April 30, 2022

Mr. Thing "My Favourite Favourites" (Mixtape, 2015)

Known worldwide as a DJ and turntablist, Mr Thing is a name synonymous with Hip-Hop. First touching the tables in 1987 he has been non-stop perfecting his art since and is now one of the worlds best. He has won DJ battles, both solo and as part of the Scratch Perverts, has a production discography that is the envy of most. He is responsible for some of the most perfect mixtapes and for a string of BBE released compilations including the creatively titled "Strange Breaks & Mr. Thing" and of course the rightly titled "Kings of Hip Hop" with DJ Premier. This mixtape in particular is entitled My Favourite Favourites; it features some of his 90s Hip Hop favorites. Get your head ready for 48 minutes of nodding and asking yourself "oh sh*t remember this jam?" You'll hear joints from Guru, Redman, Mos Def, Slick Rick, Organized Konfusion, KRS-One, Da King & I, Group Home, Mobb Deep, Jeru The Damaja, Brand Nubian, Das EFX, and lots more. Dig into it below...

April 29, 2022

DJ Greenpeace "Jiggy Free" (Mixtape, 1999)

With the second installment of the Fatlace Mixtape series, DJ Greenpeace brought us "Jiggy Free" in 1999. It's a 90-minute cassette-only mix of late 90s shiny-suit-free Hip Hop of the variety DJ Greenpeace used to review in his "Independents Day" page in HHC. R&B choruses are banned on this one so expect freestyles, shout-outs and well cut-up top-quality Indie rap from a time when "Keeping it Real" was more important than the "dollar dollar bill"! - via DJ Postie. Mix includes tracks from Polyrythym Addicts, Unsung Heroes, Frankenstein, Lootpack, Sound Providers and lots more. 

April 28, 2022

Big Pun "Capital Punishment" (04.28.98)

Big Pun remains on the best rappers ever list to this day. Reasons for this weigh largely on his debut Capital Punishment (April 28, 1998). His commanding voice and rapid fire delivery make it clear there will never be another Big Pun. Pun was New York. His confidence on the mic made him stand out among his contemporaries. Similarly, the production -- by a cast of many (Juju (The Beatnuts), Rockwilder, Knobody, Mike Zulu, Domingo, Nitty, Young Lord, L.E.S., Minnesota, V.I.C., RZA, Showbiz and more) -- remains ever so New York loyal. The close cousins "I'm Not a Player" and "Still Not a Player," may have been the hits off this album but it is packed with so many more that show Pun's true abilities. "Beware" and "Dream Shatterer" are great examples of Big Pun at his best, dark cinematic production with just enough room to let him breathe fire. On "Twinz (Deep Cover)" Big Pun is trading bars with his mentor Fat Joe over a remake of Dr. Dre's classic beat. Here Pun delivers one of his most quoted verses that contain among others "Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know that we riddled some middlemen who didn't do diddly". There are numerous guest appearances, the best of which include aforementioned Fat Joe (on several tracks), the Root's Black Thought on the MC showcase "Super Lyrical," Prodigy and Inspectah Deck on "Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)," and an extra-insane Busta Rhymes on "Parental Discretion." Don't sleep on "Punish Me" with Miss Jones and "You Came Up" with his brother Noreaga as well. Illustration by Torre Pentel.

We lost a great MC when Pun passed. R.I.P.

April 28, 2022

Too Short "Life Is... Life & Times of Todd Shaw" (Documentary, 2003)

You think you know Too Short. Yeah, he’s a player that was born to mack and he tells those freaky tales so well. But really you have no idea. Unlike any other file on the legendary MC, Life Is . . . The Life and Times of Todd Shaw, executive produced by Short’s childhood partna and fellow artist D’Wayne Wiggins (of Tony Toni Tone.) The 90 minute file is a provocative, revealing documentary that goes behind the dirty raps of hip-hop pioneer Too Short, chronicling in vivid detail his legendary rise to prominence and exposing some nasty trials and tribulations he faced along the way. Consider it a rare glimpse into the wild Cadillac ride of areal rap legend who — like today’s top sensation 50 Cent — built his buzz from the ground up as a genuine street phenomenon. Only he did it nearly 20 years ago. Life Is… features never before seen performances along with candidly revealing and often very funny interviews with Short Dog himself, fellow artists like Chuck D, E-40, Money B of Digital Underground, and the Luniz, industry insiders like Sway and journalists Davey D and Danyel Smith. From his independent days of trunk hustlin' in the streets of Oakland to signing with Jive Records, see firsthand how Too Short's fame evolved. With over twenty years of success in the rap game, Todd Shaw, a.k.a Too Short, has laid down the blueprint for longevity in a business known for its revolving doors. Watch the full Life Is... documentary below, and Happy Born Day to Short Dog! 

April 27, 2022

Spanish Ran "Long Way To Reach Heaven" (Album Stream)

Producer Spanish Ran has released his latest offering, a 10-track LP entitled Long Way To Reach Heaven. The LP features some of the finest spitters on the come-up: Mooch, Al-Doe, Sauce Heist, Eddie Kaine, Ufo Fev, Madhattan, M.A.V., Ty Farris, Asun Eastwood, Tree Mason, Bloo, and more. Born in the South Bronx, Spanish Ran has helped A&R projects by some of your favorite artists, and tossing his hat into the ring as a producer showcases not only his fine ear for production, but he's helping to put on a lot of great up-and-coming artists as well. Listen to Long Way To Reach Heaven below, and dig into the archives for solid collaborative projects with Tree Mason and Al-Doe, too...

April 26, 2022

50 Cent "Guess Who's Back?" (April 26, 2002)

Months before 50 Cent burst into the mainstream with Get Rich or Die Tryin', his "In da Club"-highlighted debut for Shady/Aftermath, the highly touted rapper cleaned out his closet with Guess Who's Back?. The skimpily packaged album, released by the indie label Full Clip and documented by no credits whatsoever, compiles what it terms as "underground classics and freestyles." Unless you're connected to the New York mixtape circuit or happen to own a bootlegged version of 50's unreleased 2000 debut album for Columbia, the Trackmasters-produced Power of the Dollar, none of the 18 songs here are going to be familiar -- they're all previously unreleased, legally that is. However, if you're indeed down with the underground, either via the streets of N.Y.C. or the bandwidth of cyberspace, many of these songs will be familiar. About half come from Power of the Dollar, including such highlights as "Life's on the Line," "Ghetto Qua Ran," and "As the World Turns," while the others, such as "That's What's Up" (a G Unit posse track over the beat to Wu-Tang's "Ya'll Been Warned"), "Too Hot," and "Who U Rep With" (the latter two featuring Nas, who is sampled for the hook to "F*ck You" also), come mostly from mixtapes. A few of the inclusions suffer from shoddy sound quality, particularly the trio of freestyles that close the album, while a few others sound like mixtape tracks, lacking commercially orientated production and verse-chorus-verse structures. It's this occasional underground sense, though, that makes Guess Who's Back? such a worthwhile listen for fans. Granted, this album isn't an authentic N.Y.C.-style mixtape, but it's awfully close, definitely modeled after one and therefore representative of precisely why 50 went on to become the most talked-about upcoming rapper in a decade. There's a reason a million-dollar bidding war broke out for 50 in 2002, and Guess Who's Back? showcases that reason better than any other legal release out there. Before 50 was "In da Club" with Eminem and Dr. Dre, he was here, releasing a plethora of mixtape tracks for the underground with hopes of one day getting rich or dying trying. - AllMusic.

A definitive classic mixtape, hit the archives for more...

April 25, 2022

Mobb Deep "The Infamous" (Spin Magazine, 1995)

Just after premiering as a full-grown MC, Mobb Deep's Prodigy busts a little rap criticism. His unrhymed, two-minute screed on track two ends with "To all the rap ass n!ggas with ya half-assed rhymes / Talk about how much you get high / How much weed you smoke / And all that crazy space shit that don't even make no sense / Don't even speak to me." In other words: Keep it real. It's no faint praise to say that Mobb Deep actually makes that shopworn admonition mean something. In the mikes and notebooks of Prodigy and partner Havoc, the phrase "keep it real" functions a little like that old Journalism 101 bromide "show, don't tell." And if any one quality runs through 'Bridge albums from MC Shan to Nas, it's that unhurried, no-frills verisimilitude; an allergy to purple prose, spiraling metaphors, and crazy space shit that don't make sense. Instead, what we get is state-of-the-art East Coast reportage: drug-selling, police-fleeing, and homie-dying vignettes, all told with vivid detail and a deadpan thousand-yard flow. Formerly the teen duo Poetic Prophets, Prodigy and Havoc make it amply clear that they've packed a lot more street living and skill-honing into their 20 years than most peers. The album review in Spin continues and revisit the The Infamous below...

After asserting, "Every day of my life since 11/2/74 / On the street makin' nonstop cream galore," they drop specifics like "I'm from Hempstead / It's close to the shacks in Park South." An almost Ivy League confidence in birthright, experience, and rhymemanship renders these understated verses so undeniable: "Temperature's Rising" draws pathos from a rhymed phone call to an on-the-lam brother; "Trite Life" recalls a subway ride to an old girlfriend's borough, with a six-member crew along for protection; and the instant classic "Eye for a Eye" lays out a loyalty oath with stellar verses by Nas and Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon the Chef (who rhymes "cornea" with "up on ya" -- not to be tried without a Staten Island accent). And just when you're ready to dismiss abstract rhyming as the stuff of sissies, producer Q-Tip hijacks "Drink Away The Pain" with characters like his n!gga Tommy Hilfiger and some trick named Donna Karan, laying out a staggering, verse-long morality play about materialism. If only to clock a stunning panoply of mike skills, The Infamous... is indispensable. Which is not to say that it doesn't sound great, too. While the pat line on '90s rap sonics is that on the East Coast form follows function, these beats are hardly utilitarian, mixing warm, old Quest-style Blue Note whispers, gritty snares, and stark keyboard chimes like Satie or Bill Evans with an MPC-60. Hearing Havoc and Prodigy testify is a little like following 14-year old Jim Carroll through the hold-ups, shooting galleries, and poetical gymnastics in The Basketball Diaries. You have to wonder what they'll be like when they're old enough to drink. - Spin Magazine (August, 1995).

April 24, 2022

Take It Personal Podcast "Kings Episode"

The Take It Personal crew shares, "We've done all the big tributes. We've had all the big guests. We've done more in 5 seasons than we could have ever imagined. This year on Take It Personal we'll continue to raise the bar, but more importantly, we want you all to relive your favorite hip-hop memories with us. We want to remind you all why you fell in love with hip-hop in the first place. Why you rushed out every Tuesday to buy the latest record.  Why you stayed up late to watch rap videos as a kid or why you copped the flyest gear or got a fresh hair cut to mimic your favorite rapper. Take It Personal has always been about music and memories and that is what brought us all together. Despite where we come from, our race, our politics, our religion or our age, we're a family of hip-hop enthusiasts and that cannot be DISPUTED! On Episode 102, we celebrate some of our favorite lyrical kings. We're talking Pharoahe Monch, Ghostface Killah, AZ, Black Thought, Royce Da 5'9, Masta Ace, Roc Marciano and Prodigy to name a few. Enjoy the EP!" Dig into the episode below...

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 22, 2022

Pusha T "It's Almost Dry" (Album Stream)

Pusha T's highly anticipated fourth studio album, It's Almost Dry, is another jewel in the long and storied career of the Virginia rapper. It features production split between Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. Pusha has been well-pronounced in his position to not stray from the formula that has garnered him so much success and so many loyal fans over the years, returning with another dose of flourishments and the finest in coke rap and street cinema. It shouldn't surprise fans to see a feature from Jay-Z and his brother Malice, as well as Kid Cudi, Lil Uzi Vert and more. I'm definitely a fan of Push, I think he has a style and brand awareness that is rivaled by very few. Daytona was a phenomenal release, and this is a terrific follow-up with outstanding production that stretches him creatively even when the content doesn't change too much. Dig into Push's It's Almost Dry below...

April 21, 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 20, 2022

"Who's The Man?" Soundtrack (April 20, 1993)

Because Uptown Records has earned a reputation in some circles as being the "champagne of rap" it should come as no surprise that their compilation for Ed and Dre's flick comes off as the "caviar" of hip-hop movie soundtracks. And even with a great diversity of artists and producers, the sophisticated Uptown sound manages to shine through. As a soundtrack this album succeeds in displaying a wealth of talent that truthfully represents the current flavor and direction of hip-hop and R&B. But more importantly, this project serves as a convenient showcase for Uptown Records' talent, both new and established. Out of the many new artist featured here (Third Eye, Crystal Johnson, Timbo King), it is rapper Biggie Smalls (the big, Black man, not the little, white boy, mind you) who livens things up with a hardcore debut on the perfectly titled "Party & Bullshit." Biggie is clearly the star of the album and you will definitely be hearing good things about him in the months to come. The collection also boasts new material from Uptown mainstays and collaborators like Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, who freak the notes on "What's Next On The Menu," Mary J. Blige, who sings over the "Vapors" track on "You Don't Have To Worry" and Father MC, who asks you to "Pimp Or Die." Heavy D and Nesto also put in solid performances, as do a few non-Uptown guest stars. Erick Sermon gives us a taste of his funk-filled solo flavor with "Hittin' Switches" while House of Pain has the honor of kicking the gangsta rhymes on the album's hard-hitting title track. Dancehall's own "Mr. Controversy" Buju Banton battles it out with Heavy D on "Hotness" and for the roughneck audience, "Flip That Shit" pairs Biggie Smalls and Third Eye with Naughty By Nature and your favorite gun waving baldheads--Onyx! With all this to choose from, this tape should have no problem blasting from both the jeep and the bubble bath. - The Source, 1993. Revisit this classic soundtrack below...

Ed Lover and Doctor Dre publicity photos...

April 19, 2022

Nas "Illmatic" (Spin Magazine, 1994)

On "The World Is Yours," from his debut album Illmatic, Nasir "Nas" Jones says twice in a sly, Zen tenor, "I'm out for Presidents to represent me," and both times a stunned peanut gallery answers, "Say what?" But as producer Pete Rock sets the moody-mood with jazz-piano chords, the 20-year old rapper from New York's Queensbridge housing project drops the sneaky-deep punch line: "I'm out for dead Presidents to represent me." In other words, nobody represents him, and he's dead set on getting paid and figuring out why. Awaited as intently as the debuts of more cocksure virtuosos Big Daddy Kane and Snoop Doggy Dogg, Illmatic pays serious mind to uncertain sources, to abstract anxiety, spiritual and otherwise. Unlike the West Coast gangsta cartoonists (and their reactionary New York progeny, Wu-Tang Clan, Black Moon, and Onyx), Nas searches for an inner-calm to break down his left-field-corner crazy streak. And don't doubt that he's got one. In part incarnations--cameos on Main Source's "Live at the BBQ" and MC Serch's "Back to the Grill"--"Nasty" Nas impulsively swiped the spotlights with talk of "snuffin' Jesus" and "waving automatic guns at nuns." But Illmatic's guest producers--Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Large Professor, Q-Tip--don't exploit Nas's shock-jock tendencies. Instead, nudging him toward Rakim-like rumination, they offer subdued, slightly downcast beats, which in hip hop today means jazz, primarily of the '70s keyboard-vibe variety (samples here include Joe Chambers, Gary Burton, the Heath Brothers). Cont'd below...

For early-20s hip hoppers, jazz represents childhood background music, overheard from their parents' living rooms, and usually signifies the hazy, bittersweet sentimentality of growing up. In Nas's case, this is implicit: His dad, the jazz trumpeter Olu Dara (sideman with David Murray, Don Pullen, and others), let his son hang out in recording studios, but then, according to Nas, shrugged at his interest in hip hop. Dara's contributes a muted, vexing solo at the close of Illmatic's "Life's a Bitch," and one wonders how he feels about his son's remorseful-resentful, coming-of-age depictions. One of the positives about hardcore gangsta rap was its site-specific narratives. After a Too $hort, Ice-T, or Ice Cube song, you felt as if you'd been on a sunrise-to-sundown drive from one dead end of the 'hood to the other. Dr. Dre codified all that, meticulously recycling the same scenes ad nauseam, but Nas breathes life into the approach. Illmatic may be the most extensive tour of a housing project ever committed to CD, replete with sleeve photos of deceased friends, and housing police atop mountain bikes. On the Premier-produced "N.Y. State of Mind" and "Represent," Nas plays sleight-of-hand with syllables, taking us on an almost anti-narrative through lobbies where wide-eyed kids watch crack fiends scrap, and down stairways where teenage boys roll dice and laugh at baseheads. These are powerfully stressed-out images, but Nas hints that he's after something more personally revealing. In "The World Is Yours," he muses about writing "All the words past the margins," and it's there, past where most rappers bother to peek, that he may eventually find his truth. And when that search is as vivid as his tour of the projects, the comparisons to Rakim will be more deserved. - Spin (August, 1994). The album was reviewed as "Go directly to your local record store. Buy this album. Immediately. Kill if you must." The G.O.A.T. album.

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 17, 2022

Rest In Peace, Black Rob (April 17, 2021, NY Times)

Robert Ross, the rapper known as Black Rob, whose husky, seen-it-all voice powered turn-of-the-millenium hits like "Whoa!" and "Can I Live" for Bad Boy Records, died on Saturday in Atlanta. He was 52. His death, at Grady Memorial Hospital, was attributed to cardiac arrest, said Mark Curry, a friend and one-time Bad Boy artist. He said Mr. Ross had had numerous health problems in recent years, including diabetes, lupus, kidney failure and multiple strokes. He had been undergoing dialysis from Piedmont Atlanta Hospital this month, Mr. Curry said. In a video that was posted online and spread across the hip-hop world, Mr. Ross detailed his ailments and recent struggles with homelessness. "He didn't have a home, but he always had us," said Mr. Curry, who called Mr. Ross "a true poet." He added: "He's known for telling stories, and his music described his life. You can feel it." Last week, Mr. Curry, along with producer Mike Zombie, began promoting a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Mr. Ross -- "to help him find a home, pay for medical help and stability during these trying times," the campaign's description said. The fund-raiser collected about half of its $50,000 goal. Mr. Ross, who was born in Harlem, began rapping around the age of 11, influenced by local artists like Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, whom he credited with helping him develop his storytelling prowess. Sounding both motivated and weathered even as a young man, he was best known for the hard-hitting 2000 single "Whoa!", which reached No. 43 on the Billboard 100, and a string of electric guest verses on songs by Mase, 112 and Total. Thrust into more of a leading role after the murder of his Bad Boy label mate, the Notorious B.I.G., in March 1997, Mr. Ross became, by the end of the 1990s, another fast-burning star under the imprimatur of the budding hip-hop mogul Sean Combs.

His debut album, the fittingly named "Life Story," was released by Bad Boy in 2000, when he was 31. Already he had spent more than a decade in and out of juvenile detention, jail and prison, and the music reflected that. "It's hell," Mr. Ross said of his past. "Once they get their teeth on you, they keep biting, until they feel like, 'Let's throw away the key on this cat.'" "Life Story" featured intricate street tales of stickups, shootouts and the family struggles that could lead to such things, and it reached No. 3 on the Billboard album chart, eventually becoming platinum. Five years later, "The Black Rob Report," the rapper's second album, failed to find the same success, in part because Mr. Ross was back in prison, having failed to report to sentencing for a 2004 larceny charge. His career never recovered. "Bad Boy left me for dead," Mr. Ross said on his release from prison in 2010. Two subsequent independent releases on different labels foundered. He is survived by his mother, Cynthia; four siblings; nine children; and five grandchildren. Many people on social media offered condolences for Mr. Ross, including Diddy, the entrepreneur Daymond John and the rappers Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, GZA and Styles P. On Twitter, LL Cool J described Mr. Ross as a storyteller, gentleman and an M.C. Ms. Elliott lamented that the death of Mr. Ross closely followed that of another New York rapper, Earl Simmons, known as DMX, who died this month. "It's hard finding the words to say when someone passes away," Ms. Elliott said on Twitter. "I am praying for both of their families for healing." - New York Times (April 18, 2021). Rest In Peace, Black Rob. That's WHOA!

April 16, 2022

Tuamie "A Question Called Tuamie?" (Instrumental Album)

Tuamie is a beatmaker/producer from Atlanta, Georgia. His latest offering is a solid instrumental album entitled A Question Called Tuamie? and it features 10 really fine tracks. Tuamie has production credits with Skyzoo, Fly Anakin, Big Kahuna OG, Ill Camille, Koncept Jackson and others. Available as a name your price download via Bandcamp, I definitely recommend digging into this project, so check it out below and click through for his entire back-catalog of beat tapes...

April 15, 2022

Stro Elliot "Stro's Old Beat Farm" (Instrumental Album)

Stro Elliot has risen to prominence as the percussionist for The Roots and was previously a producer and MC for The Procussions. Long before being a nightly part of The Tonite Show with Jimmy Fallon as a part of The Roots, Stro released a collection of vaulted tracks called “Stro’s Old Beat Farm”. This collection of tracks were created between 2004 and 2010, and gave a glimpse of greatness to those that scoured the internet for the best in beats. SCM also presents Stro’s Old Beat Farm in physical form for the first time, ten years after its release. It is a document of a man who would soon be well on his way. If you dig into this below and hit up the archives, you'll agree...

April 14, 2022

Big Ghost Ltd. "Unofficial Official LP" (Album Stream)

Big Ghost Ltd and the homie Soles of Mischief have joined forces once again for their latest drop, the Unofficial Official LP. This production album features beats from Big Ghost and verses from underground titans like Guilty Simpson, Conway the Machine, Crimeapple, Hus Kingpin, Willie the Kid, Vic Spencer, Anklejohn, Westside Gunn, Recognize Ali, Chris Crack, SmooVth, Milano Constantine, and more. The merch for the release was designed by Soles of Mischief and came out FIRE, as usual. He's really breaking new ground with these customized collaborations. Doubt me? Dig into the archives for lots more from Soles of Mischief, and Big Ghost, too. Now, listen to the album below...

April 13, 2022

Mobb Deep "Juvenile Hell" (April 13, 1993)

On their debut, Havoc and Prodigy tell the listener in all sorts of overconfident manners that there are few people out there who can mess with Mobb Deep. In fact, they do so in 14 different ways on Juvenile Hell. Mostly produced by Mobb Deep themselves, this album is rawness at an unrelenting pace, with an undeniable, relentless, and often irrational energy. The intro cut sets the mood as a warning, set to a "Queens brand" production. The tempo is kind of fast, but the bassline rolls to easily facilitate a strong head nod. The sampled horn stabs help to remind you that, after all, it's still music. Over this beat Prodigy cautions: "It's called Juvenile Hell; you won't survive long." In the first few songs, Mobb acquaints the listener with the life of a "frustrated and confused young juvenile" living in Queens. Juvenile Hell is hardcore, but not void of musical pr creative effort and accomplishment; it's really cool, serious, and 100 percent hip-hop. Highlights include "Flavor for the Non Believers," "Peer Pressure," "Stomp Em Out" (featuring Big Noyd), and "Hold Down the Fort." When Juvenile Hell was initially released, it didn't do so well in the stores. Perhaps it was the excess of threats and proclamations making up Juvenile Hell that kept buyers away in 1993, or maybe it was the label's inability to market this virulent project correctly. In any event, it's an album worthy of historical note. - AllMusic. Revisit Mobb Deep's debut album, Juvenile Hell, from 1993 below...

Rest In Peace, Prodigy...

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 09, 2022

J-Love x Capone-N-Noreaga "Still Reporting" (Mixtape, 2007)

This is J-Love's Still Reporting mixtape; a 2007 tribute to Capone-N-Noreaga's catalog that included joints from The War Report, The Reunion, and various (early) unreleased joints that came before their Channel 10 album 2 years later. East Coast hip-hop at its finest, you'll hear tracks with Tragedy Khadafi, Mobb Deep, E Money Bags, Royal Flush, Kool G Rap, Foxy Brown, Cormega, The LOX, Mary J. Blige and Nature. J-Love used to drop off boxes of his mixes at Fat Beats and this one of the joints that still stays in rotation, along with J-Love's early Nas' Finest and Mobb Misses joints. Props to the whole Queens, check this mix below and dig into the archives for more mixes...

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 07, 2022

Royce Da 5'9 "The Bar Exam" (Mixtape, 2007)

The Bar Exam is the first of the four installments in the Bar Exam mixtape series by Royce da 5'9", self-released by Royce on April 7, 2007 through DatPiff via M.I.C. Records. It was hosted by Statik Selektah, and DJ Premier. It was early-rumored that all of the songs on this mixtape were written while Royce was serving his one-year jail sentence for violating his probation the year before, as a result of a charge of driving under the influence. I am a tremendous fan of Royce Da 5'9; I consider him to be one of the most gifted lyricists and a stand-up dude to match. These early mixtapes that Statik was doing with Royce and Nas, for example, were just incredible pieces of hip-hop that might get lost in the blog-era of music if we don't revisit and celebrate them. Props to DJ Premier, too, of course! Now, with all that said, dig back into the first installment of Royce's Bar Exam mix 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...