TiRon - "Throwing My Money"

This song from the LA emcee is dedicated to Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, which is causing me all sorts of hell at the moment.  It comes off, Ketchup, one of the best mixtapes of last year.

Blitz The Ambassador - "Emmett (S)Till"

Blitz The Ambassador originally released this back on MLK day.  The Brooklyn emcee recounts the horrid story of what happened to Till during the summer of 1955.

Genius/GZA - "I Gotcha Back" x "Liquid Swords"

In an era when the West Coast was dominated by the smooth, refined G-Funk sounds of Doggystyle and The Chronic, the early Wu-Tang albums of the 90's backed, by the raw, gritty production of RZA, prooved to be the antithesis of this movement.  Other than the classic Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, GZA's Liquid Swords is perhaps the premier album from the most lyrical Wu member and has to be included in any Top-10 lists.

"I Gotcha Back"

"Liquid Swords"

Bobby Creekwater - "Exhibit B.C. (Squared)"

The last thing I'll post until Sunday night as the girlfriend is coming into town... I have to give it up to Bobby Creekwater.  I've only heard one bad cut from the ATLien emcee/producer ("Harder"), and everything else has been amazing.  I've said it before, it reminds me of Weezy's delivery/voice with much better lyricism.  Creekwater gives his rendition of Jay Electronica's cut and the results are exactly what I've come to expect from this rapidly rising artist.  Back 2 the Briefcase II is set for a February 8th release.

Gilbere Forte' - "I'm So Appalled Freestyle"

I originally featured this song back on What's In Rotation, Vol. 5, but I had to give this up and coming Philly (via Flint, Michigan) emcee his individual shine.  Forte's flow is incredibly natural as are his rhymes and I highly recommend keeping an eye on him over the next few years.  He hops on Kanye's "I'm So Appalled" for this song, but I've included his freestyles over De La's classic "Stakes Is High," and probably the most honored hip hop track of all time in Pete Rock & CL Smooth's "T.R.O.Y."  Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

"I'm So Appalled Freestyle"
"Stakes Is High Freestyle"

"T.R.O.Y. Freestyle"

Jay-Z, Nas, & The Notorious B.I.G. - "Who's The Best?"

This song has been around for a while.  To give you an idea of just how long it's been, I originally copped this when I was still using Limewire.  It's off of DJ Mello & DJ Cinema's Talk of NY mixtape that dropped back in '06 (not that old, but in terms of internet time that's an eternia).  One of the best (of many) mash-ups of the three greatest New York emcees of all time.

Big Punisher - "Punish Me"

Next Sunday will mark the ten year anniversary of Pun's death and I find it absolutely necessary that I pay my respects to the legend.  In my opinion Pun was probably the most versitle emcee aside from Biggie, demonstrating to create (good) pop tracks ("Still Not a Player"), hard tracks ("Beware"), and beautiful tracks.  This song is an example of the latter and is one of my favorite hip hop tracks from the late 90's.  R.I.P.

Fearce Villain (Dyme Def) - "Ransom Freestyle" f. Louis V

I don't know what a Louis V is, but he and the Dyme Def spitta absolutely destroy this Wayne/Drake track.  I'll let the song speak for itself.

Previous: What's In Rotation, Vol. 5

P.O.S. - "Goodbye" x "Let It Rattle"

Rhymesayers Entertainment has made a habit of breaking incredibly talented, less than mainstream artists.  As a result, the Minneapolis based label has made their city the centerpiece of the underground hip hop movement.  While New York and Atlanta have their Jay-Z's and OutKasts, acts like Atmosphere, Eyedea & Abilities, and Brother Ali have been putting on middle America for over 15 years.

P.O.S. is next in line and, along with Toki Wright, proof that the future of the Twin Cities rap scene is only looking brighter.  The 28-year-old emcee, who began his music career in punk rock, is one of the more innovative new wave lyricists and I finally got around to picking up his 2009 LP, Never Better, a little over a week ago.  I wish I had copped it sooner, as it definitely would have made my list for best albums of the year.  Here are two of the better songs off the album.  "Let It Rattle" provides an excellent introduction to the album while"Goodbye" prooves to be nearly anthem-worthy when combined with the excellent production by Doomtree producer Lazerbeak.  P.O.S. is set to be one of the best underground artists of the next decade.  I suggest you pay attention.  Hit the jump for the warzone-inspired music video of "Drumroll"

Peace, Love, & MinneAtmosphere,

"Let It Rattle"

Scarface - "On My Block" X "In Between Us" f. Nas & Tanya Herron

I'm a little ashamed that it took me this long to get around to Houston legend, Scarface.  Over the course of his illustrious career, the Geto Boys member has been one of the most consistent and critically acclaimed emcees.  As far as best albums of the past decade, you can't go past the top-5 without mentioning The Fix.  His 2002 classic is widely considered to be one of the best albums of all time and these two songs are my personal favorite tracks off the LP.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

"On My Block"

"In Between Us" (feat. Nas & Tanya Herron)

Jay Electronica - "Exhibit C" (prod. Just Blaze)

With all respects to Saigon, Jay Electronica is The Best Story Never Told.  Easily one of the best emcees never to release an official full length album, I figured I should give shine to this song as nearly every other artist has remixed it by now.  Amazing beat.  Even better lyrics.

Nas - "The Message" (prod. Trackmasters)

I'm sure some have you have noticed my absence over the past week and a half or so.  I apologize for this.  I've been settling back into school and a heavier course load.  In light of my schedule this semester I'm going to have to decrease the amount of posts.  Thus, the new format on the blog: (about) two posts a day, one giving shine to an older song and the other featuring a new song/artist/mixtape.

Joell Ortiz & Novel - "Like I Know"

Considering how good "Stressful" was (it was featured it on my last tape as well as the end of the year list), the second song leaked off of Joell Ortiz and Novel's forthcoming Defying the Predictable mixtape had lofty expectations.  This song easily meets and exceeds them and continues Ortiz's hot streak (every song he's touched in the last year has killed it).

Young Buck - "No Excuses" X "Soon or Later"

I've never been a Young Buck fan...at all, but I have to admit that he's released several very good songs lately (dating back to "Homecoming").  These songs are no exception as the Nashville rapper continues his recent hot streak.

"No Excuses"
"Soon or Later"

Previous: What's In Rotation, Vol. 2

Snoop Dog - "I Wanna Rock (Kings G-Mix)" feat. Jay-Z

Hova drops by for the remix of one of the better instrumentals of last year.  Thanks to Miss Info on the drop.

Freddie Gibbs - "Crushin' Feelins"

Although I originally posted this on my What's In Rotation, Vol. 5, I wanted to give it some individual shine because the Gary, Indiana just kills it.  On this track in particular, his flow and his lyricism (and even his voice), reminds me a lot of classic 2Pac.  This track is the first leak off his upcoming Str8 Killa No Filla.  As a bonus I've included his recent (dope) track, "Me, You Remix," that he recorded with XV and Shawn Christopher.  The song is a remix of the track off XV's Everybody's Nobody and I highly recommend downloading it.  Props to TSS.

Peace, Love, & Gibbs,

"Crushin' Feelins"
XV, Freddie Gibbs, & Shawn Christopher - "Me, You Remix" (Prod. Seven)

"Evergreen State of Mind" [Video]

It's way corny, but people from Seattle should get a kick of this remix of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind," by (I think) a few Shorewood kids.

Downoad: "Evergreen State of Mind"

Basic Vocab - "Prescription" X "There You Are" (feat. Donwill)

Unfortunately, I hadn't heard of this group before "Prescription" showed up in my inbox today.  As soon as I heard the track, I immediately regretted sleeping on the Miami trio.  Apparently the group released their debut album, The General Dynamic, back in '06 and it managed to slip under my radar.  The group, which is set to release there sophomore LP, A Better Way, in April, makes pretty laid back music from what I've heard and, contrary to their moniker, are anything but lacking in lyrical skill.  I've included "Prescription" and "There You Are" (which they leaked last month).  Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,


"There You Are" (feat. Donwill)

G.R.I.T.S. - "Ooh Ahh" (feat. tobyMac)

It's not often that religious groups/songs find great acclaim and popularity in modern music.  Aside from every country music song ever, recent Scarface, and Kanye West's "Jesus Walks," I have a hard time naming another popular Christian song released in the past ten years aside from this song.  Although the Nashville duo G.R.I.T.S. (Grammatical Revolution in the Spirit) has released eleven LPs, two EPs, and one greatest hits album since 1995, this is honestly the only song I could name by Coffee and Bonafide.  Off of their 2002 LP The Art of Translation and featuring fellow Christian rapper tobyMac, "Ooh Ahh," is a trippy song that has reached mainstream success and, until looking both artists up, I had no idea it was by Christian acts.  Ironically, the popularity of the song has dammed it to a sinful of fate worse than death: parkour videos.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Jay-Z - "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)"

I just realized that it's been far too long since I posted a Jay song.  This is one of my favorites.  It's maaad slept on (mostly a result of it being a hidden track that follows twenty-five seconds of silence after the final official track on The Blueprint), but Hov simply demolishes the Just Blaze sample of Stanley Clarke's "Got To Find My Own Place."  G.O.A.T.

Previous: Happy Borndate Shawn Carter

Bobby Creekwater - "Pardon My French"

And the fact is, I am that ill,
Whatever Neo had to swallow I am that pill.

Another dope track from the Necktie Guy.  2010 is about to be Bobby Creekwater's year.  You heard it here first.  This track is off of his forthcoming mixtape, Back 2 the Briefcase II.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Previous: What's In Rotation, Vol. 5

Lupe Fiasco - "I'm Beaming" (prod. The Neptunes)

There was a lot of controversy on the interwebz back on Xmas Eve when someone not from Lupe's camp leaked the incomplete version of this song.  Now here's the official, complete version from Wasalu with another verse and a slightly different instrumental (I've included both versions for those of you who are interested).  We Are Lasers is shaping up to be an early contender for album of the year.  Props to Shake on the drop.

Lupe Fiasco - "I'm Beaming" (official)
Lupe Fiasco - "I'm Beaming" (unofficial)
Previous: Lupe Fiasco - "Blackout"

Theophilus London - "Humdrum Town" [Video]

The visuals off of the Brooklyn emcee's latest single.

What's In Rotation, Vol. V: Rap 101

I have to offer an apology for my last installment of this series.  Although it was composed of songs that were individually very good, the whole was less than the sum of it's parts.  The songs didn't mesh well and as a result the mix did not live up to my own standards.

This month's edition is different and I can honestly say it's the best mix I've put out in the series.  It sounds great and I can't wait for you to hear it.  As always, I appreciate feedback on my musical palate, writing, and blog in general.  Hit the jump for the tracklist/download link.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Brainstorm (Dyme Def) - "Yo Bitch"

The latest from Dyme Def's youngest member.  It's not my ish, but some people will feel it.  I'm still waiting on some new old Dyme Def sound, but that's just me.  Sextape dropping soon.

Brainstorm (Dyme Def) - "Yo Bitch"
Previous: Dyme Def - "Do Something"

Cook Classics - The New Classics [Bonus Tracks]

It's another late pass, but I had to make sure you have the opportunity to hear this very dope project from LA producer Cook Classics.  The mixtape is my fourth favorite from the past year and is a compilation of the best songs produced by CC with some of the best up and coming artists including Inverse, Emilio Rojas, Kyle Lucas, and Outasight.  All nineteen songs (and seven bonus tracks) are some of the best I've heard all year and mesh well together, but I have to single out Kyle Lucas' "Breathing In a Smoggy City," and Shawn Jackson, Tunji, El Prez and Convinced's remix of Gang Starr's 1994 classic "Mass Appeal" as my personal favorites.  Hit the jump for the tracklist/stream/dl...

Shawn Jackson, Tunji, El Prez & Convinced - "Mass Appeal Remix"
[Bonus] Gang Starr - "Mass Appeal"

Small Eyez - "Open Wide" (prod. by WrighTrax)

Considering that it was my #4 EP of 2009, I figured I should give some shine to this glossy project from Georgia native, Small Eyez.  Backed by beats from fellow ATLien WrighTrax, Small Eyez delivers a smooth flow matched with clever one-liners that will have you hitting the rewind.  For the full project download/artwork/tracklist, hit the jump.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Dyme Def - "Do Something" (prod. BeanOne)

First single off of Sextape, which should drop later this month/earlier this month.  I've added a recent Brainstorm freestyle as a bonus.  It's sub-Dyme Def, but it's still new Dyme Def.

Wordsmith - "Leap of Faith" (prod. J. Stillton)

The last we heard from Baltimore emcee Wordsmith, he was releasing Overdue & Underrated.  This song is on another level and comes off of his forthcoming Vintage Vault Mixtape, dropping February 9th.

Wordsmith - "Leap of Faith" (prod. J. Stillton)

J. Cole - "Playground"

My day just got a whole lot better when Elite released The Groundwork, a collection of the best instrumentals he's produced, along with four bonus unreleased tracks.  One of these songs happened to be, "Playground," which didn't make the final tracklist for The Warm Up, my favorite mixtape of 2009.  J-Dot is looking to be the breakout artist of 2010.  Keep your eyes (and ears) locked on this stellar emcee.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Previous: Reflection Eternal f. Jay Electronica, J. Cole, & Mos Def - "Just Begun"

De La Soul - "The Grind Date" X "Rock Co.Kane Flow" feat. MF Doom

Few groups in hip hop history garner more respect that the Long Island trio De La Soul.  They are some of the most influential artists of the genre that helped bring it into the 90's with a wealth of classic albums from 3 Feet High and Rising to Buhloone Mindstate.  Along with A Tribe Called Quest and The Jungle Brothers, they were the cornerstone of they were the cornerstone members of the Native Tongues Posse (a collective that would later birth Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Common).  In the early part of their career Posdnuos, Trugoy, and Maseo were some of the founders of the jazz rap subgenre (along with their fellow Native Tongue members and the Digable Planets), but they are the group of the subgenre that have best adapted their sound to modern musical tastes.

That’s That ’09 Wrap Up

Since every other blog is doing it, I figured I should follow suit…The past 365 days (or so) has seen a lot of change in hip hop.  Thankfully, it seems as though the trends of autotune, dance songs, and ringtone music have sharply declined (with the exception of Weezy, who’s dignity continues to circle the drain).  2009 saw the release of Wale’s long-awaited debut album, the introduction of J. Cole to the larger hip hop community, the return of the Clipse, as well as legends Raekwon and Jay-Z dropping highly anticipated follow-ups to their respective classic albums on the same day.  Sales have been down, but such is the state of the economy and, from an artistic standpoint, 2009 has been a good year for the hip hop community considering the condition that faced entering the year (in fact, the economic conditions have contributed to the improvement in quality as consumers become more selective as to what they purchase).  The following are some of my favorite albums, EPs, mixtapes, and songs that have made past year special.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Gerald Walker - "Appreciation (Thank You)"

2009 was a big year for Gerald Walker.  The year saw the release of Gerald Walker's Evening Out With Your Girlfriend as well as a collaboration with Gym Class Heroes and one of my favorite songs of the year in the form of "Reality Is an Illusion that Occurs Due to the Lack of Alcohol."  I'll admit that the first thing that drew me in about the Chicago emcee was his lengthy and ridiculous titles, but Walker has grown to be one of the most comical rappers in the game today and earned a place as one of my favorite up and comers.  Before the year came to a close, Walker gave his thanks to all of those who made his 2009 truly magnificent.

Hit the link for a video trailer of his upcoming Comeback Campaign.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Jus Mic - Poetry For Misfits

I haven't heard that much from Jus Mic since his very dope mixtape with Mick Boogie.  Over a year and a half ago.  It's as if he had gone into seclusion and I had almost forgotten about him until this mixtape showed up in my inbox earlier today.  The mixtape is very different from his self-titled mixtape.  It's a collaboration of the songs he put together over the past year and a half.  Poetry For Misfits has more subpar songs ("Who's Saving Me," "Fuck You To") than Jus Mic and feels more like a mixtape than an album, but it also has double the number of tracks and the good greatly outweighs the bad.  Tracks like "Jus Believe," "Misery," "Broken," and "I Think I Found My Way" demonstrate the same powerful lyricism and natural flow he showed us on Jus Mic while "Trying to Get My Hip Hop On" remains one of the best songs I've heard in the past couple years (some of the strong additions to the mixtapes are the brief spoken word poems scattered throughout).

It's almost tragic the way Jus Mic markets himself.  It would be one thing if he gave shine to new material he put out this week, but on Twitter he'll constantly message links to songs he released a year and a half ago.  As far as this mixtape is concerned, it came in the .rar format (an inconvenience, but one that could have been overlooked if the individual songs were labeled or had a correct track number; instead your friendly neighborhood blogger had to spend a good twenty minutes reconfiguring the files for your convenience).  This overbearing marketing scheme is perhaps the reason he hasn't gotten his proper shine on 2dopeboyz or illroots.  I won't complain too much.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, Jus Mic is one of my five favorite up and coming emcees and it's good to hear new material from him.  It's just sad to see a talented emcee not get the shine that he deserves.  Just my thoughts...  Hit the link for the tracklist, stream, and download link (it's more than worth it).  Great way to start of the new year.

Type - "Man Crush (No Homo)" [Music Video]

Words can't describe this video from Seattle artist Type.  I'll let you judge for yourself.

Nio Tha Gift - "Angels & Demons"

Props to Shake for giving shine to this Richmond, California artist.  I love the combination of the sample of Trivium's "Dying In Your Arms" along with his potent lyrics.  Nio's definitely an artist to look for in the future.  His album H.I.P. H.O.P. was released on December 15th and can be purchased on iTunes.

K. Sparks - "Rap 101" X "Feelings"

In my absence over the past couple weeks, K. Sparks dropped these two very hot songs.  Keep an eye on this artist.  Super Senior was one of my favorite projects last year and "Overtime" might just be my favorite verse of last year.  The New York emcee's album Positive Over Negative is set for a March/April release date.  For those of you who haven't already, I highly recommend purchasing his Soul Food project.  Sparks is going to blow up this year.  You heard it here first.  Hit the jump for a very dope preview of his "Abstract Jazz" music video.

"Rap 101"

Reflection Eternal - "Just Begun" feat. Jay Electronica, J. Cole, & Mos Def

For the hype that this track received, I was fairly disappointed by the results.  For a track that represents a reunion of both Reflection Eternal (MC Talib Kweli and producer Hi-Tek) and Black Star as well as a collaboration with the always solid Jay Electronica and up and comer J. Cole, the track seems flat (I'm that big a fan of the instrumental used).  Still, it's always good to hear these four emcees, especially on one track and J. Cole and Mos give us superb verses.

Crooked I, K-Young, Ya Boy, & One-2 - "My Story"

I've had this song in my library since late September and I don't know why it's taken me so long to post it.  This collaboration of four Cali emcees was featured on Mick's Tape way back when and reminds me of Crooked's Slaughterhouse brethren Joell Ortiz's "Stressful."

Joell Ortiz>Royce Da 5'9">Crooked I>>>>>>>Joe Budden