First things first, I about busted a nut when I found THIS tribute site dedicated to the production trio of Sean C.,Joe Mansfield and DJ Shame a.k.a the Vinyl Reanimators! So, quick story: I totally deleted my Itunes files this past weekend, as I became extremely weary of my Wife copping sh*t off of Itunes for my daughters’ and her personal enjoyment. For one, apparently, my Wife doesn’t realize that we run one of the more prevalent music sites out there (insert sarcasm and disgruntlement)!? Secondly, aside from sh*t that I really enjoy (i.e, The Left’s “Gas Mask”, The Heart & Brain’s “Mbodiment” and Celph & Buck’s “Nineteen Ninety Now” = COPPED) I’m fairly seasoned in obtaining music for free or for “review purposes”. Long story short, and 109 bones later, I have all the Taylor Swift, GLEE, Justin Bieber, etc. cover art and tracks removed from MY iPod.
So, while adding new music to iTunes (BTW, the new iTunes is pretty dope, ehh?) I stumbled across T.R.O.Y.’s (PhilaFlava’s) “50 Remixes You Need To Hear”compilation. Not only that, I also added their “100 Most Obscure Tracks” compilation (of which, Trav was a contributing member of) to my playlist. Trust me, if you have the time and bandwidth to scoop these compilations up, I really urge you too!
While doing chores around the house this week, I popped the “50 Remixes..” comp. into the headphones, and, Lord forgive me for my blatant ignorance, but I’d NEVER heard the Vinyl Reanimators remix of Kool G. Rap’s “Fast Life” f/ Nas. GOOD LAWD! This actual remix is one of the freshest reworkings of a single track that I’ve ever heard in my 34 years of existence on this earth. The bassline on this remix had me strolling around my kitchen with a broom in hand like Method Man in his “I Bring The Pain” video (see the 2:23 mark). So, my project today, after playing some pickup B-Ball at lunch (half days on Friday is a must for the business owner/operator!) my main objective for the evening is to scoop up as many Vinyl Reanimator projects as possible and offer them up in a compilation for your downloading/listening pleasure, if it hasn’t already been done! Damn, this jawn is sooo ill *shakes head*..
Even after naming Qwel & Maker’s recently released effort, “Owl” as one of the 3rd Quarter’s (and “year’s”) better releases, cats still seem to be sleeping on this duo. While “El Camino” and “The Love We Have” (from Maker’s “Maker vs. Now-Again” instrumental opus) have been generating a ton of spins on our #SCRUNCHFACE Show, one of the true highlight’s from the duo in 2010 has to be “Owl’s” fitting finale, “Pitching Pennies”. With a catchy, sing-songy hook and an unforgettable production, thanks to Maker, “..Pennies” has quickly climbed it’s way atop my “Most Played” for the year on iTunes. Maker injected this cut with elegant horns and a slick, rolling drum break that suits Qwels laid-back, AZ-like delivery (at least on this LP, anyway) just fine! Cats talk about “throw-back rap” all the time, “Pitching Pennies” is a prime example of how it should sound.
Again, I feel the need to explain my ignorance once more, as prior to this week I never even knew that S.O.M’s 1999 LP, “Focus” even existed! Honestly the only real reason I uncovered this little nugget is because I’ve been on my Hiero “kick” as of late, lacing my NBA2K11 filled nights with albums such as “93′ Till Infinity”, Casual’s “Fear Itself”, Extra Prolific’s “Like It Should Be” and Del’s “No Need For Alarm”. Hell, believe it or not, but even S.O.M’s so-called “sophomore slump”, “No Man’s Land” doesn’t sound all that bad nowadays!
So after going on a purchasing/downloading rampage, I stumbled upon the aforementioned “Focus”. As mentioned, released in 1999, “Focus” served as the first drop on the Hieroglyphic Imperium independent imprint and was available only as a cassette or Vinyl via the crew’s website. Essentially a Tajai-helmed cut, “Pay Dues” finds the lyrical addict taking aim at the music biz and entails S.O.M.’s trials and tribulations within the recording industry.
Found On: 2012: The New Beginning, get it HERE.
Authentic. If I had to select just one word that exemplifies the Doppelgangaz sound, it would be just that! While many have tried and even more have failed to duplicate the sound that the “middle-aged crisis” population feel in love with nearly 18 years ago, the duo of Matter Ov Fact and EP a.k.a. The Doppelgangaz have seemingly mastered it…thus far. There’s two obvious reasons why you may check for this duo before even hearing them: 1. the Doppelgangaz are signed to Lord Digga’s “Six Figga Entertainment” label (yes, Lord Digga of the Masta Ace Inc. fame) and 2. You may recall Mike Heron from the Hyrdra/Rawkus fame? Well, get this, the duo is also managed by none other than Adam Heron, the son of Mike. Craziness, huh?
If I had to pick just one crew from the early ’90s whom the Doppelgangaz most resemble, I’d have to go with the Cella Dwellas. Seriously, pop “Realms N Reality” on your headphones, then follow it up with “2012″. Coincidence? Nah, I think not, it’s obvious that these cats have done their homework and I’m just as pissed at myself for sleeping on ‘em for so long. You should be too! Man, I can’t wait to hear more from these cats as they’ve recently followed up the LP with two fresh singles, “Digging” and “Doppelgang Affiliation” (both available @ their Bandcamp)
With the release of Kno’s debut solo outing, “Death Is Silent”, I keep reading that dude’s music is too “emo” for most cats’ liking. Well, I’d have to agree..for the most part. However, it’s one thing to create this type of music musically, but it’s another to be “emo” lyrically. The samples that Kno has selected for “Death Is Silent” don’t really do much to hinder the project but they do create for an emotional, somewhat “folksy” feel to the LP. Now, am I shi*ting on the LP or stating that “Death Is Silent” isn’t a valid purchase? Naw, hell naw, I’m just saying, Kno even coined himself: “I’m the emo Preemo”! Plus, with the backdrops that Kno has provided as the guts of Cunninlynguist past/present musical format, don’t front like you didn’t see this coming?
Now, that I’ve rid my system of all that nonsense, “Death Is Silent” is blessed with it’s fair share of bangers. While I had a difficult time narrowing it down to just one track from the album, “When I Was Young” has surpassed the bass heavy, electro-infused “Graveyard”, thanks to the featured lyrical performances from QN5 family, Natti & Substantial.
I tell you, the “shuffle” option on the iPod is a beautiful thing isn’t it? I mean, someday it gets on a roll: “T.R.O.Y”, “Below The Heavens”, “Know The Ledge”, “Loyalty” and then…”Polluted Skyline”. Wah? Wait a minute, (reaches down to pull my iPod out of my pocket), “Brothaz Bent”? “Willshire District: Miracle Mile Vol. 1″?
Yessir, sometimes, I swear, I download the most random sh*t, but on this occasion it turned out to be pretty rewarding. The aforementioned “Willshire..” compilation (the LP also features the likes of Blame One, John Robinson, LMNO, Wildchild and Aloe Blacc, to name a few) not only introduced me to Animoss (who handles the production on “Polluted Skyline), DJ Expo, Don Chalant, Woozy Medwick a.k.a Brothaz Bent, but it also has me keen on the foursome’s 2007 LP, “Up From The Desert”, which I’m listening to as I type this. Could we see a possible “sleeper” post this week for “Up From The Desert”? So far, so good.
Found On: “Time To Build”/ “Vibes Of The Pro Black” 12″
I know what you’re thinking, “hey, that’s the same sample that Cunninlynguists used for “The Park” (from their “Dirty Acres” LP). Damn, the first time I heard “The Pack” I thought that the sample was soo damn original that the track was the lone source for it’s implementation, not so.
As funky as Brother J and the Dark Sun Riders’ “Time To Build” remix was in ’96, the Vinyl Reanimators (speaking of whom, we’ll be doing a mega-post for later this week) laced Raw Produce, a duo out of Massachusetts comprised of Cadence and Pitch, for their 12″, “Weight Of The World” that same year. The track (“Weight..”) would also appear on the twosome’s “Refrigirator Poetry” EP in 1997 (you’re welcome..) Damn, this reminds me, the Dark Sun Riders’ LP, “Seeds Of Evolution” is one LP that I haven’t bumped in forever, I used to be especially fond of the title track. We’ll soon see how it held up.
Found On: “Hydrabeats Vol. I”
If you’re a true die-hard beat-head, there’s no question that you’re probably already familiar with one of the most insane beat collections in the existence of Hip-Hop. If not, lemme’ drop some brief knowledge (and, really all you have to do is search “Hydrabeats” in our search bar, as Trav’s done one helluva’ job with it already).
Hydra Entertainment was a hip hop record label that specialized mostly in Instrumental hip hop. They were, and still are, most prominent for their Hydra Beats series of instrumental albums LPs/EPs that arrived from a wide array (to include: The Beatnuts, Godfather Don, Nick Wiz, A Kid Called Roots, etc.) of some of the underground’s finest producers. Of course, now all the releases are out of print, but if you search really hard you’ll be able to track them down all in one spot (big ups to Sav One!).
Anyway, this past week the HydraBeats series has been my main music of choice, namely the first contribution to the series from one of the less heralded production teams (?) (if you have anything else to add on the Unsociables, very little is known on the ‘net, feel free to add on..) The Unsociables. Be sure to peep one of the funkiest, bass-heavy cuts from the series, “Shotgun Locked”. Trust me, this jawn needs to be “rediscovered” from a certain hungry emcee in the game!
So, Big Remo dropped an album? Damn, I’m late on this one folks, rightfully so as much of the LP sounds as if it should have came out in 2006…production-wise. I’ve always been a fan of Big Remo, ever since his days as a member of The A.L.L.I.E.S. (if you wanna’ hear a slept-on, dope ass EP, click HERE, specifically “Sweetest Language”), but you can’t front, some of the beats on this album do sound a bit dated.
However, even if the prevalence of the sped-up soul sample is over-utilized on “Entrapment”, Eric G succeeded as it still comes off fresh on “Serenity”, even if the backdrop contains no “hills and valleys”. Big Remo spits potent verses similar to the fashion he did on one of my favorite cuts from 9th Wonder’s “Dream Merchant 2″, “Reminisce”.
Woooooo!! Duck Down scored a major winner with “Live From The Tape Deck”! I really had no clue how this one would go over. While Skyzoo remains one of my favorite emcees who still is unfairly tagged as just a “mixtape rapper”, Illmind has been kinda’ “hit or miss” for me lately. However, both parties came through in the clutch with this very impressive, well-executed LP. Did I mention how hard Illimind’s drums knock on the album? Good Lawd…
“The Winner’s Circle”, while one of the LP’s shortest cuts, features an elaborate verse from ‘Zoo as told from Lebron James’ point of view regarding “The Decision”. While the track may be corny to some, you can’t front on the well-placed vocal sample and Illmind’s production is just too polished to overlook. Even King James will crack a smile after bumpin’ “The Winner’s Circle”!