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Sixteen years ago on this day, the Wu-Tang Clan dropped it’s second album as a group, following the legendary “36 Chambers” LP. Forget a mixtape this week. I’ve put aside my usual assortment and dedicated this one to tracks only off Wu-Tang Forever. Here are my favorites.                     @codymarcroft

Happy Memorial Day from yours truly. Shout out to all the soldiers who have perished while preserving our freedom here in America, and those who currently serve our country.

Lately I’ve been into Action Bronson. Dude is hilarious, personable, and chooses production/producers wisely. Not to mention, he can rap well.

This first one is probably my favorite rap video of the decade, at least. Also, love when Action raps over guitar loops. It seems to fit his voice and his aggressive, in-your-face delivery.

 

 

I love Action’s punch lines. He packs many of them in this 2 minute jam. The Sandusky line might’ve been a case of “too soon,” but what can you do, right? (“Foul living like Sandusky and Paterno”).

 

 

Action must has a weight lifting theme going on. Here’s his latest music video; this one for the single “Strictly 4 My Jeeps” which will appear on Action’s upcoming album, “Saab Stories” (love that album title). Yes, I will be reviewing that album.

 

 

Here’s another track off Action’s Mixtape collaboration with producer The Alchemist. This is another tape my buddy Rug_Lyfe got me into. He’s a big Alchemist fan, and I have become one as well. The man talking about Chandeliers at the end is a great touch…

 

 

Another awesome cut off “Rare Chandeliers”. Great opening lines from Action…

 

 

I love the bass line that runs underneath the beat. And the sampled hooks are groovy as it gets.

 

 

Couldn’t resist getting Roc Marciano in this week’s Mixtape Monday. He handles a feature in this one.

 

 

Him and Action tagteam the beat again…

 

 

Along with Action Bronson’s  rap catalog, he seems like a good dude. Apparently at a Coachella 4/20 show, he tossed 4oz of weed out to the crowd. 4oz. That’s a lot of money, and a lot of trouble he could potentially face.

But better than that is the fact that he went into the crowd and pushed a man in a wheelchair to the front of the crowd… Classy guy.

 

 

who then proceeded to crowdsurf…

 

This week is for the Mary Jane fans. Here’s a list from my itunes library of the most appropriate hip-hop songs for smoking the ganj. Stoners: keep it safe, keep it real, and keep it lit. Enjoy.

If you haven’t heard it before, listen to this first on a sunny day. You’ll thank me later for the memory.

 

 

The background vocals and beat sell this track as a smoking song.

 

 

Everyone’s heard this classic…

 

 

 

Smooth groove from Schoolboy Q. “Just got 20 dollars, gettin’ blazed tonight.”

 

 

 

 

That SAMPLE!!

 

 

 

 

That bassline. Get ouuutta here…

 

 

Another P.U.T.S. classic…

 

 

 

 

 

@codymarcroft

Today Stevie Wonder turned 53 years young. In honor of the soul man’s birthday, I decided to select various hip-hop songs that have sampled Stevie Wonder’s music. Enjoy.

 

I can never get enough of the Madlib-MF Doom collaboration. Classic track from the duo. They sampled Stevie’s 1968 song, “How Can You Believe?”.

 

 

Dilla always seems to make Mixtape Monday – this time it’s a cut off his famous album Donuts. The Stevie sample is from the well-known song, “For Once In My Life”.

 

 

How about some old J. Cole to start the week? The beautiful loop you hear throughout this one is from the 1969 song, “My Cherie Amour”.

 

 

Let’s continue with the New York rap. Wu-tang up next. One of my favorite songs from Stevie, “Living for the City” is sampled by the Wu.

 

 

More from New York – but a different group: A Tribe Called Quest. New York loves some Stevie Wonder. The sampled is from “Sir Duke”.

 

 

From east coast to west coast. 2pac makes his Mixtape Monday debut, and gets the closer in this week’s edition. The Stevie song used is “Part Time Lover”

 

 

Enjoy your week all. Happy 53rd Stevie! Thanks for the great music, and the subsequent contributions to hip-hop.

 

 

Loving the bass to begin this song; great way to start off this week’s Mixtape Monday. Casey Veggies is a solid rapper who has worked with Mac Miller and was a former member of Odd Future. This track dropped last week. Not his best, but still a solid cut.

 

 

Never really got into French Montana, but I’m a fan of this song. Sometimes the dubstep influenced beats compliment vocals, and I give it the nod here. The vocal samples are easy on the ears.

 

 

Favorite new track right here. Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson. Jazz beat. I love pianos in hip-hop. Sidenote: I get really hyped whenever Action Bronson starts rapping. I’ve become a huge fan ever since seeing the video for “The Symbol.” Shit had me laughing.

 

 

It seems like Hova has been putting out music left and right lately. Recently, he vented his frustrations with the media over his trip to Cuba, and now a cut off the Great Gatsby soundtrack comes out. This one dropped last week as well. Jay attacks the beat; he ‘goes in’ so to speak, but I personally am not a fan of this one. But I do this for you guys (and girls), So I’m posting it for you to form your own opinion. Enjoy..?

 

 

OAKLAND STAND UPPPPP! The Hieroglyphics are BACK! This track, “Gun Fever” comes, “In the midst of a nationwide highly controversial debate about gun control,” As stated in the Youtube video’s description. This is what I love about the old school groups – whenever the speak, it’s worth listening to. Yes, I’m being that ‘golden age kid’ again. Can’t help it. And the scratches help bring that old school, street rap style apparent. This single will be on the group’s new album The Kitchen. Keep an eye out for it.

 

 

This next track proves the point I made above. Watch the first 20 seconds and you can already tell. This one features two more 90s rappers: RA & Talib Kweli. Up and coming producer, Mr. Green, put down a mouth watering beat, then The Rugged Man and Kweli spilled some nasty verses over it. More piano fingers in this one. And the hard scratches certify it an underground vibe. It’s been out a week and I’ve already repeated this one 27 times. I tally it on Itunes, no shame.

 

 

YO! That’s a rap. I have a gang of reviews coming out soon. I’m in the process of reviewing Ghostface Killah, Snoop Lion, & J. Cole’s new projects. My review for Indicud drops tomorrow. So stop by, spend some time with 92 ’til Infinity. Share your thoughts.

 

Here’s some hip-hop treats to pull your mind from finals for a bit & reward your musical taste buds.

No theme this week, just a random mix of some hot stuff I’ve been playing loudly this week.

 

A lot of praise for Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City but I’m a huge fan of Kendrick’s 1st album, Section.80. It undersold, which is a shame. But sales aren’t everything. The underground shook when Section.80 dropped, and the reception was an accepting nod. This track is one of the diamonds on the project.

 

 

Moooooore Kendrick – with a big splash of J. Dilla. Ohhhhh that SOUL. Can’t you feel it?!

 

 

Underground classic, from a classic underground duo.

 

 

What’chu know about that Aussie rap? Bliss N’ Eso is an ill group. Worth more than a listen – go check their discography.

 

 

Gotta have me some Busta Rhymes once in a while. Also can’t seem to escape Dilla. Here’s another he produced (as a member of the Ummah).

 

 

Not sure what it is about Choo; he’s just a likable artist. He’s on the up-and-up, so pay attention to him.

 

 

AHHH I did it again. More J. Dilla to close this edition of Mixtape Monday out. I played this version (the original has vocals over it) on my radio show last weekend. Filthy beat.

 

 

Finals week has almost pushed Mixtape Monday off the to-do list. I’ve been busier than ever, but didn’t want to disappoint and not come through with some tracks this week. With just over an hour before Tuesday hits, I’m running it close. It wasn’t pretty, but I’ve managed to find enough time to gather some music for you. Not much description given the circumstances, but sometimes it’s best just to let the music do the talking. Enjoy.

 

One of my favorite Macklemore songs.

 

 

Funny, clever song…

 

 

Huge fan of the Blue Scholars. Intricate rhymes, awesome flow and conscious lyrics over smooth beats. Saw them live at Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Ill show. (The next song is from Sol, who opened the show for them).

 

 

 

Another awesome underground duo. Rapper RA Scion has an ILL flow, and unique voice. And Sabzi, who is on the production for Common Market is also the producer for the Blue Scholars. Small world.

 

For the second installment of Mixtape Monday, I had to find that gritty, hard stuff. Enjoy.

 

This song comes off GZA’s lesser-known album Beneath the Surface, which dropped four years after the highly acclaimed Liquid Swords release. Personally, I think Beneath the Surface is an underrated album. Sure, the production would have been better if RZA was more involved (like he was on Liquid Swords) but I think Beneath the Surface carries its own weight. This song “Hip-hop Fury” is one of my favorite tracks from GZA’s solo catalog…

 

 

Lately I’ve been all about Roc Marciano, thanks to my friend Rug Lyfe. Roc just has it going on. He’s got a mean flow, commanding delivery, and dope rhymes (with some subtly hilarious lines). He’s also backed by some solid production, which is done predominantly by himself along with appearances from Q-Tip and The Alchemist. Plus, this is one of my favorite music videos ever. Roc really represents that New York, East Coast, rugged hip-hop style. He’s just the dude. That’s all I can really say…

 

 

I refrained from posting C.R.E.A.M. because it’s pretty much guaranteed that anyone who opens this page has heard that song. Tried to post something different here (yes, I’m being that guy). This track, “Cash Still Rules” still knocks. Raekwon, Method and Ghost speak on this track, over 4th Disciple’s beat – a change-up from the usual RZA production…

 

 

I couldn’t leave immortal Technique out of this edition of Mixtape Monday. The Harlem rapper murders this beat. Opening bars:

 

“The bling-bling era was cute but it’s about to be done/

I leave ya full of clipse [eclipse] like the moon blocking the sun/

My metaphors are dirty like herpes but harder to catch/

Like an escape tunnel in prison – I started from scratch/

And now these parasites want a percent of my ASCAP/

Trying to control perspective like an acid flashback/

But here’s a quotable for every single record exec: /

Get your f***ing hands out my pocket n***a’ like Malcolm X/

But this ain’t a movie, I’m not a fan or a groupie/

And I’m not that type of cat you can afford to miss if you shoot me/

Curse to heavens and laugh when the sky electrocutes me/

Immortal Technique stuck in your thoughts, darkening dreams/

No ones as good as me, they just got better marketing schemes/

I leave you to your own destruction like sparking a fiend.”

 

Metaphysics is on the production, but it always reminds me of Pete Rock’s “Cake.” They sound exactly the same – both sampling Isaac Hayes’ “Ike’s Rap I.” Metaphysics slowed it down more than Pete, however. The piano is creepy, sending a chill down your spine. The simplistic drum beat underneath the keys adds that rough New York style. I’m a huge fan of Immortal Technique. I love what he does with hip-hop, and this track is one of his best.

 

When I think of rugged producers, the first producer that comes to mind is Premo. In “Full Clip” his scratches are too nice; just raw hip-hop. Makes my heart jump out of my chest. Guru’s cleverly written and delivered brag lyrics add to the grit of this track:

 

“Attackin’ like a slick apache/

Lyrics are trigger happy/

Blowin’ back your wig piece just for the way you lookin’ at me/

Cock back, blow, I hit you up right now/

I don’t know why so many y’all wanna be thugs anyhow/

Face the consequence, of your childish nonsense/

I can make your head explode just by my lyrical content/

Get you in my scope and metaphorically snipe ya/

I never liked ya. I gas that ass and then ignite ya/

The flamethrower, make your peeps afraid to know ya/

How many times I told ya? Play your position small soldier.”

 

Havoc flipped Al Green and churned out this raw beat. Mobb Deep got Nas and Raekwon on the track and they didn’t disappoint. I never mind a 4-verse song, especially when Prodigy, Havoc, Nas and Raekwon are the ones on it.

 

 

Shouts out to Rug Lyfe again. First it was Roc Marciano, then Sean Price. Did you hear that beat, too?! Well, no wonder you like it – it’s the Alchemist (who, I have to become more familiar with). Sean Price also has the best opening bars I’ve ever heard:

 

“I don’t want to dougie, I just want money/

Studied under the understudy, the one-twenty/

Young dummies, can’t spar/

No life. My flow tight, like your pants are”

 

Ooooof! Get outta here!!

 

 

Had to start off Mixtape Monday with a recent discovery. Traum Diggs knows smooth, crisp and classy. I stumbled upon this song, Sax Fifth Avenue Flow, on the rapper’s Twitter page. I’m all about this song and video. Diggs has the voice and flow for rap. The Brooklyn MC’s vocals float over the sax nicely. I’m looking forward to more stuff coming out from this dude, and you can bet I’m following him on Twitter from now on.


 

The MPC master, Pete Rock, does hip-hop and jazz a favor with this beat. This track is off the legendary 1992 album Mecca and the Soul Brother. Pete sampled one of my favorite Kool & the Gang funk tracks, “N.T.” but the jazz comes from Freddie McCoy’s “Gimmie Some!”

 

 

And what is Mixtape Monday without some Dilla? Here’s a nice jazzy tune for your eardrums. It’s hard not to like anything that Dilla churned out in his time. One of the most beloved (and missed) producers of all time, Yancey dug up some of the best music for his crates. In the above track, he sampled a 1970s jazz group called Placebo, which is actually a really popular group in the world of hip-hop samples. The song is called “Humpty Dumpty” off the album Ball of Eyes, if you’re interested in youtube-ing it. Pete Rock and Madlib have also sampled it.

  

 

Why not stay on the Dilla train? It changes weekly, but this track is one of my favorite Dilla productions at the moment (along with “Don’t Cry” – solely for the sentimental value and emotion behind it).  But this one here, “Didn’t Cha know” is gold; especially with the grace of Erykah Badu’s beautiful voice serenading our ears. Dilla samples another little-known artist, Tarika Blue, off their 1976 album Downtown. Digging up that sample was a testimony to Dilla’s knowledge of music. What a great collaboration on this. Overall Mama’s Gun is a phenomenal album – so you should peep the whole thing while you’re at it (there’s a gang of great producers on it).

 

 

One of my all-time favorite songs from my all-time favorite duo, The People Under the Stairs from L.A. On this track, Thes One and Double K cut up Billy Wooten’s xylophone rendition of “We’ve Only Just Begun.” The song came off Wooten’s 1972 album The Wooden Glass – a live set recorded in Indianapolis, and re-released on CD in 2004. I’ve been looking for the ’72 vinyl for a while now, but the cheapest price I’ve found is $90 (yes, it’s a rare record). Oh well, I’ll find it at some thrift shop for 99 cents sooner or later. I digress. Anyway, the People Under the Stairs looped a piece of the xylophone jam, threw a hot beat and groovy filter underneath, and sprinkled some vocals over it. Some of the lyrics on the song are my favorite from the duo, such as when Double K spits:

 

“I’m a fan of hip hop since E.U. and ‘Da Butt’ was in /

and my n***a Doug Fresh ran the show /

Three Times was Dope, and MTV was ‘YO!’ ”

 

Ahhh, those old-school references are refreshing. E.U.’s “Da Butt,” Three Times Dope (hip-hop group), and MTV’s ‘YO! Raps.’ And then Thes One gets all up in the second verse with more:

 

“Something for sophisticated 8th grade hip-hop taste /

For heads that remember the breakup of 3rd Bass /

Tribe, EPMD, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth /

Hear immense influence, they’re congruent in my grooves”

 

 

K. Dot’s currently the best rapper doing it right now, in my opinion. This one is off Kendrick’s first album Section 80. The album didn’t even sold 100,000 copies, but the hip hop world loved it. Especially with tracks like the [J. Cole-produced] “HiiiPower” “Poe Man’s Dream” “F**k Your Ethnicity” and this track here. On this cut, Kendrick goes off on the beat, laying down bars rapidly. Not much else to say here – just admire Kendrick’s flow over the upbeat trumpet.