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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

[Album] PETE ROCK - "Petestrumentals 2"

I've been listening to this from front-to-back no less than three times today, The Soul Brother just came through and delivered his best record in about ten years or so. Released today via Mello Music Group, this is one of the first true must-buys for me this year, every minute of it is absolutely marvelous. Following the formula of the first "PeteStrumentals" (an album that I ranked as the third best album released during the first decade of the 2000s), Pete has dug deep into his old DATs and floppy discs to unearth previously unreleased beats from the '90s, created on his trusted SP1200, and fizzling with soul, jazz, and funk influences. The music has then been remixed, touched up and rearranged by Pete for its 2015 release, a combination that gives listeners the best of two worlds. Every single track is just groovy as hell, and a welcome addition is the huge amount of small musical interludes that are as dope as the actual songs themeselves. If you're not feeling this you are probably dead already. MMG, in usual order, let you stream the entire project for free before purchasing it in your choice of CD, digital or gatefold 2xLP. Guess what my choice will be? As Dilla probably says in heaven right now, TURN IT UP!!!

[Album] VINCE STAPLES - "Summertime '06"

 Oh hell yeah, here's a banging album that I've been waiting to turn up LOUD for quite some time. Vince Staples the young, 21 years old, super talented emcee from Long Beach that not too long ago was discovered by No I.D. and signed under his ATRium/Def Jam imprint. He has released a couple of mixtapes but what really turned me on to his music was when my big homie Linkan introduced me to his 2014 tape "Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2", produced by No I.D., Dilated Peoples and Scoop DeVille. Now in 2015 he finally drops his true debut album, and once again No I.D. is a major player in the albums production a long with DJ Dahi, Brian Kidd and Clams Casino. This might not be every Lost Tapes players type of shit but this is ill party music right here and Staples can definitely flow. Stream the album for free via NPR below; strangely enough it's a double album but together it clocks in at just under an hour. After the first listen, I can't say I'm too hyped but it's pretty decent. Check it out for yourself.

Disc 1
01. "Ramona Park Legend Pt. 1" [prod. by No I.D.]
02. "Lift Me Up" [prod. by No I.D. & DJ Dahi]
03. "Norf Norf" [prod. by Clams Casino]
04. "Birds & Bees" [prod. by DJ Dahi]
05. "Loca" [prod. by No I.D.]
06. "Lemme Know" (Ft. Jhené Aniko & DJ Dahi) [prod. by No I.D., DJ Dahi & Brian Kidd]
07. "Dopeman" (Ft. Joey Fatts) [prod. by No I.D.]
08. "Jump Off The Roof" (Ft. Snoh Alegrah) [prod. by No I.D.]
09. "Senioritá" [prod. by Christian Rich]
10. "Summertime" [prod. by Clams Casino]

Disc 2
01. "Ramona Park Legend Pt. 2" [prod. by No I.D.]
02. "3230" [prod. by No I.D.]
03. "Surf" (Ft. Kilo Kish) [prod. by Clams Casino]
04. "Might Be Wrong" [prod. by No I.D.]
05. "Get Paid" (Ft. Desi Monti) [prod. by No I.D.]
06. "Street Punks" [prod. by No I.D.]
07. "Hang N Bang" [prod. by No I.D.]
08. "C.H.B." [prod. by No I.D., DJ Dahi & Brian Kidd]
09. "Like It Is" [prod. by No I.D., DJ Dahi & Brian Kidd]
10. "'06" [prod. by No I.D.]

GHOSTFACE & ADRIAN YOUNGE Ft. Vince Staples - "Get The Money"

Adrian Younge is by far one of the illest producers out there, I'm just amazed at how he and his band Venice Dawn uses all live instrumentation but he uses a sampler to program every instrument into it just like if he was sampling records. People have complained that Ghostface isn't bringing his A game on his last few albums but "Twelve Reasons to Die" was easily my favorite LP of that year. Even if Ghost isn't rapping like on "Ironman" or "Supreme Clientele", he's hardly spitting Young Thug flows and he's still got one of the illest voices in the game and keeps his flow in pocket. Today the third single from "Twelve Reasons to Die Pt. II" dropped and it's another sure shot winner, and I'm stoked they included a feature from Vince Staples, easily one of the more interesting emcees to come out as of late. The second Younge/Ghost album drops on July 10 and features 13 songs + instrumentals, pre-order @ iTunes.

Monday, June 22, 2015

[Article] Is "Mega Philosophy" CORMEGA's Best Album?

Since a documentary on the making of this beautiful album is soon to be released I would like to go back and see how well Cory McKay's "Mega Philosophy" actually holds up one year later. The short answer is that it probably even better now than it was when it first hot stores, as both the production and verbal intercourse now finally has had the chance to truly sink into us as listeners. Sure there were never no question at any time or point that this was not a very good album, though I remember hearing some "The Realness" fanatics shedding a tear over how they missed the hardcore beats and violent, drug slinging lyrics. In fact I'd go as far as to say that "Mega Philosophy" is Cormega's best album yet. If we first look at the foundation, which is the production, it's from top to bottom extremely well produced and varied enough while never sounding the least forced. After all Queens' legend Large Professor created every single beat on the album, in the studio with Cormega where they worked hard together on the sound they envisioned for the record. This can definitely be heard throughout the first to last track, and as Extra-P revealed in the extensive XXL interview shortly before the albums relase how its making was a new experience to him as no emcee he had previously worked with had been so detrimet and hands-on in adding small samples and a touch of his own flavor to the LP:s sound. The co-production credit 'Mega receives on the back cover next to Large Professor is therefore hardly a fluke or a shady label decision as is so often the case.  

"Mega Philosophy" was also released in a completely instrumental version and if you ask me this is a brilliant companion piece to the original that any fan of the album truly need to hear. It will bring you a deeper respect for not only how well crafted these ten cuts truly are, but you'll also notice that there's plenty of little vocal samples and sound effects that you'd be hard pressed to find under the vocals on the original retail release. Unlike many instrumental editions of already released albums this one is actually a project that stand on its own two legs and are a great listen on its own. Take a track like "Industy" whose chops, wild piano meodies, well arranged drums and short vocal samples from 'Mega and KRS-One will have your head nodding in seconds. After having heard the single countless times and no matter the amount of important truths Corey speaks on the song I actually prefer to zone out to this instrumental. This might also be a result of me having heard the original single countless times by now and it has never really been one of my favorites of mine compared to the rest of the LP.

But of course what really will make this a future classic is mainly Cormega's performance - he is so mature and wise beyond his years here as opposed to much of his earlier material. With that statement I must say that I've been a big fan of Cormega since I first heard him on "Affirmative Action" and later "The Realness" and "The True Meaning", so don't misinterpret the above statement. Everyone who comes from a rough background will need to come to the realization that you can't keep on living that destructive and violent lifestyle forever and is forced to grow up - and that's one major difference between this legenday emcees earlier output and this one. A key track and a personal favorite is "More" where The Professor hooks up raw boom bap drums, addictive piano keys, a beautiful breakdown of sirens and sound effects and best of all a part where the boom bap gives way to African Tribal drums to underline Mega's lyrics. Here 'Mega attacks the entire American "justice" system and the way African Americans have been and continues to be treated yesterday, today and tomorrow. The song is filled to the limit with uplifting and clever quotables - "[They] destroy our mental everyday, we more conditioned, to confirm to ignorance and ignore wisdom/ A darker pigment gets you 50 shots and a cop aquitted, while Mumia dreams of freedom in a cot in prison". And that's  just the beginnning of the first verse, I could quote the whole song but give it a spin instead, but I have to mention this clever line "We more than pant saggin' ignorants/ In fact spelling saggin' backwards is niggas/ Pick up your pants and ehance your apperance because it traps us". Almost like a sequel is the beautiful Maya Acazuna collaboration known as "Rise". With lines like "I put it it all together and realize money causes convention, resentment and moral conviction. Rappers tell you lies and glorifies the ghetto, they never speak of mother's inconceivable cries/ So the oppressive agressive of those sworn to serve and protect us, harm us/ Sean Bell the martyr was a father" there's no question Cormega is one of the illest and most important emcees of our time. Like a sister to "More", the themes and topics here are some of the most potent, truthful and important that Corey has ever spat, and just like the former has a somewhat laid back feel that make sure you don't miss a word, "Rise" too is a mellow cut centered around a beautiful guitar melody and one of Large Pro's many different trademark drums.

Now don't be fooled into thinking that there's no hardcore jams on here because there obviously are and we're gonna break  a few of them down in just a second. There's just one more of those siblings of songs I just feel I need to touch upon a little extra, which I feel together forms the albums core, and that is together with "More" and "Rise" the album closer "Valuable Lessons". Another relatively laid back jam with a sung hook by relatively unknown guest artist Jarrell Perry who does a great job. I've read a wack review saying that "Valuable Lessons" was hampered by a cheesy chorus which really undermined the songs potential. I think this is straight up BS (well HipHopDX isn't exactly known for their great reviews) - the song itself is one of the albums best and an absolutely excellent album closer where Cormega take the time to get maybe more personal than he's ever been on wax before. Although it bugs me how short the album is, which I'll be getting into soon, I coudn't think of a better way to close this LP. The tracks foundation is an irrestible mix of an accoustic guitar riff, a vintage vocal sample, accoustic background piano and that perfect drum programming that helps Large Pro's beats always knock hard as hell no matter how laid back the instrumentation is. Split into three verses, the first deal with fake friends, and how the older you get and the more problem you get yourself into you are often left on your own - something I'm sure a lot of us slightly older people here can relate to. "I risked my life for niggas who didn't write or visit, during my time in prison I realized my friendship isn't what I invested,and I'm tired of giving with no reciprocation. Thankfully times are different...". The second verse gets even more peronal as Corey airs out his dirty family laundry, including drug use, gossiping and even how his own grandmother was robbed by younger relatives, something a lot of emcees wouldn't ever dare to touch upon us. But "Mega Philosophy" from start to finish is 'Mega's journey and where he has now ended up in his life, which is why I think the three songs discussed here are the center pieces of the projet. The final verse of the album is directly dedicated to one person, McKay's ex-wife and how a great thing like love can turn to heartache and hate. If you ever had bad experiences with women in your life (and who haven't) this verse is so rewind heavy that it's just ridciolously filled with jewels. "You'd rather hate me than be mad at yourself. Now you free, we no longer trapped in lies, you never find happiness until you're happy inside".  The hook actually fits the song perfectly and the last bridge/outro really puts the dot over the i as Perry croons "Now I can finally sleep at night... I can finally sleep at night", of course meaning that our hero is on his way to overcome all of this bullshit. What a wonderful and clever way to close an album of this spiritual nature.

I mentioned the three songs described above as the center pieces of the album, but since I view this album as a 5/5 masterpiece that doesn't mean that the remaining eight tracks are any less dope - its just that they are other type of records than the extremely motivational and mature tracks that together form a new era in Cormega's music. "Rap Basquiat", for example, shows us how truly unbelivable the chemistry between Extra-P and 'Mega really is - the beat with it's high-powered vocal sample loop, the sampled Fender bass and boombastic drums married with the veteran spitters equally brilliant flow. I can't hear this without shaking my head at how dope his delivery has become over the years and how incredible Large's beat is. There's not many guests featured on the album, a great thing, and the few who do appear are chosen with the utmost care. Early on we are introduced to the one posse cut on the album - "M.A.R.S." featuring AZ, Styles P, and Redman. I really don't feel Redman fits in on the LP at all, but it's not much to complain about since especially AZ and Styles does a terrific job as they so often do. I also like how the album opens up with a posse cut as it reminds me of the '90s where that was pretty much a standard practice. Raekwon appears on "Honorable Mention", the first single and only to be released on physical (7" single) - most likely the hardest record on the album which explains why they went with it as the first single whereas a track like "More" might have turned off some of those "The Realness" fanatics. Rae and Mega always had a great chemistry together, going as far back as 2000 when the latter appeared on a very rare remix of The Chef's "Yae Yo" (if anyone have this please post it in the comments or e-mail me)!

Now to the final part of this article about how this album that after having marinated for almost a year has grown to be even more brilliant than when it first hit stores, likely because it was such a mature and introspective Cormega album that we might not have expected it. However, I'm all for quantity over quality but when a bunch of excellent tracks are left off a 30 minutes short record it does bug me a bit. After only roughly thirty minutes no matter how perfect the soundscapes, the lyrics, the flow and the production are, your mouth will definitely be watering for more. In my opinion they should have put a blank track of silence for 1-2 minutes and then added all of the Cormega/Large Professor songs made between "Born & Raised" and "Mega Philosophy".The album was in the works for about three years so you can count on there being lots of tracks left off the final product which in a way speaks well for the two artists integrity and how exact they knew what they wanted from the project. 


When asked how the album came about they both said it was beause of the insane response to "Journey" ("Born & Raised"). In that same interview they said that in honor of this they were definitely include the monster posse cut remix using roughly the same beat, but adding new verses from Cormega, Large Professor (this is another thing, I would've liked to hear a couple of verses from Extra-P on the LP), one of my all time favorites in OC and the almighty Sadat X. "Journey" was definitely a stand out on the preceding album and making a Part 2 as a posse cut was just a briliant idea. I loved how they was to pay homage to how the process started by including it on the album, but unfortunately it was scrapped and the only version that exist is the exclusive DJ Rated R mixtape premiere. Also in 2012 a single was released under Cormega's name said to be from the album called "M.A.R.S." - another posse cut produced by Large Pro and featuring Roc Marciano, Saigon, and Action Bronson that gained a lot of hype amongst underground heads at the time. In fact I would have a hard time deciding which of the two "M.A.R.S." cuts better sutied for opening the album. The one they went with is probably more in tune with the rest of the disc, but at the same time the predecessor is a HARD ASS joint, and as you know from my compilations I always figure it's a great way to kick things off with a real raw banger. The track however ended up on Large Pro's 2012 solo album "Professor @ Large", despite not even featuring so much as an adlib by That Guy With The Glasses. That same album also featured another very dope joint produced by Large Pro, with Cormega, Tragedy Khadafi (who was perhapst the one person truly missing from the album IMO) and Large. The final 2012 cut was possibly not ever intended for the album in question but it's not an impssobility either, and more than that it's an absolutely excellent cut in a way remiscent of "Fresh" from "Born & Raised" as it sees the younger Queensbridge native team up with some of his hip-hop heroes from way back in 1986. I'm talking about the Large Pro/Cormega assisted Public Enemy joint "Catch The Thrown". This is an excellent mix of the politically charged styles of CHUCK D and Corey's reflective yet street oriented gut punching attacks on the powers that be. It is not entirely impossible that this was recorded for "Philosophy". I imagine tons of music must have been recorded for the LP and perhaps Chuck D reached out to Large for a beat and he gave them this complete with the Mega verse. Also not too long ago Large Pro himself uploaded a 1:30 snippet of a song called "NGA" from the "Philosophy" sessions; see below.

Last but definitely not least we were treated to two remixes of the main single "Industry". The two very different versions were leaked for free to the net as promo material to boost the sales of the recently released "Mega Philosophy". The first remix entitled "The Juice Crew Remix" is an absolutely beautiful take on the original, and to be fair I'd got to say I prefer this version. The chilled out beat with it's smooth female vocals, dual accoustic piano melody and bridge set to vintage hip-hop drums really has a nice summer vibe anthem to it, which was kind of missing from the original despite the use of the same beat... and while Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, Craig G and Cormega all speaks their mind on the shady industry it isn't done in the same dark, depressing mood as on the solo version. The second installment, simply known as The Alternative Remix, is more of a sequel than a remix as it comes equipped with a completely new beat and all new verses. Since it was first made available as an exclusive free download in a rather prety damn shitty sound quality sometime in 2014, I had a hard time to truly appreciate the brilliance of this powerful, dark and brooding sequel until Large Pro included a mastered version of it on his recent "Re:Living" LP. Inspectah Deck can be very hit or miss these days but here he viciously murders the atmospheric but drum heavy remix with lines like "Nowadays everybody want to get on, they don't want to put in work, they just riding a long/ Pretty hoes in the videos styling in thongs, a few views on YouTube but who's buying the song?/ WorldStar don't give a fuck how you bodied the work, they'll desecreate your mixtape so KanYe can twerk". The same can be said about Roc Marciano, Sadat X, Lord Jamar and of course Cormega who hasn't even come close to spit a corny line on neither the entire album or the released songs from the sessions which I compiled for you below (making the album 60 minutes). In that same interview with XXL published a week before the LP:s official release date of July 22, Corey McKay reveals that he "got some remixes coming. We got one with the Juice Crew - me, Craig G, Masta Ace, and Kool G Rap. And then I got one with me, Lord Jamar, Sadat X, Rock Marciano and Inspectah Deck. Two remixes of 'Industry'" - confirming that all of these songs mentioned under this second section of this article (except for perhaps the Public Enemy/Cormega/Large Pro collabo) was recorded and in the can by the time the album came out.

With just eleven songs and a running time of 33 minutes it's not only Cormega's shortest album, it's also his most focused and to be honest his best work yet in my honest opinion. With each listen this album has grown even more on me, there are absolutely nothing that comes even close to filler, and there's a thin red line running through the project both from a lyrical and a production standpoint. In a way I could see why they woud ditch the bonus tracks and sequels mentioned above since they don't quite fit into the mold of the main album. Still as good as Large Professor's and Cormega's chemistry is here, I strongly recommened listening to it as released, with all the bonus tracks and also give the fully instrumental album at the very least one chance. I had the pleasure of seeing Large Pro and Cormega perform in Copenhagen around 2011 (what's up Rob), probably right as they were beginning to produce this album and I just hope that I will get to see them share the stage again very soon. I really don't like to give out ratings but rather let the review/article speak for itself, but this is a modern hip-hop masterpiece if I ever heard one so the rating can of course be no less than 5/5.

12. "Industry" [Juice Crew Remix] (Ft. Kool G Rap, Craig  G & Masta Ace)
13. "Journey" [Remix] (Ft. Sadat X, OC & Large Professor)
14. "Catch The Thrown" (Ft. Public Enemy & Large Professor)
15."Industry Part II" (Ft. Inspectah Deck, Rock Marciano,& Lord Jamar)
16. "Focused Up" (Ft. Large Professor & Tragedy Khadafi)
17. "M.A.R.S." (Ft. Action Bronson, Rock Marciano & Saigon)


Sunday, June 21, 2015

[DJ Mix] SOUL SUPREME - "Straight Talk"

 Born as David Åstrom in the chilly deep northern parts of Swedish areas, and though he had a large hit here with Petters "Repa Skivan", it wasn't until he moved to the States and started shopping his demos to independent labels like Grit Records that he truly started to get noticed and signed both as a producer and a solo artist. KRS-One, who was signed to the label at the time, introduced him to Boston producer Inebriated Beats and started using them kind of like a proudction team. Soul Supreme is responsible for some of the most powerful and underrated records in The Blast Master's 2001-2002 career such as "Believe It", "Womanology", "The Only One", and "Let 'Em Have It". Having obviously pleased Knowledge Reigns Supreme, Grit Records let him record a solo album in 2004 - "The Saturday Nite Agenda". During this time his beats had gained some impact and for the album he was able to get a star studded guestlist of hip-hop royalty - AG, Party Arty, Big Daddy Kane, OC, Reks and La Da Headtoucha. As you might guess from the name the record is full of well engineered soul sampes and driven drum programming, make the LP a true gem for fans of that hardcore yet soulful US hip-hop. If you haven't heard it before do yourself a favor and find it ASAP.

After contributing several of the best beats on OC's unfinished "Starchild", Åström kind of dissapeared from the scene for a long while, instead focusing on Swedish house and alternative music under the name of The Last Days of Disco and Kocky. Since I loved so much of his earlier work I was real hyped to see him using his old hip-hop producer alias for "Straight Talk",  a DJ mix decided to a friend.

Soul Supreme AFK says: In the recent times a good friend has gone through some rough times. I'm far from home so I can't help as much as I'd want to, so I did what I can: Soulful music makes everything better so I recorded a soulful uplifting mix… Hopefully it makes him and everyone who needs it to feel better.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

[EP] THE AUDIBLE DOCTOR - "The Spring Tape"

Wow this is hard as nails and much anticipated! Super producer and Lost Tapes favorite The Audible Doctor is back with the third installment in his Seasons EP:s - the 2015 version of "The Spring Tape". Capturing the sound of a hot Spring Audible experiments with exquisite soul samples, boom bap drums that is guaranteed to keep your head nodding for its full running time. Featuring only four tracks with guests including Tragedy Khadafi, Hus Kingpin, Masta Ace, Wordsworth, Has-Lo and Davenport Grimes, this is definitely worth the 4 dollars it cost you to download a HQ version of your choice @ Audible's Bandcamp. You can of course stream the entire project in 128 kbps below, and let me tell you that this is nothing short of excellent and is an excellent follow-up to the previous volumes in the series.

Napoleon Ft. Ghostface Killah - "Game"

 Virginia spitter Napoleon, of Wu-Syndicate fame, joins up with Tony Starks The Ghostface Killah for the powerful single "Game" from his solo album "Ring Of Power" which also features cameos by Pusha T, Crooked I, Killah Priest, Jim Jones, Joe Mafia, and many more. It seems like a digital album only, you can purchase it @ iTunes.

Ms. Lauryn Hill - "Feeling Good"

Any new music from Lauryn Hill is greeted by true Soul and Hip Hop fans with huge cheers, and just like D'Angelo last year it seems we will be getting some brand new music from the Queen of Soul very soon. "Feeling Good" is a beautiful cover of the classic Nina Someone song that Lauryn does true justice. It is set to appear on an full-length LP entitled "Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone" which is the official soundtrack to the newtribute movie What Happened Miss Simone?", a documentary that has made the round at the movie festival circuit to great acclaim and is now soon available on NetFlix on June 26. Looks like a must see, no doubt! Check out the trailer below, and right under that you'll find the tracklist for the album courtesy of HuffingtonPost (Great news is that Lauryn Hill contributes no lrss than six songs)..

1. Lisa Simone, "Nobody's Fault but Mine (Intro)"
2. Ms. Lauryn Hill, "Feeling Good"
3. Ms. Lauryn Hill, "I've Got Life" - Ms. Lauryn Hill
4. Ms. Lauryn Hill, "Ne Me Quitte Pas" - Ms. Lauryn Hill
5. Jazmine Sullivan, "Baltimore"
6. Grace, "Love Me or Leave Me"
7. Usher, "My Baby Just Cares For Me"
8. Mary J. Blige, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
9. Gregory Porter, "Sinnerman"
10. Common & Lalah Hathaway, "YG&B"
11. Alice Smith, "I Put A Spell On You"
12. Lisa Simone, "I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl"
13. Ms. Lauryn Hill, "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair"
14. Ms. Lauryn Hill, "Wild Is The Wind"
15. Ms. Lauryn Hill, "African Mailman"
16. Nina Simone, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free"

[iTunes Bonus] CZARFACE - "Deviatian Septums" / "Sinister Remix"

Yesterday Get On Down Records released the sophomore album by Czarface, the trio made up of Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck and long-time MC/producer duo 7L & Esoteric. In 2013 they dropped their self-titled debut album in February 19, an LP that actually gained a lot of recognition as a great underground record. Personally I really tried to get into that one but beside a few cuts it sounded quite generic to me and was an overall disapointment. In other words I didn't have any hopes
 for this follow up called "Every Hero Needs A Villain" but GOD DAMN was I wrong! L7 stepped up his beat game BIG TIME on here (with the help of his protogé and partner Spada4), a perfect fit for Deck, and even Esoteric (whose lyrics sound kind of lame at times) sound deceent on this fifteen track excursion. I would strongly recommend this every time to fans of Wu, 7L & Esoteric and genrally just underground hip-hop. Today the iTunes version was released and this edition includes two bonus tracks that are just as good as anything else found on the LP. I uploaded them both to my Audiomack account for free streaming, no downloads however you can buy the album from iTunes here.

Showbiz - "No Days Off"

Who the hell saying that Showbiz of Show & A and D.I.T.C. ain't one of the illest to ever do it got sand in their ears. It seems he's working on an instrumental solo album called "The Answer" where the single "No Days Off" are lifted from. This shit really has me nodding my head in amazement, just about everything about it is perfect, from those drums, the recurring female vocals, the keyboard bass line, the accoustic piano and the sound effects. Fucking excellent! This was actually posted almost six months ago on the official D.I.T.C. channel but lows are real view so I guess a lot of people are still sleeping (and I gotta admit I didn't find it myself until just now). Diggin' in the Crates!

[Coming Soon] MILES DAVIS - "The Bootleg Series 4"

Yes I am aware that this is a site focusing on true school hip-hop at it's finest, but next to hip-hop my two favorite artists are without a doubt jazz legends Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Columbia Legacy has been milking the shit out of Miles' legacy, reissuing and remastering pretty much everything he recorded for the label and putting it out again and again. However, in 2007 they begun a genius series when they released the first installment in "The Bootleg Series", a series of beautiful box sets for the first time featuring previously unreleased Miles' concert sets spread out over 4 discs (two of the three sets so far have included a beautiful and clean DVD of a Davis Quintet performance). These are always a definite purchase for me and a great addition to the collection, even if I'm low on cash.

The first volume was a great document of 5 sets of Miles playing with his so called Second Great Quintet (Miles, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter) at George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival in 1967. Volume 2 was the first official Sony release of the so called "Lost Quintet" (Miles, Wayne Shorter, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Chick Corea) recorded in 1969 and spread over three CD:s and one DVD where the music was getting more and more free with only Miles reigning in the band for his very tight trumpet solos and themes. Volume 3 was a personal favorite of mine as it featured four CD:s of Miles after his transition into the "rock-jazz fusion"  and was recorded at Bill Graham's rock club The Fillmore East over four nights in June 1969. A heavily edited verison of these four nights had been released as "Miles @ The Fillmore" in 1970 with about 20 minutes kept from each night - and Teo Macero editing out a lot of good stuff that for the first time was heard for full here. These four discs was filled to the damn limit with agressiveness and rawness that at the time probably left a lot of jazz listeners scratching thier heads at the time Miles now had two keyboards in his band, which added a lot of coloring to the music - Keith Jarret (Organ) and Chick Corea (Rhodes), plus Steve Grossman on Soprano Sax (to be honest I have no clue how he got to tour with Miles, I never cared the least for him),

Since each  Volume has followed the chronological order I was expecting the 4th installment to be a collection of Miles concerts from his Japanese tour in 1975 with Miles, Mtume, Pete Cosey, Reggie Lucas, Sonny Fortune and Al Foster that produced the axcellent international live albums "Agharta"and "Pangaea" and countless bootleg recordings. This is my favorite Miles band, the sheer intensity and agressivity is just something most so called hard rock musicians couldn't handle. But now "The Bootleg Series Volume 4" has been anounced via Miles Davis official website at Legacy Recordings and instead of following the chronological order, this one takes it back right to the beginning for Miles and Columbia. "Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975" is a four disc CD that follows Miles Davis and his various qunitets through the years 1955 to 1975 during 8 concert sets. I guess that since Volume One did include all five sets from 1967 from Newport that year will not be featured. Some cool trivia is that Miles Davis was kind of down and out of the jazz scene by the early '50s due to heavy heroin addiction, showing up late or not at all to gigs, etc. By 1955 he had kicked the habit at his father's cabin, cold turkey, and when he was invited up as part of an all star set that also featured Thelonious Monk (piano), Zoot Sims (tenor sax), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Percy Heath (bass) and Connie Kay (drums) he performed the lead on the Monk composition "Round 'Bout Midnight" to standing ovations, definitely signing off that Miles was back with a venegance. Columbia producer George Avakian who was in the crowd that night immediatly rushed backstage and signed the trumpeter on the spot for a rather, for the time being, large sum, Miles first LP for Columbia would singal this performances importance as the album lead off with "Round About Midnight" and was even titled as such and immediatly became a bestseller. This box set will be another must buy for any serious Miles Davis collector like myself, as it follows the musical legends importance and transformation as an artist over a 20 year period. Rolling Stone got the honor to stream a preview of a 1966 performance of "Stella By Starlight" performed with the Second Great Quintet (mentioned above), which is an incredible take on the slow moving love ballad that Victor Young originally wrote. Two minutes in the band transforms it almost into unrecognizability, as Ashley Kahn tells Rolling Stone how the Quintet transforms the slow jam into a "high speed chase discarding any notion of mainting emotional consistency and reverence...". Take a listen below and pre-order the box at Amazon or iTunes which hits stores on July 17.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Nutso & Divided Souls at DJ Premier #LFHQ show 2015

Our man, Jay Large put together a dope visual during our visit to DJ Premier's mixshow on SiriusXM Hip-Hop Nation called Live From HeadQCourterz and a quick spot of where it all started from for me...NuYorican Poets Cafe. Shout to Spank & Brent (Divided Souls) + LFHQ homie's Panch, Keeb, Kreepy Clown + my team - DJ Mike Duse + Ron Mills

Posted by Nutso on den 9 juni 2015
My homie Chris Moss and long time Lost Tapes contributor with his partners Brent Dixon and DJ Pain 1 that together form Divided Souls Ent. is really starting to make moves which makes me real proud of them. They recently produced one of the best records of the year with impeccable Queens emcee Nutso in his 7 track EP "Divided Soul". Nutso and the Divided Souls team was invited to the DJ Premier's legendary LiveFromHQ's show at Sirius XM to talk about the new record, freestyle, and just kick it. Nutso posted a brief clip of some of the highlights from the show, shot and edited by Jay Large for all y'all to enjoy. Check it out above and if you haven't heard the EP yet click the link above and get ready to bang your head while you let the lyricism sink in.

[Video] JOEY BADA$$ - "Paper Trails"

One of my favorite tracks from Joey Bada$$ exqusititely dope "B.4.Da.$$", so far one of 2015's best albums, gets the video treatment, directed by Tom Gould. The track in question is DJ Premier's contribution to the LP, "Paper Trail$", a bad ass joint where Preemo really gave Joey one of his trademark bangers that could have been something from the early 2000s. Cop "B.4.Da.$$" @ iTunes.

Estee Nack & Purpose - "Time" / "When I Get High"

Tragic Allies is a damn underrated crew, the first time I heard them was on a mixtape hosted by 4th Disciple where the group ripped up classic instrumentals from the legendary producer. Since then they have released a dope album with Tragedy Khadafi, and their producer Purpose has been making a lot of moves. Now the latter and fellow band member Estee Nack is teaming up to release the full-length "14 Forms: The Book Of Estee" on Ill Adrenaline Records. Check out the first two singles "Time" (up top with the video) and "When I Get High" below - iLL! Pre-order the album for its June 23 release date @ iTunes or grab the CD/cassette from Fat Beats or UGHH.

[Video] INSPECTAH DECK / 7L & ESOTERIC as CZARFACE - "The Great" / "Deviant's Septum"

I love Inspectah Deck but I got to admit that the fist Czarface album was a dissapointment to me, I tried time and time again to get into it but save for a few joints the beats just sounded generic to me, Esoteric was wack and INS was far from bringing his A game. Now the second Czarface album is here, once again entirely produced by 7L who does a fucking banging job this time around and INS is on fire straight through the whole album... Man I can't even front too hard on Esoteric. "Every Hero Needs A Villain" is a real thorough record that will satisfy both Wu fans and 7L & Esoteric heads. Check out the official video for "The Great" up top and order the album @ iTunes (including two bonus tracks) or UGHH for psychical copies (wax and CD). Below you can check out one of the iTunes bonus tracks thanks to YouTube user FeLo, called "Deviatin' Septums". Love this joint!

[Throwback] PETE ROCK - "Soul Survivor: The Documentary" (1998)

There's no denying that Pete Philips', better known as Pete Rock, is one of the major personage in hip-hop culture. Having released 12 albums that all range from classic to banging, as well as lacing immortal beats for the likes of EPMD, Slick Rick, Raekwon, Ghostface, Public Enemy, Rakim, and so many more, his place in the annals of hip-hop is for ever sacred. With his second official instrumental full-length "PeteStrumentals 2" just around the corner (June 23 via Mello Music Group) I thought it was only right I'd bring back this incredible document of a classic album in the making courtesy of Loud Records '97-'98. I'm talking about the 45 minutes documentary that the label produced for the making of Pete Rock's solo debut "Soul Survivor" which landed in stores in November 1998. It took me some time to really get into the album when I first got it but after countless listens I can truly see just how incredibly dope this LP really is - just as good as "Center Of Attention" and "PeteStrumentals" and them classic gems. Unlike "Soul Survivor II" (2004) where Pete basically went with the one MC/one DJ formula, for this first installment Pete used his connections at Future Flavaz, LOUD Records and of course all of the artists whose respect he had earned throughout the years, to create an album with one of the illest tracklistings of all time.

When we see documentaries about the making of classic albums (like VH1's "Reasonable Doubt" episode on "The Making Of The Classic Album" or the new Nas "Illmatic" documentary) you usually have the people involved reminiscing about its creation. This doc right here is something else man, this is 45 minutes of fly on the wall documentary style as Pete and the many guests produce, record and oversees the creation of the record. Previously this has been up on YouTube in 6 parts but thanks to user MastaOne2K we can now enjoy the full thing without any breaks. As a little bonus I collected a few joints that didn't make the final cut or got changed. The video itself features some exclusive moments too, like an exclusive DOPE Cappadonna verse for example.

01. "Stay Away" (Ft. De La Soul)
02. "Verbal Murder Pt. 1" (Ft. Mekolicious, Pete Rock & Buddha Monk)
03. "Strange Fruit" (Ft. Tragedy Khadafi, Noreaga, Mekolicious & Pete Rock)
04. "Greenbacks" [Demo]


L'ORANGE / KOOL KEITH - "Time Traveler" (Ft. J-Live)

Rising producer L'Orange knows a thing or two about flipping soul samples to great effect and the one and only Kool Keith knows a thing or two about an abstract thing or two. Since his days in Ultramagnetic MC's Keith has produced and released countless albums, some classics, some decent ones and straight up duds and its usually up to the producer he picks. His work with Dan The  Automator on "Dr. Octagonecologyst" is one of the finest alternative hip-hop albums of the mid-'90s, his "Sexx Style" LP with Kut Masta Kurt was way ahead of its time, the largely self-produced "Black Elvis Lost in Space" was definitely a great hip-hop parody. But then there's also weak shit such as "Dr. Octagon 2", the sickening "Party in the Morgue" and the forgettable "Love & Danger". But no matter what Kool Keith, Dr. Octagon, Spankmaster, Dr. Doom, or whatever he chose to call himself weill always be a legend and I'm sure still have at least a couple of classics left in him. And as for L'Orange, who is pretty new to the scene, he really impressed me with his vintage soul samples and boom bap drums on projects like "The Orchid Days" and his recent "The Night Took us in Like Family" with emcee Jeremiah Jae.

Still these guys seem like a kind of strange collaboration to say the least, but that doesn't stop Mello Music Group for bringing them together for an album called "Time? Astonishing!". It all started on a track from the MMG compilation "Persona" called "Sometimes I Feel", and the chemistry was evident. I guess it was not long after this that the duo started recording more music which evently turned into a full body of work. The first single is called "Time Traveler" and features another favorite of mine in J-Live. Can't wait for this project for sure. Check out the video for "Time Traveler" up top and peep "Sometimes I Feel" fom "Persona" below.

[Video] HOSTYLE - "Who Am I?"

That's right, Hostyle of Queensbridge veterans Screwball is back wih a venegance. As if we didn't know the ruff voiced emcee asks listeners "Who Am I?" on a new track produced by rising beat head QB Rap P and the result is pretty damn slamming. According to the notes this is the first single from an upcoming full-length to be released soon and called "You Already Know".

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

EASY MO BEE & EMSKEE - "Black Radio"

Easy Mo Bee is one of those legendary greats that a lot of people seem to forget when talking about the greatest producers in the game. He produced about half of BIG's "Ready to Die" and Craig Mack's debut (including "Flava in Ya Ear"), he was both GZA and RZA's first producer on a major, he laced Kane with heat and even made a hip-hop/jazz record with Miles Davis, and the list goes on. Now he's hooking up with the charismatik Emskee for a limited run of vinyl of a new album called "Two For One" on Fresh Pressing Records. Check out the 11 minutes sampler up top (one minute for each song) and peep the first single "Black Radio" below. Damn I wish I had the $$ for this one, but you can't win them all. One thing's for sure, this will be a banger if I ever heard one. I believe my man Oxygen of Soundsci is also featured on the album.

[Comp] SHYHEIM - "The Lost Files Of A Rugged Child"

 Shyheim is one of those guys you eiher love or hate it seems, and me personally I always liked him though there's no denying that his drug abuse fucked up his ability t make a coherrent classic album again unfortunately. And now he's sitting on Rikers Island again, doing a fourteen year bid for manslaughter due o an accidental killing of a person on New Years Eve 2013, high on benzodiazepines. Listening back to his early albums it kind of gives me a lump in my throat at times, here is this young kid, so talented, clearly living the street life with no parental guidance and even though he made semi-classic records, was affiliated with one of the biggest hip-hop acts of all time, and starred in several movies he still got caught up. And his best records were always the one were he bore his soul on record for the world to hear, like "Manchild" and "Dear God", it was quite evident he wasn't a very happy young man but as we all know pain makes great music.

His first album "Shyheim A.K.A. The Rugged Child" is suprisingly dope, entirely produced by RNS, a Staten Island beat head who showed The RZA a lot of production techniques and equipent, filled with bass heavy, jazz sampling boom bap type beats with call and response hooks made popular by the likes of Black Moon and Onyx. And for anyone thinking little Shy was just some kid getting on because he knew the right people were left silenced after hearing his performances on here. This was no Kris Kross or Another Bad Creation with their cute cookie cutter raps. Shyheim, and later Illegal, proved that even at a young age you could be a credible hardcore rapper as long as you got skills and a tight crew. Shy's crew was made up of The Gladiator Posse, formerly known as G.P. Wu, which also included Pop The Brown Hornet (who RZA once has been qouted saying was one of the guys he definitely wanted in the Clan but couldn't get), Down Low Recka, June Luva, and Rubbabandz. These guys appear on a lot of songs from the debut and the B-sides of its 12" singles and it's a shame they didn't blow up more, because they are definitely talented. The GP crew definitely helped out Shy with some of his writing, but it was not like he used a full-blown ghostwriter on anything except perhaps one song on the album. That track is one of my personal favorites - "Little Rascals", produced and written solely by Prince Rakeem, and if you listen to it it sounds a hell of a lot more like RZArector than Shyheim, even the cadence is more Gravediggaz RZA than Shy. The fact that R. Diggs is the sole writer of the song. An interesting fact is that Shyheim was repping both Wu-Tang and GP The Grain but in an interview with HHC RZA made the outlandish statement of "Shy was already a little Wu-Tang soldier, then my producer RNS stole him from me". This seems to be revisionist history considering that Shy always repped RNS and the GP clique harder than the Clan.

By the time Shyhei Franklin recorded his second album he had more life experiences to build on, a deeper voice and the production of RNS, while still very much prevalent, this time he invited D/R Period, L.E.S., The RZA and King Of Chill which made a somewhat more well-rounded album (though not necessarily better). Unfortunately Noo Trybe Records fucked up distribution and the album was never properly released on vinyl, though various promo copies made the rounds back though missing several essential cuts. Once he signed to Wu-Tang Management in 1999 and released his third album "Manchild" - this is the final Shy album I truly gave a chance and while it does has is moments (the title track is still one of my favorite autobiographical hip-hop songs of all time; "Furius Anger" featuring the last apperance by Big L is a bonafide classic; and a few others) but compared to his two youth LP:s it doesn't hold a candle though it has it's moments. Suprisingly absent from the credits is also RNS - I really wonder if he and RZA had a falling out at some point considering RZA was the exec. of "Manchild" and given the fact that they were real close as far back as '92 it strange RZA didn't give him more shine. Since then Shy has started his own label, Bottom Up Records, released several albums that at least I haven't heard and done a lot of differet business ventures.

But for this Lost Tapes presentation, I wanted to focus on my favorite preiod of Shyhem's career, namely 1993 to 1998 - the "Rugged Child" to "Lost Generation" era. And while Shy didn't apear on too many records by other artists (save for the classic posse cut ("Show & Prove" with Jay-Z, ODB, Big Daddy Kane and Schoob). Luckily back in the early- to- mid-'90s, record labels realized the key to selling singles was to fill them with previously unreleased B-sides and sick ass remixes. And there's plenty of 12" sngles from the "Rugged Child" album, all colected here. So enjoy this shit right here, and send your thoughts to Shy at Riker's Island or send him a letter to Shyheim Franklin,
01. "C.R.E.A.M. Freestyle - Intro" (Ft. RZA & GZA)
I would guess this is from 1994 as Shyheim sound kind of like on "Rugged Child" and of course the "C.R.E.A.M. beat was THE beat to freestyle to. This is really ill and a perfect album opener, solidifing the Wu-Tang connection to the fullest. I was originally gonna use the Madison Square Garden freestyle but everyone and their mother heard that.

02. "On & On" [DJ Premier Remix]
This remix is to me iller than the original which I absolutely loved, and it got a nice flavor that makes it a perfect song to bang early in the selections. The sampled jazz base under Shy's vocals gives this joint a whole diffent flavor - found on the first pressing of the 12" in 1993. Some rumours claimed that DJ Premier actually produced the original version, which is bullshit so if you don't know know you know!

03."Pass It Off" [Underground Remix] (Ft. GP Wu & Big Daddy Kane)
Produced by RNS, this joint features a completely different beat from the album version and more than that it features Shy, the entire GP Wu and Big Daddy Kane go head to head. Kane's verse is short but sweet, showing how much love he had for young Shy. Released in 1994 on the "Pass It Off" single".

04. "Show & Prove" (w. Big Daddy Kane, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Jay-Z & Scoob Lover)
This is the posse cut that everybody knows and its truly one of the great posse cuts of the mid '90s. Released in '94 on Big Daddy Kane's underrated "Daddy's Home" LP, on which along with his previous "Looks Like A Job...", Kane wanted to bring back his street rep. For this particular cut BDK enlisted DJ Premier for a jazzy boom bap cut and invited a bunch of up-and-coming talents - Shyheim, Scoob, Ol' Dirty Bastard and even a young Jay-Z. There even was a video for this gem, see above!

05. "The B-Side: Bring The Drama" (Ft. Down Low Recka, K-Tez & Rubbabandz)
This caused me scraching my head when searching for the B-sides of the various 12" singles. Apparantly they thought it was a good idea to name two completely different songs as "The B-Side" with a parantheses after. This joint is really called "Bring The Drama" and is another dark RNS production featuring Shy holding his own against his GP brethren. This joint first appeared on the first pressing of the "On & On" 12" in '93 that also had the Premier remix.

06. "The B-Side: Lick A Shot"
The second B-side "Lick A Shot" is classic Shyheim/RNS with no guests and would fit right in on the "Rugged Child". But at the same time I love how they not just give fans throwaways on the 12" singles. Originally appeared on the 1994 single for "Pass It Off".

07. "Get Down" (Ft. Rubbabandz,, Snagglepuss, & Leatherface)
This one really caught my attention based on the guest features, Leathaface was part of U-God's team later in the '90s and he definitely knows how to rhyme and Snagglepuss obscure style has always fascinated me since I first heard him on Brand Nubian's "Step Into Da Cipher". This appeared on the "One 4 Da Money" 12" in 1994 that also included three exclusive RNS remixes of the title cut sa well as West Coast remix created by DJ Slip. The RNS remxes are included as bonus tracks at the end of the compilation.

08. "Life of a Shorty" (Ft. Lil' Vicious)
I would guess that  this was something that the label put together as both Shy and Lil' Vicious was on Virgin/Chrysalis in '94. Lil' Vicious was about the same age as Shyheim, and had the backing and co-production of Doug E. Fresh. Vicious was doing his lil' ragga thing and Shy was invited to kick a verse dealing with life as a shorty in the ghetto. It was both an album track and a single, and while it's not weak it's kind of forgettable. Released in 1994.

09. "´Shaolin Style" [L.E.S. Remix] (Ft. Pop The Brown Hornet, Squiq, Nefskilove & Illgod)
We now enter Part 2 of this compilation as we leave the early years of Shyheim The Rugged Child behind and enter his second phase, "The Lost Generation" era. "Shaolin Style", the Queensbridge producer L.E.S.' contribution to the album, gets the remix treatment by its original producers and not only is the beat different but it is transformed into a posse cut featuring the alnighty Brown Hornet and a bunch of no names. This would actually have been a good fit for the album as a bonus track or whatever; instead it was released on the "Shaolin Stye" 12" / CDS in 1996.

10. "All Out On My Own" (Ft. Squigg)
Thanks to Lost Tapes reader John's observation in the comments section that I had forgot to add one of the more rare B-sides to the compilation made me revise the "album". The track "All Out On My Own" was included on only one or two out of the several releases of the "Shit Iz Real" single, and is a track as strong as most of what made "The Lost Generation". Just like on the L.E.S. remix up top, it's interesting that the guest of honor is Squigg - not a known name but one of few people from Mr. Franklin's clique that actually followed him through his Bottom Down ventures. No production credit given but probably an RNS production, and released in 1996.

11. "Worldwide" (w. Raphael & Loucha)
This '96 jam sees Shyheim crossing borders, collaborating with two French emcees named Raphael and Loucha. The former is part of the huge crew La Cliqua and the song was produced by Yvan Jaqueent in time for its 12" release in 1996. I also believe this appeared on a French / US compilation around the same time. Slamming cut!

12."Soul in the Hole" (w. Timbo King, Dreddy Kruger, Killa Sin & Tekitha)
This is a true anthem that any Wu fanatic are wel aware of and has been a Killa Bee favorite since it dropped on the soundtrack of the sae name in 1997. Billed as the Wu AllStars, these guys could have formed a succesful group at the time - Killa Sin, Shyheim, Timbo King, Tekitha. This one goes right into the soul!

13. "Co-Defendants" (Ft. Hell Razah)
Recorded in late '97 but released first in March '98, this was the first time hearing Shy and Hell Razah on wax together, two cats with quite different styles to say the least, but with RZA's pumping instrumental and extended vocal samples you hardly can go wrong. There's even a very rare video for this that I just found out about a couple of weeks ago. This was released as one of the A-side 12" singles from the Killa Beez "The Swarm" LP too!

14. "One's 4 Da Money" [Mad Dollaz Remix]
I'm closing this out with another RNS remix of "One's 4 Da Money", probably Shy's biggest song ever. Once again only available on one or two of the many versions of the single, this one from 1994. Very different from the RNS original remix, a little more of a West Coast flavor.
15."Pass It Off" [D-Side Remix] (Ft. GP Wu)
This is basicalltý the same as the Underground Remix, as far as lyrics goes, except it doesn't have Big Daddy Kane on it. RNS kills it with a classic early '90s production here! Was released on the "Pass It Off" 12" in 1994.

16. "One 4 Da Money" [RNS Original Remix]
 This was rare remix only appeared on a promo 12" of the "One & One" single and it's fucking slamming with a totally different sound. It drives me crazy that I cant figure out who else messed with this sample, but the piano melody is beautiful and really does the sound justice. Released in 1994.... So there you have it, Shyheim used to be the MAN so TURN THIS THE FUCK UP!

Monday, June 15, 2015


Since the first time I heard the young Philadelphia protogé of DJ Jazzy Jeff I was straight away blown away. After a bunch of excellent singles and a banging soulful EP which names escapes me at the moment the duo now is preparing a proper full-length entitlted "Memoirs of Dayne Jordan" which is set to drop on July 21. The lead single from the project is called "In Progress" and both from a lyrical and production standpoint this is fuking unbelivable, so don't sleep whatever you do. This could very well be one of the best albums of the year. Stream "In Progress" up top and smile at the hip-hop renaissance.

[Video] KILLAH PRIEST - "Citrin"

Killah Priest's "Psychic World of Walter Reed" might very well have been the best album of 2013, and a 41 track double album with very few guest cameos at that - that's a major statement, but Priest is just in a league of his own. I unfortunately forgot all about the album when I did the countdown of the years best record but after some time has passed, etc, I can honestly say that this is one of the best albums of the decade so far. A lot of the album, as well as the excellent "The Offering" was produced by Dutch production crew Godz Wrath (Black Marvel The MOD, Jordan River Banks, Ciph Barker, Dirty Needlz). On the spiritual sequel to "The Psychic World", "Planet Of The Gods", Priest let the Godz Wrath crew handle all production while the album in itself is a true comcept record bordering on science fiction and ancient knowledge. While it lacks the immediate power of its predecessor its a very strong release that rewards several listens and is further proof of just how good Killah Priest truly is. The first single is the album opener, "Citrin", which comes with a music video directed by Futprnts Workshop. Check it out above and listen to the album in full and order at this link.

[Throwback] K-DEF - "Willie Boo Boo 'The Fool'" (2006)

 Friends of The Lost Tapes know that I've been following the career of K-Def since the mid-to-late-'90s, way before he signed to Redefinition Records and started releasing impeccable instrumental LP:s. His first fully instrumental album was the masterpiece 42 piece suite known as "Willie 'Boo Boo' The Fool" that dropped in 2006 on the small indie label Redline Music Distribituion. Of course I have the vinyl at home, but since it's unfortunately out of print at the moment, fans can at least still enjoy the exqusite beats, breaks, and grooves thanks to K-Def's recently started Bandcamp page where he has uploaded the project in full (the LP version contained 25 songs, whle the CD edition featured the full 42 songs experience). This plays like a true instrumental hip-hop masterpiece, with K-Def flipping some of the most wonderful and well known samples in the game, and giving his own take on what made songs like Ghostface's "Mighty Healthy" and so much more. This is an album that is best enjoyed in headphones, just play play on the first track and let the 60 minutes of funk, soul and hp-hop take you to another planet of beats. Highlights include the straight up unbelivable "Axel's Replay" and "Ike's Replay" just to name a few, but you're best of listening to this from front-to-back. Though it's out-of-print by now, you can still enjoy it by copping the digital HQ version from K-Def's Bandcamp which of course also makes you a supporter of K-Def and the hard work he put into this project. By far one of the best LP:s of 2006 and if you haven't heard this yet, be glad that you still got the chance and hit play!

HUS KINGPIN - "California Lovve (City Of Dreams)"

Don't know where this will end up but one thing is for sure Hus Kingpin is definitely one of the most interestng emceees and all around artists around today. His new single "California Love (City of Dreams)" is a brilliant piece of summer vibe produced by O.S. and featuring Washeyi Choir. Zone out to this!


  If you follow The Lost Tapes you know that I, mr. claaa7, is a huge fan of Shabaam Sahdeeq and the "Ke epers of the Lost Faith" was one of the most underrated albums of last year. Now he's back with another project entitled "Timeless Of The Collection", which is spearheaded by the hard banging lead single "GMR" produced by Brown Bag AllStars member J57 with cuts by DJ Eclipse. The album which will be released digitallly via Bandcamp will feature a handpainted cover by Shabaam himself for each single, and limited editions of this singles artwork is available from Shadeeq's Bandcamp on prints and T-shirts so hurry up and buy. Dope cut too!

[Article] A look back at METHOD MAN's "Tical 0" (2004)

With Method Man's first album in almost 10 years just around the corner with "Meth Lab", lets take a look back at what is often described amongst hardcore Wu-Tang fans as one of the straight up wack releases from an official Clan member ever released. So what the hell went wrong? Both "Tical" (1994), "T2: Judgement Day" (1998) [extremely underrated album] and his first collabo with Redman on "Blackout!" (1999) was at the very least solid projects that gave Wu fans that grimey shit of what they wanted and expected from the one member of Wu-Tang Clan who already from the first single was designed to be its number 1 face outwards due to his slamming solo single that was even titled after his name. Funny thing is that due to some less stellar Wu solos and albums and an interest in the backpack / underground movement of El-P, Cannibal Ox, Mr. Lif, Mr. Len, Chubb Rock, and so on I stopped checking for Wu around 2001 after "Bulletproof Wallets" and "Iron Flag" - two albums that I have since reevaluated. Anyway fast forward to late 2004, and a real good friend had received a free cassette of J-Love's "A Taste Of Tical 0: The Prequel Part II" which he gave me and I was blown away by how dope this shit was and how much of these songs I had missed out on (remember this was a bit before the internet truly blew up and I hadn't checked for Wu for a few years, so I was thinking these hardcore gems was from the album it was promoting). After several spins I found myself in a record store picking up the actual album, thinking well at least Method Man never dissapoints so this will b interesting to hear at the very least. Who could have known...

Before we even get into the music, let's take a look at the cover. This cheesy Photoshop hack job is downright embarassing and at the same time playing on the over used hip-hop cliché of the artists showing themeselves as young kids not knowing they would become superstars. At least the back cover with Meth writing in his diary looks ill as hell and should have been used as the front cover, plain and simple! So on to the music - is this album rightfully hated or is it just so dissapointing that it has deserved an unfair rep as a totally horrible album. Well, given that Method Man is a superstar that can do so much better I'd say it's something in between. And while it is Meth's own fault and his poor judgement not understanding how to please his fans, he afterwards has blamed Puff Daddy's involvement in the albums creation as the LP:s A&R - well who hired Diddy in the first place Meth? And Diddy is responsible for countless classic albums but Wu and Bad Boy don't mix like two dicks, and that's just the bottom line. While there are stand out tracks on the album, the tracks produced by Daddy's Hitmen are generally the low points of the album save for the excellent "The Motto" which was produced by the always trustworthy Nashiem Myrick, who produced a lot of classics for B.I.G. This is the sound they should have gone with, so why the hell not enlist Carlos Broady and Nashiem Myrick more and this album could have been fucking great?! 

Another thing that made the album fail big time is how Kevin Liles and Sean Combs vetoed against RZA's involvement in the album. What the hell? RZA made Meth's career, he produced the single that made Meth sell double platinum on his debut. Apparantly RZA and Meth had been in the studio recording and completing no less than seven records, but at the end only one song made the actual tracklist. Is it a coincidence that it happens to be the best song of the album ("The Turn" featuring Raekwon?). Even great producers like No I.D. who the same year supplied two absolutely amazing joints for Ghost's "Pretty Toney" album on the same label. It's quite easy to see that the A&R:s and execs asked No I.D. for a generic beat that could work in the club and the result was the abonimation that is "Tease". It's a shame because I love Meth's flow and I love No ID's production and that this is the only collabo we are left with between the two is just a sad state of affairs. Another thing that really bugs me about the album is that they cut away Wu-Tang features that would've been a great selling point to us hardcore heads. LA The Darkman was featured on the excellent RZA production "That Thang" while Ol' Dirty Bastard provided a banging hook on the song "Who You Rollin' With" which was mysteriously absent from the retail version.

Still "Tical 0: The Prequel" got it's moments, though they are few and far between. It would make for a dope EP, the main single with Busta, "What's Happenin'" always get me hyped as hell, I like the title track, I like "The Show", I love "The Afterparty" with Ghostface and as I mentioned above "The Turn" with Rae and RZA is a bonafide Wu classic. Still giving Meth's statue as one of the true greats, this album deserves all the hate and ridicule it has come across. Check out the "That Thang" track with Darkman below and the ODB original version of "Who Ya Rollin' With" and add those to the tracks mentioned in this paragraph and you got a nice lil' EP. Let's hope "The Meth Lab" will provide us with that real heat! Big shout out to CL2Coming for the rare 192 kbps album rip of the rare ODB version of this joint and the J-Love version of "This Thing". You'll also find "Take The Heat", Meth's collaboration with Dr. Dre recorded for the album, it's decent but given the high profile collabo I'm suprised they ditch this. Download all of them below.

METHOD MAN Ft. ODB & STREET - "Who Ya Rollin' Wit"

VINCE STAPLES - "Get Paid" [prod. by No ID]

My man Linkan put me onto Vince Staples with the "Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2" mixtape and I was sold right off the bat. Since then I've heard him on records by Common and others and the kid always delivers. In two weeks he's unleashing his official debut album on the world, and a double CD at that if I'm not mistaken. The album is titled "Summertime '06" and features from Jhéne Aikiko, Snoh Alegra, DJ Dahi, Kilo Kish and more. Check out the single "Get Paid" above, featuring Desi Mo and wait until June 30 when the LP drops in its entirety.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

[Mixtape] RAY WEST PRESENTS LUV NY Collective

In the summer of 2012 Red Apples 45 creator and super talented producer Ray West gathered a group of friends that also happens to be some of the dopest rappers New York City has to offer. The goal was for to produce a compilation of all new material with these emcees which included OC, AG, Kool Keith, Roc Marciano, Kurious, Dave Dar and Sean G. The result was "Luv NY", a project aimed at bringing back the essential vibe of early hip-hop from its birthplace of NYC. While the record definitely was dope it unfortunately didn't make that much noise, but now Ray West is back at it again, crafting fat instrumentals for AG, OC, Kool Keith, L The Fudge and the rest of the crew. "The LUV NY Collective" is somewhere between a mixtape and an album, there's nothing but original beats and rhymes, no DJ shouts or blends and nothing but full songs. There is however some previously released joints, remixes and skits but all in all it makes for a fascinating listen. Ray West keeps improving on his production and the spitters is just talent personified so don't sleep on this gem right here!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

[Review] SLUM VILLAGE - "Yes!"

When I first posted the free album stream of the new Slum Village album I was a little stand-offish against it. Their last album "Evolution" was really weak to me and din't pack the SV sound at all, "Villa Manifesto" was good but it seemed to lack something and I've heard several singles "produced" by Jay Dee that I wouldn't imagine he wouldn't want to have released during his lifetime. Then there's the constant changing of the line-up of the group. So needless to say then, I want into SV's new album with a lot of precautions. That's really the best way to enter any album, because then you can only be pleasantly suprised. And that is exactly what I became with Slum Village's new "Yeeeah". In my opinion this is the most Slum Village sounding album the group has released in year, which is something of an oxymoron considering that they have embraced several styles during their long careers and member changes. But what I mean it is the closest they have come to the style that made me fall in love with their music from the jump, the "Fantastic Vol. 1" and "Fantastic Vol. 2" series. Sonically it's filled with that filtered basslines, smacking Dilla type drums, and sampled guitar and Rhodes samples. This is what I want to hear from Slum Village, and not suprisingly the album uses no less than 10 Jay Dee instrumentals that at least I never heard before. And the mistake many albums that uses posthumous lost-and-found beats for their albums, these have been co-produced by Young RJ in several cases making sure that they sound as complete songs presentable in 2015 - which is a great way to keep Dilla's musical legacy alive. I'm really fed up with the practice beats some artists, who never even worked with Yancey in his lifetime, get a hold of and boosts about having a Dilla beat on their album. But these aren't just any ol' Dilla beats either, they actually are in the same vein as the "Fantastic" stuff for the most part, really bringing back memories of when SV was the kings of Detroit.

And just like "Fantastic Vol. II", the current members of Slum Village, which still includes their leader T3 who does a great job rhyming throughout, the members aims several joints at the girls over smooth instrumentals. A true stadout is the Young RJ produced "Push it Along", that uses a familiar breakbeat coupled with an infecitious piano melody and a brilliant bassline while Phife Dawg makes a welcome guest apperance. Then you got the triumphant "Windows", filled with strings and smacking drums giving it a cinematic feeling that's perfect for the songs themes of how we all see small parts of other persons life through "windows" just like on a screen. This is one of the beats Jay Dee begun and Young RJ completed, and this is when it works best. The same can be said about their collaboration on "Right Back at You" which features the legendary De La Soul which got that classic posse cut feeling with nothing but excellent verses from everyone involved over an infectious piano sample, hardcore drums courtesy of Dilla and slick cuts. Same goes for the Black Milk produced "We On The Go" which features Frank Nitty and a verse from Black Milk himself going head to head with the SV trio over an addictive banger with a lot of shit happening in the beat that together forms a unified whole. The only real misstep on a really good album is the halfbaked Jay Dee left-over beat that for some reason was released as a single and is even the title track. It got a disco influence and a horrible singing hook and doesn't even sound finished. Why Young RJ didn't go into this one and shape it up is beyond me because it just don't work, but I guess some people like it so whatever.  

Lyrically the album doesn't say much, but SV really never did speak on very important topics, they got cool voices and just like on the "Fantastic" albums this one got a laid back feel with a lot of joints aimed at the ladies (like the beautiful "Too Much") when they are not making Detroit anthems ("Where We Come From") or going full throttle with the posse cuts. After roughly forty minutes, the album closes on track 12 with the excellent Jay Dee production "What We Have" featuring Illa J (I actually thought he was a member by now, but guess not) and Kam Corvet. A fantastic way to close the album, an experimental Jay Dee beat taking some notes from his love for jazz with Rhodes, percussion, trumpet and female vocals floating in and out over the heavy filtered bass line while T3 sends out his love to a woman he sees a future with but his homies don't see what's the big deal with. Something I guess many of us can relate to. As the album fades out, there's no question that you have listened to a new Slum Village album, unlike some of their more recent releases. And for once I'm actually glad they used leftover Dilla beats because they found a way to really make it work without sounding forced. When Baatin and Dilla died  I counted out SV, but then when I realized what a dope emcee eLzhi is I noticed that they could still make some dope shit but since he left the group I have had zero interest in a new SV album. I'm glad they proved me wrong because they still got it! Motown stand up!