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 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 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 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 13, 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 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 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!