More free music! Nobody can turn that down right? Oh yeah, everybody gives away free music these days... but CunninLynguists are a step above and beyond "everybody" so you should still check this one out.
Unless he can get some phone time in the day room, we won't be hearing new raps from C-Murder any time soon. UDubNews reports that incarcerated rapper Corey Miller has received additional jail time for his role in a nightclub shooting just a week after getting a life sentence on murder charges. Miller was sentenced to ten more years on two unrelated attempted murder charges but will receive time served for his years of imprisonment while awaiting trial. Hold your head up C.
It's getting troublesome people. I'm ready to re-install my land line and cancel all other forms of communication. If I get one more Farmville or Mafia Wars Application invite from a grown a** man, I'm going back to dial up internet too.
And on a lighter note...for those that appreciate diggin in the crates/ hunting for records (or those that did before the ipod killed off all the stores), here are some of my top stories/ adventures from 22 years of record collecting.
Got the Wednesday, hump day, middle of the work week blues? Let these new hip-hop videos be the cure for what ails you! Let's start with the banging boom bap beats and oddly engaging rap flow of Mr. Green & Pace Won on "She Can Be So Cold."
For a laugh, RubyHornet and DJ JS-1 have compiled their list of "The Top Ten Greatest Sell-Outs."
The animated ABN adventures of Trae Tha Truth are back with the show AFTER the show!
Our friend Trends just threw his newest song "I'm Just Playing" up on YouTube.
Here's Bekay with his new video for "I Am" and "Brooklyn Bridge" - some dope shit you can't miss!
Hip-Hop Shop favorite Sandpeople have just released an official music video for "Hate Aside."
Last but not least here's Smif N Wessun performing "Sound Bwoy Bureill" live with Jahdan Blakkamoore. Enjoy!
The other day an editor (not my editor at the Weekly) gave me an assignment I'm really not looking forward to. He wants his writers to put together their top 10 albums of the decade.
I started sifting through a decade's worth of CDs, or at least the ones I felt might qualify for such a list. When it came to hip-hop, I noticed this decade, more than any other, has seen a huge variety of styles. At the start of it we had Eminem and Nelly, decidedly different emcees, ruling the charts. We moved on to 50 Cent and Lil' Jon and then took a funky turn with Gnarls Barkley, all the while acts like Jay-Z seemed ever-present.
This got me to thinking about Connecticut hip-hop and how a decade of randomness uncannily parallels our own scene. While variety may be the spice of life, it's not the best way to build a scene, and Connecticut's scene seems to suffer from an eternal identity crisis.
THUNDAMENTALS LAUNCH NEW SINGLE “MOVE IT UP” AT SYDNEY’S CLUB77
Explosive Blue Mountains crew Thundamentals are debuting their brand new single "Move It Up" on August 28th @ Club77 in Sydney. This infectious song is the first single to drop from their anticipated debut full length album Sleeping On Your Style (due September 18th).
After the success of their 2008 self titled EP, Thundamentals embarked on tours across the country playing shows with Pegz, Spit Syndicate and Dialectrix before embarking on a massive 2009 tour with Astronomy Class.
Sleeping On Your Style was produced by Thundamentals’ own DJ Morgs and Tommy Fiasko. Sharing mic duties once again is Jeswon MC and Tuka who round out the crew.
The single launch will be the first chance you get to check out the song performed live alongside new tunes from the album. Come and check out the show and don't get caught sleeping on their style!
"Move It Up" single launch August 28th @ Club77 (Darlinghurst) Sydney, NSW w/ Nikkita, Daily Meds, Host Manifest, DJ Diaz, Mathijs Tickets: $10 + BF via Moshtix ($15 on the door)
Realizing that this decade is nearly up, Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania decided to start a series of special features. The aim is simple: to find out precisely who the "RapReviews.com Artist of the Decade" is - and reward them of course. Expect everyone else to follow his lead! You can read the previous entry for Common HERE.
Within the first three years of this decade, more things happened in Nas' world than in your entire lifespan. Scratch that – SEVEN of your lifetimes. His career was – although some disagree – in turmoil; he resurrected his reputation during the most personal, non-death related, and breathtakingly thrilling beef with another contender for Greatest MC, Jay-Z; his mother died of cancer; he met his future (and now ex-) wife, R&B superstar Kelis; and, amidst everything else, he released nigh on four albums (two of those being compilations). For that period, at least, Nas finally delivered on the promise of "Illmatic" – in terms of sheer fascination. Yet, whilst he may have won the battle with Jay-Z, Jigga won the war, in all non-artistic terms, as his career has gained momentum on any number of fronts. Nas cannot legitimately claim the same thing. But aside from playing Top Trumps Hip Hop edition with their lives, it is strange to think now that they buried the beef and have finally crafted three fantastic songs together. A ‘deadly duo' album from the two of them would be, perhaps, the last great achievement yet to occur in the rap game. Plus, you know, it would be real good, too.
"I got this locked since '91, I am the truest, Name a rapper that I ain't influenced..."
Yet for all of Jay-Z's successes, he has still always been in awe of Nas the ARTIST. Sure, Jones has developed a worrying reputation for weak beats, but, how best to put this? At the end of Jay-Z's career, he will have an amazing "Greatest Hits" collection. At the end of Nas' time in hip hop, he will command a stunning "Best Of..." compilation. There is a major difference between the two, artistically-speaking. Nas is the player that didn't win all the trophies, but was more gifted in the purest essence of the game. Criticism abounds regarding his present day approach, reliant on shock value album titles – with insufficient relevance to the issue at hand within the actual content. But if Nas doesn't say it, who else will? These other dudes are on a gravy train that they are too afraid to alight. Nas doesn't need to care anymore, and he is catering for a different audience now, a more mature one that can think on their own. Let's look at his albums in the Noughties, with unofficial scores that have the benefit of hindsight...
"Stillmatic" (2001) Is "Stillmatic" really a 5 mic or 10/10 classic? With the benefit of hindsight, no. However, is it one of the greatest comeback albums in hip hop history? No doubt. Sure, it completely conflicts with itself, resulting in more mixed messages than a 2pac LP. But who cares? It was thrilling, it resurrected LYRICISM and POLITICISM in rap, and look at how much more effort MC's put into their wordplay the following two years, plus bringing in more social themes. It may not have aged particularly well, and there are a few lesser efforts on it – meaning that his rival bettered him with "The Blueprint" – but it is still a very good effort, and it restarted his faltering career. (8.5/10)
Cool Songs: Stillmatic (Intro), Ether, Got Ur Self A..., Rewind, One Mic, What Goes Around
"The Lost Tapes" (2002) Strictly speaking, this isn't an actual studio album in the traditional sense. However, since it consists entirely of solo songs from Nas that he recorded in a studio, it should count. Also, it rocks. A grouping of previously bootlegged or unreleased tracks, this was a short sharp shock of awesome lyricism, and many, unofficially, consider this to be the closest cousin we will ever get to "Illmatic II." Either way, it proved remarkably consistent throughout, and was a superb listening experience. Do I wish that "No Ideas Original" had replaced "Braveheart Zone Out Frat Party" or whatever the fuck it was called? Yes, but this results in a great listen in its own right with "no cameos, no hype, no bullshit!" (8.0/10)
Cool songs: Doo Rags, Nothing Lasts Forever, No Ideas Original, Purple, Black Zombie, Poppa Was A Player, Fetus
"God's Son" (2002) Whilst this may prove controversial, "God's Son" is arguably THE quintessential Nas album. What about "Illmatic" or "Stillmatic" – even "Hip Hop is Dead"? His debut, stunning though it was, is actually a very carefully constructed set-piece album from team behind a wunderkind. "Stillmatic" is a great comeback LP. "Hip Hop is Dead" was well-rounded but he undercooked the concept. (Don't even get me started on "It Was Written"). But why is "God's Son" so important? Is it his BEST effort? No. Does he say lots of important-sounding things? Not particularly. However, GS is the sound of Nas in his element, relaxed, confident – in the zone. It is his most personal opus, and there is no hidden agenda: here, he is simply talking about himself and his life in thoroughly skilful ways, over (mostly) great music. As ever, a few tracks are droppable, but it is the best representation of him as a living, breathing person – not a mythical ideal. (9.0/10)
Cool Songs: Get Down, Made U Look, Last Real Nigga Alive, I Can, Book of Rhymes, Thugz Mansion, Revolutionary Warfare, Heaven
"Street's Disciple" (2004) Ahhh, Nas takes on our old foe, Sir Double of Albumville. SD was the first 2-disc set from Jones, and why not have a stab at it? It probably hastened his departure from Columbia Records a touch quicker, too, depending on the nature of his contract. There are three main producers – the genial Salaam Remi, L.E.S. and Chucky Thompson of The Hitmen – and they cover most of the of 25 or so tracks. A decade after his landmark debut, it was clear that Nas had matured as a lyricist, but also as a man. He could see the bigger picture, and he was even getting married. The album itself, for the most part, worked well enough – not quite "Life After Death" but a whole lot better than "Blueprint 2." You could cull a few and make a great Long Play (in the classic sense) and this was his foray into albums for the iTunes Playlist generation. Overall, solid with quite a few memorable moments. (7.5/10)
Cool Songs: A Message to the Feds, Disciple, Sekou Story, Just A Moment, Street's Disciple, Bridging the Gap, War, Thief's Theme
"Hip Hop is Dead" (2006) This is where Nas enters the shock title era. For future generations, it may be difficult to imagine how much genuine debate this provoked at the time. Rappers, fans, critics... Everyone agreed with or disputed the HHID claim. And that was the point – it proved a real kick up the ass to a genre that had become bloated, lazy, obsessed with corporate bullshit, not to mention half the things that made it EXCITING in the first place. Frankly, hip hop is still all those things, so it may not have single-handedly saved the rap game, but like "Stillmatic," it helped to influence another generation of MC's. The music on the album was surprisingly good, following his half-move to Def Jam, although (as ever) there are a few skippable tracks. My first listen brought real disappointment, but after a week, it was lodged in my head – and as an album, it is the truest representation of Nas the Artist, warts and all. (7.5/10)
Cool Songs: Money Over Bullshit, Where Are They Now, Black Republican, Let There Be Light, Can't Forget About You, Hustlers
"(Untitled)" (2008) Or "Nigger" to the rest of us. Controversy abounds once more, but this time it wasn't just about lil' ol' hip hop. This was real and true social commentary, about being black, the use of the word "nigger" and, ultimately, free speech. In the end, his line from "Breathe" was SO spot on: "In America, you'll never be free..." And it is true simply because, in the USA – the land of the "free" – he couldn't give his album the name he wanted. That says MORE, ultimately, than if it had been called "Nigger." Unfortunately, the album itself didn't live up to expectations. It was grown, mature and lyrically stunning. But musically and conceptually, it left a lot to be desired. Although it works comparatively well from start to finish, when broken down and analysed, it was definitely an opportunity lost, and that is a direct result of the beats. Aside from the first and last songs, if Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson had been hired to do the whole thing – with it turning out like his worshipper/stalker Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" – then this "Untitled" album could have surpassed "Illmatic." But they didn't, so it didn't. (7.0/10)
Cool Songs: Queens Get the Money, You Can't Stop Us Now, Breathe, Fried Chicken, Y'all My Niggaz, Black President
Notable Guest Appearances: "Streets of New York" (Alicia Keys); "Everything I Love" (Diddy); "Letter to the King" (The Game); "Success" (Jay-Z); "We Major" (Kanye West); "In Between Us" (Scarface)
I've been down with Trina's rough-n-rugged Floridian female approach to hip-hop for a while now, which is why I'm surprised I don't like "That's My Attitude" more. It's not as though Ian Lewis produced a bad track, even though it seems to be imitating the whistling melodies of today's Southern rap scene as opposed to innovating. It's not as though Trina's raunchy and unapologetic rap got toned down: "My waist skinny, my ass mo' fatter than you/Sorry for being conceited, that's just my attitude/Get on my level hoe, you ain't on my latitude." She's sounding all the right notes, but on some level she's almost parodying herself, following her own formula a little too perfectly. Her fans will be happy with this song, but if Trina wants everyone to get on her level, it would be nice to see her take it to a higher level first.
Artist: KRS-One & Buckshot f/ DJ Revolution Title: Survival Skills Label: Duck Down Records
The title track off upcoming September 15th album uniting Buckshot & KRS-One takes the momentum of "Robot" and keeps it flowing, with both rappers sounding inspired by the Ill Mind track. KRS: "Y'all want the crown/But why should I battle you if next week they gonna put you in the ground?/That's a waste of time." Buckshot: "Who cares? They want that pop shit, that soft hip-hop shit/That KRS and Buck not shit." Unapologetic and defiant, these two giants of the New York rap scene take their philosophy on the industry from the earliest days of Kris Parker's career, and if you don't like it they'll walk right up to your face and DISS YOU. Fortunately that's not going to happen - this is another win for rap's best new tag team.
Artist: Dorrough f/ Jim Jones, Nipsey Hussle, Snoop Dogg, Soulja Boy Title: Ice Cream Paint Job (G-Mix) Label: E1 Entertainment
Fans of the original 2Much produced track will be happy to know the G-Mix makes only minor changes to the arrangement of the instrumental. As a result the G-Mix can be considered an "extended mix" of the original song, leading with another verse from Dorrough bragging that "down in Dallas Texas yeah it's crunk like that" and he can "pull a bad chick off eye contact." The whole point of the G-Mix is to show off, and I don't mean the candy paint job - it's to prove the original version was such a huge hit Dorrough can pull Jim Jones, Nipsey Hussle, Snoop Dogg and Soulja Boy to do the remix. The remix would have been more G without Nipsey Hussle and Soulja Boy bloating the song - they're just overkill. That won't derail Dorrough's fast track to success in 2009 though, so enjoy a brand new take on one of this year's surprise monster hits.