What the hell? Is that Kanye West up there? What the hell is he doing on this site? What the hell is wrong with us? Is WYDU selling out? Man, WHAT THE FUCK!!??!?! Well, if you can’t beat them, join them is what I say. The Fifty post will be up tomorrow as well.
Nah, we ain’t going out like that, this post actually has some “obscure” ties to it. Kanye West is now one of the most seen hip hop artists in the mainstream, up there with 50 and whatever Southern crunk artist is hot at the moment. The man is all up in magazines, dressing up as a crucified black man on the cover of Rolling Stone, declaring that Bush “doesn’t care about Black people”, which, well, he probably doesn’t. He’s also one of the most pompous jackasses that I’ve seen in awhile. He actually thinks he is a lot better than he is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to bash dude. I liked “The College Dropout” for the most part. Some of his production for Jay-Z was pretty tight. I didn’t care much for “Late Registration” except for a “Touch The Sky” (which ironically Just Blaze produced) and I still don’t think he’s that great of a MC, but I don’t hate dudes music just because he’s “mainstream”. I’d rather have his music on the mainstream airwaves more than 99% of the crap on the radio.
But before the pompous, collar-up, self-proclaiming greatest ever, mainstream artist grabbed America’s attention or even Roc-A-Fellas attention for that matter, Kanye was just another producer trying to get a rep in the game. We all know most of the story. He’s from Chi-town, but not many know his original works.
Kanye first appeared on an album back in 96′, a full three years before the first Roc-A-Fella and Mase projects in 99′. His first beat to appear on wax as far as I know, and from what I have read, came in the form of “City To City” by Chi-town MC, Grav that also featured Lil Ray (?) and Al-Tariq. “City To City” was a b-side to Grav’s “Sex” single that dropped in 96′ on Correct records. He later produced two more tracks for Grav’s only LP “Down To Earth”, an LP that was, I think, predominately produced by No I.D. and Dug Infinite, both whom are famous for producing a lot of Common’s earlier work and also is brought up as somewhat of Kanye’s earlier mentor.
So I have for you today, those three Kanye produced tracks from Grav’s “Down To Earth” release from 1996, a good ten years ago. There is also some earlier work of his that he produced for Mikkey, an early friend, who is popping up in interviews as trying to comeback. I don’t know much about him though.
City To City- Grav feat Al-Tariq & Lil Ray
The beat is pretty good, nice bass line with a sprinkling of keys over it. I like it better than 90% of the stuff on heard on his latest release, but I’m an old fucker.
One Puff- Grav
Another pretty dope beat. Again, strong bass line and some nice keys. I’m
a sucker for piano keys anyway. It’s even a better beat than “City To City”
Down To Earth- Grav
Strings, horns, and of course another killer bass line.
I never heard this album when it dropped back in 96′, I was too busy starting to get pissed off at hip hop at that time, but if I had, I would have been looking for more of Kanye’s work for sure. I have a feeling we’ve (meaning the cats that look at more than a songs chart position) have seen the best of Kanye. Hopefully not, he’s pretty dope when he is concentrating on that real hip hop.
As far as the album goes itself. Its a pretty good mid 90′s album. Track 14 “Battle” is the dopest track by far on the album, but every thing is up to par and worth more than one listen.
Grav- Down To Earth Nice $10.00 used one there, which I would grab myself if I wasn’t piss ass broke. Better than the $25 plus ones I’ve seen around. He sounds alot like Busta on a few tracks.