Monday, July 31, 2006

More Complex From One Rhyme To The Next

I come bearing a message for the babies---you can't even begin to call yourself a hip-hop fan until you've listened to some Rakim. I'm sure that there are a few miscellaneous heads out there who genuinely dislike his style, but trust me...such individuals are (understandably) few and far between.

The history of hip-hop has seen many rappers come and go, but Rakim represents something far greater than the average---he's a legendary street poet and lyricist in the truest sense of the words. If you don't own any of his records, you should empty out your piggy bank and make every effort to get familiar . If you really open your ears, you'll be astonished at how many of his lines have been hijacked and repeated by other MC's over the years. His rhyme book is a breeding ground for plagiarism, to say the very least...

There are a couple of you who still don't get it, so let me use an analogy. He is to rap what Dave Chappelle was to "The Chappelle Show"---pretty fuckin' essential. Knowledge of this man's work is absolutely fundamental to hip-hop appreciation. That means it's time to unpeel your lips from the window of the short bus, and start pursuing your primary education:

A few joints that you can currently download, courtesy of blogger generosity...
"Follow The Leader" (w/ Eric B)
"Waiting For The World To End"
"Writing Rhymes"

...and a handful of videos for those who learn best by visual means:
"When I Be on the Mic"
"Don't Sweat the Technique"
"Casualties of War"
"In the Ghetto"
"Microphone Fiend"

Speaking of hip-hop's pioneers, Recidivism is currently featuring "Superman's Black in the Building (Mauly T remix)" by Public Enemy and "Real Niggaz Don't Die" by NWA.

You can also cop Public Enemy's classic joint "Rebel Without A Pause" at Mocking Music.

A vintage Black Sheep track ("Black With N.V. (No Vision)") is available at Underneathica.

Two Special Ed joints are up at Soul Sides---"I'm the Magnificent" and "C'mon Let's Move It".

And if that's still not enough old school madness for ya, you could always try breakdancin' with Mr. T.

For my soul fans, who are probably bored with all of this---download "Till I Can't Take It Anymore" by Irma Thomas and "His Hands" by Candi Staton at Living in Stereo.

Funky peoples (in the place to be) should definitely check out this blog---Old School Funk Videos.

I know I've already used an analogy once in this post, but I can't help thinking that George Bush entertaining the American Idols has some obvious things in common with the story of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Maybe that's why 86% of us would like to see his ass get impeached.

Donny Hathaway's incredible cover of The Beatles song "Yesterday" is available at Undercover.

Two Jimi Hendrix tracks are up at Kwaya Na Kisser--versions of "Hey Joe" and "Hound Dog" from the BBC sessions.

Another new joint from Masta Killa---"Iron God Chamber" (w/U-God, RZA, and Method Man)---is available at Straight Bangin'.

Cop the freshest/latest in gangsta accessories and gear--the tampon shooter can be your own personal weapon of mass destruction.

Download "I've Got No Time To Lose" by Carla Thomas via The Stepfather of Soul.

"Everybody Loves the Sunshine" by Roy Ayers Ubiquity is available at 33/45.

Acquire Nina Simone's version of "Wild Is the Wind" at Said the Gramophone.

Freemotion is featuring a few joints by female rapper Psalm One.

Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up" is available by way of One Louder.

Analog Giant is the place to score DJ A-Trak's joint "Knucklehead".

Pharmaceutical reps are greedy bastards, and apparently drug lunches are the norm. I'd hate to think that my doctor chooses my prescriptions based on how much he likes the lasagana.

Pick up a couple of Little Brother joints from their Seperate But Equal mixtape at 33 Jones----"Let It Go (w/ Mos Def) and "Macaroni".

"Fishtales" by Aesop Rock is up at

Some great mp3s were recently posted at Palms Out Sounds. Download tracks by The Roots, Rhymefest, Pharrell, Jay-Z/ Mary J Blige, Pharoahe Monch, and more.

Before I go, I wanted to mention that Souled On reader Chris has started his own mp3 blog on deep house, acid jazz, downtempo, disco, Detroit sounds, etc. Show him some love by paying a visit to Another Night On Earth.

"My fear was not of death itself, but a death without meaning."---Huey P. Newton

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Message Is Universal...Funk Is A Situation

No time to chat---just some pure, unadulterated linkage for my peoples...

Silence is A Rhythm, Too is currently offering a couple of funky lil' mp3s----"What So Never The Dance" by Bootsy Collins and "You Can't Love Me If You Don't Respect Me" by Lyn Collins.

Some will love and some will hate...but either way, Gnarls Biggie is in da house.

Cop a few joints by Poor Righteous Teachers and read an interview with Wise Intelligent, courtesy of Cocaine Blunts.

As if there wasn't already enough stupidity in the world---now muthafuckas are gettin' high on fake weed ???

R U still down? If so, you might want to peep this Tupac video blog.

"Step Off" by Little Brother is available for download via Spine Magazine.

Outkast's video for "Morris Brown" is available on YouTube.

A couple of songs by Syl Johnson were posted on the internets this past week. Download "Goodie-Goodie-Good Times" at The "A" Side and "Concrete Reservation" at Tuwa's Shanty.

I ask you---what could be more gangsta than a bulletproof iPod case???

A few dope hip-hop joints are available at Masta Killa's "Pass The Bone (remix)", "B-Boys" by KRS-One (ft. Raphi), Boot Camp Clik's "1-2-3", and more... posted videos of their 11 favorite "Chappelle's Show" skits.

Visit Soul Sides to download Nomadic's remix of "Top Billin'", a classic hip-hop joint by Audio Two.

If you don't have Eugene McDaniel's "Supermarket Blues" in your collection, then I don't care who you are (or what you're wearin')---go straight to Miblog Weighs A Ton and rectify the situation. You can also download tracks by a few artists who sampled this song (Quasimoto, Jungle Brothers, and De La Soul).

Boogs has more good stuff posted at The Sole Life---"That's All Right With Me" by Esther Phillips and Pleasure's "Thoughts of Old Flames".

Download "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'" by Ray Charles at Dilated Choonz.

Ice Cube, Afrika Bambaataa, Wu-Tang Clan, Rakim, MC Lyte, The Beastie Boys, Eazy-E, and Russell Simmons are slated to be honored at the 3rd annual "VH1 Hip-Hop Honors".

A generous number of mp3s by artists such as Robert Johnson, Public Enemy, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Martha & The Vandellas, and James Brown are available at You Can Call Me Betty.

By now, you may have heard of Radiodread, Easy Star All-Stars' tribute to Radiohead's OK Computer---performed reggae style. Cop "Airbag" (feat. the legendary Horace Andy) at Some Velvet Blog. If you like this track, cop their version of "No Surprises" via Kwaya Na Kisser

Another post at Some Velvet Blog features "I Know You Got Soul" (Bobby Byrd), "All Night Long" (Mary Jane Girls), and "The Humpty Dance" (Digital Underground).

At The Smudge of Ashen Fluff, you can download a few joints by Cee-Lo Green---"Basehead Jazz", "Closet Freak", and "Gettin' Grown".

Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song" is available at The Runout Groove, accompanied by an interesting story about the song's origins.

Finally, cop "Keep It Rollin'" by A Tribe Called Quest courtesy of Phish & Chips.

"There is really nothing more to say---except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how."---Toni Morrison

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Diggin' In These Crates For A Phat Remix

In a random act of genuine kindness, the man JT recently asked me to offer a contribution to Retrospectives Month at Feed Me Good Tunes. After a bit of discussion, he and I decided that I would cover the music of Madlib for my part in the series. I dropped a little bit of knowledge, and we incorporated a generous number of mp3s into the post. Things turned out rather well, if I do say so myself. Take a second to check out the final result of our collaborative efforts...

Monday, July 17, 2006

My Mental State's More Great Than The Lakes...

..."I'm Superior, it's Erie how I breaks."
Today's title and quote come to you courtesy of none other than Masta Ace. To hear my friend Boogs at The Sole Life tell it, this man is one of the most criminally underrated MCs in the history of hip-hop. Read his argument here, and download the two mp3s he presents as evidence---"Sittin' On Chrome (Rockaway Ave Mix)" and "4 Da Mind" (w/ The Cella Dwellas).

Berkeley Place also recently posted several tracks by Masta Ace as part of a series of posts paying tribute to "conscious" hip-hop artists. Other artists featured include The Coup, Lupe Fiasco, and Saigon.

Download "Angel of the Morning" by Nina Simone at Keep The Coffee Coming.

Ratatat remixes of songs by Jay-Z ( The Rich Girls Are Weeping), Ghostface (callmeMICKEY), and Kanye West (disco-not-disco)are available at various locations on the internets.

Visit Looking at Them to download a few quality mp3s---"What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)?" (Junior Walker & The All Stars), "Bring It on Home to Me" (Sam Cooke), and "The Blues Had A Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll" (Muddy Waters).

If you like soul, gospel, and/or the blues, you can't be without "Trouble" by Dorothy Love Coates. Fortunately, all you need to do is Get On Down With The Stepfather Of Soul!.

An abundance of sites are offering tracks from Game Theory, the upcoming LP by The Roots. Spine Magazine posted "In the Music" and "Clock With No Hands". I'm On Next is featuring their tribute to J Dilla---"Can't Stop This". Lastly, head over to Straight Bangin' to cop the album's title track. This record will be coming out next month---buy the damn thing!!!

Hear this---an audio interview with Boots Riley of The Coup via Minnesota Public Radio.

Yet another great post is up at Chasing Red. Download tracks by John Coltrane, RZA, Charlie Parker, Jaylib, ATCQ, BT Express, Digable Planets, The Jackson 5, and more.

This has to be one of the best online museums I've ever seen: Blue Note: Over 1000 Great Jazz Album Covers.

A few Talib Kweli mp3s are available by way of Metro Distortion. Download "Around My Way" (w/ John Legend), "I Try" (w/Mary J Blige), "A Game", and "Ghetto Show" (w/ Common and Anthony Hamilton).

Cop "Raspy Shit" by Pharrell, "Money Maker" by Ludacris (w/ Pharrell) and "What It Do (Wamp Wamp)" by The Clipse (w/Slim Thug) at Am I High?.

At disco-not-disco you can download "Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)" by The Chi-Lites. This song should be familiar to everyone and their llama, thanks (?) to Beyonce/Jay-Z's "Crazy in Love".

I felt favorably towards John Legend's song "Save Room" when I first copped it at Analog Giant. However, after reading Mr. Wang's perspective on the track, my listening experience has been...well...tainted.

DJ Premier Planet is featuring Bahamadia's joint
"True Honey Buns (Dat Freak Shit)".

This week's Sample Wednesday at Palms Out Sounds featured songs sampled in joints by Redman and Method Man. Download mp3s by James Brown, The Dramatics, Silver Connection, Jerry Butler, Gloria Gaynor, Keni Burke, The Emotions, and more.

I wasn't familiar with Carmel until this post at The Number One Songs In Heaven, but I've been listening to "Bad Day" ever since.

Al Green's "Love and Happiness" has been sampled on countless hip-hop joints. You can currently download it at Miblog Weighs A Ton, along with several tracks that it inspired---"Painkillers" (Cannibal Ox), "The Bush" (Special Ed), and "Go Out and Get It" by (De La Soul).

Props to Fletch at Rebel To America for blessing us with Large Professor's "Out All Night". Perfection.

Ben at The Mark Out impressed the hell out of me by posting those live Wu-Tang Clan/El Michels Affair tracks. Do not be to stupid to cop these...please.

Finally, Ian at Notes from a Different Kitchen proposes the question of the hour: "Holy smokes...have we in fact entered the beginning of World War III ?".

Monday, July 10, 2006

Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine

People who know me on a personal level already know how I am about my record collection. You could pee on one of my relatives, and I probably wouldn't give a damn, but if you handle one of my albums carelessly, I might just have to cut you. I have music in every format you can possibly imagine, but I'm especially partial to my vinyl for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I love the warm scratchy sound of an old record, while the crisp, clean sound of compact discs doesn't even begin to touch that emotion. When you play an album bearing scratches and grooves, it often generates a sense of nostalgia. When a disc has a scratch, on the other hand, it's usually time to throw it out the window. Additionally, I'm inexplicably drawn to the cover art on many of my favorite records. When I was short and unimportant (i.e. childhood), I sometimes used to pull all of my records off the shelf, and just sit and stare at them for hours. Some would consider this a hallmark of insanity, and I can't say for sure that it's not. Regardless, I feel much more connected to the covers of my albums than I ever have my CDs. I partially attribute this to the somewhat sterile and mass-produced packaging of compact discs, but I also think part of my opinion is related to my age. If you haven't gotten there already, there will come a time in your life when you reminisce on "the good old days", and everything happening today will appear to be shit. I guess I've finally reached that pivotal point in the cycle of my existence. Is it just me, or did Kentucky Fried Chicken used to taste good?

Anyway, don't get it twisted---I'm not too senile to recognize that a lot of old school records had atrocious covers, while some contemporary musical artists and groups continue to put a lot of time, thought, effort, and creativity into the outward appearance of their recordings. However, if one is to speak generally, it's relatively safe to say that cover art today is largely boring and uninspired. Back in the day, when Millie Jackson put a picture of herself on a toilet on the cover of her album, the visual was arguably hideous, but it was considerably entertaining, nonetheless. On the other hand let's assess the appearance of 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Trying. Unless you're a teenage girl, is there really any reason to look at the cover of that LP any longer than necessary? Probably not. And what about the damn No Limit army? I hate to single those artists out, but I remember thinking that their records somehow epitomized and symbolized the death of an art form.

{If your name is 50 Cent, please don't take this to mean that I'm encouraging any photo sessions in the little boys' room---I'm definitely not}.

Unlike the majority of my rambling, stream-of-consciousness "essays", this one actually has somewhat of a point---or two. I actually started thinking about this subject the other day when I was organizing some of the stuff in my collection, and I was checkin' out some of my Funkadelic records. They employed some genuinely dope cover art to match the funkiness of the music within---don't you agree? Once I started that thought process, my "maggot brain" just kinda started flowin' with the rest. I found a few links that seemed relevant enough to support the concept---and the rest is history,so to speak:

All funk fans in da house should head over to short term mp3 loss, where you can acquire mp3s by Funkadelic, Ann Sexton, Brass Construction, Tony Alvon & The Belairs, The People's Choice, and James Young & The House Wreckers.

Random is featuring a stellar selection of tracks by artists such as Bootsy Collins, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Isaac Hayes, The Dramatics, and more.

A list of the 100 worst album covers ever. As always, Millie Jackson's "pot shot" makes the grade.

Speaking of Ms. Jackson, you can download her song "It Hurts So Good" courtesy of to die by your side.

Before I venture too far away from the mothership, let me drop a few Funkadelic videos on your dome:

Live MTV performance footage. Few things are as amusing as a grown man playing a musical instrument in a diaper.

Some vintage advertising for Parliament and Funkadelic-related albums/items.

Mary J Blige performing "One Nation Under A Groove" and "Atomic Dog" live with the group. This one's for my friend Kim.

Head over to The Funk Store to satiate even more of your audio/visual desires.

Now for some things relevant to Planet Earth:

At The Sole Life, you can download two classic joints by the Roots---"It's Comin'", as well as their remix of Sweetback's "Au Natural", featuring Bahamadia.

At Funky 16 Corners , you can download quite a few mp3s by a variety of "soul sisters" in one compressed file. It's an impressive collection of tracks, including songs by Erma Franklin, Thelma Houston, Lyn Collins, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, and many other other fine musical artists of the female persuasion.

Cop a few Nas freestyles (representin' various points in his career) at Rebel To America.

I realize this may completely demolish my nonexistent street cred, but I can't help the fact that I genuinely liked both this song by Baz Lurhmann, and this one by P.M. Dawn. At least I know I'm wack...

...But not quite as wack as Ice-T saying he's going to astonish us with David Hasselhoff's rhyming skills , and expecting us to believe it. Somebody needs a pink slip and a hospital gown, but I'm not sayin' who.

Cop "Older Gods" by Wu-Tang Clan via disco-not-disco.

And while we're on a religious tip, this Big Religion Comparison Chart guarantees to make your spiritual awareness levels rise within a matter of seconds.

Two classic joints by Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf are available at just like music.

If you like Leon Thomas, or you still need to get familiar, hit up Ear Fuzz to download "L-O-V-E" and "Let's Go Down To Lucy".

Cop "Biggie Got the Hype Shit (Demo)" at The Mark Out.

As if having HIV wasn't harsh enough, Gil Scott Heron is currently facing 2-4 years in prison for leaving a rehab facility that wouldn't supply his meds.

For all your rollerblading/rollerskating needs---jams by De La Soul and Vaughan Mason and Crew are available at Banana Nutrament.

Gasoline prices just hit their highest point this year. Too bad I sold my stupid moped for about 50 bucks fifteen years ago.

Download "Funky Rhymin'" by Edan at sneakmove .

In case you ain't heard, Rhymefest is the dude who co-wrote "Jesus Walks" with Kanye West. Check out his joint "Devil's Pie" at stereogum.

If I forgot anything, I'm sincerely and terribly fuckin' sorry. I have to get up in several hours to do the whole day job thing, so I'm ghost for now. Be easy, peoples...

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid people, but most stupid people are conservatives."---John Stuart Mill

"Truth is powerful and it prevails"---Sojourner Truth

"Reality can be beaten with enough imagination"---author unknown

"I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste."---Marcel Duchamp

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Everybody Move To The Back Of The Bus

If you're a hip-hop fan who spends a lot of time cruisin' around the internets, then you probably already noticed that two new Outkast mp3s ("Idlewild Blues" and "Morris Brown") have appeared on quite a few sites/blogs this past week. In reading comments posted by other visitors, I was marginally surprised by the high volume of negative feedback on the musical direction that the group has taken in recent years. A lot of people remarked that they had hated Outkast since Stankonia, while others expressed the sentiment that "they've sucked since Andre 3000 went all Prince and shit". I'm familiar with this mentality, because for example, most of my friends who like Goodie Mob would rather put a chainsaw in their ass than listen to Gnarls Barkley.

There are obvious reasons why Outkast may be pushing a lot of rap fans past their collective comfort zone, but hopefully that fact alone isn't the overriding reason why so many people are dissing them now. If hip-hop is to survive as a viable art form, it definitely needs room to breathe outside of the parameters and constraints that many heads seek to impose on it. Too narrow of a vision of hip-hop will enslave its future possibilities, and literally, will leave it permanently seated at the very back of the musical bus. As much as I have disliked the direction that some of my favorite artists and groups have gone (can I get a Black Eyed Peas up in here?), I still accept that change is a necessary part of music's evolution. I might end up using some of Madlib's more abstract side project CDs as coasters, but I respect the man's right to go with the flow of his creative process. If artists aren't allowed this freedom, the possiblity of encountering anything wonderfully original is all but erased.

It's usually much more annoying to me when musicians turn their success into a formula that they recycle into infinity for the sake of guaranteed sales. That concept has seriously injured pop music in general, and to say that commercial rap is in jeopardy of becoming just as generic is a magnificent understatement.

Admittedly, I don't prefer either of of these joints to most of the material on Aquemini or ATLiens. I'm still working on a final verdict, but it doesn't really matter, because you should form a conclusion of your own. You may genuinely hate these songs, but if you do, hate them because you think they suck, and not because they just ain't "Rosa Parks".
"Idlewild Blues" and "Morris Brown" are both currently available for download at Nah Right.

At Dj Premier Planet, you can currently download the Gang Starr joint "DJ Premier in Deep Concentration".

A handful of Gang Starr videos to help you pass the time:
"You Know My Steez"
"Step in the Arena"
"Code of the Streets"
"Jazz Thing"
Yo! MTV Raps appearance w/ Nice & Smooth

Mars Needs Guitars is featuring an extensive collection of classic reggae tracks by the likes of Bob Marley, The Upsetters, Slim Smith, Junior Bytes, The Untouchables, and more.

A lot of people hate mash-ups, and at least as many people are tired of hearing Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" get rehashed in all sorts of unspeakable ways. Despite this fact, when Dave Nada blended the most-talked-about-song-so-far-this-year with Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You", the end result was reasonably satisfying. Cop it via Analog Giant.

Ever heard of Rashid Hadee? If not, you aren't alone in your ignorance. Briefly, he's one-half of the hip-hop duo Chapter 13, and he's produced tracks for artists like Common and Special Ed. He names several A-list producers as his primary influences---Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, Madlib, and DJ Premier, just to name a few. Son may not quite be at that level quite yet, but he definitely has some gems in his discography. You can score several free joints (featuring his beats and rhymes) at

If you've never heard "Souvenirs" by Bettye LaVette, you need to Get On Down With The Stepfather of Soul!

Nordy just did a great post over at Miblog Weighs A Ton, featuring a track from De La Soul's new Mission Impossible mixtape---"Freestyle (Dat Shit) 2006". The joint is a remake of Diamond D's hip-hop cult classic "Freestyle (Yo, That's That Shit)", which is included in the post along with the George Benson song ("Footin' It") that provided the foundation for both of these joints.

In another recent post at MWAT, you can cop yet another Mission Impossible gem---"What the Fuck #3 (De La Slow)". This one is accompanied by The Beastie Boys' "Flute Loop", as well the original song that both groups sampled---"Flute Thing" by Blues Project. Link up with these joints here.

If you like Eddie Bo half as much as I do, be sure to check out "Hook and Sling" at Soul Sides.

Once again, Sample Wednesday at Palms Out Sounds offered a generous selection of mp3s. The featured artists this week were Raekwon and Ghostface. Download mp3s by Luther Ingram, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Syl Johnson, O.V. Wright, The Emotions, Teddy Pendergrass, and Black Ivory.

More sample goodness is available at Recidivism. This particular post includes "Cold Sweat" and "There Was A Time" by James Brown, as well as Chubb Rock's "Treat 'Em Right", which featured a sample of the latter track.

Download "Long Time" by The Roots (feat. Peedi Peedi) at The Rap Up. By the way, the whole Peedi Peedi thing isn't nearly as bad as it seems.

I can't urge you strongly enough not to sleep on these two tracks---cop "Drunk Man" (Eddie Harris) and "Loose Booty" (Sly & The Family Stone) at short term MP3 loss.

Download "Hot Pants (I'm Coming, Coming, I'm Coming)" by Bobby Byrd via disco-not-disco.

A few things in honor of Independence Day:

Don't sleep on the holiday post over at Trees Lounge, including over 700 songs about 23 of the 50 states. Download tracks by Louis Armstrong, Outkast, Alicia Keys, Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Kool & The Gang, Public Enemy, Muddy Waters, Dr. Dre, The Jackson 5, Ella Fitzgerald, Irma Thomas, James Brown, The Meters, and many, many, many, many more.

Marvin Gaye's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" is available at Living In Stereo.

While it's not for the easily offended, I still find my own post from July 4, 2005 to be relatively amusing. I think I may have only had about 3.4 readers back then, and one of them was my goldfish, Killer. Ego's a bitch, kids...