Filed under: Crates,Demo Week,EP's,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Some vintage Breeze Brewin’, taken from the Baby Pictures EP, available from Chopped Herring.
Some vintage Breeze Brewin’, taken from the Baby Pictures EP, available from Chopped Herring.
You Toober Eddie Frank has pieced together the original footage which MF Doom used to create the memorable Operation: Doomsday and MM Food skits. Comic nerds and fans of poorly drawn animation, unite!
DJ 7L, Esoteric and Inspektah Deck really stepped it up this time, as both this bundle package and the track listing of the second Czarface album demonstrates. A full length comic book, t-shirt, tape, stickers, coloured vinyl are all included if you want to go all-in. The good news is the comic is included with the regular CD and vinyl versions too.
Newest episode from the Days With Dr. Yen Lo album, which appears to combine the minds of Ka and Preservation. Check out the previously released ‘Day 0′ and ‘Day 3′ below.
New track from the latest Large Pro solo album, Re: Living, which is out 9 June. Fat Beats are doing a bundle including the CD, tape, vinyl and sticker, which is limited to 100 packs and available here.
Editor’s note: The following interview was conducted by Bill Zimmerman in 2007 for the now defunct print edition of Modern Fix magazine prior to the release of Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz Messenger. This Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of Guru’s passing.
On April 19, 2010, the rapper born Keith Elam died of complications from cancer at 48. Hip-hop lost one of its Golden Era notables. What remained were questions about Guru’s association with Solar, his late-career producer and business partner in the label 7 Grand, whose motives were questioned by the rapper’s family and former collaborators. Shortly after Guru’s death, Solar released a letter purportedly written by Guru and critical of Premier. Guru’s family labeled it a fake; Solar defended the letter as “what Guru wanted.”
The self-proclaimed “king of monotone,” Guru possessed one of the most unmistakable voices in hip-hop. Honest and authoritative, he delivered music over three decades, most notably in Gang Starr with DJ Premier as well as through genre-bending Jazzmatazz solo efforts. What follows are excerpts from an unpublished interview with Guru and Solar in 2007. It’s a snapshot of Guru’s late 2000s, post-Gang Starr career. It shows two men focused on making their own lane and taking creative chances in the leadup to what would be Guru’s final Jazzmatazz project. Despite all the drama and confusion that would ensue, Guru made a mark on hip-hop. That’s indisputable.
Bill: Guru, one the previous Jazzmatazz projects you were working with multiple producers. What was it like just sticking with Solar on this one?
Guru: Actually, the only one with multiple producers was the third one (Street Soul). The first one (Vol. 1) I produced, the second one (Vol. 2: The New Reality) I produced and then the third one multiple (producers). Actually, after the third one I said I wanted to go back to working with just one producer because I left like the third one – even though I had like a lot of big name producers – it came out more like a compilation than it did an organic work. It’s still one of my favorites joints, but it was something about the cohesiveness of one producer bringing everything together. After teaming up with Solar – first of all when I first started hearing his music that was after we were friends already for two years. Then we decided to do the label. We were introduced six years ago – he took me to his lab so I could hear some tracks, and it was crazy because it was almost like he read my mind because I was looking for a future sound, a new sound for myself. All my favorite artists are able to do that – to recreate and renew and then reinvent. So, when I heard his tracks, I was like, “Oh, man.” I was blown away and actually took some stuff home right then. Our first release came out in 2005 on 7 Grand. That was called Guru Version 7.0 The Street Scriptures, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. That was just the introduction to this new chemistry. Now, at this point, the chemistry is just more intense, so this album is definitely proof of that.
Back in 2013, I got to chat to Black Rob for ten minutes as he was on his way to the studio. This time around I tried not to repeat the same questions, but unfortunately I caught him as he was trying to catch some food. Guess some things just aren’t meant to work out, huh? Regardless, you can catch Black Rob’s new LP, Genuine Article, is out 21 April.
Robbie: Were Spoonie Gee and Doug E. Fresh a big influence on you when you were a kid?
Black Rob: Hell yeah! Parties, break-outs – the whole shit! Doug E. Fresh was definitely slamming, man. I already wanted to my thing, but it gave me some inspiration to tbe best that I could be.
What was it like growing in Harlem?
It was different, man. A lotta kids was doing what they had to do, playing around and not doing music, so I came in there doing music. I used to have the parties jumping, little freestyles and all that stuff. Hear that shit out the window. I used to be the number one guy, but I was too young to really comprehend what I was going through, cos I was just stretching out. But I was nice though! [laughs]
Here’s something from my drafts folder that I forgot to post from a couple of years ago…
For many people, Twitter is nothing more than a self-indulgent stream of fuckybergs telling the world how many pieces of French toast they consumed at brunch. Last Monday, that all changed, after some struggle “comedian” lady finally got “sanger” Chris Brown to shut down his Twitter account following a heated exchange revolving around his previous treatment of Rihanna (of “Rihanna Plane” fame, natch). Turns out this Jenny Johnson character has been trolling C. Brown for years, and the main flaw in her argument had nothing to do with what happened to Rihanna’s face and everything to do with her misguided attempt to correct Chris’ spelling:
@chrisbrown: take them teeth out when u Sucking my dick HOE.
@JennyJohnsonHi5 It’s “HO” not “HOE” you ignorant fuck.
I found compelled to point out that there is in fact an “E” in “Hoe,” which resulted in an in-depth academic debate between myself, rapper/producer/author/drummer J-Zone and musical maestro/Ralph Lauren chandelier owner Just Blaze as to the correct spelling of the term according to old rap songs. While I was strongly in the “E” camp, J-Zone produced compelling evidence that it was only when used as a plural that the “E” was required, according to most Miami and mid western records (Geto Boys’ “Let A Ho Be A Ho”, Willie Dee‘s “Bald Head Hoes”). Not to be discouraged, I continued to produce examples of “hoe” in the singular, while Just Blaze played tennis umpire. It was a stalemate once we established that the East Coast favoured the “E” and the West dropped it, with the fact that Too $hort used to “Pimp The Ho” until 2011, when he suddenly adapted the “E.”
New single from Him-Lo and Clever One, repping that CRC lifstyle.
My annual attempt at writing something vaguely serious about rap writing. Normal service will resume shortly.
First single from the second Czarface album, Every Hero Needs A Villain, due this summer.
DJ 7L sez:
First leak from the new Czarface record is “Deadly Class” featuring Meyhem Lauren. Been a fan of his for a minute, we linked up a few years back at the BAU release party which was around when we were working on the new Czar album. I think Eso and Deck have never sounded better I really can’t wait for the fans to hear it. This song was recorded at the mid point of the album and remembering hearing it and was like “man this keeps getting better”. Eso added that chop at the end with iphone battery line that to me is just genius with the sample. This is just the leak, more info music, art on the way!
Unlike Cold Crush Brother‘s ‘Punk Rock Rap,’ this vaulted Cosmic Force entry into the ‘punk rap’ canon is redeemed by a lack of fake cockney accents, the always reliable vocoder and the fact that it interpolates Michael McDonalds’ ‘I Keep Forgetting‘ 13 years before Dr. Dre’s stepbrother Warren G enlisted Nate Dogg to give it that extra ‘G’ quality.
Young Zee of the Outsidaz is finally getting an official release of his shelved 1996 album on cassette and CD through Gentleman’s Relief Records on 28 April (with liner notes from dedicated Outsidaz disciple Werner), having previously been issued over a couple of EP’s by Dope Folks Records.
Nothing but old vocoder jams for my latest trip to PBS-FM, inspired by re-reading How To Wreck A Nice Beach.
United Crates has put together a superb collection of Ason Unique deep cuts and freestyles to mark the recent 20th anniversary of the Return To The 36 Chambers album. A timely reminder that Wu-Tang is for the children.
This three part mix from evil genius Prince Paul is the ideal accompaniment to eating fish this Good Friday or drinking copious amounts of Whiskey Sour’s (or a combination of both).
A late video from the Masterpiece Theatre EP.
You know those times when groups are greater than the sum of their parts? Here are some examples of rappers and producers who, despite their talents, were less effective on their own.
CL Smooth without Pete Rock
Corey has always been technically strong but without Peter it was hard to care about what he was saying.
GURU without DJ Premier
Keithy EE and Premo had an unbeatable chemistry. The Jazzmatazz albums were a good idea on paper but hardly thrilling to listen to.
Jeru The Damaja without DJ Premier
The Sun Rises In The East was a pretty great album, and the follow-up wasn’t half bad either. Good luck naming a single thing Jeru did once he and Chris Martin stopped hanging out.
Almighty KG was meant to visit Wiz in Atlanta but never showed up. This was the result.
Following up the the first Bob James Unkut compilation from 2008, here are 24 more sure-shots based around my all-time favorite sample source – ‘Nautilus’. Considering that Bob James’ masterpiece is so chock-full of ill sounds, every interpretation takes on a life of it’s own, from the mournful ‘Sincerity’, the melodic swing of ‘Once Upon A Rhyme’ and the swirling menace of ‘Iceberg Slick’ to the tense understatement of ‘Let Em Have It L’ and ‘Mystery’.
*Updated with T La Rock track*
Download: Bob James Unkut, Volume 2.1 [Zippyshare Records and Tapes]
Before the official album drops later this year, here’s a collection of some Wop and Tariq loosies from the past.
After transcribing my video interview with Tuff City founder Aaron Fuchs recently, I came across this intriguing quote:
Aaron Fuchs: The Bronx and Harlem were worlds apart cultural by the time the 70’s happened, because Harlem’s a community and The Bronx was burnt-out, but they were geographically very close to each other. You had hip-hop evolve like a weed, like top seed and bang! The Harlem record guys take over. You had Spoonie Gee, who was really an R&B guy who was rapping instead of singing. You had this truncating of what hip-hop was into the constraints of the Harlem record business. These couple of [Cold Crush Brothers] records actually reflect what hip-hop was before it was a record business. This crazy, formless, sprawling kind of music. You wonder sometimes would would have happened to hip-hop had The Bronx had not been so close to Harlem and was so quickly engulfed by the vastly deeper traditions of Harlem.
Big Twins is re-united with Alan The Chemist. Praise the lawd.
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]