Reviews That Lose / A Bootlegger’s Dream / AZ and BR
Thursday January 19th 2006,
Filed under: Magazine Vaults,Not Your Average
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Who’d of thunk it? Two posts in two days? Due to some family dramas, I’ve been out of action for a minute, but things should be back on track from now on. Now all I’ve gotta do is catch up on two weeks of emails…..

Here’s a new category that I’m adding to the Tribute – the Magazine Vault. I’ve been a rap magazine junkie since the days of NME, Hip Hop Connection and even Rap Masters. When I bought my first copy of The Source (The “1980-1990: Decade of Hip Hop” issue), it was a wrap. Plus I can’t forget about Blaze from Mental Combat, who was cranking out Vapours magazine on the first Mac computer and reviewing every hip-hop release during the late 80’s. Over the years, On The Go, Stress, Ego Trip, Represent, RapPages and many more all did their thing, and I copped just about all of them in an attempt to quench my never-ending thirst for rap trivia and actual facts.

Most of these publications have survived my escapades over the years, although most of them are missing their covers, posters and everything in-between, not to mention that many are creased and torn to shit, so their not about to fetch me any coin, so I may as well share them up in this piece.

To set things off, I’ve found an example of Reviews That Lose. Taken from Vibe magazine, circa 1994, we find Cheo H. Coker (the guy who followed Luke around Japan and got snuffed by Masta Killa) shitting on an advance copy of KMD‘s Black Bastards, the album that almost never was. I guess his crystal ball was cracked, judging by his closing remark. Talking about missing the point.

Following on from my 2005 Awards, I finally managed to “preview” the latest albums from Black Rob and AZ, thanks to dope blog called The Smoking Section. These guys have all kinds of old and new albums on there, and recently pointed me in the direction of digital copies of well-worn vinyl favourites like Criminal Minded, Back To The Old School and Road To The Riches. For more special request action, be sure to register with the forums at Phila Flava and Cocaine Blunts, where Jaz and co are serving-up a nice selection of oldies.

But back to Rob and AZ…..A.W.O.L. has some good shit, despite the fact that Sosa starts rocking lines from Rakim‘s “Know The Ledge” right after his superior cover of Milk D‘s anthem. I actually grabbed some home-made remix version of the album by mistake, and I was relieved when I figured out that it wasn’t the real album since most of the remixes were trash (although the “Still Alive” remake was a big improvement over the annoying beat of the original). One Stop Beats did a nice feature on some of the producers on the album.

As for B.R., a lot of the leaked/mixtape tracks were better than the final retail version. Some of the beats sounded like stuff which didn’t make Life Story, with that polished Bad Boy sound which was big around 2000. Still, there are some great songs like “Warrior”, and despite the fact that Babs and Chopper from Da Band feature, Rob is a rapper and a pretty darn good one (thanks Finesse!). Plus, anyone who destroys their liver from too much booze and E is OK in my book. He also screams on a kid interviewing him over at SOHH Teh Ghey, after he makes the mistake of implying that Rob doesn’t rep Harlem enough. Bad move.

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8 Comments so far
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Regarding this AZ home-made remix album, was the version of “still alive” on there the version over the “broken language” beat ? That was nuts. You can get that on wax on one of them Word Of Mouth 12″s. Agreed on the album version sucking doe.

It also sucked that the beat on “b.l.a.c.k” got switched on the Black Rob cd. The original was pure Grand Puba. “Help me out” is my shit off there. Love that rolling piano sample.

Comment by Brian Beck From Wisconsin 01.19.06 @

I kind of agree with that Black Bastards review. It’s a decent album, but not as good as Mr. Hood and has a lot of bog-standard ‘mid ’90s underground type tracks that just sound dull today. Whereas Mr. Hood is still kind of fresh. Admittedly, it’s beeen awhile since I haven’t been able to track down a CD of Mr. Hood.

Comment by finally 01.19.06 @

No way. Bastards was KMD’s Low End Theory.

“Black Bastards & Bitches”, “What A Niggy Know” remix and “Contact Blitt” > anything on Mr. Hood. Although the skits with Mr. Hood are some of the best ever (“You’re mother likes to visit old churches…”).

As far as the AZ remix, the “Broken Language” blend is a lot better than this other one. I need to check that other mix of “B.L.A.C.K.” though, if anyone has it.

Comment by Robbie 01.19.06 @

I’ll have to go back and listen to both because it’s been a *LONG* time.

But I actually like Peoples Instinctive Travels better than Low End Theory. :)

Comment by finally 01.19.06 @

“Footprints” is a great song, but Phife is horrible on that first Quest.

AZ feat. Notortious B.I.G.Still Alive 2006 (thanks to Joey from Straight Bangin’).

Comment by Robbie 01.19.06 @

I’ll hook up the original “b.l.a.c.k” on monday.

Chalk me up as a “black bastards” > “mr hood” type too. The tracks Robbie mentioned, original “what a niggy know”, “get u now”, “gimme”, “sweet premium wine”, “it sounded like a roc”..all great. I probably prefer both “black bastards” and “operation doomsday” to “mr hood” and i LOVE “mr hood”.

Comment by Brian Beck From Wisconsin 01.20.06 @

I was just listening to Black Bastards in the car the other day and it was alright. The Melvin VanPeebles samples and abrupt transitions sound similar to Madlib’s latest album, and I was curious if anyone else had noticed the possible influence.

Comment by mordecai 01.20.06 @

I like Mr Hood better as a whole album. Although I never really thought of Black Bastards as trying to be hard. Nobody mentioned “Smokin That Shit” with Kurious and Lord Sear. That cut is classic, “just like george bush is the type to drop bombs, jorge kurious will smoke skunk wit ya moms”

Comment by DJFORCE 01.23.06 @

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