Thursday, June 30, 2011

Apollo Brown - Tao Te Ching

Nice little vid was delivered to my inbox the other day for Apollo Brown's track off his instumental album, Clouds. Probably the strongest beat on there too. Watch below, and then click below that for a free download of Odissee rocking over it to speak on the new nation, The Republic of South Sudan in a song entitled "The Times". Lyrics are included on the page as well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some Older eLZhi

I brought this post from 09' back to the top since eL's getting a lot of attention for his ode to Illmatic, ELmatic. Just want to remind everyone that he's been putting out quality music for a while. Make sure you get a hold of this album if you haven't already. And, if you're interested, do a search on this blog to find some words about his 'Leftovers "Unmixedtape"'

This is one of many albums that you should definitely pick up if you missed it last year (check an earlier post for my whole listing of worthwhile albums in '08). Detroit's Elzhi, once (and still??) a member of Slum Village (a strangely mediocre group IMO) is simply one of the best MC's alive and rhyming today. This "debut" album entitled The Preface features several other notable Detroit MCs, but it's Elzhi himself who shines throughout this entire project. He seems to never run out of ill lines, and his concepts are original and well thought out. For example, check out the opening to "Guessing Game" and tell me you aren't curious to 'play'...

"Here we go (go) let's play the game (game)/ try to guess the word that I'ma use I'll explain (lain)/ I'ma end at each and every line just the same (same)/ you fill in the blank before I say it, that's the aim (aim)/...I welcome ya'll to the introduction/ to learn how to play here's the instructions/ a couple rules to show you how to gain function/ yo I'ma take a double, take a double syllable and split it down the middle so it's no longer even/ the first half stay the last half leavin'/ so now the end of the line sound deceivin'/ so figure out the word to match before I change the meanin'..."

What follows is an ingenious song idea that is perfectly executed with help from Black Milk's top-notch production, concentrating on what I tend to prefer in hip hop tracks, the drums. Black Milk, in fact, produces all but two tracks on The Preface...yet another reason to give it a listen (BM's solo effort "Tronic" is also one of the best albums of '08). The fun doesn't stop there though, as Elzhi proceeds to offer track after track of superior wordplay by anyone's standards. Few out today can match his talent.

If I had to, I might liken his style to Pontiac, MI's One Be Lo. However, if you've ever heard of One Be Lo, then you have probably heard this album already. The best thing about Elzhi is that he takes the time to come up with original material for his music. He's not satisfied with using the same old topics and trying to survive on punchlines alone (think Fabolous). On this album is an intricate journey through his dreams ("Talking in my Sleep"), an exploratory ode using nouns with names of colors in them ("Colors"), and many many more. And the whole thing isn't even concept-based. Elzhi's got tracks where he just rhymes about how nice he is too - only these songs prove it (see "Brag Swag" - fucking unbelievable). The best thing about The Preface is that it is interesting to the listener throughout. It's original. It's clever. It makes you think. And, it's dope in every way, start to finish.

Listen to Elzhi's album The Preface closely. Trust me, you will be amazed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kweli On Colbert

Talib Kweli had a good appearance on The Colbert Report last night where he did an interview and then performed "Cold Rain" with Res off Gutter Rainbows.

Below is the bonus performance from - of course, it's "Get By".

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Toca Tuesdays With Skyzoo

A real freestyle from a real MC right here on Tony Touch's radio show. Sky starts off by giving a little info on his writing/recording process and how he keeps his skills sharp. The Great Debater is out now for fucking FREE. So, if you haven't gotten it yet, you're a fucking idiot. HA!

Females Can't Spit?

In a recent excerpt from what I'm assuming was a wack interview (judging by Vlad's inability to move a conversation in any direction at all) Sean Price said he doesn't fuck with ANY female rappers. He later acknowledged Rah Digga and the legendary MC Lyte.

It would've been nice to hear why, but, again Vlad is a shit interviewer. P basically just said none of them interest him. Fair enough. One man's opinion.

I, for one, feel females have something important to offer hip hop fans. And, not only female fans. The problem is that the females that make it into the mainstream are usually affiliated with, and overshadowed by, an all male crew. And, the ones that seem to make it into the conversation for some reason, are offering nothing more than predictable gimmicks and shallow punchlines. There's no replay value, and no staying power.

But, I'm seeing positive changes. Save for a few still sticking to the same tired script of weak rhymes filled with sex speak to try to cash in on minds as shallow as their's, there are quite a few women in hip hop today that can truly spit.

Not only do their rhymes bring a wittiness and overall depth that rivals some of their male counterparts (and dwarfs the majority that probably think of themselves as peers), they are making conceptually good songs that explore our world from another perspective. And, that is something that should be of value to both sexes. Today, I can list more females with serious skill putting out music at the same time then I think I ever could before. And, they are making it cool for women to be smart. I appreciate that.

Which female MC(s) do you think could have the gender dropped from their title and just be called an MC?
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Great Hip Hop Songs - Biggie's 'I Got A Story To Tell'

To me, this is one of the greatest Hip Hop songs ever. It never gets old. Never. It's just that fucking perfect. Some of you may have read Complex Magazine's piece with Buckwild a little while ago where he ran down a bunch of his favorite tracks from his looong and storied production career.

He had some interesting things to say about this beat. Mainly that Foxy Brown turned it down (sorry for the rhyme). She said it was wack. Really? Really?!?!? I guess maybe she was having trouble with her hearing around that time because the track is fucking beautiful. Or, maybe she just didn't have the skill to do it justice.

Actually, to be honest, I think Foxy would've sounded pretty dope on this beat back then. She should've nabbed it when she had the chance. Mellow guitar over a boom bap drum pattern. What could be better? Big couldn't help but tell a story to this. The music starts telling a story itself. He didn't have a choice, but to really bring it to life in his own way. Foxy loved the final version by the way. Who wouldn't?

But, Biggie delivered his story here in such a unique way, it still amazes me. And yet, it's so simple. He tells an extremely vivid tale of fucking a basketball player's woman while he's out, who comes home while they're in the act. He thinks fast, pretends he's a burglar, and ends up getting "mad paper" from the ball player. But, the twist is that he calls his friends at the end and tells them to meet up with him because he's got "a story to tell". The last half of the song is him just talking with his friend's, telling the exact story that he just rapped to us.

This song obviously never had the opportunity to be made into a video as the album was released after Big died. But, it really doesn't need a video. The story comes to life in the listener's head like they're watching a movie.

The best part? He's telling his friends the story and says the chick's man came home because the game "must've gotten rained out"!!! Classic Hip Hop right here. Go listen to this song again right now and remember one of the best to ever do it. In fact, just click below.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chace Infinite, Ryu, & Ras Kass - High Enough

Hmmm...Well, now that I see my last post, I guess I got a theme going here. Unintentional from my end, of course. There just happen to be a lot of videos coming out for good weed songs lately. Now I'm waiting for visuals for Fashawn's "Weed Nap".

I spotted this over at 2DopeBoyz today, and the Twitter share from their page doesn't give you a link for some reason. So, here it is for you if you haven't seen yet. Nice combo of MCs for this here. And, it came out great - a fresh execution of a tried and true hip hop song topic.