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Fall Is In The Air

by Travis on September 9, 2009

After taking a much needed rest from the grind these past couple days, we are back are ready to talk about….well I’m not sure yet. I’ll probably ramble on about various things and whatever comes to mind. We have basically a little less than four full months left on the schedule. That means the infamous fourth quarter is just around, yet we are already had plenty of fireworks with the leaks of Jay & Rae last week and their official releases this week. Like my man Dart Adams commented in his post last week, comparing the two albums is kind of comparing apples and oranges. One is a commercialized, watered down, highly glossed and packaged for the masses, while the other is back to some grimy dirty shit. A throwback if you will. Now I’m not saying the Jay is devoid of any value. If the masses need to be exposed to hip hop, Jay-Z is probably the closest thing to hip hop as us “traditionalists” know it as. It’s just closer to Blueprint 2 (which I hate more than life itself) than it is the original Blueprint. The Rae is a good album, nothing more nothing less. It’s a lot better than I was expecting, I will say that. He does bring back some of that Wu-like grittiness and griminess that has been missing from most of the Wu releases. In short both albums have their redeeming qualities and both have their problems.

Also, with a little more than 2/3′s of the gone, we can see how the rest of the year is going to shape up. I’ve been somewhat disappointed so far with the quality of music that we have been blessed with. Some of that probably has to do more with my continuing evolving musical taste than the actually quality of music. I’ve been listening to a lot of older stuff, or getting stuck on the four or five albums that I’ve really fallen for this year or the handful or so from ’07 and ’08. Then of course with my recent vinyl affliction, I’ve been checking out a lot of the older soul, funk, R&B and even some older rock. Never has it been so hard to keep up with all the latest releases as it is this year. And by looking at the fourth quarter, not sure that’s going to change much. There is Rakim, Felt, O.C. & A.G., Ghost, Nicolay, Redman, Royce and The Roots. Pretty much all of those artists have disappointed me in the past in one way or the other. We’ll see. I’m not going to write the year off yet, but we need a couple near classics to save ’09 from being a disappointment.

Five Tracks You Need To Hear

5 O’Clock Shadowboxers - “Bottomfeeders” (Small Pro Remix):

The first time I heard this remix for “Bottomfeeders”, my jaw dropped to the floor. To be fair, I have really dropped the ball on promoting the Zilla Rocca & Douglas Martin album. The Slow Twilight is one of those unique albums that has a sound all of it’s own and that’s a good thing. It’s an excellent album that, like a lot of good music out there, needs to be pushed harder so more people can hear it. It’s got a rock influence but still brings that hard hip hop as Zilla usually does. “Bottomfeeders” (along with “Rabbit Season”) was my favorite track from the album. Then WYDU fav, Small Professor went and totally redid things. What was once a slow and deliberate track just turned into a joint with a shitload of energy, punch and crazy swagger. It’s truly a different track with a totally different vibe to it. It’s nothing short of unbridled passion.

Botomfeeders03-1.jpg picture by DAAP

Midnight Specialists feat Lex, Amen & Reef – Dutches & Phillies (taeOne mix)


My man taeOne passed his version of “Dutches & Phillies” last week to put up with the post. Problem was, I wasn’t home more than an hour of waking time from Wednesday night until Sunday night, so I didn’t read the email until after the post was already up. I gave it a listen while I was home for a bit Saturday and was amazed by the track. It’s slower in nature, but has some cool sounds entrenched into the rhythm. But what it does mainly is let Reef, Lex and the rest of the MCs just run a muck all over the track. We know what Reef is capable of and it’s good to hear my good friend Lex kill a track again. Great song all the way around.

“I don’t ask for what I can’t take, Can I get my daps yo?” – the Master, Midnight Specialists

Here is the first leak from the Midnight Specialists debut album, the All Nighter. Dutches & Phillies is a no nonsense, back to basics, no hook having gem featuring Phillies own Reef the Lost Cauze and NYC representatives Midnight Specialists, LEX of Sinistah Circle, and Amen.

Who are the Midnight Specialists? The Boom-bap. Superlyrical MCs. Simply put, that raw shit. Washington Heights native producer taeOne provides aural atmospheres that range from smooth and melodic to dark and adrenaline-driven. Whether you crave mood music or shit that’s tailor-made for the whip, the crate digging assassin has what you need in your life. Then we have The Master aka Shadow, a Brooklyn-born MC in the vein of such lyrical greats as Big Pun and Pharoahe Monch. Punchlines and rhyme schemes aren’t everything though, and Shadow shows it with thought-provoking songs that paint vivid pictures with out being pretentious. Unique and versatile, “The Master” is more than just a cocky nickname. Coming with the distinct sound that defined an era in East Coast rap and introducing a style all their own, the Midnight Specialists are out to stake their claim as one of the more promising groups to represent the 5 boroughs in recent memory.


E The Real & Paul Mighty – Keys To Success


I know some cats say leave the 90′s back in the 90′s. In some ways I agree, but in other ways, if you can keep the 90′s sound and make it sound even better, there is nothing wrong with that in the least. That’s exactly what E The Real from Nite People does on his collab joint with Paul Mighty. That’s what “Keys To Success” sounds like, some good ‘ol fashioned 90′s independent. Horn stabs and some strings turn this track into a banger all the way around. This is the second time I’ve mentioned this track (and single) so consider yourselves warned.

Felt – Protagonists

The next conception of Felt is about to be unleashed on the unsuspecting masses. I was a big fan of the Felt 2 project, with Ant providing some of his bests beats to be heard yet. The third volume will feature Aesop Rock on the boards. I haven’t quite decided how I feel about that just yet since it’s only been the past couple years that I’ve warmed up to Aesop and his style of rhymes and his production, which is every bit as weird as his lyrics. Initially, I wasn’t all that impressed with “Protagnoists,” but it’s grown on me the more I’ve listened to it. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t one of my most anticipated releases (right after the Edo and Masta Ace release) of the reminder of the year.

Quite Nyce – Jazzolution

Quite Nyce, has had quite the year, it’s just unfortunate that enough people haven’t heard this cat do his thing. Having already released an album with RADIx and another with produce Raydar Ellis, Quite Nyce just dropped his solo album, Through My Eyes. While I’m still getting my bearings on it the album (good so far!), I’ve been stuck on a few tracks, including “Jazzolution” which was on the recent WYDU sponsored mixtape last month. Living up to it’s name, this smooth jazz-influenced track rolls over some snapping drums and eye closer (you know, when you close your eyes to listen along to the track) and a head bobber all rolled into one.

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