Total Pageviews

Saturday, July 16, 2016

[Review / Stream] BLU & NOTTZ - "Titans In The Flesh"

Real quality releases have been few and far in between in my honest opinion but one producer I fucks with heavily is Mr. Nottz who caught my attention back when Busta dropped "E.L.E." and from then till now he continues to amaze me. It should be noted that Nottz, like Dilla (who was a big fan himself), is a little more prone to experimenting with different styles than say Large Professor or DJ Premier. As such his catalouge might not be quite as constant in quality as the aforementioned legends but when he's on, he's ON. And listening to "Titans in the Flesh", his new project with celebrated LA wordsmith Blu it quickly becomes evident that Nottz's brings his ON game big time, as does Blu. Over only six joints, a remix by J57, and 26 minutes Blu sounds as home on whatever curve ball headbanger beat the producer throws at him - whether as raw as the funkiest LA low rider banger ("Heaven On Earth") to the most soulful New York boom bap classic ("To The East", "The Man"). Or why not bring both of them styles together like on "Giant Steps" which features an exercise in lyrical futility between the Coasts with Skyzoo, Bishop Lamont and Blu all going for the jugular with the exquisite cuts of DJ Revolution tearing up the turntables being the cherry on top. Not to mention the shout out to John Coltrane - if you know, you know. There's no wack tracks here, just that ill shit that made me fall in love with Hip Hop all those years ago. A big shout out to Nottz and Blu for this monster you made. When your head is constantly nodding for 30 minutes you know that you're listening to real fucking Hip Hop.

If you follow this genre and these particular artist you are of course aware that "Titans in the Flesh" is the follow-up to 2013s "Gods in the Spirit" that featured five original collaborations and a Nottz remix. Though three years separate their release and crafting they work well together as an album, as well as a look into the growth of these two artists and their musical camraderie. Be sure to support good music and go and cop this new project through iTunes if digital is your thing or grab the limited edition Yellow 12" EP from UGHH while you preview the sounds via the official Soundcloud stream up top. "Gods in the Spirit" is also still available on iTunes and on Deluxe Edition CD from UGHH. I strongly recommend listening to both of these projects back to back, shit is absolutely excellent.

[Album] SADAT X - "Agua"

When the world first heard The Brand Nubians 1990 debut album "One For All", notorious for being praised with the much hyped five mics rating in The Source, few would think that Derreck X would be the artist out of that trio to have the highest profile and largest catalouge in a few years. In fact "One For All" treated Lord Jamar and Derreck X as Grand Puba's back up band, and didn't even appear on half of the album. But sometimes the tables turn, through hard work and dedication Sadat X (as he soon after changed his name to) crafted a unique style with an unmistakable voice with lyrics that often dealt with personal feelings and surviving in a world where friends and lovers often turn out to be willing to stab you in the back when you least expect it. The only problem was that he might have started to put quantity over quality a little too much in the last ten years or so.

It's been a long time since I've been really excited about an X album, though I did like his "Love, Hell or Right" album from 2013. Now the New York artist is back with "Agua" sporting a pretty damn impressive cast list of guest producers and emcee partners. How about Pete Rock, Diamond D, Da Beatminerz, Nick Wiz, DJ Scratch, Easy Mo Bee, Fokis, Dub Sonata and Will Tell? What about Lord Jamar, Dres, Edo G, A-F-R-O, Rahzel, Cella Dwellas' UG, Milano, Shabaam Sahdeeq, RA The Rugged Man, and Wordsmith? That's a lot of features and producers and as I haven't had the time to listen yet I'm not sure how cohessive the X-Man has managed to make it sound but one thing's for sure, there's bound to be several real bangers on here to cherish. Probably more than any Sadat X albums in ten years or so. Released on Tommy Boy, the album is available for purchase in both physical and digital form now, and can also be streamed and purchased (both digital and on CD) in full via X's official Bandcamp. One thing though, the last I heard from Sadat X was that he's working on a full-length album entirely produced by Diamond D, and as usual we get one track to show for it. Well, I for one hope it's still coming. But what the hell, with Pete Rock, Da Beatminerz and Nick Wiz I sure as hell can complain. I also wasn't a fan of Will Tell on some earlier X albums, but the single/video "Murder Soundtrack" (above) with AFRO and Rahzel has convinced me has stepped his game up big time. You can also cop the physical from UGHH where you can also see the credits for each track. TURN IT UP!

[Reviews] "Miles Ahead" (O.S.T.) / ROBERT GLASPER - "Everything's Beautiful"

Part 1: Miles Ahead (Original Soundtrack)
 
A couple years back Don Cheadle finally got the go-ahead to produce, star and direct in his long-time dream project, a surrealistic biopic on the lives of Miles Davis, more fiction than fact and titled "Miles Ahead" after his famous 1957 collaboration with composer extraordinaire Gil Evans. With full cooperation from the Davis estate he was free to use the original music of the portrayed star (something that has hampered biopics badly from the Andre 3000 version of Jimi Hendrix story to the more recent Chet Baker flick, "Born to be Blue", which incidentally includes two key scenes with M.D.). Not only had Cheadle permission to use the music as he saw fit, he was also able to excerpt it and cut it up to better flow with the movie - and let's face it, if he was to include all those amazing 20 minutes tracks in full there wouldn't be much of a soundtrack to talk about. The majority of the released film music is made up of such timeless excerpts from our heroes vast catalouge, including brilliantl, and tastefully shortened, classics like "Sivad", "Nefertiti", "Agharta Prelude", "Go Ahead John", "Black Satin" and "Solea". While the movie avoids following a linear narrative the soundtrack starts with the earliest song included, the title track, and then the music is placed in chronological order with most of the musical action taking place during Miles' fusion years (1968-1975) as that's around the time most of the movies action take place. However if you, like me, already own just about everything Columbia ever released of the man, including bits and pieces, somewhat dodgy live recordings and what not, you might not be too excited. But it has a nice flow to it, is interspersed with appropriate vocal clips from the flick, and as it is placed in chronological order it gives a nice overview of Miles, the ever-changing, daring artist going from place A to place B to place C to Musical Dark Nivana before his total breakdown in 1975. If you're new to Miles and maybe jazz in general I would say that this collection is a better place to start than most other similiar one disc selections. For one it's put together by a true fan of the music rather than some exec trying to pump out some more money by yet antother greatest hits collection, as mentioned above it gives you the chronological oversight which allows you to hear multiple styles (with Miles it's never a given that you're not gonna hate point B even if you love point D - at least not at first), and last but not least it features key cuts from what many would consider to be the epitome of this artists genius years.

The actual score for the film was however provided by Robert Glasper - a brilliant pianist, producer and jazz artist in his own right, and one of the few who keeps the artform alive and exciting by allowing it to change and take risk (unlike someone like Wynton Marsalis, no matter how talented). For this soundtrack Glasper had the right understanding of what was needed and through proper respect for Miles and the filmmakers he was able to channel the spirit of him while gathering up talents as diverse as they are from different generations. Included on the four tracks that are also included on the soundtrack are the young bass wonder Esperanza Spalding, Pharoahe Monch, Herbie Hancock, E.J. Strickland and Wayne Shorter. With one exception the modern Glasper cuts are placed at the end of the album and as ahead Miles was back in the days, you won't even notice a very modern/old transition thing going. The soundtrack come highly recommended both for established fans of the trumpeter, but even more so for those more unfamiliar and curious as well as Glasper's loyal fanbase. Shit either camp need to hear this for the beautiful album closer "Gone 2015" where Robert Glasper's soulful production and keyboard grooves creates a sharp feeling of triumph, strongly underlined by young trumpeter Keyon Harold's channeling of Miles' sound and the excellent verses by Pharoahe Monch. You can buy the album at iTunes or Amazon here.

Part 2: Robert Glasper - "Everything's Beautiful"
 
Robert Glasper's experience with Cheadle in "Miles Ahead" and especially the estate had a huge impact on him as a life long fan of Miles Davis. Like Madlib when he produced his classic Blue Note remix album "Shades Of Blue" the producer/pianist got full access to the Columbia vaults for whom Miles recorded under exclusive contract bween 1956 and 1986. Although most of those tracks that were once rare have since seen official releases on expensive box sets, it sets the album apart from your average remix scavenger assemly as Glasper could manipulate the actual channels and so forth. An interesting point is that he uses a lot of Miles' voice, that famous raspy whisper, taken from various studio sessions and in-studio jams - allowing fans the relatively quiet musician to hear more of his voice than on any other previous M.D. project. But perhaps the most important aspect to know about "Everything is Beautiful" is that this is a Robert Glasper album in all but name, despite Miles' top billing. The LP's theme is of course Glasper's theme of the music and spirit of Miles, something that I think he sometimes manages to capture and sometimes not, as it's built around samples of the man and his music. But that does not mean that you will hear Miles' beautiful trumpet sound on every song, in fact it's really only on "So Long (Maiysha)" and ONE MORE that we get that and though it's unique it kind of feels like being shortshifted. But it's not only Miles and the trumpet that takes a back seat, Glasper's role as a firs rate jazz pianist is minimized as well as he really only gets to stretch out on a couple of pieces. Instead he is fully attacking this project as a producer, picking the samples, making sure the guests does what they are supposed to do and gets the right track to work on, makin sure the vibe of Miles Davis is to be found all throughout the LP's 50 minutes, and so on.

For me Glasper is a unique artist that is hugely talented but we doesn't always see eye to eye on what a dope album from start to finish is. I liked "Black Radio" and "Black Radio II" quite a lot, but there were definitely tracks that I felt brought down the intensity of the overall product. The best thing in the "Black Radio" series for me is without a doubt the six song EP "Black Radio Remixed" which is just pure excellence from start to finish. And I kind of feel that the same thing is happening with "Everything is Beautiful" - some tracks really gets the jonez in my bones; the wonderful light bossa nova Miles on wah wah / Erykah Badu duet that is "So Long" (a new rendition of 1975's "Maiysha"), the gorgeous Phonte collaboration and first single "Violets" where Glasper makes a beautiful hip-hop vibe soul joint based around Bill Evan's timeless chords from "Blue in Green" that works as a tremendous musical canvas for the ever innovating Phonte. The opener "Talking Shit" is beautiful because it is three minutes of studio outtakes from false starts that features Miles getting on drummer Joe Chambers' case about coming up with a beat more aking to what we today know as Hip Hop. It's definitely fascinating, and naturally leads into Glasper's hip-hop tinged version of that track Chambers and Davis was working on in '69 - "The Ghetto Walk" (originally titled "Ghetto Walkin'") and with the smooth vocals of Bilal riding on top of the fat groove I feel that Miles would be proud. of what the producer has come up with here.

However as a tribute to Miles Davis I think aside from the songs mentioned above it generally fall shorts. Oh wait, there's one mighty groove featuring Miles' spitting adlibs under singer Ledisi's hook ("wait a minute, wait a minute") while a pulsating funk headnodder is highlighted by the excellent electric guitar work of former Miles' sideman John Scofield who does his best to bring back the mid-'80s period where he worked with the man on stages and studios around the world. And this to my mind is where the project goes somewhat misguided. Miles' sideman, which features the absolute elite in jazz, pretty much all had the highest respect for their former boss and bandleader and while Glasper's songs on the "Miles Ahead" soundtrack featured Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, Scofield is the lone sideman featured here. Hence using artists like Laura Mvula, Hiatus Kaiyote, KiNG and Georgia Anne Muldrow (who's rendition of "Milestones" is decent) instead of fusing the old with the new by inviting Dave Liebman, Sonny Fortune, Jimmy Cobb, Chick Corea, Wallace Rooney, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, Lonnie Liston Smith, and so on, really feels like a missed opportunity. It's not a bad record per se, but it's not a great one either - though it has it's share of great moments. I won't be purchasing it, but give it a listen it might be more up your alley as many critics seems to love it at the moment. "Everything's Beautiful" is available on vinyl, CD and in digital formats via Amazon among other sites.

Friday, July 15, 2016

RAS BEATS - "Knowledge Of Self" (w. OC & eLzhi) / "Wit No Pressure" (w. Roc Marciano)

A couple of weeks ago I got at least two calls from my people urging me to check out the new Roc Marciano joint produced by a somewhat up and coming producer named Ras Beats. The track in question, "Wit' No Pressure" was classic Marciano, dark, gritty and dirty with a nasty guitar loop and some pounding drums which allowed Roc Marciano to channel his inner pimp and thug to the same extent as on many of my favorite works of his. There's no question Ras Beats and Roc Marciano was a good fit, and though I recognized the name but not from where, I was immediatly hooked for more from this gentleman.

Turns out he's not exactly entirely new to the game, as his sound would already attest to, as he's slowly been making a name for himself as a go-to-producer through works with legends like Sadat X, Masta Ace, Neek The Exotic, and Orlando emcee J-Biz.  Aside from Neek all the aforementioned emcees returns the favor by appearing on Ras' 2016 albumm "Control Your Own".Released on indie label Wordplay the album also sees Ra teaming up wtih Roc Marcy (as mentioned), OC, AG, eLzhi, Rasheed Chappell, Blac-a-stan, Subconscious, Fev and German rapper Kool Sphere. I was hoping for an album with banging beats and insane guests of the caliber of the two first singles, I would be truly flabbergastd at this point. At the same time, I'm not going to judge the book by it's cover (or in this case an LP by its tracklist) so we'll see what happens. Either way it's good news as 2016 has been slow as hell when it comes to Hip Hop ("Timmy Timmy Turner", anyone? "He be wishing for a burner".. "He might even kill everybody walking" - pure Genius, deep stuff).

The B-side to "With No Pressure" features no lesser of a line-up than OC and eLzhi and is called "Knowledge Of Self". To my knowledge this is the first OC and eLzhi collaboration (correct me if I'm wrong) which is kind of strange considering how well their respective smooth voices and intricate rhyme schemes works together. Ras Beats does a great job at creating a smoother, more laid back yet punding which shows that he's very capable of custom making joints. Enough talk, we came here for the music right? Though I never posted the Roc Marciano single before I'm posting this I thought I might as well throw it up as well. The digital maxi single features no less than 9 tracks, including an exclusive remix of "Wit No Pressure". You can buy the single either via Bandcamp or iTunes while you'll get more info and music on Ras via his official website (that includes the tracklist for "Control Your Own". Don't sleep on the heat!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

[Album] SOUNDSCI - "Walk The Earth"

The quintet of Oxygen, Audessey, U-George, Jonny Cuba and Ollie Teeba had me hooked with their modern boom bap as displayed on their official debut "Formula 99" back in 2012 and has been a dedicated fan since. Since then they have released several EP:s, side projects and their concept album "Soundsational" where the group found inspiration from the underrated catalouge of James Kirkland. Now the group is back with their third official album and it's just as fierce as their previous work, with the emcees bouncing off eachother over raw, yet often soulful production from The Process (Cuba and Teeba). Check it out for yourself as you can stream the project below. I doubt you'll be dissapointed and make sure to visit the official Bandcamp Page for Merch, info and purchase of the project.

Monday, July 11, 2016

[Official Comp] NATURE - "QUEENS CLASSIC"

This was released almost two weeks ago but I've been sleeping heavily so if anyone else missed out on this excellent official compilation here's another chance to grab once heavily praised Queensbridge emcee Nature's self-put together "album" of some of his finest '90s collaborations and guest spots. Featrures include Tragedy, Blaq Poet, Nas, Noreaga, Pete Rock, Littles, ACD, E Money Bag$ and AZ. Definitely worth a download and a few nostalgic listen - I'm especially hyped to see that Future Flavaz remix that Pete Rock did for "Ultimate High" though I haven't checked yet if he managed to secure the mater tapes for it for this because that would really be something. I think Nature caught a lot of unwarranted flack for the reason that a lot of heads conceived him as the reason that Cormega got pushed out of The Firm but that was hardly in his hands. Enjoy this one y'all; unfortunately no download link as of yet, but stream all you want for free.

D.I.T.C STUDOS Ft. Tashane & A-Bless - "Bars 4 Dayz"

When Showbiz lost his room in the legendary D&D Studios / HeadCQuarterz Studios which had been his home since around 1995 he decided to find a new home studio, dubbing it the D.I.T.C. Studios and since then we have got the first proper Diggin' album for more than 15 years. Add to that a lot of Soundcloud material teasing us with some real heat. One of the greatest thing is that Showbiz is letting loose of all the banging material he produced for Tashane, a super hungry emcee, that seemed to pull the best out of Show in a way I feel he hasn't always been able to do for AG and his DITC brethren lately. The latest release is called "Bars 4 Days" and features Tashane & A-Bless going in over one of those dark, lovely Showbiz beats that made him one of my favorites way back when. Salute!

[Slept On Classics / EP Comp] LL COOL J - "14 Shots To The Dome"

LL Cool J has had a pretty strange career and these days he's almost all absolte (although I was one of the few who actually found a lot to like on "Exit 13"), but his early work from 1985 to 1995 brought him up to legendary status and that can never be taken away from him. From his incredible debut "Radio" which revolutionized the way Hip Hop was supposed to sound with its minimalist production (reduced by Rick Rubin), the young LL's sure shot flow and cocky lyrics delivered with that unmistakable voice and flow - man that was something else. "BAD" was another good album, but it didn't quite pack the punch of his debut although it featured several cuts that was on the same level as the debut. The rauncy lyrics was still there, and having switched producers to the L.A. Posse which featured the extremely talented and severely underrated DJ Bobcat, a long wwith Dwayne Simmons and sometimes DJ Pooh the album featured an unmistakable raw sound best exemplified on the title track, the fun rock anthem meets DJ extravaganza "Go Cut Greator Go", the storytelling (although basic) on "The Bristol Hotel" and "My Rhyme Ain't Done" and the powerhouse performance of "Ahh, Let's Get Ill". This was LL's true breakthrough album and the main reason was both it's strenghts and biggest failure - "I Need Love". A sugar sweet love serenade, not much more hardcore than anything from Michael Boltons catalouge it had girls going crazy but alienated many of his street fans that came up on "Rock The Bells", "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "I Need A Beat". The success of "I Need Love" would be a blessing and a curse if I ever saw  one - it gave LL's first real hit single, and it made him realize that he should go after the ladies more with these sugar sweet hip-hop ballads. On the other hand, I respect it because it was a niche that hadn't been done to that extreme before and it was imporant in thoe days that each big rapper had a gimmick or niche of his or their own.

The follow-up "Walking With A Panther" was as misguided as can be on so many levels, and it showed a clear disconnect on what LL thought his fans wanted from him and what society in large wanted from an Hip Hop emcee at that time. The cover sported him with a black panther, clearly trying to casch in on the Black Power movement label mates like Public Enemy was fully immersed in. The problem was that except for a couple of Bomb Squad productions the album was filled with braggadocious rhymes and songs aimed for the ladies. And on top of that he cut the two best tracks from the LP - the Rick Rubin produced "Going Back To Cali", "Jack The Ripper" and the classic LL "Crime Stories" (they all turned up on the cassette only). With this LP people were definitely counting out Uncle LL, but as the artist he was he wasn't let one wack album halt his career. Instead he got with the hottest producers of day; fellow Queens/Juice Crew superstar Marley Marl and produced one of the best comeback albums hip-hop has ever seen in "Mama Said Knock You Out" - it featured "Around The Way Girl", but that was more New Jack Swing than sugary ballad and otherwise it was filled with hardcore Hip Hop joints, impeccable lyricism, funky beats, and one of the most powerful Hip Hop singles ever recorded - the title track, produced by Bobcat and Marley Marl. This was a triumphant return if I ever saw one!


But how do you follow up such greatness? LL continued working with Marley Marl and Bobcat (as well as relative newcomer QDIII), and right from the first track - "This Is How I'm Comin'" with it's powerhouse knockout of a beat, pounding bassline and agressive flow it was clear that this was an attempt to create "Mama Said..." the sequel. To my ears it certainly works, I absolutely love that record to death. There were some suspect cuts like "Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag Gettin' Crushed By Buildings" (you'd have to look for a more hamfisted metaphor - the remix by Easy Mo Bee which was used by Easy Mo Bee was straght fire though), "Stand By Your Man" and "Back Seat Of My Jeep". The main criticms of the album at the time was that critics and some fans felt that LL was overly influenced by Treach of Naughty By Nature and tried to become somewhat of a thug rapper. To me this was never a problem, at all, LL is a actually a good actor and when he rhymes stuff like "Saber tooth, the truth/ Ha-coot, spit the juice!/ And let the hot ass lead loose and let it fly/ Betty bye bye if you're ready to die" I don't feel he's more inauthentic than the vast majority of these studio gangsters out here everywhere. And he got the flow and beats to back it up - matter of fact, flow wise and some of the production is even heavier than it's masterpiece of a predecessor.


I'm writing this post to give the album the credit I think it really deserves as it has been put down so much. I can imagine alot of people in this day and age have considered buying it, looked at the reviews and felt that it wasn't for them. But tracks like the [uncredited] K-DEF productions "Funkadeli Relic", "Straight From Queens" and the Lords Of The Underground assissted "No Frontin' Allowed" stands among LL's most fierce productions of all time and I can't see how any LL fan can dismiss these bangers out of hand like that. Not to mention the album closer "Crossroads" - a continatuion of the final track of "Mama Said..." ("The Power Of God") but with LL going much deeper showing that he's far from a a one- or two trick pony, and all set over one of Bobat's most ambitious productions of all time. Here's what he had to say about its making - "One of the greatest records that LL and I have ever done is called “Crossroads” and it’s on that album. I used a full harmonic orchestra on that record in New York. We used 105 tracks on this song. This song is the most complex and unbelievable masterpiece I have ever created ... Go back and listen to that. I personally know that it would have taken LL’s career to the next level because you know you can only stay at a street level or mainstream level for so long and then it’s over with. You’ve got to go somewhere else with your sound and that song I believe would have taken him to that next level." (Source) It's the perfect album closer to an already intense albums that showed more range from LL than perhaps any other album he's done either since and when LL stopped working with DJ Bobcat and Marley Marl he only had one truly great album left in him ("Mr. Smith" - though I know that's debatable to some). The only true missteps of the album is that they couldn't include K-DEF's absolutely mindblowing creation for the album "Year Of The Hip Hop" and the oriiginal Dr. Butcher version of "Soul Survivor"... Oh well, you can't win them all!

If you are or used to be a fan of LL and had heard a lot about bad things about this, or just dismissed it out of hand on its original release be sure to give it another chance because to my mind this and "Mama Said Knock You Out" are sister albums and perhaps LL's three finest albums along with "Radio". One thing's for sure, he pumped out true quality classics for a 10 year period then had some quality albums and singles throughout the years so no matter how much BS he continues to release at this point he will always be a legend in my mind. Below you'll find a selection of five songs that are either remixes of songs on the album (the three first songs), one song that didnä't make the final cut because of sample clearance issues and a 1993 remix he did as a favor to Mary J. Blige feauring a short LL verse which I added as a bonus to this EP comp. Enjoy!

01. "Pink Cookies" [Easy Mo Bee Remix]
02. "Stand By Your Man" [Hip Hop Remix 1]
03. "Stand By Your Man " [Hiip Hop Remix 2]
04. "Year Of The Hip Hop"
05. "Mary Jnae (All Night Long Remix)"  [*]

LL COOL J - "5 MORE SHOTS TO YOUR DOME" (1993)

[Revisited] RAKIM - "The Seventh Seal" (2009)

Damn, a few years ago I stumbled across an extremely rare Rakim track by some DJ that had uploaded it to YouTube that was absolutely bonkers but I forgot to post it for y'all and know I can't find it anymore. I'm gonna get my detective on, but in the meantime I want to get on some throwback shit while discussing his LP "The Seventh Seal". Said album is a good LP in my book, the rhymes are definitely there and it features personal future classic like "Walk These Streets", "Still in Love", "Dedicated" (say what you want about that No Doubt sample, that shit was heartfelt as hell), "Workin' For You" (whew), "Holy Are You" (oh my god) and "Man Above". Then there were the good (and in a few cases even great) but not outstanding masterpieces like "Documentary Of A Gangsta", "Won't Be Long", "Satisfaction Guaranteed", "Put It All To Music", and so on. The only joint I felt was outright wack juice was the cringe worthy rock influenced "How To Emcee" with kicked off the album nontheless and I'm sure gave a lot of heads a bad taste right from jump.

Now don't get me wrong, "The Seventh Seal" is a solid album and it's a lot better album than many claim it to be, but after a eight year hiatus following a somewhat overrated album called "The Msater" (yet it's underrated in many circles as well) I had definitely hoped for more although at the time I tried to tell myself it was a better album than it really was. It needed more bangers, it needed more New York grit, and in many cases it needed better beats. Lyrically it was all there and as Rakim, along with a very select few others (Nas, KRS-One, Ghostface) are able to keep your interest over a mediocre beat it's a worthy addition to his discography and I sure it's not his last. He did some dope records on Aftermath that has subsequently leaked but as he has explained the chemistry with Dre wasn't there so that's understandable, though I would liked for him to include "After You Die" and "Welcome to the Hood" on the album, as well as the four studio tracks that appeared only a few months before on that Live & Unreleased CD.

It became even more apparent that Ra had lost some of his impeccable ear to the streets when it was revealed that "What's Wrong", his collaboration on Marco Polo's "Newport Authority 2" was actually a scrapped joint from "The Seventh Seal". Like WTF, along with "Holy Are You" and perhaps "Still In Love", that would have been the real boom bap banger the album was in such a despeare need for. Add to that not only that but that also a slamming, hard grooving posse cut laced by Ty Fyffe called "Euphoria" was scrapped from the album in favor of being some Mp3 exclusive it just left a sour taste in my mouth. I know you have heard these joints before, but consider this tracklist for "The Seventh Seal" and tell me it's not would have made for a stronger album. Ra definitely need a good executive producer these days, and to tell you the truth he has needed one since he and Eric B. split up. And that is not to say that he's not still the God MC and has put out PLENTY of hot wax throughout the years but as far as albums goes his legacy would benefit from one classic disc. Check this tracklist brothers and tell me this wouldn't be a lot closer to an album fitting of this great of the greats legacy? Considering that the album has been out for so long I took the libery of uploading this version, if Ra or any from his camp feel this is a violation I will take it down immediatly, and either way it won't be up for long - I just want to give a chance for my beloved readers to get a chance to what in my opinion could have been. Feel free too comment! To me this is a much, much better balance of Ra's spiritual side which he conveys great on many of these songs, but strays to far away from his cassic styles when it comes to balancing the smoother joints with the boom bap his fans have come to expect. Please comment after listening - all songs on this was done and most likely at one point considered for "The Seventh Seal". Also having Nick Wiz, the ultra unterrated producer and long time Ra collaborator, produe just over half the tracks gives this exclusive Lost Tapes version a more coherrent feel to my ears. What do you think?


01. "What's Wrong" [prod. by Marco Polo] [*]
02. "Walk The Streets" (Ft. Maino)
03. "Documentary Of A Gangsta" (Ft. YQ)
04. "Man Above" (Ft. Tracey Horton)
05. "Hip Hop" [prod. by Nick Wiz] [*]
06. "Love For Sale" [prod. by Nick Wiz] [*]
07. "Holy Are You" [prod. by Nick Wiz]
08. "Working For You"
09. "Word On The Street" [prod. by Nick Wiz] [*]
10. "Message in The Song" (Ft. Destiny Griffin)
11. "Love For Sale" [prod. by Nick Wiz] [*]
12. "Euphoria" (Ft. Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Styles P & C. Chanel) [*]
13. "Psychic Love" [prod. by Nick Wiz]
14. "Still in Love" [prod. by Nick Wiz]
15. "Dedicated" [prod. by Nick Wiz]

RAKIM - "The Seventh Seal" [c7 update]

ROBERT GLASPER Ft. E. BADU & MILES - "So Long (Maiysha)"

As you should know by now I'm a huge fan of the real jazz music which takes so many forms, and with artists like Kendirck Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Roland Bruner Jr., Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Ravi Coltrane, to name a few to my ears jazz is in a better, more comfortable, forward thinking position than it has been in years. Miles Davis is one of my top 1-3 top artists all categories, he was just beyond the category of musical genius and at this time I have a collection of about 60 CD:s and albums (counting my many boxsets as one album despite them having between 20 and 4 CD:s each) and though we will never get to hear brand new Miles music, there's still ocassional remix type projects being sanctioned by the estate, giving them a seal of approval. Some of them are strictly wack and should be avoided at any costs but some like Bill Laswell's "Panthalassa" and now Robert Glasper's "Everything is Beautiful" are both things of beatuies (hence the latters name).

Robert Glasper worked with Miles newphew Vince Wilburn Jr, the estate and Columbia Legacy and was given complete acess to original mastertapes that had been collecting dust for years. Glasper, being the experimental artist that he is, took a very different approach in remixing and updating these old original reels than say Madlib did for his (excellent) "Shades Of Blue"). As he has explained in interviews he wasn't interested in producing a regualr Miles remix albums, with Miles trumpet flowing over his production and piano workouts. Instead he dug out samples of Miles' voice, some trumpet playing, some keyboard playing, reworked famous riffs from classics like "Milestones" and made a very succesfull album if you ask me. Just yesterday, the first official video from the project was released (although the excellent Phonté assisted "Violets are Blue" were released as an audio single only; same goes for the John Scofield assisted "I'm Leaving You"). The music clip in question is a funny as hell take on the Erykah Badu assisted "Maiysha (So Long)" which is one of the few, if not only song on the LP, where Badu excusitely solos with the long decased artists. Mies is smiling down on this hilarious video which also shows Eyrkah's acting chops a bit... Enjoy haha. And don't forget to support Robert Glasper and the Miles Davis foundation by buying the album @ iTunes, Amazon or any store of your choice.