April 13, 2014

Old To The New

Several tracks have emerged recently from golden era heavyweights, that I think are worth giving some shine to. 

Infamous Sessions

First up is a track from the bonus CD that accompanied the recently released Mobb Deep album.  For those who no longer pay attention to Mobb Deep (you're not on your own!), the bonus CD contains original/alternate versions from their 2nd LP The Infamous.  I'm surprised that this particular version ended up on the cutting room floor, and that Ghostface was trimmed from the final release.  This should have been a 12" remix.

The Blastmaster Returns

Whoa, KRS is back spitting like it's 1994 and Premo is on the production!  Ok, so there's no Premo, but this is Kris back in full effect and doing what he does best, braggadocios, arrogant rhyming, with some knowledge dropped in for good measure.

"I'd rather make one righteous dollar on my level, than make a million dollars spitting rhymes for the devil".

Cookin Soul

The original version of this tune was a bit bland and certainly an album track.  But this remix does it plenty of justice, and breathes new life into a 2Pac track that pays homage to the artists that influenced him, and reflects his early days growing up on the east coast.

April 7, 2014

A Prince & A Pharoahe

Boof baf, here is, the latest round up of freshness from around the interwebz.  There's always a lack of new releases early in the year, and 2014 has been no exception, but history shows that by March/April things start to hot up and there's usually something that looks promising.  See what you think.

Dropping Diamonds

As Diamond D gets ready to drop his new LP The Diam Piece he hits us off with the first video, a collaboration with Pharoahe Monch entitled Rap Life.  Both of them are on top form with Monch sounding effortless over Diamond's production.  The video was directed by Deacon The Villian from Cunninglynguists.

B-Boy Stance

O.C. has just dropped this track on a limited edition 7".  It's as fresh as a newly laid egg, with O.C. reminiscing about the golden era of hip hop, but rather frustratingly there is little more information about it.  Even the website where you can purchase the vinyl doesn't bother to list what else you might, so we'll have to assume its a double A side of the same track and there's nothing more to come!

Ain't Saying Something

It's an observation that many artists have already made, but J-Live's stab at wack emcees with nothing to say takes a slightly different angle as he guns for the ones with dope sounding tracks, but when you scratch beneath the surface...

Probably The Greatest (Hip Hop) Concept Album

Prince Paul's classic LP A Prince Amongst Thieves is now 15 years old, but it still sounds as good today as it did back in 1999.  And  looking back, it's surprising that it wasn't more of a launch pad for Breeze Brewin to go on do much bigger things.
Well, Breeze recently took time out to inform Red Bull Music Academy of some of the history behind the album, including Prince Paul's original intention of having Chino XL in the other lead role!


March 26, 2014

Young Dirty Bastard

Whilst ripping some videos off of an old VHS I came across this great bit of nostalgia from the Wu-Tang Clan.  It's an episode of Yo! MTV Raps from 1993 with Fab 5 Freddy and was filmed on the production set for the video Da Mystery of Chessboxin. 

I think most people can reminisce about the Wu in their heyday, but watching this episode took me straight back to that era, and seeing Ol' Dirty in his formative days as a fresh faced, raw, crazy and highly entertaining character is priceless.  RIP ODB.

March 18, 2014

Ace & Perry On Rap City

Skimming through some of my old VHS rips, I spotted this old episode of Rap City from 1994 that was hosted by Masta Ace and Paula Perry.  This is Ace from the Born to Roll era of his career, and seeing this made reminded me just how much Ace has adapted over the last two decades.

First off, he talks about the careers that are about to launch for each member of his INC crew (which clearly never materialised!), you also get to smirk at Paula Perry's hair (which could never be considered a good look in any era), and Ace empties his backpack to let the viewers see what random items he travels with, which is slightly bizarre.  A thousand guesses wouldn't provide the answers, but look out for the super size Madden '94 cartridge and some skin cream! Props to Masta Ace for keeping it real since day one.

March 10, 2014

Grown Man Comic

I've been a fan of Ed Piskor since the first time I saw his online comic the Hip Hop Family Tree and I've already blogged about it several times (it really is that good!).  But a couple of months back it transversed from the web to paper pages when the first edition was printed as a book.

If you haven't already copped it, then it's highly recommended.  No matter how tough you think your knowledge of hip hop is, you are almost certainly guaranteed to learn a thing or two from reading this book.  The combination of acute historical detail with a traditional style comic interface makes this essential, enjoyable and no doubt collectible.

Peep this mini preview with Ed for more details, or just head over to Amazon (or your preferred retailer) and buy it now.

March 2, 2014


What might you have missed from around the web this month?  Well, there is sure to be something here that will spark your interest.  There's a strong sense of history in this months review, but don't overlook the last item which will certain lighten your mood?

Who Used That?

Most of the samples in this video aren't that difficult to decipher, but that's not really the point.  This little clip is a really effective way of pulling together over 50 years of sampling in just 3 minutes.  I could have watched another 10 minutes, its good stuff.

Live From The Shed

If you haven't come across the Hot Butter Soul Music Archaeology (HBSMA) chaps or their numerous video blogs before then you've been missing out.  They've had several notable artists pass through their shed (yes, you read that correctly!) to discuss breakbeats, influences, music history and plenty more. 
Don't let the no frills accommodation and countryside attire put you off though, these guys know their stuff and are great to watch.  This month they had M.C.M. of Caveman pass through, who talked about the rise and fall of Caveman, his musical influences, and he brought along some breaks from his personal collection to share. 

9th Wonder Goes Back to School

Oh boy, watch this and just wonder what your further education choices would have been like, if this type of course had been available 20+ years ago!  This is just the trailer for a full length documentary on 9th Wonder's tenure at Harvard University teaching The Standards of Hip Hop.  This is some serious shit when academic institutions are recognising the significance and importance of hip hop culture and want to explore it's history, long may it continue.
Further information on the documentary and other artists becoming involved can be found on their website - http://thehiphopfellow.com/

Tap the bottle and... blow across the top!?!?!

So let's end this review on a lighter note.  I think I've seen everything now!  No explanation is needed, just hit play and watch something that raises more questions than it answers, but is damned clever too.  Oh, and its more fun to look away from the screen and guess the tunes.

February 25, 2014

Words By Rakim

At only 5 minutes in length, this stylishly shot mini documentary feels more like a trailer for an upcoming movie.  Unfortunately that's not the case, but the stripped back and slowed down recital of Follow the Leader provides a dramatic soundtrack to accompany the visuals.  Rah also talks briefly about his creative process.

February 18, 2014

40 Years of Recycled Music!

Surely this needs little, if any, introduction.  The image above should tell you everything you need to know, but if you don't know the history of the Incredible Bongo Band or their hit record Apache then I'd certainly recommend watching Sample This which documents the history, impact, legacy and continuous influence that the track has had over the past 40 years.

In the meantime, why not reflect on some of the different ways the Bongo Rock album has been sampled in this mix by Chris Read.  Full track listing after the jump:


February 12, 2014

Limitless Graffiti

Q. What happens when you give a crew of graffiti artists an abandoned warehouse and a ton of paint?

A. Imagine 5 Pointz done inside, with some clever stop motion filming, and some outstanding pieces and you're probably half way there.

Highly recommended viewing!!!

February 3, 2014

Fresh Like A Winter Morning

Well its been a slow start to the year, and let's be honest, January never has been a great month!  But there's always something to entertain us in the blogger-sphere, however dull the real world seems.

A White Boy MC's Photo Album, 1986-1991

When Rap Ruled The World: A White Boy MC's Photo Album, 1986-1991

Prime Minister Pete Nice has shared some of his photo collection along with the memories and insights for each picture.  This provides a revealing look into 3rd Bass' history, but also many of the other artists they worked and toured with.  Check the story about Flavour Flav's fake seizure at an airport, classic Flav.


Prince Paul Ill's Out

Back in 2005 Prince Paul started his World Famous Illout Show on XM radio.  Eight shows later, it all came to an end for unknown reasons (which also meant that it never really became 'world famous').  But Paul has now shared the first episode, and it's great for throwing on in the background whilst you're doing something and packed with a broad selection of 90's nostalgia.  Its also laced with anecdotal tales about many of the tracks or artists he's worked with, and not always in a positive light, which just adds to the entertainment!


You Should Know

Spotted this little gem over on Repo's Ageing B-Boys blog, and if you haven't seen it already then its a highly recommended viewing.  This track epitomises everything that was great about UK hip hop 20 years ago and stays true to the classic styles and techniques that made UK hip hop such a potent genre.  And it's great to here some proper cutting up on a chorus again, nice work guys.

If you want to support them, buy the single for £5 here - http://www.blinerecordings.bigcartel.com/product/chrome-illinspired-you-should-know

January 27, 2014

Mi & Shecky Take It Way Back.


I’ve just been listening to this mix and thought that some of you would appreciate it.  DJ Might Mi (Smut Peddlers) and Shecky Green (co-founder of the The Source magazine) drop a two hour session of golden era hip hop.  “So what” I hear you say, lot’s of people do these kinds of mixes, why is this one any better?

Well, apart from it feeling like it was actually recorded 15 years ago, the track selection is top notch with a good number of forgotten gems thrown in, and the mix choices of instrumental and acapella kept my interest throughout.  But the cream of the crop has to be the Juice Crew vs Wu-Tang section.  On paper it sounds like it should be awful, but some of these mash ups work exceptionally well.  If only the radio was still like this….

Full track listing after the jump....

January 21, 2014

We Bring The Smac!

Smac 19 were a big part of the UK's early B-boy history.  Hailing from Sheffield, the crew were a force to be reckoned with and along with several other crews from the midlands and the north, they showed that the UK had a lot to offer.

After many years of memories, the Smac 19 name has now been revived to give a new generation of B-boys and B-girls something to live up to.  Check out the new Smac crew...

I dedicate this to Moyinka who grew up in the original Smac 19 era.

January 15, 2014

93 Culture

93 Culture cover art 
This is something a little bit different, but definitely worth a listen and download.  Imagine finding an an album of the dopest instrumentals from unreleased tracks that were made in the 90's, and you won't be far off imagining what this sounds like.  I've embedded the bandcamp player for ease of checking it out, but I'd recommend downloading it for a proper listen as it works much better as a mix.
In the words of the producer Jaz Infinite:
93 Culture is my ode to the golden era of boom bap hip-hop. To keep it authenticate as possible I created this album using only the techniques and tools typically used in the early 90s. DJ Chorizo Funk mixed the instrumentals in that classic mixtape format and Dinco D of the Leaders of The New School came through on the hosting tip to keep the vibe going.

Equipment used:
Akai S-950
Mixed in ProTools, bounced to casette, then digitized again

***The bandcamp player adds gaps between songs when playing.  To hear the mix without the gaps, download the album and play it in your usual music player (iTunes etc.)***

January 6, 2014

History & Hunger

I'm pleased to see the stress and chaos of Christmas well behind me, now its time to focus on music and blogging.....
Here's some interesting stuff the internet has thrown up over the last few weeks:

Boombox History

Lightwood purchased this 1981 conceptual drawing by Richard Culbertson from an estate liquidation on Etsy.
In this era, where virtually everything from the early days of hip hop has become either a collectable, iconic, valuable, or captured in some kind of documentary, it never occurred to me that nobody has every really given any shine to the good old boombox.  You know, before the man bag, the record bag or the back pack, the must have accessory was a boom box (or 'ghetto blaster' in some local dialects).  So it's great to see that Egotripland picked up this article which looks back at the power sucking radios that so many of us first heard the latest Electro album on way back in the 80's.

Chief Rocker History

The original soloist on the mic breaks down a little history in this short biopic.  There's some nice old school footage to accompany the Chief Rocker's narrative of his early years, and he touches on his clashes with Kool Moe Dee and Lovebug Starski.


R U Gonna Eat That?

I'm really feeling this Dopplegangaz joint of the recently released Marco Polo LP - PA2: The Director's Cut, and now it's got a video!   Marco's smooth thumping beat really fits the Dopplegangaz flow and makes the perfect recipe.  Yep, you should certainly digest this.


Whenever I see something new by Rakim I approach with extreme caution, as so often I'm left feeling underwhelmed.  I still burn a torch for him in the hope that one day he returns with the right producer and blows me away again.  Unfortunately, this track wasn't the one, but it's a timely tribute to Nelson Mandela and for that reason alone it should get some shine.