July 31, 2021

Pharoahe Monch "Vinyl Saved My Life: A Tribute to Biz Markie"

Pharoahe Monch shared an incredible story of the late great Biz Markie in Spin Magazine. The title of the article is Vinyl Saved My Life: A Tribute to Biz Markie, where Pharoahe recounts a tale of a stop on the The Source Magazine Tour (around 1992 if memory serves me right) with Biz Markie, Lord Finesse, Cooley Live, The Almighty RSO, Red Hot Lover Tone, Roxanne Shante and of course, Organized Konfusion with O.C. In an attempt to shadow Biz Markie while diggin' for records, Pharoahe joins Biz on what would end up being the first part of a story that stretches the night, and ends in gunfire. A series of fortunate events trace back to earlier that day and ultimately, a piece of vinyl did in fact save his life. Hear all about the story and Pharoahe's affinity for his fallen friend in the article on Spin Magazine HERE. Not only is this an incredible story, but a behind the scenes glimpse at of one of the greatest personalities in hip-hop history. Pharoahe shares, "Ehwa, Ehwa, Rrer! Ecka, Ecka, Eeee . . ." He licked his fingers each time he swiped through the book.... When he talked, he sounded exactly like his records—extremely funky. His speaking voice made you want to put a beat under his sentences." Yes! I met Biz briefly in Myrtle Beach some years back, and he was everything I anticipated and much more. R.I.P., the Funky Biz Markie, and thank you, Pharaohe Monch for this full story that I'd only early heard snippets of in the past. Nobody Beats the Biz!

July 30, 2021

DJ Jazzy Jeff & J.Period "The Magnificent Live Mixtape"

According to J.Period, this is a Bandcamp exclusive! DJ Jazzy Jeff & J.PERIOD present The Magnificent Live Mixtape, an extended two hour live DJ set featuring exclusive remixes, live blends, unreleased outtakes and behind-the-scenes stories from DJ Jazzy Jeff and J.PERIOD on the history of the mixtape game and collaborating with artists including Q-Tip, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Black Thought, as well as tracks featuring Dave Chappelle, J Dilla, Big Pun, Rakim, Andre 3000, The Notorious B.I.G., Ol' Dirty Bastard, MC Lyte, Mary J. Blige, Big L, Shad, Common and more. J.Period's streak of droppin' these live mixtapes continues and does not disappoint. Listen to the mix below...

July 29, 2021

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony "The Art of War" (1997)

When Bone Thugs-N-Harmony first exploded on the rap scene in 1994 with their fast rhymes, harmonious choruses, ominous G-Funk, and gangsta attitude, no one knew whether the uncanny Cleveland group were for real or if they were a novelty success. After all, at this point in time, few rap groups outside of New York or California had been able to prove themselves on a commercial level. And Bone Thugs-N-Harmony leap-frogged cult success, instantly rising to the top of the charts with their summer 1994 anthem "Thuggish Ruggish Bone." By the time their first full-length album, E 1999 Eternal, dropped a year later, it not only debuted at number one but also proved to be one of the decade's most important and enduring albums. While other rap groups struggled to break away from the cliches first forged by NWA, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, 2 Live Crew, and LL Cool J in the late '80s, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony was one of the few groups able to carve out their own stylistic niche, an inimitable myriad of urban sounds with a strong ghetto attitude. Yet following the unprecedented success of E 1999 Eternal and, more so, the Grammy-winning success of "Tha Crossroads," Bone struggled to meet unreasonable expectations and also struggled with redundancy, having realized their apparent summit on their debut album. Yet even if the group was unable to repeat their success, they remained a vital group, as few were able to bite on their signature style. - All Music Guide. I agree with that, definitely an important group...

By the time Bone Thugs-N-Harmony released The Art of War in 1997, double-disc albums were met with an exhaustive sigh... Fans anticipated a ton of filler and the phrase, "this album would have been dope... if it was just a single album," was all too common. That said, the 2Pac feature on "Thug Luv was an insanely hard beat that I ironically remember driving around to when I moved to Miami that year. "Look Into My Eyes" and "7 Sign" were two other favorites from the project. The whole album is produced by DJ U-Neek who landed a platinum single with "Look Into My Eyes" and a gold single for "If I Could Teach The World." All told, the album went quadruple platinum by the summer of '98. I believe it's safe to say that -- critically -- the reviews were split down the middle, mostly feeling like the album didn't do much to add to their legacy, and was rather redundant by making itself a doube-disc. All in all, I still enjoyed it and I was probably the only New York cat in Miami, driving around without bass music in the whip. You revisit the 2xLP from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony below...

July 28, 2021

AbcntMnded "MF DOOM Tribute" (Mix)

LA's AbcntMnded pays tribute to the late great MF DOOM with his latest mix. At roughly an hour, he digs into the stacks and pulls out some deeper cuts, samples and more to honor the uniqueness of one of our culture's most impressive MCs. Inspiring to many, imitated by some, and bested by nobody.... dig through a mix done by someone with intimate knowledge of MF DOOM's catalog, where even the dope artwork is done by AbcntMnded himself, which proves this is truly a labor of love. To provide context, ABCNT is a Los Angeles based, sociopolitical activist/anarchist, the product of mid-nineties expressionism and new-millennium activism, who describes himself as “[a] real west coast hip-hop fanatic, with a kind of militant attitude towards consciousness.” And how does he execute his expression and voice? Through avenues in politically charged street art and music. Listen below...

July 27, 2021

Mystic "Behind the Journey" (Podcast Series)

I am very excited to share the new podcast mini-series from Mystic titled Behind the Journey. The 6-part series is an exploration of the journey behind the development of the Oakland artist Mystic, and the making of her Grammy-nominated 2001 debut album, Cuts For Luck And Scars For Freedom. An audible look into how she developed as an artist and member of Digital Underground, got her deal, recorded and released her debut album, and the healing journey that was part of it all. This short series is an inside look at the past, present, and future of Mystic's journey for new and old fans alike. It can be listened to as an accompaniment to the 20th anniversary of her debut album. It is shared with love and a unique perspective that has made Mystic one of my favorite artists for two decades. Updated: this trip down memory lane is also inspired by the fact that her debut album is now available to stream on all DSPs so I highly recommend that you revisit her beautiful cult classic, Cuts For Luck And Scars For Freedom before (or after) you peep the podcast series below. I've said a lot about the impact her project had on me at the time, and it's still as impactful today!

July 26, 2021

Take It Personal Podcast "Ode to 1993" (Part 2)

Episode 91 is the 2nd installment of Take It Personal's 1993 Tribute. The podcast/mix features 3 hours of Take It Personal to remind you of when hip-hop was fun. They've got joints by A Tribe Called Quest, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Akinyele, The Beatnuts, Wu-Tang Clan, Black Moon, Now Born Click, Lords of the Underground, Tragedy Khadafi, Da Youngsta's, Digable Planets, KRS-One, Naughty By Nature, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Fat Joe, Erick Sermon, Illegal, Da King & I, Big L, Das EFX, Run DMC, Snoop Dogg, Masta Ace, and much more! RIP Biz Markie. Props to Philaflava, DJ 360, and Kevlar. Dig in the archives below for part 1, and all the past episodes of this world-class podcast...

July 25, 2021

Scarface "Drink Champs Episode" (Video)

Your favorite rapper's favorite rapper... the famed MC (Scarface) shares his journey in hip hop! Face receives his flowers when his peers like Bun B, LL Cool J, DJ Khaled, Ice- T, Big Daddy Kane, E-40, T.I., Gillie Da Kid and more call in to give him his well-deserved props. He also tells stories about 2Pac, DMX, the Nas and Jay-Z beef; his time as president of Def Jam South, and creating some of hip hop’s most iconic music. Face even gives insight into his political career in the future. One of the most important MCs and creatives in our culture, Scarface is an exceptional artist, and like DJ EFN, I'd also include him in my top 5, especially of artists to appear on Drink Champs. Props to NORE and EFN for sitting down with the legend, and giving that man his flowers. We came close to losing him (more than once), so it's more important than ever that we hear his story and dig deeper. If you haven't had a chance, pick up a copy of his book, Diary of a Madman, which is available in my online store. From the Geto Boys to today, enjoy this dope episode of Drink Champs ... make some noise!!!

July 24, 2021

Cormega "The Realness" (20th Anniversary)

With a fresh batch of new material, Cormega's "official" debut, The Realness, manifests under stealth-like conditions. Yet, it successfully conveys what his aborted Def Jam debut, The Testament, implied three years previously -- that Mega is one of the most promising thug poets to emerge in quite sometime. Though the usual live-guy repertoire and topic matter is recycled, Cormega paints with a broader lyrical brush then most hood aficionados, as his articulate verses far surpass the limitations of what the typical halfway crook is capable of expressing. Displaying a gripping range of vocal gifts, "The Saga" and "Fallen Soldiers" offer vivid street mathematics with Kool G. Rap-like narrative abilities. Likewise, Mega's ode to hip-hop, "American Beauty," is a continuation of Common's "I Used to Love Her," where his love for the art is evident: "Primo treated her good, made her the queen of my hood." Though the sonic landscape of The Realness is headlined by the Infamous Family members Havoc and Alchemist, it is a handful of upstarts (Jay Love, Big Ty, Sha Self) who carve out the LP's sound identity. This cast of rising and unknown names turns in a yeoman's job behind the boards, meshing a diverse assortment of ominous synth and keyboard arrangements around Mega's deep lyricism. While Mega has had to weather Def Jam's businessman ways, and his own inner demons (jail time) to get here, he may never taste redemption this sweet again. - AllMusic. Listen....

Happy 20th anniversary to this gem on an LP...

July 23, 2021

Ransom & Big Ghost Ltd. "Heavy Is The Head" (Album Stream)

Keeping history in tact, I always attempt to share new releases in the artists' own words, so their perspective is preserved with the music. Unfortunately, most artists aren't nearly as eloquent with the pen as the Godly Big Ghost Ltd, who produced this brand new album for Ransom entitled, Heavy Is The Head. He shares, "Some MFs rap...n by “some” I mean damn near 1/3 of the population on earth... Some do it well n some create sonic bowel movements every time they step in a booth. Some got talent n some got literally none at all...maybe even less. Some talented MFs try to dumb it down to appeal to a wider audience n chase fame. Some stick to what they do best n quietly cultivate a devoted fanbase while gaining the utmost respect of not only peers but of any so-called competition as well. This dude Ransom aka Ransom The Destroyer falls into that last category. The list of living breathing rappers on the planet who can match his pen game is bout as short as Tory Lanez doing the splits. This is elite level rhymin.. no throwaway bars or filler shit. The words really really rhyme... But CONCEPTUALLY this shit different too. How many street cats really get cinematic on wax....in 2021? We bringin creativity n imagination back... Yall gotta stop actin like nobody else pop 20 bottles in a club n back down a whole room full of killers dolo while movin 500 bricks the same night on records.. Yea you got cribs on Mt Fuji n Sinaloa cartel is your peoples but what else you bring to the table my G? Yall studio drug kingpins more Bambaataa than Zambada.. Just stick to hip hop." The album features Mickey Factz, RJ Payne, Rome Streetz, Vinnie Paz, Ill Bill and more. Dig in…

July 22, 2021

Take It Personal Podcast "Ode to 1993" (Part 1)

Episode 90 is the 1st installment in Take It Personal's 1993 Tribute. Last year they put together a strong case as to why they felt 1995 was one of the greatest years in Hip-Hop. This time around they're paying homage to 1993, their favorite year in hip-hop. They've got the classics, the commercial jawns, the remixes and in typical TIP fashion, the obscure records as well. During the breaks in the mix, they discuss their favorite '93 albums, the sleepers, the wack, the  guilty pleasures and more! Enjoy episode 90 as they intertwine some memorable movie scenes with very memorable music. This is your 1993 time capsule and it's brought to you by your friends at Take It Personal. I'd imagine we can expect multiple installements in their 1993 tribute, so keep it locked...

July 21, 2021

Marley Marl's Legendize "The DJ Premier Episode" (Podcast)

On the LEGENDIZE podcast, hip hop pioneer DJ Marley Marl and co-host DJ Callie Ban go beyond the origin stories of hip hop's greatest artists and producers, and the classic records they made. Lean in as they candidly interview hip hop royalty, break down the history of iconic samples, and step inside the culture that changed the world. On the Season 1 finale of LEGENDIZE, Marley Marl and Callie welcome legendary producer and hip hop royalty DJ Premier to the show. Preemo shares stories of his childhood in Texas and NY and the many influences that helped shape his musical journey. From teaming up with Guru and Gang Starr, to producing classics for Jay Z, Biggie, Nas and countless others, the 3x Grammy winning producer details his history, process and contributions to the culture. Enjoy a very special peek into the world of the undeniable legend ... DJ Premier! Dig in...

July 20, 2021

Rasheed Chappell "15 Minutes in Queens" (EP Stream)

It's always a beautiful day when Rasheed Chappell drops new music! His latest project is a 5 track EP, entirely produced by Reckonize Real, and it's entitled 15 Minutes in Queens. With an impressive rollout I recommend you walk through on his socials, the lyrical giant presents an air of controlled dominance on all 5 of the records. I've been a fan for 10+ at this point; always anticipating new releases regardless of how long it took between his debut, Future Before Nostalgia and his follow-up, First Brick. After that, the Buckwild-produced Sinners & Saints came quick and it also did not disappoint! In between, the homie DJ Eclipse keeps me in the loop as his management, and through his radio show on Sirius, Rap Is Outta Control. Although Rasheed is originally from NJ, as a Queens cat myself... every track feels like a piece of nostalgia with a touch of today, making him one of today's most remarkable MCs to blend those two worlds. All that said, dig into this latest EP below...

July 19, 2021

Vinyl Esquire "The DJ Eclipse & DJ Riz Episode" (Podcast)

Vinyl Esquire is the DJ podcast that uplifts the DJ culture and honors our DJ legends. DJ Rip interviews the most influential DJs in the world so listen and learn their history! In this episode, DJ Eclipse and DJ Riz are his highly esteemed guests. They talk their Sirius radio show, Rap Is Outta Control, as well as Crooklyn Clan, Fat Beats, DJ Premier, Brooklyn Slum Lords, Party breaks and more! There's a ton of unique history shared, listen to two of the best break it down for you below. Past episodes have included interviews with Scram Jones, DJ Skribble, Spinderella, Nasty Nes, DJ Scratch, DJ Tony Neal, Davy DMX, Pete Rock, The Arabian Prince, The Egyptian Lover, Supreme La Rock, DJ Cut Creator, DJ K-Def, DJ Lord Jazz, DJ Eddie F, Mantronix, DJ Chuck Chillout and more...

July 18, 2021

UFO Fev & Vanderslice "Enigma of Dali" (Album Stream)

Harlem emcee UFO Fev and Phoenixville-based producer Vanderslice team up for a collaborative album, 'Enigma of Dalì,' that blends surrealist art vibes with raw street rap for one of the year’s most immediately engaging releases. Both artists continue to shine on this LP after dropping a number of impressive projects in 2020. For Fev, it was a period of incredible consistency as he put out 'Fresh Air,' 'From El Barrio, With Love,' and 'The Ghost of Albizu,' produced entirely by Statik Selektah, Termanology, and Big Ghost Ltd, respectively. As for Vanderslice, he’s coming off the release of the 'Trendsetter' EP, which paired some of his dopest beats with the likes of G Perico and Ty Farris, among others, and recently handled production for OT The Real’s latest single, “Kensington Beach” featuring the legendary Beanie Sigel. With 'Enigma of Dalì,' we’re seeing two like-minded artists push themselves even further as they embody the experimentalism of Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalì. “He became my muse, and someone whom I began to study,” Fev explains. “In my free time, I’d watch his interviews and would begin to pen lyrics. Subconsciously, I was writing from the point of view of someone misunderstood, very much like Dalì was.” This is another really solid project! Listen below... and props to the homie Matt Diamond over at Coalmine Records. 

July 17, 2021

Rest In Peace, Biz Markie! (Tribute Mix by DJ Sheep)

Biz Markie, who infused his music with so much fun and humor that he became known as "The Clown Prince of Hip Hop," has passed away... He was 57. "Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years," his manager, Jenni Izumi, said in a written statement. Beloved in the music industry for his lighthearted persona, Biz Markie even had a dance named for him. Born Marcel Hall in New York City, he began rapping in local clubs when he met hip hop producer Marley Marl in 1985. That meeting led to Biz Markie working as a human beatbox with artists MC Shan and Roxanne Shanté. Biz Markie, seen at Kensington High Street in London on April 6, 1988. Biz Markie, seen at Kensington High Street in London on April 6, 1988. In his spare time, Hall recorded demos and in 1988, he secured a deal with the Cold Chillin' label to release his debut album, "Goin' Off." Radio soon caught on and the album launched hits with "Vapors" and "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz." The following year, his album "The Biz Never Sleeps" went gold, buoyed by what would be his biggest hit, "Just A Friend." His playful, sad sack persona was in direct contrast to some of the harder core hip hop that had become popular in the late 1980s. But Biz Markie would soon find trouble with a case that helped change the way the rap industry did business. Musician Gilbert O'Sullivan sued the rapper over his song "Alone Again" on his 1991 album "I Need a Haircut." O'Sullivan won and moving forward, hip hop artists had to clear the use of samples. "I still was me," Biz Markie said during a 2008 interview. "It wasn't a rape case or a gun case. It was a sample." The rapper had some fun with the case, naming his 1993 album "All Samples Cleared!" Honing his DJ skills, he soon became known as much for rocking the party as rocking the mic. He also expanded his career to include acting, appearing in "Men in Black II," as a narrator on the adult puppet show "Crank Yankers," and on the children's series "Yo Gabba Gabba!" with his "Biz's Beat of the Day." - CNN.

In the words of DJ Sheep... "We truly lost a great one today, Biz Markie, the cornerstone of humour in hip-hop with his larger than life cartoon-ish personality and demeanour. The B-I-Z's discography, legacy and history in hip-hop ran deep and his crates and music knowledge ran even deeper. I feel extremely humbled and blessed in hindsight to have spent time with Biz Markie in Australia, having both shared the stage with him in Sydney as well as spending a couple of days hanging out in Brisbane together with his brother DJ Cool V. We did what Biz does best and hit Chinatown in Brisbane for Chinese food, went diggin' for records and vintage toys and nerded out for many hours sharing, dissecting, politicin' and listening to rare breakbeats, grooves, raps, acapellas and stems. It's one of the very few times I was absolutely geeked out meeting one of my heroes. There's been too many times when I've learned that my childhood rap heroes are actually jerks, even more-so with the advent of social media. There are too many hilarious stories to tell and memories of that tour which will have to wait for another time. This short but sweet 14-minute promo "mega-mix" was done in one take on two decks and a mixer at the request of the promoter of the down under tour. I kept it simple and just blended 7 of my favourite Biz tracks. There's obviously some deeper diggin' to be done in Biz's extensive catalog and I'm sure there'll be some great tribute mixes forthcoming but I kept this one as is because it's from a time and a place that hopefully some others can appreciate. Nobody Beats the Biz. Never. Rest in Peace and my most genuine condolences to his family and loved ones." Tribute mix below... Rest In Peace, Biz Markie.

July 16, 2021

DJ 2-Tone Jones "Contraband From India" (Album Stream)

In 2016, DJ 2-Tone Jones had the privilege of being selected to the inaugural Next Level program created by the music department at UNC Chapel Hill and sponsored by the US State Department. Along with a team of talented Hip Hop artists, they traveled to India to conduct workshops, collaborate with local musicians and dancers, and put together performances to showcase various elements of Hip Hop culture. After nearly a month in the land of Gandhi, he returned home with a stack of crazy ill traditional and bollywood records from Calcutta. He then decided to hand-select tracks to send out to a range of legendary, heavy-hitting Hip-Hop producers to sample from. The result of this cultural experiment is his new LP, CONTRABAND FROM INDIA. The LP features production from Diamond D, Waajeed, Kev Brown, Praise, DJ Roddy Rod, The Mighty DJ DR, as well as vocals from Prince Po, Asheru, yU, John Robinson, Supastition, J Scienide, Hassaan Mackey and more.

July 15, 2021

DJ P-Nice "The Bomb" (Mixtape, 1994)

Here's a mixtape from 1994 from Harlem's DJ P. Nice called The Bomb. The mixtape features now-classic tracks from The Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Jeru The Damaja, Ill Al Skratch, O.C., Das EFX, Lady of Rage, Organized Konfusion, Crooklyn Dodgers, Big Daddy Kane, Da Youngsta's, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Diamond D, and lots more. DJ P-Nice's Crooklyn Dodger blend, solid track selection, and fine mixing overall make this a great tape that might've gone below the radar for you. There are a few other DJ P-Nice mixtapes in the archives, definitely dig through and listen to those tapes, too...

July 14, 2021

DJ DS "Latin You Know!" (Mixtape)

Props to DJ DS, who shares this info with his latest mix, "As it’s summer here in the UK, I naturally start to listen to more Brazilian & Latin music alongside the normal diet of hip hop, etc. With my father being Portuguese, maybe it’s imprinted in my DNA. I’ve called it ‘Latin You Know’ for two reasons. The first is letting you know all about the music’s roots and where the breaks come from. The other is that you will hopefully hear tracks that you recognise but didn’t realise that you knew." Thanks to the tracklist DJ DS included, you will have a nice starting point to dig through some Brazilian and Latin crates if you feel so inclined. That said, the mix includes tracks from Trio Mocoto, Doroth Ashby, Jose Mauro, Quartero 1111, The Howard Roberts Quartet, Os Cariocas, Osmar Milito, Cassiano, Azimuth, Arthur Verocai, Maria Behtania and many more, as well as hip-hop cuts from the likes of Jay-Z, Karriem Riggins, Choosey, A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg, D'Angelo, Oddisee, The Pharcyde, MF DOOM, Madvillian, Ugly Duckling, etc! Listen to this solid mix-tape below...

July 13, 2021

KLIM Beats "Warm Feelings" (Instrumental Album)

Warm Feelings is the latest beat tape from Ukranian beatsmith, KLIM Beats. At 16 tracks, the tape bursts with mellow vibes, bright keys and the intentional feeling of warm summer nights. There's a limited run of 12" vinyl that you can cop if you click through to the Bandcamp (while supplies last). If you dig into the archives, you'll also see nearly a dozen or so past releases from KLIM Beats, and I recommend listening to each and every one of them. The lane for instrumental releases has really flourished over recent years with Spotify playlists, Jazz-infused hip-hop and the whole Lo-Fi movement, but I do hope MCs are paying attention, and we'll hear more vocals over his various projects when the time is right. Until then, dig into KLIM Beats' Warm Feelings beat tape below...

July 12, 2021

DJ Hudson "The Madlib Tapes" (Mixtape)

DJ Hudson is a long time record collector and DJ based in the Midlands, UK. For his latest mix, DJ Hudson focuses in on various instrumentals from super-producer Madlib. In his own words, he shares that this is "a quick mix of some faves from various unreleased Madlib beat tapes -- some you'll know and some you might not." He adds that the mix was recorded live, so not only will you appreciate the dope selections, but the crisp transitions and fine mixing that went into The Madlib Tapes. If you doubt whether or not Madlib is one of the most prolific and most creative producers to ever bless the boards, listen to this mixtape below, and then rearrange your top list accordingly...

July 11, 2021

Melly-Mel & Tone Spliff "New People" (Album Stream)

From South Africa to Los Angeles, Melly-Mel links with producer Tone Spliff to drop their collaborative album, "New People". This 12-track album brings back the Golden Era Hip Hop feel with Boom Bap production, scratches and raw lyricism. Guest appearances on New People include Mr. Lif (Boston), Kool Taj the Gr8 (Buffalo) and Mel's group, The Assembly (South Africa). I hear hints of Ras Kass in Melly-Mel's voice and delivery (which is 100% a compliment), and the producer/MC combination just adds to the nostalgic feel, offering us a cohesive body of work. Cover art by Marcø. Dig into Melly-Mel and Tone Spliff's New People below (also available on cassette and CD)...

July 10, 2021

Intelligent Hoodlum "Intelligent Hoodlum" (Press Kit, 1990)

Skeletal, smart, politically literate and seemingly effortless, Intelligent Hoodlum’s (a/k/a Tragedy Khadafi) debut is the stuff of conscious hip-hop dreams. Intelligent Hoodlum’s concerns are timeless, and, sadly, still much too relevant. Take “No Justice, No Peace,” a track that recounts the killing of a black man at the hands of police, which, in light of recent events, is as anthemic as ever, eerily prophetic: ” ‘Cause if we don’t have justice, there is no peace/No peace, this is the message you’re sending me/Killin’ my brothers makes you my enemy…America’s a prison.” While not as sonically lush as Trag’s equally underrated sophomore effort, Tragedy: Saga of a Hoodlum, with cuts like “Arrest the President” and “Black And Proud,” Intelligent Hoodlum just hits that much harder. Despite being a member of the notorious Juice Crew and consistently name-dropped by legends like Nas, Intelligent Hoodlum remains a slept-on talent, a forgotten linchpin of the early ’90s. - Village Voice

18 year old Tragedy, a product of the Queensbridge projects and a member of the "Juice Crew" posse, made his vinyl debut at 13 under the name MC Jade. His progress was however curtailed by a six month sentence in a Bronx detention centre. This led to spells in Riker's Island and Elmira State Prisons by the time he turned 17. These periods of enforced inactivity were interspersed with the recording of two tracks for Marley Marl's "In Control Vol 1" LP, his first under the Tragedy trade mark. Transformed politically and spiritually by his prolonged incarceration he rejoined Marley Marl recording the material that earned him his current deal with A&M. This largely autobiographical single ("Back To Reality") marks the first statement from a poet with a truly positive program. As Tragedy himself says: "Hoodlum is the Past, Intelligent is the Future." - UK Press Release (9/1990).

July 09, 2021

Needle Drops "Volume 5" (Presented by Dusty Donuts)

Dusty Donuts presents Needle Drops, a monthly DJ streaming show where four selected world-class DJs tell a story in their own way, just through the selection of seven 45s in the mix. The show is delivered through Twitch and FaceBook live. For the fifth episode of Needle Drops, the theme is 7 records from around the world and the world-class DJs are DJ Rhettmatic, DJ Matman, Dusty Donuts' Marc Hype and DJ Robert Smith from Berlin (dig in the archives for his Notorious B.I.G. mix!). A lil' something different to listen to this morning, check it out below and enjoy the original vibes...

July 08, 2021

1982 "The Summer EP" (EP Stream)

Statik Selektah has built a reputation on the back of his hard work, dedication to his craft, and a love for the music itself. A go-to producer and a staple in the DJ community, Statik has released his latest EP with fellow Boston native, Termanology, under the group name, 1982. 1982 is the year the Nike Air Force 1s debuted, and it's also the year both Statik and Termanology were born. Their new project, The Summer EP, boasts just three tracks, but it packs some warm / soulful vibes and features from Skyzoo, Bun B, Jared Evans, C-Scharp and Mia Jae. I've moved further South to Florida in recent years, but I still have very fond memories of summer time in NYC, where I'd assume the bulk of this EP was recorded at Statik's studio aka Harley Harl's House Of Hits in Brooklyn. Props to the whole Good Dad Gang! Listen to The Summer EP from Stat and Term below...

July 08, 2021

DJ Juice "Volume 42" aka "Superman Lover" (Mixtape, 1999)

Released in 1999, this is another mixtape from DJ Juice entitled Superman Lover (aka Volume #42). I was heavily (re)inspired by the leaks from the Nas "I Am..." album the were clearly the driving force behind this mixtape, too. I've talked about coppin' the white labels at Rock & Soul in Manhattan, some of those same tracks were "exclusives" on this tape, like "Blaze a 50," "We Will Survive," "Fetus" and others. There's also tracks from DMX, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Sporty Thievz, Nature, Mobb Deep, Madd Rapper, Akinyele and more. Not one of the best tapes from DJ Juice's catalog, but it takes me back to that time and... yeah, those records (and other Nas leaks) certainly got me back into music when I'd felt like college and real world shit was making me care less and less. I was reminded that we've always had to dig to find dope shit in the underground. Just as true today as it was then. Dig in...

July 07, 2021

DJ Filthy Rich "Reasonable Doubt" (25th Ann. Mix, Vol.1)

Toronto's DJ Filthy Rich celebrates 25 years of Jay-Z's classic debut album 'Reasonable Doubt' with a mix of blends, original samples, remixes and rarities! Filthy Rich consistently shows love to many of our culture's finest releases with these fine anniversary mixes. His Jay-Z mix also features Jaz-O, Sauce Money, Nas, Foxy Brown, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and more. He promises a second installment to this mix, but in the meantime, I hope this project stays live, because Soundcloud and Mixcloud tend to snatch down many of my favorite mixes. In other words, enjoy it while you can! The mix is brought to you in conjunction with Hip Hop Back in The Day and my brother Soles of Mischief. Props to Young Hov on 25 years of his classic debut. Check it out below...

July 06, 2021

Kuartz “Evelyn” (Instrumental Album)

Evelyn is the latest beat tape from producer Kuartz. The instrumental project boasts 16 tracks of mellow, boom bap production infused with jazzy and soulful samples, neck snapping snares and a more self-described “softer side of Kuartz.” If you haven’t already, dig into the archives for the phenomenal collaborative project between Kuartz and Soles of Mischief entitled “Ultimate Kuartz” and the more recent Doom-inspired, “MF Kuartz.” The Manchester, UK beatsmith continues to impress with his instrumental releases, check out the latest offering, Evelyn, from Kuartz below…

July 05, 2021

Take It Personal Podcast "Ode to 1992 Episode"

With the Summer Olympics going on and episode 89 being a '92 celebration, we couldn't think of a better way to pay homage than with the legendary Sports Illustrated cover featuring the '92 Dream Team. Episode 89 is an appetizer, as we take a quick-trip down memory lane before making a hard stop on one of the greatest years hip-hop. Instead of feeding you the played-out '92 classics, we focus on the deep album cuts and some of our more obscure favorites of '92. We've got music from Positive K, Diamond D, Grand Puba, Too $hort, MC Serch, Compton's Most Wanted, Paris, Heavy D, Gang Starr, Above The Law, X-Clan, Ultramagnetic MC's and DJ Quik to name a few. At the break, we reminisce over '92, discuss some of our favorite albums, share some fond memories and give you the ultimate 1992 time capsule as we cover sports, movies and music. Thanks to our extended family, the listeners. We appreciate your continued support, whether it's copping merch or being a Patreon member. Your contributions are what helps fuel this machine and we can't thank you enough. Remember, all of our episodes can be downloaded (for free) directly on our website or you can stream on all major platforms! - Take It Personal. Props to Philaflava, DJ 360 & Kevlar. Listen below...

July 04, 2021

The Notorious B.I.G.'s Super7 ReAction Figure

Notorious B.I.G. will never be forgotten. This 3.75” articulated Notorious B.I.G. ReAction figure looks just like you might have found him back in the day hanging out in Bed-Stuy, sporting his signature leather jacket, boots, and hat. Featuring his gold chain accessory, the figure comes packaged on a cardback inspired by the Ready To Die debut album cover In the words of Super7, which is responsible for The Notorious B.I.G. "ReAction Figure," they share, "The Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace on May 21, 1972, grew up in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. His debut album, Ready to Die, was a massive commercial and critical success, millions of albums sold worldwide. Notorious B.I.G. almost single-handedly reinvented East Coast's hip-hop, and is widely considered one of the greatest emcees of all time." At a reasonable price of under $20, I recommend fans go cop one before they're sold out! It might be too late to order a handful of them or I'd add them to my online store. One thing for sure, I got myself one for my own collection!

July 03, 2021

J.Period & Rakim "The Live Mixtape: God MC Edition (Part Two)

Rakim and J.PERIOD Present The Live Mixtape: God MC Edition [Part 2 of 3]. This legendary three-part DJ set and performance series features J.PERIOD and the God MC himself, Rakim Allah. PART TWO - a new kind of visual mixtape - brings listeners into the world of The 18th Letter like never before, fusing behind-the-scenes interviews with an epic live performance from Rakim and J.PERIOD, filmed on a Brooklyn rooftop and set against the Manhattan skyline. The video directed (and linked above) is done by Julia Liu. J.Period also blessed us with an audio-only version on his Bandcamp, which can (and should) checked out below. Dig into the archives for the full mix and stay tuned for the third and final piece of the visual trilogy from Rakim Allah and J.Period coming soon. Dig into it...

July 02, 2021

Slick Rick "The Ruler's Back" (July 2, 1991)

Rapper Slick Rick recently began serving up to 10 years in prison for attempted murder. Judging from The Ruler’s Back, no trial or tribulation can cramp his lighthearted style. (And don’t let charges of sexism over his 1988 hit ”Treat Her Like a Prostitute” distract you; that song isn’t like the rest of his work.) With his raspy faux-British delivery, Rick sometimes sounds like a cool schoolteacher entertaining the kiddies before naptime. Here he delivers engaging tales about impulsive romantic mistakes (”I Shouldn’t Have Done It”), biblical figures (”Moses”), and his own responsibilities as a father (”It’s a Boy”). The only detraction: a heavy-handed beat that often competes with his vocals rather than complementing them. - EW (August 02, 1991). I cannot lie, I wasn't all the way into this album from Slick Rick - at the time - however, that Large Professor remix to "It's a Boy" was a go! The Washington Post called the album "disappointing," writing that "for some reason, Rick has adopted a high-speed rapping style that undercuts his two great strengths -- humor and storytelling grace" - and honestly, that's a fair point. Fortunately, Slick Rick rebounded and this project is but a minor stretch mark in his long and distinguished catalog dating back to the mid-80s.

Much love and respect to Slick Rick the Ruler...

July 02, 2021

Nas "It Was Written" (July 2, 1996, Elements)

How do you follow up on an album like "Illmatic"? The answer is... you don't. There'll only be one debut from Nas and that featured an all-star production, with Nas being hailed as a street prophet. In my mind, "Illmatic" was kind of an accumulation of all Hip Hop up to that point... But you know what? We've moved on since then. It's now '96 and Nasir Jones is back the only way he knows how... talkin' that QB slang and manhandling tracks like only he can. There's no question about his rhyme skills because any one who says his lyrics ain't fly is frontin' or maybe they just don't know what's up! However, n!gguz around my way were concerned with the production... This project was handled by the Trackmasters, which was a big let down to a few heads. I'm sayin' the tracks are fly enough but they weren't exactly done by Primo, Pete Rock or Extra P. Primo did get to flex on "I Gave You Power," which was nice, but not enough though. With this in mind, let me also say that the Trackmasters production sells like a mutha'... ask Biggie. They got that funky "club-friendly" shit. Which means that for every hardrock dubbing the CD off their DJ potna, there's gonna be two crossover fans buying it at full price. So what's the odds that "It Was Written" sells more than "Illmatic"? Pretty good odds. Maybe that's what Mr. Jones was contemplating. I don't know, I ain't chatted with him lately, whatever. Though how you gonna playa hate this kid, who inspired us all first time around? To put it straight, this is a more-than-solid sophomore effort from Nas. The bangin' tracks for me are "Street Dreams", "Take It In Blood", "Shoot-Outs", "The Message" etc... But eh yo, there's probably only like two or three songs I'd leave out! In other words, I'm sayin' you should have this album for yourself, it's definitely worth it. I think it would have been so easy for him to come out with an all-star production team, the second time around, but shit... that n!gguh already got all the props he can handle. I think now he needs that lucci!! "It Was Written" is fat enough for my dollars. - Elements Mag. Revisit It Was Written below... don't sleep on "Affirmative Action," too.

Full review and It Was Written art by M_DailySketches below...

July 01, 2021

Rest In Peace, Gift Of Gab! (Mix by DJ Ian Head)

DJ Ian Head shares, "Gift of Gab was most definitely a big part of my life's soundtrack since high school. I might have seen Blackalicious in concert more often than any other group. He was one of the most brilliant emcees I've ever heard, and from all accounts was just a great human. Sending love out to his family and friends. This is just a short tribute mix with a few favorite tracks and a few samples that give me that feeling that became part of the legendary music he and Chief Xcel made together. R.I.P.." Another tremendous loss to our culture... DJ Shadow added, "Gab loved to think of life as just a momentary stage of a much longer journey, and all its trials and tribulations as "training" for the adventures to come after. If there's one thing I know, wherever Gab is, he's SOARING right now. We love and miss you." Indeed. Beautiful sentiment. Rest In Peace, Gift of Gab...