Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I admit that I was never really into Guru as an MC. I didn't follow much of his work post-Gang Starr and thought that his Jazzamatazz series was a mixed bag.
For whatever reason, his output with DJ Premier was potent and I can't really put my finger on why the duo worked so well together, or how they managed to put out banger after banger. Guru and Primo were simply meant to put out music together. The dissolution of the group was a tragic thing.
The sobering news of Guru's passing had me thumbing through my mental catalog of his best material and these jumped out at me:
"Skillz" - From Gang Starr's final album together The Ownerz. It's the crispest I've ever heard Guru and his lyrical work and cadence over Premier's amazing track is just ridiculous. Guru kills it on this.

"Above The Clouds" feat. Inspectah Deck - One of the greatest Gang Starr tracks of all time, from The Moment of Truth. Guru again delivers and manages to keep up with INS, who drops quotable after quotable on this. And DJ Premier, what more can I say.

"The ? Remains" - I always loved this for Premier's minimalist approach for the track. But Guru's distinct vocal tone and stream-of-conscious flow give this track a heightened effect.

I could go on but Matthew Africa put together a treat that does the Gang Starr catalog justice.


Oliver Wang's Keith "Guru" Elam LA Times obituary.

DJ Premier speaks on Guru

Peter Rosenberg and Cypha Sounds discuss the validity of Guru's supposed "last official statement" to the masses on Hot 97 (courtesy of Nahright). I've followed some of this story when news broke about Guru's cardiac arrest that ultimately lead to his coma and that Solar dude just comes off as a very sheisty individual.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Record Store Day

In honor of Record Store Day (which was yesterday), I offer up a couple of goodies from one of my favorite soul/funk LPs - Eddy Senay's Step By Step (Sussex, 1972):

Peep his outfit as it befits the sound of this superbly funky album.

Here are two of my favorites:



The Ocean Blue

I'm really going heavy on the flashbacks here. I've been in the process of organizing my records and going through boxes of my old cassette tapes and pulled this jewel out. The Ocean Blue's self titled debut was one of my favorite albums of 1989. Consider how many classics were released that year (my senior year in high school coincidentally) - The Beastie Boy's Paul's Boutique, De La Soul's 3 Feet High & Rising, The Cure's Disintegration, The Red Hot Chili Pepper's Mother's Milk - the list is endless. I'd slide this album into that list.

The Ocean Blue was an album I discovered on the strength of the first single "Between Something and Nothing". The album itself unfolds as a very consistent collection of great songs, well produced with no filler material - a solid listen from beginning to end. I'm not saying this album was revolutionary in any way or was ahead of it's time. Not one song really blows by hair back like that. The songs just carry a kind of endearing quality that still resonates with me whenever I listen to them. That's a mark of great album.

"Love Song"

"Frigid Winter Days"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Furs

The Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way", from their 1982 album Forever Now, is another one of those indelible early 80's tunes that I always go back to. Richard Butler's vocals had that languishing, eery British drawl that gave this song an extra dose of melancholy.

They then followed up Forever Now nicely with 1984's Mirror Moves which boasts "Heaven", "Heartbeat", and "Ghost In You". There were so many great modern rock songs from that era and "Ghost In You" stays amazing. Again, Richard Butler's distinct vocals really carry this tune - classic material here.

All of the Furs best hits are packaged nicely in 1988's compilation "All Of This And Nothing".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Duck Down!

from PRO KEDS on Vimeo.

15 years strong for an independent Hip-Hop record label is remarkable. Just hearing Buckshot run down the list of artists set to drop projects on Duck Down Records is something to get excited about.

A Smif'n'Wessun album produced entirely by Pete Rock? I'm speechless man.

Monday, April 12, 2010

RZA and iDrum

With this app I'm now SZA.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This is a perfect album. New Order's Substance 1987 never leaves my playlist because there just isn't a bad song on this compilation. The album is a collection of 12" inch versions of the band's singles and B-sides. I believe "True Faith" was the only original track that was recorded for this release.

Substance basically served as the soundtrack to my early high school years and sits atop the list of my favorite albums of all time. I still own the cassette I first bought, and I own the vinyl and CD versions. Suffice it to say, I really like this album.

If you were to hold a gun to my head to give you my favorite track...

...by way of Joy Division

Today, it's the best song of all time.

Bonus: Radiohead agrees.

Rooted In Dilla

The Roots pay tribute to J-Dilla by putting together a mix of well executed Jilla covers. This material appears to be dated by a year or two but ?uesto decided to throw it back out to the masses.
Understatement: ?uestlove and Co. are amazing. There is no doubt that The Roots are one of the greatest bands in any genre. It's just too bad that Black Thought didn't jump in on a few of these gems.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Badu

I've been spending some time with Erykah Badu's New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh. I'm enjoying this one more than it's predecessor which took some time to grow on me. It's clear that Badu took her time to craft a very well produced album.

I'm especially fond of "Fall In Love (Your Funeral)" where she channels B.I.G's "Warning" for the hook. Kareem Riggins on the track.

And the album artwork, like Part 1, is superb.

Bonus Badu:

By now you've probably heard the hoopla regarding her video for "Window Seat". I don't have much of an opinion on it. I just didn't realize that her ass was so massive.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

"Bill Groundhog Day Ghost Bustin' Ass Murray"

Unfortunate that the rest of Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) wasn't as entertaining as this scene. Bill Murray can pretty much command any scene, dude is brilliant.