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Monday, April 30, 2012

Rome Clientel - "The Lost Catacombs: The EP"

Following several impressive leaks, here goes the debut EP by New York emcee Rome Clientel. Sponsored by 2DopeBoyz, "The Lost Catacombs" is a project that's been long in the works, with songs dating as far back as 1997. The majority of this collection's production is handled by Mr. Scott, with Just Blaze and Rome himself contributing on track each. On the cameo side we hear Tragedy Khadafi, Skyzoo, Alycat and more. Be sure to enjoy this certified headbanger!

01. "The Catacombs Intro" (Ft. DJ A&S)
02. "I'm Still Standing"
03. "My Life's Like A Movie" (Ft. Alycat)
04. "Remember This"
05. "Holdin' it Down" (Ft. Skyzoo, Alycat & DJ A&S)
06. "All The President's Men" [prod. by Rome Clientel]
07. "WarZone" [prod. by Just Blaze]
08. "Blue Magic" (Ft. Tragedy Khadafi, Alycat & T-Nast)
09. "Make Them Say"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kalhex Ft. Rob-O - "La Fine Ligne"

Kalhex is a trio from France that just released their single "Perspectives" on 12" and in digital format via Akromegalie Records. The release stands out as each side features a former member of the Pete Rock affiliated '90s crew InI. The previously posted "Perspectives" includes verses by Grap Luva and now we can also listen to the Rob-O featured B-side, "La Fine Ligne". I'm not sure which retailers carry the physical single, but there's a couple of copies for sale @ Discogs and the digital single can be purchased here. Very smooth sounding ish, Rob-O sounds right at home over this beat; iLL!

D.I.T.C. Presents BarBury'n (Milano x D-Flow x Gage)

BarBury'N is a recently formed trio consisting of long-time D.I.T.C. affiliates and Wild Life members Milano Constantine, D-Flow (of Ghetto Dwellas) and new artist Gage. They are now preparing their self-titled collective debut album on D.I.T.C. Records. Showbiz has been mentioned as producer of the project but whether or not he's the executive producer or in charge of all the beats on the LP remains to be seen. One thing's for sure, The Lost Tapes will keep a close eye on these guys!

Up above is the group's first video that was released a while ago but slipped under my radar; "Living At Still". Below you can download their latest single "Teleportin'" which is another sick cut. Both tracks are produced by Show and most likely lifted from the upcoming album. Sounding good!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Showbiz's "Still Diggin'" Out Now


The always incredible D.I.T.C. crew is at a great place right now both for themeselves and for their long-time supporters. Besides word on a brand new group album sometime this year, OC and Apollo Brown are releasing "Throphies"; Lord Finesse has signed a lucrative deal with Slice-Of-Spice which already brought us lots of exclusive vinyl releases and fat DJ mixes; Diamond D is working on a self-produced album as evident by his recent "Deflate 'Cha"; Showbiz & AG are preparing "Mugshot Music" for this summer with the street album "Preloaded" preeceding it on May 8th. 

As if that wasn't enough, Showbiz has just released his all instrumental digital album called "Still Diggin' Vol. 1" which is now available @ iTunes. I listened to it earlier and it's a GREAT listen, real chunky beats in true D.I. fashion which I personally think is a lot better than the previous "Bar'Bury'N Beats Vol. 1". Included are some brand new productions, some recent Show & A instrumentals as well as a few from the "Godsville" LP with KRS. Make sure to check out the promotional music video for the single "The Cloth" up top, with cameos from just about everyone in the Diggin' in the Crates crew as well as Lil' Fame and DJ Premier. Check back tomorrow for a Show produced, D.I.T.C. related cut that may very well be news to you.

Nas - "Daughters"

Following their collaboration on Common's "Street Dreams", Nas and Chicago's finest, No I.D., does it again on Nasir's latest single "Daughters". This is the third single we've heard from the upcoming "Life is Good" and so far, all good. The LP has now been given the release date of July 17th so be prepared!

[Review] OC & Apollo Brown - "Trophies"

As a fan of much of Detroit producer on-the-rise Apollo Brown's often immaculate work, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard the news that he and a certain legendary hip-hop veteran had recorded a full album worth of material together. The rapper in question was OC; one of the most talented rappers out of the whole D.I.T.C. squad (which is saying more than a lot) and overall one of my absolute favorites to ever grab a microphone. The resuling "Trophies" will hit stores on May 1 via Mello Music Group; not only on CD and MP3-files but as two different versions of a double vinyl set as well. To say the least, I had extremely high expectations for the album, something that all too often makes for a dissapointing listen the first few times, so when I recently got my hands on a fully mastered review-ex of the project I immediatly hit play and let the album run straight through and has been repeating this ritual twice every day now since I first came across it. Being from what is probably my two favorite cities in U.S.A. when it comes to hip-hop these days; I couldn't imagine a collaboration with a very talented Detroit beatologist and the Brooklyn born and raised Omar Credle (OC) being anything less than at least very solid. Aight, let's get to the music...

SIDE A

After a laid back intro explaining the choice of title for the album, things kicks off in a beautiful way with "The Pursuit"; featuring OC on his A-game, spitting three verses filled to the limits with quotables. Apollo flips the same sample previously heard on Pete Rock's "Made Man" but although it's obviously inspired, Brown totally makes it his own. Filled with trademark miniature vocal samples and his typical heavy drum kicks which really suits the emcee well. It's interesting that they chose to open the LP with this joint as it's not one of the harder tracks on the album; rather a pretty laid back cut that puts and emphazises the emcee at the forefront. 
   "Prove Me Wrong" was the first single to be released from the album and it's still as good as when I first heard it. I even have to say that in my opinion it's one of the absolute top tracks of the entire album so it was good choice to lead with. You should already have heard this so I won't bother writing much more about it than to say that, both from a production standpoint and as far as OC's lyrics and vocal performance goes, this will be a future classic, no doubt about it.     
   "Nautica" is the first cut to take a more sinister approach as Apollo Browns does a great job mixing a slamming drum pattern, mysitcal strings that change form between verses and the heavy vocal hook. The main theme of the song, however, is the steadily repeating, dark bass line created via synthesizer.
   "Another One" is another one of my favorites from "Trophies" and has got to be the best weed anthem from the D.I.T.C. camp since at least OC & AG's 2001 track "Weeds & Drinks" from "Bon Appetit". OC smoothly and straight up incredible kicks three verses explaining how his love for the herb manifests in his everyday life, and in usual O fasion it's a very personal jam that's so vivid you could almost see him lighting blunt after blunt. This laid back beauty wouldn't sound out of place on '97s classic "Jewelz".

SIDE B

The smooth sounds of the previous cut leaves room for a thumping hardcore hip-hop monster similiar in tone to Side A's "Nautica". "Disclaimer" is a real headnodder where the responsible dynamic duo really show their chemistry together, as the beats and rhymes the whole time combines very natural. It's a dark but boom bap heavy  jam with several layers of sound, including some type of electronic piano, a buzzing bassline and a horn that returns every other bar; of course backed up by fat drum programming.
   My currently absolute favorite on the album has to be "We The People". I have previously described Apollo Brown's amazing soulful production here as 9th Woner on Steroids, consdiering it got a lot of his trademarks with strings, a grooving bassline and a beauitful and slightly high pitched vocal sample. The drums is fat as hell though and heavier than what we usually hear from 9th. This joint is truly addictive, I could probably have this strictly on repeat for an hour without losing interest. Of course OC spits some of his best verses on the entire LP here too, every line could be a quotable and the verses here display everything an emcee should have. The flow and delivery is nothing short of amazing, his clarity and definitely not least the extremely impressive lyrical display. The song speaks about where the world is going and basically that we are at a tipping point right now where things are as fucked up as ever with people only minding their own business and material possessions. "Youngin's hold heat, Grandma' scared to walk, last week she was robbed by a thief/ People dying over ferocious beef/ Respect is minimal, people hold more respect for a criminal /Oblivious, your enemy's  a friend of yours/ Trust wavers, material things enslave us..." is just a few of the many jewels this song holds. To me it's the illest song I've heard this year thus far.
   "Signs" is a perfect bridge between the political soulfilled cut that preceeded it and closed the A-side and the intense storytelling cut "The First 48" which kicks off the B-side. It's a somewhat slower song and clocks in at just 2:00 minutes with no hook and just one long verse, but it serves it's purpose well. It's another policial track; with O speaking on the extremely shady business responsible by the government or rather the  behind the scene rulers. Another masterpiece in my book, and we're now half way through this album and to me this is perfection and even better than I'd would've hoped.

SIDE C

"The First 48" is back on the more hardcore tip with blasting synthesizer, thymping drums and a nasty vocal sample that Apollo  uses to weave a great hook with. Credle uses this banger to tell three losely related but different stories focusing on three peeps caught up in bad situations which have them ending up in "The White Room". That means the police's interragotation room and it's the first time for each of the involved characters. At the same time it's also a story of rising and falling, giving more background on each of them . Why OC isn't mentioned more often as one of the greatest storytellers of our time is beyond me, with this skills dating all the way back to his '94 debut on classics like "Story 2 Tell", "Born 2 Live" and more.
    "Angels Sing" is far from a weak link but considering the absolute amazement from every single one of the previous songs, I find it to be my least favorite so far. The production sounds a little generic to me although I'm feeling the sampled vocal hook and OC's performance is another lesson for the world. "It's like war going on between bloodsuckers and likings/ Evil vs. righteous, the double of Christ/ Unexplained occurences, unsolved murders, no answers/ Family's left to bear death's burden/ Refuges taking to house of the Lord/ Pranksters play with your mind and end up in Forbes, Knowing wealth is power/ Understand that those who hold keys to the door decides who gains entry" he convincingly spits during his second  verse.
   Next up is "Just Walk", another hardboiled knocker where Apollo's layer of sounds creates a superb musical platform for the emcee. Besides the synthesizer heard on most of the album in various forms, the booming drums and buzzing bassline, Brown also adds greatly executed strings and the well familiar "Walk On" vocal sample that's been used on at least two songs before (Red N Meth's "Walk On" and the Just Blaze remix of Jigga's "P.S.A."). The Phenomen takes this heavy joint to reflect on how far he's come into the game based on his skills while at the same time using the track to tell all haters to just WALK ON! There's some funny punchlines here too, iincluding - "Big in the heart though I'm 5'8, see you Scwarzenegger muschle heads don't mean a thing/ I don't scare easily, matter of fact all it takes is an ice pick to make you fold".
   "The Formula" brings it back to the sound more prominent on the first half of the disc and is another one of my favorite cuts from the album. Things is slowed down a little to return to the awesome laid-back soulfulness and throughout the album these type of tracks have been the greatest. "The Formula" might be a double meaning, as it could be the formula A and O does records by, but the main point of it is OC describing the formula he's used throughout his life and musical career which has allowed him to still be here and drop quality albums like this in 2012. I always loved OC's introspective joint, too few MCs dare to do that but OC's never been your regular rapper. Over the string-driven beat OC really is in element here and I sure as hell wouldn't mind a 12" release of this, preferably with the "Prestige Of A King" joint on the B-side.

SIDE D

   The second official single was "People's Champ" and while I think there are more suited selections for a single, it's a straight up banger, no doubt about that. A pumping beat, OC and a sampled M.O.P. vocal hook can hardly go wrong, isn't that the truth?! My only complaint is that there's a weird telephone dialing tone every now and then which I really don't feel add anything positive to the song. OC does another one of his trademarks here; classic battle raps, a classic theme on any dope old school album, but something that's sadly been disgustingly dilluted amongst pretty much all new rappers. It's not about bragging about how much guns and bitches you got, you speak on your lyrical skills and OC makes some convincing statements here (although he sure as hell don't need to haha). It's not "Time's Up" but it's a very solid cut, indeed.
   Back to the more strictly soulful tracks again, and again it turns out to be a succesful take on that formula. Brown's thumping beat with, amongst other things horn and vocal samples, makes "Options" another standout track from the album. O is once again sending out a positive  and important mesagge here; that life is all about what decisions you make in life and if you strive to make the right ones you're much more likely to find yourselves living a much better life than if you choose the path of negativity.
   On first listen, I didn't feel "Caught Up" at all. OC's message and lyrics is on point, speaking on the increased hunt for success from young women with low self esteem; growing up to quick and showing themselves half naked or more on internet sites like WSHH. It's an important topic that O handles with care; "15 minutes of fame shot by that quick, or should I say a sec using sex baby?". As for the beat it has definitely grow on me, as it's a nod to the synthesizer heavy sound of much early hip-hop and electro. In a way it reminds me of Herbie Hancock's classic electro-funk period with the heavily sampled "Rockit" for example.
   The album closes with a short outro type song aptly titled "Fantastic" which makes for a perfect closer for an LP with a wide array of different styles. "Trophies" finds both the producer and the emcee in a very reflective  and introspective mood, with Apollo Brown supplying a beautiful accoustic piano following OC's only verse that the song rides out on accompanied by a sampled gospel sounding accapella that fits perfectly with O's last word on the LP. Throughout his verse, the D.I.T.C. legend speaks about his entire career from the release of "Word... Life" and "Jewelz" to "Bon Appetit" and "Starchild" + "Smoke & Mirrors". As a long time fan of the man and avid supporter of his music it's very interesting to hear in his own word how he felt about those albums and the criticism some of them met. Therefore,  for this reason it's thematically one of my favorite songs on the album.

So there you go - a track-by-track review of OC & Apollo Brown's "Trophies". It's quite the long review, and it's different from how I usually write 'em but I'm so amazed by this album that I felt that every single song was worthy of a breakdown. I listened to this several times by now, waiting for May 1 when hopefully my pre-order 2xLP arrives. The first time I heard it, I thought the entire first half was nothing short of mindblowing but that it lost some steam after track #8 which only occassionally returned. With each listen I've been beginning to see and hear the immense greatness of all songs on here, although there are of course tracks that are better than others and vice versa. OC's always been one of my favorite emcees and "Word...Life" is still in my top #10 albums of all time but this might very well be his best lyrical display on a full-length disc since 1997s "Jewelz". That speaks much more about how fantastic he is on here rather than his work on previous albums as he's always been an incredibly talented wordsmith, even "Bon Appetit" grew a lot on me over the years. What it does is speak volumes on two separate things. For starters, it reveals that despite being in the game for nearly 20 years, O is still as hungry as ever. Second, it's a evidence of the type of chemistry he has found with the relatively new, at least to the masses, beat mastermind Apollo Brown. The latters production work on this is constantly standing out and supplements OC's topics and delivery. The choice to use nothing but one MC and one DJ/producer without any guest verses further cements that undeniable chemistry. Hopefuly we'll see more of this duo in a near future as this is the best album I've heard this year; right up there with last years finalists. If I'm going to give one minor complaint, it's that the use of some dope cuts and scratch hooks would've enforced the boom bap aesthetics even further. But that's a minor complaint on an album this fantasticly driven and refreshing in todays rap climate. Much props to OC, Apollo Brown and Mello Music Group for helping to keep real hip-hop alive and if you're feeling this as much as I do - shame on you if you don't support it! PRE-ORDER @ UGHH now!

[Promo Video] CL SMOOTH - "Nothin' Can Match It"


After the break-up from Pete Rock, we didn't really get to hear much from CL Smooth until 2005's somewhat underrated "American Me". Great news - it's now time again, as CL Smooh is preparing his second solo LP, "The Emancipation of Corey Penn" which should be ready for release soon enough. Already now we can listen to the promotional music video for the first single, "Nothing Can Match It". Really ill cut, beautifully produced by Dividied Souls Entertainment together with DJ Pain who I assume also handles the turntbale work here. And since he and Pete Rock recently reunited for some dope concerts and interview, I believe it's very possible that we might hear some exclusive Pete/CL collaborations on the LP. Stay tuned for more news on the project and a big shout out to  Chris "SPanky" Moss of Divid Souls Ent.!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heaven Razah Interview + Mixtape

Last year Heaven Razah was in a medical condition that left all of his fans sending out our strongest prayers. Miraculously, not only did he survive and wake up from a coma but throughout the past year he has been making a relatively speedy recovery. Razah's even been getting back to the music, releasing the digital street album "Razah Reborn" and got several projects lined up for the future. Wu-International  recently connected with Heaven Razah for the first real interview since his recovery and it's great to hear the man speak again, filled with inspiration and in good spirits. Besides the very interesting interview, Wu-International has posted a brand new Heaven Razah mixtape called "The Family Guy" that features several Ghetto Government artists as well as Timbo King, Shabazz the Disciple and old Sunz of Man affiliate TrayBag. Check out the mixtape and READ THE INTERVIEW HERE.

01. "Razah Intro"
02. "The Invasion" (Starring Twin)
03. "Welcome to Red Hook Houses" (Starring Twin)
04. "Lock N Load" (Ft. Islord & Zu)
05. "BK to Moscow" (Ft. Mezza Morta)
06. "BK to Paris" (Ft. 7th Ambassador & ?)
07. "Angel Prayers" (Ft. Automatik)
08. "Millennium Child 2" (Ft. Ermaine)
09. "In Da Streets vs. Industry"
10. "Salute" (Ft. Kappo)
11. "Lost One Freestyle"
12. "718" (Ft. Cypha)
13. "Brooklyn Baby" (Ft. ?)
14. "Dead Presidents" (Ft. Kappo)
15. "B.I.G. Monster" (Ft. Timbo King)
16. "Angel Tearz"
17. "We From The Hook Son" (Ft. Shabazz the Disciple)
18. "Exclusive Ghetto Government" (Ft. Twin)
19. "Rocketer" (Ft. Kappo)
20. "Pass the Halo" (Ft. Traybag)
21. "Still in My Heart"
22. "Bomb Threats" (Ft. Natural)
23. "Monster" (Starring Kappo)
24. "Lights Out" (Ft. TrayBag & Kappo)
25. "Outta Space" (Starring Kappo & Young Vet)
26. "Yonkers" (Starring Kappo) 
27. "Stress" (Starring Kappo)
28. "Juice" (Starring Kappo)
29. "Brooklyn Swag" (Starring Kappo)
30. "Razah Outro"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

El-P - "Request Denied"

I must admit I've been sleeping on El-P's work the last few years but his latest album, "Cancer 4 Cure"  is one of the best releases I've listened to this year so far. You don't get beats like this nowhere else and if you ask me, El-P is at a lyrical peak here that I haven't heard him on before. Of course, he's not only bringing out his own album but also producing all of ATL legend Killer Mike's entire LP which drops pretty much back to back. Wasn't that almost the same deal with "Fantastic Damage" and "The Cold Vein" back then as well? .. Can't remember exactly but I know I used to bang the shit out of those albums back when they dropped. I got a feeling this summer will have a similiar soundtrack. Pre-order both albums from UGHH now and check out the largely instrumental monster that opens "C4C" below!

EL-P - "REQUEST DENIED"

Rome Clientel / Just Blaze - "Warzone" [1997]

Rome Clientel's drops another winner from his "The Empire: The Lost Catacombs" EP which hits the web on Monday, sponsored by 2DBz. Trust me, when I say this joint is a must hear as it's a cut that slipped through the cracks from a recording session with Just Blaze all the way back in '97. This is seriously the earliest JB production I ever know to be released and it's unmistakeble that this cat was hit. Can't wait to hear the EP by now, count on finding it here as soon as it drops.

[Compilation] AK SKILLS - "TRU CRIMINAL EP"

So many raw cats came made their way through the boom bap field during the '90s, releasing a 12" or two that's today considered underground classics, only to never be heard from again. AK Skills is a perfect example of the scenario pictured above. Hailing from Far Rockaway, Queens, he started making a buzz on the underground mixtape circuit with the release of the booming 12" single, "Check The Flava" B/W "Nights Of Fear" in 1996. The songs were produced by Lord Finesse and Buckwild, respectively, and featured some nice cuts by label mate (on Tru Criminal Records) and Street Smartz's DJ K.O. The single created enough attention to allow for a second release the same year, resulting in the equally knocking "One Life to Live" B/W "East Ta West". The B-side was once again impressively laced by Buckwild, while production duties for "One Life to Live" was handled by a Eddie James. 

With these four songs, AK Skills' rugged Queens style, great beat selections and connections should have led right to a smashing debut LP. Very unfortunately for both  the man himself and hip-hop heads, that never materialized as it seems AK Skills found himself´incarcerated for a longer bid during this time. One more track managed to reach the surface however, another winning Buckwild collaboration titled "One Thing Or Another", when it was included on a promotional Tru Criminal Records compilation in '97. How much material AK recorded, whether or not an actual album was planned and if we'll ever get to hear a return to the booth are all questions that may very well never be answered. But the five songs released between 1996 and 1997 speaks for themeselves (as well as the rare freestyles) and is a must hear for any hardcore hip-hop loving fanatic. The singles are of course out-of-print by now but if you'll ever come across one of them while doing your digging, PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP (as KRS would've said)! Me and Ant, who also put in a lot of much appreciated work on the incredible Truck Turner compilation, thought it would be great to put all those songs together for a digital Lost Tapes EP so here you go peeps!

01. "Check The Flava"
02. "Nights Of Fear"
03. "East Ta West"
04. "One Life Ta Live"
05. "One Thing Or Another"

AK SKILLS - "TRU CRIMINAL EP"

New Videos from Gangrene + Phonte


Check out these two very different, but very sick, new videos from Gangrene (Alchemsit + Oh No) and Phonte (Ft. Evidence & Big K.R.I.T.), respectively. The Gangrene vid is another set of Jason Goldwatch directed crazyness for the equally insane psych-rock influenced producing MC's. "Walk Hard" can be heard on the impressive (and free) EP, "Odditorium" which comes highly recommended! Btw, the black-and-white clip right at the end is absolutely INSANE!
 

The second vid to check out is the visuals to former Little Brother member Phonte's "The Life Of Kings" which comes with a chunck of added West Coast flavor due to guest verses by Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. (apparantly, Ev couldn't make the video shoot however). The song is lifted from Phonte's "Charity Starts At Home"; a dope project from last year that seems to have gone straight over a lot of people's heads. Oh and for those who didn't know, that album is now being released in a double vinyl set with gatefold cover and everything! Pre-order @ UGHH and you'll get it by the release date of May 25th.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big Twinz - "Do It For The Hood"

Infamous Mobb's Big Twinz hits with the fourth part of his video series accompanying his recently released "Still Cooking EP". Some dope verses by Twinz on this cut for sure! The 10 track mini album is available @ iTunes NOW.

OC & Apollo Brown - "People's Champ"

Brooklyn's OC and Detroit's Apollo Brown is releasing their 16 musical "Throphies" in album format on May 1 via Mello Music Group. Already now, the full digital version has made it to iTunes, so make sure you support the official ish. I've been playing this front-to-back four times since I got it yesterday and let me tell y'all that it's an AMAZING LP, straight up! Speaking on a strictly lyricist level; OC is on par with Nas, Rakim, Ghost, Big Daddy Kane; whoever you wanna put up there... and this album proves it. Again! Stay tuned for a full review in the next couple of days but for now you can check out the next single in line from this dynamic duo - "People's Champ". Head over to UGHH to pre-order the CD, LP or Deluxe Gatefold LP (which I personally just placed an order on).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Masta Ace - "Slow Down"

I know I'm not the only one who's eagerly awaiting to hear Masta Ace's announced project "MA DOOM: Son Of Yvonne". The first single, "Slow Down", has just dropped and Ace is as sharp as always when going in over some MF DOOM heat. The whole album will feature Ace slaying DOOM tracks.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

[Documentary] NaS @ VH1's Behind The Music

A couple of days ago VH1 aired one of the reasons to why we still shouldn't give up entirely on all music television. Nas has always kept a low profile, rarely given interviews in comparision to most of his peers and always let his music speak for him and tell his story. And although that music speaks incredible volumes, it's a real cool exchange to see an actual documentary on the man. VH1's done a pretty fine job putting this together too with lots of rare photos, clips and great interviews with Nasir, his friends, fam and musical companions that together tells the story of the man that at 19 years old made the album that is still often considered the best rap record ever made. Nas is such a great storyteller as an emcee that you'll recognize a lot of the pivotal stuff he's telling about his life here if you're a big fan of his music. Don't miss out!

As a lil' bonus I had to upload "Surviving the Times", the absolutely stunning masterpiece that only appeared as an exclusive on Nas' "Greatest Hits" which dropped on Columbia in 2008. I recommend listening to this joint right after you've watched the flick as they together gives two great perspectives of the storyteller Nas.

NAS - "SURVIVING THE TIMES" 

Friday, April 20, 2012

[Free EP] GANGRENE - "Odditorium"

Followers of The Lost Tapes know that I hold Alchemist's and Oh No's duo Gangrene as one of the most interesting things to happen in hip-hop the last couple of years. All their releases have been straight fire and can be found in my vinyl crates, from their debut "Gutter Water", to the EP compilation with Roc Marciano known as "Greneberg" and most recently the fantastic "Vodka & Ayahuasca" (speaking of the latter, make sure to not miss out on the iTunes ony exclusive "Dream Nap"). A while back it was announced that the duo was already preparing new material, a four track EP titled "Odditorium" which will be released on picture disc vinyl this Tuesday.

Great news is that already now we can download the entire project for free in 320 kbps exclusively through Red Mull USA's website. And not very unexpected it's another banger to add to the already extremely potent Gangrene catalouge so make sure you don't miss out on this because it's a big possibility that this is a limited time offer only. TURN IT UP!!!! 

01. "The Odditorium"
02. "Walk Hard"
03. "The Great Frog"
04. "Fly Brothers"

Sean Price / Marco Polo - "I'm So High"

DJ's Good Felons has put together their debut extended-play "The Green EP" which will be released soon. All music on the disc are produced by the one and only Marco Polo, one of the few relatively new producers still creating that hardcore underground true school sound we all know and love. Guests on the project includes legends such as Masta Ace, Guilty Simpson, Mc Eiht, Ras Kass, Copywrite, Sean Price, Constant Deviant's M.I. and Sean Price. The latter emcee gets the honor of dropping the first single, "I'm So High" and you should be able to guess why it's being released today. Either this is a reused Marco Polo beat or I've heard this sample flipped by another producer, if anyone know please let me know in the comments section. This track goes hard and the production perfectly compliments "P"s smoked out delivery. If this is what to expect from the EP this should be nothing short of amazing!

Odd Couple / Skyzoo - "Speak It Vivid"

The super skilled New York emcee has been enlisted by Chicago producers The Odd Couple for the slamming "Speak It Vivid" that will appear on the producers' debut EP "Separated @ Birth" set to be released in the coming months.
THE ODD COUPLE / SKYZOO - "SPEAK IT VIVID"

DJ Soko / Guilty Simpson - "Biters"

Sick turntablist DJ Soko of The Left grabs the always vicious Guilty Simpson for a verbal assault on "Biters"; one of the ground rules that's even accepted to be broken these days, which we sadly see far too often in rap music now. The firey production is handled by Gensu Dean who's been killing it like crazy lately, and this is no exception. Mello Music Group will release "Biters" and a song called "Stand Up" (also with Guilty Simpson) as a limited 7" single next week, so get your pre-orders up now. Oh and you better bang this good ol' boom bap style joint LOUD AS FUCK!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blastah Beatz Ft. DoItAll - "Mary Juwana"


Here goes a little something that I know a lot of y'all will enjoy for 4/20 tomorrow although it's sounding great the day before as well haha. Blastah Beatz is a producer hailing from Portugal that's started to make some real noise on the hip-hop scene around the end of the last decade with placements on projects by legends like Sean Price, Kool G Rap, Cappadonna, Hell Razah and Canibus. Late last year he dropped his incredible "Graduate Studies" featuring some of the best emcees in the game rocking over Blastah's production, including the unbelivable OC true school banger "Free Ya Mind".

With such a dope project as "Graduate Studies" which featured all original production and lots of heavy names I assumed that was obviously Blastah's official debut album. As it turns out, that was just the prequel as the real debut "Ph.D in Beat Making" is being prepared for release in the fourth quarter of 2012. "Mary Juwana" which you see above is an early single released in celebration of 4/20. Lords Of The Underground's own DoItAll and D-Rock of Dysfunkshunal Familee knocks out a love song to their favorite herb over some fat Blastah Beatz. The song also features cuts by DJ Grazzhoppa and the video is edited by J. Harris. Besides the guys featured here, Blastah's LP will feature all new vocals from the likes of Lord Jamar, Inspectah Deck, Kool G Rap, Lord Have Mercy, Cashis and many more.

Sheek & Ghost - "Shrooms" (Ft. Styles P)

Sheek Louch and Ghostface continues dropping gem after gem from the "Wu Block" sessions; this is no less than the seventh leak since the collaborative project was first announced. "Shrooms" is another heavy hitter that I certainly wouldn't mind appearing on the retail release and besides a super sharp Ghost verse it also features a cameo by Styles P. I strongly doubt that all these loose leaks are actual songs from the album; neither Sheek or Ghost have been known to be lazy when it comes to recording material. My guess is that certain tracks will be included on the album, like The RZA produced title track from the LP that was also the first song released. I'm certain many of the other songs are loosies from the sessions that they rather put out as promotional material to give heads a taste rather than leaving them on the cutting room floor. We'll just have to wait and see but one thing is for sure, "Wu Block" is looking and sounding damn good right now.

SHEEK / GHOSTFACE / STYLES P - "SHROOMS"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

TRUCK TURNER - "Dope On Plastic: The 12'' Collection"

For DJ:s, militant vinyl collectors and followers of that late '90s Boom Bap, the name Truck Turner should definitely ring a bell. Not much information is available about Truck as an artist but its common knowledge that he was a sort of protogĂ© of KRS-One at least between 1997 and 2000.  At the same time he was initiated as an official member of the legendary Boogie Down Productions / BDP Crew (no, they never disbanded as a unit simply because KRS started releasing music under his own name). Truck grew up in The South Bronx region of New York and his rough upbringing and the violence that surrounded him throughout his youth was reflected in his lyrics. Possibly through a good word put in by KRS's and the respect he carried over at the label, Truck signed a deal with Jive Records sometime in 1998 and started recording his debut album, "Look Both Ways Before You Cross Me". The LP was executive produced by Big I-God (who previously had worked with Mesenjerz Of Funk) and was scheduled for a February 2000 release, even given a catalouge number  vy the label (Jive 41689-2/4) indicating the album was completed and wrapped. Like so many other potentially incredible rap albums of the '90s and early 2000s, the album finally ended up being shelved; most likely by a mountain climber who played the electric guitar. 

Luckily a couple of very dope 12" singles and a four track EP was released between '99 and 2000 in promotion of the LP, giving fans and DJ:s a chance to hear at least eight of the songs songs which was mostly recorded at the legendary D&D Studios. Listening to these selections you get the impression that this could very well have been one of those lost classics we probably never will get to hear as the songs featured three productions by DJ Premier, two Marley Marl joints as well as one beat each from Showbiz, Boogie Down Productions (i assume that is KRS-One) and A Kids Called Roots. Guests included The Blastmaster on the Preemo induced "Bring it to the Cypher" and KRS, Kool G Rap, Big Punisher, Truck goes head to head on the amazing posse cut "The Symphony 2000" where Marley Marl re-flips his '88 classic and even does some ad-libs between verses to make sure heads understood this wasn't just Truck and his guests freestyling over the original beat.

I've been carrying The Lost Tapes on my back mostly by myself throughout the one and a half years it's been active now so it's always a blessing when I get some much appreciated help from fellow hip-hop connoisseurs including, but not restricted to, Pattch82, Chris Moss and Anthony Zarlengo. The latter, Ant is a former DJ with a vast collection of underground vinyl who's a fan of The Lost Tapes and ripped all his original Truck Turner singles from the Jive era, put them together, sequenced them and send them my way for inclusion on the blog so HUGE THANKS and props goes out to him. Besides the eight Jive VLS tracks, Ant also ripped a white label joint called "Can-I-Bitch" which we added as a bonus track on the compilation... And YES, it's a diss track aimed at Canibus, who BDP had some beef with in the late '90s starting with a few line on KRS-One's "World Perfect" (the B-side only cut from his '96 single "Can't Stop Won't Stop" / "The Emcee"). The only track I personally added was the second bonus track, "The Gravy" which features Shock G in his Humpy Hump persona and Truck Turner and appeared on Digital Underground's album "Who Got The Gravy?" back in '98.

This post has already gone on long enough now but there's one important part to the story left. When Jive Records shelved the album and removed Truck from their roster of artists it seems that fucking Jive didn't get to keep his masters. A couple of years later Truck signed a new deal with BMG/Empire Musicwerks and finally released "Look Both Ways Before You Cross Me" in 2002. This version seem to have very little to do with the original Jive album as none of the original tracks appeared on it, none of the original producers or guests was nowehere to be found and overall it was a pretty watered down version of the Truck Turner music represented on the 12" Collection below. The album flopped hard and since then what was once an extremely promising emcee backed up by some of the best producers in the game seems to have completely dissapeared from the scene. Another sad casualty of bullshit label politics. So that's the Truck Turner story for y'all which is accompanied by Ant's brilliant collection of songs that was recorded for "Look Both Ways...", the original Jive Recors version that is. Hit download, enjoy and TURN IT UP..... A LITTLE LOUDER!!

01. "Who Am I?" [prod. by DJ Premier]
02. "Truck" [prod. by BDP & Keyboard Money Mike]
03. "Pyrat's Party" (Ft. Brown & Cobra Ky) [prod. by A Kid Called Roots]
04. "Breaker One" [prod. by DJ Premier]
05. "Symphony 2000" (Ft. KRS-One, Big Pun,  Kool G Rap & Marley Marl)
06. "We In Here" [prod. by Showbiz]
07. "Bring it to the Cypher" (Ft. KRS-One) [prod. by DJ Premier]
08. "What U Think All The Guns R For?" [prod. by Marley Marl]
09. "Can-I-Bitch" [*]
10. "The Gravy" (Ft. Shock G) [*]

TRUCK - "DOPE ON PLASTIC: The 12" Collection"

Freestyle Session - Homeboy Sandman x I Am Many

Queens and Brooklyn representatives Homeboy Sandman and I Am Many recently visited Dharmic X's The Culture Never Dies which airs every Saturday between 11 PM and 1 AM. Towards the end of the show this dynamic duo decided to bang out a blazing off-the-top-of-the-dome freestye session; something that's sadly become a way too rare ocassion in rap music these days. This is discussed briefly before the verbal assault on the microphone begins. Homeboy Sandman has just released the "Chimera" EP via Stones Throw and I Am Many dropped his Logik Proof assisted debut LP "S.I.N. (Strength in Numbers)" last month so if you enjoy the session below (and who in their right mind wouldn't) be sure to support those projects as well. Many thanks to Dharmic X and be ready to tune in on WNYU for his The Culture Never Dies show every Saturday.