Saturday, April 5, 2014

Black Stax At The Triple Door

Vanguard Music

Silas Blak, Jace Ecaj, and Felicia Loud, collectively known as Black Stax, are true hip hop veterans.  All have been active in Seattle hip hop since at least the early '90s, and at 20+ years on they continue to produce prolific and fresh music.  This document may be one of their highest points, both collectively or singularly - a dope high energy live set from last year, with a full backing band.  Where their studio efforts have been mostly reigned in, controlled, stark and edgy, when they come live their sound is full and explosive - all that collective potential is released.  What amazes me is how Jace's smooth flow melds perfectly with Blak's off-kilter delivery and Felicia's stygian-deep soul - It's a combo that could only be pulled off by professionals such as these.  I can't recommend it enough.


Friday, January 31, 2014

DKNODEAL's Folk Hop Blues



So probably not a lot of you know this, but DK NODEAL (aka DK Toon for all you old timers) dropped a street-level album last year entitled "Folk Hop Blues".  This was not a release of the unfinished 90's DK Toon album of the same name, but an entirely different work, one that was much more realized and complete.  I was fortunate enough to get a chance to hear it, and here's what I wrote about it at the time:

  This [record] is spare, and straight to the point.  Beats are minimal (as in less is more) and rhyme styles are direct and more boom bap than Dk's usual soul-inflected stuff.  What's dope is that despite the combination of such angular and hard-hitting elements the album is quite restrained, and sober, and poetic; which seems contrary to the styles and tools used to create it.  You'd think with the beats and heaviness Dk would be inclined to thug out, but It's really a mature and elegant work, actually - The folk, the blues, and the hip hop are all present.  It makes me think of Jacob Lawrence's Migration work, with it's combination of historical reference, solidity, and maturity.  It's evident that Dk is speaking from a moment in his life that is a high water mark, and he can see his past and future laid out with some clarity.  It's introspective and weighs in on life's accomplishments and which roads to take in the future.  And Dk presents that with dynamic styles that evoke primary colors and strong lines. 
Awesome record, my hat is off to Dk.  I bump it daily, and I'm grateful that I can contribute my 2 cents in some way.

This is a pretty hard album to track down - DK said this was only for the Mom and Pop stores, and as far as I can tell, the only place to cop it online is at the DK-affiliated Feminine Hustle.  A link to that site is provided below.  Do what you can to check it, it's a world removed from anything he's done previously and opens an entirely new chapter on the artist's work.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One From The Vaults

Uh Hieroglyphics Yeayah

So that was a short retirement... 

This was a project I started a few years ago and just recently found, dusted off, and finished up:  Hiero b-sides, productions, and guest appearances from 1990-1994, as complete as I can deal with right now.  Be warned, this doesn't include any of the Hiero Oldies, or the excellent Del Demos from the late 80's.  Also, it doesn't hold a candle to the crucial producer series posted up over at the allmighty TROY site.  A lot of this can be found on Hiero reissues as well, like Del's Elektra years and SOM's 93 Til reissue.  Pick those up if you haven't already.  Also sound quality at times is atrocious.  But there is some here that isn't included anywhere else (except on the vinyl of course), so there's that.  For those that miss that old sound.

Track List:
Turn Off The Radio: Ice Cube
Stompin' To The 90's: Yo Yo
Girl, Don't Be No Fool: Yo Yo
Ahonetwo Ahwontwo Remix: Del
Burnt: Hiero
Mistadobalina Remix: Del
Dr. Bombay Remix: Del
Eye Examination: Del
Hoodz Come In Dozens SD50 Remix: Del
Made In America (Whoopi's Mix): Del
93 'Til Infinity Remix: SOM
Good Feeling: SOM
Never No More (76 Seville Mix): SOM
Make Your Mind Up (Rock On Mix): SOM
That's When Ya Lost Remix: SOM
Get The Girl (Jay Biz Low Down Remix): SOM
Made In America (SD50 B-Boy Mix): Del
Me-O-Mi-O Remix: Cas
Later On (Casual's Low Down Remix): Cas
That's How It Is Part II (Feat A Plus): Cas
That's How It Is Remix: Cas
Rock On (Feat Pep Love): Cas
I Didn't Mean To Remix: Cas
If That's Your Boyfriend (Existential Meditation Remix): Me'Shell NgegeOcello
Take A Ride (A Plus Remix): Alphabet Soup
Give It Up: Extra Pro
Brown Sugar (Domino Remix): Extra Pro
First Sermon (The Town Remix): Extra Pro
Wrong Place (Casual Remix): Del
Undisputed Champs (Feat. Pep Love, Q-Tip): Del
No More Worries (feat. Hiero): Del
Catch A Bad One Remix: Del
Made In America (Del's Remix): Del
Rapperz Are Danger (Mischievous Mix): Microphone Pager
Get The Girl, Grab The Money And Run: SOM
Later On: Cas
Frontman (Del Mix): New Kingdom
Good Times (Del Remix): New Kingdom

P.S. I'm still "retired".  Just sayin.  One love.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I'm not old school, I'm just old.


So this blog has been dead for a while.  Chaos abounds, time runs short, and I no longer have the time or money or mental faculty to spend digging, critically listening, and writing.  Bring That Beat Back has been a wonderful experience for me, I've heard some amazing music, and more importantly, I've met some really great folks out there in the virtual world.  Thank you to the artists - the music I posted up here is among my absolute favorite, and each and every one of you have enriched my life and made the world a better place - and I'm so thankful none of you shut me down.  Much love to record-science, ghettotyylit, thethirdmen, thisisforthehustlers, straightouttadotcom, basementaddicts, and knowthis - you're my tribe,  keep it movin!  And as always, thank you to the readers, your comments, requests, and enthusiasm kept this blog afloat.
I can't say this is goodbye forever, but it is goodbye for now.  Be well out there, and peace.  

Friday, July 5, 2013

Request... Dope/Dog Food

Z

Request... I've had a lot of requests recently, so let me try to catch up a li'l...  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kung Foo Grip

Future Talk

These dudes need to be heard to be believed, but it's like being sent back to the great, grim days of Black Moon, Channel Live and Mobb Deep.  Add to that just the right amount of fresh, new school elements.  They're sick, and their recent mention in XXL is way more than warranted.  If you haven't yet checked them out then head over to Freshselects.net to get their latest album for free!

Friday, June 21, 2013

For a Limited Time Only... The MC Type!

Have You Ever Seen A Man Play Bass Naked?

Until the release of the new MC Type joint "Bad Tattoos Vol 3",  everything he has to offer on bandcamp is pay what you want! (Free for all the poor folk.)  I got to see this Ballard emcee perform at the triple album release jam along with Griff J and Art Vandelay, and I have to say Type had the liveliest set.  Many, many shots were passed to the stage, clothes were exchanged with audience members, and while he serenaded his sister, his bass player got naked... umm, and the show almost got shut down.  If you get the chance to see him live, do whatever you can to do it.  And go listen to his music!

http://themctype.bandcamp.com/

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kha.lil - Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Sober

This artist does it, he makes masterpieces.  And with the new name he turns over a new leaf.  Purchase the hell out of it as soon as you can...


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Illfightyou Tape

Beatdown

This free album dropped at midnight last night at Illfightyou's website after weeks and months of great anticipation over here at beetbak (and the rest of the world too, it seems).  Heavy, snotty, ignorant, ass-kicking, no bullshit rhymes and beats - sort of the much-needed opposite of the Town's predominant vibe right now.  I'm sure it will be considered a favorite on many a year-end top ten list.  So head on over to their website to listen and dl already!  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seattle...The Dark Side

No Grunge...

Times change.  This comp dropped in 1993, which to me was the year of the Great Upheaval in hip hop.  At that time, gangsta had outlived its welcome and new acts like Heiro and the Pharcyde were grabbing my attention.  In contrast, local artists like Mix-A-Lot and Kid Sensation had lost their cool and were the stuff of middle school dances.  So, by the time my I heard about this album, my ears were closed.  I was in high school, the future underground was in full swing, and local acts like the Elevators and Tribal had quite effectively turned the early-90's gangsta and r & b industry into a joke.  
I may not have appreciated this record at the time, but listening to it in retrospect I can hear the value in it. Here is some top-quality hip hop attempting to assert itself in the face of change,  And more poignantly, this is a declaration from Seattle's Afro-American community and a group of artists who were very much left out of the anglicized Northwest music explosion of the early '90's.
... Dark Side is a short record, but in its 35 minutes is effectively showcases an important time in the 206's long history of hip hop.  Stay tuned, I'll be digging deeper into the past soon enough!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

G Teezy

From the Northeast to the Northwest

This 2001 full-length has been circulating around the webs in its OG form for a while.  As far as I know this is GT's debut, and isn't included in his available releases - maybe there's a problem with getting sample rights or something, because it's not for lack of great music.  It's definitely rougher than his later records, and he's still developing his flow here, but the fire, eloquence, and themes he's known for are already in place.  At some point I would love to do a proper piece about this particular 206 artist, but I won't frame it at this time in the context of this album - for now just listen and enjoy.  It's got that old-school, jazz sample-heavy flavor I love, and the rough, unmastered sound quality I crave in production.  Jerm, Castro, and Khingz, among others, guest.  This rip came to me via an anonymous benefactor - thank you!  Track listing is intact, as this is the revamped version from 2002.  It's the second edition, which features bonus tracks with a whole bunch of guest emcees (Orko, Macklemore, Moka Only, Deps, Patrick, Rajnii).  Vivacious music, from possibly the 206's most impassioned orator.

STARS V2

Thursday, May 16, 2013

C.I.

In The SEA

Criminally overlooked, Central Intelligence was among the greatest Seattle hip hop acts in the 90's and early 00's.  Similar in sound and style to Black Anger, Source Of Labor and Narcotik, these five emcees spit knowledge in styles that were concrete, definitive, and mature.  The subject matter on this self-titled album from 2001 ranges from the personal to the political, spoken in 5 distinct, articulate voices.  With like-minded beats from two of the major architects of the sound, Vitamin D and Bean One, this album is a hidden classic of the Tribal era.
I sadly learned about this group after the fact, when Mike Clark and Jake One's amazing expose on the history of Seattle hip hop showed up on Cocaine Blunts.  Besides this album, CI also contributed to the crucial Sportn'Life Compilation from 2003.  They also were reputed to put on a mean live set.  A slim but 100% quality legacy.

Central Intelligence

P.S. this album, plus the two albums in the previous posts were provided very generously by Renee at flavafoyoear.  Thank you - All praises due!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Khingz County

Ghetto Math - Thank You Flavafoyoear!

Leave it to Khingz (aka Khalil Crisis, aka KA.lil) to make even a tossed-off mixtape a poetic work of brilliance.  Dropped in 2007, he took a bunch of varying-in-quality beats and laid down verse after verse of Real Shit.  21 tracks in length, with guest appearances from Gabriel Teodros, Modus Operandi, and Jills Laxamana.  His new album is about to drop - Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, on 6-4-13.  Keep your ears peeled.  His output over the last few years has been prolific, with a in-ordinant amount of quality, so I imagine this next chapter will follow form.

Khingz County

P.S. does anyone out there have his Bigger Than Jeezus Mixtape?

Monday, May 13, 2013

911 Amerika

A Call To Arms

Yet another compilation, this time from the Northwest.  This dropped in 2002 in response to the increasing hostilities directed towards the Middle East by the US.  Many notable acts contribute, including (ahem... wait for it...) Khazm, The Flood, Yirim Seck, Castro, Specs One, Gabriel Teodros, Khingz (back when he was still calling himself Khalil Crisis), Kylea of Beyond Reality, Vitamin D, H-Bomb, Silas Blak, WD4D, E-Real Asim of Black Anger, Surge Spitable, and El Saba, who provides the defining moment with "God Bless Humanity".  The album is an interesting mix of 2nd and 3rd wave Seattle hip hop, and captures the sound of the Town in a state of evolution.  Executive produced by Khazm and G. Teodros, released in part through MADK.

911 Amerika (fixed link)

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Notable Mentions



Classic Compilations From the Late '90's

These compilations from 1998-99 were also crucial pieces in my early underground collection.  Alien Nation, Afterlife, Living Legends, ATU, Beneath The Surface, Hieroglyphics,  Battle Axe, Black Love, and many, many others made their names known to me through these records.  Thanks to Meeee over at Record-Science for upping these originally - click the link below to find these plus many other dope compilations from the same era!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Subtext

Marvel Team Up

Another compilation, again from '99.  That was the year, apparently.  The usual cats are present with strong contributions - Acey, Ab, Awol, Dilated, Hiero, Lootpack, plus many, many others.  Some of these tracks wound up on proper albums later on, but there are still quite a few exclusives.  Back in the day when music by these artists was relatively slim and hard to come by, comps like these were a precious commodity.  Plus, inevitably I would get exposure to some unfamiliar acts.  

Sub

The Funky Precedent

Loosegroove

From 1999, here's another compilation record from the olden days.  This album was never my favorite overall, but due to the fact that it held a few brilliant tracks here and there it got lots of play time.  Bookended by some strong tracks, the album frankly gets a little lackluster throughout the middle.  Still there are dope contributions from Dilated, j-5, Divine Styler, Styles of Beyond, and ATU.  What made the record for me though, was "Journey To Anywhere" from Ugly Duckling, "Project Bliznaiznowed" from Acey, and "Save the Music" from Myka 9 - which is in my opinion among the best songs he's ever crafted in his entire career.  

Funky Precedent

Friday, April 26, 2013

Request... Beets & Parsnips Vol 1

Keep The Beat Going

I'm a posting fool tonight...  Okay here's the first volume, of which I slept on back in the day.  Back in '97, when this gem of a compilation was released, I was freshly back in the states after living in England the previous year.  Pumped from all the watercress sandwiches and blood pudding, I was still soaking up Europe's brand of hip hop like a sponge.  The future of rap music lay in Bristol and Paris as far as my young anglophilic self was concerned, so I missed out a bit on what was waking up over here.  It took me a couple of years to finally start paying attention again, but I did, thanks in large part to the infectious sounds of the acts featured here:  Living Legends, Project Blowed, and Hieroglyphics.  All that's missing is a Quannum feature, but you can't ask for everything now, can you?


P.S. Many thanks go to Sociedad Travieza for the link!

Beats&Lyrics2

Industry Standard

Here's another of those classic comps from back in the day, 1998 to be exact.  Representing both coasts (but leaning heavily towards the left), this supplied heads with an undiluted helping of organic beats and stylistic prowess.  This was considered an underground hip hop standard at the time; if you had any kind of cred whatsoever, you had this in your collection. (The predecessor from '97 was equally crucial.)

ElephanTracks

Sunshine, Beats & Rhymez

Back in the old days the compilation album was my primary means of discovering new artists.  Internet speeds were slow, and the 15-second 28-bit audio snippets the online webstores had to offer were useless when it came to sampling an artist's sound.  This was one of the many comps I picked up back then:  I recognized a couple names I liked, and a whole bunch I didn't recognize.  Here was my first introduction to The Mountain Bros, Eclipse 427, Zion I and many others, in the mix with a bunch of heads I already followed like Latyrx, Medusa and the Visionaries.  From the dark ages of 1999.