April 23, 2022

Altered Crates "DOOM STARR" (Mash-Up EP)

Here is the latest mash-up project from Atlanta-based producer Altered Crates blending beats by DJ Premier and vocals from the late great, MF DOOM. The project is appropriately titled, DOOM STARR. The 6-track EP casts the phenomenal production of DJ Premier and inimitable style of MF DOOM in a new light... imagine the possibilities? DOOM is an underground legend to be celebrated and it was a terrible tragedy that we lost him too soon. I don't know how long this project--like those that came before it--will last on the internet, but if it goes down, hit me up and I'll try to update it with a fresh link. You can also download the project for free HERE, which I highly recommend. Props to the good homie Matt out in Baltimore for giving me the headsup on this EP...

April 20, 2022

Capital Rap Show (Gang Starr, April 19-20, 1991)

Props to RandomRapRadio for sharing this gem from the Capital Rap show in London, April 20, 1991. They include following message along with it, "It’s a rare interview with Guru & Premier, shootin the gift on air with Tim Westwood, just hours after their incredible April 1991 gig at the Town & Country Club in North London. They rock up to the studios of Capital Radio to catch up on some promo for the forthcoming Step In The Arena LP, and they’re joined in the studio by an excitable Caveman crew. There are too many really interesting topics to mention, so just listen up at your leisure. They both give Tim major props for stayin' in his indy lane too. That didn't happen that often back then. Check out Tim gettin hyped when Primo kicks the knowledge on 10″ car-trunk woofers!" In terms of tunes... it includes tracks from De La Soul, Son of Bazerk, 3rd Bass, Leaders of the New School, EPMD, Kool Keith, KRS-One, Black Sheep, Gang Starr and more. Listen to the show below...

April 18, 2022

David Begun "Tribematic" (Mash-Up Album)

New Hampshire's David Begun returns once again with his latest mash-up album, TribeMatic. Both integral parts of the golden era of hip-hip, Nas and A Tribe Called Quest contributed greatly to the 90's hip-hop scene, and my entire childhood! This project combines the lyrics of Nasir Jones over various tributes, remakes and renditions of classic Tribe songs from over the years to create TribeMatic. Begun takes no shortcuts mashing over 15 records to compile this homage to these Queens legends. While I can't promise this project will remain online, I do hope you get to enjoy it below... I also recommend supporting it and all the other fine projects I've shared in the archives... 

April 12, 2022

Real Bad Man "On High Alert, Volume 4" (EP Stream)

Following last year's collaboration with Boldy James on "Real Bad Boldy", LA producer and watch slinger Real Bad Man is back with the 4th installment of his fire On High Alert series! On this new chapter he recruits an incredible line-up of rappers, featuring Cappadonna, Evidence, Marlon Craft, M.A.V., Maxo, Meyhem Lauren, Mooch, Rigz, Roc Marciano, The Alchemist, Rome Streetz, Sachill Pages, Sauce Heist, Stove God Cooks and Willie The Kid. This whole series has been real solid, expect more of the same, and then dig in the archives for Volumes 1-3. Vinyl available via Tuff Kong Records.

April 11, 2022

Rock, Rock, Rock On: The Robert "PH" Diaz Story (Book)

Rock, Rock, Rock On, compiled with over 100 interviews, is the definitive story of the King of Underground Hip-Hop, Robert "PH" Diaz, known to most as Pumpkinhead. Rock, Rock, Rock On's title is inspired by PH's classic "Rock On," an ode not just to hip-hop but to the everyday grinders who continue to represent hip-hop to the fullest. With in-depth detail, Rock, Rock, Rock On spans the incredible career of PH, tracing his roots in underground showcases and battles in the '90s, his time at Makin' Records, becoming a father and husband, recording the classic album Orange Moon Over Brooklyn, reemerging and reinventing battle culture as we know it, being the first MC to have a street named after him, and so much more. Interviewees include his family, longtime collaborators, and friends including Immortal Technique, Jean Grae, Poison Pen, Marco Polo, Dizaster, Bad Seed, LR Blitzkrieg, GMS, Organik, Tonedeff, PackFM, Substantial, Swave Sevah, NEMS, Mecca, Block McCloud, Mr. Metaphor, DJ DP-One, Wordsworth, Supastition, Lush One, Lexx Luthor, Screem, Okwerdz, El Da Sensei, Thirstin Howl III, Steele, Bobbito, and many others. Busta Rhymes wrote the foreword to Rock, Rock, Rock On, where he says, "This is all a testament to who he really was, especially from all the uncut love from the people." Order now HERE. Rest In Peace, Robert "PH" Diaz aka Pumpkinhead.

April 10, 2022

DJ Rhettmatic Loops, Chops, Beats, & Vibes" (Vol. 1-2)

The first official project being released on Beat Junkie Sound is DJ Rhettmatic's previous Beat Tape albums "Loops, Chops, Beats, & Vibes" Vol 1 and 2, on cassette tape. It is a limited edition cassette tape with an Obi Strip, colored graphics on the tape shell and personally numbered by DJ Rhettmatic himself. Only 100 made with 2 bonus beats that's available only on the tape. I think I originally shared the original instrumental album in 2018, on Rhettmatic's birthday, but as it says, there are additional beats and it's chopped a little differently in this cassette release. Much love and respect to the entire Beat Junkies crew, some of the very illest to EVER do it! Listen below ...

April 08, 2022

The Griselda & The Chosen 1 Tape (EP Stream, 2020)

This an interesting release... DJ Chosen 1's beats with vocals from rare Griselda freestyles. The 9-track EP features tracks with Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Nipsey Hussle and even an interview with the late great Reggie Osse (aka Combat Jack - Rest In Peace!). There are physicals behind this release if you're interested in copping the limited edition CDs and vinyl. In the meantime, listen to The Griselda & The Chosen 1 Tape below...

April 07, 2022

DJ Craig G & P-Nice "We Got Next" (Mixtape, 1998)

Here we have DJ Craig G and DJ P-Nice's Tape Kingz mix tape, We Got Next in 1998. It features a mix of original freestyles from Drag-On, Cam'Ron, Charli Baltimore, DMX and 50 Cent, as well as tracks by Noreaga, Mase, Slick Rick, Foxy Brown, Black Rob, Canibus, Jay-Z, McGruff, and more. This was definitely a Harlem Music Hut-type joint that was banging out of the streets of Uptown at the time. DJ Craig G and DJ P-Nice collaborated on "Back In Business" in 1997, which you can check out in the archives, among others I'm sure I'll get to in time. Until then, peep '98's We Got Next below...

April 06, 2022

Nas "I Am..." (April 6, 1999)

Nas, the New York rapper acclaimed in hip-hop world for the brilliant hard-edge wordplay of the 1994 "Illmatic," tries to offer a little something for everyone on his latest disc, "I Am..." There are grim tales of the gangsta life, a tribute to Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., political commentary, a bit of romance with an R. Kelly sample. Guest stars on the record include DMX, Scarface and Aaliyah. Nas even goes back to "Illmatic" and samples himself on "N.Y. State of Mind Pt. II." And on "Hate Me Now," with one more guest -- Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs -- Nas lashes out at his critics: "Best storyteller thug narrator / My style greater / model dater / Big threat to all of you haters." Who are the haters? "Everyone has to deal with that, with jealousy and envy," Nas said in a brief interview. "The world is full of haters. I'm letting them know it's not going to stop me." That song got Nas indirectly involved in controversy when Puff Daddy allegedly beat up Steve Stoute, Nas's manager. Puff Daddy was supposedly upset at a crucifixion scene in the "Hate Me Now" video. He wanted his part of the scene removed. When it aired anyway, he supposedly went after Stoute. Still, Nas expressed his admiration for Puff: "I just like him, he stands out in his own way. He seemed perfect for this record. You put two dogs together, and you get your point across." On his web site, www.iamnas.com, he offers a brief disclaimer about the crucifixion scene: "Nas believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, and this video is in no way a depiction or portrayal of his life and death." Nas, born Nasir Jones, grew up in New York City's Queensbridge Projects. He's been rapping since he was 18, first on Main Source's "Live at the Barbecue," then with MC Serch before establishing himself with "Illmatic." The album's dense street reportage, and Nas's sheer ability with language, made this an album to be reckoned with. Many critics, however, feel Nas's subsequent albums haven't been up to "Illmatic's" standard. Nas brushes that off, "I like that album, but more people are buying my new record than the old one." Along with his own projects, Nas teamed up with Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature on a collaboration called The Firm. Last year, he starred with DMX in a movie called "Belly," in which the two played drug dealers. Directed by music video director Hype Williams, the movie got lousy reviews, but Nas said it was the experience that counted." - News-Press, FL. (July 9, 1999).

Dig in the archives for lots more on Nas and I Am...

April 05, 2022

M.O.P. "To The Death" (April 5, 1994)

M.O.P. stands for Mash Out Posse, and its members are rappers Lil Fame and Bill Danziene. So far, the act is known for "How About Some Hardcore," the hard-edged single that also appears on the "House Party 3" soundtrack. Before that jam, Lil Fame dropped three cuts on 4th & Bway's 1992 compilation set "The Hill That's Real," including "Bring The Ruckus." Those efforts helped reinforce his name among those in the street game. According to Lil Fame, who, along with Danziene, grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, N.Y., the set contains "some around-the-way shit. We write about things we've been through, what we had to do to survive, and stuff that goes on around us." The duo was signed to Select Records by Silver D, director of A&R. In the past, he had supervised cuts on "The Hill That's Real." The process of developing M.O.P. began last October, when "How About Some Hardcore" appeared. "We felt the record was a New York thing, so we went right to local mix-show jocks like Ron G, the Awesome Two, Funkmaster Flex and Red Alert." The resulting buzz spread to New England, thanks to support from college radio. Select then focused its promotional energies on the South, where the record was gaining acceptance. "M.O.P. turned into a real word-of-mouth thing, and we've been going where we see outbreaks," says Select president Fred Munao. When the new Darryl D-produced album arrives, the label will continue its street-oriented campaign. "We'll be perfectly content with a slow build, gaining solid street credibility and street props," says Wyatt Cheek, VP of marketing at Select. Explaining his moniker, Lil Fame says, "I know mad people, and I get crazy props for what I do. Everybody be like, 'Yo, that lil' n#gga could rap!'" Going with the flow, Danziene offers an explanation of his own handle, "I earned that from the way I take care of my business," he says. "It makes it seem like I'm on top of things, like I'm controllin' shit." Among the tracks on the album are "Heistmaster," which swims in C.R.E.A.M. themes. On "F.A.G.," the duo takes it to the face of "fake ass gangstas." "Blue Steel" sports high-caliber rhymes like, "It's time to let 'em know the deal / Nowadays shit is for real - so I'm packin' blue steel." - H. Nelson. To The Death...

The full review from March 1994 and more is below...

April 04, 2022

Big Pun "Yeeeah Baby" (4/04/00)

Christopher “Big Pun” Rios passed away just shy of two months before the release and anticipated success of his sophomore LP, Yeeeah Baby, which came on the heels of his debut album, Capital Punishment. With appearances from the entire Terror Squad and executive production by the Terror Squad general Fat Joe, the 16-track album showed Pun’s acute diversity not only in his lyricism but his approach to song-making, which yielded some of the most memorable songs of his career. Because of Big Pun’s extreme obesity, the album took longer to record since his breathing problems couldn’t permit him to freely spit his custom, rapid-fire flow. Some of the LP’s favorites are the Puerto Rican anthem “100%” with Terror Squad crooner Tony Sunshine on the hook, “New York Giants” featuring M.O.P., “Ms. Martin”, an ode to his protege Remy Ma and the touching single “It’s So Hard” featuring Donnell Jones. Salute to Big Pun, Pun Jr. and the entire Terror Squad for this unparalleled piece of Hip Hop History! - The Source. While not a classic like his debut, Capital Punishment, this posthumous album did celebrate his greatness in terms of flow and delivery, as well as charisma and comedic personality. Revisit Pun's Yeeeah Baby below, and also check out the official Loud Records commercial HERE. R.I.P., Big Pun! I wish we had more music from this lyrical GIANT.

The rhyming ability and personality of Big Pun are sorely missed today.

April 03, 2022

"Dawg Fight" (Documentary, 2015)

West Perrine, Florida is an impoverished pocket of Southwest Miami-Dade County, where over 73 percent of its residents are African American, and more than a third of them are unemployed. Violent crimes occur on a daily basis in this neighborhood of less than two square miles, where much of its adult male population winds up dead or in prison before their 30th birthday. But among the blight, there is hope. Standing at 6’3, weighing 270lbs and with a mohawk crest crowning his head, Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris is a statuesque and imposing figure -- a fist waving warrior who gained notoriety through bare knuckled battles as part of the crew of Mixed Martial Arts sensation Kimbo Slice, a childhood friend. Using his mothers yard as a venue, Dada built a ring and quickly cemented himself as the Don King of illegal fights. No doctors, no ambulance. Just two men in a 12’ x 12’ ring battling in a savage bare-knuckle fight to the finish, all in search of a little glory but more importantly of some cash to feed their families as they literally try to fight their way out of poverty and out of the hood. The documentary Dawg Fight was released in 2015, where I believe it briefly appeared on Netflix. If you haven't seen it, it's a solid indie documentary, check it out below...

April 02, 2022

Bahamadia "Kollage" (4/02/96)

Philadelphia's Bahamadia, best known for her previous work with Guru from Gang Starr, is a low-key MC; in "Total Wreck" she caps a man-stealing couplet with a sly "just kiddin'." Aside from an ode to young mothers and a backstage-freak critique that concludes (typically) "I'm not one to judge," sex and gender aren't part of this Kollage. Like Queen Latifah's All Hail The Queen, Bahamadia's debut ultilizes many crews and producers, though her chameleonic approach is the opposite of Latifah's command. Guru splices and loops piano and horns; The Roots serve them au natural. But lesser-known Da Beatminerz provide Kollage's most vibrant segments, "Spontaneity" (which mixes Dream Warrior's chimebience with shuddering strings) and "Innovation" (which name-checks Mork and Mr. Belvedere), both propelled by Bahamadia's freestyle skill. The main romance on this album is between Bahamadia and words, the pleasure of hip-hop lyricism--alliteration and internal rhymes, "mad explosive" metaphors and similes. Her flow can be slow and staccato or Roadrunner-fast ("Rugged Ruff cries out for a reward), but Bahamadia's calm tone always masks abundant humor. - Spin Magazine (May, 1996). AllMusic also shares, "Bahamadia's debut album, Kollage, is an underrated, jazzy affair paced by some nifty production and the MC's own dryly gentle delivery. Despite her laid-back, even deliberate flow, she has a confident, upfront presence on the mic, with strong rhyming skills and a fondness for old-school wordplay (as demonstrated on, naturally, "Wordplay"). Being a protégée of Gang Starr and a native of Philadelphia, she gets production help from the former's DJ Premier and Guru, as well as the latter's Roots. The music often recalls both of those artists, as well as the unassuming, low-key ambience of Digable Planets. But there's also often a dreamier quality than any of those groups, thanks to some spacey keyboards and fusion samples, and some R&B elements as well, most notably on the excellent single "I Confess." Other highlights include her two early singles, "Total Wreck" and "Uknowhowwedu," and the quietly shimmering "Spontaneity."" Revisit the LP today...

Bahamadia has one of the smoothest flows, this is a great LP.

April 01, 2022

Pete Rock "PeteStrumentals 4" (Instrumental Album)

A renowned producer lauded for his innovative production and impeccable ear, Pete Rock is widely recognized as one of the greatest and most influential hip hop producers of all time. A pioneer of fusing jazz, funk and soul into hip-hop, many sight him as laying down the blueprint for soulful production in hip-hop. He revolutionized rap production through groundbreaking studio wizardry, made remixes matter more than the original songs, established ad-libs as a standard recording asset... the list goes on. Having worked with huge names including Run-D.M.C, Public Enemy, J Dilla and Busta Rhymes (just to name a few), Pete Rock’s work as a producer has translated into over 25 million albums sold worldwide. With such huge influence as a producer, Pete’s solo material serves to only further enhance his reputation as an artist and a producer. This is the fourth installment in Pete Rock's ground-breaking PeteStrumentals series, check out these 14 fine instrumentals below....

March 31, 2022

Tony Touch "R&B 15: Summer Soul" (Mixtape, 1996)

This tape brings me back to the summer of 1996 so vividly... I copped R&B 15 by Tony Touch on cassette from Numbers Records in Ridgewood (Queens) on Myrtle Avenue; played it all summer and later brought it out to Long Island for my freshman year at Hofstra University (I lived on campus). I ran this mix tape as hard as I did Tape #44 (1995), another classic (to me) that rivaled the 50 MCs mix-series, simply off memories and nostalgia. I can tell you almost the complete tracklist -- and remember the transitions -- without running back the tape; it had joints from Case, SWV, Gina Thompson, A Tribe Called Quest, Skin Deep, Monica, Horace Brown, Toni Braxton, 112, Montell Jordan, Jodeci, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Zhane, and so much more. Yup, this brings me back, listen to the mix below...

March 30, 2022

KLIM Beats "A Journey Through Sounds" (Instrumental Mix)

Today I want to share this fine mix titled 'A Journey Through Sounds' which is a small take on KLIM's beautiful discography that he's made over the years to raise awareness of what's happening in his home country of Ukraine. The situation that is on-going is something we all never could have guessed or imagined. These are difficult times in the world, and as I've said before, often times creators find inspiration under the most severe circumstances; in the face of their greatest struggles. It's their therapy and why art is such an important part of our lives. That said, definitely check out the mix and much love to KLIM, hold your head. KLIM also recently released his latest instrumental album, Moonball, check that out in the archives, along with many other instrumental releases. Props to NineToFive Records, an international community of producers, visual artists, writers and other creatives joined through a shared passion for genre-bending instrumental music.

March 29, 2022

Blueprint "1988" (March 29, 2005)

"Fresh for '88, you suckas." KRS-One said it on "My Philosophy," and MC/producer Blueprint repeats it 17 years later on "Anything Is Possible." Blueprint samples, quotes, or pays homage to Doug E. Fresh, Run-D.M.C., Stetasonic, and other old-school artists on this tribute to the golden age of hip-hop. He isn't really trying to break new ground on this relatively accessible collection of concise, melodic songs, but he is trying to add something to his influences instead of settling for a nostalgia trip. DJ Rare Groove's cuts and scratches fit the throwback vibe, while Blueprint's beats tweak old-school ideas, whether he's working with a Billy Joel piano fill on "Big Girls Need Love Too" or Doug E. Fresh-style beatboxing on "Fresh." The only guest MCs are Aesop Rock and CJ the Cynic, who appear on one song each. Blueprint provides some cunning rhymes and changes up his delivery to fit the album's diverse subject matter, whether it's the earnest social commentary of "Inner-City-Native-Son," the playfulness of the aforementioned "Big Girls Need Love Too," the obligatory braggadocio and complaints about wack MCs, or even the emotional vulnerability he displays on the second verse of "Liberated." His observations seem most trenchant when he's complaining about the current state of hip-hop on songs such as "Trouble On My Mind," which serves as a reminder that it ain't 1988 anymore. -AllMusic. Have you revisited Blueprint's debut solo album 1988 recently? If not, tap in below and also check out his dope, informative podcast Super Duty Tough WorkHERE.

Props to the homie Blueprint, one of the best indie artists....

March 28, 2022

Big L "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" (Ann. Mix by Filthy Rich)

I've shared so many press kits, album reviews and mixes from Big L over the years (dating back to my original blog in the early 2000s)... it's sad to me that--with his passing--eventually we run out of pieces of nostalgia to share. Fortunately DJs like Filthy Rich, and others, continue to pay homage and for the 25th Anniversary in 2020, he curated a mix of demos, album cuts, and rare gems to honor L's debut album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous. I'll assume I'd shared something else on its anniversary and figured I'd get back to it and never did. SO... as the album was released on this day in 1995, I'll circle the block and pick up that mix and share it with you below via DJ Filthy Rich up in Toronto. The art above is by Torre Pentel, who has a phenomenal page on IG that I highly recommend. The mix was taken down from Soundcloud or Mixcloud, where Filthy Rich originally shared it, but the audio remains on YouTube, so we'll take what we can get. R.I.P., Big L. Dig into it...

March 27, 2022

$tay Puft "$tay-Wu: Volume 3" (Mixtape)

Back once again, $tay Puft releases Volume 3 of his $tay-Wu mix-series. As with previous installments, the tape is stitched together from solo joints, soundtrack work, and compilation albums mostly from the post 8 diagrams era. He picked his favorite tracks and cut them into one mixtape that he hopes pays proper homage and respect to the almighty WU-TANG CLAN. $tay Puft is the DJ alter-ego of TJ Firestone, a designer, writer and voice over artist based in Los Angeles. You can see the tracklist above, listen to the mix and peep the archives for additional $tay-Wu mixes belowAlso, if you're interested, download all of his mixes using the name your option at Bandcamp...

March 26, 2022

David Begun "Good Kid, Mad Lib" (Mash-Up Album)

Combining the lyrics of Kendrick Lamar with various instrumentals from Madlib's vast production discography, David Begun has created "Good Kid, Mad Lib." This blend tape feature two of the greatest contributors to west coast hip-hop. The two artists have only collaborated once before; on the Kanye West track "No More Parties in LA," but there are reports that they were trying to reconnect. Ultimately, this mashup postulates what that combination would sound like over a full length album. Is that something you would be interested in? I think so, perhaps a lot more than the reports of Madlib and Logic working on MadGic? You decide for yourself, but definitely dig into Good Kid, Mad Lib below, and hit the archives for a number of other projects in D. Begun's catalog...

March 25, 2022

The Notorious B.I.G. "Life After Death" (3/25/97)

While his 1994 debut, Ready To Die, was a conceptual opus that provided insight on the rise of a Brooklyn drug dealer into the rap game, Notorious B.I.G.'s followup, Life After Death..., more fittingly focuses on the artistic growth of one of hip-hop's most controversial figures. This double album reveals what makes Biggie so appealing to a wide variety of music fans. Whether it's raunchy R&B-flavored songs like "F#ckin' You Tonight (with a guest appearance by R. Kelly), the thumping "Hypnotize" and the Vanity 6-inspired "Nasty Boy," or raw hip-hop gems like the DJ Premier-produced "Kick In The Door" and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan's masterpiece "Long Kiss Goodnight," Mr. Smalls continues to deliver hit after hit. A product and spokesman of the show-me-the-money generation, Big demonstrates that he'll do whatever it takes to make the cash. He'll make a record with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony ("Notorious Thugs"), collaborate with West Coast icon Too Short ("The World Is Filled") or even make his singing debut (the hilarious "Playahaters"), and make it all seem effortless and entertaining. It's hard to argue that Biggie Smalls is indeed the King of New York. And he's about to conquer the world. - CMJ New Music Monthly (May, 1997). The article captures the overall sense that Biggie was adept at all aspects of the game -- he made use of numerous styles, flows and sounds throughout this classic LP. He put his best foot forward in an argument he never had a chance to make... would he have excelled in current day hip-hop? That answer, I believe, is YES, because he already did it all in just too short LPs and before the age of 25. Rest In Peace, Biggie!

We'll Always Love Big Poppa...

March 24, 2022

Chi-Ali "The Fabulous Chi-Ali" (March 24, 1992)

Chi Ali was the youngest member of the Native Tongues, at only fifteen years of age when the collective came to life. He was also the most fashion-forward, as one might expect a teenager still in high school to be. He wore Cross Colours, the fashion trend of the moment; large sweaters with names of historically black colleges on them; baggy jeans with Nike tennis shoes. While so many of the other Native Tongues were interested in distancing themselves from the mainstream projections of hip-hop and blackness, Chi-Ali was immersing himself in them. He was also interesting because he seemed to take pleasure in both his status as the collective's little brother and his ability to rhyme about topics that, for him, seemed mature. A few years after his decline, a close comparison to his role in the Tongues would be Shyheim, who was the boy wonder of the Wu-Tang Clan, often on the outside looking in but valuable for a topical dexterity that belied his age. Chi-Ali was a precursor to that, with his album The Fabulous Chi-Ali being released in 1992 when he was sixteen, featuring production from Mista Lawnge and guest verses from Phife, Dres, Trugoy, and Fashion on the song "Let The Horns Blow." Chi-Ali's age was unmistakable in his wavering, sometimes cracking voice. But, unlike Leaders of the New School, his topical range went beyond tales of school and teenage debauchery. He rapped about sex and romance, violence and fantasies of violence, and material wealth. As far as bad boys went, Chi-Ali was the bad boy of the Native Tongues merely by drifting slightly from the path of his older counterparts. He was the edgier glimpse of youth, a kid who grew up on a slightly rougher end of the tracks and had the mind and language with which to make that plain. At one point, he felt to some like the most promising member of Native Tongues, not just because of his youth, but because of the wide range he could traverse almost seamlessly. He was the offshoot of what Native Tongues aspired to be: young people making music with each other, hoping to feed off each other's strengths. Chi-Ali was as sharp and fearless as Queen Latifah, as clever as Q-Tip, as fashion-forward and streetwise as Phife and Dres. It seemed as if he was the most likely to sustain a long and adventurous career. Cont'd below, via Hanif's Go Ahead In The Rain...

The case of Chi-Ali is both confusing and heartbreaking. After the moderate success of The Fabulous Chi-Ali, he largely vanished from hip-hop altogether, without a sound. At the end of the 1990s, he made an appearance on Dres's solo album Sure Shot Redemption, offering a short verse in the song "It's Going Down." And then he disappeared again. He surfaced in January of 2000, when he shot and killed Sean Raymond during an argument in the Bronx. Raymond was the brother of Chi-Ali's daughter's mother.... He spent over a year on the run, first in Atlanta, and then bouncing around various East Coast cities. His friends held him down, or he would hustle in places where he knew he'd be safe. He stayed south of New York, selling drugs and committing small robberies. He hit America's Most Wanted in late 2000, and then again in early 2001. In March, he made the mistake of returning to New York City. He was staying with a friend when police banged on the door, and I imagine that he was perhaps too worn down to run anymore. Being a fugitive can be exhausting, particularly with safe havens dwindling and with no crew to hold you up. - Go Ahead In The Rain by Hanif Abdurraqib (a phenomenal, must-read book!). Chi-Ali has since completed his bid, returned home to glimpses at music, a book, and has been featured in a couple documentaries as well. He did his time and his music is still celebrated to this day. Revisit 1992's The Fabulous Chi-Ali again today!

March 23, 2022

Phife Dawg "Forever" (Album Stream)

At the time of his death (in 2016 at the age of 45 from diabetes complications), the rapper born Malik Taylor had reunited — albeit tenuously — with New York hip-hop icons A Tribe Called Quest. That reunion led to Tribe’s final album, the excellent We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service, released in late 2016, eight months after Phife’s death. Listening to We Got It From Here, it is obvious Phife Dawg still had plenty to give. In fact, the celebrated rapper had spent his final decade molding a treasure trove of unreleased rhymes into what he hoped would be a follow-up to his only solo album, 2000’s Ventilation: Da LP. It was never completed, but his family — alongside business and musical collaborator Dion Liverpool — has finally finished the job with Forever, which arrives six years to the day since he died. Unlike other posthumous albums, in which estates and family members use guesswork and vague guideposts to determine what the artist wanted, in this case Phife left, as Liverpool noted in a recent interview, “a lot of blueprints and clues.” Detailed notebooks included not just lyrics and song ideas but names of producers, guest stars and other specific details. Forever, which boasts appearances by Phife’s ATCQ partner Q-Tip, as well as Busta Rhymes, Redman, Rapsody, and more + production by 9th Wonder and Nottz, exists in an alternate hip-hop universe where the genre stopped after the Soulquarians broke up in the early 2000s. 

The spirit of Phife’s friend and collaborator J Dilla looms almost as large as Phife himself; the late hip-hop visionary, who died in 2006, produced the lyrically dexterous “Nutshell, Pt. 2,” and Dilla acolytes are on hand emulating his vibe.... On the chilling “Dear Dilla,” Phife eulogizes J Dilla on the verse, while Q-Tip uses the chorus to do the same to Phife. Phife Dawg was always, among many other things, an unapologetic golden-age nostalgist, and on Forever he can often be heard reminiscing on what he considered hip-hop’s glory days... Forever can be an emotionally brutal listen... album closer “Forever” that will perpetually stand out as a gut-punch for fans of the nimble rapper. Phife recorded the verse just three days before his death, running through his history with A Tribe Called Quest — “four brothers with the mic and a dream” — and eschewing their fractious past in favor of an olive branch: “I love you muhfuckers, true spit, all facts/Deep in my soul, I believe what will be shall be/Requiem for a Tribe.” For anyone who watched the group’s Beats, Rhymes and Life documentary with a deep pang of regret and sadness, it’s both hard and admirable to hear lines from “Forever,” like “If I could do it all over again/I’d sit down with my friend/Was zero reason why this shit had to end.” In Forever, we hear both a middle-aged man looking back on his successes and failures both personally and professionally, and an artist unknowingly confronting mortality and trying to make peace at the end. - Rolling Stone. This is a beautiful project! RIP, Phife.

March 22, 2022

KLIM Beats "Moonball" (Instrumental EP)

KLIM is a producer and beatmaker based in Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2009, he had his first attempts in making beats. Raised on and influenced by classic boom bap hip-hop from NY, Detroit, etc. KLIM has already released about 40 albums, performing fresh soulful and, at the same time, hard knocking styles. For his comeback on Hip Dozer (label out of France), he releases his latest EP, ‘Moonball.’ The EP mixes fresh and dynamic hip-hop beats and nostalgic vibes, perfectly made for relaxing and chilling. I've posted about numerous instrumental releases from KLIM over the years, definitely dig into the vast archives and check out many of my favorites from his catalog. Hear Moonball below...

March 21, 2022

Kxng Crooked & Joell Ortiz "Rise & Fall of Slaughterhouse"

A polarizing title, no doubt... what do we think of this: Rise & Fall of Slaughterhouse? Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, burning down the group (Slaughterhouse) they helped create, alongside Royce Da 5'9 and Joe Budden. In these days and times, I think it's an obvious marketing plan, and it seems to have caught Joe and Royce off-guard and not really feeling the move... or their version of the story. To be expected, I suppose. Personally, I don't like the optics or roll-out at all, but who gives a shit what I think! These are two very skilled MCs -- although not my two favorites in the group -- and this isn't necessarily their best work, but it's still solid. Will it cause more beef than anything else? Probably more discontent than anything, but nothing serious, and nobody expects Joe to hop out of retirement to address it on record, (right)? I enjoyed most of Crook's and Joell's collaborative album, H.A.R.D., and Crook's "Life of a Bandana" still gets hella burn today. I guess we'll see how this plays out on Joe's podcast, Royce's live (+ music?), and obviously in the media. One thing for sure, do not play with Royce... he's got more than a rocket launcher on them, and most MCs for that matter.

March 20, 2022

Cypress Hill "Back In Black" (Album Stream)

Cypress Hill shifts culture. Since releasing its eponymous debut album in 1991, the California rap group has regularly revolutionized rap. B-Real and Sen Dog’s innovative lyrics, distinctive voices and poignant street-centered subject matter catapulted the group to superstar status. Its first LP sold more than 2 million units and its second album, 1993’s Black Sunday, pushed another 3 million units thanks to the Grammy-nominated singles “Insane In The Brain” and “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That”. Along the way, Cypress Hill earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, sold more than 9 million albums, and were nominated for three Grammy Awards. During a time increasingly defined by singles of the moment, rappers B-Real and Sen Dog wanted to make a statement by releasing an album. Back in Black, the group’s tenth studio project, finds the group flexing its musical muscles and pushing itself creatively. With a mesmerizing mix of celebratory, confrontational, inspirational, reflective, and rugged songs, Cypress Hill shines throughout Back in Black. Entirely produced by Black Milk (Slum Village, Lloyd Banks, Pharoahe Monch), the LP is an homage to Cypress Hill’s return and its collaboration with Black Milk. It's finally here, check out this fresh collaborative album below...

March 19, 2022

Happy Born Day, Bun B of UGK!

Texas rapper and scene icon Bun B (born Bernard Freeman) rose to fame as part of the duo UGK, issuing a string of U.S. Top 20 hits, including 1996's gold-certified Ridin' Dirty and the 2007 chart-topping Underground Kingz. Bun B made his solo debut in 2005 with Trill, extending his presence into the 2010s with Trill O.G.: The Epilogue and Return of the Trill, just as a generation of younger MCs looked up at the influential veteran for inspiration. Together with partner Pimp C, Bun B formed UGK in the late '80s when their former crew, Four Black Ministers, fell apart. Based in Port Arthur, Texas, UGK signed with Jive, and with 1992's Too Hard to Swallow began a series of Southern gangsta rap albums that were successful sellers. Things came to a halt in 2003 when Pimp C was sentenced to eight years in prison on an aggravated gun assault charge. Bun B carried on solo, making numerous appearances on other artists' tracks and then in 2005 releasing both the mixtape Legends and his debut album, the Rap-a-Lot release Trill. With Pimp C seeing early release in late 2005, Bun B returned to UGK. In 2007, the pair released their chart-topping Underground Kingz, which included the hit single "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)" with OutKast. Tragedy struck in early 2008 when Pimp C died suddenly, leaving Bun B to return to a solo career. Bun since released a handful of well-received projects, including 2019's TrillStatik, which teamed the rapper with producer Statik Selektah. The LP featured Method Man, Fat Joe, Westside Gunn and more. Bun B is certainly one of the most influential and most well-respected MCs. HBD, Bun B!

In April 2019, Rolling Stone reported that Bun B had shot and injured an armed intruder during an attempted robbery at the rapper’s Houston home.... Police confirmed that a masked man holding a gun rang the rapper’s doorbell; Bun B’s wife Queenie answered the door, thinking it was a package delivery service. After the intruder demanded valuables, Queenie offered her Audi in the garage. Bun B, who heard the commotion downstairs, grabbed his weapon and confronted the intruder in the garage. A shootout reportedly ensued, with Bun B hitting the robber near the arm before the man fled the scene on foot. TMZ added that, hours later, the alleged intruder showed up at a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound to the left shoulder; police apprehended the man, later identified as DeMonte Jackson, at the hospital and charged him with two felony counts of aggravated robbery with a weapon and one count burglary. Both Bun B and his wife were uninjured in the incident. Give this man his flowers, that's how you protect your home and family. In an interview with The Breakfast Club, Bun B and his wife discussed the matter further, watch it below...