The Freshmen - "Dreamin' California"

First that I've heard of this Bay Area trio, but I'll be tuning in more after hearing this track.

Kanye West - "Power" (feat. Dwele)

Detroit soul singer Dwele assists on the first single off of Mr. West's Good Ass Job.  It's not "All Falls Down" or "Jesus Walks," but the King Crimson sample goes a long way and it's one of Yeezy's first sans-autotune songs in a while.  Props to 2dopeboyz.

Alicia Keys - "Unthinkable (I'm Ready) [Remix]" feat. Drake

I'm not a huge Drake fan.  I view him as a fairly one dimensional entertainer who only raps about women, money, or why no one respects him because only rhymes about women and money.  For the most part, he's the Britney Spears of rap, a former child actor who has been molded into a product to be shoved down the throats of American preteen girls everywhere.  Before those of you who have followed Drake's career speak up, I'll admit that The Comeback Season was a solid effort, but with the material he has released since So Far Gone, it is clear that we will likely never see that Drizzy again.  That being said, every now and then he puts out a decent track, such as this adlib over Alicia Keys' single off of her critically acclaimed 2010 album, The Element of Freedom.  Drizzy's only on the track for about fourty-five seconds, but he should be given credit for not blowing it.

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Beatnick & K-Salaam Remix)

The NYC production team of Beatnick & K-Salaam present us with a very different and interesting remix of the iconic Nirvana song.

Peace, Love, & Kurt Cobain,

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Beatnick & K-Salaam Remix)

The Roots - "Dear God 2.0"

The legendary Philly hip-hop band remakes Monster of Folk's "Dear God" for this lead single off of their upcoming How I Got Over (dropping on June 22nd).  Hit the jump for the tracklist.  Props to The Smoking Section.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Previous: The Roots - "Act Too...The Love Of My Life" (feat. Common)

PackFM - "I F*cking Hate Rappers" (prod. Tonedeff)

Anyone who ain't rappers, lets have a show of hands,
'Cause there's too many rappers, not enough fans.
Used to be about the posses, crews, cliques, and the clans,
Now these little young boys thinkin' they the f*ckin' man.
They the reason fans only gave Lupe a chance,
'Cause they thought "Kick, Push" was the name of a dance.

Brooklyn emcee PackFM brings the heat on this title track off of his 2010 sophomore album and follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2006 release, Whut Duz FM Stand For?  Pack goes after everyone, but particularly calls out the legendary Common.  In a recent interview with HipHopDX, Pack explained the diss:
Remember "The Bitch In Yoo?" Common was getting at Ice Cube real hard for switching his whole style up to whatever was the flavor of the month and for being in movies. Look at Common now.  I think Common is a talented writer, but he's shown that he's not above flippin' the script for the sake of relevance.
On another note, I apologize to my readers for my complete lack of posts during the past two weeks.  This semester was particularly difficult for personal reasons that I won't go into, but I've needed the time at home to decompress (mostly via videojuegos and hanging with my ladyfriend).  But now I'm back and I intend to get back to regular posting over the next couple days.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Sol - "Not The One" (prod. Jack The Ripper)

The first leak off of Northwest emcee Sol's upcoming FreEP, Dear Friends, Vol. II, which will set to be released on May 21st.  Hit the jump to see Solzilla's promotional video for the project.

Hi-Tek - "Music For Life" (feat. J Dilla, NaS, Common, Busta Rhymes & Marsha Ambrosius)

I'm dead tired and I've got one last final tomorrow morning separating me from freedom, so I'm going to make my one post of the night count.  This is perhaps my favorite song off of one of my favorite sophomore albums of all time.  Like most other producer-turned-rappers' projects (*ahem*...Mr. West), Hi-Tek's Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip at times relies to heavily on guest artists, but the Cincinnati artist holds his own on this final track despite solid efforts from legends Nas and Common.  "Music For Life" is beautiful from top to bottom and even manages to sneak in a cameo by the late, great, J Dilla by way of the saved voicemails at either end of the song.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Hi-Tek - "Music For Life" (feat. J Dilla, NaS, Common, Busta Rhymes & Marsha Ambrosius)

Freddie Gibbs - "The Ghetto" [Music Video]

I've said it before and I'll likely say it again: Freddie Gibbs reminds me of Tupac Shakur.  It's not just that the XXL Freshman has a similar voice and delivery to revered hip hop martyr, the two also share a similar content to their music.  Both use gangster rap as a tool to display the struggle, the beauty, and the emotion of lower socioeconomic life in modern America.  Gibbs may not yet have the pedigree of Shakur and it is unlikely that he or any other rapper ever will, but the Gary, Indiana native is still a very promising emcee who is the first young rapper I've heard in quite some time who has taken the subgenre of gangster rap back it its roots as a political tool.

For those of you who have not yet done so, I highly recommend downloading the tagless version of midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik I've attached the radio edit of this first single off of Gangsta Gibbs' upcoming Str8 Killa No Filla mixtape. If someone could hook me up with the explicit version I would be eternally grateful.  UPDATE: Brought this back up to the top as I recently came into possession of the dirty version by way of Fake Shore Drive.

The Physics - Three Piece

It's been a while since we heard new music from this Seattle trio.  Despite rumors of another project to be released at the end of last summer, we had to settle for the High Society FreEP, released way back on the first day of July last year.  I say settle as if that were a bad thing.  In truth, High Society ended up being one of my favorite albums of last year, but ten months later, you have to be slightly disappointed that the talented Emerald City group has only managed to release these three additional songs in that time frame.

Now that I've got that off of my chest, let me present the latest from South End natives Thig Natural, Just “Justo” D’Amato, and Monk Wordsmith.  Three Piece only clocks in at just a hair over twelve minutes, but is amazing even in its brevity.  Assisted by Maniac B of The Stay Hi Brothers and backed by DJ Nphared production, "Coronas On Madrona" looks to be one of the anthems of the idyllic Seattle summer.  Next up, the soulful "My Place" presents a sound reminiscent of previous Physics releases ("Back Track," "Slicka This Year").  Finally, supported by Justo's crisp production, "Jet Set" concludes the set with a song centered Monk Wordsmith's daily white collar life and the ways in which it effects his own and others' perceptions of his hip hop.

J. Cole - "Show Me Somethin'"

Another quick study break... This track originally showed up on the pre-Warm Up mixtape, American Dreamin': A History Lesson On J. Cole, which was a DJ Tay James and J. Tinsley-hosted project containing many songs that had either previously been on The Come Up or were set to be on Cole's breakout 2009 mixtape.  This is one of the tracks that was on neither mixtape and about a week before the release of The Warm Up, Tinsley released this DJ-free rendition.  For those of you J. Cole fans who have yet to hear this emotional, uplifting song, it is a must download.  It doesn't display Cole's most intricate rhyme schemes, but he doesn't mess around and the self-produced instrumental combines with the inspiring images invoked by the Fayetteville, North Carolina native's natural storytelling in a way that is vintage J. Cole.  "Show Me Somethin'" demonstrates further proof of why, at least in this blogger's humble opinion, Cole is the best up and coming emcee in the game today.  Hit the jump for the lyrics.

Peace, Love, & J-Dot,

Kanye West - "School Spirit"

Remember when Kanye only dressed preppy like a douchebag, but was generally not an asshole?  Sigh...  Anyway, there's nothing I can do to prevent the upcoming onslaught of finals, but I can still voice my political dissent through Yeezy's 2004 track off of The College Dropout.  Hey, if I fail, I can dropout and be a superstar producer/rapper/douche...though that would require me to like fishsticks.  Maybe I'll just become a full time blogger.  I've heard that's a fairly lucrative and glamourous profession.  SMH.

Epsilon Project - "Mics On" x "Inspiration" (Prod. Kev Brown)

I'd like to take this moment to introduce you to Epsilon Project.  EP is a collective of three emcees, three emcee/producers, and one deejay out of Oxnard, California (a community of just under 200,000 approximately sixty miles west of Los Angeles that is also home to underground legend Madlib).  The group has been making music together since 2004, and their 2007 full length debut, Raising The Bar was met with positive reviews with the group's sample-heavy production being favorably compared to that of Slum Village in their prime.  EP is in a similar position to the one that Seattle's Blue Scholars found themselves in a few years back.  Like the Scholars, Epsilon Project has been grinding in their hometown for sometime now, but has only recently started to gradually accumulate national attention due in part to an exceptional live act that has gained exposure while opening for established acts such as Ghostface, De La Soul, and KRS-One.

dead prez - "The Beauty Within"

M-1 and of dead prez dedicate their Mother's Day remake of B.o.B's "Nothin' On You" to all of the mothers around the world.  I was caught pleasantly unsurprised as I was unaware that dead prez was working with DJ Drama on an upcoming project entitled Revolutionary But Gangsta Grillz.  Props to OnSmash.

Nas & Damian Marley - "In His Own Words" (Feat. Stephen Marley)

With the proliferation of the internet the music leaking has inevitably become a Pandora's Box that, despite the best efforts of the music industry, cannot be resealed.  Leaks are a touchy subject in today's music community.  On the one hand, many upcoming artists have embraced the internet and leaked entire albums and mixtapes before releasing their proper debuts in order to build among a national audience that would be much less accessible without the internet.  The staples of this route include Lupe Fiasco and Wale, who released three and five mixtapes respectively prior to their proper debut.

Atmosphere - "Godlovesugly" x "Don't Ever Fucking Question That"

Oh mom, I promise I'm gonna be large,
Someday I'm gonna stop tryin' to borrow your car.
Gonna go far, with charisma and skill,
Until they put my face on a million dollar bill.

I guess I'm in an emo rap sort of mood.  And when you're in that sort of mood, there's no one better to go to than the emo king, Slug of Atmosphere.  To be entirely fair, I don't feel as if Slug fits cleanly into the "emo rap" category.  Like most of the emcees rappers of all time, the Minnesota native can't be defined distinctly into one category as his discography contains a wide variety of tracks ranging from battle raps ("The Arrival," "Trying To Find A Balance"), to upbeat-bordering-on-party tracks ("Get Fly"), to the emotionally heavy songs ("Little Man," "Yesterday").  The one aspect that unites this wide array of songs, is Slugs, simple, natural ability to weave relatable stories into the canvas provided by Ant's production.

Nasir Jones - "Dance"

Nas is better known for his legendary debut, Illmatic.  For his great-but-not-quite-classic It Was Written, and his epic feud with Jay-Z and the resulting battle album, Stillmatic.  In recent years, Nasty Nas' work has been slightly sub-Nas and has failed to live up to the hype and controversy generated by his album names (Hip Hop Is Dead, N****r).  Here's hoping that his upcoming album with Damian Marley, will be a return to form for the legend, but in the mean time, for this Mother's Day, it's time to take a look at one of Nas' better, less heralded albums, God's Son.

2Pac - "Dear Mama"

Everyone knows "California Love" and "Hit Em Up," but it's songs like "Dear Mama" and "Keep Your Head Up" that make Tupac Shakur the greatest rapper of all time.  The lay person knows Shakur as the embodiment of 90's gangster rap, but it is these songs that show that 2Pac had more heart and soul than nearly any other entertainer to bless us with their craft.  2Pac was more than a rapper.  He was a political activist.  He was a man who cared deeply about his friends and family.  Most of all, he was a man that loved his mother.

This is the only song that I could think of to post for Mother's Day.  Truthfully, no other song would have done the day credit.  This ode to Afeni Shakur honestly depicts the hardships put on the shoulders of poor, black single mothers everywhere and is beautiful any way that you look at it.  Happy Mother's Day.

I finally understand,
For a woman it ain't easy tryin' to raise a man,
You always was committed,
A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how ya did it,
There's no way I can pay you back,
But the plan is to show you that I understand,
You are appreciated.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Jalin Roze - "Taxi"

I was a little underwhelmed by this Louisville, Kentucky native's recent mixtape, Few & Far Between.  The production isn't exactly mind-blowing and his flow at times feels too contrived.  Still, I didn't mind this remix of Mos Def and Ski Beat's "Taxi" and if you want to check out the entire tape, hit up 2dopeboyz.  Hit the jump for the music video.

Dyme Def - "FreshInMyKicks"

I wanted to post this track, 1.) Because it is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite groups.  2.) Because I wanted to post this pic of the AF1's I've been drooling over.  Enjoy.

Beastie Boys - "Intergalactic"

It's impossible to hate the Beastie Boys.  Mike D, Ad-Rock, and MCA get the nod from everyone ranging from the hip hop heads to your typical belligerently drunk college frat boy and are one of the most well-respected groups in the history of the genre.  Sure it can be argued that the New York group helped move hip hop further away from its roots as a form of (black) political protest, but contemporaries Run-D.M.C. had already done more than enough to nudge the genre in that direction.  The Beasties also weren't the first (nor certainly the last) act to come from a predominately middle class background (see Run-D.M.C., Rakim, Kanye, and Talib Kweli among others).

Grynch - "Smoke And Mirrors" (feat. Tunji & Geologic)

The closing song on the King of Ballard's Chemistry EP (which you can dowload for free here), this laid back track ended up being one of my favorite songs of 2009.  Inverse's Tunji and Blue Scholars' Prometheus Brown joins in on this song that is beautiful in its elegance.

While I'm on the subject, props to Grynch for breaking 120k views on his music video for "My Volvo."

Gabriel Teodros - "Beautiful World"

Back in 2007, Gabriel Teodros released one of most critically acclaimed albums to come out of the Pacific Northwest.  Lovework, a generally positive LP focused around issues of love, immigration, sexism, cultural identity, and general love of hip hop, ended up getting a lot of love on the College Music Charts and gave shine to an artist who has been a major catalyst for the 206 hip hop revival.  Former member of the now defunct Abyssinian Creole, GT has been grinding since releasing his first independent album way back in '01.  The gem, which samples Fishbone's rendition of "Freddie's Dead," comes off of his 2006 album Westlake: Class of 1999 and is a great example of GT's sound in general.  Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Nationwide Noah

XV - "Remember The Rain" (prod. Tecknowledgy)

It's been a while since we heard anything new from Vizzy and this track offers a different direction for the Wichita emcee as he tries his hand at gangster rap.  It doesn't quite sound right coming out of his mouth.

Previous: XV - "1997"

The Doctor Who Cried Detox

ItsTheReal, the same people who brought you the Jay vs. Beans beef video, present their latest project, which best sums up the entire Detox situation.

J. Cole - "Funk Flex Freestyle"

Daaaaaaaaaamm.  That's all I can say.  Props to YHTN for the hook up on J. Cole's freestyle on Hot 97 from last night.

J. Cole - "Funk Flex Freestyle"

Bobby Creekwater - "Da Art of Storytellin' pt.5"

It takes a lot of guts to go in on a track that OutKast already demolished, but next generation ATLien does his thing on this song.  It might just be me, but his delivery on the track is quite reminicent of 3 Stacks.  Bobby Creekwater is going to blow up in the next couple years.  You heard it hear first.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

Asheru - "Judo Flip" x "The Boodocks" (feat. Raheem DeVaughn)

In celebration of the return of one of my favorite television series, Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks, which premiered its latest season this past Sunday night, I figured that it was only fitting that I post these two songs.  The first is the series' theme song, while the latter is a deeply honest confession by DMV underground emcee/teacher/youth activist Asheru that touches on many of the issues covered by the Adult Swim series, primarily mainly how, as an African-American male, being raised in the suburbs effects others perceptions of oneself as "real" and the individual, cultural, and racial identity conflicts that such questions bring about.

Hollyweerd - "Supa Eazy"

I think I was just about the only person who wasn't a fan of Hollyweerd's last release, Candy For Kleptos.  I'm definitely feeling cut though as every member of the Atlanta group simply goes in.  Reminds me a lot of old OutKast/Dungeon Family.  Edible Phat 2.0 drops later today, so check back for the link.

OutKast - "Slump" (feat. Backbone & Cool Breeze)

Originality is something greatly lacking in today's hip hop community.  Many of the trends in today's genre can be traced back to Atlanta group OutKast.  Today there is no dearth of Spacemans, KiD CuDis, Lil' Waynes, of Dyme Defs that label themselves as martian rappers, but this trend dates back OutKast's landmark 1996 album, ATLiens.  Artists like Drake, B.o.B, and CuDi are credited as innovative rapper/singer hybrids, but the tradition dates back to the Fugees' Lauryn Hill and OutKast's AndrĂ© 3000.  Twelve years ago, the ATLiens released one of the most innovative and experimental albums in hip hop history with their third project, Aquemini.