Friday, 31 December 2010

Hairdresser from Pomona, that's a monster 'doo

Reasons why I happen to prefer Suga Free to post-Ultramagnetic Kool Keith : Street Gospel is a marginally better 1997 album than Sex Style, and what Keith could only achieve via the aid of a plastic wig that year in the Plastic World video, Sug' managed au naturel in the On My Way promo.

"Wait, ‘what do you see?’ said the blind man who heard the deaf man say he saw Suga Free drop the bomb and it went BOOYAH!"

Suga Free - On My Way

Always wondered if there was any truth to the rumour that DJ Quik didn't receive any production royalties from Street Gospel because Suga Free brokered a deal with him beforehand which would allow Quik to swagger-jack Sug's lavish blue shirt steez for the cover of Rhythm-Al-Ism a year later in 1998 without flaunting the ‘Thou Shalt Not Buy A Shirt Similar To One Your Boy Has’ rule all bros deep must observe?

So, as we dip-da to the '010 and we tip-toe to the '011, I guarantee any song I'm likely to hear tonight out on NYE won't make me wanna get my Ralph Macchio at 0:40 - 0:43 of the scene in the Okinawa fifties rock 'n' roll club in The Karate Kid 2 on like Robert Bacon's geetar-work on Quik's We Still Party from Rhythm-Al-Ism does, nor will anything I'm sure to hear tonight get me as open as the "BURN!"s on its hook do. Happy new year anyway, godbodies.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Was Cash Money & Marvelous's LP the O.G Livin' Proof?

Cash Money & Marvelous - The Mighty Hard Rocker

Yes, it was the first rap album where its rapper was overshadowed by its maestro d.j/producer; yes, all the best tracks from it came out as singles as they did with Livin' Proof; no, unlike Livin' Proof it doesn't have any killer album tracks like Inna Citi Life and Serious Rap Shit which made owning the tape essential; and, no, don't even hazard to suggest that MC Tee's rapping was a poor counterpart to Mantronix's production on the Mantronix debut LP you feculent little infidel.

And this is precisely why Jazzy Jeff will always get my nod over Cash Money as Philly's preeminent dj because Jeff and Will complimented each other as a dj & rapper duo, they were deft songwriters who accidently pioneered horrorcore with Nightmare On My Street and emo-rap with Parents Just Don't Understand, Summertime is still unequaled as far as homages to Rakim go, and Jeff was the unmitigated victor of the who-made-the-best-cut-up-track-with-Trouble-Funk's-Pump-Me-Up-as-its-basis? competition the 2 Philadelphia scratch-masters held because Cash Money's Scratchin' To The Funk is too drawn out for an instrumental scratch track at nearly 10 minutes in length, while Jeff's Pump Me Up from Will's Willenium album is far more sensibly timed at 4 minutes and features Will on hypeman duty before he reverts back to the Fresh Prince for a verse at the end.

Will Smith ft. D.J Jazzy Jeff - Pump Me Up

Cash Money never appearing as a reoccuring character in one of the best sitcoms of my youth alongside a cast which included a dime like Karyn Parsons is also worthy of consideration in this discussion, but perhaps the most important factor in Jeff surpassing Cash Money as the dj caliph of Philly is that their Biz + Rick subsuming posse cut So Fresh helped make the conservative throwback-rap aesthetic pushed by Jurrasic 5 and Ugly Duckling at the arse-end of the 90s obsolete, and for that reason we should all be beholden to Jeffrey :

Will Smith ft. Jazzy Jeff, Biz Markie & Slick Rick - So Fresh

Monday, 27 December 2010

Only built 4 a Curren$y link

HL asked me if I'd like to contribute an entry in his monumental countdown of the best rap songs of 2010 and offered me a handful of choices, I said I wouldn't mind writing an appraisal for Flying Iron by Curren$y & Fiend, so here it is as his 3rd favourite song of 2010.

Because it'd be ill-mannered of me to bid you adieu with nothing but a link, here's the first song those 2 chums dropped together a couple of years back during Curren$y's mixtape run.

Curren$y ft. Fiend - Coupes And Leers

Fiend's verse sounds like it was recorded in C-Murder's jailcell toilet bowl.

Bonus "we did it, Blogosphere, we did it!!!" action :

#YouKnowYou'veMadeIt when : your stats reveal that your posts are getting linked on the forum.

I only skimmed through 3 pages of the board's token hip hop thread my 2010 singles/other random songs post was linked in, but therein lay everything one could possibly hope from a Dissensus thread about teh rap muzik : an impassioned back-and-forth about not enjoying rappers who are materialistic/sexist/homophobic, a discussion about which is Nas's best album, and a comparison between Lil' Wayne and Bob Dylan. Marvelous work by all involved, and thanks to whoever linked my post for showing love and recognising that Baserock Babies by Beeda Weeda was one of '010's most neglected jams.

Beeda Weeda - Baserock Babies

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Late night festive greetings

Byrd Gang - Have A Happy Christmas

Favourite Xmas song ever? Christmas (Please Come Home) by Darlene Love, Christmas In Hollis by Run Dmc, Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto by Snoop & Death Row, Soulful Chrismas by James Brown, Fuck Christmas by FEAR, and High Fo' Xmas by Master P & the West Coast Bad Boyz are the Yuletide anthems of choice here in chez Martorialist, but that Jim Jones A Dipset Christmas album from a few years back offered them hot competition in the form of the above heartwarming little ditty by Byrd Gang comrades Stack Bundles and Mel Matrix, which captures the spirit of Noel more naturally than that shitty, contrived new KanYe + Dipset 2.0 + about 26 other people's Christmas In Harlem joint.

Yo, what sorta Christmas was this anyway when the BBC didn't even screen the Porridge Xmas movie this morning and I had to miss both Scrooged and The Grinch on tv this afternoon due to family commitments? Thankfully Youtube is here to help plug such a gaping abyss with the Santa Claws episode of Round The Twist tonight :

I'm still waiting for Paul Mittelman to reply to my email asking if Pete Twist's trademark denim jacket with the sewn on black leather sleeves was the prototype for that kinda vile Stüssy/Neighborhood/Levi's collaboration effort in the 2nd Boneyards collection this year.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Pop muzik

D.J. Red Alert - Hip Hop On Wax Volume 2

Red Alert cuttin' up M's 1979 hit Pop Muzik in amongst more obvious mainstays like Blow Your Head by Fred Wesley & The J.B's and Heaven And Hell Is On Earth by 20th Century Steel Band back in 1984.

Who'd have ever imagined that the Bad Boy version of Cluedo would end with G. Dep as the murderer when a self-confessed former stick-up kid/perennial jailbird like Black Rob was also present at Tudor Mansion, huh? Rappers might have difficulty in restraining themselves from shooting innocent people dead during bungled street robberies back in the 90s, but at least they've always had the most sublime taste in 80s pop music, which, in certain cases, may have taken us saltines a deacade or so to admit that we enjoy. In the unlikely occurance that the biblical concept of Heaven is 100% accurate then it seems probable that G. Dep would get shooed away at the pearly gates for callously taking another man's life 17 years ago, but one imagines that Saint Peter is far more sympathetic to the plights of alledgedly homicidal rappers who happen to enjoy the sounds of Phil Collins and Cameo, so Azie and C-Murder should be be able to waltz right in.

With that thought in mind, here's 5 of my favourite uses of 80s pop by rappers from the last 5 years. Please remember that I'm still waiting for someone - literally anyone other than La Coka Nostra, Joe Budden, Rick Ross, Termanology, Drake, The CunninLynguists, Freddie Gibbs, French Montana, Immortal Technique, or Sage Francis - to rap over Big Time by Peter Gabriel and You're The Best by Joe Esposito from the Karate Kid OST :

Z-Ro ft. Tanya Herron - Continue To Roll
(Uses True by Spandau Ballet)

How'd you make a sappy Spandau Ballet sample which had previously been used on travesties by P.M Dawn and Nelly sound as marvelous as 1:40 - 1:50 of So Ruff, So Tuff by Zapp & Roger? Why, you replace Tony Hadley's singing with some crooning by Mike Dean's wifey Tanya Herron, throw the Ashley's Roachclip drumbreak underneath it, and then have Z-Ro rap on top of it, of course! So, Z-Ro's I'm Still Livin' album was a mammoth disappointment after the triumvirate of The Life Of Joseph W. McVey, the Kings Of The South mixtape with Lil' Flip, and Let The Truth Be Told in 2004 and 2005, but this and his reboot of Scarface's Seen A Man Die were both wonderful.

Cam'Ron - Pass Tha Dutchie
(Uses Pass The Dutchie by Musical Youth)

Cam's rhymed over 80s pop staples by Sting, Cyndi Lauper, Starship, Bon Jovi, Winger, Salt-N-Pepa, Journey and the Magnum P.I theme in his time, so it didn't come as much suprise when he freaked Pass The Dutchie. What was suprising was that this 2008 mixtape throwaway which came at the lowest point of his career was a return of form and he really dropped the ball by not fashioning this into a legitimate single, if only because the members of Musical Youth could do with a few royalty cheques nowadays since that "how does it feel when you got no food?" refrain proved cruelly ironic. Cam uses that very same refrain to excellent effect here by chiding a fiscally challenged 'hoodrat as he's seducing her, and this, Glitter and Just Us just about saved an otherwise awful year for him. Uninteresting fact of the day : Musical Youth's LP was the 2nd LP I owned after the Muppet Show album which featured Robin The Frog's tour-de-force piano ballad rendition of A.A Milne's Halfway Down The Stairs.

AP.9 ft. The Jacka - Reflections
(Uses Hello by Lionel Richie)

Sad Mob Figaz songs examining their conflicting urges are usually when they're at their most potent for me because I'm a sensitive soul who used to burst into tears whenever my folks would play me the aforementioned Robin The Frog ballad as a kid (I was only about 4), so consequently this is my go-to jam on AP.9's I Am Legend album from last year since it finds AP and Jacka staring into the mirror and not recognising the men they've become. Chipmunking up a song as obviously mawkish as Hello really shouldn't work this well, but Reflections is the sort of ruminative Bay Area blues I can't get enough of nowadays. Still waiting for them to shoot a Hello parody video for this with Jack' shaping a clay head figure of Ice Cube circa the jheri-curl era, though.

Jim Jones ft. Max B - Beverly Hills Cop
(Uses Axel F by Harold Faltermeyer)

They say Jim is a buffoonish try-hard weedcarrier who stole Max B's whole delivery/persona and then had Max and Stack Bundles write all his songs for him. Ummmm, yeah, but he also salvaged Axel F after the Crazy Frog completely desecrated it so I'm forever in his gratitude since that was my shit when I was a youngster. 0.08 to 0.24 is pure comedic gold, and Max was the 1 man Lamont-Dozier-Holland of Byrd Gang.

Max B - Lonely
(Uses Licence To Kill by Gladys Knight)

This is a blog that's terribly fond of both Dipset and the 1989 James Bond movie Licence To Kill, so the true star of Byrd Gang over Gladys Knight's LTK theme song is a true best of both worlds situation, and the "rap Lou Rawls" Max B even reminds me of Licence To Kill's chief scoundrel Franz Sanchez in that he was just an old skool criminal who was genuinely hurt by the lack of loyalty in his organisation. It's only when we arrive at the 2 rapscallion's respective downfalls that their paths diverge : it took James Bond, a tanker full of gasoline, and a government spy's cigarette lighter to stop Sanchez; with Max it just took the sucker-move of hiring an idiot savant whigga-fan who wanted to be all up in them VladTV videos yappin' as his attorney. Ayo Max - you should've appointed the same lawyer Pretty Tone Capone used in the Case Dismissed video, or at least have procured the services of Tray if you were gonna insist on having a white Dipset aficionado attorney.

Gotta confess that I did originally intend to include the deliriously absurd, Owner Of A Lonely Heart by Yes-sampling I Like It by Lil' Wayne ft. Boo and Mack Maine (the 2nd of Wayne's 2 good Auto-Tune song after his tender ode to syrup Me And My Drank) in this post, but my mp3 has vanished and all the Da Drought Is Over 4 links Google throws up look like they might have the cooties.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Brief thoughts on the Jackie Chain album

Ayo 2Shin : can't deny I'm a smidgen disappointed that the Block Beattaz didn't go ham with their Ministry Of Sound compilation so your boy Jackie Chain could fulfill his destiny by rhyming over Salt Water by Chicane, the K-Klass remix of Naughty Girl by Holly Vallance, For An Angel by Paul Van Dyk, and Fuck On Cocaine by Lisa Lashes on his Who Da Mane album. Your peoples can now finally put the humiliation of Jin losing a rap battle to Esoteric, everybody hating Jonathan Ke Quan in Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom, and Burt Kwouk shamelessly coonin' in Last Of The Summer Wine firmly behind y'all because you now have a non-martial arts performing entertainer you can de facto be proud of.

I 'unno why they didn't put Diamonds And Cadillacs on the album, though, since it's the closest song Jackie has to a hit, and I'm also rueing their missed oppurtunity in not utilising Cam's "not from Houston, but you can call me lil' flip" line from the Never Scared remix for a hook, but, weirdly, there are a few subtle allusions to Cameron Giles on there : Mack A Bitch features the same sample as Losing Weight part 2, and on Cuz It Feel Good he not only rhymes over the same O'Jays sample as Real N*ggas but he employes the services of that Chinky Brown R&B diva from Harlem too. Homage or coincidence?

I digress, because Rollin' is simultaneously a paragon of the Block Beattaz sound and the "European housewife-rap" aesthetic Timbaland once spoke of creating, Bankroll has been an earworm since I downloaded it off DirtyGloveBastard last week, Livin' It Up is an equatorial antidote to the current Brass Monkey climate outside, This Is Not Enough affirms that there's still life in t.A.T.u 8 years since anyone last rubbed one out to the brunette, and Off Top is almost like a Huntsville take on Waka's Grove St. Party, which is the highest praise your humble author can think of at this moment in time :

Jackie Chain - Off Top

Needs a video in 2011.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Beans, Beans, good for the heart

But the more he drops Ecstasy, the more he gazes all doe-eyed at Peedi as he dreams of squeezing on his arse.

Beanie gettin' his Marv-O on with Peedi that time.

Beanie's Public Enemy # 1 mixtape with Green Lantern was the coldest east coast mixtape of 2005, but in the wake of its popularity the S.P 2 : The Movie 'tape he released with Clinton Sparks that year got left at the prom without a date like Brian Krakow in that episode of My So Called Life where he dumped the fat chick from Clueless he was supposed to be taking to the school's World Hapiness Dance to go with Angela but then got ditched by her when they arrived.

Besides the usual Clinton Sparks mixtape blends like Beanie's verse from Tales Of A Hustler part 2 and an exclusive T.I verse over the top of Biggie's Dead Wrong, S.P 2 had some peachy examples of Beanie rappin' over the sort of classic breaks/golden-era instrumentals which he and the other paramount members of State Property have always sounded more than adroit over, so here's the best 3 of 'em from the 'tape :

Beanie Sigel ft. Styles P - Same 45

Remember that scene in Carlito's Way where Fat Man Saso asks Carlito why he has so much contempt for Benny Blanco when they're essentially both the same person at different stages of the game? That's how I felt when Styles was dissing Beanie during the Lox vs. State Prop beef back in 2001 and 2002. The likelihood ratio of Clinton just throwing any old Styles P verse he had in his vault on Same 45 is fairly strong since neither rapper acknowledge each other's presence in the song, but these 2 over The Bridge Is Over could only conclude positively, and hey, at least it's a great Styles verse which isn't invalidated by some abominable Swizz produced monstrosity which sounds like a Disney theme park underneath it. Btw, how come nobody ever let me know that Barrel Brothers had a video?

Beanie Sigel ft. Peedi Crakk - Philly

In the era of "I only listen to Biggie, 2pac, and Jay, yo!" being the stock response from the lion's share of rappers regarding their listening habits, it was always refreshing that State Prop' not only paid homage to old classics from their own city by Schoolly D, Tuff Crew, and Cool C, but they were total gangsta-rap nerds who were equallly as comfortable referencing Scarface and Big Mike, Ice-T and Tha Dogg Pound, or B.D.P and Raekwon. And so Philly finds a couple of seasoned breakbeats and a perma-whistle (possible Bill Alfonso tribute??? After all, ECW was a Philadelphia institution) used to excellent effect as a backdrop for the always dexterous Peedi to act as the warm-up man on the first verse before Beanie comes along to take MC Ren's rereoccurring "broomstick up the butt" maxim to it's logical anatomically correct conclusion.

Beanie Sigel - The Realest freestyle

In lieu of Beanie never having rapped on the Do The James instrumental, him bragging about how his yellow rocks in his watch look like frozen piss over the same James Brown Blues And Pants sample used in Superlover Cee & Cassanova Rud's classic here is the next best thing, although it's far too short at just over a minute in length. Other golden-era tracks I wanna hear Beanie and the State Prop' crew rap over : I'm Not Playing by Ultimate Force, 5th Ward by Raheem, and Another Execution by Above The Law.

Pity the song with Cam on the 'tape was just a blend and the few other actual songs they did together were so disappointing, besides The Roc (Just Fire) where Bleek' verse loomed larger and stole the show, because at least one of their collaborations should've been the most graphically rotten ig'nant anthem of the last decade.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Another reason why I hate Freddie Gibbs

Gibbs is a rather dour character who induces mental soundwaves of the most workmanlike of Goodie Mob-biting rappers such as the fucking CunninLynguists in me, so hearing him rhyme over old NY beats earlier this year it compelled me to immediately dismiss any southern blog-friendly rap with samples made famous by 90s east coast rap songs thereafter. As I've mentioned before, this is a practice which totally quells the whole function of southern-rap and why I listen to it, ergo it took precisely 5 seconds of $tarlito/All $tar's What Was I Thinking? during my initial skim of his Renaissance Gangster mixtape project with Burn One to decide that it needed promptly sending to the recycle bin due to the song adopting same David Porter loop as GZA's Duel Of The Iron Mic and that was the end of the story until a friend who discovered the tape himself recently had it jamming. I was wrong : man, this is great and irritating Wu-Tang fanboy fagz may need to hit the red x in the top right hand corner before continuing with this post because I kinda prefer how Burn One's looped the sample with those 4 extra piano notes adding so much more to the beat as they drift off into nowhere with 'lito's mumbled non-sequiturs.

$tarlito - What Was I Thinking?

The irony of $tarlito's song title isn't lost on me, and with it comes a lesson for your author on making brash resolutions based around trite kneejerk reactions, although Gibbs still needs to accept some of the blame for being such a personality vacuum and rapping over unmodified instrumentals of Milkbone songs just because Jay-Z once freestyled over them. Taking such matters on a song-by-song basis nowadays also means I can enjoy Life Insurance from $tarlito's new $tarlito's Way 3 streetalbummixtapethingy even though it uses the same sample that Lord Finesse hooked up on Akinyele's Love My Bitch back in 2001 :

$tarlito - Life Insurance

Akinyele ft. one of his stripper weed carriers - Love My Bitch

I can't imagine Burn One has ever heard Akinyele's Anakonda album on Koch which Love My Bitch comes from because it sold roughly the same amount as that album Treacherous 3 released in the 90s, but I guess all these producer/dj/digger guys must buy their records from the same people or something? Anybody identify where the sample comes from?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Rappin' in the rain with The Jacka

"All those... moments... will be lost in time... like tears in the rain..."

The quasi-romantic gloominess of liquid precipitation falling from the sky onto the rundown streets of the Bay below due to atmospheric temperatures has been a motif for some of the most melancholy songs by the Mob Figaz since Hustlin' In The Rain in 1999, right up to Hustle In The Rain from the latest Devilz Rejectz album this year, taking in the likes of the Mob's Rain 2 from the Best Of The Mob Figaz compilation and Storm by Jacka & Cormega from Tear Gas amongst others inbetween, but here at The Martorialist we look at Jacka's unreleased pearl Heavy Rain as the chef d'oeuvre of downpour-related moments by the crew.

The Jacka - Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain made its debut on Jacka's Myspace page before someone ripped and uploaded it to Imeem (R.I.P - I'd wager a few unnoted mixtape songs were forever wiped from the 'net when News Corp procured that site via Myspsce and then immediately shut it down) before inevitably finding its way to Youtube, but it's never officially arisen anywhere else since despite Jacka being one of the few modern rappers whose intense workrate manifests itself into actual cd releases which can be bought in stores rather than, for lack of a better term, 'nettapes. I guess such an antiquated m.o to releasing music in the digital age affords a traditionalist like Jacka the right to his very own Deja Vu or Captain Caveman style unreleased lost classic, and I'd never really picked up on Jacka's Slick Rick influence until his interview with Davey on the Southern Hospitality site where he talked about The Ruler being the rapper he looked up to most as a kid, but the way his buttery voice is impervious to the slightest quiver in octave when he goes from an almost double-time flow into sing-songy harmonising is pure Ricky D. To those of y'all still unfamiliar with Jacka, perhaps the best description of him would be to imagine a rapper whose architectural plan is to combine Mac Dre and Slick Rick into one unit. I mean, it sounds a more enticing description than the standard "he's like a Bay version of Cormega, but without all the punch-ins", dunnit?

Thanks to Thomas for finally hookin' me up with an mp3 of this a couple of months back. One of you dudes from northern Cali' who read this blog should tell Jack' he needs to put a CDQ version of this out the next time you see him live.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Greatest movie scenes ever # 36

There's a hella engaging essay by David Thomson in the latest issue of Sight & Sound outlining why he believes Citizen Kane should win S&S's next once-a-decade Greatest Film of All Time critics' poll in 2012, where he also explains why he wouldn't be too morose if it didn't win, how a fully restored director's print of The Magnificent Ambersons as Welles intended it would deserve to finally topple Kane from Mount Olympus, and proposing that if Kane does take the gold medal again as it's done every decade since 1962, then maybe it should be retired as the first entry into a cinematic hall of fame in the same way that the Yankees retired the # 5 jersey in honour of Joe DiMaggio in the hope that a more recent picture like Pierrot le fou, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie, The Shining, Raging Bull, Taste of Cherry, or There Will Be Blood would enter the top 10 in its place.

All of which, I hasten to add, just about makes up for Toy Story 3 not finding its way into S&S's top 10 of 2010 critics' list (you can read it in full here). Predictably, The Social Network polled the most votes as their movie of the year ahead of Carlos, while Toy Story 3 lingered out in the wilderness at # 13 tied with Aurora, Enter The Void, The Illusionist, and Meek's Cutoff. To which I gotta sky : why are we going to let critics who can't even recognise the best American flick of the year decide whether the time is ripe for Vertigo, The Godfather 1 + 2, La Règle Du Jeu, or Tokyo Story to finally usurp Kane? Letting the general public vote on anything more salient than the fate of Cher Lloyd on the X-Factor (Chloe Mafia got the boot so this 'yatch could do karaoke versions of Turn My Swag On and Nothin' On You on live prime time saturday night tv? Harmony can only be restored to the universe if she performs a rendition of Soulja Boy and Lil B's 30 Thousand, 100 Million in the final and brings out Chloe to do B's verse) should never be an option as the utter mess that is the IMDB top 250 testifies, but can we even entrust the most prestigious worldwide critics to forge the canon for the chil'ren when there were votes for Knight And Day and Wall Street : Money Never Sleeps in amongst their ballots? Shit, dudes could've at least plumped for Piranha 3D as their token Hollywood wild card.

Anyhoo, Toy Story 3 towered over everything else for me this year with the exception of Carlos as it's a picture so moving that even Billy Danze and Paulie Walnuts couldn't help but well-up at the end, and with it we can finally put the "what the best front-to-back trilogy of all time?" debate to rest. Here's one of its myriad of great scenes :

Here's hoping that, much like Kane itself which failed to scrape a spot in S&S's very first Critics top 10 poll in 1952 (it was joint # 11 alongside La Grande Illusion and The Grapes Of Wrath) or Rio Bravo which they deemed unworthy of a review in 1959, the haughty bastards at S&S will catch the vapours and recognise Toy Story 3 as 2010's masterpiece in the not too distant future.

Biz Markie - Vapors

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Forgottten 2000s Bad Boy mixtape songs

Consider this post a secrete hub where you can recount your experiences of being dragged to see Get Him To The Greek by your Russell Brand-infatuated chicks and ending up sorta enjoying it for Puffy's turn as Sergio Roma, before I offer you 2 forgotten mixtape songs by Black Rob and Boyz 'N' Da Hood apiece in the hope that you'll school me on some Bad Boy South era 8Ball & MJG mixtape cuts in return or even hook up that damn Live At The BBQ 2007 Bad Boy posse cut I'm still after.

Black Rob - Permanent Scars

AKA the Phil Collins-sampling track Heavy D resold to Beanie Sigel for Feel It In The Air and the song which later became more widely known as Live From The Eastside on the Return Of Black Rob 'tape. Beanie's adaption was, arguably, the most remarkable emo-rap single of the last decade so that's the superior song of the 2, but Rob's heavy-hearted autobiographical tale works in its own right and the subtle differences in production mean you can enjoy Permanent Scars as a seperate entity, or, at the very least, an intriguing, seldom heard side-alley. Really wish Beans had hired trill Phil C to mean-mug in the Feel It In The Air video like Bone did with Home.

Black Rob - Knock 'Em Out

As far as Neptunes facsimiles go, this isn't quite as brzaen as Stuntastic by Yukmouth, Sav Out by Turf Talk, Sour Diesel by Byrd Gang, or Scared Of Monstas by Curren$y, but it'll definately feature in the ‘Songs Which Sound Like They Were By The Neptunes, But Weren't’ playlist I've been meaning to assemble whenever I get around to it. The highlight of Clinton Sparks's Maybe You Been Brainwashed tape, this is the type of club banger song Noo Yawk rappers plain forgot how to make for a good duration of the last decade after the Tunnel closed its doors. I hope B.R's Duck Down tenure produces music which is more Monkey Barz than Jesus Price Superstar 'cause the absolute last thing that label needs is another 90s rapper over quotidian 9th Wonder beats.

Boyz 'N' Da Hood & Lil' Wayne - Ride With Them Thangs

Boyz 'N' Da Hood & Lil' Wayne ft. T.I - Gangsta Boyz

Inbetween the Jeezy incarnation of Boyz 'N' Da Hood and the Gorilla Zoe manifestation of the group, there was a brief BNTH 1.5 after Puffy catapulted a bag of money at Wayne to get him into the studio with the intention that he'd replace Jeezy on their sophomore album. Label politics put pay to that Diddy pipe dream, but the fruits of their studio session appeared on DJ Drama & Bad Boy South's head honcho Block's Welcome To My Block Gangsta Grillz 'tape in 2006. BNTH's charm was derived from them being a no-frills ATL gangsta-rap group in an era when such a thing was hard to come by, and, man, both these cuts are even 'arder than the imperial Trap N*ggaz from Jeezy's interim with the lads.

Did anybody else think Jody Breeze was a chubby teenage lesbian rapper when you first saw him in the intro to the Dem Boyz video?

Rappers who look like lesbians; hhhmmm, there might be a post in that.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Ayo The Guardian

What, you thought just 'cause C-Murder is locked up that the UK chapter of the No Limit soldiers would let you get away with this gaffe the other day?

You can try and play this off as a standard Grauniad typo if you like, but da streetz know this is yet another example of a faux-pas by Petridis (a man who Dom P once recalled had the clammiest hand he'd ever shaken) admidst one of his rapper jokes which even Jonathan Ross would've fact-checked more thoroughly. One expects such bloopers from dumb NME hacks blogging about "Gucci Man" but you're a music editor on a national newspaper, son, so step your game up.

Still, it does mean that we've finally been befallen with a convient excuse to pay tribute to Master P's The Ghetto's Tryin' To Kill Me cover and its classic title track which features none other than Silkk himself before he affixed 'The Shocker' to his moniker. Percy may have had album covers which were more elaborate or more amusing, but sometimes a perfectly executed simple photograph trumps any kind of extravegant Pen N' Pixel alchemy :

Master P ft. Silkk - The Ghetto's Tryin' To Kill Me

Although P' blatantly pillaged song concepts, rap personas, and rhyme styles from the likes of Eazy/MC Ren, Geto Boys/Scarface, 2pac, Dru Down, and The Luniz during the early Richmond era of his career he always imbued the results of his pilfering with enough of his own eccentricities to make them distinct, thus The Ghetto's Tryin' To Kill Me was his weird emo G-Funk remodelling of My Mind's Playing Tricks On Me.

Bonus Youtube footage :

For those who've only ever seen the scene where Louis meets Shaun Brauch at the Pen N' Pixel studio, here he is visiting Master P at the No Limit mansion too.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The top 30-something rap singles of 2010

This is liable to change given that we still have 29 days of the december to go, but tonight feels like an appropriate oppurtunity to get the obligatory "these are my favourite rap singles of the year, fellas!!" self-indulgent list post outta the way since other blogs have already started dropping theirs. I originally intended on ranking these into some sort of hierarchy but there were so many great singles this year that it's impossible to collate them into order of preferance yet, and Im not sure I'll ever bother since it just seems a futile exercise to assess whether you like Hard In Da Point more than Canal Street and Top To The Bottom, or Earl more than Teach Me How To Dougie and Ric Flair when they're all equally brilliant but just happen to serve different purposes.

The criteria : in an age when the actual physical format of the single is obsolete I'm defining the term ‘single’ as songs which were afforded promo videos, and there's a one-single-per-artist rule, which I haven't flaunted by including something by Curren$y AND something by Curren$y & Fiend since the latter's entry on the list comes from the forthcoming mixtape they're doing as a duo, so it counts as a seperate entity to my Curren$y solo single choice.

No Ready, Set, Go by Killer Mike & T.I because it only came out the other day, nothing by French Montana because I'm not listening to thug-talk by a dude who looks like a cartoon lesbian version of Psycho Les, no B.M.F because Rawse reminds me more of Ahmed Johnson than Albert Johnson, zilch by Freddie Gibbs because he has the personality of Ahmed Johnson's two-by-four, no Power because it just inspires me to listen to King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man instead, nada by blog darlings like Big K.R.I.T, and Roach Gigz because I've yet to really investigate them beyond cursory listenings, no Pretty Boy Swag 'cause I prefer the remix with Gucci Mane which isn't a proper single, and no My Middle Name Is Crime because there simply isn't enough room.

Please believe there's ample space for Code Name by White, though, since it spoke directly to my saltine-soul like no other song this year, and although I'm not a fan of Vado as anything other than a preferable post-Dipset weed carrier alternative to that Penz kid who stunk up Glitter, I really like the Polo remix. What can I say? I'm shallow and easily swayed so I appreciate the fact he's gone from being the dude who looks like Shyne to resembling a young Grand Puba in the remix's video for maximum Polo points, and Dro's presence on the song obviously doesn't hurt, either.

So, without further ado...

Lil B - Good Morning
Raekwon - Canal Street
Lil' Boosie - Top To The Bottom
E-40 - Undastandz Me
Cousin Fik ft. E-40 - Bay Area 51
Cam'Ron & Vado - Ric Flair
Vado ft. Young Dro - Polo remix
Max B - Where Do I Go?
A-Mafia - 1000 Grams
Yelawolf - Pop The Trunk
CNN ft. Imam Thug & MussoliNY - Planet Thug
Gucci Mane - Normal
Waka Flocka Flame - Hard In Da Paint
AZ - Feel My Pain
Earl Sweatshirt - EARL
Big Boi ft. Cutty - Shutterbugg
NhT Boyz - Slidin'
N.O.R.E - Nutcracker
B.o.B ft. T.I & Playboy Tre - Bet I Bust
Elzhi - Deep
Danny Brown - Re-Up
Eddi Projex & Beeda Weeda - Gettin' G's
White - Code Name
Lil' Blood ft. J-Stalin - Sell My Coke
Sean Price - Figure Four
Curren$y - Life Under The Scope
Curren$y & Fiend - Flying Iron
Max Minelli - Louisiana Sky
Red Cafe ft. Pete Rock - Heart And Soul
Fabolous - I'm Raw
Treal Lee & Prince Rick - Throwed Off (Fuck Everybody)
$tarlito - What Was I Thinking?
L.E.P Bogus Boyz - Goin' In For The Kill
Zed Zilla - I'm Da Boss
Yo Gotti - Look In The Mirror
Young Jeezy ft. Yo Gotti - All White Everything remix
Cali Swag District - Teach Me How To Dougie

Ah, but it ain't over, mawfucker : because a list of singles doesn't even begin to do justice to the story of rap in 2010 given how fractured and chaotic the game is nowadays, here's another 30-something of my favourite rap songs from this year which weren't singles :

J-Stalin ft. The Jacka - Red And Blue Lights
Roc Marciano - Ridin' Around
$tarlito - Alright
KanYe West ft. Kid Cudi & Raekwon - Gorgeous
Killa Kyleon ft. Z-Ro - Swang Real Wide
Big Boi - Daddy Fat Sax
NhT Boyz ft. The Jacka - Big Money
Big Noyd - Queens Chronicle intro
E-40 ft. Marty James - Rick Rock Horns
Cousin Fik - No Gravity
Lil' Boosie ft. Webbie & Big Head - Bank Roll 2
Webbie ft. Lil' Phat & Birdman - Do It Bigger
Max B - Lonely
Cam'Ron ft. Vado - Fuck A Freestyle
DB Tha General - Murda
Tyler The Creator - Bastard
Waka Flocka Flame ft. Kebo Gotti - Grove St. Party
AZ - The Calm
DJ Kayslay ft. AZ, Raekwon & Ghostface - See The Light
Yelawolf - F.U
Gunplay - Mike Tyson
Beeda Weeda - Baserock Babies
Freeway ft. Peedi Crakk - Snappa Pow
Z-Ro - Blast Myself
Suga Free - Nobody
Young L - Martian Clap
The Pack - Hella Bass remix III
Mic Terror - Going
Thug Lordz ft. Tha Realest - Mean Muggin'
Curren$y - Airborne Aquarium
Curren$y & Fiend - Executive Brass
Soulja Boy ft. Gucci Mane - Pretty Boy Swag remix
Young Dro - Freeze Me
Danny Brown - Guitar Solo
Ski Beatz ft. Camp Lo - Back Uptown
Yo' Gotti ft. Gucci Mane & Zed Zilla - Bang Bang
Black Rob - Up North
Keak Da Sneak - Maxi Pads
Styles P ft. Sheek Louch - Double Trouble
Husalah - You Neva Knew
The Jacka & Ampachino ft. T-Nutty & Husalah - Hustle In The Rain

All in all, a very enjoyable year in rap, and since it really is a Daily Operation (R.I.P Guru - why couldn't one of your Baldhead Slick & Da Click weed carriers like Mendoughza or Don Parmazhane have died instead??) to stay on top of everything coming out you can't help but find yourself totally immersed in the music.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Dear Nas fans

Can you please stop forcing me to wade through your cavalcade of "YO, DOOK NEEDS TO WORK WITH NAS AGAIN!!!" comments on AZ's Youtube videos when I'm perusing his Doe Or Die 2010 remix project songs on there to see if any fruitflies happen to agree with my stance that it's a pointless endeavour to fritter away perfectly good production on a song like the remix of Gimme Yours below when you'll only ever listen to it a handful of times before returning to the original you've been bumping for 15 years and forgetting the new remix even exist by next week, yeah?

AZ ft Josh Xantus - Gimme Yours 2010 remix

While I wouldn't go quite as far as suggesting Nas's career without AZ is tantamount to Arsene Wenger's tenure at Arsenal minus the guiding hand of David Dein, I'd ask you to consider the amount of good songs AZ has made since he and Nas went their seperate ways after Serious (a bunch) and then consider how many Nas has made (literally about 3). If you still remain unconvinced that it's Nas who should be hollaring at AZ for assistance and not vice versa, then marinate on the incontrovertible evidence that the only 3 Nas solo albums which are honestly worth owning (not counting a compilation like Lost Tapes) are the 3 which AZ appears on, because the rest of them shits (including God's Son, which is utterly inessential bar the 3 main singles) are straight up weaker than a post-2006 Arsenal player's legs, concentration, and positioning.

Besides, it's not like AZ hasn't found a consummate new rap counterpart in Styles P if both parts of The Hardest were anything to go by, and he's probably better off shining on songs with his other former Firm affiliates like Cormega and Foxy Brown than he is playing second-fiddle in billing to Nas again, especially if the tin-eared oaf from Q.B picks the beats.

AZ ft. Styles P - The Hardest video mix

This is what regal old-man NY rap which is still pretty damn trife should sound like, and if we can't get any future collaborations between these 2 gentlemen then someone needs to make a semi-follow up to AZ's Memphis Sessions where they blend a grip of great AZ and Styles P acapella verses which were used on songs with terrible production over Large Pro's The Hardest instrumental 11 times and then put the results in a rar file or even on a cd.

AZ & Cormega - No Holding Back

Taken from Statik Selektah's first compilation and easily the best song on there because it featured two rappers with previous form together rather than a ridiculously unlikely pairing like Styles P & Kweli or the immediately nullifying presence of a Termanology verse. I'm quite partial to Statik Selektah beats if they find decent recipients (AZ's Animal, that All 2gether Now State Property track, and the Foxy & AZ jam coming next are all quite brilliant) but did his latest song for AZ really have to be so fleeting in length? Guess it's karma biting me on the arse for complaining about KanYe's G.O.O.D Friday posse cuts being so long-winded.

Foxy Brown ft. AZ - Too Real

Gotta confess that female rappers rank a notch below cracka-rappers in my affections because I look at rap as a musical agnate of professional wrestling, where it's just an elaborately staged excuse for us men to purge ourselves of all our egotistical macho fantasy bullshit in the least messy but most entertaining way possible. Thus, I generally find femme fatale rappers like Foxy talkin' tough and bragging about their dastardly shenanigans as cringeworthy as Luna Vachon gurning and "lemme tell ya sumthin', Mean Gene"-ing her way through an old shoot in the WWF. However, there are those songs like this one which even a sexist pig such as myself can't deny and when AZ comes in on the second verse with a role reversal of Fan Mail then I'm sold.

Friday, 26 November 2010

De Nile : where's the luv for Egyptian Lover?

"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend : those who thought Egyptian Lover's Livin' On The Nile was perfectly adequate as a 1 minute interlude on the One Track Mind LP, and those who couldn't rest easy until it'd been expanded to nearly 10 minutes in length on the remix from the Freak-A-Holic 12". Which are you, Tuco?"

Egyptian Lover - Livin' On The Nile extended remix

When Egyptian Lover was unfettered by time constraints he used the extra space afforded to him on his 12" singles to really unleash his inner-Prince and show his ass off (pause) with extended versions of his album tracks which explored nooks, crannies, and tangents the originals only hinted at. While his persona and image are what makes Egyptian Lover such a great character, the whole "fat bloke with a perm doing electronic songs about Egypt through a vocoder" schtick also works against him with regards to any sort of reappraisal because you'll seldom see him afforded the same sort of critical acclaim as, say, Juan "Cybotron/Model 500" Atkins even though they both shared a similar aesthetic to electronic composition throughout the early 80s until around 1986. Ah well, at least DJ Quik recognises his genius and wears his Egyptian Lover influence proudly :

DJ Quik & Kurupt - Jupiter's Critic & The Mind Of Mars

2 members of The Martorialst mob happened to visit an Egyptian exhibition dedicated to Tutankhamun's tomb and treasures a couple of weeks ago, and as we stood there gazing deep into the replica of his golden death mask listening to the tour guide recount tales of Tutankhamun's higher echelon flossin', I couldn't help but feel that Soulja Boy is the closest we have to someone who embodies his ostentatious spirit today. Btw, purely speculation on my behalf here, but I truly believe the reason Lil B came up with the cooking dance was to save face after Soulja Boy out-boogied him so spectacularly in the Pretty Boy Swag video :

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Diggin' on the 'tube

KLC ft. Fiend & Calicoe - Play It Loud

At least when Boosie dropped 'net exclusive video songs like We Out Chea he had the courtesy to have 'em uploaded in near-perfect quality so they could be ripped no problem, because singles like Young Bleed's Put Your Stamp On It, Down Home by Big Mike & 6-2 ft. Young Bleed, Witchdoctor's Rich And Poor, and Play It Loud here are all songs which only seem to exist on Youtube in such deficient audio quality that it's barely worth converting 'em to Mp3. If this weren't frustrating enough as it is, east coast rap-dudes who were perhaps sensing they were being outdone in terms of viral unobtainability by them pesky southerners just had to go and up the stakes by taking this thorougly modern anomaly to preposterous extremes with grainy video snippets of unreleased 90s songs being cut-up on Serato or unmixed studio performance footage of songs hitherto to surface 3 or 4 years later :

Real Live ft. Pretty Tone Capone - Unknown title

01:37 in. Heavens to Murgatroyd, gentlemen! One assumes this is either a The Turnaround-era track which got cut due to sample clearance or something from their shelved sophomore album, but a cascade of Pretty Tone Capone's idiosyncratic jiggnorance over some deeply macked-out K-Def Blaxploitation production is a personal fantasy come to fruition. Can the Diggers With Gratitude guys stop pestering Tragedy in prison for his unmixed studio scraps and ask K-Def to hand over the DAT of this song instead, plz, because I'd zestfully pay a pretty penny for such a lost city of Atlantis moment on 12". Better still, can't K-Def just stop being so darned precious and release the entire 2nd Real Live album himself already?

Byrd Gang - Unknown title

01:40 in. There's at least 20-odd Max B mixtapes out there and a few fairly extensive Stack Bundles compilations but the studio version of this has yet to appear on any of the ones I've heard - how is this even possible in 2010 when French Montana and DJ Big Mike are probably on the cusp of releasing a mixtape comprised entirely of a computer voice simulator reading out texts Max B has sent from the illegal cellphone he keeps stashed up his backside in prison over Dame Grease beats? Taken from some 'hood dvd which nobody outside of Harlem can even prove ever existed, I'm imagining this must be one of those Byrd Gang demos which Capo has in his stash that he's using to plunder all his punchlines and hooks from now Stacks is dead and Max is in prison. Put this shit out, Jones, or I'm gonna draw attention to that Victoria Beckham remix you appeared on when Dame was briefly mentoring her pop career purely so I can make a terrible ‘Rap Goin' Beckham’ pun (geddit?) with the title of the post.

If anybody ever does find/have a good quality Mp3 of Put Your Stamp On It or any of the other songs mentioned here, then please don't hesiate to drop by with the goodies.

Young Bleed - Put Your Stamp On It

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sax, violence, and Jermaine Jackson

Cormega - The Other Side

Curren$y - Famous

Famous is proving to be the most rewindable jam on Pilot Talk 2 for me at the moment because it's blessed with the most bewitching saxophone tooting I've heard since Cormega's The Other Side, and when Curren$y suddenly breaks into that precipitated flow from 01:07 to 01:13 where he makes his voice jitterbug on the beat with the same aplomb his boss of yore Master P had when he once promised to "make that MAC-10 tap dance on datazz" then I'll forgive him for the song with Fiend on the new album not being anywhere near as good as their previous recent collaboration, and for falsely advertising the album would include a joint with Camp Lo when it features nothing of the sort.

Speakin' of recent exotic production, No Tears from the new Jacka & Ampichino album is a godsend because I've been waiting for someone to use Jermaine Jackson's ethereal 1978 ballad Castles Of Sand properly ever since Just Blaze made a complete muck of it when he Chipmunked it up for Some How, Some Way in 2002 and managed to decorticate the sample of everything luxuriant about the original source; namely that Castles Of Sand sounds like the music which'd be playing if you were standing under a waterfall in a white linen suit gettin' blown by 2 mermaids, whilst Some How, Some Way is just the Jay/'Face/Beans track that everybody thought was the runt of the litter when compared to This Can't Be Life and Guess Who's Back?

Jermaine Jackson - Castles Of Sand

Ayo, Jermaine - if your Frontiers LP works best as a companion piece to Off The Wall then Castles Of Sand would be its equivalent of I Can't Help It, and you deserved to win Celebrity Big Brother for having to sit around for weeks on end looking at the chainsmoking blond one from S Club 7 who isn't Hannah Spearritt, bro.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Greatest movie scenes ever # 35

When Corey Haim overdosed earlier this year it took less than 15 minutes for the internet to be awash with people using gifs from The Lost Boys as their forum signatures or posting Ebert's review of Lucas in tribute and swearing that they'd always thought License To Drive and Blown Away were better than The Godfather 1 & 2, but even the ghouls who suddenly declared Prayer Of The Rollerboys a cultural touchstone more important than Spike's Malcolm X biopic couldn't find a place in their fickle hearts for 1988's Watchers :

Yet the love for Watchers is lingering out there somewhere because it inspired no less than 3 sequels and people regularly pay 25 - 50 bones for the now out-of-print dvd release of it which is teamed with Watchers 2. Loosely adapted from the Dean Koontz novel of the same name and generally reviled by fans of the book, Watchers is a story about a scientifically-enhanced Golden Retriever called GH3 (he can play Scrabble!) and a genetically mutated super-soldier creature by the name of OXCOM (an acronym of Outside eXperimental COmbat Mammal) who both escape the lab they were created in during an explosion and who both share a telepathic link, which is kinda unfortunate for GH3 since OXCOM's primary function in life is to kill him (make your own Chinese chipshop joke here if you must but the exact reason he wants to kill the poor doggie isn't revealed until the 2nd half of the movie) and anyone who comes into contact with him including a pre-90210 Jason Priestly.

Realising that the actor Corey Haim actually had the most chemistry with in The Lost Boys wasn't Corey Feldman but his dog Nanook, Haim is the perfect choice for the lead role of Travis who takes GH3 in thinking he's a stray hound, and Michael Ironside always makes for a particularly ruthless villain, as Scanners, Visiting Hours, and Total Recall testified; Ironside is an actor who can curdle milk with even the most cursory of glances, so while his special power here isn't as impressive as Revok's telekenetic braindraining ability in Scanners, he more than makes up for it with one of the greatest "it's me, Austin.. it was me all along, Austin!" moments of the eighties :