Saturday, August 27, 2011

Request... Kaos Cou De Ta (Dusty Vinyl)

Afterlife Legion
I received a request for this Kclassic recently, so I thought I'd dig up the old vinyl version. What an awesome record. It's condensed and over the top; high-energy as hell. Mostly this is a CVE production, but Chu's live band Legion provides a ton of musical accompaniment, along with Ebow, Hip Hop Kclan and Click the Supah-Latin. All the cooks in this kitchen give this short record a consistently different sound than the usual oldschool Afterlife releases, and although I love those old cd-r's to death, it's always cool to hear artists branching out. Lyricist-wise, there are a ton of emcees, but Ridd?, Fsh, Chu and Khule seem to be on the tracks the most consistently. Wreccless, Pterradacto, Otherwize and JXL also appear here and there.
Like the title of this post says, this is some dusty, crackly shit. I didn't do anything to clean it up, cuz that's how I like it. I hope you like it too.
Kaos Cou

Monday, August 22, 2011

On Some Old Missing Link Shit

Acidic Funk
This classic tape from '99 was my introduction to Neila, who I consider to be among the best emcees in existence, so it would be dope in my book just for that, except that it's also just a compelling and raw release. Acid Reign expanded on their sound with this tape, cleaning up the beats a little, extending the song lengths, and enlisting outside talent. Besides long-time collaborator Neila, Express, Ali, and Indiginuz lend their lyrical skills; and Pilot Rase, Rappin Ron, and El Nino join Dert on beats. This was also the first release that Olmeca rapped on as part of the Acid Reign crew.
I always focus in on Neila's contributions here. She's still honing her talent, which to me just makes Missing Link all the more fresh and vibrant. This is experimental music on every level - Acid Reign and Neila are exploring uncharted territory.
Missing Link

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Now We See Further

Coming a year later and almost twice as long as "A Journey To The...", Acidicompositions finds the Acid Reign Crew more honed and confident of their craft. Gajah and Beond are once again accompanied by DJ E.S.P. and producer Dert, along with Awol One and Adlib and Zagu of GPAC. Coming out in 1998, this tape was my introduction to the Reign, and it blew my mind wide open. More than a decade on, it still gives me a feeling of excitement and anticipation for what's on the horizon whenever I listen to it. This is new-school hip hop, in the best possible sense of the term, even today. Besides that, it's just a great tape. Give your brain a treat.


Friday, August 19, 2011

A Journey To The...

Free Music
Short and sweet, this tape clocks in at just over 11 minutes, but what a great 11 minutes it is. Lyricists Gajah and Beond worked beautiful chaos with producer Dert and D.J. ESP on this rough cassette, distilling the music to the essential elements, making full-fledged songs only a minute in length, keeping the ever-changing sound collage going. There isn't a second of wasted time here. From 1997 (I still can't believe this came out back then, it's so forward-thinking). Check it out, and for all those who want to know what's going on with these cats today, check out The Thirdman, and also peep the review I had the pleasure of writing on Gajah's new joint over at Blown Upp Music.
Acid Trip A Journey To The...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Brink

Rockin Sectors
The quintessential Goodvibe Release. Panda, Statik and Jaleel present something fresh for '98. This is solid music. The beats are clean and proper, and the flows are tight, thought provoking and clever; invoking hip hop's golden age. So why didn't they wind up on Master Card commercials or the Vans Warped Tour like other comparable acts? Rhetorical question. Just listen, appreciate, and catch Panda at a Plant Life show next time one comes your way. Here's "The Brink", along with "Flylingual", "Along The Pavement", and various acapellas and instrumental tracks. Good shit!
The Brink

Monday, August 15, 2011

Request...Smokin Suckas Wit Logic

We Love You

Request... This is one of my all-time favorite records. It's got that classic GPAC sound, and Sach has always had the tendency to bare his soul when he spits. He obviously gave his all with this release, and didn't budge an inch from his vision. He gets support from a bunch of talent, including J-Sumbi, Zagu Brown, Medusa, Suga B, Imeuswi Aborgine, and his late rhyme partner Yusef. Sach produced most of the album, with Adlib on one track and Omid on a remix. From 2002.



Sach and Inoe

Request... More GPAC! This is Sach and Inoe Oner, collectively known as Name Science. Great latter-day work from members of one of the most underrated crews out there. From 2006. It isn't always as murky and scratchy as you'd expect, and it isn't always as abstract either. Sach's distinctive, abstract-meets-oldschool vibe works really well with Inoe's slicker, more menacing approach; and together they present a full-bodied project that is a lot more than just an outgrowth of Global Phlowtations. Hopefully they pair up again some time.

Name Science / Name Science

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vincent Van Specs

Flyin' The Flannel
I'm on a strict diet of Specs these days. He's all I've been listening to; I can't get enough of his music. Surprisingly, there's almost nothing to be found of this phenomenal cat on yoo tooob, but I did find this live clip of him at the Rendezvous here in Seattle from a few years back. It's a great and fitting example of a truly unique artist in hip hop. Lanky, dressed like a logger ('cuz it's cold in the Northwest), alone on the stage (no hype man, no DJ), stomping around in a circle while he spits - this is about the most fitting clip of Specs One that I can imagine. He's a Northwest cat through and through, a true frontiersman and artist in all things he pursues, and he stays true to his convictions. You will probably never hear an industry beat behind this guy; his standard of what's cool is his and his alone. Pure artistry, subscribing to no genre, style or trend. Completely doing his own thing, I find myself thinking of him as the rap Neil Young (or Van Gogh), and the world's a better place for it. Like he's said numerous times before, "Hip hop, rap, I could care less. All these categories mean shit to the S."
By the way, this track, "Gogh", is off of his wonderfully scratchy record Green Lover and the Northwest Hits. Pick it up, why don'cha?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


H-Bomb, Jake One, Vitamin D, Topspin, Wordsayer

I know that you know that I know that you didn't know that H-Bomb dropped a record. While you're still figuring that out, let me expound upon it.
H-Bomb, part of the legendary Tribal Productions crew Sinsemilla (H, Topspin, sometimes Infinite), is one of the most distinctive emcees in the Northwest's formidable roster of talent. His style makes him instantly recognizable; the slick, slightly nasal delivery, the stiff and angular flow, the rapid-fire punchlines, all work to create an emcee like no other. While part of Sinsemilla, he was among the top tier of Seattle's talent. H-Bomb worked well with emcee/producer topspin, and I was sad indeed when I learned that they had parted ways. Topspin has continued to spin and produce, but I had lost track of H until I came across this record by chance. Called either "The Ruff LP" or "Spontaneous Combustion", (I'm not sure which) this is quite a departure from the established sound of Sinsemilla. With Top at the helm, Sinsemilla was mellow, jazzy, dusty and stoned. Just listen to "Confrontations", my favorite track on Untranslated Prescriptions, to get my drift. With his solo LP, H-Bomb is able to stretch out, exploring new ideas and themes, presenting varied sounds and styles. Bean One is in the producer's chair for the entirety of the record, catering to H's style and lyrical subject matter for any given track. His production is crisp and clean, a far departure from Topsin's scratchy loops, and actually is better suited to H-Bomb's lean delivery.
As an emcee, H comes with track after track of witty and creative punchlines. He references everything from Pikachu to the Israeli - Palestinian conflict to Tony Blair, causing me to drop my jaw like a mouth breather in wonderment. Unfortunately his repertoire is somewhat limited (quite a bit of time is spent on the record either schooling wack emcees or having dirtay drunk sex in the backs of clubs with the honeys). But if that's how he rolls, that's how he rolls, I'm not going to fault him that.
From what I understand, H still works in the music industry as a musician, but I get the feeling he's retired from emceeing. I've heard rumors that there's a Tribal Music rumble in the works, but in what capacity I don't know. Hopefully H is going to be part of that, and if he ever returns to the mic, I know he'd be welcome. For now, listen to this barely-dropped lp, and enjoy. From circa '06 to '08.

Ruff Combustion

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dynomite D

You'll Love It

Back in the day I used to live up the road from this oasis of cool in West Seattle known as Easy Street Records. I'd literally spend hours in a day there. They had imports, singles, a barrel of tapes to sift through, t-shirts, bootlegs, stickers, pins, and an entire upstairs dedicated to used vinyl. Famous acts would, and still, show up there and do free shows. They shared a wall with a cafe or a pool hall or something, and eventually they broke the wall down. Add to that it lies on the corner of Alaska and California, known as "The Junction", on several major bus routes. It's a hopping locale and caters to a diverse crew.
So when I was a teenager I'd save up all my money from whatever shitty job I had and go spend nearly all of it down at that shop. I spent most of my time upstairs in the used record section. At the time I was infatuated with hip hop, especially producing, but I had yet to really dip my feet into it. But years before I ever bought a sampler or turntable I was there sifting through the used jazz and soul records, digging for breaks.
Dylan, the record buyer there, was an immeasurable help to me back then. He was one of the few cats out there who let me know what was up. For example he was the guy who steered me away from Chuck Mangione and towards Herbie Mann. He told me about great musicians like Grant Green and Ramsey Lewis, and about great sources of dopeness like the CTI label. At the end of a long day digging through musty old stacks of records, I'd head downstairs with my purchases and he'd be at the counter pointing out which tracks had the dopest grooves for each record, and what other records to hunt for. At a time when I was young, timid, and had no idea how or where to jump into the vast universe of hip hop culture, he destroyed my preconceptions of the crate-digger who jealously guarded their loops, and made me feel a little more confident that I could do this shit.
By the Way is a record he made back in 2000. From one listen you can tell he's a literal library of loops and breaks. He's worked with diverse acts like Kirk Dubb, the Beasties and 764-Hero, and his current project, The Slew" is a colab with him, Kid Koala and two former Wolfmothers.
For comparisons' sake, By the Way has sounds similar to DJ Frane and the Propellerheads. Among several other tracks "Alki Beach Drive" stands out as the shit. I used to get off work in the middle of the night, blaze, then take the scenic route home. I'd drive along the Alki Beach Drive, stoned out of my gourd, eating 7-Eleven hot dogs, listening to this stoney old mixtape I made that had this track on it. If I ever uncover it I'll post it up...Mmm, hotdogs.
Well, um, thank you Dynomite D, for all the encouragement and knowledge and direction, and for this very dope record you made. It's great instrumental hip hop. By the way, this release and everything else on the Slabco label, is available for free dl at their site here.
The following is a rip from my cd, so it's in higher quality like it should be. Seriously groovy music here. Kirk Dubb co-produces one track, and Kid Koala guests on another.

By The Way

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Watch Your Words

Alienatin' Suckaz

I've been hearing that Dj Shadow is dropping a new record here pretty soon, so I thought I'd post up this 12", which includes the infamous beef track aimed at Shadow from Seattle's Samson and Swift. Apparently Samson took some offense at Shadow's filler track on Endtroducing "Why Hip Hop Sucks In '96". insinuating that Shadow didn't know shit about hip hop and had no right to critique the culture. Actually the song's not just aimed at Shadow, but at all those who hated on 206 hip hop for not sounding like Cali, and those in the game that aren't "real" - aka players, gangsters, and (really unfortunately) underground heads (which he portrays as "god damn tree huggers with backpacks").... Yeah, pretty much dissing his entire fan base right there.
Whatever the reason, Samson and Swift take them all to task with skill. Samson's robust flow is instantly recognizable from his 22nd Precinct days on the old Seattle comps, and his producer Swift crafts a smooth, mellow Northwest vibe. The B-side, "Help" has that classic Conception sound despite the fact that it's Swift in the producer's chair rather that Jake One or Supreme. I actually find myself listening to this song more than "Watch Your Words", even with the notoriety surrounding the latter.
Back in 1998, I was patiently waiting for the Northwest to get their time in the limelight. Now more than a decade later that time has arrived, but sadly I hear that Samson has retired from the mic. And that is truly a shame. Let's hope that Shadow's new release will raise his hackles up enough to step back up where he'd be more than welcome.

Watch Your Words

Black Stax

Playing The Game Like Marbles

The freshest tracks to come out of the 206 in a minute, which is saying a lot. These three individuals have a lot of history between them. Through them you hear the formation of Northwest hip hop: You have The Fourth Party, you have Blind Council, you have Jasiri. You have Silent Lambs. You hear beats by Vitamin D, you hear beats by King Otto. These are some of the supreme rulers of 206 hip hop, the originators of the style. And like the masters they are, they know how to mould raw materials into something new and unseen.
The Black Stax manage to push the boundaries of hip hop into unknown regions. This has been labeled "avant guard", and for lack of a better term, it works. For although the formula of mixed-gender, jazzy hip hop has been played time and time again with similar results, the Stax turn it inside out and upside down, making it unrecognizable, and ultimately much more pure than past experiments. Listen to the projects of some of the jazz greats - Ayler, Sanders, Coltrane - you listen to their albums and you don't hear songs. You don't get anything that structured. You get impressions. You get feelings, you get swept away by pure emotion. With the Black Stax's music, you are left in similar care. This album isn't a collection of songs. This is more a tapestry of sound and emotion, a Burroughsian cut-up experiment on the sonic level, taking what we knew, deconstructing it, distilling it, and ultimately bringing it back into sharper focus. There is none of the linear progression we've been trained to expect to hear. You are required to unfocus your ears and allow the music to rewire your mind. This is hip hop reaching its maturity.
Buy the record and let it wash over you. Put it on loop. Let it be your soundtrack. Listen to what they have to say and how they say it. With each listen let it blow your mind a little more.