Request... Why is this guy's name not in everyone's mouf? Pterradacto steps out of his cuz's shadow on this release into the spotlight where he belongs. An overlooked Afterlife masterpiece, short but sweet, demonstrating and rendering mad styles obsolete. One of the best emcees you never knew. Primal...
Extremely rare and equally as dope, this is the legendary Black Anger Movement's "Damn Da Demo" tape. Apparently only around 10 copies were produced of this, and I have no idea what year it dropped but from the sound of it I'd guess it was prior to their "Maxed Out Singles" record from '96. Five tracks deep (4 tracks plus a remix). Hi-energy tru-school hip hop. A million thanks to the big-hearted homie Dawhud for reaching out with this gift to all of us. Listen to this unheard greatness.
This album was recently posted up by the cats at Know This, but I feel so strongly about this guy that I wanted to review it over here. Specs One, the mastermind behind the legendary 206 acts the Elevators, The Crew Clockwise, and Original Space Neighbors (among many, many others) dropped this album in 2001. Return of the Artist is a fitting name for this album, as it heralded a rebirth of Specs as a rhyme artist and producer. For years Specs had been legendary as the most underground of underground heads in Seattle, releasing shit at shows and at the mom and pop stores on cassette and through mail order, and this was his first wide-spread release (on CD!), as far as I know. Released on the Abduction label, this was also a change stylistically from his projects up to this point. The songs here, whether vocal tracks or instrumental, are solid, distilled to the prime elements, and no-nonsense. On his various tracks from his salad days (Numerology, American Music, Balcony, Etc) his work had a distinct experimental vibe, allowing the tracks to stretch out and grow on their own. I revere his early stuff (well, all his stuff) with something close to adoration, and everything I've ever found by Mr. Hall has been a treasure. But Return was a decidedly more accessible record than his previous efforts since the Elevators' Transitions EP. Here, Specs goes as straight-ahead hip hop as Specs gets, which means it's still underground, scratchy, and experimental as most cats never dare to go, but it's all systems ahead with beats to make the head nod and lyrics that are always engaging. No track ever lasts too long, and there's never any lag between the musical/lyrical action. This is a classic Northwest selection, ranked at the top. Released in 2004, this is still available to purchase... Long live the Green Lover!
Just learned about this tragic news today. Tizzy T died in a house fire in Seattle on October 16th. It broke my heart to hear this, he was an incredible talent and a living legend out here in the 206 region. I had heard that Narcotik had been working on new material, merely adding to the tragedy. Check out Raindrophustla and Swan Lake for more.
What ever happened to this guy? For about 6 years I'd see his name pop up here and there - the first place I remember him was on the Connect the Dots comp from '99, and the last I heard of him was on Self Scientific's "Balance" from '05. In between he made various guest spots and put out a few singles, but since then he's been quiet. Truly unfortunate for us all, because the man can rock the mic. This release show us that - the "New Horizons" 12". Produced by Pete Rock's brother Grap Luva on the A side with Mum's the Word on the flip, and featuring J-Rocc on the cuts, it's a solid and accomplished effort from beginning to all-to-quick end. Out on Up Above back in 2000. Let's hope Kombo picks up the mic again some day soon.
Scarub and Elusive from 1999. The sophomore slump doesn't apply here. Truly a more intense album would be hard to come by. Scarub manages to cram a lot into his rapid-fire and intellectual delivery, which speeds through the perfectly-sized empty spaces in Elusive's minimalistic beats. Both originally from the infamous Log Cabin crew, rhyme sayer and beat maker had a long history together at this point, and that's probably why everything seems to meld together so tightly.
Few guests appear on this album. I get the feeling Scarub had a lot to get off his chest here, and didn't want his vision diluted. Like Aceyalone's sophomore record, this is the artists' magnum opus, with a carefully chosen musician to spark the poetry to life. Definitely a high point in Scarub's catalogue, as well as that of the Living Legends.
Nomad Nosirrom, Khazma 247, El Guanaco, HNS, Elohim, WD4D
Here's some forgotten greatness from the Northwest: Cyphalliance, a group of emcees, producers, and deejays spearheaded by Khazma 247, also known as the one and only Khazm. This was a relatively early project he and his MAD Krew was involved in (2003). Executive produced by 247 and Nosirrom, many of the tracks also give Khazm a producer and emcee credit as well. Stylistically this is some high energy, youthful consciousness mixed with a healthy dose of battle attitude. It's some refreshingly energetic left coast music in the same vein as JKC or EX2, except that it's so obviously from the 206. The grayness that permeates so much of the tonality of Northwest music (both hip hop and otherwise) is truly in effect here. The cover sums the music up perfectly - a group of young men standing in front of a cloudy sky backdrop, as seen in the reflection of a rain puddle in a drab parking lot. Perseverance in the face of the mundane. I was next to ecstatic when I found this long out-of-print chapter in Northwest hip hop history, and I hope you enjoy it at least a tiny bit as much as I do.
Thanks to the chroniclers over at Ghetto Tyylit who generously posted up an old Cuf tape, I dug this up out of the stacks and have had it spinning on the turntable on a daily basis. This EP from '98 is one of my favorite records. The Cuf are Sacramento legends, with their hold-steady lyrical delivery and dusty production. Nothing flashy or showy here, this is just solid hip hop on all levels. They are as essential to underground Cali hip hop as anything from the Bay or LA, and deserve to be recognized as such. A whole bunch of Living Legends guest on one track.
A classic among classics... Here is Jake One and Kutfather's iconic 12" "No Introduction" from Conception Records back in 1998. The A-side features Jake's signature production - a driving, airy, infectious loop over a minimal, but effective beat; while side B is no less head-nodding with a smooth, subdued remix. The final track, "One Man Band", shows off Jake's formidable beat-making and chopping skills. Even back in '98 he had the gift. Conception released some of the illest Northwest hip hop, both past and present, and this 12" ranks at the top. Just as notably, this slab of wax shows what an accomplished beatsmith Jake was even before he became an industry name. Crucial sides from Conception.
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