Monday, December 11, 2017

Beetbak Tapes #4 - Syndrome228

Cheat Death

    Beetbak Tapes' latest release is a new offering from co-founder of EX2, and current member of BullyzSquad, Syndrome228. Syn made his debut on AWOL One's Noise tape back in 1996, and soon after released several albums alongside EX2. A digital only solo project, Exodus, was quietly released in 2012 and its follow up, Nexus, remains unreleased, but we are happy to present a brand new project which is being issued on limited cassette (10 copies) and CD (30 copies, which will be available directly through Syn). While Exodus featured a slew of producers and guests, this new album is a more true solo project, with Syn covering most of the production, under the alias Debit, and the guest features being limited to Rifleman and Mister CR.

    Under the tutelage of Rifleman, Syn has refined his chops and has begun to produce his own beats. He also handled the cover art for the project himself, having taken up graffiti and painting. The project veers from boastful battle raps ("Ballin'") to personal struggles ("Citisyn"), covering many facets of the artists personality and perspectives. Pick up a copy of the limited cassette through Beetbak Tapes, or hit up Syn for copies of the CD.

   Included with purchase of the limited cassette is a digital copy of his unreleased third album Synapsis, featuring Mister CR and Kazue of Goodlife Bullyz, Quaesar of Rime Fytahs, Vyrus of ThEX2, Casper of Bullysquad, and CV Beatz.

Synapsis (2013-2016)

   01 Uproar
   02 Writers Ryze (ft. Vyrus)
   03 Way Hot (ft. Bullysquad)
   04 Equinox (ft. KSAR, Kazue & CR aka ForceMC$)
   05 Rize of the Death Star (ft. KSAR)
   06 Solace of Solstice (ft. KSAR)
   07 Defame (ft. Vyrus)
   08 Subtleties (ft. CR)
   09 Reality
   10 TDK Krew (ft. Vyrus)
   11 Mos Eyesley
   12 Light vs. Dark 2020
   13 Sensory Deprivation (ft. KSAR)
   14 Force on Feet
   15 On Air

Produced by Debit, except:
  04 produced by CV Beatz
  06 co-produced by KSAR
  07 produced by Rezult
  08 co-produced by A.C. the P.D.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Aki Khalaq Box Set

Aki Khalaq & the Blak Prints

   The Aki Khalaq Box Set is now available through Release Aki Kharmicel Records. The limited edition bundle (10 sets) includes the NaturalLawOfAttraction CD and cassette, the StoppinsNotAnOption 7" and a bonus item, unique to each package. NaturalLawOfAttraction is also now available in digital formats on Aki's Bandcamp.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Inoe One Steady Bum Pimpin'

   Inoe Oner continues to lay down the fresh mixes on La2theBay Radio, and for those who missed the live broadcast, the second installation is now up on Inoe's YouTube. While part one was a smooth, laid back, and smokey set, featuring some unreleased joints from Zagu Brown and Name Science laced with some roots reggae, this mix has a more spaced out and eclectic tone, showcasing tracks from the G.P.A.C. and Bum Pimps alumni. Much like his studio albums, Inoe's mixes sound like nothing else and while the movement we all fell in love with seems to fade away more and more every day, artists like Inoe carry the torch with no sign of letting up. Stay tuned for the 20th anniversary reissue of Master Relm through Beetbak Tapes, featuring some words from Inoe on the creation of the project, a bonus track, and glow-in-the-dark ink on the cassette, as well as some other exciting Beetbak/Bum Pimps releases in the future.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Inoe Oner on LA2theBay Radio

One spliff a day keep the evil away...

    The mighty Inoe Oner from GPAC and Name Science posted up one of his recent sets on LA2theBay Radio. "Bum Pimpin Mix 1" features laid back vibes, a couple smooth joints from Zagu Brown and Name Science tied together by some smoked out reggae. Stay tuned to to hear future sets from Inoe and RoachtheDJ.

   Also, check out this unearthed Name Science video, for "N.S.", from their sophomore Where is Name Science, and make sure to subscribe to Inoe's channel for future gems.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Beetbak Tapes #3 - DK NoDeal

Folk Hop Blues

    While DK NoDeal (formerly DK Toon) never completed his now legendary Folk Hop Blues album in the 90s, he revived the concept and completed a 12 track album in 2013, which Jack wrote about a few years back:

    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.

   Beetbak Tapes is very happy to announce we will be releasing this long awaited album on limited cassette on November 1st. Pre-orders are up now, and will help determine how many copies we will be pressing up, so if you are interested in this project, you can order a copy here. The album features production from DJ Fat Jack, Touch Tone, Keyz & J Classic. Thanks in advance to anyone who purchases a copy or helps spread the word! As with The Beetbak Tape (2 copies remaining), DK has generously agreed to have all proceeds donated to Jean in the Front Row.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pseudzero - Closed Caskets (Afterlife Megamix) Mix-CD

Our friend Pseudzero at TIL.INFINITY has just released his Afterlife Recordz Megamix as a very limited Mix-CD.  54 minutes in length, this very amply represents one of the most essential yet underrated movements in hip hop.  He also released a sampler on soundlcoud of said megamix at

Check it out and purchase at the Vulgar Website or on Bandcamp!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Beetbak Tapes #2 - Aki Khalaq & the Blak Prints

"I mean, shoot, there’s a lot of people that use the word love in vain"

    Beetbak Tapes' second release, in conjunction with Release Aki Kharmicel Records, comes in the form of soul group Aki Khalaq & the Blak Prints (featuring Aki Kharmicel), the brainchild of San Diego veteran Kennuf Akbar. "It’s kinda like Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass, but it’s a little rawer and a bit edgier than Harold Melvin," Aki explained to me. "I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about love and human sexuality. There’s a lot of misinformation being projected in the mass media about that experience, and I was just letting myself be guided by that experience." So while NaturalLawOfAttraction seems on the surface to contrast much of his earlier work in content, at its core, the message is the same, which only reveals Aki's ability to weave creative concepts into the natural of evolution of his production without breaking the thread that ties his albums together.

      The acquisition of a deceased uncle's 45 collection led to the birth of Aki Kharmicel, a soulful raptivist, in the spirit of the late Stokely Carmichael, which quickly spun off into modern soul group Aki Khalaq & the Blak Prints. Aki Kharmicel goes back in time to the 70s... but really Aki is lightyears ahead. In fact, he's albums ahead. The Nocturnal Scientist's vaults are deep and recent songs by AKBARSUN, Aki&theWildOutPosse, and A.K. & the B.P.s are glimpses of albums worth of music that remains unreleased, which we hope to remedy with this, the first in a series of Akbar tapes through Beetbak. What makes Aki's work enduring, though, is that regardless of what gets released, Aki continues to grind out albums, riding a creative streak strictly for the love of the music.

    Aki's recent DameRejects series channeled the Rap-A-Lot era in rawness, while careful listens revealed an unapologetically puritanical message. Aki echoed these sentiments in regards to his soul crooning Aki Khalaq persona: "I mean, I’m still the rawest dude doing a love album. It’s probably gonna be the hardest, rawest love album you ever heard in your life." The album veers from reflection to boasting, sweet nothings to shit talking; Aki Khalaq croons to Zora, only for Aki Kharmicel to follow with some boastful raps. This juxtaposition of styles and subject matter, along with the always topnotch production, results in an album that is too good to remain unreleased. So check out the latest from the Nocturnal Scientist on Beetbak Tapes. This album is not being sold digitally, so scoop up a copy of this grape cassette (a digital download will come with purchase of the tape), or hit up Aki for CD copies. Summer is winding down but it's always sunny in Akiville.

Monday, August 7, 2017

David and Goliath - The Scepter and the Sword

The King and the Giant

I fell in love with hip hop full-tilt in 1991.  It had been building up for a while by that point, but ’91 broke the dam.  I was in middle school, and when I heard “By the Time I Get To Arizona” for the first time, it pushed me over the edge into hip hop appreciation head first.  With Public Enemy as the sounding board, I then branched out, forwards and backwards, and across the map.  Ice T and Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Naughty By Nature.  Cypress Hill, Gangstarr, Digable Planets, the Native Tongues.  Artifacts, Boot Camp, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep.  And each new tape I picked up just made me more excited to cop the next one.  Hip hop was vibrant, it was fresh and progressive, it was building and growing; each artist and producer had unique style, and identity, and crazy visions.  To my young ears the music was limitless.

There are things that happen with the passage of time, and with age:  Looking back on the landscape of my life, from the midway point of an almost 40-year-old, I see the gradual and inevitable shift I’ve taken from active participant to spectator.  I’ve moved away from the city and it’s frenetic creativity, my family and I now live in the woods, and I do my best to show my three young children those things I’ve discovered throughout my life, that I feel are important, and want to pass on.  I play them music whenever I can.  They've danced to Blowout Comb.  Inner City Griots and Project Blowed.  Kingdom Crumbs and Colored People's Time Machine.  Apocalypse ’91 has definitely still been on rotation… my crazy children know all of these albums.  And recently, I’ve introduced them to a new one I feel is more than worthy of inclusion in this elite group of classics:  David and Goliath’s The Scepter and the Sword.  

I’ve been fortunate to have been listening to this album in its various incarnations for a while now.  It’s inception began way back in 2013, when a particularly face-slapping track from rapper/producer Dawhud and rapper Ace-One caught the attention of the one and only DJ Premier.  The track, “Battle Anybody”, which got a lot of airplay on Primo’s “Live From HeadQCourterz” program, is a slouchinginly self-assured, boot-stomping show-stopper of a track, and acted as a catalyst for their creative energies as a duo.  By 2015 a full-length Dawhud and Ace-One (collectively known as David and Goliath) album was born: a raw, heavy-ass, two-headed monster of a record, with production handled by Dawhud and the Beatminerz.  Although Dawhud hails from the Pacific Northwest and Ace-One is from Indianapolis, this album was full-on Brooklyn, circa '95.  As Dawhud called it, a "Tims and baseball bat video" of an album.

This early version, although bearing some alternate universe-resemblance at times to the finished product, might as well be an entirely different album.  Dawhud is an all-but self-professed perfectionist, and with edits and re-edits, re-recordings and new material, The Scepter and the Sword continued to evolve.  Becoming more sonically and thematically cohesive, the album coalesced into one brilliantly coherent and confident; adding participants, spawning the aptly titled mixtape Something’s Coming, and eventually eschewing the Beatminerz tracks until a later release.  With Dawhud's intricate and full production featured exclusively, through trials and tribulations the album moved forward until its release in July 2017.  

And the product is sublime.  Look up the definition if you’re unsure of what it means exactly.  It's the perfect balance of craft and wild spontaneity, of humble artistry and classic hip hop bravado.  As a young kid, consuming tape after tape, chasing after each artist and each release, on through the 90’s and as an adult into the new century, The Scepter and the Sword stands out as a beacon; an album that remains true to the art while simultaneously advancing it. Here, in 2017.  

This album, and actually quite a few others in the last 12 months, have signaled a sea change in hip hop, a return to detailed, powerful production and dedicated lyricism.  But nothing I’ve heard yet has grabbed me like this.  To say it's solid, and full, and beautiful in its intricacy and depth, doesn't do the album justice.  It’s lean, no filler, no skits, no weak cuts, just a double lp's worth of beautifully crafted songs - each as satisfying a listen as the one that comes before.  There are heavy, HEAVY beats, the kind the push against your rib cage, and underneath them flow these incredible gems dug up from crates, of horn sections, vocal samples, pianos played like percussion instruments, and fuzzed-out basses.  Complimenting the music, Dawhud and Ace-One’s lyrics and raps are the best either have ever laid down.  Trading rhymes, alternating verses, and pulling out line after line of fresh new Rhythmic American Poetry, they easily stand aside peers (yes, PEERS) such as Masta Ace, Sadat X, and Rock from Heltah Skeltah (who all just so happen to appear on the album).

The Scepter and the Sword is a record that is years in the making, and only released in the last month, and is surely going to become more revered as time goes on.  It's an incredible achievement; it's the most exciting release I've heard in a long time, and gives me hope for a new revolution in hip hop.  Head over to Dawhud's site Illin' In the Basement or his Bandcamp site to pick up a copy (I copped the cassette-shaped USB drive, but the limited double Vinyl [with bonus tracks] is truly a thing of beauty). Black wax is available through Fat Beats.  Listen, dance to it like my children do, and be excited for the future!

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Dame Rejects Experience


   Aki "Hurt" Kharmicel just dropped the final part in his Dame Rejects trilogy, TheLastChapter aka ChickensComingHomeToRoost aka HurtPeopleHurtPeople. Familiar themes from the first two installations are present here, with a new emphasis on the pitfalls of selling out and crossing over. Since his earliest projects, Aki has depicted a man versus the world; a righteous individual trying to walk the straight and narrow path in a corrupt world, and this project is no exception. He creatively flips the concept of pimping, so prominent in hip-hop, on its head. He boasts of his righteousness being a light that blinds the wicked - the shit talking throughout the album juxtaposes the puritanical message. While not deviating from the core message of his earliest work, Aki has managed to conjure memories of the classic Rap-A-Lot records, an impressive feat. This very lo-fi offering pays homage to the independent, home-grown hip-hop we all fell in love with, and captures the spirit of the music that went "underground" in the late 90s, when a clear divergence between mainstream and independent was made. While my rap heroes sell out or cross over, one by one, diluting their sound to broaden their fan base, riding on autopilot, or delving down the rabbit hole of failed experiments, Aki never disappoints, and his love for his art shines through on every project.

   With several more projects in the pipeline for the near future, including the debut Aki Khalaq & the Blak Prints LP, Natural Law of Attraction, which will be jointly released by Release Aki Kharmicel Records and Beetbak Tapes, Aki is steadily dropping jewels with no sign of letting up. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Beetbak Tapes #1 - The Beetbak Tape

Bring That Beat Back

    The digital version and pre-orders for The Beetbak Tape are now available on our Bandcamp page. The tape is just under 70 min. long and features tracks by several of the artists who Jack and I have interviewed on beetbak, plus a handful of related artists. All proceeds from this tape, digital and physical, will be donated to Jean in the Front Row, who I have also interviewed on this site and written about here. Any support and assistance in spreading the word is greatly appreciated by Jack and I, and, of course, Jean as well. We hope people enjoy and support this tape because we have several other projects lined up for the next couple years; reissues, unreleased and new projects from some of the artists featured on this compilation. A huge thank you to anyone who supports and to all the artists who submitted songs, beats and drops out of the kindness of their hearts to help raise some money for Jean and make a cool compilation for the readers of the this blog to enjoy!

The Beetbak Tape - 2017
A01-Beetbak Intro
A02-Napom, Supherb & Marc tha Murderah "I Want the Paper"
A03-Eclipse & Orko "Age of the Last MC"
A04-Aki&theWildOutPosse "CustomMadeTargets"
A05-BullySquad "Blastit"
A06-Bomedybeats Interlude
A07-Name Science "Trying Days"
A08-A.K.M. of Cypha 7 "Fuck the Police"
A09-Zombie619er "R.O.T.I.M."
A10-Labjaxx "Settings Anonymous"
A11-ThEX2 "Writers(Ryze)"
A12-Massdog Music Outro

B01-NautilusInk Intro
B02-Android Masters "Space Ogeez"
B03-Jahli & Labjaxx "Motion Moduate"
B04-DK NoDeal "Blk Baby Boy"
B05-Aki&theWildOutPosse "TroubleMyWay"
B06-Asia/MsKiddo "Skadipp(KillBill Vol.1-2 Trailer)"
B07-Imperator "48 Bars Out the Blue"
B08-Bomedybeats Interlude II
B09-Syndrome228, Quaesar, BigMass & RoachtheDJ "2Mex Live-A-Cation"
B10-Aki Khalaq & the Blak Prints "Red&BlackRoses"
B11-Bomedybeats "Space is the Place"
B12-BigMass "Struggle Through Life"
B13-Ownworld Syndrome Outro

A1 produced by JackDevo762
A2 produced by Smach Gordan aka Napom
A4, B5, B6 & B10 produced by the "BigHomie" Ak
A5 & A11 produced by Debit aka Syndrome228
A6, A9, B2, B8 & B11 produced by Koobaatoo Asparagus
A7 produced by Diabase
A10 produced by Sloj
A12, B9 & B12 produced by Massdog Music
B1 produced by NautilusInk aka Memphisto
B3 produced by Ill Primitivo
B4 produced by Fat Jack
B13 produced by Sloj, Labjaxx, Flexx & Liquid

Sunday, May 7, 2017

10-19 the Numberman Meets the Ak


     10-19, of San Diego duo Parker & the Numberman, just dropped a free project entitled Solus-Superstes, produced entirely by the Ak (aka Aki Kharmicel). The short but sweet record veers in many directions, the production having a strong experimental edge, with 10-19's deliberate, chanting flow pulling things together. 10-19 explained the concept for the record on Third Degree Burns Mixshow: "Solus superstes means 'sole survivor' in Latin. Sometimes you get to a certain stage in your development where you feel like you have to make it happen for yourself. Nobody's coming to rescue you. You're the sole survivor out here. That was the perspective for the project." Peppered with a couple vocal cameos from Moodswing King and AKBARSUN and some surreal interludes, Solus-Superstes is a potent record that demands repeat listens. The project is streaming on Aki's Soundcloud and available for download on 10-19's Bandcamp.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Aki at the Hurt Lounge


    Aki "Hurt" Kharmicel returns with the second installment in his Dame Rejects series, entitled Heart2Hurt aka Spoils. Like it's predecessor, Vol. 2 is a collision of styles, a very colourful collection. The "BigHomie" Ak's trademark sound is present, but much like Refuge from Refuse, the production takes twists and turns through different sonic territory, with an underlying smooth, soulful vibe permeating the EP. A superficial listen will get your head nodding, but a careful listen reveals many layers, showing and proving Ak's tender love and care in crafting his art. In the same way an author of fiction creates a world that draws the reader in, "Hurt" draws the listener into a world that has depth, allowing Aki to put forth various different concepts and approach topics from different angles while sticking to the script. Underneath the deceptively smooth vibes, shots are fired at a former cohort, laying claim to the style he pioneered: "Niggaz knew Ken 'cause I had the blueprint." The lyrics are raw and unfiltered, with no holds barred, something that has made Aki's music all the more genuine and endearing. Heart2Hurt is another solid offering from the Nocturnal Scientist, a compelling piece of music in a time when generic stagnation is the norm. So step into The Hurt Lounge, grab a chair and listen to the soulful vibes of Aki "Hurt" Kharmicel...

   Also, check out this new joint featuring fellow San Diego emcee 1019 theNumberMan, posted on Aki's Soundcloud. Both Aki and 1019 were recently featured on Third Degree Burns Mix Show promoting their upcoming collaboration SolusSuperstes, which will be dropping soon and will also be featured on beetbak.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Aki "Hurt" Kharmicel Presents...

     Since he began releasing albums back in 1997, Kennuf Akbar aka Aki Kharmicel has recorded music that gives you an unfiltered glimpse into his mind. By carving out a distinctive sound, utilizing unique rhyme patterns and wordplay, and covering uncharted ground conceptually, Aki draws the listener into a world that is rich and multifaceted. Since his earliest projects, he has used storytelling - altering the pitch of his voice to represent characters and moods - to colour the proceedings and add depth to his work. Twenty years later, Aki has only broadened his array of styles and personas, and his latest project, an EP entitled TheDameRejects Part 1 (Refuge from Refuse), is a collision of many of his more recent sounds. The EP is a prelude of sorts to his upcoming full length, D.A.M.E. (Destroying All My Enemies), this EP being a collection of "rejects" from that project. But due to the high caliber of these songs, Aki has creatively spun TheDameRejects into a full blown concept.

  Not long after establishing himself as the futuristic soul man and raptivist Aki Kharmicel, Akbar quickly introduced his crooning alter ego Aki Khalaq, and his back ups, the Blak Prints. Through this outlet, Aki spun tales of doomed love, pimped up bravado and heartache, pushing the soulful vibes of Aki Kharmicel into new territory. Now, under the alias "Hurt," a reference to the bluesy song of the same name, Aki delivers this EP, which contains traces of his many alter egos. Producer The Ak, still firmly rooted in soul, also delves into funk and psychedelic sounds. Aki Khalaq grabs the mic to deliver some crooning, then falls back to let "Hurt" spit his rhymes, or talk shit, resulting in an always engaging and entertaining listen.

  While so many artists approach making music in a mechanical way, recording a product to sell, Aki is a good reminder of what a true artist is. Many of the songs and albums he records never make it to the public, but he is constantly creating, refining and exploring new styles, strictly for the love of music. While those who treat it like a job make music that is formulaic and uninspired, Aki keeps it pure and it shows. This is a high water mark for this unique artist and the balance of styles present here convinces me that Aki's best and most interesting work lies ahead of him. Check out TheDameRejects EP on Aki's Bandcamp and stay tuned for future projects.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lost Filez ov Eternia

Hip Hop Brazil 

Check out the new underground hip hop blog by long-time Beetbak supporter John Henry from Brazil!  There are some gems on there, and I'm sure there are more to come.  Welcome!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Sound For Sore Ears

Walkman Hits

Thank you once again, Cody, for the hookup with this fat underground release!  Sporting one of the dopest covers in the history of album artwork, Dojah released this tape back in 1998.  I'm not sure if he was doing this on the anonymous tip, or if he just had really poor marketing skills, but his name is absent on both the cover and the tape, as is that of all guests.   Either or, I like to think the music speaks for itself.  Half of this tape was posted up way back on the mighty Ghetto Tyylit, with the exclusion of the intro, outro, interludes and instrumental pieces.  While it's true those excluded pieces don't do much for the album (covers of "The Banana Boat Song", the "Pink Panther" theme, and "Don't Worry, Be Happy" would be strange inclusions on any release, especially on a project which is otherwise so accomplished), I think it's important to present this album in its entirety, warts and all.  
Big Shawn from Bored Stiff appears on "R-A-P", and a couple emcees I can't identify show up on "Let' em Have It".  Beats are appropriately stoney and sample-based in that '98 flavor. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Underated Collaberated

I Used To Be...

Thank you Cody for hooking me up with this!
"The Co-Op Vol.1" is a classic underground tape from 2000, aptly named because of it's many wonderfully gratuitous group efforts on the mic.  Before the "Chuck Taylor Presents the Capitol's Best Collection" album, this street level production (along with the Cuf's "Cufilation" release) represented the voice of the Sacramento underground.  Led by emcee-producer Anonimous, The Underated Collaberated collective was home to a gang of talent, including members of the afore-mentioned Cuf; as well as of Verbatum and Socialistik, plus many others.   The label, Sound Cultivator Productions, I believe, was also Anonimous' project.  Along with two other emcees on this release, Fiasco and Kgee, Anonimous went on to form The Rebels Of Rhythm (not related to the J-5 Rebels), and also Hollywood Kill (also with Kgee).  His name is also attributed to production work for L'Roneous and Hieroglyphics.
Sonically, this release is as beautifully gritty as you want it.  Anonimous' beats are sample-based, unadorned, and heavy.  They are unnerving - sometimes they're jumpy, sometimes they shamble forward, dragging their feet, shaking their chains.  Unexpected, jarring sounds often enter the mix, raw and scoured.  Listen to the opener, "The Most Hated", or "A Story" to catch the meaning.  Musically, it's captivating, and a perfect backdrop for these emcees, who aren't really the wine and roses type.  Krush is on this piece after all.  They spit raw - there's nothing very glamorous about The Sac anyway.  
It's hard to imagine this release being as old as it is.  It's from 2000, 15 years ago now.   If this was rock music, it would officially be fair game for the classic rocks stations on the radio.  Listening to this tape tonight, I'm struck by that sneaky, persistent passage of time.  Not because of the music - to me, this still sounds fresh and undated - rather it's due to the mannerisms, lyrical content and subject matter of the various voices here.  At some point in time, I'm not sure when, I stopped feeling that almost tangible connection to the underground in a current sense, and began experiencing it as a dear period of time in my past - in a nostalgic sense.  And by the grey hair growing on my temples and the wrinkles forming on my face, it's clear I'm no longer 20 years old.  Listening to the trials and tribulations of the various performers on this release, I can see they can only come from the unhindered and unburdened shoulders of young people, with just one foot out the door.  However, I listen to this without any sense of mourning for my youth - and its the reason I keep coming back to music like this, made my young people, or people who were once young - because it takes that kind of young energy for me to be inspired.  This music is rough, sometimes abrasive, but it's also beautiful and breathtaking - this is music made by minds that aren't afraid to experiment (in fact, it never occurred to them to be afraid), with naive reflections on life that are almost painful in their unguardedness.  
I'm also struck listening to this music, that I've been living and loving hip hop for the great majority of my life.  I was born in the seventies, became Aware Of How Shit Is in the eighties, and once I heard Public Enemy there was no turning back.  I've seen the passage of time and how hip hop has changed with it, and I appreciate more than words can express how it has embraced with open arms people of all ages, races, and cultures as it too has grown.  It is with this, as I listen to The Underated Collaberated, that, despite hearing it through a tunnel of age and experience, I feel as in tune and supported and in love with the culture as ever - despite the fact I'm probably twice the age now as some of the voices on here.  I can't claim to represent or speak for hip hop in any way, I would never presume that, but I think it's safe to say hip hop is not a fad to just grow out of.  It's not a young man's game.  It's for life.  There are children practicing their battle raps, there are kids in their teens making their own recordings, there are the grown folks who keep it working, and there are the elder statesmen, like Chuck D, whose voice I still find as crucial as it was back in '91.  Hip hop is infinite.  No matter where I am or where I will someday be, I call it home.  And for that I have infinite thanks.   

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tribal Music

Slangin' Cutz

William Rider of Ghetto Chilldren uploaded this unreleased Tribal joint today, and I had to share.  It's actually two cuts; the B-Self solo tip "Born 2 Cree8" and the Marvel Team-Up of Ghetto Chilldren and Narcotik known as "Free Enterprise", from back in '97.   Although I never heard either of these tracks at the time, listening to these songs makes me feel absurdly and buoyantly happy.  There's nothing else like the pure joy that good music brings - especially if it's unheard jams from your favorite hip-hoppers from back in the day.  Tribal Records has slowly been releasing stuff from the vaults, and I pray to Baby Jesus that they keep doing so.  For now, just feast your ears on this healthy portion from B-Self, Vitamin D, C-Note and Tizzy T (RIP).

Tribal Legacy

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Peanut Gallery

Fucc Rappin'

Thank you once again, Cody, for hooking me up!  This time we have the legendary Chicago Chapter 1996 tape from Anacron's Peanut Gallery Network.  Atop of 4-track production and analog hiss rides a slew of young lyrical talent and seriously propulsive beats.  Perv One, Jahn the Baptist, Funsho, Astrobwoy, and several others join Anacron on crew cuts, freestyles, solo joints and interludes.  It's a truly accomplished and impressive effort, showcasing what a force of nature Anacron can be when he puts his mind to something.
The Peanut Gallery isn't a movement that I've spent a lot of time exploring, and the more I hear, the more I realize I have been missing out.  Well, 20 years still isn't too late, is it?  For all of you who are in the same boat, this is a perfect place to start.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Straight Bangin'

Hella Oldschool - Think Happy Thoughts

Thanks again go out to the homeboy Cody, who sent me this tape, with the intent to have it posted.  I had never heard this before I received the tape in the mail, and I have to admit I was seriously missing out.  Totally out of left field.  Let's get one thing clear, this isn't a beat tape.  This is a fully-realized instrumental head trip of a record.  They are complete works unto themselves, and they don't invite you to freestyle over the top of them.  And although it's only six tracks long, it's a full album's length.  Songs stretch out, slow, and raw.  Percussive rhythms move in and out of the mix, taking the forefront, then disappear to let lonely samples become the focus. Murky bass lines poke out here and there.  These compositions suck you in, slow your head nod to a standstill, and instead spark inward movement.  This is music to stare at your shoes to, or to contemplate your navel with.  This is music for turning inward.  
Anacron is no slouch on the mic, and I'm not well-versed in everything he's done, but I have to say this is my favorite work I've had the pleasure of hearing from him.  Listen!

Straight Bangin'

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Referencia Vol.1

Hazardo & Rasputini Apresentam

Bobby Gibson, brother of Existereo and Innaspace, made this dope graffiti documentary whilst living in Europe 10 years or so ago.  Featuring a wealth of great footage from Portuguese graf writers, and a great soundtrack of European hip hop, this was unseen on my radar until the the man Dylan hyped me to it.  Seriously, give it a watch.  This is shit you never knew.  Major shouts to Hazard for making such a unique and crucial testament to the art.