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.