On June 20, 2017 the music world lost one of Hip Hop’s finest, but also underrated lyricists in Albert Johnson aka Prodigy of the duo Mobb Deep. As part of Mobb Deep, Prodigy and his partner Havoc would bless us with nine studio albums, and as a solo artist, Prodigy would add on another seven albums and official mixtapes to bless us with. Succumbing to complications from Sickle Cell Anemia (an at times debilitating condition of which he had battled his entire life) Prodigy not only gave us a massive catalog of music, but also provided even more ill story-telling in his 2011 memoir “My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy.” P was one of a very small number of emcees from the nineties that transitioned into the new millennium without being dismissed by the masses as being passed over in changing times. Honestly, his storytelling grew more deep and descriptive in his later years (not to mention, his ability to tell crime rhymes for more than 25 years shows a pretty extreme level of creativity). So with respect to respect to our fallen Titan of Golden Era Hip Hop and beyond, enjoy a few videos that more properly illustrate just why we loved and will always love the one called Prodigy...
While the rest of the music world swirls around the back & forth between Drake & Pusha t, Hip Hop Heads like myself eagerly await the Black Thought solo offering we've been waiting for since the 90's. As the front-man for The Legendary Roots Crew, Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought has been murdering the mic since 1993's "Organix" Album, and blessed so many other projects with hot cameo appearances; but FINALLY we get that solo piece that we've been waiting for. While disappointed that "Streams Of Thought Vol. 1" is only an EP, the fact that this opus is produced entirely by North Carolina's Finest 9TH Wonder definitely makes up for this just being a short form offering (hopefully we'll get Volume 2 before the end of the year).
Universally loved by Hip Heads of The Golden Era, Black Thought was more recently introduced to today's Hip Hop Scene when he dropped that 10+ minute freestyle massacre on Hot 97. Video of his freestyle session went so viral that White Supremacists got alarmed thinking that #BlackThought was some type of movement. Well, for many of us HE IS! So for those still unaware of this lyrical genius, here are a few videos you can use to bring you up to speed...
Fat Joe feat. Nas, Big Punisher, Raekwon & Jadakiss - John Blaze (1998)
back when Hip Hop posse cuts still served as a means of showing you could hold your own among the best in the game, Fat Joe assembled an All Star Cast of Emcees to bless his track "John Blaze." The stand out track from his 1998 album "Don Cartagena," "John Blaze" featured The Late Big Pun, Nas, Raekwon, and Jadakiss dropping heat. While each offering of verbal delights was right, I am of the opinion that Big Punisher took home the trophy on this one. No disrespect to the others on this track; but Pun's verse Still gives me chills almost 20 years later. Listen and judge for yourself...
"I hate an actor that plays a rapper, I'm Terror Squad beta kappa everybody's favorite rapper-Grand imperial, college material, insane criminal-The same nigga who known to blow out your brain mineral-I reign subliminal inside your visual-Try to supply your physical with my spiritual side of this lyrical-I'll appear in your dreams, like Freddie do, no kidding you-Even if I stuttered I would still sh-sh-sh-shit on you-Soon as I chitter chatter your shit'll shatter. I'm the kid out of Bronx, that'll stomp you to death like it didn't matter. I'm even better than before, iller metaphors-Killers bet it all on Pun, cause one verse, dead em all."
This isn't the first time that we've featured the brother Royal Illness, but with the work ethic this cat displays, why wouldn't we? A while back we posted this review of his Album "Soundtrack To The War Vol. 2." The album got a lot of positive feedback; so it was a no brainer to show some love when he shot out the link for this new banger featuring additional vocals from Vegas Posada & Kentucky Hip Hop Legend/Wu-Tang Affiliate Father Jah.! "BloodLetters" has an ill Mid to Late 1990's feel to it, with a hot piano loop driving the track-Oh, and the well placed Shirley Murdock "As We Lay" snippet definitely took me to my Hip Hop Happy Place. The video follows the same vibe, blending Allah's Five Percent Universal Flags and snippets from "J.D.'s Revenge" with an ill color scheme and vibe as the backdrop to showcase these brothers spit like true emcees should. Not enough know; but there's a lot of talent putting in work in from The Commonwealth State!!! For more music and merch from Royal Illness, just go to http://royalillness.bandcamp.com/
"Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden-We used to kick routines and presence was fittin..."
Back in the day the quality of lyricism was more than partially defined based on the emcees story telling ability; and Phife Dawg From A Tribe Called quest was one of the greats. Far too often in Hip Hop, we fail to show continued appreciation for Our Legends & Pioneers (at least until they are gone that is), and here again is another lost opportunity. By now everyone on the planet knows that 45 Year Old Malik Taylor aka Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest has passed away somewhere within the past 24 hours. Having battled diabetes, and also having underwent a kidney transplant; we all could see that Phife was having a rough go of things in recent years. But that doesn't make losing him any easier to bear. It has been refreshing to see the groundswell of tributes seen on social media-and hopefully we will now start taking better care to show love to our legends while they are still here & touring/making newer music. Starting with their 1990 debut album "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm," and finishing up with their 1998 farewell opus "The Love Movement," Q-Tip & Phife put together some of the most memorable examples of clever lyricism ever in Hip Hop History. For those that may have forgotten, and more importantly for the generations that have come since, here's a few samples of Phife's Magic...
"If the beat's fat I use it, some wack shit, I lose it-Refuse it, how could you chose it, it stinks remove it. Put down the mic kid, cause you gets no dap-How long did it take for you to see you can't rap? The name is Phife Dawg and I got nuff styles-It doesn't take long for me to get buckwild. So bust what I'm swinging what I'm swinging when I swing-I rap when I rap cause I never wanna sing. Go ask the last emcee what happened when he said battle-I bust his ass in Cleveland now he's sleepless in Seattle. Rude bwoy official coming with the ill grammar
Coming back on kids like Joey Montana. We be the three emcees that make your mind go batty
Mad play on WKRP in Cincinatti. So lord send a hand and if you can't send a hand, send a man
And if you can't send a man, come yourself-Cause all these biting emcees, lord them something else. See I kick the styles that'll make your ass melt-Money on my mind so never mind a trick-New York is the town and the team is the Knicks. World's greatest five footer ripping parties apart-Here comes Shaheed with the big green shark. Never had to rhyme about filling one with lead-Never mind that, man, here come the dread!"
"One, Two Shit" 1993 Bonus B-Side cut off the "Oh My God" single
"You looked in the mirror, didn't know what to do-Yesterday your eyes were brown but today they are blue. Your whole appearance is a lie and it could never be true-And if you really liked yourself then you would try and be you. If your hair and eyes were real, I wouldn't have dissed ya-But since it was bought, I had to dismiss ya. But if you can't achieve it, then why not try and weave it. If you can't extend it then you might as well suspend it. If you can't braid it, best thing to do is fade it. I asked who did your hair and you tell me Diane made it. If you were you and just you, talk to you, maybe-But I can't stand, no bionic lady. Trying hard to look fly, but yo, you're looking dumber-If I wanted someone like you I would've swung with Jaime Sommers..."
"Butter" 1991 "Low End Theory" Album
"There's a million MCs that claim they want some-But see I create sounds that make your ears go numb. Peace to Sayres Ave., yeah you know how we go-My best friend Steven at the Home Depot. Laurelton is in the house, I can't forget Southside-Walk past MCs like that girl did to Pharcyde. I'm labeled as the cat's meow, the MC with the know-how-Act like you know, not now but right now. Beast of the East, on MCs I have a feast. I'd eat that ass like quiche, crack a smile like Shanice. Straight outta Jamaica, seen? Jamaica, Queens
But you could find me out in Georgia, or anywhere in between. Now if my partners don't look good, Malik won't look good-If Malik don't look good, then Quest won't look good
If the Quest don't look good, then Queens won't look good-But since the sounds are universal, New York won't look good. Picture Phife losing a battle, come on, get off it
Put down the microphone son, surrender, forfeit. Did I hear something 'bout a crew? What they wanna do? You better call Mr. Babyface so he can bring out the cool in you
Or it'll be a sad love song being sung by Toni Braxton-And I'll dissect you like a fraction.
Oh, you wannabe top cat MCs, I'll pop you like a zit-You wanna be the champ, you more like Chief Some-shit. Big up myself every time when it comes to this-MCs be running scared as if they're watching the Exorcist. I kick more game than a crackhead from Hempstead
My styles are milk, man, you'd think that I was breast-fed. You know the steelo when the diggy Dawg is on the scene-I dedicate this to all the MCs outta Queens. That goes for Onyx, LL, Run DMC-Akinyele, Nasty Nas and the Extra P. You need a chart, straight up and down man, there ain't no other-Nuff respect to all my peeps that made the album cover
Yo, Tip don't worry none you know I get the party jumping-Get on the mic and break 'em off a little little something. Yo, Tip don't worry none you know I gets the party jumping-Get on the mic my man and break 'em off a little something."
"God Lives Through" 1993 "Midnight marauders" Album
Hip Hop Foundations: The Ultimate Breaks & Beats Series-BREAK BEAT LOU & ROCK STEADY CREW MEMBER DEE JAY RICH MEDINA DISCUSS THE GENESIS OF THE U.B.B. SERIES.
Sometime in 2014, in a hip hop vinyl vault somewhere in NYC, Rock Steady Crew Dee Jay Rich Medina interviewed “Break Beat” Lou about the origins and idea behind the Ultimate Breaks & Beats (U.B.B.) LP series for the “Boiler Room”.
Most hey day hip hop listeners, b-boys/b-girls, beat diggers, veteran hip hop producers, and vinyl Dee jays have some familiarity with the culture classically unique samples tracks that are contained and packaged as a double vinyl series. The LPs feature various artist releases that were used as the foundation sounds for the hip hop culture, park jams, block parties and most of the hip hop songs that were created from the late 80’s through the early 2000’s. The cover sleeve artwork was usually a variety of colorful so-called 'graffiti' pieces which brought some of the graphics and visual aspect of the culture back into the forefront.
The U.B.B. series was patterned after the Super Disco Brake's LPs that came out around the late 70’s-early 80’s. “Break Beat” Lou also says that the UBB were a quasi-top 100 hip hop breaks for hip hoppers like the K-Tel top hits/best of LPs for billboard of the same era. On a whole, U.B.B. encompassed the 4 elements of hip hop culture in some form or fashion. It provided music for the Dee jays, beats for the emcees, breaks for the b-boys/b-girls and art for writers.
Being that these were a double vinyl series, it allowed Dee jays the opportunity to hone their skills, as well as save themselves a lot of time and money in trying to find each of these breaks on their own. Aside from saving the Dee Jay time and money, it also saved them crate space by not having to cart around a lot of LPs for one break because the UBB series releases had these various breaks from different artists on one LP.
As a matter of fact, “Break Beat” Lou who was about 9-10 years old during this time. He recalls seeing and hearing a lot of these breaks being played by Herc, Bam, Theodore, Charlie Chase and more.
There is a very unique aspect of hip hop culture that is not shared by other genres of American born music. The pioneers of Hip Hop music, in most instances, particularly in regard to the Dee jays that unearthed the ‘breaks’, are still alive! Hip Hop, as a culture, is only about 40-45 years old.
It’s not like jazz, a turn of the 19th century American music genre invention; or rock ‘n’ roll-a post blues fusion form of music that came about around the 1950’s. Hip Hoppers are blessed, in that we have the ability to go back and speak with the pioneers of our culture.
It is our responsibility as members of the culture to learn, to tell it straight and pass on the knowledge for the younger generations without watering it down or mixing up the actual facts. While these pioneers are still around, we need to bring their stories to the forefront of the culture much like Rich Medina has done with “Break Beat” Lou in the video interview below. It is very disheartening to know that Hip Hop stands as the only form of American Music that does not support their pioneers & so-called old school artists as much as the other genres of music. I’m sure more people would turn out for a Rolling Stones concert than would hip hoppers for an EPMD or RUN DMC show. This is a sad reality that I hope eventually changes sooner if not immediately. Enjoy this historic video and be sure to learn more about hip hop culture & pass the knowledge on-HIP HOP! Peace
This article was written by Ahmored Tieghur on 02/07/2016 for the Wandering eyes blog.
This article attempts to answer the following questions for music collectors: How important is your music collection to you? How long have you collected music, and what do you think your collection is worth? Do you have it insured? Do you have any idea what’s it worth or how to assess the value?
Over the years, I have collected music, mainly in the vinyl format since childhood. I now amass a fairly large amount of LPs, 45’s, and to a much lesser extent CDs and cassette tapes. My music collection is very important to me and it’s constantly expanding because I continue to make purchases. I have documented my cost incurred as a consumer of music and insured these records over the past couple decades using a table I created in a word document. It basically lists the artist, title of the album, number of albums in the set, number of songs on the album, the year it was copyrighted, the price I paid and where I got it from. To figure out the amount of money I’ve spent to date on my collection, all I would do is select the price column and have the computer sum all the numbers in that column. This can be done easily by right clicking and selecting sum or choosing the sum option in the table properties tab.
I presume that a lot of music collectors really don’t consider themselves collectors, and I’m pretty sure, even fewer actually look to see what their collections are actually worth and/or seek to insure them. After all, this would take significant amount of time. Also, you’d have to make a table or some sort of spreadsheet to document the cost of the collection, take photos of it to send to an insurance company to prove that you indeed have a collection that warrants insuring, make sure you have some sort of receipts or bank records that show where and how much money you’ve spent on acquiring your music collection etc. etc. etc.
Some may ask, why even insure it, it’s just music, I can always buy or download another copy of it? This isn’t always true. Some pieces in your collection will either be irreplaceable as they are not being pressed anymore, or the cost of buying a replacement copy far exceeds the original price you paid when you bought it. Speaking from experience, I have been the victim of two minor floods. Both floods slightly damaged a few of the outer sleeves in my vinyl collection, amongst other things. I however, try to make sure my collection is insured in case any unforeseen thing happens to it. There are collectors of all types of things that definitely insure their collections. Graphic arts, coins, antiques of all kinds, automotive pieces, books, movies, sculptures, stamps, and guns are a few of the things people commonly collect and insure. It’s quite alarming that music collections are not in this category and some insurance companies don’t have a distinct category to insure music collections. I guess with the download age, we’ve begun to view music as something of a lesser value. However, while recently trying to curb my collection by selling duplicate copies of albums and/or unwanted pieces, I recently found a site online that is much more interactive than my table format I created in the word document. To add, this site provides pictures and value summaries that can be exported to pdf files or shared on other social network sites with other collectors.
The site is free to register, list items for sale, and it’s called discogs. Some of you may know this site which is famous for selling music. The value of a particular piece in your collection, regardless of what you paid for it, is based on the current retail values for the same titles/versions over the past 10 most current sales on their site. So this database is very current/consistently up to date. This is very useful in those instances where you’ve obtained a rare and valuable piece of music for a cheap price or vice versa. For example, you may have spent $1.00 for an album worth $20.00. On the other hand, you may have spent $20.00 for an album worth $5.00.
Click the above link to see how to add items to your music collection.
Another thing I have commonly overlooked when assessing the amount of money I spent on my collection was sales tax. I did not account for the sales tax I spent on an album, and would only list the price of the album. This would be pretty much a non-factor if I had a very small number of albums. However, even with 100 albums that one may have spent $1.00 for each, the tax alone can be worth $10 or 10% of the listed price. The point is, be sure to include the tax when figuring out how much you’ve spent on your music collection. By watching the tutorial video, you can see that it’s quite easy to add to your collection and even include the condition of each particular piece. You can add folders based on genre or whatever categories you choose and it’s just an overall better way to catalog your music. I suggest that serious collectors and the occasional music consumer use this site for the value assessment of their collections. With the constant downsizing and increases in your music collection, it can be a very useful tool to keep up with the value of your albums in case anything should happen to them. I strongly suggest that all collectors use this site in some form or fashion to keep up with their collections. PEACE!
This article was wrotten by Ahmored Tieghur on 01/31/2016 for The Wandering Eyes Blog.
In today's age of technology it seems that music has become more accessible and affordable than ever for the listener. There are a myriad of sites that host fee driven and free downloads of digital files such as wav and mp3's of old, new and undiscovered musicians. Brick & Mortar stores can be found in numerous cities across the globe, and there's no shortage of exclusive online shops as well. All of which tend to sell digital formats of music in some form. However, as of late, we've seen a resurgence in the vinyl record format which is analog. Some claim that sales have grown in purchasing new & used vinyl as much as 40% from 2014 to 2015. Vinyl purists boast of the sound quality of their preferred medium being far superior to the digital sound that most play in their rides, favorite recreational spots and places of employment. The purpose of this blog posting is not to debate that stance as it can go both ways, some prefer vinyl's analog sound and others the digital format. It's purely up to the consumer to decide which type of music format is best for them. The purpose of this blog posting is to pay homage to a well forgotten format of music that still tends to flourish amongst a distinct population of the music consumer world, VINYL!!! Be ye a 45RPM 7", 78RPM, 10" dub plate, 12" single or 12" Full Length LP collector, all vinyl lovers will agree that there's a nostalgia that is strongly associated with vinyl that can not be duplicated by the compact disc or digital download format. One such collector, Afrika Bambaataa of the mighty and infamous ZULU NATION (pictured below) was recently interviewed by the FUSE network show called CRATE DIGGERS.
Typically called "Bam" for short, the founder of the ZULU NATION and former Black Spade Gang Leader is more known for his direct work in helping to birth the Hip Hop Culture in the mid 70's. He was known amongst his Dee Jay counterparts as the "Master of Records". He hosts a collection so vast that it has to be stored in a warehouse and filed by interns that he has working for him. Shout out to Mr. SITH from Southern California for putting me up on this episode. Peep how Bam keeps up with his collection and preserves the vinyl format that got it all started.
Be sure to check out FUSE TV on YouTube for more videos showcasing vinyl record collectors. Use "Crate Diggers" in the YouTube search engine. PEACE
This article was written by Ahmored Tieghur 01/25/2016 for WANDERING EYES BLOG!
RUSTE JUXX FEAT. ROCK - "UNIVERSAL SEAN"
Sean Price (aka Ruck from Heltah Skeltah) was Super Lyrical, Grimy, and Funny all at the same time. Truth be told, he carried the legacy of The Boot Camp Clik on his back for the last maybe 12+ Years. His style and delivery embodied so many different qualities (a rare trait in any era of Hip Hop) and now he's gone. Having passed away on August 8th 2015 (two weeks before the release of his new album "Songs In The Key Of Price"), there have been many tributes, but none like this one from his understudy Ruste Juxx. Produced by Kyo Itachi, Ruste Juxx goes in when celebrating the legacy of The Great Jesus Price. Lyrically Juxx more than reps for the type of wordplay I wish we got from more of today's Hip Hop, and the emotional musings of Sean P's former partner Rock add a lovely compliment to the vibe of the song overall. The video features cameos from Sean P's wife Bernadette, his children, and all of Duck down's finest!
To help support The Price family, send donations to http://crowdrise.com/seanp
R.I.P. SEAN P!!!
Remember when lyrics spoke like this? "I give a shout out, to all the full time queens: Anti-bitch around the clock, who know what black woman means. Ain't trying to paint no evil picture, I'm trying to get with ya. Your righteous people miss ya: Black Sista."
Remember when Hip Hop songs taught us how to Respect and Protect Our Black (and Brown) Women aka Mothers Of Civilization? When did Queens become Bitches ONLY to be used as sex objects/tools to hold our drugs & guns/Never to be trusted Thots?? But somehow we fail to connect the dots between the corporate takeover of Hip Hop, the changing soundscape of Hip Hop, the decline of The Black Family Structure, and The School-To-Prison Pipeline. For those too young, or too forgetful to know what I'm talking about, the songs below represent the standard for any time prior to 1996. There was always a Too Short & 2 Live Crew, among others; but the vast majority of the music followed a pattern that went a lot closer to themes of Black on Black Love. Think about that next time you listen that artist that some Corporate Entity told you was the hottest artist around. Soak it up & enjoy...
"Black Woman, mother of my earth-Black Woman, you gave me birth. You can truly see what's in me-You can help me be the best that I can be. You feed my fire when I'm on the wire-
Keepin' me calm when it's gettin' higher. Sweet like sugar and hot like wine-Always keepin' ya on my mind. You're givin' my life a new light to reach for-Giving me so much how could I ask for more-Keepin' us tight when we're gettin' loose-The darker the berry the sweeter the juice."
"Say Sista Knowledge God, That Of Queen Is Your Existence-Your No Hooker, Your No Slut, Your No Bitch-And She Listens. Your The Mother Of Civilization, I Hate Them Snakes That Disrespect ya. they Often Disrespect When They Know They Know they Cannot Sex Ya."
"Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice-I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots. I give a holla to my sisters on welfare-2Pac cares, if don't nobody else care-And, I know they like to beat you down a lot. When you come around the block, brothers clown a lot. But please don't cry, dry your eyes, never let up-Forgive but don't forget, girl, keep your head up. And when he tells you you ain't nothin', don't believe him-And if he can't learn to love you, you should leave him Cause sister, you don't need him..."
"I got a Love Jones for your body and your skin tone-Five minutes alone, I'm already on the bone. Plus I love the fact you got a mind of your own-No need to shop around you got the good stuff at home. Even if I'm locked up North you in the world-Wrapped in three/fourths of cloth never showing your stuff off, boo. It be true me for you, that's how it is
I be your knower, you be my Wiz..."
"You want righteous rhyming, I'mma give you some-To enable you to aid yourself and get paid-And the material that has no meaning I wish to slay-Pay me every bit of your attention
Like mother, like daughter, I would also like to mention-I wish for you to bring me to, bring me to the rhythm-Of which is now systematically given-Desperately stressing I'm the daughter of a sister-Who's the mother of a brother who's the brother of another
Plus one more; all four Have a job to do, we doing it-Respect due, to the mother who's the root of it..."
"For me to express, the love elevation-The hell we go through, gives me the motivation
To get it right, makin' up at night-It's all worth the aggrivation, black woman through you
I'mma build me a nation, nation... Gods and Earths"
BONUS CUT: KENDRICK LAMAR feat RAPSODY - "COMPLEXION"
"Let me talk my Stu Scott, ‘scuse me on my 2Pac-Keep your head up, when did you stop loving thy Color of your skin, color of your eyes-That’s the real blues, baby, like you met Jay’s baby
You blew me away, you think more beauty in blue, green and grey. All my solemn men up north, 12 years a slave-12 years of age, thinkin’ my shade too dark-I love myself, I no longer need Cupid-Enforcin’ my dark side like a young George Lucas.
Light don’t mean you smart, bein’ dark don’t make you stupid-And frame of mind for them bustas, ain’t talkin’ “Woohah!” Need a paradox for the pair of doc's they tutored
Like two Todd's, L-L, you lose two times If you don’t see you beautiful in your complexion.
It ain’t complex to put it in context-Find the air beneath the kite, that’s the context-Yeah, baby, I’m conscious, ain’t no contest. If you like it, I love it, all your earth tones been blessed-Ain’t no stress, jigga boos wanna be-I ain’t talkin’ Jay, I ain’t talkin’ Bey-
I’m talkin’ days we got school watchin’ movie screens And spike your self esteem-The new James Bond gon’ be black as me. Black as brown, hazelnut, cinnamon, black tea
And it’s all beautiful to me. Call your brothers magnificent, call all the sisters queens-
We all on the same team, blues and pirus, no colors ain’t a thing."