Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Tape Deck '08 Discussion: Volume #30

The Day The Tape Deck Got Ill(-er)

I've taken your advice and I'm gonna try 'n put out better quality Tape Deck volumes from now on. Also, I'd like to discuss them rather than review them. For a while, I've been releasing the music without ratings and/or reviews because, quite frankly, it's a difficult task. It's a bit of a pain in the ass to have to review 40+ tracks each and every time that I release another addition to our Tape Deck series. But being that this blog is called Hip Hop Is Read, how could I not write some stuff for my readers to... read! So I've decided to discuss the tracks that appear on The Tape Deck. Yes, I'll be discussing some of my favorite tracks very loosely and liberally in this open-ended kind of format. This gives you the opportunity to gimme some feedback in the comment section. We can discuss the new music. Alright, I think you got the point!

This volume of The Tape Deck is a little different because I've included a couple of excerpts from one of my favorite films. I've added these two MP3 snippets as intro and outro tracks for Volume #30. The film I'm talking about The Day the Earth Stood Still... the original version from 1951. The film is/was a portrayal of Cold War-era paranoia and our human flaws of aggression and jumping the gun, literally sometimes. I feel that The Day the Earth Stood Still is an important film for everyone to see. It deals with social matters and dilemmas that we still face to this very day. In this post-9/11 world that we live in, The Day the Earth Stood Still is all-the-more a window into our potentially dreadful future. I've included two quotes from the film because... well, they're my favorites! The philosophy behind these quotes speaks volumes on irrational fear and willful ignorance. Also, I just thought it'd be cool to spice up The Tape Deck a bit with some extra features. I wanted to give it a bit of a Wu-Tang feel; it's not kung fu, I know... but it's still kinda odd and eccentric nonetheless. Finally, if you're interested in seeing the remake to The Day the Earth Stood Still (starring Keanu Reeves), I hope this will encourage you to first check out the original from 1951. Check out the trailer to the right for more about the film. Also, please let me know if you enjoy this inclusion of movie quotes and other quirky, oddball kinda stuff. I think it's a nifty idea, but if you feel that there should be no place for it, lemme know.

Okay, so now let's get into the music! We've got plenty of headliners for this set, namely a sizable selection from the Roc-A-Fella roster: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Freeway and Young Chris. We've also got some leaks from Common, EPMD, Busta Rhymes, Redman, The Game and more. And as always, we've also got some beneath-the-surface-type-shit that you should hear: new music from Hieroglyphics, Jay Electronica, Cory Gunz, The Black Sunn, Wordsmith, Boaz, Demevolist Music Group and MeLo-X, to name a few.

Let's start with the big names. Jay-Z's new track "Brooklyn (Go Hard)", featuring Santogold (and produced by Kanye West), has been burning up the web since its release. Personally, I like it. A lot. It's a solid track that follows in the vein of others like "Swagga Like Us". In fact, I think it's safe to say that my theory concerning Santogold has been dead on from day one: she's the U.S. version of M.I.A. Yup, I think that Santogold owes much of her success to the lane that M.I.A. filled up for that kind of music. It'd be nice to see them do a duet of sorts sometime in the future. Anyways, Jay reps hard for Biggie and Brooklyn on this track which will appear on the Notorious soundtrack, from what I'm told. Not bad. Like I said, we've also got joints by Young Chris who just wrapped up his 30 Days, 30 Verses marathon. Kudos to him for keeping up for the entire month. Now let's get him focused on making some music that's worthy of a great album!

As Chris ends his own month-long songfest, Freeway begins his own with the Month of Madness. I'm really excited about this because Freeway ain't just droppin' daily verses - he's puttin' out daily tracks! In the past, I've commented on his excellent run throughout the year, hooking up with soulful producers like Blunt and others to put out a treasure trove of great, free music. This month is poised to be really, really fun. In this volume of The Tape Deck, we've got the first two tracks from Freeway's Month of Madness. Song one -- titled, simply, "Month of Madness" -- is smooth as hell, with a mid-'90's feel. Effectively, track two is very 2pac-like, beat-wise. Check it out, you'll know what I mean. All I can say about this Month is that I'm anticipating greatness.

In other news, the EPMD album hit the web a little while back and like I said during the week, it might be one of the best albums of the year. The production is knockin' and the features are ridic'. I've included five tracks. Kinda excessive? Perhaps. But it's that good. We've got songs including Raekwon, Method Man, Redman, KRS-One and Havoc from Mobb Deep. Each one's got its own unique style and catchy flavor to it. I just can't stop playing them. I can't really pick a favorite amongst these five, but I just wanna comment on The Teacha's contribution: KRS-One brings his A-game! Just check out these bars: "I don't need the ratchet to reach yo' ass/ I'm old school, I'll off you with a piece of glass/". Stop the violence, Kris, stop the violence! No wait, it's entertaining... Keep goin'!

I've included some Common tracks as well. To be honest with you, I'm not too thrilled with his new album. Yes, I've heard it in full. No, I don't really like it. But it seems like the kind of album that tends to grow on you, so I'll probably reserve judgment on that one... for now. I do applaud him for puttin' the whole shabang out for just a buck.

Game's "Laugh" is pretty solid, featuring some good ol' west coast noir-like narratives. Meanwhile, Redman's track featuring Oh No is some ol' Ryu versus Ken shit. Go figure, it's supposedly appearing on some upcoming Street Fighter game. I also suggest y'all check out the three tracks I've included by The Black Sunn. I'm not familiar with dude, but he shot me over these tracks and I think they're worthy of some attention. Also, we've got some indie steez from Boaz ("Steel City" ain't no joke) and Wordsmith, two artists who have been running things in the blogosphere for a while now. That's about all for now... Oh, wait: Can't forget about this new Busta Rhymes remix track. Hate all you want, but I've been enjoying "Arab Money" for a while now. It's incredible to think that Busta Rhymes is a very original party anthem machine. He deserves major recognition and props in that category. In '06, let's not forget that he shook the rap game up with "Touch It". I still think that if it hadn't been for that track, Kanye would have never pollied Daft Punk for "Stronger".

That's all for now. Overall, I'd say that this volume deserves an A in quality. Much better than any previous ones. Can you imagine? I was thinking of including that Soulja Boy/Chris Brown song! Are you glad I didn't? Heh... Enjoy the music, and like I said: please feel free to join in with this discussion. 1!

Turn it up!!