Friday, December 31, 2010

Kid Cudi - All Along

For my friend Tim...and for anyone else who's a fan of Cudi/stop motion/gremlins. This isn't an official video.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hip Hop Related Xmas Gifts

HHIB Best of 2010 lists are coming soon...In the meantime, just thought I'd share with you the gifts I received this Christmas that are Hip Hop related:

This book from Russell Simmons is a few years old, I think. I've seen it in stores before. I didn't ask for it, but a relative thought I'd enjoy it, I guess. I'm sure I will. I always liked Russell (actually got to attend a speaking engagement he did at UC a few years back that was informative and inspiring), and the influence he's had on Hip Hop, on business, and on bringing the two together is unparallelled. I'm sure I'll learn a thing or two from this book that I can use in my future business endeavors.

This was on my Amazon Wish List. I keep stuff on there that I plan to buy throughout the year, and if i don't, I'm hoping someone else will. I wanted to support Joe Budden because he puts out some of the best and most thought out music in Hip Hop right now. He's not the kind of MC that's just about clever punchlines here and there, he really puts everything he is into his music. And that makes it worthwhile...and worth the purchase. Click here for my last post on MM4. Unfortunately, the store version isn't quite as good as the one I grabbed off the Internet. The song list is shorter, and a few of my favorite tracks are redone. It may take some getting used to. Still a great album though.

Lastly, Jay-Z's Decoded is something I was interested in reading since it was announced at least a year or so ago. So, I was glad to get it. I was surprised to find how well put together it actually was though. A lot of work was put into this book and it's obvious just flipping through.

The book is more than just some printed lyrics and the the story behind them, or an explanation of their meaning. It's a more in-depth autobiography that gives additional background and insight to the first autobiography - the music. I'm only a little ways into it. But, so far I'm enjoying reading about how certain relationships and situations influenced the verses, and I was surprised to find that there was even more to some of the lines that I didn't pick up on yet. Not so much the witty wordplay, but more so the use of certain words that help to reflect the overall mood of the character in the song. I'd definitely recommend this book to any fan of Jay-Z, and even more to those that don't yet appreciate his talent.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gutter Rainbows

Tracklist for the new Talib Kweli album, supposedly available in January. Whoa.

1. After The Rain (produced by 88-Keys)
2. Gutter Rainbows (produced by M-Phazes)
3. So Low (produced by Shuko)
4. Palookas feat. Sean Price (produced by Marco Polo)
5. Mr. International feat. Nigel Hall (produced by S1)
6. I’m On One (produced by KHRYSIS!)
7. Wait For You feat. Kendra Ross (produced by S1)
8. Ain’t Waiting feat. Outasight (produced by 6th sense)
9. Cold Rain (produced by Ski Beatz)
10. Friends & Family (produced by E. Jones)
11. Tater Tot (produced by Nick Speed)
12. How You Love Me feat. Blaq Toven (produced by Blaq Toven)
13. Uh Oh feat. Jean Grae (produced by Oh No)
14. Self Savior feat. Chace Infinite (produced by Maurice Brown)

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Get Used To Us" - Before I Listen

"I'll let my record talk for me like a Preem hook" - Royce Da 5'9"

I'm about to check out this DJ Premier album. I'm a little disappointed in the track list though. He can literally get anyone he wants, but NYGz are on there like 5 times. Plus, "Sing Like Bilal" with Joell Ortiz has already shown up enough on Joell's mixtapes this year, and should have been left off of this album. I guess it's a producer's album to promote his label. But, still.

Actually, with someone like Premier, I have absolutely ZERO interest in him breaking new talent. I really only want to hear established MCs that I respect over his beats. I mean, think about it. When you talk about your favorite MCs, if they haven't worked with Premier yet, you say how great it would be if they did. If they have worked with Premier that work is pretty much always hailed as their best. So, is it too much to ask that he do albums for my handpicked artists?

Anyway, I'm sure this album turned out great, but hopefully not too short of what it could be. I am looking forward to the Teflon/Styles P. match up, and Premier cutting up records on the hooks. But, in terms of Premier v. Pete Rock, this has to hold up to Soul Survivor!

In all likelihood I'll probably end up making the purchase to support. If Premier doesn't earn your money, who does? As long as he leaves off all his drops. Maybe I'm crazy, but he has some of the most annoying drops of any DJ, and they haven't changed in like 15 years.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Toca Tuesdays W/ Kweli & Freeway

Talib dropped his Blacksmith Presents: The Community Mixtape the other day on the Internet. So, to promote I guess, he dropped by Tony Touch's radio show with Freeway to trade some bars. About to check out that mixtape myself. Any opinions?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Von Pea F/ The Lessondary - Faded

Love this track. Not from Pea's Gotta Have It, the LP he released recently, but rather from "The Most Skulduggery Of Mixtapes", So Motivational, he dropped over the summer. The beat is gutter as fuck, and the way it fades out and comes back in is dope to me. The Lessondary is a pretty capable crew of MCs, and I'm looking forward to an album from them sometime soon. It's fitting to have this song/video recorded in a dirty basement - kind of reminds me of the house parties my friend's used to throw up in Clifton years ago. Enjoy.

Chali 2na - Step Your Game Up

New video from Chali 2na off his most recent album Fish Market 2. I'ma have to pull this one out again. 2na was always the most loved out of Jurassic 5, mostly b/c of his distinctive voice. But, the group as a whole really was phenomenal. They complimented each other so well, and that old school rhyme style of actually rhyming together really stood out among pretty much all the rest of today where everyone has a separate verse on a track. I saw them at a free show on UC's campus a few years ago, after the Power in Numbers album had been played in my car for at least three months straight. It was definitely one of the best Hip Hop shows I've ever been to. Their style really comes to life in a new way at a live show, that cannot be replicated adequately on a recording.

We need another J5 album, like yesterday. What the hell are the other members doing anyway? I see some mixes from the DJs once in a while, but the MCs seem to have vanished. Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. If anyone has any info on them, pass it my way. I'd like to hear it. But, again, these are MCs that need to feed off each other - Chali 2na included - for them to really shine.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Worthwhile Jay-Z Interview

Most interviews with Jay-Z seem to be basically the same; a brief overview of his career, a glimpse at his current business ventures, and a few softball questions for him to decide whether or not to answer. But, the recent one he did with Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg for the Juan Epstein show was different. He was there on his latest stop to promote his new book, Decoded. The interview was in-depth about Jay's life, past and present, and covered a lot in the way of Hip Hop, that fans will appreciate. The full thing is about an hour long, but well worth the listen.

The Away Team

The Away Team are the latest signees to Duck Down Records' ever-expanding roster since their comeback to the top of the underground got some real traction a few years ago thanks to a few veterans of the label. Sean Price emerged as the dopest MC out of the BCC and has proven his talent with project after project of quality material. Buckshot teamed up with 9th Wonder to help bring back the days where one MC and one producer could make an entire, cohesive album together.

Duck Down used the momentum wisely to scoop up a bunch of talented free agents to make the label back into the powerhouse it once was. In fact, they are probably even much stronger now than they were back in the mid-90s when they originally made a name for themselves. Their roster today is ridiculous. Coming out of the same NC camp as 9th Wonder, The Justus League, is The Away Team. I guess the JL don't have themselves a Dru Ha to make them into their own label. The group is made up of MC Sean Boog and producer Khrysis, a beatsmith many have said is more talented than the much better known 9th Wonder. The group's previous work has been solid, but with this new deal they say their best material is ahead. And, with a title like Scars & Stripes, it's hard to doubt them.

If Duck Down's recent track record is any indication, I'd say this is an album to look out for in early 2011. I'm not sure how JL and DD got together in the first place, but I'm glad they did. The merging of talent from different regions for this label has been good for music so far.

So, pick up the Independence Day Mixtape by The Away Team online if you haven't yet to see what they have to offer. And, I'm gonna go pull out some old O.G.C. and enjoy my weekend.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Skyzoo Freestyle

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you all enjoy your day with family, food, and football. In the meantime, check out Skyzoo discussing his album with Illmind and freestyling on the Rap Is Outta Control radio show with Torae and DJ Eclipse. If you haven't heard the album yet, you need to.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jay-Z And Kanye Album

I'm sitting here in my cubicle this morning listening to "The Joy" the track that was released on one of the G.O.O.D. Friday releases, but if the advance I heard is correct, isn't making the final album. Pete Rock made the beat using a Curtis Mayfield sample prominently, and Jay-Z makes an appearance. I like the song a lot though after hearing what I think is the final album I see that it doesn't really fit with the rest of the songs. After the release of a few songs featuring Jay to the internets an announcement came out that the two were going to release an album, or at least an EP together. I'm excited, but I'm just hoping it's an offering of brand new material. If it's just gonna be a collection of the material Kanye already leaked it will be a huge disappointment. The way things are these days with artists putting out tracks as they complete them, by the time the album comes out all the material is old. If I've already been listening to more than half the songs for months it's kind of hard to justify getting the album. I really hope the two of them take the time to craft something monumental insteading of giving fans another Best of Both Worlds.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Turn 4 The Worst

Admittedly, it's taken me a while to write up something about Joe Budden's latest. Aside from not really having the time to sit down and write, and being distracted by some other albums in between, I really hadn't fully made up my mind about the project as a whole. There is some good material and some more forgettable and not very well executed songs. Though there's definitely way more good - No, make that GREAT material on this album, than the former.

The main reason that Budden seems to draw in so many listeners is the honesty he has with himself, which he chooses to fully express in his rhymes. And, not only does the audience get a real picture of what the MC is actually like as a person, Joey's rhyme style and storytelling skills have a way of relating his own experiences to a broader vision of what life is like for the common man.

By far, the best track on MM4 is "Role Reversal". I haven't heard a concept-driven song this interesting in...I don't know when. The song finds Budden being a father to another man's son, while at the same time filling that man's role, to some extent, with his own boy. He hates the father of this child but, at the same time, relates to him, knowing that he's perhaps been placed in the same situation that he, himself, is in. Because of the lack of relationship with his own child, Joe makes up for it in his mind by offering this other guy's child the most of everything, and the advantage of having a real father. I get more and more out of this track the more I hear it. It actually may be my absolute favorite of the year by any artist.

The interludes on this mixtape are completely useless, annoying, and unnecessary. Nothing else to say there. Also, there are a few rhymes with wordplay that should have been left on the cutting room floor (i.e. "avoid calendars, cause all his days are numbered"). But, the the only real downfall to MM4 is the uneven and, at times, incomplete sounding production. I just wish there was more there to listen to as a backdrop to Budden's rhymes. It's hard to explain, but listening to some of these tracks, it sounds like Budden has to rescue it with his lyrics to make the track worth listening to, instead of everything meshing together. The beat doesn't do it's job often enough of keeping me engaged.

However, overall this is another gem in the classic mixtape/album series that is Mood Muzik. I don't think it's too much to say that this is the best mixtape series of its kind to ever come out. I don't want to get caught up in trying to add some quotables because I'll literally be here in front of my PC all night. And, instead of one hot line here and there, Budden's clever prose blends together seamlessly, making it necessary to quote an entire verse, instead of a bar or two, to really paint an accurate picture of his talent.

Mood Muzik 4 is an amazing album, with unlimited replay value for any listener. Budden has the voice, the delivery, the rhymes, and the honesty to make him one of the main MCs carrying the torch for Hip Hop these days, and truly pushing it forward. If you're not up on him you are really missing out on one of the perennial voices in the culture. Pay attention.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Magical Rappers

This blog is funny as hell, so I had to throw it up here.

It's just a bunch of photos of rappers looking like magicians. I can't get enough of this.

Purified Thoughts

This video brings a lot to what my previous post covered. Here is Ghostface in the studio with producer Frank Dukes recording "Purified Thoughts".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Q On Producing

I heard something today that kind of got me down about Hip Hop for a minute, to be honest. I was watching an episode of The Colbert Report that aired Thursday night. Quincy Jones was the guest, and he was there to promote his new album and book.

One of the first questions Stephen Colbert asked of Jones was "What does a music producer do?"

He answered, "Put it like this...if the cover is bad, if the tempo is too slow, or too fast, if the key is wrong, if you got the wrong engineer, you got the wrong studio, the wrong background singers, the wrong arrangements, and the song doesn't work then it's the producer's fault...if it's a hit, it's the artist".

That last part was kind of tongue-in-cheek, obviously. But, he made a good point about what it means to produce a piece of entertainment art. A film producer would be responsible for things in much the same way. But, not so much in Hip Hop. At least, not in a lot of cases, it would seem.

When constructing a Hip Hop song/album, the MC meets with (usually) several "producers" who more often than not have spent time by themselves in a room making instrumental tracks prior to the meeting, which they put into a collection to play for whoever is requesting their talents. Sometimes there is no meeting at all. Sometimes the MC will just have a bunch of tracks sent to them, and pick out what they like to rhyme over, never even sitting in the same room with their collaborator.

My point is that the way a guy like Quincy Jones' approaches music seems to be lost on most "beat makers" in Hip Hop today. This is probably because a lot of these guys aren't really producers at all. They layer sounds in a computer program, but have no ear for how to arrange vocals and instruments. Additionally, when there is no understanding of an artist's unique ideas or abilities (pardon the pun), no give and take of ideas, no unique application based on who you're working with, what you get is generic, cookie-cutter music that will sound the same no matter who is involved. And that's not always the producer's fault either. A lot of times it seems to be the MC who is too lazy or insecure to actually sit in a studio and create something. So, "beats" end up being made by the hundreds and delivered to the highest bidder with no real interest in what finished product comes out of them.

To hear such an accomplished musician like Jones talk about what he does made it depressing to think about what has passed for production and for music in Hip Hop a lot of the time in this last decade. Bottom line there are a bunch of people that really need to step it up if they want to consider themselves artists or musicians. I know that the way a Hip Hop track is built is often much different from how someone constructs one in another genre, but the creativity and real collaboration is clearly absent a lot of the time.

Thankfully, there are also more and more artists coming out with exciting music in our genre these days as well, and are pushing themselves to really create something while inspiring many more. The use of live instruments and outreach into other sounds is helping a lot, as are single-producer albums that have come back into popularity with Hip Hop artists recently - this especially forces the producer to take responsibility for the entire finished package that is delivered on a project. The passion for the music is really being expressed by some of my new favorite artists. And, some of the older ones have reignited theirs as well. So, for the most part I feel good about the direction being taken. But, for fucks sake if you're gonna collaborate with someone the first step is being in the same room with them.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"The Way That I Rhyme" - J-Live

I'm unable to pull myself away from playing with my new Android for more than a few minutes. But, here is something I wanted to share. One of my favorite and one of the more consistent MCs, J-Live has a new EP out called Undivided Attention. Here is the single.

J-Live f/ Boog Brown "The Way That I Rhyme" VIDEO from J-LIVE on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back To Hell

Like a lot of Hip Hop fans, I've been a big fan of Run D.M.C. since I was a kid. Tougher Than Leather was actually the very first Hip Hop tape I ever bought. I think even now, if you go back and listen to the first 4 albums, you'll see how they became so popular with a lot of different demographic groups at the time and paved the way for Hip Hop artists to have real musical success. They brought Hip Hop to the masses, and broke through the talk of being the "fad" music of the day. Run D.M.C. definitely hold a lot of top positions when it comes to my favorite Hip Hop songs.

One album I never got a chance/never took the time to listen to from their discography is Back From Hell. Most people overlook this album, and after listening to it in its entirety this weekend, I now see why. It's actually inaccurate to say it's overlooked. Usually, that term is reserved for things that should be recognized. This album needs to be forgotten. It needs it so bad, that I probably shouldn't even be writing about it for 5 or so people to see here.

But, for a trio so synonymous with Hip Hop, who have so many classic records, and who had their own original sound for so many years, I was just shocked at how uneven, directionless, and full of mimicry this album is. So, I felt compelled to talk about it, I guess.

Their rhyme style switches too many times to count, and it feels like they are trying to keep up with the other acts getting more shine than them that year. The same with the production. The album bounces back and forth between faux-hardcore and painfully bad New Jack Swing tracks that made the whole album sound like they were reaching for success at the expense of their dignity. It's just not genuine at all, and the often mediocre lyrics don't help.

So, yes, I'm gonna put this album away and probably never pull it out again. And, I suggest everyone else do the same, and remember Run D.M.C. for their catalog of classic music because this album is a bad representation of both them and Hip Hop music. I'm fairly confident that they hope you do this too, as they are probably pretty embarrassed about this album today. Please forget you ever read this as well.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Making Of Mood Muzik 4: A Turn For The Worst

I was able to pull away from listening to MM4 long enough to post a nice little behind-the-scenes making-of video of the project. Take a look.

The Making of Joe Budden's Mood Muzik 4 from Dan M on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Devil In A Blue Dress

Joell Ortiz is one of my favorite MCs doing it right now. And this shit right here is one example of why. I know I posted J. Cole's verse over this Kanye track a little while ago as being something dope that should be recognized, and I still stand by that. But, this shit right here is on another level.

I think J. Cole has talent, yes, but Joell has so much range with his flow, and even with everything he's put out so far, it still feels like he's only scratching the surface of his depth and creativity as an MC. He made a great move aligning himself with Budden, Crooked, and Royce. But, I have a feeling his strongest and most lasting material is gonna come from his solo work.

Using one of Kanye's many self-leaked tracks, Joell explores the personal downfall of a drug dealer that decides to get high on his own supply.

Listen, and tell me what you think.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


FINALLY!!! I've been feeling like Guru's passing has been largely overlooked by the music community, and even by Hip Hop. Not enough people are talking about his lasting influence on music and the work he did in merging the two genres of Hip Hop and Jazz. And, now BET has done it. I think a two-hour documentary would be necessary, but it's nice to see that BET (I'm really really surprised by the way, considering their level of credibility in Hip Hop music) put something together for their awards show that everyone watching, especially the younger generation would see. Well done BET, for once.

The Foreign Exchange: Thank You For Listening

Here's something good for you to watch. The Foreign Exchange - Nicolay, Phonte, and several others - had a brand new album come out this week called Authenticity.

What started out as more of a Hip Hop collaboration between the two leads, one on the beat and the other the mic, has since morphed into a musical collaboration of many offering a more soulful, grown-up sound that spans several genres. I haven't yet had the opportunity to check out the new album, but I have a feeling it'll be in rotation for a while once I do. As a lead in to their new project, The Foreign Exchange sits down in this three-part video to discuss the group and its direction. I highly recommend taking a look. Video below, plus a note from Phonte.

Thank You For Listening (A Short Film About The Foreign Exchange)

Friends and Fam,

To coincide with the release of our new album "Authenticity," we hope you will enjoy the short film "Thank You For Listening;" shot and directed by Sandrine Orabona (videographer for Michael Jackson's 'This Is It') and Anke Thommen.

This short piece sums up the story of +FE, as well as incorporating live show footage, candid interviews and behind the scenes footage of Phonte, Nicolay, YahZarah, and the rest of the +FE Music family. For anyone wanting to get hip to the music and story of The Foreign Exchange, this video is the perfect entry point.

Thanks so much for your support.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Devil In A New Dress + Villematic

"I make the type of pieces that make Jesus say goddamn..."

I was just telling some friends that among other random tracks I've been listening to lately, I can't stop playing "Devil in a New Dress" by Kanye West. The track is fucking dope (Prod. by Bink, not Kanye), and I'm predicting a hundred MCs will try their hand at bodying it before the year is out.

They'd be hard pressed to come up with a verse better than what J. Cole spit to it though. Check it out:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Fuck You"...By Cee-Lo

If you haven't seen this yet, treat yourself. Great song, enjoyable video. I love the career Cee-Lo has had thus far, though I would appreciate an album full of rhymes at some point. Some singing/rapping collabs with Andre 3000 wouldn't hurt either.

I'm wondering what this profanity-laced song will sound like in its clean form for public consumption as this is the lead single. We shall see.


Hey every(one),

I thought I'd mention for anyone that gives a shit that I recently started a new job. Due to this, I'll probably have a lot less time to offer updates of witty content than I have recently. We'll see what happens. But, I just thought I'd share.

Happy Labor Day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baknaffek - Das Efx Interview

Read this interview from Paul Arnold over at HHDX this morning and had to repost for anyone that may have missed it.

Das Efx and the whole Hit Squad/Def Squad were a pretty major part of the grimy Hip Hop from the East coast in the early 90's, which I loved then and still do to this day. The interview is detailed, and done from the persepctive of someone that actually knows the group's work. Interviews don't always come together like that, so it's appreciated here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Feel Like Supporting The Cleanup Effort In The Gulf?

Nice little video here featuring Mos Def, Lenny Kravitz, Tim Robbins(???), & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing a song they put together for the relief effort. The video will tell you where to go if you wanna help.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

True Hip Hop Stories: BDK

Here is another video from D-Nice's 'True Hip Hop Stories' series. This time Big Daddy Kane sits backstage and discusses the making of his classic "Ain't No Half Steppin'". It's an interesting story about the way the beat was layered and everything.

If pressed to give an answer, I think I would have to say this song is my favorite Hip Hop song of all time. When I was a kid (I'm talking a little, little kid) Long Live The Kane was one of the first tapes I ever bought. I listened to that whole album start to finish probably 500 times or more, literally. And "Ain't No Half Steppin'" was the first song on the B-Side, so it was easy to rewind and start over again and again. And, I did...again and again.

Nike SB Presents:

A recent post of mine commented on Nike's credible use of Hip Hop in some of their ad campaigns. You can read it here. Well, here they are again. This time promoting skater Paul Rodriguez's (son of the comedian of the same name) shoe with along with a voiceover by Nas while his song "Hero" serves as the soundtrack.

Here is Nike's announcement:

"Nike SB is proud to announce the global launch of the Zoom Paul Rodriguez 4 on 8/21/2010. This year we brought Paul to New York to hit the streets and spend time in the studio with one of his idols, hip-hop legend NAS. The result is a 60-second commercial, directed by Nike SB’s own Jon Humphries, following Paul’s journey through iconic New York City skate spots, accompanied by music and a voiceover from Nas."

25 Favorite Hip Hop Songs

I was putting together a list of 25 of something else Hip Hop related for a friend the other day, and just decided to think for a little while about what 25 of my favorite Hip Hop songs were.

This isn't an exhaustive list - obviously there are countless great songs that strike a special chord inside me. This isn't my TOP 25 either, just 25 of my favorites in no particular order. Songs that come to mind without too much thought. Songs I grew up listening to. Songs that have countless replay value for me. Songs I would sit in the car in the driveway and listen to if they came on. If I kept thinking I could come up with 25 more in no time.

Take a look at the list. Comment. List some of your own favorites.

1. Big Daddy Kane – "Ain’t No Half Steppin’" (probably my favorite Hip Hop song of all time)
2. A Tribe Called Quest –
"Check The Rhime"
3. Jay-Z –
"Feelin’ It"
4. Heavy D. w/ many others– "Don’t Curse" (My favorite posse cut)
5. Pete Rock & CL Smooth –
6. Run DMC –
"Rock Box"
7. De La Soul – "Eye Know"
8. DJ Quik – "Tonite"
9. Nas – "Halftime"
10. Gangstarr –
"You Know My Steez"
11. Scarface –
"I Seen a Man Die"
12. 2Pac –
13. Naughty By Nature –
"Uptown Anthem"
14. Biggie –
"I Got a Story To Tell"
15. BDP –
"Love’s Gonna Getcha"
16. Souls of Mischief –
"93’ Til’ Infinity"
17. EPMD –
"Get the Bozack"
18. Organized Konfusion – "Fudge Pudge"
19. The Roots –
"What They Do"
20. Kool Moe Dee –
"I Go To Work"
21. Raekwon –
"Incarcerated Scarfaces"
22. Atmosphere –
23. Talib Kweli – "Get By"
24. Black Star w/ Common – "Respiration"

25. Goodie Mob – "Cell Therapy"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)

Late last night, I spotted the tracklist for Pharoahe Monch's upcoming Duck Down Records Release, W.A.R. Here it is:

1. Intro – Skit (feat. Idris Elba)
2. Evolve
3. W.A.R. (feat. Vernon Reid)
4. Clap
5. The Hitman
6. Black Hand Side (feat. Styles P & Phonte (of Little Brother))
7. Let My People Go
8. Shine (feat. Mela Machinko)
9. Haile Selassie Karate (feat. Denaun Porter)
10. Assassins (feat. Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9”)
11. Illusions
12. Mama’s Boy
13. Still Standing (feat. Jill Scott)

Unfortunately, no word on production credits for each track just yet. For those that don't know though, Monch produced his biggest hit, "Simon Says", himself.

Now, it's not as if Monch needs any help from guest MCs to hold down his album. He's unquestionably one of the greatest lyricists ever. But, I gotta say I'm pretty excited about some of these features. Phonte & SP; Jean Grae & Royce. Not sure why Stringer Bell is on there, but we'll see what happens. I'm guessing it'll be similar to the American Gangster intro. But, Elba was in that movie, so it made more sense. I know he's trying to break into Hip Hop now, but having your rhymes compared to Pharoahe Monch isn't the best way to garner attention.

Take a look at the video below where Monch talks Hip Hop with D-Nice, including the making of "Oh No", and rhyming about his problems with Asthma on this new album.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Outasight - Never Say Never

It appears to be free music day. So click the link to Outasight's Bandcamp page and download his new album, Never Say Never, for free.

If you're unfamiliar, Outasight is a rapper/singer/songwriter/musician from Yonkers, NYC. The music is eclectic, and doesn't follow the stringent guidelines most Hip Hop artists adhere to. With Outasight and a few others these days though, the rules for what is and is not Hip Hop appear to be changing - in a good way...and I like it.

Exclusive: ParanormL & J. Rawls – P&J Project Mixtape (2010)

This album prequel is available for free download. I listened this morning and it's worth the space on your computer. So, if you like jazzy Hip Hop check it out.

Exclusive: ParanormL & J. Rawls – P&J Project Mixtape (2010)

Monday, August 16, 2010

You Love To Hear The Story...

I love to talk Hip Hop with people. Both with those that are as into it as me, and people that just have a more general curiosity. The people that love it like me, and follow it somewhat closely can carry on a conversation for a while about who we're into at the moment and why, different shows we've been to, slept-on classics, etc.

For people that are less informed, the conversation usually consists of giving recommendations and recounting the history for them. Still, others just want to put the genre down and I have to defend it. One criticism I used to hear a lot was how "it's not music because they don't play any instruments". While that's not as true anymore (the lack of instruments, that is), knowing the history of Hip Hop explains why this is the case, and why it's that much more amazing and uniquely creative.

Anyway, while browsing Davey D's website yesterday I came across this interview he did with the godfather of Hip Hop, DJ Kool Herc back in 1989. Herc is responsible for laying the foundation that Hip Hop would be built on, though he often doesn't get the acknowledgement he deserves. This interview actually gives some insight as to why this might be, and let's Herc tell the story of what he started himself. It's a great read.

I couldn't get a direct link, so I just pasted the entire article below. Once again, this is a Davey D interview taken from his website. So, if you like it make sure you check out his page (link is on the blogroll to the right) for more great material.

Interview w/ DJ Kool Herc
1989 New Music Seminar
by Davey D

If there was ever a case of being at the right place at the right time. The day I ran into DJ Kool Herc at the 1989 New Music Seminar was that time. It was a controversial yet electrifying seminar. I was attending a panel on Hip-Hop and hanging out with fellow journalist Harry Allen the Media Assassin. Toward the end of the panel Kool Herc walked into the room yet no one seemed to know, understand and to a certain degree care who he was. His name was mentioned and his contributions to Hip-Hop were uttered, but he was clearly not given the proper respects. Whoever was moderating the panel didn't really know or understand who Kool Herc was. I hadn't seen him in a long time and was a bit taken back, but I immediately grabbed my tape recorder and seized the moment. This was history. This was the Godfather of Hip-Hop. This was the man who started it all and here I was in a room with a bunch of folks who were so caught up in themselves that they neglected to let this brother drop science. Here's the transcript of our interview that took place in June 1989...

Davey D: Herc. Legend has it that you're the one that started hip-hop. How did this come about?

Kool Herc: Hip-Hop started when my father brought a PA system and didn't know how to hook it up. I was messing around with the music and I started out by buying a few records to play at my house. When I was doing that I saw a lot of kids playing outside in the backyard. My sister asked me to give a party one day. Actually, she wanted me to play at a party [1520 Segdwick Ave] and I went out and got around twenty records that I felt was good enough and we gave a party and charged about twenty five cents to come in and made 300 dollars.

At the time I was into graffiti so there was a lot of curiosity was about who I was. And so when they came there they saw who I was and what I did, I fulfilled their expectations on me. Herc could talk and play good music and people didn't mess around in his party. The ‘babes’ [fine women] were there and he [Herc] might call your name on the mic. In those days ain't no body know about calling your name on the mic or hearing records back to back...

Davey D: Ok when you say call your name on the mic and go back to back, what exactly did you mean by that?

Kool Herc: I was like hailing my friends that I knew out there in the party. That would keep my head going. The homeboys that I played basketball with, not the curiosity seekers, not the party goer that come into see or hear me play, but friends that when the party's over is gonna be there. That's who I was calling out..people like that. I'd say things like, 'There goes my mellow Coke La Rock in the house' 'There goes my mellow Clark Kent in the house', 'There goes my mellow Timmy Tim in the house', 'There goes my mellow Ricky D', 'There goes my mellow Bambaataa'. People like that acknowledgment that they hear from their friend.

Davey D: So how did that style lead to the actual rhyming style that encompasses rap music today?

Kool Herc: Well the rhyming well you know, I like playing lyrics that was saying something. I figured the people would pick it up me playing these records, but at the same time, I would say something myself with a meaningful message to it. I would say things like:

Ya rock and ya don't stop
And this is the sounds of DJ Kool Herc
and the Sound System and you're listening to
is what we call the Herculoids.
He was born in an orphanage;
he fought like a slave fuckin' up faggots all the Herculoids played
When it come to push come to shove
the Herculoids won't budge
The bass is so low you can't get under it
The high is so high you can't get over it
So in other words be with it

Davey D: Did you get the rhyming style from Jamaica?

Kool Herc: Hip-Hop, the whole chemistry of that came from Jamaica, cause I'm West Indian. I was born in Jamaica. I was listening to American music in Jamaica and my favorite artist was James Brown. That's who inspired me. A lot of the records I played were by James Brown. When I came over here I just had to put it in the American style and a drum and bass. So what I did here was go right to the "yoke". I cut off all anticipation and played the beats. I'd find out where the break in the record was at and prolong it and people would love it. So I was giving them their own taste and beat percussion wise. Cause my music is all about heavy bass.

Davey D: What year did this happen?

Kool Herc: 1970

Davey D: Who were the original Herculoids?

Kool Herc: My man Coke La Rock, He was the first A-1 Coke. Then he was Nasty Coke and finally he just liked the name Coke La Rock. There was Timmy Tim and there was Clark Kent. We called him the rock machine.

Davey D: Is this the same Clark Kent who DJs for Dana Dane?

Kool Herc: No! No! Impostor! I repeat he's an impostor. The real Clark Kent was called Bo King and he knows what that means. There was only one original Clark Kent in the music business. This other guy is carrying his name. I guess he respects Clark Kent.

Davey D: How did the whole party scene start with hip-hop?

Kool Herc: It started coming together as far as the gangs terrorizing a lot of known discotheques back in the days. I had respect from a lot of the gang members because they used to go to school with me. There was the Savage Skulls, Glory Stompers, Blue Diamond, Black Cats, Black Spades. Guys knew me because I carried myself with respect and I respected them. I respected everybody. I gave the women their respect. I never tried to use my charisma to be conceited or anything like that. I played what they liked and acknowledged their neighborhood when they came to my party. I never gave a party without the public asking me when is the next party. If I went to the East side it would be 'Hey Herc when's the next party?' On the west side it'd be 'When's the next party?'. So when I felt the symptoms or felt the right urges, that's when I'd give the next party. I never gave a party just to be giving a party unless the people asked me when is the next one cause they telling me they like it and that's what kept me going. I was the people's choice. I was their investment. They made me who I am and I never fronted on them. No matter how big my name got, I was always in the neighborhood. They could see and touch me. The people have a way of showing they want or don't want you. Right now they want me to get out.

Davey D: Over the years did you think that rap music or Hip-Hop was gonna become the big million-dollar industry that it is today?

Kool Herc: No. Little did anybody know we were making history by creating our own culture for our unborn family or unborn child to be coming up into. Nobody knew. A lot of people knocked it, but I stuck with it. I even got stabbed trying to bring peace to a discrepancy at a party. They didn't know. Right now they know it's out and the people are saying 'Hey you should get something for being out there Herc. You started this for Run and Kurtis Blow. It started here. They came to my parties. They heard what I played. They went out there and put other things to it. Hey it's only right when anything gets created there's gonna be somebody else creating something to enhance it. I like it. But when they ask the question of where it comes from. It started here.

Davey D: Pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and others all went on to stay visible beyond the music just being stuck in the Bronx. How come Kool Herc never put out a record? How come Kool Herc wasn't out there in the limelight?

Kool Herc: The thing is.. I carried hip-hop. I dominated this in the '70’s. Then the whole volcano erupted around this with 'Rapper's Delight' with Big Bank Hank. Hank knew me personally. He knew where it came from because he was the doorman at our parties at the Executive Playhouse that later changed its name to Sparkle. When he had the impact of bringing it to the public, knowing it was the real deal. They didn't know who he was. Right around there I got hurt. I got stabbed...

Davey D: Because Big Bad Hank never gave you any credit?

Kool Herc: No! I got stabbed up physically and that backed me up. It killed the juice in me. When your life gets damn near snuffed out and your up there lying in the hospital bed for weeks, you got time to think. I kept visible. I was about my own thing. I rented the space, I spun the music and I promoted the place. I didn't have too many people around me with more motivation to help. It was my business and I sat back and watched to see where it was going. And where ever rap is going I'm gonna be there. There's always gonna be a part there for me. Don't let me forget. I didn't want to be in it like that.. A lot of them pioneers no matter how their names were out there wasn't getting paid. I didn't want to get on that bandwagon because I was about my own thing and nobody ever approached me about that perspective of letting me be my own man. Let me run whatever part I'm supposed to run and have authority. Don't let me be like some sort of puppet. I wasn't with that...

Davey D: You've followed rap over the years. What do you think about the changes?

Kool Herc: I wanted rap to always be a positive, beautiful music. I wanted it to be political. I want it to stay that way. We got kings, queens and jokers. There was some women complaining about the lyrics of a Slick Rick, but she gotta understand that he's like a Eddie Murphy in our business and there are selective people out there that want that. It's not like he’s gonna go to play in front of the youngsters. The radio is not supposed to give a lot of air time to records like that. That's the people's choice. That'll spread like wild fire through word of mouth. It don't need no airtime...

Davey D: Back in the days, you heard stories about Bambaataa not getting along with Flash and other rivalries. Did you get along with everybody and what about all these stories?

Kool Herc: I got along with everybody 'cause I gave respect. A lot of things happened at certain guy's parties that I didn't tolerate. People always like to put things into it. For example, they were always trying to put Bam against me. What they didn't know was that me and Bam had already met. I told him the public had this idea and that there were all types of scrutiny but this is me. I respected Bam from the day I went to a party and rode into Bronx River. I met Bam and was talking to him on the bench and he told me he had a lot of music. When I first came to the neighborhood and I was waiting for the person I was supposed to meet, I didn't go to his house. But I rode back to Bronx River one summer and Bam had his equipment set up and was playing music and I knew in a way who inspired him. And he gave the respect of playing records that I played for me or for my fans. He had his own style and I loved that. He had records I never heard before. Some in fact that could help my mixing gap then and I loved that. I didn't want to hear the ‘same ole same ole’.

Back then, crews were gangs. Get that straight. Crew was another name for gang. So therefore when you heard about Flash and Bam It was really about the Black Spades (Zulu Nation) and the Casanovas. So therefore you were going to have friction besides the DJs. That tension was already there.

Davey D: Are you gonna be making a comeback?

Kool Herc: I was never away. I would like to be a part of a production that my musical ear could give a hand to. As far as what I know and seen move the crowd or break it. And that's all I've been hearing, what moved the crowd already. A lot of music I've already heard or I've played already. I've come down here (New Music Seminar) to make some connections. This is really a move out. I never left New York and I want to see how Hip-Hop effects other states and the world by my own eyes. You see I'm a freestyle DJ. I like to play something that the radio should be playing that they're not playing. That's where my music always comes from. I'd like to get my sound system back in shape and go on the road and play during the intermission of these groups shows.

Davey D: Any last words?

Kool Herc: Well, no matter what rumors you've heard, I'm still built like a twenty five/forty five frame. I still weigh 230 pounds and I'm in love with a beautiful young lady from Corpus Christi Texas named Wanda. I pledge to marry that lady pretty soon.

c 1989

"No Room For Dessert" Promo

This is creepy as hell, but damn funny. Producers 2 Hungry Bros. linked up with MC 8thW1 for this album, No Room For Dessert. Guest Appearances from Von Pea of Tanya Morgan, Homeboy Sandman, Fresh Daily, etc.

Anyway this is a little freestyle/promo for said album done by 8thW1's chin.

Tanya Morgan - "So Damn Down" Video

Yeah, I know this video has been up on YouTube for over a year now, but I just saw it!! Until recently, I haven't really taken the time to watch music videos. But, a lot of artists are starting to get creative with them again - as evidenced by some of the ones I've posted over the last few months. And since they are usually just posted online, artists don't have to worry about appealing to BET/MTV audiences with the same old bullshit.

In this video from last year's best hip hop album, Tanya Morgan use the Mouthoff! app for the iPhone, and strap the phones over their mouth while they rap. I liked it, so why not share?

Speaking of Tanya Morgan, they've been busy this year. Donwill and Von Pea each have new solo material out, and they all seem to be showing up on other projects left and right.

Try to keep up!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Atmosphere - "To All My Friends"

Here is a brand new song from Atmosphere released as a set up to their upcoming tour, All My Friends. I don't have a d/l link because they requested they not be posted. So, if you like it go to iTunes and purchase here. Not a big deal if you are a fan of Atmosphere because you know just how much free music they have put out over the years.

I, myself, am gonna try to dig up an iTunes gift card I think I have lying around here somewhere and get it tomorrow morning. Plus, the tour is stopping pretty close by Cincinnati, so if at all possible (time and finances being the major obstacles), I'm gonna try to check them out live for the second time.

Don't forget to support the artists that deserve it.

SXSW Cypher

After having a chance to listen to Homeboy Sandman's album The Good Sun for the second time yesterday and being thoroughly impressed at his variable rhyme style and lyrics, I took a few minutes to peruse the Internets for some interesting footage of any kind.

One piece of footage found is the following clip from SXSW, a huge Hip Hop show in Austin, TX. It features Sandman followed by P.Casso, and Brooklynati's own Von Pea from Tanya Morgan.

Thoughts on Homeboy Sandman or his album from those that have heard it?

DJ Funktual Interviews Ski Beatz

I mentioned in yesterday's post on DJ Funktual that I would be throwing up an interview he did. Well, here it is. It's a three-parter with legendary producer Ski Beatz.

This interview is about a half hour long, but it's great because it's pretty in-depth, and doesn't just stick to the standard questions and topics. The two really just sit and talk music for a while. Plus, you get to hear about Ski's start in Hip Hop. This really surprised me because I wasn't aware of him before Reasonable Doubt, when his history actually pre-dates that album by quite a bit.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Top 10 Samples...According To DJ Funktual

Okay, I'm a fan of this DJ now - and I haven't even heard him DJ yet! Spotted this vid over at Kevin Nottingham, and had to re post. This guy has me cracking up. I love his enthusiasm for the music. And, it's pretty close to what I do when I'm playing great music at home.

DJ Funktual is counting down his top 10 samples in Hip Hop history. I can't say I agree with all of them if we're talking a top 10, but who cares. This is entertaining. And if you wanna see a more detailed write up from him on these records click here.

Like I said, I'm a fan now and I'm starting to look at some of his other videos, including a GREAT interview that I'll try to post tomorrow.

Jay-Z - Feelin' It

Here is the video for "Feelin' It" off of Jay-Z's debut album, Reasonable Doubt - probably my favorite hip hop album of all time. Also, this is arguably Ski Beatz best producing effort, and he's got a lot of great tracks under his belt.

I actually don't think I've ever seen this video before today. The reason I'm posting it is not just because it's a great song. The video has a story to it, where Jay is some kind of kingpin coming to the island to straighten out someone who doesn't wanna pay up. Kind of a pre-'Streets Is Watching' video.

I was annoyed at first that the lyrics were cleaned up, but then I remembered how in the early to mid-90's, MCs would have some creative ways of taking the curse words out of their lyrics - Dre and Snoop's early songs are another good example. So, I kept watching, and I liked how he flipped his lyrics to remove the curses. It was sort of a new version of the song. But, then here comes the third verse. One of my favorite Jay-Z verses...only it isn't. Almost the entire verse is different. And, it's brand new to me! If you haven't seen this before, or even if you have, I suggest you check it out. Maybe the last time you saw it was before you listened to the song a hundred times and you didn't notice the changes then. Enjoy!

Kweli On Kanye Video

This morning after leaving what I think was, for my part, a pretty great job interview, I loosened up my tie, got in my car, plugged up the iPod, and cranked up Kanye's "Power" loud as fuck as I peeled out of the parking garage and past the police station across the street. I'm feeling unstoppable right now. Ha!!

Anyway, speaking of Kanye West, below is some footage of Talib Kweli talking about dude's genius, and how he took him on the road to open for him when everyone wanted Kanye beats, but were unwilling to listen to him rap. One thing you gotta say for Kanye is that his belief in himself has allowed him to accomplish great things.

The new album (whatever it's gonna be called now) should be out fairly soon, and below is a link to his brand new track "See Me Now" (recorded two days ago) produced by him, No I.D. and Lex Luger, and featuring Beyonce and first name Charlie, last name Wilson.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

PackFM - How To Make A "Rage Edition" Video

You really gotta admire the hustle of some of these independent artists. Not only are they themselves (PackFM, QN5) putting in a lot of hard work for each order, but it's good marketing to bring in new listeners.

All of the extra swag (meaning, stuff, not style) put into the "Rage Edition" of I F*cking Hate Rappers provides an added value to the buyer, but it also turns each of these fans into a marketing machine - Pack's own, personal, traveling street team that doesn't require a paycheck. They put up the poster in their dorm room, rock the buttons on their clothes/backpacks, and put the stickers on their cars, or wherever else. Trust that a lot more people are going to see these items than the fan that purchased the "Rage Edition".

To order the album, click here. You'll like it.

Jay-Z's Decoded

This Jay-Z book, which is kind of a memoir/biography was finished a couple of years ago. When I first heard it described as Jay-Z breaking down some of his best verses, it sounded a little pretentious to me (though I was still interested). But, having the book be a mix of his own thoughts along with interiews from family and friends, and him breaking down his creative process...well, yeah it still sounds pretentious. But, I can't think of another MC that could pull it off.

I am interested to read this book. But, at the same time the content is already there for everyone to hear in the songs. Jay put his thoughts, experiences, etc. into this art form, and now taking it out and just explaining it all over again long-hand style in book form seems like it may cheapen the art a little. I guess I'll just have to wait for the release date in November to find out.

For the full article, go to Rolling Stone.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

1Love: Brooklyn - Featuring Theophilus London

I'm really digging Nike's inventive approach to marketing in different consumer segments. As far as I can see, they've really embraced Hip Hop and utilized it in interesting ways to promote their brand.

Unlike several other companies that just exploit the culture without really understanding it, and use a very disingenuous approach to their advertising campaigns in an attempt to appeal to the "urban youth", Nike goes much deeper and offers social media nuggets like these (not to mention the incredibly dope De La mixtape not too long ago) to represent what they are about.

They don't force feed their brand to consumers. Instead, they seem to favor being one part of an entire lifestyle. And I appreciate it. Read below what I'm guessing is some kind of a press release about the event and documentary series, and then check out the video with the eclectic Hip Hop MC Theophilus London.

As part of the lead up to the World Basketball Festival, Nike Sportswear created a mini documentary of Brooklyn-raised rapper, songwriter and producer Theophilus London giving a tour of the neighborhood he grew up in. This video is part of “1 Love,” a Nike Sportswear experience created to celebrate the AF1 and hoops culture throughout NYC’s 5 borough’s. The “1 Love” program consists of a series of borough-specific mini documentaries, the release of five exclusive Borough Edition AF1′s and a Borough vs. Borough basketball tournament which took place on 7/31 and culminated in a block party at Nike Sportswear’s NYC boutique, Nike Sportswear @ 21 Mercer.

For the short film series Nike Sportswear choose five representative personalities that embody the heart and soul of each of the boroughs to provide an insider’s guide on what makes their home unique. Theophilus kicks it off.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mood Muzik 4 Feature

Now, I'm always anticipating some new Mood Muzik from Joe Budden. The series never disappoints, and Budden is one of the most interesting lyricists in Hip Hop. After hearing the first leaked track, "Short Summer", it sounds like MM4 is gonna be another incredible collection.

Joe Budden doesn't really need to have any features on his album to make me wanna listen (I guess if you do, you're not much of an MC), but the collab he just let fans know about has me almost drooling with anticipation, and I'm not afraid to say it. The song is supposedly called "Hour Glass" and will feature Jay Electronica and Elzhi.

Are you in that mood yet?!?!?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fresh Daily - Mothership/LAND

I’m not really up on Fresh Daily yet. But, after seeing the Ski Beatz' video where he talks him up for a while, I think I gotta check this out and see what I’ve been missing. Free Bandcamp d/l link below - don't blame me if it sucks cuz I haven't listened to it yet (haha). But, go ahead and list the shitty projects Ski has worked on...I'll wait.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bun B & DJ Premier Studio Video

I'm kinda looking forward to this new Bun B album. I've been a UGK fan for a long, long time. I haven't been appreciating a lot of Bun's collaborations in the last few years. Not because of him, but because of the caliber of rapper he lets record with him sometimes - but, hey he's spreading his talent around and turning on more people to his skill, so overall it's a good strategy. Anyway, this isn't one of the aforementioned collabs. This is Bun and Premier. Trill O.G. should be in stores tomorrow (Aug. 3rd).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blueprint - 1988

This is a Blueprint song from five or so years ago. Great song. Plus, I love the video chronicle of 1988...especially since these are some of my earliest pop culture/hip hop memories.

Be sure to download the latest Greenhouse EP if you haven't already.

Buckshot, Skyzoo, Promise, & Sean Price "I'm Better Than You" (Prod By Double-0 of Kidz In The Hall) by duckdown

Because Duck Down is so active with the social media these days, I get a lot of emails and such with new shit to check out. This is a track off of the soundtrack to NBA 2K11. So, albums have trailers, and video games have soundtracks now. Crazy.Buckshot, Skyzoo, Promise, & Sean Price "I'm Better Than You" (Prod By Double-0 of Kidz In The Hall) by duckdown

Skyzoo & Illmind - "Frisbees" Video

Here goes the first video from Skyzoo & Illmind's collab album on Duckdown Records, Live From The Tape Deck. Definitely creative and has me ready for the album to drop. They make a good duo, and Sky is a goddamn animal on the mic.

I like his stuff more and more the more I listen because there is a lot to dissect in his rhymes. He's crazy lyrical without relying on punchlines. Meaning you have to really pay attention to what he's saying and the way he's putting words together because it doesn't just come together for you at the end of each bar. I definitely need to pay attention when I'm listening to Skyzoo spit, and listen again and again to digest it all. I actually still have Salvation in my iPod.

Trailer For Black Milk's "Album Of The Year"

I'm not yet sure how I feel about trailers for albums...but here's one for Black Milk's upcoming album. Pretty bold title, huh?

"Dear Heartache..." by Outasight

New track from Outasight's new album that he just decided to share today. "Dear Heartache..." by Outasight

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Villa Manifesto Pre-Thoughts

I saw this was up on the Nets somewheres yesterday. Not sure how it's gonna turn out, but I'ma take a listen. I've never been a big fan of Slum Village, and I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people are pretending to be these days because of Dilla (whom many only discovered after his death). The Jay Dee beats were wasted on weak MCs for the most part, I think. Once Elzhi came in, the group got a much needed lyrical boost, but lost Jay Dee as a member.

I thought the Villa Manifesto EP was pretty good, so I'm thinking that the full-length may turn out to have some dope material. But, I saw that Elzhi said the label took him off a lot of the tracks (including the joint with Little Brother - Really? Phonte and Elzhi together would be crazy!!), as he is now apparently out of the group. To me, he's the only reason to listen to a Slum Village album, and without him the group doesn't have much to offer. I'm much more excited about anything El does solo (or with other artists) than him being part of this group. I think they're kinda shooting themselves in the foot here. But, we'll see how the album comes out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Dear God 2.0" X "The Fire" Videos

Damn, The Roots stay making really intreresting videos, don't they? Here are two from their newest classic, How I Got Over. Anyone have a favorite track?

(I love how there is audio to the actual video, it's not just the song. It adds a lot to the mood of the production.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Murs Interview

This is a long, but great interview with Murs covering pretty much everything.

Among other things he said, I love what came out of the question about his hair, and the props he gave to Bernie Taupin, the guy that writes Elton John's lyrics (Elton writes the music) - by the way if you never really paid attention to, or shied away from Elton John's music for whatever reason, trust me when I tell you to expand your horizons and give it a chance.

3:16 is definitely one of my favorite Hip Hop albums (and how I first got introduced to Murs), and besides the shit he does with 9th, the more I listen to Murs For President, the more I like it.

Muggs' Top 5 Hip Hop Albums

I'm posting this because DJ Muggs really caught me off guard with his top 5. Nice list.

Some Classic Hip Hop Videos

Got a busy day today, but thought I'd just throw up a few classics before I head out. I've said this before, but I really love the Internet for allowing me to look up pretty much anything I want at any time.

"Bucktown" is probably one of Smif-N-Wessun's best known songs. They're a group I listened to a lot growing up. It's actually about time I pulled out Dah Shinin' again. Don't forget they're supposed to be coming out with an album soon that's entirely produced by Pete Rock. I don't think it has a release date yet, but I'm excited.

This one from Tribe was creative when it came out and it still is today. I remember seeing this for the first time, actually. And, my brother and I taped it and watched it again and again. No other double feature videos come to mind right now, and this is definitely the first I had seen. They even stop the track and do part of "Buggin' Out" acapella. Classic Hip Hop right here.

The real version of this video took a little while to find. I'm not really sure how it all works, but some videos on YouTube are posted by some site or something called Vevo. Anyway, they fucked up this video completely by taking out all of the captions that showed up for each scene. I'm not sure why they would do that. The point of the video and what makes it great is that The Roots are making fun of all the cliches in rap videos. The captions make that clear...and hilarious. But, without them, the video just doesn't make sense and it looks stupid. "What They Do" is one of my favorite Roots songs and also one of my favorite videos of all time.

"Lost generation, fast-paced nation, world population confront their frustration, the principles of true Hip Hop have been forsaken, it's all contractual and about money makin'"