Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ayo, It's Halftime: Top 10 Hip Hop Albums of 2010 (So Far) - In Haiku Form!


Back in elementary school, my English professor taught our class about haikus. Describing the well-known 5-7-5 syllable structure, she explained that this was actually a simplification of the original Japanese standard of haiku form. But in the end, she basically said "fuck it" and told us to come up with whatever 5-7-5 nonsense we could conjure up. I guess she assumed we'd never revisit haiku writing later on in life. Wrong again, teach'! Why is this list in haiku form? Why not? It's partially inspired by Chris Weingarten's 1,000 Times Yes album reviews - restrained by the limitations of 140 characters or less, for better or for worse. Maybe it's got something to do with that saké I had two nights ago (regrettably, not in a Suzuki in Osaka Bay). Yeah, maybe that's it. Apparently this trend is already in full-swing, so while I'm (always) open to positive comments, complaints can be directed to these guys.

One quick note before I get into the list: In the previous decade, semitically(?)-induced compulsiveness urged me to keep albums separated from mixtapes. The notion of a grey area was unacceptable. When Danger Mouse dropped The Grey Album, I had to make a tough decision and toss it into the 'mixtapes' pile. Those days are long gone. In the digital age where Drake can put out a 'mixtape' that's better than most peoples' albums - and, ironically, better than his own album - it's difficult to differentiate between the two. These days, mixtapes are rarely even, um, mixed - let alone on tape cassettes. What do you call a full-length Bandcamp upload? I've learned to stop worrying and love the malbums (mixtapes/albums). I don't differentiate between mixtapes and albums anymore, and this list reflects that new life decision I've made. Okay, here we go...


10.
Jadakiss - The Champ Is Here 3 (w/DJ Green Lantern & DJ Drama)


The streets were starving
The Last Kiss was pop and wack
Champ Is Here? Straight crack

Download:
The Champ Is Here 3



9.
Dom Kennedy - From the Westside, With Love


Drake of the west coast?
Could be, minus the self-pity
Spits hungrier too

Download:
From the Westside, With Love



8.
Freeway & Jake One - The Stimulus Package


No Just Blaze? No prob!
Jake One, beast on the boards and
Great collab partner

Purchase:
The Stimulus Package



7.
Raekwon - Cocainism Vol. 2 (w/Brinks Boyz)


Cuban Linx for free
Purple Tape 3 on budget
Kiss the chef again

Download:
Cocainism Vol. 2



6.
Yelawolf - Trunk Muzik (w/DJ Burn One)


Reps Alabama
Spits like Cleveland and Chi-Town
South rises again

Download:
Trunk Muzik



5.
Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The eXXecution


Polo drops heat rocks
Ruste spits with flames to match
Straight up gritty rap

Purchase:
The eXXecution



4.
Nas & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives


"Get Up, Stand Up" raps
Tracks seem disjointed at times
Message reigns supreme

Purchase:
Distant Relatives



3.
Shad - TSOL


Nerdy and soulful
May not be his best album
Still better than most

Purchase:
TSOL



2.
Roc Marciano - Marcberg


What year are we in?
Nineteen-ninety-five? Oh, shit!
Roc travels through time!

Purchase:
Marcberg



1.
The Roots - How I Got Over


Even with Late Night
Mainstream appeal, Roots retain
Creativity

Purchase:
How I Got Over


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Quarterly Rap Up: Q2 2010


After hitting you up with my Q1 report three months ago, I figured I'd follow the trend throughout the year. Halfway into 2010, things are shaping up nicely thus far. If we can make it out of 2010 alive, the year may just prove its superiority over 2009, music-wise. Anyways, I hate making lists, but you love reading them - so here we go:

25. Jay Rock - The Big Payback

It's difficult not to gloat when you're the Yankees of basketball, especially when your victory relies on a Boston team's defeat. Yeah, we got smashed on a couple years back, but 2010 was our time for revenge. Going in over a loop of James Brown's "Payback", Watts-bred emcee Jay Rock big ups the home team for a pre-/post-victory anthem. On to the three-peat we go!

24. WC - Frontline

This treble-heavy beat is so west coast, only a staple vet like WC could do it justice. Produced by Terrace Martin, "Frontline" is the type of track you'd expect to hear on any given Sunday, humming out of a Chevy rolling down a wide Los Angeles boulevard.

23. Krondon - I Ain't Running (feat. Fashawn)

Beginning with an Al Pacino-delivered quotable from the 2008 film Righteous Kill, Krondon quickly grabs your attention with a ridiculous dart: "Fake foes flaunt frivolous fragments of realism/ I listen, but regret after/." The Strong Arm Steady member sounds comfortable on this threatening beat, but what about Fashawn? I'll tell you this: I used to raise an eyebrow at the comparisons people made, dubbing him to be the next Nas. I kinda hear it now.

22. Lil B - T-Shirts and Buddens (Joe Budden Diss)

Who'd of thought that Lil B would ever drop a diss record aimed at an emcee of Joe Budden's caliber? Okay, okay, now who'd of thought the shit would be... nice? I mean... this nice? Lil B claims that the track was written in jest. He ain't lyin'! Lil B clowns on Joey like he's a boy in a bubble. Sadly, the "beef" seemed to have died down as soon as it was tossed onto the grill.

21. Cam'ron - Like Sheeeeiit (feat. Vado)

While Cam will always find a special place in my heart - no homo - I'm not yet sold on Vado. But "this shit is refreshing right here." Cam's dropped a whole lotta bullshit since his departure from Roc-a-Fella, but this joint takes me back to the "Get Em Girls" days. It's Dipset, Byrd Gang. Swerve on you!

20. Jadakiss - Soldier Survivors (feat. Nas & Sheek Louch)

A trio of New Yitty's finest, Nas, Jada and Sheek have combined for roughly half a century's worth of hip hop expertise. It's funny that all three of these emcees are relatively recent signees to New York's storied hip hop label, Def Jam. The trio takes it back to Mardi Gras (word to Bob James), recalling glimpses of the great "Made You Look" remix (with Ludacris) to memory.

19. Black Sheep - Birds of a Feather (feat. Q-Tip, Dave & Mike Gee)

To a generation whose introduction to Black Sheep begins with a hamster-crazed Kia commercial, "Birds of a Feather" is a perfect reminder as to the prevalence of senior citizen rap. Over a Fiona Apple-sampled beat - yup! - Dres, Tip and Co. prove they've still got it.

18. Gil Scott-Heron - New York Is Killing Me (Smu Mix) (feat. Mos Def & Nas)

The version of "New York Is Killing Me" found on the Godfather of Rap's latest album I'm New Here was a solo joint. Somehow, someway, out popped up a pair of "remixes", one featuring Mos Def, the other with Nas. DJ Smu cleverly blended the contributions from these two hip hop poet laureates and the result is highly rewarding. I marvel at the thought of Gil Scott-Heron crafting an entire album with a roster of hip hop all-stars. If only...

17. B.o.B - Airplanes (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore)

I've got my gripes with radio, but every once in a while a ridiculously pop-aimed record will slip past my radars and finds its way into my "songs I can't get out of my head" list. Boosted with a cherubic yet bubble-gum hook by Paramore's Hayley Williams, "Airplanes" is pop-rap at some of its finest.

16. Nas & Damian Marley - Nah Mean

On the boom-bapiest beat off Distant Relatives, God's son and Gong's son deliver head rocking bars to match the backdrop. "Genocide, it's a genocide" Nas remarks, but it's Damian who dominates the track, kicking rhymes like "We no like dem colonial regime, nah mean/ ... Jump on a big trampoline, nah mean/ And boost up our self-esteem, nah mean/."

15. The Roots - The Day (feat. Blu, Phonte & Patty Crash)

Solid from start to finish, How I Got Over is reminiscent of N*E*R*D's first two albums - both of which I aurally devoured (||) back in high school. Patty Crash's sunny vocals remind me of "Bobby James" and other great tracks from that Star Trak era. This right here is music tailor-made for the summertime. It doesn't hurt that Black Thought comes correct as always (his resume is legendary yet overlooked), Blu reminds us why he's the future, and Phonte proves that there's life after Little Brother.

14. Rick Ross - Knife Fight (feat. Kool G Rap)

Convoluted with greatness, "Knife Fight" features a James Brown sample, a surprise guest appearance from KGR, and a series of scratched-in rap vocals revolving around one word: "run." I've gotta give credit to Ross: he's managed to (help) resurrect authentic, mid-90s-ish mafia rap.

13. Nas & Damian Marley - In His Own Words (feat. Stephen Marley)

A great meshing of hip hop and reggae, the levity and spiritual vibe brought along by Stephen Marley proves the perfect balance for Nas as he spits with resoluteness: "Word to the curb that's under these chrome wheels."

12. Ice Cube - I Rep That West

When he's not gunning for Tyler Perry's spot, Ice Cube is still one of the rap game's most menacing emcees. Over a flamboyant west coast concoction, Cube reigns dominant, calling out L.A. radio for their shitty playlists and offering anything but open arms to New West emcees: "This is my town, I run it, you walk it/ You're just now learning the game, I talk it/."

11. The Roots - Right On (feat. Joanna Newsom & Sugar Tongue Slim)

What happens when you take Joanna Newsom, throw her into an echo chamber, and drop some mean-ass drums? "Right On" is what you get. Black Thought does his thing, dropping a bevy of double-entendres: "A lotta people countin' on me, kinda like a digit/ ... Y'all know, I'ma raise the bar though (Bardot) like Brigitte/." Props to The Roots for originality... again.

10. Brother Ali - Breakin' Dawn Boys (feat. Fashawn)

Fash' and Ali tag team this joint as a lyrical wrecking crew, absolutely demolishing the frenetic, horn-heavy heat rock laced by BK-One.

9. OutKast - Lookin' for Ya (feat. Sleepy Brown)

This isn't a single (though it should be). In fact, it won't even find a spot on Big Boi's upcoming solo LP. But who cares? Whether you can find their new music in record stores, NMC websites, or the bottom of cereal boxes, fresh OutKast joints are always a good thing. This originally leaked a year ago on one of the Purple Codeine tapes (if memory serves me correct), but it was just Dre on his solo dolo shit. Bringing along Mr. Patton for the show is like seeing Voltron in action.

8. Cypress Hill - Carry Me Away (feat. Mike Shinoda)

Though DJ Muggs didn't have too much to contribute on Cypress Hill's new Rise Up album, that didn't stop the rap/rock superstars from cranking out bangers. Enlisting a roster of like-minded artists like System of a Down's Daron Malakian and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello proved to be a comfortable fit, as did the help of Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park. Production on the track is as grim as its reflective lyrical content.

7. Raekwon - Alphabet Soup

It's crazy to think that half a decade ago, Papoose had cats shitting bricks over tracks like "Alphabetical Slaughter." Flash forward to 2010 where Raekwon takes a page outta Pap's book; and apparently that book is a dictionary. Rae's attempt is not nearly as feverishy-paced as Pap's original, let alone intricate in deftness, but it's a solid joint regardless. And as the Chef says, "that shit was fucking hard, man!"

6. B.o.B - Nothin' on You (Smu Mix) (feat. Warren G, Big Boi & Bruno Mars)

That's right, I'm guilty of liking both of B.o.B's smash singles. I've also gotta give props once again to DJ Smu for putting the jigsaw pieces together and throwing Warren G and Big Boi into the mix. This track version bodes far better on my ear drums 'cause believe me, the album/single mix wouldn't have found its way onto my Top 25 of Q2 list.

5. Freddie Gibbs - Rock Bottom (feat. Bun B)

I've mentioned in the past that Freddie Gibbs reminds me of a young Bun B. It's nice to finally hear the two sharing a track together. Both sonically and content-wise, "Rock Bottom" reminds me of "Slap", my favorite song off of Ludacris' Grammy-award winning Release Therapy. The topic is "frustration", and these two do an excellent job of venting. I'm sure we can all relate to this one.

4. Kanye West - Power (feat. Dwele)

I'm not the type of person to fawn over anything that Kanye West decides to drop on us. After all, I was fairly critical of his "meh" - albeit honest - 808s & Heartbreak. But this right here? Wow. The King Crimson sample is absolutely novel, and that's one of the reasons why you've gotta give Yeezy some credit. Nobody else could or would do it like this. Just as catchy as "Stronger", "Power" got me amped up on more than one occasion during the Lakers-Celtics series.

3. Dom Kennedy - Me Again

In my book, this Leimert Park native is one of the front runners of the New West movement. Dom Kennedy's got the music to rival anything that Drake can put out, he just needs to amass as big of an audience. (His self-released From the Westside with Love is the west coast doppelganger of Drizzy's So Far Gone.) "Me Again" is by far the highlight of the malbum (mixtape + album), as Dom waxes nostalgic on his coming of age in the city of angels. The lyrics are potent, as is the heartfelt delivery. The exceptional Drew Byrd-produced beat doesn't hurt either!

2. Big Boi - Shutterbugg (feat. Cutty)

Laced with a talk box, some knocking 808s, and a dazzling series of icy, 80s synths reminiscent of "Promiscuous Girl", Scott Storch delivers an alley-oop of a slam dunk, summertime club single to Sir Lucious Left Foot. Though "Shutterbug" hardly rivals the brilliance of "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)", it's plain to see that Big Boi's electro-rap pimp hand is still way strong.

1. Reflection Eternal - Ballad of the Black Gold

In light of the awful oil spill caused by BP, the prescience of this song can't be understated. It's not often that a soundtrack precedes its visual counterpart, in this case being the graphic images of precious animals sometimes appearing indistinguishable from the very oil they're covered in. Much like the flooding that devastated New Orleans a few years ago, this latest disaster facing Gulf Coast residents is and was anything but "natural." Imagine if we, the human race, never discovered that oil could be used as a fuel? What would we be using in its place?
You never see happy-hungry people that ain’t rational/
They blasting through the gates and they attack you at the capital/
Run up in your palace, find the heads of the state and crack a few/
Get a taste of power then they become fascists too/
The fiscal conservatives don’t know what they purpose is/
Spend money on the war then they cut your goods and services/
Murderous, corporate monsters is breaking records/
Exxon is at 40 billion a year, they raking in record profits, stop it/
How they banking while the other industries is tanking?/
Leadership is sinking, the pollution in the water's stanking/
Loyalty to petroleum, royalty spoiled the economy/
We won’t get it poppin' 'til we're oil-free/
If you’re oil-rich, then we invadin'/
They call it occupation but we’re losing jobs across the nation/
Drill, baby, drill, while they make our soldiers kill/
Baby still, the desert where the blood and oil spill/
Ten More:

26. Royce Da 5'9" - Real Hip Hop (feat. Black Milk & Elzhi)
27. Meth, Ghost & Rae - It's That Wu Shit
28. Ron Artest - Champions
29. Eminem - Despicable
30. Apollo Brown - Hungry (feat. Rapper Big Pooh & Black Milk)
31. Raekwon - Jolly Ranchers
32. Eminem - Won't Back Down (feat. Pink)
33. Prodigy - The Phone Tap (Welcome to State Prison)
34. Freddie Gibbs - Personal OG
35. Big Boi - General Patton



The Tape Deck '10: The Best of Q2



Quarterly Rap Up: Q2 2010








Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Tape Deck '10: Volume #52


The Tape Deck '10: Volume #51


Friday, June 25, 2010

Rap Round Table, Week Ending 6/25/2010


"moleskine" by ::::::chichi::::::

Music Analysis & Reporting:

The Making of OutKast’s Aquemini by Rodney Carmichael

The Nation Of Gods & Earths Celebrates Its Founder With "Show & Prove" Celebration by Ice Pick Slim

The 10 Best Rap Albums of The Half Year by Jeff Weiss

Eric’s Mid-Season Report: Top 10 Albums by Eric

A Mostly Hip Hop Playlist to Listen to While Divorce Blogging by TAN

The Roots Are Doing It Again… by Dallas Penn

Yes, Shyne Still Sucks by David D.

Walk Together, Rock Together: Five Unsung Punk & Hip Hop Encounters by Michael Sheehan

Will Eminem's "Recovery" Bring On the "Death of Schtick"? by TAN

I Love The ’90s Pt. II (1994 Pt. I) by Eric

Poisoning the well: still not the best way to make friends by Byron Crawford

On Life Cycles by TAN

Summer Jamz 2010: Cherry Cokes and White Tees: A Thug Love Collection by Jonathan Bradley

Should Drake dis Beanie Sigel? by Byron Crawford

5-10-15-20: ?uestlove by Ryan Dombal & ?uestlove

Why Popular Bloggers Are Bad For Hip-Hop by Young H

Blog Beef: Popular Bloggers by John Gotty

Hip Hop & The NBA (2 Worlds Collide) by ezient

Drake’s Thank Me Later: The Numbers Are In by Eskay

Eminem Confronts His Inner Demons In 'Recovery' by 'NPR Staff'

2Pac's 'Dear Mama' selected for inclusion in Library of Congress' national recording registry by Jeff Weiss

Music for a Monday: Once Again, Back, It's the...Legendary by Joey

Summer Jamz #1: Son Raw’s Super Disco Rappin Megamix Spectacular! by Sach O

The Bar-Kays: Funky Thangs by Oliver Wang

How Rap Tears Up the Boring Art Vs. Commerce Argument by Dave Bry

J Dilla: Hip Hop’s Abused Martyr by Meka

The Mathers Index: Eminem’s Lyrics By The Numbers by Paul Cantor & David Chang

L.A. Hip-Hop Community Honors Guru, DJ Hideo; Raises Cancer Awareness by Mike Winslow

Album Reviews:

What’s New In Dart’s iPod #17 AKA No Format, No Problem (?) by Dart Adams

Eminem - Recovery by Jeff Weiss

Eminem - Recovery by Omar Burgess

The Roots - How I Got Over by Eric

The Roots - How I Got Over by Max

The Roots - How I Got Over by Nate Patrin

The Roots - How I Got Over by Sach O

The Roots - How I Got Over by Jake Paine

The Roots - How I Got Over by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Drake - Thank Me Later by Paul Cantor

Drake - Thank Me Later by Patrick M.

Black Sheep - From the Black Pool of Genius by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Crooked I - Hood Star by Jake Paine

Nappy Roots - The Pursuit of Nappyness by Pete T.

Guilty Simpson & Madlib - OJ Simpson by Fred Castano

Raekwon - Cocainism, Vol. 2 by Ian Cohen

Reef The Lost Cauze - Fight Music by Justin Boland

John Robinson & Lewis Parker - International Summers by Eric

Vinnie Paz - Season of the Assassin by Sean Ryon

Lil Jon - Crunk Rock by Slava Kuperstein

Shad - TSOL by Craig Jenkins

Z-Ro - Heroin by Luke Gibson

Gayngs - Relayted by Zach Cole

Melvins - The Bride Screamed Murder by Andrew Martin

Open Mike Eagle - Unapologetic Art Rap by Ali Elabbady

Profiles & Interviews:

The Madlib Mystique: An exclusive interview with underground hip-hop's most elusive producer by Jeff Weiss

Frank Nitt speaks on his new Delicious Vinyl EP and his collaborations with J Dilla, and premieres exclusive MP3 by Jeff Weiss

Prince Po - The Unkut Interview by Robbie

Going Deeper into Lo-Fi: An Interview with Shlohmo by Andrew Martin

Keith Shocklee Discusses ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions…’ by Robbie

The ?’z: 14KT Interview by Eric

Peter Rosenberg Hates That Summer Stench by Vanita Salisbury

WTF:

Bun B's Groupie Survival Guide: 'You Have To Be Smarter Than Your D*#k' by Keith Murphy & Bun B

Politics:

The Runaway General by Michael Hastings

The Culture of Exposure by David "WTF?" Brooks

Generally Speaking, Totally Out Of Pocket… by Dallas Penn

Rally addresses neighborhood violence, drugs by Jack Nicas

Sports:

Wig Owners > Wig Brushers: The Kobe Report… by Dallas Penn

Countdown to ecstasy -- 10 postseason plays that made the Lakers champions by Bill Plaschke

Balling Out With The NBA’s Elite… by Dallas Penn

Happy (Belated) Fathers Day:

Good Night, Sweet Prince… by Dallas Penn

Father’s Day in the Hip Hop World by Travis

Obituary:

Manute Bol's Gigantic Heart by Deron Snyder

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Am I the Only One Who Finds this Disturbing?

If Only...

...we could take these bloggers, turn 'em all into their seventeen-year old selves (equal opportunity), give 'em chains and bats and throw them in a public school playground and tell 'em to go at it. That'd be entertaining. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Thugs-No-Harmony



Dedicated to Rage Comics

This week in self-righteous indignation, we’ve got a post from Young H titled Why Popular Bloggers Are Bad For Hip-Hop. The article itself was posted on a popular blog. Straight out the gate, it seems we’ve got a communication breakdown, but whatever. I encourage you to read the post in its entirety because it presents a few topics of discussion; but if you're one of those Sparknotes types, here's the rundown:

1) Young H is adamant about defining (and differentiating) "writers", "journalists" and "bloggers."
2) He thinks Byron "Bol" Crawford is a "talentless hack." Why? He never really specifies. More than anything, he comes off sounding like more of a hater than Bol himself, with a palpably bitter tone.
3) He unloads on 2DopeBoyz and the New Music Cartel for always being the first to say, well, "first."
4) In his eyes, Vibe Magazine's Top 50 Bloggers are actually "Vibe Magazine's Top 50 fast food employees." Ouch.
5) He disapproves of blogs that post suggestive images of women.
6) He disapproves of blogs (read: 2DopeBoyz) that offer a weekly R&B section.
7) Byron, Meka and Shake are not cool.
8) Kevin Nottingham, despite charging $35 for reviews in the past (read: 'til he got caught), gets a pass.

Before I counter Young H's arguments point by point, I should introduce - or reintroduce - one of my most recent stances. To some extent, it may seem ironic that I'd be refuting Young H's post since I took a similarly righteous position against Nah Right. You may recall that I had a little spat with Eskay a couple months back over a Shyne post he published on his site. My issue with the post was that I was unsure where Eskay was coming from. It seemed to me that he was feeding a Def Jam-fed narrative in the guise of a firsthand account devoid of any shadowy influence(s). I wasn't raising an accusatory finger; I was merely raising an eyebrow. I had an issue with the authenticity of the post, due to the fact that Eskay himself acknowledged that he was reached by Def Jam's folks for the phone call with Shyne. The issue was never really "resolved." Eskay stood by his words, and I can respect that. Rafi Kam mentioned that my post didn't really seem to "have a point." He may have been right about that. To reiterate, my (intended) point was as follows: ideally, I'd like to be able to properly distinguish between PR and unbiased perspectives. Time and time again these lines get blurred, and I feel it's invaluably crucial to be able to navigate through the internet - blogs specifically - with more clarity. It's out of a love for the music and websites like Nah Right as a public forum that I make these requests and suggestions.

Here's where I differ from Young H: character assassination is not in my repertoire. First and foremost, with blogger allegiances as they are, that's like jumping into a pool of sharks. Young H seems to have already suffered a few bites so far. In addition to this, it doesn't really serve a purpose other than to boost one's own ego, and that's rarely seen as an attractive characteristic. Offering critiques is one thing; but going on a full-on assault? For no reason? C'mon now! That's just ignorant, word to Michael Jackson (one year already, can you believe that?)

You don't really have to like Byron Crawford to appreciate his work. As a matter of fact, you don't even have to like his work. You don't even have to like him! In fact, you might even feel compelled to hate him! But you should take note of his reach; his audience; his ability to stir up war-like hostility with nothing but words. That's powerful. Howard Stern may be a shock jock. And yeah, you may not like what he has to say. But to call him talentless? That's absurd! Bol writes; people read. Stern talks; people listen. If you can't respect that, then so be it. But one thing's for certain: you're wrong. A hack is someone who gets by the system, playing the yes man role, putting in as little work as possible. Bol writes at a frenetic pace, often times shitting on his own forum - XXL - in the process. That's ballsy (pause), and I respect that. You should too.

Young H also takes offense to the New Music Cartel's habit of letting its readers know that they were on the (group rip/leak) scene first. (It's worth noting that the New Music Cartel's audience - specifically the people who post comments - are prone to claim "first" as well.) But there's nothing new about this practice, and it's not unique to blogs or music for that matter. It's called marking your product. Frank Lucas called it "Blue Magic." Funk Flex drops bombs. That's the way of the game. Deal with it! And really, if you can't wait an extra week for that tag-free MP3 of "Under Pressure", you need to be diagnosed (and possibly medicated) for your compulsive disorder. You get what you pay for - and in this case, you're not paying a dime, so chill, b. The same rule applies to your disapproval of blogs posting pictures of scantily-clad women. If that offends you, then keep on trucking. The Smoking Section's Cooler posts make my morning - and not for the links! You don't like it? Unsubscribe! Simple as that! Or deal with it! Last month's issue of GQ had Miranda Kerr on the cover. Lovely! This month? Taylor Lautner. Ech. Last month's issue of Esquire? Christina Hendricks. Gorgeous! This month? Tom Cruise. Oh no! What can I do? I can unsubscribe if I want (but I won't, since I know that a Brooklyn Decker cover is on the way). The same goes for being pissed off by R&B posts (which makes no sense to me since A) "black music is black music and it's all good", and B) hip hop and modern-R&B are so intertwined, especially on the radio). Call that "lowest common denominator"; call it "mainstream"; so be it! The ride's free and you can hop off anytime you'd like. Most people enjoy the ride. Stop your blood claat crying!

But to top it all off, I find it hilarious that Young H takes exception to Bol and the New Music Cartel - whom, might I add, are on complete opposite spectrums in this rap blog scenario - but defends the practice of charging for reviews. We've beaten this horse to the ground already, but if you want the skinny, here it is. Let's leave Kevin Nottingham's name out of this (since apparently he's no longer charging that $35 fee). Young H has no qualms with that practice. H's exact quote is: "For the record I have no problem with an honest and modest businessman getting his." There's nothing "honest" about offering a review, represented as an unbiased perspective, while receiving monetary gains under the table. You say "getting his", I say "getting fined." No, really.

I understand Young H's sense of frustration, but it's misguided. The title itself (Why Popular Bloggers Are Bad For Hip-Hop) is dubious. To be sure, it raises a few questions. Does popularity correlate with inauthenticity? I'd disagree with that notion (and stereotype). But I value the discussion. A few years ago, I might have identified and agreed with him, and I might have asked the same question(s). But I've moved on to different pastures. Perhaps he can work these issues out as well, reassessing his points of view on these matters - especially if he wants to maintain his own blog which, presumably, he does. So cover up those potholes!

Shouts to Soul Supreme, David Reyneke, Brandon Rae and all the clever cats that run Potholes In My Blog, today's most hated blog (and also one of my favorites). One.

The Tape Deck '10: Volume #50


The Tape Deck '10: Volume #49


Friday, June 18, 2010

Rap Round Table, Week Ending 6/18/2010


"typewriter" by the8rgrl

Music Analysis & Reporting:

Is Hip-Hop Really Dead? by Nahshon Landrum

The 50 Worst Hip-Hop Fails of All Time by Jeff Rosenthal

Thank Yous and Threnodies: Drake’s Dull Melodrama by Jeff Weiss

How and Why Hip Hop Has Always Been Political-But Will That Continue to Be the Case? by Davey D

You Need(le) This: The Hiphop Sample Encyclopedia by Dave Segal

RZA On Dictatorships by Matthew Perpetua

Who’s really responsible for the Detox leak? by Byron Crawford

Pac Marks #1: The Demo Years by Noz

Five Hip-Hop Classics That Wouldn't Exist Without P-Funk Guitarist Garry Shider (R.I.P.) by Joshua Glazer

Should Joe Budden respond to Lil B? by Byron Crawford

Stick To Hip Hop, Please by Meka

#If2PacWereHere by David D.

Did N.W.A. Invent the Trunk Shot? by Rizoh

Is Drake the Bill Clinton of Rap? by Thomas Chatterton Williams

Ozone publisher Julia Beverly is the unlikeliest of rap moguls by Ben Westhoff

Dream Date: At long last, hip-hop wunderkind Drake has arrived by Jozen Cummings

Slim Thug goes to strip clubs primarily to eat by Byron Crawford

Why You Hate Drake, and Why You're Wrong About Hating Drake by Zach Baron

The Self-Hating Playa: On his debut album, Drake raps about how alienated he feels when he drives luxury cars and sleeps with models by Jonah Weiner

Nicki Minaj, Lil' Kim and the Curse of the Alter Ego by Maya Francis

Celebrating Tupac Shakur: Happy ReBirth-day by Kathy Iandoli

You Get No Beats: Thank Me Later. by WULU

“I Love The ’90s” (Pt. II): 1993 Pt. IV by Eric

The Legend of Tupac Amaru Shakur - Remember the Time… by Brooklyne Gipson

Turn Da Korner by MF

Drake: A Hip-Hop Sensation Falls Flat by Yohance Serrant

Drake: The softest rapper of all time by Byron Crawford

Sweating the Technique: Hip-Hop and the Jewish Problem by Joe Berkowitz

What Does Lil Kim Want? R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Brooklyne Gipson

The cell phone stomp heard ’round the world by Byron Crawford

Don’t Sweat the Techniques: Behind the Shades, the Techniques, and countless other reggae acts, there was Winston Riley by David Katz

Troubleshooting the Vocal Chain of Command by Cus and Amir Said

Album Reviews:

Drake - Thank Me Later by Jeff Weiss

Drake - Thank Me Later by Noz

Drake - Thank Me Later by Max

Drake - Thank Me Later by Ryan Dombal

Drake - Thank Me Later by Andres Vasquez

Eminem - Recovery by Jayson Greene

Eminem - Recovery by Omar Burgess

Common - Go! Common Classics by Ryan Dombal

Rhymefest - El Che by Jayson Greene

Big K.R.I.T. - K.R.I.T. Wuz Here by J. Tinsley

Plies - Goon Affiliated by Edwin Ortiz

JFK - Building Wings on the Way Down by Nicholas Candiotto

T.I. - Fuck a Mixtape by Tom Breihan

Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid by Francisco McCurry

Major Lazer/La Roux - Lazerproof by Joshua Love

Nappy Roots - The Pursuit of Nappyness by Adam Figman

Lil Jon - Crunk Rock by Slava Kuperstein

The Cool Kids - Tacklebox by Zach Kelly

Factor - Lawson Graham by Zach Cole

Ratatat - LP4 by Kevin S. Gary

Chosen Few - New World Symphony by Preach Jacobs

The Chemical Brothers - Further by Tom Breihan

Tobacco - Maniac Meat by Brandon Rae

Dr. Quandary - Beyond All Spheres of Force and Matter by Andrew Martin

Ratatat - LP4 by David Amidon

Delta Spirit - History from Below by Andrew Martin

Gilles Peterson - Havana Cultura Remixed by David Reyneke

Common - One Day It'll All Make Sense (1997) by Max

Profiles & Interviews:

The dirt on Yelawolf: A conversation with Interscope's next great hope by Jeff Weiss

Question in the Form of An Answer: Yelawolf (Unabridged Version of the LA Times Interview Above) by Jeff Weiss

Murs talks punk rock, his work ethic, and his experience with Warner Bros by Jeff Weiss

Pharoahe Monch, This Means W.A.R. by Rob Markman

DJ Trackstar: A Very Good Year by Justin Boland

Janelle Monae in Wondaland by Ann Powers

Justin Boland - The indie hip hop game by Chris Arkenberg

My Mama Named Me Dudley: An Interview with Declaime by Zach Cole

Jewel Droppin': Rsonist (of The Heatmakerz), pt. 2 by Amir Said

The Higher Concept: “Life’s Good” Part One by Justin Boland

TR Love & DJ Moe Love Release Ultramagnetic Foundation Album by Robbie

Politics:

Immortal Technique: Destination Haiti by Immortal Technique

Thoughts on Donte Johnson by ?uestlove

Democrats, Don't Do This to the Poor! by Russell Simmons

Getting Shit Done by Andrew Sullivan

Saul Alinsky comes to the Tea Party by Roger Ebert

Not Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Black Atheists, Urban America by Sikivu Hutchinson

Neoconservatism's Marxist Roots Are Showing by Andrew Sullivan

Sports:

Game 7: Lakers 83, Celtics 79 by Kevin Ding

Ron Artest validates his arrival to the Lakers with an NBA championship by Mark Medina

Kobe's Final Challenge: Is he the Greatest Laker Ever? Not until he beats Boston by Lee Jenkins

Kobe Bryant considers Jerry West the greatest all-time Laker by Mark Medina

Why Does the United Kingdom Get To Have Four National Soccer Teams? by Brian Palmer

World Cup Weirdos: International soccer managers are the strangest men in sports by Brian Phillips

Blogging:

Now in Blogs, Product Placement by J. David Goodman

Throwback:

Tupac Shakur: 'I am not a gangster' (1995) by Chuck Philips

2Pac Lost Interview from 1991 (from Juice to the meaning of Hip Hop) by Davey D

Tupac: Hellraiser by Dream Hampton

Pac, A Rebel With a Cause by Sara Vilkomerson & Benjamin Meadows-Ingram

Tupac: Resurrection by Roger Ebert

Videos:

Toy Story: The Discovery



Van Jones Speaks on Hope and Change and the Future of Progressives
(Filmed by Davey D)




Steve Perry Discusses Education with The Neptunes' Pharrell Williams



Visit Kidult!

I Heart Lizzy Caplan




Lizzy Caplan: The JILFiest JILF of all JILFs!

WATCH PARTY DOWN ... LIKE, TONIGHT!

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

Does Kobe Have the Magic?



...yup!

Ron Artest Highlights



Laugh Now, Cry Later



...or should I say laugh then, cry now? :)

Clap for Her



Thank you, Christina!

* cops Bionic *

Encore

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Still Overlooked, Pt. 2: Sixteen Underrated Songs by 2Pac


I'm sure you know by now that I'm a diehard, unapologetic 2Pac fan - so much so that you might think I was from Pakistan (*crickets*). Right. Well, another year has come by and it's time once again to wish 'Pac a happy birthday. Tupac Amaru Shakur would've been 39 years old today and Combat Jack would be as silent as his fellow Celtics supporters. A few months ago, Jack and I went back and forth over the merits of 2Pac's artistry. I think 'Pac was a genius. Jack thinks he's overrated. I couldn't disagree more. As I argued before, I'd go as far as to venture that 'Pac was - and is - underrated, or better yet underappreciated. But don't just take Michael Eric Dyson's word for it! I've compiled a quick list of 2Pac songs that I feel best demonstrate my thesis. To all you 'Pac haters out there: if these songs don't open your eyes or expand your mind, hopefully they'll at least shut your mouth! This list is far from definitive, but at least one thing is for certain: 2Pac was absolutely prolific. He's got a vault that mind-boggingly rivals that of the entire Wu-Tang Clan in sheer quantity. Respect the man's hustle and brilliance! Let's begin:


Panther Power
"Panther Power" is one of 'Pac's crudest and most direct, political raps of his career. It's also one of his earliest songs, having been written and performed during his teenage years. The lyrics reveal a conscientious, socially-aware young boy trying to make sense of a world full of lies and hypocrisies: "My mother never let me forget my history/ Hoping I was set free chains that were put on me/ Wanted to be more than just free/ Had to know the true facts about my history/ I couldn't settle for being a statistic/ Couldn't survive in this capitalistic/ Government 'cause it was meant to hold us back/ Using ignorance and drugs to sneak attack/ In my community, they killed the unity/ But when I charged them, tried to claim immunity/ I strike America like a case of heart disease/ Panther Power is running through my arteries/". The iconic line, however, finds its place in the first verse (which is repeated in its entirety once more at the end of the track): " Uncle Sam never did a damn thing for me/ Except lie about the facts in my history/". The potency of these lyrics are emotionally stirring. Listening to this track, I'm somehow always reminded of Al Sharpton's speech at the State of the Black Union in 2005.
Words of Wisdom
A highlight track off his debut album, "Words of Wisdom" finds the young 'Pac flowing as fluidly as ever as he brushes up on lost history, offering his own definition for the word 'nigga': "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished." 'Pac's Black Panther roots show signs of vibrancy as he kicks: "No Malcolm X in my history text/ Why is that?/ 'Cause he tried to educate and liberate all blacks/ Why is Martin Luther King in my book each week?/ He told blacks, if they get smacked, turn the other cheek/ I don't get it/ So many questions went through my mind/ I get sweated/ They act as if asking questions is a crime/." From 'Pac's perspective, America is spelled with three k's.
The Struggle Continues
This track has seen many incarnations and reincarnations. You might've heard it as "Military Mindz" or "Revolution". If you ever wanted to know what 'Pac meant by T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E., this is where you begin. 2Pac's sole verse on this record is frighteningly on-point as he delineates his blueprint for the ghetto youth's uprising: "Now I was born as a rebel making trouble for the devil/ Take this gang bang shit to a whole 'nother level/ Can you feel me now? Armies in every city/ Definition of power, players are you with me?/". He continues: "Organize these streets in time/ You'll have these devils petrified of a nigga in his right mind/ ... Think of the damage we could do, if we wasn't high/ Can you picture me loc? it's a thugs wrath/ Political contracts and blood baths/". 'Pac had big plans.
Lord Knows
Right out the gate, 'Pac's bars are tense and deeply introspective: "I smoke a blunt to take the pain out/ And if I wasn't high, I'd probably try to blow my brains out/ I'm hopeless/ They shoulda killed me as a baby/ And now they got me trapped in the storm/ I'm goin' crazy/". Soaking away his sorrows down a bottle of Hennessy, 2Pac surrenders to the strains, leaving his unanswered questions up to God. His attempts to make sense of all the madness around him are too much for him to cope. His own humanity is highlighted on the final verse: "Fuck the five-oh cause they after me/ Kill me if they could, I'll never let 'em capture me/ Done lost too many niggas to this gangbangin'/ Homies died in my arms, with his brains hangin'/". He continues: "Fucked up!/ I had to tell him it was alright/ And that's a lie/ And he knew it when he shook and died/". Tearing at his sinews, the scene is brutal and painful; the emotional pangs are felt. With nothing left to say to his dying friend, 'Pac cries out: "My God!"

Hold Ya Head
'Pac made it a common practice of injecting thoughts of his own afterlife into his lyrics. "Hold Ya Head" is no different: " Tonight we honor the dead, those who won't be back/ So if I die, do the same for me, shed no tears/ An Outlaw, thug livin' in this game for years/ Why worry, hope to God, get me high when I'm buried/ Knowin' deep inside only a few love me/ Come rush me to the gates of heaven, let me picture for a while/ How I lived for my days as a child/". In the final verse, 'Pac drops another ominous shot: "Let these words be the last to my unborn seeds/".
Pain
Laid atop a stirring Earl Klugh sample, "Pain" finds 'Pac facing his innermost demons. Traumatized by visions of death and destruction, he clutches tightly to his .45-caliber pistol while consuming Hennessy and weed to "take away the pain." He spits: "Got my mind on danger/ Never been a stranger to homicide/ My city's full of gang bangers and drive-bys/ Why do we die at an early age/ He was so young but still a victim of the twelve gauge/ My memories of a corpse/ Mind full of sick thoughts/". With a "mother on drugs" and no other options, 'Pac concedes to the pitfalls of ghetto life: "I'm kickin' dust up ready to bust/ I'm on the scene steady muggin' mean/ Until they kill me/ I'll be livin' this life/ I know you feel me/ There's so much pain/".
Holla at Me
I call this chin-checking music. Over three verses, 'Pac takes aim at a trio of prominent figures in his life, each of whom contributed to his downfall by some measure. Target number one is debatable to an extent, but many would argue it to be Stretch, a frequent collaborator of 'Pac's. For reasons too lengthy to discuss here, 'Pac suspected that Stretch fatally set him up. Bottom line: 'Pac felt betrayed. He lets loose on verse one: "Without your word you're a shell of a man/ I lost respect for you, nigga/ We can never be friends/ I know I'm runnin' through your head now/ What could you do?/ If it was up to you I'd be dead now/". Target number two is undeniably Biggie. 'Pac kicks a vengeful verse at his former ally: "I got shot up/ I surprised them niggas the way I got up and then/ I hit the studio/ It's time to blow the block up/". As I see it, verse three is 'Pac's response to the woman who accused him of rape, a charge he adamantly denied. Not too many rappers would feel comfortable quoting the British poet William Congreve - but not 'Pac, as he kicks: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned/". This classic line perfectly describes 'Pac's perspective, as he continues: "So much pressure on my brain while she blames me/ Secrets in the dark only her and I know/ Now I'm sittin' in the state pen, doin' time slow/".
Hellrazor
This track highlights 'Pac's rebellious, ADD-like nature. The lyrical content here is all over the walls, with a young 'Pac "cuttin class and/ Buckin' blastin', straight mashin'/ Mobbin' through the overpass laughin'/". "Destructively free-spirited" describes "Hellrazor" best, with 'Pac taking a cue from James Dean, embodying the rebel without a cause.

Last Wordz
By the time 'Pac dropped his second LP, he'd already been labeled public enemy #1 by political operatives. With Ice Cube and Ice-T at his side, 'Pac holds his own and lets out a maniacal, no holds barred assault: "Dan Quayle, don't you know you need your ass kicked/ Where was you when there was niggas in the caskets?/ Mothafucka rednecks all the same/ Fear a real nigga if he ain't balled and chained/ That's why we burn shit and wreck/ 'Cause the punk police ain't learned shit yet/ You mothafuckas gonna pay the price/ Can't make a Black life/ Don't take a Black life/ ... United we stand, divided we fall/ They can shoot one nigga, but they can't take us all/ Let's get along with the Mexicans/ And we can all have peace on the sets again/ Imagine that if it took place/ Keeping the smiles off their white face/ I ain't racist, but let's trade places/ Trace the hate 'n face it/ One nigga teach two niggas, three teach four niggas/ And them niggas teach more niggas/ And when we blast, that'll be the biggest blast you've heard/ And them is my last wordz/".
Black Cotton
Here 2Pac takes a look at the past, present and future of Black America. Looking back, 'Pac mourns: "We used to have troops but now there's no more youth to shoot/ God come save the misbegotten/ Lost ghetto souls of Black Cotton (In God's eyes)/". Exercising his preference for Malcolm X over Dr. King, 'Pac cries out: "If not peace then at least let's get a piece/ I'm tired of seeing bodies on the streets - deceased/".
Nothing 2 Lose
Born into a fatherless household with a mother who was addicted to hard drugs, 'Pac cites his unanswered prayers and his yearning to bloom out of this background. He discusses his early years as a hoodlum "cuttin' suckas with his razor blade" to get "major paid." Making his bones in this underworld of crooks and criminals, he realizes that the path he's created for himself is no safer than his initial position. He asks: "Where did I go astray?" Torn between forfeit and a willingness to persevere, he steps back to reassess the predicament. Reaching the proverbial fork in the road he concludes: "If you could walk a mile in my shoes you'd be crazy too/".
Life's So Hard
The somber Led Zeppelin sample sets the tone for this track, with 'Pac flexing his braggadocio as much as ever. Ducking shots, scoring with the ladies, smoking, drinking - most rappers throw these images around to portray a lifestyle. 'Pac's was far from fabricated. These lyrics give you that impression. He's also brutally honest about his ambitions, even if he's admitting that he's got a few screws loose: "I'd rather die young than die old and broke/ That's why I stay drunk, and I constantly smoke/ My memories as a youngsta, hangin' with the homies/ But now I'm doin' bad and them bitches don't know me/ But playa haters can't fade me/ 'Cause this is Thug Life, nigga, and we're crazy/".

Hold On Be Strong
"Hold On Be Strong" finds 2Pac reflecting his "ghetto youth", recounting perilous drive-bys, Halloween eve murders, and the sense of hopelessness he felt "dealing with the madness." It couldn't get any worse than this, as 'Pac laments: "These is the worst days/ Sometimes it hurts to pray/". But through the "pain and the rain", he's "still here", advocating resilience through adversity: "God don't like ugly/ And God don't like no quitters/ You know what Billie Holiday said, baby?/ God bless the child that can hold his own/ Y'know?/ You got to stand strong/ And when these bustas try to knock you out your place/ You stand there to they face/ Tell 'em hold on/ And be strong/ ... If you don't never leave nothin', learn one thing/ It don't stop, 'til the casket drop/ Thug, for Life... feel me?/ All my homeboys and my homegirls, stay strong/ When things get bad, especially come the first and the fifteenth/ Stay strong/".
Baby Don't Cry
Without a doubt, "Keep Ya Head Up" is one of 'Pac's most exceptional (and recognizable) songs. "Baby Don't Cry" is a sequel that stacks up to its predecessor, both in content and in quality. 'Pac's got only one short verse on this track, but it's enough to evoke depth and emotion to rival most rappers' discographies. 'Pac describes the story of a teenage girl who is abducted and subsequently raped by her captors. He doesn't just tell the tale though - he attempts to relive it: "I tried to trade places in the tragedy/ I couldn't picture three crazed niggas grabbin' me/ For just a moment I was trapped in the pain/ 'Lord come and take me'/ Four niggas violated, they chased and they raped me/ Even though it wasn't me, I could feel the grief/". Empathizing with the victim, 'Pac also attempts to guide her. It's not uncommon for people to consider suicide as an option in the wake of tragedies as described by 'Pac. But even through the toughest of challenges, 'Pac gives a reason to keep fighting: "Thinking with your brains blown, that will make the pain go?/ No!/ You've got to find a way to survive/ 'Cause they win when your soul dies/". 'Pac's message is everlasting: they can take you, they can take from you - but don't allow them to break you.
Dopefiend's Diner
Emulating Suzanne Vega's vocal harmony on "Tom's Diner", 2Pac recounts a seedy Oakland narrative. Describing a scuffle between a crack dealer and his penniless customer, the event deteriorates into a bloodbath as the dealer sprays his AK. Rushing out to witness the scene, 'Pac discovers a young girl who had been caught in the crossfire. 2Pac oozes with emotion: "Not only had the fiend died, but a small girl had been shot/ My heart could take no more, I felt a tear roll down my face/ That was daddy's bullet, but she took it in his place/ I tried to make my way through the crowd so I could go help the baby/ She could barely speak, but she whispered 'Mister, could you please save me?'/ So I screamed out 'someone help me', but I don't think they could hear/ And if they did, they didn't care/ Oh how I hated everyone there/". Out of his sense of despair, 2Pac visualizes the true evil in this picture: "The baby lie here dying and I wondered what could I do/ The camera men and newspapers had come to get their interviews/ To them it's just a story and they can't see the tragedy/ To them it doesn't matter cause it ain't and wasn't their family/". Hitting at the pit of his stomach, 'Pac's frustration dissolves into a sense of hopelessness: "I don't think I'll be back cause it'll never be the same here/ So I wipe away the tears and leave the scene the way I came here/".
Death Around the Corner
"Death Around the Corner" articulates two feelings that 'Pac expressed in his final years: on the one hand, he felt trapped. He felt boxed in by society, by his peers, his friends, by his enemies. The tunnel was getting narrower for him. At the same time, he noticed a light at the end of that tunnel. Whether 'Pac willed his own death upon himself is up for debate. But his lyrics sure seem to hint as much. At the end of verse one he admits: "Make me wanna kill my damn self/". But he fastens these words quickly. Instead of chasing death (i.e. committing suicide), perhaps death will find him first. He concedes: "I see death around the corner/". As the song begins to fade out, 'Pac verbalizes a bit more: "A real motherfucker will pick the time he goes." 'Pac was as real as they come by. Maybe he was right.


R.I.P.
Tupac Amaru Shakur

(June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crookram Takes You 'Through Windows'


Don't you love discovering great music by sheer randomness? Crookram is a downtempo/trip hop producer whose music will blow you away. His latest project, Through Windows, was released in March of this year via Budabeats, an independent net-label based in Crookram's native Hungary. The track that initially caught my eye, "A Man Named Ivan" (go figure), impressed me. After hearing the record in its entirety, I was awestruck. Stacked with a wide array of sample sources, Through Windows shows glimpses of (early) RJD2-esque stylistic diversity with its lush, atmospheric soundscapes. As instrumental LPs go, Through Windows is top notch. Best of all, Crookram and Budabeats have made it available for free under the Creative Commons license. Preview "Breakadawn", "A Man Named Ivan" and my new favorite "I Saw You" below and download the album if you like what you hear:

MP3: Crookram - "Breakadawn"
MP3: Crookram - "A Man Named Ivan"
MP3: Crookram - "I Saw You"

DOWNLOAD: Crookram - Through Windows

WEBSITE: Crookram

A Public Service Announcement from Lord Finesse


A week ago, I published a post titled Funky Technician: A Retrospective. It was my little way of paying homage to one of my favorite rap records on the heels of its twenty-year anniversary. I wrote about the record itself, as well as the career of Lord Finesse. I concluded by saying that it's time for a second awakening - a nod to his 1996 record The Awakening, his most recent solo LP. Over the years, I'd read and heard talk of a Funky Technician remix project which seemed legit. Later in 2008, a couple of promo releases popped up: Rare Selections EP Vol. 3 (download) and a 12" with remixes for Funky Technician's "Here I Come" and "Keep the Crowd Listening", both released on Finesse's Underboss Entertainment imprint. Since then I'd heard nothing - until now. Lord Finesse himself dropped by the post and had this to say:
Thanks for the love & support.. I'm humbled & honored.. I look forward to dropping the 2 Projects I'm currently working on I'm finally just about finished "the Funky Technician Remix LP.. due out early fall.. & another project called The Tru Origin Project... due early 2011... 1st single due about the same time as The Remix Project.. At the end of the day my format remains the same.. I just focus on making good music.. nothing more.. nothing less.. I'm not focused on making No commercial.. new wave, radio oriented music.. just good, rare sample & looped, heavy funky drums, melodic music.... I refuse to be.. "the Hunter captured by the game".. I'll see y'all later this year.. Thanks again...

Lord Finesse
aka The Funkyman.. aka the Underboss DITC...
It's a good day in hip hop.