January 29, 2013

Fresh Beats

I tend to find that January and February are pretty quite months for new releases, or more specifically, the good quality releases that we're waiting for don't generally drop during the post Xmas lull.  But although no killer albums have dropped yet, there are a number of tracks that are bubbling right now that hint towards 2013 having some interesting releases.

There's even enough of them to make it worth me cobbling together this post together and sharing them with you (and that doesn't happen to often!).

Boston's Finest

First up is some new Edo G.  Boston's long time favourite emcee is back with more of the grown man rap that we've come to expect from him.  This is a release from his forthcoming album Intelligence & Ignorance that drops on 5th February.  I've got to say, that Edo G is certainly one of the more consistent emcees from the golden era, and this track demonstrates it.

That's not it, there's plenty more after the jump!

January 24, 2013

More Unreleased Rakim


Following on from my previous post, producer Dominic Owen is blessing us with yet another unreleased track from his personal collection.  In my last post I speculatively questioned how many other Rakim tracks had better versions that remained unreleased, and this is just further evidence that the answer to that question could be many.

What I find quite frustrating is that 1995 is the era when Rakim was coming under a lot of fire for his poor selection of producers and tracks, and rightly so.  Many of his official releases were lyrically outstanding and musically underwhelming.  And now we see another example of a shelved track that is far superior to much of what was being released at that time.
This version has that classic mid 90's sound to it and would have been a real head nodder had it been released.  Forget that, it still is a head nodder, take a listen.

January 18, 2013

Fresh Prince Gets Raw

Yep, updating this blog is a good couple of weeks overdue, but Im hopefully now back in action and normal service will resume. My online persona had to take a back seat for a few weeks whilst the living and breathing me got on top of some real life business! Youve got to keep life in check, or else it sneaks up on you with surprises. So, having conquered several family illnesses, completed a DIY project, started a new job and survived the festive period, I find myself in 2013.
I should probably start by wishing everyone a belated happy New Year, but I guess that by now youve quit the diet, started smoking again, cancelled the gym membership etc and things possibly arent looking so happy! Well the best fix for getting through the dismal month of January is…… to immerse yourself in hip hop.

Its been a short while since I shared some vinyl, so I thought Id kick the New Year off by sharing something that on face value might not seem that appealing, but read on and I think you might be surprised by an early example of record industry interference with the artists lyrical content.

Last year I discussed the classic single Girl's ain't nothing but trouble by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince as part of my Silver Anniversary Series.  However, I was discussing the original 1986 version, not the one that is more commonly found on various compilation CD's and their 1988 debut album.  The original version is much harder and contains stronger lyrics (well, stronger than what we have come to expect from Will Smith).

The frustrating thing for me at the time of writing was that I couldn't track down a copy of the original 12" to include with my post, like I'd done for most of my other reviews in the series.  Then recently, one of our readers kindly shared some insightful knowledge in the comments section saying that they thought the UK release on Champion Records was the same version as the one released on Word-Up Records, and the licencing note confirms this.  Hmm, interesting!

What makes this information even more interesting to me is that sitting in my own collection is a promo copy of the UK version, released on Champion Records.  I'd never considered it as being a potential copy of the original, and it's not a record that I frequently dig out and listen to (I can't imagine why), so I was unfamiliar with this version.  But upon checking it, sure enough it's the original version!!!

So it seemed only right to upload it for the nerds out there who appreciate the intricate differences between records and those who are curious about how hardcore Will Smith once was.  Warning - he doesn't drop any truly hardcore lines and it certainly isn't ignorant rap, but here's just one example of how the language and tone of the record changed:

1988 revised version: "she started grabbin' all over me, kissing and hugging.  So I shoved her away and said you better stop buggin."

1986 original version: "she started grabbin' all over me, kissing and hugging.  I punched her in the chin and said, 'you better stop buggin'."

For a more detailed breakdown of the differences between the two versions, refer to the previously recommended article by Werner Von Wallenrod here: http://wernervonwallenrod.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/dj-jazzy-jeff-fresh-prince-uncensored.html.

Thanks to the reader who took the time to leave the comment and for pointing me to my own record collection, lol.  It's crazy to think I spent time looking for something on the internet that I had sitting under my very nose (quite literally, this record was within 4 feet of my computer)!

Mike Check

Download full original 12" in 320kbps mp3 (20mb)