Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guided By The Mass Men


It's Airwavable. It's Unbelievable. It's So Flavorful.

Acey and Ab at their prime can't be touched. If anyone tells you different, let them politely know that they're wrong. Take this 12" for example, from back in 1997: Kool DJ EQ's "Me & My Main" - one of the dopest A-Team joints out there. Although it's an A-Team track through and through, Abstract at first listen owns the track. His presence is commanding and strong, plus he takes the lions share of the lyrical space. Despite that, Acey's contributions are what I always find myself focusing in on. This 12" came out during Acey's formative days as a solo artist. He had going it alone for a few years by this point, but on the record he still sounds youthful and naive and fresh, as though he's completely in love with life. His delivery, his voice, his styles, his exuberant "yeah!"- it's like he just can't contain himself. With a voice pitched an octave higher than it is today, the boy could spit like nobody else and make it sound as easy as pie. He was charismatic, quick-witted and cocky, his lyrics a tangential and elliptical abstract acid trip through his introspective musings on everyday life, causing the listener to identify and sympathize while at the same time getting their wig peeled back. His delivery seemed written one moment and styled the next, equal parts mind-bending poetry and tossed-off rhymes for rhymes sake, somehow making everything cohesive and as close to lyrical perfection as you can get. Listening to him then, you can practically hear the bemused, half-bewildered, shit-eating grin on his face - as if he was just as amazed as his audience was at the skill and effortless grace in which he revealed the absurdities of existence. Acey is one rapper who never needed to boast to garner respect - he got it in spades due to raw skill.
Kool DJ EQ's music is perfect for these two rapid-fire emcees; minimal and quick. He works wonders with the mix, creating an almost psychedelic twist to Acey's vocals, which are double tracked and delayed, making him sound like he's jumping around spitting in the room without regard to the mike, just letting the words and energy flow.
I know that Abby Rude is conspicuously absent from this commentary, but I'd be up all night if I was going to continue. I know one of these days I'll give him his praises due as well. For now just listen to this holy trinity creating perfection on wax. You get vocal, radio, instrumental and acapella - which is great if you really want to focus in on the lyrics here.

Me & My Main

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's Just Funky


Nastymix

Nasty Nes, the legendary DJ who brought hip hop to Seattle radio on KFOX AM 1250, started Nastymix records with local emcee/producer Sir Mix-A-Lot back in 1985, releasing Mix-A-Lot's "Square Dance Rap" that same year. For the next 7 years, Nastymix was a monster, releasing platinum records, hosting names like Mix-A-Lot, Crimial Nation, and Kid Sensation, throwing lavish parties, and generally being the image of Northwest hip hop. Tacoma's High Performance was on Nastymix's roster, releasing a number of releases in 1989 and '90. As hip hop goes, this is definitely a golden-age release: it's a sign of the times, sonically falling somewhere between the Bomb-Squad and NWA-era Dre. Great music for the summertime. Hilltop represented.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Illasophic


The All Deadly

This file was originally posted in the comments of an earlier post, but then that file expired, and then when I tried to re-up it, that file was corrupt - and since it's so damn fly I figured I might as well give it its own post. Here are the cassette-only tracks to Jizzm's Illasophic Vol. 1, from 1998. These gems are wonderfully raw and distorted and murky, taking you back to the good old days. It's truly a shame that they didn't get re-released on CD - these leftovers are easily an equal to the greatness that was on the CD reissue. If they had been included, Illasophic 1.5 would have made a great double disc release. In fact, I think it would be cool if someone took the initiative, compiled Vol. 1 and Vol 1.5 together, and posted it on up. Call it Illasophic Vol. 1.75 or something. But at 38 minutes, this collection could basically be considered an album in itself. Guests include Otherwize on the og version of "Warriors", Dj Drez on "Drezolution", Rob One, Rifleman, Puzoozoo Watt, CVE, Cali Ragz, and others. This was when underground was still underground. An amazing document. Thanks once again to the folks at Ghetto Tyylit for providing some rare-ass stuff and for originally sending the tracks my way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Request...Welcome To The West

As requested...Here's another 12" from the 'Lifers. This is the classic track "We're Here To Stay" from CVE, Rifleman, and Busdriver, with Party N My Trunk" from Tray Loc on the flip. As with the Hip Hop Kclan/Easty Boys 12" from a few posts back, each side features an album track, its instrumental, and a non-album track . In this case, CVE's dark and sinister "Welcome To The West" is every bit as good as their album cut, while "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" is your typical 3Loc track - which means it's an over-sexed freak out. I swear that guy has a one-track mind.
I'm sorry about the variable quality of some of the tracks. I have a feeling this file was cobbled together from more than one source. But the music is all there. Here you go:

CVE/Tray Loc 12

Diaries of a Mad

Notes From a 206 Zulu


Khazm is one of Seattle's biggest hip hop movers and shakers. He's a true hip hop scholar and activist. He's a performer both solo and with his crew Cyphalliance, as well as being in the super-group The Building Project with Dume 41, Specs One, and Khingz. His grasp reaches much further into hip hop culture, as he is a co-founder of the MAD Krew production company, as well as being a co-host of Zulu Radio. Most impressively, he founded 206 Zulu, the Universal Zulu Nation branch here in Seattle. He was even awarded a community leadership award from Mayor Nickels! If that ain't hip hop, I don't know what is:)
This 12" is a stark and heart-wrenching testament to Khazm's own personal resolve and strength in the face of adversity. Recorded at the University of Washington Hospital by fellow MAD Krew affiliate and 206 hip hop guru Gabriel Teodros, "Life Line" cuts to the quick. You can't help but tune in, and stay riveted until the end. "Rhyme Artist" isn't as intense, perhaps thankfully, but it's truly a dope track that is made even more dope by appearances from King Kamonzi and DJ Scene. Sadly, this 12" only provides those two tracks in their vocal versions, but in addition, "Buddafly" and "Summertime", presumably off Khazm's full length, are included as well as the instrumental versions of the vocal tracks provided.
This is a 206 hip hop document that is as important and crucial as it is riveting and entertaining. Beats and lyrics by the powerhouse known as Khazm. 2005 ish, do not sleep.

Diaries of a Mad

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beyond Space Presents


1937, the airship age ends.

I found this at the Goodwill a few months back: Beyond Space Presents Vol.1, from 2003. Following in the footsteps of noteworthy releases like Music For The Advancement Of Hip Hop and Ropeladder 12, this compilation presents many of the artists you'd expect to hear from that side of the hip hop avant garde. Sole, Alias, Passage, JD Walker, Adverse, and others all lend their distinctive vibe. Several instrumentalists also appear, (Telephone Jim Jesus, Odd Nosdam, Emynd, the Bomarr Monk, Ognihs) who actually provide some of my favorite tracks on the comp. As you might expect based on the talent involved, it can be a bit of a dour and cerebral listen, except for the inclusion of what caused me to shell out the duckets for this in the first place: "a lil bitch from da kuntree" from the Shape Shifters. Lifting the music and lyrics of Pink Floyd's classic "Fearless" and running with it howling and naked through the streets, Circus, Transducer and Awol do what they do (which is awesome) for almost seven minutes (even more awesome). I know I tend to go a little overboard where Circus is concerned, but he never disappoints me. The dude is insane. So when is he going to drop some new material already??

Sunday, May 15, 2011

OLC


Word Perfect in 1999

This is a great compilation showcasing that Cali underground sound from the genre's golden age. Back in the day before file-sharing went supernova, the compilation record was my primary means of discovering new acts to obsess over. I would name OD's Beneath the Surface as the little earthquake that got the boulder rolling for me, but this comp, which came out a year later, certainly opened my eyes a little more (along with other notable comps The Funky Precedent, Connect the Dots, Strength Magazine's Subtext, Graffiti Kings, Ropeladder 12, etc, etc, ad nauseum).
OLC is a strong collection both beat-wise and lyrically. Produced entirely by D.J. Desue, this comp showcases the formula of a fine and varied selection of lyricists paired with a single beatmaker (Like Elusive's records, or OD's for that matter). What attracted me to it initially was the array of talent present that I had already heard about. Medusa and Aceyalone provide a track together, as do Rakaa of Dilated, Tash of Alkoholiks, and Defari. Akil and Charlie 2Na from Jurassic also represent, as well as Styles of Beyond. And the cherry on top, which would have made me fork over the cash no matter what, was the inclusion of the exclusive Freestyle Fellowship track "Hungry". Once again, Jupiter proves himself as a lyrical and stylistic madman, with P.E.A.C.E. not far behind. Acey and Mikah are okay too, I guess :)
With any compilation, the greatest strength lies in opening the listener's ears to new sounds, and OLC certainly didn't disappoint me here. I was still pretty green to the whole scene at that time, and OLC helped me discover a few new notable talents. Surprisingly Desue presents quite a varied musical palate, sculpting his sound to compliment each emcee: dramatic string arrangements carry Chase Infinite's "Kinetic Energy", while in contrast a solitary, reverbed harp loop pushes Phats Bossilini's "The Boss" (Truly a track worth pushing the repeat button). Blak Forest (who I already knew about and obsessed over) represent with two characteristically strong tracks from Shaydie Third Degree (using brass loops to impressive effect) and Otherwize. Wize is of course brilliant, and Desue's smooth, driving beat causes a serious head nod. Divine Universal made his only known appearance to me on this comp, and it was truly a memorable one. I'd love to know if he ever released anything else. Left (of Frontline), the hella dope Peeps Game, Phil Da Agony of the Likwit Crew, Kontaijuss, and the Barbershop Emcee's also represent with high-energy tracks.
See? Strong from beginning end. Definitely worth listening to a few hundred times. Peep, pimp.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Poignant Post


Amerika 911

I'm not sure when this compilation was released, but I'm thinking that likely it was '03. It's a short, but brave Ep featuring Northwest/Fresh Coast stars such as Vitamin D, Silas Blak, Kylea, H-Bomb of Sinsemilla, Castro and Specs One, on a few crew cuts; as well as as many instrumentals from Moka Only, E-Real Asim, Surge Spittable and Zachary Self. It's a gutsy little anti-war testament; as it examines the U.S. motives for engaging in war with the Middle East, and dares to point fingers in directions other than at the obvious motives (i.e. September 11th and the late (as of today) Osama Bin Laden). Just listen to Kylea's verse on the first track, "A Call To Arms" for an apt summation of this record's contents. If it had been widely distributed it probably would have caused quite a stir among all those of us blinded by pain, bigotry, patriotism and nationalism. But of course it didn't, since it was an unpopular view from an unpopular (at the time) corner of the hip hop map - and that's too bad in my opinion. It's dope on many levels, musically, lyrically, politically and consciously. Bottom line, we're all fam. Don't let any of the powers that be tell you diff'rent.
Peace.

Amerika 911