December 27, 2013

Yo! International - UK

When the Saturday edition of Yo! MTV Raps used to air, when Fab 5 Freddy was the host, he toured a variety of locations to meet rappers, usually in their home town or on the location of a video shoot.  On one of those occassions, the MTV budget stretched a little further than usual and they paid for Freddy to grace the shores of the UK and present this edition of the series.

I would love to know the reasoning behind the selection of artists for this particular show.  MTV had shown the London Posse some love and previously played several of their videos, but to present Black Radcal Mk II to the international stage was a surprise to me.  I'm not saying they shouldn't have been there as they'd put out a lot of good material at the time, but in the early 90's there were so many excellent and successful artists in the UK, I just feel some others should also have been given a chance to shine and better represent the UK's hip hop diversity.  On the up side, it's was great to see MTV recognise some of the more underground groups.

Nevertheless, this little selection of interviews is still interesting and it's great that MTV took the time to explore hip hop beyond the US.



December 16, 2013

Unsung: Heavy D

TV One continues the Unsung series with a history of Heavy D and the Boyz.  It follows the usual format of tracing their roots through to their success, but with 2 members of the 4 piece outfit having their lives cut drastically short, it's a little more of a tribute, and rightfully so.

I was never much of a fan of Heavy D, or his absurd wardrobe of outfits that didn't flatter a bigger man's figure.  But having watched this episode, it did remind me just how much Waterbed Hev (I still can't believe he actually called himself that!) contributed to hip hop, and that he never compromised his unique style.  It's also good to see that Eddie F gets his props too, such an underrated producer in his era.



December 4, 2013

Straight Buck Wylin In The Place To Be...


November has been a busy month for me, so I've not been keeping up with all the goodness that the internet has to offer, but that doesn't mean that there hasn't been a few things that caught my attention.  So here's a few things that you may want to check out if you haven't spotted them already.

Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See!

In 1997 Busta Rhymes' solo hit confirmed that he'd evolved, he could cut it on his own and that his Leaders of the New School era was firmly behind him.  The latest edition in the Magnum Opus series goes back in time and uncovers the history of this iconic track in this short documentary. 



Can't Lose

Elzhi is back with this smoothed out new track.  He was also seeking some funding for his LP, but appears to have already exceeded his target, so hopefully a new solo LP will be on the way sometime soon.





Guru Tribute Gets A Video

It's been a while since Marco Polo and Talib Kweli collaborated on this joint, and now it's got a video.  As tribute tracks go, this isn't bad.  RIP Guru.


November 29, 2013

Red Hot & Movin'

When this blog was set up it was always my intention to share much of my video collection as I have a lot of stuff that doesn't currently appear on YouTube etc.  I've had some limited success doing this over the years, but recently I've found some time to rip some of my old tapes and upload the clips to the YouTube channel.  And with my new PC being delivered soon, hopefully there'll be more of these rarities to come in the near future.

In early 1992, a group of mostly British hip hop acts came together to perform for one cause, to raise awareness of AIDS.  This resulted in a concert which was filmed and shown on Channel 4.

It features many of the biggest names in British hip hop at that time, Hijack, Caveman, Cookie Crew and the Rebel MC alongside the headliner, Master Ace (yep, before he switched up his name spelling).  The live performances are interspersed by interviews with the artists.  Given that 20+ years have passed, these are as entertaining as the performances.  Hearing K-Sly telling people to wear a condom is somewhat odd, although highly commendable.  Also featured are 11:59, Tenor Fly, Barrington Levy, Ragga Twins, Nefateri and Apache Indian.


November 20, 2013

Sublime Wizardry


These guys just hit me up with a link to their latest video, and its made me realise that I've been sleeping on them for months!  They originally hit me up back in the summer (when I was in the midst of a big DIY project and this blog was being neglected a little), so I never got around to checking them out.  But thankfully they nudged me again, and I'm damn glad they did.

To put things in context, it's fairly rare that I heap praise onto current UK hip hop.  I accept that I've got a lot more fussy in my old age, but I'm not alone in saying that most groups these days just can't cut it.  So it's great to be able to say that Sublime Wizardry are dispelling these theories and presenting the listener with fresh new music that's been crafted using the old traditions.  This really is hip hop that's been made for the veteran's that have stayed true to the culture and will appreciate it's authenticity.  They even put their DJ to good use at the end of the track, a feature that is sadly lacking in much of today's music.  I'm now hoping I can catch these guys performing live somewhere in the not too distant future.

Check out the video below, and if you're feeling it then head over to their website where you can hear more of their material including tracks of their recently released Best of the Bunch EP, or you can cop this track from: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/can-she-be-heard-single/id733269157.




November 14, 2013

Memories of Mr C.


A couple of years back I did a piece on Paul C using Dave Tompkins biography, Paul was one of the unsung elevators of early hip hop. To this day it still defies my belief that this guy rarely gets a mention, let alone enough credit for his contribution, despite there still being so many people still active within the world of hip hop that worked with the man.
So to my surprise, I then see two Paul C related articles pop up in the same month! And both are outstanding!!

The first offering is from film maker Pritt Kalsi, who has produced a 3 part documentary that in his own words is "not the definitive documentary or story of Paul C McKasty". But considering it runs for almost an hour and a half, contains interviews from friends, family and artists that he worked with, and given that there has been virtually nothing before it, its as good as we're ever likely to get and it goes way beyond my own expectations.

This is not your average film, it’s a little slower in pace when compared to most documentaries and it doesn’t contain any of the music that Paul C produced, but this provides space for the contributors to talk in more depth.

The personal reflections and stories from his collaborators - Pharoahe Monch, CJ Moore, Casanova Rud, O.C., Dr Butcher, Breakbeat Lou, Mikey D, Rakim and Ultramagnetic amongst others - really get into the history of that era, what it was like to work with Paul C and the way he influenced/mentored Large Professor. This film has clearly been a labour of love for Pritt Kalsi, and all credit goes to him for the hard work that has gone into making this documentary and for sharing his passion and work with us.

To watch the movie you’ll need to visit Kalsi’s own site:
Part 1 & 2 
Part 3


On the same day, the StrictlyBusinessHipHop blog published a compilation list of Paul C productions. Due to the lack of acknowledgement given to engineers and producers back then, it is probably impossible to pin down all of the productions he did, or had a hand in. So this list is a massive step towards a fairly definitive list.

So you've now got a list of Paul C productions to go and hunt down, but wait, the StrictlyBusiness boys went one better and have provided downloads for the majority of this list. I'm sure you’ll appreciate that a lot of work has gone into this and some of the tracks are hard to find, so this is a real gift.

Check it out here - http://strictlybusinesshiphop.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/strictly-paul-c.html

November 5, 2013

Hijack - Live at Montreux


One of my friends has been trying to get his hands on the full video footage of this concert for some years now, but without success.  It's definitely out there, but only clips of it ever seem to emerge.

But today Janka-Man over at the 1994HipHop blog has shared this 320kbps tape rip of the whole concert. You probably won't see this again, so if you're interested then head over and grab it before the links die.


There used to be a website that was dedicated to Hijack and held many video clips including some of this concert.  They were low quality uploads (probably uploaded via a dial-up connection), but a quick google search hasn't helped me to find it.  Mind you, its 2013 and using the search terms 'Hijack' and 'Terrorist Group' provides countless pages of other material, no doubt knocking what I'm looking for back onto page 243 of the search listing.  If anyone knows the site I'm thinking of, please drop the address into the comments section, cheers.

November 3, 2013

Rebel C & L.A. - Funky Music Is My Style


I heard this years ago but can't remember where and I had forgotten about it until I heard it again a couple of years ago, tracked one down for a very reasonable price and bought it. I really got in to UK hip hop fairly late due to the fact that I was a little prejudiced towards the British accent. Yes, I am British, English if you want, from the third best place in the world if you believe what you read in the paper but the accent still troubled me until Gunshot, Hijack, etc blasted on to the scene at 100mph and it was probably then that the interest / obsession really began. I had a few early electro 12"s like Hardrock Soul Movement, Mutant Rockers and so on but they were different. No lyrics. Still, let's not dwell on that now as this tune is a belter. You may have noticed that it's the B-side yest again that wins, hands down in my opinion. Good sample, boingy 808 bass, what more do you need? An interesting fact too is that it's on a US label which is unexplainable at this moment. The other side is decent also, JB sample, tough beats and worth anyone's money if you ask me but it's this one that I played the most. Disorda had one in a few weeks back which was the reminder I needed to go dig it out and do a fresh 320kbps rip for y'all. I didn't pay any where near that for mine, just in case you were wondering.

November 1, 2013

Looking for a style like mine, you can't find it!


Yet more nostalgia has been dug out of someones personal collection during October, this time from Kenny Parker, (will we ever lose the fascination with this stuff?), and more reflections on the golden era were born.  Either way, it all provides new material to satisfy our thirst for traditional hip hop.  Here's a few of the better items that turned up during October.

The Parker Boys

If you missed this release from Kenny Parker (bigger bro of KRS-1) then make sure you catch it now. Kenny holds many old recordings of KRS and this particular snippet is from a very young KRS spitting some classic rhymes over various breaks, beatboxes etc.  It's a poignant reminder of just how great KRS was in his prime.



Who Got The Props?

Black Moon's debut LP Enta Da Stage turns 20 years old this year and to mark the occasion Duck Down Music have produced this mini documentary that reflects on how the album came together.  There's some nice tid bits of history in this.



Cold Chillin Megamix

Cold Chillin Records Megamix (89 Track/40 Min Mix)  cover image

Tizwarz The Real has put together a 40 minute Cold Chillin megamix which includes 89 tracks.  Do the math, that's a lot of dope tracks in a short time, but it's good fun to stick it on (without checking the track listing) and see how many of them you can name before the next one comes on :)
It's also testament to just how much work Marley Marl was putting in and the number of classics that label produced.

The mix can be streamed or downloaded here - http://www.mixcrate.com/tizwarzmegamixes/cold-chillin-records-megamix-89-track40-min-mix--916197


Crate Diggers - DJ Scratch

EPMD's DJ gives us some insight into his record collection and obsession for red coloured vinyl.  



October 28, 2013

Get The Lowdown

This is probably a bit niche, but if youre somewhere around the age of 35-45 and grew up in the UK, then youll probably enjoy this old episode of the youth TV series The Lowdown that attempted to explain this new thing called hip hop to the uninitiated British youth. Originally shown in the late 80s (89?), this episode isnt going to teach you anything about UK hip hop history, but it does provide a window into the world that so many British kids grew up in.

Refresh your memory on some of those hideous outfits that your whole crew used to wear, the shabby social housing, the kid in your class who thought he could rap/beatbox/breakdance and didnt want to be left out of the current craze etc.  It's cheesy, it might even make you cringe, but it's hilarious viewing.

Watch out for contributions from Ice-T, and an early appearance by MC Spee who later went on to have success with Dreadzone and the dance music scene. But my personal favourite is the discussion about the essential need to have a posse, its priceless and had me in stitches.


October 20, 2013

Broke Ass Jam



The Living Legends are one of those groups that outside of America are either highly rated or completely unknown.   Given the solo success of people like Murs, it surprises me how they have remained so underground and undiscovered to so many.  So whether you're a Living Legends fan, or one of the uninitiated, here is your chance to see them in action on their Broke Ass Summer Jam tour.

Although the video's title says 2007, this concert was actually recorded in 2006.  Along with the Living Legends, there are also guest appearances by A Plus, Micah9, Saafir and others. This isn't a glossy DVD with HD visuals and sound, but let's be honest, that isn't what anyone would expect from this sort of group.
The running time is around 80 mins.

October 9, 2013

Wyld Bunch

Here's a nice little video that's just dropped to promote the Unbreakable EP by Wyld Bunch.
Featuring Hannibal Stax (who seems to be constantly on the rise in recent months) it's an ode to the days when a simple plodding beat, an effective sample for the chorus hook, and straight up New York rhyming was all a track needed.  Sometimes less really is more.

The EP is available on vinyl as well as CD and digital, is produced by DJ Brans and features Masta Ace, Roc Marciano, Guily Simpson and more.

October 8, 2013

Better Late Than Never...


Thanks to some helpful fool who left a comment on an old post, pointing readers to their bullshit website that contained malware, I've been struggling to access my own blog for more than a week.  It's all sorted now though, and unless you were curious enough to look at some spurious old comment that didn't make any sense you wouldn't have been affected (or maybe that should read infected!).

So apologies for the delay in posting this, but better late than never.

Big Daddy Kane - Uncut

The latest interviewee on The Combat Jack Show, is Juice Crew legend Big Daddy Kane.

King Asiatic Nobody's Equal. It's not every day we get to sit with a legend. Kane goes deep with his history, what he thinks about Mr. Cee, how he produced the majority of 'Long Live The Kane' with no credits, how Doug E Fresh taught him how to rock the crowd, how some cats from The Juice Crew wasn't fuxin with him, how he really wanted to battle KRS-One, what Madonna smells like, how he shopped a young Jay Z with no success, why he started wearing purple silks and such... This one is a marathon, but with Kane, there's no half steppin'.

An essential and intriguing listen for any Kane or Juice Crew fan.




What Time Is It?

Marco-Polo-Organized_Konfusion-3-O-Clock
Well according to Marco Polo and Organized Konfusion it's 3 O'Clock.  This dope new tune from Monch and Po features on the Port Authority 2: Directors Cut album from Marco Polo.



And since I originally wrote this post, a video has now dropped for this track too.  It's not that exciting and Mr Monch's coat is somewhat questionable, but some peeps prefer to have a visual with their audio.



Light Years

timthumb

DJ Skizz hooks up Roc Marciano, A.G. and O.C for this rugged banger.  It's nice to see DITC emcees collaborating, but even nicer to see Roc Marci doing something different.  I'm not a fan of his uber laid back doze rap, but he kills it on this track.



Street Photographer Documents Early Hip Hop Culture

Charlie Ahearn (the director of the hip hop classic Wild Style) has made a new film called Jamel Shabazz: Street Photographer.  Shabazz was already well respected following his 2002 book Back in the Days which contained a catalogue of photos straight from the streets of NY city at the time that hip hop was evolving.  This film appears to take the book a stage further and adds more narrative to the history that Shabazz captures, and also contains contributions from graf legend Chino BYI who has a great personal connection the photos.  Prepare for a trip down memory lane, the fashions, the art, the attitude, the swag of early b-boys, this has the lot.



And lastly....

There seems to be a new documentary on UK hip hop surfacing every few months recently, and now we have one dedicated to The Twilight Firm.  They were two producers from London that made their mark in the late 80's and early 90's.  
I'm going to reserve judgement on this one.  The topic seems too narrow to warrant a whole documentary, but that hasn't stopped Kamanchi Sly, Rodney P and other notable UK hip hop veterans adding their commentary.


September 28, 2013

Filling The Gaps


Being a bit of a nerd for hip hop trivia, I was pleased to see the soundtrack for the early 80's movie Breakin' 'n' Enterin' posted up on the 1994hiphop.net blog.  I blogged about this movie last year so if you aren't aware of it, check out this post for more info.

Although the availability of the soundtrack was of interest to me, it was the narrative that accompanied it that intrigued me the most:

In 1983 director Topper Carrew produced a documentary about the Radio Club called “Breakin’ ‘n’ Enterin’”. For this early piece of West Coast History Ice T, Egyptian Lover and The Glove recorded five songs which were released on the legendary ‘Radio Crew’ EP. The artist Dupont who also first appeared on the soundtrack did three songs for this documentary; filled with vocoder voices and electro beats, which were well ahead of their time, but his tracks never made it on to the original vinyl pressing. The EP is one of the rarest pieces of vinyl in Hip Hop history, only pressed 25 times for the cast of the documentary.

This 2008 release contains the original 5 tracks that appeared on the EP in addition to the Dupont tracks.

If you've watched the movie then you'll know that Dupont's music is heavily featured, in fact it kind of becomes the films theme tune!  So it's seems harsh that it was left off the original EP.  But regardless, it's nice to have access to a 320kbps rip all these years later, especially as I'm never like to find (or afford) one of the original EP's.  Here's the track listing and download link, and many thanks to Juicy for sharing the link and his knowledge.

01 Ice-T – Intro
02 Radio Crew, The – The Glove – 6 PM Mix
03 Radio Crew, The – Spray It – Super AJ
04 Radio Crew, The – Breaking & Entering
05 Radio Crew, The – The Glove Meets The Egyptian Lover
06 Radio Crew, The – The Egyptian Lover’s Theme
07 Ice-T – Breaking & Entering (Rap)
08 Dupont – Burn
09 Dupont – Break Dancer
10 Dupont – Let’s Rock

Download

September 20, 2013

More Than a Little Uprock!

I'll be heading off to the World B-Boy Championships this weekend, and watching this clip really puts me in the mood to see some top notch b-boying.  A live event is the only way to feel the pure energy of a world class battle, but footage like this is still bloody awesome to watch.  Now for old times sake, where's that old roll of lino I had knocking about....

September 14, 2013

Yo! Stussy


Many of you will probably know that last month, clothing manufacturer Stussy released a line of t-shirts to celebrate 25 years since the launch of Yo! MTV Raps.  Whilst most of the designs are fairly unimaginative and disappointing, Stussy took the time to create two mini documentaries to accompany the collection and these are certainly worth a watch.

If you grew up watching Yo! and appreciate the impact this programme had on bringing rap music into the living rooms of thousands of hip hop hungry teenagers, then you'll probably agree with many of the views and opinions expressed by the contributors (which include Ed Lover, Shock G and Humpty Hump, Rakim, DJ Premier and plenty more).




September 4, 2013

Four Decades Later...


August has been a pretty special month that saw hip hop celebrate it's 40th birthday.  There were various events and reviews to mark the occasion, but I'm really surprised that something more notable hasn't been done.  A collaboration track by some of the old school icons, or a decent documentary or something more tangible to make the occasion special.  Oh well, it looks like hip hop spent the night on her own with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates!

Still, despite those birthday blues, she still saw fit to provide us with more goodness....

New Jeru

It's been a while since we've heard from the Prophet, but he's back with a forthcoming EP entitled The Hammer.  This early taster has Extra P on the boards and is one of the nicest tracks I've heard from Jeru in quite some time.  The EP also contains production from The Beatnuts and PF Cuttin.



The Return of the Zone

I honestly didn't think J-Zone would ever release another long player after he retired from hip hop a few years back, but unlike when Jay-Z came out of retirement, J-Zone's return to the game proves that his production is just as good as before (maybe even a tad better!).  Check out this sampler and if you're digging it, then head over to his bandcamp page to check out the full album or make a legit purchase.



Willie The Kid

I overlooked this when it dropped back in July, but this steady paced collaboration with Action Bronson and Roc Marciano with Alchemist on the boards is hitting the spot, even though I'm not normally a fan of Alchemist's stripped down production.  I'm still perplexed by how Action Bronson is so well respected when he sounds exactly like Ghostface Killah.  Back in the day that was called 'biting' and a biter got no love!  Still, this track is nice, and it's worth exploring more of Willie The Kid's music too.

August 27, 2013

That's Slammin'

I've recently started getting on top of ripping some of the many old videos I have and getting them up on the YouTube channel, but there's still a long way to go!  One of the rarities I was going to rip was the 4 part collection of Slammin' Rap Video Magazine, but YouTube user MusicMan1470 has just saved me a job and ripped the first 3 editions.

These VHS videos are extremely hard to come by and I've never seen them on the web until now, so don't sleep on them.  Originally released in 1990 and 1991, each video was around an hour long and filled with numerous short interviews, videos and clips from the biggest artists at the time.  The first edition was hosted by Alex Winter (the dude who played Bill in the Bill & Ted movies) which was an odd choice, but one that thankfully didn't last into the subsequent editions.

At times it tried to be cutting edge and jump on the latest big signing (like Tarrie B, Smooth Ice), only to find that by the time the video was released, they weren't as big as their labels expected or hoped they'd be, or by including artists on the edge of the genre like Daddy Freddy or the Urban Dance Squad.  But at the same time there was also many little gems to be found, like an interview with a very young Dave Mays and Jon Shecter (co-founders of The Source magazine), a rare Schoolly D interview, MC Ren with CPO etc etc.

I've uploaded the video covers for each volume to show the featured artist on each (click on the image for full size version), but each volume is worth skipping through for some full on early 90's nostalgia.  I've also uploaded the cover for volume 4 and if a few people leave comments requesting it then it might just motivate me to get it uploaded sooner rather than later :)  It'd also be good to have all 4 volumes on YouTube.

Volume 1:



Volume 2:




Volume 3:




Volume 4:


August 14, 2013

Game of Survival


The Live Squad are best remembered for their outstanding track Heartless and their early association with Tupac.  Unfortunately the group were deemed 'too violent' by their label Tommy Boy Records and their LP never saw the light of day.  Lead vocalist Stretch was later murdered in what is widely believed to be connected to the shooting of Tupac in NYC the year before. 

But before all the problems and tragedy, they made this home movie to accompany their album.  This was released officially, but it seems that many people missed it as it was never properly promoted.  It's essentially the three videos for their early singles, loosely held together by some 'hood' acting (you know what I mean!).  It's maybe not the greatest of these promo videos, but it's a classic bit of early 90's hip hop that's rarely seen, and a great introduction to the Live Squad's all too short catalogue of music.





August 8, 2013

Fresh Footage?


This is a great bit of nostalgia that has turned up on YouTube, 20 minutes of good quality footage from UK Fresh 86 [Update - it may not be UK Fresh, see the comments Section.  If you can shed any light on it then please leave a comment].  It's taken from a TV show broadcast at the time and it occasionally cuts to hosts Andy Kershaw and Janice Long interviewing the organiser (and Street Sounds founder), Morgan Khan.  Andy and Janice were both BBC radio DJs so Id hazard a guess this was shown on BBC2.

The footage includes performances from DJ Cheese (the world DMC champion in 1986) alongside Word of Mouth, as well as Mantronik performing with both T La Rock and then MC Tee and then lastly some footage of Faze One.  Some of the best highlights come from Morgan Khan with his misguided analysis of hip hop no longer being political, claims that Faze One would sell lots of records in America and his casual gum chewing that made me want to knock it right out of his mouth!


August 1, 2013

History Continues To Be Uncovered


It feels like the resurgence of interest in pre 2000 hip hop just keeps growing and growing, as this months round up will testify.  Once upon a time we waited for what seemed like an eternity just to see something hip hop related grace our TV screens.  Now it feels like every month there is a new project that is turning out a new insight on a part of our culture.
I'm all for it, so long as we don't get saturated with recycled clips and retold stories, but so far, it seems like most of what is being produced is a fresh perspective.  And long may that continue!


Unstoppable

First up in the latest documentary-that's-soon-to-be-released category is Unstoppable  which looks at the evolution of London's hip hop scene.  I normally reserve judgement until the final film is released, but this looks quite promising as they're focusing on all elements of hip hop, have unearthed unseen footage and UK hip hop history that hasn't been properly documented yet.  


PTC Mix - Naughty By Nature

images

Zulu Nation's DJ Lord Ron keeps preserving the culture (PTC) with his latest mix.  This time he's done a special mix dedicated to Naughty By Nature.  It's a nice little blend covering Naughty's best tracks, and it's available for download too, enjoy.




Much more after the jump


July 24, 2013

A Nice Interview Pete

pete nice 7

Following on from last weeks footage of the 3rd Bass reunion gig, I thought some of you might like this.  

If you appreciated 3rd Bass in their heyday and have half an hour to kill, then let me recommend this excellent interview with the Pete Nice to mark the 20 year anniversary of his solo album Dust to Dust. The interviewer, Ryan Proctor, really gets into the detail during his extensive chat with raps Prime Minister, and uncovers a wealth of interesting history. Pete really opens up and reflects on the formation of 3rd Bass, the origins of the MC Hammer beef (which was several years before either artist were really famous), their verbal attacks on the Beastie Boys, who their original DJ was (before Daddy Rich), the affiliate who coined the termGas Face and plenty more besides. This is one of those rare interviews that most artists never give.


Long time followers of FoaWP will probably remember that 2 years ago I posted an incredible MC Serch interview that the P Brothers had conducted back in 2003. That interview gave by far the best insight into 3rd Bass history, and this interview with Pete Nice is the perfect compliment to it, providing the counter balance that it deserves.  If you haven't read the Serch interview, I highly recommend it as it's just as compelling 10 years later and goes over the history of Nas, O.C., Non Phixion etc.

July 17, 2013

Settled Differences?

After many years of separation and consistent comments from both artists that a reunion wasn't ever likely to happen, I was pleasantly surprised to see this video clip of 3rd  Bass surface this week. 

Last week they performed at SRB's in Brooklyn NY along with their DJ, Daddy Rich.  Besides the usual addition of a little middle age spread (it gets to all of us eventually), the only noticable difference was Pete Nice's use of an umbrella instead of a walking stick.  It's not quite as stylish and looks a bit daft when your indoors :)
It'd be interesting to see whether this reunion progesses into anything more, maybe a tour, new material etc.  In the meantime, enjoy two of hip hop's most loveable charaters tear through most of their hits.


July 10, 2013

New York's Finest


In recent months I've been trying to start uploading some stuff to the YouTube channel, but I've not got around to sharing it all on here (yet!).  So I'll start playing catch up by sharing this mini documentary from beat maestro Pete Rock.

It's a 20 minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of his 2008 album NY's Finest.  It's much of the usual stuff that you'd expect, but there's also some unexpected highlights, like Chip Fu from the Fu-Schnickens laying down Ready For The War and Do-It-All from Lords of the Underground in the studio.

New Del

Deltron_City_Rising

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien is back as Deltron with a new single from the forthcoming Deltron album Event II due out soon.  The old school beat meets futuristic melodies and combine to make an infectious track.  It's good to see the return of Del.


July 1, 2013

Flashbacks


Here's a few interesting finds from around the web that you might not have seen, enjoy.

Old School & Golden Era Mixes

A big shout to Scenes for finding this little gem.  First up iled hour long mix of tunes from 1988 and '89 mixed by BrettJayB.  Nicely balanced, it covers everything from Uptown to Steady B and 3 x Dope to N.W.A.!  All styles are covered and there are some forgotten gems hidden amongst the classics.


The next edition in the series covers 1990 to '92.  Again, the representation of all styles of hip hop makes for a really nice mix.  If you like these, then check his SoundCloud page and look for parts 1 and 2 which cover the earlier years of electro and hip hop.




Reminiscing over T.R.O.Y.

Complex.com continue their Magnum Opus series of mini documentaries reflecting on the history behind some of hip hops greatest tracks, and this time around they've picked an undeniable classic.  Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth give insight to how such a memorable track came to be, and the importance of it's dedication to Trouble T-Roy.



Prelude to a Classic


I know this isn't anything new, but if you haven't previously copped a chance to download this little gem then now's your chance.  We all know what this is and what it led to, so I'll save the waffle and provide the tracklisting instead:

1. Understanding (feat. AZ & Biz Markie)
2. Life Is Like A Dice Game
3. Just Another Day In The Projects
4. Deja Vu
5. Back To The Grill (feat. MC Serch, Chubb Rock & Red Hot Lover Tone)
6. Everything Is Real (feat. Shapelle)
7. I'm A Villain
8. Number One With A Bullet (feat. Kool G Rap & Whiteboy)
9. Nas Will Prevail
10. On The Real (Original) (feat. Kamikaze, KL & Cormega)
11. Live At The Barbeque (Bonus) (feat. Main Source, Akinyele & Fatal)



June 20, 2013

Unsung Business

If you've seen any of the previous episodes of Unsung that spotlight a classic hip hop artist/group (and I've featured most of them on this site), then you'll know what to expect.  This time around it's the turn of EPMD.

Both Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith contribute to this, along with DJ Scratch too, so it's a balanced view of their history.  Starting at the school where they first met, they document the creative recording techniques from their first album, JMJ hooking them up with DJ Scratch, forming the Hit Squad and much more besides.  But it's when things started to fall apart that it gets really interesting.  Both artists talk openly about the fallout, the reasons, and the subsequent reformation.

June 12, 2013

Quinine 2 - Part 2


In my previous post, I skimmed through Nine's career history and shared with you some of his rarer material.  So you should be reasonably up to date, well, up until as far as 2009.

I recently stumbled across Nine again on Soundcloud, and it was refreshing to see that he's still making relevant music.  But most notably, I spotted that his web page is titled called Quinine 2!  Some of the tracks are numbered as though they are tracks from an album.  So whether these are tracks from a shelved Quinine 2, or tunes that haven't made the final cut, who knows?

Either way, it's good to see another artist from the 90's continuously active in the game.  And if this is the material that he's sharing for free on Soundcloud, then there is surely some even better stuff in the vaults, possibly ready for release in the not too distant future...

I've embedded a couple of the tracks below, but check out Nine's Soundcloud page for plenty more:
https://soundcloud.com/quinine-2






June 8, 2013

Quinine 2 - Part 1


What ya want Nine? Phat beats for my rhymes!  I remember when those lines first blasted from an episode of Yo! MTV Raps.  With the somewhat infectious baseline, Nine's gruff voice and a style that epitomised 90's NY hip hop, this was surely a new talent destined to go far.

Well to my surprise Nine's career was fairly modest.  Two critically acclaimed albums and signing to a major label should be considered successful, but to me, Nine never really had the recognition he deserved.  And then he disappeared from the scene after his 2nd album was released in 1996.
Well, that's not entirely true.  He did do a couple of guest spots for some unheard groups, and in more recent times he had a little MySpace thing going on, but even that went quiet a few years back.

But Nine has always been active and you may be surprised to know that he's released several albums since his MTV days in the 90's.  In 2007 he released Return of the Hardcore and followed it up in 2009 with Quinine.  Return of the Hardcore was nowhere near to the same standard as his early work and feels more like a mixtape or cuts that didn't make an album, but Quinine is a good album, more cohesive and a return to his previous form, so it's well worth a listen.  If you were a fan of Nine back in the day, then I'm sure you'll enjoy both albums, but Quinine is by far the better choice.

And whilst sharing some of Nine's hard-to-find back catalogue, you might also be interested in the Bootleg & Unreleased album.  This is a compilation of tracks that aren't on the first two albums, including the mighty Famaldahyde 12", his smash single with Funkmaster Flex (under the 'Nine Double M' moniker) and various remixes etc, this is golden era Nine at his finest.

But the real rarity here has to be his 1991 debut on Warlock records.  It's a 3 track single, all of which were produced with Funkmaster Flex.  It's fair to say that Nine sounds much different (he was much younger and still mastering his craft) on this 12" and he certainly hadn't fully evolved the distinct gruff and grimy voice that later became his trademark.  I've got to give thanks to Juicy over at the 1994 HipHop Blogspot for recently uploading this.

So why is the title of this post Quinine 2?  Good question, and I may not have a definitive answer, but hopefully all will become much clearer in part 2 when I bring things up to the current day.

Download:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/r6jdi7015dypmyu/Nine_-_Bootleg_%26_Unreleased_Shit.rar
http://www.mediafire.com/download/hjzp1lcakf1vybh/Nine_-_Quinine.rar
http://www.mediafire.com/download/9t21ui7aad5nhsa/Nine_-_Return_of_The_Hardcore.rar

Funkmaster Flex & Nine Double M - F.A.L.L.I.N. (And Y'all Can't Get Up) (VLS) (1991) (320 kbps):
http://ad08aa84.linkbucks.com/url/http://ad08aa84.linkbucks.com/url/http://ul.to/kt6siag5
http://ad08aa84.linkbucks.com/url/http://rapidgator.net/file/e9de9964601019a6b95a6af1468e4613/(1991,_Single)_F.A.L.L.I.N._(VLS)_[320].rar.html

May 31, 2013

What do you ask god?


It's been an interesting month on the internet.  Aside the drama around Tim Dog's supposedly fake death, and the passing of one half of Kris Kross, there's also been some retro goodness.  Here we go....

The Microphone Master

The Red Bull Music Academy has been consistently representing good hip hop for a few years now, but now they bring us nearly 2 hours of discussion with hip hop's greatest emcee.  I don't think I need say any more, let Ra do the talking.



NYC Live Throw Down: 1979-1985

Just take another look at that image!  26 hours!!!  Props to Janka-man for sharing this.  It turned up on one of the best websites there is for finding obscure and out of print records.  I'd never seen it before, so I'm assuming many of you won't have either.  Here's the description:

Over 1 full day (33 live performances) of vintage and official live throwdowns, spanning from 1979 to 1985.  New York City's original school together in one complete set.  This collector's set includes one data DVD containing 3.5 GB of high quality (320 Bit Rate) mp3's.  Each show is ID'd and sequenced, resulting in convenient use and enjoyment, as opposed to each show being one thirty to ninety minute-long continuous track.  
No collection is complete without the infamous Kool Moe Dee / Busy Bee scuffle, or the notorious routines of the Force MCs, Treacherous Three, and Cold Crush 4 MCs.  The list of essentials on this disc is endless. Includes a 24 page full color booklet of vintage NYC show flyers and artwork.

If you're an old schooler with a passion for this type of stuff, then download, buy some food supplies and lock yourself in a room for a couple of days whilst you reminisce.  All the links and a detailed track listing can be found here:



G.U.R.U.

marco-polo-talib-kweli-dj-premier-guru

Last month was the 3rd anniversary of Guru's death.  Somehow this tribute track from Marco Polo, Talib Kweli and DJ Premier completely passed me by, which is a shame, because it's pretty nice.  See what you think.




Would You Like a Demo of ESP?

Nope, I'm not offering to read your mind, or bend a spoon.  I'm talking about the demo tape of Tha Alkaholiks when they went under their previous name, the Educated Street Poets or ESP.  I've previously covered this demo (and 29 others) here, but the tracks were embedded and were not available for download, whereas this downloadable version contains all 6 tracks.  Props to Warlord for sharing this rarity.



More of the God MC

Producer Dominic Owen has released the 3rd instalment of his unreleased Rakim tracks.  This time round we're blessed with Get Visual (which eventually made it onto Rakim's debut LP The 18th Letter under the title When I'm Flowing).
For me, this is an interesting piece of history that adds another layer to this track.  As you can see from the Soundcloud title, Dominic produced this track in 1995, but the LP wasn't released until 1997!  This version is far superior to the album cut, but then I've always hated the LP version.  Why?  Because there is another (bootleg) version that ranks as one of my all time favourite Rakim tracks.  Both versions are presented here, you decide which is better, but don't waste your time with the LP version.





May 21, 2013

A Smooth Operator's History


I've had the privilege of seeing Big Daddy Kane perform live twice in the last year.  Admittedly, I would have loved to of seen him in 1988 or 89, but that didn't happen.  So instead I have to be content with 2012 and 13.  But that's no hardship, Kane is a true performer on stage.  The big difference between BDK and most of these other old school artists who are reforming and touring, is that Kane has never stopped performing.

When I saw him last year in London, he tore it up with Biz Markie.  Not only did he rip through every one of his classics that you could wish for, he even did verses from cameo spots on other peoples records!  Kane covered every significant release in his career.  And to top it off, his interaction with his audience and his sheer ability to entertain (even attempting to dance like he did back then) makes him one of the best performers I've seen in a long time.

And so I realised that I've not really given Kane much shine on this blog.  He's easily up there as one of the greats and is often recalled as being the only real challenge to Rakim's crown in the late 80's.  So to put that right, here is the TV One documentary on the Smooth Operators history.  There's some great stories in here, and a good explanation of why he went all R&B for a period.  But then they bring it up to the present time (well, up to the point it was recorded, which is before his latest Las Supper venture) and Kane shows he's still got what it takes.  Check out the track that plays when he's performing with Connie Price & The Keystones (towards the end of the documentary), this material needs to drop and re-establish Kane as a current artist.

Who said it's nearly 25 years since his peak?  Shut up!

Mike Check

May 11, 2013

Wu Excitement???


1996 was probably the last time I put those two words in the same sentence.  Maybe that's a little harsh, individual members of the Wu have certainly shone at various times, but in my mind the Wu Tang have been fairly underwhelming since around 1996/97.  That is, until now.

You've either been in a coma, working on the international space station, or stranded in a desert somewhere if you've missed all the hype around the latest Ghostface Killah project Twelve Reasons to Die.  But just because there's been a lot of hype, it doesn't mean that you've paid it any attention.  I haven't, because experience has taught me not to get excited about the Wu, and I'm sure I'm not on my own.

Last year I really enjoyed the Trophies  album by Apollo Brown and O.C., in fact it ranked in my top three.  So when I saw that Apollo Brown had remixed the new Ghostface album I felt compelled to pay some attention to it, and I'm glad I did.  
I should probably mention now that the Apollo Brown remix is currently only available on a limited edition free cassette that accompanies the CD album.  Most (if not all of these) have been sold, but I can help you out there so keep reading.
Before I get into the music, let's just read the concept for the album, how it was conceived and understand that this album was recorded live.  

From the official website: As those involved tell it, the story came first, the music second and the lyrics last. Twelve Reasons to Die is the creation myth of a black superhero set in 1960s Italy, which looks a lot like 1990s Scorsese. The curtain opens on a young man born into a life of crime. But anyone familiar with Robert De Niro’s characters in Goodfellas and Casino knows what’s coming next when Ghostface’s character rhymes, “I was a boss among white boys, rocking a ‘fro.” He hits the ceiling, leaves to start a black syndicate, falls in love with a boss’s daughter and makes a ton of money importing cocaine. For these crimes, the criminal organization he came up in murders him and dumps his body in a vat of acetate. His former friends press 12 records from his remains, but when those records play, his vengeful spirit arises. Though he was rebuffed and disrespected in life, in legend the Ghostface Killah becomes immortal.

And just like it's cinematic concept, the album plays out like a film.  The production quality is akin to the same creativity that Rza showed in the early days of the Wu, often using simple, effective, stripped back melodies and beats that give everything space to breathe.

It's not my intention to write a review of this album, so that's enough of my analysis.  Why not check it out for yourself without having to part with your hard earned cash.  Even better, why not check out the Apollo Brown remix for free too?  And just for good measure, I'll even embed the video too.  If you're feeling this album, or just a fan of Ghostface, then you've got a full hit to you main artery here.

Mike Check.

Stream the original full length album...



Stream the Apollo Brown remix album - The Brown Tape...



Or watch the video for the lead single...





May 3, 2013

Which Authority?

As the weather begins to heat up, so does the music.  With several decent albums having dropped this month (more on this in my next post), and potentially several more in the near future, hip hop is looking quite good right now.  The winter drought appears to be over, and here are a few pieces of interest from around the world wide webz that reflect this.

Marco_Polo_Newport

Somewhere In between 1 and 2!

Next month Marco Polo releases his follow up to his 2007 debut LP Port Authroity that is imaginatively titled Port Authority 2 (I guess it tells you what to expect from it!).  As expected nowadays, some early marketing and hype is required in the form of a mixtape, so Marco has released the free to download Newport Authority 2.  It's slightly confusing as there isn't a Newport Authority 1.  

Well aside the confusing and effortless titles, the mix contains some better tracks than I've come to expect from these promotional releases.  This is due to the fact that these tracks were only left of the final cut because of legal issues around sample clearances etc.  I found the Tragedy Khadafi track particularly head nodding (and it's good to see Trag back in action), but there's a few others that are worth a listen too, not to mention the already leaked tunes from Big Daddy Kane and Rakim.  



Zoned Out

I've been a fan of J-Zone's production from the beginning, so it was nice to watch this short clip of him crafting something new using a well known break and chop it up with some more unusual samples.  And if you've ever wondered where all those retro movie sound bites come from, well he answers that too!



Mister Warz Taking Over


If you're over 35 years old and haven't yet stumbled across the Disco Scratch site and its frequent radio shows, then you're missing out.  Disco Scratch is dedicated to providing suitable hip hop to B-Boy's of a certain age.
This month saw Mista Warz make his debut appearance on Disco Scratch with an eclectic showcase of music that was all held nicely together with crazy snippets and sound bites.  For me this show has that unique balance of playing classic cuts that are familiar, but still rare enough for you to say "hell, I've not heard that in ages".
Check out the show (embedded player or download link) and the full track list here: http://discoscratch.co.uk/2013/04/18/warz-takeover-show-1/.

An Educated Mind

A friend brought this to my attention, and whilst it might not be strictly hip hop, it's urban poetry which is only one step away.  I'd highly recommend you watch this as the message is delivered with good punchlines and thought provoking ideas that most of us can relate to.  This is the type of message that hip hop used to convey to the kids, what happened?

April 24, 2013

Tony's Influence

Def Jam Presents Scarface: Origins Of A Hip Hop Classic

I only recently came across this short documentary that looks at the immense impact and influence the movie Scarface has had on hip hop.  With contributions from many of the major artists who have used Scarface references within their rhymes, the film takes a look at the parallels between the life of Tony Montana and many of those who create hip hop.

April 17, 2013

There Be Pirates!

This is only a 10 minute mini documentary, but it begins to spotlight the importance of UK pirate radio in the early 80s and how it brought black music to the masses. Anyone who grew up in a major city during these times is likely to know the importance of pirate radio. It was the only way most of us could hear hip hop music in its early days and right up until the shift towards internet radio, it remained a key method of keeping up to date with the true underground scene. 

As someone who was raised listening to these stations, and was then later a part of them, it would be great for me to see something like this expanded into a full length documentary. These early innovators who set up the masts, funded the equipment and took the risks are as critical to our hip hop history as the original DJs and emcees. For the UK, pirate radio was the equivalent of a Bronx DJ throwing a party in their local parks.

April 8, 2013

Comic Underground


It's widely known that Shock G of Digital Underground drew all of the artworks used for their early 12"s and albums, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that as well as being a gifted producer and dual personality emcee,  he's also a pretty good artist too.
But I was completely unaware that he had produced a comic book that never saw publication, and only recently have some of his original sketches from 1999 come to light.  The comic was called The Assholes: Hole Invasion and personally I found the content particularly amusing (see image above for a good example!).

Further images and information can be found here.

April 1, 2013

More Bounce Than Spring

Well March has been a busy month for me, and it still feels more like winter than spring, so this is a brief wrap up of my internet travels over the last 4 weeks.  Despite my lack of free time, there are still some gems to bring to your attention in case you've been sleeping (or hibernating from the extremely cold temperatures!).

Rubble Kings

No, this isn't the new TV series on Discovery that follows demolition guys blowing up buildings, despite it sounding like it could be.  This looks like it could be a really interesting documentary when it comes out, as it looks at the New York city street gangs of the late ‘60s & ‘70s and their influence on hip-hop culture.  If you grew up watching films like The Warriors then this is the era and events that influenced them.
Unfortunately the film needs financial support before it can be released, but I'm sure after watching this short trailer you'll agree it's an essential chapter of history that needs to be told.  Thanks to 238Beats for promoting this.


More goodness after the jump......


March 21, 2013

Notts Graffiti


When I was in my very early twenties me and a few fellows would periodically take a trip down the road to Nottingham on a record buying mission to the famous Arcade records. One of my mates already knew where it was and this knowledge came as a surprise to me as he barely left the house - still doesn't - and to this very day he still hasn't learned to drive. On one particular trip we got a little lost as there was a diversion in place and I only knew one way as sat navs weren't invented and we ended up spotting a community centre type building with a perimeter wall that was bombed to hell. The building itself was also shrouded in graffiti and there wasn't a space left that wasn't 'written' on. I parked up, got the camera out - I always carried it, just in case - and snapped away. We'd already discovered the Cifton Youth Centre as we'd been to a graffiti competition/exhibition before - it was there that I'd heard 'The Magic Number' by De La Soul for the first time having already been down to Warp records to try and get it that very morning only to be told that 'it wasn't out yet'. - hence the reason for the out of town buying trips. This place, we later learned, was St. Anns. We went back once more with a mate who worked at the Kodak shop in the city - can't think why I invited him - and took loads more between us and swapped when he'd developed them. The very last time we returned was about a year later and we were disappointed to find it all nicely painted in neutral, bland colours with no sign of the colourful and vibrant artwork that took us by surprise the first time we happened to drive by. A shame really as that's what Clifton looked like after we went back there too a few years later. Good job I always traveled with the trusty, non-digital camera that was really hard to load.
I've chosen a few pics for you to download and have a look at and labelled them as best I can remember. If you are a native of the area or traveled around a bit like we did well. you never know, they might trigger a few fond memories.


UPDATE July 13 - If you want to see more graffiti from Nottingham's well respected past, there's a facebook group dedicated to its history. Its an active group with hundreds of old school photos. You can find it here: - https://www.facebook.com/groups/118592520553/