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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

KRS-One - "Stand Up"

Knowledge Reigns Supreme and Freddie Foxxx has always been an incredible duo, since Foxxx first went head-to-head with Kris on two bangers from the '92 BDP album "Sex & Violence". They both have two of the ruffest voices in hip-hop and they never been scared of ripping real hardcore beats. Therefore it was like music to my ears when they announced they were working on a collaborative album together and hopefully we'll see it sooner than later. The first single has now leaked from the forthcoming album "Royalty Check", although the track, "Stand Up", is a KRS solo. It's a dope joint produced by King Karnov though I really hope the majority of the album will feature both emcees going back and forth because these guys sound incredible together and of course they are both veterans in the game.


Skyzoo - "Attypical"

Third single from "freshman" Skyzoo's upcoming third album "The Great Debater". So far we've got one production from Swiff D and two from !llmind, who laced Sky's last album in full. Skyzoo is definitely one of the most promising artists among the "new" emcees as his debut "The Salvation" was proof off. Judging from the three sneak peaks we've got so far, this will definitely be an album worth checking for this June, i'll tell ya that!


Black Sheep - "Standing Out From The Flock"

The skilled New York duo of Dres and Mista Lawgne came out with their debut LP, "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing", in 1991 to rave reviews. Dres was the main emcee while Lawgne handled all the production on the album and there's not many duos with a chemistry like theirs. Black Sheep was one of the last true additions to the Native Tounges collective (De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Prince Paul,, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah and a few others). Dres stood out with his unique voice, hilarious lyrics, cadence and as being a real funny guy overall. Mista Lawne occassionally rhymed on the two albums the Sheep released bur he was first and foremost the producer of the duo. Always cooking up funky beats filled with obscure samples that he twisted with finesse and most importany a musical style that really complimented Dres. All-in-all, it was a match made in heaven - one of the better and most groundbreaking groups to emerge in the early 1990s.

Following the acclaim and success of "A Wolf..." it would take the duo three years before their sophomore album would hit the stores. "Non Phiction" was a very different albums in many ways and although it was quite good it came nowhere near the originality and overall vibe of their debut. With that in mind, the following compilation focuses on the first years from The Sheep entered the scene, about 1990, to just before the second LP in '94 and features remixes, guestspots, rare songs and B-Sides Although it's labeled as a Black Sheep mix and Mista Lawnge has prodcued the majorty of the tracks I did include a few Dres features. To cut to the chase, if you're a Black Sheep fan TURN IT UP!   

01. "Still in the Ghetto"
02. "Similak Child" [Homogenized Mix]
03. "Roll Wit Tha Flava" (w. Flavor Unit MCs)
04. "Who's It On Part Two" (w. Showbiz & AG)
05.  "Everyway Always"
06.  "Let The Horns Blow" (Ft. Phife, Trugoy & Al Tariq)
07. "Ste Of You" (Ft. Dres)
08. "Bounce Ta This" (Ft. Showbiz & AG)
09. "Jingle Jangle"
10. "Shakey Grounds"
11."On The Wall"
12. "Gimme The Finga" [Lawnge Remix]
13. "Butt... In The Meantime" [Nostrand Ave. Rasta Mix]
14. "Strobelite Honey" [No We Didn't Mix]
15. "Faanatic Of The B-Word" (Ft. De La Soul)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Shelved Classics: Royal Fam's "Black Castle"

Sometimes a real jewel of a hip hop album goes unreleased for days, months and years while its reputation as a shelved classic grows to almost mythical proportions in the underground. Such is the case with Royal Fam’s debut album, “Black Castle” which has had two different release dates on two different labels, with nearly ten years apart! That Timbo King and his talented crew still was trying to get the LP out to the fans a decade after completion speaks volumes on how slamming this album was and still is. Between 1997 and 1999 the majority of the talent of the extended Wu-Tang family tree released albums that pretty much all holds up today. Releases by Shyheim (“The Lost Generation”), Sunz Of Man (“The Last Shall Be First”), Killah Priest (“Heavy Mental”), Cappadonna (“The Pillage”) were all successful LPs that followed the Wu-Tang tradition while still maintaining integrity and musical personality. It’s a damn travesty that Royal Fam didn’t get the chance to get their album out properly during this time, it would definitely be held in the same regard as the ones mentioned above. There was however one release by the Fam around this time, called “Yesterday, Today iz Tomorrow”, and corny titles aside this CD featured a lot of heat and was on constant rotation for me back in ’99. It was soon revealed that the album was a bootleg released without any permission from the involved artists. Timbo King tells a story of how a tape of that music was stolen from an office @ Wu-Tang Records and that the songs were unmixed and yet to be mastered. Some of the songs were unfinished but most likely these were tracks recorded for “Black Castle” – an official tracklist of what would be included on the album has never been released.

If you’re still unfamiliar with the group, Timbo King is the lead emcee whose distinct flow and well written lyrics has made him a favorite amongst Wu-Tang Clan heads. Mighty Jarett brought the reagge flavor to the crew and performs a mean toast. Royal Fam also consists of two additional rappers; Dark Denim and Sha Recka and while not an official part of the group their in-house producer Y-Kim could be considered something of an honorary member. 

Timbo King had actually released an EP with a producer calling himself Spark 950 back in 1994, “United We Slam” which didn’t do too well commercially and did little noise overall. This would inject the emcee with a large dose of animosity against the way the record industry works, an experience similar to that of RZA and GZA/Genius. He used the bad experience as fuel and inspiration for the 12” single “Sumthin’ Gotz Ta Give”/“I Declare War” which was released on Capitol Records and was to be the lead single from the upcoming Royal Fam LP on the same label. “I came out as Royal Fam, but you heard just me, I was the first artist to come out with an imprint group, but as an artist, so I did that and at that same time these artists that were around me were developing to become artists.” The minimalistic and raw Y-Kim production with its low-key horns and piano samples with Timbo King’s aggressive delivery and on point lyrics made hip-hop heads all over take notice. The sound showed influences from groups like Wu-Tang Clan and Cypress Hill but there’s no question that it was an original record which proved Royal Fam was on the rise and someone to watch out for.

The songs recorded for the album on Capitol Records in the mid-‘90s followed the same structure. The criminally underrated Y-Kim The Ill Figure supplied banger after banger of stripped down, hardcore production with beats often featuring two distinct, almost separate, parts combined. On top of this we got lyrics dealing with shady A&Rs and how to avoid getting fucked by the record industry, 5% terminology, battle rap and even crime narratives – pretty much all the things you’d expect from a quality Killa Beez release. One main difference was however that Dark Denim, Sha Recka and Mighty Jarett was being heard on several songs, although Timbo King definitely dominated and rightfully so considering his skills. According to him the album got caught up in label politics, with Capitol not so willing to clear many of the main samples that made the album what it was. “The samples affected the main songs on the album that I wanted to put out as singles and the ones I wanted to really push. I am like damn! I like that song, I can’t just change it, we tried to change the sample and it wasn't the same shit, we can’t replace it like that, I'm like well fuck it then”, Timbo recently told Wu-International. 

Eventually Capitol pulled out of the deal but since they had paid the studio time, engineers and whatever they demanded 2.0 points of sales if Royal Fam was to release the album through another label. This was a deal that unfortunately would make it extremely hard for the crew to find a willing distributor of the album for a decade to come. It was first in 2005 that independent label, Nature Sounds, picked it up and prepared it for release. How much of the album that was to be the same as the 1996 version, or if many of the tracks were recorded around 2005, is still unknown since no definite tracklist has been made available. However, the label released a promotional copy of the album, featuring 12 tracks and tagged as Timbo King Presents the Royal Fam. This advance included “Sumthin’ Gotz Ta Give”, “I Declare War” from the single as well as a few tracks that had previously appeared on the “Yesterday, Today…” bootleg. This indicates that it was indeed the original mid-‘90s album that Nature Sounds was to release in full. Also by judging from the sound, I would guess that all the songs on the sampler was recorded somewhere between 1995 and 2000. The main problem was again that the tracks clearly wasn’t professionally mixed down and mastered yet. But although the sound wasn’t all it should have been, the material of musical quality on the disc spoke for itself. Filled with soundscapes constructed around dark, paranoid and claustrophobic sample-based production, the LP sounds like something related to “Temples of Boom” and “Tical”. Timbo King has quotables on every track and verses like the ones on “I Declare War” and “Musical Chairs” sounds just as powerful today as when they first was heard. The presence of Dark Denim, Mighty Jarrett and Sha Recka as well as guests like Hell Razah, Prodigal Sunn and True Master makes it feel like a Family affair of greatness.

As you can guess, Nature Sounds too shelved the album eventually and an official release of the album is getting less and less likely with every day. At least we got the advance copy of it which I am of course sharing with y’all in case you don’t have it since before – it’s well worth your time. The first 12 tracks presented here are the actual promo CD with the proper sequencing with a running time of about 40 minutes; Timbo King is coming with his first official solo album this year, “From Babylon to Timbuktu” with productions by Bronze Nazareth, Lil' Fame, and an apperance by RZA amongst others so be prepared because I know it will be a banger for sure. Head over to Wu-International to read the full interview with the man himself in promo of that album, great interview well worth reading and a little something to listen to while you're listening to "Black Castle". Enjoy!

01. "Intro"
02. "Blame Us"
03. "Rules 101"
04. "Invitation Only"
05. "All The Kings Men"
06. "What You Think"
07. "Black Castle"
08. "I Declare War"
09. "Once Upon A Crime"
10. "Army Brigade" (Ft., True Master)
11. "Somethin' Gutz Ta Give"
12. "Musical Chairs" (Ft. Prodigal Sunn" 

Cannibal Ox w. Raekwon - "Thor's Hammer"

Vast Aire's latest album was released the other day and carries the beautiful title of "Ox 2010: A Street Odyssey" (although shouldn't it be 2011 by now?). Production is handled by the likes of Kount Fif, Ayatollah, Thanos and more with cameos from Vordul Mega, Guilty Simpson, Raekwon, Genesis and Cappadonna.

Considering the lack of updates on this blog recently I want to send out the reunion track between Aire and Mega (Cannibal Ox that is) which also features a ill verse from the Chef. That's definitely one collaboration I didn't see coming, but it's also definitely very welcome. "Thor's Hammer" is produced by a beatmaker who calls himself P.O.V.

The album is now available on both CD and vinyl and can be ordered through UGHH.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

RZA - "Only The Rugged Survive"

New single by RZA, drenched in funk and soul, and sounding pretty damn sweet to my ears. This is also notable for being the first track we gets to hear from the forthcoming Wu-Tang compilation. "Legendary Weapons" will, from what I gather, be a project similiar to 2009s "Chamber Music", which paired the Clan emcees and other veteran New York rhymers with live instrumentation performed by The Revelations. I really liked that album so I am hoping this will be a worthy follow up, although I wouldn't complain if it had more songs and less skits. The track is produced by Noah Rubin (who also co-produced much of "Chamber Music") and the album shall be out in June as you can see by the flyer.


Grand Puba & Sadat X collabos

The power trio of Sadat X, Grand Puba and Lord Jamar that is Brand Nubian has to be one of the most underrated groups in hip-hop. Not only are they three very talented emcees that never release a verse without putting some thought into it, they also have an impeccable catalouge of incredible albums. Everything from "One For All" to "Foundation" is in the 4/5 to 5/5 area if you ask me, yet they rarely get the same recognition as, say, A Tribe Called Quest or Mobb Deep. Recently I've been banging all those LPs a lot and wanted to make something additional with some non-album tracks for my iPod.

The result was this slamming collection of Sadat X's and Grand Puba's collaborations and guest features together. While I am a big fan of Lord Jamar as well it's undeniable how dope X and Puba sounds as a duo; amazing and original flows, clever lyrics and maybe most important, two of the most distinct voices in all of rap music. They sound almost like blood brothers with that high-pitched and unique voices that's just perfectly suited for hip-hop - in fact when I first started listening to these guys I had sometimes hard to tell them apart from eachother. A problem that goes away with repeated listens of course.

This compilation features 15 songs from 15 different sources, everything from B-side remixes, soundtrack joints, producer albums (Handsome Boy Modeling School, DJ Honda) plus various cameos. It spans from 1995 to 2010 with the most recent cut being "There Will Be Blood" from the Buckwild/Celph Titled album and the earliest is "I Like It" remix from the 12" single by Puba. I decided to also include two tracks featuring Lord Jamar, one being the "Lump Lump" remix from '96 which was the first time the world got to hear the trio reunited after the four year long separation with Grand Puba. The only track that I know about that I wasn't able to get my hands on is the Frankie Cutlass remix of Eternal's "Dreams" so if anyone has that please upload it and inform me in the comments section. Check it out, enjoy and TURN IT UP!!

01. "Once Again (Here to Kick It For You)"
02. "I Like It" [Buckwild Remix]
03. "The Lump Lump" [Buckwild Remix] (w. Lord Jamar)
04. "7XL" (w. Scaramanga a/k/a Sir Menelik)
05. "There Will Be Blood)" (w. Celph Titled & D.I.T.C.)
06. "I Flip Styles" (w. Diamond D)
07. "Ease Your Mind" [Mate Boogie Mix] (w. Kym Rae)
08. "Straight Talk From New York" (w. DJ Honda & Wakeem)
09. "What's Up With It?" (w. Tiffany Johnson)
10. "Bread & Butter" (w. Beanie Sigel)
11. "Ain't Nothing Changed" (w. Lord Jamar)
12. "Actual Facts" (w. Lord Finesse & Large Professor)
13. "Open Bar"
14. "The Next Spot"


Astronote Ft. Edo G / Special Teamz

Just received this in my inbox and thought it was worth sharing with The Lost Tapes readers. Astronote is a relatively new French hip-hop producer who has worked with Talib Kweli and Buff1 amongst others and is now dropping his free project, "Weapon Of The Future" on May 31. This single is called "We Don't Change" and features Special Teamz, the Boston trio consisting of Edo G, Slaine and Jaysaun. Also check out Astronote @ Bandcamp where you can download his Jay-Z "American Gangster" remix album and more.


Camp Lo / Pete Rock interview

As you should be aware of already Camp Lo has hooked up with Pete Rock to form the trio 80 Blocks From Tiffany's. The first single from an upcoming album was released with a video a while back, "Mic Check", as well as a free mixtape featuring the Camp Lo duo rhyming over classic Pete Rock beats. So far it's all been promising stuff and to be honest I don't expect anything less than great from this collaboration and although a release date isn't set in stone yet it seems to me that the LP will be out this year for sure. Below is an interesting interview with the trio, shouts to Jin10304 for the link.

On paper, the pairing of Pete Rock and Camp Lo seems like a savvy move, given that you guys came to prominence during the burgeoning '90s New York hip-hop scene. Did you find forming 80 Blocks From Tiffany's to be a natural fit?
Pete Rock: Yeah, it was pretty natural. I've always been a fan of Camp Lo's music. I was actually leaving a studio session and bumped into Technician the DJ on the street as I was picking my car up. The Camp Lo guys were in a session nearby, so Technician asked if I could come up and say hello to them, and I did that. I ended up jumping on a song with them and Styles P. They liked some of the beats I played for them. That's when we decided to [link up].

Was there any initial concern over merging two very distinct sounds?

Geechi Suede: I think that's why it worked. Pete Rock is one entity and Camp Lo is another. The way we bridged it was through 80 Blocks from Tiffany's. So the whole dynamic of the sound is something that is completely different than from what people have known any of us to do.

Sonny Cheeba: What we bring to the table together cats haven't seen yet. That soul feel is still there. We have a lot of visuals in mind and approaches that nobody is doing.

You have already released the 80 Blocks From Tiffany's mixtape. There's been talk that you guys are already working on a sequel.
Geechie Suede: Yes, we are working on part 2. The [recording process] has been great.

Pete Rock: And I'm producing the whole thing. It's going to be a dope mixtape because it's going to be like an audio cinematic movie. We are really riding this thing hard. Then we have the 80 Blocks From Tiffany's album coming out this summer. We are really taken this seriously.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Killah Priest - "L-Theanin" (Official Video)

Here goes the second video of Killah Priest's forthcoming and highly anticipated album "The Pshycic World of Walter Reed". The LP has been in the works for quite some time now and with production from the likes of RZA, 4th Disciple and Godz Wrath I just know it will be one of the best album we will hear all year. I just hope the support is there, I remember "Behind The Stained Glass" selling 800 copies in its first week according to SoundScan, and that's just a goddamn shame - especially considering how much free albums and mixtapes Priest has given his fans between album releases. Hopefully P.W.O.W.R. will be released soon, no release date is set in stone yet but it seems like its completed and as we can see the promotion has officially begun.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Random Axe's "Random Call"

Second single from the soon-to-be-here debut album from the power trio. Stream only for now, but I know you'll click the link so...


Side Effectz & Cap - "Mechanicz Pt. II"

Banging track from the forthcoming "The Wood Sessions" that will be released independently later this year and is shaping up lovely. The LP will be the follow-up to 2008s "AOTS: The Album" which they recently put up for free download/stream via SoundCloud amongst other tracks. If you want to check out some of the earlier material from these guys I strongly recommend that, also check out "Friday After Next", another joint from "The Wood Sessions". The new video is coming out soon too, y'all be seeing it here as soon as it's available.



New Skyzoo ish

 Skyzoo's third official album, "The Great Debater", is yet another promising album slated for release this June. To me Skyzoo is one of the absolute best rappers from the younger generation and with his first full-length, "The Salvation", he not only released one of the illest debuts hip-hop has seen in a while but inprinted himself in rap's consciousness as a force to be reckoned with. I wasn't crazy about the follow-up album, which was fully produced by !llmind, where I think Sky had a tendency to complicate his rhymes alot more than neccessary while some of the beats weren't really up to par. It was a good album however, and I bet this one will get lots of spins as well judging by these two singles and previous work. Produced by !llmind and Swiff D, repsectively; props to 2 Dope Boyz for the latest leak.



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bumpy Knuckles & Statik Selektah

New heat from one of the deadliest mic slayers in the game, Bumpy Knuckles A/K/A Freddie Foxxx, backed up by production from DJ Statik Selektah. In fact this single, "Lyrical Workout", and the bonus joint ripped by Gim @ the DJ Premier Blog a while back is lifted from an upcoming full-length LP these two been working on together. The album is now set out to drop on June 14th and is also titled "Lyrical Workout", and yes it's another legend up for new album release this June!

I don't know what happened to "Amerikkkan Black Man", the album Foxxx was working on for several years and I hope it will still get released eventually since all the leaked tracks from there was straight up bangers. It's hard to complain when we get records like the ones below though, cool to hear Noreaga and Bumpy together too since there was some words exchanged as far back as on "Industry Shakedown" back in 2000.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Preem's "Beats That Collected Dust II"

The long awaited and highly anticipated follow-up to DJ Premier's instrumental album "Beats That Collected Dust" has finally been available on wax since May 17th. As you might realize from the title this project consists of older productions that never saw release for various reasons, they might have been turned down by an artist previously or created for a radio show or as an intro. Either way, this will be an interesting listen and while I will most likely pick up the vinyl of this, it would be a nice addition to my CD collection if we eventually get a 2xCD ltd edition with both volumes of this on there. Below is what Preemo himself has to say about the project, as well as the tracklist. You can also check out this link to snippets of all songs on the LP - thanks to Gim and the one and only DJ Premier Blog for that one!

"So... I should have released this one a while ago, but I thought that these tracks would find a home somewhere with vocals of some kind attached to it.....Oh well, no big deal....I always will make more and more and more beats...I LOVE THIS GAME ! Volume 2 has a few old potential Gang Starr tracks that we never used back in 1993 for our "Hard To Earn" LP, but they were not better than the ones that made the cut....since they sound dated next to my style of production in the 2000 era, now YOU have it....And don't 4get the BONUS cut at the end of the LP which I will continue to add only to these releases.

Much Love to all of the supporters of Vol. 1 and especially all of the MC's that sent versions spittin' lyrics over them for demos, mixtape CD's, and freestyling on radio mixshows.....I actually forgot to add some ill beats that I had intended for Vol. 2, so that means Vol. 3 will be next.......Year Round Records will ALWAYS keep the Vinyl Alive and QUALITY will NEVER be compromised..... NOD YA HEADS 2 THIS!!!" - DJ Premier

Side A
01."John T."
02. "Ch-Ching"
03. "Dots"
04. "Doomp Doomp Doomp"
05. "Stylesss"
06. "Epic Ish"

Side B
02. "Change"
03. "Live Pro"
04. "I Don't Know"
05. "Late Night"
06. "NY State Of Mind #20"


Thursday, May 19, 2011

J-Love Ft. Sean Price, La The Darkman & Willie the Kid

This shit goes HARD! J-Love connects with Sean Price and the brothers La The Darkman and Willie The Kid for this video to "Fuck That Man Up", produced by the one and only Ayatollah and filmed and directed by Tom Gould & Alexander Richter. The song is lifted from J-Love's recently released "Egoistical Maniac" album.

"Blaq Poet Society" Trailer

The new album by Blaq Poet is called "Blaq Poet Society" and will be available on June 21, like I already said this summer's gonna be crazy! So far two singles have been released, if you missed out on that and the glance at the tracklist, click here. Production by Stu Bangas and Vanderslice.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cormega - "I Made A Difference" (Ft. Lil' Fame, Redman, & Steele)

Great to hear something new from Cormega, and it's quite a line-up he got going here to say the least and I am loving this track on first listen. This is something that was made in tribute to Haiti and was released by 'Mega and the Legal Hustle team today as this date celebrates Haitis flag day. I don't think I ever heard Redman speak on such serious matters but he's sounds good on here, matter of fact everybody came correct. The beautiful voice singing the hook belongs to Maya Azucena. The song will be available on iTunes for download soon, with all proceeds going to J/P HRO. Spotted @ Icedotcom, props! 

Below you can take part of the mixing session for the record.

Pete Rock & Smif N Wessun Ft. Styles P & Sean Price

Hell yeah, this is what I'm talking about! As soon as the tracklist was revealed (just scroll down), Duck Down drops the second single from this "Monumental" project. June 28 can't come sooner; stream for now only.


VIDEO: Random Axe's "The Hex"

More new hot shit to remind us that we got a summer heavy on the hip-hop side of things on the way. Random Axe is of course the collaboration between Sean Price, Guilty Simpson and Black Milk and if the album is as dope as it sounds on paper this will be straight up incredible; Detroit and New York holds the most interesting artists rap music has to offer right now if you ask me. The video is directed by Ang Kasuwan and describes what can go down when this trio decides to visit a motel.

"RANDOM AXE" will be released on Duck Down Records on June 14 (click the link to check out the artwork and tracklist). Props to the homie Bamboo for letting me know about the release of the video!

"MONUMENTAL" Tracklist, artwork revealed

I've been following the realization of this album closely and while there is always a shadow of doubt in my mind whenever Pete Rock announces a proejct, I think it's safe to say that we will definitely get to hear this one on June 28. I see it's only 12 tracks, but with 12 strong tracks that's hardly anything to complain about. I just hope it isn't ending up as one of them albums clocking in at about 30 minutes that we've seen alot of lately (KRS-One/Showbiz, Meth/Rae/Ghost, Rah Digga, etc.); this could certainly be Tek N Steele's hottest project since "Dah Shinin'". Features looks very solid with plenty of BCC cameos, can you imagine track #3 and #5?

01. "Monumental" (Ft. Pete Rock & Tyler Woods)
02. "Prevail" (Ft. Raekwon)
03. "That's Hard" (Ft. Styles P & Sean Price)
04. "Top Of The World" (Ft. Memphis Bleek)
05. "Feel Me" (Ft. Rock & Bun B)
06. "Roses" (Ft. Freeway)
07. "Fire"
08. "This One" (Ft. Top Dogg & Jahdan Blakkamore)
09. "Do It" (Ft. Hurricane G)
10. "Nighttime" (Ft. Pete Rock & Buckshot)
11. "(I'm A) Stand Up Guy" (Ft. Black Rob)
12. "Time To Say"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Neek & Extra-P / "Prelude to the Hustle"

As today ends the countdown to the official release of Neek The Exotic & Large Professor's new album, "Still On The Hustle", I put together a little something to remind y'all what a seriously ill ocassion this is. Despite never having appeared on one of Extra P's solo albums, the two have been affilliated with eachother for a long time with Neek first rapping with Pro on the "Fakin' the Funk" remix with Main Source from 1992. Since then Neek has released several dope 12" singles and EPs, never without featuring production from The Guy With The Glasses, some of which were collected on 2003s album/compilation "Exotic's Raw". That release has since gone out of print so I think it's only fair to share all the Large Pro produced Neek The Exotic cuts that lead up to today's album release. Hopefully it can inspire a few to go out and support the official product, which you can do via UGHH or Fat Beats to name a few spots.

01. "Exotic's Raw" (Ft. Large Pro)
02. "Prepared to Get Stomped"
03. "The Mothafuckin' Man"
04. "Money, Thugs" (Ft. Large Pro & Royal Flush)
05. "Real Hip Hop"
06. "Fakin' The Funk" (w. Main Source/Large Pro)
07. "Live To Get This Paper"
08. "Hardcore" (Ft. Large Pro)
09. "Backs N Necks"
10. "Turn It Out" (Ft. Large Pro)
11. "Don't Stop"
12. "Make That Money" (Ft. Royal Flush)
13. "This Here's Gangsta" (Ft. Royal Flush & Universal)

* All songs produced by The Large Professor



The first song from the upcoming Priest album to be released in its entirety is here and it's fucking amazing if you ask me; this right here is how you do storytelling rap! Different beat that hightlights the lyrical content too; very unusual rhythm and use of saxophone for hip hop production but it fits Killah Priest like a surgical glove. The title of the track is still unknown though as it was released to High Grade TV as "Physic World Of Walter Reed (Teaser)", but as you can see by the video, shit is definitely an official drop from Priest. In case you missed the other post about this highly anticipated album just click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Two fresh DJ JS-1 cuts

As you could read on The Lost Tapes a while back DJ JS-1 is about to release "Ground Original 3: No One Cares", featuring some of the hottest names in rap right now (click the link to check out the tracklist). Here goes two ill cuts of the album that will be released on Fat Beats Records on June 21st this year. Nice line-ups of emcees on these two tracks for sure.


Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi (LP Stream)

While not a hip hop album per se, Danger Mouse has definitely done enough hot shit in that area to warrant a listen to whatever he choose to drop if you ask me. Last year it was the self titled debut as the duo Broken Bells together with James Mercer, which was one of my favorite albums in the non hip-hop department, and this time the ridiciolously versatile Mouse has hooked up with Italian composer and arranger Daniele Luppi. Luppi has previously contributed on previous DM releases including both Gnarls Barkley albums, "Broken Bells" and "Dark Night Of The Soul", mainly as an arranger of strings. The new album has been given the title "ROME", a modern homage to the classic Spaghetti Western soundtracks of the '60s and '70s that the duo recorded last year at Ennio Morricone's Rome's Forum Studios in Italy. 

The sounds are experimental and features a vast array of instruments including an assembly of guitars, strings, keyboards, and contributions from the original musicians that performed Morricone's scores for flicks such as Once Upon a Time in the West, all floating on top of DM's patented drum pattern magic. What we get is something that is maybe best described as a cross between Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells and the score of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. The majority of the LP is instrumental but the listener also gets to hear guest vocalists Norah Jones and Jack White lend their voices to circa three tracks each.

I was listening to this in full yesterday and was impressed with what I heard but if you're only thing is hip-hop I would advice you to stay away from this. If you on the other hand have an interest in experimental music that might have a touch of pop sounds, yet strays far away from the commercial bullshit mostly played on the radio these days, then why not give it a shot? If you like what you hear, "ROME" will be released tomorrow on Capitol Records but til' then they put up the entire album for free streaming (if you just want a quick taste I'd recomment tracks #8 and #11).

01. "Theme Of Rome"
02. "The Rose w. The Broken Neck"
03. "Morning Fog" (Interlude)
04. "Season's Trees"
05. "Her Hollow Ways" (Prelude)
06. "Roman Blue"
07. "Two Against One"
08. "The Gambling Priest"
09. "The World" (Prelude)
10. "Black"
11. "The Matador Has Fallen"
12. "Morning Fog" (Interlude)
13. "Problem Queen"
14. "Her Hollow Ways"
15. "The World"


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Arch Druids w. Roc Marciano & Planet Asia - "Scorced Earth Policy" + Video Teaser

Robbie @ just posted a new joint by some guys called Arch Druids that featured Roc Marciano. Since the song was real ill and i'm a big fan of Marc's work I had to try to find some info on whatever project this might be from. I found the video that you see above which previews about three additional heaters featuring The UN emcee plus interviews with him and the group during recording sessions out in LA. The video is from 2009 but in the comments section the poster of it says the album is finally coming in 2011; I also found a post from him @ UGHH's forum where he said Roc Marciano basically was to be all over the album (this was also two years ago).

The Arch Druids are Animoss, Don Chalant, Cadalack Ron, SP Noza and the album "Scorched Earth Policy" feat. Roc Marciano is entirely produced by the first two mentioned members of the crew. The group were previously known as Brothaz Bent and released their debut "Up From The Desert" back in 2007. Nice suprise since I just found out about this and will most definitely watch out for the LP whenever it drops. Peace to Unkut for the link below.


Caktuz Ft. MOP, Sadat X & Bilal + Hi-Tek

This is my first time hearing Carolina rapper Caktuz but judging from this song he got a nice set of skills and that line up should be enough for anyone to download this track. Apparantly Caktuz has been releasing a free track every Wednesday and I guess he wanted to go out with a bang, as this was the final piece of season one as he calls it. New verses from Sadat X, Lil' Fame and Billy Danze over a stone cold Hi-Tek banger really made my day right now and as if that wasn't enough the track features one of my favorite singers ever in Bilal. You can follow Caktuz @ his official homepage where the link for the song is from; via Soundcloud you can both stream and download the joint.

Caktuz Ft. Bilal, M.O.P. & Sadat X - "Cold"

Neek The Exotic & Large Pro drop LP

Large Professor is amongst my absolute favorite producers, i like his wordplay and every collaboration he's done with Neek The Exotic in the past has been thrilling; yet, this completely went under the radar for me and most likely a whole lot of other people. If it wasn't for my man Jaz, who's always on top of things, I wouldn't have a clue this was coming out at all until probably several months down the line. Large Pro is underground but is still a pretty well known cat so I wonder what the hell happened to the promotion here?

Well, can't complain too much about that now that I am aware because this is definitely a happening that should be on every true school heads watchlist in 2011. It will feature 11 songs of Neek as the main rapper, partly sharing mic time with Large over boom bap bangers supplied the rapping professor with additional contributions from Marco Polo, Lord Finesse and Carnage of Atoms Family. "Still On The Hustle" will be released via Fat Beat Records, who keeps supplying us with heat, and will be available this Tuesday on both vinyl and CD from sites like UGHH, MegaStore and of course Fat Beats. Apparantly they also recorded and released a video for the first single, which is the title track, which I attached under the tracklist. Produced by Large Professor unless if noted otherwise.

01. "Still On The Hustle" (Ft. Large Professor)
02. "New York" [prod. by Carnage]
03. "Guess Who" (Ft. Large Professor)
04. "Street Rebel" (Ft. Joell Ortiz)
05. "Stack That Cake" [prod. by Carnage]
06. "Hip Hop" [prod. by Marco Polo]
07. "Main Event" [prod. by Lord Finesse]
08. "My Own Line" [prod. by Marco Polo]
09. "Head Spin"
10. "Personal Freak"
11. "Toast Tonite" (Ft. Large Professor, Fortune & Stachel Page)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shabazz & Murdoc form new duo

Ever since Shabazz The Disciple's classic debut on The Gravediggaz's "Diary Of A Madman" I've been open to anything this man releases so here's some good news. While Heaven Razah is getting better after pulling through his recent near death experience, the other half of T.H.U.G. Angelz has hooked up with a newcomer in the game who calls himself Murdoc, from Florida, Ohio, to form another duo. Bow & Arrow is the group name they chosen for the duo and Shabazz will bear the alias "Judah" while Murdoc adopts the name of "Ephraim".

According to Wu International the duo is working on a full length project that hopefully will be released sometime later this year, hopefully sooner than later. The first single is called "Look Up" and can be heard and its video viewed at the top of this post. What label the album will come out on is still unclear.

Recently Shabazz The Disciple he dropped a 29-track street album/mixtape with DJ Extremidiz called "Hood Scriptures" that sadly went under most peoples radar. Support Shabazz the Disciple and real hip hop by picking that up or if you haven't got "The Book Of Shabazz" yet I'd recommend to start with that one as it is one of the best Wu releated releases in over a decade. Both are available relatively cheap at UGHH.

TRINITY (Sadat X, AG & DJ Jab)

My internet connection has been totally killing me lately and now I notice that my latest posts have dissapeared so i'll have to redo them quick. This one is about the trio, Trinity, which is a project that was announced back in late 2009 during the sad days that the incredible DJ Roc Raida left us to mourn; Trinity, which are Sadat X (Brand Nubian) and AG (DITC) together with DJ Jab and broke the news that they were working on an album together and leaked their first song together. Fittingly it was a tribute to the late great X-Ecutioners DJ, simply called "Tribute to Roc Raida" and despite the serious subject matter and this coming from two of my favorite emcees in the game right now I was not too impressed by the track.

Since then Doddy X and The Giant has worked together on a few songs, always displaying great chemistry and showing potentital for an eventual Trinity album. I have no clue who DJ Jab is or if he's going to produce the album at all but Diamond D who worked with the duo on "In Da Jungle" from "Wild Cowboys II" also laced an absolutely insane joint that came out of nowhere with a video featuring the duo with no info attached to it. I have included it as a bonus for those who slept since "The Time is Now" is something you don't want to miss! Trust!
The new song and video, at the top of the page, is called "20 In" and is definitely a Trinity track since it's labeled as just that and features cuts from DJ Jab. I believe the album will be called just "The Trinity Project" and will be released via Fat Beats Records sometime during this year. The way AG and Sadat goes back and forth during their verses really makes me hype for this project. TURN IT UP!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Timbo King: The last shall be first & the first......

As you can see Timbo King's album will hopefully actually drop this time and is to be called "From Babylon to Timbuktu"; a title that is inspired by this book as LordReveal pointed out to me. The A&R for the album is M-Eighty, who worked on projects like The Almighty album, "Pro Tools", "Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture Vol. 1" and 60 Second Assassins recent Bronze Nazareth produced debut album to name a few. Bronze Nazareth is said to handle a large bulk of the production but according to M-Eighty the producer has laced Timbo with a rougher set of beats, more suitable for his grim style than the soul drenched ones we heard on 60's "Remarkable Timing". Timbo King over beats like "Butter Knives" that Raekwon recently got a hold off from Bronze would be something over the ordinary.

The album has been pushed back time and time again however, first it was supposed to be released September 28, 2010 but that obviously didn't happen, then it was during the coming summer but since its BabyGrande who's promoting it's been pushed back yet again - to November. As long as it is as dope as it should I can't really complain but that cover looks like a Chamber Musik mixtape; based on a book or not. Below is a new ESP for the album directly from the studio and the making of the album (shit sounds incredible to me), posted by M-Eighty on the Wu Corp board.
Timbo really deserves a solo album by now, matter of fact it is way overdue; he's one of the most talented Killa Beez out of the whole bunch, he's been down since day #1, he appeared on several Wu-Tang Clan solos, he opened up "The Swarm" with the incredible and prophetic "The Legacy"; he made at least two albums with Royal Fam, both was ill-fated with one ending up shelved by the label ("Black Castle") after a few advance copies containing 10 tracks of the album was pressed and the other ("Yesterday, Today iz Tomorrow") wasn't authorized and was an incomplete album.If y'all remember he was also the first out of every Killa Bee, and I think Wu-Tang Clan members too, to have a single out which was followed in 1994 by the kinda dope EP, "United We Slam" with DJ Spark 950, and that is what the title of this post means. A fun but weird fact is that on that first single, it says management - Sean Commbs; one can only wonder how different Timbo's career would've been if Puffy would've chosed to sign Timbo to Bad Boy together with Biggie and Craig Mack. Doesn't really matter since it never happened and we would've missed out on plenty of dope Wu-Tang style Timbo King joints; below is the rumoured tracklist with production credits (for those who don't know B.P. is the producer alias for William Cooper who also produced alot for Tragedy Khadafi under the name Coop).

1. "The Book Of Timothy (Intro)" [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
2. "Wardance" w/ RZA [prd by Vinny Idol]
3. "Bar Exam" [prd by B.P.]
4. "From Babylon To Timbuktu" w/ William Cooper [prd by B.P.]
5. "The Two Babylonians (Interlude)" [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
6. "High Ranking" w/ RA The Rugged Man [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
7. "Show Us The Way" [prd by Dev-1]
8. "Outside Intelligence" w/ Killah Priest & Deaz [prd by B.P.]
9. "Identity Crisis (Interlude)" [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
10. "Youth" [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
11. "The Rebellion" w/ Hell Razah & Junior Reid [prd by Dev-1]
12. "Tombstone" [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
13. "Book Value" [prd by Dev-1]
14. "Brain Food" w/ Keisha, Akir & Vision [prd by Akir]
15. "Timbuktu (Interlude)" [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
16. "Thinking Cap" [prd by Bronze Nazareth]
17. "Ruling Class" [prd by B.P.]
18. ""The Autobiography of Timothy Dalton" [prd by Lil' Fame a/k/a Fizzy Womack]

"GODSVILLE" review

KRS-One; Showbiz; Boogie Down Productions; D.I.T.C. Names that ring out louder in the underground hip hop community than church bells on a Sunday morning. They don't really need no further presentation but with over 20 albums to his name since his 1987 debut (the groundbreaking and highly influential “Criminal Minded”) it wouldn’t be wrong to hail Kris as microphone champ #1. At the same time Showbiz been doing his thing on the production side for a long time, turning every release with partner-in-rhyme AG into a little masterpiece in its own right as well as being the most driving force behind the legendary Diggin’ in the Crates crew and label. The duo behind “Godsville” has some history together as well; dating back to 1993 when “Sound of Da Police” became one of the most memorable rap track to ever been put to wax. Since that success KRS made sure Show was a part of all his albums up to 1999's shelved "Maximum Strength" as well as Show inviting Kris to open up the classic posse cut "Drop It Heavy" with Big Pun and AG.

Despite their last collaboration together dating back over a decade in time, their past merits, both individually and together, were almost enough to knock me out physically when I first heard that they were preparing an entire album worth of new material for a near release. As many artists does these days the duo tested the waters by releasing a digital only version of the "Godsville" album on February 15, which was followed by release on CD and LP on May 8th. I have never bought an Mp3-file in my life and will probably never do so either, but I did however place a pre-order on the CD as soon as possible while downloading the leak to get a taste of what these legends had been cooking up over at Headquarters (formerly D&D) studios. For some reason the internet store fucked up my order and I had totally forgot about it until i found a package in my mail today containing the CD which explains this late review.
The first time I heard the album through the leak I was deeply dissapointed, and mainly in Show; the man who told Robbie @ that he didn't really care for non-sample based hip hop now had abandoned the sample style that made him the producer legend he is today. The horns and accoustic bass of "Runaway Slave", the sinister and threatening vibes of "Goodfellas", the sci-fi funk of "Full Scale" and even the gorgeous Keith Jarrett-esque piano sample of a track like "Land Of The Free '08" from their most recent EP was all gone. Instead those elements had been replaced with drums that didn't thump nearly as hard as we'd grown to expect and both basslines, melodies and bridges were played on synths and keyboards. And not a fender rhodes either! Sure there were some magic on the album, such as "Show Power" and the amazing "The Truth" where KRS spit jewels like "Me? I'm on some other shit/ The truth can't stay in my mouth i got to spit it out"over an almost "Full Scale"-esque backdrop conducted by Show with the help of E-Blaze (who together form the new edition of Born Lordz). The problem to me then was that the four best songs on the album were also the four joints that had been leaked previously in promotion and on a 30 minutes short LP that's only 11 songs deep something like that is bound to dilute the first few listens. 

While I felt Show's production wasn't up to par, then what about KRS-One's performance on here? Well, this man is still The Greatest MC of All Time in my opinion, one who truly cares about the culture more than record sales, but you'd have to fool yourself to claim that he still flows as effortlessly as he did on, say, "Sex & Violence". This has been the case for a number of recent KRS projects, where on about 75 percent of the tracks he really hits the nail like its supposed to be hit but on the remaining 25% he can come off kind of sloppy or using dated metaphors, sometimes even making me (who is not an emcee) say "Why the hell didn't he rhyme that with that instead"? But most of the time his rhymes are nothing short of dope and filled with quotables, and even some of the shit he says that wouldn't sound sick at all coming from someone else, does so indeed when KRS is the one delivering. This is much because of his voice, considering he got a unique tone that make him sound like an authority figure in hip-hop and commands respect and also separates him from any other rapper out there; like the late, great GURU once said "It's mostly the voice".
So the first times I heard this 30 minute album was through my KOSS headphones via my iPod and it was slightly growing on me but never getting past that slight dissapointment. However, when I finally received the physical copy of "Godsville" in the mail today and banged it out loud enough to probably have my neighbours fantasizing about ways of killing me slowly the album hit me in a new and pleasant way. For one the sound quality was obviously better from the Mp3-files I had been rocking, and the surround system I used for playing it on added a new dimension to Show's production; revealing that these beats do indeed have plenty of thump in them. As I was now also used to the songs, the element of suprise was gone and I could focus on and enjoy the music for what it reallt was and is. It doesn't come close to the songs these guys were responsible for more than ten years back in time and I doubt anyone will consider this top material from either of them; yet, it is an enjoyable album that rewards repeated listens and like the majority of KRS-One albums should be played loud enough to make the walls shake. Another nice suprise came in that we who still buy our music in physical form was treated with two bonus tracks, making the album closer to 40 minutes all-in-all. The bonus cuts are two Showbiz remixes of the tracks "Show Power" and "Another Day". I've only heard those once so far but I can say that they both were a very welcome addition and was heavy on the bass-lines and drum patterns.

If you're not very familiar with Show or KRS-One I wouldn't recommend starting here but fans of these two musicians do not want to miss out on this one, Choice cuts include, besides tracks already mentioned, "Running In The Dark", "Improve Myself", "We Love This" and "This Flow". TURN IT UP!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

VIDEO: Sadat X & Wise Intelligent (by J. Rawls)

Brand Nubian and Poor Righteous Teachers stood for some of the most militant black power hip hop back in the early '90s and while they are less provocative now they ripping shit HARD as well as dropping knowledge as proven by this track and countless others. This lovely soulful joint is produced by J. Rawls and is actually released as his song as it's taken from his forthcoming album "The Hip Hop Affect" dropping next Tuesday and features El Da Sensei, Diamond D, Edo G, Copywrite, Rhymefest and more besides, of course, this heater. Definitely sounds like one to check for, especially considering J. Rawls past track record.

John Connor ft. XV - "U Ain't..." [prod. Sean C & LV]

The Michigan emcee has been building a hype for a couple of years but its just recently that he's really started blowing up, getting props from the likes of NaS as a true lyricist and I can't but agree. XV ain't a favorite of mine but John Connor kills his verses and Sean C & LV, who I've come to like more and more over the years, did a good job with the beats. Plus it was about goddamn time I posted some hot shit from less established cats because there are a few dope ones out there, you just gotta look - John Connor, Fashawn, Jay Electronica, Reks (i know he isn't technically new but still), Skyzoo (same), Side Effectz, that UK cat that I can't think of his name right now and a few others. This blog will still mostly focus on the legends and vets but every once in a while its nice to hear that the younger generation still makes good hip hop - at least some of them, though the games been polluted as hell by gay rappers like Rick Ross and Lil' B and whatnot. Found this over @ the Dope House so shouts for the link guys.

 John Connor - "U Ain't Gettin' Nothing" (Ft. XV)