August 31, 2021

Eternia "Journey To FREE: A Retrospective" (DJ Eclipse)

Eternia showcases her incredible, two-decade-long career with a hard-hitting new mixtape, Journey to FREE: A Retrospective, mixed by living legend DJ Eclipse. Whether you’ve been rocking with Eternia since well before the critically acclaimed At Last dropped in 2010, or you got put on after bumping her new single, “Most PPL” with Rel McCoy, this project is required listening for long-time fans and new listeners alike. With DJ Eclipse on the decks, the 25-minute highlight reel perfectly demonstrates why Eternia has been dubbed “Canada’s Dopest Female MC.” Featured on the mix are solo bangers and collaborations with like-minded artists (Torae, Apathy, and Shad), rare early material from before At Last’s release, and three exclusive, unreleased new joints. All three are produced by Rel McCoy, the artist behind all the production on their upcoming album, FREE. The mix is blended in a way that feels seamless and timeless, while displaying Eternia’s growth as an artist. “DJ Eclipse brought tears to my eyes with this one,” Eternia says. “It was the first time I heard my music—that has spanned two decades—in this light. He approaches his craft of DJing like I do as an MC: with thoughtfulness, innovation, fun and precision.” Eclipse shares her enthusiasm for the project, saying that he knew she was dope the first time he heard her music. “Working with her on this mix was a pleasure,” Eclipse adds. “Her commitment to detail in her vision of what she wanted to hear in this mix is equally matched with how I wanted it to sound.” I'm very excited to share this mixtape with you, and I hope you'll check it out and show it some love. Also available HERE + HERE!

August 30, 2021

DJ Premier "So Wassup?" ("Mass Appeal" Episode, Video)

On the fourth episode of DJ Premier's YouTube video series, So Wassup?, the legendary producer talks with us about the process of crafting the Gang Starr classic from '94, "Mass Appeal." Released on Gang Starr's Hard To Earn album, what was intended to take aim at the industry and crossover hip-hop, actually became one of their most successful records. In a past interview, he declared, "It was recorded as a joke. We just wanted to make fun of the radio on what it sounded like to get airplay. That’s why I made the background melody real simplistic. I was making fun of the radio, but I’m going to make a funky version of making fun of it. Everything’s a vision, and your brain has to be that intense to be able to capture that. What the radio played, when it came to hip-hop, it sounded too watered down. That was making fun of it, but that record did real good for us". Hear about that and more in the video below + props to IllStrips on the unique artwork used up above. Follow HERE.

August 29, 2021

Brother Ali "Brother Minutester" (Album Stream)

It's a beautiful day when we get a new release from Brother Ali. Brother Minutester, Vol.1 is an extremely raw and rare collection (11 tracks) of Brother Ali's self-produced, one-minute freestyles recorded in tour buses, hotel rooms and backstages around the world. I'd heard several of the 1-minute releases through his instagram and began collecting them for a playlist of my own a while back. Brother Ali is easily one of my favorite artists and certainly a voice very much needed in music today. The culture benefits greatly from his message and I believe him to be a man of integrity and great character, which puts him at the top of many of my lists. Oh, and the music? Incredible. This is a must-own for true fans, pick up a copy before the officially sell out! Update: I'm glad he was able to post to DSPs, too, now that the vinyl is sold out. Go and listen to Brother Ali's new LP below...

August 28, 2021

Evidence "Squirrel Tape Instrumentals" (Vol. 2)

Evidence has launched his new label, “Bigger Picture Recordings.” In tandem with the launch of the new record label comes the release of Evidence’s latest instrumental release, Squirrel Tape Instrumentals, Vol. 2.  The 26-track collection serves as a sequel to 2019’s highly revered Squirrel Tape Instrumentals, Vol. 1 release. Squirrel Tape Instrumentals, Vol. 2 is the first of many releases to come on the newly-founded label. Future projects produced by Evidence will include artists like Domo Genesis, Fly Anakin, Planet Asia, and more. Limited vinyl, cassette tapes and merchandise are available now. Listen to these dope instrumentals from the homie Evidence of Dilated Peoples below...

August 27, 2021

J.Period Presents "Celebrate The Life of Zumbi" (R.I.P., Mixtape)

The news of Zumbi of Zion I passing away hit the hip-hop community hard, myself included. An extremely talented and passionate brother, the culture feels this loss as a whole and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and loved ones. I don't believe rumors and I'm not tapped in well enough to discern fact from fiction on the matter, but no matter how you slice it, this comes as a great shock and all I know how to do is celebrate his life and music, so I'm very thankful that J.Period stepped to the plate with this excellent tribute mix, Celebrate The Life of Zumbi. The mix pays tribute to Steve "Zumbi" Gaines, aka Zion of ZION I, an amazing MC and towering figure of the Bay Area Hip Hop scene, who passed away on Friday, August 6. Originally recorded at Zumbi's memorial tribute in Oakland on August 22, this mix celebrates the musical legacy of Zumbi, remixing ZION I classics with some of Zumbi's favorite beats. J. Period adds, "For those of us who knew him well, it's been a great comfort to hear so many stories of how his music and energy lifted spirits and left such a profound mark on fans everywhere. While we continue to process the grief of losing such a bright light in our lives, we remember Zumbi's incredible contributions as an artist and MC. My own journey as a DJ would not have been possible without Zumbi and ZION I, who took me on my first tour, gave me my first "shot," and encouraged me to pursue my dreams before anyone else. I hope this mix - a collection of my favorites remixed with some of his - can become a window of discovery for a new generation of fans, and the beginning of an ongoing effort to hold this man's name up high, and continue to honor his musical legacy. As Zumbi would say: Jah bless!" R.I.P., Zumbi.

August 26, 2021

DJ Xtreme & DJ Prime "Da Next Level" (Mixtape, 1995)

Mad Flava Production presents DJ Xtreme & DJ Prime with their NY-flavored mixtape, Da Next Level. The tape features tracks from Method Man & Redman, Treach, Craig Mack, Boyz II Men, D&D All Stars, Smif-N-Wessun, KRS-One, Raekwon, Keith Murray, Kool G Rap, The Luniz, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Naughty By Nature, Shabazz the Disciple, Mad Skillz, Funkdoobiest, Grand Puba, Lost Boyz, and lots more. I had no idea what to post on here today, then I came across this throwback mix on RapMullet's page, so thought I'd give it some play. It's not a bad mix (not great either), so paying it forward for y'all to listen to, as well. Check it out below, and definitely hit the archives for more...

August 25, 2021

Shock G "The Humpty Hump Story" (Press Kit, 1990)

Born on May 25, 1966 in Tampa, Florida to parents Wilfred and Emma May Humphrey, Humpty-Hump has since then risen to become a well-respected writer, musician and hip-hop MC, who now stands side by side with Shock G, MC Blowfish and Money-B as a front man in the popular rap group Digital Underground. Humpty, (whose given name is Edward Ellington Humphrey) is best known for his silly, free-spirited, extremely flamboyant and almost delirious behavior both in the studio and on stage. Perhaps his unique style and unusual behavior stems from a combination of past experiences which include door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales, grand theft auto, traveling the US as a con-man, and a two year stint running a prostitution ring. However, most of these fast lane activities ended by the time he reached twenty-two-years of age, when he decided to use his glowing charisma and poetic gift of gab to break into the music business as a solo R&B singer and writer. Under the name of "Smooth Eddie Humphrey," he began to make waves around the Tampa Bay Area appearing in nightclubs and talent shows; he once placed in the finals of a national talent search.... It was September 15, 1987, just three days before the big final competition that Eddie suffered a terrible accident. While working in the kitchen at the small diner where he worked part-time, an overhead mainline water pipe burst, striking him on the back of his neck. With 80 lbs of pressure driving his face into a simmering grease bin used for deep frying, he was pinned down in hot grease for almost 30 secs while co-workers fought to lift the heavy pipe from behind his neck. This tragedy forced him to miss the singing competition, as he suffered 1st degree burns to his nose and severe damage to his throat. The rim of the grease bin had crushed the voice box in his throat and changed his voice drastically. Once known for a smooth, raspy, Smokey Robinson-like singing voice, Eddie now found himself with a harsh, nasal, monotone and was unable to achieve his past vocal abilities.

Devastated by this experience, Eddie Humphrey fell into a six month period of heavy drinking and depression, until one day a close friend talked him into entering another talent competition, insisting that no one could ever match Humphrey's style on stage. So Eddie, revitalized by his friend's spirit, became even more determined to make it in the entertainment business. He decided to enter the competition, but rather than sing, he would now rap. He would wear a mask to hide the hideous remains of his nose, and rather than sulk and complain of his misfortune, he decided to use his nose as a conversation piece, openly teasing and inviting others join in laughter about his new look. A very courageous and genuine approach. It was at this show that he met Gregory E. Jacobs, known best as "Shock-G," founder and leader of Digital Underground. Shock-G, who was in Tampa visiting family, had read Humphrey's story in the local paper. Amazed at what he had read, Shock-G attended the show anxious to see this Humpty character. Well, as you may have guessed, Shock-G was so impressed at what he saw and heard that he invited Humpty to join his next studio session. The rest is Digital Underground history. In the words of Shock-G, "Edward E. Humphrey is a person who refused to give in. He is a person who now shines as a role model and example to all that, regardless of the magnitude of a person's misfortune, the chance for success and happiness remains." - The Humpty Hump Story, 1990. Rest in Peace, Gregory Edward Jacobs B.K.A. Shock G!

August 24, 2021

Happy Born Day, REKS! (Playlist)

Happy Born Day to the Godly MC, Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme: REKS! Use of the words 'underrated' or 'slept-on' aren't always seen as compliments to the artists, as far as I can tell... but they're used with good intentions. I know fans - including myself - say that to mean I SEE YOU and you're a special artist, even if its niche, or not celebrated by the masses. It's important to celebrate artists in the underground for their lyricism, wordplay, conscious thought and general elevation and growth as men. Diggin' through Reks' catalog tells the tale of an artist that has been putting it down lyrically since 2001; has an incredible ear for production, collaboration, and insightful messaging in his music. Through social media, I've seen him as a caring father, partner and moves with purpose. We've crossed paths a bunch over the years, but not in recent years as I've moved around a bunch, but I'm definitely happy to see him win and hope to catch him in Atlanta for a show one day soon. Dig through his catalog via the playlist I quickly put together of solo material, features and more. Brief but you'll get the idea, check it out below, and follow REKS HERE for more!

August 23, 2021

Pumpkinhead "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn" (August 23, 2005)

Right from the start the album feels huge breathe of fresh air. The beats, provided by Canada’s Marco Polo and turntablist DP One, have an old school feel, complete with DJ scratches and voice samples. Pumpkinhead flows effortlessly and intensely at the same time, with lyrics that will have you rewinding the track. The album is a mixture of hilarious and serious commentary on subjects ranging from politics to the hip hop culture. Pumpkinhead has a charismatic style and rhymes with a passion. It’s enough to convince the listener that he absolutely believes in everything he says. It makes you want to just sit back and listen to what he has to say. But if you’re hoping to hear about guns, drugs, and women, then stop reading right now. Pumpkinhead doesn’t have time for all that. He’s got other issues to speak on, and that much is evident right from the start. In the albums second track, “Authentic”, Pumpkinhead lets you know, “This is hip hop music for your soul… Authentic hip hop music/ this is as good as it gets.” And expresses frustration; “Some places refuse to just play it / cuz I’m not rhyming about guns, drugs, and court cases.” “I Just Wanna Rhyme” is a great track that ends with one of the more humorous moments of the LP while doubling as a great commentary on the state of hip hop. After a track which features Supastition comes “Grenades”, undoubtedly one of the more powerful political tracks released this year. Pumpkinhead pulls no punches as he speaks on the military, Bush, taxes, and much more. “Give me a bulldozer/and before the world is over/ I’ll find Bush and his daddy and run both their asses over...."

The album continues with more heartfelt tracks, including “Rock On” which is basically a small biography which includes Pumpkinhead reminiscing about C-Rayz and Mobb Deep rapping and banging on tables in the lunchroom at his school. “Swordfish”, a more playful track, features an absolutely sick beat and has Pumpkinhead trading verses with Archrival. “Jukebox” is an excellent laid back track which features more top-notch storytelling. “The Best” is an uplifting track about the better things in life. The album concludes with “Anthem for the End of the World” perhaps one of the better tracks in recent memory. Jean Grae contributes two ridiculously good verses. “The sky’s crack open/ and the fire rains down/ with angles backs broken/ and black snow/ and a man in a black cloak/ and then everything goes black/ and everyone soon chokes and collapses slow.” - HipHopDX, 2005. It's important we revisit underground classics like Pumpkinhead's Orange Moon Over Brooklyn... it reminds me of great memories in independent NYC hip-hop, and the memory of our fallen friend, Pumpkinhead, who passed away far too soon in 2015. Rest In Peace, Robert Diaz. 

August 22, 2021

Take It Personal Podcast "Ode to 1993" (Part 4)

Episode 93 is the 4th installment of Take It Personal's phenomenal Tribute to the year 1993 in hip-hop. On this show, they dig deep in the crates and pull out gems from Leaders of The New School, Private Investigators, Daddy-O, Boss, YZ, Mysterme, N-Tense, Poison Clan, Da Youngsta's and Mobb Deep to name a few. Plus, they hit you with classics from Outkast, Geto Boys, Eightball & MJG, Digable Planets and Queen Latifah! At the break, the T.I.P. crew discusses what 1993 songs are worthy of being mentioned among the top 50 greatest hip-hop songs of all-time. You might just be surprised with what you hear.... After that, be sure to dig in the archives for the rest of the tribute, as well as other dope episodes. Peace to Jason Gloss and the rest of the crew. Dig into it...

August 21, 2021

Nems "Congo" (Album Stream)

Coney Island's NEMS is back with his latest 14-track offering, Congo. The LP boasts several dope features from artists like, Spit Gemz, UFO Fev, Ill Bill, Eddie Kaine, Black Savv, Tony Sunshine and more. I got put on to Nems through Necro and Mr. Hyde at a Fat Beats in-store (or record store day), I can't remember which, but if memory serves me right, he was a skinny dude, still spittin' flames. Taking to social media, he's captured fans with his Brooklyn sense of humor and brand of raw hip-hop. Fat Joe has been co-signing him behind the scenes and you see the UFO Fev and Tony Sunshine collaborations on the project too, which are direct connects to Joe. We'll see where this goes, the music has been consistently solid for a minute - keep watching and listen to Congo below...

August 20, 2021

Blu, Mickey Factz & Nottz "The Narrative" (EP Stream)

Blu, Mickey Factz, and Nottz, share The Narrative on the trio’s collaborative EP. Broken into six tracks, Inglewood’s finest Blu, Bronx bomber Mickey, and the Norfolk and Grammy-nominated producer Nottz deliver pure raw lyrics (“Stay Down“), trade raps with Asher Roth (“Reign“), and touch on the current pandemic “Roll Up." - via RapRadar. I never got all the way into Mickey Factz's music, but the combination of Nottz and Blu has already been successful at delivering quality music, so I'm all for this release. Blu is one of my favorite MCs, and Nottz is one of the greatest and most diverse producers of our generation, period. They deliver on The Narrative EP, check it out below...

August 19, 2021

DJ Premier "So Wassup?" ("The Enemy" Episode, Video)

The Greatest of All-Time, DJ Premier keeps on keepin' on with his phenomenal new series, So Wassup?, a tribute to the floppy disk! In this third episode, Premo tackles the Diggin' In The Crates crew's "The Enemy." Featuring dope verses from the late great, Big L, and Fat Joe, it was originally released as their second single after "Day One" and the B-Side to "Internationally Known" in 1997. Now, let us sit back and watch how DJ Premier breaks down the process of how he made "The Enemy." For more episodes, hit up the archives below and happily get lost down on memory lane...

August 18, 2021

Termanology & Amadeus "360" (Album Stream)

Everything comes in full circle thanks to Termanology and Amadeus’ collaborative album, 360. Produced entirely by Amadeus, the ST./Showoff lyricist out of Lawrence, MA leads the way with the gritty “Black Mask Pt. 2” featuring Sheek Louch and Lil Fame and then channels the souls of “Dead Rappers” with Smif-N-Wessun. The 10-track effort also includes guest appearances by Ras Kass, Skyzoo, Ea$y Money, Chris Rivers, M.O.P., Teflon, and Nems. 360 follows Termanology’s previous joint projects including Goya 3 with Shortfyuz and The Summer with Statik Selektah. - via RapRadar. Termanology is beastin' on this album, check it out in full below, then dig in the archives for more...

August 17, 2021

Scarface "The World Is Yours" (August 17, 1993)

Does the Original Gangsta from Houston's 5th Ward ever run out of lyrics about bitches, punk ass n!ggaz, punk cops and the life of a G? Apparently not. After the huge success of his solo debut, Mr. Scarface Is Back, and performances on Kool G Rap's Live And Let Die ("Two To The Head"), the South Central soundtrack ("Street Life"), Compton's Most Wanted's Music To Driveby ("Dead Men Tell No Lies") and the Geto Boys latest album Till Death Do Us Part, Face hits us with his second solo release. This time out Scarface takes a break from the straight up hardcore gangsta boom and goes for the G-style gangsta funk that's sweeping the country. You might want to call this one "The Chronic Pt.II with a 5th Ward Swing" because of its easy going funk beats that are perfect for n!ggaz to get budded to as they roll up on a spot to chill. When Scarface proclaimed that he had the mind of a lunatic, the man wasn't lyin'. His lyrics are like guerilla warfare, with good and evil going toe-to-toe and evil beating the shit outta good. "The Wall" is a psychological profile of a gangsta who tries to go over and around his problems instead of hitting them head on. On "Do Me A Favor," Face gives an "Indecent Proposal" of his own when he asks his woman to break his homie off some p#ssy. That's some sick shit, but only Mr. Scarface could go there and make it sound cool. Other dope tracks include "Let Me Roll," a live bass guitar funk jam about getting budded and rollin' with the homies, "You Don't Hear Me Doe," a fat gangsta beat that's made to ride to, "Dyin' With Your Boots On" with its fat live sample of Fukadelic's "I Betcha" and Scarface's 9mm lyrics. Cont'd...

The best song, the somber "Now I Feel Ya," finds Scarface reflecting on the major events of his life. Only now, after run-ins with other gangstas, women and the unjust killing of his bodyguard by Louisiana police officers, does he fully understand the value of the street knowledge his parents kicked to him as a child back in the gap. The only real disappointment comes with "Mr. Scarface Part 3: The Final Chapter," which has dope new rhymes but is limited by the familiar plot structure and a beat that seems watered down when compared to the first two episodes. Overall, The World Is Yours kicks straight up non stop funk without heavy samples from beginning to end, but it comes up a little short on concept and structure. But when you're Mr. Scarface and the "world is yours," it doesn't really matter. - The Source (Sept., 1993). Face is easily one of the greatest MCs of all-time!

August 16, 2021

Killah Priest "Next" Feature in Vibe (March, 1998)

Judging from the uncompromising sound of the Wu-Tang Clan associate's appropriately titled debut, Heavy Mental (Geffen), exorcising contemporary hip hop's demons is but one of the messages on Killah Priest's mind. Fans of his performance on the Clan's AIDS benefit track "America" (Elektra) or the Genius's stellar single "4th Chamber" (Geffen) will undoubtedly appreciate the evolution of Priest's gothic rap steez. Heavy Mental manifestos like "One Step," "Blessed Are Those," and "Atoms to Adam" find the 27-year-old Brooklynite cross-pollinating biblical references, apocalyptic warnings, and ghetto fairly tales atop soundscapes provided by skilled RZA production proteges 4th Disciple and True Master. "I just took it back to where it all began," says Priest (who is also a member of Wu spin-off quarter Sunz of Man) as he warms up in a Mexican food joint. "Hip hop goes further back than Sugarhill Gang. You had brothers breakin' it down all the way back in the Book of Psalms. All these lyrics that I'm dropping is for the mind and the soul." With Priest, soul power and mind power are one and the same. "Killah Priest is an intelligent young brotha with lyrical skills beyond imagination," says Priest's mentor, the GZA, who first encountered a young, church-going Priest on the streets of Brooklyn. "He's a rook on the chessboard of emceeing." There's no shamming this shaman. K. Priest is killing us softly--while blinding us with science. - Next (Vibe / March, 1998). HBD!

August 15, 2021

DJ P-Nice "It's On '95" (Mixtape, 1995)

Another ill mix tape from DJ P-Nice... this mix is "It's On '95." The tape features a mix of hip-hop, dancehall and R&B tracks from artists like O.C., The Pharcyde, Keith Murray, Method Man & Raekwon, Redman, Nine, Shaquille O'Neal, Artifacts, The Notorious B.I.G., RA The Rugged Man, Craig Mack, Mobb Deep, Gravediggaz, Capleton, Rayvon, Black Pantha, Mary J. Blige, Brownstone, Jay-Z and more. The quality of the tape is a little thin but it's to be expected from a 90s cassette mix, so with that, just check it out below, and hit the archives for a ton of other 90s golden era mix tapes...

August 14, 2021

Benny The Butcher "Pyrex Picasso" (EP Stream)

Once again proving to be one of the hardest working MC’s when it comes to rolling out music, Griselda’s Benny the Butcher returned today with a new EP titled Pyrex Picasso. The 7-song EP, which features Conway the Machine, Rick Hyde, and Elcamino, follows in the footsteps of The Plugs I Met 2, the Harry Fraud-produced project that was released earlier this year. The new EP is a collection of songs recorded 3 years ago, according to Benny’s Instagram, and was recorded in its entirety in a single day. “Had to let that be known,” the rapper captioned the post on Insta, “go cop that shit.” - Complex. Griselda Records has released music at an unmatched pace, it's truly quite impressive. Peep their latest release from Benny The Butcher, Pyrex Picasso, below. Archives too.

August 13, 2021

Happy Born Day, Tragedy Khadafi! (Drink Champs, Video)

A veteran of New York hip-hop, Tragedy Khadafi was there from the start. Still a child in the late '70s, he lived in the infamous Queensbridge Housing Projects and witnessed some of the earliest days of rap's incubatory phase before getting into it himself as a teenager. Working under a variety of different monikers, the music he made and his presence in New York's hip-hop circles would be highly influential for the wave of artists that included Mobb Deep, Capone, and Noreaga. First making records as Intelligent Hoodlum before changing his name in 1997, Tragedy Khadafi stayed on a consistent grind of new material that spanned several important eras in the development of rap and hip-hop culture. Born Percy Chapman in 1971 to a single mother in the projects of Queens, New York, Tragedy Khadafi grew up surrounded by music. When he was nine years old he first heard hip-hop, which itself was just beginning to develop in the South Bronx and other New York neighborhoods. It was when he heard LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells," however, at a community function in Astoria that Chapman knew that he wanted to rap, too. Calling himself Jadeski, he hooked up with DJ Hot Day and, as the Superkids, they self-released a couple of songs in 1986. These caught the ear of Marley Marl, who eventually ended up encouraging Chapman to split from Hot Day and join his influential group, the Juice Crew. He recorded some tracks for Marley's 1988 album, In Control ("The Rebel," "Live Motivator"), but before he could see their release he was sent to the Elmira Correctional Facility for three years, at just 16 years old. While in jail, Chapman began reading the work of Malcolm X and upon his release he entered community college with the intention of studying Black history; he was still interested in hip-hop, but he wasn't planning on pursuing music as a career. However, after meeting Joe Fatal at a show, Chapman was convinced by the MC to get back into rap. Signing with A&M, he released two albums under the name Intelligent Hoodlum, the 1990 self-titled record and 1993's Tragedy: Saga of a Hoodlum. Who the Fuck Is Khadfi? Cont'd below

Changing his name to Tragedy Khadafi, the rapper began to work with other artists, even discovering the duo Capone-N-Noreaga on the streets and helping to conceive their spectacular 1997 debut The War Report. He worked collaboratively with other artists throughout the '90s, recording with Mobb Deep and acting as part of the group Iron Sheiks with longtime friend Imam T.H.U.G. His first album as Tragedy Khadafi, Against All Odds, was originally slated to come out in 1999, but was pushed back two years. The album marked the debut of HeadRush Napoleon, who would show up again on future albums. In 2003 Still Reportin' hit shelves, followed by Thug Matrix in 2005. Two mixtapes arrived the next year, Blood Ballads and Thug Matrix 2, and in 2007, Chapman was arrested for drug dealing and went to prison. Before his sentencing, eighth album The Death of Tragedy was released in the summer of 2007. While locked up, he continued releasing music, appearing on 2009's Lethal Weapon, a collaborative album with Trez that included guest spots from Big Noyd, Willie Stubbs, and others. He was released ahead of schedule for good behavior in 2011 and back to music-making like never before, prolifically releasing new songs, mixtapes, and collaborations that continue straight through to current day. His "recent/2020" interview with Drink Champs - which also features Conway the Machine - gives a great amount of history and context for an artists whose career has extended through multiple eras. Give the video a full watch below...

August 12, 2021

DJ Premier "So Wassup?" ("Unbelievable" Episode, Video)

In episode 2 of DJ Premier's new web video series, So Wassup?, DJ Premier takes us through the process of how "Unbelievable", from The Notorious B.I.G., was made. If you've never been in the same room with the man before, what should immediately impress you from these videos is Premo's attention to detail, and his incredible ability to recall facts, names and specifics from throughout his career. He's the same way in person, he'll interrupt a story to tell you about the uncle of the producer who recently celebrated a birthday or something, lol. It's amazing. "Unbelievable" was a big record for him at the time, as he discusses, and certainly its featured on one of the greatest albums of all time from the late great Notorious B.I.G. Take this trip down memory lane with Premo...

August 12, 2021

DJ Invasion "Price of Death" (Sean Price x Stu Bangas, Mix)

Price Of Death is the latest mash-up tribute by the talented DJ Invasion. The mix combines the late great Brownsville MC, Sean Price's vocals with long time collaborator and producer, Stu Bangas. DJ Invasion explertly blends these vocals over Stu's punch-you-in-the-face production. The mix also features Lil' Fame, Ruste Juxx, DJ Grazzhoppa, Apathy, Ghost of the Machine, Dirt Platoon, Rockness, Rozewood, Milano Constantine, Tone Spliff, Ill Bill, Vinnie Paz, Nutso, Spit Gemz, and Conway the Machine. The passing of Sean Price left a huge void in hip-hop, but mixes like this help us revisit his material in a new light. Check out DJ Invasion's Price of Death blend mix tape below...

August 11, 2021

DJ Greenpeace "Volume 1" (Mixtape, 1999)

A bumping tape-only Underground Hip Hop Mix from DJ Greenpeace circa 1999. Perhaps best known for his collaborations with the king of Cut N Paste DJ Yoda on the Jews Paid series and his Underground column in HHC Magazine, this was the first of his Fat Lace mixtapes (the clue is in the name), released to coincide with the publication of the first edition of the now legendary Fat Lace Magazine that was co-produced by Greenpeace himself and Andrew Emery. Expect exclusive drops and freestyles inserted next to a plethora of Underground gems from the late 90s golden age of the Indie Hip Hop 12". - DJ Postie. Specifically, the tape features tracks from Scaramanga, Dilated Peoples, Basement Khemist, Pitch Black, Lootpack, Black Star, Sir Menelik, Thrust, RA The Rugged Man, Ill Brothers, Medina Green, Street Smartz, Frankenstein, Eminem, Big Twan, The Nextmen, J-Live, Consequence and more! A mixtape in every regard, take a trip back to 1-9-9-9 with this one...

August 10, 2021

DJ Robert Smith "21 'Til Infinity" (Mix)

Another dope guest mix curated by the good folks over at The Find Mag. German turntablist, Dusty Donuts purveyor, slick walker, and DMC champ Robert Smith is going to up you on how we just chill… He takes you from a tribute to the 1993 namesake track through a one-hour mix full of jazz and funk heavy hip-hop, edits, remixes, cuts, and fresh soul/funk/disco originals. 21 ’til infinity–kill all that wack shit! Specifically, tracks from J. Rawls, Skratch Bastid, Tall Black Guy, The Pharcyde, Children of Zeus, DJ Mitsu The Beats, Daytoner, Soopasoul, Bobby Byrd, Metal Finders Doom, and lots more. Dig in the crates for his tribute to The Notorious B.I.G., and other features. Dig into it...

August 09, 2021

Crush A Lot Podcast "A Score To Settle" (The Remixes)

The Crush A Lot Podcast released A Score To Settle, Vol.1 in the winter of 2020, and now they are back with The Remixes! With a couple bonus cuts, the project once again features tracks with Rigz, Lord Juco, Asun Eastwood, Fastlife, Has Lo, Kadeem, Mooch, B.a Badd, Bub Styles, Estee Nack, Starker, Jus' Me, SmooVth, Zilla Rocca and more. To go back, the Crush A Lot Podcast is brought to you by Cheese, Sir Loveday and the homie Kaleena. They bring you that gritty boombap sound into the modern music world, unapologetically at that. Projects like this are a labor of love and when artists deliver on promises of support, it tells you they really f#ck with these creatives and wanna show love right back. Believe me, I've worked on projects like this, it can be a painful process lol. So, props to all the artists and the Crush A Lot Podcast for making this happen. Stream the LP below...

August 08, 2021

N.W.A. "Straight Outta Compton" (Press Kit, 1988-1989)

The mere mention of Los Angeles, California conjures up images of sun, surf and sandy beaches -- but not to the five Compton homeboys who comprise rap crew N.W.A.: Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, M.C. Ren, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and D.J. Yella. N.W.A. hail from a part of town you won't find depicted in any postcards. "Straight Outta Compton," N.W.A.'s debut album, due for release in February, 1989, promises to put the tough South Central L.A. ghetto firmly on the musical/social map, and further reenforce the West Coast's contribution to a genre previously dominated by the East. "The problem with East Coast rappers is they think L.A. doesn't have any ghettos," Ren says. "They think it's all palm trees and beaches. Tell 'em to come to Compton. I'll show 'em somethin'." N.W.A. know from experience how mean the streets of inner-city L.A. can be. Ren, in fact, is lucky to still be alive. "A lot of people know you can get shot if you're not in a gang. I got shot in the leg 'cause I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Compton, you can get shot just goin' to work in the mornin'." Yes...

Eazy-E, reformed drug dealer turned hip-hop entrepreneur, adds, "I've seen killings, robberies, dope dealin' -- everything. I was standing next to a brother who got shot in the head. I've seen brothers get stabbed. I used to steal cars, break into houses, sell drugs and rob people... then my cousin got killed, and my homie Dre said, 'let's start a record company.' And I was like, 'yo man, this shit ain't gonna work.' Dre said, 'Go ahead and see.' Then we put out 'Boyz-N-The-Hood," ... and that shit took off! Dre keeps sayin', "I told you, I told you.' The label, Ruthless Records, is distributed by Priority Records. "Boyz," a hard-hitting account of life in Compton, was released as a 12" single in April 1986. About a year later, N.W.A. was officially formed, and the crew's 12" single and underground hit, "Dope Man" hit the streets in September 1987. Though N.W.A.'s self-produced debut album contains its share of party jams, N.W.A.'s forte is incisive social commentary. Songs like "Gangsta Gangsta," which has been released as a 12" single, "___ Tha Police" and a remix of "Dope Man," paint a brutally realistic picture of urban madness. "We're talking about the things we grew up around in Compton," Ice Cube asserts. "We focus on reality... the things that are going on in our neighborhood but don't get exposed. We tell it the way we see it, and we don't hold back. If people don't like it, f#ck 'em." Still not convinced that inner-city L.A. is as much of a jungle as Harlem or North Philly? "Straight Outta Compton" will annihilate that misconception. N.W.A. posses's in full effect, letting the world know what time it is and refusing to sugarcoat the truth. Word. - Press Kit, 1988. R.I.P. Eric Wright.

August 07, 2021

Nas "King's Disease II" (Album Stream)

The sequel to his previous “King's Disease”, features collaborations with rapper YG, Eminem and the always welcomed return of Lauryn Hill. The 47-year-old hip-hop icon’s previous release earned Nas his 14th Grammy nomination and victory earlier this year for Best Rap Album. “Kings Disease II” is executive produced by Nas and Hit-Boy, who is also featured on the song “Composure.” But the track social media can’t stop talking about is “Nobody,” featuring former Fugees frontwoman Lauryn Hill, who notoriously dropped one of the greatest records of all time, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” in 1998 — never to be topped by her or another female hip-hop artist since. Fans couldn’t get enough of “Ms.” Lauryn Hill’s brilliant and biting lyricisms, as bars from “Nobody” are now trending on social media. “Let me give it to you balanced and with clarity / I don’t need to turn myself into a parody / I don’t do the shit you do for popularity,” she raps. “King’s Disease II” is now available to buy or play on streaming platforms. - NY Post. Amen to the return of Lauryn Hill... and Nas. Dig in...

August 06, 2021

Take It Personal Podcast "Ode to 1993" (Part 3)

Episode 92 is the 3rd installment of Take It Personal's classic look back at 1993. This show is 100% dedicated to the West Coast, and features music from Digital Underground, Cypress Hill, Tha Alkaholiks, Freestyle Fellowship, Mac Dre, Mac Mall, Spice 1, Too $hort, C-Bo, 2Pac, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ice Cube, Kam, MC Eiht and Souls of Mischief to name a few. At the break, the T.I.P. crew discusses Ice Cube's Lethal Injection and the Menace To Society soundtrack and also unveil their special Get On Down giveaway. This episode is an intricate part of a very important year in hip-hop. They crew guarantees - and I can mostly cosign - that once they've finished their entire 1993 tribute, you might consider it to be your favorite year, too! Take a trip down memory lane on the West Coast (yes, even if it's not your favorite coast!) by listening to Take It Personal Radio below...

August 05, 2021

DJ Premier "So Wassup?" ("Come Clean" Episode, Video)

DJ Premier presents his brand new web video series: 'So Wassup?', a salute to the floppy disk. Throughout this series, DJ Premier explores his most classic productions, and how the technology of the time influenced his signature sound. In the first episode, DJ Premier talks about how the track "Come Clean", from Jeru The Damaja's classic debut "Sun Rises In The East," came to be. "Come Clean" is an iconic beat in Premier's extensive catalog - especially before the internet when most people had zero clue how he made that unique sound!! So Wassup? is created by his talented manager, Ian Schwartzman; co-created and also directed by Andrew “POE” Mohrer. I'll be following this video series very closely, so check back for future episodes (or dig into the archives for more if you're seeing this post late). Salute the legend, DJ Premier... thee greatest producer of all-time...

August 04, 2021

The LOX vs. Dipset (Verzuz Battle, 8/3/21)

The LOX and Dipset took the stage at Madison Square Garden for a one night only Verzuz battle last night.... the outcome was absolute destruction. In the words of famed producer and wordsmith, Big Ghost Ltd... "I aint seen carnage like that since the movie Apocalypto. I cant remember.. but I think at one point Jada n Styles held Juelz over a pit of fire n disemboweled him to appease the Timberland gods while Cam n Jim watched helplessly.. Then Kiss rhymed over “Who Shot Ya” n Freekey Zekey just erupted into flames.. shit is a blur now. I went into this thinking its no way L-O-X would be able to out anthem my guys. But I knew shit was going sideways when the Set got lost on the way to the stage n gave Kiss a cool 5 mins to let off half a clip of jokes before the Diplomats DJ got his iPod Nano to successfully play “Bigger Picture” for em to walk out to. How yall down by 6 before the game start tho? Lox set the tone for the night early by going right into “F-ck You”…n it was all downhill from there. I know nobody in that room or anywhere else needed a whole ass Jim Jones/Purple City medley but TRUTHFULLY song selection was only part of the problem for them Harlem boys. The lack of cohesion n focus buried em. Didnt help that Lox had infinitely better stage presence, knew all they own lyrics, n could go into any chamber needed to respond (Damn Juelz…why you had to tell em they had no songs for the ladies smh). By the time Kiss used “Money, Power, & Respect” as a snippet transition to “By Your Side”.. they had already been poppin wheelies for the last 15 laps of the race. The biggest detriment to the Dips other than being outperformed was The Lox brought a real DJ who had actual timing, knew when to drop the beat, n understood the nuances of his craft. The Dips had Hell Rell or somebody using the edjing app on his phone. I stopped keeping score by the 5th round but if we went off pure energy it was something like 9 million - 3.5 for The Lox. S/o the Dips for being good sports tho..cuz I counted at least 8 moments where it probably took the willpower of a thousand Shaolin monks to not reach for a burner. Salute to both squads tho!" Dig into the 2-hour video below, which I hope remains online...

Props to the homie Shake of 2DopeBoyz, who is not only responsible for the dope artwork up above, but also put together a playlist of the tracks covered in the battle. While it does little to show the true destruction that was delivered, it's a nice complement to the video up above. You can't argue that both don't have impeccable catalogs - and, on paper - the anthems from Dipset kept them in the conversation, but they couldn't hold back the true performance and personality of Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch. Jadakiss is the official MVP of the whole shit. Enjoy all the memes out there! And riddle me this... how many hats, bandanas and durags did Juelz Santana have on? Why'd they keep bringin' up SOBs... shoulda came prepared. Don't rhyme over your vocals! Facts...

August 03, 2021

Adonis & Thelonious Martin "The Lord of the West" (Album Stream)

The title track off the new LP from West Coast MC Adonis and Chicago producer Thelonious Martin was originally released through Adult Swim Singles in February, 2020. Adonis sliced through the cinematic beat like a swordsman. I'd been anticipating a full-length release ever since! The Lord of the West is now here and boasts 11 tracks (22 minutes) with no discernible features. On the heels of his collaborative project with Jacob Rochester entitled Patchworks, Thelonious returns with more inspired production that fits well in his catalog alongside a popular series of instrumental-odes to J Dilla and his production album, Wunderkid. As for Adonis, if you haven't peeped his album with NY's DJ Skizz, go ahead and dig in the archives for Logan and his I Spit On The Devil LP from the winter of 2020, too. In the meantime, give a real strong listen to The Lord of the West below...

August 02, 2021

DJ Filthy Rich "It Was Written" (25th Anniversary Mix)

Toronto's DJ Filthy Rich celebrates another classic with his latest mix honoring the 25th anniversary of Nas' sophomore album "It Was Written" that dropped in 1996. As with past mixes, Filthy Rich crafts a mix filled with blends, original samples, remixes and fine rarities. Once again, the artwork for the mix is handled by Che Hinkson who came through with the ill art. I'm sure I've taken the bait in the past and debated the merits of It Was Written vs. Illmatic - which is better and so on... I'm pretty sure I've celebrated both, and landed on the mere fact that without It Was Written, a large portion of fans may have never gone back and championed his classic debut. That said, It Was Written is a classic in its own right, and it can be heard with new ears through the 25th anniversary mix from DJ Filthy Rich below. He also promises a follow-up (or B-Side) to this mix coming soon-ish ...

August 01, 2021

Raekwon "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..." (August 1, 1995)

Love 'em or hate 'em, if there's one thing you have to respect about the Wu-Tang members' solo projects, it's that they challenge your expectations like no other records in hip hop today. With the emphasis always placed on the featured vocalist's expression of individuality, it's no wonder that Tical and Return to the 36 Chambers--The Dirty Version occasionally lost listeners amidst their more self indulgent moments, some exceptionally dope music notwithstanding. Perhaps that's why the notion of a solo album from Wu-Tang's consummate team player, Raekwon the Chef, is so intriguing. Acknowledging the strength of his role-playing persona, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... manages to pull off a remarkable feat--spotlighting Raekwon as the LP's focus in spite of the fact that he only actually performs alone on three of the eighteen cuts. The key to unlocking this mystery is, of course, Ghostface Killer--the perennial co-star of the show. With his prominent contributions in support--along with appearances by all other Clan members, save for ODB--Cuban Linx most successfully recaptures the camaraderie of the original 36 Chambers in the solo era, while it redefines Raekwon's on-mic personality in the tradition of Staten Island mob history. Cont'd below....

Ostensibly a concept piece chronicling Rae and Ghost's adventures in crime and last gasp struggles to leave the hood life behind, the album adeptly divides time between the sort of story-oriented material this duo's become known for, and more straight forward Shaolin sword-style rhyme exercises. In either mode, the RZA's increased propensity for haunting orchestral arrangements is the first thing you notice about Cuban Linx's sonic landscape. With several interludes of dialogue included, the album plays like the soundtrack to a film you wish could pay eight bones to see. Soap opera strings soak "Striving For Perfection's" LP-intro, giving way to "Knuckleheadz" ironically good-timey Goodfellas bounce, while "Knowledge God's" dope, discordant piano keys are straight Quincy Jones-style ambience. As the crowning glory of this unit's penchant for melodrama, however, "Rainy Dayz" eclipses even "Can It All Be So Simple" and "Heaven and Hell" in terms of pure pathos: A somber line of sustained strings, thunderous cloudbursts of rain and Wu-diva Blue Raspberry's Greek chorus offset Raekwon and Ghost's articulated aspirations of reaching somewhere over the rainbow by any means necessary. A movie moment, no doubt. Arguably, Cuban Linx may be at its strongest when the confines of storylines are abandoned, causing the perspectives of street pusher and rhyme sayer to collide within the same verse: "I move rhymes like retail/Make sure my shit sell/From where we at to my man's cell/From staircase to stage/Minimum wage/But soon to get an article in Rap Page" Raekwon rhymes on "Incarcerated Scarface." ... Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... is that rare breed of contemporary hip hop album. A record that not only meets and/or exceeds expectations, but one that does so as if the outcome was never in doubt. Naturally, some may dismiss its tale of guns, G's and grams as just so much East Coast-gangsta posturing. However, to do so would be to ignore the passion that qualifies some music as art and limits others as strictly product. In the end, who's the real pusher? The best of Wu-Tang's solo fare thus far? Quite possibly. The album to beat in '95? Yes. - Ego Trip (Chairman Mao). Certainly one of the best rap albums...ever!