Monday, December 28, 2009


The year 1988 is said by a lot of hip hop heads to be the golden era, or best year for the music. I don't really agree or disagree with this statement. There are lot of great albums released in other years which I can't live without either. But, I definitely see the point. It just so happens that 1988 is the year I really started paying attention to hip hop and buying albums - well, cassette tapes.

I was young. Really young. But, I wanted to be like my big brother, so whatever he was into I was into basically. He gravitated towards hip hop, and I followed. The start of Yo! MTV Raps didn't hurt either. In fact, the show probably played a large part in bringing hip hop to a lot of people. We watched it all the time. We used to record videos on VHS tapes and watch them over and over again.

I got my mom to take me to the mall up the street from us one night. There were two music stores in it then - Record Town and Camelot. I think I went to Record Town that night. I don't think you could find even one music store in that mall today. This is where I bought my first hip hop cassette: Tougher Than Leather by Run D.M.C. I still remember her letting me unwrap it and put it in for the ride home in her new 1988 Pontiac Grand Am. I remember turning it up to hear "Run's House" and "Mary Mary". I listened to that tape over and over again.

1988 was a good year for me as far as hip hop goes. The tapes I have from that year that I bought in the store are as follows (and I included a video from each below)

Run D.M.C. - Tougher Than Leather

By the way, this video is from the movie Tougher Than Leather. I have never seen it. If anyone could get me a copy I would be eternally grateful. I doubt it would be nearly as enjoyable as it would have been when it came out, but I still wanna see it. This is probably my favorite song on the album.

Big Daddy Kane - Long Live The Kane

I still know every word to this song (and pretty much every other one this album).

Kid 'N' Play - 2 Hype

Some may laugh now, but these guys were mega stars when I was little. Great entertainers, and they actually rhymed together, which I liked. Plus, House Party is a classic. No one can argue that.

EPMD - Strictly Business

EPMD was and is my favorite duo of all time.

So, that's my collection from 1988. Don't get me wrong, I heard a lot of other MCs that year. My brother had some tapes, we watched the videos and listened to the radio (which at that time wasn't a complete joke) constantly. But, these are the ones I owned and listened to over and over and over again.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thought For The Day

This past week I've heard a lot of MCs take their turn on the beats for "Exhibit C" by Jay Electronica and "I Wanna Rock" By Snoop Dogg.

After a few of these verses go up (or even right after the original, lately) a lot of the sites I go to for music start getting bothered that everyone has to go in on the same beat, and the track gets old really fast. I guess that can be true. That was definitely the case with the beat that seemed to start this negativeness for a lot of people, "A Milli" - I personally didn't like the beat much in the first place.

All in all, I kind of like the beat-jacking practice though. It keeps things interesting. It keeps the competition going. Competition doesn't have to be in the form of a diss track. It can just be taking the same beat and trying your best to outdo everyone before you (and set the bar too high for anyone to come after).

My favorite collaboration tracks usually come in this form too. Unless there's a deeper concept that the artists are exploring together, I'd just prefer every one of them be a "Brooklyn's Finest" where each is trying to prove that they're the best MC. Friendly competition. Nothing wrong with that. It keeps MCs on their toes. It's why you hear so much talk about people getting "murdered on their own shit". Some take their guest appearances seriously, and make sure they bring their 'A' game. If the host doesn't rise to the occasion they can end up getting embarrassed on their record. Competition's a big part of hip hop. It's one of the things that makes it great. So, for me at least, I hope MCs keep blacking out over each other's beats.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tanya Morgan - Brooklynati (Sample Mix)

Today Tanya Morgan is in a giving mood - call it the Xmas spirit. They have released this mix of the samples used on their album Brooklynati - in all likelihood my choice for album of the year, which I will decide some time soon after the holiday. Sorry for the spoiler.

I like how it stays in line with the theme of the album. It;s like you're rolling through Brooklynati listening to the local radio station. Enjoy the mix!

Black Milk Previews 2010

If you're looking for something to get you pumped for the new year we got coming, here it is. Well, this isn't actually it, but it's a preview of what Black Milk has in the works for 2010. I'm officially excited.

A1 Records = The Belly Of The Beast

This is hip hop history being documented right here. I checked this out this morning and wanted to post it here because it's an interesting look into what the hip hop culture is/was built around. The owners share some great anecdotes, and the visuals of the store (especially the basement) are crazy.

The Belly of the Beat from Gasface on Vimeo.

Russell Simmons On Business

While browsing through some business sites on the internet, I came across this conversation with Russell Simmons about his business ventures, achieving success in pretty much everything he puts his mind to, and how to make people pay attention to what you're doing. This is focused on business in general, but since it all started with hip hop, I thought I'd throw up a link to it (couldn't find an option to embed). I went and listened to Russell speak once up at UC. He's a really inspiring person. I'm glad I went.

This iissss Christmas Music!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lupe Fiasco Lyrics For "Say Something"

"Pain is growing Seaver-ish"

Among the huge amount of new music I have to listen to lately, one 7-track mixtape I keep going back to is Lupe Fiasco's Enemy Of The State. I've said it before - this shit is nuts. Below is the verse Lupe spit over the beat for "Say Something" by Timbaland. There's a lot of clever shit in this one. Seeing it in writing even made it more apparent as there were a few things I had missed in my multiple listens.

It's funny, until recently I didn't even realize that Timbaland recorded his own verses for the song. I had a version with Drake only. Then Lupe dropped his verse. Then I found a blend of the two of them on the same track, so I was banging that for a while. It was only a week or so ago that I saw the making of the video for the album version of the song and heard Timbaland's part in the background. He had a story around it and everything. Who knew? Anyway, read Lupe's verse below.

Uh, Opus of a ghetto boy who grew into a project man
Brewster Place, he used to stick his scissors in the sockets damn,
clear that Project Runway, 'cause this is where my rocket lands,
ain’t got no problems, Houston, I A.K.A. then rocket land.
Events recent that lit a fire under him like pots and pans,
rockets and I (eye) up in the sky like helicopter cams

And you down there in the traffic jam
from here I’ve seen a bunch of fake shit like avid wrestlin' fans
Came up from the bottom of the eye exam...ZOOM
Now I’m like the biggest G off in the room,
still hard to see me like the truth on TV
or the roof from the sidewalk, I don’t flo' (floor), I ceiling

My mama said they need me...
'cause, I’m made from the best stuff on earth like Snapple Tea Leaves,
they glass is half full so I spit into them like Celie,
no longer G, now you can C (see) me
but your letter's still under my sea like seaweed
C and G but nothing bout me C-G, It’s all real, none of this is green screen

"Shut Up and Let Me Go" just like The Ting Tings,
I’m feelin' like a Mac, standing around a bunch of PCs.
I’ve rocked it from the shouters to the soccer moms,
try to stop what’s going on
you’ll see the back of my hand like the tops of palms,
I’m balling like the tops of pawns,
circle of influence getting bigger like the ripples on the tops of ponds.

Short-footed and War Headed like the tops of bombs,
Domino-in n****'s, delivery is Papa John's, Little Ceaser‘s, uh,
burning down your Pizza Hut
Plaque collection building 'cause, I don’t brush my teeth enough,
yeah, crack is wack and reefer sucks, you might think this deep as fuck
but this like my weaker stuff,
they ask “Is this his day-to-day? 'cause this is like a week to us”

Mic is shy and speakers blush, I is shy (Chi) and he is up,
I correct, me is up - no we is up - cause its like two of me
and each of us, rappin' acid, eat this up,
A-Town down, peace is up, New York to East Coast is tough,
West Side ridin', lot of n****'s salty 'cause,
'cause I be overseas and tough.

Everything seamless, WorldStar never seen this,
NahRight gotta stream this, motherfuckin' genius!

Brave and fly, you backbone-less and wingless,
bunch of chickens on the strip, I’m coming for they fingers...
till what they throwin' up is meaningless
Chilly Chill you seeing this? This didn’t make MTV’s list

Finish fingers, eating wrist, feedin' frenzy and shit,
Succotash stuffering, Chicken-Frikasee'en this
a beat eatin' media blitz,
pace is getting feverish, pain is growing Seaver-ish,
these the peppers Peter picked,
things are at their easiest, Real Compton city G’in it
but I’m from lights, bravooos!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interview With Brother Ali

Like the title says, Brother Ali sits down to talk about a lot of things like his approach to music and life in general, and how he has been positively affected by different people in his life. There ain't nothin' like hip hop music, so if you haven't heard Us yet, make sure you treat yourself right this Xmas and pick up a copy.

11 Minutes w/Brother Ali from Ruby Hornet on Vimeo.

Foreign Exchange On Their Grammy Nomination

First off, fuck a Grammy. All you hip hop heads know why I say that. But, having said that (side note: anyone see Curb Your Enthusiasm this season to know why this is humorous?) this is a major accomplishment for Phonte and Nicolay, and for hip hop/eclectic music as a whole. I have no idea how this nomination happened, as usually the Grammy Award and even the nomination is given to the most popular artists, not the best artist in any given category - hip hop especially.

"Daykeeper" is a great song, and the vocal layers on it really stood out for me when I listened to the album Leave It All Behind. It's actually probably my favorite track on the album, so I'm happy that it was the one to get the Grammy nod. Let's hope they win. See the description and then the video below for a pre-acceptance speech, of sorts.

“We have prepared a short video (with the help of our frequent collaborator Matt Koza), that describes the FE story and gives an overview of our journey from random obscurity to fully independent Grammy nominated artists. Consider this our pre-Grammy acceptance speech…lol. We encourage all of you to pass this along and spread the word, as we feel our story is a big inspiration to artists everywhere. Every once in a blue moon, the good guys do win.”

The Foreign Exchange's Grammy nomination video from The Foreign Exchange on Vimeo.

Lupe Fiasco Interview

I came across this interview Lupe Fiasco did with some chick named Jesse Maguire on the internets recently (no idea who she is - if I should, feel free to educate me), and with Lupe's Enemy of the State mixtape or whatever being played over and over again in my iPod I thought I'd post it on here. If you haven't heard Enemy of the State, you should make it the next thing you download. It's a short collection of him spittin' over jacked beats to showcase what he can do. Just a reminder, I guess. Lupe is on another level with his rhymes here, and has me excited for when he drops Lasers (next year!?). Plus, the interview will help make sense out of the interludes on the mixtape - you'll see what I mean after you listen to both.

Also, if you haven't seen the video/heard the song he did for the New Moon Soundtrack called "Solar Midnite", here it is:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Elzhi - The Leftovers Unmixedtape

If you saw my post a while back about Elzhi's album The Preface, you know that I think he's among the top lyricists out right now, no question about it. He supposedly has an album in the works called Elmatic, and I have no doubt it will live up to that title and be nothing short of amazing.

This past Friday, Elzhi released The Leftovers Unmixedtape for your enjoyment. Here's the rundown of what to expect straight from his website.

The Leftovers UnMixedtape is exactly what it sounds like: A compilation of one of the game's most talented Emcee's unreleased and featured works. Whether it's a promo joint from a few months back (eLZhi and Black Milk - Deep), a feature from another artist's project (Danny Brown - Contra feat. eLZhi), or just a rare gem from years past (eLZhi and DJ Dez - Living), these Leftovers would have passed for a fresh cooked meal if you didn't know better. It's raw, uncut, unmastered, fresh from the studio and ready for your ears. No DJs, just eLZhi and his comrades, your speakers and you. Without the Leftovers UnMixedtape, most of these songs would never have seen the light of day, so consider this a gift, and come get your grub on!

The link below is to Elzhi's website where you can download the unmixedtape in full or track by track for free, or you can choose to support by buying a physical copy.

I.B.E. - Make The Road By Walkin' Video

Nice video here for a song about working hard to get what you want in life. What a concept, huh? You will probably recognize the sample, as it was used for one of 2007-08's biggest hits. No blaring horns on this one though. The song is by I.B.E. and features Toki Wright. Toki's debut A Different Mirror was released this year and is definitely worth checking out. If I remember correctly, he spit at least part of his verse here acapella at The Fresh Air Tour in Columbus, OH last month.

I'm not familiar with I.B.E., but he's got a free mixtape called The Feel out now, so I'm about to be. Link is below the video.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Kidz In The Hall FreEP

I looked in my inbox today and was happy to see an email from Duck Down Records giving me a link to an EP that their artists Kidz In The Hall are giving away.

Here is what they had to say in the email:
This Holiday Season Kidz In The Hall are treating their fans to an early gift in the form of a free album entitled The Professional Leisure Tour presented by L-R-G. The 13 track freEP features all original music from the group which was mostly recorded last month on the road during Kidz In The Hall's National US Tour.

The Professional Leisure Tour is a prelude to Kidz In The Hall's next studio album, Land Of Make Believe, currently scheduled for a March 9th, 2010 release date. Today, "Jukebox," the lead single from Land Of Make Believe, is available at iTunes & all digital retail outlets.

I'm a fan of Kidz In The Hall (although to be honest, some of their stuff takes a few listens to grow on me - like their last album, for instance), so you know I followed the link immediately and downloaded it. I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but I would assume it's good shit. Plus, it's free. If you like what you hear, then think about buying the single on iTunes to support. And, look out for the official album next year. Free music is a great way to motivate me to spend my hard earned money the next time around. Such was definitely the case with Atmosphere. Damn, Duck Down has come back in a big way in the last couple of years, huh?

Link is below. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Idle Warship - Bedroom Lites Video

A colorful, eye-catching video from Idle Warship off their Party Robot mixtape w/ Mick Boogie, and supposedly the lead single off of their debut album.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Relapse: Refill Review

It bothers me when artists re-release an album with a couple of new songs and expect people to buy the thing all over again. A few other artists have done this. Jay-Z pulled this dick move a few years back by re-releasing Blueprint 2 as a shrunken version of itself with two added songs called Blueprint 2.1. In pretty much everyone's opinion including mine, he could have done this from the beginning, as there were a handful of tracks that we all can agree could have easily never been heard by anyone without complaint ("As One" anyone?). But, now I'm supposed to buy an album for 2 songs? I'd be especially pissed if the internet didn't exist. But, since it does, I am just annoyed at this type of thing. Eminem is next in line with Relapse: Refill. Refill contains 7 "new" tracks previously unreleased. Or, at least, previously unavailable when purchasing Relapse. So, I listened a few times and here's my quick take on it track by track.

"Forever" - Everyone's heard this song by now. It's been floating around for months, and while Em's verse is the one everyone was anticipating, and is not surprisingly the best verse on the song by far, it doesn't feel like it's his song. It feels like he's just being featured on it. It feels out of place on this collection and was probably an afterthought included only because of the attention it's been getting due to the lineup (and his verse).

"Hell Breaks Loose" contains more of the Relapse style, but is clearly a cutting room floor-type song, complete with Dr. Dre sounding ridiculous while spitting Eminem-penned lyrics in full Eminem style. It came off sounding really awkward. When Dre's on a song with Em he should really have someone else write his lyrics. There has to be some kind of contrast in style and delivery, or it just sounds dumb in my opinion.

"Buffalo Bill" is an interesting psychopathic song, probably just as strong as the ones that actually appeared on Relapse. I guess some have to be forgone, but this is fucking nuts. And, the Yoda voice keeps the humor in it.

"Elevator" is a good song, not a great song. Kind of a celebration of success. His rise is pretty amazing when you think about it. He did grind for a while. Say what you want about his whiteness - you may have a point, but still, he paid his fucking dues.

"Taking My Ball", the song that was exclusive to the DJ Hero game for what? A month?, is kinda funny. The wordplay is undeniably dope. But, the song comes off as just average though.

"Music Box" is a song I could see being on the original Relapse. Another Psychotic narrative, but I think this one is better than "Buffalo Bill".

"Drop The Bomb On Em" - Well goddamn this song is sick and there's no other way to put it. I'm loving this one.

Overall, like I said before I'm still annoyed that Slim and his label decided to repackage an existing album that was just released this year with some new tracks, pretend they are doing it "for the fans" and expect them to pay for it. If it's for the fans then just leak the shit on the internet, and let the fans have it. In my opinion, as far as the flow and the way he puts words together, Em is at the top of his game and making lesser MCs look foolish. Concept wise, at times I think he just goes through the motions sometimes and should be much further along at this point in his career. But, we'll see what next year's release of Relapse 2 brings.

This collection definitely doesn't suck. I actually think it's pretty good. It just feels like several of them have similar styles to what ended up being on the album that was released. Meaning he picked what he thought were the best ones, and these were left out. For a reason. So, I don't think it's right to put the album out again with these added and expect people to buy. It is worth the listen. I just don't think it necessary or ethical to charge for it, so I wouldn't say it's worth the purchase. Relapse 2 probably will be.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cookin' Soul Redoes "Juicy" W/ Nino Bravo

I normally wouldn't post someone's blend of a song by Biggie, Pac, or Jay-Z because it's been done to death now and the vast majority are bad to average. But, this is a good and unique mash-up by production group Cookin' Soul that brings Biggie's lyrics from "Juicy" to a Spanish singer by the name of Nino Bravo. I think it deserves a listen.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Toca Tuesday W/ Joell Ortiz

I've been posting some freestyles that I've come across lately from different artists, and today won't be any different as the latest appearance on Tony Touch's Toca Tuesdays comes courtesy of one of my favorite MCs to come around in the last few years. Joell is a force in hip hop and teaming with Slaughterhouse has only made him better. In my opinion, he rose to the challenge and delivered the best verses of the four on their joint album released earlier this year. Recently, he's been dropping freestyle after freestyle of free heat on the internet too. So, if you like this do a quick search for audio of the others. The clip begins with a brief interview where he talks touring with Tech N9Ne and upcoming projects, and then gets into the rhyme that I'll be watching again and again today.