Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Greatest Story Never Told

Saigon's song "Preacher" came up on my iPod shuffle just now. So, I figured I might as well talk about the album. Not a review. Just a quick thought.

I am a Saigon fan. But, I'm not that impressed with the long-awaited album. I'm not sure if it was the build up - The years of anticipation, of release dates that came and went, the Entourage appearances that would have served as a solid springboard to commercial success if Atlantic Records was at all competent - or that the album just isn't that good.

It may be a mixture of all of these things. When your album has been in the works and then completed for years w/out ever coming out, you better make damn well sure that if it ever does see a release date, that it is the best possible work you could have put out. I don't think this record fits that bill. The album doesn't sound like it has a definite direction, just a lot of different song concepts and sides to Saigon's persona all at once that round out to be a vague description of each at the end of the day.

I kept this in my iPod for now. But, I'm not sure I will ever get back to it with all of the new music coming out this year. The album just didn't grab and hold my interest like I thought it would, and I've moved right on. Don't get me wrong, there is some good material offered up from both Saigon and Just Blaze on The Greatest Story Never Told. But, it just doesn't hold up to the greatness anticipated by audiences since the project was announced. Perhaps a better way to deliver it would be to have completely shelved (or say that you shelved) the album w/ this title and released something entirely new and different to the fans...even if it wasn't.

What did you think of the album?? Agree/disagree? Let me know.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: AZ - Doe Or Die 15th Anniversary

I've listened to this collection a few times now, and as I was looking through for the last post, I came to this review and thought I'd post it instead of taking the time to write my own. Why? Because I pretty much agree with what it says. AZ is such a presence on the mic that this album is not w/out new gems while the old ones still come through loud and clear.

If Doe Or Die is one of you're favorite Hip Hop albums, and you recognize AZ as having one of the illest flows in Hip Hop, you have no doubt heard this 15th Anniversary collection. What did you think? Do you agree w/ the review? Let me know. If you, for some reason, have not heard Doe Or Die, do not listen to this collection. Go and listen to the original immediately while pretending it's 1995. You're missing out on greatness.

Pre-Order Atmosphere's The Family Sign

Atmosphere's new album, The Family Sign is available for pre-order now through March 6th w/ a special 10% discount - have you ordered your copy yet? It comes autographed and contains a bonus mix.

I don't have a crazy amount of money right now, and my funds are spread pretty thin. But, Atmosphere is a group I try to support when they drop something new - especially since they are so good to their fans by offering up quality, free music every year. I actually bought their last album twice because I left my CD case on the roof of my car and drove off w/ that disc in it a week or so after it came out! I can't fucking wait to hear this new album.

If you're interested in the deal going on right now, head to I'm not a spokesman, just a client. Support dope Hip Hop. That is all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DJ Premier Discusses Classic Records

I came across this over the weekend and spent over an hour reading through it and listening to some of the tracks and watching the videos. Premier offered Complex magazine a look behind some of his best work - some really well known, others a little more obscure. He gave background as to how the collaboration came about, the construction of the track, problems with labels and execs, and who may have passed on the beat first.

In my mind, Premier's signature sound is synonomous with Hip Hop. If someone asked me what Hip Hop sounds like, I think I'd go for a Premier record first. Before even thinking of an MC, I would probably think of Premier. And, I know I'm not alone on this. This is why so much buzz can surround an album if word gets out that Prem "might" have a track on it. Whenever a MC throws up a tracklist to their upcoming album, heads are looking and hoping for a Premier production.

He has countless classics in his catalog, and this interview gives a much needed look at a handful of them. Link to the article is below. Also make sure you listen to his latest compilation Get Used To Us.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Halftime at The Super Bowl

After this year's halftime show wrapped up I checked out twitter and Facebook to see if there were any comments about the performance. I've actually never seen so many.

There were definitely mixed opinions, though I would say far more on the negative end. I was definitely of that opinion. Of course, I already think the Black Eyed Peas kinda suck, so I wasn't going in with high hopes in the first place. Though by the same token those that really like the Peas appeared to realize how bad the performance was as well, and really just argued that we should all give them a break.

The shitty performance wasn't all their fault, of course. Mic problems made things shaky for most of the time, and if you don't hear the vocals you're expecting at the right moment as a viewer, and it cuts in and out, it's hard to overcome that and enjoy the music. There were lighting issues on one of the stage pieces too, which didn't help since lighting was clearly the biggest selling point of the whole show. But, overall the performance was bad. The show didn't work, and in the end the performers themselves are to blame. It's ultimately their responsibility to take control of everything and make it work. There mics should have been checked by they themselves over and over again because it is such an important performance. The Super Bowl had 111 million viewers this year!

One post in particular caught my eye on twitter though. It was from Murs, who said something like, "we'll have to agree to disagree [about the performance]. This shows me how far an underground west coast hip hop group can go."

Kinda, sorta true. But, really not. It's cool that Murs supports them and is proud of their accomplishments. But, calling them Hip Hop as if that is their genre is like calling Christina Aguilara Hip Hop because she nabbed a Preemo track. Now I'm not trying to take on the arrogant role of deciding who is part of the culture and who is not, who is considered Hip Hop and who is not. The spectrum is wider than ever these days with so many artists using Hip Hop as one of several influences in their music - take Outasight, or K-os, two current favorites of mine, for instance. And, that is a good thing. We all know (well most BEP fans today don't know, actually - part of my point) that was on the underground battle circuit for several years, that a pre-Fergie version of the group was originally signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records, and their album Behind the Front had a sound that was undoubtedly Hip Hop (I didn't like that one either, by the way). So, the group does have its roots in Hip Hop.

But, that album did not sell very well. What sold? When they added a female vocalist, and started making easily digestible pop/dance songs. The music they make today has very little to do with Hip Hop, and is not at all a driving force steering the direction of Hip Hop music the way someone like Kanye West's music is/does. In fact, if someone like West, or say Outkast were to perform at the Super Bowl, I would agree with Murs wholeheartedly. But, if you make it to that stage by switching your style to something that's Pop with some Hip Hop influence in there somewhere, why exactly should I be celebrating their achievement as a Hip Hop fan? If Linkin Park were there, would the same feeling apply for Murs? If Kid Rock was there would it be the same feeling since once-upon-a-time he was a rapper? I don't think so.

BEP just happens to have the same name they had when they started. But, it's a completely different group now with a completely different sound. I don't think the majority of their fans care to hear their Hip Hop records from years past, or would even consider them a Hip Hop group at all. So, how is their performance good for Hip Hop? Well, it's not really. And, plus it sucked, so it wouldn't speak highly of the genre anyway. So, let's be happy that they aren't a Hip Hop group and look forward to the possibility of something better next year.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beats No More

Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone. Go Packers. Fuck the Steelers.

I'm sitting here at the PC with my daughter on my lap finally getting to listen to these 88 Keys beats he was going to toss out before remembering about this tool called the Internet. She's diggin' em. Not a fan of the two second wait for the next track to load though. Anyway, there are some good beats on here, some not so good. I definitely wasn't feeling what he did with the sample used for "Hypnotize", for example.

If you haven't checked them out yet, go to his soundcloud link below. Also, if you're on Twitter, try following him. He puts up some stuff he's working on once in a while.