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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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Animal Forest by DJ Okawari

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DJ Okawari is one hard fella to find. Well, most Japanese artists I’ve researched are… probably ’cause I don’t know Japanese. Anyway, here’s another Japanese DJ that blends up a mix of electronica, jazz and hip-hop… nothing special, I know, but give it a listen. It has a solid beat accompanied with a soulful sax (you know I love me some sax).

Another thing I’d like to point out is the amazing artwork for this album. But, to truely appreciate its intricacies you need to look at the full-sized version, provided here. All cover art for Okawari’s albums are done by Marumiyan.

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Stonyridge Terrace by Ian Pooley

Some mighty fine guitar pickin'.

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At first, I was skeptical of the Music Genome Project; it seemed like just a fancy way of matching similar artists. But as the project has grown, it’s starting to display more & more interesting matches. In fact, I found Stonyridge Terrace on Pandora (DJ Frane‘s radio station), which uses the technology behind the Music Genome Project.

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You Never Know by Hieroglyphics

From '93 to infinity.

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Hieroglyphics are among the best hip-hop groups of all time. The group has quite a few solo talents including Del, Opio, Pep Love & some of the other members. I had a lot of finely crafted songs to chose from Hiero, but I decided You Never Know should be the first.

I love me some chilled out music, and You Never Known is as laid-back as it gets. As always, I’m a man of few words (or should be)… let the music speak for itself.

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Solstice: Reintroduction by Blue Scholars

"One DJ & One MC"

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I’ll admit it, I was wrong when I said, “[n]ever has a hip-hop album got it so right on the first track”, referring to an article on Mission Statement by Mayday. But, to my defense I did say “I over embellish at times”… which I do.

That aside, never has a hip-hop album got it so right on the first track. ;) But, seriously… The introduction (or reintroduction) on Blue Scholar’s self-titled album is a slick start to a legit album. Sabzi, DJ & producer, creates one chill beat, which Geologic (MC) lays some mighty fine lines to.

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