom-bap connoisseurs have been patiently eager to hear. Along with slick intelligent rhymes, thought-provoking concepts, and sharp and precise cuts handled by 12 Finger Dan, DJ Grazzhoppa, and DJ Kaos (RIP), the LP comes equipped with an impressive guest list of rhyme slingers to deliver a long-awaited gem for underground hip-hop fans around the globe. Features include Masta Ace, Keith Murray, Ras Kass, AG (of D.I.T.C.), Chubb Rock, Lord Tariq, Craig G, El Da Sensei (of The Artifacts), Phantasm (of Cella Dwellas), Ali Vegas, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Wordsworth, Queen Herawin (of Jugganots), Truth Enola, and soul singer Melinda Camille. This is a solid album via Ill Adrenaline Records. Listen...

April 23, 2021

Rest In Peace, Shock G!


The 27-year old Humpty started his semi-legendary musical voyage a full 180 degrees from his current style. Then known as "Smooth Eddie Humphrey," he specialized in packing lovestruck ladies into nightclubs around his Tampa, Florida home with his suave ballads and charismatic performance. Things were set to blow up for Eddie, who had placed in the finals of a talent search that promised a recording contract to the winner, but just days before his big night, fate dealt him a hand that would force most folks to fold. On September 15, 1987, Eddie was pulling a night shift at the diner where he worked part-time. Suddenly, there was an explosion, and before he could move out of the way, he was struck full-force in the head by a water main-which drove his face into the kitchen's deep fryer. While just a few seconds elapsed before coworkers freed him, Eddie suffered first-degree burns to his nose, requiring thousands of dollars worth of reconstructive surgery. Even more hurtful to the young singer was the damage done to his throat. Gone was the Smokey Robinson-esque tenor, replaced by the distinctive nasal twang he deploys today. Cont'd below...



It wasn't easy for him, but Humphrey overcame the odds (and a period of depression) and turned from singing to rapping. In order to cover his damaged nose, he donned the mask that's since become his trademark. Inviting audiences to poke fun at his appearance was all the therapy he needed. Humpty-Hump was born, and before long Shock G (a frequent visitor to Humpty's South Florida turf) caught wind of this fresh new act and recruited him for Digital Underground. While "The Humpty Dance" (born, to hear Hump tell it, when the big earthquake hit their Bay Area studio in mid-rehearsal) was Humpty's largest moment, he's been lurking around all the Digital Underground releases, mostly going with a comical flow, but mostly on Sons of the P - giving a glimpse of what lurks behind the nose. "He went on this bad-boy tangent, doin' all sorts of crazy shit," recalls Shock G. "That's why he did that song "Good Thing We're Rappin" (off Sons of the P). He thought he had a lot of people's attention and he wanted to make some statements. That's when he came out with "No Nose Job," which was all about inner beauty and love of self. Now that he knows he's gonna be around for another album, he can relax and continue to do his thing." - "The Humpty Hump Story".  


The news of the passing of Shock G is tragic and I'd like to send my condolences to Money B; his friends, family and all the fans across the world. According to TMZ, "The rap legend was found dead Thursday in a hotel room in Tampa ... according to his father, Edward Racker." This has been another sad and tragic year ... so, honestly, I'm at a loss for words to continue to pay tribute and honor all the legends we've lost and continue to lose. Like many of you, I grew up on this music and when you truly dig through Shock G's production catalog, too ... I guarantee you'll be surprised at how many great records he'd touched in the course of his career. May he Rest in Eternal Peace! R.I.P. Shock G aka Humpty Hump aka MC Blowfish aka Piano Man aka Rackadelic aka Gregory Racker aka Icey Mike aka Peanut Hakeem and other aliases, known and unknown. Shock G was only 57 years young!

April 19, 2021

Nas "Illmatic" (Daily News, 5/1/94)


"Little gets in the way of the words on the debut album from Nas. In an age when hip hop regularly distracts listeners from the rhymes with pop melodies, pungent horns and conventional R&B beats, New York rapper Nas strips this form back to its verbal roots. 'I make music for the crowd that keeps rap alive, not people who just found out about it yesterday,' he says. Small wonder the 20-year-old mike master from Queens has earned such juice in the rap underground. Among the jeep-and-beeper set, the anticipation surrounding the release of Nas' first album rivals the treatment the mainstream media built around Snoop Doggy Dogg before his debut. Which explains why Nas' "Illmatic" album is the highest-ranking debut on this week's Billboard Top 200 charts, arriving at No. 12 after moving nearly 60,000 copies in the last seven days. Not bad for a guy virtually unknown to the pop audience. Arch hip-hop fans first clued into the performer after he put in a guest rap on the track "Live at the BBQ" on the respected Main Source LP "Breaking Atoms." Nas, who says he has been writing raps since he was 9, got his break by tracking down Source member the Large Professor at his studio in Queens. The exposure earned him an audience with MC Serch (late of 3rd Bass), who cleared a spot on the "Zebrahead" soundtrack for the Nas track "Half Time." Nas' connections helped with his debut album. At the Large Professor's urging, some of hip-hop's hottest producers oversaw various tracks, including Q-Tip (from A Tribe Called Quest) and DJ Premier (from Gang Starr). 'They put me with the right [musical] material,' says the wordsmith. 'I found out you can't just rhyme to any beat.' As insistent as the album's beats may be, it's the words that make the record move. The album basically tells Nas' life story growing up in the Queensbridge Houses filled with journalistic detail and cinematic plots." Revisit Nas classic, Illmatic, cont'd below...



'In the projects we always say, 'I wished they made a movie here 'cuz they wouldn't need no story line, just show what happens,'' Nas explains. 'My album is like a movie. I just made my s--- verbal instead of visual.' His descriptions can be ugly and blood-soaked, but Nas avoids cheap shocks by always giving the violence human consequence. Whether writing a letter to a friend in prison ("One Love") or explaining why he likes to get high ("Life's A Bitch"), Nas has a knack for fleshing out his grit with wit and pathos. The sheer credibility of his writing could help swing some attention back on East Coast rap after years of media focus on West Coast gangstas like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. In contrast to the pop-funk-driven sound of those performers, Nas aims for a more spacey, jazzy feel. Combined with his harsh words, that may keep him off radio, but Nas doesn't mind. 'I never made a record for radio,' he says. 'I rap to brighten my mind.'" - Daily News, 5/1/94.

April 13, 2021

Kurious "Built To Last" (Mix)


Back with another mix from France's Built To Last radio show, this time paying tribute to Kurious Jorge. The Puerto Rican and Cuban MC released a gem of an album in 1994 entitled A Constipated Monkey. Signed to Columbia Records via Pete Nice and Bobbito's Hoppoh Records imprint, the album is celebrated by underground heads and influenced many artists that came after him. Since the passing of MF Doom, I have noticed a lot more love being shown to Kurious - which is great - as he appeared on 1999's Operation Doomsday. On the label at the same time as Nas was set to drop his debut opus, Illmatic, and The Fugees were touring for Blunted On Reality, maybe Kurious didn't garner that same level of stardom, but no doubt his debut album was an impactful record stylistically, certainly to me. Good peoples, too! Props to Corrado and the whole Built to Last crew for this tribute, dig into the mix and hit the archives below for a lot more of their dope tributes...

April 11, 2021

The Foundation "Large Professor Tribute" (Mix)


The Foundation, a musical journey into the origins of some of our most powerful and popular music today, is designed to educate the listener on the jazz, funk, soul, and disco artists mostly from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, whose voices and instruments were sampled directly to help make some of the most creative hip-hop beats ever heard. For this episode, they pay tribute to the legendary Xtra P, Large Professor. In the mix, you'll hear all Xtra P production, rhymes, remixes and original samples. As they say, "listen to some Queens soundscapes as we pay respect to a legend!" Dig into it below...

April 10, 2021

Crimeapple "YDFWC?" (Album Stream)


New Jersey's Crimeapple is back yet again with his latest 11-track offering, YDFWC?. The LP features one guest appearance from Primo Profit, as well as production from Buck Dudley, Sebb Bash, HouseShoes, Michaelangelo, Brown13 and ANIMOSS. Pitchfork shares, "Born to Colombian parents and raised in northern New Jersey, Crimeapple finds himself, like many Latinos, between worlds. He made a bilingual rap record in MedellĂ­n with DJ Muggs (Medallo) but is still seen as an outsider in the country of his birth. Crime knows he’s a gringo (“I’m not Latino enough for Telemundo,” he raps on “Carrington Event”) but still spits in Spanglish. He remains independent—with a distribution deal through the Orchard—and generally seems unconcerned with breaking into the overground, let alone the mainstream. The man just raps really well, and somehow, that’s enough." Yes, it's more than enough for me! Listen to Crimeapple's new LP YDFWC? below and cop the vinyl...

April 09, 2021

Rest In Peace, Earl "DMX" Simmons!



DMX, a rapper known as much for his troubles as his music, has died, his family announced in a statement. He was 50. "We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days," family's statement read in part. "Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end," the family continued. "He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him." The artist had been hospitalized since last week when he suffered a heart attack at his home in New York, according to his longtime attorney, Murray Richman. - CNN. I've kept my thoughts in a draft waiting to find the right words, but they never came... Fortunately, the homie Big Ghost once again put to words what I couldn't... "Fame is a funny thing... By not really knowing the people who we become fans of n start to admire n sometimes idolize...we start to form our own ideas, opinions, perceptions, n misconceptions about em. I mean...the people in our actual daily lives can be hard to figure out... You probably got friends n family members that you think you KNOW...but does that really always mean you know em LIKE THAT? You got superheroes in comics who got secret identities... We see em without the masks or costumes. We see both sides of the em. We see the shit they think about in the little speech bubble clouds n whatever. We even get origin stories. So now we can guess every move they make next? Nah.. people are complicated. Even fictional ones. But real people... thats real complexity. When you add celebrity n (super)stardom to the mix...you get fed a public persona, stories, tabloid rumors, sanitized PR spins, straight up lies etc etc. As far as DMX...he lived his life in the public eye. He was open about a lot of it. We saw the rawness...the flaws...the tragedies...the wins...the glory... But did we know him? Did anybody? I really wanted to shift the focus from his troubles to the triumphs...to the happier moments of his public life. To the acts of kindness he displayed. To the love he showed others. Countless times. But access to social media makes that kinda hard to do. For every word of praise you see for DMX you can find at least two words from mfs who want it to be known that he was NOT in fact a perfect saint... That he was a drug addict or always going to jail for some shit he didnt need to really be going to jail for...that he invested money unwisely...that he had mad children by different women...that you should save your prayers for somebody who more worthy of your concern. But damn. What is prayer for if it aint for sinners? Is that not the idea? If we only ever grieved for the faultless there would be nobody to mourn in this world. Get it right tho.. DMX wasnt perfect. He was great. One love Earl." It hurts to say... R.I.P., DMX. Photos: Jonathan Mannion.

April 08, 2021

Busta Rhymes "The Coming" (25th Ann. Mix by DJ Filthy Rich)


Toronto's DJ Filthy Rich returns with his latest anniversary mix... this time honoring the 25th Anniversary of Busta Rhymes' classic debut album, The Coming from 1996. Filthy Rich's mix features unique blends, remixes, loosies, original samples and more. Clocking in at just under an hour, you'll also hear vocals from Rampage the Last Boy Scout, A Tribe Called Quest, Zhane, Jamal, Redman, Keith Murray and others. When you think of longevity in hip-hop, classic verses, and an artist who has continued to reinvent himself with hits crossing multiple decades, Busta Rhymes is one of the very first MCs that should come to your mind. Give that man his flowers and peep the mix below...

April 07, 2021

DAS EFX "Dead Serious" (Press Kit)


NOT. That is the only word that will wipe away your assumptions, expectations, and comparisons. DAS EFX, like a multi-million dollar film, laced with special EFX, must be experienced, NOT described, discussed, or analyzed. Dray and Skoob are NOT simply blessed with rap skills like Grand Puba, or Busta Rhymes. They do NOT simply rap with turbo speed like Treach or Wise Intelligent. They have created a style, which many will imitate, but NOT many will succeed. DAS EFX, (an acronym for "Dray and Skoob EFX"), is a style that could easily be bottled and sold. But instead they have cornered the market with 11 diggedy-dope tracks on their debut album, Dead Serious. The question is who would dare try to do this themselves? Just like a high EFX stunt in a film, people should probably NOT try this at home. Dray, (aka Krazy Drayz), says of their sound, "Our music is with a lot of effects. The style is so unique, a lot of people think it's one person rhyming." His partner in rhyme, Skoob (aka Books), reveals what he thinks is the key to their style. "We have a little secret. What it is, we were away from Hip Hop. We were in Virginia, going to Virginia State so I guess by NOT being exposed to what was going on up here, our style developed so differently. I think that had a big effect." "We were exposed to NO rap shows...at all," says Dray.  Revisit their debut LP, cont'd below...


DAS EFX got "here" via a rap content held in Richmond, that EPMD was judging. The club was a "hole in the wall." Their hopes raised with the sight of Erick and Parrish walking in. The show began and groups were getting scores as high as 7's, 8's, and 9's. When it was their turn to go up, they heard cynics commenting on their dreadlocks. "De La Soul look-alikes," they heard rumbling through the crowd. They got busy, and the crowd warmed up. "I remember glancing back and seeing Erick in the seat jammin' next to Parrish. We finished and our scores were mad high. Parrish pulled me to the side and said 'Before you leave, gimme your phone number.'" When it was time to announce the winners, it was NOT them. "We were like, 'That's it, we're about to graduate. Forget rap,'" says Dray. Then, Parrish walked across the stage and he leaned over and whispered into his ear, "Would you rather have the $100 or a record deal?" The record deal, and the rest is DAS EFX. Cont'd below...


The first rickety-rockin' single, "They Want EFX," is a slippery, funky tracks with the DAS EFX in full effect. The humorous and playful rhyme runs from engine-run rhymes to slowed-down acapella chanting to a razor sharp hook that will bob your head without you knowing. Dray says, "We don't just like writing two sentences that rhyme together. We like taking one idea from one place and put in another. How many years has it been that if somebody wants to rhyme, the last word of the first sentence rhymes with the last word of the second sentence. We'd rather make the first word rhyme with the third word, and the last word rhyme with the first word of the second sentence, and two in the middle, and, if you can, let's get another word that rhymes with the first word and still have the last ending word rhyme." DAS EFX is the dawn of a new age in rap music. Not since the Native Tongues movement has such unbridled creativity been unearthed. Dray and Skoob have one hope, "We want to bring entertainment back to it. Let's make it fun again. We want to have fun with it. I want to be able to listen to my own stuff and enjoy it." Like their mentors EPMD once said, rap is finally outta control. "So tiggedy tell your friends that here comes DAS EFX." - Press Kit, '91.

April 06, 2021

Cousin Feo & Bohemia Lynch "Yakitori" (EP Stream)


The South Central LA born and raised Cousin Feo continues his prolific pace with yet another fine release, an EP entitled YAKITORI with production by Bohemia Lynch. The 6-track EP has been released by Frank's Vinyl and speaking of the vinyl, if you're hoping to cop one, chances are slim none at this point. Proving that his fanbase is strong and the rep grows bigga, Feo comfortably settles into his niche with this EP. His approach is direct-to-fan and his childhood influences of black, El Salvadorian and Guatemalan roots play heavy into his love for hip-hop and soccer. I'm already late posting it, but if you haven't already...dig in and listen to Cousin Feo's Yakitori EP below...

April 05, 2021

Nas & Madlib "I Am...Naslib" (Mixtape)


Jimmy Green drops off this latest mix, blending two legendary artists: Nas and Madlib. I Am...Naslib reimagines Nas' vocals from I Am... with beats by the eclectic beatsmith, Madlib. Today I saw a debate on my brother RappinandSnackin's IG about whether or not I Am... was a classic - surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of his followers contended it was a classic. Erroneous! Now, I Am... one of the biggest Nas fans there is, but I was also there from that album's rollout, leak, release and the mediocre responses that went along with it. A couple of the worst tracks in his entire catalog are included on I Am... so I'd say far from a classic, but still an enjoyable listen when you remove the stretch marks and questionable features/production. Enter Madlib and Jimmy Green's remakes for this project, giving new life to these Nas vocals. I Am... here for it, listen below...

April 04, 2021

Mello Music Group "Bushido" (Album Stream)


In feudal Japan, the Bushido Code defined the way of the samurai. It was a blueprint to conduct warfare with honor: a system built upon the qualities of rectitude and courage, honor and loyalty. In the modern world, these historical tenets may seem antiquated, or sometimes even obsolete. But the power of tradition is resolute and unyielding. The art of the rugged drum and the razor tongued rap are timeless. After a decade in the music business, Mello Music Group has witnessed the dealings and promises of the record industry. Running counter-clockwise to the mainstream ethic, Mello has settled on its own code of conduct and value system. Their catalogue is a practical and spiritual guide to the essence. While the sounds are varied, an MMG release ensures that the art comes first, the artists are religiously devoted to the upholding of standards and values. This is Bushido, the latest Mello Music compilation gathering the current roster and the label’s closest brethren. This isn’t merely an anthology, it’s a fully formed vision of what hip-hop can be. A meticulously assembled arsenal of past, present, and future. The album includes production from The Alchemist, The Lasso, L'Orange, Kensaye Russell, Oddisee, Elaquent, Iman Omari, Quelle Chris, Namir Blade, Apollo Brown, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Eric Lau, Nottz, !llmind. It also features Quelle Chris, Open Mike Eagle, Solemn Brigham, Homeboy Sandman, Oddisee, Zackey Force Funk, Skyzoo, Namir Blade, James Shahan, Joell Ortiz, Dueling Experts (Recognize Ali & Verbal Kent), Stalley, RJ Payne, Murs, Cambatta, Kool Keith, B-Real, and The Perceptionists. Hear Bushido streaming below...

April 03, 2021

The Boom Bap Show "Don't Sleep Records" (Mix)

The Boom Bap Show pays tribute to Don't Sleep Records with this latest mix. Started by Phoniks and Awon, Don't Sleep Records is one of my favorite independent labels putting out music today. Their art and come-up have been documented in the docu-film Underdogs and amassed a solid fanbase through their many releases. The mix features tracks from Awon, Phoniks, Dephlow, Peebs the Prophet, Tiff The Gift, Mz Boom Bap, Anti-Lilly and more. Please make it a point to dig into the archives below for all the releases on Don't Sleep Records since I've been posting music to this site.

April 02, 2021

Bahamadia "Kollage" (April 2, 1996)


The Philly jawn with the blowout 'fro and La-Z-Boy flow is one of the most slept-on MCs to demolish a cipher - male or female - and was revered as underground royalty before ever releasing a record. With a delivery so laid-back, it's easy to imagine her gutting a cigar before laying down the tracks for her debut album, Kollage. The album's soulful soundscape -- etched with funk-filled valleys and jazzy peaks -- was constructed by Ski Beatz ("Uknowhowwedu") and fellow Illadelph crew The Roots ("Da Jawn"). On "Innovation" she muses, "Flame combustion / Thrustin' new versions of verses / Over kids heads like halos / Bendin' they brain cells like indon-o-va-shun." Simply scintillating. - Vibe (August, 2008). CMJ added (in June, 1996), "With the simple and supremely funky production of DJ Premier, N.O. Joe and the Beatminerz, Bahamadia raps with a conversational style, relying on poetic, instinctive rhymes, as on the bass-jacked "Word Play" and "Spontaneity." "I Confess" plays off Marvin Gaye's "Lets Get It On" for one of the album's poppiest moments, while "Uknowhowwedu" is a shapely tribute to Philly's hip-hop roots. Speaking of roots, fellow Philly natives the Roots add a dose of live funk on "Da Jawn," while Bahamadia dukes it out with MCs Black Thought and Malik. Packed with easily digestible rhymes and a peerless production, Kollage unquestionably chalks one up for the ladies." Revisit Bahamadia's classic debut album Kollage below...


The review in Vibe + original sticker from 1996 are below...

April 01, 2021

DJ DS "Goes Back To School: 1990" (Mixtape)


DJ DS says, "After a two-month hiatus it’s time to go ‘Back to School’ and to my 5th year, 1990! This was the first half of my final school year and the penultimate mix in this series. No idea what happened here as these mixes have averaged one hour and twenty minutes. This one clocks in at nearly an hour longer! This time around, I’m messing more with the original breaks and samples, alongside the usual doubles, samples, movie quotes from that year and all that good stuff! Thanks again to both of my daughters, DJ Jimmy Green, DJ Repo, Rob Pursey and the legendary Percee P for the vocal drops!" DJ DS continues to level up, dig into 1990 and hit the archives for more below...

March 31, 2021

Gang Starr "Moment of Truth" (March 31, 1998)


Only a few rap groups have managed career-long consistency, among them A Tribe Called Quest (whose new album will come out in June) and Gang Starr. "Moment of Truth" (Noo Trybe/Virgin) is the latter's fifth album, its first in four years. The wait's been worth it, as DJ Premier once again brings his unmatched production skills to bear on rapper Guru's authoritative missives. At the start of the new album, Guru boasts, "We update our formulas. . . . The rhythm style is elevated, the style of beats are elevated. . . . There's always a message included." Indeed, messages stressing knowledge and self-determination are sprinkled throughout: "Take responsibility . . . make your moves right and exact . . . if we don't build, we'll be destroyed . . . each one teach one . . . cultivate, multiply, motivate/ Or else we'll die." In the title track, Guru admits to a looming depression fueled by both social history and personal weakness: "I'm ready to lose my mind/ But instead I use my mind," he says, further rejecting drugs and alcohol because "all that's going to do really is accelerate/ Those anxieties that I wish I could alleviate." Later, in "What I'm Here For," he rides a mesmerizing piano loop and declares, "While some choose greed/ I chose to plant seeds for your mental spirit and physical temple/ Bob your head to it/ There's the water, you've been led to it." "Royalty" teams Gang Starr with Jodeci's K-Ci and JoJo on an anthem that's both gently critical and unconditionally affirming. There are also several collaborations with other rappers, the most interesting being the orientally flavored, mystical-leaning "Above the Clouds" with Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck, and "Betrayal," a languid "Mean Streets" parable about money, greed and lust that effectively teams Guru with former Geto Boy Scarface. (The WP article continues below, click play and keep reading...)



While there are a few questionable digressions -- "She Knowz What She Wantz" is lame and slightly misogynistic -- the most vituperative tracks are reserved for "wack" rappers and pretenders, from the back-on-the-block surge of "You Know My Steez" and Big Apple-centric "New York Strait Talk" to "The Rep Grows Bigga," which mixes verbal beat-downs on ghetto celebrity lifestyle with frustration over the distance between the group's commercial success and its artistic impact. Guru's raps seem particularly invigorated this time around -- the monotone delivery sharp, the flow smooth, the lyrics straightforward and uncompromising -- but it's still Premier's production that lifts "Moment of Truth" above the competition. Premier favors clean, distinct beats that avoid gimmicks and commercialism. With few exceptions, they draw the listener into the messages with clever, mesmerizing sonic textures that bear repeated listening. - The Washington Post (4/15/1998).

March 30, 2021

Onyx "Bacdafucup" (March 30, 1993)


Yikes! It's the attack of the bald heads! Get ready for Onyx, the new solid piece of musical phatness that I had to shoot the bootlegger for. I'm open and gone on these kids and I'm seriously killin' the batteries in my Walkman. "Bacdafucup! Bacdafucup," the new NYC rudeboy rush hour theme, is just the beginning of this mad excursion through the United States Ghetto. This ain't "gangsta," this is real. Mr. Sticky Fingers has the ill voice you will never forget as he puts a Tech-9 in your mouth and robs you of your props. His partner in crime, Fredro Starr, has his back, as the rest of bald-headed massive (Big DS and Sonny Ceasar) bring it to the table hard. Sawed-off pump jams, like the current underground single "Throw Ya Guns" or rowdy LP cut "Here and Now," will make you want to reach for the ski-mask and step, but before you troop to the bullpen, be advised that this album is not just rude. It is an extremely dope vision of ugliness that is not for the sensitive. When they're not pledging allegiance to the "U.S.G.," they're offending everybody but the bad boys with hardcore XXX-rated jams like "Black Vagina Finda" and "Suckin' The Next N!gga's D!ck." While the topics they kick are real enough, after awhile the b!tch-n!gga-b!tch lyrics and the frenzied screaming do become monotonous. Nevertheless, the lyrical chemistry between Sticky Fingers and Fredro Starr combined with the phat production work of Chyskills (Large Professor's old school homey) and Kool T blows into orbit and leaves you open for more." - The Source (March, 1993). Revisit the LP below...


Also from The Source (June, 1993) are these images...

March 29, 2021

Wrecking Crew "Wu-Tang Pulp" (2012)


Philadelphia conglomerate The Wrecking Crew have just release their first full-length project, Wu-Tang Pulp. Has-Lo, Zilla Rocca and Curly Castro have reworked cuts from the iconic ’90s group’s catalog and, for some tracks, done straight cover songs. Zilla Rocca had the following to say of the project: “What started as a simple idea in 2009 has formed into a completely flushed out re-imagining of the most iconic collective in Hip Hop history. Wu-Tang Pulp is an album shaped from the hearts and minds of three die-hard killa bee fanatics who spared no details in paying the ultimate homage to their heroes. Tackling records from RZA, Ghostface, Method Man, etc. is no easy task when you grew up with 36 Chambers in your Walkman, drawing the “W” on your high school composition books, and rocking Tommy Hilfiger tees in the summer because Raekwon said so.” - via Respect Mag. Check out 2012's Wu-Tang Pulp as an exclusive Bandcamp release streaming below...

March 28, 2021

Big L "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" (3/28/95)

There is a small number of MCs who can keep you hanging on every syllable; Big L may soon be among them. L's lyrical wit, clarity and lethal one-liners have more lasting value than gold ingots on his debut Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous. He gives his mentor Lord Finesse the first shout-out on the album's opening cut, "Put It On," before delivering a tireless parade of hardcore punch lines that rock like a left hook to the grill. As an MC, Big L clearly casts himself in the rhyme-savvy old-school; the callous, often brutal tone of his first-person raps is cleverly offset by imaginative lyrical hooks ("I got a crime record longer than Manute Bol") on nearly every cut, transforming outrageous rhetoric into artistic gems. While he can drop your jaw like a Paul Mooney outburst on "No Endz, No Skinz," Big L will also astound you with his fluid hardcore flow on "MVP," "Danger Zone" and "I Don't Understand It," along with the posse-cut "8 Iz Enuff." - CMJ New Music Monthly, April 1995. Big L's debut album is certainly a release we need to continue to celebrate along with the life of one of our slain legends. Hopefully you cop'd the exclusive 25th anniversary vinyl last year, the images of it are above and below. Revisit Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous below and R.I.P., Big L!


Original contact sheet from the book Contact High...

March 27, 2021

UFO Fev & Frank The Butcher "The Thrill" (EP Stream)


UFO Fev follows up his phenomenal release with Big Ghost, The Ghost of Albizu, with this latest 6-track EP produced by Frank The Butcher entitled The Thrill. This is some gritty New York City hip-hop here boasting "intricate story telling and production led by a one man orchestra," says their album-blurb. Born in East Harlem, growing up in Thomas Jefferson Houses, UFO Fev was inspired by his favorite rappers like Big Pun, Jay-Z and Beanie Siegel. He's been rather prolific in recent years, so hit the archives for other dope releases and props to Frank The Butcher, who has a handful of dope mixtapes in the archives, as well. Listen to Fev and Frank The Butcher's The Thrill EP below...

March 26, 2021

Digital Underground "Sex Packets" (March, 1990)


"We were serious act at first, trying to be this techno, pro-struggle-oriented civil-rights movement type of thing," says Digital Underground's main man Shock G from a hotel room in Oakland. Of course, for those who remember the first time they heard D.U., serious wasn't a word you would use to describe them. The group, consisting of rapper and producer Shock, rapper Money-B, DJ Fuse, singer Schmoovy Schmoov and drummer/producer Chopmaster J, was constantly morphing, and that was what always kept their fans guessing, laughing and shaking their asses. Party fun via musical lessons studiously gleaned from George Clinton's P-Funk mothership was most definitely what Digital Underground was known for, with rolling, juiced-up hit singles (and groundbreakingly popular MTV videos) like "Doowutchalike" and "The Humpty Dance." Ironically, Digital was very serious about the album's original main concept: Sex Packets. An idea developed by Shock's roommate Earl Cook (a.k.a. group vocalist Schmoovy Schmoov), Sex Packets were pills that would control the mental images that gave men and women wet dreams. Shock laughs: "Schmoov actually had, in his briefcase, the plans to create and get study and research going for these things. He was trying to get a grant from the government to develop them." Shock admits "we made up a lot of shit surrounding the album," including his aliases Humpty Hump, The Piano Man and MC Blowfish. "We were deliberately throwing out all the hip-hop rules, trying to break them," Shock remembers. "I always wanted Digital Underground to be this big supergroup, but we didn't have all the true characters yet. If I had a vision of a kind of guy we needed, I'd just be that guy." They brought it all in and let it all hang out. "We were like Fuck it, we're gonna be on some Funkadelic shit, and do all kinds of different songs and wear all kinds of different hats," he says. "All of us tugging in different directions made it a really rich gumbo album." Surely a great time in hip-hop, revisit the LP below...


Shock G humps his way through their funky classics below...

March 25, 2021

The Notorious B.I.G. "Life After Death" (March 25, 1997)


Holding back the tears, you can't help but think back to three 27 years ago when the poetic masterblaster known as the Notorious B.I.G. dropped his groundbreaking debut, Ready To Die, on the unsuspecting ears of the hip-hop nation. Although we had already boogied to the Brooklyn bounce of "Party and Bullshit" and shared his fantasies of seducing Janet Jackson on the mixtape favorite "Dreams," no one could have predicted how this record would forever change the landscape of current day hip-hop culture. Introducing the character of the Versace-don gulping Cristal from crystal flute glasses, Biggie came across as an aged-hustler who was tired of playing the rock-slanging game, but never became bored of retelling those crack in da dayz stories. With his husky from far too many blunts voice, Big documented the illmatic mean streets of his Bedford Stuyvesant stomping grounds. His tales of gunshots after midnight, snatching "the baby rings and the number-one-mom pendants" off of unsuspecting victims, and chilling stories of rivals plotting on his life became a part of his ever-expanding persona. But, within all of this, Biggie didn't seem to be looking to glamorize the pain of urban madness that surrounded him. Under the guidance of Bad Boy's flamboyant CEO Sean "Puffy" Combs, the Notorious one wasn't afraid to reveal his desire for the finer things in life. Unlike most rappers, Big was able to go pop with Billboard smashes like "Big Poppa" and "One More Chance," and still maintain street credibility and respect from fellow MC's because of lyrical masterworks like "Unbelievable" and the nerve-ending narrative "Warning." Cont'd...



...Now in 1997, six months after the murder of Tupac Shakur, I can still feel the chill I got when I sat down to listen to Biggie's second opus, Life After Death...Till Death Do Us Part. Moments after putting the advance tape into my stereo, my girlfriend opened the door and said, "Biggie was killed in Cali." And as my eyes swelled, I silently listened to an album that will undoubtedly become a classic to any true hip-hop fan. Chillingly opening with a dramatic scene of Biggie laying dead in a hospital room as sirens blare in the distance and sad piano chords drift like a ghost over his body, a sorrowful-voiced Puffy says, "We were supposed to rule the world, baby. Shit can't be over...shit can't be over." And as a flat-lining sound is heard, comes the weird soundscape of "Somebody's Gotta Die," a track that resembles a scene from an unmade blaxploitation film about Crooklyn gangsters trading shots in the projects. However, despite these suspenseful moments, this album makes a clear distinction from its predecessor. Unlike the cult of violence that seemed almost naturalistic on Ready to Die, the realm of gangster aesthetics on Life After Death seems more cinematic fantasy than real-life adventures in the 'hood. On the DJ Premier-produced "Kick In The Door," which loops Screaming Jay Hawkins, Biggie is busting down doors and waving his .44 like some kind of urban vigilante. Meanwhile, on "What's Beef?," which uses jungle influences in its grooves, Biggie moans, "Beef is when you need two gats to go to sleep/Beef is when your moms ain't safe up on the streets," like he wanted to rise above his own personal chaos. (Who wouldn't?) Cont'd below...


Exploring his desires to reach superstar status, Big's employment of fellow big-name artists leads to stunning results. R. Kelly adds his dirty vocal touches on "F#ckin' You Tonight," Puff and Big exchange playa-isms with Too Short on "The World Is Filled," and the mayor of St. James holds his own with Cleveland, Ohio's Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on "Notorious Thugs." That ambitious track alone reveals Smalls' diversity as an MC and his desire to be viewed as the greatest in his field. Still, despite inspired raw hip-hop diatribes like the RZA-constructed "Long Kiss Goodnight," and Primo's powerful "Ten Crack Commandments," Life After Death's finest moments are the instantly catchy, future-radio-favorites. While the slick-as-a-can-of-oil first single "Hypnotize" and the Rene and Angela-inspired "I Love The Dough" (featuring Jay-Z) are both banging, it's the remake of Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out (More Money)," featuring the sleepy-voiced Mase and the boss man Puff Daddy, that swings the hardest with pure Bad Boy flavor. Although Biggie probably never intended the hit-fueled Life After Death to be his swan song as an artist, one can't help but view songs like the care-free "Goin Back To Cali," a parody of the Death Row sound, and the haunting closing track, "You're Nobody ('Til Somebody Kills You)," as yet another definition of tragic irony. Unfortunately, like Tupac before him, Big's potent verses of a violent death became a self-prophecy indeed. - The Source, May 1997 (5 Mics). Revisit this classic 2LP today, and Rest in Peace to The Notorious B.I.G!