Saturday, June 30, 2007

Shadowman: Miami's best MC that you probably havent heard.

Shadowman is from the south but he spits like a New York vet, and he stole the show on DJ Spinna's Beyond Real Experience Volume 2.

I was saddened to discover he just came home from a three year bid, which explains his absence all of this time. - Three of his best songs: "Breathe", "My Style" and "Rap Shit".

For more, direct yourself to

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Black Milk: Popular Demand - @@@@ 1/4
Phat Kat: Carte Blanche - @@@@ 1/4

It has been a little over a year since legendary track wizard Jay Dee departed the physical plane, leaving a void that wont be filled in not only his home city of Detroit, but Hip-Hop’s culture altogether. In his absence various unreleased recordings have surfaced, but soon will come the point when the last of Dilla’s seemingly endless work will be heard. While a handful of friends and affiliates have sworn to uphold the legacy, “The D” has the heaviest weight on its shoulders. Black Milk and Phat Kat have presently chosen to carry the torch, with their respective releases Popular Demand and Carte Blanche expected to reflect the soul and gutters of the Motor City.

Black Milk has followed in Dilla’s footsteps, wearing the hats of MC/Producer while equipped to make both look easy. Having started out behind the boards for Slum Village, he released the slept on Sound of the City in 2005 and has gone on to produce for the likes of Pharaohe Monch, Lloyd Banks and Canibus while still in his early 20s. Although influenced by Jay Dee, Black Milk’s hyper-soulful style of production is one that only he can lay claim to. Even more impressive is his confidence behind the mic; while Black has established a buzz for his beat making acumen, he wants equal respect for spitting as he takes a relentless approach with his lyrics. Popular Demand’s lead single “Sound The Alarm” (featuring Guilty Simpson) serves as a warning call that he’s arrived to stake his claim and the album doesn’t fail to shine light on the rest of his family from the 313, as he celebrates how far he’s come with Phat Kat on “Lookatusnow” and reunites Slum Village’s Baatin, T3 and Elzhi for the raucous “Action”. Black Milk defies convention with “U” as he manages the rare feat of making a love song that knocks without sounding soft., conversely “Three + Sum” breaks down the art of the ménage a trois without straying from his trademark sound. James Yancey would be proud as Black Milk fully espouses what some would see to be the contrasts of material flossing while keeping his art authentic.

Phat Kat is possibly the most monstrous MC to ever bless a Dilla cut, having long ago established his reputation for classic collaborations such as Welcome To Detroit’s “Featuring Phat Kat” and the “Dedication To The Suckers” 12 inch. Carte Blanche is more of the same as he holds onto the “If it aint broke…” adage for dear life. Diehard fans of Dilla and Phat Kat’s chemistry will take a welcome ride to the future with “Cold Steel” and “Nasty Aint It”, while “My Old Label” is an uncut raw banger and “Don’t Nobody Care About Us” has already come to be considered one of their quintessential works together. Black Milk (considered by many to be the next best thing out of Detroit) holds down production and vocally guest stars alongside T3 on the sinister “Danger”, and also comes strong behind the boards on “Cash Em Out”. Phat Kat’s primary drawback is he limits himself to battle raps (“I’m better/harder than you.”) or discussion of being a rapper (“F*ck a major label, I’m independent now.”) With even the sensual “Lovely” being based around meeting women at shows, there seems to be a lack of creative inspiration at hand with his verses. Vocally Phat Kat explodes on each track as if it’s the last time he’ll be heard but he lacks wit while riding his one trick pony, so he may need more diverse topic material to hold an audience’s attention in the future.

Detroit continues to blaze trails through the underground with Popular Demand and Carte Blanche. Black Milk is steadily grinding, rumored to be doing collaborative albums with Sean Price, Pharaohe Monche and West coast up and comer Bishop Lamont, while Phat Kat will likely be blacking out as long as there’s a mic present for him to rip. Here’s to the Dirty D’s further prosperity in representing its heart, struggle and pain through Hip-Hop.

Black Milk's Popular Demand is out now on Fat Beats Records
Phat Kat's Carte Blanche is out now on Look Records

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My first time on the radio

stay tuned...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Two Recent Heaters from Jazze Pha

Jazze Fizzle/Fenzell or whatever you call him has been kind of spotty the past few years, but he killed it with these tracks.

Young Dro: Fresh (listen past the drawl for how this man puts his words together)

Rick Ross: For Da Low -

Elzhi - Boomerang Slang

This was serious heat from his Witness My Growth mixtape.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

There's only 1 week left

I wont go on and on about how this album has changed my life, because it totally might not have the same effect on you. But only a few select albums (Muddy Waters, Operation Doomsday, and Midnight Marauders) have gotten this much endless spin from me. I already know some of the songs verbatim and I still get amped every time I hear them. This has been my saving grace this spring, being played at least once a week if not more. Blu is a beast on the rhymes, Exile is a beast on production and this album is an experience to behold. I cant nearly afford to buy music right now, but I might purchase this anyway for the sake of supporting.

Here's a track by track rundown of the advance copy with ratings

1) My World Is - An introduction on who he is, what he's here to do and why he's here to do it. The " woooorld is blu!" sample is killing. - @@@@ 1/2

2) Simply Amazin - Murderous battle rapping, attacking the mic with reckless abandon. Boom bap heaven - @@@@@

3) Juice n Dranks - Blu and Ta'Raach (aka C.R.A.C. Knuckles) exchange heat over a laid back beat. This is cool, but not outstanding. - @@@@

4) Cold Hearted - An introspective winner about tough times he's seen with his family, the soulful singing of Miguel Jontel brings it all together wonderfully. It's a bit hard to understand what exactly his rhyming is about, it requires a close listen. - @@@@ 1/2

5) Good Life - A song about struggling towards betterment through the tough times. I can relate heavily to the first verse. - @@@@ 1/2

6) Blu Colla Workers - Again I can relate to balancing life, women and the work grind. Upsetting a woman because she feels like you arent doing enough? Yeah I relate. Amazingly enough this could work at a "backpack" party, it has somewhat of a club kind of vibe to it. - @@@@ 1/2

7) I Am - One of 2007's best Hip-Hop songs, period. The beat is a light piano but boy does it knock and the way Blu structures his verses with the vocal sample is nothing short of amazing. He breaks down his life as a man, as a person, as a MC, and all other facets not to mention shouting out De La Soul and naming books from The Bible. Wait until they namedrop where the sample comes from (listen close to the verses when the beat changes) - @@@@@

8) Dancing In The Rain - I always liked this song but DonDub (for the two shoes) made me an even bigger fan. An anthem for pushing on and holding your head through life's struggles. The guitar is beautiful - @@@@@

9) Party Of Two - As a man, I dont want to hear that many "girl" records from such a talented dude. But I can relate to lusting after someone, recently even. His rhymes were still on point and the beat is hitting. - @@@@ 1/4

10) No Greater Love - Forget about it, cancel Christmas. This song knocked Talib Kweli's "Wont You Stay" from the top spot as my favorite Hip-Hop love record of all time. I cant even put into words how this record affected me. The beat and rhymes came together on some personal earth shattering shit. - @@@@@

11) The Narrow Path - An anthem for every underdog out there. You wanna talk about knock? You wanna talk about spitting? - @@@@@

12) In Remembrance - Heavenly introspection, you cant listen to this without smiling. - @@@@@

13) First Things First - Another girl record, on some honest courting shit. It's cool, but again not exactly what I want to hear from him. - @@@@ 1/4

14) Soul Amazin - Again, it's hard to talk about a song like this without overhyping it. Donwill said it took him back to the first time he heard "It Aint Hard To Tell". This is beautiful though - @@@@@

15) Life Is A Gamble - This is strong, but it's hard to follow some of the other songs that are on the album. - @@@@ 1/2

16) The World Is - He pays tribute to Nas and Pete Rock, and sets out to save souls. A very strong closer breaking down the concept of the album's title. - @@@@@

Update: Peamobile just informed me that it drops July 31st, but it'll still be on Itunes next week. As well "Party of Two" and "Life Is A Gamble" arent making the final cut. All of that aside, cop it or regret sleeping later. You have no right to complain about the state of Hip-Hop when albums like this exist, this takes you back to the era of complete efforts on the part of rapping and prodction. This will likely be my #1 LP of 2007 and it's already landed a place in my personal all-time top 10.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Binky Fingers - Where's Calvin?

This was the unofficial follow-up to Little Brother's The Listening. Largely produced by 9th Wonder, Khrysis and Big Dho, this album spread through small circles of those in the know around 2003. He kind of came from nowhere and dropped this without much of a backstory at all, but the picture above puts rest to rumors that he was a Phonte/9th Wonder alter ego.

Binky Fingers is brilliant and hilarious once you give him a few close listens. You've never heard a MC like this, he sounds kind of like a combination of both members of Heltah Skeltah minus the violence and with a lot more humor.

This has to be the only Hip-Hop album with jazz scatting in a hook ("Hey Binky"), and wait until you hear Phonte's New Edition/BBD tribute on "Ladies Man". The skits are nothing short of great comedy as well.

I'm on the hunt now that I know he put out a mixtape in '04, and he's scheduled to resurface with a new album this year. For now, enjoy this gem.

The album -

His myspace pages -

Quincy Jones - Back On The Block (Revisited)

This was one of my favorite albums as a kid, in 2 years it will be 20 years old and for my ears it's timeless.

What does it have to do with Hip-Hop?

1) The opening title track has Melle Mel, Ice-T, Big Daddy Kane who all killed their verses but Kool Moe Dee stole the show from everyone. The beat faded and he blacked out with


2) Jazz Corner Of The World - A mini rap lesson on a few jazz legends by Moe Dee and Kane. The vintage late 80's fast rap flow and actual samples of the artists they're running down, combined with the song "Birdland" that follows makes for an incredible experience.

Outside of Hip-Hop, this album had gems like Tevin Campbell's "Tomorrow" (when the saxophone solo and the choir comes in, FORGET ABOUT IT) which could motivate people 50 years from now, and the super adult "The Secret Garden" with Al B. Sure, James Ingram, El DeBarge, & Barry White which surely got your aunt's panties dropping back then.

Quincy Jones embraced the youth's popular culture, while blending many genres into cohesive excellence with this one.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Early Candidate For Mixtape of The Year (No, not Kanye West)

Money back guarantee you'll never want to hear 'Ye, Camron and Consequence over "Gone" again (well you're getting this for di free, but you get what I'm saying)

Classic beats, great rhymes, DJ Premier's standard curmudgeon routine, you cant go wrong here.