Finally back in the USA!

June 20, 2008

Major changes are underway, so expect to see even less posts in the upcoming weeks…


The Moblito Muxtape!

May 24, 2008

Image courtesy of Algierz

The Moblito Muxtape

I had no idea what the hell a Muxtape was until very recently. I did some quick research and learned about it. It seems like it’s been catching on pretty quickly and music heads generally like it. I also like the concept a lot although there are numerous improvements that still need to be made to make it more user friendly.

In memory of Pimp C, I decided to make my Muxtape a compilation of overlooked/obscure U.G.K. tracks. Below are some words about each track.

DJ DMD featuring Pimp C – “The Trill Connection”
From DJ DMD’s acclaimed album Twenty-Two: PA Worldwide.

U.G.K. – “Like Yesterday”
From The Southern Way.

U.G.K. – “Bump and Grill”
From the I Got the Hook Up soundtrack.

U.G.K. – “You Don’t Know Me”
I’ve forgotten for what album, if any, this song was intended.

Pimp C – “Play Hard”
Allegedly Pimp C and Master P had major beef (something about C being kidnapped and beaten in a hotel room by some of P’s goons). Anyway, this song is C’s response and he sounds pretty heated. A lot of subliminal shots are thrown at Master P and No Limit Records throughout the track.

David Banner & Pimp C – “Get Crunk”
This track is from Firewater Boyz, an old David Banner cd. The sound and vibe are classic U.G.K.

Smoked Outt Records featuring Pimp C – “Cop Yo Drop”
C and Lil Derrick (R.I.P. to Derrick) collaborate on this track.

One Gud Cide featuring U.G.K. – “Down Here”
One Gud Cide released some great music in the 1990’s, as did many others on the Suave House label. I highly recommend checking out some of their stuff.

U.G.K. – “Family Affair”
From the Baller Blockin soundtrack.

U.G.K. – “Tossed Up”
A funky track on Mean Green’s excellent Major Players compilation album from No Limit.

U.G.K. – “Belts To Match”
From The Wood soundtrack.

U.G.K. featuring Too Short – “It’s Alright”
From the Dangerous Ground soundtrack.

“I Know Why”
Gucci Mane and Rich Boy are simply okay and tolerable on this track, but C steals the show with a comical verse.

Off To Ghana…

May 13, 2008

Ghana Flag

I don’t know if I’ll update this site while I’m there. Stay tuned…

Killer Mike featuring Andre 3000 – “Gonna Go To Ghana”


Some New Songs…

May 8, 2008

That I’ve been feeling recently.

Rapper Big Pooh – “Smile”
A feel good track from Pooh. He raps about his parents and struggles in a heartfelt manner. The beat goes hard too. I believe it was produced by Young RJ, a Detroit based producer whose done some excellent work for other Detroit area rappers like Phat Kat and Slum Village.

Grand Puba – “Cold World”
Puba sounds like he’s got a chip on his shoulder. While he doesn’t name anyone in particular, it’s apparent from the lyrics that many people have done wrong by him the past and he’s trying to put it behind him and regain some respect. I applaud his grind and persistence. If this is any indication of what Puba has in store, he will definitely make a few waves this year in the industry.

Playa’s Circle – “Look What I Got”
This is a candidate for beat of the year, but I wish the rapping complemented it a bit better. Whenever I get an instrumental version, I’ll post it.

Wale – “Rediscover Me”
I’m probably relatively late to react to this song, but f*ck it. Aqua (producer for Jay-Z’s “My First Song”) made the beat (which is very soulful btw) and Wale just raps about himself and what makes him a noteworthy, relevant emcee.

Kia Shine, 8Ball, and Young Buck – “The Kush”
Tennesee in the house! The song is a bit long (almost 8 minutes), but the last couple minutes features Shine talking over the instrumental, which is fine because the beat is phenomenal – a funky, jazzy, laid back type of vibe that reminds me something Willie Hutch would have played.

Some new Slow Motion Soundz/Paper Route tracks:
Lyrx, ST 2 Lettaz, and Jhi Ali – “Beat Down Low”
A lady-friendly track that bangs hard enough for the fellas. Lyrx sings for most of the song. ST and Jhi Ali contribute some solid verses. I really like Jhi Ali’s part at the end when the beat changes tempo. A highly enjoyable track overall.

Bi-Pola – “Like A Model”
A cool song about women who handle their shit. Along the lines of Webbie’s “I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T.” Check it out!

Let me also add that Block Beataz handles the production quite well on both SMS/PRG tracks.

Hip-Hop Nostalgia: Blaze Magazine

May 8, 2008

Who remembers this publication? One of its most notable issues featured a list of the top 50 emcees. It was published in 1999. It’s cool seeing Blaze’s list and comparing it who’s who in 2008. It’s crazy how things have changed over the past 9 or so years.

Here’s the list:

3.Notorious BIG
4.Big daddy Kane
5.LL Cool J
6.Kool G Rap
8.Slick Rick
9.Jay Z
10.Ice Cube
11.Grandmaster Caz
12.Chuck D
14.Melle Mel
16.Too Short
17.Kurtis Blow
19.Kool Moe Dee
21.Lauryn Hill
24.Busy Bee
29.The DOC
30.Kool Keith
31.Ice T
33.Dre (outkast)
34.Doug E Fresh
35.Grand Puba
36.Method Man
37.Snoop Dogg
38.Fresh Prince
40.Eazy E
41.MC Lyte
42.Busta Rhymes
44.Biz Markie
45.Ras Kass
46.Schooly D
47.Queen Latifah
48.Lord Finesse
49.MC Ren
50.Pharoahe Monch

Some Random Observations:
I wouldn’t put Jay-Z ahead of Nas today. Busta Rhymes and Scarface would be way higher nowadays as well. I think Slug and/or Brother Ali would be considered among the top 50 today.

Two of the most flagrant exemptions are 50 Cent and Eminem. Neither had built a solid reputation at the time this list was created.

Perhaps the most disappointing, however, is the dearth of Southern rappers on the list. Noteworthy rappers like 8Ball & MJG, T.I., and Z-Ro were not nearly as prominent at the time this list was published.

Other information about Blaze:
Keith Clinksales, featured here in a Harvard Business School profile, was president of Vibe Magazine at the time. He is credited with being one the masterminds behind the publication. For myriad reasons, it went out of business. Urban Expose (another classic website that I’ll write about later) has a lot of scathing words for the magazine and its allegedly incompetent management. Notice the sharp contrast in the tone and perspective of the Expose article and HBS one.

The Roots Perform on Letterman

May 4, 2008

Now this is what I call a live performance. For those of you who haven’t seen The Roots perform live, you’re really missing out. This clip is further evidence that The Roots’ live show game is not to be taken lightly:

A Music Tax?

May 4, 2008

This post is inspired by an article published not too long ago at Slate. I’ve been really slow to post it, but I definitely think it’s worth the read. The following quote puts the whole action into perspective:

“Four companies (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony BMG, and EMI) control a staggering 90 percent of all record sales in the United States, and they’re hopping mad. CD sales are in free fall, and the recording industry’s revenues have shrunk from $15 billion to $10 billion in less than a decade. Instead of blaming themselves for failing to embrace the Internet soon enough, Big Music has pointed the finger at piracy, shaking down scofflaw MP3 downloaders with capricious, multimillion-dollar lawsuits. This has not strengthened the record companies’ position—at this point, they’re losing money and everybody hates them”

With all of this in mind, the music industry has been considering levying a potential “tax” or as some others have called it, “an extortion scheme,” that will result in consumers having to pay an extra $5 or so on their Internet Serive Provider bill. I found this to be interesting, given my belief that thanks to the Internet the major labels traditional business are dated and will be extinct. Hence, I look at any attempt by the music industry to stop piracy as an exercise in futility and a tragic prolonging of the inevitable.

I also recommend reading the comments posted by other in The Fray, which is the designated area for Slate readers to post comments. Not surprisingly, this approach of the music industry is wildly unpopular with the public.