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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[Stream] DIAMOND D - "The Diam Piece"

I've been holding on to this piece for a lil' while which has enabled me to give it several thorough listens, and while the verdict has been somewhat divided between some of my people, I personally think "The Diam Piece" is a really strong project, without a question Diamond's best since '97's "Hatred, Passions & Infidelity". While this is Diamond's first production compilation/album which he stated he wouldn't be rhyming much on there is suprisingly much verses from the D.I.T.C. legend, including a couple of solo tracks. While I don't have to go into much detail on my thoughts on the album at the moment, I urge you to check it out for yourself as it is now available to stream in full via Spotify. Of course you should also support the LP if you're feeling it, which you can do by ordering the CD or 2xLP from UGHH or HHV.

Monday, September 29, 2014

LORD JAMAR - "The 5% Documentary"

Judging by forum posts and user comments on well visited hip-hop sites, Lord Jamar is today mostly seen by younger listeners as some old, angry commentator on the culture, making videos on non-entities like Macklemore and Iggy Azaela. While I agree that the amount of time and energy Jamar puts into raging about such issues doesn't put him in the best of light, but it hardly overshadows his musical career. He has of course been an important part of hip-hop culture since the late '80s as part of one of the best bands of all time - Brand Nubian. It was however first in 2006 that he debuted as a solo artist with the release of "The 5% Album"; an album that I get the impression a lot of people are still sleeping hard on. Striving to enlighten listeners on the spiritual beliefs and culture of the Nation of Islam, or the 5% Nation, as originally thought by Clarrence X, the project is a concept LP that's filled with heavy jewels and headbanging throwback beats. Fans of Brand Nubian's earlier work will definitely feel this one, and to me it's a lot stronger than their final LP, 2004:s "Fire in the Hole". Lord Jamar has a strong, deep voice with a lot of authority in it, and he delivers his lines with a crystal clarity that commands listeners to really take what he's saying into consideration. That is not to say that it's a perfect album by any stretch as there's some beats that just fall flat, and over close to 70 minutes things can get a bit repetitious on the lyrical side as well.

However when it is good, it's usually great, especially when the production is handled by Preservation or Lord Jamar himself who both provides the album with a majestic feel through deep, dark soul samples and thumping boom bap beats. The guest emcees are all members of the 5% nation, and includes Wu-Tang members such as RZA, Raekwon, Prodigal Sunn, Popa Wu, and both remaining Brand Nubian members Grand Puba and Sadat X. Stand-outs include the hypnotic "Deep Space" with RZA, the deeply soulful ghetto story "The Corner, The Streets" with Puba, the Shaolin soul of "Same Ol' Girl", and the LP closer "Greatest Story Never Told" where Jamar truly gets to shine as a lyrical storyteller. Another interesting joint is "Young Godz", where Jamar passes the torch to the next generation as the sons of GZA, Jamar and Ol' Dirty Bastard gets busy on the mic (a similiar track appeared on Masta Killa's second album); even the production is handled by Young Justice (GZA's son) and it ain't no joke. A nice touch is that the CD edition comes packaged with a 90 page book documenting the history of The NOI and Clarrence X / The Father Allah. If you want to learn about the meaning of the 5% nation while hearing some heavy hip-hop music, definitely check out "The 5% Album" if you're not familiar with it already. Made as a promotional documentary about the making and meaning of the album, Babygrande released "The 5% Documentary" which you can view above split into two parts. You can purchase the 2xLP setCD and stream the entire album officially here.

[Video/Documentary] "The Diary of PRINCE PAUL"

There's no question that Prince Paul is one of the most unique and best producers to emerge from the hip-hop scene, his illustrious career speaks for itself. The way in which he masters so many different styles and concepts is just something else. Therefore I was quite suprised by how initially dissapointed I was with the purchase of his 2003 album "Politics of the Business", the follow-up to his all-time classic concept LP "A Prince Among Theives". I didn't listen to it more than probably a couple of times before putting it on the shelf where it stayed until a few days ago, when I decided to give it another chance. Without the preconceived notions of the original play, the album banged a whole lot better than I remembered. The whole project is of course a tounge-in-cheek concept album about Prince Paul creating an album that will truly please his label and reach the record buying mainstream. With that in mind Paul leaves his past behind, as well as his instinct for always striving after originality, and channels the then current sounds of Neptunes, Timbaland and Dr. Dre. It's a weird ass idea, but Paul is of course a weird ass guy, and through his eminent talent he actually pulls off the sound pretty damn well. "Politics of the Business" is truly a daring move (or a very stupid one, depending on how you look at it) as it's not really designed to go platinum, which we can see by the way it was promoted and the clever skits that's weaved into the narrative of the project, but rather a musical attack on how similiar all commercial hip-hop sounded in the early 2000s. What's funny is that the commercial hip-hop of 2003 sounds dope and progressive as hell, compared to the stuff that's getting major radio play today. While the concept hinders it from becoming a masterpiece or even truly great, songs like "So What", "Drama Queen", "Chryme Pays", "Peoples, Places & Things" and "My Life" should definitely satisfy fans of the once-De La Soul mentor. Another plus is that the list of guest emcees to make an apperance here is almost as impressive as on its predecessor. Amongst others this include Masta Ace, Dave of De La, Truth Enola, GURU, Planet Asia, Kokane, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray, Jean Grae, Ice-T, DJ Premier, Chuck D, MF DOOM, Wordsworth, Chubb Rock, Beatnuts, Tash, The Pharcyde and of course Dave Chappelle. I would imagine a lot of fans had a similiar reaction as mine when this was originally released, so I would like to recommend you all giving it another spin.

But this isn't strictly a throwback review, we are here for "The Diary of Prince Paul", a bonus DVD that came with some editions of the album. The 30 minutes long film is a mockumentary/spoof of the MTV Show "The Diary Of...", and does this concept very well. The show focuses on the struggle of Prince Paul and his crew in recording and promoting the the new album. It's absolutely ridiciolous, and weird as hell, so I'd imagine you'll either love it or hate it but to me it's a quite hilarious little film. It's filled with lots of little cameos in there too, such as Bushwick Bill, Mr. Dead, Lord Sear, Mr. Len, Mr. Eon, and more. While watching I kept thinking about how I would've loved to see this with my man Kaddu (R.I.P.), 'cause I know we would have had a blast viewing this. Funny thing is that the very same day as I first dusted off "The Politics of the Business", GrandGood uploaded the entire "documentary" to YouTube (my copy of the album came without the bonus DVD). So a huge thanks to the guys over @ GrandGood for this ill upload!

I'm thinking of doing a series of articles focusing on some of the more slept-on or missed out Prince Paul projects, but we'll see. Anyways, as a little bonus I'm also re-posting the two outtakes/alternative versions of songs from "...the Business" that Prince Paul posted on his Soundcloud page a year or two ago. The version of "My Life" especially is just an amazing song all around, and features Buckshot instead of the Fatlip, SlimKid3 and Black Ice-assisted version heard on the album. The other track is an early demo of "Beautifully Absurd", a stong track though not exactly a hip-hop joint per se.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

CAPPADONNA - "Real Niggaz" / "Why It Gotta Be This?"

When Cappadonna first got out prison and made his first recorded apperances on Raekwon's "Ice Water" and "Ice Cream" in '95, followed by no less than five songs than Ghostface's "Ironman", he absolutely blew the collective mind of the hip-hop community - his 54 bars verse on ""Winter Warz" still stands as one of the greatest verses of all time. In short Cappadonna was one of the most promising new emcees in the industry around this time, and apparantly he is responsible for having learned the basics of rhyming and freestyling to a lot of the Wu generals back in the early days. But then something happened, on his five apperances on "Wu-Tang Forever" he sometime came off-beat, sometimes made little to no sense, and sometimes was as brilliant as ever. This continued on his '98 debut album "The Pillage". However, with enough incredible verses and his unique flows coupled with no less than seven outstanding RZA beats, five True Master bangers, and additional potent head knockers by 4th Disciple, Allah Mathematics, and Goldfinghaz, "The Pillage" was a remarkble debut album that today has gained a well deserved cult-following.

However, his 2001 follow-up "The Yin & The Yang" often considered as one of the absolute worst albums in the 60+ discography of the Wu-Tang Crew.. The production by the original Wu-Tang Elements producer was here replaced by Jermaine Dupri, 8-Off a.k.a. Agallah (who is a dope producer indeed), Neonek, and Inspectah Deck, The two producers who reprised their role from the predecessor is True Master and Goldfinghaz, on the single "Super Model" (above) and "Love is the Message" (Ft. Raekwon). Not suprisingly these are the albums only good songs, a long with 8-Off's lone contribution "The Grits". Not only are the vast majority of beats embarassingly wack, but the majority of Cappadonna's performance is equally bad. However, the project could have been a lot better and less embarassing if things had played out a bit differently. 

Although The RZA and Divine are still listed as executive producers of the project, Cappa had a huge falling out with The Abbot of The Wu-Tang Clan around this time - sometime he touches on on his following album "The Struggle". In fact, Cappa had already recorded verses for the Wu-Tang Clan's 2001 album (you can hear him in the chorus on the hidden track "The Glock"), but not only were all his verses cut from the final project, his picture was even airbrushed from the album artwork. In the same vein, RZA's two original production contributions to "The Yin & The Yang" was completely removed from the album, after appearing on two advance promo versions (one clean vinyl promo and the advance CD). Not suprisingly, these two tracks ("Why It Gotta B This?" and "Real Niggaz"), were by far the strongest songs on the LP and why they hardly would be able to save the project, it would've made it a lot stronger combined with the three good songs mentioned above. Both songs have a classic Wu-Tang sound, with menacing strings, agressive drums and powerful bass, which also makes Cappa come off as much more potent in his writing and lyrical delivery. "Real Niggaz" also features a guest apperance by Sunz Of Man's Prodigal Sunn who was one of the foremost Wu affiliates when it came to high profile cameos at the time. If you haven't heard these joints before, be sure to stream or download them below, and while not make a little EP of these two joints and "Supermodel", "The Grits" and "Love is the Message". Suuuu!

[Out Now] J-LIVE's "Around The Sun" CD

A new J-Live album is always something of an happening, and as much  a champion the teaching lyricist and DJ has always been a champion for physical releases, whether it be CD:s, 12":s vinyl LP:s, EP:s or even mixtapes it came as a bit of suprise that he choose to put out his sixth full-length "Around The Sun" as a strictly digital release last year. The 12 track album, which featured 'Live gettting busy over stellar beats by Korede, DJ Spinna, Oddisee, J-Live, DJ Nu-Mark, The Audible Doctor and Illustrate, was made available as a digital download (with the option for free streaming) via Live's Bandcamp on April 29. Now finally, J-Live has pressed up a limited amount of CD:s featurng all tracks that can be bought for 12 $USD here, while simultaneosly directed and released the first single from the album, so peep that and hurry up and buy all you diehards! 


UK producer Endemic has released two really sick albums with his "Terminal Illness" series, and here he laces one of my favorite underground emcees Darkim Be Allah with a heavy hitter. For those of you who don't know about Darkim, he was originally signed to Wu-Tang Records back around '98, made the classic single "Bronx War Stories" for "The Swarm" album, and even recorded an album that unfortunately was lost. Since then he's been lurking the underground, releasing lo-fi but close to classic albums such as "Darkim Be Allah & AllahWise are AIG" and "God in the Ghetto". Now he and Endemic Emerald are about to release an entire collabo album, so you know I'm hyped for that. Peep the first single "What We Wanna Do" up top.

Juelz Ft. Sadat X, Torae & Samas - "Silence is Golden"

Born and raised in Arbon, Switzerland, Julian Juelz moved to Houston, Texas with no knowledge of the english language. Now he's an American emcee, and that's pretty damn impressive. On this smooth joint from his upcoming Loyalty Digital album "Employee of The Art" which features heavy names such as Skyzoo, Torae, Sadat X, and NY Oil from The UMC's. The first single is a laid back joint produced by Beatowski and features Sadat X, Torae and Samas. Check it out up top!

THE REGIMENT & RANDOM - "Kung Fu Treachery"

HiPNOTT Records have quickly risen to become one of the most progressive underground labels on the market, and for their latest project they are releasing a joint EP by Detroit hip-hop duo The Regiment and Arizona emcee Random. The Extendeed Play consists of six joints and is entitled "A Gamer's Anthem", slated for a October 28 release. Check out the first single "Kung Fu Teachery" below, produced by Mr. Throwed.

GOTHAM GREEN Ft. KOOL G RAP & NATURE - "Cross Island Express"

Having been active in the underground scene for several years, releasing the three part mixtape series "The Haze Diaries" (w. Quickie Mart), the New York underground emcee Gotham Green is now releasing his official debut album. "Child of an Immigranat" featuring JoJo Pellegrino, Hit Skrewface, and more with production coming from Quickie Mart, Josh The Goon and Blessed by Beats. Josh The Goon and more. For the first single Green has chosen the most star studded single of the project as he grabs Beatnick & K-Salaam for the production and invites Queens legend Kool G Rap and Nature (who did an absolutely remarkable job on the best album of 2014 earlier this year), This is really sick, but I wonder if the rest of the album can live up to its potential, considering the names attached to this banger. Cop "Child of the Immigrant" @ iTunes.

Friday, September 26, 2014

yU & SlimKat as THE 1978'ers - "People Of Today" / "1-9-7"

yU is of course one of the talented members of Diamond District, and on their absolutely excellent debut fellow Detroit artist and producer Slimkat provided one of the hottest songs on the entire album. Now yU and Slimkat has hooked up with Mello Music Group for a joint project called "People Of Today" which is soon about to drop. So far the duo has let loose of two singles and the jazzy boom bap aesthetics are in full efect, so be sure to check out the openening tracks "People of Today" and "One Nine" below along with the tracklist and stay tuned for further information.

[Video] RABBI DARKSIDE - "You & I" (Ft. DJ Rob Swift)

Rabbi Darkside is an up-and-coming underground emcee who dropped his fifteen track album "Prospect Avenue" via Bandcamp last year. One of the strongest songs was the somber album closer "You & I" that featured Denis Jagut on the beat and the legendary DJ Rob Swift getting busy on the cuts. Check out the video above and if you slept on the album you can stream in it in its entirety below via Bandcamp. Enjoy!

[Album] SAIGON - "Greatest Story Never Told Pt. 3"

Saigon's third full-length LP is finally here as The DJBooth has got the permission to stream the entire album in advance of its official September 30 release. I haven't had a chance to listen to it in full yet but if the previously released singles are a pointer, "Greatest Story Never Told 3: The Troubled Times of Brian Carenard" will not dissapoint listeners. Looking at the track I gotta give Sai props for the way he bridges generations of hip-hop - with the production handled by legends like DJ Premier (three tracks) and Just Blaze (the album opener) as well as the relatively unknown Clev Trev and Deli Beats, plus cameos from Big Daddy Kane, G Rap, Lil Bibby, Papoose, Memphis Bleek, etc. Press play below and get your pre-order on via iTunes or Amazon.

01. "Back to Reality"
02. "Come Alive" (Ft. Corbett)
03. "Street Gospel" (Ft. P Jericho)
04. "Definitions from Byronn Bain"
05. "Sinners Prayer" (Ft. Omar Epps & Papoose)
06. "My Mama Think I'm Crazy" (Ft. Curbside Hustle)
07. "Mine Mine Mine"
08. "Let's Get Smart"
09. "One Foot in the Door" (Ft. Big Daddy Kane)
10. "Nunya"
11. "Best Mistake" (Ft. G. Martin)
12. "Deception"
13. "Bring That"
14. "Mechanical Animals" (Ft. Kool G Rap, Memphis Bleek & Lil Bibby)
15. "Contraband 3 (A,B,C)"
16. "Reincarnation" (Ft. Byronn Bain)

COMMON Ft. Vince Staples & Jay Electronica - "Kingdom Remix"

Without a doubt one of the hottest tracks of the year gets a new lyrical touch up as Common invites the always anticipated Jay Electronica to join him and Vince Staples in "The Kingdom". Sicccccck!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

[EP] LINKAN / CAP - "Moodswingz"

Linkan from underground collective Side Effectz's hooks up with fellow ill-spitter Cap for "Moodswingz", a newly recorded EP just made available for free. The chemistry between the two emcees have evolved and taken shape through several stage performances and studio sessions over many years, including the Side Effectz classic "Moonshine", resulting in a musical kinship that's clearly reflected throughout the six selections. Produced by several up and coming European beat makers such as PMPEE Beats, A. Dub and Daniel El Campeon, "Moodswingz" is framed by a stripped down sounds that's thick on atmosphere and heavy on the bottom. Highlights include the single "Keep it Movin'" (peep the video above) and "Loose Folks" - don't sleep!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Diamond District (Oddisee, yU and X.O.) opens up a whole can of beautifully chopped up hip-hop soul with "Lost Cause", the second single from their long awaited sophomore album. "March Washington" drops via Mello Music Group and will undoubtedly find its way to my record collection on October 14.

SAIGON - "Street Gospel"

With only a week to go before Saigon unleashes the third volume in his "Greatest Story Never Told" saga, the BK warrior lets loose of the sixth and probably final single/teaser of the project. This time Sai teams up with singer P. Jericho for "Street Gospel", another banger. All these singles have got me excited for the September 30 release - check out the tracklist below and click on the highlighted song to listen. You can now also pre-order @ iTunes. The countdown has begun!

01. "Back to Reality" (Ft. Just Blaze)
02. "Come Alive" (Ft. Corbett)
03. "Street Gospel" (Ft. P. Jericho)
04. "Definitions from Byronn Bain"
05. "Sinner's Prayer" (Ft. Papoose & Omar Epps)
06. "My Mama Thinks I'm Crazy"
07. "Mine, Mine, Mine"
08. "Let's Get Smart"
09. "One Foot in the Door" (Ft. Big Daddy Kane)
10. "Nunya (None of Your Business)"
11. "Best Mistake" (Ft. G. Nunya)
12. "Deception"
13. "Bring That"
14. "Mechanical Animals" (Ft. Kool G Rap, Memphis Bleek & Lil Bibby)
15. "Contraband 3 (A-B-C)"
16. "Reincarnation"

Chris Skillz Ft. Raekwon - "Voices"

I'm not too familiar with Chris Skillz but this one goes hard, especially ill to hear Raekwon on some gritty hip-hop shit after his weekly soul series. "Voices" is the first single from Skillz upcoming retail debut album "Yesterday's Tomorrow" dropping this fall. Listening to some other joints from him via his  Soundcloud and he got some nice joints for sure. For some reason the track won't let me embed so for now just click on the link below.

CHRIS SKILLZ - "Voices" (Ft. Raekwon)

SHOWBIZ Ft. OC & AG - "We All" [Original Mix]

One of the finest long players of 2014 is the Slice-Of-Spice/D.I.T.C. release "The Remix Project" from earlier this year. While any hardcore fan of the crew are well familiar with the origins of tracks like "Time to Get This Money", "Diggin' in the Crates", "Best Behavior" and "Foundation", one song that might not be as easily recognizable is "We All" which is featured as the album opener on the CD. Featuring excellent performances from OC and AG that both sound like recent verses (ala "Oasis") coupled with the fact that an alternative version never has been made available to the public in any official capacity made the song the most curious track on the LP. Maybe The Alchemist mix heard here in fact was the original? That's not an unlikely scenario but fact is that the original version is an unreleased single from Showbiz's still unreleased solo album which was supposed to drop sometime in the middle of 2010. DJ Premier played the original verison of "We All" at least two times on his LiveFromHQ radio show in the beginning of that year and I got a rip of the song for anyone who might've missed it right here. I'm not sure who ripped this one as it's a different, longer version than the one I originally downloaded from DJ Premier Blog back when, so however ripped it - many thanks and a big shout out goes out to you (and that goes for you too Gim, of course). 

And in case you've been living under a rock, you can still stream and/or download the entire "The Remix Project" for free via Slice-Of-Spice. However I strongly recommend purchasing a physical copy (from UGHH or HHV for example) while they are still around, as both the packaging and the music is a thing of beauty. Finally, I want to mention the Lord Finesse remix of "Thick" one last time as people strangely enough don't seem to recognize what a HUGE thing that song is - seeing how Finesse uses the vocal take from a different "Thick" session, resulting in the unearthing of previously unheard '99 verses from both OC and Big L. And that is not something to take lightly...

Monday, September 22, 2014

LOOPTROOP "Another Love Song" [Lord Finesse Remix]

As a Swedish D.I.T.C. fanati this is pure magic. LoopTroop (now known as Looptroop Rockers) have been around since the mid-'90s dropping mixtapes and self-released EP:s, consisting of DJ/producer DJ Embee, emcee and frontfigure Promoe as well as Supreme and CosM.I.C. In 1999 they released their official retail debut album, "Modern Day City Symphony", which still stands as one of the finest Swedish hip-hop albums ever created, The atmospheric production by Embee truly embodied a larger city and the verses from Promoe, CosM.I.C. and Supreme performed a sort of reclaim the streets on wax, celebrating graffiti, leftfield politics, the right to smoke herbs while giving an exteded middle finger to the law. Guest emcee Freestytle of The Arsonists appear on two songs back-to-back as well. If you haven't heard the album before, you are definitely missing out as it's a front-to-back listen that never gets old (just for a small preview peep cuts like ""Long Arm of the Law" and "Ambush in the Night").

Unfortunately since that '99 debut with few exceptions it have gone pretty much downhill in my opinion though it's not skills that are lacking. However for their latest single "Another Love", the quartet taps none other than The Funkyman Lord Finesse himself for a remix for the B-side. It's kinda cool when considering that the guys once rocked over Big L's "MVP" for a song ("MVG") from maybe their first mixtape ever, so now wiht an official 12" remixit's almost like things have come full circle. You can buy the three track single @ iTunes while the physical vinyl only seems to be available in Sweden at the moment - through sites like CDON and Ginza.

[Upcoming] MF GRIMM & DRASAR MONUMENTAL - "Good Morning Vietnam Pt. 3"

This little piece of news right here just made my day! Readers of The Lost Tapes know the extremely high regard I hold MF Grimm' and Drasar Monumental's collaborations which so far has resulted in "Good Morning Vietnam Pt. 1" and, "Good Morning Vietnam II: The Golden Triangle". The latter was voted by me as the greatest album of 2013 and is still to this day going warm on the turntable; but then again so is the first one as well as I tend to look upon them both as one cohessive unit. If you read my interview with these two hip-hop giants you're aware that the plan always was to release three installments in the GMV saga befrore heading off to other projects. It seems that day is rapidly becoming a reality as that third volume is completed, even down to the sequencing and arwork.

"Good Morning Vietnam III: The Phoenix Program" is a vinyl release that packs even more music than the previous installments with its 15 tracks. Listening to the attached six minutes sampler which you'll find below fans will definitely recognize many of the musical and lyrical themes from the previous volumes but it's also clear that it's not a question of repeating what has already been done. However, Drasar's hectic sample collages and violent beats still compliments Grimm's unmistakable voice, clever metaphors, life lessons and unapolegetic politicial and social criticque with a chemistry like they grew up together, Featuring no less than fifteen songs and the aforementioned sampler points towards this having a good cchance to find itself near the top of this years countdown as well. The vinyl is limited to 500 copies, starts shipping on November 25 and in usual order can be purchased from Vendetta Vinyl Vietnam. Hurry up and buy, and check out my interview with Grimm and Drasar in the right corner of this blog.  Stay tuned for more news, music and whatever info might come along.

A1. "Birth Of Violence"
A2. "Rhymes Against Humanity"
A3. "Song Of the Winder Soldier"
04. "Economics"
05. "One Bullet Awa, Two Step Fom Beind"
06. "Apocalypse Now"
07. "Dust to Dust"
08 "Moral Compass (Fist Of The Northstar)"
09. "A Gentleman Never Kissinger & Tell"
10. "Glaciers Of Icex"
11. "Family Jewels"
12. "Patsy" (Best Of The Worst , Worst to the Last)
13. "For Those That Want to Label Us"
14. "Hands Up to Heven, Feet Firm in Hell"
15. "Harmonics"
16. "Chain Letter"

Dayne Jordan x Jazzy Jeff - "Soul Brothers"

I got a lot of respect for Philly's legend  DJ Jazzy Jeff, both as a DJ and as a producer. He's excellent at creating both smooth soulful rap, R&B or hardcore hip-hop and his cuts is just ridiciolous. His new protogĂ© is a young emcee, also hailing from Philadelphia, that goes by the name Dayne Jordan (which I guess his birth name as well). Jordan's been touring extensively with Jazzy Jeff the last year or two and on numerous ocassion they have hit up studio, indicating that na album might very well be in the works. The young emcee and sometime singer sound HUNGRY and his hype voice is a perfect match for the soulful rhodes, horns and bass strumming that Jazzy Jeff concoctes for him, a long with some real thumping beats and excellent turntable work (see "Play Dat!" for a great example of their chemistry).

The first song I heard and posted from this young brother was "All About The Art", a Jazzy Jeff prduction featuring James Poyser and ?uestlove on live instumentation, and already there I was hooked. I feel that his music is much needed when other artists from his generation makes straight plastic bullshit music. You can see the beautiful "Lost" featuring the strong voice of Ebony Joi up top, accompanied by the music video directed by Christopher Schafer. Stay tuned for more info on this ill cat and hopefully we'll see a Jazzy Jeff / Dayne Jordan full-length collabortion soon enough. Stay tuned for more info and music and visit

Sunday, September 21, 2014

[Comp/Article] RAKIM - "The Last Platoon: The Lost Rakim '95"

A couple of years back I did a a three part compilation series for Rakim's guest spots, unreleased tracks and B-sides. The first installment in the series focused on the year's between "Don't Sweat The Technique" and "The 18th Letter", without a doubt the numer one era in which fans have been able to hear unreleased songs, radio rips, and alternative/original mixes, thanks to bootlegging and underground radio. Why I've heard rumours before that Ra was working on an album around '95 that was eventually scrapped, the fact was recently confirmed from a very official source. I wasn't very suprised considering the amount of material from '93-'96 that is as good as any album cut but has never appeared in any official capacity.

The quest to do a sort of "Lost Tapes" album for Rakim, focusing on the years mentioned above, came when B.I.G. producer Dominic Owens of Hi-Class who released three previously unreleased singles (and in some cases alternative versions from what we previously had heard) that he revealed he had recorded with Rakim at his Hi-Class Studos sometime durng 1995. This was followed by the official source that revealed the scrapped album, which appeared in Robbie Etterson's excellent interview with Domingo @ Unkut (great read if you haven't checked it out already). Domingo revealed that he produced "Original Style", the original mix of "Bring It On" and an untitled track that unfortunately never was completed; all sessions taking place in 1995. With that said, there was no longer a question in my mind that the world needed to hear this scrapped album, or at least what's still available on the net and bootlegs from it.

As I had done with the original "The Lost Album", I was well aware that there were plenty of heat rocks recorded around '95/early '96 While I there included some guest spots from Ra like Barrry Leinson's "Murderer", while I here only wanted the solo joints that I would imagine very likely were part of that shelved album. These solo tracks are all classic Ra and include jams like the Marley Marl produced "We All Got Plans" - a track that was premiered as an exclusive on Future Flavaz in January '96, and is to my knowledge the first time William Graffin and Marl has collaborated since the original "Eric B. is President" 12". This song was released on a white label 12", so I have updated the links thanks to the kindness of Letter_D's rip which doesn't feature any J-Love or DJ shouts. Other stellar tracks include Pete Rock's "Living For The City", Buckwild's "Last Resort", Easy Mo Bee's "Shades Of Black", Nick Wiz's "Once Upon A Rhyme", and much more. There's also original versions of "Remmber That" (whch made mixtapes rounds as early as '95), a more rugged version of Wiz's "Show Me Love" and Owen's "I Get Visual" track which is an early incarnation of "When I'm Flowing".

All in all, with its 40 minutes running time, this album is pretty much as good as "The 18:th Letter",. Had the best songs from both "albums" been combined in a quality way, there's no question that this would be a true hip-hop classic in the book of a majority of Ra heads. While there's a couple of tracks that didn't make "The Master" and "The Seventh Seal", this shelved, lost album is on another level. I've listened to the 12 tracks, 40+ minutes album plenty of times by now and it truly felt like a natural extenction of the Eric B. & Rakim joints with it's hard knocking beats and jazz samples; yet pointing towards the sound of the mid-'90s that the God MC would come to embrace on his solo debut. If you want to get the ultimate version of Ra from this time, why not add the songs on here with the finest from the retil album like "The 18:th Letter", "New York (Ya Outta There)", "The Saga Begins", "The Mystery" and "When I'm Flowin'" (which would replace "I Get Visual" as the Pete Rock remix is one of the best Ra' joints of all time in my book).

With that being said, "The Last Platoon: The Lost '95 Album", is not only interesting for the immaculate music and expert lyricism it provides. It's also one of the few, if not only, time that fans of The God MC has been taken behind the scenes of his process. Having recorded a full album that would most likely satisfy his clientele, he started out by remixing several cuts (bboth Owens and Domingo took a stab at "Bring It On" (see below), while "Once Upon A Rhyme" and, "New York to Cali" both went through at least one face lift before they were album ready. Add the fact that despite three songs from "The Last Platoon" actually  did appear on the retail they were so thoroughly remixrd that only the vocals were the only common denominator.- "Remember That", "Show Me Love" and "When I'm Flowing (I Get Visual)". The sheer amount of scrapped tracks., original versions,  and so on, I would be very suprised if "18th Letter" is in any way unique in that asopect but ratther Rakim's usual work method. We all remember the Dr. Dre / Aftermath situation, and even after he left that contract "The Seventh Sea" took many years to come - and it didn't feature some of the early street buzz singles like "I'm Back" and "It's Nothing". The former was also made in several versions before Ra settled on his favorite (although, for me - the seropior version was always the one with Lil' Fame. Then there was the blazing posse cut "Euphoria" which was listed as a digital bonus track, but with verses from Styles P, Jadakiss and Busta there's no question that this hardore song would do a great job in breaking up an often smootj album. Maybe even more unexpected when it came to cut tracks was when Canadian true school producer Marco Polo dropped his first single from hi prequel-album "Newport Authority 2" a couple years back. The song called "What's Wrong" was a soulful them e song on the dangers of capitalism that for all intents and purposes was Rakim solo. Marco revealed that it was a track left off "The Seventh Seal" almost came as a shock considering what could possibly have gone through his mind when deleting from the ultimate tracklist. Add to that the various bootlegged original versions of "Don't Sweat The Technique", "Pass The Handgrenade" and a few songs that didn't make the '92 album, and the question posed here gains a lot more weights.

So with that said, let's move on to the 1995 ompilation which I've choosed to call "The Last Platoon: The Lost Rakim '95" (The Last Platoon was actually  a crew that The R was rolling with at the time). Assembled amongst these tracks are an all-star line-up of mid-'90s producers royalty in the form of Dominc Owens/Hi-Class, Domingo, Easy Mo Bee, Gary G-Wiz of Bomb Squad, Nick Wiz, Marley Marl, Pete Rock, Buckwild and possibly Salaam Remi or Clark Kent (I'm not sure who in fact produced the original "Remember Dat" though some sources indiciate either Reemi or Kent) who are all featured here. In usual order I put a lot of thought and hard work into the sequenceing for this album so I really hope you'll at least give "The Last Platoon" a chance to bang it from font-to-back. As with any time with Rakim on the music, this is simply fantastic music; both from a lyrical perspective and from a beatheads point of view. As stated above the jazz samples, addictive breakbeats, horns and stand-up bass lines is a lot more reminiscent of the latter Eric B. & Rakim albums than what eventually become "The 18 Letter". Thereby it works as the perfect bridge between "Don't Sweat The Technique" and "The 18:th Letter"..TURN IT UP!!

01. "Bring It On" [Dominic Owens] (1995)
02. "Shades Of Black" [Easy Mo Bee] (1995)
03. "The Original Style" [Domingo] (1995)
04. "Last Resort" [Buckwild" (1995)
05. "Living For the City" [Pete Rock] (1995)
06. "New York to Cali" [Dominic Owens] (1995]
07. "We All Got Plans" [Marley Marl] (1996)
08. "Show Me Love" (Rugged) [Nick Wiz] [1996]
09. "Heat It Up" [Gary "G-Wiz"] (1993)
10. "Remember Dat" [Salaam Remi] (1995)
11. "Once Upon A Rhyme" [Nick Wiz] (1995)
12. *"Bring It On" [Domingo Mix] (1995)
13. "I Get Visual" [Dominic Owens] (1995)

[Coming Soon] AG / RAY WEST - "Everything's Berri"

Continuing on the topic of Ray West and D.I.T.C., AG's 2010 album "Everything's Berri" is given the vinyl treament this year after the original CD pressing sold out. When this album first dropped I have to admit that I was quite dissapointment with A, one of my favorite emcees of all time, and while some of the beats grabbed me I couldn't understand why AG rolled with this unknown for an entire album rather than his DITC brethren, DJ Premier, Madlib, and other legends. I listened to the album many times during the summer it dropped and while it slowly grew on me, I kind of forgot about it. However, Ray West's production has really grown on me over the last few years so it will be incredible to hear this album again with a new perspective. And as I'm a DITC completist, I will most likely cop this LP from HHV anyway. The 2xLP set drops on October 31 and is an EU exclusive. To freshen up your minds on what to expect, Red Apples 45 just reposted the album single "Buster's Train" featuring Sadat X. Pre-order the album @ UGHH.

OC & RAY WEST - "Ray's Cafe [Deluxe]

OC has long been one of my top 5 favorite emcees while I would place his D.I.T.C. crew as the best crew in hip-hop, next to Wu-Tang Clan. Earlier this year he teamed up with producer Ray West and his and AG's label Red "Apples 45 to release an excellent nine tracks deep EP called "Ray's Cafe". Feaaturing nothing but laid back, jazz inspired grooves and smacking hip-hop drums the EP was filled with positive vibes and addictive sonics; creating an image of a smoky ol' jazz café where OC is both the toastmaster and the emcee. To me OC sounds rejuvinated throughout, effortlessly rhyming about various themes and the occassional classic battle rhyme. For me it took a while to grow on me, but once it did I realized just how good it actually was.

Originally releaesd on 12" EP, iTunes (with the brilliant bonus closer "Just Cause"), and cassette, the CD release dropped September 2 and fleshes out the 26 minutes, nine track record with five additional cuts recorded during the same sessions (including the beautiful "Just Cause"). These songs features some true gems including "After Hours" and "My Hearts in the Streets", though it also features the cheesy "Learn Lessons". The best part is that it kicks up the running time with 10 minutes, making it an, albeit short, long player rather than a slightly long extended play. For those of you who have already got the original copy the extra bonus tracks are being released by RedApples on . Buy "Ray's Cafe" CD @ UGHH or the five track EP "After Hours" which drops November 11.


KA / RTJ - "Lost Prophet Report" / "Oh My Darling Don't Cry"

Former Natural Elements Brownsville talent KA returns with a powerful new single courtesy of the Adult Swim singles. You can download this joint for free via Adult Swim Singles Series starting tomorrow, a long with the recently released, and even doper, new Run The Jewels singles "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" while we wait for "RTJ2"- check it below. Adult Swim keeping it hardcore!

[Video] CORMEGA - "Rise"

Here's another video that's been out for a while, but since this is my favorite album of this year, and one of the finest tracks from that album no less. I am talking about Cormega's Large Pro produced "Rise" introducing singer Maya Azucena. If you haven't copped "Mega Philosophy" yet, be sure to grab your copy @ UGHH or HHV while it's still available.

[Video] APOLLO BROWN & RAS KASS - "Humble Pi"

Following the hard knocking single "H20", featuring Pharoahe Monch and Rakaa of Dilated Peoples, the duo of Ras Kass and Apollo Brown is now following up with an equally hot singe "Humble Pi". The video has been out for a few days, but it's dope enough not to sleep on, so enjoy for those of you who missed it before. "Blasphemy" drops October 27, check out the tracklist and pre-order @ iTunes.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NehuruvianDOOM - "Caskets"

As NehuruvianDOOM's release of their collaboratve album "Sound of the Soon" which drops on Lex Records October 16. This is a very ill album, as you can easily hear by the new single "Caskets" which you can check out up top. I wasn't sure whether or not we get to hear DOOM rhyme or produce on this, but this is filled with ill DOOM verses so it's looking good.


Following the excellent 2011 Chappel debut, entirely produced by Kenny Dope, the highly skilled East Coast emcee Rasheed Chappell has hooked up with his producer for another full-length projct to follow soon. The first single is called "Franchise" and is another sure shot. "Bricks & Motar" is set for release later this year, but 'til then you can bang your head to the first single "Franchise", a sick K.D. beat and an impressive lyrical performance by Chappel.

FLYING LOTUS - "Cornous, The Terminator"

A couple of weeks back we heard the first single from Flying Lotus' highly anticipated "You're Dead" album on Warp Records, which drops on Warp Records on October 8. The second single is another sure shot banger and is called "Cornous, The Terminator" and it's no question that the album is shaping up real lovely. Stay tuned for more info and singles on this project which should be one of the best albums of the year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BLACK MILK Ft. BUN B - "Gold Piece"

Another highly anticipated album of 2014 is of course Black Milk's upcoming "If There's A Hell Below", coming October 28.  "Gold Piece" teams up Milk with Undergrund King Bun B on a definite boom banger. You can pre-order the album and check out the tracklist over @ Bandcamp.

SAIGON Ft. BIG DADDY KANE - "One Foot in the Door" [prod. DJ Premier]

Saigon's third installment in the "Greatest Story Never Told" is really shapening up to be an incredible album, which is very welcome after the dissapointing "Bread & Circuses". In an interview with HipHopDX, Sai revealed that he tapped DJ Premier for about four joints from the new LP, including the first single "Nunya". Now we get to hear the second record they worked on together, and this one features an added bonus in the form of a verse from the mighty Big Daddy Kane. This shit GOES - can't wait for the LP!

DJ PREMIER & ROYCE DA 5'9" are PRhyme

This really came out of nowhere but it seems that Royce Da 5'9" and DJ Premier has been working on the low on a full-length project to be unleashed on the real hip-hop heads this year. Everybody who has followed the career of Royce knows that pretty much creates a classic every time he got Premier on the boards ("Boom""Hip Hop""Something 2 Ride 2", etc.). Check out a small snippet of the new shit above and follow the duo at and

Sunday, September 14, 2014

[Comp] NOTORIOUS B.I.G. - "The Anniversary"

Not too long ago I had a period where I went back and played both of The Notorious BIG's two albums religiously, and this month now marks the 20 year anniversary of that first classic LP. At this time I also collected most of his rarer demos, freestyles and guest apperances. Unlike 2Pac, his one time ally and contemporary, Wallace left us with only a small scattering of finished recordings to pick up when he tragically left us in '97. Instead of paying respect to the man's legacy by compiling and releasing the original music he recorded in his lifetime, the vultures at Bad Boy instead have opted to remix and completely alter his unreleased music. As it stands now BIG's musical legacy consists of two excellent solo albums ("Ready to Die" and "Life After Death"), the executive producing and career launching of Junior M.A.F.I.A. with "Conspiracy" and Lil' Kim with "Hardcore". Add to that something like an additional 40 loose tracks, studio freestyles and guest apperances left for us fans to compile and share. Despite the small output very few Hip Hop artists can be considered more influential and inspirational to both his own generation and todays up and comers - and that in itself is a damn impressive feat. BIG will always be remembered as one of the true greats, a musical giant who twenty years ago made waves with the release of his debut album. It's safe to say that "Ready to Die" has stood the test of time and should have a given place in the top albums list of any true hip-hop conniseour. 

The internet is of course swarming with various tributes and articles in honor of the ocassion. For my own contribution I have put together a compilation of non-album tracks that I feel reaches a very high level of quality. As always I've tried making this compilation form a coherrent listen that focuses on a specific time or style. The goal here was to create something like a companion piece to "Ready to Die". That means that I'm limiting the inclusion of songs to material recorded between 1993 and 1995 (the time in which between "R.T.D." was recorded and final single with B-side released). Additionally, I wanted to focus on BIG's lyrical skills and writing genius, given as much space as possible to solo tracks. In the end I maybe used a little too many posse cuts and such as I originally intended to only use 10 songs, but one thing's for sure - there's no half-assed material on here. Below you'll find the tracklist, download link and a little info on each song, it's producer, origin and relevance for the compilation... TURN IT UP!!!

01. "The Wickedest: Freestyle Intro"
This exclusive freestyle makes for a perfect intro and the epitome of Biggie's style post-"Ready to Die". Recorded by DJ Mister Cee (who of course was an integral part of Big's career) as an exclusive for his "The Best Of The Notorious B.I.G.", released in 1995.

02. "Party & Bullshit"
It felt natural to kick things off with "Party & Bullshit", seeing how this hardcore party starter was both BIG's first single ever and was left off his debut album. This also marks the first time Biggie worked with Easy Mo Bee, who would become one of the most important players in crafting the Notorious sound. The song were also featured on the original soundtrack to the 1993 flick "Who's The Man?".

03. "Dead Wrong"
Another early collaboration with Easy Mo Bee who's hard hitting boom bap shit in com"bination with the dusted flow of BIG stands as a superb representation of everything great about the early '90s East Coast bap. An Eminem remix of course turned up on '99:s posthumous "Born Again", but the version for the real heads is this one, recorded during the early Uptown sessions for "R.T.D." in '93. This clear rip from a DJ Craig G tape was borrowed from NahRight's excellent BIG article.

04. "Come On Motherfuckers" (Ft. Sadat X)
"Come On" is another cut that was cleaned up and modernized by The Hitmen for "Born Again" but the original, superior version sees BIG rocking hard as hell over a dusty Lord Finesse break, complete with intense horn stabs. Sadat X and Biggie Smalls definitely makes for a very interesting combination, and this '93 joint (another recording from the Uptown sessions) is about as tough as they come yet was left to the mixtape circuit until just a few years ago. 

05. "Dreams (Just Playing)"
"Dreams" is nothing short of classic BIG as he invites listeners into his nasty dreams of all the R&B singers he'd like to fuck. And it's done with more wit and charisma than most emcees at their best moments too. Built around a crazy addictive guitar loop, "Dreams" was produced by the underrated Rashad Smith of Tumblin' Dice, this was included as a bonus track on the 2004 remaster of "Ready to Die". It's first apperance dates as far back as 1993 when DJ Doo Wop put it on his "Spring One" tape, which indicates that it might have been recorded for BIG's Uptown debut.

06. "One More Chance/Stay With Me" [Hip Hop Mix]

The smooth video version of "One More Chance" (see above) is definitely one of Biggie's most famous songs, though it bears little resemblance to the version that appeared on the album. The 12" single included two remixes of the song - the famous Faith Evans version which was about as R&B as BIG would ever get and this one labeled The Hip Hop Mix. Using the same verses as the video mix but adding a differet hook by Total, Biggie's sexual themed flows sounds perfect over the pounding drums, guitar stabs and scratches - once again produced by Rashad Smith / Tumblin' Dice. An interesting fact is that this version of the song replaces the original Bluez Brothas version on the clean version of "R.T.D.".

07. "Runnin' From The Police" (Ft. 2Pac, Stretch, EDI, Khadafi & Buju Banton)
"Runnin' From The Police" have always been one considered as of the strongest songs in both BIG's and 'Pac's respective catalouges if you ask me. There's so many quotables in here that it's not even funny, and hearing 'Pac, BIG and Stretch all on one track is truly powerful, and Easy Mo Bee did a masterful job in creating the backing track. This classic was originally recorded around 1994 in a 2Pac session for inclusion on his "Thug Life Volume 1" album, even appearing on a rare promo cassette of the project. The song was ultimately replaced by "Stay True" and it would take another year before fans got the chance to hear "Runnin'" on the compilation album "One Million Strong".

08. "Real Niggaz"
"Real Niggaz" is another huge record with a West Coast connecction, as it's common knowledge that Biggie had a lot of love for LA and the music the city produced in the early to mid-'90s. It's unbelivable this was never given more exposure because not only does Biggie sound phenomenal over these Death Row tracks like "Deep Cover", his verses here displays the same type of top notch storytelling that he would perfect on future masterpieces like "Somebody's Gotta Die". This was originally heard as a two part piece on a DJ Clue tape back in '95 before Mister Cee collected all verses for his incredible "The Best Of Notorious B.I.G." tape.

09. "Jam Session" (Ft. Heavy D & Troo Kula)
One of a couple of collaborations between Biggie and Heavy D, produced by Jesse West who really brings the funk on here with an affective heavy bass melody and slick guitar. Heavy D and BIG made a few songs together (all featured on this compilation), and there's no denying that there's a lot of chemistry to be found here. Something that not everybody knows is that the duo even had plans on developing a clothing line for men with a larger build called BIG & Heavy. "Jam Session" also features Troo Kula (at the time a member of Jesse West's group 3rd Eye) and is lifted from the otherwise forgettable compilation album "NBA Jam Session".

10. "Let's Get It On" (Ft. 2Pac, Grand Puba & Heavy D)
This somewhat forgotten posse cut features some of the greatest emcees of the '90s (Grand Puba, 2Pac, BIG, Heavy D) getting it on over a relatively smooth headnodder that packs influences from the New Jack swing era. Taken from the album of the same name by DJ Eddie F. and The Untouchables, a crew of DJ:s and producers from the Mt. Vernon area which originally mentored and included Pete Rock (who didn't have anything to do with this joint however).

11. "Watchu Want?"
"Watchu Want" was a late deletion from "Ready to Die" and is another one of the Easy Mo Bee/BIG recordings from the earlier recording sessions of the LP before Puffy was dropped from Uptown and took Wallace with him. This is a very powerful cut, with Biggie at his most hardcore and I still have a hard time deciding whether or not I would have prefered it to have been left on the LP. I have a (possibly false?) memory of reading somewhere that Biggie really wanted to keep this one but Puff insisted that the quota for rugged hardcore jams had been filled.

12. "Who's The Man?" (Ft. King Just & Todd1)
The 45 King has produced some of my all time favorite records and hearing him produce for BIG is pure bliss. Unfortunately Wallace only kicks one verse here but that's a verse that makes the tracks inclusion on this compilation an absolute definite and leaves little question to who the man in this case is (King Just comes correct though). I guess the reason this isn't remembered for the great battle record it is, is because it came out on a very forgotten album called "Back Up Off Me!", the only LP released under the names of Doctor Dre and Ed Lover.

13. "A Buncha Niggas" (Ft. Heavy D, Guru, Busta Rhymes, 3rd Eye & Rob-O)
The Heavy D & The Boys albums from the early '90s always had a ton of underground gems on them and "Blue Funk" might just be the illest. As far as posse cut goes this one has one of the more jaw dropping line-ups - Heavy D, Guru, Busta Rhymes, Rob-O from InI, 3rd Eye (Jesse West also produced this banger) and of course The Notorious B.I.G.

14. "Who Shot Ya"
"Who Shot Ya" marks the first time BIG worked with Nashiem Myrick who would come to be a major contributor to the sound of "Life After Death", making this something of a transitional record. An interesting fact is that the song originally was incepted as an interlude for Mary J. Blige's excellent '95 LP "My Life". Word is that the content was a little too violent for an R&B album and in the end the interlude verse were recorded by Keith Murray. Being label mates and old friends, Puff and BIG secured the beat and put it on as the B-side of the "Big Poppa" single, causing all kinds of controversy. You can check out the original demo version with both Murray and BIG, liberated by DJ S&S and uploaded by NahRight.


LARGE PROFESSOR - "In The Scrolls"

Extra-P doesn't take time off. After producing what is likely the best album of the year with Cormega, The Large Professor is now preparing a new solo album. "RE: Living Legend" is dropping later this year via Fat Beats / Distrolord Digital, and the first single is called "In The Scrolls" and features G-Wiz. Sickness!