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:

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.


Funkmaster Flex & Nine Double M - F.A.L.L.I.N. (And Y'all Can't Get Up) (VLS) (1991) (320 kbps):