Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tommy V's Restless World

Broken English

Here's the fresh Tommy V joint - and it's quite the many-layered onion! (or parfait?)  Here we see the signature Tommy V thrift-score loops and production we all know and love, along with several classic collaborators (Gajah, Awol One, EXII, 2Mex and Maleko).  Partnered to that is the solid musicianship, intricate song craft, emotional depth, and beautiful harmonies that Tommy V is known for since his musical rebirth.  More focused than the predecessor Mockingbird, but no less progressive, TV has come into his own in this brave new post-underground world.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Evidence Of Things Not Seen by Gabriel Teodros

Outside Looking In

The latest from the greatest.  DL now for personal enrichment. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fresh Music


Phreewil is one of my favorite producers out there.  Ricky Pharoe is one of my favorite lyricists.  Together they made this testament to awesomeness.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Several Active Minds - Shogun Craftsman

Several Active Minds - Brothers Of The Grass

This is the real shit.  Several Active Minds are a long-standing Seattle graf/rap crew that have that raw vibe that I love - impassioned voices, dusty loops, and the power to focus that wild energy that comes from any group effort into a finished, singular product.  That singular product, I might add, also has another raw vibe that I love - the feeling that this is something new, something fresh, something uncut.  And really, that's what it is.  They may reference elements of BDP, Public Enemy and X-Clan, and borrow aesthetics pioneered by the Wu, but the SAMsquad do things only they can do, and speak in a way to make you listen.
This isn't really boogie-woogie music; it's designed to be listened to, consciously.  Specs One shows up, so that should tip you off somewhat.  Headphones, no outside stimulus.   It's challenging and it doesn't pull its punches, and that's how art should be, right?

Dume 41 has stated that there is a new album in the works, and there are earlier recordings in the vaults - hopefully this all comes to light soon.  This is truly important music.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Avoid, Hurt, Maim, Murder

Chili Fritos

I never posted this up so here it is now.  This, the fourth installment in the CVE 2000 era canon of crappy-ass homemade CD-R's with the MacPaint graphics, is another album of gritty, digi-distorted homegrown beats and sick, sick, SICK flows.  The fact that such incredible talent operated on the absolute bare minimum; without management, advances, or outside producers, struck a familiar cord with me at the time, and is still something I find endearing today.  Nothing out there back then seemed as rigorous and ernest as what these guys were doing.  Next to them, they made other underground acts look positively mainstream.  
Next to Declassified, this cd was my favorite of the 4 co-released CVE albums (Declassified and Gotta Cumm Up came out along with Unclassified and Unreleased at the same time back in 2000), for a few reasons.  One, it had a solitary production credit by OD on the short Wreccless track "Virtuosity".  I tracked down everything I could from OD back then.  Secondly, it had a couple of CVE's strongest tracks in "Crack Kills" and "Simulated Show (Part 1)".  Just listen to see why.  And third, the cover art was so pathetic.  That poor old CVShack.  I couldn't help but feel akin to these struggling artists seeing a picture like this, done on a crappy computer at Kinko's, showing what I could only assume as their living/working quarters, which weren't that different from mine back then.  Although CVE had been going for a easily a decade by this point, it all seemed fresh and inspired and youthful.  Which is, as I continue to become more and more of an old codger, what I find I love best about hip hop.
I don't think CVE is selling these any more, so here it is.  NgaFsh, Riddlore?, Wreccless, and Tray Loc are joined by Rifleman, Latrenda, Shoshawna and a few other voices.  Never forget how dope it all was.

Gotta Cumm Up 1999

P.S.  I've been looking for the original Gotta Cumm Up from 1990 since the stone age, basically. if anyone is sitting on it out there, I would give you a kidney for it.  Just kidding...  Actually I'm serious.  Bright, shiny kidney here, folks...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gabriel Teodros' Children Of The Dragon


Gabriel Teodros' new album, produced entirely by AirMe, is a mature, restrained, and beautiful record.  It's his most solid work to date, pushing hip hop forward as few can.  I hadn't heard about this release until only a couple nights ago, and since that point I've been enjoying this surprise immensely.  For those familiar with this particular Seattle cat, suffice to say it won't disappoint; for those new to Mr. Teodros, it's a perfect place to jump in.  His work has always demonstrated a passion for the art like few others, and here it shines distilled and crystal clear.  Truly, this is a work of beauty.   Check out his website below, as well as links to listen and buy all his music.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Townbizness Mix

The Grunge Years

Producer Jake One put out this unofficial Seattle hip hop compilation back in 2008.  I think it was up on cocaineblunts, and it spread around from there, but now all the links are down.  So let's revive it!  It's a short set, but it's all gold. 

Track List:
Vitamin D - No Good
Jake One and Kutfather - No Introdeezy
Boom Bap Project - Welcome To Seattle
DMS - Back Up Off My Tip
Samson and Swift - Watch Your Words
Source Of Labor - Wetlands
Sinsemilla - Kaboom
Foul Play - Nightfall Round The Way
Blind Council - Only When I'm High
Ghetto Chilldren - Questions
Jace and the 4th Party feat. B-Mello and Specs One - Shit Hits The Fan
Black Tek Produced By Born Supreme - Sic Ill Shorty

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Color Me Maximillian

Motherfucker, Did I Sound Abstract?!

Sadly I never saw Company Flow perform live, but I did get to see El-P when he came to town after Fantastic Damage was released.  He brought with him a gritty entourage of like-minded emcees and Dj's, including MHz and assorted Def Jukies.  The show was of course live as fuck, and everyone was on point.   At the end of the proceedings, I got his attention, and slipped him a few cd's from me and my homies.  He took one look at the covers, festooned as they were in images of weed fields and B-movie actors, and  burst out laughing.  Then he very carefully tossed them at RJD2.  And that was as close as I ever got to fame.  Here's Volume 2 of early El-Productions from 1994-2000.  Pre-Jukie days.  Noisy, experimental, and hip hop as heck.

Track List
Deception, Part 2: Turmoil - Blackalicious
Trapped In 3 Dimensions (El-P Remix) - Ice 
Bladerunners (Company Flow Mix) - Mike Ladd Feat. Co Flow
Juggle Tings Proper (El-P Remix) - Roots Manuva
Gametime - Sir Menelik
Workers Needed - Company Flow
Looking Over A City - Latyrx and El-P
End To End Burners (Remix) - Company Flow
Linda Tripp - Company Flow
Offspring feat. El-P - Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
Blackout - Company Flow
Juvenile Technique (Essentials Mix) - Company Flow

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

El Produc-Slash-Death Threat


Hey Folks, heard anything good lately?   
I compiled this for my own listening pleasure this last weekend and thought that I would take the time to post up.  El-P is one of my favorite producers and MC's, and I've enjoyed his claustrophobic, paranoid vision since I first heard a scratchy "Funcrusher" dub on my friend's tape deck back in the days of yore.  So here is the first volume of early works by the man, from 1994-2000.  Co-Flow non-album cuts, b-sides, remixes, production spots - all early El-P productions.  Noisy, cramped, and distorted tracks from the master.  I know it's not west coast, but whatevs, it's still dope music.

Track List:
Tatiana No Namida - Yasushi Ide
Hit Me With That Shit - Company Flow
Juvenile Technique - Company Flow
Dammit - Dominant Species
People Are Shady - Company Flow
The Fire In Which You Burn (With Intro) - Indelible MC's
Nightwork - Sir Menelik
Info Kill (Original) - Company Flow
Weight - Indelible MC's
Mucho Stereo - BMS
End To End Burners - Company Flow
Krazy Kings Too - Company Flow
Patriotism - Company Flow
Linoleum (Instrumental) - Company Flow

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Black Stax At The Triple Door

Vanguard Music

Silas Blak, Jace Ecaj, and Felicia Loud, collectively known as Black Stax, are true hip hop veterans.  All have been active in Seattle hip hop since at least the early '90s, and at 20+ years on they continue to produce prolific and fresh music.  This document may be one of their highest points, both collectively or singularly - a dope high energy live set from last year, with a full backing band.  Where their studio efforts have been mostly reigned in, controlled, stark and edgy, when they come live their sound is full and explosive - all that collective potential is released.  What amazes me is how Jace's smooth flow melds perfectly with Blak's off-kilter delivery and Felicia's stygian-deep soul - It's a combo that could only be pulled off by professionals such as these.  I can't recommend it enough.

Friday, January 31, 2014

DKNODEAL's Folk Hop Blues

So probably not a lot of you know this, but DK NODEAL (aka DK Toon for all you old timers) dropped a street-level album last year entitled "Folk Hop Blues".  This was not a release of the unfinished 90's DK Toon album of the same name, but an entirely different work, one that was much more realized and complete.  I was fortunate enough to get a chance to hear it, and here's what I wrote about it at the time:

  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. 
Awesome record, my hat is off to Dk.  I bump it daily, and I'm grateful that I can contribute my 2 cents in some way.

This is a pretty hard album to track down - DK said this was only for the Mom and Pop stores, and as far as I can tell, the only place to cop it online is at the DK-affiliated Feminine Hustle.  A link to that site is provided below.  Do what you can to check it, it's a world removed from anything he's done previously and opens an entirely new chapter on the artist's work.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One From The Vaults

Uh Hieroglyphics Yeayah

So that was a short retirement... 

This was a project I started a few years ago and just recently found, dusted off, and finished up:  Hiero b-sides, productions, and guest appearances from 1990-1994, as complete as I can deal with right now.  Be warned, this doesn't include any of the Hiero Oldies, or the excellent Del Demos from the late 80's.  Also, it doesn't hold a candle to the crucial producer series posted up over at the allmighty TROY site.  A lot of this can be found on Hiero reissues as well, like Del's Elektra years and SOM's 93 Til reissue.  Pick those up if you haven't already.  Also sound quality at times is atrocious.  But there is some here that isn't included anywhere else (except on the vinyl of course), so there's that.  For those that miss that old sound.

Track List:
Turn Off The Radio: Ice Cube
Stompin' To The 90's: Yo Yo
Girl, Don't Be No Fool: Yo Yo
Ahonetwo Ahwontwo Remix: Del
Burnt: Hiero
Mistadobalina Remix: Del
Dr. Bombay Remix: Del
Eye Examination: Del
Hoodz Come In Dozens SD50 Remix: Del
Made In America (Whoopi's Mix): Del
93 'Til Infinity Remix: SOM
Good Feeling: SOM
Never No More (76 Seville Mix): SOM
Make Your Mind Up (Rock On Mix): SOM
That's When Ya Lost Remix: SOM
Get The Girl (Jay Biz Low Down Remix): SOM
Made In America (SD50 B-Boy Mix): Del
Me-O-Mi-O Remix: Cas
Later On (Casual's Low Down Remix): Cas
That's How It Is Part II (Feat A Plus): Cas
That's How It Is Remix: Cas
Rock On (Feat Pep Love): Cas
I Didn't Mean To Remix: Cas
If That's Your Boyfriend (Existential Meditation Remix): Me'Shell NgegeOcello
Take A Ride (A Plus Remix): Alphabet Soup
Give It Up: Extra Pro
Brown Sugar (Domino Remix): Extra Pro
First Sermon (The Town Remix): Extra Pro
Wrong Place (Casual Remix): Del
Undisputed Champs (Feat. Pep Love, Q-Tip): Del
No More Worries (feat. Hiero): Del
Catch A Bad One Remix: Del
Made In America (Del's Remix): Del
Rapperz Are Danger (Mischievous Mix): Microphone Pager
Get The Girl, Grab The Money And Run: SOM
Later On: Cas
Frontman (Del Mix): New Kingdom
Good Times (Del Remix): New Kingdom

P.S. I'm still "retired".  Just sayin.  One love.