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Thursday, November 26, 2015

[Stream] LINKAN (of SIDE EFFECTZ) - "Almighty Bigalizer"

As noted before Swedish emcee and Side Effectz front-man Linkan unleashes his debut album as a solo artist today, November 26. Consisting of 11 strong tracks, "Almighty Bigalizer" connects Linkan's love for the gritty boom bap sounds of hip-hop's golden age with his well documented knack for writing introspective and socially conscious rhymes. Production comes from a wide range of sources of young up and coming producers representing various parts of Europe which adds an extra dimension to the project.

You can stream the album via Bandcmap (below) or Spotify - a link for purchasing the 180 grams vinyl drop will be up any minute so I'll edit this post as soon as it is available (check out the test press). TURN IT UP!!

[EP] J57 & KONCEPT - "The Fuel"

Brown Bag All-Stars member J57 is one of the few newer producers to really impress me with a steady stream of solid material these last couple of years. Here he connects with fellow New York artist Koncept for "The Fuel" EP, an eight songs strong new project that has been in the works for quite some time if I understand it correctly. The EP is available to purchase via iTunes right now and you can stream it in its entirety below. Enjoy!

NAS - "In Between Us" [OG Verse] (2001)

In 2001 Nas and Jay-Z where at the height of their famous feud - perhaps the last interesting hip-hop beef - and each released an album to receive the rare 5 mics review in The Source. The only emcee to have both artists as featured guests on his album was Scarface for his incredible "The Fix" LP, which incidentally also received 5 mics. "In Between Us" is one of my favorite joints on that album as both Nas and Scarface turns in absolute monster performances.. However, reading 'Face's autobiography (an excellent read) he revealed that Nas originally submitted a different verse for the song - one in which 'Face felt he had some thinly veiled disses aimed towards Jigga which led to him asking Nas to submit a different verse. So yesterday I stumbled across this little gem that you hear above. It's been out for years but since I'm not a big fan of blend mixtapes and the like I never checked it out. This appeared on Mick Boogie and Joey Fingaz "God's Gift" mix but you'll hear a different Nas verse that was obviously written in 2001 as parts of the lyrics would be re-used for "One Never Knows" and "Ether", respectively. My best guess is that this is the original verse that Nas submitted for "The Fix" album and as such it's pretty damn crazy to hear this... You can cut it off after the first verse and hook though as there's no need to hear Jay-Z strangely blended into this in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

LINKAN (of Side Effectz) - "Youthman"

As promised, another ill single to hold us over for the first solo album from Side Effectz Linkan, "Almighty Bigalizer". The international collaboration holds up as one of my personal favorites from the LP with it's melodic yet hard hitting backdrop (courtesy of producer Philantrophe) works as a perfect canvas for Linkan and Rusty Label's Antone Mecca. Check out the tracklist for the album which will be available this Thursday on 180 gram vinyl delivered within a sick gatefold cover.

1 Introlude (Produced by AsfaltAllan)
2 Småland Stylee (Produced By Juancan)
3 What's Going On? (Produced By Ko Albrecht)
4 Interbeing's Revenge (Produced By Ko Albrecht)
5 MFD (Produced By Blezz)
6 Stand Clear (Featuring Locsta, Produced By King P Pete)
7 Anybody Out There? (Produced By Romero & Juancan)
8 Insane (Featuring Locsta, produced By Daniel El Campeon)
9 Turn It Up (Featuring Locsta, produced By Ko Albrecht)
10 Youthman (Featuring Antone Mecca, Produced By Philanthrope)
11 Another Lullaby (Produced By Philanthrope)
12 Salute (Produced By King P Pete)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

LINKAN (of SIDE EFFECTZ) - "Småland Stylee"

You heard the banging audio before, now Linkan lets loose of the visual companion to "Småland Stylee", the first single from his upcoming solo album "Almighty Bigalizer". The album will be available on wax next Friday but before then we should have time for one more single so check back for more heat next week. Track produced by fellow Side Effectz member Juancan; video directed by Markus.


As a big fan of producer Nottz I've been eagerly anticipating his full-on collaboration with former Little Brother emcee Rapper Big Pooh and having now listneed to "Home Sweet Home" in its entirety I can safely say that the project does not dissapoint. Check out the entire album for yourself via Bandcamp below, peep the visuals for the latest single "300z" up top and head over to UGHH and order yourself a copy of this gem on CD or LP.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

TORAE - "Get Down" [prod. by PETE ROCK]

I was a huge fan of Torae and Pete Rock's previous collaboration together, "That Raw", so seeing that they are back at it again definitely peaked my interest. Titled "Get Down" this is further proof that a Torae produced Pete Rock album would be kind of fucking marvelous. This will appear on the Barrel Brother's upcoming new LP which is entitled "Entitled" - stay tuned and check out both the track and the BTS video posted up top.

KRS-ONE - "Sound Man"

You got to love KRS-One, at times he can be relatively quiet music wise for a couple of years then he can just hit stride and drop album after album (of course of varying quality). I was actually just wondering when Kris was about to drop something recently and then a couple of days ago he hit us with "Drugs Won" which I thought was pretty dope. Now he's back with a new single as well as the announcement of a new LP called "Now Hear This" which is dropping on November 24. The second single is titled "Sound Man" and is produced by DJ Static. Check it out, and read more @ the official Bandcamp

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Brand new single from Freddie Gibbs' upcoming album "Shadow Of A Doubt", available on November 20, which features the always incredible Black Thought. These guys makes for a really strong lyrical back and forth here, and as they are getting in over a Nautilus sample hooked up by Mikhail and co-produced by Sid "Speakerbomb" Miller. You can pre-order the album @ iTunes now. Enjoy!


Masta Ace dropped two of the first 2000 decades finest hip-hop albums with "Disposable Arts" and "A Long Hot Summer". Both have been getting some various reissues throughout the years, most recently the latter album is getting a new CD treatment via the Below System Records label. The most interesting thing here is the inclusion of two bonus tracks, but listening to them I get the feeling that these are relatively new songs rather than lost sessions from the original album which kind of defeats the purpose of bonus tracks for me. One of the songs, "GMO", has been made available via the labels Soundcloud - check it out up top and if you're interested in the CD reissue you can order it from UGHH.

ERYKAH BADU - "Phone Down"

I've been absolutely feinding for new original material solo material by Erykah Badu since the brilliant two-punch of her "New Amerykah" albums had begun to sink in, the last being in 2010. To this day, Badu hasn't released a solo album that does not border between a 4/5 to 5/5 rating so naturally the recent announcement of a brand new mixtape "You Can't Use My Phone" which will drop on the Thanksgiving weekend. So far two singles has been released from the project - the just released original track called "Phone Down" as well as her take on Drake's "Hotline Bling", a 7 minute excursion into laid back grooves and infectious lyrics called the "But U Can't Use My Phone Mix". Check out both tracks below and stay tuned for the full mixtape to drop.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

UGEORGE - "The Many Faces Of UGeorge"

UGeorge of the Soundsci crew just quietly dropped what sounds like one of the illest and most consistant LP:s of the year. "The Many Faces of UGeorge" celebrates the diversity of the Atlanta based emcees musical influences while painting a picture of where he's been, where he's at and where he's going. With 15 years as a recording artist (dating back to his 2001 debut as one half of The Hemisphere) it's about time UGeorge steps into the limelight as a solo artist, and as such he does not dissapoint in the least. The album packs a smooth, soul infected vibe with a lot of funky grooves that fans of that classic Golden Age sound are sure to endorse to the fullest. This is one that is great to throw on in your headphones, crank up the volume and just zone out to. I stay impressed by Soundsci who steadily is building up with an impressive catalouge of really strong projects under their collective belt and "The Many Faces of UGeorge" is another fine addition.

The album is available on vinyl and in digital format via World Expo Records now, DON'T SLEEP and support this project y'all!There's a lot to decipher on here, watch out for more detailed review to come... "When We Were Young", damn what an outro!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

[Demo] TRAGEDY KHADAFI - "Black Rage Demos Pt. 2"

Between 1989 and 1992 Tragedy Khadafi released two excellent, yet sadly very overlooked, albums under the moniker Intelligent Hoodlum. Produced by Marley Marl, Large Professor, Joe Fatal and K-DEF both LP:s have truly stood the test of time and paved the way for future QB classics by Nas, Mobb Deep and Capone-N-Noreaga. Now Diggers With Gratitude has hooked up with Trag and dug deep into the archives and unearthed some certified gems that for long was thought to have been lost. These songs were originally recorded between 1991 and 1992 for the "Black Rage" album, which after label intervention was softened down a bit to the (still militant) "Tragedy: Saga Of A Hoodlum" LP. The second installment in a Black Rage Demos series, this EP collects eight never before heard cuts and is definitely one for the collectors. Check out the snippets below.

01. "Intro"
02. "Black Rage"
03. "Rebel to Amerikkka"
04. "Adolescents to War"
05. "Underground" [Alt. Version]
06. "Bullet"
07. "Fuck George Bush" [Interlude]
08. "Amerika Eats The Young" [Remix]

CYPRESS HILL - "When The Shit Goes Down" [Diamond D Alternative/Original Remix]

Followers of this site knows that I'm a huge fan of the work of Diamond D, a producer who I consider to be one of the five best hip hop producer in the business. Considering the massive popularity of Cypress Hill, perhaps one of D's most well-known remixes is his stripped down, hypnotic take on their single "When The Shit Goes Down" since it appeared on the West Coast trio's classic EP "Unreleased & Revamped" in 1996. Personally I never much cared for this particular Diamond mix which to my ears always sounded kind of hollow, like it certainly was missing some element(s). Well, it turns out I was right! When discussing rare and unreleased Cypress Hill material with huge Cypress collector Sickdog he told me about an alternative version of the Diamond D remix which he had only heard on a 1992 CD single edition of "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That". As he shot it over I was pleasantly suprised to find out that this Diamond D remix fleshed out the beat with all the elements that I felt had been missing. The drums are fatter with some additional percussion added, and most importantly an explosive saxophone blast fades in and out of the mix. This mix definitely sounds much more in line with Diamond's vintage early '90s remix catalouge, which really makes me wonder why someone (the mix engineer?, Muggs?, Diamond?) decided to strip down the beat to its bare skeleton for its wider release. Again thanks to Sickdog for the rip and upload!

BIG L - "I Shoulda Used A Rubba" [CDQ]

Despite only completing one album in full during his tragically short life the legacy of Lamont Coleman, better known to the world as Big L, will always be that of one of the wittiest, most charismatic and technical emcees ever to step footh inside a recording booth. As part of the D.I.T.C. crew and an understudy of Lord Finesse, the young Coleman hung around recording sessions with several industry heavyweights like Freddie Foxxx, Large Professor, Diamond D and DJ Jazzy Jay, while planning his own future LP debut. His shot came when L was signed to Columbia Records (on the strength of his bugged out Showbiz produced demo "Devil's Son") on the very same day as another young aspiring emcee by the name of Nas. Throughout 1993 Big L recorded his debut album which was to be called "Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous". Using dark hardcore beats with pouncing rhythm, grooving basslines and agressive horn stabs chopped up from long forgotten jazz records by Showbiz, Lord Finesse and Buckwild, the sound complimented Big L's often hilarious, often shocking and always on point lyrics to a Tee. The problem was that Columbia kept pushing the LP back as they had more faith in other artists on the roster such as Nas, Fugees and Cypress Hill which meant L had to take a backseat and sit on his material. A whole year before "Lifestylez..." was finally released a promotional cassette containing a full LP was released to selected magazines and radio stations. Hip Hop, by then still a relative young phenomenon, was in a constant state of change and elevation and sometime during '94, L even begged permission from his label to remix and update some of the material on the LP to make it sound current against competition from popular New York artists like Raekwon, Notorious BIG and Mobb Deep. The answer was a negative one, which left L with a debut album partly recorded as early as the beginning of 1993. Had "Lifestylez..." been released in January 1994 I think Big L might have had a very different career over at Columbia. It's interesting to note that they decided to go with the Summer Smooth Remix by producer Selah for the "M.V.P." video, a song much more in line with the times of 1995 - yet it sounds like nothing else on the actual album.

The last tracks that had been recorded for the album was "MVP" and "Street Struck", which were both created in the same session and especially in the case of the former it does sound more in line with where hip-hop was at in early '95 than a song like "I Don't Understand It". As L couldn't remix or update the sounds of any song he instead opted to delete certain tracks from inclusion on the final version. "Devil's Son" (click to download) had already been available since early 1993 and considering its shocking subject matter it worked better as a promotional introduction to the world than an album cut. The Lord Finesse produced "School Daze" (click to download) was not only one of the joints from the very earliest Columbia sessions, the rhymes were Coleman "reminisces" about his school days were probably written while L was still in school, and would have sounded dated had it been released in late '93. However, the two remaining tracks that appeared on the original promo cassette but failed to materialize on the retail release are another story altogether. "I Shoulda Used A Rubba" and "Timez Iz Hard..." (both produced by Buckwild) were to my ears just as potent and in line with the hardcore boom bap vibe of the album as anything on there. For years low quality rips of these four songs have circulated on mixtapes, bootlegs and on the net. Unfortunately even the semi-official compilation "Return Of The Devil's Son" failed to produce decent sounding versions of these joints (matter of fact, avoid this compilation at all cost). However it has come to my knowledge that the Japanese CD edition of "Lifestylez..." actually included "I Shoulda Used A Rubba" (sometimes known as "Clinic") as a bonus track. So after the original pressing was reissued in Japan in 2010 a rip of said bonus tracks has popped up on the internet. Finally hearing this classic lost Big L track in its full glory, properly mixed, mastered and in a high quality rip is pure bliss for a D.I.T.C./Big L fan, now let us just hope an equally good version of "Timez Iz Hard..." will get a proper release. Much thanks to whoever ripped this "Clinic" originally (as I got it in the mail by friend I have no idea who to credit); I also added a decent rip of "Timez Iz Hard..." for your listening pleasure.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

[EP Stream] PHAT KAT - "Rededication to the Suckers"

After being dropped from their contract with New York underground hip hop label Payday Records after their one and only single "Front Street" / "A Day With The Homiez", who has since gone on to become a true cult classic, The Detroit one MC/one producer constellation who by then went under the alias 1st Down used their failure in the shady industry to record one of the most agressive assaults on the recording industry and the Sucker MC's dominating the airwaves especially in their hometown of the "D". That EP, put out independently with help of unofficial Detroit hip-hop ambassador House Shoes, was called "Dedication to the Suckers" and is one of very few singles that I always mention as one of the best 12" singles and/or EP:s that I'd always argue to be one of the best records ever pressed up.

Fast forward to 2015, of course 1st Down is no more in no way, shape or for as producer Jay Dee / J Dilla sadly passed away in 2006, though Phat Kat with his take no prisoners flow, agressive delivery and great ear for beats. Still I was suprised to say the least when I saw UGHH's list of forthcoming releases list a brand new Phat Kat project called "Rededication to the Suckers", even going as far as sporting an updated cover of the originl artwork. I first thought it was a new reissue of the extended edition of the original '99 EP (which was previously only available on CD), but looking at the tracklistting and producer credits it turns out that it's an entirely new project made in honor of the original's themes and sound. Produced entirely by newcomer Agor and features guest verses from eLzhi and Guilty Simpson on the boom bnger "All Madden", I have to say on first listen I'm actually impressed with this joint. Phat Kat stays coming correct so be sure to preep this below and pre-order your copy on CD or LP which ships on October 30.

01. "Matnetic: Intro"
02. "Revolver"
03. "Redediction"
04. "All Madden" (Ft. eLzhi & Guilty Simpson)
05. "Still Bubblinä"
06. "What A Nigga to Do"
07. "True Story"

[Article] Overlooked Madlib Records Pt. 1

Most fans of that ruff, rugged and raw hip-hop that would scare MTV and radio programmers should be well aware of the greatness of Otis Jackson, Jr., or Madlib as he's most commonly referred to in these circles. Few other artists, producers, instrumentalists or whatever even comes close to Madlib's insane work ethics and output during a lifetime, but Mr. Lib has more or less dedicated his entire life to music - listening to it, sampling it, remixing it, and playing it. His output as both a producer and as a mixtape DJ Jackson Jr.'s output is so varied that one can get a decent music education just by immersing yourself in to the vastness of his catalouge. You need lots of time, an open mind, and a broad music taste and a warped sense of humor to really dig a large chunk of his catalouge. While I have loved 'Lib's stuff since the first time I heard him, it wasn't until the last year or two that I truly immersed myself into his discography real heavily - somewhat of a side effect of being a full-time job seeker. With this post I wanted to put the spotlight on a bunch of incredible Madlib releases in hopes that it can work as a guide for newcomers to Madlib's music that just don't know where to start... So let's get it on, shall we?

QUASIMOTO - "Further Adventures Of Lord Quas" (2005)

While 1999's "The Unseen" are generally the Quasimoto album that comes up when discussing Madlib's best output, to me the 2005 follow-up "Further Adventures Of Lord Quas" combines the same type of raw jazz and funk sample material, neckbreaking beats and the helium infused vocals of 'Lib's wicked alter ego Lord Quas that made the debut such an original and joyous event. But "Further Adventures..." ups the ante a whole lot by being way more free form than anything Madlib had attempted up to this point. The album plays out like watching some weird '70s blaxploatation movie while listening to a Madlib beat tape on acid. There's not much solid songs in the usual sense to hold onto here - the dopest beat will appear long enough for a Lord Quas verse only to fade out into vocal samples from movies of decades past. While such a format might be too jarring for some, it can be extremely rewarding if you're willing to go along for the ride. Hip hop is one music form that really needs someone that dares to push its boundaries, playing with its form and what is acceptable, so let's hope Madlib continues banging out albums as strange as this.

SOUND DIRECTIONS - "Funky Sides Of Life" (2005)

As a jazz fan I always liked the fact that Madlib holds the genre sacred and releases his own LP:s within it, thus putting on people to the wonderful world of jazz. However I could never truly get into his albums as Yesterdays New Quintet and the likes. They are far from being bad music but compared to the true greats of the genre they could never hold my attention as a listener. Sound Directions is a different case however. The big difference here is that Jackson Jr. works more as an arranger and producer than neccesarily playing and overdubbing every single instrument by himself. Sound Directions specializes in the fusion field of jazz, meaning that it's improvisational music played with electric instruments over a funk beat. As such the music of Sound Direction is closer to the instrumental hip-hop music on the Beat Konducta projects, which is further exemplified by the choice of material the group plays on their debut album "The Funky Side Of Life". The majority of the 11 tracks covered on the LP are '60s and '70s compositions that have become staples in hip-hop sampling, such as David Axelrod's "A Divine Light". The heavily groove based music is constantly funky and Madlib brings a beat aesthetic to the arrangements which makes this the perfect middle ground between his jazz and hip hop projects. Could possibly be the most overlooked album in Jackson's entire ouvre - whether you like Yesterdays New Quintet or not, seek this one out!

MADLIB / GUILTY SIMPSON - "Before The Verdict" (2010) 
The first installment of "Medicine Show" was somewhere in between a remix album and a mixtape. Madlib and Detroit's grim voiced Guilty Simpson had since long announced a collaborative project called "OJ Simpson" and "Before The Verdict" served as the appetizer before the main course. The majority of the 17 tracks found here are remixes of songs from 2008:s "Ode to the Ghetto" but if one were to go into this without prior knowledge of its background it almost does play out like a properly constructed album. It's interesting to know that these two went into the "OJ Simpson" collaboration with the plans to record an alternative version of the "Ode..." album, in essence a remix project with a few new tracks added on. Most of the verses were re-recorded by Guilty over new Madlib beats, giving the songs a much sharper vibe than your usual remix album. The beats 'Lib tailors to Guilty's hard-as-nails voice and hardcore street lyrics are some of the dirtiest of his entire career. Murky bass lines takes center stage while muddled guitar and keyboard riffs are burried in the mix, creating imagery of menacing streets where the violence is never far away. One thing I did notice about this album is that is by no means headphones music, you need to really blast this shit out loud through some good speakers to get the desired effect.

DECLAIME - "IllMindMuzik" EP (1999)

Along with Madlib and his younger brother Oh No and producer Kan Kick, Dudey Perkins is one of the original peeps around the Lootpack and Crate Diggas Palace. I always found Perkins to be a very interesting character as it was evident early on that he was on a different vibe than the other members of his crew. Perkins was more on the spiritual tip, preaching the power of nature and the herb as a medicine and packing his music with uplifting messages. Is also one of Madlib's main collaborators, having released two very funky albums of Soul singing under his own name, but it was his powerful "IllMindMuzik" EP that first made heads take notice. Released as his rapping alter-ego Declaime this 25 minutes short album shows the peak of Madlib's early style which was somewhat more grounded than it would become, yet his dusty chops and fusion of a wider range of musical styles than most producers had already established a trademark sound. With additional sonic input from Kutmasta Kurt and vocal support by Dilated Peoples and Lootpack this is one of the most interesting yet little known early Madlib releases.


[Stream] BUGSY DA GOD - "Camoflauge Discipline"

Hip-hop has always been a movement for the underdog which explains why many of the all time best projects in the genre has been created on a real underground movement. Bugsy Da God might not be the most recognized name in this industry, that's for sure, but he heavily endorsed by Killarmy's Dom Pachino and by extension many of the extended Wu-Tang family (the dope ones at that like Shyheim, Falling Down, 4th Disciple and Bronze Nazareth). In 2011 he released "Terrorist Advocate" his solo debut, again presented by Dom Pachino, and featuring production by 4th and Bronze and received acclaim from dedicated Wu-Tang and Killarmy fans all over the globe. With his second album which was just released the other day his gritty reality raps has been sharpened a lot more as his flow, delivery, writing and performance has been severely improved. And with strong production by Havoc, 4th Disciple, UK's Endemic, Falling Down, Bronze Nazareth and guest verses from Dom Pachino, Timbo King, Tragedy Khadafi, Lethafase, Trife Diesel, Afu-Ra, Masta Killa, Progial Sunn, Big Noyd, Killah Priest, Polite, and Islord you can count on this being one of those albums people will rediscover ten years from now, wondering why the hell people totally overlooked this gem on release. So don't be that guy and be sure to peep this shit ASAP, you can stream the entire project below and order the limited CD for $15.00 so don't wait because this will not be repressed.

And as I've been on a hiatus from posting, the sister or brother album to this excellent release which was also released on Napalm Recordings earlier this year is Dom Pachino's new, and without a doubt finest solo release yet, "War Poetry" fully produced by Bronze Nazareth (save for a bonus cut laced by 4th) - check it out here while you bump this crazy Bugsy Da God LP below. Trust me that you won't see this on many years ends best of list beside The Lost Tapes, which's why you coming back to this banger right!

KRS-ONE - "Drugs Won"

KRS-One is obviously one of my favorite emcees although it can at times go a year in between I bump his albums despite the high regard I held them in. But you really have to be in a certain mode to truly enjoy KRS' truth filled and high energetic murderous boom bap, but once you're in that zone there's not much better ish out there. Here the Blastmaster is back with a brand new strong, speaking on the drug game and the extreme profits it can make for anyone involved, especially for those in the higher echelon of the dirty business. Produced by Predator Prime, it will be interesting to see where this joint might end up... Reminds me a bit of "Criminal Business" 2015. I can dig it!

[EP] SHABAAM SAHDEEQ - "Modern Artillery"

One of the original leaders of the Rawkus movement from back in the day, Shabaam Sahdeeq, quickly made his name synonymous with what was then known as real hip hop and to this day he stays dropping hot shit. His latest album, 2013:s "Keepers Of The Lost Art", was one of that years most overlooked LP:s and still gets ocassional play over here. Now Shadeeq is back with yet another project, the seven track EP "Modern Artillery" which's existence I had completely missed out on when limited edition cassettes were pressed up and manufactured for 2015:s Cassette Store Day on October 17. The otherwise digital release is available to purchase and listen to from regular suspects like iTunes, Amazon and Spotify now. A limited edition vinyl run is however also said to be in the workout, so while you're waiting why not stream the entire project via Audiomack below or check out the official music video for the Big Ape produced "Get It" up top.

Friday, November 6, 2015

[Article/Demo Tape] MADVILLAIN - "Madvillainy"

"Madvillainy" is not only one of the greatest underground hip hop albums of all time but the backstory beind its creation is almost as fascinating as the actual album itself. Its a well known fact that both Madlib and DOOM are notoriously secluded persons who's interest solely lies in creating music on some secret identity, super hero shit. It's a well documented fact that a vast amount of songs produced by Madlib or DOOM for other artists happened without either producer entering the studio with the vocalists. This is even the usual M.O. for complete bodies of work like Freddie Gibbs' "Pinata" and Strong Arm Steady's "In Search Of Stoney Jackson" which were created by the artists receiving hundreds of Madlib beats to freely pick from and record over. As for DOOM the large majority of songs produed by Metal Face are directly lifted from his instrumental "Special Herbz" series. That makes it even more intriguing that this rule was broken not only once, but twice. First during the initial "Madvillainy" sessions in 2002 when Stones Throw first flew out Daniel Dumile to L.A. and the Stones Throw offices which also housed the infamous Bomb Shelter, home of Otis Jackson Jr., and a frequent hangout for legendary musicians including Yesterdays New Quintet, Sound Directions, Quasimoto, Dudley Perkins, DJ Rels and DJ Such and of course Madlib himself.

According to Jeff Jank (who would  design the artwork for the album and the singles, remembers how well the blunted duo hit it off right off the beat which quickly led them to begin work on material for what originally was suppposed to be an EP. "The most important part of their process is simply that DOOM understood Madlib right off the bat. He understood where he was coming from with the music, how it connected with the records they listened to from the '60s-'90s, and Madlib's inclination to worked on his own in privacy. DOOM was all for it.", Jank reminisces. This certainly explains the mindblowing chemistry displayed throughout the discs 45 minutes and how even the skits and soundbites thoroughly add to make it a complete sonic experience created in the minds of two villains. The experimental sessions threw out the usual rap song format, adopting a free jazz formula where short tracks often lacked hooks or a defined number of bars, weaved together with insane dialouge samples from movies, cartoons and comedy routines. Smoking mad blunts and chilling in the California sun, these initial sessions truly sparked a powerful bust of creativity and raw energy which resulted in classics being transfered from the soundboard to reel and on to cassette. At the end of these sessions, which had went incredibly smooth and friction free, a free form hip-hop masterpiece had been created and according to Jank the album or extended play was more or less done as the duo parted ways, satisfied with their accomplishment.

But the story of "Madvillainy" was far from being over, as heaps of problems was about to arrive. In late 2002, Madlib, J. Rocc, PeanutButter Wolf and photographer/directors B+ and Coleman traveled to Brazil to partake in the brilliant Mochilla sponsored documentary "Brasilintime", a document of two generations and styles of musicians from Brazil and the US creating something musically worthwhile together (look out for a separate post on that). The reason I mention it here is because it was during this particular trip that Madlib lost two CD-R:s from his hotel room, featuring the rough versions of the at the time still unreleased Jaylib and Madvillain projects. As mentioned above, the unmastered Madvillain sessions on that CD-R was at the time more or less a representation of what was intended to form the retail release. As such, the leak really soured things for both artist and the label who believed that the already available material would make for a much harder sell. And geting the mysterious duo back in the studio to contnue the process proved to be easier said than done, as Jeff Jank later would recall - "The process of getting them back to work took most of 2003, and the very last parts of the album were much harder [to get done] than everything else" (Jank, 2011, Egotripland).

Despite frustrations, things did move along with Dumile and Jackson once again in the studio, with DOOM re-recording every single one of his original vocal takes. Lyrically his verses were the same (save for some minor tweaks) but he now opted for a less energetic performance, adding a more inhebriated raspy flow which worked wonders with 'Lib's heavily blunted, low end heavy, jazz bap beats. Besides re-recording all the already laid down vocal tracks, Madlib and DOOM also recorded a handful of new songs - "Accordion", "Raid" "Strange Ways" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" - the two latter based on beats created by 'Lib on an SP 303 during the aforementioned Brazil trip. 'Lib also invited talented friends and collaborators in Stacy Epps, Wildchild and Medaphoar to add their vocal talents to the album. With the recording of the final song, "Rhinestone Cowboy", (which even cleverly adresses the early leak and bootlegging) and a cinematic juxtaposition of obscure villainous movie clips gathered by DOOM and hooked up by The Mad Kid. And with that, the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed, and since 2004 Madvillain's "Madvillainy" has set the benchmark for a whole generation of free playing hip-hop musicians and listeners. More than ten years has passed since its initial release on Stones Throw, and the LP sounds just as powerful and groundbreaking today as it did on March 24, 2014. Hopefully one day we will se a proper follow-up to Madvillain, but in the meantime check out the original rare demo tape below. As it is not available for purchase anywhere as of now I just want this to be heard (it however actually was given an official release on a professional pressed up cassette - as part of the expensive, but now out of print, "Madvillainy 2 - The Remix" box). Note that many rips of this demo clumpsily inserts a 1998 demo of Madlib's "Infinity" song, which I have obviously deleted from the tracklist. ENJOY!

(Quotes and inspiration for this article:

01. "One False Move" (Intro)
02. "America's Most Blunted" (Ft. Lord Quas)
03. "Operation Lifesaver"
04. "Figaro"
05. "Rainbows"
06. "Just For Kicks"
07. "Fancy Clown"
08. "Shades Of Tomorrow" (Ft. Lord Quas)
09. "Money Folder"
10. "Stakes"
11. "All Caps"
12. "One False Move" (Outro)


Thursday, November 5, 2015

[Stream] SILENT SOMEONE - "I Have A Company"

From time to time you stumble upon an utterly dope underground release whose existence you didn't have a clue about. Such is the case with Bronx producer Silent Someone who I'm slightly acquainted wit through two excellent remixes he did for Soundsci, a powerhouse quintet that readers of this blog knows I have supported almost since day #1 and who is steadily building up one of the most impressive back catalouges any of this type of throwback hip-hop group has been able to produce. Beside four to five excelent group records (LP:s and EPs), Oxygen has released plenty of dope 12"s, EP:s and various guest spots, Audessey released one of the best albums of 2014 with producer A Kat Called Fritz and on the 9th of this month UGeorge is releasing a mindblowingly smooth, soulful yet boom banging LP called "The Many Faces Of U-George" (get ready for a review very soon). When recently talking to Jonny Cuba, one half of 'Sci's production team The Herbalizer, he put me on to a very smooth vintage hip-hop LP by producer Silent Someone (who previously has remixed two Soundsci joints for an official 7" and has provided some choice cuts for the aforementioned UGeorge LP). It turns out that Silent Someone dropped a full length album over a year ago that really flew under my radar, and I'm sure a lot of other heads. 
Titled "I Have A Company" Silent gets busy on the MPC, killing the turntables, and expertly chopping some rare but vintage funk, soul and jazz samples to create that true hip-hop vibe. Cuba even went as far as calling it his favorite album of 2014 so be sure to give it a chance. While Silent stands for all production and cuts, vocal parts are assembled from everyone from Sadat X, John Robinson, Akbar, El Da Sensei, Shaz IllYork, Tame One, Dave Dar, and more. Press play via PeasantPodum's Bandcamp where you can also download the seventeen track project in your digital format of choice for 10 USD.

[Shelved Classics] CANIBUS - "Hip Hop For $ale"; OG w. Nottz

In the section "Shelved Classics" I take a look at albums by major hip hop artists that for one reason or another failed to either materialize at all or was completely changed from its original concept once they were finally released. Note that I might use the term "classic" in a rather loose sense in some of these cases. Today I'm writing about the sixth original album by Canibus, the legendary New York emcee who has a reputation for being notoriously hard to work with as evidenced by his many feuds and skipping of labels. "Hip Hop For $ale" was to be the follow up to his critically acclaimed "Rip The Jacker", an album where he had worked exclusively with one producer (Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind) to achieve a consistant sound. For this album 'Bis aimed to repeat the One MC/One DJ formula by reaching out to the constantly underrated Nottz Raw.

Canibus and the VA beat master hooked up and started working on material for the as-of-yet untitled album. The combination was really something; Nottz's excellent brand of triumphant boom bap meshed well with Canibus' high level of lyricism and calm but precise delivery. The single "Hip Hop" was released to mixtape DJ's and created a decent buzz as even 'Bis haters needed to recognize the chemistry and classic hip-hop feel to the record. I'm not sure how much of the album the two actually completed, but an unfortunate falling out between the two would all but dead the projects true potential. The reason for the fall out was that Canibus manager had issued a mixtape to Sandbox Automatic called "The Vitruvian Man". The CD contained not one or two songs from the forthcoming but still unfinished new Canibus album but about half of the tracks the MC and producer had recorded together - and not in snippet or low quality versions either! This made Nottz pull out of the project and vowed to never work with 'Bis again, a fact that is very unfortunate considering the power of songs like "Back With Heat", "It's No Other Than" and "Hip Hop".

Having both the "Hip Hop For $ale" and "Virtuvian Man" at hand I thought it was only right to put together this Lost Tapes version of the material.. I used all the Nottz productions from the retail LP and added the  original songs not available on the LP from the "Vitruvian Man" to create an idea of what we might have heard where the real collaboration fulfilled. While the production here bears the trademark of Nottz's sound there are no guarantees that all of the beats are his since the "Vitruvian Man" did not come with any credits. Either way it's an interesting take on an album that in the end featured some brilliant moments, yet failed to live up to its potential. Enjoy!

01. "Hip Hop (What Ya Want)?" (Ft. Nottz)
02. "It's No Other Man"
03. "Back With Heat"
04. "Show 'Em Love"
05.  "I Gotcha" (Ft. D.M.P.)
06.  "What You Lookin' For"07  "They Dontr Know"
08. "Let Me Fuck You"
09." Full Battle Rattle"
10. "Dear Academy"

CANIBUS / NOTTZ - "Hip Hop 4 $ale" [OG LP]

[Comp] KEITH MURRAY - "Splitting Heads With Logs"

We all saw one of Def Squad's strongest artists and lyrical '90s sensation Keith Murray make 2013 Canibus look like a battle rap scientist when he got up to "battle" Fredro Starr of Onyx a couple of weeks ago. I can seriously say that it was an almost physically painful thing to watch as Murray went on to redefine words like cringeworthy and awkward. In interviews afterwards he has been saying that he got some complications from a medicine he was taking, but no matter what's the case the actual bars that he was saying (and rewinding and repeating at that) was straight up WACK! You don't talk about wearing gazoline drawers while walking through hell or threatening to beat your opponent with a log in 2015 battles. And you don't turn into fucking KRS-One, especially if you don't got anything clever to say while using that shtick. All in all it was a very confusing batltle but most importantly - it was absolutely HILARIOUS, some of that stuff in there is dangerously funny to watch and will be remembered as a classic clip from now on.

The thing is that no matter what went down in that battle, all of Keith Murray's previous achievements and sick ass back catalouge remains exactly the same. So while we clown on Keith for winning (at losing) perhaps the worst battle rap of all time, let us not forget "The Most Beautifullest Thing in the World" and "Enigma". Two terrific mid-'90s albums that gracefully married Murray's complex flows, spaced out concepts and commanding voice with the dark low down dirt funk of Erick Sermon. With that in mind I put together a little compilation of Keith's cameos, soundtrack apperances, B-sides and official remixes from the first part of his career, from his recording debut on "Hostile" (Erick Sermon: "No Pressure", 1993) to "Live Wires Connect" with UGK and Lord Jamar ("Don't Be A Menace" O.S.T., 1996). In trying to keep with the vibes of his LP:s of the time I have not included all available material from the era, instead I've tried to build something that holds up on its own and is based on the chemistry between an emcee and his producer. With very few exceptions all of the tracks here are produced by Mr. Sermon. So crank up the volume and just enjoy this funky set...

01. "This That Shit"
02. "Get Lifted" [Sermon Remix]
03. "Hostile" (Ft. Erick Sermon & Jeffrey Stewart)
04. ""What I'm After II" (Ft. Lords Of The Underground) [prod. by K-DEF]
05. "It's Goin' Down" 
06. "Cosmic Slop" (Ft. Redman & Erick Sermon)
07. "K. Murray Interlude" [prod. by Nashiem Myrick]
08. "Welcome" (Ft. Erick Sermon)
09. "Tell 'Em"
10. "Pay Per View"
11. "East Left"
12. "Breaker 1, Breaker 2" (Ft. Redman & Erick Sermon)
13. "Newark to C.I." (Ft. Shaquille O'Neal)
14. "Freestyle" (Ft. Redman) [beat by RZA - "Protect Ya Neck"]
15. "Swing It Over Here" (Ft. Erick Sermon & Redman)
16. "Dip Dip Di" [You Remix Me]
17. "Live Wires Connect" (Ft. UGK & Lord Jamar) [prod. by Lord Jamar]


[Stream] TALIB KWELI x 9TH WONDER - "Indie 500"

Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder's "Indie 500" is another one of those releases that I've been really eagerly anticipating since it was first announced a while back. What's strange though is the fact that the majority of the project is not at all produced by 9th Wonder however, instead 9th's four beats are combined with heat supplied by Nottz Raw, Khrysis!, Hi-Tek, Eric G to make the LP a memorable one. No matter how you slice it this should be a banging project as Talib knows how to make a banging record when he got the correct beats to work with. You can stream the full album via Soundcloud, while the CD and LP ships from UGHH now.

[Documentary] OUTKAST's "Stankonia"

2015 marks the fifteen years anniversary of OutKast's which still today stands as the last proper group album from the legendary ATL duo. Real hip hop heads often throw heaps of praise over "ATLiens" and "Aquemini" while those who fell in love with the more accesible sounds of the group swears on "Stankonia". The truth of course is that they are all classics as 'Kast is one of those rare groups who managed to put out classic LP after classic LP - and not only classic as in an extremely dope record but classic as in a truly groundbreaking game-changer. The following mini documentary was produced for the ocassion by MTV and takes us behind the scenes of "Stankonia" (using old footage) as Dre and Big Boi speaks on their production methods as Earthtone III, how they picked the singles and more. Check it out (and in related news - also check out Organized Noize get busy on the latest installment of "Rhythm Roulette" )!

As a little bonus for y'all I uploaded the sick OutKast / Goodie Mobb collaboration "Sole Sunday" which appeared as the B-side to some of the "Ms. Jackson" singles. It was however originally recorded for, and included in, "Any Given Sunday" the same year as "Stankonia" dropped. Produced by Mr. DJ for Earthtone III productions. Also in celebration of the anniversary is a limited edition re-release of "Stankonia" on multi-colour splattered 2xLP set. The reissue drops on November 27 and can be pre-ordered @ UGHH now.

OUTKAST / GOODIE MOB - "Sole Sunday" (2000)

[EP] MED / MADLIB - "Classic - The Outtakes"

In celebration of the release of the new MED / Blu / Madlib collaboration (see post below) I've dug up a gem from MED's Soundcloud page that I never saw catch the buzz it should've. Medaphoar came up with Madlib in Oxnard and been an integral part of Madlib's career, appearing as the only guest emcee on projects like 'Lib's excellent Blu Note remix album. Madlib has also been the main producer of MED's two first albums, "Push Comes to Shove" (2005) and "Classic" (2011). The latter project is what this post pertains to, as an "outtake reel" of almost 15 minutes of previously unreleased material was made available for free streaming via MED's Soundcloud page a couple of years back. Featuring seven tracks originally recorded for "Classic", with guest apperances from Aloe Blacc, Oh No, Steve Arrington, and Pok, this makes for a gripping listen and a perfect addition to throw on following your next listen to the original LP. And did I mention that all of the music included here were produced by Madlib? Much of these beats, in slightly altered form, ended up on other projects created around the same time - most noticeably Guilty Simpson's "OJ Simpson" and the Strong Arm Steady LP. If you missed out on this set the first time around... TURN IT UP! [illest track - "Hold U Down", damn!]

[Stream] MED x BLU x MADLIB - "Bad Neighbor"

Three of the West Coast's most interesting and innovative artists of the day got together to record the full-length LP "Bad Neighbor" which is now available on wax, CD and digital through MED's own BangYaHead imprint. Since its announcement a month or so ago I've been absolutely stoked for this project and I can say that it does not dissapoint. Blu and Medaphoar have a really strong chemistry and their voices and styles go really well together and there's a lot of strong concepts to assure a satisfying listen. Madlib is the captain of the ship however and while it might not reach the incredible heights of "Pinata", 'Lib does create magic here through his delving into his vintage 1970's Soul crates. An interesting note on these recordings is that this album has been gestating for several years, going through a severe transformation guided by MED. Originally Blu recorded a bunch of new songs over beats he had received from The Mad Kid, much of which was put out (and soon after withdrawn) on the free Blu LP/mixtape "UCLA". MED then took it upon himself to use those aborted sessions into building a full scale MED/Blu/Madlib collaboration LP with some massive guest features. And the result speaks for itself... While I felt that the second half is a little stronger, I also gets the feeling that this is one of those projects that will grow a whole lot on you so I'm reserving my final call on this one. But I can put it like this - it is definitely one album I will purchase to add to the record collection.

Stream the entire LP below via Spotify and be sure to support the artists by purchasing a copy of "Bad Neighbor" in your format of choice @ Rappcats (just noticed that the 2xLP set isn't released until December 1, but pre-orders are up).