A funny thing about Hip Hop's 'Golden Age', or any genre's golden age for that matter. Whoever you ask always has a slightly differing opinion as to when the supposed age began. But that being said my personal 'Golden Age' began in the early 90's and lasted until well into the mid 90's (1991 - 1996). You remember when Mixtapes actually were Cassettes. Patrick Ewing & Fila Boots were the isht and The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air was... still fresh. The West Coast (via Death Row) had things locked down until Puff Daddy (as he was known back then) Brought Biggie to everyones attention. Throw in the WU, Mobb Deep, Nas, Tribe, De La, Onyx, 2Pac, DMX, Jay-Z, The Def Squad & the rest and you can see why the word Golden is used with such abandon. So any new material that aims to take me back to such a place in time demands my immediate attention. Hence i introduce Tha 4orce. Who with 'Mind The Gap Anthems V2' had me in full Reminisce mode. As soon as the 1st track's (4orce's Anthem) Cello sample & Give Up The Good's drum pattern kicked in my head was moving. But after such a great start my usual anxieties of a big let down materialised. And thankfully once again they were unfounded as each track continued where the last left off while giving me enough of a variation to keep my IPod going all the way through the album. Every drum, sample, scratch and Vocal is geared to be a reminder of Hip Hop's past exploits. Precise Precision had me reaching for my Naughty By Nature. Magnificent brought about immediate comparisons to Pete Rock's more mellow catalogue. That's Right brought Buckwild to the forefront of my thoughts. Damned If I Do is also a banger with it's Soul II Soul vibe. But with all this nostalgia inducing material readily available it may be ironic that one of my highlights of the album is a track that didn't have me casting my mind back at all. Neva Shoulda, is just a damn nice track that would be the highlight of any sunday afternoon chill out mix. But my biggest mention has to go to Drums vs Drums. a superb real time battle featuring Tha 4orce on the wheels & Don Bannister On Live drums. The outcome is arguably the best instrumental track ive heard for many a year. If your not feeling that track your not Hip Hop. It's hard to deduct points for this album but maybe another track or 2 would've been nice. It's nice to see someone going for quality instead of quantity but when it's this good throw some more on there for the good people bruv. The good folks at BBE were kind enough to let me post a taster for y'all. A really well executed album born of a superb idea.
Leftfield. When something unexpected & unconventional comes out of the blue & takes you by surprise, leftfield is apparently where it comes from. Thurzday & Y-O, with 'Fried Chicken & Watermelon', came at me from such a place. The Intro is a perfect example of leftfieldism(?). How many intro's have you heard using the word chicken as it's central point of reference. Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle & Chris Tucker soundbites are spliced with other various chicken clips until all you hear is the word chicken over & over. A Genius intro & funnt as hell on the first listen. Then 'The Launch' kicks in and you know you're onto a sure fire banger when your neck is snapping while the beat is still a twinkle in the samples eye. And so it continues from one great track to the next. Sample heavy the album may be but when they are used this well (Kanye anyone?) who cares. Take 'Knock on Wood'. Straight forward mid tempo classic soul sample + slow manipulation of pitch control gives way to superb sample manipulation + a smooth drum pattern with an ill snare. 'Castlevania', with it's old school Nintendo sample and games laced punchlines, is simply superb. My personal fav though, is 'K.R.E.A.M.' A superb take on the Wu classic that rearranges the original sample and throws in some busier drums. Then the man dem only go & spit some fire about their sneaker (that's trainers for us UK heads) collection. One thing you can say about these guys is they are not conventional. Yes conventional issues are being raised but the all round package is just the opposite. Yet it's a subtle form of unusual that didn't hit me until about half way through the album. It's hard to pin down but there's a little of all my favourite leftfielders in these guys. A sprinkling of Camp Lo, a touch of Outkast, a smidge of Tribe & a dash of The Pharcyde were all audible as each track came & went. I've left a few examples to Grab & see for yourselves. In my time so far doing this blog ting it seems that i only get revved up for a review if i really like the album. And i love this one. Making good Hip Hop is one thing, being original is another, yet doing both of those without the originality sounding forced is an art. These guys are artists.
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I know i said that i wasn't going to post anymore AG remix albums but this guy is UK so i'm gonna represent regardless.
Quincy Tones has flipped the american gangster remix concept. He's used the same original samples used on Jay-Z's version to concoct his own original beats. But he's then put Nas' vocals from God Son over the beats instead of Jays. Hence the name God's Gangster. 10 polished tracks in all and well worth the free download. Grab & enjoy.
I own 2 sets of headphones. I don't really know why as i'm not a DJ or producer & they're both very good. So I plugged my regular pair in my Ipod & played the 'Intro'. A few choice vocal samples later the sheer richness of the superbly deep bass was such that the vocals were distorting in a way i had never heard on a pair of headphones before. So, i plugged in the other pair and started again. Then one of the best intro tracks i have ever heard begins. The atmosphere for the entire joint is set as soon as you hear that b-line sync with the lighthearted horns & neck ache inducing drums. After initially hearing such a great beginning to an album i was somewhat fearful that the rest of it wasn't going to live up to the hype. I wasn't disappointed as one track after another refused to let up. Each track is a meld of nostalgia tipped drums & any mixture of bass guitar loops, raking jazz horns, 70's movie scores, superb vocal scratches & that B line i keep going on about. I've said before in some reviews that the album i am listening to doesn't have a single weak song on the album & the said can most definately be said here. But for some reason that still isn't doing justice just how good this cd is. All the beats were done by Beat Rabbi, who is now a genius as far as i'm concerned. Lyrically Sivion, Manchild, Listener, Sev Statik & Manchild are all superb MCs anyway and deliver a message as well as skills all the way through the album. My fav lyrics have to be Manchild & Sintax on I Double Dog Dare You, at one point try topping each other with there 'exploits'. Listener, also schools the good people on Life Is... over an eerie sample that had me thinking back to those sunday afternoons i used to spend watching lost in space when it was still in black & white. But as much as the MC's are nice with theirs, it's the beats that steal the show. So it's a good thing that you get the instrumental version as well when you buy the album (order from here). My one gripe though (and i struggled to find one) is that some of the tracks are a bit short. You could say however, that this helps the overall flow of the album. This is on regular rotation on my ipod but a word of advice. If you're disgraceful enough to still be using those ridiculously bad white headphones i strongly suggest you invest in a better pair before listening to this on your way to work. By way of a taster i have been given permission by the man himself to put up a couple of tracks as a sampler. Beat Rabbi & Deepspace5 - Deepspace5oul needs to be in your collection.
2 Episodes of the brilliant Boondocks (UK get familiar) have been banned because of their portrayal of BET. In one of the episodes the people upstairs at BET are shown up as Dr. Evil and his/her number 2. Huey goes on a hunger strike in protest of the way that bet is run. Apparently all clips of these episodes have been banned. But thanks to the 2dopeboyz i have one said clip for you to see. And just how is the UK affected by this? Our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces & godchildren are watching the same channel they are over there. Watch!
More UK isht for the good people to get their teeth into. 1st up is Ramson Badbonez riding Slick Rick's Children's Story & Group Homes' The Realness. I'm still waiting for some kinda mixtape or album from him but any US heads out there, i dare you listen to these 2 and tell me he hasn't got some serious mic skills.
Then comes Jehst, riding Luda's Stand up and Missy Elliott's Wake Up (the one where Jay Z name drops David Beckham) with his partner in rhyme Asaviour. He's cool on Stand Up but the both of em kill it on the latter of the 2 beats.
Ghost is quite simply an amazing beatsmith and his album Seldom Seen Often Heard is proof of that. I'm not about to post that so if you want it go out & buy it. By way of a sampler however i have got one of the singles off of the album called The Payoff. Although since there are 4 tracks on here in all for you to get into it's virtually an EP anyway. The tracks ft. Verb-T, Kashmere, Finale & my personal fav UK MC, Asaviour.
And last but by no means least, we come to Inja. A part of the Delegates of Culture, he is another one of my favourites who, together with DJ Nappa, put out one of my favourite UK albums of the last few years, Wideopen. His EP, Scars, features his Delegates crew, the superb Taskforce & those Foreign Beggars. Superb stuff.
When people send you emails asking you to check out there remixed stuff you keep an open mind and try not to judge a book by it's cover (or on these cases by there first track). When Mydus sent me one such email i almost did just that. Luckily though i gave myself a verbal rap on the knuckles for even going there in the first place. I wasn't disappointed. Mydus has clearly taken his time in pairing the right sample with the right MC. Ali Vegas, Nas (twice) AZ, Slum Village, The Beatnuts, Inspectah Deck, Kanye West and others all get the Mydus touch (see what i did there) and there isn't a weak mix on this album at all. To call these just simple blends isn't doing Mydus justice at all. He obviously realises that not every sample needs to be layered with mountains of kicka and snares. Some samples simply need to be left to do there work. The best case of this is his version of Slum Village's Get Dis Money. I'm not gonna pretend i know where he got the sample from but the wailing 70's vocal and disco drums never needed anything adding to them for me to snap my neck while listening to it about 4 times on repeat. But my Out & out fav on here is Myd's version of The Beatnuts' Do You Believe. This is my kinda beat. A smooth jazzy keyboard & bass guitar sample coupled with equally smooth drums that match the vocals perfectly. So there you have it, another dope piece of freeness for the good people to grab. I suggest you do just that.
Mista Mayday, Stat, Hired Gun, Sean Canedy, PaintDragon, The Specialist & Matt Turcotte are Frequency Activism. Funk, Jazz, Hip Hop & Soul are brought together with concious, politically charged lyrics. I've always said that if people want to make statements within the Hip Hop arena the key is to never come across as preachy. These guys pitch the lyrics just right & the subject matter never sounds forced or contrived. No gimmicks here. All of these guys are great at what they do, from the beats to the srcatches to the rhymes & PaintDragons smooth vocals. I'm hard pressed to find a real weakness with this one. Original beats, original delivery & they play there own instruments too (somewhat of a rarity these days). People of the slightly closed minded persuasion may need more than one listen to fully appreciate it (shame on you) but there is no doubting the quality on show here. There's a slight Mid 90's feel to the project (that only adds to the overall niceness) and it gets better & better as the album progresses. Nine Times Out Of Ten, Community Theatre & The Time Is Now in particular gave me a serious case of neck ache. These guys were nice enough to drop me an email asking to post a link for the good people to Grab the album for free (and we all love the freeness now don't we). A definite keeper that will be on regular rotation on my Ipod playlists. Dopeness!!!
'We're witnessing the downward spiral of Britain. Decent Members of the public are being murdered by feral youths on our streets. MPs just give us sad eyes and soundbites. This is the 2008 equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burns'
- Dr. Stuart Newton
upped by nofrillz
I can only assume that the powers that be (the label) wouldn't let nas release this brilliant clip. The messages are spread throughout this vid for all to see. I've said before that i love the video girls but hip hop was meant for bigger things. This is a prime example. Enjoy courtesy of Illroots.com
upped by nofrillz
Edo G and The Bulldogs, classic reissue shit, this could be considered as a greatest hits type album, but you need this anyway cus its just classic shit
upped by stylesforfree
Kof, hailing from Liverpool (hence the post's title) is surely someone who, judging by this offering, should moving on to bigger things sooner or later. Quirky, deep, inspired, original & willing to take risks with his music. Case in point, 80's Baby, a nostalgic track about growing up in the 80's (obviously). So what does this boy do, he rides Calvin harris' Acceptable In The 80's. But not only does he do it without it coming over as cheesy, he makes it acceptable for peeps to say that they loved the original beat anyway (which i did by the way). A definate breakthrough track in my view. My other personal fave is Just me. Don't let the start fool you. Let the drums kick in and i'm sure those neck will be snapping. There are more than a few samples that you will recognize on this one but the way he puts his own spin on each one he definately makes the music his own. Radio friendly without sounding corny, Kof has put together something i think that, if given the chance, could put uk hip hop back into the uk charts. The man himself was kind enough to let me to put up a track or 2 for the good people to Grab. As well as a selection from his 1st album, Side Of Me.
Kof, I Salute You.
My boy Preach keeps giving me the goodies for y'all. This time i got some clips from one of his shows, with his band as back up. There's a slight indie vibe going on but since i've always had an opened mind (so should you) it makes for a real good (watch &) listen. Check these out.
upped by nofrillz check 'em out Preach
Frillz, my main man, posting ish like there's no tommorow, ha! Im glad to see everyone appreciates what he is doing, because I sure fuckin do, thanks for keeping this alive frillz, i'll be back soon to help you out, not that you need it, seems like you got this on lock. But yeah, i've been chillin in the sun having a good time, happy new year to you all, any requests, firstname.lastname@example.org also, if you feel like contributing anything, wether its a local talented mc who is a friend of yours, or some raw slept on shit, please do contact either me or frillz. peace
upped by stylesforfree
When this blog started i posted an intro. somewhere in this intro i commented on the fact that the authors of the other blogs i read all stuck together and were biggin' each other up on a regular basis. Since getting into the swing of things however, i have found a nasty tendancy to backstab other blogs and generally take the piss out of any artist that doesn't remotely fit somebody's idea of a good singer or MC. If an artist is well known or becomes a star they get regularly criticised and belittled at every turn. Well it's bloody ridiculous for these things to be taken place. If they deserve it, fine, diss the music if you don't like it but why diss the person? At the end of the day it only makes the person making the comment look bitter about the fact that it isn't them in the spotlight. I'm not saying you have to love all types of hip hop because not all of it is going to suit everybody (obviously) but let's get behind who we like, not diss each other & every other artist trying to make a living.
If you're about spreading the word for the music & artists you love (of any genre) then let's affiliate and get this thing moving. I only see a few of you out there doing this and more need to do the same. Respect to all of you. But if you're only about back biting, leeching off anything you can & leaving bitchy comments all over other peoples blogs then start your own blog & let everyone see what you have to say. Give everyone a focal point to answer back to your views instead of leaving quick comments and running away. But if you're too much of a BITCH to do that then the picture above speaks for itself.
p e a c e (to those that deserve it)
upped by nofrillz check 'em out Bitching
A brilliant mixtape great beats (whether they're recycled or not) great rhymes with some LOL one liners and some really funny skits too. Mark Ronson can do no wrong right now. Everything he touches is class. Shame on you Lily Allen. You lose a few pounds, do one hook for a Kanye track (Common's Drivin' Me Wild) and you get a swelled head. Anyway Grab this mixtape it's superb.
It's blatantly obvious that i have been neglecting my duties to my UK people lately. Well... i say duty but since i'm from this side of the pond anyway, it's all love as far as i'm concerned. With that i've decided to -as a way of introduction- to showcase some of the UK's more well known emcees for all the good people to see just what we can do over hear. It's all superb stuff & needs to be listened to.
More Than 60 Of The UK's finest MC's going at it over some of Baby J's best beats. A superb mixtape and a superb way to get your knowledge up on uk hip hop in general. Read the tracklisting & check for the MC's listed.
The second (and best) of mystro's mixtape series. His battle hardened roots show through as he spits fire all the way through this gem of a cd. If you like these check for His UK release Music Mystro and his Aussie released Diggi Down Unda. Both of 'em are keepers anyway.
The indomitable Foreign Beggars. I'll make this simple. Grab this, then go and buy the superb Stray Point Agenda one of the best albums of 2007.
With a superb list of fellow cast members joining him (Klashnekoff, Humurak D Gritty, Dubbledge...) and beats provided by some of the best in the UK game (Secondson, LG, Jehst...). Park-E brough out a mixtape that was, in my opinion, just as good as his album. So make sure you check fot that too.
For fuck sake man, sometimes it pains me to know that i share the same composition of melenin as some people in this world. Your life can be in dire straits. You could be trying to vote in someone that is not corrupt (good luck), not out for himself and not a money grabber. Yu could be living in a shante town in the middle of a rat trap with barely 2 pennies to scrape together while watching your own children get more and more malnourished with each passing day. You could be trying desperately to find some way to get you & your family out of the hell hole that your in & living somewhare that is barely recognizeable as a home. You could be going through all this while watching everyone of your neighbours go through exactly the same.
Does any of the above mean that you can burn down a church with more than 20 young children and elderly people inside? The violence started over vote rigging. During the lastest government elections in Kenya, not all of the votes were counted before the results were announced & then it started. Looting, beatings, shootings and even though the relevant authorities are planning to do a full audit of all the votes and the voting system itself, the violence hasn't subsided. The children & elderly people in question were taking refude in the church as the violence & rioting went on outside. There were 400 in total in the church at the time who happened to be members of the Kikuyu thnic group (the same as re-elected president, Mwai Kibaki.
No matter who they were in that church, ias much as i support the cause there's no justification. It's events like these that occasionally make me wonder why i feel so compelled to support some of the hardships that are prevelent in the mother land, in the first place. Stealing from and opposing the system is one thing. Torching elderly women & children is another entirely. Passive resistance may be a thing of the pass but strike against the people that matter, not the very people who never asked for any of this to happen.
And what has this got to do with hip hop? Nothing what so ever, sometimes though, there are bigger things going on in this world than music. Yes we love what the culture can give us (not just the music) but we need to be alive to whats going on in the world outside of Ipods, 50 bloody Cent & Air Force One's.
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I was emailed about these next 2. The 1st is American Abstrakt by Abstrakt Soundz. OG beats and definately worth checking out. The 2nd is an intriguing concoction (how did i make that sound like a drink?) called American Ironman. It's Special so Grab it ASAP.
upped by nofrillz
I shouldn't need to say anything about this guy. Here Come The Lords, The Turnaround, Intelligent Hoodlum, The Concrete, Pretty Toney.... That list alone should be more than enough to make you Grab this one. For the most part K-Def has provided a pure head nodding backdrop for Jay's vocals that will send the good people on a nosalgia trip to the mid 90's. There are 1 or 2 on here that i could take or leave. The good though, far outweighs the bad though. DEFinately worth Grabbing (sorry). Enjoy