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Monday, February 26, 2018

The FIRM - What's the verict?

The Firm album had a lot of things working against it at the time of its release. For one thing Hip Hop was just moving into the shiny suit era where popping cristal and living "the good life" was on constantly being flashed. Now granted a mafioso rap record inspired by Martin Scorse and "Scarface" could definitely get away with spending large money on champagne, fine cuisine and poppin' tags. but it was the shiny suit type beats that didn't work at all. Luckily for every "Firm All Stars" or "Fuck Somebody Else" there as a "Firm Fiasco" or a "Desperados". Secondly these were all New York cats, and some of the hottest cats on the streets at that particular moment at that, yet it was released and co-executive produced by Dr. Dre. This is not a knock on Dr. Dre but we all know that he was in between signture sounds from between his Death Row days and what would become his Aftermath/"2001" sound. That's not to say that Dre didn't deliver bangers but this was a point where everything he touched didn't turn to gold. There's excellent Dr. Dre productions on The Firm album, whcih in fact was the first Aftermath LP, such as "Phone Tap", "Firm Fiasco" and "Untouchable" and these is the type of records we wanted an entire The Firm album to sound like - nothng but street shit. Unfortunately that's only about 50% of what we ended up getting.

The other half of the production team and the co-execs were The Trackmaster who had a long standing relationhip with both Nas, AZ and Foxy Brown at this point but would also go on to manage Nature for his debut album on Colombia in 1999. Granted we can't lay the blame on The Good Doctor's doorstep, neither can we lay it at the extended Trackmasters family (Poke, Tone, L.E.S., Curt Gowdy and Dave Atkinson). Because both teams made great music for the project, and both teams made some equally weak music for the projet as well. If anything I think both the pros and cons should be shared equally between all the major players involved (Dre and his production team, The Trackmasters and their production team, Nas, AZ, Foxy and Nature).

What bugs me is that this could've been a true street classic that would be remembered to this day as a great follow-up to "It Was Written", but it just wasn't to be. Let's start with the negatives and build from there - while AZ absolutely murdered all of his verses, Nature did a good job and Foxy was being Foxy, Nas was occassionally phoning it in but to be fair he did have some excellent verses along the way. Second all the skits beside the intro and maybe one more could easily have found its way to the trash can. Biggie started the stupid sex skit on an Hip Hop album, but seriously who the hell want to listen to AZ or Foxy Brown fuck on record? Nature was dope on this LP so I'm not even going to mention the Cormega connection or what could have been as a negative. What I will mention is the several songs that were either delted from the final tracklist or appeared on B-sides or mixtapes and that could have made the LP a whole lot stronger. But we will get to all that later.

The album had the mafiosos concept set up all the way back with "Affirmative Action" ('It Was Written') and "La Familia" ('Ill Na Na') and the album starts of brilliantly in this fashion with the intro, "Firm Fiasco", the excellent "Phone Tap" and "Executive Decisions". This is quickly then derailed with sugar coated BS like "Firm Family", "Firm All Stars" and "Fuck Somebody Else". However for the first four songs we are on our way to a classic album, Dr. Dre really did his thing on "Phone Tap" and "Firm Fiasco" mainly working together with Chris "Glove" Taylor wo's been around since 'The Chronic' days. The drum programming is straight slamming, the guitar melodies and the occassional electric piano chords and female vocalizations make both "Phone Tap" and "Firm Fiasco" nothing short of Dre classics. And while "Firm Fiasco" is a great introduction to the crew by Foxy, Nas and AZ (god damn, did AZ not murder that verse) but it's "Phone Tap" that is the lyrical masterpiece with Nas and AZ going back and forth over a tapped phone, with the two trying to talk through the static without incriminating themeselves. Dr. Dre plays the phone-tapping fed on the hook here,

"Executive Decisions" is the exact type of shit this album should've sounded more like as it's similiar i vibe and style to both "Affirmative Action" and "La Familia". Nas has a sick opening verse and the hook is straight up crack over those lovely strings but it might just be Nature who shines the brightest here. That is until you hear AZ's unbelivable flow that is though. All in all a monster of a record and at this point people had all the expectations in the world that this LP would be solid as hell.

So then we get to "Firm Family", a Dre produced collaboration between Nature and Dre. This isn't actually a bad record, but it's a Dr. Dre record, complete with the West Coast vibe and live instrumenttion by Sean Cruse (guitar), Kamara Kambon (keys), Jerry Moore (flute), Mike Elizondo (bass) and a summer-type cookout vibe interpolation of Sexy Mama by The Moments (1973). Both Nature and Dre does a good job but once again this should never have been on The Firm record. We needed beats like the three preceeding joints, "Affirmative Action" or "East Coast / West Coast Killaz". Oh well, at least it's a decent summer jam.

Well The Trackmasters sure ain't going to be worse for wear in producing something godawful that have absolutely no business on the album. Unlike "Firm Family" which was actually a tight joint on its own, "Firm All Stars" is The Trackmasters getting jiggy with it and though Nas is on the hook the verses comes courtesy of Foxy Brown and her little brother Pretty Boy. They had joints like "Time" and "State Vs. Sosa" and they thought this wa the way to go? What the actual fuck!

"Fuck Somebody Else", another Dre production, another Foxy Brown solo song. I don't know what the hell these guys were thinking here becasuse this is just wack. It's of course an interpolation of "You're Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else" by the Jones Girls from 1979. This ain't no Firm shit!

"Hardcore" is once again Poke and Tone getting jiggy with it while Esco and Foxy is going back and forth. While the beats are a little to radio friendly circa '97 for my liking I can dig this as Nas and Foxy got bars on here. And speaking of bars the next joint is really an interlude produced by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man called "Untouchable" featuring a verse Nas ghostwrote for Hose of The Bravehearts. Why the fuck didn't thiey give this the song full treatment, it's that ill.

"Five Minutes to Flush" is Nature solo song, and a concept song at that. As Dre was constantly doing around this time he made interpolations of classics (sort of like Puffy but way better) and here he and Glove is remaking "Five Minutes of Funk" into "Five Minutes to Flush". Basically the Feds are at Nature's door and he better make rid of that drugs he got stashed ASAP. I fuck with this cut, it got that slamming Dre funk, the Roger Troutman talkbox, and an excellent take by Nature. But should it have been on this album, that's the question?

"Desperados" on the other hand is vintage Firm shit, produce by Curt Gowdy, Poke and Tone who's guitar driven beat is instantly rewind worthy. The only fault here is that this joint was originally 6 minutes long as proven by the original leak on a DJ Clue tape. On this album version Nas and Foxy Brown's verses are nowhere to be found and as excellent as Canibus' verse is I'm not sure who actually took it between him, AZ and Nature. Now if we can only get perfect CDQ/NO DJ FLAC version of the original version.

Now we have reached the most commercil record on an album that already has too many of them. Even the producers Poke and Tone kind of dissed this record (in fact L.E.S. produced it while Dr. Dre mixed it and added some live instrumentation). The idea was to come out the gate with a commercil single but you had fucking Nas, AZ and Dr. Dre, what you needed was street singles and a a street album. What's funny is that the remix known as the "World Famous" remix and appeared on some versions of the 12" single was so much better on all levels.

Noreaga appears on "I'm Leaving" together with Nature, and brings a lot of that "War Report" style while Poke and Tone does an excellent job with the guitar heavy production and heavy drum programming. Nature's final verse is some heavy shit for sure. AZ and Haf-A-Mill did a lot of heavy records together and "Throw Your Guns" surely does not dissapoint as the album closer in any way shape or form. Drum programming and bass line is knocking and the guitar sample and the occassional cuts makes for an excellent album closer.

But god damn, is this album frustrting or what? It features probably 30 minutes of really dope music with excellent lyrics, strong beats by some of the best producers in the game, coool concepts, but the remaining 25 minutes is hardly what i would think anyone would wanted from a Firm album. And when you take into account that there's at least 20 minutes of unreleased material that never made the final cut it really tells you how dope this LP could have been. Download "Time" produced by Dr. Dre, and featuring Nas, AZ and Nature below as well as the World Famous remix of "Firm All Stars", featuring Mary J. Blige on the hook! 

Download @ ZippyShare
01. "Love is Love" (AZ / Nature)
02. "Affirmative Action Remix" (Nas/Cormega/Az/Foxy Brown)
03. "Firm Biz Remix" (The Firm)
04. "Time" (The Firm / Nas / AZ / Nature)

Apathy Ft. M.O.P. & Celph TItled - "Stomp Rappers"

I'm not the biggest fan of Apathy I've we're being one hundred, but the kid does have bars, a great ear for beats and gets some great guests on his record (just check the entire album he did with OC last year for example). On the first Friday of March (2/3) he is releasing "The Widow's Son" and based on the singles and credits this one will be worth to hear at least a couple of times. For the love of Hip Hop I'm posting all of the singles including the latest joint which features none other than Lil' Fame and Billy Danze over the appropriately titled self-produed "Stomp Rappers".

The real winners are the three earlier singles, produced by Nottz, Pete Rock (and featuring Pharoahe Monch) and DJ Premier's "The Order". Looking at the tracklist, it seems that as far as outside credits we have gotten all of the best shit aisde from the AG and DJ Mekalek-assisted "Never Fall Off".

Sunday, February 25, 2018

NAS x Symphony Orchestra - "Illmatic" live from the Kennedy Center

PBS channel has this show called "Great Performances" where they dedicate an hour show to a great performance by coupling a legenary artist with a symphony orchestra. There's been performances by Andrea Bocelli, Alicia Keys, opera performances of "Madame Butterfly" and much more. But there for sure has never been a Hip Hop artist perform in this context before and this is a HUGE look for the genre. And of course it is Nas who is going to be the one to do it. The Nasty one was in a somewhat similiar situation with his collaboration with DJ Premier and the Berkley Symphony Orchestra in "Regeneration" but this is an entire live performance of "Illmatic". Nas is always incredible live but this adds yet another dimension and you can see how he truly puts his all in it. PBS uploaded the video for free to their site but unfortunately only americans are able to see the conent. So thanks to YouTuber Lonnie Mac we can now all have the privelige of watching this amazing show,

[Mixtape] CAPPADONNA x PETE ROCK - "Hip Hop"

This mixtape dropped a coupe of months back but the way it's been totally lacking in promotion and so on is just insane. About a year or so ago there was word on Pete Rock's twitter that he was producing a project for a Wu-Tang Clan member - and that Wu-Tang Clan member was Cappadonna. Then out of nowhere, with hardly any promo, Cappa drops this 12 track mixtape called "Hip-Hop: The Mixtape" and he's not even making it a thing that it is produced by Pete Rock on the front cover but instead he big up the DJ, DJ Intrigue. I think Cappa need a new team becaue this is just ridiciolous. Sure the sound quality varies greatly on this tape, but the music is by far the best Cappa has put out since at least "The Pilgrimage" (very underrated album btw) and is so much better than recent bullshit like "The Pillage 2","The Cappitalize Project", and on and on and on.

These 12 tracks brings out great music out of Pete Rock, Soul Brother #1 and the chemistry between him and Cappadonna on tracks like "I Cried", "Walking Down The Street" and "Rhytmic Explosion" is album worthy material. Had this been engineered, mixed and mastered propetly and perhaps added 2-3 tracks this would have been a home run for both artists. But as it is now not many people don't even know that there is a full Pete Rock / Cappadonna joint so I'm here to enlighten you.

You can download the entire tape @ GLF Ent and stream the entire project up top via YouTube. Don't sleep on this, because it's fuego. And don't forget to TURN IT UP!!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

[Compilation] TRAGEDY KHADAFI - "The Kuwait Tapes"

We here at The Lost Tapes love Tragedy Khadafi, while I did like his "Intelligent Hoodlum" album it was when he dropped "Tragedy: Saga Of A Hoodlum" that I really started to fuck with him. And then we got his whole 25-to-life movement and the molding he did of Capone-N-Noreaga from average street rappers to revolutionary slang kings on "The War Report". Nas, Mobb Deep and Tragedy Khadafi is the epitome of the Queensbridge sound, there can't really be one without the other based on the fact on how much they inspired each other. Some might think that Tragedy is just a street rhymer but they are clearly not listening - Trag is as ill a lyricist as Nas and Prodigy were at their prime. Just check Tragedy's verses on "L.A. L.A." (the Kuwait mix where he just keeps going and going), "T.O.N.Y.", "Parole Violators", "Calm Down", "Message to Killa Black", "Blood Type", "They Forced My Hand" and "Permanently Scarred". And that's just to name a few classic verses and tracks.

Recently Khadafi dropped two free tapes featuring some of his finest, yet rarest material from this period - fittingly titled "The Kuwait Tapes". The tracklisting is similiar to a Tragedy compilation I upoaded way back when that I never got around to reupload so I hope you'll enjoy it again this time around. I know I will! 

01. "Calm Down" (Ft. Nas & Noreaga)
This 1997 classic was supposed to appear on "The War Report" but it's a good chance label politics got in the way. At least it was released on the CNN 12" singles from "The Report".

02. "Judas Theory" (Ft. Capone-N-Noreaga & Mobb Deep)

This monster was produced by Stretch Armstrong as a promo for the upcoming artists back in '96.

03. "Half A Mill" (Ft. Capone-N-Noreaga)

This was another radio freestyle to get the CNN names out there. Some sources says it was recorded in 1995 and some sources say 1996. My guess is for the latter.

04. "Strange Fruit" (Ft. Noreaga, Pete Rock, Cappadonna & Sticky Fingaz)

Pete Rock was working on his first solo album back in 1997 and while the album came out nothing short of blazing the Soul Brother sure made a name for himself. The exception was the Nina Simone sampling "Strange Fruit" which was by far the hardest record on the LP. The album version didn't feature Noreaga, Pete Rock or Sticky Fingaz either.

05. "The Turnaround" [Thug Remix] (Ft. Real Live & Capone)

Only the real heads knows about this one as it was the B-Side to the "The Turnaround" and thougit's proudced by K-DEF it really features that thugged out CNN type sound mid-'90s. This is probably my favorite CNN remix / B-side / rarity and for good reason so if you never heard it you are definiteyl in for a treat.

06. "LA LA" [Iraq Mix] (Ft. Capone-N-Noreaga & Mobb Deep)

The 'Kuwait Mix' was always my shit, as I always felt it came as hard as it could and it also proved Marley Marley was still one of the dopest producers in 1996 (Stretch Armstrong did the edits). The Iraq Mix wasn't bad by any streth of the word, but the West Coast vibe that payed "homage" to the Dogg Pound song didn't pack the lethal punch that a diss record of this caliber truly needed.l.

07. "1st Day of Spring" (Ft. Mobb Deep)

Word is that this is a "Hell On Earth" leftover, though I don't think I ever seen an official source for it. Either way it does pack Havoc's dark horror vibes production and raw verses from Hav, P and Tragedy - remember that Tragedy was the one that took Havoc uner his wing back in the early 1990s and had him rhyming on his "Saga of a Hoodlum" LP. "Hell On Earth" is basically perfect as it is, but to be fair, I'd rather have this song than that enhanced CD content "In The Long Run".

08. "Thug's Paradise Remix" (Ft. Capone)

"Thug's Paradise" originally appeared on the Nothing to Lose soundtrack before appearing as a hidden joint on "The War Report". And the worst song at that. D-Moet's flashy production really didn't do nothing for that album and this remix does equally little.

09. "Mumia 911" (Ft. Chuck D, Pharoah Monch, Black Thought, Last Emepror & Zack DeLa Rocha)

Ok now we're getting back to business. This was always a favorite of mine and the full-lenght version features a bunch of other rhymesligers like Afu-Ra, Wise Intelligent, Slim Kid 3, Aceyalone, dead prez and then some. This was released as a 12" single in honor of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal under the collective name of Unbound Allstars. The 12" single featured remixes by Fat Lip, Diamond D and an uncredited one called "Rocks Tha World Full Length Mix". I'm not entrely sure but I think the version included here is the Diamond D remix so that's a good sign in and of itself.

10. "Renaissance 2.0." (Ft. Black Market Milia & R.A. The Rugged Man)

The only Black Market Milia member not to make an apperance here is Killah Priest but it's Ok considering how dope the beat is, and how Tragedy Khadafi. Timbo King and R.A. The Rugged Man murder shit.

11. "Lift Ya Glass" (Ft. Imam Thug)

This Ayatollah produced banger was actually included on Trag's first solo album, "Against All Odds" but consering how excellent this joint is and the back and forth between Trag and Imam Thug is I don't mind in the least.

12. "Usual Suspects" (Ft. DMX, Mic Geronimo, The Lox & Ja Rule)

Mic Geronimo had a lot of potential so it's a shame he kind of dissapeared after his second album, "Vendetta", from where this is lifted. "Usual Suspects" is kind of the follow-up to "Time to Build" that featured DMX, Ja Rule, Jay-Z and Mic Geronimo. The track in question is produced by Daven Prestige Vanderpool who was kind of an uneven producer but here he broguth the goods..

13. "Armageddon (Crime Side of Life)" (Ft. Self)

This Tragedy Khadafi single dropped in 1999 on Next Level Distribution but didn't make too much noise at the time. Consdering that Trag's "Against All Odds" was originally supposed to drop in 1999 it's possible that this is actually a cut song from the original album.

14. "Enemies Of The State" (Ft. Canibus)

One of a couple of collaborations between Canibus & Tragedy. I think the year is between 1997 and 1998 but I could be wrong.

15. "Bottom Line Dollar Sign" (Ft. X1, F.T. Royal Flush & Jane Doe)

Now this is an ill posse cut right here featuring several somewhat forgotten rappers. Personaly I'm a big fan of F.T. of Street Smartz and Jane Doe recorded a solid album with 88 Keys that never got released, and of course Royal Flush is an underground street legend in his own right. This js a rare joint right here, I actually never rhard heard it before.

15. "Let's Be Specific" (Ft. Havoc, Raekwon, Freddie Foxxx & Cool Whip)

This is an underrated banger for sure. Taken from Funkmaster Flex first installment of his "The Miixtape Vol, 1; 60 Minutes of Funk"). This is a power house ending to a sick compilationso sit back, press play, turm the volume up and ENJOY!'

[Album] MR. LIF & L'ORANGE - "The Life & Death Of Scenery"

Mello Music Group keep releasing quality music from quality artist. Mr. Lif has released excellent music since before his Def Jux days with underground classics like "I Phantom" and "Enters The Collosseum", always filled to the brim with clever concepts and an unmistakable flow. So when he join forces with L'Orange you can count on all fingers and toes that this is something you'd better listen to if you want a headbanger with lyrical substance. Stream for free or cop the high quality FLAC or Mp3 via Mello Music Group's Bandcamp. And while you're at it be sure to check out the debut album from The Perceptionists, tehe duo consisting of Mr. Lif and Akrobatik. Turn It Up!!

01. "The Perfect World Radio Hour: Day 279"
02. "A World Without Music"
03. "The Scribe" (Ft. Akrobartik & DJ Q-Bert)
04. "The Perfect World Radio Hour: Day 304"¨
05. "Antique Gold" (Ft. Chester Watson)
06. "The Gentile End"
07. "The Perfect World Radio Hour: Day 341"
08. "Strange Technology" (Ft. Akrobatik & Gonjasufi)
09. "Five Lies About The Outsde World"
10. "The Perfect Radio Hour: Day 421"
11. "A Palace in the Sky"
12. "There's An Art to Sleeping" [*Bonus]

"The Life & Death Of Scenery"

Friday, February 23, 2018

Blimes Brixton Ft. Method Man- "Hot Damn"

Mr. Methtical joins Bay Area native Blimes Brixton on her single "Hot Dream". Meth and Blixton has built up a relationship over the last few years and the chemistry is definitely there. The songi is taken from Blimes upcoming Castles album.

[Album] Khrysis & eLzhi - "are Jericho Jackson"

Another day another dope Detroit album. eLzhi has been a beast since back in the days of Slum Village and since then he has just kept on becoming better and better. Following 2016:s excellent "Lead Poison" (not to mention his uúnbrlivsblr "eLmaticc" joint with Will Sssiion) he now teams up with North Carolina producer Khrysis of Justus League fame. For 38 minutes and eleven songs the duo stay clear of guests but gets heavy on the soul and jazz. The album is available on Deezer, Sporify and Apple Music so go find that ish and press play.

01. "World of Illusion"
02. "Overthinking"
03. "Self Made"
04. "Cuffin' Season"
05. "Seventeen"
06. "F.R.I.E.N.D.S."
07. "To Do List"
08. "Talkin' Bout"
09. "Listen"
10. "Brequets"
11. "Thank You"

PRHYME - "Rock It´´

Now this is what I'm talking about. DJ Premier and Royce Da 5'9" has always been an incredible combo and their Prhyme album with Adrian Younge was super fresh. After releasing a deluxe version of the original 9 track album an dropping a looise with Logic on the "Southpaw" soundtrack it was quite clear that Preemo and Royce was back in the studio cooking up some marvellous shit to get your mouth watering. The album "Prhyme 2" drops on March 16 and will feature 17 tracks - listening to the two singles that has dropped so far I'm not too sure that Adrian Younge is actually involved at all this time, but oh well... The new single that just dropped, "Rock It" is that good ol' Boom Bap shit we love from these gentlemen while the lead single featuring Dave East was so-so if you ask me. Check out both tracks right here and head over to iTunes to pre-order.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

U-GOD Ft. Raekwon, Rebel INS & Scotty Wotty - "Epicenter"

Real Wu-Tang heads know that Scotty Wotty is a beast on the mic who at one point in time was supposed to hold down a part in the legendary Clan before drugs and life happened. Scotty and GZA even was the Staten Island rhyme teacher on the street corners so for U-God to not forget where he is coming from speaks volumes. "Epicenter" is like the fourth cameo from the older God and it's a monster record from March 30th BabyGrande release "Venom" so be sure to check that one out. And if you're like me having trouble waiting DJ Green Lantern, DJ Homocide and Baby U has released the second installment in the "Bring Bad God" mixtape series while we wait for the official album. March will also see the release of the official first autobiography of one of the nine generals, so be sure to support and pick up "RAW: My Journey into The Wu-Tang" as soon as that drop.

Monday, February 19, 2018

D.I.T.C. Still going STRONG

The entire legendary D.I.T.C. posse and the extended Diggin' in the Crates posse gang, has stayed busy from 1988 to 2018 to say the least. Bursting on to the scene with Jazzy Jay and his label, super DJ Diamond D and MC Rob in '88 when they made noise with the single "I'm Not Playin'" which was also the name of the Ultimate Force LP that unfortunately got shelved until 2007  While the album wasn't officially released for almost 10 years it sure as hell made waves and started the D.I.T.C. brand as Jazzy Jay's studio in The Bronx became the go-to-studio for the producers and emcees in the Bronx Area that Jazzy saw potential in. within a couple of years, the Diggin' in the Crates brand was established, building on Lord Finesse's classic "Funky Technician" and Showbiz & AG's "Soul Clap" EP. Diamond, 'Ness, Showbiz & AG was in a couple of years expanded to a full fledged crew including super-talented Big L and OC as well as, produced Bucwild and Fat Joe Da Gangsta. Not to mention semi-related affiliates like Party Arty, D-Flow, AG's brother Wally World, to name a f ew.

D.I.T.C. is probably the one crew that's on the level of Wu-Tang Clan in continuing to release solid projects amd through their 
The Shop you can still grab both free digital albums and physical  vinyl and CD:s. A couple of years back we got the excellent "Mugshot Music" trilogy from Showbiz & AG, "The Diam Piece" by Diamond D,  Lord Finesse's instrumental series and so much more. In other words few crews still goes as hard as the Diggin' in the Crates crew and much of the music is free so don't sleep. Only recently OC dropped the digital but limited "Same Moon, Same Sun" LP via the DITC Store. That project doesn't seem to be available anymore but don't cry over spilled milk because the lyrical phonemona that is Omar Credle has already struck gold again with yet another LP. This one, entitled "A New Dawn", which now be pre-ordered from the site so don't sleep on its February 23 release date. There's both vinyl pressings and CD:s  to grab so hurry up and buy!

As if this wasn't enough Showbiz is also releasinga new project through the site, this one called "A Room Therapy" and officially drops and should actually be out now (although the webstre says Pre-order). The CD goes for 12.99 while LP heads will be forced to pay the somewhat hefty sum of ... About the project it says that it features prodcution by Show, Motif Alumni (who has really shown and prove over the last ew years or so), OC, AG, Tashane Bars, Tashane (R.I.P.), A-Bless, Majestic Gage and Jay Nortey. At the moment there's actually a free digitalal download on the page so as they say "Hurry up and buy". The same goes for Show & AG's very overlooked 2017 project "Take It Back" EP which i still upp for free digital download, physical copies and if you want to show at least a little support you can get the LP version rather than the free EP version for only a minimum dollar. D.I.T.C. always move with the times while staying true to their roots!

Yo, and since it's Lord Finesse's birhtday today I think it's only right i'll hit you up with a gem or two of his that's might ne all that well know. Check it out:


After a somewhat long hiatus Eminem finally dropped his eight album "Revival" - most likely the thematic closer to the trilogy we didn't really know we wanted that also includes "Relapse" (2009) and "Recovery" (2011) which in different ways describes Marsall Mathers' return to a sober life and the hardships and perils of living a stable life without the cruth of those drugs. His latest LP is probably his most  honest album yet as he in a heartfelt way finally make up with many of the problms that has made him relapse, yet his big enough to let go off the anger and see his own wrongdoings as well. I'm talking about songs like "Bad Husband" which is a very different track from the somwhat similiar but totally opposite "Kim" for example. 

As a white emcee that has put out his fair share of wack records, the "True School" heads love to hate on Em while artists like Jay-Z, Scarface, Rakim, Nas, Royce, DJ Premier, and so forth has nothing but the utmost respect for his artistry. Even before the first single of "Revival" dropped haters was quick appearing out of the woodwork to destroy the unheard product and what it looked like on paper based on all the popsingers and commercial soul/R&B artists that was featured on the tracklist. Don't get me wrong, there's a few real golden turds on here but at 19 tracks and 79 minutes long it's clear that Em knows how to make good music at this point - damn, he basically gave the middle finger to half his fanbase, asking them not to support him, did that stop him from making dumb numbers? 

Granted, "Revival" features it's share of weak, uninspired music that would have benefitted tremendously being cut all together but the fact remains that when the LP is good it's really fucking GOOD. 

One of the songs that caught flack was the first single "Walk On Water", produced by Rick Rubin and Beyoncé, and that's just ridiciolous in my opinion, It's a different single for sure, but Eminem is really pouring his heart out here, rhyming his three verses over nothing but a Grand Piano and a string orchestra while Beyoncé does a great job with her vocal part and lyrics. I have a feeling that this was not was Em fans was expecting after the hiatus following "Recovery", an album that overall just felt wrong and forced on so many levels. Here he let all his, and Beyonce's, insecurities shine through over an impeccable melodic instrumental. Lines like "As yesterday fades and the Dresden home is burned to the ground/ and all that's left of my house is lawn/ the crowds are gone, and it's time to wash out the blonde/ Sales decline, the curtains drawn....". It's an excellent way to start an album and the five minutes of somberness and honesty does a great job of preparing us for some hardcore ish with what should have been the two street singles "Believe" and "Clorasephtic".

Not only are these two joints bangers in their own right but it's Eminem kicking the younger generation at their own game. You could call them "trap"-type of beats but it's actually Em and his usual team (Luis Resto, Mark Batson and Mike Strange) that's responsible for "Believe" while Mr. Power single handledly kills "Chloraseptic". "Believe" is by far one of the illest joints on the LP, both production wise and lyricallly. The combination of the strings, the A-minor piano chords, the bass and drums that kicks in during the powerful hook, and the hook itself is really something that would work lovely for a single - "Do you still believe in me?/ Didn't I give everything I had to give you to make you see/ I'll never forget if you turn your back on me now/ and walk out, I will never let you live it down/ I'll never quit, do you still believe.... In me!?" Like I said before this really cries out for a video and radio play.

Both on this and the following track "Cloraseptic" Em is beating the youngings at their own game, with the triplet flow made popular by that girly men Migos. And he sure as hell does a terrific job, showing that even a fairly straightforward and simlple rhyme sceme can be ill as syphillis in the right hands. The trap type beat with its agressive bass line, repetitive piano line and powerful drums that would work well in any club. Again Em kills this mumble rappers at their own game and even get Brooklyn emcee Phresher on the hook. Not to mention the remix where we get Phresher and 2 Chains and a three minute long verse from Em that totally obliberates any blogger that dissed the album based on the tracklist and the first singles.

The second single is an excellent joint that is sort of a follow-up to "The Storm" freestyle diss to the so called POTUS, It's a clever song at that, split into two distinct part. The first part is from a racist white police officer's point of view and is set over a rock rap tune based on a Cheech & Choong classic. Similiar to Joyner Lucas "I'm Not Racist" the second part is straight up boom bap Hip Hop where Em steps into the shoes of a Black Lives Matter activist, feeling violated by the boys in blue on a constant basis, There's plenty of quotables here.

Next up is the third single, "River", featuring Ed Sheeran, a song that I really didn't like the first few times I heard it but that has really grown on me. Lyrically it's a good song that a lot of people can identify with, and I surely take a song like this, pop influences and all, over something like "Without Me" or "We Made It". Ed Sheeran and Em surely has chemistry and the story they tell of a failed relationship that culminates in infidelity and abortion. The song is produced by longtime Em collaborator Emile Haynies and both production and vocals are on point - and the video does a good job of catching the visuals of the record. In other words we are 5 out of 5 "Revival" records so far. Unfortunately we are now at the point where things takes a turn for the worse.

Had the album held a solid 10 songs then this could have been a very focused album but as par for course lately Em is more often than not trying to cram like 20 tracks and have a little something for everyone. Big mistake! I for one relaly liked 3/4 of Rick Rubin's productions on "MMLP2". Hearing their Beastie Boys homage on "Bezerk" was nothing short of excellent, "Rhyme & Reason" was pretty brilliant and Rubin, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem om "Love Game" was pure Hip Hop at its finest. So with that being said Eminem and Rick Rubin can be a great combination, But who the hell came up with the idea of sampling Joan Ett's "I Love Rock & Roll" and barely doing a better interpretation than Britney Spears. And to make it an obnoxious misogynistic joint with weak punchlines like "Your booty is heavy duty like diarreahea" or "You're so fucking fly that you belong in the mile high club". As if that wasn't enough, Rubin's next contribution is basically the same type of song - but instead of Joan Etts he's actually sampling Mark Wahlberg and John C. Reily coked out of their mind recording their "Boogie Nights" demo "Feel The Heat". Punchlines includes "I ask her do she want a computer lodged in her vagina/ Said my dicks is an apple, she said put it inside her,,,,"

While track 6 to 12 features some good lyrics and themes overall they are simply bad records that you don't want to hear again. Track 12, "Framed" is a monster of a record that any Emnem fan from the Slim Shady days to the "Relapse" days are gonna have a field day. It's certainly a Slim Shady record but with some politicial agenda, given how several emcees' lyrical output have been used as evidence in trials. Em is taking this agenda and building a case over super underrated producer and DJ Muggs associate Fredwreck. If it wasn't for the hilarious Steven Avery reference you could easily believe this was an unrelased track, but as such for any doubteers this is pure proof that Em never lost a step. The same goes for "Offended", a lyrical onslaught with a flow that's up there with the best and produced by IllaDaProducer and Eminem. The only downside is the extremely wack hook which works better in the sandbox than on a record.

Following this two excellent joints, we get a lyrical boomerang featuring P!NK called "Need Me" which is all sorts of bad and really boogles the mind whose idea it was to place that song there. Because as Eminem himself said in an interview on the album the epitome of the album is the three final songs - "In Your Head", "Castle" and "Arose". And they sure as hell make up for all the wackness we had to endure between track 6 and 12 (plus 15). I'm big on thematic concept records and "In Your Head", produced by Scram Jones, is sort of like the calm before the storm, but the two final records that closes the album is a one-two-punch that's pure excellence. "Castle" is produced by the always reliable DJ Khalil and is as heartfelt as they come. Liz Rodriguez vocal hook is nothing short of beautiful and the accustic guitar really add to the overall atmosphere. And when the drums kick in and the Farfisa Organ closes the song as Mathers take his suicide attempt by downing his methadone pills its nothing short of a masterpiece. But the song isn't over there, the story continues under the title "Arose",

Sampling Bettle Middler's classic "The Rose" which is heard very slightly under Eminem's verses. Melonhead claimed that this was a case of bad mixing which is all wrong, had the Middler sample been put to the same volume as the verses it would have been travesty. Instead it we are aware of the well known sample being there and that is certainly enough. We had "Walk On Water" but its relaly "Arose" that proves that Rick Rubin is still a top producer when it comes to Hip Hop and overall this is one of the best Eminem songs since the last 15 years, If you can relate this definitely hits home and with the beat, the scratches, the vocals and the flow this is as good as Hip Hop gets these days. This is so heartfelt as it follows up on "Castle", with Em writing letters to his daughter and after Kim taking custody of their girl and then loosing Proof he decides to take his own life. As "Arose" begins one of the most heartfelt moments on the song is Mathers soul leaving his body and seeing himself from up above - something a lot of people experience it after they die in the physical form.

And as his last line on "Castle" is "excuse the cursing, baby/ but just know that I'm a good person/ though they portray me as cold/ And if things should wosen, don't take this letter i wrote as a goodbye note/ because your dad's at the end of his rope/ I'm sliding down a slippery note, Anyways sweetie I better go/ I'm getting sleeping.... Shit I don'r know". These lines and meaning is totallty flipped as Em decides he wants to live, and flush the Methadone in the toilet while deciding ti not only give his life another chance but also his rap careér.