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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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Electric Garden of Delights by DJ Frane

or Beats to Blaze to Volume 2

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I started listening to Frane about a year ago when I found his third album, Journey to the Planet of Birds, on a favorite forum of mine. After my fixation with the album died down, I decided to get my fix off of his other albums, so I gave Electric Garden of Delights a try.

I’d characterize Electric Garden as a mind-altering, drug-influenced arrangement, a lot like his other albums. But unlike his other albums, this album is set in a blissful garden, enchanted with exotic creatures and psychotropic plants. It’s an appealing album, but I’m not sure if it can hold up to his other works.

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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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Music Castle by DJ Deckstream

A relaxing compilation of covers.

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DJ Deckstream is a well established producer in Japan that has worked with several well-known emcees including Moka Only, Pep Love, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. His album, “Music Castle”, is a stretch from his usual upbeat, hip-hop style to a jazzy, chilled-out set of covers. The album covers such classics as Tom’s Diner, Just the Two of Us, Sweet Child o’ Mine and a few others from genres in classic rock to rap.

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Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

Know Good Classics - #1 Rock

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First, I wanted to explain what I am trying to accomplish with this “Know Good Classics” thang. I love music from the 60’s & 70’s (and a little from the 80’s & 90’s) just as much as I love music nowadays (if not more). I decided to showcase some of the best classics to give them a small revival. Now, some of ’em you may know, some of ’em you may not know. But what cannot be disputed is their greatness.

The first song to start out the series is “Gimme Shelter” by The Stones. My most memorable recollection of the song was when I was in London, just about to graduate college (I studied my last semester out there :)). My most vivid memory of the song was when I was listening to it in Waterloo Park with my “good ol’ chaps”, getting belligerent in more ways than one ;) (ahh, the good times).

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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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All Alone by Gota Yashiki

Some damn good sax.

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I’ve recently started to get into jazz. After searching a popular music forum, I found their “Staff Picks”, and thought I would try out their recommendations. I found Gota as a popular pick, so I gave him a listen. I enjoyed the first track quite a bit, which happened to be All Alone. What impressed me so much was the saxophone, played by Ian Kirkham, and the guitar, played by Kenji Jammer. Both played well off each other, and showed a real elegance in their style. Just give this one a listen, if you enjoy it enough then check out the rest of the album, It’s So Different Here. I decided not to review the entire album because of personal preferences, but if you like this song, you’ll most likely appreciate the rest of it.

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