Archive for the ‘ Classic Material ’ Category

Are The FundaMentals back for 2009?


King Koncepts – Remember
Project: Ambershine
(Kemetic Suns, 1997)

FundaMentals

FundaMentals

FundaMentals

FundaMentals

King Koncepts

King Koncepts

King Koncepts

King Koncepts

Kemetic Suns

Kemetic Suns

Kemetic Suns

Kemetic Suns

Join ’em on Facebook

Advertisements

Kwest Tha Madd Lad


Kwest Tha Madd Lad

Anatomy Of An Ass Whippin’ Download
from These Are My Unreleased Recordings (2007, No Sleep)
BONUS: 101 Things To Do While I’m With Your Girl Download
Lubrication Download

In a response to a Hip Hop “Where Are They Now?” question, Queens lyricist, Kwest Tha Mad Ladd finally resurfaces. Connecting with No Sleep Recordings, Kwest is releasing to the world all the joints that did not make his first album. Originally signed in 1992 to Rick Rubin’s American Recordings after a strong showing in The New Music Seminar and other NYC emcee battles, Kwest was slated to release his “This Is My First Album” LP in 1994. Due to label delays, the LP (which was completed in 1994) was not released until 1996; and then with poor promotion and limited distribution. Still, the album produced the underground classics “Lubrication” and “101 Things To Do With Your Girl.”

Dismayed at his experience on a major label, Kwest opted out of his record deal and has hardly recorded since. According to Kwest, during his stay on American Recordings, he recorded over 50 songs, many of which were not present on his debut. “This Is My First Album” has since become regarded as a sleeper Hip Hop classic by many enthusiasts. With his combination of humor, storytelling ability, and remarkable freestyle talents; many now view Kwest Tha Madd Lad as an incredible talent that was never allowed reached his full potential.

Seldom seen or heard from, Kwest’s current whereabouts have been in discussion on many a Hip-Hop message board. However, through a twist of fate, Kwest reconnected with his old A&R man, Dan Charnas, who produced a good part of “This Is My First Album.” Dan provided Kwest with the masters of many of the unreleased sessions from the American projects. Kwest says that these tracks represented some of the diversity that wasn’t present on the debut. “More battle raps, stories, and concepts”, states Kwest. “The label wanted to stay with the sex topics, but I had other material too.” These recordings are an addendum to the first LP and they complete the story of a project that Hip Hop purists today regard as creatively genius. Featuring production by L.A. Jay (The Pharcyde), Tony D (of Poor Righteous Teachers fame), Fat Jack (Project Blowed) and others.

This is vintage mid-Nineties Hip Hop at its best.

R.I.P. Pimp C (UGK)


Today we lost yet another soldier in the hiphop game. Master of Southern swagger and always speaking his mind with no strings attached. A veteran with over 20 years on the mic. Im at a loss for words here. R.I.P. Pimp C

If you have never heard UGK before, Get Familiar!

You Don’t Know Me (1996) Download
Take It Off (1999) Download
Choppin’ Blades (2001) Download
Intl Players Anthem (feat. Outkast) (2007) Download
Two Types of Bitches (feat. Dizzee Rascal) (2007) Download

Common – thisisme then: The Best of Common


Common

Resurrection Download
Take It EZ Download
from thisisme then: The Best of Common (2007, Relativity)

In 1992, 20-year old Chicago-born and raised freestyler Common Sense (as he was first known) could hardly imagine where the future would take him. One decade later, his heartfelt rhymes and uncompromising hip-hop attitude earned him his first Grammy Award (Best R&B Song for the #1 “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” with Erykah Badu), and the first of several high-profile movie roles. Film has expanded the scope of his art into new directions, climaxing with his part in American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, opening November 2007. Four months earlier, Common’s most recent album, Finding Forever (produced mostly by Kanye West) debuted at #1 the Billboard Top 200 Album chart – Common’s first #1 debut. In the school of hip-hop noted by the positivism of such literate (and often jazz-influenced) artists as De La Soul, Digable Planets, the Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Jurassic 5, Gang Starr, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and others – Common has staked out his own unique and important position. That position is explored fully in the CD booklet liner notes essay written by Leah Rose.

The road to Relativity began on Chicago’s teeming South Side, where Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. (son of pro basketball player Lonnie Lynn) was raised by his single mother, a doctor, in an environment isolated from the feuding East Coast and West Coast rap scenes. He admired mc’s from both factions – Rose’s liner notes cite “Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, and the other MCs he grew up admiring … everything from Rakim to N.W.A.” He was even in a high school rap group of his own before going off to college. At Florida A&M, he continued to write and record demo material. In October 1991, some of his rhymes were featured in The Source magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” column, which led to a signing offer from Relativity, and a slot on its primarily core-metal label, Combat.

Dropping out of college to the disappointment of his mom, Common packed off to New York with an entourage of 15 Chicago friends, and his producers No I.D. (aka Immenslope) and Twilite Tone. Can I Borrow A Dollar? was recorded in a fast two weeks at Calliope Studio (where A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul made some of their early records). The rapper was barely out of his teens when the album was issued in September 1992, and spun off two well-received hits on the Rap charts, “Take It EZ” and “Breaker 1/9.” They were distinguished by their decidedly breezy jazz-inflected non-gangsta approach – at a time when gangsta was dominating rap.

Three more tracks from Can I Borrow A Dollar? are included on thisisme then: “Soul By The Pound” (the third single, and first to cross over from Rap to the R&B chart; from this point onward, most of his singles were crossovers), “Charms Alarm,” and “Heidi Hoe,” produced by the Beatnuts, the album’s only outside production.

A fast-track process of socio-cultural, religious and musical maturation took place over the next two years, which ran the gamut from absorbing John Coltrane (who “influenced the way he put his rhymes together,” Rose writes) to exploring Islam via the teachings of the Koran. This personal growth took shape on October 1994’s Resurrection, the second Relativity album, as he moved over to the Ruthless imprint. Most significant was the single “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” his personification of hip-hop as a lover who has become debased and exploited – an allegory that was openly critical of West Coast gangsta style.

“I Used To Love H.E.R.” sparked a well-publicized cross-country feud with Ice-Cube that was eventually mediated by Louis Farrakhan. In addition to the follow-up title tune single, “Resurrection,” the album is represented by “Book Of Life” and the track that gives this compilation its title, “thisisme.” The success of Resurrection also had another unexpected result, when a reggae group named Common Sense threatened to sue unless he changed his name – thus, he became Common.

By the mid-’90s, so-called ‘alternative rap’ had come into its own, eschewing lurid themes of misogynist sex and violence, in favor of thoughtful rhymes that assayed social and political and interpersonal consciousness. Common was at the center of this movement, and one of the reasons that One Day It’ll All Make Sense, his next album, was not completed until September 1997, was because of the quorum of like-minded hip-hop and R&B artists who wanted to get on-board. Another reason was the profound effect on Common of the news that his girlfriend was pregnant (his daughter was born soon after the album was released). Impending fatherhood added another layer of responsibility and introspection to Common’s poetry.

thisisme then includes five high-profile guest appearances from some (some!) of Common’s collaborators on One Day It’ll All Make Sense, starting with “Retrospect For Life” with Lauryn Hill – who gave birth to her own first child the month before the album release. The track was issued as a non-chart single with a video directed by Hill. The second single was “Reminding Me (Of Sef)” with fellow Chicago R&B singer Chantay Savage, which became a Top 10 Rap hit.

Other notable partners from One Day It’ll All Make Sense heard on this compilation are neo-soul icon Erykah Badu (“All Night Long”), whose debut album was issued at the beginning of 1997; Atlanta’s Goodie Mob heavyweight Cee-Lo Green (“G.O.D. [Gaining One’s Definition]”), nearly a decade before Gnarls Barkley; and New Yorker Q-Tip (Intro/Outro on “Stolen Moments Pt. III”), the founding leader of A Tribe Called Quest, who was about to begin his solo career in 1998, when the Tribe disbanded. In 2007, Common and Q-Tip have organized a supergroup named the Standard.

The audio portion of thisisme then ends with “High Expectations,” Common’s contribution to the Relativity movie soundtrack of Soul In The Hole, a 1997 documentary about Brooklyn playground basketballers who dream of turning pro. Common was in the company of Wu Tang Clan, Dead Prez, M.O.P., Big Pun, Exzibit, Mobb Deep, and others.

Following his initial success at Relativity, Common was signed to major label MCA in 1999, where he scored an R&B hit single with “The Light” in 2000. It sent his first album for the label, Like Water for Chocolate, to Top 5 R&B and RIAA gold. In 2002, Common’s Electric Circus album managed a Top 20 R&B hit with “Come Close To Me” featuring Mary J. Blige. But it was Common’s collaboration with Erykah Badu on “Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop)” from the Fox/MCA soundtrack of the Taye Diggs movie Brown Sugar, that won him his first Grammy Award: Best R&B Song, as a writer (shared with Badu). Interestingly, the song was an extension of the personification concept first suggested in 1994, on “I Used To Love H.E.R.”

Common was heard from again in 2005 with Be, his first album produced by Kanye West, a #1 R&B/#2 pop smash that passed the RIAA gold mark without the benefit of a major hit single – although “Testify,” “The Corner,” and “They Say” collected nearly a dozen BET, Grammy, NAACP Image, MTV VMA, Soul Train, and Vibe Awards nominations. To his credit, Common had become a true album artist, who had transcended the singles market – as proved by the success of Finding Forever this past summer.

With music as his artistic foundation, Common has followed the footsteps of other rappers (such as Ludacris and Mos Def) into film. His first support role was last year’s Las Vegas-based action-comedy Smokin’ Aces, starring Ray Liotta and Jeremy Piven. Following his current role in American Gangster, Common will be seen in two films next year: The Night Watchman, a rogue cop thriller with Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, and Forest Whitaker, written by James Ellroy; and Wanted, the adaptation of the graphic comic novel, starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

“Common’s first three albums are truly a coming of age,” Leah Rose concludes. “As one of rap music’s most talented MCs, he literally grew up in the music that his loyal listeners still cherish more than a decade after its initial release. This collection of songs draws from that much missed era in hip-hop, when lyrical prowess was the hallmark of a rapper’s success.”

“It would be hard to imagine hip-hop without Common Sense.” – Leah Rose

Kurious – A Constipated Monkey


Kurious

Baby Bust It (feat. Casual & The Grimm Reaper) Download
Uptown Shit Download
from A Constipated Monkey (2007, Amalgam Digital)
originally released in 1994
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Of all the golden era rap records that are known to inspire feelings of nostalgia in today’s jaded listener, it is possible that Kurious (the rapper not the monkey from children’s books) Jorge’s “A Constipated Monkey” tugs at a b-boy’s heartstrings the hardest because Harlem’s Kurious embodies the naturally positive and joyous attitude that is romantically linked to hip-hop of the past. A Constipated Monkey is widely regarded by many avid hip hop fans as one of the most slept upon albums in Hip Hop History! Features immaculate production from The Beatnuts, Daddy Rich, Prime Minister Pete Nice, The SD50’s and Kurious Jorge himself. Pick this up, as the re-release has some bonus tracks as well.

Styles of Beyond – 2000 Fold


Styles of Beyond

Killer Instinct Download
Winnetka Exit Download
Easy Back It Up Download
from 2000 Fold (1999, Ideal)
Buy at iTunes Music Store

The now classic debut album from LA’s finest – Styles of Beyond. Featuring the vocal talents of MC’s Ryu and Takbir. With production by Divine Styler, Vin Skully, DJ Cheapshot, Bilal Bashir, DJ Rhettmatic of the World Famous Beat Junkies, and many more. With guest appearances by Divine Styler, DJ Rhettmatic, Click Tha Supa Latin, Space Boy Boogie X, and many more. Features the hit single – “Killer Instinct”.

Disciples of the camp of Divine Styler, Los Angeles’s Styles of Beyond lack the spiritual commitment of their mentor yet more than make up for it with deft rhyme construction, a hungry battle attitude, and a cosmic-comic understanding of the world around them. Their sound is a cross between that of Mobb Deep and Camp Lo, mixing casual storytelling with penetrating insult, and whether it’s dealing with interdimensional transmissions, lyrical transgressions, or biological transformations, MCs Takbir and Ryu do it with class and finesse. The production, largely supplied by Vin Skully, is uniformly outstanding, abusing the sampler and the turntable to penetrating depths. As Takbir says on “Styles of Beyond,” they’ll continue to be “the number 3 letters on your flip phone: D-E-F till my death.”

Biz Markie – Ultimate Diabolical


Biz Markie

Make The Music With Your Mouth Biz Download
Just A Friend Download
Spring Again Download
Let Me Turn You On Download
from Ultimate Diabolical (2007, Cold Chillin)

Although he’s known primarily for the crossover hit “Just a Friend,” to categorize Biz Markie’s career on the basis of that song would be wholly unjust. “The Ultimate Diabolical” sets the record straight. As a member of the stylistically diverse Juice Crew, the formidable clique that included Big Daddy Kane’s slick debonairness, Roxanne Shante’s defiant b-girl stance, and the tales of hard-knock raconteur Kool G. Rap, Biz Markie’s clown-prince character more than held his own. Biz Markie’s manic energy and unbridled persona paved the way for distinctive MCs like Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Busta Rhymes. The Biz’s deft beatboxing skills, humorous storytelling, and freestyle finesse are all clear on undisputed classics like “Nobody Beats the Biz”, “Vapors”, and “Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz.” But it doesn’t end there, flip the hybrid disc over to watch six full length music videos shot by the expert lens of “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels. Through in the exclusive, never before seen photography by George Dubose and this fun and funky career retrospective succeeds in giving credit where it is due and truely proves to be the “Ultimate Diabolical”.

Advertisements