1. Well, not much exciting has taken place in my life this week (other than my Mom flying in from PA to visit the kids, can you say “non-stop”???), but it has been a helluva’ week for “leaks”. With new releases from Common (“Finding Forever”), Camp Lo (“In Black Hollywood”), Steele of Smif N Wessun (“Hostyle Takeover”), Ill Bill (“Black Metal”), Mic Geronimo (“Alive”…which oughta‘ be interesting) and an official mixtape from Sean Price aka Sean Peeeeeeeee! (“Master P”) if anything your weekend won’t be lacking musically. The only album that I’ve peeped thus far from the aforementioned artists has been Camp Lo’s “In Black Hollywood” which I hate to say…. I wasn’t very impressed with after the first few listens as much of the production seems very “elementary”. I’ve always dug Sonny Cheeba and Geechie Suede on the mic as they have a style of their own but that doesn’t even hold this album up to it’s previously released mixtape “Fort Apache”, and it’s a far cry from the quality found on their debut “Uptown Saturday Night”. Another thing that hurts this release is that many of the songs that you bounced along with from the impressive “Fort Apache Mixtape” pop up on “In Black Hollywood” which sort of dims the expectations of “new” music a bit. The best “beat” on the album is without a doubt the narrative “Jack & Jill”, but like I said I really don’t foresee this one doing much damage this summer.
2. As I excited as I am about hearing the list of “leaked” items this weekend, I was equally amped when I came across Decay & Fluent are City Slick’s “The Antique Black” over at BossPlayer Wednesday evening. Now, I know your saying to yourself “Who in the hell is City Slick?”. Let me expound, City Slick is comprised of Decay (who is the MC) and producer Fluent. Many of you who regularly visit this “blog” may recognize Decay as the “beatsmith” to one of my favorite releases of the year Uncut Raw’s “First Toke” (which I’ve seen pop up on OkayPlayer.com recently with a postitive review and on other “blogs” as well…thank god, now it seems as if I wasn’t talking outta’ the side of my mouth!). Emcee Decay also made a few appearances on “First Toke” as well. If you even remotely where into Uncut Raw’s “First Toke” this may be something to be on the look out for as it’s in the same vein as it’s Green Llama Alumni. Don’t Sleep….
3. After going weeks without downloading more than two albums, I was pretty active on the download “circuit” this week catching up on many of 2007′s albums that I may have overlooked initially. One of those “overlooked” albums that has found itself in steady rotation this week is Moka Only’s “Vermilion”. While I downloaded this album at the recommendation of Diction (who is over at Rate Your Music.com, just do a search for his name…dude has an impressive list of HipHop rankings album-wise, it’s actually a pretty neat read), whose opinion I’ve come to trust as far as new albums are concerned….believe it or not, I’d never heard of Moka Only. While I have been introduced to Swollen Members before, I never knew that Moka was a member of the group. With his 2007 release “Vermilion” Moka isn’t going to blow anyone away lyrically, but there are probably seven or eight tracks on this album that feature some outstanding production that falls somewhere between the likes of J. Dilla & hmmmm….well, quite simply The Ummah. The bouncy, bass heavy beats found on tracks such as “So Kona“, “Search” & the title cut “Vermilion” fuel this release and sound pretty nice with some wattage in your trunk or even with the enclosure of headphones. If anything, you have to let the last track on the album “Speakers” play out as a bonus cut will soon come in after a few seconds of silence. Trust me on this one, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as an 80′s cover song will take put a smile on your face, it’s almost worth the price of admission alone. You can peep “Vermilion” HERE (as well as most of Moka’s earlier work, which I need to check out as well). Also, I need to link that cat that hooked me up with this as well.
4. After spending much of my free time reading Brian Coleman’s “Check The Technique” this past week, I came across a quote from KRS-One (the book the breaks down the construction of BDP’s “Criminal Minded”) which solidified my personal opinion of Kris. I’ve always felt that Kri
s spoke from both sides of his mouth, even though no doubt he is a HipHop pioneer and mainstay. The book stated that while standing in the emergency room of the hospital, upon hearing the word of Scott La Rock’s untimely death, KRS stood there with a smile on his face. MC Search (who was the first person to arrive at the hospital after hearing that Scott had been shot in an ambush) asked KRS “what in the hell are you smilin‘ about?”. KRS replied “Because BDP can’t lose now, cause’ we have one member on earth and now one member in heaven”. C’mon dude!!! I’ve lost two very close friends over the last few years and that just showed me what kinda’ asshole KRS really is. Of course, this is comin‘ from a “blogger” whose opinion doesn’t really matter, but I found KRS‘ response to be very self-centered. Hell, it was almost as annoying as “I Was There” from Kris & Marley’s recent album “Hip Hop Lives” ..but not quite.
5. Was Talib Kweli’s “Ear Drum” really that boring?? I feel that it is Talib’s best work to date, and the Madlib contributions??…..Nuts!!…without a doubt the most entertaining beats on “Ear Drum”. I will say this, Soul Brother #1 Pete Rock really didn’t do Talib any favors with his lackluster submissions for “Holy Holy” & “Electrify”. As far as the majority of the backlash that not only “Ear Drum” has received but also Pharoahe Monch’s “Desire” (both “leaked” around the same time) I feel it has been unfair. In my opinion, both albums showcase similar growth from each artist in a valiant effort to cater to a larger audience, but us here in blogger-world hyped both albums before their releases as instant CLASSICS and that’s surely not the case, but enjoyable…..sure.
6. A few things that I discovered this week regarding a little Tribe Called Called Quest history that I never would’ve know otherwise:
1. Q-Tip actually produced Apache’s (of The Flavor Unit) biggest hit to date “Gangsta Bitch”, this little tidbit was brought to you by the utmost infite knowledge of HipHop himself, Jaz from ColdRockDaSpot (BTW, loved that 45 King post this week Jaz!)
2. Q-Tip not Ali Shaheed Muhammed (as I initially thought) handled the majority of the production on Tribe’s CLASSIC “The Low End Theory” along with a few contributions from Skeff Anslem (“he gets props too”). Matter of fact, the group also considered Skeff to be the unofficial fourth member of Tribe when recording “The Low End..” as Jarobi was nowhere to be found
3. The original version of “Scenario” also featured De La, L.O.N.S. & get this…Chris Lighty (who was the group’s manager) but never made it to the album, but it was said to be as equally dope as the album version and the remix that featured Kid Hood who was murdered two days after laying his verse for the remix.
7. In “Blogger” news this week the drama surrounding one of my favorite sites of all time “HipHopBootleggers” took center stage. Okay folks, here’s what I know thus far…straight from the words of Krooked1 himself. Earlier in the week, they (HHB) posted up an entry entitled “F@#ked Up Video Of The Month” that featured 50 Cent’s newest video (hell, I can’t even remember the name of the video but it samples the drums from “Top Billin‘” or if you want to get really technical the drums from “Impeach The President”), apparently some lame ass 50 Cent fan took extreme offense to this and reported it to Blogger. Well, HHB shortly thereafter was shut down but reopened a day or two later as “HipHopBootleggers Reloaded” (works for me!) fresh with leaks from Common, Sean P, Steele, Ill Bill & Camp Lo…I was amped. Now, tonite in my C-Box a comment was left from “HHB IS NO MORE” stating that “HHB is shut down for good, it may re-open but not under blogger”. If this is the case, it really sucks ass as they were my Number 1 source for “previewing” new music and it seemed like everyday those cats had something fresh and new for datazz. Thanks Krooked for probably 1/2 of my F: Drive and I appreciate your efforts!! R.I.P. “HHB“!!
8. On the other hand, there was a blessing in disguise that I discovered in my C-Box just prior to the news of HHB closing shop. A link request was left for EFFICENCY (interesting header art…hmmm). After clicking on the link and scrolling through the archives within the blog, I soon discovered that most of the new releases that you would typically find on HHB you can almost surely find here as well. The link should be added in my “Top Notch Blogs” by Tommorrow. Also, if this “blog” doesn’t cater to your underground “itch” there’s always good ole’ trusty BossPlayer, who in my opinion, has been one helluva’ sidekick to HHB that may even dig a little bit deeper when it comes to the underground. Big ups to them for hipping me to Uncut Raw as well as the aforementioned “The Antique Black” release from Decay & Fluent of Green Llama.
9. Good to see that my favorite album of the year (Ill Poetic’s “The World Is Yours”) is getting the attention it deserves around the net’. Most recently “The World Is Ours” popped up at OkayPlayer.com receiving a nice little review for their “Blogarhythms span>” section, and the Nicolay comparison beat-wise is pretty damn accurate (why didn’t that ever cross my mind?) Props Ill, keep doing your thing man..with an album like “The World Is Ours” you deserve it!!
10. In closing, just a few tidbits and questions that I’ve compiled over the last week:
1. Dug Infintie (Common Sense, No I.D.) did some production on Ill Bill’s most recent release “Black Metal”???
2. What’s the verdict on the new Chrisette Michelle (vocals on Nas‘ “Can’t Forget About Your) joint? To download or not to download?? Has anyone even checked this out yet??
3. How in the hell did Skyzoo get a mixtape with Mick Boogie & Kay Slay?? Is dude that serious. I mean, I liked “Cloud 9″ (his collabo with 9th Wonder) and all , but is dude MAJOR like that?? Damn Skyzoo!! Doin‘ it Big Tyme!
4. Take Care everyone, thanks for all the support and comments as well as for making this blog what it is today….and last but not least, have a great weekend!!….-Eric