June 30, 2021

Ict-T & Calvin Butts on Video Music Box (June 30, 1993)

“Video Music Box Special: Censorship? Rap Under Attack” is a debate on rap music and censorship that was hosted by Ralph McDaniels and broadcast live from WNYC-TV in New York on June 30, 1993. The participants are: Reverend Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem; Cynthia Horner, editor of Right On! Magazine; Coral Aubert, Youth Educator; and rap artist Ice-T. Reverend Butts had recently garnered headlines by leading a protest against explicit lyrics in rap recordings and earned the wrath of “hardcore” rappers like Ice-T. (Read: “Harlem Protest of Rap Lyrics Draws Debate and Steamroller” in The New York Times, June 6, 1993). Indeed, there are quite a few contentious exchanges between the pastor and the rapper in the course of this compelling discussion. Ice-T is quite hostile at times toward Reverend Butts, who maintains a firm but gentle demeanor throughout. There are occasional viewer phone calls. This upload contains the discussion only and omits the opening rap video montage to avoid a music copyright dispute. There are occasional video tracking problems, but the audio remains unaffected. Photo by Steve Jennings.

Original Press Release in 1993...

June 29, 2021

David Begun "Lofi Villain" (Album Stream)

I've been sitting with this project all day... much respect to David Begun for his latest offering, Lofi Villain. In his own words, "I wanted to use MF DOOM's lyrics but re-create an entirely different vibe and feeling from his music and in doing so hopefully pay tribute to the legend. Using a variety of lofi/chillhop beats from various producers as the bed to lay the Super Villain's unique variety of lyrics, I hoped to achieve that and create "Lofi Villain." A 20 track tribute to your favorite rapper's favorite rapper to open the windows and listen to at 2 in the morning." Well done, sir! Listen below and dig into the full archives for other great projects from David Begun. Rest In Peace, MF DOOM!

June 28, 2021

Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield II (June 28, 1997)

For once, even Don King was silent. Mike Tyson's postfight excuses had long since rung hollow, and not even the usually long-winded promoter in charge of Tyson's career was up to the task of resurrecting them. The outrage that followed Tyson's disqualification for biting Evander Holyfield's ears showed no signs of abating though, even in the conspicuous absence Sunday of the former heavyweight champion and his handlers. "It's certainly a sad day for boxing," said Marc Ratner, director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Holyfield nursed a pair of tender ears Sunday, a day after Tyson was disqualified after the third round of his rematch with Holyfield in boxing's richest fight ever. Holyfield is $35 million richer and still holds the WBA heavyweight title, but it was a hollow win in a fight that fell well short of its potential of being one of the best heavyweight rematches in recent history. Tyson, meanwhile, celebrated his 31st birthday today in the face of public scorn. A Nevada boxing commission is scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider fining him up to $3 million and suspending hm from boxing for biting part of one of Holyfield's ears off and trying to do the same with another. "It's over, I know it's over," an angry Tyson kept repeating in his dressing room after the fight. "My career is over." Tyson had just found his way through an enraged crowd that was screaming and making obscene gestures at him. A bottle of water thrown from the stands just missed his head, and he had to be stopped from going into the seats to beat up his tormentors. The fight, which started with Holyfield smiling and singing to himself in his corner and Tyson grin-faced across the ring, ended in bedlam, with Tyson seemingly out of control and trying to hit anyone around him. His actions might cost him far more than a fine and suspension. Now the target of the scorn of the boxing world, Tyson will have a tough time reaping the huge pay-days that have been his since leaving prison two years ago after serving a term for rape. - 1997. Tyson has certainly bounced--back time and time again-- always remaining a fan-favorite, and one of the greatest boxers and media personalities. For $1M, would you get in the ring with Tyson in his prime? NOPE!!!

One of the most infamous moments in all of Boxing history...

June 27, 2021

Dave Diggla "Diggin' In The Dirt, Vol. 5" (Mixtape)

Dave Diggla is back to serve up some true school goodness with the fifth installment in his Diggin' In The Dirt mix-series. Boasting a selection of some of the most potent lyricists, Dave Diggla runs through tracks from Planet Asia, Masta Ace, Pete Rock, Jean Grae, Big Pun, Crooklyn Dodgers, Redman, LL Cool J and lots more from the underground that I'm too lazy to list off, lol. This mix had been sitting in the drafts for several months, it somehow got lost in the shuffle and now I don't know exactly when I first listened to it, so pardon the mistake but it's never too late to share good music and mixes. Listen below and I'll check back to see what other new mixes he's released since...

June 26, 2021

Evidence "Unlearning Vol. 1" (Album Stream)

In March 2020, right as the whole world was entering into a transitional phase, Evidence released a single titled “Unlearning”. Now, a year later, Evidence launches the campaign for his upcoming album, Unlearning Vol. 1, picking up where the single of the same name left off, and going beyond. Throughout his career, Evidence has always been adept at both staying true to his roots and evolving as he grows and learns from life experiences, including recognizing when the time comes to unlearn. During the campaign for his last album, Weather or Not (2018), he expressed a desire to close the chapter on the weather-related theme that had been a staple of his solo career to that point. Unlearning Vol. 1 not only sees that vision come to life, but shines brilliantly in the process. Unlearning Vol. 1 pairs Evidence’s own production with works from The Alchemist, Nottz, Sebb Bash, Animoss, Mr. Green, V Don, Khrysis, Daringer and EARDRUM (QThree). This highlights perhaps an undervalued skill of Ev’s—his ability to collaborate with a multitude of producers on a project, while still creating an album with a cohesion and consistency rarely found in such extensive collaboration. While the album’s musical soundscape sets the scene, it's Ev’s gift for relatable yet inventively clever writing that really paints the picture, continually pulling the listener in. That said, a small but powerful cast of guest appearances also decorate the landscape, courtesy of stellar performances from Boldy James, Conway, Fly Anakin, Navy Blue, and Murkage Dave. Unlearning Vol. 1 embodies the sound and feeling of pure artistic expression, capturing a moment in time where marketability, album sales & streaming potential, and the desire to please anyone other than the artist themselves, are all just an afterthought. As one could expect, such freedoms allowed Evidence to tap into something special that sounds engaging and unique, and also remains true to his foundation. Listen to it below...

June 25, 2021

Jay-Z "Reasonable Doubt" (June 25, 1996, Press Kit)

New York - "The Most Anticipated Album on the Street" is at long last scheduled to surface. Roc-A-Fella recording artist JAY-Z will release his first single, "Dead Presidents" as early as March 1, 1996. The forthcoming album, REASONABLE DOUBT will follow shortly after with its release scheduled for April 1, 1996. "Dead Presidents," the underground hit single has its large audience captured in a tight grip. It is no wonder why the "underground hit" has now been scheduled for release as the sophomore single. Now in full rotation on HOT 97, New York's premiere hip hop station, "Dead Presidents", held listeners in a burdening suspense. JAY enthralled the hip hop community by winning three consecutive bouts on the Angie Martinez' segment, "Battle of the Beats." Winning over reputable competitors such as Busta Rhymes, Real Live Sh!t and Tupac Shakur was just part of a day's work for JAY-Z. On the fourth night it was Ghost Face Killer and several key Wu-Tang members that took him out. See what it takes to knock an artist like JAY. The "fant-abulous" issue on the release of this single is that listeners will receive equal enjoyment of the flip side. The "B" side features Foxy Brown on the explosive, "Ain't No N*gg@." So listen on, "JAY-Z's Listening Party" will provide you with a sweet head nod and an idea of what else will follow. Remember this is just a taste." (Press Release. February 5, 1996). Revisit Hov's classic, Reasonable Doubt, and more below...

Reasonable Doubt is the first release for Roc-A-Fella Records, a label that was conceived by Jay-Z, Damon Dash, and Kareem Burke. Reaching gold status in such a small amount of time for a start-up record company is a remarkable feat in itself. Jay-Z, who holds the title of COO of Roc-A-Fella records comments on the success of Roc-A-Fella and Reasonable Doubt by saying, "It's just the beginning." Damon Dash, CEO of Roc-A-Fella contributes that, "We're not just a company, we're a conglomerate. A family with high expectations, we refuse to lose." In the words of CMJ's M. Tye Comer, Reasonable Doubt is "easily one of the best records of the summer and will undoubtedly give De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest a serious run for their money as the hip-hop record of the year." The album highlights include production by producers such as Clark Kent (Junior M.A.F.I.A.), DJ Premier (Nas) and Big Jaz, who produced the gold single, Ain't No N*gg@. The current single, Can't Knock The Hustle, which features Mary J. Blige, is currently in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart. Jay-Z's performance at a recent concert at New York's famed Apollo Theater had seasoned observers of the hip hop scene comparing Jay-Z's live fire to Run-DMC in their prime. Neil Strauss of The New York Times wrote, "Jay-Z came off like a hustler millionaire alternating lyrics about diamonds and Grey Poupon with ones about street gangs and shootouts." (Press Kit, September 19, 1996). The art above is by talented artist, Alphonze. Full press releases are below.

June 24, 2021

Gang Starr "The Ownerz" (June 24, 2003)

For 14 (30+) years, DJ Premier and Guru have been synonymous with cutting-edge, streetwise hip-hop that challenges you to think while inducing you to dance. On their first release in five years, they take dead aim at those they feel are misusing their art form for commercial gain. On "Peace of Mine," Guru declares, "Of course I want money, but I won't compromise." He criticizes rappers who obscure the real pain of poverty with much more bankable thug imagery. First single "Rite Where U Stand" finds him and Jadakiss ready to take on all comers, while haters and fakers get blazed on such tracks as "Put Up or Shut Up." "Riot Akt" explores the sudden violence that can erupt in the streets. This is music with a heart and a brain. - 2003. Said perfectly, "music with a heart and a brain," explains Guru and Gang Starr's music as a whole. DJ Premier continues to carry on tradition in Guru's absence and everything is done with that same level of integrity. Rest In Peace, Gifed Unlimited Rhymes Universal. Revisit Gang Starr's 2003 LP, The Ownerz -- also featuring Fat Joe, M.O.P., NYG'z, Snoop, Smiley The Ghetto Child, Freddie Foxxx, Krumbsnatcha and more -- below...

Review in Democrat & Chronicle (July 3, 2003) ... 

June 23, 2021

DJ JS-1 "Subculturez" (Album Stream)

Subculturez is the latest album from DJ, turntablist, producer and graff writer, DJ JS-1. This ambitious offering boasts 32 tracks representing an ode to his hometown of New York City. It features scratch tracks, various beats and breaks that he's produced, and the album's artwork is also drawn by DJ JS-1 aka JERMS. DJ JS-1 is a stand-up guy (one of my favorite in this industry), who loves the music and the culture, even when he feels it doesn't love him back. He's definitely one of the best DJs I've ever seen and someone who truly knows the music and the business. Take a trip through the 5 boroughs of New York City with his ode to a place I'll for-ever-ever call home...

June 22, 2021

What Had Happened Was "Finale: RTJ4 & More" (Podcast)

On the final episode of this season of What Had Happened Was, Open Mike Eagle links with El-P for one last conversation! Together they cover Run The Jewels 4, High Water, Little Johnny From The Hospitul, and more! Hear El-P discuss things like: Is there another solo project in the cards? How does El-P feel about the battles he's waged in his career? Another phenomenal season with a producer everyone should get more familiar with in, and outside, of music. Props to Open Mike Eagle for the direction of the podcast and 2 seasons of great conversations with legends. Listen below...

June 21, 2021

Bone Thugs N' Harmony "Creepin' On Ah Come Up" (June 21, 1994)

"We don't claim to be gangster," Krazie Bone says. "Cause gangsters get caught up," says his partner Wish Bone. Together along with Lazy Bone, Bizzy Bone and Flesh N' Bone they call themselves Thugs N' Harmony. Thugs stands for Trues Housing UnderGround Shit. Trues referring to being true -- true to themselves, true to each other, true to the street; Harmony referring to their harmony in music and in life. The duality is what makes them, and their debut Ruthless/Relativity LP, Creepin' On Ah Come Up, unique. To generalize, Bone is reality rap and street corner harmony combined. They rap and sing about stealin', hustlin' and scraping to get by. Their style is a mixture of that thug roughness and their street resourcefulness. They sing, but not the average love songs -- they harmonize about everyday street life and their surroundings. Together with staccato freestyle rhymes, the result is a funky strain of hardcore hip-hop. Backed by a characteristic thick Compton flow -- produced by Eazy-E, DJ Uneek, Rhythm D, Yella and Bone -- their music is intoxicating. The group hails from Cleveland, Ohio -- one of the funkiest states in the Union (home of The Ohio Players and Parliament). "We're from St. Claire, East 99th," says Krayzie. "We intend to put Cleveland on the map." However, the knew they'd have to leave Cleveland to find their success. Six months ago they got up enough money for one way bus tickets to L.A. Then they came looking for Eazy-E. Upon arriving in L.A., they spoke to Eazy and rapped for him over the phone. When they found out he was doing a Cleveland show, they were intent on getting back home in time to meet him. Through various connections, they got back stage at Eazy-E's Cleveland show. "Our main mission was to go down there and get to Eazy-E," says Krayzie. After hanging back stage only a few months ago, Bone has been down with him since. "Eazy's shown us much love since we've been here," says Wish. Exhausting their limited resources, they exhibit the confidence that they would succeed. Like most groups, their love for rap and hip-hop stems from way back." - Press Kit, 1994. Revisit the BTNH LP below...

What's your opinion on Bone Thugs N' Harmony? Let me know...

June 20, 2021

Happy Born Day, Apollo Brown! (Playlist)

Happy Born Day to the Detroit homie and talented producer, Apollo Brown. His album discography stretches back to 2007 with his instrumental release of Skilled Trade, followed by Make Do and Mello Music Group's release of The Reset and The Left's Gas Mask. By then, the blog era was in full swing and a he was a favorite of niche bloggers like myself, Dart Adams and others. He's since released collaborative projects with Boog Brown, Hassaan Mackey, Guilty Simpson, Ghostface Killah, Red Pill & Verbal Kent as Ugly Heroes, Planet Asia, Ras Kass, Rappher Big Pooh, Skyzoo, Planet Asia, Locksmith, Joell Ortiz, Che Noir and more. One of the most prolific producers with a signature sound that continues to bring hard drums and soulful chops to the forefront. The playlist below shines some light on various tracks from his catalog that still stay in rotation for me, I hope that you enjoy it and give the man his flowers... I know he's cooking up more work as we speak! Oh, and do check out his new debut R&B album collaboration with Raheem DeVaughn... it's called "Lovesick".

June 19, 2021

Thelonious Martin & Jacob Rochester "Patchworks"

Chicago, Illinois producer Thelonious Martin is back with his latest offering, Patchworks, featured alongside Jacob Rochester. Patchworks is 15 tracks that features Marcel Allen, Adonis, and Maxo. If you've followed Thelonious Martin's A Dozen For Dilla series over the years, then you've already become familiar with his soulful chops and hard drums. Thelonious is also part of a Chicago collective called SAVEMONEY, founded by Vic Mensa, which also includes Chance The Rapper, Joey Purp, Towkio, Caleb James and more. I also HIGHLY recommend his Wunderkid project from 2014, which featured Mac Miller, Smoke Dza, Ab Soul, Curren$y and more... phenomenal project! Hear Patchworks below...

June 18, 2021

"Apocalypse 91: Revolution Never Sleeps" (Book)

Public Enemy – a revolutionary and iconic hip hop band, changing the face of music since 1985. At its head, the heart and soul and driving force of the band, you have the unstoppable force that is Chuck D. And now Chuck D is collaborating with Z2 Comics for the original graphic novel, Apocalypse 91: The Revolution Never Sleeps, created by Troy Jeffrey Allen, Che Grayson, Evan Narcisse, and Regine Sawyer. It’s been an incredible 30 years since the release of the fourth Public Enemy album, Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black, a stone-cold classic featuring Shut ‘Em Down, Can’t Truss It and By the Time I Get To Arizona, Chuck D’s impassioned response to the Arizona governor’s refusal to recognize the new Martin Luther King, Jr national holiday. “Now, to celebrate that 30 years, Chuck D is working with Z2 Comics to bring the album’s message to the graphic novel page… For the past few years, and especially during lockdown, I’ve been drawn back to my roots in visual arts. This graphic novel is a new take on the artwork I’ve been making, growing naturally from the paint and pens that express what’s on my mind and reflect what’s happening around us. It was a real honor to have my illustrations alongside the who’s who of comic book artists.” – Chuck D Apocalypse 91: Revolution Never Sleeps begins in 1991 and explodes into far-flung futures with a series of speculative fiction stories, with creators including Evan Narcisse, Regine Sawyer, Che Grayson, Troy-Jeffrey Allen, and more. Yes, it’s time to fight the power again – but then again, wasn’t it always? Alongside the graphic novel, Public Enemy are releasing a special limited-edition version of this iconic album, one that’s been playing all the while I’ve been writing this… it’s a damn fine album, but you can say that about anything and everything Chuck D and Public Enemy have made. - Comicon. Enjoy this phenomenal graphic novel, celebrating Public Enemy's classic and more... 

June 17, 2021

Capone-N-Noreaga "The War Report" (June 17, 1997)

The War Report dropped at the height of Puffy and the Bad Boy crew's strangle hold on hip hop coming out of the Big Apple. Capone-N-Noreaga's gutter chemistry, the unorthodox lyrical delivery of Noreaga coupled with Capone's tales of street life and Five Percenter references, provided a sharp contrast to the fantastical mafioso rhymes of groups like The Firm. The album reinvigorated the East Coast and hardcore hip hop with its unapologetic tales of violence and drugs delivered with gritty honesty. The duo helped open doors for similarly styled MCs... and who can deny the effect Capone-N-Noreaga had on hip hop in the mid 90s. Check out "Bloody Money" and "T.O.N.Y." for reference and then peep the rest of the album. Don't forget about their response to Tha Dogg Pound's "New York, New York," the Mobb Deep and Tragedy Khadafi featuring "L.A, L.A." Speaking of Tragedy he's all over this album! This is a true classic of the 90s that ended up sparking a return to the realities of the streets for the East Coast. Reflecting on the album with MTV, the group had the following to share: "I'mma be honest: For years, I could never listen to The War Report," N.O.R.E. told MTV News. "It wasn't because I wasn't proud of it; it just brought up so much pain and so much hurt. To listen to it, I used to tear up. I used to think about Capone when he was gone [in jail]. I didn't just lose a partner, I lost a best friend. It's like not being able to use your right hand. When I listen to The War Report, it's bugged out. I'm talking about years of not being able to listen to The War Report. "I really didn't listen to the War Report album for a long time too," Capone said. "The War Report was a long time for me. Besides what he was going through and what I was going through, it was a lot of family stuff — losing my mother, getting shot. ... During War Report, I had to go to jail. I was on the clock. I was on the studio-time clock and the judge clock. Every day, knowing I was getting closer and closer to going to jail, you feel like, 'Why am I doing this? I'm about to go to jail. Nothing is promised to me. Why am I recording this?' - MTV. I've posted several reviews, postcardsVHS tapes, samplers, interviews and more surrounding CNN's The War Report - that said, dig into the archives for a lot more content and as always, do follow all the breadcrumbs!

I still love this album to death!

June 16, 2021

DJ Dexterity "Hip Hop Reggae #3" (Mixtape, 199x)

DJ Dexterity was one of a few mixtape DJs - especially in the Tape Kingz era - that was puttin' it down for the hip-hop & reggae / dancehall heads. Props to Nick Bondz, DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro, Selecta Bam Bam and others, too. I believe Dexterity was reppin' out of East Orange, NJ and this is his Hip-Hop & Reggae #3 mixtape. The tape was uploaded by world-class mixtape site, Grime & Lime, but the scans are kinda hard to read so I can't say exactly who is featured on the tape - I don't wanna mislabel it - or exactly what year, but by now, you know what to expect! Lots of dope originals and blends reppin' that early era of dancehall in the 90s. Dig into the mix below...

June 15, 2021

Happy Born Day, Ice Cube! (Playlist + Promotional Cube)

Ice Cube helped pioneer the gangster rap movement as both a solo artist and a member of seminal hip-hop crew N.W.A. before forging a successful Hollywood career thanks to franchise-spawning hits such as "Friday" (1995), "Barbershop" (2002) and "Ride Along" (2014). Born O'Shea Jackson in the South Central Los Angeles area of Baldwin Hills in 1969, Ice Cube developed a passion for hip-hop at high school where he adopted a stage name inspired by a threat issued by his older brother. After studying architectural drafting at the Phoenix Institute of Technology, Cube resumed his musical ambitions, forming The C.I.A. with Sir Jinx and collaborating with Dr. Dre on side project Stereo Crew. Dre was so impressed with Cube's talents that he was invited to join MC Ren, DJ Yella, Eazy-E and himself in the line-up of N.W.A., the controversial Compton-based crew credited with popularizing the sound of gangster rap. Cube reportedly wrote half of their seminal 1988 sophomore Straight Outta Compton but just a year later left the group following a contract dispute with manager Jerry Heller. Cube proved to be just as uncompromising on AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, the 1990 solo debut which drew accusations of racism and misogyny. 1991 sophomore Death Certificate continued to court controversy in the same way before Cube showcased his acting talents for the first time as Crip gang member Doughboy in John Singleton's ground-breaking "Boyz n the Hood" (1991). Spawning his first Top 20 single, "It Was a Good Day," 1992's The Predator topped the Billboard 200 on its way to domestic sales of 3 million. Cont'd after the playlist below...

After joining fellow gangster rapper Ice T in neo-noir "Trespass" (1992), Cube embraced the burgeoning G-funk scene on 1993's Lethal Injection. Over the next five years, Cube put his solo career on hold, teaming up with WC and Mack 10 to form Westside Connection, guiding the careers of Da Lench Mob and Mr. Short Khop and contributing to tracks by Tupac, Del the Funky Homosapien and Kan. He also further established his acting credentials, appearing as a crime suspect in "The Glass Shield" (1994), reuniting with Singleton to play an Afrocentric student in "Higher Learning" (1995) and impressively writing, producing and starring alongside Chris Tucker in stoner classic "Friday" (1995). The promotional cube above (and below) was released in 2001 and also includes shots of Friday and Next Friday. Today marks Ice Cube's 52nd birthday, so give the man his flowers for having one of the most - if not thee most - successful runs of solo releases, ever. Honestly, the playlist up above is kinda phoned in -- I'm tired today -- but it's definitely got some of my favorite Ice Cube joints nonetheless. Check it out and Happy Born Day, Ice Cube! Peace...

June 14, 2021

Your Old Droog "TIME" (Album Stream)

“This is basically my debut album,” Droog explains. “Some of this material was recorded back in 2017, but I suppose the universe felt it would make more sense if it was released at another point in the future. Hence the name, TIME.” At 15 tracks, the LP features MF DOOM, Aesop Rock, Elzhi, Blu, Mick Jenkins and Wiki, as well as production from Mono En Stereo, Awhlee, Argov, Edan, Budgie, Roper Williams, Quelle Chris and 88 Keys. I was on the fence in the early stages of his career and at times looked away, but he's consistently released quality music that keeps me coming back for more - especially lately. TIME adds another quality release to his ever-expanding catalog. Listen in...

June 13, 2021

Ali Vegas "Built To Last" (Mix)

France's Built to Last radio show is back with another tribute mix, which consistently pay homage to true school lyricists, producers, groups and/or record labels. Today's mix heads out to Queens, NY with the Prince of New York, Ali Vegas. Ali Vegas was signed to Columbia Records in the early 2000s and was next-up with countless songs, freestyles and features on mixtapes at the time. A coupled failed deals, a beef with Clue and Fabolous and a shelved album called Generation Gap were just some of the setbacks the young MC faced early on his career. Yet in still, the music was always there. That Generation Gap album in 1999 was fire to me! This mix will take you back through those early records and you can dig in the archives for more! Peace to Corrado in France. Listen below...

June 12, 2021

Skyzoo "All the Brilliant Things" (Album Stream)

Skyzoo continues to master his craft with his fifth solo album and ninth overall, All the Brilliant Things. For this time around, the clever and intricate MC from Brooklyn touches the highs and lows of gentrification on “Bed-Stuy Is Burning” and keeps it strictly in the borough on “St. James Liquor“. Other tracks include “Free Jewelry, “Humble Brag”, “Rich Rhetoric”, and more. Dubbed his first project since last year’s Milestones EP, All The Brilliant Things comes with 14 tracks with guests Aaria, Al Scratch, BJ The Chicago Kid, Raheem DeVaughn, STLN drms, MBtheLight, Karriem Riggins, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Xiolynn and Blakk Soul. - via Rap Radar. Hear Sky's new LP below...

June 11, 2021

Blu & Sirplus "For Sale" (EP Stream)

Blu teams up with Dirty Science's (Exile's label/crew) newest member, Sirplus for a soulful new EP entitled, For Sale. The 7-track EP is entirely produced by Sirplus with guest appearances from Nolan The Ninja, Johaz, Noveliss, Scienze, PCH, Cashus King, Eloh Kush, Sidewaalk Kal, Damu The Fudgemunk, and ADaD. Blu shares that "Sirplus is my guy... I could tell he had talent and skill. I knew I had to work with him." There's great chemistry on the EP, even with the considerable amount of features. Blu remains one of my favorite MCs, search no longer for his latest gem, listen to it below...

June 10, 2021

What Had Happened Was "Run The Jewels Part 3" (Podcast)

In 2016, El-P and Killer Mike released their third LP as Run the Jewels. With their impact worldwide and fan base now fully galvanized and the problems of the world beginning to escalate, the duo responds by impressively pouring more of their humanity into the music. And with this vulnerability comes a heightened sense of risk. Hear these stories and lots more on this latest episode of Open Mike Eagle's What Had Happened Was podcast. Dig into the archives for lots more of the podcast!

June 09, 2021

Ranson "Se7en" (EP Stream)

Ransom has been a fixture in the East Coast underground scene for over a decade. The rapper's maintained a strong pen that, in recent times, gaining even more recognition every time he goes bar-for-bar with equally talented wordsmiths. This weekend, he came through with a brand new project titled, Se7en. The rapper's new EP explores the seven deadly sins with each song title named after each one. Four out of the seven songs include guest appearances. Lloyd Banks returns the favor to Ransom, who appears on COTI, for the single, "Gluttony" while Royce Da 5'9" assists on "Greed." Other features on the project include J. Arrr and IX Wulf. - HNHH. Listen to the EP below...

June 08, 2021

Lloyd Banks "The Course of the Inevitable" (Album Stream)

The Course of the Inevitable is the fourth studio album from Lloyd Banks. It's the first full-length since 2010 and the first released since his "departure" from G-Unit in 2018. The LP boasts 18 tracks with features from Freddie Gibbs, Roc Marciano, Styles P, Benny The Butcher, Ransom, Sy Ari Da Kid and more. In this current of music, I think there's no better time for the return of the PLK; his music fits in perfectly with the climate and releases coming out of the Griselda camp. This album should widely be considered one of the best mainstream releases when 2021 reaches its conclusion.

June 07, 2021

Warren G "Regulate... G-Funk Era" (June 7, 1994)

Because his first single, "Regulate," is also the debut track from the "Above The Rim" soundtrack album, rapper Warren G is enjoying a high profile that should aid in consumer awareness when his own debut album, "G-Funk Era," drops on Violator/RAL/Chaos. "Regulate," which is heard in its entirety during the movie's closing credits, debuted at No.64 on the Hot R&B Singles chart.... Chris Lighty, president/CEO of Violator Records says the prominent sample of Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgettin'" on "Regulate" is driving listener interest and stimulating airplay at top 40/rhythm-crossover stations.... The 23-year-old rapper and DJ seems to have all the right hip-hop connections. Born Warren Griffin III in Long Beach, Calif., he helped form the hip-hop collective Tha Dogg Pound (213) with Nate Dogg (also featured on "Regulate") and best friend Snoop Doggy Dogg, with whom Griffin grew up. He also is the half-brother of producer Dr. Dre. In addition to having produced a track for MC Breed ("Gotta Get Mine"), he also wrote, produced, and performed on Mista Grimm's "Indo Smoke" and 2Pac's "Definition of a Thug" from Epic's "Poetic Justice" soundtrack. Lighty says an undercurrent of conversation regarding Griffin was initiated on mix shows and with college DJs when they received vinyl versions of "Regulate" and the "Above The Rim" soundtrack.... Griffin says he does not consider himself a gangsta rapper, but is aware of the controversy surrounding the music and the performers. "It's foul because [the gangster rappers] tell what's really going on. The tabloids are telling people they influence youth to gang bang, but it's not like that," he says. Although he likes hardcore rap, Griffin believes artists should stick to the genre of hip-hop in which they started, instead of jumping on musical trends. "My music will fit in the market on the old-school tip," says Griffin. - Billboard (April 30, 1994). Revisit Warren G's debut LP below...

There were cuts on this album I really enjoyed, some I didn't. R.I.P. Nate Dogg.

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...

June 05, 2021

Marley Marl's Legendize "The MC Shan Episode" (Podcast)

MC Shan, Shawn Moltke, is one of the freshest, most intelligent and coolest rap stylists and innovators to "rock the mic viciously".... His professional character is partly one of pure virtuosity, and partly one of exciting showmanship. Every since going out on the road with Roxanne Shante in 1985, without the benefit of a record, the word on the street has been that MC Shan is a serious performer who can fire up basic human instincts, like humor, romantic sentiment, and a strong desire for something essentially hip and physically intoxicating. In his early years, he unleashed a torrential outpouring of fresh def jams, including "The Marley Scratch," "The Bridge," and the preachy but funny anti-crack rap, "Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing," all produced by man Homeboy, and blood cousin Marlon "Marley Marl" Williams. - Press Kit. With that said, it's only right that MC Shan is the debut guest for the first episode of Marley Marl's new podcast entitled, Legendize. Join DJ Marley Marl and DJ Callie Ban for a deep dive into hip hop history... Listen in as original Juice Crew member MC Shan breaks down the making of classic songs as an artist and producer. He also clears the air about his beef with DJ Marley Marl, and the history of his beefs with LL Cool J and KRS-One. We hear first hand the stories behind iconic songs like "The Bridge," "Marley Scratch," "Beat Biter," and "Kill The Noise" by MC Shan. Also, the hosts break down an iconic sample used in hip-hop classics "Road to The Riches," by Kool G Rap, "Plug Tunin" by De La Soul, and "Disciple" by Nas. Listen below...

June 05, 2021

Children of Zeus "Balance" (Album Stream)

Children of Zeus is back with their sophomore album, 'Balance'. Following the release of their debut album 'Travel Light' in 2018, Tyler Daley and Konny Kon spent the next two years extensively touring the UK, Europe, Australia and South Africa. With shows on ice over the last 12 months, Children of Zeus took the time to mature their sound; 'Balance' is 50 minutes of future-classic British soul music encompassing hip hop, neo-soul, gospel and r&b. Konny's laidback flow once again merges with Tyler's unmistakable buttery vocals across a set of bass-heavy backdrops and smoothed-out keys, taking the blueprint from their debut and evolving it into a deeper, more-refined sound. As with previous material, the album is largely produced by the duo themselves, though we also see the return of Grammy-winner Beat Butcha, whose previous production credits include Jay Z, Beyonce, Nipsey Hussle, & Griselda. This album is about equilibrium; walking the thin line of life and striving to keep your footing firm at all times, ever pushing forward. Balancing the rough with the smooth and the work with the play. The Children of Zeus sound is now fully grown. It's time to bring 'Balance' into the universe. This is the definitive sound of UK street soul in 2021. Listen to their new album below...

June 04, 2021

Peter Rosenberg "Real Late" (Album Stream)

Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg has dropped a compilation album entitled, Real Late. The 13-track LP features Ghostface Killah, Westside Gunn, Styles P, Method Man, Rasheed Chappell, Meyhem Lauren, Raekwon, Homeboy Sandman, Ransom, Roc Marciano and lots more. Blending his taste in new school and true school MCs, Rosenberg closes the generation gap and pays homage to compilations of years past utilizing his long-time connections and putting a fresh spin on the release. Rosenberg is definitely for the culture and few would argue with his ear for quality MCs. He's certainly held down my artists in the past, so much respect to him. Give it a listen below, it's well worth your time...

June 03, 2021

Wu-Tang Clan "Wu-Tang Forever" (June 3, 1997)

Emerging in 1993, when Dr. Dre's G-Funk had overtaken the hip-hop world, the Staten Island, New York-based Wu-Tang Clan proved to be the most revolutionary rap group of the mid-90s and only partially because of their music. Turning the standard concept of a hip-hop crew inside out, the Wu-Tang Clan was assembled as a loose congregation of nine MC's almost as a support group. Instead of releasing one album after another, the Clan was designed to overtake the record industry in as profitable a fashion as possible -- the idea was to establish the Wu-Tang as a force with their debut album, and then spin off into as many side projects as possible. In the process, the members would all become individual stars, as well as receive individual royalty checks. Surprisingly, the plan worked.... The vision of the Wu-Tang Clan is undoubtedly due to the musical skills of the RZA. Under his direction, the group -- through its own efforts and the solo projects, all of which he produced or coproduced -- he created a hazy, surreal and menacing soundscape out of hardcore beats, eerie piano riffs, and minimal samples.... The Wu-Tang Clan's long-awaited second album Wu-Tang Forever arrived to great anticipation, and the double-disc set did not disappoint. Where contemporaries like 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G. issued double-discs cluttered with filler, Wu-Tang Forever is purposeful and surprisingly lean (arguable, at best, in my opinion), illustrating the immense depth of producer RZA and the entire nine-piece crew. Each rapper has a different lyrical style, from Ol' Dirty Bastard's bizarre rants to Raekwon's story sketches, and RZA subtly shifts his trademark style for each song, creating an album of cinematic proportions. There are no great musical innovations on the album, since the Wu-Tang's signature blend of skeletal beats, scratchy samples, eerie pianos and spectral strings remain intact. Yet the music is more nuanced and focused than ever before, balanced equally between scary soundscapes and darkly soulful tracks. The result is an intoxicating display of musical and lyrical virtuosity, one that reveals how bereft of imagination the Wu-Tang's contemporaries are. - All Music Guide, 2002. Dig into in the archives for a lot more...

Some additional promotional items (coins + postcard) ...