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Wednesday, March 30, 2016


With the tragic passing of one of hip-hop's legendary punchline kings and rhyming sports enthusiasts music fans all over the world has been grieving since the news of Malik Taylor's passing hit the internet last week. Taylor was a man of many names, but to most people he was known as Phife Dawg from the group that perhaps was THE epitome of '90s Hip Hop, A Tribe Called Quest. I can't think of any other MC that elevated himself from a rather mediocre spitter (in my honest opinon) on "People's Instinctive Travels..." to a quick, witted, well flowing, and unique wordsmith in just a little over a year. But that is exactly what Phife did in time for "The Low End Theory" (1991) where he played a significant role and would be the beginning of Tribe including stand-out tracks featuring Phife as the sole emcee (these include one of my all time favorite songs in "8 Million Stories"). For a jazz fanatic such myself I'd have to say that A Tribe Called Quest probably came closer than any other hip-hop group or artist (including other worthy players such as GURU, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Digable Planets and Buckshot LeFonque) in actually chanelling the esthetics and spirits of jazz and seemingly effortlessly transcribing it into a Hip Hop language. Phife and Q-Tip often used their distinct voices in the same way an alto sax player like Cannonball and a tenor player like 'Trane either built tension in "dueling" each other or built on each other solos/verses. Not to mention the call-and-response nature of so many of their classic hooks, a main staple of american black music dating all the way back to the plantation field and becoming an important part of both jazz and blues ... And that's just in speaking about the vocal part of the group's legacy. Tribe truly introduced the power of the low end to Hip Hop, with their heavy use of the acoustic bass (or stand up bass if you will) to fantastic effect... not to mention their heavy reliance on the Fender Rhodes electric piano which instantly recognizable sound had helped define jazz since the late '60s and been especially important in soul jazz and early jazz fusion - two subgenres that would become extremely important as sample sources in Hip Hop over the coming years. But it was Tribe (and a few others like Showbiz and DJ Premier) who really started that trend. Hell they even got Ron Carter to play on "The Low End Theory"!

While some people unflinchingly give too much, sometimes all, credit to Q-Tip alone for Tribe's success story I would go as far as call that straight up blasphemous. I don't buy that for a second. Q-Tip was of course the defacto leader but his claim that he produced all of those records solely by himself I feel are strongly revisionist history - check out a track like "La Schmoove" by Fu Schnickens or the amazing remixes for BDP's "We In There" and that Ice Cube joint that Ali Shaheed produced all by himself. Or why not go back to the HHC interview with the whole group that ran around the time of "Midnight Mauraders" where both Ali and Tip was asked and answered the question what they used when producing their music. And it's a safe bet that up and until "Beats, Rhymes & Life", Phife had suggestions for additions to the music as well - that's just how it works within a group. The whole thing about Tribe could never have come from any single man of the crew, but was the result of thee great, yet different minds came together. In their 10 years as a functioning, working unit this powerhouse trio released five albums - four of them being extremely good, while their last album showed a group struggling to keep it together which is not to say that it doesn't have it's selection of bangers. Although it probably never would have happened either way it is now certain that that final Tribe reunion album will definitely never happen now, and that is a sad confirmation.

But I do hope that Phife recorded enough material and was close enough to finalizing his sophomore solo album which he constantly mentioned in interviews over the last years. The first single, the DJ Rasta Root produced "Dear Dilla" was both a heartfelt dedication to a fallen comrade and an incredibly dope track that spoke to any true hip hop conniseours. As most fans are likely to have whipped out their Tribe albums during the past week, I have a feeling people are still sleeping on Phife's original 1999 debut "Ventilation: Da LP". Released in the same year as Q-Tip's "Amplified", it's easy to see why Tribe didnt have a chance of continuinig post "The Love Movement" at the same time as the differences between the albums sheds light on why the latter album lacked a coherrent sound. While Q-Tip was obviously interested in going a more commercial route, with a stripped down sound without the lush Fender Rhodes sounds and sample heavy jazz esthetic mentioned above, Phife kept it as real as his love for The Knicks for his project. Interestingly enough Jay Dee played a major role in the production of both LP:s (creating four songs for "Ventilation" and its singles) but Phife would complement his work with slamming cuts by Pete Rock (including the criminally overlooked "Melody Adonis", a boom bap manifesto which also featured a Beatminer on the turntables), Hi-Tek, Supa Dave West, Fred Wreck and least succesfully Rick Rock. While it's not a perfect album by far, it is still well worth several listens and was ample proof that Phife could do it on his own although it in a way did show that he sounded best in a grou setting. The same can be said about Q-Tip and "Amplified", and Shaheed's subsequent Lucy Pearl LP the following year. What all three projects truly proved was that each member of A Tribe Called Quest were dope on their own but when they came together as a unit that they truly made miracles happen. Don't forget that!

Though Phife Dawg was quiet the last few years, barely even making guest appearnces (save for some excellent contributions to Slum Village's last two albums and a banger for producer Oh No), he had already left his mark on hip-hop as a culture, on hip-hop as a music form, and on hip-hop as an art form. I hope more people will start to realize how integreal he truly was to A Tribe Called Quest, a group that is often held in the highest of high esteem and often top countdowns of the genre's greatest groups of all time. So while we continue to bump Phife Dawg's music over the coming weeks, let us bump "Ventilation: Da LP" and its B-sides, let us bump Tribe's "People's Instinctive Travels...", "Low End Theory", "Midnight Mauraders", "Beats, Rhymes & Life" and let us bump "The Love Movement". But why should we stop there?!

For your listneing pleasure and in honor of Malik Taylor, also known as The Funky Diabetic and The 5 Foot Assassin, I have put together a compilation of some of his work not appearing on either of the albums mentioned above. It also excludes remixes unless it feature a unique verse by Tha Dawg, such as on the "Stressed Out" single version. Included are tracks ranging from his breakout year, 1991, and up until his final single - the previously mentioned "Dear Dilla", which takes on another dimension of sadness now thaat he himself faced a somewhat similiar fate at a way too early age. Included are production work and additional vocals by musicians such as Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Q-Tip, Consequence, Chi-Ali, Black Sheep, De La Soul, Diamond D, Pete Rock, Chip Fu, Whitey Don, Oh No, J Dilla and Slum Village but there's no question that this is Phife's show all the way. Included are also most of the rare underground 12" EP:s he released throughout the years. YOU'RE ON POINT PHIFE!! REST IN POWER!!

01. "Ya Heard Me"? [prod. by Dilla] [1998]
02. "If Men Are Dogs" (1997)
03. "Brooklyn / Queens AllStars" (1997)
04. "Pains & Strife" (w. Diamond D & Pete Rock) [1997]
05. "Scheming" (w. Slum Village & Posdnous) [prod. Dilla] (2010)
06. "Push It Along" (w. Slum Village) [prod. by Dilla] (2013)
07. "Miscallenous" [DJ Hi-Tek's Luv Boat Mix] (1999)
08. "La Schmoove" (w. Phife & Ali Shaheed) [1992]
09. "Let The Horns Blow" (w. Chi-Ali, Black Sheep & Dove)
10. "Artical" [Original Posse Mix] (w. Whitey Don & Chip-Fu) [1992]
11. "Game Day" (Ft. Rodney Hampton) [prod. by Dilla] (1996]
12. "Diggy Diaect" (w. Hawkeye) [prod. by DJ Rasta Root] [2003]
13. "U Know U Want It" (w. Charlie & Rose) [prod. DJ Rasta Root] (2003]
14. "Who Got The Funk" (w. Scientists Of Sound) [prod. by Q-Tip] (1995)
15. "Dues N Don'ts" (w. Jesse James) [prod. by Oh No] [2008]
16. "Thought U Wuz Nice" [prod. by J Dilla] [1996]
17. "Dear Dilla" (The Closing Statement) [prod. Rasta Root] [2012]

18. "Stressed Out" [Baby Phife's Version] [prod. by The Ummah] [1996]

[mirror link]

D.I.T.C. Studios - "Lost In Time" (Ft. OC & AG)

I've kind of fallen out of my hip-hop obsession for quite a while now, almost exclusively listening to Hard Bop, 70's jazz fusion, psychadelic electronic jazz like Herbie Handocks' Mwandishi band and the wonderful music of John Coltrane to name a few. I still keep up in what is happening in the hip-hop world but there hasn't really been much that has grabbed my attention. This is one of the reasons for the lack of updates, but also that I'm working 11 hours days which kind of drains you. Either way, whenever my favorite crew drop some heat (D.I.T.C. that is) you know I have to check it.

At the beginning of the year Slice-Of-Spice uploaded a single and a sampler from D.I.T.C. Studios hinting at a new D.I.T.C. project coming later this year. Since then each and every Tuesday or Wednesday a brand new Crates joint has been uploaded to their D.I.T.C. Studios account. Since by now there's an album worth of material up on that Soundcloud so I'm taking it as the majority of these cuts are left-overs from whatever the project will eventually turn out to be. But what's most exciting is that we are hearing not only OC and AG verses as on the somewhat half-assed "The Movement"; but Fat Joe is doing his thing, Diamond is holding it down and most mindblowing The Funky Man himself is dropping quality verses for the first time since 1997 (save for the very ocassional guest spot on a song like Prince Paul & Autoamator's 2004 "Hip Hop Can Never Rock Like This" in '94).Some of the tracks are produced by the veteran D.I. producers like Show, Diamond and Buckwild while plenty others features backdrops created by relative newcomers - which is a good sign since the D.I. crew were always great at finding in new material. The new joint is called "
Lost in Time" and is a vocal collaboration etween

From what I heard most of these songs are bangers but thyey fiail to live up the high expectations set up by classics like "Goodfellas", "Jealous One's Evvy", "The Akawning" and of course the sometimes overlooked one and only true group album "Worldwide" which to my ears allways been a classic since I first heard it, But it's a new era and the guys still has it and the beats are more than acceptable. If you looked at "The Movement" compilation where Drawzilla produced three synth-driven yet booming beats these new producers seem well vesed in the sound D.I.T.C. fans are cracing. And if these are the feree leftovers I can only keep my fingers crossed that the actual project will be the trumphant return of the Diggin' in the Crates as  musical collective that we all hae been fiending for. The latest song is called "Studios Lost in Time" between OC & AG, produced by a guy called DJ Maniuplator. Check out the song at the top of this post. Also in case u missed any of wthe previous uplads, ehich is really becoming more of mictape. Peep it up top and head over to DITC Sutdios Official Soundcloud in case you missed any previous drop.


As I said in the previous post it's a real chore sometimes ot wade though the immense discography of Killah Priest; there's official albums, there' semi-official albums, there's bootlegs, there are collaorations and so on and so forth - in other words it's a bit of a jungle. One thing's for sure, with the exception of KRS-One perhaps, there's really no truly gitfed MC with such a high putout that actually consist of such a high quality material discography. Almsot simultaneously with the Vendetta King groupng, Priest has also taken part as a member of a new trio called Moon Crickets which features himself, Lord Fury and DJ Merciless (who also handles all the beats).

The mixtape is titled "The Calm Before The Storm" which is hinting that we are going to get a full-length album from this guys probanly sooner or later and here's a hilarious vido series of in studio footage from some of the sessions featuring the three core members and close core collaboatorx John. The mixtape featuring some very dope jams, all produced by DJ Merciless who strikes a fine balance between the spiritua and esoteric and the gritty hardcore rhyme schems from Priest, Lord Fury and guests like Tragedy Khadafi, Timbo King, Shabazz The Disciple, Hell Razah, Junior Reid, Hell Razah and more. The forthcoming album will most likely feature several Ghostface verses since the short video podcasts revelal him sitting in on a large number of studio sessons. Stream and/or download the project via Audiomack below. Album coming soon.

[Stream] KILLAH PRIEST & Vendetta Kingz - "The Infinite Universe"

 For both new followers of this extremely talented yet really pyisociology and spiritual ou thtere brother it is really hard to know which projects are worth checking because there's just SO many of them. If you're new to Killah Priest, I'd say that the discs that are essentials without doubt are "Heavy Mental", "A Psychic World Of Walter Reed", "Behind The Stained Glass" (to a lesser extent) and his recent "Planet Of The Gods"

Pretty much out of nowhere this collaboration between MC/producer duo Vendetta Kingz ad while I haven't had he time to listen to it all, though I've heard good things about it you can stream the entire album via the trio's Bandcamp where you can also show your supprt.Produtiona are handled by Bronza Nazareth, DJ Woool, Telemachus, Endemic, and more and features guest apperaces by Chief Kaachi, 60 Second Assasin, Timbo King, and more. Stream below to see you dig it dig as soon as it drops?

ROBERT GLASPER Revisits MILES DAVIS For "Everything's Beautiful"

I have been meaning to pust this for quite some time but never got around to it but this is a record that I for one will not sleep on. Just like Branford Marsalis and GURU was the ambassadors for jazz and hip-hop fusion in the '90s, the incredibly talented producer Robert Glasper has taken over that role in this day and age. And just like Marsalis he is an incredibly talented jazz producer and pianist with a very deep understanding for grat hip hop. For his upcomng project "Everything's Beautiful" he was invited into the Miles Davis' (the greatest artist of all time) vast collection of original studio tapes by the good people over at the Miles Davis Foundation (which includes son Erin Davis and newphew Vilbert Vincent, Jr. who both played with Miles on stage during the last part of his career). 

The idea for the project is a noble one, rather than an album of covers of the classic Miles tunes, which are never as good as the originals either way, Glasper and co. has dug deep into the archives to find the best samples and found interesting ways to put Miles' voice into a 21th century setting. Considering that the legendary trumpeter, who was always on the move, was going full hip-hop with his last release "Doo Bop" in collaboration with Easy Mo Bee there's no question in my mind that he would be proud of a project like this which makes it a lot more tasteful than several cash-in EP:s and the likes that have been released over the years. "Everyting's Beautiful" sees Glasper play and build on tracks he has reconstructed in the production chair from both Miles' classic that anyone knows such as "All Blues" as some of the more rare material that only true afficionandos as myself are aware of. To top it off he has invited a host of amazing producers and singers to round out the project, including Erykah Badu, 9th Wonder, Phonte, Rashad "Ringo" Smith, Bilal.

Check out the mini documentary on MilesDavisVevo up top and peep the first single "Ghetto Walkin'" featuring Bilal over this paragraph. And turn that volume up while you're at it! And in case you have missed out be sure as hell to check out the trailer for the highly anticipated Don Cheadle vehicle "Miles Ahead" where he has really gone into the acing method of performance to tell a highly fictionalized account of Miles' later years. It's been getting rave reviews at film festivals and should be on one of the best of the year. Peep the trailer here 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

D.I.T.C. Studios - Bangers Upon Bangers

It's been quite a while since I updated this blog as I'm sure you know- The thing is that I don't have the passion to continue do daily updates for a few reasons. No. 1 I barely listen to hip-hop at the moment (it's all about jazz like the Mwandishi sextet, all Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Coltrane and so on); No. 2 I still check for new hip-hop but i don't feel that there's been much music up to par recently; No. 3 I have been employed as a full-time librarian so the time is quite precious. But besides that I'm letting the site be up throwing some ill updates every once in a while.

My first thought was to make a D.I.T.C. blog/website and since the start of The Lost Tapes I don't think I missed any new shit from the Diggin' crew as well as posted interviews by Diamond D, Buckwild and E-Blaze. 2014 and 2015 brought us plenthy of dope new releases from Lord Finesse, Showbiz & AG, OC (with Apollo Brown) and most importantly the Slice-Of-Spice sponosred "The D.I.T.C. Remix Project" which featured incredible modern takes on some of the D.I. classics updated by some of the finest proudcers around (it even included a previously never before heard Big L verse on Finesse's "Thick" mix - is this the original?). A while back D.I.TC. dropped the news about an upcoming brand new album and dropped some ill snippets and a single or two on their Soundcloud.

Since then they have posted a brand new track each and every week, featuring all living members of the crew - including a slamming Fat Joe verse on the guitar heavy boom bap monster "Rock Shyt", also featuring Lord Finesse (first verse in a decade) and Diamond D. You got a short AG banger produced by Buckwild, several heavy OC joints, D.I.T.C. fam member M. Gage getting busy over Showbiz productions, the soulful O & A collabo "16 & Out" which Lord Finesse truly blessed with that boom bap we all love., If you open the Soundcloud page and press play on the first song you'll be able to hear all uplaoded tracks in chronological order - creating somehwat of a new D.I.T.C. mixtape so don't fucking SLEEP!

Friday, March 11, 2016

[Comp] BADBADNOTGOOD - "The New Thing"

As you, my trusted reader, very well know I'm a borderline Hip Hop and Jazz aficionando, and though my love for jazz mainly lies with the older legends like Miles, Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Sam Rivers, and so on, there's a select few young players that I still find makes excellent music that keeps pushing the music forward which I really love. Robert Glasper is the first that comes to mind, given his vast knowledge of what came before, his love for and ability to fuse other black genres in a convincing manner. But there's also cats like Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, Ravi Coltrane and a bunch of others holding down tradition. And then there's BadBadNotGood - when I first came across them I was weary of them as a jazz band to be honest. For one they look like high school kids, and while apperances shouldn't matter, if we are all honest with ourselves I think we'll find that things like this do have a bearing. And then they were associated with Odd Future whom I don't got much love for. So it was first when they started collaborating with people like MF DOOM, Wu-Tang Clan, Talib Kweli and especially their excellent work on Ghostface's "Sour Soul" album a year or two ago that really opened up my eyes. These guys are all good players despite not being close to true virtuosos. But it's their love for and ability to combine hip-hop elements with traditional jazz elements (or mainly jazz fusion styles to be fair) that really sets them apart and make them a crew to look out for. Much of their music has been produced by themeselves but as on "Sour Soul", "Rivers of Blood", Danny Brown's "Float On" it's when they are collaborating with the excellent Frank Dukes that the most interesting and professional sounding work tends to happen.

BadBadNotGood is a trio representing Toronto, Ontario and works in a classic jazz quartet constellation while using mainly electric or amplified instruments. The group consists of Leland Whitty on Saxophones (who was the last member to join), Matthew Tavares on keyboards, Chester Hansen on bass and Alexander Sowinski on bass (accoustic and electric). The group met at a college for jazz studies and realized they shared a common love for Hip Hop music as well as jazz and when deciding to form a band wanted to interpet hip hop tracks in a jazz setting. This was realized on their first full-length, the digital release "BBNG 1" (2011) where they covered classics and newer material in a trio setting by artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Gucci Mane, Slum Village, Gang Starr, Nas, Ol' Dirty Bastard and many others. You can check out the full album @ the BBNG Bandcamp. This album caught the attention of a lot of artists, including Odd Future, but to my ears more importantly it was when they caught the ears of RZA who included their production and instruemtnal skills for two tracks on his somewhat overlooked soundtrack to "The Man With The Iron Fists"; co-producing and playing on two songs ("Rivers Of Blood" / Wu-Tang Clan Ft. Kool G Rap and "Sex as a Weapon"

Following their first album, "BBNG #2" introduced new member, reedman Leland Whitty and it's here I feel that they really and truly came into their own as an excellent jazz ensemble. A piano trio (which is one of the usual jazz constellation and consists of bass, drums and piano with the pianist holding down all or most of the solo parts) only really works when all three of the musicians are absolutely excellent, but when bumping up the members to a full on classic quartet the circle was cose and some truly exceptional music was starting to get produced. Another important factor was the inclusion of their main producer Frank Dukes who has produced much of the guys' work since. One of their most recent projects was a full-length collaboration with Ghostface Killah and producer Frank Dukes called "Sour Soul" which received rave reviews from many publications and especially production wise they created an absolutely incredible soundbed for GFK to spit his knowledge over.

I wanted to make a compilation of some of these guys excellent work, possibly it can put on a few more on them as they deifnitely deserve it. Jazz is not dead - the jazz of old perhaps (though all those classic records will live forever), but there's lots of artists out there still making very interesting albums. That and the fact that these young guys have impressed me immensely with much of their material so be sure to keep an eye on them if you feel the same way, check and support for new material at the Bandcamp link above and sites like The Lost Tapes. But right now I just want you to sit back, let that volume bump and shake your head to this sick shit. And while you're at it be sure to cop the aforementioned Ghost / BBNG album from LEX if you haven't already, a very good album no doubt.

01. BBNG - "DOOM" ["Fazers" Cover]
02. Earl Sweatshirt - "Hoarse"
03. JJ Doom - "Guv'nor" [BBNG Version]
04. Ghostface Killah - "Tone's Rap" [Instrumental 7'' Version]
05. BBNG - "Mass Appeal" [Gang Starr Cover]
06. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - "Shame" [BBNG Version]
07. Wu-Tang Clan Ft. Kool G Rap - "Rivers Of Blood"
08.Tyler The Creator - "She" [BBNG Remix]
09. Danny Brown - "Float On"
10. BBNG - "Fall In Love" [Slum Village Cover]
11. Talib Kweli & RES - "Sex As A Weapon"
12. Mick Jenkins - "On The Map" [BBNG Remix]
13. BBNG - "CS60"
14. Black Milk / BSNG - "Now Or Never"

BADBADNOTGOOD - "BadBadMeaningGood"

Monday, March 7, 2016

OC / D.I.T.C. - "4 Da Block"

Another new OC single under the D.I.T.C. banner, again produced by Motif Alumni.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

[Jazz of the Week] MILES DAVIS SEXTET - "Call It Anything" (1970)

Last week I posted the rare "jazz" album "Kawaida" by Albert Toudie Heath, Mtume and their excellent group. That post got really good response and since I for the last month has been listenin at least equally as much to "jzz" as Hip Hop I intend to intodce y'all to more gems that might make a skeptic a believer. For me the connection between Jazz and Hip Hop is a very strong one, and though I can see how the 1940s, 1950s and early-to-mid 60's might turn some people off if they dive right into it, but like with any other musical style there's plenty of different jazz styles out there. Especially the late '60s and up to about 1974 was an incredible time in the history of this music as musicias were constantly experimenting with new sounds, combining the Hard Bop they grew up on, with african rhythms, bass vamps and electronic instruments from the burgeoning rock scene and so on. This type of music is sometimes called "fusion" (or Jazz fusion) or "Jazz rock", neither which I think really does the music justice. Instead of trying to force them into a label, let the music speak for itself.

No man changed the course of music as many times as Miles Davis - sure there were "jazz rock" records before but not many of them were all success. It was with Davis' "In A Silent Way" and even more so "Bitches Brew" that literally blew the doors open for jazz artists, who had previously been limited to playing half empty clubs, now were filling large stadiums. Bill Graham, the concert promoter and owner of The Fillmore clubs, played a large role in that but anyone who heard Davis and his band knew that tis was really something else. There's a great story by one of the members of celebrated psychedelic rock band Grateful Dead who headlined an event at Fillmore East while sharing the bill with Davis and his sextet. Even the Grateful Dead, with their massive live show brilliance, was in awe what just happened and actually quite scared to go up on stage and try to follow up on what they just heard.

Miles Davis is my favorite artitst, I own most of his records (there's at least 40in my collection), andhe put out so many classics it is ridiciolous. However I promise that this new section of The Lost Tapes will focus on more rare material, but for this week I am presenting you with one of the greatest performances of all time - all captured on video in great soumd/video quality. In August of 1970 Miles and his band took the stage in front of 60,000 people and played a short 35 minutes set that is both as powerful, technically brilliant and straight up cool to look at. The ensemble consists of Gary Bartz on alto sax, Keith Jarrett on electric organ and piano, Chick Corea on electric piano, Dave Holland on bass and Airto Moreira on all kinds of percussion. 

The venue was the Isle Of Wight festival and the aduio portion of the concert can be found of Columbia Records "Bitches Brew" live which you can purchase from Amazon. The concert video first appeared in full form on the excellent documentry "Electric Miles: A Different Kind Of Blue" which is strongly recommended. The medley consists of "Directions", "Bitches Brew", "It's About That Time", "Sanctuary", "Spanish Key" and the regular set closer "The Theme" before leaving the stage as it hadn't even been invaded by some of the most mind blowing music many of that cro

BEATNUTS - "U Suckers Ain't" ´[1994]

Early Beatnuts ("Intoxicated Demons"; "Street Level" type-of-Nuts) is some straight up classic Hip Hop that always gets my head nodding whenever I throw one of their records on my turntable.There's some official, semi-official and straight up bootlegs of songs recorded around the time of their self-titled debut (a.k.a. "Street Level") such as "Fluid", "The Hellraiser Remix" and "Ya Better Believe It". I will most likely make a compilation of those early rare 'Nuts for me and you but until then check out this rare alternative mix of the equally unreleased and under the radar banger "We Came Here". Personally I prefer the harder bounce of the "U Suckers Ain't" mix and though both tracks are credited to 1995 my guess is that these are "Street Level" outtakes.The differences between the mixes are not large by any means but it's interesting to hear for a hardcore fan. It's also obvious that "We Came Here" is the prper title of the song.

Props to Egotripland (who I borrowed this post from) as I never heard this before and it really brought back my love for that classic Beatnuts sound. Of course a.big thank you goes out to the original YouTube uploader OGDonNinja as wel. Download a 320 rip of te "We Came Here" below and let that head get to nodding.

[EP] KENDRICK LAMAR - "Untitled / Unmastered"

I often say that Kendrick Lamar and Kanye are the only two "mainstream" artists in Hip Hop (as in guys who is actually selling records) that are really doing something new and exciting, creating something that might very well be remembered and held in high esteem 20 years from now. Kendrick's "Good Kidd, M.A.A.D. City" was absolutely brilliant, but it was "To Pimp a Butterfly" that really made me realize that he is one of the leadig voices of our generation. Every single verse was so well written and delivered with a lot of heart, the beats was masterfully crafted and added on exceptionally by the great LA jazz artists of the day like Robert Glasper, Thundercat, Terrance Martin and Kamasi Washington. And it all had a strong message, but Kendrick was clever enough to hide his politics well enough to fool the media machine, securing air time and big label promotion. But enough of "To Pimp A Butterfly" (let me add that it was also the best album released in 2015 before we move on).

Since then Lamar has promoted the album at shows large arenas, and in small TV studio settings like those on The Colbert Report and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Beisdes the intense material from the album a lot of these concerts containted one or two unreleased bangers that fans quickly took to the internet to beg for proper studio versions of these powerful jams. Even NBA star Lebron James tweeted to Top Dawg Entertainment CEO pleading for the tracks to be released just a week or two ago. Sometimes prayers, hundreds of Twitter fans and an NBA star can make shit happen because just yetserday Kendrick, out of nowehere, dropped a free EP containing the tracks from those performances as well as some other goodies for us all to enjoy. It's not "Butterfly" but I'll gladly take it. Featuring 8 songs all of them are untitled and are only labeled by the date they were either conceived or completed and the title of the project is "Untitled / Unmastered" which speaks for itself. 
However the meaning might be a bit deeper as TDE's CEO Punch says that Kendrick was inspired by Prince and his "Black Abum" when putting the record together - "as far as untitled me and Kendrick always talked about doing a sort of "Black Album", like how Prince did back in the day. There was no album cover, no song titles, no anything - just tracks he threw out [...] To me it just means freedom" (Source: Billboard). You can stream the full mini alubm at Spotify below (which I'm not a big fan of) or you can head over to iTunes and purchase a high quality copy for your listening plesaure.over at iTunes whhere it's availabe now.

01. untitled [prod. by Hit-Boy & DJ Spinz]
02. untitled [prod. by Yung Exclusive & Cardiak]
03. untitled (Ft. Thundercat, Bilal, Terrace Martin & Anna Wise [prod. by Da Internz]
04. untitled (Ft. Jay Rock & SZA) [prod. by Bizzness Boi & Nard&B)
05. untitled (Ft. Anna Wise, Punch & Jay Rock) [prod. by Nard&B)
06. untitled. (Ft. Cee-Lo) [prod. by Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge] (!!!)
07. untitled 07 2014-2016 [prod. by Frank Dukes, Caro, Yung Exclusive, Swizz Beats & Egypt Dean)
08. untitled 08 09.06.2014 [prod. by DJ Khalil]

Thursday, March 3, 2016

D.I.T.C. - "Caviar Dreams"

Another week another brand new single from the legendary D.I.T.C. camp. Like my city "Caviar Dreams" is another laid back joint starring OC produced by Motif Alumni. With all of these singles being released so close onto each other I'd bet my money on the majority of these not being songs from the actual album that will be released on Slice Of Spice later this year. The more Diggin' the better though!

[Comp] AMED - "The Secret Weapon"

Amed has been down with the D.I.T.C. crew since way back in the early days and on his best days he can produce a hard boiled banger that knocks as anything by Showbiz or Lord Finesse. Amed originally went by the name of (DJ) Timbalan and started rapping in the late '80s, which led to DJ:ing and then eventually producing. His first major credit was for his work as a turntablist with Freestyle Professors and Show on the classic F.P. EP "Your Pockets Been Picked". He next made an early apperance as part of a compilation showcasing the D.I.T.C. family on an at the time untitled compilation album which was to be released in early 1995 (you can hear AG mention it in this Yo! MTV Raps interview). What was completed of that album was however shelved and didn't find its way to the publics ears until 2008 when Show put it out as "Unreleased Production (1994)". The unfinished album featured two songs of Amed rapping along with a cat called 40oz who has since dissappeared altogether from the scene. One of the tracks ("Down For The Crown") also features his production, making it the earliest known released beat by the man. This might have been around the time that he really found his interest and knack for producing which made him leave his microphone tactics behind and start focusing entirely on his production work, heavily inspired by his fellow D.I.T.C. alumni (especially his close companion Showbiz) while giving it his own unique spin.

Since 1998 he produced the classic group single "Time to Get This Money" which featured on point verses by OC, AG, Diamond D, cuts by DJ Premier and a headbanger boogie type boom bap beat that was very memorable. Since then he has been used as kind of a secret weapon, not producing or at least releasing too much, but whenever his name is attached to a record you can count on it being DOPE. He made his mark producing bangers for Grand Agent, Ghetto Dwellas, Show & AG, Mykill Miers, and two of the best cuts from AG's first solo outing ("The Dirty Version"). The highest honor he could get from his peers came when his beat was picked for the backdrop of the 1999 Big L tribute track on "Worldwide", a somber, reflective yet relatively hard hitting song that really sets the tone for AG, OC and Lord Finesse's heartfelt verses for their fallen comrade. Other work around this time, his most prolific period, included several songs for Milano who was by then a new artist and their collaboration "Rep For The Slums" still stands as one of the emcees best known tracks. To this day he is still working closely with Milano and a joint album has been in the works for quite some time by now. Very importantly he was also a major player in the extension of D.I.T.C. and it's extended family in to Wild Life Entertainment circa 2001, producing many of the 12" singles at the time. What many don't know however is that Amed told me that he was the one that started Wild Life in the first place and that he had been repping it all the way back since 1989 when he started getting serious about his work as a musician.

Amed is a man who likes to work in the shadows and even many dedicated Hip Hop fans aren't even aware of his name, though definitely his work. Add to that the fact that he got snubbed for the credit for "Pain", the hands down best song on OC & AG's collaborative "Oasis" LP back in '08. With this in mind it's only right that The Lost Tapes put a spotlight on this man and all the work he has put in throughout the years. Although Amed's name hasn't really been attached to a D.I.T.C. project since the aforementioned track and "The Movement" compilation I really hope we will see more of his work on the upcoming group album on Slice-Of-Spice. Though his name hasn't been attached to very much since, he was heavily involved in Milano's "The Hurt Locker" mixtape and had a very dope placement on an album by Delta called "Pyramid Schemes" (stream their collabo "Missing Link" above). While we wait for news on that I thought it only right to bring y'all a compilation of some of my favorite works of Mr. Amed, featurng a combination of some of his lesser known works as well as some of his most recognizable tracks - spanning 1994 to 2008... So let's get busy and dig in the crates! Oh, and don't forget to turn that shit WAY UP!

01.Amed & 40oz. - "Just One Of Those Days"
02. Shorty Long - "Purple Rain"
03. GD & AG - "Flip Shit"
04. AG - "We Do That Too"
05. Harlem Kngihts - "Harlem Knights"
06. Grand Agent Ft. AG - "Rap Niggaz"
07. Milano - "Rep For The Slums"
08. Mykill Miers Ft. AG & Party Arty - "Straight Dirt"
09. Wild Life Ft. OC, Party Arty & A Bless - "Bad Rep"
10. Wild Life Ft. Fat Joe & Big Pun - "Best Behavior"
11. M.O.P. - "Pounds Up"
12. Freddie Foxxx - "Hey Ho"
13. OC - "Doin' Dirt"
14. Wild Life Ft. GD & A Bless - "Rap Game"
15. Remy Ma Ft. Fat Joe - "That's That Shit"
16. D.I.T.C. - "Time to Get This Money"
17. OC & AG - "Pain"

AMED - "The Secret Weapon"

[Documentary] MASTA ACE - "Disposable Arts"

I must admit that I wasn't really that aware of Masta Ace and his work before his comeback in 2001 with the excellent "Disposable Arts" and then the equally impressive "A Long Hot Summer" - two albums that both stand as great examples of what a great Hip Hop album should and could be if treated right. Since then I've been a huge fan, collected his back catalouge, seen him live both solo and with eMC, but as I had missed my chance of picking up either of the above albums when they originally dropped I was glad to see HHV and M3 Entertainment get together to release High Quality 180 gram 2xLP sets of both albums a few years ago which I obviously picked up. I noticed that they also put out a CD version of the former album which came strapped with an additional 2 hour documentary on a bonus DVD that were not included on the vinyl edition. As I love this type of stuff I was really eager to see these but I wasn't going to buy a CD copy of an album I just bought on wax just for that (though the thought crossed my mind).

Luckily, the good people at Below The System Records (who handled the CD reissue) has decided to upload the entire thing on YouTube for our enjoynment. Almost all of the contributors to this modern classic chime in with interesting behind the scenes stories on its making, including producers like Domingo, Paul Nice, Deacon The Villain of CunninLinguists, Xplicit, Luis "Sabor" Tineo, Xplicit, Koolade, DJ JS-One and Ayatollah, guests like the eMC crew, Jean Grae, Young Zee, Tha Alkaholiks, Rah Digga, and of course Masta Ace himself and the executive producers. I just started watching but this is without a doubt a must see for any true fan of the album and creative Hip Hop in general, so just hit play whenever you have some time over because it will definitely make you want to throw on the album afterwards as well. Enjoy and order the CD/DVD package from Below System Records.