Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Dun!

Video: The Alchemist - Lose Your Life Trailer

The man many of us have come to accept as one of the premier and most sought after beatmaker's out west and in Hip-Hop period, The Alchemist has released a 30 second teaser trailer for his new video "Lose Your Life" that features Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss and Pusha T of the Clipse. The tune has been circulating on the net for a good month or two now and has sparked an already blazing intrest in Alchemist's new LP due out in 2009 "Chemical Warfare". Folks will be pleased to know that this track will actually reach them much sooner. Al has decided like his boy Evidence to release an EP in November (on the 18th to be exact) via a digital only release on iTunes. Al is calling it "The Alchemist Cookbook", and the recipe for the cookbook is as follows:

1. Lose Your Life feat. Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss, Pusha T

2. Key To The City feat. Prodigy and Nina Sky

3. Follow The Dollar feat. CNN (Capone N Noreaga)

4. Calmly Smoke feat. Styles P and Evidence

5. Therapy feat. Blu, Evidence, and Kid Cudi

6. Al Capone Zone feat. Prodigy and Keak Da Sneak

.....Late November can't come soon enough.


9th Wonder's Top Ten Remixes Of All Time!!!

Fresh from one of the illest blogs on the net T.R.O.Y., one of my early inspirations as a beatmaker, North Kakalaki's own 9th Wonder a remix artist himself, breaks down the 10 remixes he wishes he would've done himself....the guys over at T.R.O.Y. get the ultimate props for this!

Top 10 Remixes I Wish I Woulda Did
by 9th Wonder

10. Ras Kass - Soul On Ice (Diamond D Remix)
Diamond changed the whole scope of the jam. He made it fierce.

9. Das Efx - Jussamen (Pete Rock Remix)
Man you talkin about making Das Efx sound soulful and sweet...Pete did it.

8. Fat Joe - Shit Is Real (Premier Remix)
Lord..Primo brings the winter calm with this one. Like the cold streets...

7. Ol' Dirty Bastard - Brooklyn Zoo (Lord Digga Remix) this remix is a jam that totally changed the spectrum of the song. It went from LOUD to sinister. Like chaotic to simple but still cold.

6. Das Efx - Real Hip Hop (Pete Rock Remix)
Pete said he did this remix in 15 minutes right before he had to go somewhere. WTF? Amazing.

5. Black Moon - Buck 'Em Down (Evil Dee Remix)
I listen to this remix everytime I get on and off a plane.Buckshot says "welcome to flight Black Moon." Yes!

4. Notorious B.I.G. - One More Chance (Tumblin' Dice Remix)
Arguably the best Party song EVER. Hip hop at his height and happiness. Best video. Everything!

3. Nas - It Aint Hard to Tell (Large Pro Remix)
NA-NA-NA-NAS. The way he used the biz sample, lord.

2. Black Moon - I Gotcha Opin (Evil Dee Remix)
The sexiest street remix ever. U can make love to the instrumental if u wanted to, hell it's Barry White. The video with the hockey jerseys..Buck rockin' a Penguin. He flows on this...

Drum roll...

1. Public Enemy - Shut 'Em Down (Pete Rock Remix)
All day, all night, all year. THIS IS THE GREATEST REMIX EVER.

Honorable mentions:
A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario (ATCQ Remix)
Puff Daddy - Been Around The World (Remix)
Group Home - Supa Star (Demo Version) *
Group Home - Up Against The Wall (Getaway Car Remix)*
D&D All-Stars - 1, 2 Pass It (Remix)*
Junior Mafia - Player Anthem (Remix)

R.A. say it ain't so....The Rugged Man announces support for McCain/Palin ticket

In one of the worst moves he's ever made (and believe me he's made more than a few) R.A. The Rugged Man, one of my personal favorite artist's ever and perhaps one of the best underground rappers of all time has made it public that he is an avid supporter of John McCain and Sarah Palin. It's unclear whether R.A. is a full blown right wing nut job, or if making statements like "He’s the world’s greatest used-car salesman.", to describe McCain's opponent Barack Obama is just apart of his well publicized over-the-topness.

I just find it stunning in many ways...kinda like when you find out that your favorite uncle who was mysteriously gone for most of your youth, and whom you heard good story after story about, was really not in fact away in the army, but rather serving 16 mandatory years on a 30 year bid in state prison for murder. Yeah, that pretty much sums up how big of a fucking surprise this is. I mean, R.A. just seemed so down with us man...his music and many of his interviews often conveyed the impression that he really understood what was going on with the hood and minorities. In many ways I had fully accepted his weird ass as one of us. I Felt that he would be able to empathize with our struggle after his bum ass career went years without any major releases and he toiled in obscurity, only appreciated by the loyal underground heads. Heads that more often than not were either anarchist's like him or far left liberals like me. As it turns out, R.A. might be just another addition to the laundry list of huge disappointments this young Obama supporter has discovered this election season. A season that has laid bare to the true sentiments of some of the people I grew up loving for their talents and personalities. As if it wasn't bad enough to have to watch one of my childhood football hero's John Elway shamelessly endorse that lost, erratic and dangerously ignorant old man McCain, now I must endure having someone whose contributions to the culture I hold so near and dear to my heart, give his stamp of approval to these two hapless muthafuckas as well.

In retrospect I guess it's not so surprising that R.A. supports McCain. As a fan of R.A.'s music and life I am aware of the fact that his father was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army and a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran who was shot down behind enemy lines in 1970. Because of those facts and the great weight that I'm sure they bore on R.A.'s life, I guess I can somewhat overstand his choice to ride wit McCain a lil' bit. What I can't get is how a smart guy like R.A. can support someone who is quite possibly the most inept and ill prepared vice presidential selection of all time. How someone who has mastered language, knows the difference between someone who can come straight off the top of the dome versus someone who has memorized their writtens, can openly and whole heartedly support a broad like Sarah Palin is just, well, it might be too much for this Rugged Man fan to really accept.

Blindsided isn't the word that best describes how I feel about R.A.'s sudden conversion from being an incessant nihilist to staunch conservative Republican supporter. Like Mike Tyson in his prime, giving you a right hook to the jaw and planting you on the mat in 30 seconds, probably is a more meticulous way of describing the shock I experienced when Mr. "Dirty Bitch Anthem" and "Cunt Renaissance" gave interviews vilifying the liberal media for being sexist toward Sarah Palin. Riiiight......

For fucks sake, I keep on thinking that this is all a big joke and that in usual Rugged Man fashion, R.A. is just fuckin' with our minds. That this whole deal is just his way of padding what the Hip-Hop world has already come to know as the ultimate "American low-life" image. Unfortunately it's not just a bad joke and R.A. has never been more serious about endorsing a cause ever. literally. Many of his fans have already flooded his Myspace with their pleas of displeasure and frustration, but to no avail. Foolhardy R.A. made another comment about liberals and democrats that I found to be the ultimate in irony. He said "The Democrats aren’t a wild and crazy bunch of liberals like everybody thinks, That whole loose-spirited vibe is just phony bullshit. I might not be like the Republicans, but at least they don’t run around pretending to be anything other than conservative.”. His imprudence sadly illustrates his overt distrust and bitterness. From where this begrudging and divided mentality comes from is beyond me, but like most McCain/Palin supporters come the fourth of November they will all either get their wish, denying us of ours or they'll find a way to steal it. Somehow, this time the fact that R.A. would probably be cool with either chaotic scenario doesen't sit well with me. A man I once uniformly applauded for his brash and unhinged nature is now just another unrelatable white man. A familiar face that vanished overnight and has been replaced with someone else's.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Peter Rosenburg Presents..."A Rosenburg Oddisee" E.P.

Everyone's favorite Jewish, Hip-Hop radio personality is hittin us in the head with some serious flavor this month. Peter Rosenburg, the goofy and fun loving Hip-Hop nerd that I'm sure so many of you have heard or seen at some point either on the radio or television releases a pretty solid E.P. that features a few of Hip-Hop's most credible acts.

According to Rosenburg, he got together with his boy; underground emcee/producer extraordinaire Oddisee, sat down one day in August and threw together this E.P., aptly titled "A Rosenburg Oddisee". Peter handled the marketing and grouping of the project while Oddisse handled all of the production. Really, I wasn't surprised that it was very good. I have always tried my best to keep up with Oddisee's rampantly expanding resume because of his highly cultivated output. Lol, and Even though he comes off as a total nut most of the time, Peter Rosenburg's silly outward demeanor doesn't fool me at all--he knows his Hip-Hop and this is a very well put together extended play, his connections and taste's all are put up for display and consumption by the critic's and he passes with flying colors. The A&R hat fits need to start a label that does nothing but release music like this immediately, I'm more than sure that Mr. Rosenburg would bring the Hip-Hop world a great amount of laudable music if he did do so. Just something for people to think about.

From the hard edged rhyming of Saigon, Lil' Fame, Buckshot and Torae to the soulful harmonies of Nikki Jean and Tiara Wiles, this is the ideal package for most modern, coffee-guzzling, opinionated underground heads, you know, People like myself who seek out Authenticity and truly talented artists and have a deep belief that "real" Hip-Hop is just a heartbeat away from coming back and owning shit. Speaking of owning shit, Oddisee's thick and warm production power this EP and his lyrical abilities don't fall short either. I found his contribution to be of the highest quality even for someone that routinely drops high quality shit. Oddisee really held his own rhyming alongside exponentially talented emcee's like Torae and Skyzoo. I would recommend this to anyone asking the ubiquitous and ever present question's of Hip-Hop; "what's the big deal nowadays?". Definitely, when speaking on projects that shouldn't go overlooked in this fourth quarter, one should include "A Rosenburg Oddisee".


Video: Evidence - The Layover

Insanely on-point and cohesive new video from Dilated Peoples own Evidence....truly is a great look man. In a time when so many artist's are being forced to be creative and skim down their video budgets due to the economy's bad shape, Evidence leads the way with the premier video for his new EP. "The Layover" finds him doing what so many people must do everyday of their life for their job or just when they travel--waiting in the airport for the dreaded layover to pass, lol. Really great idea for the song and if you were sitting around dreaming up an idea of what the vid would look like, you couldn't have done better than this....real hip-hop meets well executed direction in "The Layover".


Video: Pace Won & Mr. Green - Children's Song

New vid from Pace Won and Mr. Green, off their new album that dropped sometime back titled "The Only Color That Matters is Green". Pretty standard commando-style, low budget type of joint....Mr. Green's beat just is too nuts man....If you haven't checked out that album please do so (no excuses for Jersey Heads!) immediately. Not much info on the vid itself, by the looks of it I'd say they somewhere on the Atlantic coast maybe Atlantic City or Brooklyn....somewhere with a boardwalk....I don't's an ill vid, but more importantly these guys are ill artist's....check they shit out!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Joe Budden - Halfway House

Arriving just in time to keep you procrastinating a bit longer on finding out just where the fuck your polling place is, Joe Budden unleashes his new, Amalgalm Digital endeavor "Halfway House".

Surprisingly cohesive production-wise and filled to the very brim with clever wordplay, Budden might have just hit his third consecutive home run in as many at bats with "Halfway House". Utilizing rhymes that cover a myriad of experiences from his past including his stints as a drug dealer and user, Budden puts us into a deep trance as we focus intently on his every word. He has a natural talent for drawing in his listener and this time around he has the right production that blends ever so perfectly to his verses, adding a heightened dynamic to an already fierce experience. Joe has now officially become the prototypical lyricist for the modern era.

"Halfway House" starts off poignantly and intensely; the Intro finds Joe speaking at length over a bluesy rock track, that points to things to come. What follows are three perfectly placed and break neck paced ode's to Budden's innate flow and adept writing capabilities. "Overkill" sports one of the best beats on the album and one of the most sub par guest features in Heartbreak; a young man that clearly and quickly found himself in over his head aside the assaulting and intimidating delivery of the Jersey City, NJ native. Kicking around and examining his own life as introspectively as a wounded, yet supremely articulate poet over the melancholy, rock infused ballad "Sidetracked", and then shifting gear into full on attack mode as he gangs up on a sinister Scram Jones production "Slaughter House" with some of the games finest young emcee's, Joey provides (as aforementioned in this very blog) one of the nastiest posse/collabo tracks this year. Anyone else think Joey and Joell need to record a whole album together? That's just a thought.....

Budden moves into more speculative territory as he completely shatters an overwhelming beat in "Under The Sun", while having a personal and honest conversation with himself and someone else who remains nameless....

Heartfelt reminiscing on his early days making music and just in general, makes "The Soul" a standout track and one of his shining moments as a recording artist in my opinion. I found more than a few relatable moments in that very special track. One of the albums less than spectacular moment's ensues after questionably it's best finishes though, lol...."Anything Goes" isn't bad really, but somewhat all over the place and lacks direction a bit, but then again, I guess that was the point...could've done without the re-visitation of that all too familiar sample as well, but I will admit the break in this track is magical; the drums cut out and Budden rhymes coldly over a single, weighty horn. Spellbinding. "Go To Hell" is an interesting piece of music and really finds Joey thinking out of the box and out loud. The beat is insanely creative and keeps true to the rock infused, hard hitting theme that is built throughout "Halfway House". "Just To Be Different" is a masterful look at some of the moments and traits that Budden seems to lament the most within the demands of an out of touch Hip-Hop industry over a somber, piano driven track. Once again Joey delivers top notch quality through his rhymes and simply mesmerizes with a quality project.

While I wish that he would've ended this project after "Just To Be Different", alas he didn't and threw in a terrible attempt at a club hit in "Touch & Go". Incontestably the worst song on the whole project, I'm just glad that it was the final track and that truthfully it was the only one of it's kind on this outing.

This is one of the best albums of 2008 and it comes to us just as the 4th quarter is but 2 months away from wrapping up. I'm proud of Joey man...he really came through and delivered after a few setbacks and push backs. For those that doubted his potential, your skepticism should be eradicated by the time you finish listening to "Halfway House". As a said earlier Budden has undoubtedly used this performance as a way to prove to all the naysayers that he is in fact the class of Hip-Hop's lyricist's right now. To me he did exactly that. Aside from one minor mis-step at the very end of the LP, everything was on the up and up. He displayed a masterful ear in his beat selection and then destroyed those very beats with his vocals. Sure a few critics will complain about the noted lack in choruses on "Halfway House", but real heads got everything they wanted. That's what's important. I think Joe recognizes what he's good at and what he ain't and he chose to go in and perform highly in what he excels in. No complaints over here. Great project, great production and great focus.


01. Joe Budden - Intro
02. Joe Budden - On My Grind
03. Joe Budden - Overkill
04. Joe Budden - Check me out
05. Joe Budden - Sidetracked Ft. Heartbreak
06. Joe Budden - Slaughterhouse
07. Joe Budden - Under The Sun
08. Joe Budden - The Soul
09. Joe Budden - Anything Goes
10. Joe Budden - Go To Hell
11. Joe Budden - Just To Be Different
12. Joe Budden - Touch & Go

Mixtape Of The Month: J-Love & AZ - The Return Of S.O.S.A. Pt.2

With my basic attitude about most mixtapes that dropped in October mirroring my indifference toward doing something as blase as scratching my balls, I decided to nominate J-Love's second installment of "The Return Of S.O.S.A." in the wake of Hip-Hop's deep mixtape void this month.

As usual J-Love hits us with a more than comprehensive "best of" type tape for an artist that is more than worthy of one and that has a deep catalog to pluck random ill joints from. Another not so surprising treat is J-Love's trademark inclusion of a couple of tracks he produced himself in the form of the tape's intro; a remix of AZ's "Chillin" and an exclusive joint that has AZ and J-Love protege Meyhem Lauren trading ill verses called "Street Anthem". Both of those tracks alone make this tape worth checking out. Not to downplay the actual track list however, I do feel there are some excellent AZ tracks on here that routinely seem to escape most DJ's minds when they put together a tape like this for him. One such jewel that people need to peep that is semi-rare is the Mason Betha assisted "We Gonna Make It Right"....I first heard this track about 4 or 5 years ago while I was in college. I was checking out a Bike Mike and Kay Slay mixtape (before they sucked) and that joint was on it. On that tape it was labeled as being unreleased, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Another track that I think is dope and is perpetually overlooked in AZ's vast resume is "Thug Connection"; a grimy collaboration effort AZ went in on with the legendary Kool G Rap and a relative newcomer at the time Papoose. Of course my all time favorite track to bump while driving around in the summer time "Hey AZ" is included too, a nice lil' addage to a solid lineup, that surely will please most AZ enthusiast's.

And just to prove to folks that he's not permanently stuck in the 90's with his programming, J-Love does throw on some of AZ's newer triumph's as well....One such triumph being "The Secret", one of the many standout tracks from AZ's latest mixtape/street album "N.4.L.", that features a monster appearance from Wu-Tang vet Raekwon.

You'll find all of ya favorite emcee's on here from Nas, M.O.P., Consequence, Styles P and Busta Rhymes to Large Professor, Cormega and Nature. Easily one of the finer and more well thought out "best of's" ever dropped fro AZ and remarkably fluid despite sudden shifts in tracks' time periods. J-Love does it again.


1) Chillin (RMX) Produced By J-Love
2) The Game Don'T Stop
3) Game Of Life
4) Rap Fanatic
5) The Secret Feat Raekwon & Charlie Rock
6) Nigga Games
7) Professional Style Feat Cormega & Nature
8) Too Real Feat Foxy Brown
9) The Hardest Feat Styles P & Large Professor
10) New York Feat Raekwon & Ghostface Killah
11) Street Anthem Feat J-Love & Meyhem (Produced By J-Love)
12) Take U Back In Time
13) Sit Em Back Slow Feat M.O.P
14) Everything Is Everything Feat Nas
15) Thug Connection Feat Kool G Rap & Papoose
16) The Format
17) I Don'T Give A Fuck
18) At Night
19) Life
20) For The Love Of Money
21) Hey Az Feat SWV
22) We Gonna Make It Right Feat Mase
23) Heavy In Da Game Feat Consequence
24) I Am AZ
25) Lifes Not A Gift Feat Notorious B.I.G.
26) Royal Salute Busta Rhymes - Flipmode Style

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DJ Premier - Time 4 Change

It does my heart good to see that Premo is still very much out on the scene and contributing not only to worthwhile artist's, but worthwhile causes as well. "Time 4 Change" as you probably can deduce from looking at the cover is a mixtape dedicated to the overhaul change that needs to take place in this country via our leadership. Dawning the Obama campaign symbol on the front of a ballot box cements Premo's endorsement, and more importantly, with only 10 or so days til' most of us will go and cast our vote, it's a heads up. Admittedly, a lot of the actual content on this tape is not directly correlated to politics, but some tracks do make poignant statements about the current state America is in. Prodigy's "Veterans Memorial Pt.2" is one such track that comes to mind. The rest gets kind of muddled. While I am a big fan of artist's coming out and showing support to their particular party, I am not a fan of when it's not done as well as it could of been. Unfortunately, while I am the biggest Premier fan on the face of the earth I have to give him somewhat lower marks for this outing. He just didn't bring forth a really moving or interesting project and quite frankly I found that this didn't have much replay value at all. I mean come on Premo, you know damn well ya fans ain't going out and copping ya tapes, gearing up to hear shitty Ludacris joints on em'......All in all, I commend Premier for trying to raise awareness about the importance of this year's election and letting us all know his sane by endorsing Barack Obama, but this tape is just not musically very good. The NYG's, D-Flow, M.O.P., Black Milk, Scarface, DJ Revolution and Blaq Poet make things somewhat bearable, but if your up on your stuff you've heard all those tracks already. Sad to confirm it, but Premier has released yet another mediocre mixtape folks.


01 DJ Premier & Biggest G - Time 4 Change
02 Nygz - Policy
03 Big Shug - When I Strike
04 House Of Reps - U Gotta Love Us
05 Termanology - Hold That
06 Blaq Poet - Ain’t Nuttin Changed
07 Prodigy - Veterans Memorial Pt. 2
08 Statik Selektah Ft. MOP, Jadakiss - For The City
09 Young Maylay - I Showed You
10 D-Flow (DITC) - Like Dat
11 Scarface - Emeritus
12 Jake One Ft. Little Brother - Bless The Child
13 Ludacris Ft. Floyd Mayweather - Undisputed
14 LL Cool J - Dear Hip Hop
15 DJ Revolution Ft. Planet Asia - School
16 Bumpy Knuckles - The OG Pt. 3
17 Royce Tha 5′9″ - I Gotta Shake This
18 DJ Revolution Ft. KRS-One, DJ Premier - The DJ
19 Black Milk Ft. Pharoahe Monch, DJ Premier, Sean
Price - The Matrix

News: Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother are found shot to death in home, nephew missing

In some really tragic and numbing news it's being reported that budding R&B star Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother were brutally gunned down in their home located on Chicago's south side. Another disturbing aspect to this heinous crime is that Hudson's nephew, a 7 year old boy was missing from the scene and is still missing. The Chicago police issued an Amber alert on Friday for Julian King; the seven year old that is feared to have been abducted.

The police have brought in one suspect for questioning. William Balfour, a 27 year old man who is on parole after serving seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and possessing a stolen vehicle, but Julian King still has not been located and Balfour has not been formally charged.

Balfour was sought for questioning due to the fact that Public records show one of his addresses as the home where Donerson (Jennifer's mother) and Jason Hudson (Jennifer's brother) were shot.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said investigators were talking to "a number of people in custody" but she declined to elaborate further. Bond also stated that the deaths appeared to be the result of domestic abuse. Autopsies for both Donerson and Hudson are still pending...

keep your head up Jennifer, your in our thoughts..........


Friday, October 24, 2008

Single: Jedi Mind Tricks feat. King Magnetic & Block McCloud - Godflesh

Your favorite, hardcore, underground, conscious, quasi-islamic, Philly-based Hip-Hop group has officially released the second single titled "Godflesh" for their new album due out next month. While most heads have likely missed JMT's true glory day's, I can't help but admit that Stoupe's beat for "Gdflesh" is straight up nasty and harkens back to JMT's glory days. I know I'm a total sucker for production and you can call it over-empathy, but I just really hate when a great production isn't done full justice. The lack of integrity contained within this track is brought to us in part because of a sub-par and very predicitable contribution from frontman Vinnie Paz and a very awkward, very vexatious performance from one-time JMT castaway Jus Allah, who rejoined the group sometime last year.

In fact the only truly good performance's come at the hands of the guest emcee's; Brooklyn Academy member Block McCloud and Army Of The Pharoah's comrade King Magnetic both shined much brighter than Paz and Allah, something that should be a dead giveaway that there might be some lingering operation problems for JMT fans to hear come November 11th when "A History Of Violence" drops. Paz and Jus Allah just failed to spark that old chemistry that first got people talking back when they were going off on "Violent By Design". Truly a disappointment considering how many JMT fans were so eagerly awaiting Jus's return to the group.

As far as what transpires lyrically on this new album, that's anyone's guess really, personally I think people still can hold out hope that this grating effort from Paz and Jus might only be a glitch in the Matrix. On the other hand one thing that I know heads are ready to hear are some new Stoupe beats..."Godflesh" has a sing-songy and somewhat off-putting chorus and only a 50% success ratio when it comes to the four verses spit by it's emcee's, but the perfectly placed kicks, masterfully layered samples and concise pattern fluctuations will amp up fans of Stoupe's excellent beat crafting.


Ruste Juxx - The Prelude Mixtape

Boot Camp Clik affiliate man Ruste Juxx has emerged to drop a new and completely free mixtape for all you BCC heads. It might have been awhile since you last heard from Ruste, or maybe you've just been sleepin', either way you can rest assured he's back on the scene now with some serious heat that will catch you up on how he's been livin'. "The Prelude" will serve as a good refresher for those that have been snoozin' and an exciting, well,...prelude to his new album, "Indestructable" droppin' later on this week. So if you are seeking hard hitting rhymes that sound like Sean Price's twisted little brother wrote em' and something to get you amp'd about going and copping Ruste's new release, you need this in ya life right about now. Tracks to peep are "Mastered The Style", "Live The Life" and "Came This Far".


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Single: Evidence feat. Phonte, Blu and Will.i.Am - For Whom The Bell Tolls

Ever since he dropped his much awaited debut "The Weatherman LP", Dilated Peoples member Evidence has literally not stopped working....Appearing on a host of new albums and gearing up to release a new EP titled "The Layover" in late November, Evidence has already made a couple singles available to his fans via his Myspace page...."For Whom The Bell Tolls" is the second new joint that Ev is droppin' early to satiate his supporters and to me it's far superior to the first single he let go in "The Layover".

"For Whom The Bell Tolls" is a dynamic display of lyricism and beatmaking as North Kak native Phonte of Little Brother fame, up and coming, L.A. Underground sensation Blu and eccentric, Hip-Pop producer and Black Eyed Peas front man Will.I.Am all join Ev to lament the never ending topics of life, death and everything in between over one of Khrysis's most spellbinding beats yet. The beat itself is truly a classic drop, and while I initially suspected that maybe Ev produced this crack, I wasn't surprised when I discovered that Khrysis was in fact the one who molded such a ear catching instrumental. The brass and strings provide a melancholy feel and accentuate the airy, opera-like voices that chime in and out, but it's the climbing bell hits that strike the heaviest chord within me.....It's a masterfully produced track, but unlike most epic productions the beat doesn't over shadow the song's message or the lyrics. Props go out to Blu for keeping it 100x's realer by dropping a critical line in his verse about presidential candidate Barack Obama, during a time when it's becoming more and more popular for most artist's to just blindly support him to gain points...and that's coming from an informed Obama supporter. If "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is any indication of the kind of heat Ev has in store for us, than November 25th can't come soon enough and I'll gladly deal with the layover before we get "The Layover".


Video: The P Brothers feat. Milano - Digital B Boy

Emerging from Nottingham, United Kingdom are the boom bap and eclectic infused sounds of the production duo The P Brothers. This is a video for "Digital B Boy"; just one of the completely insane tracks off their new album "The Gas LP". The imagery is a perfect backdrop for the hardcore rhymes supplied by Bronx luminary Milano. Personally I love the commando style street footage of the cat break dancing on the street corner the most. The retro-esque video editing is no doubt a result of a low video budget, but director Soultrotter still manages to create something fresh out of older techniques, lol....I no doubt recognize some of those effects from my community college coursework in linear video editing on stoneage equipment.


P.S. For all those that will want and need to check out more music from the P Brothers peep their Myspace page:

you can hear a preview of snippets from the entire "Gas Face" album there....make sure to go cop that people....

Monday, October 20, 2008

News: Rudy Ray Moore passes away at the age of 82

Today Rudy Ray Moore has passed on at the age of 82 in Toledo, OH from an extended illness. Moore was primarily known for his work as an actor in the 70's Blaxploitation film "Dolemite", but was also a ground breaking comedian and a music recording artist. Moore dabbled in Hip-Hop, having released more than a few "party" records that featured him rapping and appeared on Hip-Hop legend Big Daddy Kane's 1990 album "Taste Of Chocolate".


DJ Rob Swift - Turntable Jazz Hosted by Lyrics Born

Unfortunately the traces of the wondrously good musical genre of Jazz are gradually disappearing from Hip-Hop; an art form that used to heavily embrace Jazz and vice versa. In fact, Jazz was very much so apart of the creation of Hip-Hop. Percussion, heavy bass lines and horn solos are abundant within Jazz and along with Funk and Disco were the first genres most of the early Hip-Hop DJing and production pioneers initially experimented with. Also when talking about the mid and early 90's, sampling Jazz records was a pretty consistent practice amongst the game's most talented producer's like Pete Rock and DJ Premier, who in turn used the soulful sounds of Jazz to create the blueprints for Boom Bap Hip-Hop, a genre within a genre. Of course those were the glory days of rap, and as many of you will attest, we might now be in the last days. All melodrama aside, Hip-Hop as a whole has begun a new phase and that phase finds many of the new artist's and fans straying away from the older acoustics commonly accustomed to it. Who would've thought we'd see the day when young Hip-Hop heads would sneer at things like the venerable sounds (horns, keys and flutes) that typically characterize Jazz like worn out hand-me-downs....SMH.

I don't know why their new tastes that utilize much more "original" (code word for shitty and electronic) sounds have seemingly de-valued the goodness of yesteryear, or why thy can't find a sensible medium between the two sounds, a la Black Milk, DJ Toomp and a few other really talented new producers, but I do know what I hear and I detest most of it. The new Direction that things are going in doesn't suit the true heads and while I have taken up a pretty solid, subterranean residence in Hip-Hop's underground scene, I still loathe the fact that we can't get one worthwhile artist who employs a heavy Jazz sound in his production on the radio. Sure I was tickled pink a couple years back when Lupe Fiasco burst on the scene and was getting major airplay on the radio and MTV with "Kick, Push", but look what happened after that; "Superstar"??? Fuck that...duke sold out quicker than Kanye did....and that's the problem. Too many guys who start out as legitimately talented emcee's, producer's and artist's, that use great samples, that draw in the underground and true heads just blatantly turn their backs on the bona fide music that got them there to cater to club goer's, college kids and casual hip-hop fans that wanna hear a Hip-Hop drum Pattern, but aren't down enough to understand the soul of good Jazz arrangements or thoughtful emceeing and won't advocate, nor sponsor folks that do understand.

Inevitably, after all my ranting you know I'm going to point you in the direction of a new project that is all too worthy of being called Aesthetically perfect. Unsurprisingly it is none other than former X-Men (commonly known as The X-Ecutioner's to you newbies) member Rob Swift that brings forth a new mix that not only showcases his masterful turntablism, but the often forgotten roots of boom bap hip-hop and Jazz music. Swift is the perfect DJ to put together such an ambitious endeavor as "Turntable Jazz". He has always repped the connection that Jazz has to Hip-Hop correctly, especially when it came to his own production and his bevy of Mix albums.

Highlighting the influence that Jazz had on his own career, Swift has stated in the past that Herbie Hancock and Bob James "have always been a huge influence on him and the music he creates". It comes then as no surprise that the music of the two legendary Jazz men appears on Swift's latest Mix album that genuflects to the timeless art form's and techniques of Jazz, Hip-Hop and Scratching. The work of other Jazz greats like Les McCann, Lou Donaldson, Al Hirt and the great one Dizzie Gillespie are also featured, but I find that the more obscure music pieces bring the most delight. The 1947 composition "On Green Dolphin Street" from the Polish film/music composer Bronislau Kaper and American lyric writer Ned Washington is wondrous. The slow moving melody and sustained chords make this a Jazz player's improv standard and Swift applies that improv-esque approach, as he scratches seamlessly over the instrumentation. Another obscure gem included is "Patutu", an enthralling cut from the Chicago jazz legend Richard Evans (who dedicated it to his daughter) that contains blazing percussion as well as some thick basslines. a soulful string section and a jazzy trumpet that steals the show.

Expect to hear a lot of really great, Jazz-influenced beats with Rob Swift scratching up a storm over them. Lyrics Born hosts, but doesn't get in the way too often, lol. All in all this is a great instrumental-type release that any Hip-hop head, new or old should get familiar with. Be sure to peep the last track "Modern Day Music", it features the Hip-Hop group Dejeous, a new troop that I really like and hopefully will do a write up on in the future...


01 Jazz Is My Religion Rob Swift Ft. Bob James & Dave McMurray
02 Dolphin Dance Herbie Hancock
03 What’s Going On Les McCann
04 Carrie On Brother Eddie Harris
05 Latin Scratch Interlude Rob Swift
06 Minority Large Professor Ft. Rob Swift
07 Harlem Hindoo Al Hirt
08 Patutu Richard Evans
09 Nonverbal Communication Rob Swift Ft. Dave McMurray
10 It’s Your Thing Lou Donaldson
11 Pot Belly Lou Donaldson
12 Green Dolphin Street Bronislau Kaper
13 Enter The Cycles Boulaone Ft. Rob Swift, Isaman & Legrotony
14 Summertime Dizzy Gillespie
15 Nautilus Remix Bob James Ft. Rob Swift
16 Modern Day Music Rob Swift Ft. Dujeous

Saturday, October 18, 2008

DJ Spinna - Beyond Real Experience Vol.2

Okay, here's something that any real producer, DJ, or remix artist will really appreciate. DJ Spinna the legendary Hip-Hop talent that has DJ'd all over the country and world, has done remixes for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Al Jerreau and Eminem and the sole controller of his Beyond Real record label released a mix album in 2002 that was truly memorable.

I met "Beyond Real Experience Volume 2" with huge anticipation back in 02', primarily because I had always been a huge fan of Spinna's production. I first got into Spinna via his group Polyrhythm Addicts, that and because of the fact that he was a frequent collaborator of many of my favorite Rawkus artist's (even dropped a record on Rawkus too) and I was a total Rawkus nerd in the 90's. I know many big Spinna fans will vilify me for this, but I wasn't a huge Jigmastas fan back in the day. Yes, I was sleepin' like Lincoln when it came to Spinna and MC Kriminul's stuff, but I digress....

"Vol.2" was a refreshing experience for me at the time because, well, a lot of stuff dropping at that time was really sucking hard man....It was 02', I was in high school and being the rebellious, "don't give a fuck" type, I was constantly roaming the hallways with headphones on, wearing out whatever tape or CD I fancied that week. Ahhh yes,...the nuances of a mis-spent youth. Anyway...I was a tape head, but my walkman was pretty sensitive about which tapes it would play and which tapes it wouldn't, so I also utilized a CD player. In my never ending haze of hall-wandering, knotting off in class and just plain apathy during my secondary education, one of the most important things to me was the music that I would take in while aimlessly conforming to whatever bullshit ideas that were flying around in American History 101at Sierra High.......Full of contempt and brash disobedience my Hip-Hop genre of choice quite often was the east coast underground scene/sound. It was grimey, there was a real message that I related to most of the time and back then you had to of had real skills to drop somethin', no questions asked.

At this point in time downloading was already starting to catch on and there was always a handful of dudes at my school asking people like me (Hip-Hop heads) what albums/mixtapes they wanted at a much more cost-effective price. I wasn't exactly rolling in dough, so I would patronize their somewhat dubious services. There was one cat that was real good about his business though. He would have a lil' bootleg catalog even, with pictures of all the covers of the shit he was sellin' and he usually had the CD's on him right then and there in the back pack. I routinely tried my best to cop from him because of his good business acumen, and while I was tempted to rob him at first due to his feeble physique and somewhat standoffish nature at times, I held off and in return was rewarded with the opprtunity to hear whatever I wanted at a price that a broke muthafucka like myself could deal with. Over time I actually grew to respect his hustle, even tried my hand at it for awhile when I got online, using the same techniques (i.e. the catalog and carrying the CD's on one's person). In any case, I eventually started doin special requests with this kid and he would deliver. My process behind that would be to go to my local record store and browse thru all the hip-hop CD's and see what interested me. I would write down the titles that did and hand off my list to ole' boy and in a day or two he would have my shit for me. One such list in 02' would contain the title of a new mix album that yanked at my curiousity in the record store on one of my "browsing" excursions. In hindsight if I had known how great it woulda been I woulda copped it out the store that day.

DJ Spinna's illustrious reputation preceeds him whenever he drops something new and for this release there was no exception. When I popped "Vol.2" in my CD player I was expecting to hear raw production, precise mixing and a sturdy lineup of capable emcees. I got exactly that. Spinna has always been tireless and frequently many of his releases are marathons--filled with tracks and long, "Vol.2" mirror's that trait with 18 joints. The production was crazy on this times airy and organic, then boisterous and somewhat bouncy it really added a lot, but wasn't overpowering. Back then I would've assumed that Spinna handled all of the production for this, but in later years I've discovered Nick Fury, Ken Sport and The People Under The Stairs all actually produced a few cuts on here as well. While the production was great and the mixing was top notch, it truly was the emceeing that made this effort a classic among classic's in Spinna's catalog. Relative unknowns really got down on some Hip-Hop shit for this compilation. From Shadowman's standout solo spots to Skam's tongue-twisting delivery, the lesser known, up and comer's really stand tall amongst top notch talent like Sadat X, Guru, Mr. Complex and L Fudge. Another aspect of this tape that I thought was ill was the recurring appearances of all the emcee's....that really gave it that old school cypher/mixtape/basement feel--I love that shit and few DJ's are better at relaying it than Spinna. The thoughtful quotables about life, love and Hip-Hop itself ooze out of this project via it's artist's, which made it musically something that began as just ear fodder that I was only playing in between my mis-education during my much-loathed high school years, to being a timeless piece of art that I cherish and often use to explain to other, less fortunate heads what a real mix album/compilation truly is and should be.

Overall this is a real gem man...I can't tell you how good this really is, you have to go and bump it for yaself. Spinna really was in the zone during this time period and while he's sort of strayed from the Hip-Hop sound in recent 2K years, I think that he'll always be remembered for captivating real heads with releases like this.


1 Rap Shit - (with Shadowman)
2 Spitting - (with Dynas)
3 Stand Up - (with Akil)
4 Mekanism - (with Skam)
5 O.K. - (with Ha The Jet Set)
6 So What - (with Jigmastas/Guru)
7 Dime Out - (with Dynas/Skam)
8 My Style - (with Shadowman)
9 My Momma - (with Mr. Complex & El Fudge)
10 Hey Love - (with Mr. Akil)
11 Stones - (with Jigmastas)
12 Breathe - (with Shadowman)
13 Plan X - (with Sadat X)
14 Proof - (with Dynas/Akil)
15 This Ain't a Game - (with Shadowman/BX Crew/Ha The Jet Black/Akil/Dynas/Skam)
16 Don't Get It Twisted - (PUTS remix, with Jigmastas/Sadat X)
17 So What - (Ken Sport remix, with Jigmastas/Guru)
18 Can I Kick It - (with Suiken)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Street Life - Street Credibility

New LP "Street Credibility" from Method Man cronie and protege Street Life will definitely do the job for most. While Street won't be winning any awards for the most creative stage name anytime soon, this is actually a pretty solid new project. In a time when being a Wu-affiliate is about as special as being one of Madonna's ex-husband's, Street managed to pull my attention toward his new project. A bunch of guest appearances from his master sensei Method man as well as some memorable assists from Killarmy member Killa Sin and the now grown, but once young, Wu prodigy Shyhiem.

Not the brightest piece of work that we'll see in this ever so interesting fourth quarter, but as always I gotta look out for my Wu heads, you guys are real fans...


³ 01.Streetlife - Not Jus Hip-Hop [03:57]
³ (Feat. Method Man, Carlton Fisk & La Banger)
³ 02.Streetlife - the Drummer [02:47]
³ (Feat. Ghostface Killah, Trife Da God & Method Man)
³ 03.Streetlife - Pain (Feat. Shyheim) [04:18]
³ 04.Streetlife - Everybody is Frontin [03:32]
³ (Feat. Carlton Fisk & La Banger)
³ 05.Streetlife - Can't Stop, Won't Stop [03:49]
³ 06.Streetlife - All My Niggas (Feat. Method Man) [02:47]
³ 07.Streetlife - A Star is Born [03:24]
³ (Feat. Carlton Fisk & Inspectah Deck)
³ 08.Streetlife - Street Education (Feat. Method Man) [02:51]
³ 09.Streetlife - F.A.N.Z [03:14]
³ 10.Streetlife - Hug These Streets [02:33]
³ 11.Streetlife - Descriptions (Feat. La Banger & Why) [02:15]
³ 12.Streetlife - Lay Down (Feat. Killa Sin) [03:01]
³ 13.Streetlife - Who Want to Rap [02:20]
³ 14.Streetlife - Let Them Come [03:07]
³ 15.Streetlife - the O.G. & Young Hustler [02:24]
³ 16.Streetlife - Thugz Need Love to [03:44]
³ 17.Streetlife - Sweetest Pain [03:38]
³ 18.Streetlife - Shoot [03:55]
³ 19.Streetlife - Exclusive Hidden Bonus Track [01:32]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Single: Joe Budden ft. Joell Ortiz, Nino Bless, Crooked I & Royce Da 5'9" - Slaughtahouse prod. by Scram Jones

I don't put up many singles, but I do routinely make exceptions regarding my "rules" and whatnot......thus, here is what I think most likely has to be the most John Blaze track of October. Featuring a heap of the games best and brightest new names, "Slaughtahouse" is one of the better platoon-style collabo's hardcore Hip-Hop enthusiast's have seen all year and definitely the best of October. Produced by the long slept-on Scram Jones, a thwacking snare and menacing re-work of a vivid sample provides a dope canvas for all five emcees to spit lines that bust the good ole' wittiness meter.

Of course this track is making the usual rounds in many message boards and forums, and as usual the ominous question for a track like this came up---who killed it the best? I would have to actually roll with Crooked myself, but any answer would probably work in this case, even the lowly newcomer Nino Bless was kickin' some serious rhymes on this one....


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Black Milk - Elec

Things are currently pretty fucking tough in Detroit. With the overall American economy in shambles, The "D", a once proud and booming city, like many others across the nation has been steadily getting worse and worse since the mid 1970's. A struggling infrastructure, a ballooning murder rate, an out of control mayor and unemployment numbers that have sent many fleeing elsewhere have become the bleak but all too commonplace picture of the Motor City in 2008. Not unlike the past, one thing that the D is still producing well is inspiring music. While there is literally a myriad of great artist's I could speak about, today I wanna introduce those that are waking up from their 5 year coma to Detroit's own Black Milk.

Milk is a product of Detroit and his music has always reflected that. Sampling many of the records that were recorded in Hitsville, U.S.A. 30 years ago, he's created a new Motown sound that picks up right where the D's outright best producer ever; J Dilla left off. His infectious soul chops and head nodding drum patterns have captivated the entire Hip-Hop underground and earned him the respect of his local brethren. Not only is he an accomplished producer but Milk has also tried his hand at rhyming and received for the most part the whole hearted endorsement of his peers. Having already released two critically acclaimed solo projects the rap game is gearing up for his third retail release "Tronic". Milk has already promised his fans something somewhat new on his latest LP in he form of his production. Stating via interview that "Tronic" will rely less on his tried and true formula of sampling and more on live instrumentation, Milk is taking on an extremely eyebrow raising task for primarily a sample-based, Hip-Hop producer.

Many of the best and brightest Hip-Hop beatsmith's would probably shutter at the prospect of having to make an album without the use of their trusty vinyl collection. Not Milk. He's jumping into unknown waters relatively early on in his career, bravely and confidently. Original thought is the cradle of Hip-Hop civilization however, and in the end I think that this project will pay huge dividends for Milk in terms of being taken seriously as a viable Hip-Hop composer and artist. It's true that many of the today's new producer's are utilizing things like keyboard's and various sound racks and there are a lot more "new" sounds floating around, but they're doing it for different reasons than Milk is. More often I'm hearing excuses about why we're being bombarded with cheesy synth-laden opuses that ring to the tune of "I do it like this because Sampling is getting to expensive to clear"....Hmmmm, it's a real problem yes, but unless your knocking down sales in at least the ten thousand dollar range, I wouldn't be too concerned. Dre and Puff get sued for using an uncleared sample, not you Joe schmoes. To get back to my original point however, that being that Milk is undertaking this kind of a project to show he can get down without sampling i.e. display his skills, I think it's important that some of the older heads check this new album of his out.

"Tronic" could very well be a landmark LP in terms of it's lasting effects on Hip-Hop production.....I know any and every real head will check it out and with good reason. If we as a culture move toward a more live-influenced sound, who knows what potentially could lie ahead for either Black Milk, the Detroit scene or Hip-Hop as a whole? Before I send all of you blindly into what surely will be an exaltation of a perfect experiment in sound, I want to educate you on some of his more antiquated record's a bit. Therein, we have his new mixtape "Elec", that is a pretty comprehensive rundown of what he's been up to lately and what he's dropped in the past that cannot be ignored. Milk let's some exclusives from "Tronic" go on this as well, generously letting the masses grab two extremely laudable efforts way ahead of release time. "Give The Drummer Some" and "The Matrix" easily kill around ninety percent of the wackass shit other cats are currently droppin'. The cuts that DJ Premier hooks him up with on "The Matrix" alone should send you rocketing through the stratosphere with anticipation for what I'm billing as the biggest and most important release from any Detroit-based artist in years.

Maybe the spirit of Rock City can be partially restored through one of it's native sons having a bit of success.....maybe not....I for one hope it can and does but it's times like these that Milk is providing a lot of people with something that is more essential than any momentary success and that's hope. Hope for young producer's and rapper's from the D and hope for Hip-Hop maybe staying alive a little while longer.


Fat Ray & Black Milk - Take Control
Black Milk - Give the Drummer Sum
Caltroit - Go Hard f. Ras Kass & Royce Da 5'9"
Elzhi - Motown 25 f. Royce Da 5'9"
Elzhi - D.E.M.O.N.S.
Caltroit - Goatit f. Elzhi & Bishop Lamont
Black Milk - Dub Rock
Fat Ray & Black Milk - Nothing to Hide
Jake One - I'm Comin f. Black Milk & Nottz
Dabrye - Special (Black Milk Remix) f. Guilty Simpson
T3 - Yawl f. Elzhi
Caltroit - Mouth Music f. Busta Rhymes
Slum Village- Call Me f. Dwele
Pharoahe Monch - Bar Tap
Young RJ - Welcome to the District f. Black Milk
Black Milk - The Matrix f. DJ Premier / Pharoahe Monch / Sean Price
Slum Village - Bootleggin
Genius / GZA - 7 Pounds
Caltroit - Bang that Shit Out f. Bishop Lamont & DJ Rhetttmatic
Guilty Simpson - My Moment
Marv Won - Talk About
Caltroit - Everything f. Kardinal Offishall
Fat Ray & Black Milk - Get Focus f. Phat Kat
Fat Ray & Black Milk - When it Goes Down
Caltroit - Inconvenient Truth

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Diamond D - The Huge Hefner Chronicles

For the majority of my teenage years D.I.T.C. and it's member's dominated a great deal of my listening time. They were the epitome of the perfect hardcore Hip-Hop group to me. I admired their lyricism and I sought out their productions on other artist's credit listing's. At first I was pretty alien to most of the members other than Finesse, L and Joe, but gradually I would discover the other's. Show and AG really resonated well with me. I liked Show's production more than anyone else in the group's and AG was a dope, slept-on lyricist that frequently I would find myself reciting quotes from. Buckwild was too insane for most people behind the boards and when O.C. joined up I accepted him with open arms due to his high competence as an emcee. Their cohesiveness and rawness as a group was just too perfect man.

Then I found an album called "Stunts Blunts and Hip-Hop". LOL, ya'll know it was over after that. Diamond D was a strong producer but he also was just as ill when he put his rappin' hat on. He was dually talented and quickly became one of my favorite artist's in a group that was filled with legitimate skills.

From there on I followed his career closely.....ended up copping "Hatred, Passions And Infidelity" in 97' and was pleased to see that for the most part Diamond was sticking to the same formula as his classic debut. It boasted a lot of dope loops when it came to the production tip and his signature smooth flow was present as well. Although I received the album as about a 3 1/2 outta 5 star effort, other critic's at the time marked it much lower, citing an "un-inspired" flow and an "un-imaginative" approach to his production as what drug his sophomore release down. I didn't see it that way and continued to bang HP&I as well as check for Diamond as his production and vocals assisted some of Hip-Hop's all-time classic album's throughout the 90's.

As many of us hardcore D.I.T.C. heads know, the 2K has seen a much different output from many if not all of the members. Diamond fell off the scene for a bit and while I heard he had been working on a group project with Sadat X and a random female artist, nothing ever surfaced retail-wise.

So here we are, it's 2008 and the brand of hardcore, boom-bap hip-hop that Diamond specialized in about 11 to 13 years ago is all but fading into obscurity. Sadly many artist's from his generation are slowly but surely converting to the dark side and taking up a stake in the new sound that seems to emphasize more about needless excess and shitty dance themed production than anything else....

Lemme start at the very beginning; that,....just horrid man....and in all likelihood probably more deserving of being on a mixtape release, than adorning a full fledged LP. I was put off by that immediately, but nevertheless I pushed onward and delved into the music. At first my hopes were high, the first track is pretty decent, not spectacular. The DJ Scratch produced "You Can't Be me" immediately steals the show and sent my anticipation for the rest of the album soaring. In fact the music that would ensue would go on to be pretty, if not colossally disappointing. Diamond muddles through tired themes that at times sound a bit forced for the aging hip-hopper. There's a presence of more than a few R&B tinged cuts on here that totally throw off any diversity that Diamond could have been looking for. All are clumsily executed and didn't provide anything that a regular Diamond D fan would be interested in. I think the bullshit R&B atrocities committed on here culminate with "Good Tyme", which is perhaps the lamest attempt ever at a crooner anthem courtesy of Blake Carrington and some wack ass dude that goes by K-Terror. Diamond is guilty of coming utterly wack too however; at one point rhyming "..girl I'm so complete, Prada's on my feet, Teek's on my ass, Magnum's on my meat..". SMH...and that pretty much sums up the level of verbal incompetence that Diamond delivers time and again throughout "The Huge Hefner Chronicles". I could go in on that title too, but I really don't think it's necessary to say much other than like the bulk of garbage ass quasi-modern R&B cuts contained on this it blowed as well...

This album should of never happened. It has permanently scarred an otherwise unquestionably dope and credible catalog. It sounds rushed and it doesn't reflect Diamond D's true music. He didn't even handle much of the production this time around and that's another bad mis-step that the majority of real hip-hop journalist's and writer's will add to the laundry list of things that went so wrong. This is a perfect example of yet another aging star abandoning his roots and true fans to create a really flaky LP, woefully influenced by the bullshit climate of today's pop chart scene. "The Huge Hefner Chronicles" contains few to no joints on it that are memorable or worth revisiting. I'd advise people to grab "You Can't Be Me" and maybe "When Ur Hot Ur Hot", but sadly other then those, I'm not sure that this isn't the biggest flop of the entire year. Fortunately D.I.T.C. is dropping a new album in November and redemption might be well within reach for Diamond, who I for one, hopes that he'll take that opportunity to return to his true form.


01 - Intro (Feat. Fat Joe)
02 - U Can't Be Me
03 - D-I-A-M-O-N-D
04 - Don't Beg
05 - Baby (Feat. Jawz Of Life)
06 - Good Tyme (Feat. Blake Carrington & K-Terror)
07 - I Getz In
08 - Get Up
09 - I'll Be Alright (Feat. Novel)
10 - When Ur Hot Ur Hot (Feat. Sadat X & Stacy Epps)
11 - I Wanna Leave (Feat. Crawfish)
12 - Bad/Good

Video: DJ Muggs VS. Planet Aisa - Lions In The Forest

Wonderfully imaginative vid, set off by the gloriously brooding and moody Intro's and outro's....commando style footage during the meat of this vid is somewhat routine, but Planet Asia's camera presence is better than average so it balances out pretty well....the highlight of it all is the beginning, ridiculously good cinema being relayed for the impending gun duel...


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Throwback(s) Of The Month: Echo & The Lyricist Lounge Present The Underground Airplay Mixtapes Vol. 2 - 5

I don't know if you remember or not, but as far back as 93' when Ecko Unlimited clothing was new and still known as "Echo" Unlimited (they caught a nasty lawsuit and had to change the spelling of "Echo") the upstart clothing line whose then feature garments were T-Shirts with graffiti writing on them changed the game forever and proved that music and fashion in Hip-Hop went hand in hand.

Marc Ecko was a huge hip-hop head/graff fan and he was competing feverishly to keep his fledgling clothing line relevant in the midst of other brands growing in popularity (yes, Fubu, Nautica, Mecca, Timberland, Polo Sport, and Tommy Hilfiger were threatening his business). Ecko had an advantage though. He already in a short amount of time had managed to gain a decent cult following because from day one his brand was dedicated to the underground Hip-Hop culture. In an attempt to appeal to that core audience of saavy street-influenced consumers the Echo brand would join forces with the ultra respected Hip-Hop troop, The Lyricist Lounge and release a free mixtape in conjunction with the purchase of their T-shirts.....they dubbed it the "One shirt, One tape, One Love" philosophy. These tapes that I'm dropping here (excluding the first one) were the first hand full, and they represented true hip-hop to the highest degree. Mainly containing tracks from little known underground artist's around the Tri-state area, they are collector's gems these days if you can find any of em' in their original cassette tape format. They were called "Underground Airplay" and I can remember these tapes being directly attached to the shirt, but after awhile they started coming separate and you would have to buy a piece of Ecko clothing and then at the cash register they would hand you the, I knew that theft was gonna be a problem, these tapes were just too ill....they continued droppin' the Underground Airplay tapes up until about 2001 I think, then they chilled... partially because of the decline in the popularity in tapes I would assume, but I don't know for sure. For the most part DJ Spinbad was at the helm on the 1's & 2's for most of these mixes, and he always did a great job.

These tapes really cemented my already high opinion of Marc Ecko. Not only was he a marketing genius, but a real head that was trying to help out some of the truly talented, but often overlooked emcee's from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania find an outlet for their music. Ecko knew the love affair that real heads had with mixtapes and he was somehow able to find the resources to routinely include a new one with his latest gear. Talk about quality man. I was already buying Echo shirts back in the day, but then a free tape started coming wit em'....Marc just understood us mid nineties hip-hoppers man.....I know it's sort of off-topic for me to mention this, but to me it's kinda sad to see how corporate Ecko has become. I don't know his level of involvement on the designs on his shirts and whatnot is anymore, but I know I haven't bought anything Ecko since prolly around 2001. But I digress......

Underground Airplay was pure magic from the start and revisiting these joints brought back a lot of really fond memories, not only of the music, but just the whole culture of Hip-Hop back then.....

Tons of long forgotten ill artist's and Groups are on these joints man....from Mr. Voodoo, Vice Grip, Pound Of Chaos, Trix Galore, Menace, Mellow E, U.T.D., Ran Reed, Sinister Voices, Dirty Dozens & PSP, one found that the authenticity of the phone number that was on the front of the tapes instructing artist's to send their demo's in was absolutely credible. Don't get it twisted though, plenty of established underground acts graced these immaculate time capsules as well...Shabaam Sahdeeq, Chubb Rock, The Cella Dwellas, Al Tariq, Grand Puba, Agallah, Mad Skillz, Craig Mack and a certain legendary producer that was then going by the name T-Neck Nick at the time...that's right Rakim's longtime hitman Nick Wiz also found some of his work featured on these historic tapes.

These joints are incredible, please enjoy....Big time props to the good bruthas at who hooked up these rips and the cover scans.....ya'll are the shit for these man, straight up and down.....


*sorry no tracklists*

Underground Airplay Vol. II: "The Cypha Continues..."

Underground Airplay Vol. III: Burdens Of Tropheys

Underground Airplay Vol. IV: Certified East Coast Bomb

Underground Airplay Vol. 5: Reborn

DJ Eclipse - Rap Is Outta Control

In a time when there are as many bad Hip-Hop mixtapes and radio shows as there are mis-quotes from Sarah Palin, DJ Eclipse, one of my favorite Disc Jockey's out east and a constant supporter of the real culture and sound has put together a consumate mix of dope, underground Hip-Hop music. You'll find every official joint that has dropped in the last few months on here and I have no doubt that in years to come this mix will serve exceptionally as a time capsule for the year 2008 and it's finest subterranean offerings.

Eclipse really took a good amount of time thinking about the tracks to throw on this and the result was that "Rap Is Outta Control" is on just about every respectable Hip-Hop blog on the web. You just can't deny the man's commitment to great Hip-Hop, and I knew it was only a matter of time til' people started treating his "Halftime" radio show with the same degree of respect as all those really dope WKCR Stretch and Bobbito show's. Much like those old Stretch and Bob shows, Eclipse has packed this mix (which was taken from a recent show Eclipse did) with the best and brightest, the illest and most revered. You'll find in the way of emcee's, burgeoning young names like Elzhi, Termanology, Joell Ortiz, Illa J, Kaze, Skyzoo, Emilio Rojas, Justice Kareem & Gaurdian Leep, as well as familiar old reliable's like Krs-One, Large Professor, Gza, Diamond D and Edo G. Truthfully however, the show is stolen by the production lineup.....Pete Rock, DJ Premier, J Dilla, DJ Revolution, DJ Scratch, Mathematics, Buckwild, Bronze Nazereth, DJ Muggs, Jake One, M-Phazes, Illmind, Salaam Remi and Black Milk all have beats featured on this incredible mix.

I say do yaself a favor and grab this, then play it a few good times. Then leave it be somewhere for awhile, be it on ya PC or Laptop, on a CD-R lost in ya whip, wherever. Then one day out the blue, play it....I would be willing to wager my original copy of Nas's "Illmatic" that you won't be able to turn it off til' you hear the whole thing. Epitome of concrete is how I would best describe this mix and it's solidness. Won't rust, won't do nuthin' but still be solid when you re-visit it someday down the line. Hats off to DJ Eclipse, who by the way, drops mixes like this on the regular on WNYU's Halftime show, which comes on every Wednesday night (10:30 EST) can peep it out online here:, or for all you ipod brats: itunes>radio>eclectic>WNYU.....


GZA feat. True Master “Colombian Ties” prod. by Bronze Nazareth
Lil Fame “Security” prod. by Fizzy Womack
Big Shug feat. Singapore Kane & Termanology “My Boston” prod. by Premier
Illa J feat. Guilty Simpson “R U Listening” prod. by J Dilla
DJ K.O. feat. Wordsworth, Stricklin & Torae “That Knack” prod. by M-Phazes
Elzhi “Hands Up” prod. by Black Milk
Jay Dee “No One Knows” prod. by Supa Dave West
Large Professor “Hot: Sizzling, Scorching, Torching, Blazing” prod. by Large Pro
DJ Revolution feat. KRS-One “The DJ” prod. by DJ Revolution
Murs “Can It Be”
Madlib feat. Guilty Simpson “Go!” prod. by Madlib
Jake One feat. MF Doom “Trap Door” prod. by Jake One
DJ K.O. feat. Silent Knight, Skyzoo & Emilio Rojas “Get Em” prod. by Illmind
GZA feat. Justice Kareem “Groundbreaking” prod. by Bronze Nazareth
Large Professor feat. Killah Sha & Guardian Leep “Maica Living” prod. by Large Pro
The LOX “It’s Like That” prod. by Pete Rock
LL Cool J feat. Grandmaster Caz “Ringtone Murder” prod. by DJ Scratch
ILL BILL “I’m A Goon” prod. by ILL BILL & Sicknature
DJ Muggs & Planet Asia “Pain Language” prod. by DJ Muggs
GZA feat. RZA & Masta Killa “Pencil” prod. by Mathematics
Elzhi feat. Ayah “The Leak” prod. by Black Milk
Joell Ortiz “Memories” prod. by Salaam Remi
Termanology feat. Bun B “How We Rock” prod. by DJ Premier
DJ K.O. feat. EDO G, Diamond D & Kaze “Nobody Like Me” prod. by Buckwild
ILL BILL “Trust Nobody” prod. by ILL BILL
Large Professor “Frantic Barz” prod. by Large Professor

Video: DJ K.O. feat. East And Silent Knight - Here We Go

Just like his new Album "Picture This", DJ K.O.'s new video for "Here We Go" embodies everything that is good and worthwhile in Hip-Hop. Shot brilliantly by newcomer Court Dunn, most of the subject matter is just shots of East and Silent Knight kickin ill verses on the street, in a record store (believe it's NYC Fat Beats, not 100% sure tho) and on a basketball court near the projects. Pretty easy tune to follow as well, I hear a 9th WOnder shout out in the beginning of the vid, but I think K.O. produced this...either way, make sure you check out his album...def. one of the best compilation albums to drop in 08', and wit the year compilations are having, that says a lot for a primarily indie artist like K.O..


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Big Noyd - Street Kings

Queensbridge's most overlooked thug poet Big Noyd returns with another new album entitled "Street Kings"; his second release in 2008. Plenty of good production and solid guest spots from his QB brethren fuel Noyd's latest hardcore opus, that is sure to please any east coast gangster rap enthusiast. Personally my favorite moments come when Noyd focuses on themes besides his predictable and torrential street tales, or approaches them with added creatively. Songs like "Hunger Pains", "Is It Me" and "Friends" find Noyd digging deeper and surprisingly doling out somewhat more intensified and richer messages. I like his new approach, but I'd be lying if I said his joints that regressed back to his thuggish straight-talk and flat out ig'nance weren't pretty compelling as well. He really put together a nice LP in "Street Kings" that serves up a better balance than past efforts and finds him focusing more on his lyrical content...just what his fans will be expecting after a couple of so-so outings on his last couple of projects.


01 02:27 Yes
02 02:53 Know What I’m Sayin
03 03:27 Make Me
04 02:08 Up In New York
05 01:23 We Ridin’
06 02:57 Family
07 02:43 Gangsta Niggaz
08 02:59 Hunger Pains
09 02:51 Friends
10 02:58 Rags To Riches
11 02:29 Love It Or Not
12 03:09 Is It Me
13 03:20 Wassup
14 02:24 Burn It Down

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rest In Peace: Johnny J Commits Suicide

It is with a heavy heart that I report tonight to all those that might not of yet heard, that Johnny Jackson AKA Johnny J has been reported on several websites to have had committed suicide while being held in LA county jail on a DUI. Sources report that Johnny threw himself off a high rise tier on Oct. 3rd, killing himself.

Johnny J was born in Juarez, Mexico in 1969. He was raised in South Central Los Angeles to adoptive parents. Known primarily for being one of Tupac's go to beatsmith's, I consider him one of the all-time greatest Latino producer's Hip-Hop has ever known. Johnny J broke into the game by producing "Knockin' The Boots" for his high school classmate Candyman. The song was on Candyman's platinum-selling album "Ain't No Shame in My Game", and catapulted Johnny into high demand as a producer. From there he would meet the legendary Tupac Shakur. The two hit it off immediately and became friends. They recorded nine songs in three days, most of which were added to the "Above The Rim" Soundtrack and Tupac's "Thug Life" LP. From there Johnny would continue working with Tupac and put a heavy stamp on one of the best rap albums ever in Pac's "All Eyes On Me"; producing tracks like "All About You", "How Do You Want It" and "Life Goes On". Johnny also handled the overall bulk of the production for the classic album (11 tracks) cementing his spot in Hip-Hop history forever. As time would go on Johnny and Pac would record over 100 songs together, many of which sadly never were released in their original form with Johnny J's production.

As we struggle to come to grips with this tremendously incomprehensible tragedy my thoughts go out to Johnny's close friend's and family. I can only hope that Johnny is somewhere without pain and perhaps got to speak with his old friend Tupac for awhile. In his untimely departure I remember how many countless times his music resonated with me and served as the perfect back drop for one of the greatest artist's ever to rhyme over.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pit Fight Records Presents: The Beatnuts U.F.O. Files Unreleased Joints

I've written a good amount about the Beatnuts on Pure Hip-Hop and for the most part everything I've typed has been overwhelmingly positive, much like the Corona, Queens duo's catalog. They were my hero's growing up man and part of the reason why I fell in love with production and ultimately became a producer (of sorts) myself. They was Latino's man, and they was nice. They made ill, creative beats and could rhyme with great wit. They made me and countless other Latin kids across the country proud. Their music in the 90's was as close to perfect as any artist's could get. Then, something happened as the 90's faded away and Hip-Hop merged into the new decade. Not really sure what, but all of a sudden their rhymes and beats went from being about 75% hardcore, 15% sex driven and 10% goofy fun, to being close to 60% sex driven, 20% goofy shit and club themed stuff and 20% hardcore. Which really all panned out to being 100% disappointment most times.

2001's "Take It Or Squeeze It" started their gradual slide into much different musical waters. It wasn't overtly that bad to me, but many loyalist's marked it as the beginning of the end. 2002 saw the Nut's hastily release "The Originators", which suffered not only from more than a few drastic last-minute changes, but also displayed JuJu and Psycho Les once again trying their hand at creating more club and radio friendly tracks. By the time 2004 came around and the Nuts dropped "Milk Me", their fans already knew what was coming and they got exactly what they feared they would. The sound on their latest group effort was so unrecognizable compared to their 90's masterpiece's and even their late classic "Musical Massacre", the Nuts seemed to be in full recession as worthwhile artist's. Now fully overdosing on their trademark funk sound, but for much different reasons and results, the two seemed to be all but ready to whole heartedly delve into being simple-tongued club rappers. The struggle to interpret the modern fan's omnipresent fickleness has surely taken a toll on Junkyard and Big Psych, and up until now the two haven't exactly been quite as visible together. Les has dropped a few solo projects on his own, including an album that saw him team back up with long estranged group mate Al Tariq AKA Fashion and a guy named Problems. While the two claim that nothing is up and they're still thick as thieves, cynical minds come to their own conclusions. While rumors of the two perhaps being on the outs with one another circulate quietly, the good name that the Beatnut's built up feverishly over the span of 15 years seemingly is falling by the wayside. Their new release of older material doesen't do much to shake their recent criticism's.

Maybe it's not exactly a comeback, but it's some new Nuts... Well, sort of anyway. With a new offering entitled "U.F.O. Files" the Beatnuts have returned to dish out some previously unreleased material. Unfortunately, I can't really pump this up too much to you good people. Besides most likely being the front runner for the worst album cover of 08', "U.F.O. Files" is a pretty un-impressive collection of the Beatnut's unreleased joints dating back to who knows when. Put together and distributed by Psycho Les's fairly new Pit Fight Records imprint, this collection is sloppy and un-inspired, and won't do much to appease the Beatnut's longtime fans. Most likely Les was just seeking to get another project (the others were the Mixtape "Keep The Fire Burning" and the album "Psycho Therapy") out on his fledgling new label, and for that I can't be mad at him, the economy looks more frigid than a Chicago winter and duke needs to get his paper while he still can. One thing that sort of sits kinda unusually is the lack of involvement that JuJu has with all these new endeavors Les got goin'. Take it from me fellas, goin the solo route ain't always the key to defining yourself as an individual, especially not for dope, two man groups from NYC. Case in point CNN. I say do well within your group, define yourself in that arena....and JuJu and Les did manage to do that. They've run together for a long time, and we as fans have never confused them, there's a reason for that and there's a reason why they should keep doin they thing...together.

"U.F.O. Files" (jesus, what a silly name/concept) isn't all bad. There are a few joints that provide a short time capsule back to when the Nuts were making music that was undeniably dope. "All My Life" and "Story To Tell" will send the fanatics back in time and make them ask why those joints never found a home on any of the Nuts' major releases. However, cuts like "Mama Let me See U Work That Pole!" and "Freak N The Club" quickly bring us right back down to earth as they sort of embody the lame club-themed type of hip-hop Les has been aiming at making lately. Another surprising component to this new album I thought, was the actual content itself really. Let me explain. I know the Beatnuts put in work. They're producers and producers do two things a lot; compile and save. These guys probably have tons of stuff that they've preserved and thrown in the vaults over the years and this is the stuff they drop on us for a "unreleased joints" type of release? I shouldn't even say "they", because I'm not sure of JuJu's level of involvement, but the cover says "The Beatnuts", so to me JuJu is involved by default because he's apart of the team and they name is on the front of this shit. I mean I've just grown so dissatisfied with their level of interest's like JuJu is off somewhere doin whatever, and Les is putting out all these thoroughly un-memorable,'s just so unnecessary at this point. I mean they know who they're fans are, yet they're chasing the 13 year old Soulja Boy fan's money? Come on yo, ya'll should already know if you put out that heat we're gonna have your back. They will have to re-earn that trust, but we'll have their backs. Les means well, and he has been busy, but this is officially the third dud that's dropped on Pit Fight Records. He's gotta turn the ship around and find a way to change his musical direction. I don't like going to his Myspace page and hearing better and more exclusive music in his standalone player than on his latest release.

I understand that the Beatnuts do have a new album slated for release sometime in early 09', tentatively titled "Planet Of The Crates". Sounds like another theme type of deal, if I had to take a guess I'd say it was most likely a collection of all their favorite samples/breaks or something, but you never know. What I will say for sure is that if they want a positive review and for there old fans to respect what their doin' in the here and now, they've got to have a better product. I'm confident that they can make ill underground music and still get their paper. It's what I would advise, because if the choice is between them putting out a terrible product like "U.F.O. Files" or just not putting anything out, I choose the latter.


01. Ghetto Dawg 02:13
02. All My Life 02:27
03. Easy Does It 05:10
04. Story To Tell You 03:30
05. No Escaping This Undefeated 02:58
06. Think BIG 03:55
07. Sorry Ms. Jackson 03:36
08. Yall Niggas Can’t Touch Us 03:38
09. Get It! 02:56
10. Freak N The Club 03:38
11. Mama Let Me See U Work That Pole! 02:27
12. Fluid 04:02
13. Discco 05:01

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jake One - The Great Beat Writer Mixtape

Prepping heads for his new compilation album "White Van Music", producer Jake One drops a free mixtape on us filled with his older notable productions, exclusive tracks off "White Van Music", unreleased material and a joint he produced for John Cena?? LOl, Pro wrestling assists aside, "The Great Beat Writer" is a pretty stand up run down of Jake's best stuff to date. I'm sure most of these joints will become more obscure however, given that Jake's new LP is dropping soon. Yes, I've already heard it and yes, it's that damn good.

If your like me and your not that familiar with Jake One's production cred's, one thing about this tape is that it will reveal that Jake is the architect behind a few of your favorite bangers, guaranteed. "Down In New York City"; perhaps my favorite joint off Evidence's "Weatherman LP" (an album filled to the brim with excellent production) is just one banger that I had presumed that Evidence had produced himself. Wasn't til' I took a gander at the production credits for this tape that I realized otherwise.

Now I admit that I didn't know a whole lot about Jake before this tape, but one thing I did know was that he had done more than a few things for G-Unit artist's and 50 inparticuliar. I knew that full well walking into this, and so too should you. Young Buck's "The Clean Up Man" is a bright spot that I somewhat enjoyed, but other G-Unit appearances on here, well.....lets just say god made a track skip button for reason. Other than "those" moments, I had a great time bumpin "The Great Beat Writer". I really like Jake's drums, and they consistently held my intrest track after track while I listened. Really liked the remix for MF Doom's "Hoe Cakes" too, Jake did that much justice. There's a lot of really superior artists that are on here. From names and groups like Arcee, Boom Bap Project, I Self, De La Soul, Freeway and yes, the woefully bad G-Unit, any head (and I mean any) is sure to find what their looking for on here, but more importantly they're sure to find a reason to go cop Jake's new LP "White Van Music", tracks to check for are all the exclusves from it; "Trap Door", "The Truth" and "Gangsta Boy".


The End Of An Era: BET announces it's a wrap for popular Rap City show

While most of us real heads prolly knew that it was technically "over" after Big Tigger left, BET went ahead and confirmed rumors that had been swirling around that in fact yes, they will be officially cancelling Rap City: The Basement this fall. Although I hadn't tuned into the show (or BET for that matter) much since sometime around the early 2K, I have to admit I will miss it. Even though it had evolved from a "real deal" and credible hip-hop video/interview show with knowledgable hosts to a watered down R&B/top 40 deushbag fest, with hosts who at times were, well....plain corny, I will indeed miss it. Nothing personal against Mad Linx, J-Nicks or DJ Q45, but they were just subpar man....There's no hiding true talent and authentic presence in front of camera, but there's also no hiding when someone forces it and that's exactly what some of these dudes were doin'. I will cut those jokers a lil' slack though, mainly because their victims of my enamored views of earlier Rap City hosts like Prince Dejour, Big Tigger, Joe Cleezie and Big Lez. Those guys (Tigger, Clair, Lez, Dejour) knew hip-hop, had dope personalities, were relatable and laawd, Big Lez was so easy to look at. Lol, except for the latter, those are all traits that are super important for a host of an hip-hop themed show. Alas...the good producers that made it such a staple within the Hip-Hop community either moved on or helped with it's grotesque transformation, turning the program's loyal viewer's into it's most harsh critic's and sinking it's once soaring ratings.

When I first heard this news I thought to myself, "maybe this is for the best", Maybe, this will help the new generation of totally clueless hipster-rap fucko's in finding a voice that is more their own. Hell, I can't even act like my heroes are the bottom line anymore......I mean they've got underground artist's today that would make the one's that was poppin' in the ninetie's look like a bunch of depressed poets....I guess in a way everything comes full circle. After all, I was once the young upstart hip-hopper who shunned the older head's preference's for my own. Yup, that's right, I was the guy who was yelling that Yo MTV Raps wasn't shit compared to Rap City. I was the guy saying that yeah, Rakim is aaight, but he ain't fuckin wit these Wu-tang niggas! I was the guy lookin at ya played out gold rope chain, suede bally's and Ray ban's and smirking while I rocked a army fatigue jacket, Carrhart jeans, a fresh pair of wheat Timberlands and a walkman cassette player with the latest Clue mixtape blowing my eardrums out. So I can somewhat understand how an older idea (even though it wasn't the original format of it) like Rap City doesn't exactly resonate with the new kids.

The ninetie's were a great time for hip-hop and myself, and Rap City was a huge part of that. Whether you were waiting to see what gear Tigger was gonna be rockin', what dope artist or group was gonna be coming through to spit in the booth, or who the guest DJ was, Rap City could easily turn a bad day into an above average one. Rap City also kept you up to date on the latest happenings in the world of hip-hop and served as another reason why my generation was ultimatly the better and more informed fans. We actually had to listen and make an effort to understand the news when delivered by Joe Clair, Big Tigger or whomever was holding down the basement. Our news wasn't just a click away on the world wide web, or on satellite radio, we had to listen, process and finally form an opinion when it was reported that DMX was getting arrested. These days you can read about the Dark Man's run in's with johnny law on just about any blog or website 10 minutes after it happens. Information isn't at a premium anymore and it isn't treasured like it used to be. For fuck sakes, the first time I heard about Biggie bein' shot was by word of mouth, and that person saw it on guess where? Rap City.

The video's on Rap City were always top notch in the early days. Never straying too far from the same, un-flawed formula of only showing the best stuff, not the stuff that's also on the radio. My boy Caleb used to tape the videos they showed on Rap City man. I remember one day I found one of those old video mixtapes he had made and I was just in awe....the lineup was so good, I sat there for the whole hour watching all my old favorites like MC Ren, Redman, Big Pun and KRs-One. Rap City had a glorious prime and pretty much set the standard during that prime. Sadly, in today's greedy and hopelessly bad TV landscape of hyper-sensitive viewer's with incredibly short attention spans, rating's hungry producer's and conservative agenda big wigs, I don't think another show will ever have the chance to challenge Rap City's mid 90's supremacy.

BET has plans to replace Rap City with a new show called "The Deal", that supposedly will take the best elements of Rap City and mix them in with a new format, a format that also includes, among other lame ideas, pop-up's with facts about the given artist/group who's video is playing. Hmmmm.....that sounds familiar....could it be that BET is once again copying another wack ass, shitty MTV show and re-introducing it for minorities? Wow....thanks a lot Viacom. I guess that's why "elitist" and "staunch" heads like myself haven't bothered to look at MTV, VH1 and BET (all Viacom subsidiaries) since they were sophomores in high school....While everything continues to fall apart at a network that was once filled with ground-breaking shows and personalities I'll be watching TV One or reading a new book.