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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!!

 

 

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Nasir Jones, better known as rapper ‘Nas’ has tweeted that he will announce the title of a new album next month.

This will be the 11th solo studio album from the Queensbridge native. His ’94 album, Illmatic, of course, is regarded as one of the best albums of all time. His most recent project was Life Is Good, released in July 2012. Life Is Good was compared to Marvin Gaye’s 1978 album Here My Dear, as both works detailed their respective failed marriages, and subsequent divorces. Life Is Good was widely regarded as a success. It sold 149,000 copies in the first week, and has sold nearly 350,000 to date.

This new album (or at least the announcement of it) from Nas comes less than a year after Life Is Good, and will undoubtedly gain humongous attention from the hip hop community. I cannot wait for more details regarding this album. Stay tuned for any updates.

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