November 30, 2009
Have I previously mentioned that Dela is one of the most phlegm-provoking, stuffy nose causing, sore throat providing, ill producers? Well, this jawn is what happens when you get an insane producer and the new age Nasir Jones together.
I can't say the spacey vibes are my thing, but otherwise shit's immaculate.
November 29, 2009
You probably already know this jawn, but still worth throwing up. Pun and Joe didn't make much material together, which makes this cover of Snoop and Dre's that much more memorable. Pun's verse is well beloved, but Don Cartagena throws together some quality bars.
On a second note, Dre was on some other shit when he crafted this instrumental.
I'm far from a Doom stan, let alone an admirer of any part of his body of work, yet there are a few jawns from the man that are fathomable. Operation: Doomsday plays a host to a large part of MF Doom's best work, withstanding the KMD years.
Who You Think I Am? is a memorable posse cut with a hook not to be quickly forgotten.
November 28, 2009
How long has Ev been creating quality music? 15 years? A damn long time to go without recognition in my opinion. Although he is an integral clog in the Dilated machinery, Evidence proved he is a behemoth when not sharing the mic with Rakaa or sharing the turntable with Babu.
On Don't Hate, he enlists the help of Left-Coast veteran Defari, in creating the antithesis to Hi Hater, while addressing the same subject matter.
Abstract Mindstate is a group out of Chicago, who have been close collaborators with my dude, Rashid Hadee. This jawn comes off a long-lived tape series called Chicago's Hardest Working. Sounds like some soulful Hadee production to me, but regardless of who the producer is, they earned admiration for me. I can't say the rhymes match up to the instrumental, but ain't shit to complain about.
November 27, 2009
Bahamadia used to be an viral sickness on the mic, back in the '90's, in fact, she was dope enough to secure an Ski Beatz instrumental. That's some impressive shit, Ski was procuring instrumentals for all the now 'classic' east-coast records, Uptown Saturday Night and Reasonable Doubt feature some of Ski's illest productions.
You can best believe Ski outdid himself on this record. A explanation would be useless.
I don't have too much to write about this jawn. It's your typical dry Talib Kweli drivel, but Just Blaze provided him with a great instrumental to work with. Shit's cute on a musical tip, but the beat is something majestic.
November 26, 2009
E-Flash is a member of the Natural Born Spittaz, which is a lesser-known crew from Cambridge, Mass. I found out about dude via Dart Adams, and he definitely doesn't disappoint.
On Street Blues, it's an insane exhibition of lyricism that cannot be fucked wit'. Some shit you have to hear.
I'm not much of an jazz enthusiast, at least not enough of one to own a copy of John Coltrane's Blue Train. Turns out it was a gaping hole in an already incomplete collection.
Real talk, Blue Train is one of those albums that you can play the whole way through three or four times. Coltrane's prowess on the sax is not to be fucked wit'.
November 25, 2009
The name Kool G Rap should be synonymous with legend in just about every respectable rap circle. G Rap's discography speaks for itself, the work he did with DJ Polo alone would earn him an easy induction into the hip-hop hall of fame, add his solo shits to that repertoire, and you've got one of the unheralded kings of this art form.
Although KGR has released a litany of material, he hasn't conducted very many interviews, which adds to this enigma attached to his character. I've scrounged up a few of G Rap's best interviews below:
All Hip Hop Interview:
HHN Live Interview:
HipHop DX Interview:
Kool G Rap Interview in The Source from '93:
Robbie posted the Doppelgangaz' The Ghastly Duo EP in mid-July to minimal reactions. I copped it at the time and left it dormant for a few months. Shameful now, because The Ghastly Duo EP is one of the illest collections of music released in '08/'09. Although it's typical EP length (5 jawns, one of them an intro), shit is well worth your time.
2012 Or Forever
Raw N Rugged (Smooth Mix)
November 24, 2009
If you think back half a year, then you should probably remember the week that every blog fell in love with Diamond District's In The Ruff. Imagine DMV hip hop, minus the go-go influence, but with an boom-bap influence. Unthinkable.
Looking back, all the hype was somewhat unwarranted. If you listen to In The Ruff with an unbiased state of mind, you can instantly pick up on the weaknesses. Sure, the instrumentals are top-notch, but the rhyming is just abhorrent at times. The In The Ruff instrumental album is 10 times more cop-worthy than the 'clean version', what type of underground artist even makes clean and dirty copies of an album?
The Shining, although not living up to Dilla's concoction, is a gem of it's own, other than the hook which inspires cringes.
November 23, 2009
There's a wide variety of dope '90's rappers that are prolonging their careers for unknown reasons. Cats like Del Tha Funkee, Rakim, Guru, among numerous others stay in the game years past their prime. The same could be said for El Da Sensei. Dude's work as half of The Artifacts was unforgettable, but his solo career is lackluster to say the least. However, he occasionally unleashes gems like Aight Then, which makes you eager to check for his new releases.
This is from a '94 album by Down South called Lost In Brooklyn, southern rhymes over East-Coast derived instrumentals. What's great about Down South is that Myyor the DJ is quite the jazz aficionado, sampling numerous influential sax gods, like Charlie Parker on this very jawn.
The cover for this album is on some GOAT shit, like Wu Tang meets Goodie Mob.
November 22, 2009
I copped Herb McGruff's The Demo EP a few months ago, and that shit has been catching wreck due to countless plays. I posted the demo version of the classic DITC posse cut 8 Iz Enuff a while ago, and now I present another gem; I Keep My Palm On The Handle. There's nothing fuckin' with 90's boom-bap production and raw rhymes, shit's unmistakeably ill. How about that loop that plays throughout the instrumental? Send chills down your spine.
You can find this on the classic Liquid Swords, but you already knew that. To me, GZA has the best storytelling abilities of any Wu member (Rae and Ghost included), and this jawn is the premier example. Listen to how he strings along a powerful story and describes the scene flawlessly and effortlessly. Honestly, what's fuckin' with that?
November 21, 2009
One of my favorite emcees, and of the most underrated lyricists to ever clutch a mic, released two albums in '09; G.O.D. and Legendary. For some reason, every single review I read in regards to either album had a reference to Doe Or Die. 14 years later, every reviewer expects Anthony Cruz to match/upscale his legendary mafioso manifesto.
Doe Or Die, upon first listen, is a good album undeserving of the hype given to young AZ after his (un)godly performance on Illmatic. When you drop one of hip hop's most cherished verses, anything short of Illmatic Vol.2 is a dissapointment. However, AZ went his own route for this album, developing a mafioso persona (that would later be adopted by Nas for It Was Written) and achieving an upbeat sound due to the Pete Rock/L.E.S./Buckwild/DR Period.... instrumentals. The rhymes he kicks are far more, how would you say, downbeat, minimal optimism and a full dose of rawness.
Gimme Yours feat. Nas
Doe Or Die
Where To Cop From:
November 20, 2009
This fucker, Jon Phonics crafted one of the illest albums of '08 in Half Past Calm. Every instrumental is god-like in countless ways, emulating perfection in audio quality.
For Remember, JP creates a perfect platform for a hip-hop nostalgia trip...for British cats. It's right ill to hear a thick UK accent singing the chorus for Ahmad's Back In The Day. Downright untouchable.
You can find this one on the now-classic What's Wrong With Bill. Peace Sells features some ill production and some thought-provoking rhymes, that one probably wouldn't expect from a Megadeth tribute jawn.
I used to really fucks with Ill Bill and this is one of those jawns that really defines his character as an emcee, raw as shit, but still logically flawless with his reasoning.
November 19, 2009
With the wide assortment of 'Pac posts today, I figured I'd go the opposite route and spotlight one of the better efforts of his often-compared East Coast nemesis.
Warning is one of the illest storytelling feats performed by mere mortals, Biggie gives you a cinematic view of the events as they transpire. Shit plays out like a movie in your head.
This cut derives from Blahzay Blahzay's Blah, Blah, Blah, a stoopid-sounding name but an incredibly ill-ass record. Not entirely sure who's featured on this jawn, sounds like Trigger Da Hustler and Smoothe Da Hustler, but I'm not sure.
Apparently, Primo did a remix of this jawn or maybe the OG version, haven't heard it yet, but it definitely adds credibility to the Blahzay Blahzay name.
November 18, 2009
This comes off the well-renowned Blue Breaks series, in fact it's origin derives from the OG copy. Vol.1 features countless other talented jazz musicians, however the sound is too upbeat to really get into. Donald Byrd is easily in my top 10, however Weasil (featured on this tape) is far from his best work.
Black Jack on the other hand, while hopelessly optimistic, is still illin' past belief.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, you're doing a disservice to yourself by not listening to Heavy Mental, the Wu equivalent to Ras Kass' Soul On Ice. Aside from the traditional sound chops from kung-fu films, Killah Priest packs countless religious and mythological references into his rhymes, and the instrumental by 4th Disciple is right ill in addition.
November 17, 2009
After hearing the mediocrity that was Seventh Seal, I went back to some of Ra & Eric B's older shits. For today, it was Follow The Leader, which called for repeating Microphone Fiend 10 or more times.
Listening to Microphone Fiend today, it still sounds like an amazingly dope record, but I can only imagine the illness it must have inspired 20 years ago. Shit's unimaginable.
And it gets the Billy Sunday cosign.
For some reason, I really enjoyed half of Rick Ross's Deeper Than Rap. Usual Suspects is the prototype of the upbeat drug rap that Rawse and co. provide. Never thought Nasir would spit over such a happy instrumental, but even he sounds pretty good on this jawn. Calls himself Nazareth, if that says anything.
November 16, 2009
By no means am I a Can-I-Bus stan, but I do admit that he shook LL Cool J something rugged with this jawn. The intro with Nas was gimmicky as fuck, but 'Bus made up for it with rhymes of fury. Come to think of it, that's the problem with almost every good song on Can-I-Bus; the intro makes you not want to hear the rest of the jawn.
Has anyone else noticed that DJ Muggs is one of very few musical technicians who can properly disguise Sen-Dog's whiny voice?
It's not so apparent on their earlier 'classic' releases, but post-'95, just listen for it. Anyway, this comes off the self-titled album Cypress Hill, and is probably the second most-known jawn in their catalog (after Insane In The Brain). Almost 20 years, and the shit still bangs something proper.
November 15, 2009
Part of George Carlin's allure is his ability to disenfranchise 'key' parts of American culture by being brutally upfront and honest. The school system is corrupted in countless ways, and Carlin says nothing less about the system or the parents that fund and support it.
I'm dropping this jawn as a precursor to something much bigger, namely a Mac Lethal compilation that showcases a wide range of the man's ill linguistic skills. On The M.A.D. Mac's at his best (or worst) with the obscure rhymes and otherworldly metaphors, and for once he acquired production worthy of what he was saying.
November 14, 2009
OC hasn't torn shit up this gully for a good second, since Word...Life maybe? Omar is well aided by the production prowess of the instrumental conquistador Marco Polo. You can find this jawn on Port Authority, which is an album well worth your time. Dope production and an litany of well-accomplished emcees that feature. Marquee is just the beginning.
I found out about Mally through TSS and had The Passion sitting in the crates for a few months now. Somehow, I heavily slept on my fellow 612 resident for far too long.
The Passion is full of soulful samples and thought-inspiring lyricism. Mally proves that his chill-inspiring performance on The Letter is no fluke. Rather, Mally refined his whole steez. From a raw spitta to a holistically complete emcee, from making dope rhymes to making ill songs. There's a standard of quality on The Passion that is almost unrivaled in all of today's releases. The instrumentals are almost always on point, and Mally keeps it ill with the rhymes and flows.
How I Do
Never Go Away
November 13, 2009
It's somewhat hard to listen to a whole AOTP or JMD album, but when they refine their recipe, it's magical. There's this historical aspect to Vinnie Paz and buds, that shines through in the instrumentals. The references on this jawn are right ill; Hamlet, Henry VIII, Wes Craven, etc. What's fuckin' with that?
Real talk, this is worth a listen.
I posted Slang Blade a few months ago, and Conquistadors is off the same album; Masters Of The Universe. In somewhat-usual Binary Star style, the instrumental is minimalistic in hopes of letting the verbal skills of Senim Silla and One Be Lo shine. I can't tell which I fucks with more: Be Lo's smooth flow and silky rhymes or Silla's rapid fire delivery. Each has it's merits, I suppose.
November 11, 2009
Sup with the New York City Gritty Committee? It's a damn shame that this is pretty much the only jawn that Monch is known for. Although he has a poor ear for instrumentals, his lyrics are top-notch and his aptness to flow all over the place could make Del The Funkee's jaw drop.
Simon Says isn't exactly his opus, but it's certainly one of his better works. Random fact: Mr. Monch spit and produced this jawn.
This is a softer Alc and Prod concoction, but it's still a potent brew regardless. I've often shied away from giving Alan Maman his proper credit, but dude is a quality beatsmith. I doubt he had to do too much digging for Hold You Down, but the main sample is still some quality shit.
Prodigy drops a few dope verses, and his weed-carrier Illa Gee lowers the quality a bit, but it's still easily worth checking out.
It's about time I threw some John Robinson up, ehh? Luckily, Outside Perspective is equipped with the same ill JR rhymes, and an dope instrumental. That's the problem with John Robinson's music in my opinion, he's got the subject matter, flow, and rhymes to go on for days, but his ear for production is somewhat lackluster. Oftentimes, he'll go in over some pretty mediocre instrumentals. Not so here.
November 10, 2009
This comes off AG's solo effort The Dirty Version. It's no Showbiz production, but Muddslide proves for a solid platform for AG and weed-carriers to wreak havoc upon.
None of the weed-carriers are half bad either, they can hold their weight (ha) in raps. On the real, I kind of want to find out more about this Party Arty fellow, his rapps are right ill.
Ahmad was an south Cali artist who came up in the early-to-mid '90's and got big due to Back In The Day. Personally, I love dude's flow, sounds like Del Tha Funkee with R&B elements.
This track is the west-coast version of TROY, a lounged beat and some great nostalgic rhymes that you can get lost in for a good five minutes.
November 9, 2009
As if Till Bronner wasn't already ill enough, hearing his dope riffs over samples of Q-Tip and Common is worthy of smallpox sickness. Blue Eyed Soul is an album he made back in '02, and the self-titled track is acid jazz tinged with an large styling of hip hop. Sounds like DJ Premier meets Duke Ellington to a minor degree.
With Wale dropping Attention Deficit recently, I figured I'd catch up on his work with Back To The Feature. Honestly, anything featuring 9th Wonder is highly unlikely to be a disappointment, and BTTF is no exception.
9th highly outdid himself on the Tito Santana instrumental, shit sounds magical. Wale drops some unreal metaphors, the reference to Dirk Diggler and Boogie Nights made me take a second listen, he really drops some heat. And Joey has an appearance.
I remember reading about the Dope On Plastic/It's My Turn 12" on some obscure forum, and upon reading the stellar description, I felt as though my life would not be complete without Dope On Plastic.
It's a pretty solid jawn, but nothing that will really make you rewind. The instrumental contains a pretty well-known sample that Public Enemy used a number of times, but the OG work isn't coming to me right now.
November 8, 2009
2009 is rough for a creative mind. Although Tamas Lossonczy was 105 years young, he had the prowess of a great abstract head. I may be wrong, but Lossonczy didn't release very much material throughout his career. Regardless, the art he did release is worth a glance:
Pimp used to rock with the mafuckin' Anaheim Mighty Ducks, how ill is that shit?
Super Tight used to be the southern manual for droppin' gangsta rhymes over slow, bass-driven instrumentals. And Feds In Town is the definitive chapter, the essence of why UGK stands for Underground Kingz.
November 7, 2009
For me, it was The Low End Theory. I listened to it front to back and over again countless times. And then I saw the cover. Although it provides minimal description of the music inside, there's an blatant Native Tongue vibe that can be picked up instantly. But beneath the surface, there's so much to pick up on if you look closer. The representation of ATCQ as green with wavy letters provides an wealth of context. Meaning, that if the group name and album name were left out of the image, the image would be left open to interpretation and quite probably deconstructed with darker symbolism.
With this series, I'm not trying to be an art professor by any means, just trying to shed some light and open some eyes on some of the iller and more slept-on album covers.
Zion I- The Takeover
Maybe it was the effect of growing up on comic books that renders this illustration dope to me, or maybe it's the cinematic qualities that leap through the image and plant themselves in your imagination.
Wu Tang Clan- Iron Flag
The sheer concept of planting the Wu flag can be taken so many ways. Historically, the Clan has placed their mark on every imaginable facet of dope hip hop. The photographic qualities of the image add an immeasurable amount of illness to the image.
Kazi and Madlib-Down For The Kaz
This may quite possibly be my favorite album cover of all time. It draws from so many of the classic indie hip hop inspirations: graffiti, comic books, and individualism. You feel like you know the character of Kazi before you hear one loop or one rhyme. That's what a good cover can convey.
Sweatshop Union- Local 604
The haunting cityscape has such an lasting impression on me. In fact, every time I look at this cover it sends chills through my body. It doesn't even register as an album cover, as much as it does an genuine piece of art.
Think Twice-With A Loop And Some Swing
The sheer abstract qualities of this cover make it so great. Nothing I could put into words, but visually it says so much.