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Hellohihey by Lifesavas

For all those arrogant MC's.

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I wanted to feature another song from Lifesavas’s latest album, Gutterfly: The Original Soundtrack (2007), but I already featured “No Surprise” a while back, so I wanted to go with something from their first album, Spirit in Stone. I haven’t been listening to these guys as much lately, mostly because they haven’t come out with anything new for a while, but this feature, as well as many other tracks by ’em, are a must have for any hip-hop head.

So, I was debating between two songs from Spirit in Stone – one with a better beat, one with the a better storyline – and unlike my usual self, I went with the lyrical selection. Sorry “It’s Over“, maybe next time, this one goes to “Hellohihey” for its well crafted story and witty dialogue. The song portrays an egotistical MC, played by Vursatyl, who thinks he is God’s gift to hip-hop. Typical rapper right… well, the story comes together in the end with a humble closing, which is refreshing to hear amongst all the misogynistic rap coming out these days.

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Watch Yr Step by Cancer Rising

"Let me introduce the most fly orator(s)."

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Another group from Seattle… I think I may be a little bias in geographic locations, but the Northwest really is coming out with the best emerging hip-hop (which I like to mention over and over again). Cancer Rising may not be the top acts from the region, but they do have some top quality MC’s. Both Judas & Gatsby take on different rap styles, both working well off each other and DJ TilesOne’s beats. I especially love Judas’s style.. or maybe Gatsby’s… I really don’t know who… whoever’s @ 1:10. The dude simply has character, the #1 thing I look for in an MC: character, character, character! It’s by far the one thing that sets great MC’s apart from the rest of the mess… and gets ’em featured on this site!

Bruce Illest (featured on this track) may be an even better example of character in rap; he definitely gives Judas & Gatsby a run for their money. Although, one thing that bugs me about him is how reps his name every so often (even if it’s only a couple of times). I understand that artists want to get their name out there, but it starts to get tedious after a while. Maybe not in this case so much, but I’ve seen it overused a couple of times, and it really ruins it for me (for some reason). Doomtree is a good example; I respect the group, they’re from my home state of Minnesota, and they’ve got a bunch of talent, but listening to ’em shout off their name every ten words gets annoying, I know your damn name, I don’t need it repeated in my head. I guess it’s not that big of a deal, I just need shit to talk about (and I love to ramble… on… and on…. and on (ok, I’m done).

Check it, listen up, and tell me who brings the best out of three… my vote goes to Bruce Illest (love his name, by the way).

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[audio:WatchYrStep.mp3|titles=Watch Yr Step]

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Paper Shaper Shifter by Mel Gibson and the Pants

"My biorhythm is awesome."

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Mel Gibson and the Pants is one of the groups I love to show off to others; (1) because anyone outside of Minnesota doesn’t know about ’em, (2) the instrumentals are a complete mashup of a few different genres, unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, and (3) Harold Sander’s (MC for the group) voice is sexy as hell. They’ll actually be my most featured group on here after this is released (other features of MGP include w/ Guitar, as well as a single from the album, Beat it Loose). The group may not be the most prolific in quality hits, but when they hit it, they hit it right, and Paper Shaper Shifter hits it right…

Paper Shaper Shifter is one of the first songs I really got into with MGP. It’s a little different from their usual drum & bass, electro-rock beat, but still shows their unique style of music. As always, Harold Sander’s comes up with some interesting lryics, voiced in a stylish & saucy way. I was actually going to name this site after some of the lyrics off this song, “my biorhythm is awesome” (the site was originally going to be, among others), but I liked Silence Nogood best.

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[audio:PaperShaperShifter.mp3|titles=Paper Shaper Shifter]

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420247 by DJ Frane

"They try to playa hate me, 'cause I'm gettin' high all day."

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Alright, this is gonna be a quick one ’cause I leave for Palm Springs in a couple of hours, and the shit I say doesn’t really matter anyway.

I present to you another good one from DJ Frane. I have featured his two other albums, Journey to the Planet of Birds & Electric Garden of Delights before, but since I am mainly focusing on singles now, I decided to go with 420247. The beat is trip-tastic, but the best part is the lyrics, they’re funny, witty and oh so true. Check it!… You’ll at least get a good laugh out of ’em.

I just gotta give another shout out to this guy, never have I enjoyed someone’s music from the first track to the last so much, no less on all three of his albums. He’s a truly remarkable artist.

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Jus Biz by Diverse

"Diggin' my music is more than just biz."

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A friend of mine from Chicago told me about Diverse and a few others from Illinois. Been listening to ’em all lately, and although Diverse wasn’t my overall favorite, Jus Biz has been one of my favorite singles so far. Diverse just hasn’t put enough out yet for me to really grasp his sound. My first thought of him was that he sounded a hell of a lot like RA Scion from Common Market. It may not be as apparent in this song as in others, but their voices are damn near close. Other than that I really like Diverse’s rap style, he’s got real character. He often collaborates with RJD2, Prefuse 73 & Madlib, so you know his beats are gonna be quality, definitely including this one. Tell me what ya think, and check me out on twitter ’cause I need more followers! :D

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European Comfort by Gota Yashiki

(Better than) just elevator music.

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Another goodie from Gota! One of my first posts was Gota’s All Alone, and now I come to you with his second, European Comfort. It may not be as good as All Alone (in my opinion), but it’s got a nice calming tune that’s perfect for an elevator… or better! I’ve gotta say, one of Gota’s best abilities is combing instrumentals in such a fluid way. He’s what really got me into this new style of jazz… well, him & DJ Okawari… and I guess you could throw Nujabes in there too.

I’m actually trying to get into more current jazz (like Gota), but it’s proving hard to find what I like (it’s always difficult getting into new genres). And I’m finding with nu jazz or acid jazz (or whatever you wanna call it) that a lot of it does remind me of elevator music, boring and repetitive (unlike Gota). So, if you have any suggestions, please oblige me. Also, tell me if you’d consider this elevator music, now that I’ve engrained it into your head…

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[audio:EuropeanComfort.mp3|titles=European Comfort]

She Said by The Pharcyde

"I'll give you the world if you want."

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This is my 2nd posting of The Pharcyde (1st post). I actually should’ve posted this one first, but at the time I was really into Runnin’. Anyways, I’d have to say that She Said is in one of my favorite hip-hop classics. Ever since I started listening to it (been a while), it’s always had that uncanny ability to bring out all those damn emotions in me (particularly when inebriated); and not just in this song, the Pharcyde do it consistently, emanating passion and soul throughout their music, which sadly isn’t found in hip-hop enough these days. If half the rappers had what these guys did in the 90’s, you wouldn’t need me to go digging around through endless shit to find “real hip-hop” (but that’s what I’m here for). Give it a listen and light one up (if ya got it), it’ll make it all the better ;)

Best part @ 2:53 – goddamn does Tre Hardson lay down some of the best rhymes I have ever heard in a song.

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Concentration by Quannum (feat. Jurassic 5)

Educate the young, dumb, deaf, and blind.

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If all the best artists collaborated in one song… well, this would as close as it gets. Comprising of all the MC’s from the Quannum collective, including Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab, Lateef the Truth Speaker, etc plus they managed to get Jurassic 5 to feature, as well! It may be a little dated, just over 10 years old, but the damn thing still could be considered ahead of most hip-hop today. With a simple, yet funkalicious beat produced by DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist & whoever else, it’s another keeper for the collection. I’d point out my favorite parts of the track, but there are so damn many!… okay, i’ll point out one – go to 3:12 (love the voice, love the rhym). Give a shout out to your favorite part and as always tell me what ya think…

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Empire Ants & Broken by Gorillaz

Plastic Beach: a virtual vacation (with a few bumps along the ride).

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Started listening to Plastic Beach about a week ago. My first thoughts were similar to that of Demon Days, sounds good but nothing stands out. It seems like with Gorillaz, at least in my case, you need to give their albums a few listens to really feel their sound. Well, after a few listens I found some keepers, unfortunately not as many as in Demon Days.

Stylo was the first single from the album, released at the end of January of this year. Though it’s not my favorite, it’s among the better ones, some others being Superfast Jellyfish, On Melancholy Hill & Plastic Beach. But we aren’t here to discuss those, we’re here for the best (of the best), and those would be…

Empire Ants (for one). The song is split in two, the first half with vocals from 2-D (or Damon Albort in reality), with some pleasant, dreamlike instrumentals; and the second half with vocals featured from Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano, with a beat that’s straight 80’s XTC (or is that just me, I didn’t live through much of the 80’s). The song takes you to another reach, typical of Gorillaz. It’s my #1 pick, followed closely by Broken.

Broken is a little like the first part of Empire Ants, in that it has a pleasant & smooth sound (other than that, not so much). What I particularly like about this track is its soul-striken lyrics, instead of the usual drug induced ones (those can be fun too, though). They really capture the heart …or maybe that’s just my sensitive side… Anyways, it’s a well thought out track, and good for the those times of heartache … actually, that may not be the best idea (but listen to it nonetheless).

Finally, I just wanted to touch (a little) on some of the tracks that aren’t worth listening to: Sweepstakes (gets stuck in the head, and not in a good way), Some Kind of Nature (sorry Lou, ya just don’t do it for me here), and Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach (Snoop I expect much more with a beat like this). The other tracks on the album are fairly good, but I haven’t warmed up to them quite yet. Tell me what you think, and let me know what your most/least favorites are

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Feather by Nujabes

"Lettin' my soul take me away from the hurt and despair."

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As promised (from the last post), here is Akin & Cise Star featured in another classic beat from Nujabes. This may not be my favorite of his (that would be Blessin’ it), but it’s one of many in which he combines classical, jazz instrumentals in an elegance all his own; and of course slaps on a few talented MC’s to go with it. Although I’m not one who critically analyzes lyrics too often, this one has some soul searching lyrics. I guess, this is just more proof of Akin & Cise Star’s vocal talents, not to mention the talents of Nujabes.

As always, post your thoughts, follow along on Twitter, and give back some love.

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