Monday, February 08, 2010

mixed bag

Luv N Haight released this compilation of rare 70s soul tracks by this dude Darondo, and we thank them for that.

The name really says it all. Cam sorta belongs to the downtempo genre, but this first album (both studio and live tracks) is really just some nice jazz/hip-hop stuff.

Funk, soul, psychedelic, etc. Love that album cover.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hi! Albums again!

Been a while...
Some of my favorite beats ever. Large Professor producing and MCeeing here, plus two Toronto DJs, K-Cut and Sir Scratch. Large Pro is still very much around - he released two really good instrumental albums in the past couple of years.

Some might better know Kurious from his work with MF Doom here and there throughout the years, but this is definitely his finest work. Great production from The Beatnuts and SD-50s.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Round 3

I know at least one person is enjoying these, so here's Round 3. For some reason, I happen to be posting 5 albums by MC duos (and also Jeru down there at the end).

Artifacts - Between A Rock And A Hard Place (1994)
This has to be one of my favorite albums of all time. Great production by Buckwild and T-Ray, and Tame-One and El Da Sensei are sick as hell (particularly Tame). Definitely check out their second album, That's Them (1997).

Da King & I - Contemporary Jeep Music (1993)
Okay I'm gonna so far as to say this is probably the most underrated hip-hop album of all time, simply because it's extremely good on all fronts and nobody talks about it, 'ceptin for on this fabulous internet of ours I suppose. Coincidentally, as my brother once pointed out to me, this also has to be the lamest name for a hip-hop group of all time.

Das EFX - Hold It Down (1995)
Diggy Das' third album gets less love than the first two, and I slept on it for a while, but it's gotta be best. Great production by Easy Mo Bee, and Drayz and Books rip up the mic as usual.

Organized Konfusion - Organized Konfusion (1991)
You could pretty much go either way with this or their second album, Stress: The Extinction Agenda (1994), but it doesn't matter because both of them prove that Pharoahe Monch is the BEST MC OF ALL TIME. In recent years Monch has been wasting his talent by singing like quasi-R&B crap with a backing band, but don't be fooled. The dude is unbelievable. The beats here are nothing special, but Monch and Prince Po are the best rhyming duo ever recorded.

Heltah Skeltah - Nocturnal (1996)
More classic Boot Camp Clik. Ruck (Sean Price) and Rock (Rockness Monsta) are probably the best MCs in BCC, which is saying quite a bit. Just look at those little guys hanging upside down. Love it.

Jeru The Damaja - The Run Rises In The East (1994)
All I really can say is that Jeru is the man. DJ Premier produced the entire album (as with Wrath of the Math, 1996), and it's probably his finest work.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

More albums

Smif-N-Wessun - Dah Shinin' (1995)
Classic Boot Camp Clik. You like what you hear on this one check out Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah, and O.G.C.

Buckwild - Remix Mixtape
Not an album per se, just a mixtape, but Buckwild is without a doubt one of the best hip-hop producers of all time. Mostly mid-90s remixes of tracks by Artifacts, AZ, Beastie Boys, Brand Nubian, Channel Live, Grand Puba, Guru, Kool Keith, Lance Da Booms, Lord Finesse, Nas, Organized Konfusion, Funkdoobiest, Show and AG, Special Ed, and Alkaholiks. And the Little Indian track is unbelievably good

Scientifik - Criminal (1994)
Boston hip-hop with stacked production credits from Diamond D, Buckwild, RZA, and Ed O.G. "Jungles of da East" is so damn good

Sleestack'z - Behind the Iron Curtain (1996)
Crew out of Atlanta, released one sweet album and disappeared. 4 nice MCs over some of the most blunted tracks ever

Lords of the Underground - Keepers of the Funk (1994)
Just pull this off the stacks and put it on the radio

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Back to the Golden Age

Whats up people. Dapper Dan here, some of you might know me from my show Return of the Boom Bap last semester. Being abroad in London, I miss KWUR and thought I could trick myself into having some false sense of contribution to the station by posting on this lovely blog here. So, without any further bullshit here's some dope ass hip-hop albums you might all enjoy from the so-called "Golden Age" (like 1987-1996) that I'd probably be rocking at 10 watts if I were back in STL. So...

De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate (1993)

De La Soul are pretty well known, but for some reason "Buhloone Mindstate," without a doubt their best album in my opinion, has never gotten its proper due and remains pretty criminally underrated. This gem was released in 1993, and was De La's third and last collaboration with genius producer Prince Paul. Once again, Paul's all over this one in the best way possible (you can really see what they lack without him when you hear their like post-96 shit, like the "AOI" series and "The Grind Date").
Anyway, I'm not sure there's another hip-hop album that flows so seamlessly from beginning to end. Unlike their first two albums, the more well-known "3 Feet High and Rising" and "De La Soul is Dead," Buhloone goes light on the skits and such, which is a serious improvement. The album's also short on guest appearances, only featuring Guru, Dres from Black Sheep, and some verses here and there from a female MC named Shortie No Mass. However, we get some sweet live instrumentation from Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis of James Brown and J.B.s fame on tracks like "Patti Dooke," "I Be Blowin'" and "I Am I Be."
Like I said, "Buhloone" flows like silk but some stand-out tracks include "Ego Trippin' Pt. 2," "Area," and "Breakadawn."

Juggaknots - Re:Release (2002)

Oh man is this good. Juggaknots (Breezly Brewin, Buddy Slim, Heroine) recorded most of the tracks on this album around 1995 and released them as the "Clear Blue Skies" EP for Bobbito Garcia's record label Fondle 'Em. Juggaknots were definitely in good company on Fondle 'Em during the mid-90s with the likes of Company Flow, Arsonists, MHz, MF Grimm and a newly renamed MF Doom.
This album is of the exceptional variety where you can easily listen to the whole thing all the way through and not really skip any tracks. "Re:Release" has some dirty ass beats throughout (with some nice Coltrane and Taxi Driver OST samples), but the strength of the album is absolutely due to Breezly Brewin. Basically, Breeze is one of the sickest MCs I've ever heard. He's got a crazy complex and unorthodox rhyming scheme. Nobody has a flow quite like his, at least that I've ever heard (check him out as the featured MC on Prince Paul's concept album "A Prince Among Thieves" from 1999).
Like so many great 90s hip-hop artists, Juggaknots later material - "The Love Deluxe Movement" (2004) and "Use Your Confusion" (2006) - unfortunately in no way compares to the earlier shit. Nonetheless, this album is some dirty New York underground shit.
Just about every track is good, but I guess the stand-outs are "Jivetalk," "Sex Type Thang," "I'm Gonna Kill You," and "Clear Blue Skies."

The Beatnuts - The Beatnuts a.k.a. Street Level (1994)

The Beatnuts (Psycho Les, Juju, Fashion) aren't the strongest lyricists, basically sticking to the Alkaholik-type of hedonistic pussy/weed/40s rhymes. But in their case I could give a shit cuz they make the sickest fucking beats ever. The 3 producers/MCs were sort of like marginal members of the Native Tongues Tribe in early 90s New York (A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Black Sheep, and so on), and have produced a lot beats for other people over the years, like Common Sense, Chi-Ali, Kurious, Da Youngsta's and Fat Joe. Their beats are everything you want out of jazzy early-mid 90s hip-hop, with nice, funky horn, guitar and acoustic bass samples.
Following their almost as good debut EP from 1993, "Intoxicated Demons," this album keeps it pretty simple, with only one guest appearance throughout from Grand Puba of Brand Nubian. Just funky ass beats and party rhymes. Beatnuts have put out like 4 or 5 albums since then, none of which compare, although "Stone Crazy" is definitely solid (if you can remember all the way to back to like 97 or 98 the song "Off the Books" was all over the radio).
Some stand-out tracks: "Let Off A Couple," "Rik's Joint," "Hit Me With That"

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Friday, April 18, 2008

From the Archives, Part I: Sample Interviews Fugazi

Today begins a series of entries aimed at diving into the archives to reveal interviews and insights from KWUR's past, published in Sample Magazine or recorded live. For example, a recently found programming guide, had this to say about KWUR:

we aren't ticklish
in the least.

Anyway, this series will start with an interview titled "What You Think Is Wrong" by Charles Long, first appearing in Issue 2 of Sample Magazine, originally published September 1991.


Don't label, them, don't categorize them, and don't assume anything about Fugazi, because, as Charles Long found out, you'll probably be wrong. Singer Guy Picciotto reminds us that no one is right all of the time.

Sample: It was really crowded tonight; is every place you play as crowded as this?
Guy Picciotto: No. I mean we've played in places like Poland, Sweden, other countries -- we've played shows which were like a hundred and fifty kids, four hundred kids -- smaller than this, definitely.
S: Do you get a good response abroad and the places no one has heard of you?
GP: Well, I don't really know how to define a good response. Like for us, a good evening, a really successful evening, is if we played well and we delivered. So I mean, yeah, sometimes people like us, sometime they don't know us. I don't know. It's really hard for me to judge, I mean, I can only judge it on the way that we play, I can't -- you would have to interview the people who come to see how they receive us.
S: Many tours are a prelude to material about to be released -- I noticed you played some songs that I had not heard before -- are you about to release a new album?
GP: Yeah, we don't tour in conjunction with releases or not, we tour when we have time and it just so happens we recorded in January a eleven song album which should be out, I guess -- I hope, in July, but we'll see. Either July, August, September . . . It's called "Steady Diet of Nothing" and it's eleven songs.
S: Will it be different in any way from your previous albums?
GP: I think the biggest difference is that we produced it ourselves which we've never done before and we did it pretty fast. And it's got a much different feel and sound than I think the last record [had.] But in terms of themes, I mean, I think all the records have many many different themes and so does this record. So I would just say, we wrote a bunch of songs, we went in, we recorded them, and this is it.
S: Why did you produce it yourself this time? Are you not working through Dischord?
GP: Oh, no -- we're doing it through Dischord. I'm talking about the production, I'm talking about in the studio. Usually we use a guy named Ted Nicely or a guy named John Loder to produce our records and this time we couldn't get it together with Ted becuase he was busy doing another job. So we said we'll just try to produce it ourselves and see if it works and then it actually turned out pretty good. And so then we decided to release it.
S: Most of the members have been in other bands before -- do you feel that Fugazi is a culmination or do you feel that there is something further that you might be able to do in the future?
GP: That's a tough question. I've been playing n bands since I was sixteen, every band has been with Brendan, the drummer and so, obviously the music has changed. And different bands that Ian has been in, obviously the styles have changed, take[n] different approahces. But the way I look at this band, this is the most functional band that I have been in -- we're able to tour, we're able to release records, we're able to get along for more than one year at a time which is kind of novel for me being in a band. And I think whatever challenges we want to put to ourselves musically, whatever, I think, at this point, we're going to try do it with this band. And when it no longer functions, it no longer challenges us, we'll just disband and do something else.
S: How did Fugazi come together?
GP: Brendan and I were in a band called Happy Go Liky and at the same time Joe and Ian were playing together in a basement and Brendan was just sitting in as part time durmmer. They had gone through a bunch of drummers and Brendan was just helping them out. And then Happy Go Licky was gradually falling apart and Brendan kinda decided that he was going to join Fugazi and I joining kinda as a roadie at first and then as sometimes singer and then finally as a member.
S: A lot of your music carries a great deal of meaning. Is there a particular mesage you try to get across or is it just a general social/political theme that you try to portray? I could ask about particular songs but that would take all night. Is there anything in particular you feel you want to say?
GP: No, really there's not. I mean if there was one message or whatever we could have put on a slab of vinyl, released it and be done with it. We're musicians, we've a lot of interests, a lot of ideas and the music reflects that. If we were a one message band I don't know why people would want to bother coming to see us. I mean, they're in the songs. I don't write , I don't paint -- I do music. So what I want to say is in the music so, there it is.
S: So, music to you is an art form; it's not just getting up and playing for money.
GP: It's not getting up and playing for money. I don't know if it is art or not. It's what I do and if it was something I was doing for money I would have stopped maybe about five or six years ago because it wasn't paying off back then, I'll tell you that.
S: Is this a full time job for you then?
GP: About a year ago, I stopped working. Before that, for the first three years of this band, I was working in record stores, bookstores, and washing dishes. And then - now we're touring to keep the point where it is impossible to keep a job at home so, . . . and it's paying for itself. So, yeah, I do this full time.
S: You have reached a great deal of acceptance; what do you think might be some of the reasons for this?
GP: I don't know ad I don't really think about it that much. I mean, you really need to talk to some of the people coming out and buying our records or come to see our shows. I think all it is -- we're a band and we do things exactly the way we want to do them and if people respond to that, great, and if they don't respond to that, that is something that's too bad. We just basically carry ourselves as we want to, so I'm glad people like it.
S: A lot of DC music and a lot of the bands that you have been in have set a nation-wide trend. Do you feel yourself as a trend-setter?
GP: I don't see a DC music trend. I think that there are a lot of bands in DC that are good and they all do different things. OS I don't recognize a trend. I don't really care too much about trneds. We play music that we're able to -- we go, we practice , we write, and this is what we do.
S: Final question: What would you call your music -- hardore, punk, what?
GP: I don't call it anything.


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Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Hold Steady songs

Tonight at the Hold Steady, Art Brut, 1990s show, the Hold Steady at Terminal 5 in New York, played 3 new songs: Stay Positive, Ask Her For Adderall, and another one I didn't catch the name of (it had Strange in it). The first two were pretty fast and the third was pretty slow. All three: pretty awesome.

For the Hold Steady's last song, Art Brut's Eddie Argos and Ian Catskilkin joined them on stage. I'll try to post some video when I find it, but let me just tell you, the British accent brings a whole new element to the Hold Steady. Whether that's a good thing, I'm not too sure. But Jackie McKeown of 1990s (who put on another great, great, great performance) was dancing along with the entire set (including the 30 seconds of Art Brut's Hold Steady cameo) also, so you know the set itself had to be good.

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