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Saturday, October 29, 2016

[Out Now] D.I.T.C. - "Sessions"

You all know that D.I.T.C. released a brand new album, their first in 16 years not counting compilations, EPs and mixtapes. Although it was credited to D.I.T.C. Studios it was obviously a real crew album as it featured all new material from mainly Fat Joe, AG, OC, Diamond D with even Lord Finesse came out of retirement for a brand new verse. The Studios album was released as a joint venture by Slice-Of-Spice and the groups own album. Now the group is releasing their own version of the LP, entitled "Sessions" which drops today (October 28) on iTunes with hopefully physical copies to follow. The project features many of the same songs from the "D.I.T.C. Studios" album, either as-is or in remixed form, along with a few brand new cuts. Interestingly enough, the crews original classic "Worldwide" was met with a similiar fate. Due to members not being able to being on the same page the album was released in three different incarnations - "Worldwide" (CD), "The Official Version" (LP) and "All Love" (Japan). Either way I'm always down for some new D.I.T.C.!

Check out the video for the Diamond D, Lord Finesse and Fat Joe reunion on "Rock Shyt" (which also appeared on the Studios version) as well as the Showbiz remix of "It's Cold Outside" below. Cop the digital 12-track LP @ iTunes now.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Article / Comp] Timbo King Pt. 1

I'm sure that the expanded amount of articles and posts related to Wu-Tang Clan and its affiliates haven't passed the avid The Lost Tapes reader by unnoticed. Since I don't get paid for maintaining this site and publishing articles I merely write about what captures my interest at the moment, and lately I've been on somewhat of a Wu-Tang trip so you can look forward (if that's how you see it) to a few more Wu related compilations and articles in the near future. However my intention is not to dwell on the A-list cast of the that mythical Clan but some of the unsung heroes within their circle. First out is a post and compilation dedicated to Timbo King, one of the original Killa Beez and leader of the superb Royal Fam which often acted as a one man army rather than a hip hop group on wax. Hailing from Bushwick, Brookltn, 'Bo King has a deep and commanding voice with well-researched lyrics put into street laguage that naturally grabs the listeners attention. A natural wordsmith with something to say - a breed of MC's that there's far to few of today. Hence, when he's placed on a solid beat on a posse cut (as he often was back in the late 1990s, early 2000s  alongside his Wu bretheren) he would not seldom come out the most domineering lyricist on the track, amid some some pretty damn steep competition. 

Just like Prince Rakeem and The Genius before him, Timbo King was one of only two future Killa Bee affiliates (the other being young Shyheim) who was able to secure a record contract and release projects on the strength of his own skills and charmisa alone rather than by association as many later affiliates would get on. This speaks much of Timbo's single-minded determination to break into the industry no matter what. As was often the case in 1992 and 1993 groups often produced themeselves with groups or duos almost always including a DJ/producer. This lead to 'Bo King hooking up with a neighborhood friend and produer/DJ who went by Spark 950 (M. Moore), and started recording whenever they had a chance. The result was a bunch of demo tapes, which they started shopping around to different labels. One such label was Uptown Records whose R&B/Rap department was run by André Harris and  the young Sean Puffy Commbs. At the time they were working on putting together the soundtrack to the Doctor Dre and Ed Lover comedy vehicle "Who's The Man?!" and was looking for a mixture of new and talented artists mixed with some better known ones. It was here BIG's first single "Party & Bullshit" made its first apperance, but it also featured a blazing Pete Rock & CL Smooth cut (with the impeccable Grover Washington Jr. on sax), new tracks by Erick Sermon, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, JuJu Banton, House Of Pain and 3rd Eye. So the lone Spark 950 and Timbo King track, "Who's The Man" was clearly in good company.

A move and placement like that a long with a solid demo tape generated some buzz in the industry, and the group's contract was eventually bought up and distributed by Street Life Records, a division of Scotti Bros Records who had at different points in times signed acts like James Brown, Weird "Al" Yankovic, pop star Leif Garrett and so on. All this was of course in the '70s and '80s. But no matter what, the duo of Timbo King and Spark 950 got a little budget, some studio time and a one record contract with chance for reneweal if the record did well. With hindsight it did not do well at all, and this can likely be chalked up to several reasons. Spark 950 was not a bad producer at all, but he was in no way groundbraking in any sense of the word. It was very typical 1993 standard Hip Hop flair. Add to that that Timbo King, while still having an ill voice and some neatly structured bars, had yet to find his own style and/or niche. I think it is quite comparable to Prince Rakeem's debut EP, "Ooh We Love You Rakeem", as you get the impression that the executives from Street Life Recocrds was in the guys ear teling them they needed a song with this theme or a song with that theme. Something that never works. Last but not least, it's a minor problem but the label kind of shadily passed this off as an 11-track album when there is infact only six songs - all good enough to nod your head to, but none of them good enough to remember. Check out the first Spark 950 & Timbo King, "Hello It's Me" as a bonus cut on the compilaion presented below.

You can draw some further parallels between The Genius and Prince Rakeem's defeat at the hand of record labels which led them to forming the Wu-Tang Clan to Timbo King's own pah. A true artist knows in his heart that he can and will make it, and never doubting himself he want back to his Brooklyn, Bushwick stomping grounds, assembled some of his rhyming and musical friends to form the Royal Fam - a group that he would be the defacto leader of. One of those members were Bushwick's Dreddy Kruger who had already appeared on Gravediggaz' first album and kept in contact with the Wu while also introudcing them to his crew of producer Y-Kim the Ill Figure, legendary reagger singer Mikey Jarrett's son of the same name, Stoneface and of course Timbo King. Togeher these artists would form the Royal Fam, one of the first Wu-Tang offshoots - this was back when the Wu wouldn't fuck with you unless you were really talented and could create albums of your own, at the same time RZA, Divine, Power and Ghost were also be on hand to help out their new under-regimes. Shyheim was already a factor before the Wu and as you can see by his first album, his main producer and guests on there were RNS and the GP Wu clique, so the real Wu-Tang Killa Beez to be introduced first was to be Sunz Of Man, Killarmy (hence the posse cut "Soldiers Of Darkness) and Royal Fam. Remember these were the days when anything with a Wu logo on meant BUYER BEWARE - HIGH QUALIYTY!

Royal Fam had their own main producer in Y-Kim The Ill-Figure who was complemented by Q-Base (a.k.a. Arabian Knight) and Lynx #6; 4th Disciple was more or less a semi-official member of Killarmy and Sunz Of Man originally had Supreme (though their final album would be dominated by The Wu-Elementz). The same went for another cat that was signed at the time, called Darkim Be Allah (who produced "12 Jewelz" for Gravediggaz and had the single "Bronx War Stories" with AllahWise on "The Swarm"). But as they were all under the Wu-Tang umbrella they started to notice that they were not always first priority, remember this was the same time that "Wu-Tang Forever" was being recorded. RZA set up and signed them to Razor Sharp/Wu-Tang Records under Priority and there were even ads for Sunz Of Man's "Nothing New Under The Sun" 2xLP in 1996 in magazines like The Source, but nothing happened.

Royal Fam got to drop what I for years have considered to be one of the absolute best double-A side 12" single reelased in the mid-'90s (whcih is of course saying A LOT). The main track, "Something Gots To Give" (with a video directed by GZA, see above) is a direct response to the way he experienced the record industry and how easy they take advantage of you unless you are on your toes, something that 'Bo King definitely wouldn't repeat after his failed dealings with Spark 950. Over a truly rugged beat, that captures the harder and most minimalist Wu-Tang flavor nicely with thumping yet crisp drum beat, an omnipresent horns and atmospheric keyboards. But it's really Timbo's vocals that are the instrument that really sets this apart - the agression combined with the witty lines makes every single bar memorable or quotable. The B-side was once again produced by Y-Kim, and following its predecessors theme it bears the title "I Declare War", and its just as dope. The beat is a bit more on high-energy, with dark, brooding piano, horns and that way only Hip Hop producers can manipulate real hard, repetitive drums. Both of these songs were a war chant, without a dobut, and would set things up for the Fam's official debut album to be released in 1996 or at the very latest 1997. I you look at the single mentioned above, the sticker right at the top of it says "The legend born from "The Black Castle".

Sunz Of Man was able to release two singles on Wu-Tang/Priority ("Soldiers Of Darkness"/"No Love Without Hate" and "Bloody Choices" before things came to a halt, and despite the aforementioend ads and a more or less completed album that would turn heads in 1996 (check it out for yourself) they decided to take matters in to their own hands. Led by Razah the group felt enough was enough and took manners into their own hands, contacting businesswoman Cathy Jones and owner of Red Ant Entertainment. The material for what is basically their second album was of course tied up at Wu-Tang / Priority since they owned the masters but for a huge amount of money RZA and Jones came to an agreement that "The Last Shall Be First" could be released as a joint venture if Red Ant payed for all the Wu-Tang artists and producers as guest artists. As Razah puts it, "Wu-Tang Records was distributed by Priority then.  None of [the] other Wu groups or subsidiary groups that ever came out on their own like Sunz of Man and that’s because I pulled off that deal with Red Ant Records. I got [us] signed to Red Ant, got RZA paid back with all he spent to build up Sunz of Man’s career.  Then certain members got paid to be featured on that album" (source). It was a done deal, and so the album went out in stores to great reviews and sells. 

Out of the three original Killa Beez group it seems only Killarmy has really been treated fair, having released tree albums between 1997 and 2001, all overseen and executively producer The RZA (who often even appeared in their videos). But then again 9th Prince is RZA's lil' brother and I guess blood is thicker than water then.... Royal Fam and Timbo surely didn't have the same luck - though they were still working on their "Black Castle" in '98 or early '99 the final blow came when their masters (mostly finished or close to finished  songs but not mixed, etc.) was stolen from the studio they were using along with Darkim Be Allah's album "Truth Or Dare". Darkim's album did never turn up anywhere (I will be making a post on this extremely underrated emcee soon as well), but what looked like some type of semi-official label calling themeselves Wu-International released those masters to the public in at least Europe, under the title "Yesetrday, Today iz Tomorrow". Looking and soundingvery much like an official release, with producer credits and even thank yous if i remember right. Wu International also released identical versions to Shyheim's "Manchild", a vinyl version of "Golden Arms Redemption" (U-God), and RZA & Big Kap's Wu mixtape CD. Perhaps the strangest thing is that these (or at least the Royal Fam CD since that's the only one I have) was distributed by the well-established and official PIAS [Play It Again Sam]. Although it was only released in Europe, it was hardly your standard bootleg - I saw it in Tower Records in London and several legit record stores in Sweden at the time of its release and never suspected there was anything odd about it (rememember we didn't have the net like that back then).

Reading interviews with Timbo King on why he didn't like that being out there, other than the fact that of course it was stolen material, was that much of the material was not finished and definitely not mixed and he compained about how fans got inferior versions of what the Royal Fam actually can and intended to do. Still I got to give it up to Timbo and Royal Fam, since I first heard it as a kid I loved it and I still bump it and get goosebumps. To me that's the definition of an extremely dope album, damn near close to a masterpiece. It's excellently sequenced, it features the right amount of emcees with Timbo King, the most talented clearly taking center stage. The beats, the guest features and production from the likes of Y-Kim, Lynx #6, John The Baptist, RZA (albeit they reused "The Legacy", its such a good track I can live with that as the epic album opener it is). Every single song on here is marvelous; it is short - only 12 tracks, with one having already been out 18 months, but as far as Wu-Tang releases go it is a whole lot better than whatever Wu affiliates drop these days (and yes that include Bronze Nazareth and the Wisemen). The thing is that had they been able to complete it there probably would be more songs on there, maybe some crazy interludes and what not and as it stands now it's pretty close to a classic - so maybe it really would have been a classic.

After that fiasco (although it did put Royal Fam's name even more on the map as any European believed it be an official release), Timbo King spent a lot of time building up his brand further by appearing on loads of dope records as a guest artist; both with his Wu-Tang brethren like on GZA's "Beneath The Surace" and RZA's "In Stereo", but also by international artists like Soldafada and IAM (see above for the former while the latter is includedin in the comp). I have put together some of these gems here, trying to find a nice balance between songs that represent for those who are relatively new to Timbo but I also want to give those who are very well familiar with him some harder to find stuff as well. I obviously haven't included anything from "Yesterday, Today iz Tomorrow" or the second failed attempt to release "Black Castle" in 2005 via BabyGrande. But one thing is fore sure, an emcee this talented needs to be heard...

 So without further a due, here he is 'BO KING, ROYAL FAM in a huge amount of various settings! And I have to say, as much as I'm familiar with 'Bo King through "Yesterday, Today....", "Black Castle", and all of his apperances on Clan albums this compilation really came out in-fucking-credible. Proof that Timbo King will put his soul in whatver he jumps on, which is quite rare. Of course in 2010 Timbo King finally got his due, hooking up with Bronze Nazareth, Lil' Fame, RZA, Hell Razah, William Cooper, Killah Priest, Junior Reid, and more. With songs like "Bar Exam", "The Autobiography of Timothy Drayton" and "Thinking Cap" the proof was in the pudding that The King still gor his crown though I personally revisit "Yesterday, Today..." and the "Black Castle" advance more but either way there's no question that Timbo is one of the most talented Wu affiliates and it's a shame the trials and tribulations that he had to endure in the industry. Be sure to support the cause and purchase Timbo King's long-awaited solo debut album, "´From Babylon to Timbuk2" @ UGHH.

01. "Righteous Talk"
02. "Braveheart" (solo for United Kingdom)
03 "United Kings" (Ft. United Kingdom)
04. "La Saga" (w. IAM, Dreddy Kruger & Podigal Sunn)
05. "To All The Killas" (w. Krumb Snatcha)
06. "In Here" (w. GURU as Bald Head Slick, Killah Priest & Black Jesus)
07. "Armored Truck" (Ft. Masta Killa)
08. "Black & White" (w. RA The Rugged Man)
09. "FIRE" (w. Royal Fam)
10. "Walk The Dogs" (w. Royal Fam & LA The Darkman)
11. "Destroy The Scenery" (w. United Kingdom)
12. "So High (G-12)" (w. RZA)
13. "Digi-Electronics" (w. Bobby Digital, Timbo King, Doc Doom, FreeMurda & Shyheim)
14. "Revenge" (w. Cappadonna & Free Murda)
15. "To Be An Expert (Flame Throwerz)" (w. J-Love Ft. Sunz Of Man & Timbo King)
16. "Soul in the Hole" (w. Timbo King, Dreddy Kruger, Shyheim & Tekitha)
17. "Outro" (Ft. LA The Darkman) 
18, "Hello It's Me" (Timbo King & Spark 950) [Bonus] 

[Out Soon] CZARFACE - "A Fistful Of Peril" (2 Sigles)

Guys all over have been going nuts over each and every release from the trio that makes up Czarface (7L & Esoteric + the incredible Inspectah Deck). Now, I loved "Speaking Real Words" as much as the next guy and while I nod my head to Czarac two first abums while on ocassion being smacked down by some really slick wordplay, on a whole neither LP has really managed to hold my attenton like that. I can't really pinpoint. So while the internet world was giving off a collective sigh of relief on yesterdays announcement that a new Czarace album was pretty much finished I felt more like "Cool, I will listen to this one or two times  at least". Deck used to be perhaps my favorite straight lyricist of the Wu (note, not artist but lyricist) and he can still master those bars but I don't know I feel the thought of him and 7L & Esoeteric might sound more interesting on paper. But I'm probably just a hater, because their new single is indeed DOPE and I'm eager to see what they have cooked up and I really hope they take me by suprise [although I'm not even a fan of the name, by a long shot, CZARACE?]. But what the hell any new Rebel INS, is good Rebel INS.. Well yeah, for the most part. Come to think of it, Part Two was pretty damn sick.

The group kept the album on the real hush-hush untill they unveiled the second (!) single. The first one, "All In Together Now", was released as a loose promo track but has since been included in the official tracklist (see below). But then yesterday, they seemingly out of nowhere, they dropped the cover, tracklist and another band new single so peep that one as well as it's even iller - Inspectah Deck goes HAM onhere. Followers of the group will notice the chance in approach to this new alubum goes as far as the guest features goes. There's still guests but not of the high caliber of the first two volume and ZERO Wu cameos. But oh well, I'm sure this could very well be a winner.

01. "Electric Level 1"
02. "Two In The Chest"
03. "Czar War"
04. " Dust" (Ft. Pscyho LES)
05. "Revenge On Lizard City"
06. "Machine, Man & Monster" (Ft. Conway)
07. "Dare Iz A Darside"
08. "Tarantulas" (Ft. Blacastan)
09. "Stabers"
10. "Steranko" (Ft. Meyhem Lauren)
11. "Talk That Talk"
12. "All In Together Now"
13. "Electric Level 2"

Pre-Order Vinyl or CD @ UGHH
000002. Two In The Chest 03. Czar Wars 04. Dust ft Psycho Les 05. Revenge On Lizard City 06. Machine, Man & Monster ft Conway The Machine 07. Dare Iz A Darkseid 08.Tarantulas ft Blacastan 09. Sabers 10. Steranko ft Meyhem Lauren & Rast RFC 11. Talk That Talk 12. All In Together Now 13. Level Electric

[Video] BILLY DANCE - "6' O Clock Briefing"

M.O.P. will always remain one of my favorite groups in Hip Hop, though it's not as often as before that I throw on their testesterone fueled agressive and violent music, but it's no question that is Grade A hardcore Hip Hop and it tranforms back in to a place in my life that "Firing Squad", "Warriorz" and "First Family" was basically the soundtrack of my life. I always defend my guys when some stupid fuck try to claim that Lil' Fame or Billy Danze isn't lyrical emcee and doens't have anyting to say - like WHAT?! Have you heard "Muddy Waters", have you heard Fame's verse on "Suffering", have you heard "Face Off 2K"? But maybe the illest thing about them is how incredible their live shows is, between them and The Roots they are probably the best live act I ever seen. Not only have they more energy than three of your favorite emcees combined, they have a great way of inviting you into their live set. A good case in point is a DJ Premier live set I saw where he was spinning all music he had produced himself, a lot of headnodding and shouts of encouragement, but then he brought out Fizzy and Danze for just two songs and the crowd went FUCKING NUTS. And they have no problems signing autograph, hooking you up with some of their personal whiskey as a fan, giving you a huge and dap and thank you for supportig. Things like that are truly appreciated by fans unlike some of these bigger than lives divas that it's probably better to never meet if you want to keep on ejoying their music.

But I'm getting off track here  (it's just that it's been a while since I wrote about M.O.P., one of my all-time faves). We all know that Lil' Fame, while never having released a solo album per se, has dropped plenty of loose tracks and a lot more guest features. Billy Danze on the other hand, has his label and stable of new artists but he's taking more of a manger role there than as a supprorting mcrophone player. Back around 2011 ("The Foundation") there were talks of both Fame and Daze coming ot with solo albums before the next one and there actually was a bunch of Danze solo singles (like the dope "Shell Casings"). In 2016 Danze is back from the shadows with an open letter to The Obama Administration, "6 O'Clock Briefing", producd by Quincey Tones wth visual ques from the patrotic 1970s movie "Patton". Danze is curently in the studio working with more material from (what I guess is an upcoming album) with Doc Ish. I'm fucking with this!

"Some may see this as a song," the Brownsvlle emcee says about his just released single and video. "But it has nothing to do with music, It's my view of whats happening in my country. We talk to each other about the issues affecting our country, we march and protest, but we never ask the president how he feels. Understanding how things work, I say 'we know you did what you had to do'. The president has done his best. But as a man, does he see what's going on in this country?" "6 O'Clock Briefing" is availbe on Danze's We Build Hits imprint.


Some people were giving me shit on here because I crowned Souls' Of Mischief's album "There Is Only Now", an album entirely produced by Adrian Younge with a few co-production credits given to another one of my favorites in Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Few other producers makes as interesting and original hip hop music as Younge in 2014-2016, a long with Robert Glasper, Kanye West and some others. I feel that Hip Hop is in the risk of becoming too stagnant and we really need guys like this that aren't afraid of pushing the artform further. A while back there were some talk about a collaboration LP between Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge but what they (together with excellent arranger/producer Miguel Awood-Fergusson) have done here is score the entire soundtrack to Marvel's new comic turned Netflix-series "Luke Cage". If you happen to be in the LA area, you have a chance to hear the trio perform the entire score live to scenes projected of the movie together with a 40 piece orchesra. Tickets and more info here. Sounds like an event alright!

But at least we got a new single by Method Man and what it really comes down to is wehether or not the song is ill, and in my opinion this is a banger that really works in that all three artists put their egos aside and let each member of the trio bring his unique flavor to the joint. "Bulletproof Love" is the first single from the NetFlix / Marvel series "Luke Cage". I love how Marvel is really embracing that "W". Borrowed from the excellent WTforLife bog. Check it out!

[Classic FULL Promos] WU-TANG CLAN '94/'97

Any Wu-Tang related sites since the beginnings have had a FAQ about what that music that was played in the interlude to Spot Rusherz. Any even pretending Wu fanatic know by now that dope beat and rhymes was a RZA-produced Clan commercial commisionned in the first half of the '90s. Like the snakes these corporate business is, St. Ide's was at the time aiming for a big splash in the black and minirorities community. Think of it, what other product in 1992/1994 was marketed to blacks. Sure there were the Sprites and Mountain Dew commercials as we willll, but that was still a couple years down the road.

But back to the topic - although only one minute in length (barely), it's ovvious the grop didn't just see this as an easy paycheck but rather made sure they had some real hot, well thought out shit. RZA's production evokes outdoor neighborhood barbeques on a hot summer day. And there's no question that Meth Ghostace, Raekwon, U-God and RZA were taking their time to write their short verses to make sure this came out the right way. Just check this immaculate Ghost verse, delivered with his nasal power bars style of the '90s. "Call me the Wallabee Champ, stretched out, could never be Son/ Ricochet daily hit the deli for a cold one/ Naturally blessed, yes, my rap is like a laser beam/ That blows in the bushes, St. Ide's fill the canteen". A 30 second edit was aired on MTV, while the full 60 seconds joint appeared from time to time on radio. Thanks to the homie Cilvaringz for the first time we have "St. Ide's Commercial" not only in full, but for the first time in as good a quality as possible. This was given to him by RZA and taken straight from the ADAT so the quality is really superior to anything you heard before though it's not really mixed. Oh by the way, track is produced by The RZA with co-production by Method Man according to 'Ringz.

The St. Ide's commercial is relatively known after all, it had its TV spot and been all over the net. However only the real Wu heads know that RZA and the Clan was commisioned to do a Mountain Dew commercial somewhere between '96-'98 and a 30 second snippet used to to be available online around 2002, but I haven't seen it for YEARS (the actual collaboration was aborted I believe). Now, once again thanks to Cilvaringz, he has uploaded the full one minute song - which plays more like an interlude than a commercial. Produced by The RZA, it deifinitely got that "Wu-Tang Forever" sound and the five legendary emcees all sound like they did on that album (where they do me was at their absolute peak). Again, Ghostface steal the show for me, caught in between his stream-of-consciousness style and his more rugged street persona, while Deck is always Deck, Masta Killa does what he always does, etc. A must hear! And a big thank you goes out to Cilvaringz and the peeps at Wu-Corp. for these gems - but more people deserve to hear them imo!

01. Wu-Tang Clan - "St. Ide's Commercial" [1994] [prod. by RZA & Method Man]
02. Wu-Tang Clan - "Mountain Dew" [1997] [prod. by RZA 

Saturday, September 24, 2016


This is a nice team-up of two vocalists right here - super skilled Shabaam Sahdeeq and talented harmonizer Marvelous Mag. Representing two different generations of artists but always brings that HEAT. Seven tracks deep, pretty much no guests artists and lots of nice turntable work by Chinch 33. Check this one out!


D-Tension is an up-and-coming producer from Massachussets who's been working on his new project "The Violence Of Zen" for quite some time. The album will be entirely produced by D-Tension with the vocals coming from both esteemed legends such as Diamond D, AG and Tash as well as lesser known names. The first single is strapped with verses from D.I.T.C. alumni Diamond and AG and is a sureshot banger while the B-side features someone called Ghosts Of Jupiter. Check out and purchase music from D-Tension @ Bandcamp.

Friday, September 23, 2016

DESIGNER - "Timmy Turner" [Preemix]

Desiigner is a damn fascinating career, and you have my word in that you will never see his name associated with The Lost Tapes as I can't stand him or what he stands for. However when his so called Freshmen freesyle featuring the origin of what became known as the "Timmy Turner" single, appeared I have to admit that in some weird way it acutally stuck in my head SEVERAL times a day. Since the frst version was acapella there's been plenty of remixes (and no I haven't heard them, nor wold I want to) - but a new Preemo track, I take it. It is kind of reminiscent of the recent Kanye acapella remixhe did called "I Love Kanye" that he also did. For some reason all links to that has been destroyed, so enjoy this while it lasts.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

[comp] LARGE PRO - "This Is The NEW Shit"

Ok so a few days back I made a compilation on Pete Rock's non-album tracks that he produced for other artists between 2012 and 2016 and it got some very good response. I always been very fascinated with the production aspect of Hip Hop, and as I started listening extensively to jazz, and some soul and funk and even rock, I find it even more incredible how talented these guys are with the way they flip classics and obscure joints to create something truly original and long-lasting as the original. On the flip side it has also exposed to me in a larger way how many how many relatively acclaimed producers don't really do jack shit and could barely be called musicians. But guys like Pete Rock, Large Professor, J Dilla, Diamond D, Buckwild, DJ Premier, Madlib, Drasar Monumental, Bomb Squad, Marley, RZA. Q-Tip/Ali Shaheed, ?uestlove and a dedicated host of others definitely creates magic by using records, turntables and samplers as instruments in their own rights and are without a doubt true musicians. I've had the pleasure of seeing several of these guys, including the holy "Illmatic" trio of Pete Rock, Large Pro and DJ Premier so I wanted to build a sequel to that well-received Pete Rock compilation I mentiond above. Hopefully this will be a series focusing on some of my favorite producers more recent works, all under the "This Is The NEW Shit" banner so stau tuned!

This time the focus is on Large Professor, perhaps the only producer that in my humble opinion ALWAYS comes with mega heat without being trapped in a standard formula. I wouldn't place in at number #1 perhaps, but can you think of a weak or even average Extra-P beat? All the way back from his early work as a 16-17 year old kid working with Inelligent Hoodlum (Tragedy), Kool G Rap and Rakim to the stuff on this compilation he always been extremely consistent. I mean Pete Rock had a few duds although he's definitely got way more heat than average beats, RZA used to be 5 for 5 but nowadays he's very inconsitent, unfortunately. Dilla is dead (R.I.P. brother). Madlib is too crazy and experimental to be consistant, and DJ Premier while he rarely puts out anything that isn't hot and a banger, he's been somewhat caught in a formula. But with Large Pro you don't know exactly what you gonna get, but you know it will be outstanding! The only time I can think that he falted a bit was on his album "1st Class", but a lot of that was weak rhymes so maybe those beats would have sounded a lot better with some other emcee rhyming over them. Case in point - the track he had on there that used the same beat Nas had recored "Star Wars" for for "Gods Son" but used for himself when Nas decided not to use it (of course he put it out  a few years later instead). Large Pro's version on "1st Class" didn't do anythng for me, the beat didn't grab me, rhymes didn't grab me, nothing. But when Nas grabbed it, I realized that beat was a monster.

So without further a due heres volume two of "This Is The NEW Shit", Extra-P's entry. As I said with Pete's entry the title might not be entirely accurate since it spans four years of productions and in this microwave musical society something is ony NEW for a week but fuck it i'm stuck in the old when we were happy when an artist dropped an album every 3 year or so, no mixtapes, maybe a soundtrack cut here or there and a guest feature or guest production.,Either way there's a lot of heat here and most likely a few cuts you've missed out on before. I got 16 songs here for y'all listening pleasure, almost all of them in 320 kbps bitrate and clocking in at 60 minutes. Don't forget that he also produced the abslutely marvelous full-lenght collaboration with Cormega between these years as well - as that's a full project nothing of that is included here. 'Mega is however! There's both expected and some very unexpecteed collaboratios here so all I can suggest is grab it, sit back and enjoy.... Oh and turn that shit up!

01. ll Bill - "Acid Relux"
02. Funkoars - "The Quicknening"
03. Capone-N-Noreaga - "Pizza"
04. Diamond District - "Working Weekends" [Remix]
05. Homeboy Sandman - "It's Cold" (Ft. Steve Arrington)
06. Blu - "Kiss The Sky" [Remix]
07. Illa Ghee - 90
08. Mayer Hawthorne - "Her Favorite Song" [Remix]
09. Halcut - "Last Call"
10. Meyhem Lauren - "Not Guilty"
11. J-Love - "Firenando" (Ft. AG Coroner, Prince OG, Take-It)
12. Southpaw - "Here We Go"  [Remix]
13. N.O.R.E. - "Built Pyramids"
14. Real Wolrf . "Legacy (Ft, Ill Bill & Slaine)
15. Ill Bill - "Canarsie High"
16. Jeru The Damaja - "Solar Flames"
17. Public Enemy - "Catch The Throne" (Ft. Cormega &Lare Pro)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

[Article/Review] RZA, Hollywood & Banks N Steelz

THE INTRODUCTION - How did we get at this point?
RZA and his Wu-Tang Clan brethren were one of the main reasons I feel in love with Hip Hop and also an imporant part in what made me so interested in sample based music. I've written extensively about the Wu and The RZA on these forums throughout these years, and as I made clear in my rceet artcle on "Bobby Digital: In Stereo", there's to my mind never been as talented Hip Hop producer around. He totally threw out the rule book and said "fuck it, if it sounds good to my ears it will sound good to others". Loops that didn't fully connect, sounds of rusty chain being dragged throughout entire songs, loops played backwards and accentuated by a scratch, and often extremely simple piano lines (which wss a main feature of "Return to the 36 Chambers"; ODB's debut). Even Pete Rock has gone on record saying that he was flabbergasted that he was able to make stuff like this come out as dope, but he couldn't other than recognize his genius. RZA was always a DJ and went entirelty by ear, if a number of elements might work, if it souded good once he put it together (many producers like True Master has likeed his production style and layering of samples to a house of carts - if one card/sample falls, everything is blown). There's a saying that if it's not broke, don't fix it - but few producers has moved so far from his original style so that he has alienated a large majority of his old fans.

The first big change happened in the early days of recording "Wu-Tang Forever". When visiting a music store to buy 10 000 USD worth of samplers, computer software and production tools, he had a sort of "epiphany" if you will. The store clerk, or music demonstrator or whatever, recognized RZA and being one of those obvious hip-hop haters, and even worse a disgrunled wannabee musician that couldn't work with music other than selling the materal to real musicians. Recognizing RZA he not only attacked this man whose music was praised by millions of people, he went as far as saying that The Abbot wasn't even a real musician by any stretch of the word. As RZA grew up on the Stax, Motown and classic Soul of the '70s he probably had long wanted to play an instrument and compose in the same way as masterminds like Al Green. This was the day that the seed that gradually started to change Wu-Tang's music was gradually beginning to change. Diggs started reading up and studying western music theory which of course is a truly great and important mathematical sysem, though it somewhat doesn't conform with the sound of sample based Hip-Hop. As RZA was still on his old path (putting together sounds like a DJ, by ear, at his point) I'm sure that part of his immersion in this musical theory originally gave him some amazing insights that allowed him to do some absolutely marvelous ish by conforming to two worlds. The first beat he applied his newfound knowledge on was the Wu-Tang Clan single "Triumph" and many other songs on "Wu-Tang Forever", and then "Bobby Digital (In Stereo)". The problem was that the unpredictability of a RZA sample slowly started to diminish more and more throughout the years, and that had been one of the main things that really was his niche.

To say that RZA learning and understanding western music theory and striving to learn instruments like piano and guitar single handledly destroyed RZA's legacy as the greatest hip hop producer of time is nothing short of plain bullshit. It was more weapons at his disposal but you could sometime tell he so despearetely felt he wated to be an accepted "real" musician that he forgot his origins and like him and his Wu brothers (and many others) often has said - "you can't know your future unless you know where you came from"). There's amazing RZA productins where he succesfully meshes the western musical traditions, symphonies orchestras, his knack for cinematic scoring (which has always been evident in his music since the mid-'90s) with raw rhyming. Some of the best examples of more recent songs are "Fatal" and "Thirsty" from the "Blade Trinity" soundtrack and the absolutely mindblowing "Chambers Of Fear" (see above). And he was still giving artists like Ghost ("Run", "Kunta Fly Shit", 2004), Mehtod Man (five tracks on "4:21", 2006) and Masta Killa (three tracks for "No Said Date", 2004) that vintage Wu sound. Not to mention something super gritty like the "Brutality" single for Sunz Of Man member Prodigal Sunn that was released in 2005 - or how about the more recent joints he gave Game and Talib Kweli, respectively.

I could easily make a compilation of newish RZA beats that still bangs HARD as hell to show you that he can bring that back when he wants to. But I'm not going to act like RZA is the producer he once was neither. Whenever The Abbot drops a really hot beat that make you throw on the stink face is getting rarer and rarer. For me the last RZA produced albums that I really and truly fell in love with from fron-to-back was "8 Diagrams" (yep, I said it - amazing album right there, and I'm going to write a separate article on that one soon enough ro expand my thoughts on why I think its one of the best albums of 2007) and the "Afro Samurai" soundtrack(s) (mainly the first one, though the second one was about 50/50 on the bangers scale - so combining them as I have suggested before makes for a damn fine album). "A Better Tomorrow" was not a bad album but it wasn't what we as Wu fans wanted to hear, but whereas its group predecessor had a whole lot of character, was experimental in nature and carreid a somber mood throughout this album sounded somewhat run-of-the-mill.


And now there's this collaboration with guitarist, singer and instrumentalist Paul Banks of alternative rock band Interpul. An unexpted collaboration if I ever heard of one. I have a hard time imagine there's many people who are both Interpol and Wu-Tag fans and though I only heard the album one time, I really don't have any urge to play it again. The juxtapoisition of these two musical styles sound rather forced, yet it's its own thing and i don't think it will really satisfy either Wu fans or Interpol fans. RZA's verses sound to self-conscious as he feel the need to say something profound but ofen falling flat. Some of the beats have interesting aspects but then they are co-producitions that are musically world aparts. I kind of like the first single "Giant" and there's music that can be repated here but overall it's the most dissapointing album The Abbot has ever been apart of. Of course he's not going go back to Gravediggaz days but it's quite clear he didn't give two fucks about his oriignal fans her - instead it seems he was aiming for recognition by the white indie press and fans, which is just said consiering that this is the guy whose music that everyone from Hollywood actors, to politicanss to the junkie on the corner loved. But the music they love him for is already there and was made between 1992 and 2006 (some would say 1998 but I think it's idiotic to claim RZA hasn't doe much marvelous music since then, albeit less frequetly). 

"Anything But Words" isn't something anyone but RZA and Paul Baks themeselves would want to hear, and this is coming from someone who has always defeneded and embraced (most of) The Abbot's musical changes and challenges. Will we ever see a classic RZA produced album again ? At this point and time, it seems unlikely but he has suprised us before. These days it seems that the best RZA helmed tracks apepars on the various soundtrack he's working on. "The Man With The Iron Fist" was actually a very dope album and though he didn't really produce the majority of them, he was the de-facto leader and mastemrind behind "Chamber Music" and "Legendary Weapons" - a collection of Clan members, Killa Beez and underground New York emcees entangled in rhyming sessions on a given topic, set to the live rendition of typical hip hop beats  y The Reveleations. All very solid albums, and despite what some might ´say, there's still hope for future Wu bangers, but  remember it's not 1995 anumore.

[Throwback Review] LL's "Mr. Smith" + "No Airplay" [Dirty]

I know a lot of people disagree with me, claiming that just because LL made soft records for the ladies he was never one of the true greats. I call that massive bullshit and history revision, all the way back to the classic "Radio" - one of the first real Hip Hop classics - to "B.A.D.", "Mama Said Knock You Out", "14 Shots to the Dome" (you can read more about my thoughts on why it's a truly great album by clicking the text above) and "Mr. Smith" he damn near had a flawless discography. And he had a style of his own, no other emcee could credibly slaughter emcees like on "Mama Said...", encapsule everything Hip Hop is about on his breakthrough classics "Rock The Bells" and "I Need A Beat" and then make a super saccharine hit like "I Need Love" while mainitaining his street cred, but that's LL for you. When 1995 came around he dropped his last potent disc, though there's been loose bits and pieces as recent as 2013 ("Rocking With The G.O.A.T.", that Marley Marl freestyle over the "Mahogany" sample, etc) but he's definitely a has-been. But from 1985 to 1995 he was a force to be reckoned with and deinitely someone I bought every album from - there was the half-dud that was "Walking Out Of The Panther", that despite some really dope moments ("Fast Peg", "Jack The Ripper", "Going Back to Cali", "Nitro", "It Gets No Rougher") was a cheesy, half-assed album that felt forced and out of touch with Hip Hop in '89

Luckily for him, Marley Marl was the remix king back then and took on the LP single "Jingling Baby" for the 12" B-side which became THE version that blew up and started an amazing relationship that lasted two LP:s. But after those two albums it was time for LL to move on, thank Marley for making his comeback possible and making him a force to be reckoned with and he started recording the "Mr. Smith" album. I know some people dislike this album but to me it's the best album LL ever did as far as balancing the smooth with the hardcore and though it's a little dated now, it's the perfect album to either play when you're with your girl or just chilling by yourself. The transition from one of the raunchiest sex anthems on commercial radio in the '90s ("Doin' It") or the sweet but honest "Hey Lover" featuring Boyz II Men to super hardcore monster cuts like "I Shot Ya " (both the original solo version and the posse remix with Prodigy, Keith Murray and Foxy Brown) should be a little jarrig but somehow it all works very well a s a unified body of work. A good example is the opening cut "Hip Hop" where LL professes his love for Hip Hop over a smooth beat and does it in words and a tone that could almost be a love song but wihout ever coming off as cheesy. This is without a question the last album LL ever did that you could bump front-to-back and even have any kind of urge to do so. "Phenomenon" was one of the wackest albums by a legend ever put out, and only had one, maybe we can stretch it to two two redeeming songs out of ten. And I know a lot of people really like "G.O.A.T." and consider that LL's final solid release, but aside from the excellent opening song (labeled as the "Intro"), "Ill Bomb" (which was already released on a compilation), and the bonus track "Shut 'Em Down" the majority of the album, while it had its moments, felt very forced... 

If LL had never made another record after. "Mr. Smith" nobody could say he was and is a true Hip Hop legend, complete with the whole package as like his previous albums it doesns't feel forced in the least, It's a very well thought out, sequenced and well performed project. And though he left Marley behind, he had the assistance of Rashad Smith, Easy Mo Bee, Trackmasters, Chad Elliot and Chryskillz - all hot producers in the mid-'90s and they gave LL a really cohessive project, much thansk to it being exective produced by Poke and Tone alog with LL and Bay Chris Lighty. So once again from 1985 to 1995, LL dropped five really incredible albums that cemented his legacy in Hip Hop and though he has released more wack albums by this point he ocassionally still comes through with a firey track to remind old time fans what he is still capable of. Why he doesn't do his old fans proud is beyond me, but that's LL for you - like Canibus said, "99% of your fans wear high heels" and as the years has passed he has catered more and more to that demographic. Sadly. But if you ever doubt LL throw on "Radio", "Mama Said Knock You Out" or "Mr. Smith" and know that this was once an extraordinaire artist in full control of his musical output.

One last thing to close this throwback review with a goodie for your headphones. On all of the album versions of "Mr. Smith", both explicit and clean versions, one of the best songs on the LP ("No Airplay") is censored like crazy. Why LL and Def Jam choose to do this is beyond me considering the song is as explicit as can get and the theme is it's raunchy enough to gain no play on the radio, hence it ended up only as an album cut and as the B-side to the promo single of "The Life". Luckily that single is the only way to ge ta hold of the original uncut version and it's an amazing listen without all that jarring edits, a true LL classic. Check it out below straigt from the 12" single and Turn that MOTHERFUCKER up!

LL Cool J - "No Airplay" (Dirty, 320) [Download] 

Monday, September 5, 2016

[Throwback Doc] BLACK MOON - "Behnínd The Moon" (2013)

Here's an official documentary put out by Duck Down music in 2013 on the making of Black Moon's classic '92 debut album "Enta Da Stage", celebrating it's 25 year anniversary. I had totally missed this when it first hit the net, and as I'm sure more people than me did just that I wanted to post it since I've been banging some Black Moon recently and yesterday I was watching the amazing Masta Ace doc on "Disposable Arts". Unlike the Ace documentary this actually features footage of recording sessions and live performances from the era along with recent talking heads interviews about the impact of the album. Featuring the entire Boot Camp Clik this is 75 minutes of pure bliss for any true hip fan. You can stream the entire thing via Duck Down's official YouTube channel since last year, but if you want to support the cause grab your DVD at The Duck Down Shop. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

KILLAH PRIEST Ft. AGALLAH - "The Elders Gave Us Aura"

As much as a fan of Killah Priest that I am I sometimes feel that he drops a little too much material, instead of saving up his best shit and drop one or two projects a year and discard the rest. For me I'm pretty good with "Heavy Mental" (and the early Sunz Of Man stuff and KP singles leading up to it), "The Offering" and the amazing 2013 double disc "Psychic World Of Walter Reed". Speaking of the latter one of my favorite joints on there was the soulful monster of a jam titled "The Elders Gave Us Aura", produced by Agallah. It was a case of short but sweet, but sometimes you wonder why artist choose to have one of the best songs on the album clock in at like 1:30. Well my homie Antoine turned me on to the truth in this case, "The Elders..." was actually a full collaboration between Priest and Agallah The Don, featuring an entire verse that was omitted from the album version for some reason. So here I present the full version of Killah Priest's "The Elders Gave Us Aura" featuring Agallah. Up top you can see/hear the shortened album version... Crazy why Priest cut this song - perhaps he wanted as few guests as possible but to be perfectly honest a 41 track album wouldn't hurt from some more guest apperances despite the fact that lyrically Priest probably dropped the strongest double disc as a solo artist of all time.  Anyway, enjoy and once again a big thank you to Antoine!

[DJ Mix] K-DEF Homage by Paul Nice and DJ Toast

Veteran DJ, producer and remixer Paul Nice recently started a podcast with fellow DJ Toast. Each week they celebrate an artist they feel is somewhat underrated despite vast body of work and for Episde 84 the spotlight is on one of my all time favorite producers and beat magicians - K-DEF. From his days working with the SP1200 and digging for samples to his 2006-output onwardw where he composes from scratch using computer software and manages to create fuly arranged, compositional masterpieces that puts any producer working with simple loops to shame. 

This two hour pocast, entitled "Grown Man Rap Show", traces the New Jersey born and bred maestro through his days as Marley Marl's right hand boom bap man to Redef Records flagship man with his digital orchestra. Whether or not you're well aquainted or a nw fan of 'Def this is two hours well spent so crank that volume up and get your grown man on!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

D.I.T.C. - "It's Cold Outside" [Show & Motif Remix]

To be honest with y'all I wasn't blown away by the new D.I.T.C. album. The Crates is my favorite group in Hip Hop and I expect nothing but the best from them. So with that said the LP was still very good but compared to "Worldwide" and the likes it just didn't bring the same level of freshness to the table that I've come to expect from a crew of this caliber. OC and AG still brought it though and it was great to hear Fat Joe back in the fold again, but it didn't feel quite like the future classic I had my hopes set out for. To be fair though I only listened to the album a couple of times so far and it might very well be a grower.

One track that stood out for me on those early listens were the AG, OC and Fat Joe collaboration "It's Cold Outside" which is now getting the remix treatment courtesy of Showbiz and Motif Alumni. We all know Show is one of the most incredible beat masters around but the singles produced by newcomer Motif Alumni was truly a revelation. I really like how The Crates still give young cats (both producers and emcees) a chance at the spotlight with various D.I.T.C. projects. Titlted "The Test Session Remix" Show and Motif strips down the beat to its bare bones with thumping bass, boom bap drums and the occassional synth effect. Below you'll also find another headnodder that failed to make the final LP cut, "All Of That" - once again produced by Showbiz, this time featuring long-time associate A-Bless and the late, great Tashane. Visit DITC Ent @ Soundcloud for more exclusives and be sure to grab the pre-order of the new D.I.T.C. album from UGHH in your format of choice - 2xLP or CD.

[Concert Review] PETE ROCK & CL SMOOTH in Coepnhagen

When it came to my knoweledge that one of my all time favorite groups of all time, Pete Rock and CL Smooth was about to put on a show in the intimate Copenhagen club Rust it was a no-brainer to show up and pay my respects and hear some true hip hop classics. The only set back was waiting around in this small crowded and hot club for at least 2.5 hours while the house DJ spun records loud enough to make small talk impossible. I even had thoughts of leaving the club prematurely, because three hours is damn long time to wait around for anybody. Anyway, I'm glad I stayed because as soon Pete Rock entered behind the turntables you could hear a sigh of relief from the aduience. Anybody familiar with Pete's body of work knows that he's not only an A-grade producer but also an excellent DJ so it was appropriate that the concert started with a short but sweet DJ set from the #1 Soul Brother. Staying away from hip hop he was playing a nice medley of soul and jazz classics before transitioning to a vintage P.R. beat which played while C.L. made his entrance like a boxer entering the ring. What suprised me the most is that CL sounds pretty much exactly like he does on record; some rappers sound horrible live - not the case here. With both wearing T-Shirts with the Mecca & The Soul Brother emblem it was slightly surreal to actually see these two brothers share the stage in a great mode, playing classic after classic and really engaing with the aduiece.

Given that they have a rather small discography as a duo they still managed to cram loads of music within the 75 minutes they performed. As I recall they didn't perform anything from the "All Souled Out" EP, neither any of the stuff from Pete's "Soul Survivor" albums. So aside from a hard hittng apperance of their Run DMC collaboration "Down With the King" it was all about "Mecca & The Soul Brother" and "The Main Ingredient": Together this makes for a very dope set, considering how the former mainly focuses on the ruff and rugged sounds of the group and the latter constitues the smoother, more laid-back vibe the duo perfected within the realms of hardcore hip hop. They probably performed around twenty songs all in all and their soulution to the lenght of such a performance was to for many songs perform only the first verse, hook, scratches, and sometimes second verse. Both Pete and CL clearly love the classic Soul of the '70s that they grew up on, and a beautiful thing that further showed Pete's power as a DJ was that he often started a jam by playing 30-60 seconds of the orginal sample before transforming it to the track we knew of from the Mecca & Soul Brother album. This had the crowd go nuts each and every time, and was a beautiful trick. They were both great with the audience, Pete speaking with his hands and CL inviting the crowd to hang on his every word. One of many highlights of the night came with the entire packed room singing every word to the chorus of "Take You There" while Pete turned down the volume of the beat to a whisper. Amazing stuff!

The night was full of highlights, but en early rendition of "Mecca & The Soul Brother", "For Pete's Sake", "Lots Of Lovin'" (another crowd paritcipation endeveaor), "The Basement", "One in a Million", "Sun Won't Come Out" "I Got A Love", "All The Places"; the aforemetioned "Down With The King", "Carmel City".... Fuck it, the whole night was a highlight in itself, and once "If It Aint' Ruff, It Ain't Right" faded out Pete and CL took a deep bow, shouted their thank yous to us for coming out ad telling us how much they loved Copenhaen. People gave polite applaus and cheers while most of us was left scratching out heads. Any dedicated fan knew that something was missing, no matter how good the concert had been they had stayed awya from "T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)" - that's like Wu-Tang doing everything but "C.R.E.A.M." or Biggie skipping "Juicy" in his heyday. So as the duo started walking towards the scene exit I was htinking to mysef like "this can't really be it - can it?". Of course it was a little joke on the audience as they qucikly turned back asking the crowd if maybe they had missed doing a song - but if so, what could that be? So after loud cheers for "T.R.O.Y." the famous intro loop started blasting through the club and the crowd just went nuts. And when that classic saxophone hook and bassline hit it was just over with excitement. 

But this was far from just doing the track and then leaving, this was a full part engagement between Pete, CL and the entire audience. After about half of CL's first verse, Pete cut the track to complete silence before rewinding the joint to the beginning again. That infectious soprano saxophone melody was actually sung along with by the entire audience and Pete Rock creating a true party atmosphere that made CL's biographical verses even more potent. At about seven minutes in length "T.R.O.Y." was not only a splendid encore, it was cathartic, and a fitting sumation of the entire evening. Standing there, looking up at that stage and seeing the amazing chemistry that these two Mount Vernon brothers sharted with each other it's hard not to imagine that these guys are bound to hit the studio and record that long-awaited third solo album sooner than later. All in all an excellent concert that proved that age ain't nothing but a number. At least when you got a material of this caliber.

[comp] PETE ROCK - "This is the NEW Shit"

Since I first heard ".T.R.O.Y.", "Shut 'Em Down", Pete's take on "Jump Around", "Nighttrain" and so many more, I've heald Pete as one of the holy trinity of Hip-Hop production. There's of course plenty of great rducers out there, but Pete reallt walked the extra mile putting together and layering something rottally original. This was the early '90s and songs like "T.R.OY", "The Basement" and basically the whole LP, there never was a qiuestion Pete Rock still got it. Simple as that. His sound might have changed quite a bit since the classic SP1200 days with CL Smooth and "Letterman" but though the man is still cranking out bangers on a semi-regular basis, he sure as hess stillgot,. In the last couple of years he served Hip Hop heads with serious dopeness on his full-length collaboration with Smif-N-Wessun ("Monumental"), brought out the ill instrumental grooves on "Petestrumentals II" and released two free digital mixtapes with Camp Lo that featured enough hot exclusives to make up a nice little album. One of the joys of being a dedicated Pete Rock fan, however, is not only checking for his LP releases and special projects but of course to keep eyes and ears open for whatever singles he's invited to produce or remix. While his work in the 2010s might not be as consistantly mindblowing as his early '90s years there's been plenty of Pete Rock heatrocks released on various albums over the last three years or so. Ron Carter was a bassic that Miles wanTed in his badn fot quote time -and thereS unodubtedly weak homes. "There Will Be Blood" is undoubtddly one of the best children's 

Last week I saw a GREAT concert performance by Pete Rock and CL Smooth in Copenhagen which really got me in a Soul Brother listening mode. Hence I dug up this compilation I made a while back for personal listening, but why not share the goods, right? This comp is basically an overlook of Stank for other artists between 2012 and 2016. I've tried to find all joints in the best possible quality as far as Mp3 goes (320 kbps) but a few of the songs is in lower bitrate as that was how they hit the internet in the case of some of these digital loosies. Either way it's a pretty cool front-to-back listen for anyone who still considers himself a Pete Rock fan... Check it out!

01. Torae - "Get Down"
02. Edo G - "Let Da Horns Blow"
03. Ill Bill - "Truth"
04. .38 Spesh - "Gone" (Ft. Sean Hayes)
05. Mack Wilds - "Duck Sauce"
06. Mac Miller - "Melt" (Ft. Schoolboy Q)
07. Robert Glasper Experiment - "Black Radio" RMX (Ft. Yasiin Bey)
08. Panda Bear - "Crosswords" RMX
09. NORE - "Vitamins" (Ft. Pete Rock)
10. Styles P - "Children" (Ft. Pharoahe Monch)
11. .38 Spesh - "Support" (Ft. Styles P)
12. Blu - "The Clean Hand"
13. Edo G - "2 Turntables & A Mic"
14. Ill Bill - "When I Die" RMX
15. Mack Wilds - "The Art Of Falling"
16. Smoke DZA - "Achieve"


Damn this is a smooth track right here, really feeling this one - from Ghostface's vintage verses to the laid back beat, the Cuts and overall smooth hip hop vibe of it all. I don't know too much about Wax Tailor but i gather that he's a relatively new DJ / producer working on a long player called "By Any Means Necessary". I believe this is the first single from the project, and it certainly shows potential for the album (which drops October 14). Ghost comes through as always, so be sure to pump up that volume.

KRONDON Ft. MITCHY SLICK - "Free Freddie Gibbs" [prod. MADLIB]

Strong Arm Steady's Krondon hooks up with fellow Strong Arm Steady member Mitchy Slick slick for this smooth plea for the pligt of Freddie Gibbs and his recent troubles with the law. As is only fitting the joint is produced by Madlib who of course produced the entirey of Gibb's best album, "Pinata", but also the illest Strong Arm joint in "In Search Of Stoney Jackson". Short but sweet...


To be honest I don't have a clue who G. Huff and Vice Souletric are but considering their single is produced by one of the all time great hip hop producers/DJ it warrants a post for sure. Especially since I will hit you up with a Pete Rock compilation (focusing on his work from between 2012 and 2016) later today, when I get back home. Unfortunately I am at work right now and can only hear this joint through super wack laptop speakers so it's hard to judge the song, but it sounds like Pete brought out his signature soul for this session. Check it out...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Boston is definitely in the house with this one! Price Stylez has a crazy flow that will have you hanging on each and every word on his latest single "NC-17", smoothly produced by Jakk Wonders. This is the first single from the upcoming "BlackMassEP" so be sure to stay tuned for that because at least to me this is the type of Hip Hop shit I love to blast with the volume turned way the fuck up!

In case Price Stylez is new to you be sure to check out his excellent 2015 project "Masterpiece Theater: The Mixtape Vol. 1" where he gets busy over a selection of classic beats and a few originals. I got a feeling this cat is about to blow... just you wait!

[Album] TRIBE OF JUDAH - "Organically Grown"

Producer and emcee Tokyo Cigar has been a dedicated friend of me and The Lost Tapes blog for years and we worked together with Mal Moe on "The Uprising" (check that out if you've been sleeping). Tokyo has a great ear for dope sounds, and is heavily influenced by the Hip Hop he grew up around, which gives his music a Golden Age touch without sounding outdated or rehashed as he incorporates different styles, instrumentations and samples that gives his special brand of East Coast tinged boom bap a unique vibe that's unmistakably his own. As I mentioned up top, Tokyo is a friend, but trust me when I say that I wouldn't post his stuff unless I thought it was of very high quality, and whatever he drops usually are.

The latest project he's been working on is producing the album "Organically Grown" for Maryland duo Tribe Of Judah, and it is a heavy hitter to say the least. The current line-up of the group are emcees Sincere and La Sin and the album is completely produced by Tokyo Cigar. Around 2014 Tokyo was working on an album with Hell Razah (which sadly remains unreleased although a couple of those joints can be heard on "The Uprising") and it was Razah who suggested Tokyo hook up with Tribe since he knew them and liked what they were doing, as well as they all being from Maryland he figured it could make for some great music, which it certainly did. The group originally begun as a 5 man unit but has been paired down to Sincere and La Sin since a few years back. "Organically Grown" is actually their official debut album. The last producer they worked with before was Black Jeruz and they have worked with Wu Syndicate and even had meetings with RZA and others of the Wu Elementz. Considering how smashing their new LP is it will most deifnitely be interesting to see what the future holds for this skilled group. 

As Tokyo tells it about the creation of the album: "Sincere and I linked up and began building then we met and choppd it up about the album. I made beats and and went back and changed stuff a couple of times. Then they came to the crib and we recorded the whole thing. I sat on it for a few months then changed a few things and did the final tweaks and mixing then BOOM thats the album haha".. So there you have it, press play and let the hardcore beats and well written and well spoken rhymes wash over you. And be sure to keep an eye open for more material from The Tribe in a near future. Released independently through Tokyo's own Gravity Academy imprint, which means you can purchase a High Quality download through his Bandcamp and you can of course also stream it befor you hit the purchase button... TURN IT UP!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

[Comp] RZA as BOBBY DIGITAL - "Pre-In Stereo"

Following up my article on the merits of RZA's 1998 solo debut "In Stereo" on GeeStreet/V2, I decided to put together a compilation highlighting the transforation of Bobby Steels to Bobby Digital on wax as we was able to hear it. As I mentioned in the article, although it might have sounded like that to many of us at the time, the stripped down sound of RZA's digitized orchestra wasn't born out of thin ear but was something The Abbot was slowly perfecting deep down in his basement studios, only letting out small pieces at a time for heads to show up before letting the whole album touch down in late '98, following up Method Man's "Tical 2000: Judgement Day" and Cappadonna's "The Pillage". To me it's very close to a personal classic and a stronger LP than either of the aforementioned projects - it is also the only solo album by RZA that I think really shows how dope he really is as an artist. The close-to-sample free sonic enviroment created through a multiplex of keyboards and synthesizers that could come close to the sound of a 19 piece orchestra. A brilliant mix of the digital and the analog, and to top it all off it was a well put together concept album - telling the story of the superhero Bobby Digital and his struggles in the Americna ghetto. As "Wu-Tang Forever" and songs like "Sunshower" pointed our RZA was preparing an intense project full of wisdom and knowledge with lyrics touching on politics, 5% and Nation of Islam teachings, the art of war, and spirituality. This album was to be titled "The Cure" and has today taken on almost mythical proportions as the rapping producer realized he wasn't in the right mindstate to proudce such an important lyrical masterpiece. Instead he created the persona of Bobby Digital, mixing his own hectic upbring in the '70s and '80s with blaxploatation flicks and comic books in the creation of his very own superhero. In the masked character of Bobby Digital he was able to indulge in full misoginy, weapon fetishes, violence, drugs, and over the top movie scenarios.

85 percent of the LP was produced by RZA hismelf, with the exception of Inspectah Decks excellent, mystic Portishead sampling "Kiss Of A Black Widow" and the interlude "Airwaves" which really is RZA's verse stricty lifted from the Wake Up Show Anthem '99 twelve inch - the linear notes mistakenly credit King Tech as the prodcuer of "Love Jones" which is most likely wrong. RZA got a special, kind of ruff and rugged voice so he sure needs several guests and not too long a running time to create a poewerful vibe that never let the listener lose interest - and "In Stereo" is a front-to-back materpiece as long as you lose the four bonus tracks at the end. 

Not couning the music on "Wu-Tang Forever" (where he first started using the digitial orchestra) there is at least 10 songs that is increasingly Bobby Digital joints, starting with the Hide-Out Remix to Method Man's "The Riddler" from 1996 and ending with "Cakes" by Bobby Digital and Kool  Rap. Grab it below for a nice bite size of Bobby Digi Digi..


01. "Belly Of The Beast"
02."The Chase"
03. "The Riddler" [Bobby's Hide-Out Mix] (w. Method Man)
04. "Nurmeg" (w. Ghostface Killah)
05. "Windpipe" (w. Ol' DIrty Bastard & Ghostface Killah)
06. "Project Talk" (Ft. Beretta 9) [Interlude]
07. "Terrorist" [Director's Cut] (Ft. Black Knights & Killarmy)
08.  "And Justice For All" (w. Method Man & Killarmy)
09. "Shaolin (6eme Chaundron)" (w. Arsenik)
10. "Cakes" (Ft Kool G Rap)
11. "Do You Hear The Bells" [So Called Freestyle]
12. "Bobby Digital Audio Interview: 'In Stereo Bonus Disc'"