Tuesday, July 11, 2017

PEEDI CRAKK - "Good Life"

Good vibes from the North Philly spitter who brings a little summer anthem over a smooth instrumental conjured up by the elusive 4th Disciple. Shout out to WTCFoLife Blog for linking the stream.


Feel free to hate on me all you want for posting shit that's been out for some time but as you know I haven't been updating The Lost Tapes and slept on a bunch of solid releases myself and this is one release that deserves that spotlight big time. This will most likely be the last such update as I don't need to make this some backlog site but this May release by The Legion's Molecules over Showbiz beats really brought out the certified Hip Hop head in me like it was the late '90s all over again. For sure, there's been some hot shit dropping while I've been away (Kendrick, MC Eiht, Boxcutter Brothers last project which I reviewed for Vendetta Vinyl) but this one right here feels a little extra special to me as Show's been a favorite of mine for a long time and I feel that this is all-around one of his finest work in some time. Molecules was of course part of The Legion who dropped the much slept-on "Theme + Echo = Krill" back in 1994 so he is a seasoned underground veteran as well, and his connection with Showbiz on wax goes all the way back to "Runaway Slave".

Both lyrically and sonically "A Bronx Tale" sounds like it could have been recorded in 1995 - and I mean that in the best way possible. Many producers try to recreate that classic sound of the Golden Era while only ending up with something that sounds like an empty knock off of the real thing. This is the real thing right here. You got the breakbeats and gritty drum loops, the accentuated bass lines, horn stabs that fades in and out, Rhodes and all that good stuff. Combined with Molecules' knack for ghetto storytelling in a gruff voice that will speak volumes to the type of rap heads who can't get enough of hardcore emcees like Blaq Poet and Bumpy Knuckles and you got a really well balanced, strong release. 

Fans of D.I.T.C. and The Legion will of course remember that 'Cules and Show first worked together as a duo on the brilliant storytelling joint "Revenge" that first appeared around 1999 on a rare Japanese pressing of the D.I.T.C. album. That classic cut definitely feels like a prequel to this project and that could never be a bad thing. Grab the 12" vinyl or the CD (both which also includes the full instrumentals for all cuts) over @ Fat Beats and check out the stream below.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

[Album] SADAT X x DIAMOND D - "Sum Of Man"

Now I know damn well that three weeks is a lifetime on the world wide web but considering I haven't been posting for The Lost Tapes at all I never got around to post about Sadat X's latest album when it dropped. You don't have to worry that I'm going to backtrack and post all sorts of stuff that dropped in that interim but this one is special to me. Called "Sum Of Man" Sadat X teased about it quite some time ago, saying his next album would be entirely produced by super producer Diamond D. Truly a man of his word, the two has been hitting the studio hard to create a solid twelve joints that's nothing short of certified Hip Hop. The Brand Nubian emcee and the D.I.T.C. production maestro has been working together for a large chunk of their respective career, ever since Diamond laced the classic Nubian single "Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down" (in three equally sick versions) and X and Lord Jamar returned the favor by appearing on "Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop"

Just like he did with Southern hardcore spitter BIGREC a while back the sound and atmosphere is perfectly catered to Sadat X smooth style, intelligent lyrics and unmistakable voice, at the same time as it's unquestionably carries signature of Diamond D. The record is all about these two, a celebration of their 25 year long musical relationship, but guests turn up in extended family like Jawz Of Life (seen and heard on the first single, above) Kurupt and Tha Liks, former Terror Squad crooner Tony Sunshine and the always impressive Raheem Devaughn. I've only heard the singles so far but I'll definitely be listening to the entire LP later today. The release of this album hasn't exactly been big news so hopefully this post might shine a light on the project for some other heads who's been sleeping. The album is released independetly through Dyamond Mine Records and can be purchased in both digital format via iTunes and on vinyl @ Fat Beats or Amazon so pick your choice but do support this!

01. "The Devil is Near" (Ft. Jawz Of Life)
02. "Neva" (Ft. Timmy Hunter)
03. "Good Inside"
04."Out of Bonds" (Ft. Diamod D)

05. "Always Be My Lady" (Ft. Raheem Devaughn)
06. "Yawl Can't Drink With Us" (Ft. Kurupt & Tha Alkaholiks)
07. "Celebrate"
08. "Who's Judging" (Ft. Tony Sunshine)
09. "Bang Bang"
10. "Get Away"
11. "The Five Boroughs"
12. "Reflections"

Stream @ Spotify

[EP] AYATOLLAH x HELL RAZAH - "Blaxploitation"

That Heaven Razah and Ayatollah release a full-on project together has been written in the stars for quite some time now. When Razah and Shabazz formed T.H.U.G. Angelz word was that Ayatollah would lace the entire project and was basically the third member of the group. Then we got "Welcome 2 Red Hook Houses" which featured no 'Tollah beats at all. A dope album but it lacked the signature soul of the man behind classics like "Ms. Fat Booty", "Hold U", "Lift Ya Glass", "The Life" and so man others. Shabazz and Razah had a falling out and the planned T.H.U.G. Angelz album was put on hold. Luckily Razah released it as a free download for the fans called "R.I.P. T.H.U.G. Angelz" and as promised it was a true trio collaboration. If you haven't peeped it yet, be sure to do so, it stayed in my phone for months and months (the first 13 tracks are the actual album and the majority of it is produced by 'Tollah).

The two worked again on Hell Razah's finest statement today, "Heaven Razah", where Ayatollah produced the single "Kids in the Street" (see above). Now the duo is back with more untouchable music, this time in the form of a 12-track release called "Blaxploitation: A Piece of the Action". I think this is the first time we hear Razah recording after beating his brain aneurysm and waking up from his coma so you can imagine the strength of this brother. Stream below but support these legends over @ iTunes.

[Video] METHOD MAN - "The Classic"

This video has been around for a while but I bet a lot of people missed on it or slept on it, which is a god damn shame because Method Man brings the heat on a solidifed beat. Pure spitting, no hook or nothing. But the reason is that this was originally a track by a cat named Cortez who grabbed Meth for a feature on a remix to his "The Classic". Meth hijacked the shit, cut off everything but himself and put out a video to promote his forthcoming "Meth Lab II: The Lithium" project. You can check out the full version featuring Tommy Boy artist Cortez @ iTunes.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

[Review] JAY-Z - "4:44"

Last week out of nowhere JAY-Z dropped his thirteenth studio album pretty much out of nowhere; no promotion, no hype, just 37 minutes of fantastic music. In fact this might be one of the Hov album that will go down as one of his best, a future classic alongside "Reasonable Doubt", "Blueprint" and "The Black Album". I loved "American Gangster" so I'm a bit on the fence on which album is better but this is more focused and the lyrics is just on another level, totally original from the JAY-Z we know. With one of the best emcees in the game meeting one of the best producers of the industry, NO ID and Hov has created an album that brings back the values of what a really great Hip Hop album could and should be. "4:44" is entirely focused both from a lyrical and a sonic perspective and the two mesh exceptionally well. It reminds me of classic albums from the late '80s where an album was treated as a body of work that was being worked equally hard on by both the artist and the producer to sound like a body of work that could stand on its own. From the first track "Killing JAY-Z" to the final song "Legacy" Jay-Z is telling the story of where he is at today, and it's brutally honest at the same time as it's packed with slick lines that I already noticed went straight over fuckers heads. And what's great is that the music in itself does so much in telling that very same story. 

Jay-Z has built a career on being a tough business man who's great at talking slick to girls, loving to spend lavishly on designer brands and champagne and he can outrap almost anyone, and not only does he know it - he lets it be known. But what made Jay succesfull isn't only the ill flow, his fabolous lifestyle and fierce battle bars but also the little hints of honesty that allowed us to come close to Jigga and learn about him, faults and all. He was never as transparent as say Nas or DMX, far from it, but for almost every album he had a joint or two where he invited listeners into his world to let us partake in the world of the real Jay-Z. These records were often the stand-outs on each LP and I dare say that if it wasn't for these type of tracks he wouldn't have made it to the top. I'm talking songs like "You Must Love Me" (such a heartfelt verse, describing how he shot his own brother and just ran), "Blueprint (Momma Loves Me)", "Moment Of Clarity" and "Where Have You Been" (making up with the father that abandoned him), "D'Evils", "Regrets", "Lucky Me" and so on. I feel that since his 2006 comeback he has kind of shied away from these type of topics which in my opinion has hurt these proects somewhat. It's like they've been missing something.

With "4:44" I'm glad to say that JAY-Z is back in full efect and it's easy to see why he often comes up in discussions about the G.O.A.T. Hov is a grown man now, he is in Forbes magazine, he could care less about petty beef, and here he basically decided to do his most personal album yet, It's like a 36 minute therapy session, and the way thing starts is pure brilliance. With "Kill Jay-Z" he is admitting his faults and killing his ego to get to the bottom of Shawn Carter really is. There's quotable for days here as it's basically an older, more experienced man speaking to his younger self, explaining where he did go wrong. "The Story Of O.J." is another standout from the set which is directed to black people in the US, and once again also can be seen as a wiser Jay-Z speaking to a younger, more immature version of himself. He talks about managing our finances in a proper way, investing money and not flexing. The line "Y'all on the 'Gram holding money to your ear/ there's a disconnect, we don't call that money over here" is a classic Jay double entendre that could've been straight from "Reasonable Doubt". A lot of fools don't get how slick that line is, only hearing the "holding money to your ear on Instagram" flexing" line when its the lines that come after that really solidifies it at lyrical and worthy of recognition.

All through this NO ID certainly rises to the challenge and it's such a beautiful thing to just hear two artists vibing in the studio coming up with a really coherrent sound. TThey have worked before, but often with at least a gang of producers around - the one song I can think off that was just Jay and NO is "Death of Autotune", and matter of fact that wouldn't be too out o place here. Sonically that is. It's a great mixture of sampled gospel, soul and jazz classics and live instrumentation coupled with some real hard drums but the beats never got to busy to take the top spot from Jay-Z. He touches on so many honest topics here, from his mother's homosexuality and finall coming out the closet on the more laid-back but beautiful "Smile". There's the title track (see video above) which features a truly heartfelt apology from Hov to his wife for cheating repeatedly on here (as macho as Hip Hop is, could this be the first record of a man saying he is truly sorry for that). No ID again does a beautiful job of combining a repeated vocal sample that stretches out and finds the team in the melting pot between R&B and boom bap.

And that's halftime, but there's really no point in breaking down every song as this is as true an album as they come and I dare to say that 10 years from now this will be looked upon as one of Jay-Z's classics. And the same goes for NO ID as this was undoubtedly a team effort. It's a blessing that Jay-Z realized he doesn't need a million and one producers to make a hot album; just get one really talented guy that understands your vision and we're almost there. Lyrically this is a new chapter in Jay-Z's book and one that is very welcome, he's grown up and got some rich man problems but that doens't mean that he's gone soft on us. There's plenty of shit here for the average man to relate to and for the rest there's a lot of advice to be taken heed to. I really liked "American Gangster" but as that was a concept album perhaps it's more honest to say that is Jigga's best joint since "The Black Album" some 15 years ago. No matter how you feel about this man be sure to check it out ASAP and let's hope that more artists follow suit in letting one or two producers handle their whole album front to back.

Friday, July 7, 2017

PRODIGY mural pops up in Queensbridge

 The artists unveiled the mural Thursday at 13th Street and 40th Avenue to honor the late hip-hop star.
On June 20 we lost one of the true legends in this Hip Hop game as Prodigy, real name Albert Johnson, lost the fight with his sickle cell disease. Heads over the world has been mourning as his words has touched people all over, and with one of the illest flows and voice nonetheless. Graffiti was always an integral part of the culture and memorial pieces has been an important statement and a tribute. The other day, the first of many, super dope memoral pieces of P appeared in his stomping ground of Queensbridge, on the corner of 13th and 40th street. The artists behind the mural are curator/artist Eli-Eos and portrait artist Jeff Hernandez. Check out more info about the piece and see pictures of the piece in the making over @ The Fader.

If there's anything like good news coming from this terrible event is that at the beginning of the year P told media that he was about to drop one album in three volumes during 2017. In late January he dropped the first "book" of "Hegelian Dialectic" subtitled Book of Revelations. The second part was to be called Book of Heroine and Part 3 to be titled Book of the Dead. Originally the trilogy was supposed to drop in a pretty narrow time frame and each volume would explore three distinct traits of P's personality; the occult knowledge, the party type joints as heard on "H.N.I.C. III" and the straight street shit that he built much of his career off. So Prodigy fans, its very likely we haven't heard the last word from the Hempstead emcee turned Queensbridge representative. My prediction is that we will have all books of "Hegelian Dialectic" within a year so stay tuned. And The Lost Tapes will most likely drop a solo P compilation as well. Check out this freestyle from better times and rest in power Albert Johnson, you'll never be forgotten.


[EP] DJ SHADOW - "The Mountain Has Fallen" (Ft. Nas & Danny Brown)

With a release like this EP, that brings back traditional hip-hop values, and invites some of the illest lyricists of the both past and present some haters might say that the legendary DJ/producer behind '96 stone cold classic "Endtroducing" is somewhat on a return. His new EP "The Mountain has Fallen" is no doubt a hardcore back-to-basics four-track project but the truth of the matter is that Shadow has been dropping gems for years; it's hardly like "Endtroducing" is his only worthwhile album and his legacy rest on what a fucking classic that was. That album broke a lot of ground as far as being 100% concocted from samples while being instrumental and sounded like totally new musical compositions. But beside "Pre-Emptive Strike" (which was recorded before '96) he kind of switched up his style and yes there's been some duds along the way; but that's what happens when you're an artist and experiment. But don't forget that he in 2011 released the super-slept on album "The Less You Will Fall" that sported a new era but borrowed heavily from what made Shadow fans first take notice, and also featured guest spots from Posdnous, Talib Kweli and even Little Dragon for good measure. If you haven't heard that album be sure to check it out ASAP.

Now Mr. Davis is teaming up with Mass Appeal, gearing up for another album, and just dropped an EP to whet our appetites and the four track project sure as hell does not dissapoint. A mixture of vintage samples, live instrument, breaks for headnodding hip-hop and some imrpessive turntable work this genre defying project will be getting a lot of play. Especially the first song that features no less than the first meeting between NAS and Shadow on the throwback banger "Systematic". Steven Price does a great job of closing out the project with the hectic "Corridors". Check it out for free below stay tuned for a new full-length by this one-of-a-kind DJ/producer.