Monday, January 31, 2011

J. Dilla - Still Shining

A Dilla documentary will be out on February 7th on This looks like it will be a really interesting look at one of the most celebrated hip hop producers because of the behind-the-scenes footage, and personal touch of family photos and interviews. Below is some info on the piece as well as the trailor.

Gifted Films Inc presents a Okayplayer OG Brian ‘B.Kyle’ Atkins project, J. Dilla: Still Shining. The comprehensive remembrance piece on the late great James ‘J. Dilla’ Yancey will be available February 7th @

The doc will feature unseen personal photos, and rare concert performance footage. Along with all of that, the project also will feature exclusive testimonials from friends and frequent collaborators like Erykah Badu, Dwele, Pete Rock, Bilal, ?uestlove, Busta Rhymes, Phat Kat, Common, Q-Tip, Houseshoes, and more. – Okayplayer.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Immortal Technique & Nas

Today I was looking at the Facebook page of a DJ from overseas. A guy had posted a question asking him what he thought of Immortal Technique. OK. But, then he gave it a weird twist by asking him to compare the MC to Nas. That seemed kind of random, and even foolish, but got me to thinking anyway.

It seems obvious to me that even the biggest Immortal Technique fan wouldn't tout him as being above Nas. Not skill-wise, anyway. But, there are some aspects of the two's respective styles that could be compared. First, of course would be the political nature of the rhymes. Both speak on the immediate socio-political issues looking them in the face everyday in their neighborhoods. This content is identifiable to their peers, but at the same time it challenges those people, as well as others outside of that experience to think about the cause and effect of things like gentrification and drug laws on low-income communities. Immortal Technique seems to expand his view further though, speaking on international situations, especially those relating to America's dealings with, and treatment of other countries - which he exposes as often secret and hypocritical. However, Nas seems to have taken a broader approach most recently on his joint album (no pun intended) with Damian Marley.

I would say that Nas has a more approachable style as well because he doesn't have the same harsh, beat-you-over-the-head-with-what-I'm-saying style that Tech has. Nas usually has a message, but it's woven in with other thoughts and tales of a regular person with multiple daily experiences and even contradictions in his own life. Tech is more narrowly defined at this point as a hardcore, revolutionary, politically-motivated MC. That's his focus. And, if you read about his story, you can see why, or rather how this came to be. And, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's not wrong to want to make your music be about something. But, while I am interested to hear what he has to say, because he is so specific in his approach all the time I gotta be honest and say that sometimes I'm just not in the mood. There was a time, especially during Bush's second term in the white house that I could (and did) have an album like Revolutionary Vol.2 on repeat. But, usually I much rather prefer MCs that are educated and have a message, but allow it to fit into their rhymes of everyday life. That's just my style. But, in Technique's realm of rhymes there's really no one that can touch him, Dead Prez included.

When it comes to flow, I just find Nas' gift of putting words together to be better and more interesting when it comes to breaking down the lines. Tech is much more direct, and not as creative poetically - though his story-telling skills are potent as evidenced by "Dance With The Devil" and several others.

There's no doubt that Immortal Technique is a dope MC and a man using the culture he is a part of to further an important message and hopefully mobilize a nation full of complacent citizens into action in many forms. Nas, on the other hand is a street poet. A man with many sides (which he displays in songs) that also takes on the responsibility of reporting to a larger world the things going on in his.

In the end, we should thank hip hop for both MCs as they both bring a lot to the table and make this art form interesting with every rhyme. Both are MCs I can't wait to hear every time I see a new song/album out that they have done. I hope they both continue to make music for a long time.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Be Lo

I was talking to a friend today about this MC from Pontiac, MI called One Be Lo. One of my favorites. Some of you may have heard of him. If not, here's your chance. The guy's phenomenal...and has gotten better since the the song I'm posting below, actually. It's called "Axis". Tell me what you think. One Man Army One Man Army One Man Army.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"I'm On One" - Talib Kweli

New video let loose from Kweli off his Gutter Rainbows album, which is coming soon. Khrysis on the boards with the heat! I can't fucking wait for this album to drop. The full trackslist can be found elsewhere on this blog if you're curious.

Right 2 Know

New video from Organized Konfusion's Prince Po with production from Large Professor.

Just watched this. I'm a fan of both artists, especially Large Pro, and I'm feeling the beat. The track overall though I'm not crazy about. It's been done before ("Questions"), so the lack of originality I think is what I'm having a problem with. I'd check out a new Prince Po album though.

Watch it and let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Best of 2010

Ok, so I'm not too far behind with this post. The Best in Hip Hop of 2010. It's been a good year, though maybe not as good as the last two. I've seen a few lists so far from some other sites/people. We have a few in common, but mostly I don't know what the hell they were thinking. Everyone has their own taste though, I guess. Anyway, here are some of my favorites of the past year. Mostly in no particular order, though my top choice is listed at number one.

I chose Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as the best of 2010 for a few reasons. I actually liked it more than I wanted to. Kanye is among the top names in Hip Hop, and has achieved tremendous mainstream success. So, plenty of non Hip Hop sites will list this in their year-end lists as well, and it kinda makes me not want to include it. But, it actually deserves to be there. And, it deserves to be at the top of the list. Kanye's musical vision is amazing. He's constantly bringing in new sounds, and this album has him humbling himself by collaborating with a lot of other great producers. The rhymes and concepts/themes are strong throughout, and the replay value is higher than anything else I've heard this year. It is undoubtedly a classic.

Top Albums of 2010

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
The Roots - How I Got Over
Reflection Eternal - Revolutions Per Minute
Fresh Breath Committee - CPR
Consequence - Movies on Demand
Little Brother - Leftback
Murs & 9th Wonder - Fornever
Donwill Presents Don Cusack in High Fidelity
Nas & Damian Markey - Distant Relatives
Homeboy Sandman - The Good Sun
PackFM - I F*cking Hate Rappers
Black Milk - Album of the Year
Dres - From the Black Pool of Genius
Skyzoo & Illmind - Live from the Tapedeck
Main Flow - Return of the Castle
Joe Budden - Mood Muzik 4
Von Pea - Pea's Gotta have It
Currensy - Pilot Talk 1 & 2
Celph Titled & Buckwild - Nineteen Naughty Now
Ghostface - Apollo Kids
7L & Esoteric - 1212
Atmosphere - To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy
Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Some favorite songs of 2010

This is in no way an exhaustive list, but rather some of the songs that found their way into my headphones many times over. I'm going to try to put together a more complete list for this category in 2011. As a bonus though, I am including a link with these tracks all together below in case you wanna check them out for yourself.

"Taxi" - Ski Beatz, Mos Def, Whosane
"Let's Take a Second" - Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx feat. Black Moon
"New York is Killing Me" - Gil Scott-Heron and Nas
"Just Begun" - Reflection Eternal feat. Mos Def, Jay Electronica, J. Cole
"The BBQ" (Original & Rmx) - Eternia & Moss
"Almost Time" - Yu (Diamod District)
"Deadly Melody" - Black Milk, Royce, elhZhi
"2000 Beyond" - Slum Village
"Ballad of the Black Gold" - Reflection Eternal
"Role Reversal" - Joe Budden
"Battle Cry" - Joell Ortiz
"Faded" - Von Pea w/ The Lessondary
"Chain Heavy" - Kanye, Kweli, Cons, Q-tip
"I'm Gone" - Fat Joe
"The Fire" - The Roots
"Breakin' Dawn Boys" - Brother Ali, Fashawn, & BK One
"Styles Ain't Raw" - Celph Titled, Buckwild, Apathy, Chino XL
"The Way That I rhyme" - J-Live ft. Boog Brown

"Frisbees" - Skyzoo & Illmind
"So Appalled" - Kanye West Ft. Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, Cyhi Prince, Pusha T, & RZA

Biggest Disappointments of 2010

Inspektah Deck - Manifesto
Method Man, Ghostface, & Raekwon - Wu-Massacre
Ski Beatz - 24 Hour Karate School
Ice Cube - I Am The West

That's all I have for now. Let's see what 2011 brings. I am starting my list now...