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Gift of Gab by Mac Dre (Originally Gift 2 Gab)

Who, who could it be? That'z right Mac Dre, baby.

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Going from Tears for Fears to Mac Dre seems a little odd, but both have talents… as different as they may be.

Mac Dre is a local rapper from Oakland, best known for introducing the hyphy movement (along with Keak Da Sneak), and which is now being spread by E-40. Dre was shot and killed in Kansas City, Missouri in November of 2004. Some believe he had potential to be one of the greatest MC’s of all time, some even say as great as 2Pac, which isn’t far off from my opinion. He has countless hits that were witty and controversial. He was no angel, and never pretended to be. Dre was charged with conspiracy to commit bank robbery in the early 90’s. He constantly rhymed about his struggles with the police and other problems with the law… let’s just say this one’s not for the kids. Though, i’ll probably show mine… Gift of Gab being one of ’em. The song shows Dre at his finest. He started the hyphy movement with classics like this… wish he had the chance to perfect it (E-40 doesn’t do Dre justice).

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Head Over Heals by Tears for Fears

Know Good Classics - #3 Rock

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I know what you’re thinking… what pop bullshit is up on here Well, it is pop, but it isn’t shit. During my early years (when I pimped the pajama pants) all I listened to was Tears for Fears, along with Earth, Wind & Fire, mixed in with a whole lot of Beatles (my father’s influence). I’ve always loved Roland Orabal’s voice, but I do understand why some may not; it’s a stereotypical 80’s pop voice (Shout), which may irritate and possibly annoy some. But, besides their cheesy 80’s “act”, the group has released numerous classic songs, including Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Sowing the Seeds of Love, and my current favorite, Head Over Heels (there’s also Mad World, but I like the Donnie Darko version better). I listen to this one on repeat for a couple key parts throughout the song (one mentioned below), and I must say, Roland Orzabal & Curt Smith know how to hit the right chords at the right time. Maybe if they were a decade back, they wouldn’t have suffered the 80’s faux pas. I mean common, look at this album cover… what the fuck were they thinking :) (album cover is in the full article)

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Beat it Loose by Mel Gibson and the Pants

These guys really are one of a kind.

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Mel Gibson and the Pants is that strange child no one gets at first, but eventually realizes their genius(ness)…

I reviewed MGatP’s album (w/ Guitar) about two months back, but didn’t give Beat it Loose (a song on the album) much thought because I wasn’t quite sure what I felt about it, yet. Well, a good two months later and I finally have a solid opinion. Beat it Loose is becoming one of my favorite songs by the group/band. At first, I was a little skeptical about the beat, like I am with a lot of other MGatP songs, but it grew on me… like a lot of other MGatP songs. The song features Doomtree‘s Cecil Otter & Harold Sanders Jr. (MC for MGatP) on the mic. The two work well together, and do a phenomenal job of flowing off each other and the beat (which I can’t imagine is easy). This may not be something you enjoy at first, but give it time… trust me, it’ll grow on you… or at least one of the songs on this album will.

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Trinity by Common Market

"Mind, body and soul."

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RA Scion is best described as having a conscious style of rap: thought provoking and introspective. Put them in with Sabzi’s original beats, and what do you get… something that sizzles just below premium cut. As much as I respect the sound Common Market puts out, I can’t put aside that Blue Scholars puts it out better. RA Scion has some praiseworthy lyrics, but Geologic (from Blue Scholars) has a style that is among hip-hop’s best. But that aside, Common Market can put up some chill shiiit, especially from their first album. My favorite track is, of course, Trinity. So give it a listen, and tell me what you think… or i’ll stop posting this shit for you!… maybe. ;)

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He Said, She Said… by Andre Nickatina

How'd the lies get started?

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I love Hip-Hop for its many talented rap artists, especially when those rappers feature backup R&B vocals. He Said, She Said is a perfect example of this (as well as The Seed (2.0) by The Roots). While Andre Nickatina lays down his bass rhymes, Mike Marshall sings some soulful backup. I researched Mike Marshall for this article, and came across his MySpace, which features a video I included on the full article of this post. Check this shit out, it’s got some classic lyrics on a well-tuned beat.

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Full Range Earmuff by Mix Master Mike

3 a.m. at the club.

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Full Range Earmuff is more upbeat and danceable than I usually post, but the beat is too good to pass up. The beat is on and is perfect for a club mix, but there’s one problem… it switches up in the middle, unsuccessfully. Don’t get me wrong, switchin’ up the beat halfway through can pull interest to the beat (e.g. DJ FraneII), but Mix Master Mike just doesn’t pull it off. I’ve included it in its entirety, so tell me what ya think…

In case you didn’t know, Mix Master Mike is most notable for his involvement in the Beastie Boys ever since the late 90’s.

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The Breakdown by People Under the Stairs

"Floatin' over the city, like a Goodyear pimp."

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People Under the Stairs may not be the biggest hip-hop duo, but they are well known throughout the underground scene. Not only do they catch the beat right with their rhymes, but their instrumentals are something fresh & innovative. I decided to go with The Breakdown as the first feature of theirs because it’s the song that’s stuck with me the most. It may not have the lyrics that Acid Raindrops has, or the soothing beat of San Fransisco Knights, but the rhymes posses a finesse trademark of P.U.T.S.

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Mystery Repeats by Pete Philly & Perquisite

"We just slide, do this thing called life."

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My knowledge of rap outside the U.S. is… well, minimal. The problem is that rap, like music, has a language barrier. But, to go one step further, rap also has a barrier in dialect, which for most other music isn’t as big of a concern. For example, when I hear Canadians rap, my spine cringes when they pronounce about as aboot (e.g. Classified). Thankfully some talented hip-hop artists have broken this barrier, one being Pete Philly of Pete Philly & Perquisite.

I could get into more on why there are these barriers, but, honestly, who gives a shit. :) Let’s get to the music…

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Al Bundy by Intuition

"Some say this shit's nerdy, I call the flow Bill Nye."

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Intuition showed me that a good MC doesn’t flow to the beat, but flows to his own… intuition (not just because of his name). He brings on a character of his own, weaving tales instead of spittin’ shit. I may be biased to the laid-back beat, but you can’t deny Al Bundy‘s appeal. Don’t let the stupid title get ya wrong (also see Mel Gibson and the Pants), the song is a trip through wordplay, and a fun one at that. Have a listen, and let me know what ya think…

Oh ya, I found this at Pot Holes in My Blog, props.

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The Seed (2.0) by The Roots

"I lick the opposition 'cause she don't take no pill."

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Yea yea, a lot of you are gonna know this one. The Roots are pretty well established now, but I’ve been listening to this one for years and can’t get enough. What makes it good is the mix of the Root’s instrumentals with neo soul singer, Cody Chesnutt; the two blend well. Another reason for my admiration for this song is the lyrics, which uses some “ballsy” euphemisms. ;)

The original song, Seed, was featured in Chesnutt’s only LP, The Headphone Masterpiece, which was release in late 2002. I’ve included the original in the player below for your listening pleasure, though it’s really not that good.

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