Friday, February 26, 2010

Miscellaneous Post of the Day

If there's one thing that I despise about the music industry, it's when labels try and tell artists how to make their music. As if the artist doesn't know their audience well enough. Obviously there are certain demographics that you want to reach out to, but at the end of the day if the artist is top-notch, case in point with Lupe Fiasco, let the artist do their thing. Long story short, Lupe turned in his album to Atlantic recently, and apparently they handed it back to him asking him to make some "changes." In my opinion, just let the man do his job and make great music... he clearly knows what he's doing. Anyways, you can read Lupe's full account of the situation here.

In the coming days, I'm going to post the next entry into the "Behind the Boards" series. Part 6, which will feature none other than the lengendary DJ Premier, will be one of the best yet. Premo is widely regarded as the king of Hip Hop production, and when he speaks, you best listen. Recently, he was on Sean C & LV's (two members of Diddy's production crew, The Hitmen) radio show discussing the art of sampling in Hip Hop culture. As a fan of sample-based beats, I found it pretty interesting and felt it should be shared...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'Cause DJ Quik's More Gifted Than Santa

If there's one producer/artist who doesn't get the attention he deserves, it has to be DJ Quik. Quik has been killin' it for years, and is one of my favorite producers (he, too, will get his own post for "Behind the Boards"). Quik, like Dr. Dre, is not only known for his production abilities, but his immaculately clear and crisp mixes. Unfortunately, until Quik teamed up with fellow West Coast MC, AMG, a lot of people my age had not heard of him. Together as The Fixxers, Quik and AMG released "Can U Werk With Dat," which ended up becoming a pretty popular song. My favorite song that they released together was "Trouble," which was and still is a dope track. I've posted the video for it, below...

The main reason I decided to do a post on DJ Quik is a few months ago he and Kurupt, of The Dogg Pound, released an album called BlaQKout, to some pretty rave reviews. It seems to have flown under the radar, so I felt it was only right to give a solid album and a legend in the game some shine.

DJ Quik & Kurupt- "9x's Outta 10"

DJ Quik & Kurupt- "Do You Know"

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Energy You Givin' Off Is So Unfamiliar

If there's one man keeping Hip Hop from becoming tired and stale, it has to be Jay Electronica. If you've been keeping up with us, you've probably noticed that The Orlando Magic and myself are pretty big fans of this guy. "Exhibit A" was my favorite Hip Hop song of 2008, and the same can be said of "Exhibit C" for 2009, so it felt only right to post two recent videos of these two songs.

A month ago, a short teaser was released for "Exhibit A." I thought it was dope the first time I saw it, but the more I revisited it, the more it grew on me. It seems that the video features the same footage that was used for the "Dear Moleskin" preview, but it's cool nonetheless.

Apparently Jay Elec was over in Europe, and there are various videos/pictures of him playing in Lon
don and Amsterdam recently. I decided to post a vid of him performing "Exhibit C" while he was
in Amsterdam, and it shows that the dude can put on a solid show as well. I'm definitely looking
forward to having the opportunity to see him live.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Behind the Boards Pt. 5: Kanye West

No man has done more for Hip Hop over the past 6 years or so, than Kanye West. By now, everyone knows that he is a mega-star within the music world, but most people know him as an artist, not as a producer. Hopefully, everyone knows by now that he does pretty much all of the production on his albums, but even fewer people know he's produced for artist's like Jay-Z, NaS, Talib Kweli, Common, Alicia Keys, The Game, and the list goes on... Kanye is a genius behind the boards, and is one of the greatest Hip Hop producers ever.

1) Talib Kweli- Get By

The song that established Kweli on a more mainstream level, "Get By" was and still is, one of Kanye's greatest creations. Utilizing a sample from the song "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone, Kanye flips the piano chords into an unforgettable beat.

2) Common- The Corner

In my opinion, the gulliest beat that Common has ever rhymed over, and possibly my favorite Common song. "The Corner" is so vivid in its imagery, with Common spittin' knowledge and Kanye providing the perfect backdrop, it's hard to imagine a song that is much better than this.

3) Jay-Z- A Dream

Without question one of the most overlooked Jay-Z songs, "A Dream" is simply epic. Kanye laces the beat with an ill guitar sample, and Jay does some of his best storytelling ever. The Notorious B.I.G. sample is a nice addition, but the production is what puts this one over the top.

4) Jay-Z- Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

"Izzo" is the first big song that Kanye produced. Along with "Izzo," Kanye produced "Heart of the City," "Takeover," and "Never Change" off of The Blueprint. Kanye, Just Blaze and Bink!, produced the lion's share of the album. Izzo ended up as high as #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

5) Kanye West- We Major

One of my alltime favorite Kanye songs, "We Major" is just out of hand. The horns make the song so grandiose, it sounds like the soundtrack fit for a king. For some reason I feel like it gets overlooked since it wasn't a single, but for me, it's one of the standout cuts on Late Registration.

6) Kanye West- Slow Jamz

"Slow Jamz" is the first Kanye song I remember, and it was an absolute jam. Jamie Foxx and Twista added their own flavor in to create a great song. "Slow Jamz" came out around the same time "Through the Wire" was released, and together they proved to be a potent mix, and helped establish Kanye as an artist.

7) The Game- Dreams

"Dreams" was a standout track off of The Documentary, and that's no small feat. The Documentary had some of the hottest tracks in recent memory. Kanye sampled the song "No Money Down" by Jerry Butler, but he chopped and edited it in a way that made the song completely his own.

8) Jay-Z- Takeover

"Takeover" is one of those classic 'beef' songs. Primarily aimed at NaS, although Mobb Deep caught hell as well, when Jay-Z dropped this at Hot97's Summer Jam back in the day everyone went crazy. It is the track that started the now epic feud between Jay-Z and NaS, and to this day it holds its own as one of the greatest 'beef' tracks ever.

9) Alicia Keys- You Don't Know My Name

One of the more underrated Kanye beats, "You Don't Know My Name," seems to get lost in his catalogue. It's definitely my favorite Alicia Keys song, and one of my favorite beats. 'Ye provided the perfect palette for Alicia with this one.

10) Kanye West- Last Call

"Last Call" might be my favorite Kanye song. The way he flipped Bette Midler's "Mr. Rockefeller," is simply genius. It doesn't get much better than that, plus the narration at the end is pretty cool as well.

Honorable Mention: Slum Village- Selfish, Twista- Overnight Celebrity, Kanye West- Gold Digger, Jay-Z- Lucifer, Scarface- Guess Who's Back, Talib Kweli- Guerrilla Monsoon Rap

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bring Da Ruckus

As one of my favorite producers, anytime I see a RZA-produced song I have to listen to it, no matter who the artist is. Case in point, I stumbled across a song by this artist named City Haze, who has a mixtape coming out called Star of the City. The song has a dope Chinese/Kung Fu/Wu-Tang type harp sample, and Haze holds his own over this dope RZA track.

The 24 Hour Karate School

There's a movement starting from within Dame Dash's DD172 complex. It seems like the dude is really doing something special from behind those walls, and with artists like Mos Def, Jay Electronica, The Cool Kids, and Curren$y doing a lot of work there, it's hard to argue otherwise. Ski Beatz, most known for producing "Dead Presidents 2" and "Feelin' It" off of Jay-Z's first album Reasonable Doubt, is releasing a mixtape called The 24 Hour Karate School. This "school" is apparently the nickname for the music studio within the DD172 complex. Jay Electronica, Jim Jones, Curren$y, The Cool Kids, Nikki Wray, Jean Grae, and Mos Def are all making appearances.

Below I've posted a 13-minute long preview of the mixtape, as well as a radio rip for the song "Prowler 2," which a lot of people have been looking forward to due to the amount of great MC's that are featured on it.

Also, the people over at put together this trailer for the mixtape...

Monday, February 08, 2010

Miscellaneous Post of the Day

Another Monday... luckily I got plenty of music/info to help everyone get through the day. DD172 mainstay, Curren$y, dropped a new mixtape today called, Smokee Robinson. It's hosted by Don Cannon, who is one of my favorite DJ's and producers. To be honest, I haven't given Curren$y a chance up until this point, so hopefully this mixtape will show me why everyone's been talkin about this dude.

A new artist I'm really excited about is this dude Hayes, from Detroit. He was recently signed to Aftermath, and Dr. Dre and Timbaland have both agreed to co-produce his debut CD. Who knows when it'll drop, since Aftermath is notorious for pushing albums back/never releasing them. However, the prospect of a Dre and Timbo co-produced CD sounds too amazing not to think about. Plus, from what I've heard thus far, the kid is pretty dope. Check out his mixtape, below.

Also, check back later this week as I'm going to post parts 5 & 6 of "Behind the Boards."

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Miscellaneous Post of the Day

I've been slacking with my posts this week, so I decided to bring you all some heat on this Super Bowl Sunday. A couple days ago, a song leaked from Rick Ross' camp, and it was believed to be "Maybach Music 3," but it turns out the song is called "Veteran's Day," and it's off of Ross' new CD,
Teflon Don. It features Lil Wayne & Birdman, with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League doing the work behind the boards. The song is fire so check it out.

I'm pumped to buy Freeway & Jake One's new collaboration album, The Stimulus Package. First of all, the packaging is one of the coolest I've seen in years, and all the songs that have leaked are dope. Here's another heater that leaked recently...

Here's a video promoting that album...

As I've stated before, I'm actually pretty excited for Erykah Badu's new album, New
Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh. Now, we have the first official single... a real smooth,
soulful track called "Window Seat." It's exactly the kind of song I'd like to listen to on a
Sunday afternoon, and what I've come to expect from Ms. Badu.

36 Years ago, today, James "Jay Dee aka J Dilla" Yancey was born. Although Dilla-Dawg
passed away four years ago, his music continues to live on. His production is what made
me fall in love with Hip Hop and I definitely miss hearing new stuff from him. Although
I'm sure he has plenty of beats locked away in the archives, it's sad to know that he'll
never make a new beat again. In his honor, I decided to post the video of one of my favorite
Dilla songs, "Won't Do," below.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Miscellaneous Post of the Day

This morning, two highly anticipated mixtapes dropped, and both have created quite a buzz since leaking just a few hours ago. B.o.B. (who I'm going to do a "Who's Next" post on soon) released his May 25th mixtape, which features production from Kanye West as well as The Alchemist. May 25th represents his release date for his upcoming album The Adventures of Bobby Ray.

For the longest time, I overlooked Bun B as an MC. I dunno why, but for whatever reason I never got into UGK until a couple years ago. This morning, Bun released his new mixtape No Mixtape. From what I've heard so far, Bun is most definitely on his A-game. I'm not a big fan of southern synthesized beats (I prefer funked out samples a la Pimp C and OutKast, at least when it comes to southern Hip Hop), but Bun keeps it 'trill' all the way through.

Last but not least, the people over at Dame Dash's "Creative Control," released a video of The Cool Kids and Jay Electronica killin' it at DD172's 'Under 100' venue. It's a cool vid, so check it out...