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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

[Review] SPOX PhD - "Brilliance" 7"

For someone like myself who mostly choose to listen to my music in album format, the few times I come across a single that I can't stop repeating I know I got something special on my hands. This is the case with the debut single by the duo called SPOX PhD whose appropriately titled "Brilliance" is also the first release on the newly formed Correct Technique Records. SPOX PhD is a duo consisting of severely underrated veteran producer DJ Spinna along with emcee Ox The Architect (p/k/a Oxygen) whose made a splash on the underground scene the last few years through his work in the groups Sputnik Brown and Soundsci. The musical connection between Spinna and Ox can be traced back to an apperance by the latter on the producer's 2009 album "Sonic Smash", on a promising banger titled "Elemental" which could be viewed as the first SPOX PhD record as it laid the foundation for their working relationship.
True school heads will rejoice over the A-side's jazzy melodic groove and the ill execution of balance between the laid back (the melodies) and the hard (the knocking drums and fat bass line). Oxygen's smooth delivery is perfect for the trademark production of Spinna as the rhyme slinger displays tight breath control while boosting well played lyrics like "Your neck wanna snap? Then let it, I copped these poetics from my dad through the laws of genetics / Set it! The blood type's O, the XY coordinates, I supply the illmatic for the insubordinate". Brilliant was the word, right? I can't imagine a better introduction to this newly formed group than this lead track. "Brilliance" is ultimately an impressive display of beats and rhymes provided by two gentlemen well skilled in the trade of that ol' boom bap.

On the flip side we find an all around hardcore sound on the posse cut "Four Times Raw". The production is less charismatic than on the A-side but the marching warrior drums, progressive bass line and underlaying guitar samples still makes for a winner in my book. There's a good chance it will have you pumping your first in the air and neck snapping forth and back. It's far from a shame to gather three legends named Sadat X, Diamond D and Kurious for a limited 7" release but listening to the results I'm thrilled they did just that! One of the things that make this one stand out as a superior posse cut is how each of the four emcees owns a very distinctive voice. Even if you're just barely familiar with them you'll probably be able to separate them. Ox once again proves that he's one of the brightest rappers that's still relatively fresh on the scene as he has no problem hanging with these veterans and closes the rhyme session with a boom. "Heard this beat knocking so I answered/ Called up a few vets to help me enhance it" sums it up pretty well. 
As strong as the chemistry between DJ Spinna and Ox The Architect clearly already is, one can only imagine how dope future projects will be once they get even more comfortable around eachother's respective styles. One thing is clear, the future promises bright things for the duo who has choosed to call themeselves SPOX PhD. In other words, if the two cuts heard here are any indication of what their forthcoming full-lenght album will sound like, chances are they will deliver the best LP of the year. In fact if there is anything bad I have to say about this single is that it leaves a large appetite for more; yes, I know I'm a harsh critic but that's the reality! Please support real hip-hop and cop "Brilliance" @ UGHH.

DOOM produces MarQ Spekt & Mobonix

Now this is my type of shit right here! MF DOOM cooks up one of his bizzare but absolutely stunning hip-hop productions which oozes of darkly intriguing jazz vibes and throws up the middle finger to traditional hip-hop rhythms.The vocals aren't bad either, provided by MarQ Spekt, who most recently dropped the full length project "Machete Vision" with Kno, and Mobonix who we previously heard with Metal Fingerz on "Supervillainz" on "Born Like This".

The song, which is called "Heroin Jonez" is the first single from an upcoming project called "Bionic Jazz" that's supposedly a tribute to the avant-gardeish free jazz movement that started in the late '60s with great artists like Ornette Coleman, Pharoah Sanders and a spiritually reborn John Coltrane. The album will feature a host of different artists and producers playing in a free style, neglecting any musical rules just like the great jazz cats mentioned above. There's no word on when we will get to hear the full thing, but I for one is already really excited for it!


Bodega Bamz / CurT@!n$ / Apollo Brown

This is my first time hearing Bodega Bamz who I don't know the first thing about except his name, that he's a Spanish Harlem cat and his new single is hot as fuck. "Hot Like '95" features CurT@!n$ who some might know from several recent mixtapes, including the pretty dope Wu-Tang tribute "The Dissertation (Wu Thesis)". I won't front, what made me take notice of this joint was of course that it's produced by Detroit's own Apollo Brown of, Daily Bread and The Left fame, who keeps pumping out quality product for our ears.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

[STREAM] The Roots - "undun"

Like more and more artists are doing these days as a way of promoting their new products, The Legendary Roots Crew has uploaded their latest full-length "undun" for free streaming. Just like with "How I Got Over" last year, the original tracklist's 10 songs has turned out to be 14 in total and although it's quite a short album at barely fourty minutes it's guaranteed satisfaction for fans of the group. I for one will definitely add this to my record collection next to the rest of their catalouge. Black Thought proves once again why he's a top 5 emcee of our time and for that alone, "undun" deserves your support! December 6 is the date of the official drop.

01. "The Un"
02. "Sleep"
03. "Make My" (Ft. Big K.R.I.T.)
04. "One Time" (Ft. Phonte & Dice Raw)
05. "Kool On" (Ft. P.O.R.N.)
06. "The Other Side"
07. "Stomp" (Ft. P.O.R.N.)
08. "Lighthouse"
09. "I Remember"
10. "Tip The Scale"
11. "Redford (For Yia Yia & Papou)"
12. "Possibility"
13. "Will to Power"
14. "Finality"

THE ROOTS - "undun" via NPR

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bumpy & Preem with "The Kolexion"

Freddie Foxxx and DJ Premier is responsible for creating some of hip-hop's finest records together; just think about their work on joints like "The Militia", "The Lah" and "Part Of My Life". A full Premier produced Bumpy Knuck's album sounds almost to good to be true, but the chances of this actually happening gets more likely every day. Especially considering the video interview from VladTV via HipHopMotion above and the recent slamming single "BAP". Speaking on "BAP", that 12" is about to drop on December 13, but already now we can hear a radio rip of the B-side "OwnIt" thanks to the always trustworthy Premier Blog. According to the interview the album will feature no guests which is perfectly fine with me; the only exception being Zack de la Rocha on one joint which sounds fucking amazing. Rage and Foxxx on a Premier beat, WOW!! Shouts to Jin10304 and Gimantalon.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

AG & Ray West - "Danksgiving" [EP]

Andre The Giant of D.I.T.C. fame obviously don't know what the word "slowing down" means. Apart from putting in hardcore work with longtime P.N.C. Showbiz for the upcoming "Mugshot Music" album, making hot cameos on records ever so often, he is currently also working on the full-length "BerriTV" produced by Mike The Martyr. Only a fool would complain about this type of work ethic of a veteran rhymer of this caliber.

As if all this wasn't enough AG is also continuing his work with beatmaker Ray West on an array of different projects for their Red Apples 45 label. Since their first collaborative effort "Everything's Berri" a few years ago the chemistry between the two has been on a steay growth spur. The latest in line of AG/West project is this free EP/mixtape that first hit the net on Thanksgiving  as the title, "Danksgiving", indicates. The EP features eleven brand new songs, no blends or DJ shouts and has a running time of roughly 30 minutes. All somgs produced by Ray West and overall shit's pretty neat in my humble opinion; stream or download, it's your choice. For more info about the artists, music and label visit Red Apples Forty-Five.

Tragedy Khadafi - "Still Breathing" (Video)

Tragedy Khadafi drops off the second single from his underrated digital release, "Thug Matrix 3" that's available now. I'm still waiting for a physical copy of the album, preferably an LP release which would make my day considering Tragedy's one of the illest emcees in New York.  In the meantime you can purchase a digital copy @ iTunes. "Still Breathing" is produced by Now & Laterz and the video is directed by Donald Robinson Cole for SMP Productions.

Mobb Deep - "Water Boarding"

Mobb Deep recently released five new tracks packaged as a "Black Cocaine", an EP I had high hopes for but was ultimately dissapointed in. The word was that the retail release would come strapped with a few bonus tracks but that was not the case on neither the actual CD nor the iTunes release. Prior to the release we had The Alchemist produced "Dog Shit" and "Love Y'All More" and now we get another Al The Chemist laced cut that was deleted from the final product, called "Water Boarding". These three songs together with the Nas' track and maybe one or two more joints from the retail release would guarantee a way better Extended Play that might actually have been worth the $$.


Tanya Morgan - "You & What Army"

Tanya Morgan is a hip-hop group currently made up of Brooklyn's Von Pea and Donwill, the latter originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. They've been releasing quality music since they debuted with "Moonlighting" in 2006 on Loud Minority Music to generally positive reviews. They really made a name for themeselves with their sophomore album three years later however. "Brooklynati" caused quite a stir in the underground hip-hop community for the then trio, by then also featuring emcee Ilyas. A concept album with insightful rhymes dealing with everyday situation and tight, often soulful production and quality skits rightfully built a devoted fanbase of the trio.

Last week producer/emcee Von Pea and rapper Donwill released a mini album titled "You & What Army?" which premiered on Okayplayer. The release features eight songs and an intro with a running time of 30 minutes, making it almost a full-length album by today's standards. “The EP is a natural progression, in that it blends the production sounds that you heard on our solo albums into one cohesive set of songs”, says Donwill. “We also were conscious of people noticing that the trio is now a duo, so we wanted to ensure that this and all future projects have a different sound and feel than "Brooklynati" and "Moonlighting".”Enjoy this shit y'all, I know I do!

Unsigned Hype: ROCK MECCA

Rock Mecca is a new up-and-coming emcee hailing from Queens, New York. Mecca is currently preparing his debut album "Pirate Radio Star", building up his hype via ill singles and if you ask me he's worth keeping an eye on. Judging by the two singles below, his love for vintage and gritty East Coast hip-hop shines through while he's also making a point of maintain his own identity.

At the moment Mecca is working on building a buzz through the ill singles in orer to promote the forthcoming LP. "Runnin' Runnin'" is my favorite and is also the newest single, a song that "cleverly flips a classic Hip Hop interlude into a certified heater". The single artwork can be seen uptop and the download link is the first out of the two Hulkshare links below. The previous release from the project is a joint called "New York Noise" which is another solid effort that you find right at the bottom of this page. If you want to support the artist you can donate $1@ Rock Mecca's Bandcamp and learn more about the artist @ Reverbnation.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

V/A - "Ill Style Live"

In the early to mid-'90s, Dante Ross worked as an A&R at Elektra Records and was respoinsble for bringing acts like Brand Nubian, Grand Puba, KMD, Leaders Of The New School, Uptown, Del Tha Funkee Hompsapien to the label . That Elektra became one of the finest rap labels around '92-'95 had a lot to with Ross, a man who understood the mechanics of being an A&R at a big label as well as being a solid rap producer in his own right. As part of The Stimulate Dumies (or The SD50's as they were sometimes credited as) he produced classics for Grand Puba, Del, unbelivably sick "Dope on Plastic" by Uptown, Leaders Of The New School, Brand Nubian, KMD and many others. But his biggest contribution to rap music was being an A&R for Elektra Records' hip-hop section. Putting quality over top sellers he signed timeless acts including Pete Rock & CL Smooth, InI/Deda, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Grand Puba/Brand Nubian, Red Fox and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. During this period the label released several classic and banging records but things was about to change around early 1996. Ross lost his position to, when it comes to rap music, the clueless Sylvia Rhone who infamously gave Pete Rock to create "something more along the lines of what Puffy is doing" when discussing the InI album.

One of Ross' final gigs for the label was to host a live evening of underground hip-hop showcasing the music of Elekta and East Weast Records. The event were called "Ill Style Live" and took place at and were recorded in Clinton Studios, NY. It worked both as a dope evening with lots of good music as well as a forum to introduce new members to the hip-hop community. The music on the album was engineered by longtime BDP engineer D-Square (Dwayne Sumal) and honorary BDP member Rebekah Foster (who both appeared on the unreleased Deda album in 1995). So you can count on the sound quality being very good and as if that wasn't enough, the man handling the 1's and 2's for the entire session is none other than Pete Rock himself! The vinyl copy has been in some circulation but the promo CD and promo LP. An internet search will find the vinyl rip but a couple of years ago dirt_dog of the banging T.R.O.Y. Blog managed to get his hands on the CD copy of the album and hooked us up so huge thanks to him for blessing us!

Mr. Rock does a greab job seting the stage for the ten artists participating in the event and there's plenty of highlights here. After performances by Daddy D and Omniscense things take a turn for the better with impeccable performances by the always reilable Juggaknots, an artist named Lin Que and the one and only Agallah (p.k.a. 8-Off). One of the most interesting parts of the entire LP if you ask me is the inclusion of a track by Rock's current flagship artist, Deda Baby Pa. His single "Blah Uno" from the album "Everyman For Himself", who you're possibly aware of got shelved once Rhone took over the musical directions for the label. The album is clearly a shelved classic that sounds more than fantastic in this live setting. In fact, most of the songs includes some info aobut them and is given a release date and in some cases even a catalouge number, which is proof that most of the tracks on this comp was intened for a release in a near future. Unfortunatly, the majority of the songs was almost immediatly shelved. My three pesonal favorite tracks from the album are the abovementioned "Blah Uno", Das EFX's masterpiece "Real Hip-Hop" and last but not least Ol' Dirty Bastard's absolutely hilarious 22 minute long Ol' Dirty bastard session where he rips tracks like "Shimmy Shimmy Ya", "Brooklyn Zoo" and a vintage Dirty freestyle. What makes it extra special is all the drunk ramblings on ODB's part; if not for anything else, at least download the mixtape just for this. Press play and hear The Soul Brother do his thing together with the Elektra roster. Link via dirt_dog @ The T.R.O.Y. Blog. Rugged & RAW!

01. "Intro"

02. Daddy D - "Luv On A Dub"
03. Omniscience - "Amazin'"
04. Juggaknots - "i'm Gonna Kil Ya"
05. Lin Que - "Let it Fall"
06. 8-Off - "Ghetto Girl"
07. Deda Baby Pa -. "Blah Uno"
08. Unknown Host - "Interlude"
09. Coz - "No Place Like Home"
10. Supernatural - "Natural Disaster"
11. Das EFX - "Real Hip Hop"
12. Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Freestyle" / "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" / "Brooklyn Zoo"


Friday, November 25, 2011

Notes to Self / EVIDENCE + Killah Priest

Notes to Self is a relatively new group on the hip-hop scene that's starting to cause quite a stir in the underground community. The quartet consists of emcees Swamp Donkey and Roshin, producer/rapper Bronze One and the turntable wizard DJ Dopey who's best known for taking home the crown on the DMC 2003 world championship. In other words, these guys ain't playing! They caught the interest of BBE Music and started working on their debut LP, " A Shot in the Dark" that was released a couple of years ago to positive reviews.

Considering that I've been a fan of Dilated Peoples' since 2000s "The Platform", I was thrilled to see two Dilated cameos on the disc. Evidence spits a sick ass verse on the lead single, "Notes to Self" (and also appears in the video) as well as a cameo from the full crew on the bonus track "Yellow & Grey" remix. If you like what you're hearing, don't hesitate to purchase your copy of the album @

 The second video in this double feature is for Killah Priest's new single "The Document", also just released. It's hard to keep up with the unbelivably underrated emcee that is Killah Priest, but if all these recent songs appears on his next album this would make it the third or fourth video from his new project. The LP "The Psychic World Of Walter Reed" has been years in the making and will feature production by the likes of RZA, 4th Disciple and Godz Wrath to name a few. Rumors has it that it might end up being a double CD and I for one, can't fucking wait! Priest is easily one of the illest and most clever rhymeslingers in the field of rap music. "Heavy Mental" and "The Offering" is close to perfection so I hope this will be just as, or at least close to, as good. TURN IT UP!!

BLACK STAR - "Fix Up" / "U Already Know"

Many of us have waited for a new Black Star album since Rawkus Records released the duo's debut album thirteen years ago. There's been more and more things pointing to the dynamic duo residing in the studio to record a follow-up to that project. We've heard the snippet of this months ago after it was premiered live; they performed as Black Star on this year's Rock The Bells and they been making some guest apperances on eachother albums, most notably the un-fucking-belivably straight "History" utilizing one of those classic J Dilla beats that never got an official release until Mos' "The Ecstatic". I need to do a compilation of all the Black Star joints not included on "Black Star".

In other words "Fix Up" is the first single from the project which is titled "Aretha", as a tribute to you know who. Only a few hours later the second free single from the mixtape/street album has been made available for your pleasure. "You Already Know" is produced by 'Lib's younger brother Oh No and is found below "Fix Up".Kweli and Yasiin Bey is back!

Black-Star-Fix-Up by Hypetrak

Black Star-You Already Knew by Hypetrak

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Willie The Kid - "The Cure II"

Ripping beats by the likes of Alchemist, Beat Butcha, MoSS, Lee Banon, Frank Dukes, Alchemist, Voon and Wu-brethren Bronze Nazareth, "The Cure 2" is a slamming new project that do Willie The Kid justice as an artist. As it's more of a street album than a regular mixtape this should be enough to hold us over until an actual retail album from The Kid. Download the free release below and don't hesitate to drop a comment on your thoughts about Willie's new direction. WTK is clearly a solid emcee and one of his greatest strengths is his ability to pick perfect beats to match his flow it seems; stuff that's dope on its own but also helps highlighting his vocal delivery and lyrical content. So check it out, TURN IT UP and let the brand new "Cure 2" project, hopefuly, put a smile on your face while keeping your head nodding.


PETE ROCK & CL SMOOTH - "The '90s Remixes"

Things are moving slowly today and I haven't been able to bless my trusted readers too much lately with those compilations we all love so much. So why not get into hooking y'all up with two mad dope mid '90s playlists of classic and semi-classic non album material today? Scroll down to get the original Gang Starr Foundation's Big Shug's "album" I put together earlier today using the five songs from the singles he released around 1995 with a few hot bonus tracks. That's been catching a lot of plays the last few days over here, as has anything by the incredible duo below.
More interesting in my book than 90% of hip-hop's history is the Pete Rock & CL Smooth music of the early to mid-'90s. You might know that I put together every known non album cuts and features from the group throughout the years with the title "Between A Rock & A Smooth Place" some time ago. Essential listening for any follower of Mecca and The Soul Brother. Besides original album material the only thing I really left off was the the many great 12" versions which usually appeared as B-sides of classic singles like "Straighten It Out" and "T.R.O.Y.". For this mix, I put together all of those remixes, and the finished compilation is something I really thought came across lovely with plenty of mind-blowing material included. The sequencing come together very well too if I can say so myself and I hope y'all like it just as much as I do. It features all the remixes accompanying the 12" singles released between "Mecca..." and "All Souled Out" to "The Main Ingredient". Ten tracks in total, 50+ minutes and very good sound quality at that. Enjoy this shit and TURN IT THE FUCK UP!!!

01. "Mecca & The Soul Brother" [Wig Out Mix]
02. "Lots Of Lovin'" [Vocal Remix]
03. "Straighten It Out" [Vocal Remix]
04. "The Creator" [Surfboard Mix]
05. "They Reminisce Over You" [Remix]
06. "Down With The King" [Ruffness Mix] (w. Run DMC)
07. "I Got A Love" [Remix]
08. "Take You There" [Remix]
09. "Searching" [Remix] (w. Vinia Mojica)
10. "Get On The Mic" [Remix]


BIG SHUG - "The Crush EP" [Extended]

The name Gang Starr will always be synonymous with quality hip-hop, you can take my word on that. Besides the main duo of GURU and DJ Premier, the chain and the star was also protected by The Gang Starr Foundation; a group of like-minded East Coast rhymers that appeared on the duo's albums and got the advantage of getting Preem and Guru beats for their own projects. There's been several semi-official members over the years but the real core of the Foundation is the trio of Jeru the Damaja, Group Home and Big Shug. Of course Jeru and Group Home released incredible full-lengths in the mid '90s, produced by Premier and generally hailed as classics today. Why Big Shug didn't get the same opportunity at the time despite being just as important to the dynamics of the crew is something I never really understood.
What Shug did, however, was to release two Gang Starr produced 12" singles in 1995 and 1996 respectively. These five songs gives us a good idea of how a '90s Shug album produced in the same manner as "Living Proof" would have sounded - certainly a lot of potential. Who knows, maybe the Boston rapper turned New York emcee just wasn't ready yet? One thing that's interesting is that the first single's A-side, called "Treat U Better", was a Premier produced love song with Shug singing throughout. The B-side tracks were both typical hip-hop joints for the time. It suggests that neither the artist nor the producers could decide on the direction they were to take with his career. They are all good tracks but it definitely caught me a bit off-guard hearing the A-side for the first time. On the second single, which dropped on Pay Day/FFRR about a year later, Shug seemed more certain about being an emcee rather than a singer. "Crush" is classic Gang Starr style boom bap with Preem providing one of his classic scratched vocal clips hooks. The B-side "Official" might be even more interesting considering it's a posse cut representing some of the finest rap talents to emerge out of the Boston area. Over a dark and moody soundbed produced by someone called Bless One, Shug invites the tag team of Edo G and the great late emcee Scientifik (who I believe made his last cameo here) to rip the track in half with him. Mission accomplished!
To get a good glimpse into what an album by this guy would have sounded like around 1996 I have put together a lil' compilation with the songs from the two 12"s that's represented by tracks 1 to 5. The remaining tracks are the majority of Big Shug's guest apperances in the mid '90s, taken from albums by DJ Krush, Group Home, Gang Starr and the promotional compilation for Guru's Ill Kid Records.Crank up the volume, sit back and let the missing link of the Gang Starr Foundation take you on a trip back to the '90s.

01. "Crush" [Street]
02. "Stripped & Pistol Whipped" [Street] (Ft. GURU)
03. "Treat U Better"
04. "Official" [Street] (Ft. Edo G / Scientifik)
05. "P.D.S. (Pimp Style)" [Street]
06. "Momentum" (Ft. GURU)
07. "Do What Pays Ya"
08. "Serious Rap Shit" (Ft. Gang Starr / Group Home)
09. "Most Wanted Men" (Ft. GURU)
10. "Fuck Around, Lay Around" (Ft. Gang Starr)


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

J-Live - "The Authentic"

New video from J-Live's dope 2011 release "S.P.T.A." that's been in quite heavy rotation where I'm at. Marco Polo produced this joint which right from jump stood out to me as the best song on the LP next to the impeccable Diamond D collaboration "No Time To Waste". In case you are still sleeping on it, head over to UGHH to purchase the CD or 2xLP set. Video directed by Will Feagins.

NEW Cappadonna Ft. Sav Killz

DJ J-Ronin just premiered this dope single from his upcoming mixtape with DJ Snips, "All Elements" hosted by M.O.P. The song is called "The Good Die Young" and features Cappadonna and Sav Killz spitting that fire over a nicely laced beat by DJ Snips. Why this didn't make Cap's recently released sixth full-length "The Pilgrimage" considering it's sharper than quite a few joints on there.


B. Marsalis & DJ Premier as BUCKSHOT LeFONQUE

1990. Spike Lee is working on a flick about a struggling jazz band under the working title "A Love Supreme". A good film about jazz will obviously require alot of well performed music. A young rising star on the sax by the name of Branford Marsalis and his quintet gets the gig of ghost performing everything Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes is to play in the movie. As with many other Spike Lee joints the soundtrack needs something hard hitting for a single that will grab the young, urban community. Having heard "Jazz Music" from up-and-coming rap group Gang Starr, Lee asks the duo to record something for the movie which has now been given the final title "Mo' Betta Blues". Together with Branford Marsalis, the duo creates several versions of a song they call "Jazz Thing", a beautiful fusion of jazz and hip-hop music with GURU kicking fluid verses celebrating the jazz greats of the past while Premier's trademark sample chops and turntablism helps create the perfect blend of the two musical styles. What really separates it from the previous "Jazz Thing" is the involvement of Marsalis, whose blazing work on the sax gives the song a sense of rawness that gives the song a unique sound created from the meeting beteween samples and live instrumentation. 

"Jazz Thing" has been cemented as one of the greatest in the vast catalouge of Gang Starr, and stands as a prime example of jazz meeting hip-hop on a succesful level. Maybe more important, however, is that the scenario above opened the door for further collaborations between the involved and sparked one of the most interesting genre bending working relationships of the early '90s. Considering how incredible that first single came together, a full album between these masterminds of their respective fields was invatible and in 1993 the plan was clearly set in rolling. "Marsalis next album might be made in collaboration with DJ Premier, Guru's partner in Gang Starr", read the linear notes to the emcees classic "Jazzmatazz" album. The result was made available to the record buying public about a year later and holds up as one of the most creative bridgings of musical styles that the music industry has released since some of the more progressive music of the 1970s. 

To call "Buckshot LeFonque" a hybrid between jazz and hip-hop is to make it way to easy for one self. The styles are definitely the two most prominent heard here, but there's also bits and pieces of reagge, blues, rock, salsa, soul and whatnot to be found in what sounds like the melting pot of a mad man's record collection. DJ Premier's involvement had been slightly reduced by the time the project was completed but in the end he still had produced the majority of the LP and it's clear to this listener that the best music on this disc was a direct result of Preem's and Marsalis' minds working together. The most straight-forward jazz number of these collabos is the opening track, "The Blackwidow Blues", which features an impeccable lesson in horn-playing as Marsalis' soprano is heard alongside Matt Finder's trombone and the simply mindblowing trumpet blowing of Roy Hargrove. One can hear strong influences from the Blue Note catalouge and a number of vintage hard-bop classics from the '60s. Things get alot more hip-hop oriented on Side B's intro "Some Shit @ 78 BPM (The Scratch Opera)" where Premier makes name for the DJ in his name with fiery vocal scratches over a bass heavy beat that inspires Marsalis to play a burning solo on the soprano.
Elsewhere we find classic material like the single "Breakfast at Denny's" which appears in two versions, both equally essential if you ask me. The first is the original instrumental take where Preemo hooks up one of his trademark productions by chopping up a sample of James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing ". Marsalis' is unbelivably ill on this version as he takes center stage, blowing the horn with all his force in a way of playing that moves the thoughts to Coltrane and the free jazz movement of the late '60s. The vocal version that closes the LP features an equally impressive performance by Uptown, the emcee behind "Dope On Plastic" - one of my early rap favorites. If you have yet to hear this album be prepared for a musical journey above the ordinary. Overall you could say that "Buckshot LeFonque" plays out more like an all-stars project than a pure meeting of two musical minds but who cares as long as it is this dope?! If you're a fan of jazz and hip-hop and enjoys alot of other styles I'd find it hard to see how you would dislike this. The upload below is not the full album but rather my own playlist of all the DJ Premier/Branford Marsalis productions from it with the addition of the extended instrumental version of "Jazz Thing" (which has very little to do with the vocal version) which I've noticed mash really well with the sound of the rest of the songs. If you like what you hear please support good music and purchase it @ Amazon. Enjoy!

01. "Ladies & Gentlemen, Presenting..."
02. "The Blackwidow Blues"
03. "Jazz Thing Part II"
04. "Wonders & Signs" (Ft. Blackheart)
05. "Some Shit @ 78 BPM (The Scratch Opera)"
06. "Hotter Than Hot" (Ft. Blackheart)
07. "Blackwidow" (Ft. Lady Of Rage)
08. "Breakfast @ Denny's"
09. "Shoot The Piano Player" [Skit]
10. "No Pain, No Gain" (Ft. Uptown)
11. "Sorry Elton"
12. "...And We Out"
13  "Breakfast @ Denny's" (Ft. Uptown)


RZA / Rev. William Burks - "...Chuuuch"

RZA hooks up The Reverend William Burks with a grimey ass night vibe beat that's bound to have any Wu head's head nodding in approval. Over the years Burks has proved to be one of the currently most interesting Killa Beez and I hope his close affiliation with The RZA will result in an album that properly represents his talent. Tracks like this are definitely a step in the right direction! The Chicago emcee also makes more R&B-oriented music under the alias of Lil' Chuuuch and both streams below are actually double features with songs showcasing both these alter egos (the one right below dropped today while the one at the bottom is a bit older but has not been posted @ The Lost Tapes before)!


A Moment In Chuuuch by RZAWU

Grap Luva - "Rocking Wit' Elegance" / "Heavy D Salute"

Grap Luva is without a doubt one of the most underrated artists out there right now, either we're talking production or rhymes. He's been doing his thing on wax since we first heard him on the classic posse cut "The Basement" on Pete Rock & CL's debut album in '92 and he of course also held it down on the ill-fated, but classic, InI album "Center Of Attention" some years later. But despite 20 years in the business fans have been left without a real Grap solo, until now that is... "Neva Done" is a mini album that features both instrumentals and songs and is a guaranteed banger that is available on CD and extremely limited vinyl today! If you're not yet sold check out the two heaters below; "Rocking Wit' Elegance" is a self-produced choice cut from the CD while the salute to Heavy D is a freestyle dedicated to his fallen friend, Kev Brown on the beat. Order your copy of the album @ Fat Beats or UGHH. Shouts to Redefinition Records for keeping it official!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Roots - "Sleep" / "Stomp"

New visuals from The Roots' upcoming concept album "undun", directed by Clifton Bell. Just like the album, the series of music videos from it follows a concept and are all made in collaboration with Bell. Every Tuesday a new one is premiered at 12:06 until the album is released on December 6. Together they form a storyline featuring, possibly, all tracks on the LP. I would love to see an extended cut of all videos appearing as a Bonus DVD when purchasing the CD. The song above is the opening track that's called "Sleep" and below you find the video for "Stomp" which I forgot to post last week.

Monday, November 21, 2011

DJ Statik Selektah's "History Of M.O.P."

DJ Statik Selektah takes a step back from the producer seat back to the foundation of the 1's and 2's to prepare us for M.O.P.'s seventh album, "Sparta", which hit stores tomorrow. These guys has one of illest catalouges you are likely to find in the field of hip-hop and Statik's no sucker DJ, making this mix a guaranteed winner. Presented by Babygrande Records, here's "The History of M.O.P.".

Statik Selektah Intro
How About Some Hardcore
Rugged Neva Smoove (Dj Premier RMX)
New Jack City
World Famous
Stick 2 Ya Gunz ft. Kool G Rap
Downtown Swinga 96
Downtown Swinga 98
My Kinda N!gg@
My Kinda N!gg@ 2 ft. Heather B
New York Salute
Handle Your Biznezz (Dj Premier RMX)
Breakin the Rules
Blood Sweat & Tears
4 Alarm Blaze ft. Teflon & Jay-Z
New York Giants ft. Big Pun
Half & Half ft. Gang Starr
Calm Down
Cold As Ice
Ante Up
Ante Up Remix ft. Busta Rhymes & Remy Ma
You Don't Know (Remix) ft. Jay-Z
Wolves ft. Krumbsnatcha
We Got Gunz ft. Gangstarr & Fat Joe
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
For The City ft. Jadakiss (prod. by Statik Selektah)
What I Wanna Be
Crazy ft. Termanology (prod. by Statik Selektah)
Whip Yo Head (Rmx) ft. 50 Cent
Get Yours
Sparta (World Premier)
Secret Outro Track

Babygrande Presents: The History Of M.O.P. Mixed by Statik Selektah (Sparta In Stores Nov. 22nd) by Babygrande Records

AG - "Henne Berrii Daquiri"

AG drops the video to "Henne Berri Daquiri", a single from his upcoming solo album "Berri TV", fully produced by Mike The Martyr. The track, which also features 950 Plus, has been out for almost a year (via the "Thriller II" mixtape) but it's a dope cut so no reason to complain. The video is directed by Hi-Def and shot in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mad Gibbs - "Thuggin'"

In a very recent post I reported about Madlib and Freddie Gibbs joining forces for two tracks to be released as a limited 12" single via the Stones Throw imprint. The release date of the single happens to be today and to make sure they catches our attention the label has uploaded the full A-side joint "Thuggin". In my humble opinion, this shit lives up to any possible expectations and really makes me want to hear the B-side! Head over to Stones Throw to place your oder and check out some additional info.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Thuggin' by Rappcats

Ruste Juxx & Kyo Itachi - "Fuck R.J."

"Fuck Ruste Juxx" follows "No Fingerprints" as the second single from Ruste Juxx's upcoming album "Hardbodie Hip Hop". The project is a full-length collaboration with proucer Kyo Itachi with turntable work provided by LD. I think they should take notice to Pete Rock using the same sample for Smif-N-Wessun's "Stand Up Guy" earlier this year, but either way this shit is banging and I'm looking forward to the LP. Video directed by Anthony DeRose.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Gangsta Gibbs has teamed up with The Beat Konductor and pressed up a limited run of this beauty 12" single of the track "Thuggin'". Besides two new vocal tracks over exclusive Madlib beats, instrumental versios of both plus two trademark Beat Konducta "Bonus Beats". Right now they are only availble at the current 'Lib tour but according to Arch Bonkers, who's heavily involved with this release said this on the matter: "They're only on the Madlib tour rt right now, but they'll be available soon." Gibbs and Madlib should be able to create one hell of a single and if they both bring their A-game I'm copping for sure.

Friday, November 18, 2011

VIDEO: DJ Premier x Nas - "Re:Generation"

I understand this joint isn't for everyone as it's a fusion between hip-hop and classical symphony music, but personally I think it's a real banger. The video for DJ Premier's own composition "Re:Generation" runs more like a behind the scenes vid set to the music. However, it's always great to see Nas in the studio with Preem and also very cool to see the latter direct the orchestra by himself! The song is one of several tracks made for Hyundai Veloster's documentary film "Re:GENERATION" that follows DJ Premier, Mark Ronson, Skrillex, Crystal Method and Pretty Lights as they remix, recreate and re-imagine five traditional styles of music. More info can be found @ ReGenerationMusicProject. If you want to download the song, check out this previous post.

By the way, for fans of this unusual fusing of classical music and hip-hop breaks I can strongly recommend Rob Swift's (of the almighty The X-Ecutioners) 2010 album "The Architect". Using mainly samples from classical records combined with hard hitting drum patterns and signature turntablism, Swift has created an unusual but severely sick instrumental hip-hop album (with a couple of joints featuring vocals by Breez Evahflowin') that sounds a bit like a combination of what Premier is doing in the song above and early DJ Shadow.

Mobb Deep x Nas - "Get it Forever"

The final single before Mobb Deep's "Black Cocaine" EP drops is here and I'm happy to announce that it's my most anticipated record from it. Nas and The Infamous got a crazy track record and just like the previous "Dog Shit" this does anything but dissapoints. Fire verses, hard boiled production and overall packing that grittiness that has been missing from much of the Mobb's music this side of the new millenium. P's and H's new Extended Play will be released as a digital download via sites like iTunes as well as on CD on November 21. UGHH apparantly already started shipping which comes in a nice digipack. I must say I was hoping for a few bonus cuts however...


Thursday, November 17, 2011

KRS-One - "Just Like That"

Kris One just don't stop like that so here goes the first single and video of his next project. The yet untitled album will be KRS's 19th solo album (including B.D.P. joints) and 21st if you'd count the recent collaborations with Buckshot and Bumpy Knuckles. It amazes me how he's able to switch from close to G.O.A.T. status (some verses on "Survival Skills") to rather mediocre (the weaker moments on "Godsville") in an instance. This is somewhere in between, and as always I'll be checking when he drops...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Slick Rick - "Behind Bars" [Prince Paul Mix]

Man, Prince Paul setting up a SoundCloud Page to drop off unreleased cuts, rough demo versions and alternative takes has to be one of the illest happenings of the year. I've been trying to get my hands on this original P.P. mix of what would turn out to be the title track to Slick Rick's '94 "Behind Bars" LP. Def Jam got rid off the original version in favor of a Warren G remix and an Epitome Of Scratch version while this mix remained unreleased until this very day! Here's what the legendary producer said of its making:

"This was the original version of " Behind bars " I recorded for Slick Rick during his incarceration in the early 90's . The song didn't come out until 94 but to my surprise was remixed by Warren G and Def Jam scrapped my mix . Though Im still considered a writer of the song I was really hoping to have this heard ( well in 92 when we recorded it that is ) . Though it sounds pretty dated its still one of my favorites and I had the pleasure of working with a Genius Slick Rick . Enjoy the Prince Paul unreleased series .. share music !"

BEHIND BARS ( Slick Rick ) Prince Paul unreleased rough mix recorded 92 ? by DJ Prince Paul

Willie The Kid - "Waste Not, Want Not"

Willie The Kid hooks us up with a respectable banger on the second single from his upcoming "The Cure 2" EP. The track is produced by The Alchemist who utilizes a sample which reminds me of one of the theme songs from one of those '80s detective/action day time TV shows. Between this and the previous "The Guilt" I am sold for this project which is to be available in digital format on November 24 (Thanksgiving).

Willie The Kid 'Waste Not. Want Not.' produced by Alchemist by williethekid777

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

M.O.P. - "Sparta"

The Mash Out Posse lets loose of another sure shot banger from their next release, "Sparta", in this case the opening and title track. The album will feature ten songs, entirely produced by The Snowgoons. Look for it in stores on November 22 via release on Babygrande Records. Tracklist + Pre-order here. RAW!

M.O.P. & Snowgoons "Sparta" (Album In Stores Nov. 22nd) by Babygrande Records

Madlib Medicine Show #13 on the way

It's no secret that I think many of the recent Madlib releases has been rushed with some pretty pointless and sloppy stuff but there's no question that there's also the occassional glimpse of the genius behind "Madvillainy" and "Shades Of Blue". Although the original 12 volume series of the monthly Medicine Show recently was completed with a kinda ill remix album as the series finale, it seems the show must go on. Stones Throw is releasing an exclusive piece of vinyl called "Madlib Medicine Show #12/#13: Filthy Ass Remixes". As the title indicates it's not a completely new album but rather one side of Madlib's favorite remixes from the last volume and a B-side featuring ten new joints from the not-yet-released Volume #13. Total running time is just under 40 minutes. More info and pre-orders @ Stones Throw.

Has-Lo - "Light Years" (J-Zone Remix)

Has-Lo releases his new project "Conversation B" via Mello Music Group today and I'd be suprised if it isn't another solid effort. From what I understand it'more of a remix album than an entirely new LP, the press releases has stated it to be "a complete re-envisioning of Has Lo's debut "In Case I Don't Make It"". While the original was fully produced by the artist himself this one features takes by respected beat makers such as Exile, Oddisee, Kev Brown, Apollo Brown and Eric Lau. This particular joint is a remake of the song "Kinetic Energy" and is laced by J-Zone, a producer that has released loads of dope shit throughout the years but still remains severely underrated. "Conversation B" is available on CD and limited vinyl @ UGHH.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Shabazz The Disciple - "Higher Clemency"

New video from always reliable Shabazz The Disciple, directed by Jeremy Mack. "Higher Clemency" is a cut from Shabazz & DJ Extremidiz "Hood Scriptures" that was released late last year and definitely deserves your attention. For those who don't know, 'Bazz actually also released a new project just a few days ago titled "Hood Hopera (Theatrica Biblica)". Both albums can be purchased @ UGHH now!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remembering Ol' Dirty

Russell Jones was sometimes called The Heart and Soul of Wu-Tang which in many ways is a true statement. Ol' Dirty Bastard was a truly free spirit who never tried to be anyone besides himself and had maybe the most unique personality the music industry has ever wittnessed. There are so many fantastic stories about this man and his wild antics. Take how he just happened to walk through a studio and heard Pras playing a song and asked to take part. Of course he could and that song ("Ghetto Supastar") only happened to be one of the mega smashes of the year. Jones was also the first out of the band of brothers known as The Wu-Tang Clan to collaborate with R&B superstars like En Vouge and Mariah Carey but the word sell-out and Ol' Dirty Bastard could and should never be mentioned in the same breath. He did what he wanted to, when he wanted to and with who he wanted to. And although his crazy living would leave him in many difficult situations later on in his all too short life, he always remained himself and always kept it dirty.

This day, the 13th November, marks the date when Russell Jones returned to the essence. I can still remember the surreal feel when reading the news that he had passed away. Wu-Tang had been a part of my life pretty much since I was a kid and you always had the impression that Dirty was immortal and that the heavy drugs and booze were just part of his wild persona. Eventually living like that will catch up with anybody but it's a tragedy the time striked before the change did. Jones left us with the memory of a man that was truly unique, had mad humor and was one hell of a musician. ODB remains the very definition of not having to be a super lyrical multi-bars emcee to be an entertaining, truly great rapper. In memory of his greatness I have assembled a series of non album cuts from the late, great Ol' Dirty that I hope you'll bump on this day in celebration of his life. Rest in peace homie!

01. "Dirty The Moocher"
02. "Ol' Dirty's Back" (w. 12 O'Clock)
03. "Woo-Hah!" [Remix] (w. Busta Rhymes)
04. "The Park" (w. Coolio)
05. "Words Of Wisdom #1"
06. "Strictly Hip Hop" (w. Afro Jazz)
07. "Get It To Ya Raw"
08. "Don't U Know Pt. II"
09. "Gots Like Come On Thru" (w. Buddha Monk & Drunken Dragon)
10. "Nuthin' But Flavor" (w. Charlie Brown & Biz Markie)
11. "Words Of Wisdom #2"
12. "Who Rock This?" (w. Mystikal)
13. "Drug Free" (w. Deadly Venoms)
14. "Show & Prove" (w. Big Daddy Kane, Shyheim, Jay-Z & Scoob)
15. "Prepare For The Buddha Monk" (w. Popa Wu & Brooklyn Zu)
16. "Words Of Wisdom #3"
17. "Hip-Hop Drunkies" (w. Alkaholiks)


The Legion were a hardcore rap crew from The Bronx that first made their mark as associates of Showbiz & AG and Black Sheep. It's not unfair to say that their music forms as a fusion of the above mentioned groups and shares many similarities with both. The Legion was made up of a trio consisting of Chucky Smash, Cee-Low and Molecules who also produced most of the group's material. According to Smash, 'Cules was a real street cat who also worked the SP1200, Cee-Low a player and club-goer and himself heavily into graffiti and the culture of hip-hop. With all these styles combined The Legion was born. Chucky Smash also told in the UNKUT interview how they used to live together with Showbiz and Dres and moving in the same circles which certainly rubbed off heavily on their own music.

Like most, my first introduction to The Legion was through that banging interlude on Show & A's "Runaway Slave" where a hardboiled beat's rocking and a voice declares that "The Legion's in the house... Cee-Low's in the house....Molecules's in the house" and so on. The first time that interlude cut off I was pissed because I was so hyped by the sounds of it and was just starting to expect to hear the full thing. However, The Legion got signed to Mercury Records and one year after the "Runaway..." interlude, in 1993 that is, the trio came out with their debut single and video, for the song "Jingle Jangle". The hard cooking sounds with its strong jazz influence was a common sound at the time but the guys displayed a lyrical style and chemistry that was both humoros and hardcore and made them stand out on their own. "Jingle Jangle" also featured an excellent performance by Dres of Black Sheep which revealed another connection that would prove important for the future.
After some moderate success with the single, Mercury gave the group the thumbs up and a budget to record a full-length album for the label. The result was to be the strangely titled "Theme + Echo = Krill", a largely self-produced album that continued where the preceeding single had left off both from a lyrical perspective as well as with the beats. Cee-Low, Molecules and Chucky Smash all hold down their parts on the microphone well, but what really has made this album stand the test of time, at least for the initiated who actually knows about it, is the banging production. The record is full of jazz and funk samples, prominently with keys and all sorts of horns, pounding bass (often accoustic stand-up bass) and thick drums. Not suprisingly, the sounds are reminiscent of what D.I.T.C. and Mista Lawgne were doing in the early '90s. Several of the samples would much later be used by major artists like Mobb Deep, Smif-N-Wessun and MF DOOM. Molecules would later go on to produce slamming records for Mos Def and Dres although his placements has been few and far in between.

The album was completed and ready for release in the middle of 1994 but was heavily under promoted by Mercury, in fact the vinyl version were only pressed up in promo copies and both versions quickly went out of print. "Theme + Echo = Krill" was a great album with a bit of an old school feel to it but in 1994 hip-hop was starting to move on into new territory. Had this album been released at the same time as "Runaway Slave" or "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" I'm confident in saying that this LP would have been remembered much in the same way as those records. Unfortunately for the crew, the hard work they put into making a great album passed quietly above most hip-hop heads and both the vinyl and CD copies of "Theme + Echo" quickly became out of print and an eBay item. Could we get a reissue please? Traffic, I'm looking at you!
Besides the underground classic "Jingle Jangle", highlights include the second single, the bass heavy party anthem "Legion Groove" and the two Mista Lawgne productions, "Once Upon A Time" and "Zootie Bang". And of course it wouldn't be a early '90s album without the obligatory posse cut to show for, now would it? In this case, Show & A fans will be thrilled that "Who's It On Pt. 1" is the entire version of the "Runaway Slave" interlude and features a classic AG verse plus some Showbiz vocals over that addicting ruffneck beat. "...Part 2" in the same series adapts a different beat and features the trio going head to head with Black Sheep and Chi-Ali and you can bet it's a lyrical clashing that will take you back to the golen days of rap. It can't compare with the defining masterpieces of its time as there are moments of the album that does sound dated and unoriginal, especially as the album runs on for slightly too long, but these are mostly minor flaws and as a body of work it is a very good, and sadly very overlooked, one.

It's not all fun and games though; most of the latter part of "Theme + Echo" revolves around more serious subject matters including the use of the word nigga, it's origin and the meaning of it. Several important skits deals with this topic while songs like the dark and moody "New Niggas" has the crew spitting over a sinister piano-laced track where a murky bass clarinett gives a chilling effect as it floats in and out of the composition. One of the LP:s finest moments however comes with the closer, "Rest in Peace", a heartfelt tribute that deals with the pain of losing someone close and anyone who've done so should be able to relate. It's ill that Molecules flips the repetitive bass line (later used by Alchemist for Mobb Deep's "The Realest") for the basis of the song while he's adding several horns fading in and out to emphasize the theme. "Rest in Peace" is a great closer for a great album and will have you wishing these guys would've actually blewn up the way they deserved. After the album went wood, the group made the occassional guest apperance on albums by Black Sheep/Dres but has since faded into obscurity. I have a memory of reading somewhere in the mid-'90s that Dres was starting a record label and that he would sign The Legion as his main act; guess that never materialized.

01. "Enter The Realm"
02. "Jingle Jangle" (Ft. Dres)
03. "Buddah Break" (Ft. World Famous Brucie B)
04. "Legion Groove"
05. "Back in the Days"
06. "Step to the Stage" (Cuts by C.M.E.)
07. "Makin' Noise" (Ft. Dennis '3D' Scott)
08. "Krill Ill"
09. "Representanto"
10. "Zootie Bang" (Prod. by Mista Lawgne)
11. "Once Upon A Time" (Prod. by Mista Lawgne)
12. "I Like The Way It's Going Down"
13. "Bring It"
14. "It's Thorough"
15. "Who's It On Pt. 1" (Ft. Showbiz & AG)
16. "Who's It On Pt. 2" (Ft. Black Sheep & Chi-Ali)
17. "The Word Nigga"
18. "New Niggas"
19. "The Truth"
20. "Rest in Peace"