Found On: “Ready For War” b/w “Happy Hour” 12″ (Wordplay Records, 2001)
The Brews Brothers were one of those groups with one 12″ release to their credit then would fade off in to obscurity. The members should be familiar to hardcore underground heads during that time, with Louis Logic and Charlie Bawles, who was part of the Skitzofrentiks, and Mister Jason, one half of the Porn Theatre Ushers. With a a name like “Brews Brothers” and a song title like “Happy Hour”, you should be betting against this containing their thoughts on world peace. Instead you get drunken rhymes, punchlines and laugh out loud rhymes about chicks from the drunken masters. The beat is a bouncy b-boy break that is well suited for the alcohol fueled rhymes and hooked up a nicely with some perfectly placed sampled hooks. This single is one of my favorites from the last decade and well slept on, so wake the fuck up, and bring me back a Heineken.
Found On: On The Grind (Monopolee Records, 2004)
Alchemist hooking up a top notch Queensbridge emcee? That’s a good formula, right? Well, if you throw in one of the original Queensbrige murders in Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, and you get a hard ass track from Mobb affliate, Big Noyd. “Louder” was a track that incorporates all the greatness of all those involved. Alchemist brings a hard bangin’ beat with a dope piano sample and both Noyd, who can be inconsistent, and Prodigy bring their A-game to the table.
Found On: Blazing Arrow (MCA 2002)
I’m not the biggest Blackalicious fan in the world, but 2002′s “Make You Feel That Way” grabbed my attention on the quickness. This laid back track that was that nostalgic feel to it, as Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab lay down things that give you those good feelings, all over a really smooth beat. There is an awesome sax sample during the hook that brings the whole thing to a crescendo. I was actually introduced to this track via MTV2, one of the last things MTV has ever had a hand in as far as introducing music to me. Great song though, one that should have gotten more attention that it does.
Found On: Bootleg, 2006
You would think a return of arguably one of the best female emcees to ever to the mic hooking up with arguably the greatest hip hop producer would have produced more noise than MC Lyte’s “Wonder Years” did. Sure the Primo produced jam did garner some attention when it dropped, but from what I gather, not enough people were aware of this gem. Granted it’s not the greatest Primo produced jam ever, but Primo’s “good” joints are better than 90% of most producers “great” joints. MC Lyte acts like she never lost a step lyric wise, as she delivers the same style and flow that any 30 plus something head should know and love.
Found On: Kegstand Poetry for the Recovering Alcoholic (Poorly Drawn Records, 2006)
One of my favorite “discoveries” of the past decade, Storm Davis has been one of those artists that I will always check anything he is involved with. Mostly, we’ve seen him in several Poorly Drawn People projects, but it was his 2006 release, Kegstand Poetry for the Recovering Alcoholic that produced the “end of the night at the bars” classic, Kegstand Poetry. I’ve spent many a night singing this joint out loud after coming home staggering through the door, it’s just one of those “Irish Hip Hop Drinking” songs. This should be played at any bar ten minutes before closing time, it’s just that good, like a pint of cheap beer at closing time.
Found On: Break Glass (Babygrande, 2007)
Polyrhythmaddicts is another group I was never crazy about. Their ’99 album is one of the most overrated projects in hip hop history to me, and their 2006 Babygrande was more or less a flop, which in unfortunate because there is some mad talent in this group. That is evident from “Kerosene” , which is full of boom-bap goodness, with loud, ‘knock-a-fool upside his head’, bangin’ ass drums. This plus Complex, Shaadiq and Tiye Phoenix all dropping heavy rhymes to accompany the craziness of the Spinna produced beat just makes me realize why I loved hip hop in the first place.
Found On: Show You The World (Legendary Music, 2008)
First off, I’ve never been the biggest Living Legends fan. Not that I disliked them, it just wasn’t usually my thing. That means I don’t make a habit of checking out Grouch’s solo work much either. After more than a few people telling me I needed to hear his “Show You The World”, I picked it up and actually enjoyed the album. The track that stuck out to me though was “Artsy”. Maybe it’s just because I’ve dealt with the fake granola kids and the such through out my life. Again, I guess it’s being able to relate to the subject matter that grabs me.
Found On: When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence (Wrap Records, 2009)
Harmonic 313 was more of a electronic producer, but he brings the Detroit sound on the track “Battlestar” and that’s not all he brings with him. He brought friends as well in the forms of Phat Kat and Elzhi aka Cold Steel (we needed an album from these two like last week). The track “Yeah” was one of my favorite tracks of Elzhi’s The Preface album, so hearing these two again over bangin’ ass drums is all I needed to hear to get me pumped. Phat Kat has that vocal vibe that sounds like he had a bowl full of glass shards, straight up nastiness.
Found On: Halftooth Records Presents: You Don’t Know The Half (Halftooth Records, 2003)
Two fairly underground emcees at the time an one fairly well known emcee got together and made a track that has always been one of my favorites of that early decade era. Talib Kweli joined Asheru and Kenn Starr and all three emcees do a great job at handling the mic duties. Kenn Starr actually steals the show in my opinion, but Talib is right there behind him. It’s the beat that kind of steals the show for me though, an Oddissee beat, with an excellent sample. Top Notch material.
Found On: The Case (All Natural Inc., 2006)
The Pacifics were one of those indie underground groups that couldn’t make it out of the muck of the glut of indie groups that started showing up on the scene with the boom of the internet. It’s unfortunate too, because they had a good EP with Illmind, yes, THAT Illmind. Illmind slowly conjured his way up my favorite producer’s list after starting off on the wrong foot with a god awful “Black Album” remix album back in 03-04. A swingy beat with some interesting drums and a guitar loop highlight the beat. In all honesty, I think it’s the singing on the hook that really sucks me into the overall composition.