Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunsetleagues

Broadcast the Boom Baps
From 2000, this wax debut from Disflex.6 introduced me to their northern Cali sound, as well as their eclectic crew Sunsetleagues. And actually I couldn't have come in at a more perfect moment: This EP is actually a crew compilation, rather than a Disflex record, as it features contributions from Disflex.6, Scratch Paper, and PBS, plus several instrumentals from the crews trippy beatmaker Elon.is. Surprisingly consistent, this brief record gave me a perfect overview of this Bay Area collective's accomplished and distinctive sound. Utilizing wonderfully refreshing jazz loops and down-to-earth poetry, this group is reminiscent (at least to me) of fellow Cali crews JKC, Araknophobix, or Bored Stiff; and is easily their equal on any ground. Give a listen. And, if anyone out there happens to have their debut, 1984, I'd love to hear that! Peace.

Featuring Sunset Leagues

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spirit Agent

Input/Output

Allow me to break away from the west coast for a moment...

This awesome ep was released by Miami's Spirit Agent during their lamentably brief time in existence ('99-2000). Incredibly organic, lush, and abstract, this indie hip hop release is definitely a sign of the times, but nonetheless it demands attention due to the pure beauty of it. Sounding like the stoned little brothers of Antipop Consortium, emcee Stres and producer Plex placed cerebral and spiritual raps with world music loops, and created a sound that was nothing like my preconceived ideas of what Miami hip hop should have sounded like (ie booty bass). Most of this ep is instrumental, with only two full vocal tracks, but due to Plex's perfectly combined beats and samples, I always find myself listening to both sides all the way through. Obviously a lot of care was put into this release, which is fitting since it was the last thing Spirit Agent put out collectively. Shortly afterwords, Stres went on to join Evolver.

Input/Output ep

Thursday, June 24, 2010

3,2,1 Presents Torche

First Brigade In The Wild West
Anonymous said... here is the link 4 heavyweighter torche - the distance VLS
Cover will follow as soon as I lay my hands on a scanner or a camera
this is my first digitalization of a vinyl so please show a little sympathy :) quality is all right though

From 1991, this rare find was very generously shared by the homeboy Treidoiunu, so be sure and give him his praises due. I believe Torche was a member of First Brigade, the LA massive which included such notables as Meen Green, Bird, Ganjah K, Vooodu, and Supherb. Some of those cats are featured here on one track, along with B.O.X. (For more on him, check out
Blown Upp). I hope you all enjoy this as much as I will.

The Distance 12"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Request...Declassified


Afterlife: After You And Your Wife

Moosetrack Said:
Hey Anonymous; here's "Declassified" ripped from the official Afterlife CDR. Support these dudes.
All props go to Moosetrack for upping this request. I've said before that this album deserves top ranking in the Goodlife/Blowed canon, and I'm here to say it again. From start to finish, this album is heat. Along with the original Project Blowed comp, Beneath the Surface, Cater to the Dj, Illasophic, and a handful of others, this album epitomized what "the Project Blowed sound" was to me at that time. I wish I could describe my initial impressions on hearing these records; hearing those far-out songs by a handful of amazingly talented emcees, with beats by incredibly resourceful and creative producers, all done completely on their own. Not only was the music on the next level, but the idea of making a record without outside help and still getting respect hit home with me.
Although all the albums just mentioned were incredible, Declassified stood apart for a couple reasons. One, although all the above featured Afterlife artists, on Declassified, It was all Afterlife. All Afterlife artists, doing shit their way, on their home turf, and in their element. Two, the production on most of those records mentioned featured a more laid-back, jazzy, and experimental vibe; courtesy of cats like OD, Nobody, Fat Jack, Elusive, and Slant. But here the beats were almost exclusively from CVE, and therefore they were coming from an entirely different world. You know what I'm talking about, those home-made beats on old, out-dated equipment, employing a decidedly more urban feel than Nobody's trippy space-music or OD's stoned atmospherics.
In the microcosm that was the late-90's P-Blowed scene, the Afterlifers seemed hungrier, more driven, and more dangerous than their cohorts. Their songs were violent, gritty, and closer to Ice-T than to De La or Ed OG. This was true not only content-wise, but style-wise as well: Afterlife was home to the ultra-fast chop-chop styles affiliated with Hip Hop Kclan, the Badstads, and CVE; and used by many of the predominant gangsta acts of the time.
Declassified is the perfect summation of the darker and grittier side of Project Blowed. It's a CVE record, so of course you'll find resident party animal/stylistic genius NgaFsh, urban mystic Riddlore, and, um, Wreccless; and "honorary CV member" Chu is omnipresent as well. But the album features crew cut after crew cut, with Pterra, Otherwize, and Rifleman from Hip Hop Kclan, Self Jupiter on a rare appearance, Cali Ragz from the Badstads, Khynky Rhead, Trensetta, Chali 2Na, Zagu Brown, and an especially annoying Busdriver. All told, this album represents 90's Project Blowed every bit as much as Beneath the Surface, but from an entirely different and darker angle - an angle that I feel is sadly missing today. But what can I say? Things change.
So without further rambling on my part, please listen to this cornerstone in the LA underground.

Declassified

Friday, June 18, 2010

Request...TV



Man, I'm really digging all the requests for stuff... Keep it up, folks!
Much like his Crew Cuts series, this collection by Tommy V features a ton of underground Cali artists. In fact, some of the songs here can be found on those tapes, but on Quarter Life Crisis everything's been cleaned up and mastered. You'd think that with Tommy's hang-dog lyrical style and penchant for murky, dollar-bin (and by "dollar bin," I mean "awesome") beats, the cleaner sound would be detrimental to his vibe, but that's not the case at all. With the amount of care that he put into mastering all this, you can tell this is how he wanted these recordings to sound. With that in mind, here is some laid-back and beautiful music from this unique and crucial artist.

1/4 Life Crisis

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Request...Unclassified

Where Can I Get My ChillzVille Terrorist Ski Mask?
As requested, more from the Empire... This time, it's a relatively short release (9 bangin' tracks), from circa '98. Chu, Rifleman, and Madman from U.N.G. guest.

Unclassified

Request...Unreleased

Chillzville
As requested... This album from Chillin' Villains ranks among their best, in my opinion. But actually I guess I can say that about any of their records from this time period. Within the space of a couple years, they managed to put out 4 independently produced, rougher than rough, amazing records; which defined their sound and put Afterlife on the map for countless fans/nerds like me. This is one of those records. Fish is by far the predominant emcee on this, making it almost a solo joint, but the rest of the villains put in their dues along with Chu, Khule, Wize, P.E.A.C.E, Pterra, O.M.D, and a very special emcee on "No Sign". This CD-R was released in 2000, and features an entirely different track list than the album for sale on eye 2nz. 14 tracks deep.

Unreleased

Monday, June 14, 2010

Request....Riflemania

Boogie On
From 1998, this CDR album presents the Rifleman in all of his thugged-out glory. He's kicking asses and taking names with this one, lyrically pulling out your spleen and showing it to you before you even know what's going on. And it's all done solo except for the appropriately heavy beats as a sonic accompaniment (well, and his cousin Pterradactoo does appear on the last track). This record captured him at his prime, as some of his dizzying lyrical attacks attest, and at only 45 minutes, it comes distilled and concentrated. A truly Kclassic album from this OG Afterlifer and Project Blowedian.

Riflemania

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Skrub Styles

Empty In Ya Face

I'm not really sure why NgaFsh agreed to be on this album from Sacramento MC Wrath, but I can definitely tell you his appearances are the high point of the album. Fsh always comes correct with lyrical density, genius flows, and an oddball sense of humor, and it's these traits that have kept him fresh and vital as an emcee for the last 20 years. He's up there at the top of my list of OG Good Life artists that still put out dope material, and that's one reason why this record is by far the strangest thing I think he's ever released.
Although both Wrath and Fsh are co-billed, this is obviously the former's show. Wrath has a delivery reminiscent of Eazy-E (that is if Eazy didn't have the D.O.C. ghost writing for him, and if Eazy had been an angry drunk white man), and the low-budget but lovable CVBeats are left behind for Death On Call's ponderous and mellowdramatic score. Truly, there's a style clash going on here. Wrath's blunted and negative lyricism works well with his heavy-soled production, but it only makes Fsh seem even more out of place here. (I'm resisting any 'fish out of water' jokes, but the temptation is great.) Plus, we all know that Fsh is all about the partay, but Wrath sounds like he's sitting alone in his parents' basement with a bag of spraypaint and a bottle of mouthwash, shaking his fist at all the girls that wouldn't screw him in high school.
Geez. Sorry, is that too harsh? But really, he basically says as much himself on the record, so there you go.
But an album with NgaFsh is an album with NgaFsh, which means it's gotta be at least 50% dope, right? Even if he did swim up the wrong creek with this one. Ha! Yes!

Death

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sunbeams

Maybe Your Brain's Been Baked By The Sun
This is the second single released by Volume 10 from his album Hip-Hopera, and frankly it's a strange choice as the follow-up to the earthquake that was "Pistol-Grip Pump". Where "Pistol-Grip" was one of the loudest, most aggressive tracks in hip hop at the time, "Sunbeams" was the exact opposite: Subdued, laid back, and mellow, complete with hippyish backwards guitar lick. Looking back, this poor choice for a follow-up must have alienated a lot of potential fans looking for a sequel to Volume's bombastic debut. Especially woeful is that Hip-Hopera had plenty of other choice cuts on it that would have worked better as a follow-up than "Sunbeams" - "Knockoutchaskull," "Home Alone," and the title track, all come to mind. Even the B-side, "Where's the Sniper," would have been a better fit.
But, for better or worse, "Sunbeams" is what we got, and even though it's a damn fine song, there's no way it could live up to its predecessor - even with the inclusion of the beefed-up remix by the Baka Boyz. However, if you can look past the comparisons, this is classic single from a vital era of hip hop. And really, even a mediocre track from Volume's debut album is still way doper than your moms. Aw, snap.

Sunbeams 12"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Turn It Out 12

Camp Freestyle
Pawing through the vinyl... For all you completists out there, here's P.E.A.C.E. and Supa Nat's 12" for "Turn It Out," backed by "Bounce Wit' It," both off their Super Natural Peace album. Two great cuts, and a nice remix as well. Unfortunately the "Bounce Wit' It (Remix)" listed on the label is actually just the instrumental version, so there's nothing here in the way of vocal tracks that were left off the cd. But, there are hella nice instrumentals and acapellas to do your thing with. From 2003, on the ultra-classy No Foreplay label.

Turn/Bounce 12"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Awaken


From 2001, this largely-instrumental record, produced by a Poet Named Life, was originally a DVD presented in 5.1 surround. I believe a video DVD came out as well. However, for all of you who do most of your listening through headphones (like me), this is the 2-channel cd version.

On it are tracks from Divine Styler with Styles of Beyond, Josh One, Relm, Omid, Nobody (under the alias Nowhereman), among others. This compilation provides plenty of groovy, mellow moments, while staying edgy enough to remain interesting. Especially dope tracks include Xilent Xage's "Observation Link 213," a driving, synth number evoking the glory days of electronica; Josh One's abstract downbeat "Contemplation" (a la Thievery Corp); DJ Motive8's Euro-dub/oldschool dnb- inflected "Energy"; and the album closer "Antarctica" by Mount Cyanide, a desolate, 10-minute, minor-key epic.
Although instrumental records aren't for every mood and taste, this album has proven itself with me time and again as an engaging listen. Originally I picked it up for the contributions by Omid and Nobody, but in time the record's artists have all shown themselves to be dope songwriters, making the the album entertaining from beginning to end. And the songs, although by a multitude of artists, are thematically and musically aligned, and the progression from one track to the next shows obvious attention to ebb and flow. As experimental hip hop goes, this is some of the best. Give a listen with active ears - although it's a mellow record, this isn't for the background.

Awaken

Friday, June 4, 2010

Whose Microphone Is This?

He's Aceyalone. He's Aceyaloha.

Nice wax from Acey. Taken from his album Accepted Eclectic, the A-side has an always-welcome guest appearance from Freestyle Fellow P.E.A.C.E., while the B-side is a tight non-album banger. Sometimes I think Acey keeps his best material for the flipside. Like some of his previous B-sides ("Fortitude" and "Feet Up On Da Table"), "Keep Rappin' and Spinnin'" is an infectious track, more than worthy of an album spot. With its mid-school production from Rhettmatic, this poetic tale of Acey's coming of age in hip hop was a departure from the relatively formulaic rhyme style and song structure he began using with Accepted Eclectic (listen to "I Never Knew," "I Can't Complain," "I Got To Have It," or "Master Your High" to see where I'm getting at). Despite some of that album's more repetitive moments, it still has plenty of tracks that rock the socks, and this single is no different. From 2001.

Microphones/Keep Rappin'