No Country For Old (Rap) Men: Too Smooth, Too Soon


Big Daddy Kane is one of the best to ever do it, and can still tear a stage up to this day. So why did his solo recording career end in the ninwties?

No Country For (Old) Rap Men: Too Smooth, Too Soon

Biters In the City [of Shaolin]
Monday September 14th 2015,
Filed under: Biters In The City,Features,Soundclash,Steady Bootleggin',The 90's Files
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Cole James Cash was cleaning up his mom’s basement last week and found this old record which features not one but two rhymes which are ripped off word-for-word from other rappers. Apparently Lo Down had some connection with the Wu-Tang, with Islord from Killarmy contributing the final verse which is actually the Raekown’s rap from ‘Meth Vs. Chef.’ This either means that:

1. They both shared a ghostwriter who sold them the same rhyme without telling the other one;

2. Islord from Killarmy used to write Rae’s raps; or

3. The dude was so weeded out when he heard the Tical album that The Chef’s verse blended into his subconscious so deeply that he somehow convinced himself that he made it up himself.

Introducing The 90’s Rapper Where Are They Now Detective Agency
Wednesday July 29th 2015,
Filed under: Crates,Features,Not Your Average,The 90's Files,Where Are They Now?
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Do you ever sit around and wonder ‘What the hell happened to that marginally talented rap crew who released an album in the early nineties?’ If so, I’m here to help. It turns out that some of your old favorites didn’t all go back to working ‘civilian’ jobs after the roller coaster ride that is a recording contract. Some of them kept keeping on for another shot at fame, and a few are still releasing music this decade, believe it or not. I’ve previously posted modern efforts from The Legion and Freestyle Professors, but after donning my grey trenchcoat and developing a Columbo style wonky eye I was able to dig up the following:

Whistle – From Rap Group To New Jack Swingers
Wednesday July 22nd 2015,
Filed under: Features,The 80's Files,The 90's Files,Video Clips
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Forgive me if this is common knowledge, but I only just realized that the group Whistle, best known for their 1985 hit ‘(Nothing Serious) Just Buggin,’ released four albums on the Select label. Jazzy Jazz, Kool Doobie and DJ Silver Spinner were the original line-up, with Kraze and Terk joining in ’90 after Jazzy Jazz Doobie broke north. At this point they abandoned rapping altogether and got on some Boyz II Men type shit for their third album Always and Forever. By the time 1992 rolled around, the crew was riding the Bel Biv Devoe wave and broke out the mustard hooded t-shirts to join the New Jack Swing movement bfore they rode off into the sunset.

While Whistle were doing R&B style love songs as far back as their first Howie Tee and Kangol produced debut album, it’s always amusing to watch groups adapt to the times. Although I guess it’s no worse than how Heavy D & The Boyz or Prince Markie Dee flipped their sound. Whistle should also be remembered as having recorded one of the worst Christmas rap songs ever.

Stream: Sleestack’z 2LP snippets


Debonair P sez:

As a major fan of Behind the Iron Curtain, the previously CD/tape-only 1996 album by the 4 man NY/Atlanta crew Sleestack’z, GRR is excited to be releasing the long overdue 2LP vinyl version of this cult classic. Featuring all 18 tracks from the original album PLUS 3 bonus joints recorded around the same time, this is a must-have for any fans of 90s hip hop. The vinyl is limited to 300 copies (100 on clear vinyl, 200 on black vinyl) and comes in a white jacket with oversize sticker, as well as printed liner notes on the history of the group and making of the album.

I’ve never heard of these guys before but you can order this here if you like the sound of it.

‘Ruination’ video:

That Shit I Don’t Like: Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1


My old drinking buddy Phillip Mlynar penned Lyricist Lounge: An Oral History this week, which reminded me of just how disappointing the actual album dedicated to that place was. As a record buyer during that period, I fondly recall that period in the mid to late 90’s when MF Doom, Juggaknots, Jigmastas and Scaramanga were releasing some cutting-edge music. But I also remember that, as it’s always been, 85% of the singles released during the ‘indy rap renaissance’ were either generic, corny Backpack Rap or weirdo Company Flow type nonsense. When the Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1 album in 1998, there was a fair amount of hype behind it and in what would turn out to be one of my more regrettable purchasing decisions I decided to shell-out for the 4 LP edition only having heard the breezily enjoyable ‘Body Rock’ single with Mos Def, Tash and Q-Tip.

Download: Mobb Deep – Soundtrack and Compilation Cuts


Twelve non-LP Mobb Deep tracks that were officially released on someone else’s album, as opposed to the seemingly endless supply of stuff that never got a proper retail release.

UPDATE: By popular demand, now available as a Zippyshare Records and Tapes download…


Mr Voodoo – New York Straight Talk: The Elusive Demos EP Snippets
Monday June 01st 2015,
Filed under: Demo Week,Steady Bootleggin',Tape Vaults,The 90's Files
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This sounds great but I can’t help but wonder why Chopped Herring and other labels don’t offer stuff like this on CD as well. It’s not like a bunch of demos off an old cassette are going to playable in a club, is it?

Track listing:

Download: A Salute To Jigmastas


DJ Spinna and Kriminal provided the 1996 indy stand-out single, ‘Beyond Real’/’Dead Man Walking,’ which proved to be the one of the highlights of an extensive discography over the next six years. Spinna was in high demand during this period for his signature lush production style which combined restrained sampling and original riffs for an atmospheric canvas of sounds, while Krim provided the most compelling verbal contributions from a wide range of vocalists who utilized the Beyond Real catalog. Ignoring the hackneyed ‘conscious’/’underground’ cliches that came to sully much of the ‘independent as fuck’ mantra of the day, Kriminal maintained a refreshingly honest style of Brooklyn brag rap that wasn’t afraid to boast of of ‘putting a dick in your girl’ during a time of tiresome politically correct posturing and underground flag-waving.

Psycho Les [The Beatnuts] – The Unkut Interview

Psycho Les

Following on from last year’s interview with former Beatnut Al’ Tariq, I finally got a chance to speak with Psycho Les about the ups and downs of one of rap’s greatest groups. Turns out that Les’ history foes back even further than I thought, as he revealed he worked at Music Factory during high school and produced his first record in 1988…

Robbie: Do you feel like Al’ Tariq’s comments about his time with the Beatnuts were accurate?

Psycho Les: It was pretty much right. Me and Al’ Tariq never had a problem. The problem was between Juju and him, they didn’t really get along. When people don’t get along shit ain’t gonna happen.

He mentioned some subliminal stuff between him and Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul?

There was subliminal shit going on but it was more on Juju and Fashion’s part. That had nothing to do with me, I always stay away from any negative shit. I ain’t out to diss nobody.

What made you want to get involved in hip-hop?

Just being a kid from the streets. When I was coming up in mid ’80s the streets was the only place you could find hip-hop. You would go to the parks and we would have the cardboards, people breakdancing and the guy with his boom box playing tapes of Cold Crush and Spoonie Gee and Kool Moe Dee and all that shit. I was into everything of the culture, man – from breaking to graffiti, I did it all. I just fell in love with the music, just watching the DJ and all the power he had. I started messing with all the DJ’s that lived in my building. I would go to their apartments and watch them DJ. From there I developed the whole dream to have turntables and mixers and collecting records.

Gettin’ Kinda Hectic: Snap! and Chill Rob G’s Epic ‘Power’ Struggle

wild pitch sticker

Newest latest for the good people at Cuepoint is an in-depth look at the story behind Snap! and ‘The Power,’ covering Chill Rob G‘s response, how Penny Ford was recruited to add new vocals and an unfortunate incident involving Turbo B and some drag queens in Boston.

Gettin’ Kinda Hectic: Snap! and Chill Rob G’s Epic ‘Power’ Struggle

Download: A Salute To The Rhyme Syndicate

rhyme syndicate

Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate was one of the more unusual extended rap crews, with a core membership that included everyone from old school veteran Donald D, ‘Caucasian Sensation’ Everlast, rapper/crooner dude Bronx Style Bob and acid casualty Divine Styler. According to the Syndicate Facebook page, which looks like it’s run by Donald D, the official role call is as follows:

Ice-T, Donald-D, Everlast, Afrika Islam, Darlene the Syndicate Queen, Bronx Style Bob, Divine Styler & the Scheme Team, Bilal Bashir, Low Profile (W.C. & Aladdin), Spinmasters (Hen-Gee & Evil-E), Hijack, Randy Mac, DJ Chilly Dee, MC Taste, Shaquel Shabazz, Nat the Cat, Domination, T.D.F., Mixmaster Quick, F.B.I. Crew, Lord Finesse, Nile Kings, Rhamel, Tre Kan, Bang-O, Toddy Tee, Monie Love, MC Trouble and Body Count.

Here’s a collection of my favorite Syndicate songs from that era, a reminder of when LA rappers were still trying to impress New York by rapping properly and when important issues such as how great it would be to have a sweet new Rolex watch were addressed with the seriousness they deserved. Sadly, despite having some great production from Aladdin and SLJ, Ice’s rapping had begun to fall into steep decline by the time he made Home Invasion, where he introduced some teenage chick rapper named Grip. I blame Body Count, obviously.

Download: A Salute To The Rhyme Syndicate

Track listing:

Download – The CJ Moore Collection


As a member of The Chosen Few, Trio Connection and Black By Demand, CJ Moore did his thing as a rapper in the 80’s while honing his skills as an engineer and mixer. Here are some examples of CJ in action on the mic and behind the boards.

Download – The CJ Moore Collection [Zippyshare Records and Tapes, 2015]

Track listing:

Magazine Vaults: 1991 Rap Rumor Round-Up
Tuesday February 24th 2015,
Filed under: Crates,Jokes On You,Magazine Vaults,The 90's Files
Written by:

Click image for larger version.

Prior to his reign as The Rap Bandit, Danny Ozark went by the pen name Pistol Pete. For this column in the January 1991 issue of The Source, Pete invents ten rap rumors as an excuse to drop some hip-hop punchlines. Just think, before Twitter rappers had to listen to dumb myths about themselves for months and months! Progress.

Remember that time that Brand Nubian brought Mount Rushmore to the projects?
Tuesday February 24th 2015,
Filed under: Features,Party and Bullshit,The 90's Files
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File under ‘Attempted Club Bangers That May Never Have Actually Been Played In A Club’, much like Rockwilder‘s remix of ‘Thick’ for D.I.T.C. It appears that Puba wasn’t trying to hear that rapping-on-top-of-a-building shit and filmed his part in a bar, although it’s more likely that he just slept-in on the day of the shoot. One can only imagine that Loon was contractually obliged to provide the hook due to the Arista connection, since I’m pretty sure he literally phoned in his contribution from a payphone.

Rap Mysteries: The Lost Track From the Liquid Swords Advance Cassette
Monday February 23rd 2015,
Filed under: Rap Mysteries,The 90's Files,Wu-Tang Is For The Children
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gza promo tape

Just saw this advertised on Facebook. Does anybody know what the final track titled ‘Unexplained’ is? I’ve read elsewhere that this was the alternative name for ‘Swordsman,’ but since that’s listed as well it must be a totally different song…

KRS-One – Late Night [Unreleased 1993 Practice Session]
Wednesday January 28th 2015,
Filed under: Bronx Bombers,Freestyles,Steady Bootleggin',Tape Vaults,The 90's Files
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DJ Kenny Parker sez:

Off the Practice Tapes album. Krs-One free styling & practicing an early draft of a song meant for the Return Of The Boom Bap LP.

No Country For Old (Rap) Men – DJ Premier Closes The Doors of D&D Studios: An End Of An Era
Friday January 16th 2015,
Filed under: Features,No Country For Old (Rap) Men,The 90's Files,Web Work
Written by:

D&D Studios

Where I get all misty eyed for my long-forgotten youth…

No Country For Old (Rap) Men – DJ Premier Closes The Doors of D&D Studios: An End Of An Era

Ten Rap Remixes That Are Barely Remixes But Still Win


The following are a collection of remixes that where perhaps only an extra horn, new drums or a rearrangement of the samples differentiates them from the original version, but they’re still significantly better. You could add most of the 80’s Cold Chillin’ 12: mixes to this list, natch.

Brand Nubian – Slow Down [Pete Rock Remix]

Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘Straighten It Out’ [remix]

EPMD – ‘Crossover’ [Test Pressing Remix]

Stezo – ‘Freak The Funk’ [12″ Version]

Bowing Out On Top
Monday January 12th 2015,
Filed under: Magazine Vaults,The 90's Files,What If?
Written by:

ice cube 1990

If Ice Cube had been able to stand by his claim in this August 1990 interview with Andy Cowan of Hip-Hop Connection, he would have been able to retire with a perfect battling average.

Straight Outta Compton, AmeiKKKa’s Most Wanted, Kill At Will and Death Certificate.

The Awful Truth About Rap Shelf Life
Thursday January 08th 2015,
Filed under: Features,Rap Veterans,The 80's Files,The 90's Files,The Unkut Opinion
Written by:

cereal boxes on shelf LA SM_0

The limited shelf life of most rap groups is a an unfortunate reality. For some MC’s, the window of opportunity is so small that getting stuck in record label limbo for two or three years can spell career ruin, while even some of the genre’s greatest groups such as Run-DMC and Public Enemy suffered album release delays which saw them slip from cutting-edge to being eclipsed by the new kids on the block (with the exception of Donny Walberg’s ‘posse’).

Stream: Boogie Down Productions – Live In London [1990]

BDP Live 1990

DJ Kenny Parker has shared this recording of a Boogie Down Productions show at Brixton Academy, 1990. Highlights include the freestyle session where KRS kicks some rhymes that would appear on later albums. Also, it’s my birthday today so I’m off to drink some RAER whiskey and whatnot.

CJ Moore [Black By Demand] – The Unkut Interview, Part One
Tuesday December 09th 2014,
Filed under: Features,Interviews,The 80's Files,The 90's Files
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CJ Moore has been at ground zero for more classic hip-hop records that most of us can either count, through his work as an engineer at 1212 during the Paul C. era, with his group Black By Demand and with his work for Akinyele and Kool G Rap to name a few. After chopping it with CJ for three hours, there’s a lot of material to get through and a lot of behind the scenes stories to drop, so let’s begin with how it all got started.

Robbie: When did you first get involved with music?

CJ Moore: About 83, 84. My brothers had a DJ group, and I was just a guy around the group. They were into the deejaying aspect of it and I was into the rapping aspect of it. I started getting into the technical side of it around 84, 85. My mom had bought me a little portable piano and I started making my little compositions from that point. That stemmed into me being the guy who understood a lot of the technical ins and outs as far as equipment was concerned, and I took it from there.

You didn’t study engineering formally?

I just picked it up as I went along. It was a studio called 1212 that I worked at, I was 14, going on 15. I had made a record called ‘We’re Gettin’ Paid.’ My aunt had bought me a drum machine, called a Casio RZ-1. One of the first sampling drum machines, it had like a 2.5 seconds of sample time on it, so I started making my beats from that and using my little piano. I took it into 1212, and the guy who owned the studio – his name is Mick Corey – he took a liking to the fact that I had never been in the studio before, how I kinda knew my way around to where I recognised what I was looking at. I knew how to get in and out.I used to go over to Sam Ash and Manny’s on 48th Street after school and play around with the equipment until they kicked me out. I would watch people and at some point I would overhear conversations about studios. I was trying to get in these places, but I didn’t have the money nor the backing, as far as you get into the buildings and they see this little kid trying to come into a music building. They looking at me like I’m crazy, with no supervision. 1212, I saved up my little money and went and did the sessions. I asked him, ‘I would love to work in a place like this!’ And he said, ‘Why not?’ I liked at him like he was crazy. He was asking me what did I know about this and what did I know about that and I was answering all of the questions right. He was talking about ratio and threshold and attack and things of that nature. I understood that because I used to read a lot and picked it up from that point until I really got my hands on it. I had some sort of a tutorial head-start due to literature.

Great Moments In Cracka-Ass Cracka Rap: Paleface
Tuesday November 18th 2014,
Filed under: Cracker Rap,Magazine Vaults,The 90's Files
Written by:


Click for full-size version.

After being reminded of this misguided attempt at Saltine Rap pride from 1993, it’s only right to give Paleface his second 15 seconds in the spotlight. It’s safe to assume that this guy was ignored by Ice Cube and therefore nobody outside of the Vibe magazine office ever heard this ‘industrial rock/rap’ track aimed at O’Shea. Shout-outs to Caesar for finding the scan and saving me having to dig through the torn-up magazine crates.

The Source Scans: The Great White Hoax
Tuesday November 18th 2014,
Filed under: Cracker Rap,Magazine Vaults,Not Your Average,The 90's Files
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Classic material from The Source as Reginald C. Dennis breaks down the 1991 White Rap Invasion. Please note that Lavar kid is a Conservative Rap Coalition pioneer with his sensible haircut and crisp polo shirt.