Archive for the 'Hip-Hop' Category



29
Jan
10

Album Review: Strong Arm Steady – In Search of Stoney Jackson

Strong Arm Steady - In Search of Stoney Jackson

Strong Arm Steady – In Search of Stoney Jackson [MP3 Download]

Stones Throw Records | Blacksmith Records

By Mookie

Back when Death Row Records dominated the West Coast rap game, a loose collective of Cali-based emcees including frontman Xzibit, formed Strong Arm Steady and built a considerable buzz on the underground circuit with a number of popular mixtapes. Since then, X-to-the-Z along with a handful of other members left the group, making Strong Arm Steady a trio composed of Mitchy Slick, Phil Da Agony, and Krondon.

In Search of Stoney Jackson is the group’s second studio album, and the first to be released on Talib Kweli‘s label, Blacksmith Records Stones Throw Records. With exclusive production from the legendary Madlib and features from the likes of Phonte (of Little Brother), Evidence, and Planet Asia among others, on paper, this project couldn’t look much better.

The actual result proved to be less than amazing. While Madlib holds up his end on the production, masterfully crafting a number of impressive, sample-heavy beats, Strong Arm Steady disappoints lyrically on the majority of the album. Phil Da Agony sounds awkward as he fumbles through most of his verses, almost as if he was rhyming off the top of his head the whole time. And while Krondon‘s efforts are quality at different times throughout the album, it’s not enough to single-handedly support the group when Phil didn’t bring his A-game and Mitchy Slick is borderline absent, only appearing on two of the album’s 18 tracks.

 But don’t write Stoney Jackson off just yet, guest appearances save this album’s replay value. Phonte comes through on the opener Best Of Times with the smoothest of hooks and Talib Kweli drops a dope verse on the Roxanne Shante-sampling Get Started. Unfortunately, some guest spots hurt more than they help. Like the cluttered True Champs that unsuccessfully squeezes in verses from 5 different rappers.

 As I mentioned before, Madlib really makes sure there’s not a negative comment to say about the production on this album. Songs like “Pressure,” my personal favorite, make it impossible for you not to bob your head to the bass-infested beat. The same ensues on the mean-mug worthy “Ambassadors”, while he flaunts a more laid-back style on “Chittlins & Pepsi”.

 If your a big fan of Strong Arm Steady, In Search of Stoney Jackson might be a disappointment as it clearly sits on the shoulders of good guest features and exceptional production, but if your just looking for some quality underground West Coast rap, pick this one up – it’s worth a spin.

26
Jan
10

Nappy Roots.. On Their “Pursuit of Nappyness”

Nappy Roots - The Pursuit of Nappyness

Awnaw, hellnaw

It’s a shame that the subgenre of silky smooth, Southern-fried soul remains under-appreciated and becomes almost nonexistent when discussions about hip-hop dip below the Mason Dixon. 

Perhaps it’s the  sudden prevalence of boisterous trap-rap promoted by ex-kingpins like Young Jeezy. Or the rise (and fall) of simplified crunk-hop that started (and ended) with Lil’ Jon’s four-word vocabulary. Perhaps it’s overshadowed by the stripclub shaking induced by Ying Yang Twins, the alcohol-soaked innuendo of Ludacris, the dumbed-down chatter of Ace Hood, the slurred diction of Three 6 Mafia, or Lil’ Wayne’s alien activity to which few can relate.

However, tucked neatly between T.I.’s superstar swag, Arrested Development’s political musings, OutKast’s vibrant vitality, UGK’s trunk-knocking force and Scarface’s heart-wrenching ghetto gospel lies the effervescent sincerity of them country boys, Nappy Roots.

Fresh out the skillet after their appearance on SMKA’s 808’s Experiment Part 2, the Kentucky quintet’s latest jawn “Ride” is a lustrous, string-laden melody cruising over boom’s and bap’s equipped for Fish Scales, Skinny DeVille and Co to represent their often-overlooked yet never-disappointing style.

Pursuit of Nappyness drops April 20th (alongside Little Brother’s last LP, might I add). Unfortunately, I predict that even if they grill up a well-seasoned offering, the masses will probably write it off as stale or bland.

My advice is – check ya tastebuds at the door. You might just find it’s more savory than a plate full of Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz.

Download: Nappy Roots – Ride [Mediafire]

Quotables:

Go on, do the Stanky Leg
It’s better than talkin’ bout shootin’ people in the head

Do you go..
I wonder where in the world
Do you go..

Sometimes you got to give it all you got
Even though a few folk keep wishin’ that you stop
But after that, another classic we gon’ drop
And I ain’t talkin bout no fancy mansion or no yacht
Just a quarter pound of pot on my 40 acre lot
With my Caddy coupe, it drop, and a Range Rover spot

..Then they can’t see they self back in the hood
Can’t let they friends know they not doin’ good
So you lay low, and focus on your kids
Hope somebody remember somethin’ that you did

The grass gets mighty green by the fence
Which side is the question, I’m headed that direction
Knowledge is the weapon and I use it for protection
If you think I’m really slippin’ then run up and learn ya lesson

Purchase: Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz | Wooden Leather | The Humdinger

 Bonus Downloads: Nappy Roots – P.O.N.

Nappy Roots ft. Anthony Hamilton – Po’ Folks [Mediafire] |

Nappy Roots – Awnaw [Mediafire]

Video Excerpt:

25
Jan
10

Kenichiro Nishihara ft. Steph Pockets – Livin’ The Life (Remix)

Kenichiro Nishihara - Life

This fresh jawn is off Japanese virtuoso Kenichiro Nishihara’s new album Life. Illadelphian Steph Pockets spits the real over Nishihara’s jazz-hop, a formula for a feel-good start to your week.

I’ve been searching for a link on Amazon or iTunes to cop Life, however all I’ve spotted is a Japanese digital retailer called HMV online here.

Scoop the MP3 at the link below and check the track list for a preview of the album, Enjoy!

Download: Kenichiro Nishihara ft. Steph Pockets – Livin’ The Life (Remix)

Track List:

01. Prelude
02. Power of Self feat. Substantial
03. Livin’ The Life feat. Steph Pockets
04. Weather Overtone
05. Beautiful Things feat. Amanda Diva
06. Now I Know feat. Pismo
07. Mind Tourism
08. Brazilian Daydream
09. Waltz For Jazz Things feat. Gregg Green
10. Moon Child feat. Nina Vidal
11. Dawn
12. Life feat. Kissey Asplund

23
Jan
10

Hope For Haiti Now – Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge & Rihanna Perform “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)” & More Coverage

Bono, Jay-Z & Rihanna

When the sky falls, and the Earth quakes.. We gon’ put this back together, we won’t break

I watched almost the entire Hope For Haiti Now telethon event last night, and I’m so thankful I did. If I said it was extremely moving, that would be an understatement. I found myself breathless and teary-eyed as artists, musicians, actors, directors and more put aside differences and united to answer phones and accept donations on behalf of  the various organizations helping the relief effort in Haiti. The broadcast also featured personal stories about Haitians that survived the horrible natural disaster in addition to newscaster Anderson Cooper & others detailing the monumental effort to treat the thousands of injured and emotionally-distraught.

Musical performances included Jay-Z, Bono & The Edge of U2, Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, my wifey Christina Aguilera, my other wifey Alicia Keys, The Roots, Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris, John Legend, Beyonce, Coldplay, Shakira, Mary J Blige, Sting, Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Emeline Michel and of course, Haiti’s son Wyclef.

MTV has a sweet rundown of all the performances here and check out some photos here compliments of Concrete Loop. Click the links below to donate and grab your copy of the Hope for Haiti Now album on iTunes with the various performances in great quality MP3’s.

If anyone has the full telecast of the event, can you please link it in the comments section? Thanks in advance.

Shout to Ian for the video of Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge & Lil’ Mama Rihanna below (am I the only one who thinks Rih Rih looks out of place on stage with legends? Oh well.). I hope you find it in your heart to donate to help those suffering from this devastating tragedy, and (try to) enjoy the music!

Download on iTunes: Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge & Lil’ Mama Rihanna – Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)

Hope For Haiti Now

Donate: Hope For Haiti Now

22
Jan
10

Oddisee – Odd Winter (Instrumental FreEP)

Odd Winter

Now here’s something to cure the Winter blues.

If you dug Capital City’s Oddisee’s seasonal instrumental offerings that dropped last year, you’ll feel his newest Odd Winter jawn too:

Oddisee’s back with another Put Me On It exclusive, the third installment in his season-themed series, Odd Winter. Not slowing down after his string of releases in 2009, he’s also preparing to release his new instrumental album Traveling Man on Mello Music. Traveling Man will be available for purchase as a digital release January 26th and vinyl & limited edition slimlines February 23rd.

Hit up the Diamond District rep’s Bandcamp link below for a free download, Enjoy!

Download: Oddisee – Odd Winter (Instrumental FreEP)

18
Jan
10

He Had A Dream.. And So Do We

Greg Street Presents - Dr. King - The Speeches 

On this very special holiday, let’s all vow to work hard each and every day to fulfill Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream. We’ve come a long way, but we’re not there just yet.

Celebrate the ongoing fight with Greg Street’s quality tape of some of Dr. King’s most inspirational words over Dre beats. I also hooked up an excerpt from the original “I Have A Dream” audio below, in hopes that all will hear his eloquent voice and determined tone. Shout to the TSS familia. Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Enjoy!

Download: Greg Street Presents – Dr. King – The Speeches Mixtape

1. Greg Street – Imma King (feat. Dr. King & Ricco Barrino)
2. Greg Street Speaks
3. Greg Street Presents Speech by Dr. King, Beats by Dr. Dre

Download Original Excerpt: Dr. Mather Luther King – “I Have A Dream” Speech

14
Jan
10

DJ Shadow – Freeform, All-Vinyl DJ Set – October 31, 2009 in Los Angeles

DJ Shadow

Well, I’ll be damned.

I haven’t seen this mix by the everlasting Joshua “DJ Shadow” Davis, a personal favorite of mine, posted anywhere besides my local torrent community. So it’s only right I share this special live mix with everyone.

Shadow spun this particular blend of musical beauty last Halloween night at LA’s Legendary Park Plaza for KCRW’s Masquerade Ball. He rocked his now famous sampling technique amid pinpoint scratching and nifty mixing for his set, which clocked in at a little under two hours.

Oh, did I mention he played Serato-free? To you newjacks out there, this means he lugged crate upon crate busting at the seams with vinyl (gasp!) to represent with two turntables and a sampler like few can these days, for the true school.

I’d much rather have been scoping pretty ladies to DJ Shadow’s tune’s then whatever lame dime-a-dozen DJ played where I was that night, but at least I can envision what it would have been like to be there thanks to whoever recorded this.

Shouts to the generous folks of ****.cd (what, you thought I’d give my secrets away? You crazy, homes) for seeding this torrent, Enjoy!

Download: DJ Shadow – Freeform, All-Vinyl DJ Set – October 31, 2009 in Los Angeles





Corleone, Hold the Throne

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