Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jingle Jangle

I'll probably be low key until after the holidays so Merry Christmas folks!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Liberal Decalogue

By Bertrand Russell:

"Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:"

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness."

Boogie Down Productions: "You Must Learn"
KRS One: "Higher Level"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Best Albums 2007

GOLD. Radiohead: In Rainbows - "15 Steps", "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi", "All I Need", "House Of Cards", ("4 Minute Warning" and "Up On The Ladder" from CD 2 are excellent as well)... All worthy of top twenty song status for this year but "Reckoner" is amazing and stands out as my favorite track on the album. In Rainbows is a moody record. I mean, it's got a winter quality to it. It's very bass and drum driven and it seems that they decided to simplify their sound for this album. The only time the electric guitar is prominent is on "Bodysnatchers". The rest of the album is less assertive. I think it plays to their strength.

SILVER. Common: Finding Forever - I've come to expect great albums from Common. He simply knows how to put a well rounded album together and get the most from his producers. Kanye's best work seems to go Com's way. "Start The Show" was a huge surprise in that I knew Kanye could put together some diverse sounds but this track blows me away. I think Com could do better on the lyrical side of things, but this Kanye production just bangs. The only track on Finding Forever that I have a problem with is "I Want You", a Will.I.Am production no less. Should've titled that one "Skip"... Otherwise, it's the best Hip-Hop record of 2007.

BRONZE. Various: Electric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation Compilation - It's 40 songs deep and they're all quality soul cuts. Most of the artists I've never heard of. There are a lot of soul comps floating around out there but this is the most solid I've heard. "Yesterday's Mistakes" by Jimmy Jones and "To Love Somebody" by The Kaldirons are just two of the more esquisite soul tracks from this compilation. The fact that this comp has 40 tracks with each song as good as the next is an accomplishment to say the least. Solid from beginning to end.

The Lucky 7:

4. Feist: The Reminder

5. Band Of Horses: Cease To Begin

6. Kanye West: Graduation

7. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

8. Alicia Keys: As I Am

9. J. Sands/J-Dilla: Mrs. Sands The LP

10. LCD Soundsystem: Sounds Of Silver

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Good Revolutions 2007

1. "All My Friends" - LCD Soundsystem
2. "Start The Show" - Common
3. "Reckoner" - Radiohead
4. "Keep The Car Running" - Arcade Fire
5. "No Ones Gonna Love You" - Band Of Horses
6. "Teenage Love Affair" - Alicia Keys
7. "Pedigree" - Brother Ali
8. "All I Know" - DJ Jazzy Jeff feat. CL Smooth
9. "Flashing Lights" - Kanye West
10. "Someone Great" - LCD Soundsystem
11. "The Limit To Your Love" - Feist
12. "Success" - Jay-Z feat. Nas
13. "Going To Acapulco" - Jim James & Calexico
14. "Sailing Away" - Anthony Hamilton
15. "In The Mood" - Talib Kweli feat. Kanye West
16. "Gilla House Check" - Redman
17. "I'm Not Gonna Teach You..." - Black Kids
18. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A
19. "Rec-Room Therapy" - Ghosface feat. Raekwon & U-God
20. "Now That I'm Free" - Outlines feat. RZA

You know you're getting old when your favorite song of the year is a song about growing older.

I've narrowed down the song list to 20 because I found that ranking them past that is an exercise in futility.

Ghostface's "Rec-Room Therapy", from his bulky Big Doe Rehab album, would have been higher on the list had it not been for U-God's inept verse at the end. Rae and Ghost united would've sufficed.

I purposely left off a couple more Radiohead songs from In Rainbows for obvious reasons. If it's not obvious to you, you'll see why in my next post.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Slept

Spin just did a review of Arrested Development's Since The Last Time. I don't know much about the album since I haven't really kept up with where the group has been. Speech did a solo project some years ago to lukewarm reviews and didn't firm up much of a career on his own. Since The Last Time kind of flew under the radar and, from everything I've read up to this post, it was released last year. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical that it'd be even worth giving attention but after a couple of listens it's actually pretty good. They didn't pull a Black Eyed Peas and morph into some ridiculous eye and ear sore of a pop group. The group kept the formula simple and preserved the qualities that made their debut so enjoyable in 92' - tastefully soulful and with subtlely funky undercurrents.

This is the title track from the album and my favorite of the bunch. It's got a fantastic, celebratory feel to it with great lyrics from Speech. I slept in 2006.

Arrested Development - "Since The Last Time"

Monday, December 17, 2007

"...notes upon notes of my catchiest quotes..."

As you know, with the year's end comes with it lists upon lists upon lists. Do I have my obligatory "Best of 2007" lists? Absolutely. But I love reading other's thoughts on the past year's great moments in music, movies, news...

My favorite list thus far comes from Junichi over at Poplicks. His "Best Quotes Of 2007" is hysterical! Here is a snippet of some of my favorites from his exhaustive list:

"Did you see Britney Spears at the Video Music Awards? I don't want to say that that performance was a disaster, but after the show, I saw Rudy Giuliani having his picture taken standing on her."-Bill Maher

"Go, Raiders."- Robert Comer's last words before being executed in Arizona

"Yeah, well maybe next time, you will estimate me."- Michael, to Jan, who said she underestimated him, on The Office

"People use music as a utensil to better themselves."- Jessica Simpson

Read his complete list here.

Oh yeah, and he just posted his "Best Songs Of 2007". All 100 of them.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Audio Visuals

Beirut - "Elephant Gun"

Menomena - "Evil Bee"

Lupe Fiasco - "Superstar"

Dave Chappelle in London

Monday, December 10, 2007

"The Hardest"

AZ's next full length The Undeniable is set to drop February 19.

In the meantime, "The Hardest" featuring Styles P, produced by the Large Professor, is the heat for your cold winter. It's unclear as to who's track it actually is as it's also on Styles' new album Super Gangster. I don't blame them for keeping the track for their own respective albums. The Large Pro hasn't produced anything memorable in a long time but this track is superb and he's even got a cameo in this exclusive OnSmash presentation.

AZ feat. Styles P/Styles P feat. AZ - "The Hardest"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Slop

Dilla Busta. I know it's gonna be hard to endure Bussa Buss for an albums worth of material but hey, it's unreleased J-Dilla tracks.

Mick Boogie & Busta Rhymes do it with Dillagence.

Miss Info presents: Inside The Rappers Studio with Big Ghost as he breaks down his latest enstallment "The Big Doe Rehab", in stores December 4.

5 Albums you need (in no particular order):

1. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, 100 Days & 100 Nights
3. Radiohead, In Rainbows
5. Band Of Horses, Cease To Begin

, The Promise Of Love (Shady Brook Records, 1976):

If you're unfamiliar with this group, there's really no reason to get familiar. The short of it is that Delegation was an R&B group of three members from the UK that released The Promise Of Love in 1976. I only mention this album because it boasts the ultra-soulful "Oh Honey", one of my all-time soul classics. There's a 6-minute 12" version floating around out there that I absolutely need but for now, marinate.

Delegation: "Oh Honey"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cosmic Slop

There's been a lot of hosility within the Wu-Tang camp lately. Apart from Ghostface's early grumbling about the Wu-Tang hierarchy, Raekwon has expressed his frustration with RZA's production choices for 8 Diagrams. RZA got on Tim Westwood's show to shed some wisdom on Raekwon's recent rants, in true RZA form (courtesy of Nahright).

I agree. STOP WITH THE CHRIS MARTIN COLLABOS! Two is two too many. "Beach Chair" and "Homecoming" are terrible. I doubt that featuring Coldplay's lead on a Hip Hop track will get their fans to buy your albums.

Oh Word! is giving away Lord Finesse's whole production catalog, practically.
Merry early X-mas.

Yes, Yes Y'all!

...And one of my favorite songs at the moment from Radiohead's In Rainbows.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Old American Gangster

The album is pretty run-of-the-mill production-wise with a couple of gems sprinkled in between. By now you've probably had your fill of the circumstances surrounding the idea for Jay-Z's American Gangster. The hype machine has been in full gear before and after the release of both the movie and album of the same name.

Some observations:

1. Jay-Z really embellishes on his hustler days. Saying he was inspired by some scenes in Ridley Scott's film that took him back to his hustling days, invoking those "raw emotions", sounds a little trite to me. After all, he was a small time drug dealer. It's not like he was even on the same level as Frank Lucas who upped his self worth to the hundreds of millions (in the 70's!) through a heroin dealing empire.

2. His tastes for beats is beginning to dwindle save a couple of exceptional moments like these:

"Roc Boys" - Produced by Diddy's Hitmen. Amazing interpolation of these horns. And the video is as gully as it gets...And the live horns just makes this cut exponentially ridiculous...

"Success" feat. Nas - Produced by No I.D. Now you've got to understand that this is the same producer who worked on the majority of Common's earlier work so No I.D. has got an impeccable catalog. He hasn't produced anything memorable in years, until now. The organ vamps are incredible and the way he chops this've got to wonder why he's not getting more work.

3. Despite his recent shortcomings, he's arguably still one of the best rappers alive still recording. Definitely top 5. He still manages to stay relevant even though he's not really re-inventing himself. The skill he displays, even on the more lackluster production he jumps on, is undeniable. He's got the clever punchlines, the effortless delivery and style, and he's as charasmatic as they get.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Drink A Heineken..."

" we go inside the mind again."

Been a while but times are busy.

Very random. One of my favorite Method Man verses heard here. From the first Bob Digi album...

Bobby Digital feat. Method Man: "NYC Everything"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Please Listen To My Demo"

Stretch does it again. He unearthed two gems from his tape collection and posted them on his site. Now remember, the cuts were digitized from audio tape so the sound is quite fuzzy, but still gems nonetheless...

O.C.'s "Step Into The O-Zone" demo is O.K. "O-Zone", which is the final Buckwild product, is far superior as it's my all-time favorite O.C. cut (and yes I dig it more than "Times Up").

I'm really disappointed that the Souls Of Mischief demo "Step To My Girl" never made '93 Til Infinity. It's breezy, nostalgic feel with horns is superb. I admit I haven't been up on much of what Heiro is doing these days. Much of their later stuff just hasn't done much for me, but their debut is on my top 10 of all time.

Friday, September 07, 2007

'Ol Time Killin'

I've been on a "classic Hip-Hop videos" kick lately. Kardinal Offishall's "'Ol Time Killin'" has been a long time favorite of mine. The video is pretty much a straight-ahead rap video but I like the look and feel of it.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Audio Visuals

I'm always gonna bring back the good 'ol days. 1991 - 1996 is what I, and many others, consider to be Hip-Hop's Age of Enlightenment. This period produced some of the greatest Hip-Hop albums ever recorded and I don't foresee anything happening in the music industry in the future to match the amount of quality output of this amazing era - sigh...

The following videos lack in overall quality but these videos were once on regular rotation on BET's Rap City (before the dumbing down).

O.G.C.: "Hurricane Starang"

The D&D Allstars: "1,2 Pass It (DJ Premier Remix)"

Channel Live feat. KRS-One: "Mad Izm"

Black Moon: "How Many MC's"

Nas: "The World Is Yours (Q-Tip Remix)"

Wu-Tang Clan: "Can It Be All So Simple"

Friday, August 17, 2007


Despite my general disdain for Will.I.Am productions I'm diggin' this contribution to Talib Kweli's Ear Drum. It helps that the video is more original than any I've seen in a while. I know it plays on the HP ads, but still.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Movies 'N' Me

I was just giving this some thought on my way home from work this evening. These are the most memorable musical moments in cinema. Well, the kind of cinema I enjoy anyway...
I'm a huge fan of Wes Anderson films and Rushmore is the most endearing of his work. Faces' "Ooh La La" comes at the films conclusion and all I can say is that it fits perfectly in every way imaginable.

Faces: "Ooh La La"

I've seen every Quentin Tarrantino flick. He knows how to use music in his films and he chose the perfect artist to score Kill Bill Vol. 1. The RZA plucks an angelic Nancy Sinatra tune for the film's intro and it simply draws you in and doesn't let go.

Nancy Sinatra: "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)"

You're sitting in movie theatre and someone cues up "Shimmy Shimmy Ya". Right as the introductory piano dabs started to fill the theatre it just occurred to me how perfect the song was for this movie. An ODB track about unprotected sex as the backdrop to the opening credits for this particular movie? Genius.

Ol' Dirty Bastard: "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" (I'm not wasting time in providing a download - I know you already own this. And if you don't, "shame on a NUH!")

Monday, August 06, 2007

The "Proceed" Drumma

?uestlove is an oasis of musical knowledge. Apart from his musicianship and overall contribution to The Roots ongoing catalog, ?uesto also pens some insightful observations on a variety of subjects. He's a busy guy but has time to document his groups progress via his Myspace page. From their relentless road schedule to whatever he or The Roots are running with at the moment, he somehow gets it up there. His posts are amusing reads. His sense of humor is sharp and he's got some fantastic stories about the business he's engulfed in. If he's feeling really generous, he'll even post some never-heard-before gems. He's got four tracks that didn't make Common's Electric Circus up right now!

This is a cool list I extracted from his page. Only a geeked out music nerd would take interest in idle information like this but it's what I do.

Songs In The Key Of Life (Childhood-Adulthood)

Song You Believe Your Parents Conceived You To: Stay In My Corner by The Dells

Song That Best Makes The Soundtrack of Your Childhood Neighborhood Theme: Lovely Day by Bill Withers

Theme Song To Your Closest Sibling: Reminiscing by Little River Band

The First Album You Ever Purchased: Looking Through The Windows by The Jackson 5ive

The First Single You Ever Purchased: "Dance Wit Me" Rufus And Chaka Khan 45

Album Cover That Scared You In Your Childhood: Why Can't We Be Friends by War/Shame On The World by The Main Ingredient

Song That Scared You In Your Childhood: "If There's Hell Below....We're All Gonna Go (Don't Worry)" by Curtis Mayfield

The TV Theme of Your Childhood: Soul Train 74

Favorite Song From Sesame Street: "Take A Bweath.....Take A Bweath....Smell A Smell Sniff A Sniff Take A Bweath"

Favorite Song From Mister Rodgers Neighborhood: "You Are My Friend You Are Special"

Favorite Song From The Electric Company: "My Name Is Fred....They Call Me Fred...."

What Were You Banned From Listening To In Your Childhood: Anything by Prince

Rock Song That Rocked Ghetto/Ghetto Song That Rocked The Suburbs (as a kid): "Let Em In" Paul McCartney and Wings

Song You First Slow Dragged To: "Good Morning Sunshine" by Brick

First Cassette You Got For Your First Walkman: The Fat Boys

Best Cosby Show Theme: Bobby Mcferrin Theme

Favorite Soundtrack Of Youth: Purple Rain was more a reveloution than "soundtrack"---so imma go with Saturday Night Fever

Song That Played When You Got In Trouble And Grounded At Home: Worst ass beating as a kid ironic for me had Michael W. Smith's "More Power To You" on christian radio

Song That Played When You Thought You Was About To Get Some: "Let's Wait Awhile" video was playing when i thought i was gonna seal the deal. DOH!

Song That Played When You Got Some: "Is It A Crime" Sade

The Theme To Your First Break Up In High School: "Sweet Love" by Anita Baker (last and ONLY time a chick will EVER dump me)---this song was playing and i will forever remember this as the theme from HELL

The First Compact Disc You Ever Brought (not Album/Cassette): Vivid by Living Color/Anthology by Sly And The Family Stone

Album That You Stole From A Friend: The World Is A Ghetto by War (every hip hop producer has a story of a girl's father's record collection they pillaged. you MUST hear Chuck D's story of how he got "The Grunt"

Your Favorite Album You Think Your Friend Stole: Fantastic Vol 1--tariq won't admit it but i KNOW he stole that shit.

If Ever In Car Accident....What Song Was Playing?: "Ironic" Alanis Morrisette (SHUTUP MICHELLE!)

5 Songs You'd Put On A Mixtape For A Potential Love One: 1) "Fall" Miles Davis, 2) "Circle Of Amour" Prince, 3)"Before The Dawn" Patrice Rushen, 4)"We Work The Black Seam" Sting, 5)"Easy Goin Evening (My Mama's Call) Stevie Wonder

Song To Best Describe Your Best Relationship: "6.4=Makeout" by Gary Wilson

Song To Best Describe Your Worst Breakup: "Just To Keep You Satisfied" Marvin Gaye

First Concert You Ever Went To: Besides My Dad? The Jacksons

Magical Concert You Ever Went To: Prince Calling Me From The Audience To Play Drums.

Worst Concert You Ever Went To: Masta Ace at the Troc in 92. His shit was dope. it was the fights that sucked.

Coolest Celeb Ever Met: 3 way tie: Annabella Sciorra is more Bgirl than anyone i know, Flea is the coolest ever, Cyndi Lauper is incredible

Assholish Celeb You Ever Met: Chuck Berry. "I Ain't Signing No Gotdamn Autograph

Godlike Celeb You Ever Met: Prince

The US Weekly "Oh They Just Like Me!" Celeb You Ever Met: Samual L Jackson

Song So Hype You'd Run Your Moms Over With A Trash Truck Going 100 mph: "Welcome To The Terrordome" by Public Enemy

Song That Has The Ability To Make You Cry: "Trying People" by De La Soul

The One Song That Has The Ability To Make You A Kid Again: "Sentimental Lady" by Bob Welch

Song You Are Ashamed To Admit You Love: "I Wish" by Skee Lo

Song/Album That You Have To Gunpoint Others To: Anything by Mars Volta

If You Were To Marry Now What Song Would Be Your Wedding Song?: "Cleo's Apartment" by Marvin Gaye

What Song Best Describes Your Children/Future Children?: "Dat Dere" by Oscar Brown Jr.

Who Killed Music?: Clive Davis

Who Keeps Music Alive For You?: James "J Dilla" Yancey

Song Playing Right Now: "Cool" by The Time

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Gotta Work

Amerie's Because I Love It has already been released overseas. Official U.S. release date is scheduled for August 21. Meanwhile, her second single is fantastic.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tumbling Down Ms. Hill

Seeing this really pains me. Don't get me wrong, the interview is very informative and I've wondered off and on what kind of progress she's been making, musically. At one point I was convinced that she was going to be the Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald or Billy Holiday of my generation. She's got that much talent and potential, not that I even know what "talent" and "potential" is. What I do know is that she's got something very unique. But during these past few years of self-imposed reclusivity and sporadic re-emergences, Lauryn Hill has been slowly disintegrating and becoming marginalized and irrelevant, all through her own doing (or undoing).

I don't care about a Fugees reunion. She doesn't need a reunion. No one even gives a fuck whether or not Wyclef or Pras are even on an album with her. Everyone wants to hear Lauryn. The Fugees didn't sell millions because of Wyclef & Pras. They were really just oversized, ornamental hype-men for the group. The success of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was not a fluke. Wyclef's Carnival was good but wasn't nearly as successful, and that was not fluke either. Ask anyone why they bought The Score and I doubt you'll get any response other than Lauryn Hill.

My advice: Just ease your clamp on the Bible and simply start to "make meaningful music".

The video interview should have never been allowed. Homey The Clown, not a good look.

Listen to these and tell me she's not the whole package (Erase the visual from the above interview from your consciousness).

"All My Time feat. Paid & Live"


"The Sweetest Thing" (It's my favorite of anything she's ever done. The sweetest thing, indeed.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hidden Roots

The thing I missed about The Roots' last album Game Theory was that hidden or bonus track. Phrenology and The Tipping Point, if you let the CD ride, had one superb track nestled in a few minutes past the albums conclusions. I liked Game Theory a lot but out of all The Roots albums it's my least favorite. The band is constantly evolving and ?uesto is not one to rehash the same musical ideas and sounds with each new album, and I respect that. But I wish they would record more bangers like these:

"Rhymes & Ammo" feat. Talib Kweli - from Phrenology
"The Mic" feat. Dave Chappelle, Skills & Truck North - from The Tipping Point

Blood On The Tracks Sessions (1974)

(A McCrank's Juke collabo.)

Many people think Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" album is one of his best, right up there with Freewheelin' and Blonde On Blonde. Well this could be true, but after listening to the recording sessions for the album (recorded in NYC in 1974) on a very rare bootleg I have to agree that it may be his best to date. The original test pressing for the songs on "Blood" were never relased and eventually re-cut after some feedback by Dylan's brother. The originals are featured here in their original form. This is simply an amazing recording featuring some of Dylan's classics re-worked and raw. Learn more about it here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Voltron's Coming Thru

I'm trying not to get my hopes up but it sounds like the album might actually be good.

...And it looks like ODB's presence is sorely missed.
...And Ghostface came through and laid down three tracks.

Credit: Nahright

Finding Forever In Black Hollywood

First off, the album cover is ridiculous. The sad thing is that someone in his camp let this slide and thought it'd be a good idea. Why?

Finding Forever is better than Be but not his strongest work by any stretch. Pretty much all three tracks I heard prior to the album's release ("The People", "The Game" and "Drivin' Me Wild") were fantastic. I put this in today and couldn't get past "Start The Show". I had it on repeat and couldn't get enough. It's the best track on the album because it's got the whole package. Common slinging verbal fire over the best track Kanye has put together in a while. It's that good. My favorite track hands down.

The rest of the album is fine although I probably won't listen to the Will.I.Am produced "I Want You" again. It's the only song on Finding Forever I don't like. All in all, good work Com (& Kanye).

I would give you a track or two but just go buy the album.

As for Camp Lo's Black Hollywood, a little disappointing. I was expecting more, production-wise, from Ski. "Sweet Claudine" and "Black Hollywood" are effective even in complacency. They're pretty much the standout tracks on this album. I really picked up the album to see what Ski had to offer. Nothing mind blowing here, just serviceable beats that kind of meander along. Now if only I was a fan of Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba, maybe it could've been a more of a pleasant listening experience. I don't know, not many quotables worth noting. Maybe you can get something more informative from him.

"Sweet Claudine"
"Black Hollywood"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cosmic Slop

Say it isn't so. Well, S&TR always welcomes your great posts and looks forward to more dusky jewels like this.

I was never really a Niners fan but Bill Walsh was a class act. R.I.P. (BTW, whoever coined the term "west coast offense" should be shot in the knee caps. What does it even mean anyway? Walsh himself didn't even like the term and refused to utter it.)

I don't know how or where Just Blaze finds time to blog but he's my blogroll hero right now. The Megatron Don is priceless.

Speaking of Just Blaze, the new Saigon? Most anticipated. Not sure if this is going to be the lead single from The Greatest Story Never Told but it's crazy raucous and should be. I don't know. I have a feeling the lead single's gonna have an R&B hook with bells and whistles. Don't rain on my parade like that.

Saigon: "Don't You Baby"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The King Of Running Things...

I've been wondering what he's been up to. Perfect timing for The 45 King interiew. All I want to know is when is the new shit with Chill Rob G going to drop? "Let Me Show You"? One of my all time favorites. "Chill is a prefix/Rob is a proper noun/G is for greatness/ I don't wanna debate this/The way that I'm rising I appear to be weightless."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Lay You Out, Show You What Steel Do..."

Godfather Don: "Properties Of Steel"

Talking heads do just that. It's obvious that public opinion is not something he's much concerned about as his administration plods along.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I'm sure Jay-Z has some fine tracks floating around out there. You have to figure that with the incredible talent that he has coupled with the efficiency of an assembly line, he must have recorded an astronomical amount of material during his long career - some terrible, some good. I found something good, really good.

Ski, who was instrumental in ushering in J-Hova's flow to the masses through the bulk of the tracks he produced for Jay-Z's debut Reasonable Doubt, has been relatively quiet throughout the years. Other than his work and affiliation with Harlem's Camp Lo, he's mostly known for lending his production savvy to the early, slim Roc-A-Fella roster.

Well he hasn't been docile by any means.

Ski just happens to have a mixtape for free download on his Myspace page in case you slept. It's got some nice treats on it too. The Jean Grae track is addictive with that melancholy piano loop Ski cooked up. The absolute ringer on this though is a lost Jay-Z track. It's perfect. From what I can tell from Jay's outtro it was probably meant to be a primer for his underwhelming Blueprint 2.0. I can't believe this is the first time I've heard it. It's short but the effect is undeniable. He basically lays out his naysayers over Ski's groovy 2+ minute conconction- "I hear the people talk/ Whistlin' when you walk..."

Jay-Z: "People Talking"

Monday, July 16, 2007

LCD Soundsystem

There are some songs that just take you there. LCD Soundsystem's current single is one of those songs. It's almost like a throwback to the 80's modern rock summer anthems. You know, the kinds of songs that transport you to a particular time and place and stirs that dormant sentimentality of yours.

"All My Friends"

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Swarm

The Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams might, just might be coming this year. Can we count on these guys to form like Voltron and shakedown the industry once again for old times sake? The outcome is critical. URB Magazine ponders the math.

"It's gonna happen. It's gonna happen because it's inevitable - it has to happen," RZA says. "[But] if it's not coming this year, it ain't comin' at all. That's my opinion. If it doesn't come this year, it don't mean nothin' no more."

The GZA & Inspectah Deck: "Yes Yes Y'all/Let Me At 'Em"
Method Man: "Mr. Mef"

Vibes 'n Stuff

Grant Green: "Down Here On The Ground"

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mr. Field's Cookies

Lee Field's Problems (Soul Fire- 2002) has got pretty much all the elements of a solid 70's funk/soul album. It's got the heavy rhythms, rattling drum kicks, bubbling basslines and a James Brown-like undercurrent that works to perfection. From the uptempo funk blast of the title track to the slow burning groove of "Honey Dove", this albums got some sure fire hotness for your summer listening enjoyment.

Lee Fields: "Problems"

Lee Fields: "Honey Dove"

Check out this Deep Funk interview. AND if you're interested, he's got releases scattered through Daptone Records, Truth & Soul and Soul Fire Records.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mental Fitness

"It's too perverted, you heard it, so now you get murdered
Test the sound system, it throws off your equilibrium
Deep concentration can't fracture the meditation
Competition is flipped on at random
Deviant monks attack the mic is mental pandemonium
And then some, you go for your hand gun
Psychokinetic forces proceed to smash in your cerebellum
Phonetian with more stamina than a Christian
My mind, C3 H5 N3 O9 like Nitroglycerine
I bust as Afu Ra crush
Clash with us and meet Cerebus"

Jeru The Damaja: "Mental Stamina"

Monday, June 11, 2007

Take Me Back

Summer's fast approaching and folks are putting together their seasonal songs of summer posts. I'll spare you and refrain from posting a mix of my own. I will throw one classic out there though on principle.

The J. Geils Band's Freeze Frame (1981) will always hold a special place on my imaginary favorite rock albums list. It's not one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded but it had some memorable songs on it. Although the title track was probably a bigger hit, "Centerfold" will forever be an all time summer classic. I was only 10 when this song dropped and I remember it fondly only because I wasn't suppose be listening to it. I don't even remember how I got my hands on the cassette tape. Seriously, what kind of soulless robot can deny this fuckin' song? Good times, good times...

The J. Geils Band: "Centerfold"

Thursday, May 31, 2007

All The J-Live

Whenever I hear J-Live, I have to check myself for always forgetting to include him in my mental list of upper-eschelon MC's.

I first heard "The Lyricist" on Ritchy Pitch's Live At Home EP (2002). The production isn't mind blowing by any means but catchy nonetheless. I feel like I should go on and on about J-Live's lyrical virtuosity on this track but all I can really say is that his flow is flawless. Style, content,'s all there.

Then there's "The Epilogue", the closing track from his excellent 2001 debut The Best Part. The solemn, echoeing guitar loop is nice but, again, J-Live shines all the way through.

"When it's all said and done it should be heard and seen
'Til this cold-hearted game forces us to change teams
While the lust for the loot spreads out like gangrene
So the haves chase their tails while the nots chase their dreams
As the years chase the days, past the futures, meet fate
Like your firstborn, waiting for pop's release date
Postpone, meanwhile, I accumulate means
To revise and renew what was just heard and seen"

J-Live: "Epilogue"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No Game

Nah Right's got some unreleased tracks from The Game that didn't make The Doctor's Advocate's final cut. "Beautiful Life" is the only song I'd keep, the rest just sound like throwaway tracks. Is it me or has Dr. Dre's production turned progressively bland and dry? With the tracks he gave Jay-Z for Kingdom Come and the snoozers I've heard since, including 50 Cent's song about money in the bank, I'm beginning to think the good Doctor is beginning to fall the fuck off. I always thought he's been overrated post-The Chronic-Doggystyle era. Nothing he's done has been mind blowing save The Chronic 2000. His new shit just makes me want to sleep.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Obscurity Knocks

Obscurity Knocks

(A McCrank's Juke collabo.)

Trashcan Sinatras - Live at The Casbah in San Diego May 14, 2005

I prefer live music, the kind you can't find in Sam Goody or any other large retail chain. This post showcases another rare music performance from the Trashcan Sinatras, a favorite of mine from back in the early nineties (Obscurity Knocks is one of their better tracks). I blame a college roommate, who sold me on these guys. It goes to show you that the record industry and labels are screwed-up for not promoting and selling live material, including bootlegs. Download the soundboard recording and take a listen... (Disc 1 / Disc 2)

Monday, May 21, 2007

In The Re-Mix

It's seldom you find exceptional remixes these days. If you're diligent and have enough patience and luck, you'll stumble upon jewels like these:

Eric B. & Rakim: "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em (Beirut Remix)"

You can check out his work here. I don't know much about him other than the fact that he's got a Myspace page. The remixes I've heard aren't bad and you can probably still download a bunch from his page. The above remix is perfect. Rakim never sounded better.

Snoop Dogg: "Signs (Siik Remix)"

Personally, I think it's better than the original. I never really liked Pharrell's track for this anyway. Siik is adept at transforming some of your favorites into something very worthwhile:


Amerie: "1 Thing (Siik Remix)"

Monday, May 07, 2007

Big Illinois

You can check the tracklisting for Common's seventh album Finding Forever here. Kanye West handles the majority of the production with Will.I.Am, Devo Springstein and the late J-Dilla contributing a track each. Nothing is really final until it's released, tentatively, on July 10.

In the meantime, here's the supposed first single produced by the "new Premo", Kanye West. Let it marinate cause it's pretty damned good.

Common feat. Dwele: "The People"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

That's The Way To California

Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions album was released by Atlantic Records in 1997. It features some studio sessions and a live performance recorded for the British Broadcasting Corporation. The album was packaged as a double CD with disc 1 containing material recorded during three different BBC sessions in 1969 and disc 2 containing a concert performance at the Paris Theatre in London on April 1, 1971 (18 days prior to birth of yours truly, coincidentally).

Disc 2 has got the winners. These Led Zeppelin acoustic performances are magic AND they're played back to back.

"Going To California"
"That's The Way"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Street Records 2007

Known for breaking in and introducing some of Hip-Hop's most amazing acts through his Loud Records imprint in the early 90's, Steve Rifkind's got some good things happening in 2007.

The most reassuring point of the interview is that Ghostface's absence from Wu-Tang's next album 8 Diagrams is unlikely. We'll have to see about that.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Gulliest

"...self appointed judge with power vested,
to hand down sentences from bus stop benches.
He's relentless with his it's just in his spirit
You don't want to read about it fool,
You want to feel it!"

-Brother Ali: "Pedigree"

"...move, pop, shake, drop, go, dumb, get drunk..."

-Prodigy: "Raining Guns and Shanks"

"'s because of me she's walkin' crooked and her throat hurts"

-Big L: "Who You Slidin' Wit?"

Monday, April 09, 2007

Poetry For The Ages

No, I'm very happy. One of the funniest things I've seen all year, courtesy of the good folks at Oh Word!.

Cam's shots at 50 Cent were pretty amusing at first but things have gotten excessive and annoying. He's gone overboard which is why I enjoyed this so much. At this point, I need things like this more than petty shit like this.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Some of the best Hip-Hop production I have ever heard was on Cannibal Ox's Cold Vein, with equally compelling narratives from the duo of Vast Aire and Vordul. That's why (although El-P's production is fantastic but still an acquired taste) most of his post-Cold Vein material hasn't quite measured up. Even El-P's solo debut Fantastic Damage was subpar in comparison. It was really disappointing to read the tail end of this interview I picked up at Can I Bring My Gat? where El-P dismisses a possible, long-awaited return from the Cannibal Ox. Truthfully, I haven't heard an album as thorough as Cannibal Ox's debut in, I don't know how long.

Cannibal Ox: "Vein" (The Cold Vein - Def Jux, 2001)
El-P: "Deep Space 9mm" (Fantastic Damage - Def Jux, 2002)

I Did...Sort of

...and so can you. Wah-tahh!!!

(Credit, again: AngryAsianMan)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cosmic Slop

J-Dilla's Rough Draft dropped today. Before (or after) you cop it, check out these interviews, courtesy of Stones Throw.

Speaking of interviews, J. Sands of the Lone Catalysts continues to stay on the grind. (Coincidentally, he dropped a freebie Dilla tribute album Mrs. Sands: A Love Story on the internet this year. 10 songs deep. J. Sands freaking it over Dilla's work = Ill.)

O-Dub chimes in on the Amy Winehouse phenomenon. Interesting stuff.

Yes, yes, yes...Red Gone Wild drops on March 27. I've read a few Redman interviews the last couple of months but this one's got all the nooks and crannies...

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Magic Number

- Gene Harris on piano, Andrew Simpkins on bass and Bill Dowdy* on drums.

You can get a good run down on the group's history here if you're interested. Live At The Lighthouse is probably one of my favorites from the trio. This album wasn't recorded during one performance but represents a mix of several performances at the famed Lighthouse venue in Los Angeles recorded in a stretch of one summer.

"Sunny" is self-explanatory. If this tune doesn't make you feel good, you probably can't feel at all.

The 3 Sounds: "Sunny" (Live At The Lighthouse - Blue Note, 1967)

*By 1967, Bill Dowdy had left the trio and was replaced by Donald Bailey who played with the group throughout the Lighthouse performances.


I'm a big fan this Beirut - and now - this Beirut.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

3 Ft. High & Rising

Nostalgia overload! Indeed.

After taking a look at MTV's list of the top 10 Hip-Hop groups of all time you have to wonder. They've got Outkast ranked #4 but I can't really even see them in the top 10. What's worse is the fact that they've got Salt 'n' Pepa at #8, The Fugees (who've only released two official albums in their short-lived career as a group) at #9 and UGK(????) at #10. And no De La Soul or The Roots. (Both groups, by the way, haven't disbanded and continue to record great music.)
That shit is baffling...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A New York State Of Mind

(A McCrank's Juke collabo.)

Listening to this on Sunday, the day they filled the brackets for the NCAAs. Syracuse got their bubble popped, but it really doesn't even seem to matter. Davis and Coltrane breezing lazy, waxing Blackbird and Walking. Creeping into summer, these songs on the box remind me of 15th street, riding bikes, and warm beerfest. Are you feeling it?

Miles Davis and John Coltrane - Live in New York
01. Bye, Bye, Blackbird
02. Four
03. It Never Entered My Mind
04. Walkin
05. Milestones
06. So What

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Slow & Easy

This is one of those songs that, whenever I play it, I just want to crawl inside and become immersed in it's coolness. 2 minutes in and I feel as if I'm holding sway above the flux.

The Third Cup isn't as spectacular as The Next 100 Years which was recorded a year later. As a matter of fact, the latter is a complete contrast in style. But the title cut on Fisher's debut is a beautiful thing.

Eddie Fisher: "The Third Cup" (The Third Cup - Cadet, 1969)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Shimmy, Shimmy Ya

(A McCrank's Juke collabo. Feel this...Nuh!!)

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Free To Be Dirty: Live 2005
Nothing like the real thing baby...That's right Ol Dirty & The Bastard, for ya all. This album was recorded with the Brooklyn Zu in Toad's Place (2004). Russell Tyrone Jones, alias ODB drops his crazed, slurred, off-beat, half-sung half-rapped delivery on songs like: "Baby, Baby C'mon" and "Cold Blooded". "Free To Be Dirty: Live 2005" is nothing like some of the other more obscure albums, but it kinda messes you up.

Jack this into your iPod and take a drag on Ol' Dirty Bastard, circa 2005...

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Traffic was thick this evening and I was once again saved by the random shuffle of my Itunes. These two came back to back as my exhausted, cluttered and convoluted mind was beginning to unravel. Therapeudic, indeed.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: "The Lee Shore"
Grant Green: "Cease The Bombing"

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lady Soul

I've got many Aretha Franklin favorites but these two treats have become the most endearing to me over the years.

"Oh No Not My Baby" is an uptempo groover. I'm digging all the elements here - the drum kicks are serious, the string arrangements, the rhythmic guitar strums, the horn jabs and Aretha's urging vocals and interplay with her background singers. A killer production all around.

The thing that strikes me the most about "Crazy He Calls Me" is the cozy intimacy of Aretha's performance. She sustains it from beginning to end. When she proclaims "I say I'll move the mountains, and I'll move the mountains, if he wants them out of the way", I'm certain she will.


"Oh No Not My Baby" (Spirit In The Dark, 1970)
"Crazy He Calls Me" (Aretha Franklin: Soul '69, 1969)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Return Of The Funk Doc

Word is Redman's Red Gone Wild will finally see a release date of March 27, 2007. That's right, this fuckin' year! Although I wouldn't necessarily put my pink slip on it (after all, this is Hip-Hop and he is still on Def Jam), I'm almost sure enough to hold my breath. While I'm not sure why this album has been pushed back for so long (remember, Malpractice dropped in 2001), it's been way too long between official releases and it's about time his elastic flows finally get a push into the radio airwaves. He hasn't remained idle as dedicated fans probably have his various Gilla House Mixtapes, including his latest pre-Red Gone Wild installment Live From The Bricks.

Truth be told, I can't wait.

I don't feel it necessary to break down his lyrical virtuosity and effortless delivery. I'm not even sure he has a technique that he's even aware of because his stream of words and syllables seem to take on a life of their own. His own description is best, "My words prac-tic-ly geronimo! off the disc!!".

Let it marinate. I guarantee you'll enjoy every unrestrained flurry...

"The Saga Continues" (J-Zone Remix)
"Lick A Shot"