What’s up ya’ll? Damn, it’s been a minute since my last post….work’s been crazy busy this week and to be honest I’ve had a slight case of “Madden 08′” addiction. The only complaint that I have with “Madden..” is….throwing the ball!!…..it’s soo damn difficult!! Don’t ask me why, but the Dolphins have always been my squad (being from PA I can’t figure out how that came about) and with Trent Green at QB….well, let’s just say 7 interceptions in before halftime doesn’t really do anything to help his case. Arrgghh! You see there I go again, conversing about “Madden” when I’m supposed to be composing a post. Getting back on track, over the last few weeks my case of “Downloader’s Remorse” has evolved into yet another “addiction” (anyone else noticing a hint of “obsessive compulsive disorder” here? Oh well, blame it on the Military!! Usually in a normal work day I may find myself with an hour or so of “down time” between appointments and needless to say, I’ve been making the most of it. There has been two sources that have aided me in satisfying my “case” of sorts…..Hastings Book & Music Store and Amazon. Com. No shit, I’ve probably purchased over 200 CD’s (maybe even more, I have yet to count them all) of “golden age” material over the last month. I became familiar with Hastings while my wife and I where living in Oklahoma while she was stationed at Vance Air Force Base, up until that point I’d never even heard of the chain store (again, being from PA….I really don’t think we have Hastings on the East Coast). Furthermore, I really didn’t even bother to see if we had any local stores since moving to Little Rock until recently. Needless to say, I’ve basically “raped” (sorry for the lack of better wording) every Hastings within a 160 mile vacinity in the last two weeks. Let me tell you, Hastings $1.99 “clearance” rack is NUTS!!!! You wouldn’t believe some of the gems that I dug up this week. It was almost to the point where the words “Holy shit, I can’t believe that they put this in here!” became cliche after about the twentieth time time I mumbled them to myself while searching for more goodies. The only downside is that I’m 6’5″ and bending down to search through every listing like a “crackhead searching for a rock” has give me one helluva’ back ache this week!
Just to mention a few of the CLASSICS (well, at least they are pretty darn close to it) that were copped for a mere $1.99….Pete Rock’s solo compilation “Soul Survivor” (hell, there was actually about 10 copies of this album placed througout the bin…and we’re talkin’ NEW not used!!), Brand Nubian’s sophomore effort “In God We Trust” and EPMD’s “Business As Usual”. Plus, there where also some lesser known gems that I was delighted to find amongst the Ricky Martin’s and Snap’s of the world such as the Rough House Survivors debut on Relativity “Straight From The Soul”, Red Hot Lover Tone’s “#1 Player”, Broken English Klik’s self titled debut and the primarily Pete Rock produced EP….the YG’z “Street Nigga”. Talk about “makin’ out like a fat rat”!! Damn, I’m still ecstatic (insert Mike Tyson voice over) to have stumbled onto all of those important and underappreciated albums that I once had on tape but lost them in a dumpster somewhere (thanks Tara!) in Enid, Oklahoma. Now of course, there’s Amazon.com and surprisingly enough I was able to cop approximately 20 (some new, some used) CLASSIC discs for a pricetag in the neighborhood of $120.00 (shipping & handling is what bites you in the ass with Amazon, you think everything is fine and dandy until you checkout and all the shipping adds up!). Amongst some of my Amazon purchases are hits such as the Beatnuts self titled debut album (damn, I’ve been listening to this album ALOT lately and it’s probably moved into my “Top 10″ of all time), Diamond D’s masterful debut “Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop”, Common Sense’s “Resurrection” and of course….Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “Mecca & The Soul Brother”. Now, it’s not like I haven’t given the aforementoned albums thousands of listens of the course of the last 20 years…it’s just that….well, for one… it’s good to have them all with CD quality sound but most importantly, it’s just the feeling of reading the linear notes and actually possessing the album that I love. Hell, as creepy as it may sound I even love the smell of the inserts that serve as the linear notes and cover art….I know, pretty weird, huh?
So far, after spending what seems like a lifetime uploading the albums onto my hardrive (no shit, between that and filling up your Ipod…both can evolve into some life-consuming business!) I’ve really only been able to listen to a few of my new purchases in full length. Hell, there’s actually some that I’ll probably never listen to i.e, Shaq’s “You Can’t Stop The Reign” (although, there are a few dope tracks on what is widely considered as Shaq’s best work…in particular the cut with Biggie that borrows the album’s title), Eric B’s self titled debut released after the Rakim split (hell, it was only .99 cents what’d you expect?….just glancing at the track listing makes me quesy!) and Doug E. Fresh & The New Get Fresh Crew’s 1992 release “Doin’ What I Gotta’ Do” (hmmm, there is a track that is sparking my interest, the Pete Rock co-produced “No”..note to self: give that a listen!). I have however had the pleasure of enjoying Dres’ (of Black Sheep) “Sure Shot Redemption”, which I “jacked” for a mere .99 cents as well. This album truly flew “under the radar”, released on the little known (or at least, I’ve never heard of em’) Ground Control Records in 1999. Without the any assistance from fellow Black Sheep sidekick Mista Lawnge, Dres crafts an interesting solo debut that I actually liked more than than Black Sheep’s most recent release “8MM/Novakane Groove”. Dres has always had one of the most intriguing flows in Hip Hop and he doesn’t stray too far from the winning formula displayed on “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” and “Non-Fiction” and the production on the album is solid as well, with most of the duties being split between Dres and little known producer Molecules (?). You can peep “Sure Shot Redemption” above, a fine purchase for under a buck!!
s and it all equals to….procrastination! I will however, continue to compile the MP3′s for those lists and post the links in the C-Box so be on the lookout. Another thing that has been placed on the backburner that I normally LOVE to do is check out new music. While, the majority of my “new” listening has been restricted to “Below The Heavens”, “Bayani” and the “The World Is Ours” I was able to sit down (well, not actually I was out in the yard doing some mowing “sweatin’ like Shaq at the foul line”…thanks Dane Cook!) and had the opportunity to endulge in Insight & Damu’s (aka Y Society) “Travel At Your Own Pace”. The actual release date of “Travel….” is set for October 8th on Tres Records, but you can peep it…..well shit, I was going to say EFFICIENCY but as you all know they went private. So you better get an invite, or at least do a Google Blog search. Anyway, I was very impressed with this album….and I’m sure you will enjoy it as well…especially if you are a fan of some good ol’ “boom bap blended with a heavy jazz influence. Damu handles most of the production on the album (if I’m correct I think that MC Insight only produced the remix to the first single “Never Off”) while Insight provides the lyrical wizadry. I have to admit, I’m not that big on the first few cuts on the album…I even prefer the Insight remix to “Never Off” as opposed to the original. That’s not to take anything away from Damu cause’ dude is a SERIOUS threat on the boards. If your expecting stagnant beats with simple loops and breaks, this is not it. Damu is an obvious fan of the era of that produced classics such as “Mecca & The Soul Brother”, “Center Of Attention” & “The Low End Theory” and it’s evident in his “throwback” production (that’s a positive). On the M.I.C., Insight is a competant emcee who more than suffice “doin’ dirt all by his lonely”. The highlights of the album for me are “What’s Next?” where Damu’s production talents are fully showcased as the neck snaping break paired with Insight posing the question “What’s Next?”…indeed! Also, on “At My Own Pace” Rakim’s influence fuels Insight’s rapid-fire delivery while Damu’s up-tempo soundscape will truly have you saying “Damn, this cut sounds like it could have been on “Don’t Sweat The Techinique”. While this writeup is quite brief and not detailed as much as I would like it to be, “Travel At Your Own Pace” is a nice first effort from a duo that already sounds quite polished. Check It Out!!!!
One of the greatest privleges in having a (allow me to pat myself on the back here for a minute… ah hem) “prevelant” blog (although, yesterday was the least amount of “hits” I’ve had in two months) is the free shit you get from A & R’s & Labels in the mail. Whether it be stickers, press releases or promo CD’s, it always feels like Christmas when I head on out to the mailbox and find an unexpected mailing of “review material”. Believe it or not, I have yet to actually receive any wack material from any of the A & R’s…..I actually have a review in the works for Soulstice’s (or Wade Waters fame) (props Matt @ Movement Marketing) upcoming release “Dead Letter Perfect” which I was very impressed with upon my initial listen. I was really hyped this morning when I received the promo “official re-issue” of Kurious George’s 1994 classic “A Constipated Monkey”. The album, to be released on Amalgam Digital (props DJ Next!!) is geared to serve as a prequel for his forthcoming album which will feature production from the “masked one” himself, MF Doom. The album (…”Monkey) will also feature the B-side sleeper/classic “A Mansion & A Yacht” featuring Sadat X as well as Pete Nice’s “I’m Kurious” remix. Surprisingly, Amalgam Digital will also release albums from Tash & Treach in the near future, so that’s something to keep an eye out for as well. If you search thru the archives here you’ll find that “A Constipated Monkey” did indeed make my list for my favorite “100 Albums Of All Time” and you’ll also find the link for the original. Kurious’ debut, I’ve always felt has been an overlooked and important release from what was considered to be the best year in Hip Hop. Packed with solid production from a lineup that included The Beatnuts, SD50′s & Pete Nice…while also featuring guest slots from acts such as Casual & MF Grimm. Featuring the hit “I’m Kurious”, “A Constipated Monkey” was originally released on a label that blessed the masses with The Fugees and Nasir Jones, Columbia Records. I’d always been “Kurious” (pun intended) as to what happened with this Latino emcee after his classic debut, good to see he’s still alive and kickin’. I’m really looking forward to his follow up, but in the meantime “A Constipated Monkey” is sure enough to hold me over till his sophomore effort drops.
After just wraping up Brian Coleman’s excellent bbok “Check The Techinique”, I decided to continue on my quest to further my Hip Hop knowledge with Ego Trip’s “Book Of Rap List’s”. Man, talk about a fun read! This book is filled with captivating tidbits such as “Kool Moe Dee’s Report Card of Present Day Rapper’s”, “DJ Premier’s Quarterpound Of Underacknowledged Hip Hop Cuts” (Damn, now THAT would be a dope post and MP3 archive to compile!!) and “10 Songs Marley Marl Wishes He Had Produced” (“DWYCK was actually #1), “Rap Lists…..” is sure to cater to any Hip Hop lover in my age demographic. I just received this in the mail (used from Amazon.com) two days ago and I can barely put it down. Seeing all these original and intriuging lists makes me want to kick myself in the ass for not thinking of a few of these myself and doing posts on them. A few tidbits that I found very interesting: Bone Thugs N Harmony’s original name?? You got it, The Band Aid Boys!!! The “rejected” title for the Beastie Boys “Liscensed To Ill”? Damn, “Don’t Be A Faggot”…hard to believe they passed on that one! A direct quote from “Rolling Stone” (the magazine) in regards to Ice Cube’s “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”: “The relentless profanity grows wearisome, the Bomb Squad beats lose steam and Cube’s attitudes toward woman are simply despicable…..Ice Cube ultimately sounds like the Andrew Dice Clay of rap”…….DAYUM!!! I definitely suggest this for any true Hip Hop historian, you can get it HERE (be sure to yit used for only 6 bucks and change…I did, just as good as new.
Lastly, time to hip all you youngsters to some good shit that I’ve found while doing my daily (well, not this week) “blog rounds” this past week. First of all Jaz @ Cold Rock Da’ Spot has pieced together a nice little collection of B-Sides and remixes from one of my favorite groups, GangStarr for your downloading pleasure (hell, even I gotta’ get on the ball with this one). Secondly, Dan Love @ the always solid From Da’ Bricks ha
s composed a nice little blog detailing his recent visit to N.Y.C. that included a Brand Nubian show, Brian Coleman’s “Check The Technique” book release party and a nice run-in with Grandmaster Caz….good shit Dan! Finally, I received a text message from Travis @ Wake Your Daughter Up this morning that read: “12 CD’s for $24.00″ so you know he’s gotta’ have another “WYDU goes Diggin’” post on it’s way in the near future. Oh, and I always seem to forget about Dart Adams @Poisonous Paragraphs (Dart, that loading time on your page is a BITCH from my computer though!!) who’s site has steadily become one of my favorites and his recent reviews of releases from Oh No, Talib & Madlib where all very good reads. On a side note, send me an MP3 archive of your “Top 25″ if you can Dart!!! Oh, and last but not least if your a “new” blog out there and I haven’t linked you up yet drop me a reminder in the comments or C-Box….it’s nothing personal, it’s just pure laziness…but I really need to get on the ball and add some new links.
In closing, I somehow ordered two brand new copies of GangStarr’s 1992 classic “Daily Operation”. So let’s have a little fun here, whomever can answer the following questions posed will receive the extra copy that I have. I know if any of you are like me, ya’ll are some cheating bastards! Oh well, first one to drop the correct answers in the Comments section under this post will take the cake! Here we go:
1. What was Q-Tip’s first emcee name?
2. What emcee was supposed to appear on the Main Source classic “Live At The BBQ” but label politics prohibited him from doing so??
3. What was the name of the group that Alchemist was in before he made a name for himself?
4. Who c0-wrote “Jackin’ For Beats” along with Ice Cube?
5. Who was the first rapper signed to Loud Records?
Damn, that was too much fun!! Good Luck and enjoy the weekend!! BTW, all those links are rips straight from the CD…good quality ish.