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Friday, January 31, 2014

[OG Promo] DA BEATMINERZ - "Brace 4 Impak" ('01)

Between 2000 and early 2001, the superb production team known as Da Beatminerz (at this time also including Baby Paul and Chocolate Tye, who both supplies one track each) recorded and released their "solo" debut on Rawkus Records; a time when the label had started to go slightly down hill, but still held some clouth. Most people will of course know the original version of the album that was released on the label in late '01, but a few months prior to that drop, the team who had just completed, mixed and mastered the album sent out a bunch of promo copies for reviews "for the press only" as drops on this version constantly reminds journalists and other listeners of. I had heard of this release for quite some time, but never got my hands on it myself... Until now that is, much thanks to the second Lost Tapes main contributor ANT who has previously supplied the blog with plenty of hot, rare releases from InI, Ras Kass and some compilations that me and him have collaborated on. So all thanks to him for this one, it's appreciated brother and you know you're an integral part of this site!

This version is made up of 19 tracks rather than the 16 songs included on the final 2002 retail release, strangely leaving off some of the album's strongest material. Other changes include a few tracks being switched around, such as "The Anti-Love Movement" and "How We Ride" still appears back-to-back but rather as track #11 and #12 respectively. and a few others. But what is most interestingly is the inclusion of some absolute terrific material that for some reason didn't make the final cut. While Diamond D's "Best At That" and Last Emperor's "Hustler's Theme" (the latter is indeed missed) is not included we instead get several other standout cuts, that later became classics on white label 12"s, including M.O.P. & Teflon's "We Run NY", an interesting interlude from the late HeadQCuarterz, an outro, "Bentleys & Bitches" by Jayo Felony, Xzibit (and a short but ill musical interlude following the joint) as well as a heavy joint by Tash and Rah Digga entitled "Sumthin'". Another joint that seems to have been featured on this original sampler but is mysteriously missing from this bootleg is the excellent "Da Connection" by Ghost and G Rap, which appeared on the white label 12" which also featured the already mentioned "We Run NY". ANT is pretty sure this was the case when he first heard this back in the day, and I found two early articles on the album that confirms this - here and here. ANT believes it appeared right after track #7 "Bentleys & Bitches", unfortunately since I lost most of my files recently (which is why I can't give y'all re-ups at the moment) I don't have the track anymore. However if you got it please upload the mp3 for me/us in the comments section (whether it's the version with Ghost and G Rap also known as "Ghost & Giancana" or "Da Connection" that also features Cappadonna over a beat switch, since I'm not sure which version was included).

No matter what, while "Brace 4 Impak" is no masterpiece, it's an interesting album, and this version feels a lot more complete so be sure to check it out, and thank my man ANT (as well as upload the aforemention Ghost/G Rap joint if you have it) in the comments section. Download, tune in and TURN UP!!

01. "Intro/Live & Direct/Brace 4 Impak" (Ft. Lord Tariq & Royce Da 5'9")
02. "We Run N.Y." (Ft. M.O.P. & Teflon) [*]
03. "Devastatin' That's Us" (Ft. Black Moon & Lord Have Mercy)
04. "Hell Yeah, Oh Yeah" (Ft. Black Hearted Scavengerz)
05. "The Anti-Love Movement" (Ft. Talib Kweli & Total)
06. "How We Ride" (Ft. Freddie Foxxx & Heather B.)
07. "Bentley's Bitches" (Ft. Jayo Felony, Ras Kass & Xzibit) [*]
08. "Sumthin'" (Ft. Tash & Rah Digga) [*]
09. "Ghetto 2 Ghetto" (Ft. Teflar Cordell)
10. "HQ Street Reminder Pt. 1" (Ft. HeadQCuarterz) [*]
11. "Take That" (Ft. The Flipmode Squad & Vinia Mojica)
12. "Drama" (Ft. Shadez Of Brooklyn)
13. "Extreme Situation" (Ft. Cocoa Brovaz & Black Hearted Scavengerz)
14. "Shut Da Fuck Up" (Ft. Apani B Fly Emcee & Jean Grae)
15. "Beef On The Streets" (Ft. Billy Flames) [*]
16. "Thug Love" (Ft. Naughty By Nature)
17. "Open" (Ft. Pete Rock & Camron Wheeler)
18. "Let's Talk About It (T.R.O.Y. Remix)" (Ft. Krumbsnatcha)
19. "Outro" [*]

[Albun] MELLO MUSIC GROUP - "Mandala Vol. 1 + 2"

Having posted several singles from Mello Music Group's two upcoming compilations "Mandala Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2", the albums are finally here and available @ iTunes. Noisey has been given the go ahead to let fans stream the entire projects in full so be sure to peeop that below via Soundcloud. "Vol. 1: Polysonic Flows" include new and/or unreleased music from the likes of Mr. Lif, Oddisee, Quelle Cris, Blueprint, Has-Lo, Gerogia Anne Muldrow, yU and more. "Vol. 2: Today's Mathematics" is a collection of previously unheard music from heavy hitters including contributions from Murs, Apollo Brown, Oddisee, Apollo Brown, Rapper Big Pooh, Jamall Bufford, Fredro Starr, Audible Doctor, Fredro Starr, Gensu Dean, Ugly Heroes, and many more.. Cop the albums @ iTunes (Vol. 1) and "Vol. 2".

PHARAHOE MONCH - "Bad Motherfucker"

We've heard a few street sginels that might or might not make it P. Monch's upcoming "P.T.S.D." album, but the just released "Bad M.F." is definitely to be included on the project. Once again Monch brings the highest level of lyricism, clever song writing and impeccable flow which meshes beautifully with the stomping production by Lee Stone (a musical reationship that has proven to be very powerful to say the least). TURN THIS ONE UP and stay tuned for the release of the LP that has finally been given the release date of April 15.

MOBB DEEP - "Taking You Off Here"

I haven't got much info about this joint, but this is most likely from the forthcoming "The Infamous Mobb Deep" - a very dope concept album, celebaring the 20 year anniversary of one of hip-hop's best album. The 3xCD album features a remastered version of the classic album, a disc of rare material and outtakes from the original sessions (most likely the majority which are made up of the many incredbly fat tracks that have been floating around on the web for a long time), as well as a completely new album featuring materials produced by Alchemist, Havoc, and Bo1-Ida (?!). Check out the new single from that latter discussed part of the album, a pretty ill joint entitled "Taking You Off There" featuring stellar production and verses from both P and Havoc. What you think?

[Video] STEP BROTHERS - "Why We Do This"

The Step Brother's project has been in the making for several years, and now that "Lord Steppington" is finally hear it's just as dope as I had hoped. While I'm not much fan of Alchemist's rhymes, I always liked Evidence a lot since way back in Dilated's "The Platform" days so with The Chemist's extraordinary beats and dope guests it's definitely makes up for it. A very rewind worthy record to say the least, just like the latest single from the project "Why We Do This" which now has been given the (short) video treament.


For almost a year Willie The Kid and producer Bronze Nazareth has worked heavily on getting an album together. There's been a few singles here and there, always hot, but now the album is finished and has given the title "The Living Daylights" - to be released on February 11. Check the tracklist for the album below and peep the latest single/video, the relaxing yet strong "The Guilt".

1.) “Overture”
2.) “Avalon” f/ Roc Marciano
3.) “The Blitz” f/ S-Class Sonny
4.) “Breakfast In France 

5.) “Sweet Sorrow” 
6.) “The Guilt”
7.) “Fucking Blades” f/ L.A.D
8.) “Wu Babies” f/ Young Dirty Bastard and Sun God 
9.) “Ain't Nothing” f/ Boldy James
10.) “Coming From” f/ Bronze Nazareth
11.) “Delirium” f/ Sha Stimuli and Sean Price
12.) “Ice Cold Guinness” f/ L.A.D
13.) “Bless My Food” f/ Tekh Togo

[Video] J-LIVE - "Money Music"

About a month ago I posteed the official streamable single of J-Live's lattest collaboration with producer Oddisee, two always interesting artists who's "Money Music" is an extremely fat track that hip-hop heads will love. The song's release also came with the announcement of a forthcoming J-Live album entitled "Around The Sun" which hopefully will be out soon. In the meantime peep the official video for this beautiful meeting between 'Live and Odd. TURN IT UP!!

[Video] G. DOT & BORN - "Manhunter"

G. Dot and Born is preparing an album presented by producer Connfidence, and heavily featuring Boston veteran Edo G. Following the incredible first single, the Pete Rock dedication "Living Legend", the trio (including Confidence) is back in business with single no. 2 - another dope cut titled "Manhunt" that packs more of the laid-back, soulful but boom bapish sound that we are starting to associate this group with. The track is called "Manhunter", and does not feature Edo G this time, but is still a very ill cut, indeed. Check it out above and enjoy, while we wait for the LP to drop very soon.


For the next installment in the weekly "New #52" series from MidaZ The BEAST and Doxside Music Group comes "Gameboy", another stellar cut that also features TzariZM (also producer) and DJ SPS. Enjoy!


Tell Tale Machine is an instrumental band experimenting with a wide array of sounds using almost exclusive live instrumentation, and for their latest single "Shoe String Addiction" they have constructed an ill instrumental for the often very dope Denmark Vessey called "Shoe String Addiction". This is the first single from the band's upcoming self-titled debut album, due for release later this year. The song was just premiered via DJBooth and can he heard below, so check it out and see what you think about it! Much props to the homie James Dunn for sending this one out to me!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Kev Brown is not only a super talented producer, but he got a real knack for finding and supporting fresh talent. In 2012 Brown's Low Budget Records released the terrific debut LP from Quartermaine, and now comes an equally stunning project from the label in the form of Early Reed's "The Dose (The MFN Files)". A 7 tracks deep journey into the art of well crafted beats, on point rhymes, turntable magic, headnodding and a whole lot of soul that is not to be missed. Entirely produced by Washington/DC veteran Early Reed whose jazzy blend of soul and boom bap is a real treat for the ears with captivating vocals expertly handled by J Scienide this little Extended Play is simply superb on all levels. Guest apperances comes from Kev Brown, Hasaan Mackey, Supastition and DJ Jon Doe. Initially released back in December it is only available as a digital download (for $5) so be sure to support these guys and lets hope for an eventual vinyl release!

[Comp] REDMAN - "The Best Kept Secret"

Despite Redman being one of the most cherrished emcees in the world, especially when taking into account his many classic LP:s both as a solo artist and with Meth, he's also a damn overlooked producer. While I will most likely do a Redman cameos compilation soon enough, for the latest Lost Tapes compilation I've choosen to focus on Reggie Noble's skills on the other side of the booth. Ever since releasing his first album in '92 with the classic "Whut?! Thee Album" Red cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with both on the mic and behind the boards. Many people take for granted that it's Erick Sermon's beats you hear on that album, and sure enough a large part of it but many joints are solely credited to Reggie Noble. This side of his musicianship was even further explored when he made "Dare Iz A Darkside" where he produced the vast majority of the beats. The dark, almost threatening atmosphere of those bass heavy, psychadelic funk blasters still stand out as one of the crowning achievments in a long and illustrious career. But by that time (1994) he had already spent many years molding his musical talents. It's hard to believe, given his effortless flow and knack for hilarious punchlines, that Reggie Noble wasn't always focused on being an emcee, but the fact is that he initially started his career as a DJ. And of course being a good DJ is a vital part to becoming a good producer for many of the illest beat constructers on the hip-hop scene. Add to that learning from certified genius composers such as Erick Sermon and The RZA, and it's easy to see how Redman evolved into a really dope producer in his own right... A fact still overlooked by too many!

Although Redman of course produced many of his own tracks for "100% Redman" I have excluded almost all solo tracks by the man in favor of lesser known works for artists like Jamal, Dave Hollister, Mel-Low, Quo, Mother Superia and many more. The two exceptions are his contribution to the 1995 "New Jersey Drive" soundtrack, "Where Am I?" and the 1996 non-album single "Funkorama" - both really strong cuts. Other tracks includes classics by EPMD, Keith Murray and Artifacts. The end result is a truck load of dirty and raw FUNK that should be played LOUD or not at all. So I hope you  all enjoy this one and last but not least, this compilation was inspired by an idea from my homie Jaz over @ ColdRockDaSpot who posted a similiar comp at the T.R.O.Y. Forums a few years ago.. So much thanks to him for the inspiration and be sure to check out his site if you're not already familiar, a true hip-hop head!

01. Dave Hollister/Redman - "Ghetto Hymns (The Introduction)" (1999)
02. Artifacts - "Comin' Thru Ya' Fucking Block" (1994)
03. Erick Sermon - "The Vibe"
04. Redman - "Where Am I?" (1995)
05. Humanreck - "Tear Shit Up" (19999)
06. Shaquille O'Neal - "Shaq's Got It Made" [1994]
07. Que? - "Huh What?" (1994)
08. Mother Supria - "Most Of All" (1996)
09. Diezzle Don & The Governor - "So Know You Know" (1995)
10. Luniz Ft. Redman - "Hypnotize" (1997)
11, Mel-Low - "Return Of The Player" [Astronomical Mix] (1994)
12. Xcross-Breed - "Do Your Thing" (1995)
13. Jamal - "Fades 'Em All" (1995)
14. EPMD - "I'm Mad" [Redman Remix] (1992)
15. Redman - "Funkorama" (1996)
16. Keith Murray - "Escapism" (1994)


[Video] MAJESTIC GAGE - "Fair Warning"

We heard Majestic Gage's heavy hitting "Fair Warning" single a couple of months back but now the young South BX spitter returns with the music video for the track, directed by Quentin The Latino (gotta love that name). Currently signed to D.I.T.C. Entertainment, you can count on hearing more from Gage very soon so be on the lookout here for updates!

[Classic Clip] GZA, RZA & BILL MURAY in "Delirium"

Having just rewatched Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee & Cigarettes" for the first time since it came out in 2003, I wanted to take the opportunity to share that films classic RZA, GZA and Bill Murray skit. For those of you who didn't see the flick, it's basically a collection of 12 short films shot in beautiful black and white and sharing the main theme of coffee and cigarrettes. The various segments range from the straight to the bizarre, from the hilarious to the straight up boring, though there's definitely enough gems in there to make it a worthwhile watch. Many of the segments features famous actors or musicians playing fictionalized and often absurd versions of themeselves (as is the case with "Delirium" featuring hilarious performances from RZA, GZA and Murray). Other people featured in the movie include Steve Buscemi, Joie Lee & Clinque Lee (brother and sister of Spike Lee), Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, Jack & Meg White (The White Stripes), and many others. It's a pretty fun, but indeed strange, movie that I liked a lot better at the age of 27 than I did at age 17.

In fact I'm currently going through Jarmusch filmography and more than "Coffee & Cigarettes" I'd strongly recommend checking out "Ghost Dog: Way Of The Samurai", "Dead Man", "Mystery Train" and "Broken Flowers". Very interesting director although he doesn't always hit the mark.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

PRINCE PO / OH NO - "Toxic"

The highly anticipated collaboration album between Prince Po and Oh No, "Animal Serum", hits stores on February 4 via Wandering Worx/Greenstreets and Nature Sounds. The second single from the LP just landed and if "Toxic", the previous "Bearz" and the tracklist which has now been revealed (check below) is anything to go by, this could be even crazier than I'm expecting it to be. Can't wait to hear track #7 especially - when was the last time we heard that trio of greatness together?

01. "Lamina Mures Intro"
02. "Machine Rages"
03. "U Already" (Ft. Saafir & Rockness Monsta)
04. "Keep Reachin'"
05. "1st Word to What Was Last Said"
06. "Where U Eat"
07. "Smash" (Ft. OC & Pharoahe Monch)
08. "Visionz"
09. "Wavy" (Ft. Sadat X)
10. "Toxic" (Ft. Oh No)
11. "Bearz" (Ft. Roc C)
12. "U"
13. "Starflyer Milez"
14. "Givitiup"

SEAN PRICE / DOMINGO - "I Shot Tha..."

Through his exquisite work with legends such as KRS-One, Kool G Rap, Big Pun, Eminem, Masta Ace, and many others I've held producer Domingo's work in the highest regard for many years, so the release of his "Deranged Collection" comes as a very pleasant suprise. From what I can tell the album is a collection of various Domingo productions and remixes that for one reason or other went unreleased when they were originally recorded. First out from the project is a previously vaulted joint by Mr. Sean Price called "I Shot Ta...". Heavy!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

[Video] ILLA NOYZ - "Bars"

Original Boot Camp affiliate Illa Noyz has been around since the mid-'90s making strong cameos on Heltah Skeltha's debut, early BCC compilations, OGC's sophomore LP, as well as more recent projects like Sean Price's "Kimbo Price". However, he has never released a solo album but that is what he's about to do this summer with "That Old New Shit". The first single is simply called "Bars" and is produced by Black Sparx.

AMIRI - "Broke"

HiPNOTT emcee/producer Amiri is gearing up to release his third solo album "This is Part Time" on February 25. The first single packs a slamming jazz infused beat underlining clever verses and is called "Broke". Pre-order the album and check the tracklist @ UGHH.

Friday, January 24, 2014

[Video] AURAL & SAUZE - "Oh No" [BUCKWILD Remix]

You know how huge D.I.T.C. fans we at The Lost Tapes are, so it's a little suprising that this Buckwild remix that first dropped almost a year ago totally flew over my head. But better late than never, as this is definitely a certified sure shot from a producion stand point, a must listen for DITC heads as Buck takes it back to the gritty rawness of his hardcore mid-'90s production complete with some severely ill turntable work on top. It's also good to see these veteran 1990s remix kings taking a step back to the remix circuit in recent years, something I really have been missing with the emergence of the 2000s. The rhyming is in French so can't comment too much on the lyrics.

[Album] GRAP LUVA - "Neva Done EP"

There's no question that JNOTA and Damu Tha Fudgemunk's Redefinition imprint in a relatively short time has grown into one of the absolute strongest and most original underground hip-hop labels of our time. The label features both legendary producers and emcees that since their move to Redef has gotten the chance to release more music than probably ever before (K-Def, Damu, Grap Luva, Kev Brown, etc) as well as giving a chance to up-and-coming artost that based on their output have a very bright future (think Quartermaine, Klaus Layer, and Raw Poetic). Few labels in the last few years have been so hard on my wallet but I'm sure as hell ain't complaining cosidering the qualitythese guys bring to the table. 

In 2011, former InI member Grap Luva released his first real solo endeavour - the solid "Neva Done EP", featuring nine songs (plus instrumental versions of the two main tracks). The mini album clocked in at about 30 minutes and is a very interesting listen from Soul Brother #2. His influences range from his brother Pete Rock, but his work with other great producers like DJ Spinna, Oddisse, Kev Brown, Joc Max and Damu  (the two latter who also features with beats on the project) has definitely helped in molding Grap's own unique sound which makes "Neva Done" a superb listen. If you missed it the first time it dropped some three and a half years ago, Redef has now, like with several other releases from the label recently, put up a one track rip of the entire cassette of the album which you can both download and stream for free. If you like what you hear, make sure to grab the cassette ASAP @ RedefinitionRecords.comTURN IT UP!!

DJ KAY SLAY Ft. Termaology, Trick-Trick, Troy Ave & Trae - "Ghetto Survivor"

Zulu Nation's DJ Kay Slay have been in the game for a while now, releasing both some fantastic music and some mediocre stuff. For 2014 the legendary DJ is gearing up for the next installment in his Streetsweeper series, entitled "Streetsweeper Presents: The Rise Of A City", featuring a host of both veteran emcees and new talents mostly hailing from the NYC area. The first single was the impeccable seven minutes "90s Flow" which I thought was somewhat overlooked by many as it featured quality verses over a strong beat from Prodigy, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Rell, Fat Joe, Sheek Louch, Herb McGruff, M.O.P., and N.O.R.E. I realized I never posted it on the site, so as the second single "Ghetto Survivor" is here I figured it's a perfect opportunity to post both tracks. "Ghetto Survivor" is produced by the underrated Blastah Beatz and features lyrical performances by Termanology, Troy Ave, Trick Trick & Trae. Enjoy these banging joints while we wait for the full project to drop.


Although it's not a new Pete Rock production, The Soul Brother joins Jamla artists Rapsody and Lecrae for the soulful Khrysis! laced "Be Inspired". This is another leak from the upcoming Jamla compilation "Jamla is the Squad" which is hosted by Statik Selektah. Keep checking the Lost Tapes for more info and the actual project which drops January 28!

[Video] ILLA GHEE x LIL' FAME - "Salute The General"

Another of my personal favorite emcees is of course Lil' Fame a.k.a. Slap, a.k.a. Fizzy Womack. For this new video Illa Ghee enlists Fame for a nice performance on "Salute The General", produced by DJ Skizz who delivered one of he hottest proudcer driven albums of last year with "B.Q.E. (Brooklyn to Queens Experience)". TURN IT UP!!


Kool G Rap and DJ Supa Dave had some amazing moments together on G Rap's underrated "Riches, Royalty & Respect" and when Dave now is releasing the mixtape "Oppoortunity Knox Vol. 2" he grabs Giancana along with Maffew Ragazino and new comer Typ Ill for "Drive Slow". Other producers and artists to appear on the tape include several heavy hitters including Cormega, Big Noyd, PMD, Reef The Lost Cauze, Little Vic, DJ Concept and more... Stay tuned!

[Video] VERBAL KENT - "Sammy Sosa"

As recently announced Chicago emcee Verbal Kent has completed his upcoming solo album "Sound of the Weapon". Proudced entirely by Khrysis! (save for a guest remix by 9th Wonder) the LP drops on Mello Music Group on February 18 this year. Two weeks ago I posted the first single "Rappanomics", and now XXL Mag has been given the get go to premier the second single in the form of the music video for "Sammy Sosa", another knock out boom bap-esque banger.


Lost Tapes favorite MidaZ The Beat and his long-tme associate producer IMAKEMADBEATS together form the duo BlakOut. For the fourth volume in Doxside's weekly 2014 series The New 52 is a joint by the team called "Cold Outside", and is another HQ release from the series. Checkk out MidaZ own words on the song, press play on the player below and TURN IT UP!!

"This weeks entry into the NEW 52 is a joint that was created when IMAKEMADBEATS sent me a beat to write a song to for inclusion in a compilation for a website. Said website ended up scrapping the idea for the compilation but the song still exists! IMAKEMADBEATS specifically asked me to write a song with a "Winter" feel to it. When i heard the beautiful opening keys, I already knew i wanted it to be a song that represented falling in love during the season when love is most important." - MidaZ the #BEAST

[Video] MADKEM Ft. K-Hill - "The Breeze"

Back around six months ago the highly skilled lyricist MadKem released his quality album "La Vie en Bleu" in digital format via Elementality Records. If you haven't heard the LP yet it comes highly recommended and I suggest you click the link above for a free stream of the entire project. Or you can simply check out the just released video for one of "La Vie"'s standout cuts; the K-Hill assisted, DroP Beats produced "The Breeze". Of course you can also support MadKem and his latest LP @ iTunes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

KLAUS LAYER - "Kool" / "REDEF Vinyl Review DJ Set"

Klaus Layer, a.k.a. Captain Crook, joined the high quality roster of Redefinition and dropped one of the funkiest instrumental LP:s of 2014 (a year filled with superb instrumental albums) with "The Adventures of Captain Crook". Here is a loose joint from the German wunderkind's stash called "Kool", recorded in 2008. Enjoy!

Also check out Captain Crook's DJ set recap of Redefinition Records 2013 catalouge which I totally missed when it was first uploaded (though I own a bunch of the records). Featuring Crook mixing music by Blu, K-DEF, Damu The Fudgemunk, Kev Brown and Klaus Layer himself. Will be interesting to see what's in store from Redef in 2014.

D. PROSPER / FLYING LOTUS - "Elephant Ride"

Emcee D. Prosper teamed up with the always impressive Flying Lotus for the track "Elephant Ride" on D's "Atom 12.12.12" project. The result was so stunning that now, over a year later, an animated video has been made available to the public and it's just as cool as the track deserves. Be sure to press play on the embeded player above. In case you missed the album when it first dropped, don't sleep - download "Atom 12.12.12"!

PHIFE - "Dear Dilla"

Damn, it's good to hear Phife Dawg back in the studio again, it's really been a while. During his career he worked a lot with the late legend J Dilla, both as part of Tribe Called Quest and as a solo artist ("Ben Dova", "Game Day", "Ya Heard Me", "4 Horsemen", "Thought U Wuz Nice"). In that sense it is fitting that he breaks his musical silence with a tribute to his fallen comrade which he does with the heartfelt "Dear Dilla", written as a letter adressed to Yancey. To get a real Dilla sound, producer and DJ Rasta Root blends a funky KC & The Sunshine Band groove with the drum loop from Slum Village's "Hold Tight" a long with several samples of Jay Dee ad-libs and small parts of classic Dilla productions. Live bass is provided by DETOXXX and V. Rich does a great job performing the melodic keys... All in all, a very ill track that apparantly is the first single from Phife Diggy's upcoming solo album "MUTTYMorphosis". It's about time "Ventilation: Da LP", which definitely was an underrated collection of good music, finally get a follow up. Be sure to head over to Okayplayer (who premiered the song) to read Phife's own thoughts about the making of the song and peep the complete credits!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

[Album + Review] OC / RAY WEST - "Ray's Cafe"

"Ray's Cafe" is the latest release from Diggin' in the Crates emcee Omar Credle, a.k.a. OC, made in collaboration with Ray West - owner and main producer of the Red Apples 45 label. West is relatively new on the scene and has since 2009 made a name for himself through collaborations with AG, Roc Marciano, Blu, Kool Keith, and more. Throughout his twenty years long career, OC has never been one to repeat himself - each full-length release from his classic '94 debut to last years impeccable collaboration with Detroit's Apollo Brown has seen Credle reinvent himself in one way or other. Sometime in a lyrical and verbal fashion, but more often by updating his sound through the use of new producers and musical directions. This is a formula that has worked well for the Brooklynite as it makes his music hard to pigeonhole and has resulted in the vast majority of his albums feeing fresh and original. That is not to say that he only deals in perfection, but at least you can be sure that OC always got a few tricks left up his sleeve. This changing nature has resulted in several of his albums initially putting off certain fans looking for a reprise of the sound that initially made them fans. So while many of his projects initially received a somewhat lukewarm reception  they have with time largely gained in popularity (think his sophomore LP "Jewelz" from '97... Shit, even "Bon Appetit" had a lot of gems despite a few wack cuts).

But enough about the past! OC and Ray West's 2014 endeveaour for 2014 is a rather short album, sporting no more than nine tracks (including an intro). West is a producer that I feel have grown stronger and more interesting with each release he has worked on, and to me this is most likely his finest effort yet. As I mentioned before, he is a relatively new producer and its clear here that he's definitely starting to come into his own as an impressive beatsmith. Part of what makes the record work so well is the obvious chemistry between OC and Ray West which evokes the suspicion that the duo's musical relationship is based on bringing out the best in each other. "Ray's Cafe" is a loose concept album - the time is sometime during the 1970's and the place is a smokey jazz cafe somewhere in NYC where OC and Ray West is the music attraction of the night. The music really fits that description, and its definitely an album you can sit back, close your eyes and let the music wash over you and you'll see that jazz club, the stage and the band come to life behind your eyes. West's music is constructed around carefully selected samples, mainly built and arranged on smooth jazz records, with some funk and soul grooves thrown in for good measure. It's obvious that the instrumentals were created specifically for OC as they many times sound like the musical equivalent of his laid-back, introspective and reflective persona. As such it's a true joy to listen to, and O sounds very inspired by the production here, sharing stories and reflections on life, struggles, love, loss, beauty, music and so on. I personally would place OC in my top 10 of all time, and this record is simply another feather in his hat.

After a short intro the title track sets the stage for OC and Ray West as a team. As soon as the beat kicks in O takes the stage and delivers a very powerful introduction where he directly adresses the hypothetical crowd in Ray's Cafe - "I'm about to take you in the zone, in the sense of Boogaloo or Barbecue with my man Ray on the barbecue/ Miller time chillout, high times, fly dimes, not hard on the eyes, the people's like Whoa!". It's a slamming introduction set over a somewhat somber beat, built around a heavy bass line, competent but laid back drums and various sound and synth effects. It's a great way to kick things off, and really sets the mood for the entire album to come. In fact if you're not nodding your head yet, chances are that the LP as a whole will not be to your liking. The following "Have Fun" is an equally strong, but heavily stripped down, cut. The BPM is slow, in fact the drum programming is close to none, but the track rests on an especially strong keyboard hook and a barey noticable bassline. Still, the track comes off as both magnificent and addictive - especially since OC is a master of both slow and fast flows. It's a short track, and once again evokes that intimate feeling of a small but exclusive club with each of OC's word being as clear as day... And there's plenty of quotables here as well - "It's Mush, known in the rap books as O-Cizzle who's fire still burns while others tend to fizzle/ What I does, I'ma do til' my last breath/ Take advantage of life cuz you can't cheat death/ So have FUN!". 

I don't intend to break down every single track, as I believe that the whole is stronger than its parts in this case and it's not a single driven project per se. However there are a few joints I'd like to mention for a few reasons. "Soul Kitchen" might be my favorite song of the entire LP, and also one of the tracks that deviates a bit from the formula. Production wise it's a more up-tempo beat that's filled to the brink with soul and is layered with various vocal samples, a slick guitar riff and a heavy drum and bass combination. The album is all about Credle and West so not suprisingly it's very light on guests. There is, however, one noticeable exception and that is "Go Back" which appears halfway through the LP. Here both AG and Milano appears, two emcees I have a whole lot of admiration and respect for, but strangely enough OC doesn't even pop up for a hook or some ad-libs. While it's undoubtedly strange, the song does manage to fit in the big picture as Ray West's inspired jazz-funk production is right in key with the other tracks and both spitters puts on an impressive performance despite it being a slight dissapointment our main artist choose to sit down out. It's a short track that works almost like a little intermission because when OC returns on Side B of the album, he does so with a venegance, rocking three of the LP:s finest moments - "Lovers", "Breaking The Rules" and "YMI" . 

Overall, Ray West and OC has with "Ray's Cafe" proven to be an exceptional duo, creating a short but excellent album that should cater both to jazz fanatics and hip-hop heads (seeing how I'm both, it's not too suprising I love this). The music is constantly smooth and often laid back, and though sampled it's easy to be fooled into thinking it's actually a full live band backing OC. The cover states "Dedicated to the preservation of Jazz" and there's definitely a jazz vibe all over this, both in the instrumentals and the way OC uses his voice much in the same vein as a skilled reed player blows his sax. Too often jazz/hip-hop fusions comes off as clichés and, lets face it, boring. But jazz is just a state of mind, a musical freedom, and that is something Ray West and OC truly captures on "Ray's Cafe". I've been back and forth on how I feel about West's music but if this is the direction he's headed I will definitely keep both eyes and ears open for future material. As for OC, he's not only one of the best writers we have but the way he spits every word with such clarity and packs a flow that makes it sound so effortless is the reason he has mantained a top position everr since his debut. I'm not sure if I'd place this above "Trophies" as they are two very different albums but it's clearly in the same league. Both lyrically and musically "Ray's Cafe" got a lot to offer, and repeated listenings are rewarding; even though I heard it several months ago I haven't tired in the least of it yet. If there's one thing I want to complain about it is the decision to not include all material on the vinyl - shortly before its release Red Apples 45 made available a non-album cut called "Just Cause"  which saw OC rhyming over not much more than an accoustic guitar. To me that was a pretty powerful closing statement, and I think the album would have benefitted from including this as an outro. But no matter what, this is a really potent album that I strongly recommend to hip-hop fans all over. That it's being released on both vinyl and cassette by FatBeats is extremely welcome too of course. Support OC, Ray West and Red Apples 45 @, but thanks to you can also stream the entire album for free while you wait for your order to arrive!

OC & RAY WEST - "Ray's Cafe"
01. "Intr"
02. "Ray's Café"
03. "Have Fun"
04. "Soul Kitchen"
05. "Go Back" (Ft. Milano & AG)
06. "Lovers"
07. "Breaking Rules"
08. "YMI"
09. "Gotta Luv It"
[*] "Just Cause"


ROC MARCIANO / DJ BRANS - "Do The Honors" [Remix]

Presented by Effisciencz, Roc Marciano and producer DJ Brans have teamed up for a six track EP (including instrumentals) made up of brand new Brans remixes of Roc tracks. The digital release features DJ Brans take on three somewhat rarer Roc Marcy cuts ("Do The Honors", "Warm Henessy", "Keep It Movin'"), plus instrumentals of all tracks. The EP is available from iTunes now, but heads can listen to the first single right now - "Do The Honors" featuring Dino Brave and Lost Occupants. Bang it hard!

Talib Kweli Ft. eLzhi & Phonte - "No Competition" [prod. Khrysis]

Jamla is a collective consisting of several highly interesting and talented producers, singers and emcees, and now the crew is gearing up for their compilation "Jamla is the Squad". The album drops January 28 on Jamla Records and will feature a host of ill artists and beatsmiths. Just check the lead single, produced by Khrysis, entitled "No Competition" featuring vocal apperances by no lesser greats than Talib Kweli, eLzhi and Phonte. Now how's that for a crazy posse cut?


For his 2012 breakthrough album,, The Los Angeles emcee Schoolboy Q enlisted the production services of The Alchemist. "My Homies" was by far my favorite joint on that LP, and now the duo reunites for Q's next upcoming album "Oxymoron" which drops late next month. And yet again, it's a true banger that I would believe is one of the true standouts on the album as the chemistry is definitely there and they both really bring a lot of heat to the table. Check out "Break The Bankfor yourself below!

[Album] TzariZM & Critical - "Close to Home"

The Doxside Music imprint is going steady in 2014 - not only are we getting the weekly "New #52" every Sunday, but signees TzariZM and Critical have uploaded their debut release as a unit for free download. "Close to Home" team up producer/rhymer and MidaZ associate TzariZM and emcee Critical of Critical Madness for a brand new 12 track project. Guests are kept to a minimum with RUGGED making two apperances, a long with a posse cut featuringn Madness and the underrated Lil' Vic. But it definitely doesn't need much in the guest apartment, considering that the two main artists does a great job of holding it down from front-to-back. TzariZM also produces all of the twelve songs, and if you've been following MidaZ career you know that he's a highly talented boom bap-esque producer. Definitely worth to check out, you can stream the entire project for free via Bandcamp, while a HQ download cost you $7. Add to that there's DMG T-Shirt bundles and/or a poster with the purchase.... Enjoy (but note that the embeded player start on Track #4 so don't forget to rewind to the first song)!

Monday, January 20, 2014

[Album] ALCHEMIST x EVIDENCE as STEP BROTHERS - "Lord Steppington"

Oh shit! One of my most anticipated albums in some time is finally hear... Alchemist has definitely been amongst the most interesting and consistent producers of the last two years, and when he first debuted on the scene it was together with Evidence and the Dilated Peoples crew (yeah, even before he became DJ Muggs protogé). Starting with producing 2/3 of Dilated's first 12" single in '97, Al went on to produce a total of about 16 tracks for the crew over their next four albums; a long with several B-sides and singles. Add to that that he was one of the main producers of both of Evidence's two solo albums and plenty of guest apperances featuring them both, and it was obviously only a matter of time before ALC and Ev went full circle by creating the duo Step Brothers. The album "Lord Steppington" has been in the works for a couple of years but is now finally here. Besides leaking a few trailers and snippets we also got our share of dope non-album cuts ("Ron Carter"; "Step Masters"; "Nothing to See Hear").

The full "Lord Steppington" album is finally being released today on Rhymesayers Entertainment, and packs features from The Whooliganz (!), Rakaa, Styles P, Roc Marciano, Fashawn, Action Bronson, Blu, Oh No and Domo Genesis. While both rappers rhyme on the record, the entire album is produced by Alan The Chemist save for "Byron G" which was laced by Evidence. I'm listening to the album now, and it's straight fucking FIRE.. Will definitely have to buy this at one point, hopefully sooner rather than later, but I just ordered a package of wax and my economy is pretty much down the drain at the MO.

The good people at Rhymesayers and the artists involved have decided to put up a free stream of the entire 14 track project (the iTunes deluxe edition features two additional bonus tracks though) via Soundcloud. Order the album @ UGHH (CD or 2xLP), iTunes (digital), or get an autographed copy with a bundle also including a T-Shirt and stickers @ FifthElementOnline. Until then, check out the free stream of the full thing below, and whatever you do... TURN IT UP!! 

[Video] G. DOT & BORN Ft, EDO G & InI - "Living Legend"

A little more than a week I posted "Living Legend", a track produced by Confidence for emcees G. Dot, Born & Edo G featuring former InI members Rob-O and Grap Luva. The track is really, really dope; it's a fitting tribute to one of the, if not the, greatest producer of all time complete with verses by long-time associates EDO G, Rob-O and Grap Luva over a beat that would make Pete happy. Born & G. Dot are new to me, but they do a fine job... And maybe the very best thing about this is that this is lifted from a forthcoming Confidence produced album by Edo G, G. Dot and Born. But anyways, I wrote all that in my last post, and this post is about "Living Legend" having gotten the visual treatment, so check out the video above and enjoy!


As I reported earlier one of today's finest underground labels, Mello Music Group, is gearing up to release an album/compilation this month showcasing the majority of their finest roster. It turns out that MMG has decided to release two volumes simultaneously; splitting the two projects into one featuring more of an avant-garde route, while Volume 2 will focus on more boom bap heavy hardcore hip-hop shit. "Volume 1: Polysonic Flows" includes exclusive joints from the likes of L'Orange, Oddisee, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Quelle Chris, Mr. Lif, Castle, Has-Lo, yU, and more. "Volume 2: Today's Mathematics" is created around new cuts by heavy htiters such as Apollo Brown, Gensu Dean, Fredro Starr, Audible Doctor, Murs, Verbal Kent, Blacastan, 14KT, Wise Intelligent, Def Dee, Rapper Big Pooh, and others. Both collections will be released on January 28, so check back then for a full album stream right here @ The Lost Tapes. Until then you can pre-order both albums at iTunes (vol. 1) (Vol. 2), and check out the two lead singles from each isntallment below - the beautifully soul/boom bap mash-up that is Apollo Brown & Murs' "The Pain is Gone", and Quelle Chris'"Going Swell". Both sounding real good!


Rome Cee is another really dope and heavily underrated emcee hailing from Boston, who slowly but steadily is making a name for himself. If you haven't heard him before, click on the Rome Cee link at the post right at the bottom of this post. His latest single is another solo joint, titled "DeepROOTED" and features Rome's trademarks of thought-provoking lyrics over dark and layered production (courtesy of Justin Ambush). "Deep Rooted" is one of 18 tracks to be included on Rome's upcoming album "EarthSide" which officially drops on February 2, so stay tuned for more info and singles as we get coser...

Mikkey Halstead - "Salomon Crouquettes"

No I.D. cooks up this beautifully smooth track for Chi-Town spitter's [Mikkey] Halstead's new single "Solomon Crouquettes" which is out now. The song will officially appear on Halstead's album "Bulletproof Dreams", hitting stores March 4. Let's hope there's a lot of ill production like this on it!

[Video] LUCKY TATT - "Celebrate" [prod. Fizzy Womack]

Nomeasuare nusic artist Lucky Tate just released his new single "Celebrate", complete with a brand new low-budget music video directed guerilla style in the streets of East New York, the track is produced by Fizzy Womack and was recorded by DJ Premier @ HeadQCuarterz Studios. The video description give due credit to "Billy Danze, Fame, Preemo, DJ Skizz, Toshi, (and R.I.P. to ODB of the Clan).  Talking about ODB, this is clearly qa sort of tribute - just look at the still from the video above!

MARCO POLO Ft. Masta Ace & Wordsworth - "I Refuse"

I included Marco Polo's excellent double feature release of 2013 in my best of the year countdown, making a case for how fantastic both "Newport Authority 2" / "PA2: Director's Cut" really are. In fact, on many days I feel that "Newport Authority 2" is most focused and best between the two, by a small margin. So of course any material that didn't make the album is something I really want to hear, so it came as a pleasant, although for me late discovery, that he together with Fat Beats and Soulspazm Records released a 12" single featuring the Artifacts' banger "Back to Work" from "Newport #2.", but what's really interesting is the flip side which is song created for the album(s) but ultimately didn't make the cut; which is unfortunate considering how absolutely dope it is. 

The track called "I Refuse" sees Ace and Wordsworth (eMC in the house) going in HARD over an equally raw Polo boom banger. The vinyl side features the dirty main version, the accapella and the instrumental version. Although it was released last month, it totally went over my head and I just listened to it only a week ago, but considering that Ace is one of my top 10 emcees out there any audio of this is very welcome since I don't have any cash to buy the 12" at the moment (I just ordered and received "New Port Authority" on 2xLP and pre-ordered the 3xLP set of "PA2" along with some other records). Being that Marco is also an excellent DJ (whcih he certainly proved when I saw him as eMC's back up tour DJ a year or two ago in Copenhagen), the way he includes the first verse and two hooks from the dirty main version, this is followed by the second part sees him making a smooth transition to the accapella  with the acapella for a verse which works real well. Then you get the beat back and the last hook before the track fades out for the last minute with the beat riding out (the instrumental).All in all sounds fantastic, and is strongly recommended if you haven't it heard yet. You can buy it together with a "PA2" bundle for $69.00 including the 12", the 3xLP set, and a nice poster. All high quality stuff - but hurry up because there's only a few left (order @ Slice-of-Spice).

DA BEATMINERZ Ft. Tash & Rah Digga - "Sumthin'" [Remix]

Another Ill Adrenaline banger that was posted close to a month ago but totally flew over my head but deserves to be heard by anyone visitng Lost Tapes by anyone, like me, who haven't heard it before. I'm not sure when it was recorded but I'm guessing around '98/early '99 and with stellar performances from Rah Digga and Tash of Tha Liks and a hardcore Beatminerz beat this is essential listen for any true hip-hop head. This was released on a limited 7" single with a previously unreleased Black Starr's "Another World" remix on the flip. Copies are still available from the label for about $10 dollars so hurry up and buy while you still can, and TURN THAT FUCKER UP!!

KVBEATS Ft. Rashad & DJ Rob Swift - "You Know The Rules"

Ill Adrenaline Records keeps the quality hip-hop coming; in only a few years they have joined the ranks of Redefinition, Mello Music Group and a few of the other quality underground labels as one of the true imprints that knows quality underground hip-hop and are not afraid to give up-and-comers a chance. The name KVBeats is entirely new to me, but here he has produced a real headnodder with "You Know The Rules" featuring the impeccable turntable wortkk from DJ superhero DJ Rob Swift and tight lyrics from Rashad (of Confidence & Rashad y'know). Very powerful joints, that deserves a whole lot of rewinds... No question! The song is lifted from KVBeats' forthcoming IllAdrenaline EP "The Breadwinner". Other features include Torae, Pacewon, Chaundon and Little Vic amongst others... Be sure to stay tuned as The Lost Tapes will without a doubt follow the evolvement of the project.

KILLER MIKE / EL-P - "36" Chain" [Blue Sky Black Death Mix]

Big Dada Records is releasing the official European only limited edition of Run The Jewel's (El-Producto and KM's recently formed group) self-titled 2013 album which is available now. Besides the impeccable non-album track "Pew Pew Pew" (ft. DJ Q-Bert) and Dave Sitek's remix of "Sea Legs", this special edition also includes the strong, but stripped down Blue Sky Black Death version of "36" Chain". Given that the original version clocked in at just over three minutes, these three bonus tracks really add a lot to the project, considering how dope they all are and add some new flavor to the project while still keeping the original vision 100% intact. You can order this version now @ Big Dada's Official Site in your format of choice, a long with other cool stuffs including T-shirts, various packages and whatnot so what you're waiting for? This is the ultimate version of the LP, no doubt and if you haven't picked up this powerhouse release yet, I strongly recommend that this edition is the one to with while it's still around.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Here's another lost '90s gem that recently surfaced through the impeccable DJ Ogee's Soundcloud. Titled "That's How It Be (Boo Yah)", this was recorded at D&D Studios back in late '95 by Foul Play - a group signed to Duck Down Records at the time. Their only credit on Discogs is as performing backing vocals on the single version of Smif-N-Wesson's "Sound Bwoy Burreil" the same year. This cut goes hard though, DJ Ogee's hypnotic production and Rock's chant-a-long hook really captures the whole early BCC/Duck Down vibe. According to Ogee, this was only released on an Evil Dee tape back in the day, and is the first of two parts ("This version has Roc dropping the hook, and on a new project I'm getting together for 2014 I'll release Part 2 with other verses from both Ruc & Rock"). Looking forward to that project, I'd easily support a Rare & Unreleased type of compilation by Ogee!

Friday, January 17, 2014

JIGMASTAS - "The Resurge"

Damn, this is some fantastic news right here... DJ Spinna and Kriminul links back up as Jigmastas for the first time in several years, so it's real cool to hear that the chemistry and that deep bassed vintage JIG sound is in full effect from the jump. Let's hope this "Resurge" will lead to a proper follow-up to the ridiciously overlooked "Infectious" and "Grass Roots" albums. You know you 'll need to keep the volume LOUD on this one! [BTW, also HQ free download or stream of Clean and Instrumental versions @ Spinna Soundcloud]


It's a new year but over @ Mello Music Group the focus is still pumping out highly interesting quality hip-hop straight from the underground. A week or so I wrote an excited post on how their latest project to come out on the label will be a double EP where Apollo Brown has remixed tracks from Planet Asia's Gensu Dean produced "Abrasions" while Gensu Dean in turned has remixed Apollo Brown's original project with Guilty Simpson, "Dice Game". The result is already here, and it's sounding really great and is presented here as highly recommended listen for real hip-hop heads all over the world. 
"Abrasions: Stitched Up" includes five remixes in hauntingly dark and often moody, yet incredibly soulful Apollo Brown fashion which really compliments Planet Asia's flavorful brand of lyricism. It's interesting to me how Brown seems to find extreme inspiration when facing the task of remixing (or rather reimagine altogether) already existing material. For example Ghost's "The Brown Tape" stands as my favorite AB set yet, and the 5 cuts here are again some of the strongest work I've heard from the man. I also really dig how it's constructed as a complete musical joruney, despite its short length you have a clear beginning, middle and end (I mean you can't deny what a powerful closer "Reflections" is).

"Dice Game: Shaken" also consists of five Genu Dean flips (excluding a brief funky but brief introduction) where Guilty's gritty street raps are backed up with minimalistic but hard knocking boom bap type of bangers cooked up on Dean's trusty SP1200. Gensu's drum programming on here is absolutely flawless. For a cut like "Ink Blotches" (Remix) it's like you don't really need much more than a steady bassline, hard ass drums and Guilty at the center. Those ingredients right there are so powerful in themeselves that they are perfect for creating a batch of certified gutter hip-hop. Gensu also adds some hard ass electric guitar riffs on a couple of tracks ("Potatoes"; "Truth Be Told") which really works well, considering Guilty's agressive presence in a way evokes similiar vibes to the hard rock stuff. 

Besides being a brilliant idea on paper, Gensu and Brown really delivers through on the concept by naturally adding their signature sounds onto two fantastic lyrical performances. It's hard to say whether or not these remixes are better than the original versions or not.. I would probably say that for the larger part of both records they are just as dope as their OG counterparts, and that's saying a whole lot. I also don't want to single out one of the records as the better, as I believe that this is a double presentation that should be heard in one sitting. I would also suggest listening to the "Dice Game" EP first, as it has an intro, followed by a perfect album opener, but doesn't close out on such a fantastic note as "Abrasions" in my opinion. For now it unfortunately seems that this is a digital release only, but hopefully MMG will press up a few vinyl copies of this and if they do I really hope they press it as a 2xEP (including instrumentals) or as a single LP with each EP on each side. Whatever you do, make sure to listen below and if you want to support each EP is available for $4.49 @ MMG Bandcamp.