80. “Mega Mix”-Exile
Taken from Exile’s instrumental opus, “Radio”, “Megamix” is a journey through the twisted mind of the man behind the boards on Blu & Exile’s CLASSIC “Below The Heavens”. Don’t overlook this joint based on say..umm, the first minute or so (which coincidentally reminds me of those “quiet storm” Thursday evenings they used to play on the “Hip Hop” stations back in the day…maybe the still do?). The real treat occurs near the 2:10 mark as Exile completely freaks one of my favorite “pop” records from back in the day. Yep, that’s right Wham’s (!), yes…Wham’s “Everything She Wants”, on this particular segment of the “Mega Mix”, Exile puts an irresistible spin on one of those records that I’ve always thought would serve as clever sample selection some day.
As far as the rest of the LP is concerned, I’ll just leave you with this: I’m not real huge on “instrumental” LP’s being that my mind usually seems to drift near the fifth track or so. However, with 14KT’s “The Golden Hour” being the most recent exception, I’m not afraid to say that Exile’s “Radio” isn’t slightly behind the aforementioned Lab Technicians production showcased on his solo outing. Although, the record did seem a lil’ “weird” to say the least after the first few listens, it’s still leaves you shaking your head at the thought of hearing Blu spit on a few of these tracks and as you can see a few more independent artists out there seem to be taking a liking to them as well.
79. “Jetlagged”-Note To Self
NOTES TO SELF’s first ‘shot’ is the product of much hard work from determined and talented rappers Swamp Donkey and Roshin, producer/rapper Bronze One, and 2003 world DMC champion DJ Dopey. These artists are in the classic sense, a true group, devoted visionaries who thrive on collaboration to further their goals. Truthfully, I wasn’t really expecting much from this album but I was pleasantly surprised with “A Shot In The Dark”. My favorite track from the album “Jetlagged” features a classic Lonnie Liston Smith sample that W.T.R. favorite Ill Poetic also freaked masterfully on “The World Is Ours”. A track about relationships, “Jetlagged” is an honest, heartfelt cut that is bound to get you reminiscing over that long-lost love.
78. “Never Let It Go”-Fabolous
I don’t know where my hatred from Fabolous’ “Loso’s Way’ spawns from. Could it have arrived via the influence from one of the interwebs most straight-forward, no frills personalities out there? Whom, oh, also happens to be fellow Bloggerhouse member Dart Adams, who along with Maino’s most recent LP, bashed “Loso’s Way” in such a way that it made it hard to like this album? Or, quite simply, it may have been the lackluster effort that F-A-B-O put forth on his fifth (!) studio album? Maaan, still it makes me feel kinda’ old when you consider this cat has been in the game for nearly a decade, on the same taken you would expect more from him. Not saying that I’m the biggest fan of dude’s work, but make no bones about it, he has released a handful of decent, to above average tracks.
This one’s from the Land Of The Rising Sun, with the DJ Khalil produced banger “Never Let It Go.” Why this didn’t make the make the proper album and became a Japanese bonus track is beyond me as Khalil churned out what in all likelihood will go down as one of the better produced tracks of 2009.
77. “Dead Queens”-5 O’clock Shadowboxers
I don’t think I’ve scored such as “late pass” as I have with 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers “THE SLOW TWILIGHT LP”, an album that once again proves that indeed sometimes “the best things in life are free” (click to DL). Comprised of emcee Zilla Rocca and Seattle-based producer Douglas Martin, 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers intertwined elements of Hip Hop, alternative and even folk into a masterfully constructed gem that won’t necessarily “kill your trunk” but features all sorts of twists and turns that keep the listener on the edge of his/her seat.
“Dead Queens” an eerie, yet irresistible (that damn guitar lick, makes head-jerking nearly unavoidable!) track served as the apex of “The Slow Twilight” for me. “The Slow Twilight” will offer you two options: you’re either gonna’ love the album or hate it. In this case, if you’re a “close-minded” listener, “The Slow Twilight” is not gonna’ be your cup of tea. However, if you enjoy a listen that pushes the envelope as Hip Hop continues to evolve, then what Zilla Rocca and Douglas Martin have offered up is right up your alley.
Whomever linked up the Artifacts’ Tame One and S.O.M. (Souls Of Mischief, dummy) alum Del needs to get a pat on the back. You would think, with both artists emerging from opposite ends of the country that their collaborative LP, “Parallel-Uni Verses” (ahh, you liked that build-up, huh?) just might not work….wrong!! This LP is surprisingly, well…not really, GOOD! Could you even imagine the amount of acid tabs that where digested throughout the recording sessions for this album? I gotta’ give it to be Del and Tame, both of these cats have remained relevant for nearly a decade and a half, with neither experiencing much of a decline lyrically.
Produced by Parallel Thought (as is the whole album), “Before This” features a breezy yet somewhat elegant backdrop that finds Del and Tame giving all you new jacks a quick rundown of their respective histories. If you haven’t peeped the album just yet, don’t make the assumption that Tame and Del haven’t “adjusted” to Hip Hop’s ever-changing landscape. Like Primo said “underground hip hop acts are like roaches, always livin’, never dyin”.
75. “Breakadawn”-Tanya Morgan
For a mixtape or “remake” track to make my year end list of “top tracks”, well..for one, it has to be pretty damn strong. On top of that, I understand the concept of the Mick Boogie/Terry Urban mixtape which serves as a celebration of De La Soul’s “3 Feet High & Rising”, yet when you’re attempting to rework a track such as “Breakadawn” which is right up there with “T.R.O.Y.” in terms of classic status with me, you better nail it! Tanya Morgan did exactly that, it’s quite possible that there is no other group in Hip-Hop right now that could have pulled off what, coincidentally, another three man crew with a hefty De-La-influence did. I mean “Breakadawn” and Tanya Morgan were a perfect combination, considering that this was indeed a remake, the track picks up right where it left off in 1993 (as part of the De La classic LP, “Buhloone Mind State”)!
74. “Keep It Live”-Destruct & KG Boom
L.A. emcee Destuct (who’s a dead-on Braille look-a-like) and Swedish producer KG Boom, whom you may recall has down a fair amount of production for tha Connection, released “Raw Slice” as a free download back near the start of Summer. While the album is fairly solid, I’m not completely sold on Destruct’s lyrical abilities just yet, although I need to check his collabo with EQ (who also has done production for the aforementioned Connection) “Non-Flaco”, which is also available as a free download. I gotta’ give KG Boom his propers though, as this cat has created his own quick-hitting, bass-heavy sound that is a throwback to the mid-nineties. Fueled by a “DJ Premierish” hook where Boom has spliced a number of vocal samples together quite nicely, “Keep It Live” may not be one of the year’s more lyrically-inclined tracks but it’s still one of it’s funkiest.
73. “Four Cornered Room”-L.E.G.A.C.Y.
It’s been over four years since the release of his debut album, the cult classic entitled “Project Mayhem”. Matter of fact, I recall a certain Small Professor stating that “Project..” was perhaps the best Justice League album to date. L.E.G.A.C.Y. (Life Ends Gradually And Changes You) has fed starving fans with a slew of guest appearances and album-worthy mixtapes. The obvious “black sheep” of the Hall of Justus finally returned with his highly anticipated sophomore release “Suicide Music”. The album is a dark and strange ride with cutting edge wordplay being backed by beats handled solely by Khrysis (9th Wonder who?). The fire fueled by the eerie single “Four Cornered Room” (which borrows the Scarface line from the Geto Boys classic “Mind Playin’ Tricks..”, is the perfect invitation to a “love it or leave it alone” album. Boasting features from Foreign Exchange/Little Brother frontman Phonte, H.O.J. co-hort Chaundon and Bootcamp wordsmith Sean Price, the album has flown under the radar to date, but it demands your attention.
72. “Year Of The Carnivore”-A Disturbing New Trend
A Boston-based group comprised of Affiliate (rhymes) and Silvamore (beats), one listen to A Disturbing New Trend’s twisted, “Year Of The Carnivore” and you can’t help but think Public Enemy. With Silvamore’s “Bomb Squad-esque” production and Affiliate’s aggressive, in your face delivery the comparisons are almost inevitable. Yet, lemme’ take it one step further, and state that in some instances on A Disturbing New Trend’s EP also of the same name (“Year Of The Carnivore”) I can’t help but return to the early nineties and revisit the sounds of Insane Poetry (all you youngins’ out there “google it”). While some may say that this is just another M.O.P. knock-off, I beg to differ. With even more talent emerging from Beantown, I know that Dart’s gotta’ be smiling from ear ta’ ear. I can’t wait to hear what the duos full-length LP is gonna’ sound like!
71. “Stay”-Ghostface Killah
Soooo, when I heard that Ghostface was dropping “Ghostdini: Wizard Of Poetry”, I was fairly amped up, considering that anything at this point from the man who blessed us with the likes of “Supreme Clientele”, “Fishscale” and this debut, “Ironman” couldn’t be anything less than stellar. Needless to say, “Ghostdini: Wizard Of Poetry” turned out to be an unfunny joke, aside from the likes of the Skymark-produced “Stay” much of the content on this album, which I initially thought was more or less a compilation comprised of Ghost’s lyrical desire for the female species, is wastage. And let’s be honest, this can’t really be an actual album, but maybe just an experiment…a failed one at that.
“Stay”, starts off with the familiar, sped up sample of “Stay A Little Longer” by Yvonne Fair. Ghost’s cadence is as fierce as ever, as here he intermingles his lyrics over a deep and rich low end that fair quite well with Ms. Fair’s elegant vocals.