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Saturday, February 27, 2016

D.I.T.C. - "Get With The Program" / "16 & Out"

For the last couple of months we've been getting loads of new tracks under the D.I.T.C. name as well as the promise of some sort of a new album on Slice-Of-Spice has made headlines. Over the last ten days two new songs has been uploaded to the official D.I.T.C. Soundcloud, making the total of leaked songs to seven (excluding the dope David Bars joints). This indicates to me that many of these are more teasers than actual album cuts which to me is a promising fact that the majority of the tracks are dope but perhaps not up to the level we have come to associate with the Diggin' brand. 

The two latest songs are called "Get With The Program" and "16 & Out", respectively. The former is a OC solo joint in the vein of the previous "My City" though the production this time is handled by relative newcomer Duck Dodger. The latter is a guitar heavy boom bap interlude with AG (rhymes) and Lord Finesse (beats). As the title indicates it's only a strong 16 over a solid beat but it might still be my favorite out of all the singles released so far. This is the type of vibe I'm looking for on a new D.I. project. Big up to the crew for this one!


[Jazz Of The Week] MTUME & TOUDIE HEATH "KAWAIDA"

From late 2015 I've been listening to way more other types of music than Hip Hop as I feel the ratio of weak, average and appaling releases is at an all time low in the genre. I've been a true Jazz fan for almost a decade now and the high level of musicianship, the incredible chemistry between artists on a recording, and the willingness to experiment quickly made it one of my all-time favorite genres. Now, a lot of people when they hear the term Jazz they immediately have a sound in their head that they beleive it is when the truth is that Jazz as a tearm is as braod a description as Hip-Hop, Rock or anything else. Comparing Mahavishnu Orchestra to Charlie Parker (both legendary artists in their own right) is like comparing Mos Def with Young Thug or Cradle Of Filth with with Creedence Clearwater Revival. 


A lot of the jazz music that was created from the late '60s and up and until the late '70s especially saw loads of incredible releases that ANY hip-hop head with an open mind should be able to really dig. To me much of this music is in many ways similiar to what we love about Hip Hop as a genre. The song structures of a jazz song is usually quite similiar in that each song is introduced and closes with a "head", which sometimes also appears in the middle as an interlude, from which you can draw parallel to a hook/chorus. In between the heads you got each artist taking prolonged improvisitional solos, often in a friendly competition way, once again drawing similairites to how emcees try to make a statement with their 16 bars before passing off the mic to the next emcee in line. More than that jazz in the 1920s to 1960s (before the rock/funk/soul boom) was what the black music culture number one. Just like hip hop artists today, the jazz starts of that era was the hippest black men in the entertainment industry. As evidenced by a leader of the genre like Miles Davis collaborating with Easy Mo Bee for his last album and the seamless transition of the two genres presented on GURU's "Jazzmatazz" series is clear proof of how naturally hip-hop has grown out of the jazz tradition (perhaps more via the Soul and Funk which in turn owned equally much to jazz). Not to mention the countless Hip Hop classics that came out of sampling earlier masterworks as well as the black national pride often associated with the music. The biggest difference between the two is however a negative. The fact that, unlike with Hip Hop (and especially in this day and age), not every one could become a player. You needed to be highly skilled on your instrument, be creative and put in lots and lots of work as far as practice go. With Hip Hop today cats who has trained "cats in the hat" ass rhymes for a year can be the next big thing over a generic Trap loop that anyone could put together. That artists like Kevin Gates, Stitches, and Chief Keef to name a few is having very solid fanbase is tragic and speaks volumes of the downfall of music as a whole (this can be applied to other genres than Hip Hop as well - if you ask me, commercial music has never, ever been in such a bad state as it is now). This is what I mean when I say that I have become somewhat disillusioned with Hip Hop the last six months or so, there's just way too much bullshit and even the good ones, the underground stuff, rarely sticks out all that much.


For the first album in this series I want to put a spotlight on a very rare release from 1969 called "Kawaida" and is a theme LP put together and overseen by conga and percussion player James Mtume Forman in honor of the black power nationalist Maulana Kawaida andthe  his United Slaves organisation. At the time of recording Mtume was a relative novice on the music scene, but his connection with his immediate family - drummer Albert "Toudie" Heath and reedman Jimmy Heath he managed to get high-profile musicians like Herbie Hancock (piano), Buster Wiliams (bass), Don Cherry (bass) and percussionist Ed Blackwell to perform his six compositions. If you're familiar with Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi sextet (which is one of my all time perfonal favorite bands) this obscure release is pretty much the one that set it all off. All members were given a Swahilii name, something that would carry over to the aforementioned Mwandishi band (which besides Hancock also included Buster Williams). Though only 44 minutes in length, the album spans a large part of jazz history but is especially close to the burgeoning free jazz and fusion movements that were beginning to brew around this time. It is quite intensive and perhaps it is not the best album to start with if you're new to this genre (try "Kamili" and "Baraka" however) but I wanted to start off this section with a rather rare LP (it has yet to be reissued in its original form on Compact Disc despite the high profile cast). Check some info on the album here, lifted from Scott Brown and Clayton Carlton's Fighting For Us. What do you think of a series like this, is this something you as a reader will like to see more of? If you're a producer I can guarantee that you'll find a lot of good sample material that often hasn't been used before. 

A1. "Baraka"
A2. "Maulana"
B1. "Kawaida"
B2. "Dunia"
B3. "Kamili"

KANYE / DJ PREMIER - "I Love Kanye"

Since I recently got a full-time job it's very hard to keep up with this blog, it seems most likely that the updates will be on the weekends, hopefully my trusted readers will understand my situation. After all I've been putting in a lot of work for y'all for five or six years by now. Now, The Lost Tapes has never been a blog to talk about artists like Kanye West and post-"Hard Knock Life" Jay-Z although this doesn't mean that I am not a fan of much of their work. Especially Kanye I feel is one of the few artists in todays Hip-Hop climate that comes with a unique presentation, original music that often succesfully crosses genre boundaries. In other words he is not afraid to experiment with the artform which to my ears is in direct contrast with a large population of the Hip-Hop community of the 2010s. For example, there's a lot of skilled underground artists out there that are very talented on a technical level but lack that thing that make them stand out from the rest and grab your interest, whether it be through production, flows, writing or their general output. This feeling of "I've heard it all before" is one of the things that are hurting Hip Hop as a music culture the most right now if you ask me. We need more innovators! And that is why albums like Kanye's "The Life Of Pablo" and Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp A Butterfly" are both albums that I truly believe will stand the test of time. I've been listening to the former very much since it first dropped and while I wasn't blown away on first listen it has continued growing - the main problem is that it lacks focus in some places, and especially during the middle section there's a lot of wack juice that should have been left off. This is interestig considering that the original tracklist only had 10 tracks which is the same amount of songs that I kept for my phone and which makes the album a much, much more cohessive and enjoyable listen.

But enough of "The Life Of Pablo" as an album - I understand that a lot of heads dislike it and its creator a whole lot but I still urge anyone of you to give it an open minded listen as you migtht be suprised. One of the last minute additions mentioned above is the accapella interlude called "I Love Kanye". Within the next couple of months you can count on a multitude of remixes of this one but I doubt many will be as interesting as Mr. DJ Premier's take on it. As fans of the good ol' Preem knows he has been trying to work with Kanye for years without anything ever coming to fruition. Taking matters in his own hands, Premier just unleashed his short but potent remix of said track which gives us a glimpse into what an official 'Ye / Premier collaboration might've sounded. Matter of fact this would sound great on the actual album, like a lil' boom bap type of intermission. You can be stream the song below, so be sure to TURN THAT VOLUME UP and get your head bopping!

Friday, February 19, 2016

[Article] J DILLA's "The Diary" FINALLY Coming!

What can I say but wow?! J Dilla's "The Diary" (previously known as "Pay Jay") will finally see the light of the day! This has been among my most anticipated album for YEARS by now and all the teasing from MCA, Stones Throw and most recently RappCats about releasing this has been an ongoing drama since 2002. There has of course been a slew of posthumous releases since the great producer and rappers tragic passing of Lupus related illness - some have been brilliant ("The Shining" and "Jay $tay Paid"), some pretty damn good ("Lost Tapes, Reels & More" and "Dillatronic") and some weaker ones ("Rebirth Of Detroit", "King Of The Beats" and a bunch of mixtapes with various emcees going at it over Dilla beats). The huge difference between those albums (except for "The Shining" which was close to completed by the time of Yancey's death) and "The Diary" is that this is actually an album that Dilla put together and intended for release during his lifetime. As such it is the final true project the world will ever hear from J Dilla and as such I am grateful for the fact that it is being handled with the respect it deserves. 

"The Diary" was supposed to be the follow up to Jay Dee's first solo album after leaving Slum Village; "Welcome 2 Detroit" on BBE. After successes of producing Gold selling records by the likes of Busta Rhymes, Pharcyde, Common, De La Soul and Erykah Badu, MCA Records decided to sign J Dilla for an album contract. His only term was that they would also have to sign his friends Frank-N-Dank and release an album by them, fully produced by Yancey ("48 Hours"). As if that wasn't controversial enough, considering nobody outside of Detroit had ever heard of F-N-D at the time, the album Dilla was putting together for MCA would have him rhyming over beats by other producers. Grabbing Pete Rock, Kanye West, Wajeed, House Shoes, Hi-Tek, Nottz, Madlib, Supa Dave West, Bink!, Karriem Riggins and ?uestlove he set out to record the album simultaneously with "48 Hours" doing pre-production work at his home studio before doing the final sessions over at Studio A, Dearborn Heights in Michigan. As usual Todd Fairall was the engineer of the projects.

Perhaps not too suprisingly MCA didn't really know what to do with either album and when they were swallowed up by Geffen Records in late 2002 a lot of artists were dropped from the label - as was both Dilla and Frank-N-Dank with both albums getting shelved. A semi-official bootleg of the Frank-N-Dank album quickly hit online stores and some retailers but "Pay Jay"/"The Diary" was left as a mythical curiousity, save for the classic single "Fuck The Police" which became a favorite in many DJ's arsenal at the time. Soon after this unfortunate debacle Dilla left Detroit behind and moved to Sunny Los Angeles and Stones Throw Records. As former Stones Throw A&R Eothen "Egon" Alapatt tells it the album never completely left the great producers mind and around his last year he still wanted it to be put out to the world in the way it was supposed to be heard. All the beats and rhymes were finished though there was a lot of legalities surrounding the project (different labels, lots of different producers, guest artists, etc.) that made it hard to release. There were also some minor tweaking to be done on the LP before it could be presented as complete - for example the song "Gangsta Boogie" was supposed to feature Snoop Dogg and Kokane, but they had never managed to get the Snoop verse in time. This was problematic due to the fact that Dilla even shouted out the songs guest artist in his verse.

Then in 2008 an unathorized bootleg leaked to the internet featuring 10 songs of the project (and an alternative mix of one of the tracks). The "Pay Jay" bootleg was clearly unfinished, unmixed and unmastered, yet many fans uses this form of the album when dismissing any part of the project they didn't like. This is plain stupidity in my mind, considering that the sound quality is shit, the sequence is out of order, it is incomplete and wasn't even mixed properly. This became even more evident when RappCats started releasing EP:s of songs from the album to get the necessary funds to complete and release the album - not only did it show us that several songs featured completely different beats but the tracks that were musically the same (like "Diamonds") sounded miles better when properly mastered and mixed. In other words, no matter how many times you've heard that bootleg, you haven't REALLY heard the album as it is supposed to be heard yet. One thing I do find both intriguing and a bit irritating however is that the leaked unathorized copy had a song called "We Fucked Up" featuring Frank-N-Dank that was produced by KanYe West before "The College Dropout" made him a star. On the Pay Jay EP and upcoming album release this song has been replaced by a Dilla produced remix (or a premix?) renamed "The Anthem". To my ears the Kanye version clearly sounds like the original mix that the verses and chorus were recorded to which makes me wonder if the decision to exclude it has more to do with politics than any artistic choice on Dilla's behalf. Could it be that Kanye didn't want such an early beat to be presented on a new release? It all seems strange considering that West has voiced his admiration of Jay Dee many times before (most recently in the excellent Stones Throw documentary "My Vinyl WEighs A Ton").


Now it's February 2016 and the album is FINALLY getting a proper release, through a joint venture between Pay Jay, Inc. and the Nas owned Mass Appeal label. The album will be available on both vinyl, CD and digital and features a total of fourteen tracks (with an additional two short and untitled tracks attched to the iTunes version). Included are all the original songs from the leak (save for "We F'd Up"), the majority of tracks from the three 12" EP:s released between 2012 and 2014 and the previously unreleased "The Introduction" (listen above) and the aforementioned "Gangsta Boogie" featuring Kokane and Snoop Dogg. April 15 is the official release date so be sure to keep an eye on Rappcats.com for the latest news and information about the project.
01. "The Introduction" [prod. by House Shoes; add prod. by Dilla]
02. "The Anthem" (Ft. Frank & Dank) [prod. by Dilla]
03. "Fight Club" (Ft. Nottz & Boogieman) [prod. Wajeed]
04. "The Shining Pt. 1 (Diamonds)" [prod. by Nottz]
05. "The Shining Pt. 2 (Ice)" [prod. by Madlib]
06. "Trucks" [prod. by Dilla]
07. "Gangsta Boogie" (Ft. Snoop Dogg & Kokane) [prod. by Hi-Tek]
08. "Drive Me Wild" (Ft. Questlove, James Poyser & Pino) [prod. by Karriem Riggins]
09. "Give Them What They Want" [prod. by Dilla]
10. "The Creep (The O)" [prod. by Hi-Tek]
11. "The Ex" (Ft. Bilal) [prod. by Pete Rock]
12. "So Far" [prod. by Supa Dave West]
13. "Fuck The Police" [prod. by Dilla]
14. "The Diary" [prod. by Bink!]

Sunday, February 14, 2016

[Mini Album] CURREN$Y & ALCHEMIST - "The Carrolton Heist"

Back in 2011 super producer and Lost Tapes favorite Alchemist produced a free 10 tracks album for New Orlenas, Louisana emcee Curren$y. The resulting "Covert Coup" was a testament to both artissts strengths and was unbelivably dope considering it was released as a free project despite being better than most retail LP:s in 2011. "The Carollton Heist" pick up where the last album/mixtape left off with 10 brand new tracks in high quality, full lentgth, and without any DJ shouts or transitions. Alchemist hasn't produced as much as he did between 2011 and 2013 so it's good to see him back in business and still delivering BANGERS. Check out his original take on the tried and tested soul sample on "The Mack Back" which also lets Curren$y shine telling a biographical story of a rising mack; "93 AMG" is a perfect marriage of a dope emcee and a superb producer, as ALC's low key proudction allows Curren$y to dish out an outstanding verse on the true hardships of life; the final joint is a smooth and beautiful joint with a prominent horn hook running throughout as Curren$u spit more biographical ish about his career and life.Very pleasant closing to a very pleasant album that is pure Hip Hop and comes strongly recommend.

We can go track for track because this is fucking brilliant and is good proof that the one MC/one DJ is still a great idea as long as the duo have such chemistry as displayed here. The guest emcees are kept to a minimum with Lil' Wayne, Styles P and Action Bronson who all make interesting contributions to the proceedings.Download for free or stream via DatPiff and do the same for "Convert Coup" in case you somehow missed the excellence of that project when it dropped.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

D.I.T.C. Presents DAVID BARS - "Dollarss" / "Do What I Wanna"

D.I.T.C., likely the greatest crew in Hip Hop music, is not only preparing a new album foe Slice-Of-Spice, they have also been working on introducing young and up and coming artists to the world. Through their D.I.T.C. production company Showbiz launched the four man crew D.I.T.C. Ent which was markete as something like a new, young version of the D.I.T.C. brand. The Bronx crew consisted of Tashane, A Bless, Majestic Gage and AG but the tragic death of Tashane put an end to any further plans for the album that has begun its recording - leaving only a few songs for the heads to enjoy ("Come Get Me", "South Bronx: The Remix" with Show & AG and this ill 2013 Cypher w. DJ Premier"). 

Now it seems that the legendary octet is behind the backing of another new artist called David Bars. Two tracks have been made available for our listening pleasure at the Diggin' Soundcloud page, and one thing is for sure - this cat got bars for days. Apparantly he is a New York emcee who's working on a mixtape called "White Cup Diaries". Up top you can check out the music video for his first single "Winter", while you'll find the two D.I.T.C. uploaded joints via Soundcloud right down under. D.I. fanatics will recognize the crooning voice of Jay Nortey from his collaborations with Showbiz on both "Godsville" (w. KRS-One) and "MughhotMusic" (w. AG).

[EP RAY WEST w. KOOL KEITH & KURIOUS - "Don't Know Why"

Following up ont the Ray West theme, here's the last and third project I'm going to post for y'all right now, though it made me realize that I need to do a R.W. compilation soon enough (I also got an interview with the man lined up). About a year ago the duo teamed up with the lost-and-found MC Kurious to release "Don'tw Why". The five track EP works as a precursor to the full-length CD "A Couple Of Slices" which dropped last october so pick it up, pick it up, PICK IT UP!!

[EP] RAY WEST Presents LORD TARIQ - "Uptown Suite"

 Making the "LUV NY" album I visited my man Ray West's Bandcamp I came across some really hot shit form lat year htat i initially missed due to the fact that I kind of lost interest in Hip Hop there for  a minute (in favor of Jazz). I said it before that when Ray West first came on to the scene with his production on AG's "Get Berries"  and some of the subsequent mixtapes. I really missed Showbiz and wondered why AG was allowing an (at the time) unknown and up and coming producer handle all the music on his records. "LUV NY" was a lot more impressive but the one LP that really, really swayed me was West's collaboration with ny favorite emcee, "Ray's Café". Still to this day it holds up as one of OC's best albums in recent years, and together with subsequent work on albums by John Robinson and P.80s I realized  that one of West's strongest talents is his ability to conform to his collaborator. This makes each Ray West album or EP a unique experience, and the same can be said about his four track suite with the legendary Money Bo$$ Player known as Lord Tariq. You can stream and buy the full album @ Red Apple's Bandcamp.

´

RAY WEST Presents "LUV NY" (The ReIssue)

Ray West has undoubtedly been one of the most prominent producers in the Hip Hop underground for the last few years, supplying heat for full projects by John Robinson, Kool Keith, AG and OC as well as his LUVNY compilations. Back in 2014 he released a cassette called "The Snake Tape" exclusively on cassette, featuring emcees such as AG, Lord Tariq, L-Fudge, Kool Keith, Kurious and Dave Dar. The cassette featured selections from a compilation that a lot of heads unfortunately slept through on its initial release - "LUVNY" was originally marketed as the release of a super group of the same name, mentioning each featured artist (who appeared on a two song average) as a member of the crew. I personally see it more as a Ray West production album with the help of some dope emcees and close friends (Roc Marciano, AG, OC, Kool Keith, Kurious, Lord Tariq, etc.).
Both the original "Snake Chamer" and the "Snake Charmer Part 3" posted up top  (just posted to Dave Dar's YouTube channel) both appear on a new reissue of "LUV NY" pressed up on a new 2 180 grams vinyl set. Looking at the tracklist it looks as all the fat has been trimmed (as those remixes), and some strong new cuts. If you're a fan of rugged New York hip-hop, DITC, great lyrics and beats, be sure to order the 2xLP @ FatBeats ASAP. You can also stream the full alubm below. A big shout out to the homie Ray West!

Friday, February 12, 2016

[VIDEO + INTERVIEW] LINKAN - "MFD"


My man Linkan came to prominence with the duo Side Effectz (who soon expanded to a trio) and with their raw and honest lyrics, boom bap drums and melodic loops and a huge respect for the true hip hop that came before with each record they soon became one of Sweden's finest musical exports. Linkan was always the front man of the group, as Apokalips and Juancan mainly stood for the production while Linkan led the show both on stage and in the studio. After the very succesful "Wonderbaum Music" (by far the group's best album to date when it dropped in 2013) it was a no brainer for the front man to try his luck as a solo artist. And in 2015 he did just that with the the excellent, short but sweet, "Almighty Bigalizer"; fans of true hardcore hip-hop with well written lyrics and a unique flow owes it to themeselves to give this one a chance. One of my trusted Australian readers wrote me an e-mail raving about how Linkan's solo debut was for him without adoubt the best album released that year. I wouldn't personally go that far, but if you think I only say that Linkan is a really talented brother creating amazing music because he's a close friend of mine you are lost as fuck. Had his music was wack I would never promote it on The Lost Tapes, so if you like my usual content don't fucking sleep on this 30 year old Swedish spitter who has cultivated a life-long love for hip-hop culture.

With each Side Effectz / Linkan release we have worked on something special to celebarte each relesae via The Lost Tapes, as there's beenn some great interviews and so on. This time we didn't want to do it a little different. "Almighty Bigalizer" can be streamed in its entirety over at Side Effectz Bandcamp, so for this article I asked Linkan to break down the process of some of my personal favorites of the 10 songs deep set. A lot of behind the scenes insight and a good way to get to know the artist outside of rhyming so don't sleep on this article. Up top you'll also find the brand new video for the single "MFD" while the conversation (with audio clips to stream) you'll find below. Let's get it on my brothers!

claaa7: As I know you for quite some time I know that we both grew up on pretty much the same hardcore boom bap shit as far as music goes, but whereas SIde Effectz was a democracy this time you could really steer the project any way you wanted. Some people have commented on the heavy Golden Era influence in its sound. What would you say you're influences for the album were? And while we're at it, were did the name come from?0

Linkan: I've always had a lot of love for that raw, dark, dusty 90's vibe and producers like Organized Noize, RZA, Showbiz and Havoc to name a few and I felt that I wanted to go deeper into that vein than on my previous projects with Side Effectz.

At first I thought about calling the album 'Lo Tech Original' or 'The Buena Vista Anti-Social Rub A Dub Club' but after I settled on 'Almighty Bigalizer' the direction and concept got clearer. The Almighty Bigalizer is basically a serenade to the dopest religion in town - MUSIC. It's the vibe transporter, the thought amplifier and the tool that connects my mind to the universe. Deep shit haha!!

claaa7: I know you worked on this album for a long time, in the beginning it was pretty much simultaneously with the last Side Effectz LP if I remember correctly. I know you went through a lot of beats, at one time you had contributions from people like E-Blaze, Tokyo Cigar and The Militia that unfortunately didn't make the final cut. But what were you looking for in the beat submissions and how did you pick and choose? That same question also relates to your lyrical process, how did you decide on what to make the final cut or not?

Linkan: I started looking for beats in the fall of 2014 and recorded the first tracks in January 2015. I replaced about half of the beats during the process and I still got some ill instrumentals laying around that I might use later on. The producers is a collection of old friends and long-time collaborators (e.g Juancan, daniel El Campeon) as well as new international connects like Ko Albrecht and Philanthrope that I mostly hooked up with through Soundcloud, where you can find tons of talented, unknown people doing dope things.

As for the lyrics it's a mixture of things I had saved for a while, as they felt more like Linkan than Side Effectz material and some others that I wrote during the recording sessions. The topics is still a lot about everyday life: what we do and what goes in the world around us but this is only my first solo project so I think you'll see more of a change in subject matter in the future. I'm also planning a project in Swedish to drop in the spring of 2016 so that'll be diffferent..

claaa7: Very interesting. I know the promo single you dropped as part of Side Effectz, "Stila Dig", was really appreciated amongst your Swedish fans so I think that could be a wise idea. But back to the album at hand and "Almighty Bigalizer". I want to throw out five or six of my personal favorites of the album and ask you to break them down for me and The Lost Tapes readers. Are you okay with that?

Linkan: Sure thing.. Go ahead fam!

claaa7: "ANYBODY OUT THERE" Linkan; I don't subscribe to any organized religion but the way this world was created and set up it's too perfect for it to be a fluke. I'm thinking there's gotta be somebody out there somewhere watching and laughing at us while we're running around stressin, taking ourselves too seriously, thinking we're important and interesting when the fact is we ain't shit.
    The track is produced by my Växjö peeps Romero & Juancan, now rocking under the name Euphonics. "Anybody Out There" might be my favorite cut on the album. It's soulful and crispy and I get some good points across.

claaa7: "YOUTHMAN"
Linkan: "Youthman" is produced by Philanthrope, a dope producer from Austria with a catalog full of jazzy, smoked-out beats. The hook is something I had laying around for a while and when I heard the beat it fit like a glove. My man Antone Mecca from Rusty Label is featured on there but I originally wanted three rappers to kick their stories and perspectives of youth but since the third one didn't finish I wrote the last verse dedicated to the youthman of today. To me it feels like the brainwash and confusion is at an all-time high right now. With all the information and propaganda coming at you from all angles it's hard to dig through all the bullshit and be original.  The youth is the future so Youthman: Use your head, be yourself!

claaa7: "'TURN IT UP"
Linkan: That was done very quickly, in like 30 minutes. Me and Locsta was in the lab vibing to the beat from Ko Albrecht and he was like 'You got something?. 'Yeah. You got something?' 'Yeah... Let's Go'. I think it captures that raw feeling and sounds very organic.
     Locsta is another Växjö cat that been spittin but haven't released that much. He's definitely dope so we might do more music together. I think he should drop some solo shit too.

claaa7: "SMÅLAND STYLEE"
 
Linkan: Me and Juancan have been making music together on and off for the last 15 years but when he came with the 'Småland' beat we hadn't been hanging out or done anything in a long time. It's definitely a banger and the beat gave me flashbacks to 'Little Johnny From the Hospitul', a crazy instrumental album we used to listen to back in the day. The lyrics is some random shit, basically what was in my head at the time. Some indian food, some old tv cartoons, some politics. The hook is repping home- Växjö, Småland. I felt it would be a dope opening cut for the album and a nice introduction or re-introduction to my style.

claaa7: "SALUTE"
Linkan: That's my version of a party track haha. Its about that feeling when you've been working hard, stressing and got too much shit on your mind and gotta let it all out! Maybe I should have done a M.O.P-type banger instead but I chose the smooth tip haha... It's also a salute to my people: my girl & my daughters, my family & friends, my fellow musicians and all the people that keeps supporting us. They are the reason I'm still doing this shit and will keep on doing it til I'm finished... I think the track is quite uplifting too so I felt it was a good one to close the album and tie it all together.

[DJ Mix] FLYING LOTUS - Dilla Tribute Set

As you might know I have become somewhat disillusioned by hip-hop and its celebriation of the mediocre over the last year so, meaning that I barely even listen to too much hip-hop. That's not to say that there's not a few Hip-Hop artists out there that are pushing the boundaries and are true creative genius whose music will last for generations. J Dilla is one of them; Kanye West is one of them, Kendrick. Ghostface. Pete Rock, K-DEF, etc. Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington is also on that short list so of course a Lotus tribute set to the late, great J Dilla. Check it out below over at Dublab.com, sit back and enjoy and let the music speak the words REST IN PEACE JAMES YANCEY, WE LOVED YOU AND MISS YOU!

K-DEF remixes HOT 16 - "Rhythm" (Ft. Ohmega Watts)


Since I first came across his work on House Of Hits projects with Marley Marl and especially his extended contribution to Tragedy's excellent sophomore '92 album I've been a big fan of K-Def. He put in a heavy load of quality material when it came to remixing and producing bangers that more often than not surpassed the original but around 2006 he left the remixing and production credits for others behind to focus on a solo career as he pur all his eggs in the solo career basket as he hooked up with JNOTA and Redefinition Records. Leaving behind his trusted MPC:s; SP1200:s and record collection of dusty samples he redefinied the hip-hop production in such a way that he proved that you can make just as good and authentic hip-hop music without samples and fancy machines if you're just talented enough (unfortunately 95% of producers are nowhere close to that level).

As much as I loved all K's solo albums, singles, 12":s and EP:s and one MC collaborations over the last few years I have certainly missed his remixes and guest producers. We got the incredible InI reunion he did for Benefience record back in 2013, "Cold Train", the DJ EFN remix EP with bangers like "Selfish" (King Tee, Fashawn, Kurupt), "Revolutionary Ride Music" (OC, Your Old Droog, Reks & Royce 5'9") and so on. Now New Jersey's finest is back with another underground remix to his name - "Rhythm" is a new single by Hot 16 and Omega Watts (no clue here). You can check out the original version here and pick up the limited 7" vinyl or the HQ download right here.  But the song bangs, so TURN IT UP and let's hope for more crazy 'Def music in 2016. Enjoy!


Friday, February 5, 2016

[Comp] LA THE DARKMAN - "Darkman Sightings Volume One"

Back in the mid- to late '90s Wu-Tang was pretty much the epitome of dope and original East Coast Hip-Hop which is hardly suprising considering that everything that carried that powerful "W"-emblem at that time promised of the highest musical standards this genre has to offer. One of the most cherished discs to come out of the camp from someone not in the immediate circle (as in the 9 generals) around this time was the 1998 debut album of LA The Darkman. Already back in '96 dedicated underground followers and DJs had been introduced to the very young Grand Rapids, MI to Crown Heights, BK verbal spitter through his outstanding apperance on the first "Soul Assassins" compilation and his own 12" single "I Want It All" / "As The World Turns". With an immediately recognizable voice, a whole lot of attitutde, cinematic street stories for days and musical co-signings by some of the heaviest names around at the time (including DJ Muggs, Carlos Broady of The Hitmen, 4th Disciple, Raekwon, RZA, Ghost and Masta Killa) it was clear from the get go that LAD had a whole lot of potential and was not only street smart, but also business smart like a MF. With the aforementioned debut album this potential was more than realized and with songs like "Lucci", "Shine", "Street Life", "Love", "Polluted Wisdom" and so on it's hard to deny that "Heist Of The Century" to this day still holds up as a somewhat overlooked street classic. It is extremely well crafted from both a production, writing, performance and sequencing standpoint and still sound as fresh as when it first dropped - always inviting a front-to-back listen despite it's 70 minutes duration.


Since then fans have been holding their breath for a proper second LP from the MC who at times has been called "the 11th member of Wu-Tang Clan" by official sources... and kept holding it. Though there's been rumors of LAD working on a project called "Darkman II" throughout the years it seems that The Darkman's heart is not in making an album as such anymore. Despite his talents it seems that LA is more interested in the business aspect of the hip-hop game than making another full-length LP as I guess he feels he has already proven his point - which was that he can make a dope album enough which will let him live on this hip-hop shit through the doors that album opened for him. Through his Wu connection and business savy he was able to make more money of his debut than a lot of artists on a major label would do by going two times platinum. Instead he has kept his name alive through the ocassional guest spot and a bunch of mixtapes - including a stint with DJ Drama and The Aphilliates. Musically he largely seems to have passed the baton to his younger brother Willie The Kid who is a very dope rapper in his own right (though for my money, he is no LA The Darkman).


I've been a fan of LA since the first time I heard him and I like many, many others have eagerly waited for a proper follow up to that incredible album that hit us all so hard back in '98. I have never been crazy about the type of non-turntablist DJ driven mixtapes that are so popular these days and has thus missed a lot of crazy material from the man throughout the years. Thanks to a discussion with constant Lost Tapes supporter and homie Antoine, who was nice enough to shoot me through a folder of his personal favorites of the deep LAD mixtape catalouge, I decided it was time for myself to fine comb that very catalouge for myself. As a result I am going to present to you with two different compilations of LA The Darkman entitled "Darkman Sightings". This first volume focuses on his illest guest apperances, spanning from the very earliest LAD sighting on "Devil in a Blue Dress" to more recent lore like the excellent "Fuck That Man Up" with Sean Price, J-Love and Willie The Kid and his contribution to Bronze Nazareth and Willie The Kid LP. Volume Two will be a compilation of the best from his many mixtapes so stay tuned but don't forget to blast this one LOUD AS FUCK!


01. "I Want It All" [Cents Mix] [Clean]
02. "Devil in a Blue Dress" [prod. by DJ Muggs]
03. "Pain in Many Forms" (w. Bowtie & Kool G Rap)
04. "Fire Implanters" (w. Bronze Nazareth)
05. "War Zone" (w. Division, Prodigal Sunn, Timbo King & 60 Sec.)
06. "Rap Scholar" (w. Deadly Venoms) [prod. by RZA]
07. "Hav Mercy" (w. Killa Sin) [prod. by Mathematics]
08. "The Glide" (w. Wu-Tang Clan) [prod. by RZA]
09. "Lovin' You" (w. Inspectah Deck)
10. "So Good" (w. Davina & Ol' Dirty Bastard)
11. "Freestyle Intermission" (as told to Tony Touch)
12. "How It Goes" (as told to Popa Wu)
13. "Unbreakable" (w. The Homie Vanilla Ice)
14. "Fuck That Man Up" (w. Sean Price, Willie The Kid & J-Love)
15. "Fucking Blades" (w. Willie The Kid & Bronze Nazareth)
16. "Gettin' High" (w. Brooklyn Zu as told to Ol' Dirty Bastard)
17. "All We Got is Us" (w. Sunz Of Man)
18. "Verses" (w. GZA, Ras Kass & Scaramanga)
19. "Outro" (w. Timbo King as told to GZA)

LAD - "DARKMAN SIGHTINGS VOL. ONE" 

[Stream] BENEFICENCE - "Basement Chemistry"

Beneficence is a rapper from New Jersey who has been putting in work for a long time, gaining the respect of many of the hottest rappers and producers throughout the East Coast due to his skilled rhyming and down to earth persona. Though he put out his first 12"s in 1994 and 1998, respectively, it wasn't until he hooked up with Ill Adrenaline Records in 2010 that I and many with me really came across his work. On his debut album "Sidewalk Science" for the label he worked extensively with Diamond D on the production while Roc Marciano, Truth Enola, Rob-O, The Legion, Diamond D, Lord Tariq, Prince Po and Frank-N-Dank shared microphone duties. His follow up, "Concrete Soul" was released a year later in 2012 and was even more packed with big names that had a lot of underground fanatics drooling. I'm talking beats and rhymes from Buckwild, K-DEF, InI, Lord Tariq, DJ Doo Wop, Gensu Dean, Confidence, Roc Marciano, B1, Herb McGruff, Da Beatminerz, AG, El Da Sensei, Nature, Masta Ace and many more. A true '90s hip-hop extravaganza if I ever heard one and funny thing is that it all worked in bringing back that sound we all love and cherish.

 
Now Beneficence and Ill Adrenaline is back for round three, and as they say if the formula ain't broke, don't fix it. "Basement Chemistry" is a little lighter on the guest features but still manages to pull some impressive rhymes and beats from Inspectah Deck, DJ Spinna, Da Beatminerz, AG, Masta Ace, MC Eiht, El Da Sensei, L'Orange, Chubb Rock, MindsOne, Confidence, Black Sheep + The Legion and more. The latter two appears on the single and accompanying video for "Make It Hot (Jingle Jangle v.2)", the sequel of Dres and Legion's classic 1993 single. You can peep the video above and stream the entire album below. The LP is available on CD, cassette and vinyl and can be purchased from UGHH now.

[Trailer] DON CHEADLE's "MILES AHEAD"


Anyone who knows me well know that for the past six months or so I've listened way more to jazz related music than hip-hop, but when I say jazz I am also including real heavy shit like this and this (the latter is one of the greatest performances of all time, up there with Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, Wu-Tang Clan at Hultsfred '97 or Aftermath's '99 Up in Smoke Tour if you want some hip hop parallels). Saying that Miles Davis has become the true musical god in my household for the last months, I've listened to his music for many years but I totally snowed in on his work lately and I'm willing to take up anyone willing to debate against my statement that Miles is the best artist who ever worked in music, any and all categories/genres.

Now Don Cheadle ("Boogie Nights", "Ocean's Eleven", "Hotel Rwanda", "Bullworth", "Colors", etc.) have been preparing what he has called his grand film statement for many years - an exagerrated biopic on the life and times of the great Miles Davis which he has both directed and plays the lead in. He has worked closely with the Davis estate and looking at the trailer it seems he is definitely getting Miles' mannerisms and even trumpet playing on point, so who cares if he doesn't look just like him. I've been waiting eagerly for this project for about a year and a half or whenever it was first announced but it has already gone up on a few film festivals where it mostly has received rave reviews, and as you can see by the trailer it looks pretty amazing. It's not one of those cheap ass biopics (like Andre 3000's Hendrix movie) where they couldn't clear ANY of the artists music - this one is full of lovely background drops from a large chunk of Miles' many classic sessions. I for one can't wait!


Check out the trailer up top, and peep the the banging "U-Turnaround" joint recorded in 1973 right above to see how close Miles was to reaching the full-on hip-hop aestheatic even back in the early '70s. The film is set to hit theaters on April 1, 2016.

D.I.T.C. - "Gotta Be Classic"

Another day, another solid D.I.T.C. single on deck as we're all getting ready for whatever project the legendary crew is working on for Slice Of Spice. This is the fifth single so far and if we add to that the additional 1:30 snippets sampler we've heard full songs, or excerpts from, seven songs recorded for the project so far. Now of course we don't know if this will actually end up on the album; for example for "MugshotMusic", Showbiz & AG dropped 5 or 6 singles from the album but instead put those on a mixtape as they continued recording so that in the end none of the original singles actually turned up on the vinyl and CD editions of the proper album. Either way I'm happy with as much new Diggin' I can get - its a damn group album from the best Hip Hop crew arond; legends in this game is a gross understatement.

The latest drop is a Showbiz produced knocker called "Gotta Be Classic" which continues Show's now signature sound of digital technology meets real hard hitting boom bap. As for the vocal part of the song the Oasis brothers (OC & AG) gets busy together which is always a good sign. While I haven't been truly blown away by everything they have released so far there's enough here to warrant a copy of the album to be purchased (Fat Joe is back in the fold, Diamond, Show, Finesse is making beats, and hoefully Buckwild will get involved) and there's even a new producer delivering crazy goods in true D.I. fashion - meaning that they have always been looking for new talented artists and producers and helping them get their shine on. If you have missed any of the previous singles head over to DITCEnt @ Soundcloud, press play and let it roll. And of course stay tuned for more info as soon as more information becomes known.

[Demo] JERU THE DAMAJA - "Dirty Rotten Demos" ('91-'92)

This new 12" single from the good guys at Slice-Of-Spice is a real treat to true Hip Hop heads worldwide as it unearths never before heard material by legendary lyricists Jeru The Damaja and GURU. Two tracks recorded between 1991 and '92 these joints were born right around the same time as "Daily Operation" and Jeru's first on wax apperance on "I'm The Man"; some of these might very well even have been recorded in the same day, who knows. Cop your copy (along with brand new Damaja hoodie or T-Shirt) @ Slice Of Spice.

From what I've read about Jeru's inclusion into the Gang Starr fold, the original plan was for GURU to bring in 3 of his artists and for Premo to do the same. GURU had Big Shug, Jeru and Group Home which also were the three who ended up in the crew at the time - therefore it is not suprising to see that the first songs Jeru worked on following that was with GURU as producer (his original demo was produced by PF Cuttin'). On "God Of Rhyme" GURU shows that he picked up more than a few tricks over his years working with DJ Premier as he cooks up a bass heavy jazz banger that sounds like something born in between "Step in the Arena" and "The Low End Theory". "The Damaja" doesn't work quite as well from a production standpoint in my opinion, despite a nice sax hook and a grooving bassline it just never quite gels. Don't get me wrong though, it's a nice jam nonetheless but had it been put on an album of the caliber these guys were capable of hooking up back then I'd doubt it would be a standout. Closing the set is another interesting moment in the form of "Dirty Rotten Demo" - an early take of "D. Original" which Premo transformed into the mesmerizing opening track of "The Sun Rises in the East". While it does sound mostly as what it is, an early sketch of what would become a legendary track it does give us some insight into the recording process of one of the great albums of the 1990s.


To gain more of that insight I strongly recommend y'all to check out the chapter on that album in Brian Coleman's "Check The Technique Volume II", and in case you missed it when it was first posted, EgoTrip posted a chapter on Gang Starr's "Step in the Arena" for free online. The reason it wasn't included in the book was because of GURU's untimely death which meant that only DJ Premier's voice is heard throughout the article. Still a great read and as it heavily relates to the topic within this post I'll throw it in here for you - enjoy!