Sunday, February 25, 2007

Deep Into The Groove

"My Hang Up Is You" ---The Skull Snaps

Although The Skull Snaps remain somewhat of a musical obscurity, crate diggers have helped to make their self-titled debut album somewhat of a cult classic. After the band released this effort in 1973, they pulled a disappearing act, creating an air of mystery that has fascinated and intrigued record collectors for decades. Interest in the LP has also largely been driven by the fact that it's been sampled countless times by a variety of hip-hop artists. The opening drum pattern on the track "It's A New Day" has been utilized too many times to mention. According to most of the sources I've read, Dooley-O was the first artist to sample the song, followed by Eric B & Rakim, MF Doom, DJ Shadow, Diamond D, Showbiz & AG, The Pharcyde, Redman, Gang Starr, Public Enemy, Peanut Butter Wolf, Erik Sermon, Digable Planets, and many others.

Since a great deal of attention has already been focused on "It's A New Day", I decided to feature a different track from the LP. After all, this album is much more than a treasure trove for sampling artists---it's an exceptional recording that deserves to be appreciated on its own merits. While the group is generally labeled as funk, most of the tracks on the LP bear a distinctly soulful element. For example, "My Hang Up Is You" is a powerful love song, reminiscent of qualities exemplified by groups such as The Temptations and The Dramatics.

The wisdom that this song imparts is the necessity of feelin' your loved ones way more than dope. All I need is you baby, and I'll be super high 'til I die..."I don't need no dope to feel like I wanna fly..."

In 2004, the Skull Snaps LP was re-issued by Aztec Music, and Ten12 Records has also recently released a couple of 12" singles by the group. View their complete discography here.

"New Bell"---Manu Dibango

Manu Dibango is an incredible vibraphone player and saxophonist who's renowned for developing a sound that's a hybrid of jazz and traditional Cameroonian music. He's successfully experimented with many other styles as well, including spirituals, reggae, soul, the blues, and more.

Adding to his relevance to music history is the fact that his "Soul Makossa" single (1972) is widely considered to be one of the first disco records to hit the airwaves. People who don't love disco may not accept that distinction as a worthwhile claim to fame, but it's actually quite an outstanding record. Michael Jackson loved it so much that he stole a little bit of it for "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". Because karma is such a bitch, Jackson eventually had to pay Dibango compensatory damages.

Once again, I wanted to focus on an underdog choice---the jazz/funk/African groove called "New Bell". It's my favorite track from the Soul Makossa LP, which speaks volumes considering how truly brilliant the entire record is.

Hopefully you won't allow the pervasive fear of "world music" to interfere with your willingness to give this record a chance. If you know what's truly good for you, you'll at least give it a spin.

"Imagine"---DJ Nu-Mark & Pomo

When I first learned that this duo had covered John Lennon's most famous solo recording, I wasn't particularly interested in hearing the results. I've never been a big fan of Nu-Mark's crew (Jurassic 5), and I still don't know shit about Pomo, except that he's a hip-hop producer from the West Coast. Furthermore, I couldn't really conceive of the song sounding particularly dope on the wheels of steel. Fortunately, an insightful friend forced me (at gunpoint) to listen to it. As it turns out, it was somewhat idiotic that I put up such a defiant resistance before simply giving their rendition a try. Sadly, I think my friend may still bear a few scars from the incident.

In truth, the Blend Crafters LP (2004) was a relatively solid effort overall, and the jazzy hip-hop vibe of the "Imagine" instrumental has always struck me as one of the strongest cuts on the album. It's easily one of my favorite interpretations of the song now, but let's keep that between us. My friend would probably be all pissed off and bitter if he only knew...

"Supermarket Blues"---Eugene McDaniels

"Supermarket Blues" is a priceless track from Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse, a controversial album which succeeded in making quite a few people uncomfortable when it was released in 1971. After all, it's abundantly clear from the tone of Heroes that singer/songwriter McDaniels was extremely frustrated with the political, social, and racial climate at the time when he recorded the album.

Although more than 35 years has passed since this record was released, mainstream America still doesn't particularly understand or want to hear the voice of the angry black male. As just one example, think of the backlash that ensues when MCs throw verbal darts at unethical police practices such as racial profiling. Apparently, it's still not entirely acceptable to fire shots at "The Man", even when the attack is only verbal.

Consequently, one can only imagine what the overall response must have been at the time when Heroes was originally released. Its merits as an outstanding jazz recording were undoubtedly overshadowed by a fear of what was perceived as militance on McDaniels' part. It was widely rumored that Spiro Agnew (Vice President during Richard Nixon's Reign Of Deception) contacted Atlantic Records demanding that the record be pulled off the shelves. Whether that's true or not isn't all that important. The tale manages to illustrate just how threatening McDaniel's musical message was perceived to be.

"Supermarket Blues" relates an incident in which the narrator gets a critical beatdown when he is merely trying to return a can of peas to the grocery store. Parts of the song sound humorous and/or awkward now---the 70s slang realistically has some bearing on how the song is interpreted in today's terms.

That said, this record is every bit as relevant now as it ever was. However unfortunate it may be, the concept of unwarranted racist brutality isn't nearly as outdated or antiquated as one would hope...

A more general overview of McDaniels' career can be found here.

"9th Wonder (Blackitolism)"---Digable Planets

I'm not all that proficient at making best-of lists, but if I were to name some of my favorite hip-hop artists, Digable Planets would definitely be somewhere in the mix.

This track is one of the stand-outs from their Blowout Comb LP (1994), an album featuring a seamless blend of jazz, hip-hop, and trippy bohemian rhymes. Incidentally, the joint also boasts the distinction of being the inspiration for the moniker adopted by the soulful hip-hop producer of the same name.

I could go on about how essential this record is, but why bother? I'm sick to death of typing right now, and the track itself sounds better than anything I could possibly say about it. Listen and simply nod your head in agreement...

Word From Your Moms:

"If you don't like what you're doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to another groove."
Timothy Leary

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Variations On A Non-Existent Theme

"T Plays It Cool"---Marvin Gaye

The soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Trouble Man (1972) is one of those records that seems to fall through the cracks of most people's music collections. Although the LP offers a strong selling point in that it was entirely scored by Marvin Gaye, it's never been nearly as celebrated as more popular contenders such as Shaft (Isaac Hayes) or Superfly (Curtis Mayfield). One possible reason for the oversight is that the album is mostly instrumental, and is much more oriented towards jazz than fans of Gaye's typically soulful sound would likely expect. Additionally, the soundtrack no doubt suffered from its placement in time between two of Marvin's most widely revered recordings---What's Goin' On (1971) and Let's Get It On (1973).

Despite all of this, Trouble Man is certainly not without merit. It produced a few undeniable gems, such as the title track, and the smooth, infectious groove of "T Plays It Cool". According to everything I've read on the subject, Marvin felt a deep connection with jazz, and saw scoring the soundtrack as an opportunity to further explore his enthusiasm for the genre. In order to more fully understand the musical genius of this legendary recording artist, it seems essential to keep this particular record from getting too dusty.

"I Love You"---Eddie Holman

Eddie Holman is generally only mentioned when talking about his most popular record, "Hey There Lonely Girl". While he may be considered a one-hit wonder as far as most people are concerned, soul and gospel fanatics tend to have an awareness of his career that extends beyond this famous recording.

No disrespect to "Lonely Girl", but I've always had a much greater appreciation for some of his other recordings---"I Love You" being just one example. The track may have been released in 1970, but it's one of those timeless soul records that still rings true for anyone who's ever loved...and possibly even lost. The sense of urgency that Holman's vocals convey perfectly captures the essence of what makes him such a tremendous soul singer.

Although "I Love You" was a only a minor hit when it was originally released, it got a second wind in 2002, when it was revived on "Heaven" by Nas (from the God's Son LP).

More info about Holman's career can be found here and here.

"You'll Find A Way"---dead prez

I'm sure that others may disagree, but I've always believed that dead prez has been exiled to the underground largely because they're too overtly political to enjoy a great deal of mainstream and/or commercial success. Despite the fact that it wasn't widely embraced by the hip-hop community, their debut album Let's Get Free (2000) was highly acclaimed by critics, and managed to earn them comparisons to other politically-conscious artists like Public Enemy and X-Clan.

While I personally can get down with most of the sentiments that these guys spit on their first record, I still have to be in the proper mindset to listen to most of the tracks on the LP. "You'll Find A Way" stands out in that regard---I've probably played it at least a thousand times. It's an incredibly uplifting instrumental that seamlessly blends hip-hop and jazz elements into one exceptionally satisfying recording. I know it may sound fucked up, but this joint gets me just as high today as the very first time I heard it.

"Move Your Hand"---Lonnie Smith

I first heard this track after acquiring Blue Note Trip: Saturday Night/ Sunday Morning (2003). It's one of those records that I still regret not having listened to much sooner.

Dr. Lonnie Smith is not to be confused with either the baseball player of the same name, or Lonnie "Liston" Smith, another legendary jazz musician. Dr. Lonnie is widely known for his mastery of the Hammond B-3, an instrument he has referred to as both "the monster" and "the love of my life". He has played on and/or composed more than 70 recordings throughout the course of his relatively prolific career, and has kept company with many other icons of jazz, such as George Benson, Lou Donaldson, and David "Fathead" Newman.

Since encountering this track, I've sought out many of Dr. Lonnie's other musical efforts. However, this particular groove continues to be a favorite. This song originally appeared on an album with the same title, and was recorded in 1969 at Club Harlem in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Prior to its release, Smith was primarily popular in the Northeast region of the United States, but this effort gained him some well-deserved attention from a much wider audience base. One listen and you won't need to question what all the hype was about...

"Let It Slide" ---OC

This joint is from OC's debut LP, Word...Life (1994). The world at large may be immune to this record's existence, but many hip-hop enthusiasts properly recognize it as an underrated musical gem. The production on the LP was largely handled by Buckwild, who crafted some of the nicest jazz-rap beats you're ever going to hear on any record. For his part, OC served up some fairly elevated wordplay that meets a higher standard than most "rappers" today will ever see.

"Let It Slide" isn't necessarily the dopest track on the LP, but it's one of the joints I've listened to most consistently. It showcases OC's storytelling abilities rather nicely, and like I said, the beats on this record are astronomical.

OC has had a rather lengthy run in the hip-hop game. In addition to his solo material, he's also been affiliated with D.I.T.C., Crooklyn Dodgers, and the Hieroglyphics crew. If you know nothing about his legacy, go here to get familiar.

Eat these with a spoon, and call me in the morning...

Word From Your Moms:

"Great artists suffer for the people."---Marvin Gaye

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just Because I Really Love You

Against all odds, I present yet another episode in my persistent accumulation and distribution of all things dope:

I was tempted to do a Dilla tribute post this past weekend, but I knew that many of my favorite bloggers would have the ways and means to honor the first anniversary of his death on a much larger scale than I possibly could have. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but here are links to a few memorial posts that seem especially worthy of mention:

Biochemical Slang remembered Dilla by posting many of the original songs that he sampled on Donuts.

As part of their tribute, Best Foot Forward posted Thomas Bangalter's "Extra Dry", a song that Dilla sampled on Slum Village's "Raise It Up".

Ear fuzz also posted several of his sample sources---download an excellent selection of tunes by The Three Degrees, Ahmad Jamal, Rene Costy, Jackson 5, The Cyrkle, and Stan Getz.

One more original song that was sampled on Donuts is available via this zShare link---d/l Lil Brown's "Light My Fire". All props due to Travis at WYDU for sending this my way.

Oliver Wang blessed soul sides readers with a couple of extra-nice unreleased Dilla instrumentals.

Finally, Fresh at 33 Jones and Trent at BEATS and RANTS both offered quality posts with a generous number of links to all things Dilla.

R.I.P. James Dewitt Yancey...

In other parts of the blogosphere:

Several tracks by The Last Poets are currently available for download at Diddy Wah, as well as a couple of tracks that group member Jalal Mansur Nuriddin recorded as Lightnin' Rod. "Sport" is one of the songs that's featured---a groovy little jam that's been sampled by Smiff-N-Wessun, The Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan, Ultramagnetic MCs, Chubb Rock, Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five, Black Moon, and more.

The Roots are currently working on their new album, and ?uestlove is lending a hand on Al Green's upcoming LP. Read more @ Nobody Smiling.

Visit Martini & Jopparelli's Music Selections to download "Greedy G" by Brentford All Stars, "Get On The Good Foot" by James Brown, and "I Know You Got Soul" by Eric B & Rakim.

Autopsy results released this week implicate an accidental drug interaction in the death of Gerald Levert. More info via this article at SOHH.

Download "Fat Mama" by Herbie Hancock and Esther Phillip's version of "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" courtesy of Feed Me Good Tunes.

A few nice joints are available at this is tomorrow---"The Williams" (Nicolay ft. Supastition), "Survival" (Koolade ft. Masta Ace), "Hard Margin" (The Creators w/ Mos Def & Talib Kweli), and "Rock On" (Beatless w/ Quasimoto/Madlib).

Moistworks is featuring mp3s by Solomon Burke, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Preston, and The Wailers.

Oh Word is steadily compiling their list of 50 Incredible Rap Songs You Need To Hear Right Now. Cop 1-10 and 11-20 right now, and don't forget to check back in for the rest later this week. is featuring the instrumental versions of some miscellaneous tracks by Jay-Z, Nas, AZ, Black Star, and El-P.

Read George Bush's hilarious "Valentine Message to the American People" at Gallery of the Absurd.

Download several cover songs by Richie Havens at hahamusic.

Visit Motel de Moka to download "Concrete Jungle" by Bob Marley and "Ruler of My Heart" by Irma Thomas.

Download Peanut Butter Wolf's Valentine's Day Mix courtesy of Stones Throw. It features an impeccable selection of soul tracks by artists such as Bobby Womack, Archie Bell & The Drells, Marvin Gaye, New Birth, and more.

J Blow recently posted some dope joints at all up in your earhole. Cop tracks by A-Trak (w/ Little Brother), Syl Johnson, Platinum Pied Pipers, and remixes of songs by Q-Tip and The Pharcyde.

Download Eddie Bo's "Every Dog Has Its Day" via Dilated Choonz.

I know---sometimes this shit's worse than the acceptance speeches at The Grammys, but I need to thank a few blogs for giving up the link props:

ear fuzz: The final authority on all things funk and soul. I've been introduced to more great records by these guys than you could possibly imagine.

In Dangerous Rhythm: Colin Dilnot has an amazingly extensive knowledge of soul music. I visit him to get an education.

Biochemical Slang: I don't know how else to put it--Vik is my kinda people.

Martini & Jopparelli's Music Selections: "Righteous music selections by some cool people in Italy"---'nuff said.

Cold Rock Da Spot: Jaz is proving to be consistent in offering up incredible hip-hop joints. Dude's generous, and his taste is impressive---don't sleep.

From Da Bricks: Dan Love not only shares great records, his writing is actually pretty interesting and insightful as well. We all know what a refreshing change that can be...

...and the living is easy: Playlists from Tom and Marty's radio show in Melbourne---featuring "the finest and freshest in soul, funk, hip-hop, beats, and other varied pieces".

J.U.S. Music: This is one of those spots that could really blow up under the right circumstances. Recent posts have featured artists such as Diamond D, Kev Brown, Funky DL, and Lone Catalysts.

Whales Are Gangsta!: I appreciate that this site linked me and all, but I can't seem to translate most of the content. From what I've gathered, it has something to do with music, lawnmowers, and fat dorks holding binoculars.

It's Valentine's Day, soul children. Do a little dance... Make a little love...

Get your collective freak on...

Word From Your Moms:

"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love."---Albert Einstein

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I Am, Therefore I Be...

"Let It Be Me"---The Sweet Inspirations

The Sweet Inspirations were the brainchild of Emily "Cissy" Houston, mother of Whitney Houston, and aunt of Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick. The original line-up included Cissy, the Warwick sisters, and Doris Troy. Dionne and Doris left shortly after the group's inception, and Sylvia Shemwell stepped in to replace them. The group didn't even have a name at that point, but they served as back-up singers for quite a few soul artists in the early '60s---Garnett Mimms, Wilson Pickett, and Aretha Franklin to name just a few. Dee Dee parted ways with the group in 1965, at which point Estelle Brown and Myrna Smith came on board, forming the line-up that would be most familiar to their fans.

Although they enjoyed a great deal of success as session singers, it wasn't long before Atlantic signed the group to record some of their own material. Their amazing version of "Let It Be Me" (1967) was one of their first offerings, and it remains one of the most beloved songs in their catalogue.

"Let It Be Me" is a reworking of a French song by Gilbert Becaud called "Je T'Appartiens" (1955). The first English version of the song was recorded in 1957 by an actress named Jill Corey, but a myriad of other artists would eventually follow suit. The Everly Brothers recorded the most famous version in 1959, but covers by Betty Everett & Jerry Butler (1964), Glenn Campbell & Bobbie Gentry (1969), and Willie Nelson (1982) all managed to crack the Top 40. Nina Simone released three recordings of the track, Elvis performed a live version, and artists such as Nancy Sinatra, The Righteous Brothers, Bob Dylan, and Tom Jones also offered renditions of the song.

I've actually heard most of the versions I just mentioned, but there's something magical about the unique touch that The Sweet Inspirations put on the track. That said, I wanted to post another rendition of the song that I truly love:

"Let It Be Me"---Roberta Flack

There was a point in my music listening "career" when I was highly skeptical of Roberts Flack's contribution to soul and R&B. I got it in my head at some point that she was little more than the queen of the midnight slow jam, and as a result, her artistic merits were highly suspect in my opinion. It wasn't until later that I bothered to discover the beauty of her first two LPs (First Take and Chapter Two), as well as the legendary duets she recorded with Donny Hathaway.

This version of "Let It Be Me" appears on Chapter Two, an album Flack released in 1970. It's a bit of a slow burner in the sense that the intensity builds over the course of the track, and it breaks your heart in a completely different way than the Sweet Inspirations version. The musical arrangement may have been somewhat of a travesty if it had been coupled with any other vocalist, but Roberta's incredible pipes lift this track into heaven and beyond. After listening to this record, it's easy to understand why Les McCann once said: "Her voice touched, tapped, trapped, and kicked every emotion I've ever known."

By way of a soul challenge, I'd be interested to know which of these two versions of "Let It Be Me" you prefer. It may be an apples and oranges dilemma for some of you, but I'm sure that others will have a strong opinion one way or another. Drop some knowledge if you have any thoughts...

"Be My Beach"---Funkadelic

Since I was already on my "be" game, I decided to throw this groovy little track into the mix. This song was written by George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and Bernie Worrell, and is one of many fabulous joints that blessed their Let's Take It To The Stage LP (1975). Bootsy's vocals are just as tripped out and sleazy as you might expect, as evidenced by this classic lyric: "Think that she's the only freak been born/ As a matter of fact, she's not the only sand at the beach/ Or to be exact, there's a whole lot of beaches." Amen...

"I Am I Be"---De La Soul ft. Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, and Pee Wee Ellis

If you're a hip-hop fanatic who's unafraid to sling a pack on your back every once in a while, then there's really no good reason why you shouldn't love De La Soul.

"I Am I Be" is from the group's third LP, Buhloone Mind State. The rapping on the joint is mellow and smooth, while the beat is laidback and jazzy (with some invaluable assistance from The JBs, of course). This record may not be the one to change your mind if you haven't been officially converted yet, but if you have even a passing interest in the group, checkin' this out is mandatory.

"Damn If N Let It Be (Guttamix)"---Bushwick Bill

I can predict with some accuracy that this track will be downloaded less frequently than any of the other mp3s included in this post, but should cop this. Mentally unstable, one-eyed rapping dwarves are an endangered species in the hip-hop game, you know...

Bill is perhaps best known for the fact that he makes up (almost) 1/3 of The Geto Boys. However, he's also released quite a bit of solo material, including the LP that this track was taken from, Gutta Mix.

Bushwick has a great voice, and when he isn't talkin' all sorts of crazy shit, he can be downright lyrical at times. His greatest drawback is the fact that he's certifiably insane, but that's also a part of his appeal. If you don't know the whole story about how dude got drunk, lost an eye, and helped to create an album cover based on the fiasco, you'd better start googling.

Anyone who's listened to Bill's records can tell you that he's a violent little misogynist. His distorted perception of sistas/women obviously comes straight from his wounded eye, making some of his rhymes a little difficult to digest at times. This joint shows Bill in a more contemplative and reflective mood than he usually illustrates on wax. Take a walk through the back alley of a very interesting mind...

Word From Your Moms:

"Insist upon yourself. Be original."

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

**both quotes courtesy of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Only The Strong Survive

"My Way"---Aretha Franklin
Aretha is a soul goddess of such epic proportions that a formal introduction to her legacy shouldn't be required for anyone who regularly visits this site. She's released a number of amazing cover tunes over the span of her career, but her version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" stands out as unique because most of her fans have never had an opportunity to hear it. She recorded the song in 1970, but at the time, it was released exclusively on an Italian compilation. For whatever reason, the track wasn't released in the U.S. until this past year, when it appeared on the Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Sisters LP. At any rate, it's a stunning rendition of the song, and Aretha's vocal performance is every bit as engaging as you might expect.

"Subwoofer"---Count Bass D
Despite the fact that Dwight Farrell is a multi-talented producer/ MC with a fairly extensive discography, many hip-hop fans still don't acknowledge his work. "Subwoofer" makes reference to Subroc, MF Doom's deceased brother, but D also name-checks several other celebrities on the joint. It's hard not to appreciate a guy who can philosophize about Spinderella, Jeffrey Dahmer, Desmond Tutu, and Timothy McVeigh on the same track---at least for me. If this is your kind of dope, you can purchase the Dwight Spitz LP (2002) here.

"Survival Of The Fittest"---Mobb Deep
It depresses me to think that there's a whole new generation of hip-hop babies out there who are under the impression that Mobb Deep always sucked. Not true. In fact, The Infamous (1995) was the very definition of grimy when it first hit the streets---and I mean that in the best possible way. Nas, Ghostface, Raekwon, and Q-Tip all made guest appearances, contributing to the powerful chemistry that made this record an undeniable masterpiece. Unfortunately, Havoc and Prodigy have steadily fallen off over the years, to the point where they have become somewhat of a parody of themselves (Black Eyed Peas, anyone?). Hangin' with 50 Cent was a bad enough idea---let's just hope they never try to revive their career by cutting a record with Fergie...

"Honey Dove"---Lee Fields (Problems LP version)
Many soul fans have heard the version of "Honey Dove" that Fields recorded with The Expressions. The Truth & Soul label released it as a 7" in 2004, and later re-issued it on a compilation called Fallin' Off The Reel, Vol. 1 (2006). The track was championed by a number of music bloggers and writers last year, but I don't remember anyone mentioning that Fields had previously released the track on his Problems LP (2002). Both versions of this song can easily be described as soul perfection, but the original happens to be my personal favorite.

For anyone who's interested, the Problems LP has an overall funkier and more uptempo vibe than "Honey Dove" might suggest. As a bonus, I'm posting one other track from the album that will give you an idea of what his music sounds like at the other end of the spectrum:

"Clap Your Hands"---Lee Fields

View his complete discography here.

Word From Your Moms:

"Once you label me you negate me"---Soren Kierkegaard

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Over Breaks Dug Out Of Crates

I'll gladly initiate, if you promise to appreciate:

It always amazes me how I can go a lifetime without encountering something at all, and then suddenly, I'm exposed to it repeatedly. Such was the case with Carolyn Franklin. I was aware of her by name only, but didn't remember ever having heard any of her records. I knew that she had provided background vocals for Aretha Franklin (her older sister), but for whatever reason, I never checked out her solo material. That changed just recently, when I acquired her song "Sunshine Holiday", and about a week later, a friend exposed me to "You Can Have My Soul". Yesterday, I encountered her again by way of ear fuzz, where you can download two of her tracks---"What Cha Gonna Do" and "I Don't Want To Lose You". Take a minute to check her out---I can almost guarantee you won't consider it a waste of your precious time.

"The Fuzz" is also featuring a couple of joints by Three Times Dope---"I Ain't Try'n 2 Hear It" and "I Got It". Both tracks are from their LP Live From Acknickulous Land (1990), which might be considered "old school" hip-hop by today's standards. Unfortunately, plenty of heads are still sleepin' on this trio outta Philly, so make sure you aren't the last one to smell the coffee...

I should have mentioned this a while ago, but some of my peoples will definitely want to know about There's That Beat! The Rare Soul Fanzine. Through the website, you can order their quarterly publication, which primarily focuses on Northern soul artists and records.

Cop a few J Dilla mp3s over at the jesus piece. In addition to "Wild", the selection from Ruff Draft that I posted, you can also download another song from the reissue, "Take Notice" (w/ Guilty Simpson). If that's not generous enough, two other joints produced by Dilla are also included in the post---"Off Ya Chest" (Frank-N-Dank) and "Reunion" (Slum Village).

Travis at Wake Your Daughter Up recently posted The Coup's Steal This Album for free download. Regardless of how you feel about bloggers uploading entire albums, you can't argue with copping a record that begs to be acquired by way of the "five-finger discount".

Speaking of The Coup, Boots Riley has recently been invited to be the keynote speaker at UC Berkeley's Black Graduation Ceremony---further details are available here.

As some of you may already know, Wu-Tang Clan's "Hollow Bones" featured a sample of "Is It Because I'm Black?" by Syl Johnson. Both tracks can currently be obtained courtesy of sneakmove.

The good people at Stones Throw Records are offering Chrome Children Vol. 2 for free (and legal) download. The compilation features tracks by Madlib, MED, Oh No, Aloe Blacc, Percee P, and more.

While we're talkin' samples, head over to Palms Out Sounds to download songs borrowed for tracks by Jay-Z and DJ Quik.

Interestingly, marijuana is now being tested for a drug that will allegedly suppress appetite. Soon to follow is a cheap wine that will counteract nausea and vomiting, as well as a snortable cocaine-based medication to alleviate sinus pain and post-nasal drip...

Download "Here But I'm Gone" by Curtis Mayfield via the horse latitudes.

I like posting Pete Rock joints so frequently that I've often contemplated writing a blog that focuses specifically on his recordings. Guess there's no need for that---this site is already doin' it, doin' it, and doin' it well...

Once again, Keith Olbermann has put George Bush on blast by pointing out the similarities between Dubya's rhetoric on Iraq in 2002 with the bullshit he's spitting about Iran in '07. Watch the video clip via Crooks and Liars.

Download joints by OC, Main Source, and Lord Finesse by way of this is tomorrow.

Cop one of my favorite RJD2 tracks over at Covert Curiosity---"Good Times Roll Pt. 2".

Little Brother and 9th Wonder have officially parted ways. Read all the sordid details at HHG.

Download "Zero Point Pt. 1 & 2 (45 Version)" by the incredible Kashmere Stage Band at The Mark Out.

Visit floodwatchmusic to d/l "Come Go With Me" by Teddy Pendergrass.

Cop "My Block" by Scarface courtesy of hahamusic.

As always, JT has been posting some fantastic stuff over at Feed Me Good Tunes. This post features tracks by Gil Scott-Heron, Five Deez, MMW, Skyzoo & 9th Wonder, Five Deez, and Max Roach. One of his previous posts included songs by Paul Pena, Eldridge Holmes, Ahmad Jamal, and Eugene McDaniels.

If you've never been to Tennessee, this may be the year to go---Memphis is celebrating 50 years of soul. Check out all of the events they have scheduled, and get some assistance in planning your expedition.

Before I peace out, I'd like to thank the following spots for recently linking Souled On:


Mainstream Isn't So Bad...Is It?

surviving the golden age

And much gratitude to Jody at The Side Street for giving me such mad props, whether I deserved them or not ; )

Word From Your Moms:

"When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool." ---Chinua Achebe