My Mixtapes

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Filet-o-Mix 04: Mind Travel - An Introspective Mix

Download HERE 
And Let Your Mind Travel...

This is the fourth CD in the Filet-o-Mix series - where I present you with carefully selected and themed hip hop mixtapes. The theme for this mix is "Mind Travel" by which I mean the process that the mind goes through upon heavy introspection. Each of these songs has a real thought provoking quality to them; whether it's soul-touching lyrics like those in "Rise And Shine", "Some Of The People", "No Hope", and "Father" or trance-inducing beats such as those of "Bottle Rocket", "Sky Might Fall", "It Lives", and "Mars Remix". Needless to say, this is a mix best appreciated with headphones and a chill place to think/relax. If you're interested in knowing what goes into the "making of" these Filet-o-Mixes, continue reading below the video.

01 Lushlife - Bottle Rocket
02 Keelay & Zaire - The Times Ft. Blu, Fortilive & Nino Moschella
03 Inverse - Rise And Shine
04 Khizman - That's Life Ft. Skyzoo
05 Gift Of Gab - Some Of The People
06 Blue Scholars - Southbound
07 Statik_Selektah - Do What I Believe Ft. Bahamadia
08 PUSH - This Place
09 Tonedeff - No Hope Ft. Deacon The Villain
10 Kid Cudi - Sky Might Fall
11 Dark Time Sunshine - It Lives
12 Mos Def - History Ft. Talib Kweli
13 Inverse - Spark My Soul Ft. Substantial
14 Blu - Mars (Remix)
15 Fashawn - Father
16 Sol - Never D.I.E.
17 People Under The Stairs - Carried Away

Here is the video for track 2 off the mix called "The Times" produced by Keelay & Zaire and rapping by Blu, Fortilive, & Nino Moschella

The "making of" Mind Travel:
Sometimes theme's for CD's just emerge as the songs are compiled. In this case, I was making this mixtape as a Christmas present by going through about 30 recently downloaded albums (hence the majority of songs are from 2009). As I picked songs based on snippets of beats, I noticed that I was picking them based on my mood at the time (hence the introspective feel). So really the mixtape can be seen as a reflection of one night's musical journey through my frantic yet thoughtful mind (it takes "frantic" to go through nearly 500 new songs in a night over the course of about 5 focused hours). And that's just picking the songs. The process to create the finished product involves cutting out the songs that either aren't good enough or don't fit the theme. Then comes properly ordering the tracks, which believe it or not is extremely important for the flow of a project like this and usually takes me over an hour to get right. However, the end result of this hard work is a mixtape for everyone to enjoy. Now go listen!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Song Comparison: Sway - This Is My Demo vs. Fit 4 A King

Sway - This Is My Demo - Intro to This Is My Demo --> Lyrics
Sway - Fit 4 A King - Intro to The Signature LP --> Lyrics

These are two of the illest album intro's that I have ever heard - both coming from consecutive LP's from the UK rapper Sway (aka Sway DaSafo). The rest of the two albums have their share of gems, but all the other tracks pale in comparison to these two epic anthems.

Seriously, upon first listen you will most likely not absorb a single word of either song. These two beats combined with Sway's unpredictably fluctuating and rapid-fire delivery are too awesomly distracting to pay attention to what he is saying (his English accent might throw you off as well). However, with an increasing number of listens you will start to notice more and more of each track's subtle complexities as well as their analogs in song structure. For example both songs have: 1) Approximately one minute of build-up before the first verse 2) Three verses with a spoken interlude leading into the start of the third verse 3) A central focus on frantic rapping while still maintaining understandable lyrics and 4) An underdog theme with a triumphant soundscape.

It seems that Sway has found a repeatable formula for the most EPIC album intro ever (both of which he produced). Let's just say his next album's intro has a whole lot to live up to after these two tracks. Yet, I have no doubt that he will deliver another classic.

*Note: The lyrics websites that I have linked to are not completely accurate.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Album: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The VS. EP (2009)

(Do NOT miss this!!)

This new EP that dropped today is what I've been looking for in Hip Hop music for a few years now, ever since I started fantasizing about what elements would comprise my ideal hip hop album (more on that in a future post). To date, this EP is the closest manifestation I have come across. The concoction of a downright passionate, intelligent, self-reflective lyricist (Macklemore) mixed with a visionary producer willing to overstep boundaries (Ryan Lewis), throw in superb live instrumentation that hip hop as an art form is lacking in general (violin, trumpet, drums), and what you get in this project is a seamless bond between new sounds that excite and tantalize the hip hop senses. Is this what hip hop has been missing...? I think so. Is this a new branch sprouting off of hip hop's genealogical tree...? Only time will tell...

Macklemore (left) & Ryan Lewis (right)

Now about the Music. The music is an overall AMAZING experience (I'm learning that you can't write about how music sounds, so just take my word for it and listen to the 7 tracks already!).

Now about the EP. Two things make this project even more unique than what's stated above: 1) The brilliant concept behind the production on the EP and 2) The motivation behind the lyricist and his content. First, the production concept by Ryan Lewis was to blatantly sample extremely sonically appealing parts of songs from relevant contemporary bands (these artists include The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Beirut, Antony and the Johnsons). Lewis's willingness to expand the concept of hip hop by appropriating unconventional contemporary rock samples shows a true passion for making music (especially because they cannot release this EP for sale due to copyright laws). In my opinion, blurring genre lines like this is necessary for hip hop's revival (meaning a true separation between shitty hip hop and good hip hop will emerge not only on a sonic level, but on a conceptual level as well).

The second unique quality of the project involves the motivations behind the lyricism. Most MC's lack what Macklemore has... a reason for making music. This man quite literally makes music to live. As he states in his song "Inhale Deep" on his first album The Language of My World "If I'm not making music, why the fuck am I existing?". Music has no doubt been the driving force recently that has helped save this talented man's life from personal struggles with drug addiction and severe depression (read this fascinating article to find out more). Now, through faith and music, Macklemore's spirit has risen once again to new heights of creativity. Not many MC's have that all important reason behind making their music like Macklemore does... and if you notice, all of his tracks have a topic of focus as opposed to many rappers who never have anything significant to speak at length on. If you only listen to one thing from my blog this year, make it this.

Previous posts on Macklemore:
1) Album: Macklemore - The Unplanned Mixtape (2009)
2) Album: Macklemore - The Language Of My World (2005)

Damn I wish I had been at the VS. EP release party!

"We put our glass to the sky and lift up. And live tonight cause you can't take it with ya. So raise a pint for the people that aren't with us. And live tonight cause you can't take it with ya" - Macklemore - Irish Celebration

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Album: Macklemore - The Unplanned Mixtape (2009)

01 The Town
02 At The Party
03 The Club
04 American
05 Nxnw Remix Ft. Geologic &
06 Fallin
07 Church Ft. Geologic
08 Letterhead Remix Ft. Sapient & Illmaculate
09 Keep Marching Ft. XP
10 And We Danced

I have been bumpin' this mixtape in my car for 3 weeks now. I can't seem to get over tracks 1, 2, & 7. This is some real hip hop right here. The first track "The Town" is Macklemore's tribute to Seattle and the hip hop culture that exists there. Macklemore fills the track with emotion as he connects his city, his music, and their past all in one passionate song. Check the video below for "The Town" performed live. In the second track "At The Party", Macklemore tells the story of hip hop's past to present with a slight twist. He overviews the entire history and transitions of hip hop music in less than 5 minutes telling the story as if he walked into a party in 1979 and ended the night in 2009. Every single line in the song is a chronological reference to something that happened in hip hop's 30 year history. Then in the 7th track, Geologic of the group Blue Scholars teams up with Macklemore to talk about their views on religion in the song "Church". Both rappers come to the same conclusion over a simple but compelling beat; that you need to question organized religion and that God or faith can be found in the music itself. As Macklemore explains, "The spirit's right here and I don't have to see it. Now everytime I wanna connect with God put my headphones on, then I nod, grab my pen my pad let it seep in. And that's my process. God's always watching. Got God in my Walkman. Go ahead and top that". I can really connect with this message.

I ran across a quote on Macklemore's MySpace page recently by Bruce George (Def Poetry Jam Co-founder) that read "He is Common and Eminem personified". Two of my favorite rappers in one person? I knew there was something I loved about him that I couldn't figure out. Macklemore's newest project the VS. EP produced by Ryan Lewis is being released for digital download on December 15th. Check back here for my post on that soon! I'm ridiculously excited.

The two videos below are of Macklemore live in concert. Can't you just feel his positive energy flowing through the crowd!? He looks absolutely elated to be rapping for his fans.

Macklemore - 'The Town' (Live at Bumbershoot Festival 2009 in Seattle - w/ live violin and trumpet)

Blue Scholars bring Macklemore out on stage at Soundset 2009 in Minneapolis to freestyle...

"Alright, we travel down a long road. Now, who knows where these songs go? I know. I rock it like this with the scenery, photoshop the overcast city that just lives in me. Southside Seattle, a whole lots happening, probably not a lot different than what's in Minneapolis. And my profession out here, making heads nod. And I wear headphones to my desk job. That's my revival, that's my freestyle, get onstage and forget my verse in this freestyle. That's right, they call me a terrorist, afterwards steal some shit from the Mall of America. Come back to the audience, share with ya. That's right, as Sabzi's snares hit ya. Speak the truth, honest, you know we be on it. Macklemore and Blue Scholars, hands up."- Macklemore's Freestyle

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Filet of the Day #2: November '09 (Archive)

"I bring you the needle in the record stack"

For those of you that missed last month's post, the Filet Of The Day section is a place where I present a new song that I'm currently feeling that day. The songs are mostly new ones as I discover more and more artists and songs, but on occasion I look back to the past for inspiration. My intention is to give you a wide range of different artists to listen to in hopes to bring exposure to the underexposed talent out there.

Download HERE - November '09
<11/1/09> Styles P - The Struggle (Prod. by Large Professor)
<11/2/09> Reach - How To Fish (Prod. by Dela)
<11/3/09> Brother Ali - Bad Mufucker Pt. 2
<11/4/09> Macklemore - My Language (Prod. by Budo)
<11/5/09> People Under The Stairs - Carried Away
<11/6/09> Cashmere The PRO - Clap Ft. Celph Titled & Oktober (Prod. by Kno)
<11/7/09> Sol - No Sleep Ft. Grynch (Prod. by Jack The Ripper)
<11/8/09> Souls Of Mischief - Let Em Know
<11/9/09> Zion I - Temperature Ft. Talib Kweli (Prod. by AmpLive)
<11/10/09> Masta Ace & Edo G (A&E) - Ei8ht Is Enuff (Prod. by Frank Dukes)
<11/11/09> Mr. SOS - The Balance (Prod. by Quincey Tones)
<11/12/09> CunninLynguists - Imperial Ft. Freddie Gibbs (Prod. by Kno)
<11/13/09> Kam Moye (aka Supastition) - Blue Skies
<11/14/09> Prince Paul (Producer) - Pain Ft. Sha & Breezly Brewin
<11/15/09> R.A. the Rugged Man - Black And White Ft. Timbo King (Prod. by Dev One)
<11/16/09> Masta Killa - Masta Killa (Prod. by Baby Dooks)
<11/17/09> Oh No - Move Ft. Roc C (Prod. by J Dilla)
<11/18/09> Sene & Blu - QuarterWaterSupporter
<11/19/09> Fat Joe - John Blaze Feat. Nas, Big Punisher, Raekwon, & Jadakiss
<11/20/09> Black Milk - Overdose
<11/21/09> DJ Honda (Producer) - Fuk Dat Ft. Sean Black
<11/22/09> Finale - The Senator (Produced By Waajeed)
<11/23/09> Hilltop Hoods - The Hard Road
<11/24/09> M.anifest - Just Like A Lion (Prod. by Budo)
<11/25/09> M.O.P. - Salute A G (Prod. by DR Period)
<11/26/09> L.O.X. - I Wanna Thank You
<11/27/09> BlakRoc / The Black Keys - Done Did It Ft. Nicole Wray & NOE
<11/28/09> Macklemore - Church Ft. Geologic
<11/29/09> Mr. SOS - Intro (off of Mr. SOS For President)
<11/30/09> Termanology - So Amazing (Prod. by DJ Premier)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Album: Shad - The Old Prince (2007)

1. Intro: Quest for Glory
2. I Don’t Like To
3. What We All Want (feat. Kamau and Relic the Oddity)
4. Brother (Watching) (feat. B and F Kabango)
5. Now a Daze
6. The Old Prince Still Lives at Home
7. Out of Love Pt. 2
8. The Last Three Years Interlude
9. I Heard You Had a Voice Like an Angel/Psalm 137
10. Compromise
11. Exile
12. Get Up
13. Outro

Ladies & Gentleman, I want to introduce you to a little thing called lyricism. Now just because a rapper says something like "I spit hot fire" does not mean they actually do. The world has too many rappers like "Dylan" (Chappelle Show Reference) and not enough like Shad. However, after you hear some music by the Canadian rapper Shad (from London, Ontario), you might start to understand what the term "lyricism" really means. The man is full of lines that could leave you thinking, "Damn, did he really just say that?". I'll give you three examples of his amazing lyrics from The Old Prince after this quasi-freestyle by the man himself. Listen to the lyrics!

1. "I put the smack down like it's rehab, make sure that there's no relapse with these cats, y'all cowards couldn't (w)rap this dope with a zig-zag" - 'I Don't Like To'
2. "Know who the staff you roll with is, Your staff can turn to snakes like Moses's" - 'Now a Daze'
3. "I call my car Roc-A-Fella cause it's got a broke Dash" - 'Now a Daze'
[In case you didn't get all that: "smack" = heroin, "zig-zag" = a brand of rolling papers, "Dash" = Damon Dash (former Co-President of Roc-A-Fella Records)]

His use of double entendre is just filthy. On top of all his amazing wordplay, Shad's lyrics reflect the fact that he is an extremely humble, introspective, and conscious dude. But he also has got a humorous side. If you like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, then you need to check his music video for the The Old Prince Still Lives At Home. Shad is currently studying part-time for a master's degree in Vancouver and at the same time following his dreams of making good music. Check out this unofficial music video below for a beautiful visual accompaniment to one of his newest songs. You won't be disappointed!

Shad Ft. Jermiside & The Destruments - 'The Calling' (first two verses by Shad, last one by Jermiside)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Music Video Director: Zia Mohajerjasbi

This is a rare occurrence that I am spotlighting a music video director, but after this video clip below I think you'll know exactly why I am fully repping Zia Mohajerjasbi. His style is simple, yet elegant as he creates beauty on a small budget and the song combines perfectly with the visuals to make an emotional piece of art.

This is a short video clip created by Zia about the making of the video for Macklemore's first single off The Unplanned Mixtape. The song is called 'The Town' - which I will post soon along with the rest of the mixtape and the full video. Stay tuned.

Even though I'd probably pronounce his last name, Mohajerjasbi, like it was the "safeword" in the movie EuroTrip, I'm a huge fan of his work and I didn't even know it until yesterday when I stumbled upon his blog ( Thank you twitter. It was there that I realized he had directed several music videos that I had already fell in love with and was in the process of creating the first ever music video by one of my new favorite artists Macklemore (Don't remember Macklemore? Peep my earlier post).

For all the hip hop music videos that come out these days, only a handful are worth watching. That is, unless you pair the right director with the right artist. In this case what you get is pure magic. For example, Zia has directed other music videos for some of Seattle's underground hip hop elite including: Blue Scholars, Common Market, Macklemore, Jake One, & Gabriel Teodros. Peep some of his best work below and the rest of his work at his YouTube channel HERE or on Vimeo HERE.

Blue Scholars - 'Coffee & Snow' Music Video

Jake One - 'Home' Music Video

Common Market - 'Escaping Arkham' Music Video

Blue Scholars - 'Joe Metro' Music Video

Friday, November 27, 2009

Album: The Black Keys + Various Rappers - BlakRoc (2009)

01. Coochie Ft. Ludacris & Ol' Dirty Bastard
02. On The Vista Ft. Mos Def
03. Hard Times Ft. NOE
04. Dollaz & Sense Ft. Pharoahe Monch & RZA
05. Why Can't I Forget Him Ft. Nicole Wray
06. Stay Off The Fuckin' Flowers Ft. Raekwon
07. Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo) Ft. Jim Jones & Mos Def
08. Hope You're Happy Ft. Billy Danze (of M.O.P.), Nicole Wray, & Q-Tip
09. Tellin' Me Things Ft. RZA
10. What You Do To Me Ft. Billy Danze (of M.O.P.), Jim Jones & Nicole Wray
11. Done Did It Ft. Nicole Wray & NOE

Here it is! The BlakRoc album is finished and finally released on this lovely Black Friday. In case you missed what the BlakRoc project is rewind a bit and go back to my earlier blog post on it HERE.

Here is some pretty sweet behind the scenes footage on the making of the song 'What You Do To Me'. In the first video, The Black Keys do the beat dirty with chorus by Nikki Wray and rapping by Jim Jones. Does this not make you wish you were in the studio drinking wine and dancing with Nikki or smoking weed with Jim Jones blasting this sick beat on studio speakers?

Here is part 2 with Billy Danze (of M.O.P.) doing his verse. I love how excited he gets about the beat when he first hears it and immediately knows he has to be spitting on this track.

If you feel like supporting the arts/artists, buy you a real copy or a T-shirt HERE, but definitely don't miss this gem. I only wish it was longer...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Album: M.anifest - The Birds & The Beats (2009)

Click To Preview Mixtape
Hot Dayyum! This new FREE mixtape The Birds & The Beats by M.anifest is absolutely AMAZING! A must MUST MUST download. Optional donation for the download to support Young Entrepreneurs Africa (YE,A) a non-profit empowering underprivileged youth in Africa.

Seriously this mixtape blew me away. A few questions ran through my head upon listening to it. How is this a mixtape and not an album? How is this for free!? How did M.anifest make every single song phenomenal? I feel inspired when I listened to this... inspired to what?... to dance... to listen... to think... Open your mind and give this bangin' hip hop by a talented African a spin...

Now for a little about M.anifest aka M Dot. M.anifest is a rising Hip-Hop artist born in Accra, Ghana and resident in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is an intelligent and conscious MC with a gift for writing. To quote the man on his own style "Introspection mixed with splashes of social commentary is my bread and butter... I'm unapologetically Ghanaian, and so African that at the slightest provocation I burst into vocal mannerisms". M.anifest is a member of the group A.R.M. (African Rebel Movement) along with Krukid and Budo (Producer). Check out the video below for the first single off their upcoming album Uprising. More on M.anifest on Facebook Here.

A.R.M. - "Heaven Only Knows" Ft. Brother Ali
Download Song Here

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Filet-o-Mix 3: Weed: The Chronic 2009 - Best Hip Hop Weed Songs (Vol. 1)

01 Cypress Hill - Hits From The Bong
02 Redman - Smoke Buddah
03 People Under The Stairs - Come On, Let's Get High
04 Krayzie Bone - Smokin Budda
05 Scarface - Mary Jane
06 Cunninlynguists - Never Come Down (The Brownie Song)
07 Styles P - Blow Ya Mind (Ft. Swizz Beatz)
08 Redman - Jersey Yo!
09 J Dilla - Smoke (Ft. Blu)
10 Memphis Bleek - I Get High
11 Outkast - Crumblin' Erb
12 Mr. SOS - Stay High Ft. Deacon The Villain, Flip Flop, & Juicy
13 Qwel - The Highest Commitment
14 Bizzy Bone Ft. Blulight - Weedman
15 Mr. SOS - Lets Go Get Stoned
16 Proof - High Rollers Ft. B-Real & Method Man
17 Copywrite - He Burns Trees
18 Cypress Hill - High Times
19 The Pharcyde - Pack The Pipe
20 Devin The Dude - To Tha X-Treme

Continuing on with my themes of Hip Hop mix series comes one of the most timeless, the Weed mix (first of several). In this mix titled The Chronic 2009 I have compiled (in my opinion) some of the best rap songs specifically dedicated to the love of Ms. Mary Jane herself. Even if smoking is not your thing, this CD might make you reconsider... and if it is your thing, be a good smoker and PASS the mix along to your friends (on the left hand side of course).

If your favorite track didn't make it, suggest a song in the comments below and I'll consider it for the next mix. I had to narrow down a list of over 100 songs to 20 tracks so obviously I had some criteria for selecting these few. All rap songs that made the cut have tight beats, are nearly 100% about marijuana, and don't lose their appeal after multiple listens. There are some classic songs in there mixed with some of my new favorites (especially track 12). Check out the video for The Brownie Song below and a few lyrics (track 6).

"Rigormortis higher than a lion's chin, If this was symphonies I'm way up there with violins, If this a choir then soprano octaves, in an opera where God lives, Look I know I'm sounding like a liar but, The brownie's was angel sex - got a nigga high as fuck, I smoke trees'n through all four seasons, but I'm like gas prices - high for no reason. Call the nurse your boy's higher than Google Earth, and if I fell the impact would put me through the dirt, So let me zoom in and get my zoom on, This weed's Neil Armstrong - I'm on the moon blown" - Deacon The Villain

CunninLynguists - Never Come Down (The Brownie Song) - Video

And now for some personal insights about marijuana and hip hop...

Everyone knows that hip hop is laced with drug references, but hold on don't be so quick to judge. There is quite a difference between the drugs they talk about for sale and those for personal consumption. Hip Hop as a culture does not embrace hard drugs such as crack, cocaine, and heroin. In fact, the music makes it quite clear that although selling hard drugs is glorified, using them is NOT. Selling hard drugs is glorified because it is seen as one of the few ways to make fast money and get out of poverty. However, there is a huge negative stigma in hip hop music towards the addicts or "fiends" that buy these drugs. They are looked down upon and disrespected by same bragging rappers who made their money off them.

It seems that the only drug that hip hop embraces (besides for alcohol) is marijuana. In fact, on many occasions I find it downright strange that the same drug can be adored by both the most hardcore rapper and the most free-spirited hippie (seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum). Even though the drug means different things to different cultures, ultimately weed has the same effects on the mood and behavior of most people. My point is that marijuana is a drug enjoyed and celebrated universally and should not be looked at in such a negative light (let's try to put illegality aside). After all, weed is conducive to musician/artist creativity, which is clearly shown in the works of these hip hop artists.

Enjoy the music. And just like weed, this mix is better when you share it with friends.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Concerts: New York City Hip Hop - November 2009

Do you ever find yourself bored as hell on odd nights of the week? Are you trying to spice up your life a bit? Well there's nothing that the right hip hop concert won't fix. Here's my picks for NYC this month.

Hit Play Button to Preview a Few Tracks by Artists in Concert this Month!

Who: J.J. BROWN Connect The Dots Album Release Party Ft. Louis Logic, Craig G, Reef The Lost Cauze, Poison Pen, Block McCloud, and more special guests! - Hosted by Miz Metro
When: Tuesday, Nov 10, 2009 9:00 PM (7:30 PM Doors)
Where: S.O.B.'s
Ages: 18 and Over
How Much: $10 Advance / $12 Day Of Show
Why you should go: This bunch of up-and-comers have actually been around for a while if you check your history + I love Reef The Lost Cauze (Spittin’ straight up fire from Philly!)

Who: Warren G with U-N-I and Kidz In The Hall
When: Tue, November 10, 2009 @ 8:00 PM
Where: Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, New York, NY 10002
Ages: 18 and Over
How Much: $20
Why you should go: Warren G is the king of laid back west coast rap grooves. You will want to light up some indo when you here this Cali DPG (Fun fact: He is Dr. Dre’s step-brother).

Who: The Roots Present: The Jam with Guest Performer Nneka
When: Tuesday, November 10/17/24, 2009 @ 12:00 PM
Where: Highline Ballroom
Ages: All
How Much: $10 Advance / $12 Door
Why you should go: The Roots are hip hop’s greatest band with one of it’s most fiery lyricists Black Thought. They play every week on Tuesday at the Highline (but that’s no excuse to wait).

Who: Ghostface Killah Wizard of Poetry Tour with Skyzoo, Sosh B, Fashawn, Blu & Exile
When: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 @ 7:00 PM
Where: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Ages: 16 and Over
How Much: $26 Advance / $30 Door
Why you should go: Ok, Ghostface is the man. If you wanna see a real show by a hip-hop legend who has made up more words than Shakespeare, now is the time. Love him in concert.

When: Friday, November 13 @ 11:30 PM
Where: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Ages: 16 and Over
How Much: $35 Advance / $40 Day of Show
Why you should go: This is the PREMIER show of the month. Goodie Mob + Scarface are to the South what Biggie was to NY and 2Pac was to Cali. And Slick Rick is the mentor for all the Jay-Z’s and Nas’s of the world. Top that.

Who: Afrika Bambaataa "35th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop Culture" - Naughty By Nature (Headliner), Positive K, Grand Master Melle Mel, Chill Rob G, Large Professor, Craig G, Shaheim, Dana Dane, DJ DP One/DJ Chuck Chillout
When: Sunday, Nov 15, 2009 9:00 PM (7:00 PM Doors)
Where: S.O.B.'s
Ages: 21 and Over
How Much: $25 Advance / $30 Day Of Show
Why you should go: If you are an old school hip hop head, then you already know why you should go. 35 years isn’t long for something so amazing. Hip Hop will never die.

When: Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009 9:00 PM (8:00 PM Doors)
Where: S.O.B.'s
Ages: 21 and Over
How Much: $18 Advance / $22 Day Of Show
Why you should go: First, ALL PROCEEDS GO TO ROC RAIDA’S FAMILY. Second, holy shit this lineup is Off The Books.

Who: The Seventh Seal Tour: Rakim with Guest Performer Rhymefest
When: Thursday, November 19, 2009 @ 9:00 PM
Where: B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
Ages: 16 and Over
How Much: $30 Advance / $35 Day of Show
Why you should go: Rakim is the innovator of the modern rap flow and one of the most influential MC’s ever. He has a New Album coming out called The Seventh Seal. It’s been 10 years since his last solo album and dude is still fire on the M-I-C. He is a rap God.

Who: Eyedea & Abilities with Guest Performers Themselves
When: Friday, November 27th, 2009 @ 9:00 PM
Where: Knitting Factory Brooklyn
Ages: All Ages
How Much: $12 Advance
Why you should go: Eyedea & Abilities started out a battle MC/DJ combo, but now have turned to the more deep and experimental side of hip hop with their new album By The Throat. They are part of the Rhymesayers Entertainment label, which is an underground hip hop powerhouse.

If I missed any significant concerts, please hit up the comments box below.

Note: DMX show at B.B. King was cancelled.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Album: People Under The Stairs - Carried Away (2009)

1. Step Off
2. Much Too Much
3. Hit the Top
4. Listen
5. Trippin’ at the Disco
6. 80 Blocks from Silverlake
7. Beer
8. Come On, Let’s Get High
9. Check the Vibe
10. Letter from the Old School
12. Down in LA
13. My Boy D
14. Teeth
15. Creepshow
16. Chicken Kebap
17. Carried Away

Once again it's the "P"...aka PUTS ...aka People Under The Stairs ...aka my favorite rap group of all time. And when I found out that this dynamic duo was back on the map with their 7th studio album Carried Away, I was ...well ...carried away to 7th heaven.

Ok that was gay, but seriously, I couldn't believe that I missed their album release date by two weeks! I was so excited... all ready and poised to download the album, but a voice stopped me. It said "Wait... wait!! This is your favorite group, and you stole their last album Fun DMC you asshole". The voice was my conscience of course and it did get the best of me. I proceeded to order the Limited Fanclub Edition CD that came with a V.I.P. pass (Very Important Partier) that "entitles you to  exclusive party favors at all PUTS shows" and a PUTS collage poster with a board game on the back. Even though I had to wait a few days, it was damn worth it for that feeling to hear my favorite group kill it on their newest masterpiece. There ain't nothing else like it in the world.

For those of you new to PUTS, I must explain why I like them so much. The group is the ultimate in hip hop purity. All beats, rhymes, samples, and scratching are done without any outside help. The group is all about having fun with their music and in this album most songs revolve around booze, bbqs, blunts, pop-culture references, and of course their hometown of LA. The guys, Thes One and Double K, are incredible lyricists, and they use their skills to make chill music that you can vibe and party to. It's refreshing as hell to hear a hip hop group that doesn't rap at all about guns, money, selling drugs, or political issues.

The People Under The Stairs are all about having a good time and they embody perfectly everything I respect in hip hop. Great beats, creative rhymes, the coolest attitude, and originality that tops all others.

"We went into CVS one morning and they decided to dismantle their wine section, so every bottle was $1.99. I bought five cases of wine. We would go into the studio everyday and start recording at 9 A.M. and we'd be drinking wine to create a vibe. As long as we're having fun and getting drunk, we're fine." - Thes One of PUTS

Check the video below of their first single Trippin' At The Disco ...and yes, it's supposed to be funny.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Filet of the Day #1: October '09 (Archive)

See that small strip of tenderloin up there. That's the prime cut. Now picture hip hop as the whole cow  and that small piece as what I give you. To be more specific, prime grade hip hop is the ultimate in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

Now you can download all of my "Filet of the Day" picks for the whole past month of October. This list is a random assortment of great songs picked on a daily basis. Some are new, others are old, but all can be categorized as top-notch prime grade hip hop. Pass the love around. Burn the mix, listen to it, give it away, sell it, rip it, bump it, zone to it, write your own rhymes to it, be inspired. Let the music consume you and come back for a quality new song daily.

<10/14/09> Big L - Dangerzone
<10/15/09> Common - So Cool
<10/16/09> 2Pac & Outlawz - One Day At A Time
<10/17/09> Shad K Ft. Jermiside & Destruments - The Calling
<10/18/09> Redman - Funkorama
<10/19/09> Smif-N-Wessun - Bucktown
<10/20/09> Nappy Roots - Work In Progress
<10/21/09> Chapter 13 - The Rebirth
<10/22/09> Little Brother - That Ain't Love
<10/23/09> Jay-Z & SCAM - Party Life Remix (Cooler Than...)
<10/24/09> Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip?
<10/25/09> KiD CuDi - CuDi Zone
<10/26/09> Raekwon - Ason Jones (Prod. by J Dilla)
<10/27/09> Finale - Heat (Prod. by J Dilla)
<10/28/09> Vakill Ft. Vizion - Man Into Monster
<10/29/09> Rashid Hadee - Set In Stone (Street Lights)
<10/30/09> Termanology - Nothing Iz Real
<10/31/09> Looptroop - Zombies *Note the Halloween theme*


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Album: Macklemore - The Language Of My World (2005)

Hit Play Button to Preview a Few Amazing Tracks
1. Intro
2. White Privilege
3. B-Boy
4. Claiming The City (Feat. Abyssinian Creole)
5. Fake I.D.
6. Hold Your Head Up (Feat. Xperience)
7. Ego
8. Inhale Deep
9. Bush Song
10. Good For You (Feat. Step Cousins)
11. I Said Hey
12. Penis Song
13. The Magic
14. City Don't Sleep (Feat. Don-P)
15. Love Song (Feat. Evan Roman)
16. Remember High School
17. Contradiction (Feat. Evan Roman)
18. Soldiers
19. As Soon As I Wake Up (Feat. Step Cousins)
20. My Language

After seeing this video I knew I had to hear more from Macklemore... 

Macklemore - Live at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival

For the first time in about a year I was compelled to sit and listen to a whole album - start to finish - with no breaks. Just to take a block out of my day to simply sit and listen to an album and boy was I glad I did. I couldn't help being reminded of the quote The Roots used at the end of the intro track for their 1999 album Things Fall Apart, which says "Inevitably, hip hop records are treated as though they are disposable, they're not maximized as product even, ya know not to mention as art" The Roots - Act Won...Things Fall Apart. The quote really sums up the fact that rap albums for the past 10 years have been nothing, but filler with a few nice tracks. This is the reason I no longer consume music by the album... because artists don't maximize their product anymore.

However, Macklemore surprised me on this one and has proven the quote wrong with his album The Language Of My World. He has managed to maximize an album, filling it to the brim with great music (and in 2005 nonetheless). This is quite an accomplishment for an up-and-coming white hip hop artist from Seattle to make his debut nothing short of spectacular. In the album, Macklemore drops a ton of knowledge about all types of social issues and uses his music as a sounding board to tease out his own personal demons. This is self-reflective hip hop and Macklemore is articulate, educated, and humorous, but above all - the guy rips the mic with a passion and an internal flame that has been lacking in hip hop for years.

Please pick up some headphones and listen to this album. When you hear an artist like this, you know they have got something REAL to say and you should give it your full attention.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Concerts: Roc Raida Tribute [10/22/09] & Duck Down Showcase [10/24/09]

This past week I had the chance to go to 2 fabulous gatherings representing both of the two-letter elements of the hip hop underground - DJ's and MC's.

The first concert was a tribute to one of the great turntablist DJ's in hip hop, Grandmaster Roc Raida, who passed away unexpectedly on September 19, 2009 from complications after two surgeries from a mixed-martial arts accident. This man was part of the legendary DJ troupe The X-Ecutioners (formerly named the X-Men), was the first man from New York to bring home the DMC World DJ Championship title in 1995, was knighted as a Grandmaster DJ, released 7 solo albums and 3 more with the X-Ecutioners, was an accomplished producer, and was the DJ for the artists Show & AG, Big L, Lord Finesse and most recently Busta Rhymes.

You could tell how legendary the man was when you saw all the famous DJ's, producers, and MC's on the stage that came to pay homage to Roc Raida. Legends like Kool Herc and Large Professor were in the building. The extensive list of DJ's included: The Beat Junkies (J-Rocc, Babu, Rhettmatic, Shortkut), Craze, A-Trak, DJ Scratch, Roli Rho, Idee, DJ Dummy, Slyce, Shiftee, and Z-Trip. Of course there were even more names that just showed up in the background like Clark Kent, DJ Skribble, and many others that I'm forgetting or never heard of. And then at the end of the night, Busta Rhymes came out and praised Roc Raida and his family for a good 15 minutes on stage. It was quite inspiring to know that Roc Raida touched all these people's lives in some way.

It was awesome to see so many legends and DJ's cutting it up on stage and performing the routines that Raida used to do himself. It's so crazy what these guys can do with just two turntables, like making new beats with no musical instruments just by cutting up two records. It makes me wish I could be that good on my own turntables without putting in the years of dedication it takes.

Smif-N-Wessun at Duck Down Showcase

The second concert was the Duck Down Showcase. This concert represented the MC portion of my weekend and it was FUCKING AWESOME. So many underground artists were there and they all just came out and rocked the mic back-to-back with DJ Evil Dee of Da Beatminerz on the mix. First, Masta Ace & Edo. G came out as a tag team because these two legends are recording an album under the moniker A&E called Arts & Entertainment. Check out the track A's & E's*. Also, I was so pumped when Ace did his song Good Ol' Love*. Shortly after came Geologic of the Seattle group Blue Scholars (unfortunately the DJ/Producer Sabzi couldn't be there and I almost cried because he is one of my few hip hop heroes). Geo smashed it on his song Loyalty*. Then Skyzoo broke it down with his new single The Beautiful Decay* followed by Kidz in the Hall (Penn Alumni!!) who looked way more the part of hip hop artists since the last time I saw them in Philly two years ago. No longer fresh out of college, these dudes performed their smash singles Wheelz Fall Off ('06 Til)* and Drivin' Down The Block (Low End Theory)*. Then Marco Polo and Torae came out with a quick set (I really just wanted Masta Ace to come out and do the song Nostalgia* with Marco. This flowed straight into Sean Price (aka Ruck) who was joined by Rock to reunite them as the group Heltah Skeltah. Then Smif-N-Wessun stomped through with crazy energy and some of their classic material like Bucktown* and Sound Bwoy Bureill*. Next came Buckshot of the group Black Moon who is the leader of the Boot Camp Clik (also made up of Heltah Skeltah, Smif-N-Wessun, & O.G.C.). You could tell by all of their intensity that these guys have been doing it for a long time ('93-'95 era). Then two guest appearances surprised the crowd as Pharoahe Monch and Sadat X came out. First, Pharoahe and Sean Price smacked the crowd with their unbelievable song on the Tronic album by Black Milk called The Matrix* and as always Pharoahe performed his most famous song Simon Says*. Finally, to round out the amazing evening all the rappers came back out on stage and watched the Boot Camp Clik rock a few songs that they've collaborated on in the past.

This was one of the cooler hip hop events I've been too in recent years. It was not very crowded (probably because events with this many performers are billed under names like Duck Down Showcase) and all the legends came outside the venue after the show and talked to people. Geologic of Blue Scholars told me that him and Sabzi would be moving to NY to record their next album and Beth gave Geo a vinyl record that she painted of a stencil of Sabzi (like the one pictured below). Geo promised to give it to Sabzi and then took her picture with the record (Very exciting).

Overall, this was what a true hip hop event is supposed to be like, with true hip hop fans, and artists from all backgrounds and experience just rocking on the same stage for the love of it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Throwback Series #3: Redman - Muddy Waters (1996)

Hit Play to Preview Some Dope Tracks
1. Intro
2. Iz He 4 Real
3. Rock Da Spot
4. Welcome (Interlude)
5. Case Closed
6. Pick It Up
7. Skit
8. Smoke Buddah
9. Whateva Man
10. Chicken Head Convention (Skit)
11. On Fire
12. Do What Ya Feel
13. The Stick Up (Skit)
14. Creepin'
15. It's Like That (My Big Brother)
16. Da Bump
17. Skit
18. Yesh Yesh Ya'll
19. What U Lookin' 4
20. Soopaman Luva 3 Interview (Skit)
21. Soopaman Luva 3
22. Rollin'
23. Da Ill Out

Let's bring it back to 1995/96 when I was first getting into rap. Little did I know that this was one of the great heights of rap music, an era of creativity and classic albums that hasn't been seen since. This is what Redman was talking about when he said in an interview recently that Muddy Waters was his personal favorite out of all of his albums. Now this is no small deal for this Newark, NJ native to say, after all Redman has been one of the most consistent and dopest MC's in the game since 1992. When it comes to writing original lyrical content, Red is always on point with an unmistakable delivery that has never quite been able to be duplicated. His reason for choosing Muddy Waters as his best album - because it captures the feel and the essence of the time period around '95/'96 when rap was pure and before it became too mainstream and commercial. Check the songs below for yourself:

Muddy Waters is such a solid album that only gets better with more plays (although all the skits are nothing but filler). The tracks have a very gritty feel with their hard/dark beats and choruses made of ill samples instead of catchy hooks. Redman has said in a few interviews that he will be releasing Muddy Waters 2 for the true fans at some point in the future, but hasn't given any time frame for the project. And the movie How High 2 is supposedly in the works, so as a big fan of the first movie (that's right I own How High on dvd) - I can't wait!

If you are new to Redman or a long-time fan, you will most definitely need to check the hilarious music video below (even though the song is not on this album). I had to include it because it'll be the best 4 minutes of your day.

I'll Be Dat (Music Video) (Off the album Doc's Da Name 2000)

Personally, Redman is downright one of the coolest people I have ever seen in person/concert. Everything about his attitude and style is so awesome that it makes me wish I could be him. Please if you ever get a chance to go to a Redman concert (especially with Method Man), do it! He definitely goes on my top 10 best things about NJ. See for yourself why in MTV's most epic cribs episode EVER.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Update: A Site To Behold

 The new-age ghetto blaster

These are a few major improvements and cool additions to the site.

1) The layout has changed if you didn't notice. Now it's clean and spread out. Lots of room for videos!

2) Streaming playlists!! Thanks to Yahoo! Media Player, a few hacks, and a lot of free time on my hands (I'm unemployed at the moment), I have managed to find the best way to turn my site into a virtual playlist so you can listen to my music from any computer while you work, chill, etc. You can click on the play button next to any song link and the player will start playing the song automatically. Check the pop-up player in the bottom left of the page. It features...

        a) A viewable playlist (pops up from the top of the player)
        b) A focus button (to locate the currently playing track on the page)
        c) A loop button inside the playlist pop-up (automatically restarts the playlist when it ends)
        d) Auto-resume (automatically restarts your last played song where you left it whenever you reload the webpage!).

Seriously, I'm more excited about this than you are.

3) Filet of the Day is a new section at the top of the blog where I bring you a new song to stream daily, which gets added to the site's playlist. Hit the play button at the top of the page if you haven't already to here the first one. These songs are handpicked with love. I will archive them so you can still listen to your favorites within the site at a later date. You can also download any streaming files on the site by right-clicking on the song link and selecting Download link target, Save target as, Download linked file, or whatever phrase your web browser uses.

4) Share This button at the end of each blog post lets you easily email a post to a friend OR post a link of any blog entry on a social networking site like Facebook. Spread the word if you love the music or know someone that would!! I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks everyone that's reading. Leave a comment with some feedback for me below.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Album: The Black Keys + Various Rappers - BlakRoc

This is by far the hottest rap collaboration of the last 5 years. Check out the preview trailer below to get excited for the album/collaborative project BlakRoc, to be released on Black Friday this year (Nov, 27). In a nutshell the concept is: Damon Dash (co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records) brings together famous rap/r&b artists [Billy Danze of M.O.P., Jim Jones, Nicole Wray, NOE, Ludacris, Mos Def, ODB, Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip, Raekwon, & RZA] to collaborate on making an album produced by the blues-rock duo The Black Keys. Sounds crazy? No, it sounds so good I CAN'T STOP LISTENING. Check it below.

Here is the first SINGLE off the album by Jim Jones featuring Mos Def.

Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)

Jim Jones surprised me on this one with some poetic lyrics and Mos Def killed the chorus, both building on the heavy Black Keys beat with an old timey feel. So raw...

"You told me pain only shows you where you're going
You get the laughter and that shows you where you been
And when you get the cash that only shows you how to sin
Like when you getting fast money and you blow it in the wind

Where we from success one in a million
We thought success was getting money in front the building
End of the summer we was counting up the killings
Like they killed baby boy, tried to run up in the building - now

Love, I bruised one of her rose petals
She was from the concrete, came up out the cold ghetto
But so gentle, but it appears like
On a clear light it could thunder storm, want some more?"

-->YES I DO.

11 tracks, 11 artists, . Let the countdown to Black Friday begin.

Pre-Order the album HERE
More videos of the studio sessions HERE

*I will post the album for download when it is released*

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Concerts: October 2009

Duck Down Crew

I got 4 juicy October concert listings for my New York area folks that might make you spend some money in this recession...

When: Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:00 PM
Where: Southpaw, Brooklyn
Ages: 18 and over
How Much: $5 advance/$10 day of show
Why you should go: Because underground hip hop lives in Brooklyn and it just feels so raw

Who: Duck Down Showcase: Blue Scholars, Smif-N-Wessun, Buckshot, 9th Wonder, Da Beatminerz, Sean Price, Ruste Juxx, Skyzoo, Team Facelift, Kidz In The Hall, and Marco Polo & Torae
When: Saturday, October 24, 2009 9:00 PM
Where: The Gramercy Theatre, New York
Ages: 16 and over
How Much: Who cares? But seriously…$20
Why you should go: It’s actually not possible to fit all of these awesome rappers on the same stage. The universe might collapse on itself so enjoy this concert while we still exist. Oh yeah, and I'll be there.

Who: Snoop Dogg, Redman, and Method Man
When: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:00 PM
Where: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
Ages: All? But shouldn’t be.
How Much: $40, but you know Ticketmaster, so that means $50 and parking is $6
Why you should go: Some of the coolest rappers to ever grace a stage come together to have a concert / cannabis cup.

When: Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:00 PM
Where: SOB’s, New York
Ages: 21 and over
How Much: $15 at door
Why you should go: CD release party for Cormega’s New Album “Born & Raised”. For fifteen bucks at the door and all those guests, this would spice up anyone’s Thursday night.

Think it over with this new video from Blue Scholars about Hawaii. And watch Sabzi eating throughout the whole video.


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