Zion I - “Bird’s Eye View” X “Caged Bird Part 1” feat. Brother Ali

Coming out of the Bay Area, you would expect the duo of Zumbi and AmpLive to represent the Hyphy movement more than the Golden Age of Hip Hop.  Although you can certainly hear the hyphy influence in some of their songs, Zion I (pronounced “Zion Eye”) blends deep soulful production with socially relevant rhetoric and sounds more like Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest than Mac Dre.

I was first introduced to Zion I through the song “Silly Puddy” off of their debut LP Mind Over Matter.  The song itself, had a trippy futuristic beat set to equally trippy lyrics.  It was like nothing I had ever heard and I quickly went through their discography.

“Bird’s Eye View” is off of the duo’s 2005 LP True and Livin’.  The song is reminiscent of Common’s classic “I Used to Love H.E.R.” and refers to a women as an extended metaphor to hip hop.  It is an unadulterated expression of MC Zumbi’s love of hip hop and is one of my favorite songs of any genre.  Likewise, the Brother Ali-assisted track “Caged Bird Part 1”  comes off of their latest effort The Take Over, and is one of my favorite collabs (Every day that you hold me in bars is another day I can’t teach your soul to soar).

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Northside Noah

"Bird's Eye View"

"Caged Bird Part 1" (feat. Brother Ali)

Kidz in The Hall, Donnis, & Daytona - "Class Of Our Own" (prod. Mick Boogie)

I couldn't resist posting this collab (especially with the Mick Boogie co-sign).  The production on this NBA Live-exclusive track is amazing.  Check it.

Kidz in The Hall, Donnis, & Daytona - "Class Of Our Own" (prod. Mick Boogie)

Dyme Def - "Time4That"

I blame my obligations to class for not getting this out earlier, but here's the latest from the Seattle trio.  This won't be on their winter EP Sextape, brought to you by the boys over at Soul Gorilla and T.I.T.S. Brand Clothing, but was on an EP that the group decided to scrap to promote Sextape.  I've also included an older cut, that a lot of you may not have heard called "FreshInMyKicks." Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Dyyyyyyme Def,
NW Noah



dead prez - "Hip-Hop" x "Warpath" feat. Ratfink

DP is a highly respected, semi-underground group comprised of stic.man and M-1.  They’ve been around since their debut Let’s Get Free in 1998.  The group continues the traditions innate to the genre—political activism and describes themselves as “somewhere between N.W.A. and [Public Enemy].”  The group has gotten a lot of props around the industry and has collaborated with Jay-Z, Nas, and most recently DJ Green Lantern.

This track is one of my favorites of all time.  Off of their debut record, it’s just a very well put together song.  The baseline is one of the most powerful I’ve heard and you may recognize it as the intro to Chappelle’s Show.  The chorus itself is one of the most recognizable in hip hop.

Lyrically the song is quite exceptional, commenting on the current pettiness in hip hop.  Pay particular attention to the second verse as it is one of my favorites in the genre.  The dead prez/DJ Green Lantern album Pulse of the People (of which this music video is off of) is out now.  UPDATE: I've attached one my favorite tracks from the album, "Warpath."  Enjoy.

Dead Prez Summertime music video from Tao Ruspoli on Vimeo.

Peace, Love, & Resistance,



Geto Boys - “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”

The Geto Boys were the South’s answer to the West’s N.W.A. and later the East’s Wu-Tang Clan.  In the 90s, there weren’t many gangster rap groups or individuals that could compete with the Houston, Texas trio of Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill.  Their 1989 underground debut release as their classic lineup, Grip It! On That Other Level, is one of 46 albums to be awarded “five mics” by The Source, an honor reserved for classic hip hop albums.  Scarface would later earn two more “5 mic” ratings for 1994’s The Diary and 2002’s The Fix, making him one of only 7 artists to receive two 5 mic ratings for solo albums, along with Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Nas, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, and Jay-Z.

Wale - "Rain, Sleet, Snow" X "That's Not My Name (rmx)"

It's a pretty slow day as far as music is concerned, so I'll post a couple older Wale songs for you.  The first one is is unreleased, but was supposed to be on some Nike mixtape (for you fans of the Swoosh out there, this song is for you).  The second is a remix of The Ting Tings' hit song (and is hella pop, just a heads up).  Attention: Deficit drops November 3rd (unless pushed back again...).

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Nivial Noah

"Rain, Sleet, Snow" 
The Ting Tings - "That's Not My Name (rmx)" feat. Wale

Previous: Wale - "I'ma Champ"

Mobb Deep - "Shook Ones Pt. II"

The most successful and influential artists that derive much of their lyrics from acts and threats of violence tend to have a sick and twisted sense of humor about it (see Wu-Tang, Biggie, Mobb Deep), but “The hood imagery of the lyrics is utterly pervasive and uncompromising, immersing the listener in a foreign land smack in the middle of New York,” wrote Gavin Mueller of Stylus Magazine on the Wu-Tang’s debut album, “There is no celebration here, and little hope.”

Dahlak - "Commencement" x "So Uncool" feat. iLL-Literacy

Say what you will about Kanye and the artist that he's become, but he's had a huge influence (for better or worse) on nearly every artist coming up in the game today.  One of those artists happens to be Bay Area emcee Dahlak, a member of the iLL-Literacy crew, and a very talented artist.  Not many people have heard of this talented emcee, who's 2007 Dual Conscious was a very impressive solo debut.
These two songs come off of his 2008 remixtape of several Kanye songs Live From the Boondocks: Commencement, which I highly recommend downloading below (Dahlak is a much more talented lyricist than West, and this is one of my favorite mixtapes of all time and nearly every track is a cut.  Zion I and Geologic of Blue Scholars manage to drop by for to co-sign it).  Enjoy.

They like, "D, whatcha gonna be with your major?"
Nothing mothafucka I'm just gonna be major.
-Dahlak, "Do It"

Update: Uploaded the entire mixtape via Audiomack.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Neolistic Noah

Trey Lane - "Last of a Dying Breed" (feat. Soulcrate Music, Night Shield & Maniac, V The Noble One & Nyte)

You don't typically hear of much coming out of South Dakota these days.  Even though it's the cool Dakota (with Mount Rushmore and all), the state is often overlooked and completely forgotten when it comes to hip hop.  Acts like Trey Lane and Soulcrate Music are trying to change that.  Coming out of Sioux falls, both acts have quitely been building an underground following over the past couple years.  This song comes off of Trey Lane's debut Built for This EP, It's not the most refined track I've heard, but there's a ton of raw lyrical talent on the collab to keep your ears out for in the future.  I've also included an incomplete Trey Lane track "Where The Party At?" that he shot over to me a while back.  The song features upbeat samples of some classic hip hop songs and a couple dope verses from Lane.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Trey Lane - "Last of a Dying Breed" feat. Various Artists
Trey Lane - "Where The Party At?"

Coolio - "Gangsta's Paradise" feat. L.V.

I guess I'm in a 90's mood today.  Although Coolio has had a lengthy career (which has included apearances on Futurama and the theme song for Kenan & Kel) you will be hard pressed to find someone who can name you a Coolio track other than his 1995 classic "Gangsta's Paradise."  Much like Mobb Deep and their classic "Shook Ones, Pt. 2" both artists are incredibly talented, but are thought of primarily for one song (both of which happen to be classics of the genre).  The song its relegious overtones (the opening line refernces Psalm 23:4 and the choral vocals in the background render the song epic) mixed with dark, tragic lyrics that criticize the violent lifestyle.  "Gangsta's Paradise" is a landmark track in hip hop and still stands as one of the greatest songs of the genre.  It went on to earn Coolio a grammy for song/album and a Weird Al parody.  Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Big L - "Put It On" x "Flamboyant"

Big L is another tragic tale in the greater story of Hip Hop—yet another talented artist taken from us far too soon.  One of the most lyrically talented emcees to bless the mic, the Harlem rapper had it all—humor, confidence, freestyle ability, storytelling, and the message (I consider him the East Coast Pac as far as the message was concerned).  Big L’s 1995 debut album Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous is a haunting display of life in his hometown of New York and is considered a classic among many heads (it also features appearances by, then unknown artists, Jay-Z and Cam’Ron).  The album reached the Billboard 200 despite the fact that most of the songs went unplayable on the radio due to content (a testament to L’s skill as most of his promotion came by word of mouth).  It has a distinct 90’s feel to it and the album I like to compare it to sound wise is Nas’ classic Illmatic.   "Put It On," featuring Kid Capri, is the first track off of the album and, rightfully so, the first L material I ever laid ears on (I was absolutely blown away).  "Flamboyant" comes off of his 2000 posthumous album The Big Picture and is another example of his tremendous lyrical capacity.

Atmosphere - "Sunshine"

I woke up this morning to the fall slush that is the typical state of affairs this time of year in the City that Never Sleeps.  I also woke up to this song and knew I needed to post it while the memories of summer still linger.  This is one of my favorite songs and is a great example of Sean Daley's incredible capacity as a storyteller.  The song begins with a tale about a hangover and transforms into a beautiful ode to summer (especially during this time of the days shorten and the weather darkens).  It comes off of the ninth installment of his Sad Clown/Bad Dub EP series and is one of my favorite Atmosphere songs.  Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Drekidd - "The Fix"

I wasn't entirely sold on this Inglewood, California emcee when I first heard his Adele-sampled "Hometown Glory" last month, but this song, which features dope lyrics over a sample of Clapton's "Layla" (a classic song in its own right), has convinced me of his lyrical prowess.  Be on the lookout for his upcoming project of the same name.  Props to Shake for the hookup.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

"The Fix"

"Hometown Glory"

K. Sparks - "Overtime" (Prod. Hannibal King)

K. Sparks track just dropped via ze twitter.  The boy goes hard on kills the Hannibal King beat.  The song has no hook, it's just 50+ bars of pure hip hoppery.  Super Senior is gonna be dope and make sure to check out Hannibal King's mixtape Eating Cornbread on the Millennium Falcon.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
NYCentric Noah

Wale - "I'ma Champ" [Tags]

Hot new Wale track he spit for NBA 2K10 (I'm going to try and find a tagless version for you people).

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
New School Noah

XV - "G.O.O.D." feat. Really Doe (Prod. J Dilla)

I meant to post this song a few days ago (it's the song after "Break Thru" on my playlist).  It's a track that for some reason didn't make the cut for the very dope Everybody's Nobody mixtape (I highly suggest checking it out if you haven't already).  The Kid from Kansas reminds me of Wale mixed with Lupe and is going places.  Props to 2dopeboyz on the exclusive.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Nerdy Noah

Project Lionheart - "Light Up The Darkness" x "Heart of a Lion (rmx)" feat. Crooked I

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I had not heard of this Seattle trio until they popped up on 2dbz yesterday.  In a city who's hip hop scene recognizes the more traditional hip hop acts like Blue Scholars, Dyme Def, and Common Market, this live hip hop band really hasn't gotten their due. Led by frontman Caleb Cunningham, PL combines politically conscious lyrics mixed with punk, reggae, and electronic influences.  They kind of remind me of part Linkin Park, part Fort Minor, part Rage Against the Machine (sans screaming).  I've included"Light Up The Darkness" and the Crooked I assisted remix of "Heart of a Lion" (not to be confused with the KiD CuDi track of the same name...both Cunningham and Crooked I kill their verses on this song), off of the re-release of their 2008 LP The Art of Resistance (dropping October 6th) along with two of my favorite tracks off of the original release.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Project Lionheart - "Light Up The Darkness"
Project Lionheart - "Heart of a Lion (rmx)" feat. Crooked I
Project Lionheart - "Clock is Ticking"
Project Lionheart - "The Way We Live"

Big Boi - "Fo Yo Sorrows" feat. George Clinton & Too $hort

Big Boi is another one of those emcees that needs no introduction.  One half of the legendary OutKast crew, this Dirty South rapper has an entire discography argue with anyone who would dare question his status as one of the greatest to ever do it.  I've been waiting for this song for a while now (I may or may not have listened to it five times straight the first time I heard it).  It comes off of his upcoming Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (no release date as of yet). I've also included two classic OutKast songs.  The first two songs after the intro off of their sophomore LP ATLiens, "Two Dope Boyz (In A Cadillac)" and "ATLiens" might be one of the best 1-2 punches I've ever heard on an album.  Still waiting on (but not holding my breath) for the next OutKast LP, but these solo projects will more than hold me over.

Who them boys that be havin' the crunk every occasion,
This side niggas dustin', that side niggas lacin',
But in the middle we stay calm, we just drop bombs!

Peace, Love, & OutKast,
Neophobic Noah


Joell Ortiz - "50 For The People" (Prod. Frequency)

New material from this Slaughterhouse spitta.  This comes courtesy of OnSmash and is off of his upcoming Road Kill Mixtape.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Joell Ortiz - "50 For The People" (Prod. Frequency)

The Roots - "How I Got Over"

As far as hip hop is concerned, the hip hop band The Roots are legendary.  From Organix to their last release The Rising Down, The Roots (known primarily for emcee Black Thought and drummer/frontman ?uestlove) simply put out classic albums that are respected both by heads and the mainstream media and have greatly influence hip hop bands like Gym Class Heroes and Vonnegutt.  This song is the lead single and title track off of their upcoming album (scheduled to be released November 17th.  It includes a sample of Cody Chesnutt's "Serve The Royalty."  Many of you will recognize Chesnutt as the artist The Roots collaboratted with on "The Seed (2.0)" (which I've taken the liberty of attaching), a classic song that is impossible to hate if you like either rap or rock.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

"How I Got Over"

"The Seed (2.0)"

"Act Too...The Love of My Life" (feat. Common)

Kanye West - "All Falls Down" feat. Slyeena Johnson

As much as I love making fun of Kanye West (along with the rest of the country), I recognize that there was a point when he wasn't such an asshole.  Sure 808s & Heartbreak was atrocious.  Sure the man is the epitome of what all douchebags aspire to be.  Sure he's used ghostwriters in the past.  But at the end of the day, Mr. West's first two albums (before he became so full of himself) border on classic status.  (Excuse me.  Imma let you finish, but) This is one of my favorite songs of all time.  From the backing vocals to each one of Kanye's verses (which offer a commentary on the commercialization of hip hop culture), there's no way to deny this track's status as a certified hip hop classic.

Peace, Love, & Yeezy,

Bobby Creekwater - "Farewell"

BC goes hard over the Gay Fish's "See You In My Nightmare."  Make sure to check out this Atlanta emcee/producer's previous work, available on this humble site.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Necktie Noah

Nasty Nas - 1991 Demo Tape

Nasir Jones aka Nas aka God's Son aka Nasty Nas is one of the undisputed legends of the genre.  Hip Hop albums will forever be classified as pre-Illmatic and post-Illmatic.  For all of you hip hop heads out there, I thought you might be interested in this pre-Illmatic demo tape that I just came across.  The sound quality isn't the best and some of the rhymes are recycled on his proper 1994 debut, but this is a piece of hip hop history.  Even at this point in his career, he's still lyrically deadly (it kinda reminds me of Eminem circa "Infinite").  As a bonus, I've included the first track Nas ever laid a verse on.  Coming off Main Source's Breaking Atoms, Nas (before he dropped the "Nasty") absolutely kills "Live At The Barbeque" (you'll probably recognize Nas' verse as the very same one sampled in the background of the intro to Illmatic).  Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Nasty Noah

Nasty Nas - 1991 Demo Tape
(Bonus) Main Source - "Live At the Barbecue" feat. Nasty Nas

KiD CuDi - Man On The Moon: The End of Day

Music will always be compared to other artforms.  It is only fair.  Music, like cinema and literature alike, paints the picture of the human existence on canvas available to the masses.  That being said, only a select few emcees are able to put out albums that are truly cinematic.  Classic albums like Raekwon's Only Built For Cuban Linx and Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt reflect the tales of The Godfather and Scarface.  If Raekwon reflects the works of Coppola and Jay-Z reflects those of De Palma, horrorcore groups like Army of the Pharaohs and Wu-Tang Clan represent the dark humor works of Tarantino and conscious artists Mos Def and Talib Kweli represent the works of Spike Lee.

Paten Locke - "Break Thru"

I've been bumping this song frequently since first hearing it a month ago.  It comes courtesy of LA-based MC/Producer Paten Locke and is the lead single and title track off of his debut album (dropping October 20th).  Enjoy and keep your ears out for more music from this talented artist.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Nefarious Noah

Pac Div - "Pac Div"

Pac Div is a Southern Cali group that is quickly rising in the world of Hip Hop.  The trio, composed of BeYoung and brothers Like and Mibbs, has been doing it since around '06 and is aleady signed to major label Motown/Universal and reminds me of a poor man's Dyme Def.  Still, this song is dope and comes off of their Church League Champions, released earlier this year.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Nascent Noah

Macklemore - The Unplanned Mixtape

When I got back on campus this morning after practice, I decided to stop by mail services to pick up a couple of packages that they have been pestering me about via e-mail for the past couple days.  To my pleasant surprise, I received a small manila envelope just large enough to hold a CD that was addressed from my home zip code (98103).  As soon I confirmed that it wasn't from my mother, I knew the exact contents of the package.  I rushed back to the dorm room and tore into the packaging.  Enclosed was a CD and cover in a floppy, plastic case sandwiched between a brown paper napkin with green sharpie marks reading:
It had arrived.

Justin Bieber - "One Time" feat. Brainstorm (of Dyme Def)

Brainstorm finally dropped the link for this song that I've heard has been getting some serious radio time back home on KUBE.  Props to Brain...I haven't heard of Justin Bieber before (at first listen I thought he was a girl), but evidently he's a 15-year-old from Canada who comes co-signed by Usher.  As always, it's good to hear Brainstorm on a track and this is just more proof that he can spit over almost any beat/song.

I gotchu on Cloud 9,
Baby It's okay to float there,
I'll take you to the underline,
Insert witty quote here.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Ex Nihilo Noah

Justin Bieber - "One Time" feat. Brainstorm (of Dyme Def)

Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"

Russell Jones aka Ol' Dirty Bastard aka Dirt McGirt aka Big Baby Jesus, was one of the most comical figures in hip hop history.  His name Ol' Dirty Bastard, like many of the original Wu Tang member's names, pays homage to a kung fu flick, but was chosen because, as Method Man asserts on "Can It All Be So Simple," "we got the Ol' Dirty Bastard, cuz there ain't no father to his style."  A truer statement has never been made about this unique figure in hip hop known for his absurd, half-rapped, half-sung, profane, free associative lyrics.  ODB was more than just a hypeman, he was a beloved jester, a man that new how to live life to it's fullest.  It is the distinct lack of ODB on all Wu releases after their classic debut Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers).  While the Clan still had the rhymes of the 8 other members (including his cousins RZA and GZA), ODB's impact on the next few Wu collaboration was largely (and noticibly) absent due to his incarceration for various charges.  ODB was that wild card that helped put Wu over the top and the group hasn't been the same since his tragic death in 2004.   ODB was known for his antics in and out of the studio, even interrupting the 1998 Grammy's to complain about Wu Tang Forever losing to Puff Daddy (seriously, anyone losing to Diddy is probably a big slap in the face, but I thought this video would be applicable since it is much less contrived than Kanye's recent outburst).

Wu Tang is for the children and don't you ever forget that.  This song is probably his most recognizable (other than possibly "Brooklyn Zoo") and is off of his solo album Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (my second favorite Wu Tang solo album behind GZA's legendary Liquid Swords).  RIP ODB.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Ghostface Noah

Willie the Kid - The Fly X "We Must Be Heard" feat. Ludacris & Busta Rhymes

I first heard Willie the Kid on The Kickdrums' January mixtape Smash The System.  Though the lyrical talent was evident on his freestyle "Sky High," it wasn't enough to stand out on an outstanding mixtape that was incredibly difficult to stand out on.  It wasn't until I heard "No Fly Zone" (video above), that I was blown away by this incredibly talented Grand Rapids, Michigan MC (who happens to be the younger brother of Wu affiliate LA The Darkman).  WTK is the protege of Atlanta-based DJ Drama, a highly respected mixtape DJ who has produced every one of his mixtapes and 2008 studio album Absolute Greatness.  I've attached the recent DJ Drama/WTK project The Fly (which "No Fly Zone" is off of) as well as a bonus "We Must Be Heard" with Luda & Busta off of Drama's Gangsta Grillz 2.  Keep a look out for WTK.  The Kid's going places.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Willie the Kid - The Fly
DJ Drama - "We Must Be Heard" feat. Ludacris, Willie the Kid, & Busta Rhymes

Kyle Lucas - "ThisLuv" X "Problems"

I apologize to my frequent readership, but today has been a packed day for me both academically and athletically.  I promise to make it up to you in the next couple days.  In the meantime, enjoy some dnew and old Kyle Lucas and be on the lookout for his upcoming mixtape, It's Always Sunny In Marietta and Vonnegutt's Falling Up the Stairs.

Peace, Less Than 3, & Hip Hop,

Kyle Lucas - "ThisLuv"
Kyle Lucas - "Problems"

Grynch - "My Volvo" X "That's Hip Hop" X "Memory Lane" Feat. Sonny Bohono

Grynch is one of those rappers that I'm not sure whether or not to feel guilty about liking him.  As a white kid from North Seattle, the King of Ballard is able to speak to me with knowing songs like "My Volvo" in which he raps about the love of his '86 Volvo (I've laughed in that car/ Cried in that car/ Knock on wood, man I'll probably die in that car), but is this true to hip hop culture or something targeted towards the largest consumer of hip hop (Caucasians).  Afterall, mainstream hip hop culture doesn't particularly value a beat up Swedish-engineered automobiles (Kanye West, though he might not be the best example considering recent events, even rhymed on "Run This Town," I bought my whole family whips, no Volvos).  But this also begs the question, do rappers like Mr. West, who coincidently is chopped and screwed on the hook of "My Volvo," represent the true spirit of hip hop, one that originated as a political movement for those who often had no other outlet for their voice.

Digable Planets - "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)"

Digable Planets are a group that don't get nearly enough credit as they deserve.  There 1993 debut album Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) probably did more to spread the Jazz Hop sound than ATCQ (a classic group in their own right).  This song is off of their debut and has been referenced often in hip hop lore (it's sampled on E-40's 2006 Yay Area).  DP fell off a little with their second album Blowout Comb and didn't put out much after that, but we can still look back on Reachin' as the seminal album that it is.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Biz Markie - "Just A Friend"

I feel bad admitting it, but the first time I remember hearing this song, was on a Heineken commercial earlier this year.  This 1989 song, by one of the goofiest one-hit wonders in the history of the genre, is a hip hop classic.  I'll let the song (and the chorus) speak for itself.

Oh baby YOU-OO,
You got what I NEE-EED...

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Naughty By Noah

J. Cole Live @NYU [Video]

Due to mitigating circumstances that I won't get into, I was unable to go to the J. Cole show Saturday night (*SMH*), but for those of you who, like me, missed it (and I heard it was a good one), here's some footage of the next up.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Neglectful Noah

Drake, Jay-Z, & Nas - Successful (DJ Noodles Remix)

I'm not the biggest fan of Drake, but this is an interesting mash-up of his "Successful" and the Nas-assisted "Success" off of Jay's American Gangster.  Personally, I view it as a downgrade from the latter, but I know some of you will appreciate it.

Drake, Jay-Z, & Nas - Successful (DJ Noodles Remix)

Royce Da 5'9" - "New Money"

Few garner more respect among underground hip hop heads than Ryan Montgomery.  Better known by his moniker, Royce Da 5'9", this Detroit emcee has contributed with greats like Eminem and DJ Premier and has ghostwritten for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre.  Royce was a member of the short lived duo Bad Meets Evil and is my second favorite member of underground supergroup Slaughterhouse (behind only Joell Ortiz).

Lyrically, Royce is right up there with your favorite rapper and the thing I love about him is that he is uncompromising, and would sooner go hungry before putting out a mindless pop track.  This track comes off of his upcoming Street Hop.  I've also included a link for his DJ Greenlantern-produced The Bar Exam 2 (one of the best mixtapes of 2008...I love every track especially his "I'm Me Freestyle").

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

A Tupac Shakur Tribute (R.I.P.)

I've been hesitant to get to Pac, not because I don't respect him as the legend that he is, but because I'm afraid that nothing that I write is capable of giving credence to the life of Tupac Shakur.  I didn't grow up listening to Pac.  In fact, when he died thirteen years ago today, hip hop was but a blip on my radar (growing up in North Seattle, my father was more apt to play Nirvana's Unplugged or Presidents of the United States, both amazing albums in their own right, than Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z or All Eyez On Me.  What I know of Shakur, I know posthumously, both through artists who idolized the man and listeners who were moved by his music.

Tupac Shakur was a very controversial figure.  Never one to back down from beef ("Hit 'Em Up"), his well publicized feud with The Notorious B.I.G. may have perhaps contributed his own death (to this day, both Pac's and Biggie's tragic murders have not been solved).  But Pac was also a unique and gifted figure in the world of hip hop.  Though many have gone through his struggle, no one before or since has had the same message and lyrical prowess to convey it.  For those that scan over hip hop, 2Pac may be viewed as simply another thug rapper who's life was ended by his own dangerous lifestyle, but Shakur was so much more than that.  Pac was a poet, a modern day Shakespeare, who conveyed the problems urban life in a way that no one else in the game has been able to do since.

"Keep Ya Head Up" is probably my favorite Pac song and is a message to the youth (particularly women in a hip hop culture that is stereotypically viewed as misogynistic), that you must hold onto hope, even if that's the last thing you have left.  "Changes" and "Dear Mama" are equally beautiful and let you see who the man was beyond "California Love" and "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted."  "Changes" laments the life of those in the ghetto, while "Dear Mama" is a beautiful apology to his mother.  I've also included the posthumous "Thugz Mansion (N.Y.)" off of Nas' God's Son because it is one of the beautiful songs made after his death and one of the few with an artist he would have worked with if still alive.  R.I.P. Tupac Shakur.  The world wasn't good enough for you and we miss you.

Peace, Love, & Pac,

Nyle - Capstone EP

I just heard this Philly MC for the first time yesterday, and I shake my head that I didn't hear of him sooner.  This NYU student is crazy talented and I definitly plan on keeping up with him in the future.  What blew me away was his video cover of Weezy's "Let The Beat Build" (see below).  I looked into his discography and discovered his Capstone EP (from which "Let The Beat Build" derives.  I've attached this gem of an EP (subject matter includes comics, ex's, life after college, and his rise in hip hop).  Cuts include "Let The Beat Build" and "Senioritis." Enjoy and tell what you think.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Nyle "Let The Beat Build" from Nyle on Vimeo.

Nyle - Capstone EP

Atmosphere - "Always Coming Back Home To You" X "Yesterday" X "Trying To Find A Balance"

Call him emo.  Call him abnormal when it comes to the prototypical rapper.  Call him an outcast in the world of hip hop.  But whatever you call him, you can't fail to notice that Sean Daley (aka Slug of Atmosphere) is one of the best storytellers the game has ever witnessed.  Slug along with DJ/producer Ant form the highly respected underground duo and have been doing their thing in various forms since 1993 (though they've been going solid as the duo since around 2000).  The duo was also the leader (followed shortly by Brother Ali) in the explosion of the Twin Cities hip hop scene and are the founders of the highly respected indie Rhymesayers label.

Hip Hop Love Songs

(Kyle Lucas' Vonnegutt)
I apologize to the male contingency of my readership, but my better half is coming into town this weekend and I thought it would be applicable to drop some hip hop love songs for the LAAADIES (don't worry, I'll drop some songs at the end of the post to redeem my street rep).  On another note, be sure to comment and tell me what your favorite hip hop love songs of all time are...

Jay-Z Live @Madison Square Garden [Full]

For those of you that missed Jay-Z at Madison Square Garden (of which, I sadly include myself), you can check out the entire show courtesy of xcluxiveszone.net.  On another note, how much do you think Memphis Bleek gets paid to be Jay's hypeman?  And could someone please tell me why Diddy brought his bum-ass on stage of "Encore?"

Peace, Love, and Hov,

K. Sparks - "Microphone Fiend" feat. Jeff Chery x "Take 'Em High" feat. Kid Cudi

Fresh off of the twitterville presses is this new dope song by Queens emcee K. Sparks...check it and be sure to cop some of his previous work here and here.  UPDATE: I've added the very dope Kid Cudi assisted "Take 'Em High" track to the post.  Enjoy.

"Microphone Fiend"

"Take 'Em High"

Jay-Z - "99 Problems" x "Allure"

So I started streaming the Jay-Z concert at MSG right at the end of this song and it probably broke my heart not to see it in it's entirety.  This song is simply an anthem that, even if you don't like hip hop (in which case, what are you doing on this site?), it's nearly impossible for you not to have heard.  As a young wigga from North Seattle, I fulfill my job description by knowing each and every word by heart.  I may or may not be reciting the second verse (the best one) to myself right now.  One of the standout tracks on The Black Album, an album which, to be completely honest, is impossible to stand out on because each and every song is classic (first album I memorized each and every lyric to).  God, I'm pissed I missed this song...okay, now I feel better, because he's playing "Allure," another of my favorite songs of the album.

Peace, Love, & Hova,
Nostalgic Noah

Dyme Def - "I Know" (Prod. Starkey)

New Dyme Def is new Dyme Def, so I'm not gonna complain, but I think the production on this track is a little bit overdone starting to grow on me.  It comes courtesy of the Dubstep LA mixtape of several West Coast artists (which you can/cannot download...I'm on the fence about it myself and won't give a co-sign to it).  Also, be sure to check out Brainstorm's very dope interview with All You Can Eat Hip Hop.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
New New Noah

Dyme Def - "I Know" (Prod. Starkey)

J. Cole Speaks on "A Star Is Born"

J. Cole humbly speaks about the makings of one of the highlight tracks of B3.  I may not have gotten tickets to the Jay-Z show at MSG tonight, but a particular slam piece I know who's flying into the city for the weekend hooked me up with some J. Cole tickets for his show at NYU tomorrow (a worthy replacement).  As a bonus, I've attached the version of "Lights Please" that appears on his superb mixtape The Warm Up (the final version will appear as the title track for his proper debut album, due out in the next couple years).  It's a classic track in which Cole starts out rapping about the ills of the world, only to be blinded by...well, I'll let you listen to the song for yourself.  It's also the track that got him signed as a relatively unknown artist as the cornerstone of Jay-Z's Roc Nation.  Keep your eyes (and ears) out for this NC emcee, he's going places (also, for those of you who haven't peeped it, I recommend reading his interview in the latest issue of XXL).

J. Cole - "Lights Please"
Previous: Jay-Z - "A Star Is Born" feat. J. Cole

Skyzoo - Cornerstone Classic (2007)

Skyzoo is exactly what hip hop needs.  The Brooklyn native, who's been rapping since age 9, is an emcee who is able to take hip hop back to it's golden age traditions, while still moving the game forward.  Fifteen years, six mixtapes, and one independent EP later, Skyzoo is one of the most respected up and coming emcees and is poised to release his proper debut LP The Salvation at the end of the month.  Skyzoo draws influences from everyone from fellow BK emcees Biggie and Jay-Z to NWA and Nirvana.  His style bridges the lengthy gap between street hop and backpack rap.  His 2007 Mick Boogie co-signed mixtape Cornerstone Classic recieved critical acclaim, including an XL in XXL and is a great example of Sky's natural gift of gab.  Cuts include "Straighten It Out" and the J Dilla produced "They Don't Want It."  As far as mixtapes go, I place it about on level with J. Cole's The Come Up (a great mixtape on in it's own right), but below a few of Mick Boogie's other mixtapes like Viva La Hova and Jus Mic and another level below J. Cole's latest The Warm Up.  At the end of the day it's a very respectable mixtape and I'm very excited to hear The Salvation (an album which has already recieved XL in XXL) come September 29th.  I've included a link to this mixtape as well as the video and track for "Beautiful Decay," first single off his upcoming album.  Peep the video, it's an ode to his home borough and a commentary, as the name might suggest on urban decay.  S-K-Y-Z-O-O.  Remember the name.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
NY-Abiding Noah

Skyzoo - Cornerstone Classic
Skyzoo - Beautiful Decay

Kidz In The Hall - "Jukebox"

SMH...This song makes me weep, not because is is so unbelievably average, but for what could have been.  I've followed Kidz In The Hall since their near classic 2006 debut School Was My Hustle.  The duo, composed of emcee Naledge and producer Double-O, first met while at Penn and had the potential to represent something that Hip Hop had never heard before (seriously--Ivy League Rap).  This came through heavily on their debut album, an LP marked by politically-conscious, SAT vocabulary-heavy lyrics against solid production.  I don't think a sophomore album has ever sounded more different than their 2008 The In Crowd.

KITH sold out.  There's no getting around the fact that, in order to garner more radio play and more record sales, the duo dumbed down their lyrics and subject matter (a fact that can be seen on the album's lead single, "Drivin' Down the Block") and relied heavily on featured artists (11 of 14 tracks on the album feature at least one additional artist).  Although their were some highlights to The In Crowd, such as the title track, "The Pledge" and the powerful "Inner Me," these tracks are overwhelmed by the mediocre tracks designed to sell more records.  Though Double-O's production improved on this album, instead of becoming a unique hip hop group, KITH decided to become run of the mill.

I had hoped that this was only a sophomore slump, but it appears to have continued with the first two singles for their upcoming free LP (dropping October 27th).  I don't think I'd be downloading it if it weren't free, but I'll give KITH the pass, if only for the work they put out in their debut.  I've attached the second single off of their upcoming free LP as well as several of their previous tracks to better demonstrate the groups' potential.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Kidz In The Hall - "Jukebox"
Kidz In The Hall - "Wheelz Fall Off ('06 'Til)"
Kidz In The Hall - "Go Ill"
Kidz In The Hall - "Ritalin"

Macklemore - "And WE Danced"

Another track off of Macklemore's upcoming "The Unplanned Mixtape," which hasn't been released yet on the internet, but if someone was at Bumbershoot this weekend and picked up a physical copy (I couldn't, seeing as I'm on the wrong coast...), I would be eternally grateful to anyone who can hook me up with a .zip file of it.  This track is an interesting turn for Macklemore...It doesn't sound that much like typical hip hop and it kinda reminds me of Franz Ferdinand mixed with that Vampire play from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

UPDATE: Macklemore just posted the mixtape on his blog.  You can order it for $5 via paypal.  Limited copies remain.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop?

Previous: Macklemore - "The Town"

Check in With Jus Mic

I haven't checked in with my favorite Cleveland spitta (sorry Cudi) in a while now and here are a few tracks he's released in the meantime.  Jus Mic is one of my three favorite up and coming emcees and be sure to check out his other material.  Also, if you like "Your the Man (Remix)" or "Who's Saving Me," be sure to check out the 216thetakeover.com presented mixtape On The Rise, Vol 2, featuring several of Cleveland's best.  Cleveland is another of those scenes (like my own hometown) that's about to explode. The home of Bone Thugs, recent Cleveland artists have included Jus Mic, Kid Cudi, and Mick Boogie.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Jus Mic - "Who's Saving Me"
Mr. 44 feat. Jus Mic & Embezz - "Your A Man (Remix)"
Jus Mic - "Wasn't Supposed to Be"
Jus Mic - "Misery"
Gifted feat. Fortune & Jus Mic - "Run This City"

Previous: Jus Mic - "Trying To Get My Hip Hop On"

M.O.P. - "What I Wanna Be" f. Rell (Prod. DJ Premier) X "Foundation"

Interesting change of pace of the Brooklyn duo.  Takes it down a notch on the production from the legendary DJ Premier...I like it though.  Foundation drops next Tuesday.  I've also attached the title-track, which is more of that classic hardcore sound we've come to expect from Mash Out Posse.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Jay-Z Speaks on the Making of BP3

Hov discusses the musical growth of the trilogy with Fuse...BP3 is starting to grow on me a little.  A review is forethcoming.  I was unfortunately unable to cop ticket(s) to see Jay at MSG Friday, but at least he'll be broadcasting live for those interested.  The Blueprint 3 hit shelves yesterday.

Peace, Love, & Hov,
Notorious Noah

Gerald Walker's Evening Out With Your Girlfriend

UPDATE: I've attatched the illroots.com bonus version, which includes the same mixtape and three bonus GW tracks.

I've been hyping this illroots/2dopeboyz mixtape/album for past month now and it's good to hear it live up to expectations.  The Milwaukee emcee is on of the most ridiculously funny lyricists I've ever heard is the owner of a voice and delivery that is distinctly Gerald Walker (despite some misinformed interweb-heads who compared him to Drake solely because of his last song...see the discussion board here).  This mixtape continues GW's trend of lengthy, hilarious titles and even more ridiculous lyrics with punk rock influences (I've attached his remix of the song "Roxanne" with the Knux as a bonus).  Guests range from Add-2 to Matt & Kim to The Arctic Monkeys.  All of the songs are good, but I'll single out the Add-2 assisted "Your Mother Made Me Change The Name of this Song So Your Father Wouldn't Realize Who It's About" and "Half of Life is Getting Fucked Up, The Other Half is Dealing With It" as the highlights of the nine track album.  Enjoy.

Don't Tell me what you ain't gonna do,
Cuz dem jeans look better when they ain't on you.


1) Your Mother Made Me Change the Name of This Song So Your Dad Wouldn’t Realize who It was about f. Add-2
2) Make It Funky
3) Half of Life is Fucking Up, The Other Half is Dealing With It
4) Baby, You Ain’t Kidding f. Matt & Kim
5) Love|Hate f. Ay?
6) Seven (Interlude) f. The Hush Sound
7) You Don’t Pay a Prostitute for Sex, You Pay a Prostitute to Leave When You’re Done f. The Arctic Monkeys
8) Living My Life
9) Get Your Money

Peace, Love, & Punk/Hop,
Neophile Noah

Gerald Walker's Evening Out With Your Girlfriend (Bonus Version)
[BONUS] Gerald Walker - "Roxanne (Remix)" feat. The Knux