Saturday, January 31, 2009

Singles: JoJo Pellegrino - Rap Pain & Real Fake

Jojo Pellegrino was once one of the the premier artists developing on one of my most beloved label's in the early 2K, Violator Records. Back then Jojo was blossoming nicely into what I was confident was going to be the role of the leading solo act on Violator. Amongst a bunch of huge Hip-Hop names (Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, Nore, etc.,) the famed management company started by Chris Lighty and Mona Scott was also working on a new group that featured a trio of young Brooklynites who went by the names Red Cafe, Gravy and Q Da Kid, who together formed Da' Franchise. Collectively, Jojo and Da' Franchise were all gaining an abundance of musical traction at the same time.....

It was on the ever popular Violator compilation LP's (You remember those dope ass albums that had all the artist caricature's drawn on their cover's) that the up and comer's would shine their brightest. On the first volume Da' Franchise appeared with Ja Rule for the thugged out goodness of "First Degree", then on the second one they returned for the ultra dope "Livin In The City", that was assisted by west coast crooner Butch Cassidy. Additionally, the second installment of the compilation was where Pella would increase his status as one of the sharpest new emcee's anywhere while simultaneously holding the crown as the illest Italian lyricist in NYC, not unlike his predecessor's Genovese and Johnny Blanco. With his ill re-working of the classic Rakim track "Microphone Fiend", Jojo would prove he was a true head, extremely capable of flow dexterity. Another highlight would be his performance with L.A. veteran wordsmith Kurupt for "Grind Season", a song and collabo that I find is always sorely overlooked when I talk about his best material. Never one to shy away from puttin' his foot in the cypha and doin' the hokey pokey all around, Jojo was conjointly impressive next to his then heady freshman classmates, Remy Martin, Red Cafe, Fabolous and Cadillac Tah on "Rap's New Generation". Indeed, I was excited about the future of Pella and the young roster over at Violator. To me, the big time money and fame enjoyed by some of their celebrity label mates was all but inevitable for them as well.

Fast Forward to 2009. If you would have told me all those years ago that today Red Cafe would be the only one to ever release an album (and it wasn't even on Violator), Q would be signed to a label that doubles as a body spray and that Gravy would be the only one to become a multi- millionaire via a starring role in a major bio-pic, hysterical laughter would've been all that ensued on my part. Furthermore, if you told me that the slick-tongued Italian kid from Staten Island who was baptized into the game battling in the Stapleton projects would wind up leaving the label, and his debut album "The Pellegrino Story" never saw the light of day, I might of just called you a bold faced liar in disbelief. Arguing that there just couldn't be any way a cat that possessed that much skill and promise would get lost in the proverbial Hip-Hop shuffle. Life is funny that way though. It's always what you least expect to happen that becomes reality......not the other way around.

While Jojo has kept a somewhat lower profile in recent years, he's far from over with or retired. Officially leaving Violator and his production company Great World sometime in 02' along with being one of the many artists left in limbo due to Loud Records folding, Pelly sprung into his indy hustle. He began dropping mixtapes and jumping on guest appearances with ferocity. Putting out the "Hitman For Hire" mixtape (which I consider to be the best tape he's ever done, and one of Kay Slay's classic's) and then putting out the heavily celebrated "Beast" track for Marc Ecko's video game "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure", the blue eyed Pizon wasted no time in getting folks buzzing about him once again. Spending some time across international waters with famed Norwegian producer Tommy Tee came next. Furnishing Tee's album "No Studio No Time - The Wait" and then providing a wondrous contribution to the much lauded American release; Marco Polo's "Port Authority" all in 2007 added to the reverberating whispers that Pella was back. Specifically it was his Polo produced track "Speak Softly" that established that he had remained as sharp as ever. Those effort's coupled with many a YouTube video highlighting his freestyle and lyrical chops, lead me to believe he's poised to once again make moves on the industry that at one time momentarily walked away from him.

Resurfacing with the same highly honed skills from a decade ago and an indy aaproach, things do seem bright for Pellegrino. With word circulating that a new mixtape is on the horizon and set to be released soon, I'm genuinely pleased to hear that one person who most definitely should not have hung it up way back when, didn't.....Even when things were less than sanguine. In any case, here we have two new joints from said mixtape that I'm almost positive will please any longtime JJP fan. The first one, "Rap Pain" is a worthy freestyle cover of a joint that everyone used to bang out and sing the chorus to (shouts to X, you'll be home soon brutha). The second, "Real Fake" is classic brainy braggadocio and brass from Pella. Enjoy, and good luck to Pellegrino, I sincerely hope he keeps on fightin' the good fight. We still need/want that debut album and many more after it! til' then, la buona fortuna con la sua musica en 09'....


Rap Pain

Real Fake

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Single: Termanology - Tight Pants Are For Girls

Finally someone puts all this metrosexualness in Hip-Hop on blast! LOL, maybe it's a petty subject to be immersing ourselves in, but damnit, I'm pleased that someone else thinks the way I do when it concerns the sissification of our culture. It's one thing to rock clothes that fits, it's a whole other thing to be walking around in shirts that are extra smedium and jeans that look like their padlocked to your skin.....So over the classic Premier beat Boston up and comer Termanology goes to work on all the batty boys and makes more than a few honest observations of the, all you Kanye clones listen up, this here is for you....


Single: Raekwon & Ghostface - Criminology Pt.2

Just when you were about to give up on Hip-Hop again (yeah, I heard that new auto tuned Havoc track too...SMH..) here comes the Wuuuuu!!!! It really is a relief and a blessing to know that some cats from the golden 90's era will never turn in their hardcore rap cards and continue to strive to keep making and putting out good music. Ghost and Rae completely rip shit down on here so be sure and grab their second tribute to the criminal mental, if for nothing else because joints like this, sadly are becoming a lot more few and far between.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Q-Tip - Abstract Innovation

Most of everything on this LP is about two or three years old and the actual album itself is unreleased, but thanks to Dub MD, you now have it. In fact it was only recently that a few joints off "Abstract Innovation" made their way onto Tip's latest retail, studio LP release "Renaissance". So for all the lover's of things that should've been dropped, but never were, here is a soulful mix that I'm sure will come to define the term "slept-on". I mean what else could you want? You got Tip in rare form, emulating his flow from the 90's, and turning in some dope production work too. Enlisting the help of Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, D'Angelo, Heavy D and Swizz Beatz the list of features isn't a mile long, yet everyone is pretty effective in their contributions. Lemme break it down for ya'll.....

The soulful and jazzy vibe of the "For The Nasty" remix is so on time and definitely will get some play in this blogger's whip. Haven't felt any Busta material like this since he dropped that "Dillagence" tape. The equally groovy "Scram Jones", finds Tip in rare lyrical form as he entrances via an impeccable flow and disses the ultimate lame-O. Anyone else confused about whether this might have been a diss for the NY producer of the same name?

The easy listening theme is a recurring one throughout this effort and usually wins out, however "That's Sexy" with Andre 3000 is a definite swing and miss. Not even Tip's dope 16 can save it from the awkward and forced singing of 3000. Damn....and after that joint he [Andre] just did wit Raekwon I was thinkin he was gonna turn things around musically. Guess not.

Things pick back up on "Fever", where we find the Tipster straight wreckin' shop over a dope beat and releasing rhymes aimed dead center at the lazy emcee's that think they know what a dope verse is all about. How that track only made it on the import versions of "The Renaissance" baffles me. Striding into the harsh realities of being a black man in society with "Black Boy" things momentarily get abstract, no pun intended. A quirkier type of beat with a dope snare, Tip once again wields his solo magic as he sits back and kicks witty, introspective rhymes, spitting "This is the mission, to get y'all to listen"...indeed it is Mr. Davis, indeed it is.

Putting another experimental track right behind another; "Passes You By" is decent, but comes nowhere near the awkward brillance of "Black Boy". Using a rapid fire flow and high BPM beat, Tip sort of delves into a relationship themed jaunt here. Singing a soulful hook doesn't save the song from itself, but it's far from a dud however, just not the greatest experiment. Meh, I have little doubt that it'll probably grow on me as time goes on. "Good Thing" takes us back to a more routine pace as Tip continues to rhyme about love, desire and relationships, but this time over a funky electric guitar loop and some souled-out keys. After that funky goodness, perhaps this mix's headiest beat comes on.....all you hear in the beginning is the Jazzy Lena Horne tune playing.....then the beat for "I Got Rythym" comes in. Then you start nodding your head uncontrollably. Tip sorta just rumbles through a verse, mightily competing with an outstanding sample flip (that I think Swizz did). Newcomer Junebug temporarily outshines the Hip-Hop vet with a more structured 16, but that's neither here nor there considering that I'm pretty sure Tip knew well in advance that the sample would never be cleared and the song essentially would just go in the vaults. Still a dope piece of music however.

"I Believe" is a track that was recycled for the new release "The Renaissance"....I loved it then, and I still love it now, however I do feel it fits a lot better on this LP/Mix. Props to D'Angelo for ripping that chorus, dude sounds focused again. "The official" is so damn good man....from the beat, to the scratching, to Tip's throwback flow/voice that we all have been waiting to hear again this is another gem of the mix....a can't miss IMO. "Johnny Died" is yet another banga that was included on "TR"....Might just be me, but the mix on this version sounds a lil' different from the retail one, maybe I'm just hearing things though. Moving into a more street-sounding production, "Listen" features another much sought after Hip-Hop veteran that recently returned from a long hiatus in Heavy D. LOL, we knew Waterbed Hev still could kick it! The real showcase here is the beat that sports a killer bass line and yet another thick, snapping snare. The ill production continues on with "Not Gon' Have It". An eclectic and funk inspired groove laced with cautionary rhymes is what sums this track up. Joint Reflects on Tip's earliest years and his escape of his harsh reality through writing raps.

Smoothing things back out, we're taken on a ride with a smart and loving dedication to all the strong, young women out there with "Request". Truly a classy piece of music. Great hook on there too. Moving from one record with a deeper meaning to another, "Lisa" is a somber-feeling joint that finds our emcee looking back on heart break and lamenting through song. Really exposes Q-Tip the artist.....I mean it's on a whole other level than the other stuff coming out today. It's genuinely genuine if you know what I mean, even if it does make you feel a little blue.

Jumping back from that ledge, we go into "Hey"; an up beat and almost bouncy track with the more standard gumbo-mix of subject matter that Tip weaves together oh so nicely. Finishing up we are graced with the presence of Erykah Badu, who subtly puts her emotional stamp on this wonderful tune that is impeccably produced and includes a dope piano break accompanied by the angelic voice of Ms. Badu, whose epic guest spot sort of takes the track over by default.


01. For The Nasty Remix feat. Busta Rhymes
02. Scram Jones
03. That's Sexy feat. Andre 3000
04. Fever
05. Black Boy
06. Passes You By
07. Good Thing
08. I Got Rhythm feat. Royce Da 5'9" & Lena Horne
09. I Believe feat. D'Angelo
10. The Official
11. Johnny Died
12. Listen feat. Heavy D
13. Not Gon' Have It
14. Request
15. Lisa
16. Hey
17. Poetry feat. Erykah Badu

Betrayl - The Problem And The Answer Hosted by DJ Scarface

Really happy to see this brutha return with a new project. For those that don't know or remember duke, Betrayl is an up and coming emcee that hails from the Boston and New Bedford area's of Massachusetts, that unlike so many other new emcee's trying to break into the game, actually possesses massive talent. A throwback type of lyricist who's style mirrors that of hardcore 90's Hip-Hop, Betrayl first busted on the scene a few years ago with his stunningly dope mixtape "The Life And Death Of My Hood". It was on there the hungry emcee rhymed alongside NY street rap legend's Tragedy Khadafi and Nature and held his own, solidifying his status as someone to keep tabs on in the future. Time has passed and Betrayl's name has dwindled a lil' bit amongst the ever fickle Hip-Hop audience, but devoted hardcore fans have kept his name alive via blogging and forum activities. More recently he's linked up with DJ Scarface; a dope new artist in his own right, for a few Mixtape efforts, one of which is brand new and I'm bringing to y'all here today. "The Problem And The Answer" has a fitting title....Betrayl is indeed a problem for all the lames currently posing as "artists" and the answer for all those yearning for someone to take it back to when cats were spitting about real shit over hardcore production. Filled with a bunch of freestyles that showcase his dexterity and musical taste's, this is an interesting new effort for Betrayl. I find his best work on here comes courtesy of Mastermind's productions however. All in all a more than noteworthy effort, if for nothing else the thoughtful hardcore content.


Unreleased Ish': Jay- Z - When The Money Goes

If there's one thing Jigga fans have learned over the years and more so in the 2K than anything else, it's that all Jay-Z songs aren't created equally. Here we have more painful proof of that bitter sweet truth, in the form of a unreleased song titled "When The Money Goes". Apparently one of a number of remnants from the "American Gangster" album, it proves to be pretty horridly produced (thanks JD!) and lyrically speaking nothing more than filler material at best. Pretty sad to see what has happened to Jay in spots over the years.....he made the right decision in not letting this make the final cut for AG though, so I'll give him credit there.....then again, I probably woulda liked to hear this on the album more so than the dreadfully bad "Hello Brooklyn". Sorry Jay, these type of leftovers aren't in the same category as mom's week old cornbread or pasta (mom's pasta is guaranteed goodness up to a month after suckas!!).....this just gets thrown in the trash.


Video: Mitchy Slick Feat. The Wrongkind - He'll Shoot

Look, I know I post up quite a good deal of music from the east coast and various other spots around the country, but don't get it twisted, I know where my roots are and because of that I've always been a huge fan of Hip-Hop from Cali. My mother spent a good deal of her life in L.A. (Watts), my sister lived in the Bay Area (San Fran) for years and if you can name any place in or between Pasadena and Chino, chances are I have family there. I got quite a few relatives back east in New Jersey too, but well, what can I say....I've visited both spots and man, lemme tell you, there ain't nuthin' like L.A. and southern California period. Sorry, Atlantic City's boardwalk, beaches and great food just weren't enough to overcome all them females, palm trees and sunshine....

To jump back on subject before I get too carried away with my California dreamin' though, I wanna speak on this new Mitchy Slick joint featuring a host of fresh and worthy west coast up and comers. "He'll Shoot" has a sound to it that is evocative of Cali's glory days during the mid and late 90's. From the distinctly west coast beat technique's provided by Cricket, to the simple, yet affecting imagery and subject matter, this is southern Cali to a tee. Hats off to the San Diego native Mitchy Slick for contributing a killer hook and probably the best verse next to that Ise-B cat. The focus here isn't so much lyricism or braggadocio as it is story telling and raw environment description, things that all artist's, west or east need to get back to doing.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Video: Copyright Criminals Trailor

As an amateur sample based producer myself, this is exactly the type of documentary I would wanna peep out. Looking at the guest appearances I know already that I'll be either downloading or buying this when it drops. I mean, that's freaking Clyde Stubblefield man!! Sorry, I'm a vinyl geek/70's soul fanatic and I've admired the guy's skill's for years.

Looks like the primary subject fodder of "Copyright Criminals" is "sampling", and more specifically, how it's employed in Hip-Hop Production and DJing. Of course it also appears that they're gonna delve into the world of the countless frivolous lawsuits brought up against many a Hip-Hop artist because of their "illegal" use of a sample. Accompanied by the ubiquitous, first-hand knowledge, artist interview's, I think that it's likely that many a production nerd and music enthusist alike will enjoy it.


Single: Royce Da 5'9", Phonte & Stat Quo - Homage To Premier (prod. by Focus)

DJ Premier is one of the greatest Hip-Hop producer's of all time bar none. Many would even put him right there at the top spot (myself included). I mean, when I was coming up, reading the production credits for the tapes and CD's I was coppin', there was always a sorted few names I checked for: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Domingo, Marley Marl, DJ Muggs, Ski, No I.D., Dr. Dre and The Beatnuts. I was a definite hound for Premo more than any of them though. Preme just had that knack for highlighting a particuliar artist's best skills as an emcee, utilizing his head nodding programmed drums, grimy sample selection and of course his trademark cuts on the chorus. Many of his collab's are just the stuff of Hip-Hop lore' and legend. From "Unbelievable", "Downtown Swinga", "NY State Of Mind", "When I B on the Mic", "A Million and One Questions", "Nas Is Like", "Peer Pressure", "D'Evils" and countless others, Premier has time and again, just straight up and down laced so many cats. His spot in the hall of fame is already ready, just sitting there waiting on him to call it quits, something that I can only selfishly hope doesn't ever happen. [Insert recurring plea for Premier to finally do that long awaited solo album here].

In the same spirit of my admiration and recognition, three of the more legitimately talented emcee's of recent times have stepped up to the plate and decided to pay respect where respect is due. Royce Da 5'9", Phonte and Stat Quo all get together and drop some dope 16's filled with references and salutes to the man who came out east from Texas so many years ago and helped define the entire sound scape of New York Hip-Hop. I find it kinda interesting that these three guys who hail from Detroit, North Khack a lacki and the ATL, respectively, are the ones who are making the dope tribute records to NY production legend's......Damn New York City. At any rate, I guess it's the thought that counts and not where it comes from. Besides,....the fact that these cats were raised where they were and are Premier fans (and in Royce's case, close collaborator) themselves, only further proves the point of Premo's greatness. I have no doubt that one day college kids from across the globe will be studying him and writing thesis papers on his great work. I digress... ...this joint made my weekend and I'm happy that people are honoring a timeless career. And while it's not produced by Preme himself, west coast upstart Focus does his best Premier impression on this track, right down to the cutting and scratching. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anticipating a Premier remix for this though, lol.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Video: Kurious Chillin' Wit The Nuts.....

I had been anxiously awaiting Kurious's new album that was supposed to have dropped last year (according to his interview on UGHH anyway), and I even listened to the single he put out with Max B in preparation for it's release, and y'all know I'm not the biggest Max B. fan. I was excited and all but 100% sure that Kurious was gonna finally give us that ever elusive follow up to "A Constipated Monkey", when things just never materialized. I lost a little bit of hope when it didn't drop as soon as I thought it might have and I feared maybe he had decided just to shelve the project and keep things movin'. Fortunately, thanks to technology we're all re-assured that the album is in fact coming along as we see Jorge chillin' out with the Beatnuts while dope beat after dope beat plays in the background. These type of vid's are always my favorite to look at get to see the real shit, behind the scenes in the studio. Only wish they woulda actually showed some footage of Kurious recording a verse or the Nuts workin on something. Either way it's dope though. Be sure to peep the end of the vid where the good people are notified via cheesy Windows Movie Maker effect who'll be on the album as far as guest spots and production duties go. We're all still curious, Kurious....drop that shit!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Vimby Video: Jake One Interview

I think that this is like only the second or third Vimby Vid I've put up, but I def. need to start checkin their site more often because they do always have a bunch of ill shit floating around on in point this lil' interview with Jake One. Jake's debut album was just thee best compilation album of 08', hands down man.....also was one of the best compilation albums in a few years period. So naturally now a bunch of new jacks are flooding message boards and websites inquiring about him and what he's all about. Personally, I have known about Jake since the days of The Conmen mixes, J-Rocc's "Walkman Rotation" LP and Rasco's "Escape From Alcatraz" album and I was really happy that his debut was so ill and that people are finally giving him his just due as a producer. This vid will def. answer a few questions to those wondering about Jake's background though.

The interview is kinda brief but it does have some really cool footage of The Pharmacy (the studio hang out that Jake, Vitamin D, DJ Supreme and a few others call home) and parts around Seattle. Jake breaks down his views on the industry, how he constructs songs and his take on the taste's of certain artist's when it comes to his beats.


Panacea - The Re Route

In 2007 many heads were doing back flips over Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco's offerings, meanwhile all those amongst us that were truly in the know were steady bumpin Panacea's sophomore release the "Scenic Route". We simultaneously snickered and cried to ourselves when someone tried saying that "Food And Liquor is the second Illmatic" or that "Graduation is the album of the year". lol, foolish, foolish children. I mean nothing against Lupe or Ye', but they just didn't bring it like Raw Poetic and Murdock did. I mean it was really a Hip-Hopper's dream to have been aware of "The Scenic Route" at the same time when the collective Hip-Hop world was gobbling up so much mainstream feed that was being sold as "underground" shit. All that garbage was just more like experimentation of fusing different genre's together. Panacea's shit was Hip-Hop straight up and down.

Indeed, it was a great feeling bumpin' "Th Scenic Route" for the first time. Kinda made you feel like a true backpacker again. Full of atmospheric, imaginative lyric's and thoughtful drum break type production I knew right away that these cats were no flash in the pan act either. I thought that they were keeping the older vibes from the 90's alive, but there was a new twist too, a new appraoch that was sorely needed.

It's been 2 years since the D.C. duo of Raw Poetic and K-Murdock blessed us with their esthetically perfect album, but that hasn't stopped the rest of the game from stepping up and honoring how truly dope it was. What I'm dropping on you poor, broke bastards today is their latest release, (which btw is a digital only release, but definitely shoulda been a retail drop as well) "The Re Route". What the "Re Route" does is very much a treat for any underground head man. I know it is for me anyway, seeing as I was a huge fan of Kev Brown's "Brown Album" and K Def's "real Live Gangster", two remix ventures that are very much in the same vein as this project here.

The whole science behind the "Re Route" is that DJ Mekalek, whose label Glow In The Dark Records was the home for Panacea when they dropped "The Scenic Route", has tapped some of the illest producer's in the underground (or anywhere for that matter) to remix and re-release the whole "Scenic Route" album. Guys like DJ Numark of Jurassic 5, The legendary DJ Spinna, Damu The Fudgemunk, Joe Beats, Nicolay and even K-Murdock himself drop new takes on the classicness that was "The Scenic Route" and they successfully make an already dope album better. Everything on here is more than worthy but I have to say that Damu's remix of "Walk In The Park" was especially amazing and Spinna's take on "Flashback To Stardom" was also pretty memorable. Enjoy this, but make sure to support the artists and cop this when it's released! It'll be on itunes, napster, amazon and many other digital DL'n sites, so no excuses!


01. The Scenic Route (Doug Life Remix)
02. Flashback to Stardom (DJ Spinna Remix)
03. Pops Said (Nicolay Remix)
04. Epiphany (DJ Nu Mark Remix)
05. Between Earth And Sky (Joe Beats Remix)
06. Bubble (Stoerok Remix)
07. Square 1 (Cool Calm Pete Remix)
08. Blue Ice (Mekalek Remix)
09. Walk In The Park (Damu Remix)
10. Aim High (Newman Remix)
11. Katana (Aeon Remix)
12. One Shine (K Murdock Arturian Remix)
13. The Missing (Panacea Remix)

Keelay & Zaire - Prelude To Drive

This is a real treat for all you folks that check out the J-Ronin tapes and always wonder about that production duo Keelay and Zaire that routinely turn in heat rock for your favorite emcee to spit over. If you do peep out the "All Elements" drops or just have an ear for a lot of stuff that's been rotating on New York and Los Angeles's underground scene lately, than you should be at least a lil' bit familiar with the production magic of relative newcomers Keelay and Zaire. Reppin' San Fran (Keelay) and Dayton, Ohio (Zaire), they seem like they'd be a somewhat awkward match, but thanks to the Sole Vibe movement, guys from all over the country are getting to collab together and they were no exception.

Mixing a lot of keys and synths with sampled records and hard hitting drums the two have garnered a lot of respect for their work thus far, handing in beats to some of the game's better up and coming artist's like Torae, Skyzoo, Supastition and Blu. This release here is no different and the soulful creativity is very present on "Prelude To Drive". The free digital EP release provided by Keelay and Zaire showcases their innate ability to mold their sound around a mood or feeling. Enjoy.


*if you wanna check out a pretty dope interview the two did recently peep the link*:

....that'll really better aquaint you with them two.

1. Letcha Soul Vibe
2. Exclusive Shit ft. Supastition
3. Saturday ft. Torae & Tiffany Paige
4. Never Again ft. T.Sky & Khizman
5. Ridin High Interlude
6. More Than Corners ft. khill
7. Government Names ft. Khizman
8. Tryna Jock My Steelo ft. Night Clubber Lang
9. Old E. ft. Surreal, Fortlive, Da Evangillest, the A.V.E. and Mario Dones

News: Phonte Disses Kanye's "808 And Heartbreaks"

"Recently, Phonte of Little Brother spoke his mind on Kanye West's latest album, 808s and Heartbreak on the Conspiracy Worldwide Radio podcast.
When the topic of Kanye was brought up, Phonte made no secret of how he felt about Ye's latest project. "I heard pretty much most of the Kanye album," he said. "I didn't like it. I was just like 'get the fuck out of here. "I honestly thought it was an act of cowardice," continued Phonte. "I think if you're gonna make the creative leap to sing, then really sing. Let your voice come out, and let people hear all the eccentricities and all the little idiosyncrasies in your voice. That's what makes you uniquely you...Imagine if Aretha Franklin used Auto-Tune on 'Respect." Phonte added that he thought Kanye was "biting T-Pain," and concluded by saying that 808s and Heartbreak was a "case of the reach extending the grasp."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Unreleased Ish': Puff Daddy - Fuck Yall Niggas (The Lox Diss)

Here's a special (or not so special) lil' treat for all those that dig the unreleased stuff and Puffy when he spazzes out. As everyone may or may not know the Lox had a huge fallout with puff for a second time recently over their publishing and them feeling like Puff jerked em' and whatnot being that he still owned it. What ensued was the Lox going to have a few conversations with Angie Martinez on Hot 97 and then a follow up of Diddy calling in to try and clear his name and address things. Oh yeah there were also a grip of over the top threats, one of which that involved a refrigerator being dropped off a roof. Comedy right? Well, eventually Styles P, Kiss and Sheek managed to work something out with Diddy and things have been gravy for awhile now...years actually. Kiss even said in one of his latest record's "Letter To B.I.G.", that he speaks with Puff all the time on the phone now.

While I'm tremendously happy that those bruthas found a way to work out their business, I also knew that there had to of been some pretty sour feelings and maybe a diss record or two after the shit hit the fan. I just never expected that those feelings and the diss would come from Puff. Technically speaking it never really did come though.....thanks to the interwebs however, we now have in our possession Puffy in all of his non-rhyming glory, wigging out worse than he did on the dance instructor from Making The Band. Over Talib Kweli's "Gorilla Monsoon Rap" beat Puffy lashes out violently, threatens lives and struggles to find any type of rythmic cadence. Not sure why he never did release this (or maybe I am), but truthfully he did attempt to get some buzz for it going, seeing as how a few DJ's and crate digger's on the net claim to have the vinyl 12". In any case, I leave you with a shitty diss, but a nostalgic gem. Ghost written by none other than Shyne Po, yet another former Bad Boy artist that might have some choice words to speak about Puff in the future.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Saigon - Pushing Buddens (2nd Joe Budden Diss)

Giddy has struck back!! LOL, and just like Ali used to do plenty of times, Saigon came back from the brink of being knocked out, or that's what he wanted us to think anyway. After Budden unleashed "Pain In His Life", many were singing in unison that Giddy was over with. Today however is a new day and Saigon has come right back off the ropes and provided the heaviest diss record of the year, at the considerable expense of Joe Budden. The freestyle leaves no stone un-turned and attacks Joey in every possible way, including as a man. Saigon also successfully turn's Joe's rants about him being raped in jail on their ear, replying that "Only light skinned, scrawny niggas get raped in jail". The vicious one-liners continue to spill out on here as Saigon once again puts Budden's son and girlfriend in the middle of things....even despite the ferocity of Giddy's new effort, I still would have to say the battle at this point is a stalemate....Giddy prompts at the end of the diss that he's done making responses.....I hope that's not true, this is getting very good.


*all I got is the video/audio, MP3 comin soon though*

Mixtape Of The Month: DJ J-Ronin & DJ Snips - All Elements Vol.10 Hosted by Skyzoo

Returning with the 10th installment of his highly acclaimed "All Elements" series, DJ J-Ronin impressively manages to keep pace with the potency of his past material. Full of select joints from some of the hungriest new and old names in the Hip-Hop underground griot, I must say that Ronin is truly becoming one of the more consistent Mixtape DJ's back east and "All Elements Vol.10" is easily one of the more paramount mixtape effort's of the new year thus far.

Kicking things off with an ill intro, backed by a killer beat that features a nice lil' rock guitar riff, Ronin momentarily addresses the haters. Truthfully I wasn't aware that someone like him could have any, especially with the job he's been doin' and has always done. Go figure....Then again this is 09' and silly kids love to hate on what they do not understand. The much sought after Brooklynite MC talent Skyzoo handles the hosting duties as well as contributes, which definitely is a nice touch. Though this tape was pretty solid overall, there are a few small mis-steps, all of which came within the first 10 joints. The fisrt song...Styles P's "On Smash Remix"...yeah, don't know if that's what I'm looking for from a Styles song or a Ronin tape. Then there's the Jigga and Santogold joint....I mean once again, I got nuthin' but love for Jay's hustle and I'd love to sit down with that Santogold broad and talk about whatever over drinks, but that joint really wasn't needed on here; a tape packed with valid and noteworthy Hip-Hop joints. Other than that the rest of pretty much everything gets my whole hearted co-sign....

I particularly liked "Along With Me". Always been a Shabaam Sahdeeq supporter (since Rawkus fuckas) and a huge Planet Asia enthusiast and hearing them come together over Keelay and Zaire's production in cognant musical uniformity was ill. Live for those type of collab's man.....really, efforts like that are what still makes mixtapes worthwhile for me. It should come as no surprise than that next I rave a lil' bit about "Brooklyn Renaissance", the soulful masterpiece that highlights the ample prowess and dexterity of BK, via three up and coming emcee's that hail from the county of Kings. Stimuli, Sav Killz and Skyzoo straight get up for this effort and the verses are crazy no doubt (Sha took that btw) but it's DJ Snips, the co-DJ of teh entire tape and skilled producer who steals the show with a downright nasty beat time and again. The same formula repeats itself on "East Coast Collossal", where Snips turns in a head nodding, horn infused piece for another dope lineup of Ali Vegas, Spit Supreme, E.Ness and Akir to slaughter.

The World premiere's, heavy song lineup's and dope beats just keep coming on this tape man. "The Arms", "Savin' Artillery Remix" and "Stop What You Doin" are all examples of the hard work and diligent emcee pairing that went into this tape's construction. The exclusives aren't just limited to the pseudo-posse cuts and inventive collabo joints however. As a matter of fact Donny Goines and L.A. Supergroup Strong Arm Steady both kicked some serious knowledge and imagery over more dope Snips produced beat's for some of the headiest freestyles on any tape anywhere man. Goines goes in and electrifies with his social overstanding, while Krondon and Phil Da Agony mentally transpose you back in time to their blocks in L.A. when they were growing up. Not to be overlooked however is Mya Lansky's freestyle over All Element's in house producer Cosmo's atmospheric concoction (that part where he drops the synth's out and just lets the drums and the filler play is nuts). Not sure if it's the same Mya Lansky from Wu-Syndicate, but Cosmo shines and the verses were well crafted on Lansky's part. A strong end to a crazy tape that I guarantee has many strung out waiting for Vol. 11 already.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Interview: Joell Ortiz

Brand new interview with Brooklyn's illest emcee Joell Ortiz. Actually the second installment, I'll try and put up the first part here in a minute maybe.....Joell goes over quite a few topics, ranging from what's goin on with his new super group Slaughterhouse, club records, what's happenin' in Hip-Hop now and how the game used to be. Real good listen.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Singles: Saigon feat. Prodigy - Underachiever (Joe Budden Diss) & Joe Budden - Pain In His Life (Saigon Diss)

For the most part I've kept my nose out of the recent goings on with Budden and his sorted beefs. We've all seen the pure tom foolery all over the web with him and Ransom going back and forth....Budden accordingly fell back from the situation when Ran and some of his goons stepped over to the crib of a friend and proceeded to slap him [the friend] while he stood in his front doorway. Over what exactly still kind of escapes me. Crazy as that whole deal is, it wasn't the only beef on Joe's proverbial plate it seems. A lil' bit after the whole Ransom thing sort of subsided (we hope) and Joe pulled the plug on responding to him, a much more intriguing and skilled challenge presented itself. That challenge is Saigon. Much revered for their technical skills, Saigon and Budden are two peas in a pod to me. Both Lyrical, both have tons of loyal fans and both are considered very much so those "next" dudes to own the game. The perfect recipe for a classic battle.

I guess the issues the two of them have with one another stem from a misunderstanding about a line in one of Budden's songs from way back. Saigon felt disrespected and from then on whenever interviewed about Joe he made threats and promises, but eventually cooled off on the subject. I would assume he did so because the line Joey spit about him was very indirect. That old animosity bubbled back to the surface recently as Sai Giddy made some choice comments about Jumpoff's problems with Ran in one of a few new video's he has circulating on the net. a few more vid's dropped and then Saigiddy officially released "Under Achiever"; a punchline and joke laced diss for Joey, that even took some low blows at the embattled rapper's young son and current girlfriend. Over a slick, eerie beat Sai relentlessly attacks Joey's persona and success levels as well, employing some morose sound bites that add to the overall message; Giddy thinks that Joe is a bum loser and he doesn't respect him in the least bit. All of that must of finally been the breaking point for the king of Jersey City, who promptly returned with "Pain In His Life", less than 24 hours later. A scathing new freestyle diss aimed squarely at Saigon's image and career mis-management, the battle lines have clearly been drawn. Spitting witty, blistering line after witty, blistering line over Jay-Z's "You, Me, Him And Her" beat, Joey does what he does best. From his much delayed solo debut, Just Blaze's noted absence from that project in recent months, his appearances on that HBO deuschbag fest "Entourage" and his recent "tool-like" behavior posing in front of camera's with his shirt off, Budden soundly returns the venom Sai spew first.......Let the games begin....


"Under Achiever"

"Pain In His Life"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Movie Review: Notorious

Aaaight, aaaight, so you knew this was comin'.... Last night was pretty dope for me as far as being a huge Biggie fan and movie connoisseur goes. I've always been extra critical of Hip-Hop film's and my critic's hat was definitely on while I peeped out the much anticipated biopic on one of the greatest emcee's to ever grace the stage or pick up a mic.

First order of business is that we must, absolutely, give Gravy AKA Jamal Woolard the man who was tapped to play Biggie a standing ovation. Gravy masterfully brought the Notorious one back to life on screen. From biggie's body movements while rhyming to his heavy breathing, thick Brooklynese accent and lovable, ultra suave demeanor, Woolard hit a home run, literally becoming Chris Wallace. Not bad for a "mixtape rapper" who up until this point was simply one of thousands of Brooklyn native's vying for a spot somewhere in the game. No doubt many of the critic's who were predicting the movie was doomed because of Woolard being cast to play Big are now sitting in a corner somewhere with their heads down, or at least they should be. I've been a fan of Gravy's since he was dropping mixtapes with Cutmaster C, callin' himself "Mayor Goonberg", great to see him show the world how talented he truly is...he earned every cent of that 4 million they paid him to take on the role.

While Gravy dazzled he wasn't alone in his surprisingly dope performance. Naturi Naughton, the caramel beauty fromerly of 3LW fame really broke out of her teeny bop shell as the second best performer in "Notorious". Recruited to play perhaps the raunchiest woman ever to rock a mic, Naughton seemed very much in her skin, and the chemistry between her and Woolard throughout the film was very plausible. It was her scenes rapping and onstage however that sealed her performance as noteworthy for me. She wasn't clumsy with her words, but rather very capable and she captured the Queen Bee's trademark brashness with a killer performance (pictured above).

While "Notorious" successfully shined the light on what I hope are two budding film stars in the making, it also totally missed in certain spots as well. The most glaring mistake clearly was the casting of Lil' Cease, who during the time period depicted, was in fact a young kid, but didn't have the appearance of a 14 year old. It was a sloppy choice, but the kid got through it, shirtless hype-manning and all. Another blunder was the under-achieving Tupac character, played by Anthony Mackie. At times Mackie had Pac's appearance down, but the overall performance he turned in was pretty generic and way too un-complicated. The same would have to apply to Derek luke who played Puffy. LOL, he nailed the dancing, but failed to sell me on that soft spoken and innate business acumen that Puff had during that time. The casting mishaps weren't over-bearing enough to make "Notorious" a failure however, and warm, entrancing roles like Angela Basset as Voletta Wallace and Antonique Smith as Faith Evans kept things interesting and true to life.

As any Biggie historian will attest, the format of the story could've been better, and more specifically, longer and finer detailed. There surely might be some qualms to come about the accuracy of certain events, namely what unfolded at the Quad Studios and the quasi-confrontation between Big and Pac. In any case, we all should remember the story was meant to highlight Big's life and how he achieved his giant dreams, not the bullshit that got in the way. Still, one can't help but to sort of feel like paramount themes and events were simply just glossed over. The writer's were selective about Big's duality as well. Showing that he'd sell drugs to a pregnant woman, but neglecting to show him puttin' diamonds in his baby girl's ear. They showed him hustling crack on Fulton street, but they didn't show that he also often held down a part time job at a local super market bagging groceries. They did thankfully, write in Big's tremendous lyrical wizardry and gift for performing, which added a lot to the film, especially in the street battle scene, where we all witness how his career was first born.

The head nodding movie score includes a myriad of Biggie's clasic's, that are logically placed everywhere and guaranteed to have you reciting lyric's throughout. We definitely missed Easy Mo Bee's inclusion on the score, but the run down of music that actually was included was solid nonetheless.

Everything sort of culminates with a scene at the end that shows what life could of been for Biggie before his untimely demise. He sits at his mother's kitchen table, new born baby son in his arms, surrounded by friends, laughing and making jokes. It was poignant and illustrated the things in life that Biggie's mom always wanted him to care about....the things that really matter. There wasn't a dry eye in the entire theater then or when Voletta takes her son's casket through that legendary procession back to Brooklyn, amongst a crowded street filled with mourning fans who start blasting "Hypnotize". So again, we're reminded of why he was the King Of New York, why he was Brooklyn and why we'll miss him forever. I'm truly happy that the overall spirit of Biggie's shined during the flick. He truly was one in million and the film dedicated to his life was unmistakably a four out of five star effort. Baby babe-ay!!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Video: Scarface - High Note (Uncut Version)

lol, if there was ever any doubt about whether Scarface was gettin his in your mind, this video will successfully, make that, murdalize, those doubts. In my day I have seen a whole heap of sex-driven Hip-Hop vids, many of which wavered on the side of being a bit too riskay and downright tacky....I mean you can go all the way back to the days of 2 Live Crew and BET's Uncut series, I done seen some serious, gratuitous ass and booty shakin' in my day. Some tastefully done, some, well, not so much. One thing I ain't never seen however, was a major and well known rapper actually appearing to be legitimately fuckin' a broad in a video....til' now. Legitimately fuckin' and the broad was bad as fuck....Now don't mis-read my statements, I have no doubt many rappers knock em' down 10 at a time, and that many of the females are certified silver dollars, but to actually put some of that action in a vid, and to have the vid be artisticly well done, well, that's the stuff of legend. Scarface is that legendary figure who has done this deed, and well, done so in a way that I and many others will deem to be pretty dope. The vid itself is really well shot and interesting.....props to Mr. Boomtown and Scarface for effectively walking that line and re-inventing intrigue without being overly raunchy....


[editor's note: this vid contains nuditiy, and sexual content, if you can't handle that, don't click the play button, and definitely don't email or comment just to bitch about it when you've been warned.]

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Streetsweepers presents Papoose - 21 Gun Salute

Finally returning to the game that he once owned alongside Kay Slay, the original hardest working man on the mixtape circuit, Papoose, drops his newest tape "21 Gun Salute". Good lawd man! We needed this I think....Who would of known I'd miss Kay Slay yelling all over the intros interludes and outros, lol......I know I definitely was missing all those good productions from GQ Beats and E-Dubb....

Pap shows no sign of rust here on his twenty first tape and displays he still has the gift of gab and witty street vocabulary from the previous twenty tapes. Every verse sounds thought out, and Pap clearly is out on a mission this time around.

The lyrical barrages get no better than on "Let's Get It", provided by Philly upstart Young Chris who fires verses rapidly with Pap over a penetrating beat. Moving forward, "Knowledge Is Freedom" pairs Pap up with one of the best to ever do it in AZ, and finds the two reciting their best "I don't give a fuck" type raps over one of the more memorable beats from back in 08'. Another notable highlight is the Green Lantern produced track "Run Down On Em'", which bangs somethin serious. Green still be gettin busy on the boards man....Don't know what the fuck he was thinkin with that "I Can Help You Get Off" joint tho.....

While those tracks specifically stuck out to me, make no mistake, there's few times when Pap's rhymes didn't entertain, enlighten and motivate on here. Prime examples being the visual "Graffitti", The head nodding "Brooklyn" and the powerfully somber "Take These Bars". I also really liked Pap's "Baby Love", a dope re-working of The Supreme's iconic record from decades ago that finds Papoose paying tribute to all the truly special women and mother's out there. I grew up listening to that record wit my mama and I can think of no better theme for it in a Hip-Hop song. The few joints I coulda done without are the heavily recycled "Six Million Ways To Die" and "Bitchassness", which sounded very rushed. Other than that, the majority of the track/freestyle's the Brooklynite doles out on "21 Gun Salute" are solid.

All the 90's mixtape heads be sure to peep out that "Hat Under My Hood", it's produced by the one and only DJ Rob-E-Rob, and finds Pap assassinating all the lame muthafuckas who use the word "Swagger"....I'm glad someone else can't that shit either.


01. Intro 00:42
02. The Wire (Prod by GQ Beats) 03:14
03. Hat Under My Hood (Prod by DJ Rob-E-Rob) 03:18
04. Let's Get It (feat. Young Chris) 01:47
05. Run Down On Em (Prod by Green Lantern) 02:58
06. Knowledge Is Freedom (feat. A.Z.) (Prod by Absolute) 03:26
07. Brooklyn 03:03
08. Bitchassness 04:03
09. Six Million Ways To Die (feat. Bun-B & Chamillionaire) 04:12
(Prod by Stay Gettin & Kayslay)
10. All That (Produced by: E-dubb) 03:48
11. If You Saw Me In A Line Up 04:05
12. Take These Bars 03:16
13. We Shall Overcome 03:48
14. Get The Money (Prod by DJ Nu) 02:34
15. Baby Love 04:00
16. Street Code (Prod by Ty Sticks) 03:41
17. Dirty York shit (Prod by Ty Sticks) 04:08
18. Graffitti 03:17
19. Live & Learn 03:28
20. Break Um Up (feat. Thug-A-cation) (Prod by GQ Beats) 03:26
21. I Can Help You Get Off (Produced by: Green Lantern) 02:15
22. Kay Slay Outro 00:21

Single: Evil Nine feat. El-P - All The Cash (Glitch Mob Remix)

Recently there's been some minor requests for me to start covering more of he whole Hip-Hop spectrum. I've decided to do so and include some of it's best turntablist artist's from across the pond in my blog. The English DJ duo known as Evil Nine is best known for their breakbeat style and the limits to which they push the fusion of music, meshing genre after genre in many of their sets. Here we have a really ill remix of a recent single Evil Nine put out with Def Jux head honcho El-P; "All The Cash". L.A.-based Electronica production collective Glitch Mob lends their slapping drums and electro-infused Hip-Hop sounds for a really crazy remix of this track, that's well worthy of being bumped at any seedy, L.A. dance spot I can think of.


News: KRS-One Launching Publishing Imprint "I Am Hip-Hop" on Powerhouse Books

KRS-One is launching his own publishing imprint on Powerhouse Books. I Am Hip Hop shall serve as a home for cutting-edge, positive material related to the true culture and philosophies of Hip Hop. Dedicated to publishing high-quality books ranging from serious philosophical treatises to urban photography projects or engaging fictional novels.

As originator of the phrase, “I Am Hip Hop,” KRS ONE is a walking embodiment of the cultural practices and moral philosophies of true Hip Hop. The I Am Hip Hop imprint will serve as an outlet for creative expressions of this vibrant and lasting culture. "The I Am Hip Hop imprint will serve as a home for real and true expressions of Hip Hop,” comments KRS ONE. “I commend powerHouse for being brave enough to stand up for real culture."

500th Post......

Here I am.....500....can't say I feel like Manny Ramirez or anything....I do feel like this is going somewhere though....thankfully. Really, all your emails and comments are appreciated.....I can't believe that many people read my blog everyday.....amazing.....When I started this I just wanted to do a lil' writing and maybe link with a few other heads. The actuality of what's happened I guess is just the snowball effect. In any case this is 500, and I hope that y'all keep on keepin' on....peace.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Single: MF Doom - Ballskin

Thanks to some of the good folks over at Philaflava I was able to peep out this ill newness from Metal Fingers. I happen to think it's raw personally, but the uhhhhm, uhhh......title, I think, that might keep a few fickle bunch from checkin it out......I'm here to let you know, have no fear kiddies, it's not a song dedicated to the weird exploration of MF's nutsack or, not at all. What it is, is dope lines over an ill beat and as always a title that some will find hilarious, others will find gross, but all will pay attention to. I mean the guy is just a machine when it comes to good music and I've always enjoyed his production chops as well. Not sure if he produced this himself or what, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. It's a lil' more cleaned up than I like my Doom stuff, but I'll deal with that as long as he's puttin music out and not going MIA, havin guys impersonate him at shows and whatnot......


Monday, January 12, 2009

Video: Extended Trailer preview of "Notorious"

Only four more days left til' this joint drops and I mob to the theater 10 deep, extremely inebriated, blunted and proceed to wreck the viewing pleasure of anyone else in the theater....Haven't been too many movies that have generated a whole lot of genuine interest for me lately, but this is one that honestly does. I was a huge Biggie fan growing up and I'm happy that his music, memory and story is going to be immortalized in a major motion picture.

I know that it's only been twelve years since we lost Big, and wounds are still fresh, and Perhaps "Notorious" comes at a sore time considering his killer still hasn't been found (my money is on that bow tie wearin' "Amir" muthafucka tho) meanwhile, Voletta yearns for answers and her closure. I also know a lot of heads, myself very much included, were pissed that Easy Mo Bee, the man behind a huge bulk of Big's best music, was given the axe from producing the film's score. LOl, and yes what would a biopic on Biggie be without his one time mistress Lil' Kim making headlines for being upset over her "portrayal" in the flick. Yes, Much controversy does surround this film's release....

All that being said, I have been following Gravy since he first exploded on the mixtape scene eight or so years back with Cutmaster C and I'm really happy to see him get an opportunity like this. He's come a long way since freestyles on tapes man, word up. I've heard through the grapevine that he gives an awesome, awesome performance in his portrayal of Big. I've also seen a couple scenes from the movie (the one at the end of this trailer included) that are pure electricity man, really well put together and that give you that same feeling you caught when you first heard "Juicy" or "Hypnotize". I can't speak against or for the joint til' I go see it however, and that's not happenin' for a good week. Expect that review or at least a few remarks on what made it terrible/great/sad or whatever.....


Single: 50 Cent - Shut Your Bloodclot Mouth (prod. by DJ Premier)

Recently on the net there has been a whirlwind of wild conjecture and hearsay regarding the "end" of the world. Most of this Boomhower-type gibberish has to do with the ancient Mayan calender, a computer that can predict disasters and rabbi's who've unlocked some sort of code within the bible. LOL, I paid little mind to any of it....til' today. Lol, for some reason DJ Premier linking up with 50 Cent set off my doomsday spidey senses. I hesitantly clicked on the link to the ridiculously titled "Shut Your Bloodclot Mouth" yesterday expecting to hear something that would finally convince me that Hip-Hop did in fact die in the ambulance, rather than clinging to life in the ICU all these years like we thought....something that indeed would signal to me along with the rest of the speculation that the world was indeed ready to combust.....*click*

I was surprised, but not not in the least bit unpleasantly. I mean yeah, 50's content isn't all there lyrically speaking, he's still sorta halfway yelling through his lines and of course this ain't Premier's illest joint ever, but it's still something I'd listen to over a whole hell of a lot of other shit that currently is infecting the web, radio and music vid's that the masses are accepting blindly. Premier just brings out the best in everyone man and always has....Jesus, give that man a lifetime achievement award or something....[Insert recurring plea for Premier to do long-awaited solo compilation album here].

When I heard the actual song these guys put together, I guess I felt a lil' bit like all the Y2Ker's did on January 1st 2000. Stupid as shit! Preme, Fifth, I'll never doubt you two again....well, maybe 50....

End of the world? Nope....the start of an older one over again? Probably not.....A good glimpse into what Hip-Hop and 50's world could be? Stay tuned.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Single/Video: Mistah F.A.B. - My Life (Oscar Grant Tribute)

In honor of the spirit and soul of Oscar Grant III; the young man who was slain mercilessly and without reason by a reckless, idiotic and guilty Oakland BART police officer, Mistah F.A.B. has released an uplifting dedication in his memory. The incomprehensible nature of this heinous crime is still causing much understood upheaval in Oakland, and to those few that lashed out and let the system know that that rogue son of a bitch who killed Grant (contrary to popular belief) ain't gonna escape his punishment....bravo...I am behind you all. This doesn't fix anything, but hopefully the family and friends can find some comfort in the message. Props to F.A.B. on this on.


Single: Maino - Letter To Pac

I guess to balance out the universe Maino decided this was necessary. Good joint, but I didn't feel it as much as Jada's letter to the Notorious one. Probably because Jada actually knew the man and there was a real reason to holla at big poppa in lieu of recent events, i.e., cats still eatin' off his name via major motion pictures and their subsequent soundtracks. Would've liked for Maino to have put in more work here as maybe instead of freestylin' over the same beat, going and grabbing an original one from the surplus of ill producer's I'm sure are out there tryin to throw him some. Pac deserves his own dedication done right....that includes his own original, heartfelt and moving beat. Even despite the poor planning this is pretty dope....Maino's heart is in the right place anyway, because this was very listenable content wise.....I guess Pac sort of has gotten a little lost in the shuffle this past year, it's good to know that a lot of the newer talent is still remembering him and Big both.....


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sean Price - Passion Of The Price 8

And another one!!! Here's the latest and greatest in the much celebrated and blog-birthed "Passion Of The Price" series, something that any fan of Hip-hop and more importantly any fan of BCC/Heltah Skeltah should be well acquainted with by now.

Originating from the Schnooklyn Zoo blog, these mixes put our favorite resident BK bully Sean Price in the spotlight via his latest guest appearances, freestyles and remixes. This joint right here is so essential man...I started checkin' for em' around the 3rd or 4th one, but this is prolly the first time I put one up on the ole' blog nahmean.

There's a few absolute can't miss type jawns on here man. Please check that "Goon Opera" out...Chino XL and Sean P on the same track man....just insane man....that's all I can say. Filled to the brim with goodies, this should hold us off until we get that much anticipated "Mic Tyson" project.


1.P's UP
2.The Unexpected Feat. Doom & DJ Babu
3.Goon Opera (Feat. Kool G Rap, Chino XL, C Rayz Walz, & Hell Razah
4.Automatic (Official Remix) Feat. Brad Strut & Kansel,
5.King Of The Decks (Feat. DJ Revolution & Tash)
6.The Matrix (feat. DJ Premier, Pharoahe Monch, & Black Milk)
7.HaHa Da Rah Rah Feat. Tame One
8.Heltah Skeltah Freestyle
9.Fuck Dat Rapper Feat. Rock
10.Hammer Feat. Blind Alphabetz
11.Cover My Tracks Feat. Deezuz
12.Rock the Spot feat. Bash Bros., Big Pooh & DJ Icewater
13.Speakin' My Mind Feat. Silent Knight (E.Jones Remix)
14.Why You Wanna Do That (Feat. Cold Heat, Large Pro & Craig G)
15.The Pledge (feat.Kidz In The Hall & Buckshot)
16.Submission (feat. Skyzoo & Chaundon)
17.Loose Cannons (Remix)
18.All in Your Head (Simple Remix) Feat. Illmaculate
19.Stop Playin' (Featuring Lex Starwind
20.Comin To Kill (feat. Rustee Juxx & Sav Killz)
21.Superhumans Feat. Info Gates
22.Wont Let Go Feat. Finzta
23.Goodnight !!! Feat. King Magnetic

Friday, January 9, 2009

Evidence - The Purple Tape Instrumentals

Aaaight, second beat tape in a row here, this one much more recent and coming courtesy of Evidence; a member of L.A. super underground group Dilated Peoples and producer/emcee extraordinaire. If you don't already know bout duke, go grab a newspaper, roll it up and then proceed to whack yaself silly. If you live in L.A. and claim to be into the culture and you unfamiliar with him, turn in your official "Hip-Hop Head" Membership card at your nearest trash can....

Fresh off his second, really dope rhyming release "The Layover EP", Ev dishes out the third joint in his instrumental series "The Purple Tape Instrumentals". All his fans already have the "Yellow" and "Red Tape Instrumentals" and should already be familiar with Ev's raw production style and unique knack for crafting ill, basement style beats that ripple with that authentic Hip-Hop sound. There's no difference here as Ev coughs up some new joints for his loyal beat fanatic's. "The Weatherman LP" and "The Layover EP" may have garnered him a good rapport amongst his fellow rapper's, but real heads will always seek out Evidence for his beatmaking capabilities. Always. Must be nice being so skilled man....

well, here they are, not to be confused with the rhythmic's from Raekwon's classic debut, but dawning the same purple look (if anyone knows whether Ev is really selling the cassette format of this release holla @ me.) "The Purple Tape Instrumentals"....


01. Take U Back
02. Pest
03. Lost Cause
04. I’m Like
05. My Way 90291
06. Uh Oh
07. Shoot 1st
08. 421
09. Breakout
10. Space Gorilla
11. On Top
12. Darker Clouds
13. Ev’ N’ Al
14. Bubbler
15. Stomp
16. RTD
17. Hour Glass
18. Memories
19. Stockholm
20. Wake Up

Kev Brown - The Weekend Beat Tape

Producer......Beatmaker.....Soulful Genius.......all four of these words apply to the man pictured above me. For all those that have been on they Rip Van Winkle stuff for the better part of the 2K, Kev Brown is currently one of the dopest producers out there in Hip-Hop universe. I give the Landover, MD native such high praise because he is a prime example of of the continuation of great things. By this I mean he has successfully picked up where so many of the great 90's producers like Pete Rock, Large Pro and The Rza left off. Not only has he continued writing chapter's in the never ending saga of the collective "Hip-Hop Production Book", he's written his own chapter that I think will one day just have to be included in any conversation about boom bap "GOAT's".

Known for his entrancing, head nodding drums and meticulously chopped and tinkered-with samples, and just an overall supremely soulful vibe, Kev finds himself at the forefront of good music in general, not just Hip-Hop. Kev first broke thru by doing some production work for another soulful genius Jazzy Jeff. After contributing nicely to Jeff's 2002 opus "The Magnificent", he was the first producer to re-wrok Jay-Z's "Black Album", aptly calling his version the "Brown Album" and inspiring over 100 more producer's to attempt (sometimes as successfully as him) to do the same. After working with a host of big names (De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Marley Marl, Bahamadia), dropping a debut LP ("I Do What I Do"), and putting out a few mixtapes and a handful of singles for his die hard fans Kev is still in hot pursuit of making the good music...and still finding it.

Here, we have one of Kev's many gifts to us "true" Hip-Hop lover's and Music enthusiasts......"The Weekend Beat Tape". LOL, that's another thing that I enjoy about Kev man; his sort of dead pan, straight to the point titling of projects ..see "Random Joints", "I Do What I Do", etc......In any case enjoy these skillfully crafted instrumentals...that I assume were made over a weekend sometime in 2007.


01 - Call Me
02 - Congo Rock
03 - Day Dream
04 - Drunk Horns
05 - Frampton
06 - Just Can’t Stop
07 - Kick Back
08 - Ohio
09 - The Police

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Single: Idle Worship (Talib Kweli, Res & Graph Nobel) - Try It On

Here's a new joint and group that you should definitely be checkin for. Having released a few joints to the net already, the super soulful trio of BK emcee Talib Kweli, Philly Rock/R&B songstress Res and the Trini/Canadian Hip-Hop punk rocker Graph Nobel are probably the most worthwhile new musical group out there period. The range that they are capable of is ridiculous and they mesh so many genre's well, it's hard to see them not making some waves in the biz. Combining Dancehall hyms and rhythms with a new age, electro hipster type of feel, they combine here again for "Try It On". The beat for this was originally used by Busta Rhymes for his "How We Do It Over Here" joint, and yes, it's produced by the one, the only, Dr. Dre.


Video: Exile Messes Around With Q-Tip's "Let's Ride"

Man, I been an Exile fan for a minute....duke is the exemplification of an ill, underground beatmaker/DJ, and he's from out west so it's extra love there. I first really got acquainted with Exile's stuff via his "Dirty Science" album that I found in the dollar bin (can you believe that?) of one of my favorite record stores. One thing I have noticed over the years about Exile is that he's a magician with that MPC man. Straight up and down he's skilled. I mean, I seen vid's of him scratchin' on that thing and it sounds like he had two Techniecs and some records man! Keeping up with his usual drum machine wizardry, Exile has a new Vimeo vid out displaying his knack for chopping and live improvisation. This time around Ex chooses to mess with Q-Tip's "Let's Ride", one of Tip and Dilla's many classic creations.


Video: eMC feat. Ladybug - The Show

New vid from the heavily celebrated supergroup eMC, that while being a bit low budget, still is a great offering. The premise is basically the visualization of the routines and situations that unfold for each member before a show. Maybe it's not the same content fodder your accustomed to, but to me, this is Hip-Hop at it's finest. Hey, if you don't dig it at least you can stare at ladybug the whole way thru....


Rapper Write Up: Ras Kass's "The GOAT"

Pretty decent write up I'd say....ill to see Ras still has his head in the right place for the most part....seen it floatin around on a few sites I frequent, thought I'd bring it to you guys and gals....


Hey Young World,
(actually, half the rap games name is "Yung" nowadays. lol)

What up everybody! Happy New Years, I hope your 2009 (and especially mine) is better than 2008!! God willing...

Well, with the year winding down we get to the inevitable list of lists: you know, from NewsWeek to Entertainment Weekly, the lists of top this, and top that... countdowns; all of the lists -essentially opinions- but for the most of them given some degree of legitimacy becuz they were compiled by "experts" in their perspective medium/field. And now, with the culmination of the Entertainment Industries "Top" list; the Academy Awards, I'm reminded of the age old debate (argument really) held in barbershops around the world; Raps search for the elusive and exclusive GOAT!
Now when I mention GOAT, the fact is that its arguably impossible to pick just one, single MC but just the process people use to the Top 20 names on a list of of prospective GOATS is what..pun intended, gets my goat. lol

For starters, rappers are one of the only groups in the Entertainment Industry (American job force really) who have no Union or Guild. Thus, they are easily pit against one another by labels, lawyers, etc... and have no unified voice. Which means, unlike the movie Industry (Actors/Actresses) we have no way to gauge who our "peers" and contemporaries regard as doing exemplary work. The result is Validation by Soundscan which is actually a contradiction in terms; compared to an Academy Awards who merits "greatness" and is peer driven, a Grammy is based on consumers, not "experts" and more akin to a Peoples Choice Award. Hardly as exclusive and of aesthetic value. (No Disrespect)

Academy award (best actor, best actress, best movie) winners actually tend to be under-performers at the box office. The same way alot of the more avante garde/creative/lyrical hip hop albums tend to be relegated to the "underground." Whic was fine apparently in the beginning..remeber Q-Tip, "rap is not pop, if you call it that stop"? Everybody from NWA to De La Soul stressed not "selling out."
Unfortunately, once some of our more outstanding (lyrical) MC's also achieved commercial success they became a little hypocritical,and set the bar ridiculously high saying " You're not great if you dont sell 5 million albums like I did" But these same people were given "great" status before they hadplatinum albums based soley on thier talent. But we all fell for it, and somewhere down the line weve found out that weve lost our way..

There are many awards shows in rap. Each with its own agenda, politics, and bias: Source Awards (remember Benzino?) XXL (remember the Eminem beef), Ozone (southern-centric) BET (ditto) Grammy's (RIAA) etc... but no one, true quintessential show that fairly covers the full spectrum and diversity of hip hop. Id love to be at the award show where JayZ gives a rookie of the year award to Elzhi or Nelly giving out a "Lifetime Achievment Award" to the family of Marlon Brando (RIP) of the Sporty Thievez (who in my opinion is the greatest true hero of hip hop, every major rap magazine dropped the ball and continue to drop it with his passing. Sorry, he wasnt "HOT", shameful)

So what is the criteria for judging the GOAT? I mean, at some point you do have to assimilate commercial success based on the social impact and relevance a rapper has. But is it long term or fleeting? Kwame had gang members rockin polka dots! Deadass.. But that was so ephemeral. (Again, no disrespect) Wheras, the impact of Tupac Shakur can still be registered today; you saw Pac in his contemporaries from DMX, Ja Rule to newer artists like Plies. JayZ has a legitimate claim, " Jigga held it down for six summers....damn" He garnered the respect of his peers lyrically, polarized the streets and move the units to become a mogul. Eminem has the legs to stand on too in sheer units sold per album - the boy did diamond (10 million) 3 out of 4 albums! He who coined the term of course, LL: 13 Albums! He made Def Jam. "Im Bad!"
And again, thats where record sales being the premise to judge relevance or importance is a crock of shit. If we calim for GOAThood based strictly on that, then you have to automatically put these rappers in your top 20 List:
Young MC
Vanilla Ice
Souljah Boy
MC Hammer

again no disrespect but it underscores how outlandish records sales are for induction into HIP HOP HALL OF FLAME. Not discounting sales totally, you do have to get in the league to play in the ALL STAR
So Id go as far as to try to name judging criteria for the HALL OF FLAME to eventually determining the GOAT.

Musical Factors:
1. Orginality
2. Volume of Work (or lack of it)
3. Song/Album Concepts
4. WordPlay
5. Consistency/Growth
6. Live Performance
7. Style/ Delivery
8. Freestyle Ability
9. Guest Appearances (Murk Outs)
10. Peer Impact/ Relevance
11. Club/Street "Bangers"

Personal Factors:
1. Charisma (Swagger)
2. Mogul Moves (upward mobility)
3. Consumer (social impact)
4. "Ghostwriterless-ness"

( I encourage you to add or amend these criteria in your comments as you see fit.)

I think 10 is very important – you cant be the greatest if you get bodied on your own songs.

I hope I have created a dialogue with a sensible foundation. Have a Happy New Year!

One Mic,

In a quest to find the Goat Id like to submit applicants for the Hall of Flame.

Hall of Flame:
LL Cool J Rakim KRS1 ScarFace Big Daddy Kane Biggie Tupac Special Ed Kool G Rap Nas Big Punisher Big L Mc Shan JazO JayZ GZA Buckshot Mos Def Talib Kweli Jadakiss Styles P Juelz Santana Ice Cube Ludacris TI Eminem DOC Common Skills Ras Kass Malice (Clipse) Llyod Banks Keith Murray Canibus Kurupt Killah Priest Andre 3000 Twista Pharoah Monch Redman Jayo Felony Raekwon Ghostface Busta Rhymes Fabolous Yukmouth Crooked I OC BlackThought Tray Deee BG Joe Buddens Royce59 Cassidy Slick Rick ChinoXL Planet Asia, Lupe Fiasco Lil Wayne
(No Disrespect, there are many dope rappers who I just don't consider lyricists. There is a difference)
Run DMC EPMD Smiff and Wessun The Lox Outkast Onyx Public Enemy Dogg Pound Pete Rock & CL Smooth Ultramagnetic MCs Brand Nubian ATCQ Clipse Whodini UGK Gangstarr NWA Camp Lo Dead Prez De la Soul Cypress Hill

Female MCs:

Queen Latifah MC Lyte Lauren Hill Shawnna

-Ras Kass

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jay-Z - The Early Years

This is mandatory listening. Just has to be. Not only for the kids that only know Jay as "Hovito", Beyonce's main dude and the guy that owns a large portion of the New Jersey Nets....but also for all the heads that have been there since day one of his career, that might at this point need a walk down memory lane. Indeed these joints are from, well, a whole other lifetime all together really.

When I was growing up, the first time I heard Jay, was over at a friend's crib. In between running through our usual listening regimen of Cube, Snoop, W.C. and all that was poppin' on the west at the moment, my boy slid in somethin' new he had copped at the record store that day. At this point I was still broke and didn't do much shopping for music of my own, but rather, I was the guy that steady just recorded everything at my boys crib's and off the radio, which at that point wasn't completely worthless. I had a nice cache of recordable cassette tapes thanks to my older sister's dabbling in her own musical inclinations, but her's included much more punk, grunge and indy rock however, which at this time was also really starting to explode. Man it was such a great time man....the early and mid 90's, but I boy threw an unfamiliar CD into his stereo and after a few seconds it was "Reasonable Doubt", Jay's iconic, classic debut and it was nuts. All you heard was the record buttin go "click"

Before that I had heard of Jay here and there, but never really had the access to the stuff he was doin' warming up to "Reasonable Doubt". From there on I grabbed everything from Jay, but it wasn't until the early 2K that I started exploring some of his pre-"Reasonable Doubt" stuff. There is a myriad of joints out there that Jay recorded before he linked up with Dame and Biggs and formed Rocafella, many of which are featured here on this excellent mix (props to Claa7 on Wutangcorp) that combines some of Jay's timeless joints from that memorable debut LP, when he was just running around Marcy wit Big Jaz, dope remixes from the game's illest producer's of all-time and sorted classic performance's (see track 5). Get yaself an education on what was goin down with the man back when he was just Jigga, not the CEO of Hip-Hop.


01. The Originators (ft. Jaz-O)
02. It's So Simple (ft. Jaz-O)
03. Can I Get Open (ft. Original Flavor)
04. Many Styles (ft. Original Flavor)
05. Show & Prove (ft. Big Daddy Kane, ODB, Shyheim, Sauce Money)
06. In My Lifetime
07. Can't Get Wid Dat
08. Da Graveyard (ft. Big L, Party Arty, Lord Finesse)
09. Time to Build (ft. Mic Geronimo, DMX, Ja Rule)
10. Dead Presidents I
11. Dead or Alive Pt. 1
12. Foundation (ft. Jaz-O, Sauce Money)
13. Don't Wanna Be Alone (ft. Shai) [Marley Marl RMX]
14. In My Lifetime [Big Jaz Remix]
15. Analyze This (ft. Lord Tariq & NaS)
16. You're Only A Customer
17. A Million & One Questions [DJ Premier Remix]

Unreleased Ish': Flipsyde - Long Time Comin' (prod. by DJ Premier)

In the never ending realm of all that is "unreleased", often times bloggers go overboard in their labeling of certain material as being "great", routinely making bone head statements like "why didn't they release this?, It's awesome!". The incessant dick riding usually comes as a byproduct of their fanboy'esque admiration of a particular artist or genre and the work they decided looked better on the shelf than in a retail venue, and opted to just let it fester in the proverbial "vault". LOL, that type of bias won't be found on this blog. No matter who you are, what work you've done or what part of the game your attached to, all that goes out the window when I review ya' shit. I give respect and high praise where it's due, but I tell it like it is, and if you don't like it than, well, you can go fly a kite with a key on it. This is journalism, this is raw, this is why people come here and read my shit-they know I'm going to give a real opinion. I think it's hilarious really, all the hurt feelings. Sometimes i'll keep it real and some groupie ass lil' guy who got his feelings hurt will start flappin his gums. Then two days later I'll get hit up by the actual artist saying that they "loved the review". LOL, shit kills me.

Here we have probably what will turn into the aforementioned situation.

Flipsyde is a Hip-Rock, fusion style type of band outta L.A.. Their meshing of the two most popular genres of the area and country has garnered them a lot of fans and afforded them some really unique opportunities. One such opportunity came back in 2005, and saw the band working worth Hip-Hop production legend extraordinaire, DJ Premier. I'm sure Premo had heard things about the band, tried their music on for size and I guess decided he was feeling their stuff enough to drop a track for em'. A track that would come to be known as (or not known as), "Long Time Comin'". It was supposed to make it's debut on the Flipsyde's debut LP, but was given the axe instead, and in my opinion rightfully so. I mean, It's not a bad track, but it's far more deserving of being included on some obscure basement mixtape than an album. What happened was that the chemistry didn't explode like I'm sure the band thought it would. The beat that Premier handed them sounds like a stripped down, early version of "Society Is Brainwashed" or somethin', and that's not so much of a compliment really. Surprisingly, the rhyming ain't that bad at all, actually even pretty good, and the hook is alright too, but the song just misses something and well, hey, it just didn't move me like that, and I'm sure it didn't really move them. lol, these guys must of just caught Preme after a big meal or something, cause this just doesn't sound like Preme when he's in the zone musically. "Long Time Comin'" is cool, but I can somewhat see why maybe the band decided not to include this, or why maybe even Primo might of said "ya know what, cut it off". Til' today this track only existed via recordings of Premier's radio show Live From Head Quarterz. Now it's yours.


Interview: Evol One

One of my great loves in life is graff.....although it pains me to see virtually every major city crack down furiously on writers and their taggin' exploit's, I still have great hope that one of the most important elements within' Hip-Hop will never run out of Aerosol.

A big part of my addiction for graff has to do with the individuals behind it. When I see a piece, I almost always instantly start scanning it intently for the name of the tagger or crew that wrote it. I've seen/read so many pieces and taggers over the last 10 years it's not even funny. From coast to coast and many places in between, the art has never eluded me. I even used to cut out and save the graff pieces they used to put in the back of The Source magazine, (before it turned into the shittiest hip-hop mag ever) I forget what that section used to be called, but I know all the real Source reader's, it came right before the last few pages that were all adds for like, 1-800 sex line's, fake jewelry and bootleg Viagra. Man! I need me a new copy of Style Wars (R.I.P. Tony Silver).

Okay, Okay I'll stop boring ya with my graff tales, but be fore warned, they'll be back....muhahahahahahah......*silence*......uhhh, okay....anyway, yeah, Vimby, (Video In My Back Yard) the excellent online video blog site dedicated to in-depth coverage of artist's from region to region is a firm supportor of graff, frequently spotlighting taggers from all over the U.S.. In this, their first graff interview of 09', Vimby links up with Evol One in his own backyard of South Central, Los Angeles. Evol breaks down what the culture means to him, his skills and the booming L.A. graff scene.


Monday, January 5, 2009

The TwoThousandAndMine Mix CD Hosted by Cymarshall Law and Mixed by DJ GI JOE

Brand new and free offering mixed by none other than DJ GI Joe (Immortal Technique's DJ) and hosted by Cymarshall Law; the UK born, New Jersey bred underground phenom, we have the "TwoThousandAndMine" mix. It's a pretty ill mix that features Rare, Exclusive and New material from many of the artist's signed to the Freedom Works stable. Featuring some heady guest spots it's a no brainer to grab.....included; Pacewon & Mr. Green, El Da Sensai, Supastition and Wordsworth.

Basically a promotional sampler type of tool for Freedom Works, the bulk of the production is handled by the company's fledgling production duo; the Swedish duo known as The Beatniks (Lil Jay and Frank Blank), who utilize their considerable know how of that good ole' boom bap throughout "TwoThousandAndMine" to create some wonderful back drops for a host of very notable Freedom Works artist's. Most notable would have to be Skit Slam. The ethnically Jamaican UK emcee who's English accent is just barely detectable in most of his music shines brightly on this mix, as he does anywhere thanks to thoughtful lyricism. Of course Cymarshall Law does his thing as always, mixing lyrical density and dexterity with poignant subject mattter and upholding his extensive body of work. Another heavily featured artist on this mix is Mr. Joeker; another solid euro to NJ transplant who much like his cohorts also brings forth excellent lyrical jabs and smart wordplay. An added bonus is Joeker's substantial production ability, that gets put on full display for the ill, Cymarshall law assisted, "Addiction" joint.

Don't miss pickin' this up man, far too good of a Hip-Hop project to just go overlooked. Perace to all the bruthas over at Freedom Works who made this possible and put it out for free for the fans.


1. Intro
2. Cymarshall Law - Ghosts of Hip Hop : Past , Present & Future
3. Pace Won - Tic Toc - Prod by The Beatnikz
4. Mary Lou - Love Comes Naturally - Prod by The Beatnikz
5. Everliven Sound - Green Cream prod. by Beatnikz
6. Skit Slam - I Need You ( Joeker Remake )
7. Skit Slam & The Beatnikz featuring Sticky Fingaz & Cymarshall Law - Just Like You
8. Supastition - Bang - Prod by The Beatnikz
9. Mary Lou - Higher Level - Prod by The Beatnikz
10. Cymarshall Law & Mr.Joeker - Live While You Can
11. Skit Slam & The Beatnikz - Ghetto Liven
12. Everliven Sound - What If - prod by Beatnikz
13. Cymarshall Law & Mr. Joeker - Truth feat.Supastition & Skit Slam
14. Cymarshall Law - Addiction prod. by Mr.Joeker
15. Cymarshall Law & Mr.Joeker - Love , Sex or What
16. Ty- Chee & El Da Sensai - The Most Unadulterated - Prod by The Beatnikz
17. Skit Slam & The Beatnikz - Concrete Jungle
18. Skit Slam , Pace Won , Ty - Chee - Autobots Smash Prod by Mr.Green
19. Outro