Thatsthatish, Back in Business like Erick Sermon:
It's been quite some time since I last posted and for that I sincerely apologize. It's been a tough couple months and I have to focus my efforts elsewhere academically and athletically and unfortunately that's led the site to fall back on my priorities. The fact that my MacBook, which holds all my music/photo library, has been on the fritz has done little to aid my ability to get back in touch with blogging. For this I apologize and promise to get back to posting more frequently this summer as my academic schedule allows. But enough excuses, lets get back to the music.
I love when two great emcees trade epic verses. I love when the Beastie Boys or Dyme Def members deliver call-and-response lyrics, trading individual bars and words. But there's something special about this song as Talib and Boothe go back-and-forth, each emcee spitting about four bars each before handing it off to the other. The result is a very meta rapping about rapping about rapping track that, while making the listener feel trapped in a dream within a dream within a dream, sounds like a genuine conversation between two extremely talented emcees.
I'm lucky that this song came on shuffle today. Off the Toronto-emcee's (upcoming?) Hip Hop in 3D mixtape, I've actually had this in my iTunes since it was released in December of 2009, but for some reason that I can't comprehend, let it slip through the cracks. Given the laid-back sample and the rapport between Kweli and Boothe, I can honestly say that this is one of the best songs in months and I highly recommend the download.
Peace, Love, & Rap About Rap,
Previous: Shaun Boothe - "Poor Boy"
Is there a better way to finish up a midterm than having a Physics song quietly slip into your mailbox? Don't answer that, it's rhetorical. Composed of Thig Natural, Justo, and Monk Wordsmith, The Physics are one of Seattle's best hip hop groups. While supremely talented, the trio of O'Dea grads have been notably prudent throughout there career when it comes to releasing their smooth, crisp songs. Since their 2007 debut, Future Talk helped usher in the age of party rap to the 206, the trio has only released one FreEP (the critically acclaimed High Society) and one three-track download (fittingly named Three Piece). While other party rap groups such as Fresh Espresso, Mad Rad, State of The Artist, have tried to follow in the groups' footsteps, only the duo of P Smoov and Rik Rude have come close to matching The P-H-Y-S-I-C-S in quality and creativity.
The first I've heard from this Fort Lewis-native and recent UW grad, but I will certainly be paying attention in the near future. HAVi Blaze doesn't quite dominate the beat with his delivery quite yet, but the lyrics present him as a Seattle emcee with a great deal of potential. His Purple & Gold mixtape is set to drop on March 11th.
Dyme Def member Brainstorm's Celestine Prophecy is starting to look like Seattle's Detox. At the moment, Brain's that girl at the end of the bar playing hard to get. He's been teasing DD fans for the past six months, giving us enough to keep us coming back, knowing that his solo debut will be one of the best albums ever to come out of the Northwest, but keeps pushing back the anticipated release date (the latest February 15th date came and went).
This latest video is no exception and reminds me of his dope "Say You Will" cover video he put out a couple years back. I trust that Michael Celestine has reasons for the delays, not the least of which is his newborn daughter (congrats Brain!) and that he's been slowly, meticulously crafting CP to get rid of the minor imperfections. When this project comes out, it may well be an album that Townfolk talk about for years to come.
As a bonus, I've included a couple of DD tracks from their Pay Day Series that I've been meaning to post for a minute including BeanOne produced instrumental for what may well be my favorite song of all time.
Peace, Love, & YukTheWorld,
Dyme Def - "LetitBe Instrumental"
Dyme Def - "Time Flies" (prod. BeanOne)
Previous: Dyme Def - "For The World" | "Rebel 2 The Grain" | 3BadBrothaaas Mixtape
I've admittedly taken too long to come around to this Inglewood (and partially Seattle) group. That's one of the blessings of running this site. Not only do I get to share music I love with my readers, but doing so also forces me to discover artists I may otherwise not have crossed paths with.
Composed of Y-O and Thurzday, U-N-I have been making music together since soon after first meeting back in 1999. After graduating high school in 2006, the Southern Cali duo split with their previous rap collective and released their debut, Fried Chicken & Watermelon the next year. Combining smooth delivery, slick rhyme schemes, and clever wordplay with some of the best beats around, the group really started to make their mark in 2009 with the release of their critically acclaimed mixtape, A Love Supreme (see "Land of the Kings") and the commercial re-release last year (expect a full review of A Love Supreme 2.0 very soon).
"Donkey Kong" is a 16-Bit cut that I haven't been able to stop bumping over the past couple weeks. It's off the group's forthcoming Kings Keep Marching mixtape, which was supposed to be released on Tuesday. The beat is bananas (their words, not mine) and the lyrics are a great example of Y-O and Thurz's wit. When it comes to up-and-coming duos in hip hop, U-N-I is absolutely as good as they come.
"Land of the Kings"
It's good to see this 206 trio bounce back after their lackluster Seattle album from a couple years back. Bus Station isn't as consistent as the KnowMads' near-classic debut and sophomore albums. A lot of the freestyles over classic beats tend to fall flat as they (and most emcees) simply don't match or exceed the original renditions (they kill "Monster" though), but there are more than a fair share of cuts on the tape. The one track that could become a classic ode to the group's musical roots if they refine it is "Headphonez," which starts strong, but loses steam as soon as the chorus comes in. Choice tracks include the soothing "DoitFortheLove" and certified bangers, "How We Live" and "Imagine." As a whole, Bus Station continues to grow on me. If you liked So It Goes. and Saturdayzed, the tape is definitely worth the free.99 you'll pay for it. Here's hoping the KnowMads continue this upward trend in 2011. Hit the jump for the stream/dl.
Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Not quite as good as the original, but certainly suitable. Make sure to check out the duo's nationwide tour. I believe that I'll actually have the opportunity to interview the two sometime before/after their New York show, so look for that soon after April 16th.
Even with the Sabzi production, it's not my favorite song (though it's growing on me) by the Brooklyn-based trio, but it's definitely growing on me. The music video may very be the best I've seen...ever (if you want to play the actual video game, click here). Composed of Kool A.D., Heems, and hypeman Dap (brother of comedian Hari Kondabolu, who's Comedy Central Presents special debuts tonight), Das Racist has been making moves over the past year. Joke Rap has historically not been given much credence in larger hip hop circles (I write this with all due respect to Paul's Boutique and the Beastie Boys). Today's scene isn't much more accepting. As much as I love P Smoov's production, I feel that the more traditional hip hop duo of Fresh Espresso that he forms with Rik Rude will always have more mass appeal and critical success than with Mad Rad.
Though Das Racist certainly has it's base in joke rap, Shut Up, Dude and particularilly the trio's latest effort, Sit Down, Man have begun to trancend to highly artistic, alternative hip hop. I cringe at writing "alternative," to describe music as it is quite ambiguous, but there really isn't another group that sounds anything like Das Racist at the moment. The group combines seemingly free-associative raps with intricate rhyme schemes, smooth flow, and some of the best production available from the underground (Sabzi of Blue Scholars/Common Market) and mainstream alike (Boi-1da of "Not Afraid," "Forever," "Best I Ever Had"-fame), and the legendary Quincy Jones. A particular standout track, the Boi-1da-produced "hahahaha jk?," is a mesmerizing song that puts the listener in a trance, while announcing that Das Racist has officially arrived in critically-lauded alterna-rap.
2010 was a huge year for Das Racist and this writer is excited to see where they go in 2011. Hit the jump for the artwork/tracklist/link for Sit Down, Man.
Peace, Love, & Joke Rap,
After emerging on the scene last year and crushing Kanye's beat, Michigan/Philly's Gilbere Forte' has been making moves. His latest effort, Eyes of Veritas, was released today and features guest appearances from Joell Ortiz, Emilio Rojas, and Sean Rose among others. I'm not sure that Gilbere Forte' lives up to the tape's title as the Truth--he doesn't quite dominate the beats in the same way he has in the past--but the production is supurb and lyrics are some of the best you'll hear offered by an up-and-coming rapper. Eyes of Veritas will land on many a year's end list and is more than worth the dl. Stand out tracks include "Unbreakable," "Tonight," "The Eyes," and "The Exports" You can quote me on that. Hit the jump for the tracklist/link.
Atmosphere - The Family Sign Announcement | "Minnesota Nice" (f. Prof, Felipe Cuauhtli & Gene Poole)
I've been dissapointed by the last couple releases from the Twin Cities legends. Lemons wasn't so bad, it just lacked any sort of sonic diversity, but the only track off To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy that I can stand listening to is the title track. Still, I'm a fool in love that will keep coming back time after time to one of the best underground groups in the history of the genre. So I'll be one of the first to purchase The Family Sign when it drops on April 12th. I hold out hope that the album will be a return to the Seven's Travels/You Don't Know How Much Fun We're Having-Slug that we can still see at times on tracks like "C'mon" and this posse cut from the group's recent Minnesota tour, but it seems unlikely to happen.
Sean Daley has grown up. He's no longer the dysfunctional character that he so candidly displayed on "Little Man," "Godlovesugly," and the rest of his early discography. He has a stable marriage and family. He no longer worries about having a steady vocation. You Don't Know How Much Fun We're Having sold over two hundred thousand copies, an accomplishment that eclipses most mainstream releases.
It's been far too long since we last checked in with Mr. Creekwater. Creek is one of the few true dual-threats in hip hop today, an emcee/producer who is equally dope at both aspects of music-making. "Hello World" was one of the five best songs of 2009 and The Day It All Made $ense (of which "2 Far Gone" is a superb example) ended up making my year's end list.
Enlisting the help of former XXL freshman Micky Factz and the supremely talented Kardinal Offishall, Creek's "I Hate You Too" is off his forthcoming project, The Birth of a Dictator. I'll take this song as an indication that The Birth of a Dictator will live up to the Necktie Guy's recent run of near-classic material. 2011 looks to be the year that Creekwater emerges as a major player on the mainstream level. Enjoy.
"I Hate You Too" (feat. Mickey Factz & Kardinal Offishall)
"2 Far Gone" (feat. Junior Varsity)
God, this was my jam back around my junior year of high school. This site's name is actually a throwback to this track (not sure if that's a good or bad thing). Tha Blue Carpet Treatment was probably Snoop's most complete album since his Doggy Style debut.
On another note, the above image is perhaps the most absurd thing I've ever seen.
It was a major oversight on my part not downloading this mixtape back in 2009 and I hope you won't repeat my mistake. Had I heard it back then, it would have easily slotted near the top of my favorite mixtapes of that year. The album features Pill going in over new instrumentals produced primarily by Seattle duo, Tha Bizness, as well as adding his spin to several classics such as Nas' "Got Ur Self A," the Geto Boys' "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me," OutKast's "Two Dope Boyz," and Pac's "Keep Ya Head Up."
As always, the ATLien absolutely dominates each track, bringing an intense delivery and intricate rhyme schemes unmatched by nearly any other rapper in the game today. Cuts include, "Hear Somebody Comin'," "Music," and "We Don't Even Know." The Refill provides substantial evidence for why XXL chose him along with the likes of J. Cole and Freddie Gibbs as a member of their freshman class last year. Pill is one of the most talented up-and-coming rappers and I highly reccomend downloading this mixtape as well as The Overdose, which features more original production and was one of the best tapes of 2010. Pill's debut album, The Medicine, is sure to alleviate many hip hop heads who have been sick of most post-OutKast southern hip hop. Hit the jump for the tracklist/link.
An ode to my fellow insomniacs out there...I'd write more about the remix of the lead single off the Portland/Colorado duo's 2010 album, The Required Taste, but I'm going to get back to trying to sleep. Definitely worth the download though. Enjoy.
Othello & DJ Vajra - "Active Balanced (Terry Cole Remix)" f. Mayer Hawthorne & Now On
Not so long ago, before he dropped the "$ense" and turned into the same washed-out-rapper-turned actor that he once called out Ice Cube for, Common was one of the best emcees out there. I know, I know, the appearances in Terminator, movies with Queen Latifah, and atrocious guest verses on CuDi songs aren't doing any favors for our collective memory, but his recent missteps don't erase the classic discography that Common managed to contribute for the first decade plus of his career.
Sorry that there haven't been any other posts today. I'm just getting over some major computer trauma that has fortunately sorted itself out. Anyway, I'd like to introduce you to one of the better up-and-coming groups today. Co-signed by 9th Wonder, Kooley High has gradually been garnering a fanbase over the past three years. Composed of emcees Charlie Smarts, Tab-One, and Rapsody, producers Foolery and The Sinopsis, and DJ Ill Digitz, the six members first met while studying at NC State and released their first mixtape, Raleigh's Finest, back in 2008.
Loving the latest single off of L.A.S.E.R.S. As always, Lupe kills it, but Skylar Grey (formerly known as Holly Brook) really steals the show with her voice. Few know it, but Grey was originally supposed to be featured on Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie," before being replaced by Rihanna.
But anyway, Lupe's third album is finally set to drop on March 4th. From the looks of it, the release may very well be monumental.
Update: ...And it's gone. For those of you who missed out on it, I'm sure you can find it elsewhere on the interwebz. Otherwise, you can cop it on the February 8th official release date.
I realize that I haven't posted any J-Hova in a while, so I'll give you a double hitter. The first comes off Jay's sophomore release, In My Lifetime. While I didn't care for the rest of the album, this track remains one of my favorite intro tracks of all time and serves as a nice transition from where he left off on Reasonable Doubt.
The latter is the street single off Life and Times of S. Carter. While lay listeners around my age are likely familiar with the UGK-assisted hit, "Big Pimpin'" off the same album, many haven't heard this gem that I consider to be one of Jay's most lyrically intricate songs (the rugged Preemo beat doesn't hurt either). Both provide further proof of why Shawn Carter is the greatest rapper of all time. Enjoy.
I awoke this morning to a pleasant surprise in my mailbox. Evidently Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have decided to extend their tour eastward and will hit up Webster Hall in New York on April 16th along with Canadian emcee Shad. Considering I missed out on their show with the Blue Scholars back in September, I'm taking no chances and have already ordered my tickets.
Anyone who follows the site knows that I'm a huge supporter of the group, but even I still can't believe how quickly the duo has blown up. It was only last fall that they were the opening act for Geo and Sabzi, now they're headlining their own national tour. I still find it a little weird. Not that I didn't think Lewis and Macklemore were supremely talented. It's just weird when my friends out at school without any connection to the Town ask about a guy that went to my high school and grew up in the same area code (98103 all day). I still remember back in '05 bumping "White Privilege" and "I Said Hey," when Mack was still a secret known only by those Seattle fans who closely followed the local hip hop scene.
I always thought Macklemore was one of the most talented local emcees, but he completely dropped off the map for a couple years while dealing with substance abuse. He emerged a year and a half ago with new material before teaming up with RL for the jaw-dropping VS. EP.
All the props in the world to these guys. They're two of the best at what they do and deserve all the success in the world. This is a show that I will eagerly anticipate for the next couple months and I highly recommend that any and all frequent readers in the New York area make a point of attending.
Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
"Kings" (feat. Champagne Champagne)
Previous: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
I think that I'm one of the few people who didn't like Atmosphere's 2008 album, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. I liked most of the songs on the album and loved "Yesterday," "In Her Music Box," and "Guarantees," but I felt that the album lacked a lot of the introspection and humor that elevated Seven's Travels and You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having to classic status. Instead of the fun-loving, honest, self-depricating songs like "Shoes" and "Reflections," it seemed as though the Minneapolis duo tried to replicate the "Little Man" and "Always Coming Back Home to You" formula on each and every track on Lemons.
Back in 2006, Zion I got together with Living Legends emcee/producer, The Grouch, for one of the better most complete albums of either collaborators' esteemed careers. Heroes in the City of Dope still gets rotation on my iPod, so you can imagine my pleasant surprise, when I heard that the Bay Area trio have teamed up for a sequel, Heroes in the Healing of the Nation, scheduled to be released on March 22. Zion I's latest offering, Atomic Clock, was dissapointing considering the group's reputation for consistantly putting out great albums, but here is to hoping it was an anomaly.
In the meantime, here are two of the better tracks the trio have produced over the years. The first, "Silly Puddy," is an otherworldly cut off Mind Over Matter. It was the first Zion I track that I ever heard and I've been hooked ever since. The Mistah F.A.B.-assisted "Hit 'Em" is the hard-hitting opening track off HITCOD and remains among AmpLive and Zumbi's best.
Zion I - "Silly Puddy" (feat. The Grouch)
We'll stay in the ATL for this next post. The self-proclaimed "King of the South," T.I. has never quite lived up to his title. While other Southern rappers such as OutKast, Scarface, and Wayne (pre-CIII) all offer better claims to the title, Clifford Harris's reign only occurred for a short period of 2006. While King was a monumental album and one of the best, non-OutKast, projects to come out of Atlanta, the rest to T.I.'s career has been marked predominantly by popular singles rather than critically-acclaimed albums.
I don't know why, but I woke up this morning and really just wanted to listen to this Stankonia classic. It's going to be a good day.
Don't everybody like the smell of gasoline, well burn motherf***er, burn American Dreams!
OutKast - "Gasoline Dreams"
Previous: Big Boi - "Daddy Fat Sax" x "Last Call"
I apologize that it has taken me this long to release the latest incarnation in the series, but I did not wish to attach my name to an inferior product and this is the first time I've felt truly good about every aspect of the mixtape. What you hear now is the eleventh and final version of this particular installment. As always, it combines the classics along with what I consider to be some of the best new new songs of today. It's taken three months in the making, but on the plus side, I have the starting and concluding tracks for the next three tapes lined up. I consider this to be one of the best tapes yet and I hope you enjoy it. Without further ado, hit the jump for the tracklist/download link.
Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
P.S. Props to Marask for the incredible background image.
One of the more underrated emcees of all time, Wu-Tang-affiliate Killah Priest isn't even given credit for his best song. Because his solo track "B.I.B.L.E." was included as a bonus song on the re-issue of GZA's Liquid Swords, many mistakenly attribute it to the Genius. This song, along with the album as a whole is a CLASSIC. GZA's magnum opus stands the test of time and still ranks among my top-10 albums of all time.
Peace, Love, & Wu,
Killah Priest - "B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)"
For those of you who missed it, Chiddy Bang's nine-track EP, The Preview, took 2010 by force. Highlighted by the MGMT-sampling "Opposite of Adults," the project provided heads with twenty-nine minutes of clever lyricism paired with crisp productions that will leave fans hungry for the duo's debut album, The Swelly Express, which is set to drop later in the year.
While all nine tracks are excellent in their own right, "Opposite of Adults," "Here We Go," and "All Things Go," tracks 3, 4, and 5 respectively, top the class. "Opposite of Adults" may well be better than the MGMT original version and, while it's disappointed that they didn't give ATCQ legend Q-Tip an actual verse, the energy of "Here We Go" more than makes up for it. Though Chiddy doesn't deliver his best verses on "All Things Go," Xaphoon's synth-based production coupled with the children's chorus helps the track transcend from above-average to extraordinary. A pop-sound with solid lyricism is always a solid combination which is why you should expect big things from Chiddy Bang in 2011.
Previous: Kanye West - "We Can Make It Better" (feat. Common, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli & Rhymefest)
Update: Fixed the link for the "Flashing Lights (Remix)." If you haven't downloaded it yet, I highly recommend adding it to your music library. I also added a longer version with Kanye on it (even though I prefer the shorter version).
I've been a huge fan of the Virginia Beach duo, the Clipse, since first hearing their monumental sophomore album, Hell Hath No Fury back in '06. I consider HHNF and Til the Casket Drops to be near classic status, but I typically find that one has to be in a particular mood to listen to brothers Malice and Pusha T. While the crisp Neptunes production marks nearly every Clipse song, most tracks prove too slow to play while working out or at a party. Conversely, Malice and Pusha T often deliver hard-hitting, wordplay that makes them difficult to listen to while relaxing. This seemingly converse energy works well when paired with other Clipse songs, but also makes them difficult to place into a flowing playlist. For me, I'll typically find myself listening to them when I need a quick Clipse-fix or among fellow fans.
Couldn't get to sleep, so one more post tonight... Back before he became a drug-addled parody of himself, Dwayne Michael Carter was one of the most promising young rhymesayers in hip hop. It's not the best example, but it still elicits a laugh hearing a 17-year-old Wayne on Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up" (am I the only one who notices that the only words that rhyme in Juve's bars are the "yeah"'s at the end of each bar?), but by the time he was 21, Carter had dropped Tha Carter, one of the best hip hop albums of the previous decade.
I've been meaning to post this video from Seattle's Scribes for a while, but I wanted to have the track to accompany it first. It was a pain to track down (selling by consignment=fail), but over winter break I was able to find his two albums (which you can find on iTunes if not in the Seattle Area). A third, What Was Lost, is on its way and is set to be released on February 4th. Scribes is one of the better up and coming 206 emcees and listeners should definitely pay close attention to his budding career. On a side note, I find it really weird that I went to high school (and in some cases elementary school) with half-a-dozen people in this video.
"Roll My Way"
The spoken word version of this song remains the best I've ever heard. I tend to lean towards it over this rendition, but maybe it's just because I heard that one first (and then over and over and over again). But I'll let you be the judge on this rather atypical kicks-oriented track with a message. Props to Shake.
Peace, Love, & Macklemore,
Next Level Noah
We raise our glass to the sky and lift up,
And live tonight 'cause you can't take it with ya.
So raise a pint for the people that aren't with us,
And live tonight 'cause you can't take it with ya.
I've been waiting eagerly for this video for a few months and it doesn't disappoint on this track off of The VS. EP.