My Mixtapes

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Return Of The Album (Part 3)

Here is the 3rd installment of "Return Of The Album", an ode to listening to a hip hop CD/Mixtape in full. No shuffle, no skip button... just letting it ride. I thoroughly enjoy listening to the music as the artist meant it to be heard. This is simply a list of the hip hop albums that I've checked out over the past year (a random smattering of hip hop that is either new or obscure enough for me never to have heard it before). If you like my taste in hip hop then take a browse through some of these and see if you find anything that you like / may have missed in your travels through the musical landscape in 2012. I am not saying that all of these albums are good or that I've listened to everyone just yet, but they all did happen to peak my curiosity enough to give them a try.

Bonus: See the two links below for the previous two installments of "Return Of The Album"

Return Of The Album Part 1
Return Of The Album Part 2

**Note: Many of the download links below that I previously found over the past year will undoubtedly be broken / have been deleted by the time of this posting. The list below is simply meant to serve as a reference for the true hip hop heads who want to browse through the albums that I've been checking out over the past year (2012).

Granite State - The Breaking Point (2006)

Granite State - The RE-Public (2009)

Logic - Young Sinatra (2011)

Tayyib Ali - Keystone State Of Mind (2011)

Mr. SOS - Cassette Verite (2011)

MarQ Spekt & Kno - MacheteVision (2011)

DJ Quik - The Book Of David (2011)

Shad - Besides Mixtape (2011)

14KT – A Friendly Game Of KT (2011) - A Friendly Game Of KT (2011).rar

Audible Doctor - Year Of The Audible Doctor Remix (2011)

Epidemic - Illin Spree (2011)

Smoke DZA – Sweet Baby Kushed God EP (2011)

The Beatnuts - Stone Crazy (1997)

Beneficence - Sidewalk Science (2011)

Brown Bag AllStars – 2011: A Year In Review (Mixtape)

Phil Ade – #PhilAdeFridayII Mixtape (2011)

Rashid Hadee – Year In Music 2011 (Mixtape) (2011)

A$AP Rocky - Live.Love.A$AP (2011)

Schoolboy Q - Setbacks (2011)

FIEND - Tennis Shoes And Tuxedos (2011)

DJ Jazzy Jeff - The Return Of The Magnificent (2007)!download|14tl4|116148820||74964|R~0|0|0

yU - The Earn (2011)

Tony Touch - The Best Toca Tuesdays Freestyles of 2011 (2011)

Ryshon Jones - Brightest Nights, Darkest Days (2011)

Doomtree - No Kings (2011)

TiRon & Ayomari – A Sucker For Pumps (2011)

The Away Team - Scars and Stripes (2011)

Pac Div - The DiV (2011)

Soul Khan - Acknowledgement EP (2011)

Soul Khan - Pursuance EP (2011)

Soul Khan - Resolution EP (2011)

Charlie Smarts - LowBottomMe (2011)

Surreal & DJ Balance - Future Classic (2006)

Drekidd – Liberation (Mixtape) (2011)

I Self Devine – LA State Of Mind EP (2012)

Timeless Truth - Brugal & Presidentes EP (2012)

Ab-Soul - LongTerm Mentality (Mixtape) (2011)

Pac Div - Mania (Mixtape) (2011)

Omen - Afraid Of Heights (Mixtape) (2011)

Catch Lungs - Awake In A Dream (2011)

Ill Bill & Vinnie Paz - Heavy Metal Kings (2011)

Roc Marciano & Gangrene - Greneberg EP (2011)

Malcolm & Martin - Life Doesn't Frighten Me (2011)

Dom Kennedy - The Original Dom Kennedy (2011)

Self Scientific – Trials Of The Blackhearted EP (2011)

Apathy - Primate Mindstate EP (2011)

Co$$ - Instrument of Emotion (2011)

J57 - The J57 Collection (2012)

Koncept - Awaken (2011)

Trebles & Blues - The Blue Note (2011)

Oddisee - Foot In The Door (2006)

Jonwayne - The Death Of Andrew (2011)!download|479l35|275273011|Jonwayne_-_The_Death_of_Andrew__EP__2011_.rar|35326|R~23461760862C898C691FF8886BB3098D|0|0

Young Montana? - Limerence (2011)

Grip Grand & DJ MF Shalem - Rewinder (2011)

Jean Grae & 9th Wonder - Jeanius (2008)

Gensu Dean - Jointz Mixtape (2012)

Sean Born - 909 Jack: BTS Pause Mix (2012)

Sean Born - Behind The Scale (2012)

Sean Price - Monkey Barz!!! (2005)!download|512l36|161187868||77646|R~794409AC055A8389F011FCDF7A8E9388|0|0

Brother Ali - The Bite Marked Heart EP (2012)

Brown Bag AllStars - The Brown Label EP Pt. 1 (2012)

Reef The Lost Cauze & Snowgoons – Your Favorite MC (2011)

Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass (2007)

Shabaam Sahdeeq - Lord Of War (2006)

Mr. Green - Classic Beats Vol. 1 (2009)!download|702dt|239951089||65154|R~330220815AA928FBE49C8C0F8743CC5D|0|0

Mr. Green - Classic Beats Vol. 2 (2009)

Mr. Green - Classic Beats Vol. 3 (2011)

Collective Efforts - Freezing World (2010)!download|642tl4|395302591|Collective_Efforts-Freezing_World-2010-MVR_INT.rar|75974|R~940988A89A3FE4FA3ED1A61547BAE822|0|0

Big K.R.I.T. - 4evaNaDay (2012)

I Self Devine – Reports From The Field - In The Trenches Mixtape (2012)

Grynch - Perspective (2012)

Stik Figa - Choosy Moms Choose Stik EP (2012)

Blu - God Is Good (2012)

Polyrhythm Addicts - Rhyme Related (1999)

Apani B - Story 2 Tell (2004)!download|517l3|144679750|Apani_B_-_Story_2_Tell.rar|65853|R~E70BAB7E31545C98438D64F00B744F06|0|0

Jamal - Last Chance, No Breaks (1995)!download|281tl|228871182|Jamal_-_Last_Chance__No_Breaks.rar|69660|R~63ADD6CCD32C4BA735CBC7F32FFFDC21|0|0

Mission - One (Crown City Rockers) (2001)

K-Def - Night Shift (2011)

Add-2 – Save.Our.Souls (Mixtape) (2012)

Mello Music Group - Self Sacrifice (2012)

Sims - Wildlife (2012)

L'Orange - Old Soul (2011)

L'Orange - Still Spinning (2012)

Stalley – Savage Journey To The American Dream (2012)

Fresh Daily - The Brooklyn Good Guy (2012)

Pheo - They Soulection EP (2012)

Marchitect & SoulChef - Passport (2012)

DJ Eclipse - The Half Time Show 14 Years of Rap Part 1 & 2 (2012)

Shaz IllYork – Before It All Happened (2012)

Lootpack - Soundpieces: Da Antidote! (1999)!download|868p1|391624948||147931|R~E26BE19E3368A71BF03C9A5A8F676D2D|0|0

The Dynospectrum - The Dynospectrum (1999)

Steddy P - No Days Off EP (2010)

N.O.R.E. – Crack On Steroids Mixtape (2012)

Chuck Inglish – WRKOUT (Beattape) (2012)

Statik Selektah - 4/20: The Classics (Mixtape) (2012)

Tha Dogg Pound – DPGC’ology (2012)

Quakers - Quakers (2012)

Iron Solomon - Monster (2012)

David Dallas - Purple Tinted Mixtape (Remixed by Forty One) (2012)

Apollo Brown & O.C. - Trophies (2012)

Chuuwee - Crown Me King (2012)

Diz Gibran & Moonshine - The Return EP (2012)

Stik Figa - As Himself (2012)

Soul Khan - Wellstone EP (2012)

The Doppelgangaz - Lone Sharks (2011)

Action Bronson - Blue Chips (2012)

Neek The Exotic - Still On The Hustle (2011)

Move.meant - The Scope Of Things To Come (2007)

Move.meant - The Good Money EP (2006)!download|254p11|248558323|Move.meant-The_Good_Money_EP-2006-FTD.rar|32353|R~328EC0EFC161EADA6765DC7B10B0318C|0|0

Lana Del Rey Vs. The Notorious B.I.G. - Born Ready To Die (2012)

Kaligraph E - Done Good EP (2012)

Kaligraph E - Honeybeats EP (2011)

Hakim Green (of Channel Live) – Hip Hop Nation (2011)

Vanilla - Soft Focus (2012)

Vanilla - High Life (2011)

Vanilla - Chrometrails (2010)

Big K.R.I.T. - Live From The Underground (2012)

Yonas – The Transition (2012)

Dom Kennedy - Yellow Album (2012)

Yelawolf – Heart Of Dixie (2012)

7evenThirty - Late Night Sessions (2012)

Oddisee - People Hear What They See (2012)

XV - Popular Culture (2012)

The B.U.M.S. ‎– Lyfe'N'Tyme!download|476p1|310498308|The_B.U.M.S__Brothas_Unda_Madness__-_1995_-_Lyfe__N__Tyme.rar|64052|0|0

I Self Devine - The Sound of Low Class Amerika (2012)

Domo Genesis & Alchemist - No Idols (2012)

DJ JS-1 - Demolition Mix (2012)

The Notorious B.I.G. & Woody – Remixed by Woody (2012)

Dark Time Sunshine - ANX (2012)

SuaveHaus (Charmingly Ghetto, Abib Jahleel, & J-Coop) - SuaveHaus EP (2012)

Topaz Jones and Stan Ross - 106 Miles To Chicago (2012)

ShowYouSuck - Girls, Girls, Girls (2012)

Reks - Rebelutionary (2012)

Slaugherhouse – On the House Mixtape (2012)

House Shoes - Let It Go (2012)

Large Professor - Professor @ Large (2012)

1982 (Statik Selektah & Termanology) - 2012 (2012)

Nas - Life is Good (2012)

The Doppelgangaz - Beats For Brothels Vol. 1 (2011)

The Doppelgangaz – Beats for Brothels Vol. 2 (2012)

The Doppelgangaz – 2012 The New Beginning (2009)

The Doppelgangaz – The Ghastly Duo EP (2008)

JR & PH7 - Waiting For The Good Life (2012)

Slaughterhouse - Welcome to Our House [Deluxe Edition] (2012)

Styles P – The Diamond Life Project (2012)

Chuuwee – Chez!!?…Chill!!! (2012)

Substantial - Home Is Where The Art Is (2012)

Joey Bada$$ – Rejex (2012)

Talib Kweli – Attack The Block (2012)

Rapsody - The Idea Of Beautiful (Deluxe Edition) (2012)

The Physics - Tomorrow People (2012)

The Kid Daytona – Summer Games: The Kid With The Golden Pen (2012)

Illogic & Blockhead - Preparing for Capture 2 (2012)

Teenburger – Burgertime (2011)

Woody - Woody x Kanye West: Remixed (2012)

Muneshine - There Is Only Today (2012)

M-Dot - Layer Cake (2012)

Joey Bada$$ - 1999 (2012)

Wrecking Crew (Has-Lo, Zilla Rocca and Curly Castro) - Wu-Tang Pulp (2012)

The Black Opera - EnterMission (2012)

Logic - Reasons, Reference, Refinery EP (2012)

Big Jess Presents - Honorable Mention Volume 1 (2012)

JR&PH7 - So Far, So Good (2012)

Nitty Scott, MC - The BoomBox Diaries Vol 1. EP (2012)

Atmosphere - Leak at Will (2012)!download|298p9|253699334||36847|0|0

The Physics – High Society EP (2012)

Diz Gibran - Soon You’ll Understand (2009)

DJ Charlie White - The Last Crate (2012)

THURZ – 517 W Queen Tape (2012)

Freddie Gibbs – Baby Face Killa (2012)

KnowMads - The Knewbook (2012)

Audible Doctor - I Think That... EP (2012)

Brother Ali – Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color (2012)

Clams Casino - Rainforest EP (2012)

Heems (of Das Racist) - Nehru Jackets (2012)


BJ the Chicago Kid - Pineapple Now & Laters (2012)

Clams Casino - Instrumental Mixtape 2 (2012)

El-P – Cancer For Cure (2012)

Delicious Vinyl - 25th Anniversary Mix by Pete Rock (2012)

A Tribe Called Quest vs. The Pharcyde - Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to The Pharcyde (2012)

Hy-Definition – The Voices (2012)

Gift Of Gab - The Next Logical Progression (2012)!download|306p12|3555826298|Gift_Of_Gab-The_Next_Logical_Progression-REPACK-2012-FTD.rar|70020|0|0

Bop Alloy - prePAIRED (2010)

Bop Alloy - Substantial & Marcus D Are Bop Alloy (2010)

Bop Alloy (Substantial & Marcus D) - The R&R (Remixes & Revisions) (2012)

KnowMads - Prologue EP (2012)

Fuze The Mc – One Black Man The Audacity Of Soul (2012)

Zion I - Shadowboxing (2012)

Zion I & J.Period – Bomb 1st (2012)

Soul Position - Things Go Better with RJ and Al (2006)

Typical Cats - 3 (2012)

Chuuwee – WildStyle (2012)

9th Wonder - 9th Invented The Remix Again (2010)!download|875p1|347897944||80600|0|0

Apathy - Hell's Lost And Found It's The Bootleg, Muthafu@ckas! Vol. 2 (2007)

Stu Bangas & Vanderslice - Diggaz With Attitude (2012)

The Alchemist - Russian Roulette (2012)

Showbiz & AG - Full Scale LP (1998)

VA - Potholes Music - Robot Soup (Instrumentals) (2012)

VA - Potholes Music - Cosmic Island (2012)

Showbiz & AG - Mugshot Music Preloaded (2012)

Freeway – Freedom Of Speech (2012)

VA - The Man With The Iron Fists Soundtrack (2012)

DJ KO - EMPBeTheTeam (2012)

Shad - Melancholy And The Infinite Shadness EP (2012)

VA - Potholes Music - Distant Arcade (2012)

Wax Tailor - Hope And Sorrow (2007)!download|920p4|430570023|Wax_Tailor_-_Hope_And_Sorrow__2007_.rar|67026|0|0

Wax Tailor - Tales Of The Forgotten Melodies (2010)

Lightheaded - Wrong Way (2005)

The Black Opera - Libretto Of King Legend (2012)

Sean Price - Kimbo Price A Prelude To Mic Tyson (2009)

Lushlife - Plateau Vision (2012)

Zilla Rocca - Party With Villains EP (2012)

Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson - Dice Game (2012)

Ghettosocks - We're Gonna Drink A Lot Of Wine This Year, Boys (2012)

Audible Doctor - Doctorin (2012)

Roc C - All Questions Answered (2006)!download|476p6|328755576|Roc_C_-_All_Questions_Answered.rar|74423|0|0

Slum Village - Prequel To A Classic (2005)

Suga Free - Just Add Water (2006)!download|332p12|174439191||118663|0|0

Action Bronson - Rare Chandeliers (2012)

Roc Marciano - Reloaded (2012)

Audible Doctor - And I Love Her EP (2012)

The Alchemist - No Days Off (2006)!download|495p11|401663733|The_Alchemist_-_No_Days_Off.rar|65863|0|0

The Alchemist - The Chemistry Files (2006)!download|631p2|252276889|The_Alchemist_-_The_Chemistry_Files_Vol._1__2006_-_Mixtape_.rar|66550|0|0

The X-Ecutioners - Scratchology (2003)!download|222p3|102887019|VA_-_X-ECUTIONERS_-_SCRATCHOLOGY-2003-SPRiTE.rar|86201|0|0

The Usual Suspects - A Tribute To Unstable Creatures 2

Clear Soul Forces - Detroit Revolution(s) (2012)

DJ Jazzy Jeff - The Block Party Vol. 1 (2012)

Beneficence - Concrete Soul (2012)

Various Artists ( - Closed Sessions Vol. 2 (2012)

D-Sisive - Jonestown 3. The Dream Is Over (2012)

80's Babies - We Shall Not Be Moved (2012)!download|91p3|3611514496|80_s%20Babies%20-%20We%20Shall%20Not%20Be%20Moved%20%282012%29MSJ.rar|60766|0|0

Shag - Revolution (2012)

MED - Bang Ya Head 3 (2011)

Dirty Jazz - Question & Kidragon (MP3 Mix) (2012)

J. Bizness - Flight Plan EP (2012)

Trek Life & J. Bizness - Rhymes Within Reason EP (2010)

Visionaries - Galleries (1998)

Dag Savage (Exile & Johaz) - Salvation (2012)

Quartermaine - Quarter Life Crisis (2012)

Fashawn - Champagne & Styrofoam Cups (2012)

DJ Honda - HII (1998)

DJ Mark Farina - Mushroom Jazz 6 (2008)!download|710p3|369541785|MarkFarinaMushroomJazzVol6.rar|83209|0|0

DJ Mark Farina - Mushroom Jazz 7 (2010)

DJ Premier - Crooklyn Cuts (Tape A) (1996)

DJ Premier - Crooklyn Cuts (Tape B) (1996)!download|768p9|120821742|Dj_Premier_-_Crooklyn_Cuts_B.rar|81768|0|0

DJ Premier - Crooklyn Cuts (Tape C) (1996)

Ghostface Killah & Trife Da God - Put It On The Line (2005)!download|643p6|305741601|GK_TDG-PIOTL.rar|69307|0|0

SmooVth - Checkmate (2010)

J Dilla - Rebirth Of Detroit (2012)

Thes One - Rarities Compilation

Thes One - Live At ReuniĆ³n

The Cancel - Reply From Space EP (2012)

VA - Sublime Vol. 6 (Mixed By Jazz One) (2008)!download|719p6|223713302||101600|0|0

Esbe - Late Night Headphones Vol. 1 (2010)

Esbe - Late Night Headphones Vol. 2 (2010)

Esbe - Late Night Headphones Vol. 3 (2012)

Evan Awake - Alternative Endings (2012)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Brown Bag AllStars - 406 (Fat Beats Tribute) (Video)

Bringing that feeling back, The Brown Bag AllStars crew blesses us with a tribute song and complimentary video melancholically reminiscing on the hey day of the Fat Beats record store. The track tells the story from the emcee's perspectives recounting the days when they all used to work at the store, which is how they all met (See more about Brown Bag here). The track's name derives from the store's former address at 406 6th Ave in NYC, which closed permanently in late 2010 after 16 years in Greenwich Village. 

Once upon a time there was a physical location where hip hop resided, but now it only continues to exist in dispersed communities on the internet that hardly interact one on one anymore. Sharing music and the excitement over it has become an anti-social activity thanks to the internet. Hip hop heads no longer have to go to a record store to interact with others in order to share our passion for great hip hop music and the culture (ie. this website). Hip hop no longer has a physical home anymore and the closing of Fat Beats, to many, felt as if the last bastion of hip hop music had finally met its demise. 

Although I'm just as in love with hip hop as I was 10 years ago, the feeling of isolation that I have in the hip hop community drives me crazy sometimes. There no longer are many casual permanent spaces for hip hop heads to congregate and discuss the music and share our enthusiasm that keeps the music alive. I feel like The Brown Bag AllStars as a group represent the surviving spirit of Fat Beats and the will that underground hip hop has to persevere in the face of declining sales, changing times, and an overall lack of income for the artists to sustain a living. It seems like the only thing that will keep hip hop alive is the love that the true fans have and the ones that refuse to forget the past...

So to BBAS, I salute you.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Album Preview: Purpose & Confidence - The Purpose of Confidence (2012)

Stream the first single off the new album: 

Confidence has done it yet again... With his soulful samples, the producer is ready to reinvigorate real hip hop once more with finely-crafted beats on the new album The Purpose of Confidence dropping 9/11 this year.

You may remember the name Confidence from my post last year about the best hip hop album of 2011 (then he was producing beats for the emcee Rashad). It's time to get excited for yet another classic hip hop album from Confidence, this time around with a new partner-emcee Purpose (founding member of the group Tragic Allies). Here are preview snippets of the upcoming album below to whet your appetite. 

Warning: These beats should only be played at high volumes for maximum effect.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

D.I.T.W. (Diggin' In The Web): The Blog Is The New DJ

DJ Shadow in the 2002 DJ documentary "Scratch"

The role of the DJ has become somewhat nebulous in the present age. I fear that kids growing up nowadays just won't understand what the role of the DJ actually is now that we have Pandora, iTunes Genius Playlists, Spotify,, and every other music service out now that recommends music in their own special way. Why have a guy stand behind two turntables playing songs at a party that most likely aren't even on vinyl anyway when you could have a machine that selects better music for less money and blends them together almost perfectly? What is the point of the DJ anymore? I mean no one goes to a festival to hear someone play music from an iPod right...? Right? Errrr.... You mean they pay some of those DJ's $100,000 a show to do that for a crowd of 10,000 people? Sounds awesome. Where do I sign up?

The DJ has always been the person who stood behind two turntables and lovingly played music for a party, choosing the selections and making sure there was never a dull moment for the dancing crowd and that's the way it's always going to be, right? I look at hip hop DJ's at shows and sometimes think to myself, "That really doesn't look that hard, what is he even doing up there? Oh yeah, he's there because having only one guy on stage really isn't a good look and wow look at those TURNTABLES. Oooh, the mystique".

Now I sometimes wonder what the role of the DJ is in the future of music if his job no longer requires advanced technical skills to play the music, tastemaking ability to select the music, or even the actual money to acquire the music for his collection. The DJ's job really has never been that safe of a profession, but nowadays it seems shakier than ever. In hip hop, it seems that the DJ has become synonymous with the producer these days. The DJ now makes the beats and he also plays those beats for the artists. He is an artist who plays his music for an MC to rap over.

But now that DJ's are no longer the tastemakers, then who are? Well the answer is quite simple: music blogs. The music blogs are the new DJ's because they are the ones listening to the new and old music and introducing that music to new people. They are the ones keeping the best of the culture alive by loving it and caring enough about it to share it, or at least that's what some of the blogs do.

Now the video of DJ Shadow above is possibly one of the most intimate and humble things I've ever heard an artist say about music before in my life. He talks about the thousands and thousands of artists whose records sit untouched in a large basement and how virtually none of them have a career anymore, but at one point they felt like they were on top of the world. DJ Shadow is a DJ who creates new music from the sounds and samples he finds while searching through old records; the process by which is affectionately known as "digging" in the hip hop community. These days digging can be done digitally or the old fashioned way at record stores, but no matter what, the process of digging will never die because humans have a natural drive for novelty and discovery. The bloggers are the new age diggers of hip hop, finding and passing on what they find. This increase in sharing will theoretically allow the cream to rise to the top in the digital age and preserve the best music for generations to come. Digging is a process of preserving the culture through sharing and change; by fostering new creativity through reinterpretation of the old. It's musical evolution. The records are musical memes and it's the diggers that pass on that information to preserve the best of the culture. What music will you pass on?

"It's not gonna make a bad DJ good, but it'll make a good DJ better" ~ DJ Shadow on digging

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eklips - Beatboxing Through Hip Hop History

French beatboxer Eklips does a brief history of Hip Hop in 4 minutes (above). Beastly.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sabzi Releases Nearly All Of His Instrumentals!

This year, one of my favorite producers Sabzi (Blue Scholars & Common Market), decided to one-up Santa by putting out nearly ALL of the instrumentals from tracks that he's ever released and giving the joyous news of this gift on Christmas day. Now I can't think of a better gift than music (you can never have enough, right?) and so I share these beats with you too. Hit the link above for six streaming volumes of Sabzi's instrumentals mostly from his Blue Scholars and Common Market albums and all of the volumes have a very different style/feel. So hit them all up, rock out and nod away. All of the volumes can be purchased on the cheap and include the original names of the tracks, which are as creative and exotic as the beats they represent. Stream volume #5 below (pictured above) for a savory taste of beat heaven.

For more info on Sabzi, see my first post about him HERE.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Video: The Funk League - On & On Ft. Sadat X

Continuing on from last post with some more international producers comes The Funk League, a production duo from France consisting of Hugo and Soulbrother Suspect that originally met while DJing a monthly breakdancing party in Paris. These two vinyl collectors really know something about capturing a funky break and putting it in its place. Just hit up the video above for a jazz-funk-hip-hop inspired fusion track off their soon to be released album "Funky As Usual" (worldwide release on January 24th). The track features Sadat X spitting an up-tempo narrative of his upbringing in the NYC hip hop culture over two decades ago. The video is unlike any I've ever seen for a hip hop track, using a healthy dose of arts & crafts and creativity to create a fluidly entertaining scenery. I'm really looking forward to hearing the album in it's entirety. Until then, keep yourself entertained with another track by The Funk League below.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Album: SoulChef - Here & Now (2011)

Damn, here's another stellar find. Straight from the New Zealand producer SoulChef's beat kitchen comes a jazzy and groovy collaborative album featuring a different dope underground MC on nearly every track. The 10 track album is filled with fluid beats and rhymes that will have your head bouncing on one track and contemplating on the next. But one thing remains clear throughout the entire work, it's pretty solid. From the laid back Pete Rock-reminiscent tracks like "We Gon Turn It Out" and "Take" to the driving steady baselines and drums of "Never Been In Love Like This" and "Dreams", this album delivers impressive production...and the rhymes are nothing to gloss over either, although you are highly likely to do so the first listen through as the beats draw you in. 


Monday, January 2, 2012

Album Of The Year: Rashad & Confidence - The Element Of Surprise (2011)

HeadPhoneHOME Album Of The Year 2011

Dear Hip Hop,
        2011 has been a crazy busy year for you. More and more rappers appeared everyday and fewer and fewer were actually worth listening to. It's hard to keep up with you I admit, but I'm doing my best to stay up to date with how you've changed for the better. I still yearn for that golden era 90's sound though and can't stand this new obsession with swag rap that devalues putting history or substance into beats and rhymes. But luckily you've been blessed with some new MC's and producers with real skill who are keeping your authenticity and raw energy alive. I'm talking about one MC and one producer, a new duo by the names of Rashad & Confidence.
        Rashad & Confidence's debut album "The Element Of Surprise" was appropriately titled as they both seemingly came out of nowhere with a polished product that, after careful consideration, I believe will prove to be a timeless piece of hip hop artistry. Confidence crafts his beats from soulful samples re-envisioning the smooth yet gritty sound that was often found in the golden era of hip hop. Confidence produces the entirety of the album enabling him to create a consistent sound as the glue that holds the entire album together while Rashad puts the icing on the cake with his effortlessly watery flow. Rashad brings his mic skills as an extremely well-rounded artist spitting substance and dropping knowledge all throughout the album. He paints a picture with words on topics ranging from the political, to love, the past, and the never-ending quest for hip hop mastery. This is an album I can listen to from front to back and then repeat it over and over again, always with something new to appreciate every time. In his own words, Rashad describes his and Con's work together as "something golden-era esque, but still futures ahead". When asked about why this specific time period influenced their work, Rashad answered: “Hip-Hop’s golden era was important because of the sound and the emotion that was put into the music. Hip-Hop during that time had a certain type of energy. It was more organic and raw back then.” They even paid homage with their album cover, recreating the 1990 album cover from "Funky Technician" by Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth (In case you were wondering why it looked kind of budget).
        All in all, the album is ridiculously well put together. There are very few discs that I own that I actually want to listen to every track, but this is certainly one of them. If you can't get enough of that 90's sound and like your hip hop with some substance, please support one of the next great MC / producer duo's in hip hop who are now joining the likes of The Left, my pick for 2010's Hip Hop Album Of The Year "Gas Mask".

01 Introduction
02 Brand New
03 The City
04 Understand
05 Rumors Of War
06 Days Of My Youth
07 Interlude
08 Pen On Display
09 Shining
10 Pass Me By
11 Interlude
12 They Keep Asking Me
13 Let Me Explain
14 All Year Round
15 The Break Up Song

Runner Up for Album Of The Year:
Buy That.


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