Eminem - "I'm Back" (prod. Dr. Dre & Mel-Man)

As much as I like his Eminem-side, Marshall Mathers' Slim Shady persona is always that indulgence in which I feel no guilt about listening.  Both sides of Em are equally talented but are intended to offer the listener two vastly different experiences.  While Eminem is the man himself, one who has a lot of issues and is capable of recording deep, beautiful, introspective songs like "If I Had" and "Stan," Slim Shady is a hyper-polarized, cartoonish parody of modern American culture.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "My Oh My! (Fly Away Dave Niehaus)"

This was a pleasant surprise as two of Seattle's budding stars pay a touching tribute to the biggest figure in Seattle sports history. I still get chills every time I hear Niehaus' ALDS Game 5 call and this song was no exception. It's strange to think of the upcoming Seattle summers without the city's narrator. Neihaus provided the voice of my childhood. My Dad was never the warmest person, but Mariner's games were always the love that we shared in common and could bond over. More than Griffey, more than Randy, more than Edgar, Niehaus was the man who made that possible and for that I will be forever grateful. R.I.P.

Previous: Macklemore - The Town (Sabzi Remix)"

Boom Bap Project - "Welcome To Seattle" (Prod. Jake One)

I'm always surprised that Boom Bap Project is virtually unknown in their own hometown.  The trio of DJ Scene and emcees Karim aka Nightclubberlang and Destro Destructo were some of the forerunners of Seattle's hip hop renaissance at the beginning of the last decade.  BBP dropped their Jake One-produced debut, Circumstance Dictates, in 2001, three years before the first Blue Scholars release.  They then went on to sign with legendary independent label, Rhymesayers Entertainment prior to the release of their sophomore album, Reprogram, in 2005.  Despite their success on a national level and performing with the likes of Eminem, Mos Def, and The Roots, BBP tend to get little love in Seattle other than from 206 hip hop veterans.

Lloyd Banks - "Start It Up" f. Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Ryan Leslie & Fabolous

I typically don't go out of my way to listen to Lloyd Banks tracks, let alone post them on this site.  It's not that he's "too pop" or "gangsta rap."  I appreciate both of those subgenres when done right.  The few songs that I have listened to by the former G-Unit member's song, while not aweful, they've just lacked much substance.  That being said, when a friend recently passed along this song, I simply couldn't resist posting it to the site.

Heiruspecs - "Something For Nothing"

Man, I wanna see everybody jumping,
We can't let y'all get something for nothing.

I have to get back to writing a paper, so I only have a limited time to procrastinate.  In the meantime, enjoy this Jurassic 5-esque classic of this Twin Cities group's 2004 release, A Tiger Dancing.

Heiruspecs - "Something For Nothing"

Big Boi - "Daddy Fat Sax" x "Last Call"

For one reason or another, many hip hop heads have always considered Big Boi to be living in the shadows of fellow OutKast member, André 3000.  Not to take anything away from Three Stacks—as far as rhymesayers go, he’s as innovative as they come—but I’ve always viewed Big Boi an equal member of the groundbreaking duo and actually consider his half of the group’s 2003 double album, Speakerboxxx, to be better from a hip hop standpoint than Dré’s The Love Below.  While André has always been more in the vein of a male Lauryn Hill and is really the only artist other than Hill who can pull off singing and rapping, Big Boi has always kept the group grounded in hip hop sensibilities.

Brother Ali - "Faheem"

I love this song. It’s beautiful, touching, and speaks to me on multiple levels. But I can’t listen to it anymore. I have a hard time listening to this song because, even three years later, it still brings up too many bad memories of my parent’s divorce. 

It’s a testament to the power of music. Music can evoke memories of days long past. Memories of people you have shared a bond with. Memories of first kisses or family holidays or simply being around cherished friends. We innately connect our memories to the music that provided the backdrop for the events as they took place. Hearing the same song again can place one back in those memories and trigger the emotions (good and bad) felt at the time.

J. Cole NYC Ticket Giveaway

Who wants to go see on of the best up-and-coming emcees live?  Jay-Z's protégé, J. Cole, will be rocking the Highline Ballroom in NYC on December 5th along with K. Michelle, CJ Hilton, and Sean Garrett (show info here).  The concert is sold out, but your favorite hip hop blog is giving out a couple of the remaining tickets for free.  The first two people who e-mail me with the correct answers to the following questions will lay claim to the tickets: