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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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Three legendary hip-hop producers will be speaking about the, “Music of Hiphop,” according to the Hiphoparchive.org. The event will be held Harvard University’s Memorial Church, and the event begins at 5pm with doors opening at 4:30.

Pete Rock and Dj Premier are widely regarded as two of the best hip-hop producers of all time. Both producers contributed to one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, Nas’ Illmatic.

Besides Illmatic, Pete is mostly known as half of the duo Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth and his instrumental album, Petestrumentals. But Pete has also collaborated with Smif-N-Wessun, ini, and Boston native, Edo G. Dj Premier is most known as the producer for the duo, Gangstarr from 1989-2003. Both Pete and Premier have collaborated with many other artists, which would be unnecessary to list here.

9th Wonder has been in the game since the late 90s. Premo, Pete Rock, and the deceased J dilla are some of his influences. The grammy-winning producer (from production on Mary J. Blige’s album, The Breakthrough) has worked with a ton of artists such as Erykah Badu, Drake, Murs, Mac Miller, Wale and many more.

For more information on the Harvard event, visit http://www.hiphoparchive.org/node/9561

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. 

 

 

I woke up this morning, and as usual opened the Macbook. NHL.com, then Facebook, then Grantland, reddit, the New York Times. Then Twitter – and caught something on my feed:

Cam to 9th

???

Being a fan of both artists, I had to open up that conversation. 9th Wonder eventually tweeted:

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 12.10.37 PM

Happy Thursday everybody! I know mine will be, thanks to these two hip hoppers striking up twitter conversations. This is great.

You have an up-and-coming rapper, Cam Meekins, potentially pairing up with a top-notch producer. If they collaborate it won’t disappoint.

Meekins is a Massachusetts native who’s been rapping since high school. He has a couple of albums and mixtapes ( ‘:) :/ : (‘ being his most recent), but also has a string of youtube videos that have really helped boost his notoriety.

I caught onto him shortly after he started working with Matty Trump – who I knew about through Sam Adams. But unlike Sammy, Cam Meekins is more of a hip-hop guy. Dude can rap, and he’s creative with it (I’ll post some youtube videos at the bottom). And if he is getting props from 9th Wonder (who, in another tweet referred to Cam as “#dope”) then you have your credibility right there.

9th Wonder is a veteran producer out of North Carolina. He has quite the impressive resume, including work with Pete Rock, Buckshot, David Banner, Murs, and Erykah Badu. 9th is as smooth on the beat as any producer doing it right now (check the videos at the bottom). His style reminds me a lot of Dilla. He has a plethora of collaborations under his belt, and Cam would be a great addition. Both are creative in their respective arts (rapper/producer). I’m excited if this happens. I hope the two follow through.