Archive for the ‘Hip Hop’ Category


Posted: February 21, 2008 by dillion in Hip Hop, Rap

Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ to fuck with! From December 2007. Live rap is rarely great (and this ain’t either), but it’s often interesting (and this is).

A few tastes, then a zip.

Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit
Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
Fish (Ghostface)
Duel of the Iron Mic (GZA)
It’s Yourz
Liquid Swords
Ice Cream
Incarcerated Scarfaces
One Blood Under W
Do You Really (Thang Thang)
Cash Still Rules
Protect Ya Neck
As My Blood Runs Black
Tar Pit
Method Man
Spoken tribute to ODB
Shimmy Shimmy Ya
Brooklyn Zoo

JOELL ORTIZ-“Brick: The Bodega Chronicles”

Posted: February 6, 2008 by dillion in Hip Hop, Indie

Last year, Joell Ortiz dropped his debut album, “The Brick: Bodega Chronicles.” It landed like, well, a brick. Nobody I know picked up on it, and that’s too bad because the album is dope. To be a good MC, you have to have the lyrical ability to constantly surprise, and you need quality production. But above all, you must have flow: There must be something about your delivery that’s unique, that makes people want to listen to you. Otherwise, rap is just words spat quick or slow. Ortiz, from Brooklyn, is a well-rounded guy, and it shows in his style. He scored 1400 on his SATs (or so he’s claimed), he was offered a basketball scholarship, and he has been signed by Dr. Dre to Aftermath (although I read a rumor recently that that deal has already gone south), and he’s recorded with Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap, so he’s starting to get heat. It’s time for you to catch the man whose been drawing comparisons to Big Pun (and, even better, not Fat Joe). He has plenty of street rhymes, like “Caught Up;” war stories like “Night In My P’s;” a shout-out cut (“Hip Hop”); and philosophizes politically on “Modern Day Slavery.” If that sounds like he’s trying to be all things to all people, there definitely is a little bit of a man-trying-to-find-his-voice feel to the album, but it’s a tight, solid release that shows tons of potential.

The real hot tracks here are the 125 grams songs. The cuts are the running theme of the Brick album.

I”m going to offer you a cut off of Brick, but a few other cuts, too, to show off his skills.

125 Part 4-Joell Ortiz (off Brick: The Bodega Chronicles)

Ups & Downs-Joell Ortiz. I copped this off of spine magazine. Great hook. Produced by Statik Selektah.

Warfare Joe Budden with Joell Ortiz. This track, produced by The Klasix, is off Joe Budden’s instant classic Mood Music 3.5. This year looks like the year we’ll finally get a second Joe B album. Of course, last year looked like that, too. And so did the year before that . . .

Ghetto-Big Noyd and Joell Ortiz. From Noyd’s upcoming album, Illustrious. I think Joell blows him out here.

It Could Be Anything-Lumidee with Jugganot & Joell Ortiz. I’m not a big Lumidee fan, but Scott Storch made a hot beat here, and Joell kills it.

In the Clip-Nino Bless Featuring Styles P, Kool G Rap, Joel Ortiz. A pass-the-mic mixtape track. The weakest cut up here, for sure, but Styles P and Joell have good verses.

Hip Hop (remix feat. jadakiss and saigon). If you just download one track, make it this one.


Posted: January 28, 2008 by dillion in Hip Hop

In the zip file below, you’ll find 18 unreleased freestyles of various quality and length from some of the most popular indie rappers around: Slug (of Atmosphere), Aesop Rock, Eyedea (of Eyedeas and Abilities), and Blueprint (of Soul Position). Joining them are Illogic and Sage.

I know most f you readers aren’t hip hop fans, but I also know that some of you are. If you appreciate these posts, please drop me a comment so I know to keep ’em coming.

Indie rock can’t be all we listen to, can it?

ALII VEGAS-America’s Prince

Posted: January 16, 2008 by dillion in Hip Hop
Ali Vegas has taken the rare step of releasing a mixtape with original production by incredible DJs and producers like Premier and Scott Storch, all in advance of his May album, Generation Gap 2: The Prequel. If you don’t know, Ali is a Queens rapper, just 25 but he’s been rapping since the late 1990s, calling himself the “Prince of New York.” He’s recognized by many as a comer–do yourself a favor and check it out.

America’s Prince Mixtape – Tracklisting

1. Intro
2. Bloodline
3. That’s Where I’m From (feat. Beezo)
4. King Of NY
5. Pushing Green (feat. Troubleman)
6. Alpha Beta Rapper (feat. Whip Montez, Siah-Mez & Secret)
7. Jump
8. Always Forgive
9. The Little Light
10. Street Life (feat. Troubleman)
11. Walking With Your Head Down (feat. S.O.L.I.D.)
12. Mirror
13. War
14. Please
15. You Don’t Want It With Me (feat. Siah-Mez, Laura, & Storm P.)
16. Hustle Hard


Posted: January 11, 2008 by dillion in Hip Hop

I may not be the biggest Del The Funky Homosapien fan in the world, but I’m enough of one to get excited about the pre-release of a track off of Def Jux’s Eleventh Hour. Del’s “Mistadabolina,” from his “I Wish My Brother George Was Here” album, is club rap at its best and most intelligent. I’ve got high hopes for the album, seeing as how Del was part of Deltron 3030 and worked with the Gorillaz.

Bubble Pop


Posted: December 18, 2007 by dillion in Hip Hop, Indie

Merry Christmas to all!

The Cassettes offer a free EP download, all covers, including a clean version of Liz Phair’s Fuck and Run!

Pitchfork’s good for something: An Okkerville River mixtape of rarities from their 2008 tour and elsewhere!

One of the most anticipated mixtapes of the year, the great and underrated Joe Budden’s Mood Music 3, get it before the labels squash it. If you’ve never heard Joe before, give him a try. A more viscerally honest rapper, you’ll never find. Rapidshare

And finally, The Silent Years want you to hear their first album, free of charge. The Silent Years are currently holed up in a studio from 5 pm until 7 am daily mixing their new album, “The Globe” with Chris Coady (TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear, Blonde Redhead). Very cool, very generous. Mediafire.

The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost of major-label hip hop. I’m splitting this entry between all three albums, because each offers something special but all three are, at bottom, no better than industry rap. I don’t say that like it’s a bad thing—you won’t find a bigger fan than me of The Black Album – but corporate hip hop as a rule lacks a deep racial or political message: It scratches the surface, but doesn’t go deep. For depth, you have to go to The Coup, Blue Scholars, Brother Ali, etc. It also tends to have a single point of view, even if it tells that view through multiple voices. In other words, it generally doesn’t confound expectations or, if it does so, it does it in a safe manner. Again, that doesn’t mean it isn’t as good as underground rap. It just is what it is. It’s like comparing Bruce Springsteen to Arcade Fire. Bruce has the bigger influence, but Arcade Fire is more provocative.

Having said that, all three of these records are great. So why spit the baby? Because in terms of a banger—a single that can hit at a club—there’s just nothing better than Ye’s “Stronger.” When you’re looking for tunes to make your foot hit the gas pedal and peel miles of highway away in minutes, the Steely Dan samples on “Champion” or LIl Wayne’s verses on “Barry Bonds,” top anything on American Gangster or Hip Hop Is Dead (which was released too late for me to review last year). And, generally, the beats on Graduation can carry even Kanye’s dumbest, most infantile rhymes (“Klondike/blonde dyke” anyone?).

But for a Lil’ Wayne hook that shows skill and creativity, you’re better off turning to Brooklyn 2.0. For a record that proves me wrong—major label hip hop is not dead, and can still be a force with emotional and philosophical impact—every song on American Gangster speaks on many levels. Unlike Kingdom Come, which often felt forced, AG tells the tale of a street hustler who lost his soul to the game but, despite his successes, actually misses his soul. Jay-Z actually pulled off the first rap album about an inner child. And when it comes to mic skills, it’s undebatable that Jay trumps Kanye. After all, what did all the critics compare Jay-Z’s new album to? Why, his last album of course! Proof that there simply is nobody better at this than Jay-Z. But as a producer, Kanye is far more
skilled than Puff Daddy.

Which brings us to NaS. Hip Hop Is Dead is a true masterpiece, combining gritty street stories with hardcore beats and hooks. Most importantly, it is the only record of these three that has a genuine philosophy. Kanye is clearly interested only in money. Jay-Z is interested only in himself more than he is in money (and who can blame him, he is fascinating after all). And while hedonism and egotism may be perspectives, they aren’t philosophies. NaS truly seeks what he believes to be a greater good, and he attacks sell-outs like a vicious pit bull. He doesn’t invite controversy to sell records, he looks for fights because he believes in his cause. And that makes his album the greatest of the three.

Oh, and one more thing: Bonus points to Jay for not spelling it, “Gangsta.”

Kings (It’s a NY Thing)-Jay-Z and NaS

Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Remix) Kanye West and Young Jeezy (from the Graduation mixtape)

Where Are They Now? (West Coast Remix)-NaS with Breeze, Kam, King Tee, Candyman, Threat, Ice-T, Sir Mix-A-Lot and the Conscious Daughters

Where Are They Now? (80s Remix)-NaS with Grandmaster Caz, MC Shan, Raheem (Furious Five), Doctor Ice (UTFO), Kangol (UTFO), Kool Moe Dee, Sha Rock (Funky Four Plus One), Tito (Fearless Four), Lique (Isis of X Clan), Dana Dane, Pebblee and Just Ice. (My personal favorite.)

New York w/Raekwon (Prod. By Hasan Insane)-Jay-Z (from the American Gangster bootleg)

And, for old time’s sake: