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Currently Browsing: Hip-Hop

One by Zion I

"Are you listening? Are you prepared?"

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AmpLive is an incredible DJ & producer from the duo Zion I. His futuristic, ambient beats have been sought by such acclaimed rappers Chali 2na & Del tha Funkee Homosapien. He’s also produced a remix of Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”… without approval from Radiohead : (oh well, it’s damn good). The other half of Zion I, Zumbi, is a cunning, street smart MC with a slight resemblance to Lil’ Wayne in vocals (more so in his later works).

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The Psycho-Social CD by Jedi Mind Tricks

The prophets of hip-hop.

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When I was first introduced to Jedi Mind Tricks I thought it might be a part of nerdcore, however, it’s definitely not. Jedi Mind Tricks can best be described as having an east coast rap style with deep, prophetic lyrics. Vinnie Paz, lead MC & songwriter, pulls a lot of his inspiration from personal despairs, recent wars (Vietnam/Iraq), old theological books, and political/world issues. His delivery is gritty and raw, combine this with Stoupe’s hardcore trip hop instrumentals, and you get a group from phili that takes east coast rap to another level.

Just a little on the album…

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Linguistics (DJ Dez Remix) by Chali 2na

"Throw your hands high for the crew J5."

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Chali 2na is most notable for his role in the hip-hop group Jurassic 5 (J5). J5 got its start back in the late 90’s with its self-titled album, which became an instant hit in the underground music scene. I’ve been listening to J5 for some time now, and credit them for introducing me to (good) hip-hop. The group has a rhyme & flow that many try to emulate, but few pull off as well as J5.

J5 consists of a handful of talented MCs, but Chali 2na’s voice stands out above them all. 2na has one of the most widely known voices throughout the hip-hop community. It can best be described as a smooth, mellowed-out voice, yet he can flow faster than most MCs.

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w/ Guitar by Mel Gibson and the Pants

Silly name, quality sound.

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Hailing from my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mel Gibson and the Pants (MGP) are a band with a peculiar sound with an even more peculiar name. But don’t let the name throw you off, MGP is a midwest group with a quality sound. Though their music includes a midwest style, MGP comes up with a new flavor of hip-hop incorporating electro-rock, drum & bass, and of course hip-hop. With Riley Hartnet’s maginifecent guitar riffs and Harold Sander’s (J.R.) thought provoking rhymes, MGP pulls off something never “seen” before.

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Tangerine Sky by Kottonmouth Kings

"Just take some time, elevate."

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I was introduced to the Kottonmouth Kings from my friends in NorCal. Most of ’em listen to music from the Bay (with good reason), but occasionally expand their scope, e.g. Kottonmouth Kings. The Kottonmouth Kings bring in an interesting mix of hip-hop and punk rock with a heavy influence from mary jane (…why is that become a reoccurring theme on this blog…). They remind me of Swollen Members, and a little bit like Insane Clown Posse, but let’s never mention that again. Tangerine Sky is no doubt their most popular song, and from my experience, girls tend to love it (it’s rare to find hip-hop that women like, other than the mainstream). It has a memorable reggae style, which is used in a good amount of their music. If you like their style, give Sleepers a listen, also on Rollin’ Stoned.

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Lady Don’t Tek No by Latyrx

'bout Ms. Imagination

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A hip-hop classic from the Bay Area, Latyrx’s Lady Don’t Tek No brings us back to the talented, yet contrasted sounds of Lateef the Truth Speaker and Lyrics Born. With Lyrics Born’s soulful bass and Lateef’s higher-pitched cuts, the duo still pulls off a fluid sound. But above this addictive, funkified sound, the lyrics compare to none.

The song talks about that particular woman we’ve all come across at some point in time that’s “got the smile, style, and finesse”. You know, the girl with the “razor sharp wit, that just won’t quit”… alright, i’ll stop stealing their lines. In other words, she’s the sassy little bitch you can’t get enough of… just listen to ’em, they’ve got a way with words that I, apparently, don’t. :

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Sexy Beast by Abyssinian Creole

"Try 'n' find the awe."

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Sexy Beast is Abyssinian Creole’s first full length album, which premiered in late 2005. The album clearly expresses the group’s African roots in a raw and poetic way. Each song is a unique perspective of the two emcee’s history, which may or may not pertain to everyone, but can be appreciated by anyone.

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Deltron 3030

Back to the future, literally.

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Going back to 2000, we find a futuristic narrative set in the year 3030. Del tha Funkee Homosapien, or “Deltron Zero” in the story, is a superhero sworn to fight against the evils of the universe (viruses, an oppressive government, the Corporate Bank of Time… just to name a few) with his trusty side-kicks, The Automator or “The Cantankerous Captain Aptos” and scratch mastermind Kid Koala or “Skiznod the Boy Wonder”. Yea, this may sound a little corny for a hip-hop album, but with Del on the mic, Automator and Kid Koalo with backup, it’s a hell of a hip-hop classic.

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Pyramids in Moscow by Restoring Poetry in Music

"Life is change, life is strange."

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Background:
Restoring Poetry in Music (RPM) was formed late last century by cousins Jason Moore (Raw Poetic) and Marlon Vann (H2A). Shortly after the group turned into a band enlisting members, Drew Thomas as bassist, Aaron Gause (Enron) as trumpeter and keyboardist, Patrick Fritz (P-Fritz) as lead guitarist and backup vocals, as well as Fred Jackson as drummer (later being replaced by Will Bobbit). A few years down the road H2A stepped down as producer to be replaced by Kyle Murdock (K-Murdock) for the release of their first full-length album, Dream Awake (2004); returning a few years later to help with their second album, Pyramids in Moscow (2007).

If you want to learn more about RPM’s story, go to The Peoples Republic of Hip-Hop & Soul, found here.

But enough of all that, let’s get to the album…

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¡Mayday! by ¡MAYDAY!

A holiday from horrible hip-hop.

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A couple months back I was searching through a bunch of, well… shit when I found this gem. From the first song I could tell I was hooked. With their hard-hitting sound, Mayday really pulls off a distinct hip-hop flavor.

Mission Statement: Never has a hip-hop album got it so right on the first track (I over embellish at times). From the first note it grabs your attention and pulls you in. It incorporate some unique instrumentals; but what sets Mayday apart is their ability to flow without missing a beat. This is why I love Mission Statement so much!… along with Macro/Micro… and really most of their songs. :)

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