January 31, 2021

Wu-Tang Clan "C.R.E.A.M." (January 31, 1994)

Where "Protect Ya Neck," recorded for a few hundred dollars and sold out the backs of vans, sought to introduce Wu-Tang Clan into the rap conversation--any rap conversation, really--"C.R.E.A.M.," the standout song from Enter The Wu-Tang, (36 Chambers), announced them as torchbearers. "C.R.E.A.M." was dusty and intimidating and raw and unflinching, just as the album was, and it framed a very bleak economic realism in a handmade collage of bizarro tinks and thumps. It was the inverse to what had been happening in rap on the West Coast for the two years prior, both sonically (Dr. Dre's G-Funk creation was unhurried and loping and a reflection of its own coolness; Wu-Tang's lo-fi bombast was frenetic and intricate and introspective) and ideologically (the whole first verse of "Nuthin But a "G" Thang" is about how Dr. Dre is unfadeable so please don't try to fade him; the whole first verse of "C.R.E.A.M." is about all the small-scale crime Raekwon had committed, only to realize he'd not advanced his station in life). It was a change matched in measure only by what Public Enemy had done five years prior with It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and it was invigorating. G-Funk certainly didn't disappear (Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle was released the same month as Enter The Wu-Tang) but the next direction of rap's evolution had been made obvious. - The Rap Year Book. "C.R.E.A.M." is said to have been released on this day in 1994! Revisit the classic video HERE and as always, hit the archives for lots more content from the Wu!

January 30, 2021

Tha God Fahim x Your Old Droog "Tha Wolf On Wall St."

Fahim and Droog, who have collaborated a whole lot over the past few years, have just teamed up for the new album Tha Wolf On Wall St. There’s some beautiful kismet in the two of them releasing an album with that title today, after Wall Street fuckery has been all that anyone’s been talking about this week. But Tha Wolf On Wall St. isn’t a concept album about Robinhood. It’s just a relaxed, casual, extremely strong rap record. Fahim produced all of Tha Wolf On Wall St. himself, and his beats have a jazz-inflected boom-bap float. As rappers, Fahim and Droog both sound thoughtful and locked-in. The only guest is New Jersey’s Mach-Hommy, and he always sounds comfortable next to Droog and Fahim. - StereoGum. I wasn't really expecting to like this project, but I actually do... and I don't know enough about Tha God Fahim to say much, so I've deferred to those in the know. I credit Fat Beats distro for pushing me over the edge to give it some burn. I'll come back to it again later in the year, too, see how it hits me after another listen. This is my own bookmark, lol. Listen below...

January 30, 2021

Eazy-E "Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaph---in' Compton" (1/30/96)

At the time of his unexpected death, Eazy-E was in the midst of recording an album, and thanks to former N.W.A band mate D.J. Yella, who guided the numerous unfinished tracks to completion, we can hear Eazy’s last testament, Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaph—in’ Compton. The album includes not just his last recorded music but also snippets of conversation in which Eazy makes a case for gangsta’s legacy. We hear his claims that the Rodney King incident was foretold in N.W.A songs and his protests that ghetto kids learn more bad habits at home than from gangsta-rap records. The statements weren’t intended as farewells, but they come across as Eazy’s attempt to set the history books right before it was too late. Not that Str8 Off tha Streetz is a somber, mournful record. Still dubbing himself ”the original Compton criminal,” Eazy never stopped spewing the sort of stories that earned gangsta rap its menace-to-society image. He still taunts his former partners in N.W.A and brags about his prowess with artillery and women; to him, ”a hit is a hit and a bitch is a bitch.” In ”Sorry Louie,” he defends himself against enemies both male and female with a baseball bat; in ”Creep N Crawl,” yet another cop gets shot. His trademark laugh — a loud, mocking cackle — leaps out at us throughout the album, almost in defiance. Compared with the rich, layered melodies crafted by his arch-rival Dr. Dre, which skillfully incorporate everything from Philly soul to hard funk, Eazy’s music has always sounded malnourished, his whiny voice as runty as his appearance. Str8 Off tha Streetz has its share of Dre knockoffs, and its unfinished songs have been fleshed out by other rappers, making Eazy seem at times like a guest on his own record...

But thanks to contributions from Yella, East Coast kingpins Naughty By Nature, and old-school funk star Roger Troutman, the music here (recorded over a two-year period) swings. Sadly, it’s his most musically varied and enjoyable album. The collaborations with Naughty are particularly sharp, resulting in the breezy R&B groove of ”Hit the Hooker” and the fast, hard clip of ”Nutz on Ya Chin.” Finally, it’s possible to respect Eazy not just for his business acumen (he was one of the first rappers to start his own record label) but for his beats. Gangsta rap may never again conjure the confrontational power it did in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and the paucity of subject matter — limited to talk of getting loaded, having your way with ”bitches,” and so forth — on Str8 Off tha Streetz is almost an elegy for the music. (Eazy makes no references to AIDS, as if his illness was as much of a shock to him as it was to us.) But for all his foibles, Eazy-E exposed social problems, especially on the drug-ravaged streets of his native South Central Los Angeles, that no one else dared. On Str8 Off tha Streetz, he leaves our consciousness the same way he entered — rough, raunchy, embattled, and utterly unapologetic. - EW, 1996. Rest in Peace to the legendary Eazy-E.

January 29, 2021

The Alchemist "Carry The Fire" (Instrumental Album)

The official collaborative EP and capsule project "Carry The Fire" from the Alchemist and clothing brand Born x Raised. The EP is an 8-track instrumental soundtrack to the short film from Jason Goldwatch. It is inspired by the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The EP (although it's called an LP on their website) is a short project at roughly 10 minutes, which features samples of commercials and news clippings to build around the concept of the project. Alchemist has been very busy as of late, much respect to him! You can watch the video clip HERE and listen to the EP below. The price of vinyl may appeal to serious collector's only, but it's available along with other merch options HERE!

January 28, 2021

Happy Born Day, Rakim! (Greatest MC!)

"Contrary to popular belief, hip-hop heads do not have minute-long attention spans. Proof positive of that surprising fact is the overwhelming number of y'all who voted Rakim Allah for Greatest MC. Although at the time of this survey (1/98) he hadn't dropped any material for five (looooong!) years, the R's overwhelming margin of victory leaves little doubt that his impact on listeners is still being felt since he came through the door in '86. With a distinctively multisyllabic, low-key delivery, his unabashed nomination of Eric B. for President so convinced us that we damn near tripped all over each other in search of the nearest ballot box. And at a time when the average rap song zipped by at a dizzying 120 or so beats-per-minute, he then asked us to check out his melody--maintaining the tempo s-l-o-w enough to peep every word--to see if we'd agree that the mic of the god was truly blessed. Well, we'd venture to say that Solomon himself couldn't flip verses like that. Little wonder, since the admitted microphone fiend had been penning lyrics of fury before puberty, and his penchant for moving the crowd was undisputed. We followed his leadership into the ghetto and beyond, and when the rhythm hit us, we were hard-pressed not to sweat his technique. Alas, the onset of the 90s witnessed the virtual disappearance of Rakim, and with him went the prominence of lyricism in rap music. Fortunately, the god is back, humble as always, but definitely with a vengeance. And judging from the results of this survey, hip-hop heads across the atlas will agree when we say, "All praise due." - The Source (January, 1998). Go ahead and wish Rakim a Happy Born Day today! If you didn't catch the New Year's Eve celebration with the live performance from Rakim and J.Period, I do hope that video and/or the live mixtape will surface on the web some time in the very near future! You cannot argue Rakim's influence and that, skill-wise, he very well may be thee greatest MC of all-time! Nas is my favorite MC, but we know he's from the Rakim school of rhyming.

January 27, 2021

K!NG JVMES & J. Arrr "Weather Report" (EP Stream)

Thanks to the homie Jon Doe over at Southern Vangard Radio I'm tapped into the collaborative duo of North Carolina MCs, K!NG JVMES (Greensboro, NC) and J. Arrr (Wilson, NC). Their new effort, Weather Report, is a 5-track EP which boasts features from Hamburg-based turntablist and producer Chinch 33, and Shekinah Iman. The EP is executive produced by popular wordsmith, Ransom, and there's also production from DJ Pain 1, So Special, as well as artwork by Serious Beats (according to the album credits). It's a short project that packs a nice punch, keep an eye out for more from these cats. I'm sure there will be more collaborations to follow behind it. Listen below....

January 27, 2021

DJ Platurn "So This Is De La Heaven (The Premix)"

By now you should be familiar with the work of DJ Platurn as I've posted several of his mixes, which include tributes to De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Redman and more. One of the most revered mixes in his catalog are the So This Is De La Heaven mixes. DJ Platurn has now unearthed the Premix! and shares it with the following message: "Did a tape purge the other day and came across this live all De La (and samples) mix I did as a practice run for the OG 'So This Is De La Heaven'. I honestly thought this thing had disappeared ages ago -- must have recorded it about a year before the 1st volume so i'm guessing summer 2001. Anyway here it is in all its premature glory, tape hiss and all (tried to finesse and gave it a little bump but there's only so much you can do with a 20 year old tape that's been stashed in a box for a couple decades). All the inspiration is there and it's pretty cool to hear some of the ideas that formally made it onto the official mixes." For past mixes, dig into the archives, and also click through to visit his official Bandcamp. Peep the mix below...

January 26, 2021

The Primeridian x Rashid Hadee "Prime Diesel" (Album Stream)

The Primeridian (Simeon Viltz and Race Bannon) and emcee/producer Rashid Hadee cook up a well seasoned album full of feel good funk soul and that signature knock! Concepts over time aged like fine wine, lyrically and stylistically sublime. Front to end, since the journey began with collaborations from Philmore Greene, Neak, Slot-A, Pugs Atomz, Thaione Davis, Osiris Banks, Dat King Cold, and My Guy Phil. This album is a collection of Sunday sessions that have contributed over the years to form this well balanced body of work. A sure shot jolt of energy or for some inspiring peace of mind in these tumultuous times. Produced by Rashid Hadee, with additional production by Tall Black Guy...

January 26, 2021

King Tee "Tha Trifflin' Album" (January 26, 1993)

Between albums the Compton King has been staying in shape by participating in a number of St. Ides malt liquor commercials. If you are not familiar with some of the best rap commercials ever made, King Tee has included one ("King Tee's Beer Stand") to let you know what the hype is all about. It was once said that King Tee "can't think without a drink" and I am inclined to believe it because much of this album's subject matter seems to have been inspired by St. Ides. The title of "Drunk Tekneek" speaks for itself and "On The Rox" takes out Spice 1's "187 Proof," in telling a story that cleverly weeaves alchol-related metaphors into the lyrics. Tee, who has always had skills, shows that you can always get better, and he proves to be a master wordsmith on that cut. In keeping with the album's theme of skills and alcohol, Tee unleashes the Alkaholiks--two brothers whose lyrical styles add serious strength and versatility to the album. On "I Got It Bad Y'all," they question the rhymes of other MC's: "Some people use the word funky too loosely/How many rappers say they kick it like Bruce Lee?" On "Bus' Dat Ass," they flaunt complex, East Coast flavored rhyme skills. And "A Hoe B-4 The Homie" features Tee, Ice Cube and Deadly Threat rapping over a slow hustler groove. As an added bonus you get to sample Marley Marl's remix of "At Your Own Risk." In stepping away from his gangsta image and varying his tempos and rhyme styles, King Tee has produced (unlike last time) an album that is consistent. And at a short 45 minutes in length, this is clearly Tee's finest effort since the days of "Act a Fool." - The Source, February 1993. Revisit this classic album below...

The full review in The Source magazine + physical copies...

January 25, 2021

What Are The Greatest Mixtapes of All-Time?

Tape Kingz' Iain McNee chose his 10 Greatest Mix Tapes of All-Time in Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists - a phenomenal book from 1999. I think with the exception of DJ S&S's "2/10/93," I've shared all the other joints already on the site. Maybe that tape went by another name? Either way, there's a few DJ S&S tapes HERE to make up for it. There's a description from Iain about each tape he hand-selected with some exceptional and relevant points. I was asked to do the same thing by a reader of the site, which led me to pull up this article because some of my selections do overlap. For example, Doo Wop's 95 Live; Five Deadly Venoms of Brooklyn; 50 MC's and perhaps even Kid Capri's classic 52 Beats. Beyond that - and mostly for personal reasons (nostalgia!), I'd include Tony Touch's Tape 44, DJ Rip One's Rippin Shit Up!; DJ Apollo's Reggae Dancehall Classics; Robert Smith's Biggie mix; DJ Geo Roc's tapes and many of the DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro joints + many others that are escaping my memory right NOW. Care to suggest any mix tapes for me to listen to or cover here? As always, I suggest diggin' into the archives; there are hundreds of mixes and mixtapes to listen to!

January 24, 2021

Nas "Nas Album Redone" (Unofficial Official Tape)

The homie Soles of Mischief is rebuilding his catalog of mixes and exclusives up on the Mixcloud platform... This is his Nas Album Redone project. The 20-minute release features the Just Blaze-produced "The Scientist"; three tracks with DJ Green Lantern: "Cops Keep Firing", "Power, Paper & Pussy" and "Power Hustlers", as well as "The Season," produced by the late great, J Dilla; the legendary Scarface on the Justice League-produced "Hip-Hop" for DJ Khaled, and "Let Nas Down," produced by J.Cole. Nas remains one of my favorite MCs of all-time, despite the few potholes in his catalog. Listen to this Unofficial Official Tape below, and follow the brother Soles of Mischief on IG...

January 23, 2021

th1rt3en "A Magnificent Day For An Exorcism" (Album Stream)

th1rt3en is the combative new project from legendary Jamaica, Queens rapper Pharoahe Monch joined by musical assassins Jack White drummer Daru Jones + renowned guitarist, Marcus Machado. Executive produced, written and directed by Pharoahe Monch, he shares: “th1rt3en is tired of holding hands and singing hymns. We’ve been assigned from a higher power to combat you on your own terms. In this existence head on. Here, hold this voodoo! Fuck you!” Pharoahe Monch has had a hall of fame career thus far, first as a member of the 90’s group Organized Konfusion and even more notably as a solo artist revered by his peers. Aggressive, abrasive, often irreverent and fearless with their examination of the world today, the propelling percussion, bewitching hooks, elite lyricism and brilliant guitar work makes for a sonic explosion worthy of the best of all genres. Their debut album, A Magnificent Day For An Exorcism, was released yesterday on Fat Beats Records. It's dark, moody and super lyrical! In a landscape where we are constantly being conditioned to shrink our thinking into social media’s algorithm and age demographic, the world is in need of reflection and atonement and th1rt3en is just the band to get the process started. Dig into their album below...

January 22, 2021

Breeze Brewin "Hindsight" (Album Stream)

Breeze Brewin of the Juggaknots (and The Indelible MCs) has released his debut solo album, Hindsight. The album boasts 13 tracks with production from Marco Polo, Black Milk, DJ Maseo (De La Soul), DJ Spinna, Sebb Bash and more. Hindsight captures the magic of what happens when an artist sticks with what they love and shares it with the rest of the world. It's been well-documented on this site and anywhere I frequent, Breeze Brewin is one of my all-time favorite MCs! His wordplay and flow are exceptional and any writer/lyricist will echo that same sentiment. It helps that Breeze is a extremely nice guy and Fat Beats alumni, too. In these turbulent times, I am rejoicing in the fact that we have this album and plan to give it a ton of burn. Much respect to Breeze, Kev Fever, Herawin, DJ Boo, and anyone as excited as I am for this release. Listen to Breeze's album below...

January 21, 2021

Hus Kingpin "Portishus" (Album Stream)

Portishus is the latest release from Long Island MC, Hus Kingpin. The project is inspired by Portishead's music and it's felt throughout the vibe of the project. Guitars and moody drum loops set the stage for this creative new project. We ran Portishead on Sunday afternoons on Fat Beats on the regular. Anyone who says those early Portishead projects didn't inspire your favorite producers of that era, you are out of touch with music. The project features appearances from Vinnie Paz, SmooVth, Ransom, and Willie The Kid, SageInfinite, Breeze Brewin, Ty Farris, Nems, Snotty, Big Twins, Roc C, Rozewood, and more! Props to everyone involved - dig into the LP below...

January 20, 2021

DJ Eclipse & DJ Riz "MF DOOM Tribute" (Mix, 1/3/21)

DJ Eclipse and DJ Riz paid tribute to the late great MF DOOM on their Sirius radio show, Rap Is Outta Control. When I thought about all the DJs that would come out of the shadows to post their mixes in support of MF DOOM, there were only a few that I was certain had represented from day 1, and among them was certainly DJ Eclipse. Sure, you can dig into the archives for a lot of DOOM-related content, but for now, you'll definitely want to dig into this 2-hour tribute mix, which was recorded live on January 3, 2021. MF DOOM's memory will live on forever, click play and you'll hear all the reasons why. Props to Lucas for the updated link on MixCloud; the link I had was removed. RIP!

January 19, 2021

Instagram Series: The Photography of Atsuko Tanaka

Photographer Atsuko Tanaka was born in Tokyo. She moved to the U.S. in 1991 as a teenager, and studied photography in Los Angeles before relocating to New York City, where she quickly gained recognition for her images of legendary hip-hop artists. Equipped with a distinct sensibility that captured subtle expressions and moods of her subjects, it didn't take long before Atsuko found herself shooting the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z, Nas, Capone-N-Noreaga, Redman, RZA and many more, as well as album cover art for popular Japanese artists. While continuing to photograph celebrities, artists and street fashion for both American and Japanese media, in 2006 Atsuko was named one of the "100 Most Respected Japanese in the World" by Newsweek Japan. In fall 2011, Atsuko moved her base back to Tokyo after two decades in the States. She still frequently travels abroad for work and inspiration. You can sample some of her work above and below, but you'll definitely want to follow Atsuko Tanaka's feed on Instagram for a ton of incredible photos from her archives. Enjoy...

January 18, 2021

Kurious "A Constipated Monkey" (January 18, 1994)

After years of paying dues and building a rep as one of the best freestylers in New York, Kurious finally gets the opportunity to correctly represent with a full-length LP. True hip-hop heads will no doubt remember Kurious from last winter's "Walk Like A Duck," probably one of the most slept on singles in recent memory. This time around Kurious hits the streets with a number of definite underground hits. "Spell It With A J" is a wicked freestyle (packed with clever metaphors and similes) over a fat Beatnuts track. And whether he's hangin' with Psycho Les and holding his crotch 'cause he's "Top Notch" or utilizing a dope Q-Tip sample on "Baby Bust It (featuring the Grim Reaper)," Kurious rocks the mic like a true MC should. There's even a smoothed-out cut, "I'm Kurious," that could get him some daytime radio play. There is even some East Coast/West Coast unity as Oakland's Hieroglyphics crew gets represented by a guest appearance from Casual on "What's The Real." Production-wise, the Beatnuts hang snug and tight (as usual) allowing the lyrical skills to flow over the tracks like water from fountains. But there is also some solid work done by SD50's Pete and Rich and Bosco Money. Rap purists and fans of bugged-out freestyle shouldn't hit the snooze button on this one. - The Source (February, 1994). A slept-on GEM of an LP! Unfortunately it's still not available on streaming platforms, so enjoy this samples mix from VinRican...

Original album review in The Source + Stickers...

January 17, 2021

"Juice" (January 17, 1992)

"For the unknown stars of this $5 million film, getting ”juice,” a street term for respect and power, is as much a real-life obsession as it is for the characters they play. ”It’s about time there’s work for us,” says Shakur’s costar Khalil Kain, who just a few weeks ago was a bartender at a local nightclub. The timing certainly is right: Hollywood is coming off a year in which a record number of black films were released, and movie companies are looking to repeat the success of Boyz N the Hood and New Jack City, which grossed $56 million and $47 million respectively. ”Studios finally realize the dollar potential of making black films,” says Heyman, who is coproducing Juice with Neal Moritz. ”They cost so little to make and they don’t have to bring in $150 million to be considered a hit.” ”It’s a good thing, too,” says the 40-year-old Dickerson, ”because there’s an untapped wealth of black stories, and now some of them will finally get told.” ... Juice is about four Harlem homeboys who, says co-screenwriter Brown, ”have watched one Chuck Norris movie too many.” And while the message is anti-violence, the film has its share of guns and bloodshed. The movie’s theme and marketing campaign have already sparked concern over a possible replay of the violence that marred the debuts of New Jack and Boyz. Paramount, the film’s distributor, did revise Juice‘s poster — airbrushing out a large gun — though for creative reasons, not out of fear that it would incite violence, the studio says. Paramount also offered to pick up the cost of increased security in some theaters. But Dickerson believes that the film’s moderate bloodshed is an accurate reflection of life in the streets. His operative word is authenticity. ”This is about the perils of growing up black in the ghetto,” says the director, who hails from Newark. 'If I can accurately show that without the Hollywood wrappings, then I’ve done what I set out to do.'" - Entertainment Weekly, 1992. Below is a great (perhaps rare?) interview with the cast, and if you dig into the archives on this site, you can see 2Pac's original testing contract for the film in 1991, a review of the movie's soundtrack, and more! Juice is a cult-classic film that should continue to be celebrated. Rest In Peace, Tupac Shakur!

More publicity photos from the film and the VHS copy...

January 16, 2021

Wax Tailor "The Shadows Of Their Suns" (Album Stream)

It's been 5 years since French trip-hop producer Wax Tailor's last studio album, he's now back with "The Shadow Of Their Suns," a darkly elegant "sound feature" accompanied by a new and prestigious cast that includes Boog Brown, Mark Lanegan, Del The Funky Homosapien, Mr. Lif, Rosemary Standley, Adeline, D Smoke, Gil Scott-Heron, and Yugen Blakrok. Always genre-bending, Wax Tailor has consistently released mind-blowing music over the years, and this latest 13-track offering is no exception! Dig into his new album below, and if you're interested in the vinyl, cop it from Fat Beats.

January 15, 2021

9th Wonder "The Wonder Year" (Documentary, 2011)

The Wonder Year is a film by Kenneth Price. It follows a year in the life of CEO, NAACP ambassador, Duke University professor, husband, father, son and Grammy Award winning producer 9th Wonder. The film shows one of soul music's most dynamic figures from his childhood home to late nights in the studio and everywhere in between. The hour 80 minute documentary also features appearances from Drake, DJ Premier, DJ Green Lantern, J. Cole, Murs, Phonte, Young Guru, The Alchemist, and more. It was originally released in 2011, with physical copies of the DVD available to purchase HERE. Much respect to 9th Wonder who is celebrating his Born Day today! Enjoy the documentary below...

January 15, 2021

Gang Starr "Step In The Arena" (January 15, 1991)

"DJ Premier's turntable wizardry is cemented to the Guru's acute raps via some of the funkiest beats you'll hear this year. At 18 tracks and almost 50 minutes long, it's the Guru and Premier's fully realized vision of Gang Starr... "This time we made sure all of the beats pump. This album we got into more depth - relating to our experiences in Brooklyn plus our experiences from traveling. We're coming with a different perspective - we have stuff that is jazz influenced but the subject matter is different." The article continues, "Step In The Arena sees the Guru dropping his knowledge on gangs, other MCs, women and religion. But this man lives for his lyrics! As he explains his thoughts behind the album, he raps his way through whole chunks of each tracks." You'll definitely wanna read the full article below in HHC (2/91), where Guru discusses the album track by track, like for the single, "Take A Rest," where Guru explains, "I'm tired of sellout rappers - people doin' it 'cos they think it's cool, but they have no vision. The rappers I like may be different, but the one thing they have in common is that they have scope, style, and a sense of direction. That's what "Take A Rest" is about. It cuts from Special Ed, the lyrics really bug, and it's really hot." As always, revisit the album now celebrating its 30th anniversary. I also included a dope interview from 1991 in support of the release of Step In The Arena. If you're like me, you grew up with Gang Starr and they remain my favorite group of all-time! Much love and respect (always) to DJ Premier, and Rest In Peace, Guru!

Full article in Hip-Hop Connection + Rap Pack Trading Cards...

January 14, 2021

Happy Born Day, Slick Rick!

D-Stroy tagged me in a post on IG, wishing a Happy Born Day to the legendary Slick Rick, and I thought I'd share it here: "Happy Birthday Slick Rick. Younger cats may be wondering, who’s this man and why does he wear a eye patch? Is his accent real? Why are people always in the club saying “La Di Da Di, we likes to party?” To answer those questions and more, he adds: 1) Slick Rick was born in a place called South Wimbledon, in South West London, England. He moved to the Bronx, NY, when he was 11. 2) Slick Rick’s eye patch was never a fashion statement, but masked a medical injury. At only 1 years old, he was left blinded in the right eye after a window broke and his eye was struck by glass. 3) Funny enough, at the High School of Music and Arts, this Brit met Dana Dane who was known to impersonate British accents. They formed the Kangol Crew, though, MC Ricky D ended up truly shining with Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew. 4) After being set up and extorted by his own cousin, Slick Rick ended up in an altercation leaving two people shot; a bystander (in the foot!) and his cousin. Second degree attempted murder charges, followed by issues stemming with the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), he spent 5 years and 12 days in jail. 5) The only label Slick Rick was ever signed to was Def Jam Records which explains why Russell Simmons was the one who bailed him out of jail 8 months after initial charges were laid on him. He was also released in 1993, for three months and sent back when the INS got involved. 6) Ricky D released an album while incarcerated, entitled Behind Bars. 7) Slick Rick is Grammy-nominated, when Montell Jordan sampled Ricky D for his hit track ‘This is How We Do It.” Considering the sampling, Slick Rick was listed as a writer on the track, therefore, getting credit as Grammy-nominated. 8) In his whole discography, “A Children’s Story” is his favorite song. Perhaps it’s because he produced it entirely separate from anyone at Def Jam having their hands in it. (Along with “Hey Young World” and “Mona Lisa.”). 9) Department of Homeland Security tried to deport Slick Rick, yet again, in 2003. He spent 17 months in an ‘illegal aliens’ jail, Finally, in 2008, he was granted a full and unconditional pardon., which means, this Hip-Hop hero is here to stay. Follow HERE to catch D-Stroy's online show, Showoff Your Gems. HBD, Slick Rick! Art above is by Ed Piskor.

January 13, 2021

OC From NC "Dope Sell Itself" (Album Stream)

Another strong project from OC from NC with Dope Sell Itself. Apparently this was originally exclusively available to fans who made merch purchases through his website. It's now being made available (as a Christmas gift to fans) on its own, as well. The project boasts 11 cuts with no credited features on the Bandcamp page, however the Spotify link does credit guest appearances from Big Remo, Chaundon, Vanessa Ferguson, Shame, DJ Flash, Yamazawa, Illpo, and Goodz The Carolina Boy. As the title suggests, you don't need me to tell you it's Dope, this shit will sell itself...

January 12, 2021

Happy Born Day, Raekwon! (Playlist)

Raekwon (born Corey Woods, 1970) – nicknamed “The Chef” for having “lyrical flavor”, and ability to cook cocaine into “crack rock,” says his biography. Rae's lyrics have always utilized extensive New York slang, much of which he birthed himself. He is also known for his vivid storytelling about wealth, power, and prestige. His influential solo album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… is often credited with initiating the Mafioso rap phenomenon of the mid-to-late-1990s, and is generally considered one of the best of the solo albums by both fans and critics. The sequel to the influential album was released in late 2009 titled Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II. Subsequent albums also include his latest effort, The Wild, which I feel is a slept-on record, where Rae took it back to some soulful samples and his genuine slang rap. I've posted so much content that's related to Wu-Tang and Raekwon over the years, you can and should have a field-day in the archives. I've also quickly put together this short playlist that features many of my favorite Raekwon solo records; features and Wu-Tang material. Go ahead and wish Shallah Raekwon a very Happy Born Day today, and dig into the playlist below. He's definitely one of the best to do it - the proof is there, follow the breadcrumbs!!

January 11, 2021

J Scienide & Kev Brown "Stray From The Pack" (Album Stream)

Stray From The Pack is a homage to all the great duos like EPMD, Das EFX, Hall & Oates, Mobb Deep, Steely Dan etc, says J Scienide & Kev Brown. They add, "This album was fun to create because we both have so many styles and different music genres that we like. We kept it raw. Strictly hardcore beats, no guest appearances and no gimmicks - just dope beats and rhymes!" Props to the homie, J Scienide, as well as DJ Jon Doe, who is on all the cuts. Hit up the archives for lots more from J Scienide and Kev Brown, but before that, enjoy their new LP, Stray From The Pack, below...