Saturday, December 8, 2007

...Some New (Old) Shit...

I picked this up a little while ago on philaflava.com, it's been posted on some other blogs in this form or others. There's a twenty track version for sale on www.djkasper.com if you're interested. I just thought I'd throw out a few of my favorite joints off it. It appears this is Bomb Squad material, so pre-Warlox, so pre-Styles despite the cover. It's all Sheek & Jadakiss. Kinda ups my appreciation for Sheek a little too, but the young Jadakiss, excuse me Big Jay, verses are the real gems.

Friday, December 7, 2007

...Hobby In The Lobby Presents Mac & Brad...


Here's a little mix I threw together after hearing the "Rain" off Beanie Sigel's new album The Solution. I'm still not sure how I feel about The Solution as I haven't had time to fully digest it, and it seems like an album that will probably grow on me. Sige took a different direction musically, but it was probably time for that, hopefully he'll come back on something a little different than this, but he didn't go too far left field for me. And he's still killing those verses. Anyway "Rain (Bridge)" features Scarface and it made me think "Hey there just might be enough Beanie and Face collabs out there to make a little mix." There were actually a couple more than I remembered, four of 'em happen to feature Jay in his prime too, and that's never a bad thing. A studio album with these two would be fucking incredible, I'm sure it'll never happen, but at least we can dream. Scarface's album Made, is also out, and as usual it's a great record. It's an imperfect album to be sure, but the last four or five tracks are murderous. Enjoy the mix.

Mac & Brad (Link Fixed)

Mac and Brad
Guess Who's Back featuring Jay-Z
Moms Prayin' featuring Jay-Z
This Can't Be Life featuring Jay-Z
Some How Some Way featuring Jay-Z
Never Snitch featuring The Game
Rain (Bridge)

...Just Quickly...



Madlib decided to remix the whole Percee P album, which was already produced by... um... Madlib. This time he took a decidedly different vibe though, and in many cases the result is vastly superior, sometimes it just sounds offbeat. Either way like Perserverance it's definitely worth a listen.
Here's a few tracks to give you an idea:

Two Brothers From The Gutter featuring Diamond D
The Woman Behind Me (Kind of like this flip better than RZA's...Hmmm)
The Dirt and The Filth featuring Aesop Rock

Thursday, December 6, 2007

...RIP PIMP C...



R.I.P. Chad Butler (December 29, 1973 - December 4, 2007)


There are some things the blog (and hip hop) "community" should (and usually does) come together for. One of those things is honoring the dead. Many felt that UGK got too much promotion from the net in 2006 and 2007, and while at times the hype may have overshadowed the product, the truth of the matter is that much of the praise was long overdue. You just can't argue with the impact that UGK made on southern rap and hip hop as a whole. Pimp C is responsible for too many production innovations to name. Stylistically Pimp and Bun, along with other early southern groups like the Geto Boys, 8Ball & MJG, and Outkast, birthed most of the styles that came to represent southern rap music throughout the nineties, and certainly helped create the climate for the southern dominated rap scene we've seen in the 2000's.

Ironically, the group is often most recognized for relative anomalies in their career, the smash hits, "Big Pimpin'" and "Sippin' On Some Syrup." Both had qualms about doing the former, their world famous collaboration with Jay-Z and Timbaland, because it was a clear departure from their "Country Rap Tunes" style. But if you're one of the many who is still late getting on the UGK bandwagon I don't suggest you start with that type of material, or their LP from that era, their least impressive, Dirty Money. The best UGK albums are their first three, and although I agree with the general consensus that Ridin' Dirty is their masterpiece, Super Tight is an excellent and criminally underappreciated LP, and Too Hard to Swallow is one of the most innovative albums in rap history. If you're collection is missing any of these it's definitely deficient. I also definitely recommend their collabo collection Side Hustles, which contains many of their best collaborations and soundtrack contributions and contains many tracks that are more in line with their classic material than the music on Dirty Money or Underground Kingz (which I also recommend, but don't bump nearly as much as their first three albums or the Side Hustles joint).

I can't quite gauge what will happen to the man's legacy now that he's passed, at the height of his recognition. Like 2pac or Biggie, Pimp C is leaving the game on top. But his catalog is closer to Pac's than Big's with five solid UGK albums, plus a few compilations and solo projects (and probably a pretty good grip of unreleased music). I hope his legacy continues to be recognized and appreciated like it has been this year in years to come.

For me I think the saddest thing about the whole scenario is how quickly Bun B and UGK fans have had to transition from the Free Pimp C rhetoric to RIP Pimp C. Thankfully, the Kingz blessed us with a great double-album this year which helped to solidify their reputation with a whole new group of younger hip hop fans, and will certainly help to cement Pimp's legacy as an innovator of style both on the mic and behind the boards.

I've got some uploads for y'all, and I'll throw them up later. Got some new posts on the way soon as well. Both on here and on Ohword.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

...D.H.ELL. Why DHL Is The Worst Shipping Company In The World...


OK, it's official, the worst way to get a package delivered is through DHL. I've received packages from UPS, FedEX, and the USPS for as long as I can remember and I can't ever remember having any problems. I recently ordered a dress for my girlfriend's birthday through Bluefly.com and when we discovered that the package had not been delivered on the day it was scheduled to be delivered we went online and checked the tracking number Bluefly had provided us.

The tracker showed that the package was delivered LDFD, when we looked into what that code meant, it means Left at the Door, the Front Door. So we called DHL to ask why on earth a courier would feel comfortable leaving a package by the front door, outside on a stoop of a walk-up apartment in the middle of a bustling metropolis. According to the company it is simply "up to the descretion of the courier" whether they are comfortable leaving a package on your door step. Well if the courier's descretion is really that poor, the courier should be fired. More disconcerting is that a delivery company has a policy that on the first delivery attempt it's an acceptable procedure to leave a package outside, virtually on the sidewalk without making any attempt to contact the resident, leave a notice, offer a pick-up spot, or have a neighbor sign for it.

Our apartment has a double buzzer system, and to my knowledge only the postman has a key to let him in the first door (and I'm pretty sure of this because my super is also kind of a dead beat and I can't see him making front door keys for even the UPS or FedEx guys, and he certainly wouldn't do so for a c-list delivery company like DHL).

So we've been in contact with DHL everyday since the incident, for the first three days they claimed they had to talk to the driver to ensure that he had coded the delivery properly and hadn't just thrown it back in the truck. We got the same response everytime we called for the first three days: The driver has left work for the day or hasn't started his shift yet (depending on time of day). When we formally complained through corporate, they did the same thing, and then offered us "overnight shipping" on our next DHL order (like we'll ever let them carry our packages again). It wasn't until we complained to Bluefly that we got any response from the company at all. They claimed that they had found the package and told us they wanted to deliver it that day. My girlfriend, not trusting their delivery man, told them to hold it at the center and we would go pick it up. So 6 days after the package was supposedly delivered we go all the way downtown on the Westside to 38th and 10th (hardly part of our regular commute).

Despite telling us explicitly that our package would be available for pick-up anytime after 3 pm, it was "still with the driver" at 6:15pm. They told us if we wanted to wait around until 8pm or come back, it would be available. So today, one week after it was "delivered" my girlfriend heads down there on her lunch break, after waiting for them to "look for it" for TWO AND A HALF HOURS they told her that "it wasn't there." The supervisor said "I think whoever has been telling you they found it is lying to you." When my girlfriend asked him what he planned to do about the fact that he is supervising employees who lie to their clients, he said "There's nothing I can do about it."

I have heard similar horror stories from friends, and had other bad experiences with this company in the past. At this point I question why anybody would knowingly work with a company that is this shiesty. So I'm not writing to request "Free shipping" or "Overnight" credits on my DHL account. I'm writing to say BUYER BEWARE, do not use DHL if you have any choice in the matter, and businesses you should not settle from this kind of service either. I don't know what kind of deals they are giving big corporations, but their service is horrible, they clearly have a roving batch of imbeciles as employees, they lie, and they DON'T CARE. Not only will I never have something shipped through them again, but I will boycott any company that uses them as their shipping provider. And you should too.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Philaflava.com's Top 100 MCs

I recently contributed to Philaflava.com's list of the Top 100 Current MCs. The list was made collaboratively with Noz (http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ and http://www.xxlmag.com/), Travis (http://www.wakeyourdaughterup.blogspot.com/), infamous Philaflava board member/trap rap afficionado Blastmaster, and Jason Gloss (aka Philaflava). So don't ask me why your favorite rapper didn't make the final list, chances are I either fought for him or somebody else did. But making a list this size is never going to please everyone. On the whole I think the list is very strong and accurate. If I were to make my own list the order would be much different, but I'm sure everyone's would. Enjoy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

...Catch Me In The Range Rove 4.6 Like Same Color Kangol...


I recently sat down for an interview with Save Our Streetz aka Hunned Bars to give the world a little backstory on this burgeoning New York talent. We had a chance to discuss the current state of hip hop, attempts to get signed, Jim Jones, his new album, his views on fact and fiction in rap, his two rhyming personalities, and his plans for the future.

B. Ware: What do you think the game's missing right now?

HB: Man... You know, what I'd say, the game's missing it's real candy, pop corn, lot of dancy, dancing stuff right now. Like, you know, the game was two turntables and a mic, nahmean. Now the game has a lot of R&B mixed in with it now. It's just missing that true essence, that spittin', back in the nineties, early nineties, mid-nineties, when cats was goin' hard.

BW: So when you're making your music, like how do you approach it, considering the way the industry is now, but still paying respect to the shit you love and grew up on?
HB: Definitely, I mean you know it's like, when it comes to my music, when I get a beat, I feel that beat, and I think that's like what was goin' on back then. You know when you get that beat, and feel that beat, whatever comes to you, that's what you deliver, that's what you spit out. Nowadays, you gotta bunch of A&Rs in the room, telling what you alright we want this type of song for this, and this type of song for this, yaknawimsayin'. Like that's what's changed for real. So for me it's like I hear that beat, I tackled that beat however I feel. Like if I feel it's a love beat, I tackle it with a love song, if it's a hard beat, however.
BW: Alright. Do you think it's harder coming out nowadays with the history of hip hop that we have behind us? Like you know when you were comin' out in '92 or '94, there were years of classic hip hop behind you, but it wasn't like it is now with ten to twenty albums coming out a week or whatever and maybe we care about two of them, maybe less. Back then there were two albums coming out, if that, and you probably cared about both of them.
HB: Yeah man, you know, just like you said. It's crazy like that. And definitely I feel it's harder, cuz now it's like, it's something... Before it was like alright, rap is new. It was new, so everything was accepted, let's bring it in. Now it's just like they got something they looking for. Now they're looking for a lot of candy popcorn things like, yaknawimsayin'. It's like that's what it is right now. It's crazy. Right now it is a little harder to get in there I feel, especially if you're spittin' that true essence like. If you're not comin' candy popcorn "This Is Why I'm Hot," and dancy with it like...
BW: Did you hear that new "Light Feet" joint with AG (The Voice of Harlem) on it?
HB: Aww man... I think I heard that you know. And it's like they're tryin' to piggy back off of something they thought was hot last summer. And that ain't even hit like. And that's the thing that's going on with the game too. It's like, they lookin' for this candy popcorn thing, and that's just gonna sit for like two three months and disappear. Like when you got somebody that people really listening to that got somethin' to say, like Jay, the man had something to say. The man been in the game like ten some odd years yaknawimsayin'. Like Nas, whoever, there's a couple names you could say.
BW: What was the last album you heard that you thought was a classic record?
HB: Classic? Wow. The last thing I heard that I thought was a classic? (*Whistles*) You know I'd have to go back. Well... I mean that's two-thousand, that Nas I Am yaknawimsayin' for me. That was my last classic, classic album, that I Am, that was crazy.
BW: Yeah that "Undying Love" was one of the craziest storytelling joints ever.
HB: Yeah, Awww man. That's probably my favorite storytelling joint ever B. My man was talking about that the other day, like. My man Nas storytelling, and Big, was off the hook like. You don't got that no more. You listen to half these rap guys albums you ain't hearin' no stories. Put on "Ay Bay Bay" I don't even know homeboy's name. Put his album on...
BW: Hurricane Chris.
HB: Yeah, Hurricane Chris. Not one story. If it is, it's some corny thing with a popcorn hook. So you know...
BW: Do you think with album sales dropping as much as they have do you think it's because the music is getting cornier and more canned do you think people feel like they can't put their faith in an album anymore? Cuz they hear one little hit jingle song, and they might download it or whatever, but...
HB: Exactly. That's just what I was gonna say like, this ain't worth putting my money into it. I'll just download it. I'm not gonna go buy this guy's album. See before... You know you still got some dudes that cats support, yaknawimsayin'. Like 50, he's supported, yaknawimsayin'. Even like Kanye, he's supported. So there's cats that's supported, yaknawimsayin'. Even they go a little crazy sometimes, but it's like that's what it is, like. They hear the popcorn, the dancy jingles, all that, and it may sound repetative on us, but that's what it is, like. But they hear that, and you know it's, ahhhh I won't buy that, yaknawimsayin'. They'll go buy somebody with some substance though.
BW: Do you have any stories about tryin' to get signed over the years? Any runins with any A&R's or artists, or whatever?
HB: Mmm... This game is crazy man. We done had dudes holla at us from ATL, talkin' this and that, we done fell through with them. We've sent money to dudes, you know the game is dirty man, the game is dirty. It's some dudes been playin' dudes the stories is crazy.
I done ran up on your man Hova, Jay-Z. You know this was a couple years back though. He was on two-fifth (125th Street) ran up on the SUV. Your man Bleek was in the back, so I hollered at him like "What's good? I'll battle your man (Bleek) right now, and see what it is. You know, not to take your man's shine, but just to show you what I've got." [Jay responded,] "Nah, holler at the office, holler at the office." So you know, sometimes you don't know what these dudes are lookin' for, like. You don't know what they're lookin' for, so... It's crazy, it's crazy.
BW: Yeah, now what time era, like what Jay-Z album was out then?
HB: Hmmm... That was about like that Hard Knock Life time. You know.
BW: Yeah so before Memph's album even came out then?
HB: Yeah, that was that Hard Knock Life time, I got at him like "What's good B?" "Nah holla the office." (Laughs) You don't wanna do that Memph.
BW: I know you grew up with Jim Jones. He grew up in the same building as you. He was at one point an A&R for Warner, I believe, he's also a prominent member of Dipset. Did you ever approach him about tryin' to get on?
HB: Man that dude. Man it's crazy. Cuz the dude, I mean it's not like he's a dude that a dude grew up with, but like yeah I know him. Nah it's like dudes knew each other yaknawimsayin'. He knows my name, I know his name, he knows my moms, I know his fam, like. It's crazy, like. But you know, dudes played ball together, and you know it's crazy. But you know, he done got passed a cd. You know, I really can't say what it is, yaknawimsayin'. Maybe he feels H ain't ready. I don't understand why (laughs). You know, it's crazy, maybe you know, he wants the shine from the hood. I mean, you could look at it from any angle, yaknawimsayin? But I'm comin' anyway, it ain't no worry. And I'ma stay.
BW: For your new joint, For The Love of Money, is it... are you calling it a mixtape or an album?
HB: Well you know some cats call it mixtapes some cats say albums. You know, I feel it's music. That's how I feel it's music. You know...
BW: Yeah you got some original beats on here too right.
HB: Yeah you know, original beats. You may hear some other beats, but it's a lot of original beats on here. You know on the next one, all original beats. So now I got another one coming after that, it's gonna be all original beats done by my man Pots. You know he gets crazy in the lab right now. So you know, we about to get real sick with it like. But the For the Love of Money joint you know it's good. We're gettin' good responses from it. You know, but it's all about timing, you know, my time ain't come yet, but it's comin'. It's comin'. You know I just wanted to build that buzz up, and this is what I'm doin'. You know, I already had a start, you know Sketch of an Artist, that was a couple years back, cats heard it. It was serious. But you know, For the Love of Money now I'm back. Ya boy is back. You know, that's on the album. You know, so this is all the movement, right here. It ain't no stoppin' this.
BW: How'd you meet up with this cat Flawless you got on this track?
HB: Hmm... Flawless, he on that "Stacks" joint. Yeah Flawless, Flaw's tough too. He a BK cat you know. My fam, my cousin rather. He live out there, and you know, he's dealing with a little management company. You know, and Flaw, he knew Flaw from way back, so he brought me out there you know, to work with Flaw like. I seen Flaw in the booth, you know, Flaw seen me in the booth. You know, respect was gathered. It started from there. Flaw's tough though, Flaw got a lot of respect over in BK, where he at, yaknawimsayin'. He got a good buzz, he been buzzin' for a little while, he got a couple songs with Trey Songs matter of fact. Yaknawimsayin' so he doin' aiight.
BW: Do you feel like hip hop artists have a responsiblity to be honest to their own life? Or is it just art, is it a reflection of your environment. You know what is your stance on fact and fiction in the rap world?
HB: Yeah, you know I hear you, I hear you. It's like, well with me, what I do is like... What you're going to hear on my tracks is mostly something I done lived, or one of my dudes done lived, or one of they dudes done lived. It's all a true story though yaknawimsayin? It's real like... Yeah I guess that's, some fiction, ain't nothin' wrong with a little fiction, you know. And like they say all fiction comes from fact. None of these cats, they can't say, that every track they done spit, that everything is real. You know something is some fiction, probably built off some fact that they done heard somewhere else. You know, through that on a track, yaknawimsayin'? Ain't nothin' wrong with that. If it brings the track to life, do it. If you know how to put the words together nice, you know flow good, that's what it is. Honesty? Hmm... A majority of the time you gotta be honest. You know, not every track, don't saturate it with falsehoods and lies man, that's not cool. You won't last.
BW: Alright. I wouldn't classify your rap as "conscious rap," but you definitely have a conscience about keeping some type of balance between the street perspectives, more introspective material, and you know positive things as well. Do you feel it's important to keep a balance in your music?
HB: Definitely, definitely. It's like, well number one it's my music, yaknawimsayin'. So for me to be hot? It's not hot if it's not how I feel. You know I'm gonna come across probably a little too harsh sometimes on a track, but that's what it is sometimes. A dude not always on a calm dude, a dude not always a conscious dude. It's like, you know, I can sit back and I can polly with the best of them. I can discuss some real serious issues and it's time, you know, it's a knucklehead in everybody. It's just like you know, that'll come across in a track. So that's where honesty comes in. I'm sayin' I can't sit here and do every track hard, or even go every track conscious. But all that's in me, so that's why I bring it out. You know dash of this here, and a dash of that here. Yaknawimsayin' you gotta keep it real man.
BW: You sing your hooks on some of your songs, you know were you trained as a singer, or is that something that just comes natural to you?
HB: (Laughs) Ah, that's a goodie baby. You know my moms she a singer and all that. She definitely had ya boy singing and all that as a youth yaknawimsayin'. You know, I mention it on the album, you may hear me say that on one of the tracks ("Reminisce") you know. But you know, she had me doin' that as a youth, but you know it's in me, my grandmoms sing, my moms sing, all my aunts sing, everybody sing, so it's in me. But you know I never really took to the singing thing, you know. Just like somebody feeding you peanut butter everyday when you a baby, you don't like it when you're grown. Yaknawimsayin' I had enough of that. But I definitely make use of it now. If I can use it, I ain't gotta call Usher, if I need a hook on my song, why not?
BW: What was your inspiration for "What Do I Do?"
HB: Hmmm... "What Do I Do?" The truth comes to light. (Laughs). You know, that's just a story that happens to many dudes, man, many dudes. I'ma be honest man, I watch Maury man. (Laughs). I done seen dudes cryin' up there like after they done took care of a kid for years, and I even know some dudes that that's done happened to and that's like... It never happened to me man, you know, but that's an ugly situation man. So I had to bring that to light for the dudes, you know empowerment for my dudes. It's always empowerment for the ladies, so I empowered my dudes on a track you know. That's what it is, like, it happens to us too man. We cry too. (Laughs).
BW: How about "Can't Come Home?"
HB: "Can't Come Home." See that's all honesty right there. Yaknawimsayin' you listen to that, right in the beginning I say, "This is a sylloquey of passages from niggas gone away." Yanawmean that's like lines in those verses are real lines that were written to me from my dudes locked up. I got dudes doin' twenty right now, yaknawimsayin', doin' twenty on some murder like, yaknawimsayin', that's what it is, twenty, twenty-two like. He's been in there since two-thousand. Got another dude in there doin' ten right now, for some drug joint. But you know, that's what it is, you do what you do. But those are my dudes, they write me letters, I heard the beat and on the beat, the hook was already on there. You know "can't come home," so I'm like "Wow," with that on there, that's tough right there, "can't come home," what could I put to that? Well, my dude's can't come home at night. They can do whatever they want in there though. They get money in there, you know they write me, "Baby, I'm gettin' money baby, I'm good. I'm gettin' money, seein' my fam, they come through, people sending me paper, blowin' weed up in here, it's all good, but I can't come home at night." That's ugly.
BW: What's the science behind H.B. and S.O.S.?
HB: Hmm... It's like, you know, cats could say that like, you know T.I. started it. I been doin' it though man. Like the alter egos man, like I got a freestyle joint HB vs. SOS, and had to bring my alter egos together on it. But that's goin' back to when I was younger, when I was probably like seventeen I was calling myself Majic when I was rhymin' yaknawimsayin' and my alter ego was The Truth. So it was The Truth vs. Majic yaknawimsayin' like on "Can't Come Home" I say when the man wrote me the letter "You was 'The Truth' before Beans," you know from my first joint. I had that cut "The Truth," so I been on my alter ego joint. You know, HB Hunned Bars you know it's a hundred bars, your man goes for miles, he doesn't stop spittin'. You put the beat on he goin' just nuts, bananas, he gonna give you a hundred bars. SOS, that's the conscious rapper I guess, that's you know Save Our Streetz dude like, you know he'll do a track like "Can't Come Home," he'll do "Reminisce, Reminisce," he'll do "What Do I Do?" Yaknawimsayin' that's S.O.S. HB is givin' you the "Ya Boy Is Back!!" yaknawmean, he's the boy that's goin' crazy on tracks like, that's HB.
BW: Well that's a wrap, unless you got any shoutout you wanna send.
HB: You know, shout out to everybody. Shout out my man Pots. Swiss, Watch it, Shout out my man McMannis, Rock, you know Ed Jones, Mac, miss y'all dudes. My man J.B. Ware good look for the interview, this what it is. It's a good look.

Here is S.O.S.'s debut album Sketch of an Artist and a few of his mixtape joints from the past few years. You can check out more of H.B.'s work at www.myspace.com/hunnedbars and his second album For the Love of Money here.

S.O.S. - Sketch of an Artist (2005) -
1. Intro
2. Bring It Back
3. Smashed In
4. Straight Sex
5. Dangerous
6. My Street
7. Let's Go
8. Who You Ride Wit
9. H Need Dow
10. Let's Roll
11. What I'm Bout
12. 5th Go Boom
13. Yes!!
14. How Many Bars Is This
15. Lock The Game

S.O.S. - Mixtape Joints -
1a. Ether
1b. Alter Egos
2. Genesis
3. Fire
4. Hunned Bars

Friday, October 12, 2007

...Original Hustlers...


Sorry I haven't been doin' too much posting lately. I'm working on a couple things though I promise. In the meantime here's a couple dope interviews to hold you over.


Check out my interview with Smoothe Da Hustler over here at philaflava. He talked about what he's been up to, the history of the Smith Brothers and M.O.P., and the new shit and potential re-releases of Life's a 50/50 Gamble, The Smith Brothers LP, and


And while you're at it click on Cormega's interview, which is one of the most revealing interviews I've read/heard (there's audio too) from a Queensbridge artist. He talks about the Firm, his relationship with Nas, and a whole host of other classic Queensbridge rap moments.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

...Do You Know the Smell of a Morgue?...


Here's a couple new joints. The first one is from the NYG'z new album Welcome 2 G-Dom, which is great and will be getting a review from me soon, whether on here or on http://www.ohword.com/. The other is from Killa Sha's new album God Walk On Water, which I haven't fully listened to yet. But I thought people would be interested in the Tragedy and Trife collabo.

NYG'z feat. Rave & Lil' Fame - Sufferin

Killa Sha feat. Tragedy Khadafi & Trife Da God - One Hand Wash The Other

Thursday, September 27, 2007

...Save Our Streetz...


Here are the three joints I promised earlier. Again this is from Save Our Streetz aka Hunned Bars new album For the Love of Money (seen above). Please check out the full review (and free album download) over at www.ohword.com (http://www.ohword.com/blog/841/save-our-streetz-aka-hunned-bars-for-the-love-of-money)and his myspace page, if these cuts catch your interest. I'll be back to drop some more science soon.


S.O.S. - What Do I Do?

S.O.S. - Can't Come Home

S.O.S. - Reminisce

...Oh Wooord?!?!?!?!...

Yeah so, the lobby isn't going anywhere, but I'm doing some work for www.ohword.com now, to add to my interview assignments at Philaflava.com and running this site. So my posts may be a little more sporadic, and more editorial over here. I don't want to stop doin' Lobby posts, because this is the one place where I can truly be myself without having to worry about what anybody else might think. So this may lead to the Lobby becoming a little more raw, and like I said the posts will definitely be more sporadic. But I have a couple of big projects in the works, some of which I will save for here and some of which I will post over at Ohword just for the added exposure.

For my first piece at Ohword I wanted to shed light on an artist I met in Harlem. While the money/gun/drug talk may put off some of you indy hoppers, download the whole cd and give it a chance, (specifically check joints 6-8... which I'll upload individually in here a little later) there's a lot more substance than you might assume. I rarely (never before in the Lobby and obviously never before at Ohword) stick my neck out for another artist, but I happen to think this dood's the real deal. Capable of making a classic album if he had the right production, studio availability, and resources. So check out S.O.S. aka H.B. and let me know what you think.

http://www.ohword.com/blog/841/save-our-streetz-aka-hunned-bars-for-the-love-of-money

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tired of 50 & Kanye?


If the desecration of September 11th by the over-hyped and underwhelming Kanye West and 50 Cent albums leaves you pining a little bit for some, well, hip hop, I have a few suggestions for you.

First check out Percee P's Perseverance. Perhaps the most passed over emcee of the golden era, Percee paid his dues with multiple 12" inch deals, historic battles with Lord Finesse, DITC features, and decades of hustling his homemade tapes and cds. Finally, after a twenty-five year career he releases his debut LP, with westcoast underground super-producer Madlib. While there may be times when the listener grows tired of Percee's repetitiousness (stylistically), the album is densely packed lyrical perfection from a true rap legend, over blunted out, but soulful, production. As a whole LP it may be a little much for repeated sittings, but there's very few weak moments on it.

Then if you've been wondering what else Primo has been up to (aside from his work on Big Shug's album, and the NYG'z debut), he's got three cuts on the new Pitch Black album. And although I wasn't a huge fan of their debut either, this time around they got two cuts from Marley Marl (well one is "The Symphony"... which is kind of enough all ready), two cuts from Alchemist, and a cut from Pete Rock. If you aren't feelin' the production on this album, you're too young to be reading my blog. Go do your homework.

And finally I got a treat from the upcoming Special Teamz album, which I just got (so I won't speak on it as a whole yet). Let's just say this track is fire, and I have high hopes for what Edo, Jayshaun, and Slaine can do over production from Primo, Pete Rock, Marco Polo, etc.

Here are some of my favorite cuts off these:

Percee P - Ghetto Rhyme Stories

Special Teamz - Get Down

Pitch Black featuring Styles P (Produced by Primo) - Nice

Pitch Black - Revenge (Best Primo beat I've heard all year)

Monday, September 10, 2007

...And Here's Another Hit (Of That Juice), Barry Bonds...

We can be relatively certain, from the dramatic turns in the careers of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds, that taking steroids can help you hit a baseball further. Despite what congress may feel about steroid in sports (who really cares what a bunch of pedofilic, closeted homo, racist crackers think anyway), kids know the drill. If you wanna play major league sports, you better start juicin' early. The jury is still out however on whether or not steroids have any type of positive effect on one's ability to record classic music. I stand here now to present before you a case for keeping steroids out of the recording industry, not because they give rappers and producers an unfair advantage, but because the seem to instill in their host a desire to make overly aggressive pop-thug rap, high-pitched space beats, botched crossover attempts with artists who most frequently populate the top 10 soundscan spots, and an undeserved sense of self-importance. Furthermore, steroids, human growth hormone, "the clear," and "the cream" can lead to lyrical impotence, an inability to update with the times, and an unbecoming desire to take your shirt off all the time. The evidence is laid out below, and the science is proper... marinate on it for a minute.

Here's Herc, the true father of this shit, back in his prime. Not exactly a lankey fellow, but...
...clearly not the roided up and irrelevant Herc we see here, unable to scratch or mix properly between two tables, Herc is left to get jacked and hang out in parks, reminiscing on the jams that used to be, when he was playin' records with needles, not puttin' them in his ass.
Here's Melle Mel at his most relevant. An early 80's mic controller party rockin' his way to social justice. Clearly a brother who worked out and all that, but...


...here Melle is, in all his roided up glory. Once considered one of the greatest of all-time, he is now a forgotten remnant of Hip Hop Stone Age.
Here's a young Dr. Dre (second from the right), post Wreckin' Cru, with his NWA brethren, jhiri curl juice drippin' and brand new heavy heavy superfunk mixin'.
Trade in the jhiri curl juice for "the juice," And you have the HGH Dre, responsible for crappy space beats (see Jay-Z's Kingdome Come, Nas's "Hustlers," and his contribution to 50 Cent's Curtis for proof), the shelving of Cuban Linx II, and the yet-to-be-heard-at-all-been-coming-soon-for-5-years Detox. LL in Krush Groove ('85) at the height of his innovation and lyrical prowess. Although LL continued to release classic albums sporadically throughout his career, his BMI is clearly in reverse purportion to his lyrical prowess.
See now the LL of recent years, resorting to nearly showin' off his johnson for record sales. But they sure don't come like they used to do they L?

Here's a young and hungry Curtis Jackson, a few years before he dropped his infamous "How To Rob," got shot, began his assault on the mixtape circuit, and eventually...

...became the roided up pop rap icon you see before you. In all of his homo glory (just thinkin' about what a humongous LL biter this dood actually is too). Don't look like he's 170 no more.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

...Got Damn The Wu Is Back...


Well I hope this track isn't indicative of everything that's on the new album, and if you believe Nahright and the Voice then it doesn't sound like it will be. I'm still on the fence though. It's a dark mooding banger reminiscent of what I found to be some of the weaker moments on The W, the third best Wu solo. That said, it's Wu, and doods sound like they're spitting, and the RZA definitely isn't compromising the sound, but it remains to be seen (by me at least) if he was able to take it up a notch or at least illustrate his own brilliance properly. I think if the beats are there, the album won't fail, and I think ultimately this will either be my new third favorite Wu album, or it will fall below The W, and above Iron Flag. I'm not gonna get too cynical on you just yet though. This shit is hardcore, grimy, dark, and brooding. All things that good Wu music should be. I think INS is learning to use his new voice a lot better too. Anyway, enough talk, here it is:





Wednesday, September 5, 2007

...You Play Koch A&R...

You get a new G Rap record. The joint has an obvious sample from a Rocky movie, but it bangs. It's not quite as good as Laze-E-Laze's flip of the sample, but you know M.O.P. got it cleared back when they were on Relativity. So it can't be that difficult right? You figure what the hell, send it back down to G Rap and Domingo to do an alternate version, for comparison if nothing else.

They come back with another sample you've heard before (I can't place it at the moment, but I've definitely heard it before). The song still bangs, but it's a little more cluttered. Consider the climate of rap music right now in making your decision. You have to understand that although Kool G Rap is a bonafied legend, his fan base is minimal. If you made the best G Rap record ever right now it probably still wouldn't move more than 10-20,000 first week. And you'll only get that kind of push if when you leak it to the innanetz, strategically and to the right source, they love it. Everybody loves it. And the blogs start blogulating, and the press imitates the blogulating, and the 26-40 year old die hard hip hop audience download it and decide on straigh gp, they'll support. Think KRS and Marley Marl's album, that's close to your best case scenario. If it was that much iller, it could maybe sell a little better (so far the album does not sound crazy ill to me, but I've only heard like three tracks and G Rap was killing them all, and the beats weren't bad, but they weren't great either).

Neither sample is probably that big of a deal to take care of it, but you also have to think of the big picture. What type of album do you want to create? Who is your target audience and what will they support more? What's the best way to meet your bottom line?

Kool G Rap - Rising Up (First Version)


Kool G Rap - Rising Up (Second Version)


M.O.P. featuring Teflon and Jay-Z - 4 Alarm Blaze

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

...NYG'z Interview Up...

NYG'z interview I did is up over at the Phila now. Check it out, find out what Primo's up to, here about their sessions with Lil' Fame, etc. www.philaflava.com/q&a.htm

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

...Double Up...


Making an effective double album is always something with which hip hop artists have a difficult time. I'd call it a "lost art," but the truth is it has never really been done to perfection in this genre in music. I'd comment on other genre's which have produced great double albums, but the only ones I can think of are very obvious jazz records and shit, so I won't bother tryin' to impress people with a knowledge I really don't have. But rather than just writing a straight forward review of Underground Kingz, I have whimsically decided to look at the history of the hip hop double album and try to place UGK's new joint amongst them, somewhere. Well the first official one we all know was 2pac's last pre-posthumous, tribute to his own work ethic, All Eyez On Me. Now this is an album steeped in lore, from an era where hip hop artists selling multi-platinum wasn't really no thang, and dropped soon after Pac's release from prison, and not long before his untimely demise. While there is plenty of filler on this joint, there were also plenty of anthems, bangers, and hits. Even if the album as a whole isn't a magnum opus, it probably contains at least a good third of what should be Pac's greatest hits.

Biggie's Life After Death has similar highs and lows, really only getting bogged down with all the skits and a few unnecessary collabos on the second disc. Like Pac's double joint, if reduced to one album it would be the artist's undisputed classic release. As it stands I prefer Ready to Die slightly, although the eerie moments on Life After Death, You're Nobody Till Somebody Kills You (etc) still hit me like nothing else in music. Overall there's a good argument for Life After Death as the GOAT of hip hop's double albums, but for me, it's not quite there.

Wu-Tang's Forever is perhaps the only instance of a rap double album not being overly ambitious. When you have a nine member crew with an in-house super producer, with his own set of production disciples at your disposal, plus more rhyming affiliates, you should really drop a double album every two fuckin' years like clockwork. That said, this is another candidate for the best hip hop double. Ultimately there are a couple throwaway songs, but for a magnum Wu opus, it's hard to beat.

Dipset's Diplomatic Immunity, like Wu's Forever, relies heavily on the group's large rhyming crew and an in-house production team (Bootleg Just Blazites The Heatmakerz). What the album suffers from is too many half-assed rhymers, only good for an occasional hook or catch-phrase, but not worthy of their own songs. Interestingly enough, none of Dipset's members have ever made another record that approached the overall vibe and enjoyable campiness of this record.

To me, Jigga's Blueprint 2 and Nas's Street's Disciple aren't worth more than a cursory mention. Even by combining the best of their two disc albums, you still don't get an album on par with their greatest achievements. Time has not treated either of these albums very well, and both were severely tainted by the artist's scattered approach to the album, and the lack of a cohesive production mold or team.

Looking at Underground Kingz, through my scientifical reviewing methodationologiness perfected over the millenia of my life, I have devised that there is actually no filler on this album. Instead what we get is New South crossover attempts, with varying effectiveness. What I mean is that all 26 songs on Underground Kingz are worthwhile in one venue or another, but they don't all fit the mold of what people have come to expect from UGK. The "country rap tunes," that C & Bun are so famous for make up about two thirds of this album, with the remaining third reflecting less traditionally UGK-esque production techniques. A big reason for this development is the fact that this is album has less Pimp C production (although he does co-produce a lot of the tracks) than any of their previous efforts. However, one can hardly be upset when N.O. Joe, Three 6 Mafia, or Scarface step in to take up the production reigns. What will cause long-time UGK fans some headaches are the Jazze Pha, Lil' Jon, & Swizz Beatz inclusions. And it is fair for die-hard fans to be a little upset by the inclusion of these outside influences (certainly didn't work well on Dirty Money), but UGK has new fans as well. The inclusion of more modern southern producers gives some of the material on the album the same type of vibe as a lot of the shit that Bun B has been guesting on over the last four years. It is for those younger UGK fans as well as younger rap fans in general that UGK most likely made this concession (their label probably loved it too).

Neo-South contributions aside, it is that classic UGK sound that grounds the record and makes it equal parts spiritual introspection and pimped out street funk. In the end what we have is one of the best southern rap albums of the last ten years. Maybe not better than Aquemini, but close to on par with The Dude, Just Tryin' Ta Live, and The Fix. Sonically, and stylistically, it harkens back to an era when Southern rap still had some spirituality and soul. Hustling, pimping, and flossing are all common topics on this album as they are throughout hip hop these days, but they are covered in the same fashion UGK has always approached them, realistically and with a conscience. It's too soon to throw this album in the cannon of classic southern rap albums or the discussion of what is actually hip hop's greatest double album, but it's not to early to crown it one of the best albums of '07.

...Still Jackin'...

I still don't have audio capabilities right now (computer at home is down, and my work computer has all file sharing sites locked), but that didn't stop me from jackin' this treat from Just Blaze. JB's demo version of Jay-Z's Cam/Dips/Dash dis "Dig A Hole." I don't know, this was actually one of the few Swizz Beatz tracks in the past few years that I actually didn't mind too much, and Blaze seems a little stuck in his overly dramatic horn beats era. That said it's better than most of Blaze's recent work, and provides an interesting alternative to the album version. Enjoy.


www.themegatrondon2.com/audio/holedemo.mp3

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

...I'ma be cool. Why's that? Cuz Kindergarteners was looking up to me in Pre-school...


It's funny when an album actually lives up to the hype, but with the exception of the actually pretty good Dirty Money, UGK has an extremely consistent track record of greatness. Regardless of this fact there is an odd aura around UGK. For lack of a better term this, "aura," seems partially related to the fact that they've had a great deal of respect in the South for years, but still may be relatively unknown, or underappreciated, by many die-hard rap fans. So you have the haters, and you have the die-hard UGK fans, and then you have the late-comers. Face it, nobody likes a New-Jack-Come-Lately, but none of that should undermine the actual achievements of the Underground Kingz.

Another issue old fans may have with the new found appreciation of the crew is "where has all this appreciation been all these years" factor. UGK's most influential work was done on their first two albums Too Hard to Swallow and Super Tight, when they laid the foundations of the Southern sound along with groups like The Geto Boys and Outkast (Kast, of course, also sites UGK as a huge influence), and their most classic work was done on Ridin' Dirty, and all of this shit happened over ten years ago. Dirty Money, label issues and all, was their least impressive opus, and that preceeded the lock-up of Pimp C. So why is the interest in this record, especially on the internet, in 2007? Well, the South has been the flavor of the month for the last four years or so now. Unlike their East Coast reppin' counterparts, Southerner's seem enjoy sharing the love a little bit, which I think is a big reason for their dominance in recent years. Then there was Bun B's relentless four year barrage of the mixtape and cameo circuits, combined with "Free Pimp C," which helped create more buzz than UGK's 10 years of stellar material from 92-02 plus "Big Pimpin,'" and "Sippin' on Some Sizzurp" ever did.

But I understand the apprehension and the dissent to some extent. It would kind of be like if somebody came up to you and told you Too $hort was the greatest rapper of all-time and his new album was going to be an undisputed classic. Or like a huge hype machine growing around a new Scarface album. Everybody can agree these artists were/are incredibly influential, and those that have heard their music, cannot deny that they made/make classic hip hop music, but their best work is also probably behind them. To hype an artist fifteen years after the hype machine should've been working for them full-force catches people off guard, and raises skepticism. I'll follow up with a review, but let me just say, there's no reason to be skeptical. Underground Kingz bumps front to back, with only a couple exceptions (and you might even like those) that fall outside the album's general feel. And for a 26 + bonus tracks album to be this consistent front to back is extremely unusual, maybe even unique in hip hop history. I'll save the rest of my grandiose statements for the actual review, coming very soon.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Old Hip Hop Is A White Thing (Pt. 2)

Aight... now to the actual performances...

EPMD put on a great show. I wish they'd cut Pharoahe or Black Star's sets a little shorter and let Erick and Parrish rock a few more classics, but I do acknowledge that most of the audience had NO CLUE who EPMD was, yet knew "Respiration" and "Desire" by heart. I feel like I'm still young enough where I shouldn't feel old at these kind of shows, but I can't help it. It was slightly disappointing that Redman didn't come out at all for EPMD's set, I can only attribute this to the fact that he must've arrived later in the day (as he did run out for "Da Rockwilder" during Wu's set). They made brief mention of their new album (no label or details) We Mean Business, which they claim will drop this year (and since Redman and Keith both held their word and dropped this year, I wouldn't be surprised if EPMD pulls it off too - probably on Koch if I had to guess). My only question is, "Can we get a new Def Squad album?"

Public Enemy can still kill it. Although Terminator and the Bomb Squad are no longer down, and they perform with Chuck's band (can't remember the name off hand) they still have the same energy they've always had. Griff is back in the fold (I don't know how long that's been the case... maybe as far back as '98... but I know there was a minute there where he wasn't down), and the militia still does their steps. I've seen some people bemoan the fact that Public Enemy does their sets with a band now and I have to say there are pros and cons to that approach for them. "Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos" for instance, sounds much better with the original beat. "Bring The Noise," of which they performed the remix version (with the guitarist from Anthrax, whose name I always forget) and most of the other songs where the band interpolates the original beat, sounds as fresh as it ever did.

Flava Flav was clearly on drugs, which was fine during his usual adlibs and hype man antics, but by the time Chuck turned over the stage to him, Flav had clearly lost his mind. His performance of "911 is a Joke" was delayed for several minutes, as he brought out his children to introduce them to the crowd, and then commenced the longest "yeeeeaaaaaaaaah boooooyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeee" that his lungs could allow, which Chuck thankfully cut short by starting up the band, about fifteen seconds in. Flav promptly got pissed at Chuck, told the band to stop, nd made everybody wait as he did a full thirty second long rendition of the phrase, followed by a James Brown style "Hit me." Maybe the two yells killed his breath, or maybe it was the drugs, but he certainly couldn't keep up with his own lyrics on "911." After "911," as the band was leaving the stage, he asked "Where's everybody goin? That's it?" Following his own question he said "Soundman please don't cut me off, I want to play a beat." And he proceeded to bang out a pattern on the drum set for the next five minutes or so, at which point he said something else and finally left the stage. xxlmag.com acted as though these were planned "neo-minstrel antics" (their words, not mine), but I'm fairly certain they were not planned, as the look on Chuck's face was one of utter disappointment in his old friend. Griff looked downright disgusted. All in all it definitely took something away from PE's otherwise stellar stage set.

The Roots murdered the stage as they always do, and I will say that I think Black Thought is the best live performer in hip hop. He's so smart with it, wasting no extra energy on wall-climbing or crowd surfing or other relatively pointless crowd pleasing antics he walks the stage with the swagger of an old big band front man (which is what he is). Years of performing both hip hop and non-hip hop songs at shows has made him an unfuckwitably versatile pro. He never has to yell, he never loses his breath, and he never disappoints. They dropped arguably the best set of the night, performing several joints off all their albums post Illadelph Halflife.

As great as The Roots were, I will make a point to never miss another Cypress Hill show, after seeing their set on Saturday. I have to admit I'm not a huge Cypress fan anymore. I have their first three albums, all of which are classic to near classic status, but after that I kind of lost interest. Mainly my lack of interest has to do with the fact that they said everything on their first three albums that they would say on subsequent releases, but they did it better back then. All that aside, B-Real and Sen are masters of the stage show. From the first song, to the Buddha break (with a huge blow up stage idol of Buddha with a pot leaf on his chest), to the percussionists "Hit(s) from the Bong," to their undisputed crackerishness anthem "Rock Superstar," they reigned supreme on stage and were really the only act that competed with The Roots for set of the day.

Wu's show was slightly dissapointing to me in some ways. It was great seeing all of the living members on stage together (GZA actually showed up about half way through the set I think, but they were all there... plus Cappa and Streetlife). Method Man still has more energy than any of them, and INS is definitely losing his voice. The highlight to most of the young crowd (probably because they remember the song, better than anything on 36 or Forever) was Red running out to snatch the mic from Meth just in time to do his verse on "Da Rockwilder." They really should've given Red his own set. And as dope as it was to see "Fish," and "Ice Cream" performed, I was a little dissapointed that Wu didn't do even a snippet of anything off 8 Diagrams or Cuban Linx II.

Biggest WTF moment was them performing "Duel of the Iron Mic" without GZA (I don't know why he wasn't on stage at that point, but I'm pretty sure it was Masta Killa doin' his own verse and GZA's). They did a good, if unoriginal, job with their memorialization of Dirty, having the crowd shout along to "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" similar to the way Jay-Z memorializes Big. All in all this might be the last time I get to see the remaining eight on stage together, and I was glad to get the opportunity, but it ain't the same without Dirty. And I think it was Bol over at xxlmag.com who said seeing Wu-Tang as a whole live is more like seeing Method Man featuring the Wu-Tang Clan. Meth's presence and energy is sooo much greater than the rest of the Clan at this point, that they can really play nothing more than a supporting role.

I didn't stick around for much of Rage, because I knew that's what the 30,000 plus crackers came to see, and this cracker was getting back to Harlem before the mass exodus created fourty-five minute bus lines. But what I did see was impressive and just like I expected. Anybody who has seen one of their live show DVD's knows the deal. So I stayed for a couple joints and bounced before the moshpits consumed the whole crowd in dreaded white stinkiness.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Old Hip Hop Is A White Thing (Rock The Bells, pt 1)

Wow... I don't even know where to start about the Rock the Bells show I went to last Saturday. I certainly wouldn't want to take anything away from the performers, who given the size of the show and the impossibility of getting the whole crowd of 30,000+ (most of which was definitely there to see RATM) amped, did a damn fine job. I shyed away from the Paid Dues stage, mainly because I've either seen those acts perform before or I don't really care to. Anybody who paid a hundred dollars to see Sage Francis and Atmosphere instead of Public Enemy and EPMD needs their head examined (and I would hope Sage and Slug would back me up on that).

Perhaps the most humorous moments of the day took place before I even got to RTB. The line of crackers on 125th and Lexington was worth the price of admission alone (although technically I didn't have to pay anything to have seen that portion). I noticed the great white mass comin' up the block from my apartment on 120th. An amorphous mass of caucasian out of towners, holdin' the shit in their pants only due to their "strength in numbers" mindset, anxiously scuttlin' towards the special MTA event buses.

Little do they know of course that this particular section of two-fifth is most renowned not for the Apollo Theater, bootleggers, African oils, and the other ammenities of the most famous Harlem street, but for the dopeheads that congregate their each morning. One RTBer noted how smart Rock the Bells was for sending vendors out to 125th to sell water. I didn't have the heart to explain that one of the most lucrative ghetto hustles in the post-911 era is the summertime Poland Springs gig. And that today was a serious payday for some of these "vendors" who had been waiting for an event like this all year.

One "tour guide," or, as we refer to them here in the hood, dopefiend even convinced a bunch of oh-so-gullible light-skinnededs to walk with him down to the end of 125th street (0nly about four avenue blocks... longer than street blocks to you out-of-towners), up an onramp, and down the sidewalk deficient Triborough bridge to Randall's Island. A hike, which might have been worthwhile had people gone their directly from the train and bypassed the approximately thirty five minute line to the event buses, was instead taken up by several non-tri-staters who were near the front of the line to get on the bus. Well, at least they got some exercise.

Most of the Harlem residents were completely unaware of the concert and stopped frequently on their drives to and from wherever to ask the white folk, "What the hell are y'all waiting in a huge line in Harlem for?" Needless to say groups like the Wu-Tang Clan, EPMD, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy haven't been a hot topic of conversation in US hoods for close to a decade now, and Rage Against the Machine never was. And as much as I enjoyed the subsequent show and love all the acts that performed, I realize that the most 2007 hood-relevant artist performing that day was Flava Flav, distantly followed by Talib Kweli (despite what white people think, black people do generally like and respect Kweli). If a Harlem native is going to pay 100 bones for a concert it better be Beyonce or Summer Jam (good thing I'm not a Harlem native... just a gentrifier).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

...For All You Rock The Bellers Who Might Be In Town...

If you're in town by Friday night, and feel like comin' out to crazy type gathering of music, comedy, jokes, and fun shit then come through. Flyer below:







If you can't read it, then click on it, and it'll get a lot bigger (pause).



...The Originator of G'yeah...

New Mix from the Cleanhobo over at Philaflava.com. He makes these from time to time and posts them up in the forum. He always does a nice job sequencing and selecting, so I'ma try to convince him to keep doin' these and maybe do a guest blog occasionally. For me the mix is nice, cuz I only had Music To Driveby and We Come Strapped back in the day, and other than "Growin' Up In The Hood," (which I kinda reconstructed at one point "Woods to the Hood" - not that you care) and "Streiht Up Menace," I either don't remember or haven't heard any of the other cuts that are on the mix. Nevertheless, I still always found Eiht Hype to be one of the most brutally ill and criminally slept on West Coast vets. In fact, had Eiht been down with the right label at the right time (eg Ruthless or Death Row in their prime eras), I think he would've probably gone plat a few times. But that's neither hear nor there. Last I heard he's kinda rollin' with Snoop now, which is a good fit. And nobody has ever used a catch word (see "g'yeah") to such perfection.



1. Def Wish III (from We Come Strapped)
2. Hit The Floor (from Music To Driveby)
3. Give It Up (from It's A Compton Thang)
4. Hood Took Me Under (from Music To Driveby)
5. Take 2 With Me (from We Come Strapped)
6. Growin' Up In The Hood (from Straight Checkn 'Em)
7. Duck Sick II (From Music To Driveby)
8. This Is Compton (from It's A Compton Thang)
9. They Still Gafflin' (from Straight Checkn 'Em)
10. Goin' Out Like Geez (from We Come Strapped)
11. Wanted (from Straight Checkn 'Em)
12. It's A Compton Thang (from It's A Compton Thang)
13. Late Nite Hype (from It's A Compton Thang)
14. Def Wish (from Straight Checkn 'Em)
15. N 2 Deep ft. Scarface (from Music To Driveby)
16. We Come Strapped (from We Come Strapped)
17. Can I Kill It? (from Straight Checkn' Em)
18. All For The Money (from We Come Strapped)
19. Streiht Up Menace (from the Menace II Society Soundtrack)

192 VBR

Saturday, July 21, 2007

...Where My Dogs At? Rrrrr Arf Arf, What the Deal?...

Am I the only one who thinks animal activists are out of control? Has anybody ever seen that show on Animal Planet where they arrest people for not feeding their dogs, or neglecting their cats, or putting their Betas in the same fish bowl? While I agree that pet owners should not maliciously harm their animals, shouldn't we value human life a little more than the life of Fluffy? After all, Fluffy got around find for thousands of years before we domesticated him, and can probably still take care of himself if we drop him off at Yellowstone.

Dog fighting has been around since the days of the Holy Roman Empire, if not before that. Our country decided it was illegal, because we decided that animals have rights, which I think is a good thing in general. I don't have a problem with guys like Michael Vick and DMX being arrested for their involvement in dog fighting rings or for abusing their animals, they should be. What I take issue with is the hysteria around it, the proverbial "blame game" that inevitably leads to hip hop every single time any issue, especially one involving black people, hits Fox News. I'd be willing to guess that dog fighting takes place on a regular basis in all 50 states (well maybe they have spider monkey fights in Hawaii or something) and in most, if not all, countries around the world. Furthermore, although I have no proof of this, only an intuition based on living in both very white environments and very black environments, I'd be willing to place a rather large bet that the majority of animal fights are conducted by white people. And like Don Imus and Michael Richards, these are not the type of white people that traditionally listen to hip hop. So the recent assertion that hip hop, which is already the cause of all gun violence, racist rants, sexism, and mysogyny, is also the cause of dog fighting, came as somewhat of a shock.

The logic, similar to many of the let's blame hip hop arguments, actually has nothing to do with hip hop as a whole. It's based around the work of two individual artists and, interestingly enough, has nothing to do with their music whatsoever. The evidence? Jay-Z's unedited version of the "99 Problems" video, and the liner notes of DMX's disappointing fifth album (which somehow went platinum, I'm guessin' entirely off the sales of 15 year old white boys). Say what? The Humane Society REALLY thinks the liner notes of Grand Champ and the youtube version of "99 Problems" are causing a resurrgence in dog fighting? Are they smoking dust? Can you imagine how stupid somebody would have to be to start a dog fighting ring off the strength of a music video? Next thing you know they'll blame the reissue of Roots for the resurrgence of chicken fighting.

Anyway I'm working on a Best of '07 Mix... I'll let you know when it's done...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

...My Triple Sevens Broke The Slot Machines Out In Queens...

Alright, alright, alright CALM DOWN. The blogosphere is buzzing with renewed rumors of Superb ghostwriting for Ghostface Killah on Supreme Clientele. I don't know why so many so-called journalists got their panties in a bunch over something Tony Yayo said in a 50 Cent interview. Need people be reminded that Supreme Clientele was one of the first records (if not THEE first) to carry very overt, and severe, suggestions that 50 Cent was the snitch we all now know him to be? Ghostface had just come off a bid (so he may even have had first hand knowledge on that issue), and Superb (one of Ghost's more intriguing weed carriers) is now doin' one (shoot maybe that's how Yayo heard his information). Now Superb never claimed that he penned Supreme Clientele (Yayo's assertion) in anything I've read or heard, but he has suggested that he may not have received proper credit and monitary compensation for the work he did do on it.

Now, and this is just a thought... the famous "Knuckles" skit at the end of the album, which suggests 50's dime dropping, is notably placed on an album entitled Supreme Clientele. I'm sure I'm not the first to suggest this connection, as Rae and Ghost, were heavily involved in the on record lore of NYC crack scene (if not heavily involved in the scene itself - "I got two spots on New Lots, flooded with rocks"). So maybe 50 and Yayo have more reason to downplay Ghost's artistic achievements aside from the fact that he's not moving G-Unit numbers these days (of course, 50 convienently seems to forget that G-Unit isn't really moving G-Unit numbers these days either).

In my response to Brandon Soderberg's blog over at the great http://www.ohword.com/, I reminded people that these types of accusations are not an unusual thing in hip hop. Classic albums are almost always born out of great collaboration and it is often not the true collaborators who get the proper credit and compensation.

Anybody who's read Brian Coleman's brilliant Check the Technique knows that almost all our classic albums have some inaccurate writing and production credits. For instance, Erick Sermon's production legacy is in serious debate these days. Parrish, Redman, and Das Efx all claim Erick did virtually nothing on the production tip for any of their early work. Parrish goes so far as to claim Erick didn't produce anything on the first three EPMD albums, and although Erick sees it differently, he suggests that it was their engineer at the time (I'll plug his name in later... can't remember it off the top of my head) who did most of the REAL production work. Now I've heard from sources in Brentwood who know P fairly well, that he's really not all right upstairs anymore, so maybe his memory is distorting things a little further than it should. Nevertheless, Redman and Das Efx both acknowledge that Erick did no real production work for them during that time period. Now Erick doesn't really have many production credits on Red or Das' albums, but it's sort of always been a general hip hop assumption that behind the scenes he was helping these cats out. Parrish claims he did a lot more than people assume and was much more involved in production than Erick ever was, but he doesn't really have the solo production discography to back that up like Erick's does... so... who knows?

Young Sparks (State Property) made similar claims on Hot 97 during the Ms. Jones morning show a few weeks back. He said he wrote a lot of the State Property material and certain joints for Jay-Z himself. When pressed further, he admitted that he wasn't talking about verses (at least for Jay), he was talking about things like snatching the hook from Rick James for "Give It To Me." Well how much credit do you deserve for stealing somebody else's lyrics? Shoot Ja Rule claimed he didn't get sufficient gwap off of "Can I Get A..." and that was legitimately HIS song, that Jay-Z stole and added a verse to and put out on Vol 2. Royce '5"9 and Em made the original, and arguably superior, "Renegades," which Jay-Z had to have, but that's not the version most of the hip hop audience knows and loves.

To be honest, this is more along the lines of what I think Superb probably did. A couple of the songs ("Ghost Deini" and "We Made It," would be obvious choices, as Superb was featured on those) on Supreme Clientele probably started out as Superb songs. Ghost being fresh out, and desperately working with The RZA to save the dying Wu dynasty, probably deaded Superb and reworked Superb's demos into a couple of classics. I'm sure promises of fame, fortune, and a recording career came along with this exchange, and due to circumstances we have no idea about that never happened. Now Superb is a disgruntled ex-rapper who probably 200 people in the world are aware of stuck in the prison system. OF COURSE he's going to claim partial responsibility for the only classic piece of music in which he was ever involved. Or... maybe Ghost has always had ghostwriters. Maybe Raekwon wrote his verses on 36 Chambers, and collaborated with Cappadonna to write Ghost's lyrics for Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Ironman. Then they got tired of carrying Ghost on their shoulders and went on to their own oh-so lucrative classic solo material sans Ghost (please note sarcasm). Superb took care of writing Supreme Clientele and Bulletproof Wallets and Trife Diesel handled Pretty Toney, Fishscale, and More Fish. Riiiight. For me, it's impossible to believe. The man has rocked way to many styles, invented too much slang, and flawlessly executed way too many concepts and storytelling classics to have used ghostwriters for anything more than a hook or a bridge. If he does use ghostwriters, he's got an eye for talent like MC Serch in the early nineties. But then why isn't he an A&R for Wucorp or something?

And speaking of taking other peoples' work and passing it off as your own, check out a couple joints my "unreleased" search in albumbase yielded today. Again, I haven't checked these out for quality or authenticity yet, so I don't know. Oh and check the link to that PhilaFlava thread MGP posted that I linked in "Only Built 4 Jackin' Linx" if you want to see the next level in net theivery... I'd post the link directly to the goldmine that was discovered, but it's a little too good to just have floating around too many places on the net. Let's just say if you're into unreleased and new shit in mp3 form, you definitely should investigate a little bit.




All apologies to the bloggers and rippers who uncovered these gems in the first place.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

...Only Built 4 Jackin' Linx...


Thanks to a little tutorial on hyperlink thievery from Philaflava's MGP, I've ante-upped my link snatchin' skills and put some things together for the readers/downloaders courtesy of Just Blaze and XXL (and Spinemag, although there's are a little more jacker friendly).

I'm Back...


...Like I left somethin'. Sorry to leave heads in the lurch with only an option of checkin' the 99,898,743 other hip hop blogs out there. My reason for not being around as much? Well there's a few things, but mainly hip hop has just sucked tremendously as of late. Shoot I even downloaded a Lil' Wayne mixtape the other day and was disappointed (normally the kid at least makes me laugh a couple times). No, the new Pharoahe Monch album didn't save the game either, and I'm sick of cats deminishing their expectations for great artists and allowing them to get away with shit like this. The number of good reviews I've seen for Desire is enough to make a b-boy puke, so good thing there aren't any b-boys left. Not to say the album is terrible, in fact the game is so wack at this very moment, I suggest everybody go pick up that album, which at best rates 7/10.

They stopped playin' music at the Kingdome (a basketball tournament in Harlem for those of you who don't know) this year to appease the encroaching white comdominium owners in the neighborhood. I almost don't mind, because I've heard enough "Lip Gloss" this year anyway, but increased police presence also means nobody's burnin' anymore, which of course limits my enjoyment. Either way, there are other tournaments in Harlem. Oh, and how do people feel about 50 Cent's recent attempt to simultaneously join the 80's revival and make a song that sounds an awful lot like "I'm A Hustla?" By now I'm sure you've heard "I Get Money," but personally I wish I hadn't.

On the positive side I'm interviewing the NYG'z soon for PhilaFlava so be on the lookout for that. They're about to drop their "Street Album" on Primo's new label Year Round, and then they'll be following up with Pros & Cons, which is the first 100% Primo produced album since The Ownerz (which I have to say was unnecessarily hated upon, given that listening to it now, it sounds like a relic of the bygone era in which dope hip hop was still a somewhat viable artform).

So I spent a little time on albumbase jackin' 4 linkz this morning. Decided to type "demo" into the album category and see what showed up. Here are the results, of course I can't vouch for quality, or legitimacy of these demos, as I haven't listened to all of them yet, but enjoy if you're so inclined.

Ras Kass - Van Gogh (Unreleased Album)

A Tribe Called Quest - Lost Demos

Joe Budden - 2002 Def Jam Demo

Notorious B.I.G. - Demo Tape

O.C. - Demo Tape

PMD & Agallah - Death Before Dishonor (Demo)

Royce 5' 9" - Aftermath Demo

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

...I used to sneak in the house with my eyes all red, duck the blow that was aimed for my head...

Few artists have contributed so much to hip hop as Percy Chapman/Intelligent Hoodlum/Tragedy (Khadafi) and received as little recognition. Not that he isn't respected by the true school NY rap fans, but Trag is one of those rappers who often go unmentioned when people rehash the development of the New York hip hop scene in the 80's and 90's. He created the mold for child rappers to be successful and credible artists (few followed that mold of course, but Shyheim comes to mind), he was arguably the strongest influence on Nas (although Rakim and many others obviously had clear influence) and Queensbridge hip hop in general, he released two seminal hip hop albums in the early nineties (Intelligent Hoodlum and the classic Saga of a Hoodlum), and of course he's largely responsible for the unfuckwitable The War Report C-N-N album.

Sadly, other than The War Report, most of Tragedy's material has been out of print for years. Thankfully, Nature Sounds, the label that puts out Tragedy's latest group The Black Market Militia (which is pretty good if you're into the secret scrolls, revolutionary, illuminati watchin' rap sub-genre), has finally re-released both of Tragedy's first two albums with some nice bonus gems.

Here's the Nature Sounds Reissue with bonus tracks which I seriously hope you go out and buy.
Back to Reality
Trag Invasion
No Justice, No Peace
Party Animal
Black and Proud
Game Type
Microphone Check
Keep Striving
Party Pack
Arrest the President
Your Tragedy *
Live Motivator *
In Control Radio Show Freestyle - featuring Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie*
Back to Life (Marley Marl Mix)*
Go Queensbridge*
Super Kids Live at Hip Hop USA*
Shalom a Leck
Hoodlum Intro
Underground
Funk Mode
Grand Groove
At Large
Death Row
Speech (Check This Time)
Mad Brothers Know His Name
Pass the Tec
Streetlife
Pump the Funk
Role Model
Posse (Shoot Em Up)
Funky Roll Outro
Funk Mode (Extra P Remix featuring Havoc)*
Live & Direct from the House of Hits featuring Craig G*
Grood Groove (Remix)*
Street Life (Return of the Life Mix)*
At Large (Marley Marl Mix)*

Monday, June 25, 2007

More Updates On The Way

So I finally got my high speed internet hooked up over at the new crib. So, never fear, there will be more blogs and downloads coming soon. If you're looking for some fun and hip hop to do in your off-time, I suggest you make your way over to www.philaflava.com/forum and hit up the T.R.O.Y. forum where they're voting on a best rap song of the 80's. If, like me, you were born after 1970, you may not remember all of these songs, but don't worry, the homey Admiral has done the honor of uploading each round's songs, so you download some hip hop history, and still make an informed decision (well as informed as you can make, hearing a song twenty plus years later than it originally dropped).

Here's the direct link to the T.R.O.Y. forum (this forum is probably the best thing imaginable if you have a fetish for that old school boom-bap).

http://www.philaflava.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2

Monday, May 21, 2007

...KRS Wasn't The Only Teacher...




As I was putting together my last G. Rap mix, there were a few hints in the air that I might have to do a second mix. First of all, I was leaving out a lot of classic collaborations and album tracks to try and stick to my formula (not recycling shit that's been posted on the web 54,949,679,873 times). There were also cuts I left out because the quality was just too weak, and I didn't feel like they'd flow on a mix with the more recent shit. Finally upon making the mix, I got a lot of flack for leaving out certain classics (even though I explicitly try to avoid making obligatory classic mixes), but heads also put me up on gems that I either had never heard, or that I didn't have in mp3 form. And finally, I found as I should have expected, that there are a lot of young new jacks out there who are capable of appreciating Kool G. Rap's undeniable dopeness, but aren't up on the basic curriculum. The result is Kool G. Rap - Teaches The Children, and below I've provided a track by track breakdown of the curriculum.


It's A Demo - Before the days of EPMD's "Please Listen to My Demo," Nathaniel Wilson and Thomas Pough (G.Rap & Polo) took themselves to Marley Marl's crib and put together their homage to the demo making process. From my understanding this was an actual demo, and the infinite repetition of "It's a demo" at the end happened as another Marley Marl "accident." I'd say something like "young bucks this is how you make a demo," but in today's music industry this wouldn't get you a foot hold in the industry like it gave Kool G. in the eighties. Rest assured though, in '87 this was the formula.


Raw (Extended Mix) - featuring Big Daddy Kane. Always billed as kind of an alternate version of Big Daddy Kane's "Raw," this version is really completely different. Kane & G. Rap dumbing out for an extended period of time. In case anybody wonders the lesson, this is how you get raw.


"Train Robbery" - Biggie, Jay, Big L, and Nas all definitely took notes (paperless or not) whenever G. Rap had a story to tell. Although Slick Rick is more commonly crowned King of storytale raps, G. Rap had the gangsta tales on lock. This track is a virtual how-to write a thug fairytale.


"AIDS" - featuring MF Grimm, Akinyele, CJ Moore, & Big Chuck - This track was unreleased during the era it was recorded, but found it's way onto MF Grimm's excellent Scars and Memories LP in 2005. Obviously the is a safe sex track, sex education 102 if you will, but the twist is the artists providing the message. Actually I think it's refreshing that artists as reknowned for their misogyny, and vocal advocation of physical & sexual abuse, can also flip it and tell the boys "Make sure you're strapping up."


"Talk Like Sex" Too $hort was smoother with his pimpery, G. Rap always seemed to play more of the thugged out street don who doesn't take "no" for an answer. Either way, this was definitely G. Rap Sex Education 101.


"Hey Mister Mister" - I got this joint from the homie Killer Ben over at www.philaflava.com/forum, on the suggestion of another extremely knowledgeable boarder, MGP. MGP explains "This track taught me to always keep my bitch in check, especially if she's pilfering from my hustle." Maybe not one of the lessons they teach in grade school, but Iceberg Slim would certainly approve.


"Take A Loss" - Track from a JS-1 tape. In case you ain't know, goin' against G. Rap, you take a loss.


"I Ain't Trickin'" - Iceberg 102. One of the most important lessons in pimpery, don't trick.


"Check the Bitch" - Iceberg 201. Note the relationship between money and bitches. Striking racial commentary as well.

"When Your A Thug" featuring Prodigy & Tru Life. Interesting song, especially considering the song is basically a testament to each artist's personal thuggery, but it eventually lead to Tru Life pulling Prodigy's thug card. After he took his verse and did this with it on the Any Given Sunday Sountrack (this song is almost as good by the way, mainly because although it doesn't have G. Rap on it, it also doesn't have Tru Life on it).

"I'm Fly" - Maybe I'm buggin' but I always felt like this song had a definite LL Cool J influence. And the beat & cuts sound reminiscent of a joint that might have been credited to a certain Eric Barrier. Either way Marley Marl synthesized it, and although it's a lesson commonly reiterated in the hood and suburbia alike, G. Rap reminds us that no matter how real you keep it, you still gotta be fly. Of course this is important in impressing the ladies. Cuz like the lil' homey MIMS says, "I'm hot cuz I'm fly." Somehow I just prefer Kool G. Rap's poetics.


"The Letter P" featuring Saigon - This is a cut I can't imagine anybody missed out on, but it fits the concept of the mix too beautifully to pass on. Saigon pulled G. Rap back into the public eye (well if you consider Saigon being in the public eye) with this cut back in '04, for his aptly titled, at least to date, unreleased LP The Greatest Story Never Told. If anybody wants to know what alliteration and consonance are, just peep this. Saigon absolutely rips this song in typical fashion, but it's pretty much impossible to outshine Kool Giancana, and I don't this is any exception.


"Don't Curse" featuring Heavy D, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and Grand Puba - This is kind of a funny joint to include in this mix, because obviously Kool G. does not espouse the tenants of keeping it clean on record. Nevertheless, Heavy D did keep his records swear free, and the fact that he got such a wide variety of cats to join together and make a song like this for his album is commendable. Even if a lot of the rappers play with the concept, pretending like they have difficulty avoiding cursing, the truth is all the rappers easily achieve the task at hand. Modern rappers should take note, that you don't always have to say "fuck, hoe, bitch, & nigga" fourty times per track to get your point across. And for you young scholars out there, be open to the idea that sometimes you turn certain groups of people off to your message through vulgarity. Remember, there was a time in rap music, when cursing was the exception, not the rule.


"Erase Racism" featuring Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane - One of the things I always liked about Juice Crew/Cold Chillin' cats was their ability to make "hardcore" rap albums, with random moments of consciousness/afrocentrism splashed in the mix. Sure, it sometimes took away from the continuity of their albums, and maybe it was nothing more than a gimmick to appeal to the 5%er and Red, Black, & Green audiences, but it also firmly deliniated reality and entertainment. This song really sounds like a Biz Markie track in the middle of a G. Rap album, but it's still a cut I go back to from time to time. Another clean Kool G. Rap track for the chilrens.


"Cars" - I don't know who started the concept of bigging up your whip game on record, but Kool G. Rap was one of the first cats I heard do it well. According to a lot of QB heads, Marley Marl was one of the first to really start pushing nice whips off his rap money, and the rest of the Juice Crew soon followed suit. I don't know what G. Rap was really pushing when this album came out, but he certainly ran down the perks of stepping your vehicle game up. Kiddies take notice, a fly ride will gain the attention of the ladies. Not saying that's how it should be, just how it is.


"Fast Life" (Buckwild Remix) featuring Nas - Axewoundfister, a poster over at philaflava again, requested I include "Fast Life" on this mix. Although I'm not sure exactly what it teaches the children, that they can't learn from 99% of the rap songs on the radio these days (it's basically about cars, money, and girls), there is perhaps one thing unique about it: G. Rap manages to go toe-to-toe with Nas in his "Nasty" prime and doesn't come out looking like a relic of the past. As I said with the Saigon track, Kool G. Rap never really gets outshined, but sticking with Nas bar for bar during this era, is impressive to say the least. I included the remix, because I like it better than the original, and because I figure a few heads out there might have only heard the album version (shame on you if you're one of them though).


"U Wanna Get Shot" featuring an uncredited appearance from Ma Barker(?). This joint's lesson is pretty self-explanatory, once you hear the actual hook to the song, which explains "You Don't Wanna Get Shot." An important lesson too, especially if you're inclined to thinking otherwise.


"Cardinal Sins" - featuring B-1 & B.O.M.B. Doesn't actually have much to do with actual Cardinal Sins, other than the fact the song is laced with fairly sociopathic acts. But maybe it encouraged some ambitious young head to look up the actual origin of the phrase. Or maybe they just think the Church bites from Kool G. Rap... They wouldn't be the first.

"Riker's Island" - Industrial Prison Complex 101.

Enjoy.