Archive for 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007

Wu-Tang Clan 8 Diagrams [review]

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I was so devoted to the Wu. I remember, like 1994-1997, I was a devoted student of the Wu-Tang teachings, as were many of my peers. I bought (!!) and studied their output, and a lot of my pre-adult years were spent finding myself in a RZA beat. Now, in 2007, they've come back, formed like a discombobulated Voltron, and delivered 8 Diagrams. Many of my peers of today have said their peace... now here's mine:

This starts out with something I haven't heard in a while: kung fu samples. I'm not too keen on the singing, though. It's not bad, just kind of out of place. Method Man def. sounds like he's back on his grind, even if he is dropping Timbaland/Timberlake lines. This beat has a few things going on - that drone on the under is dope as hell.

"Take It Back"
Best track on the album, that's my word. It's also pretty frustrating, considering that it's track 2. The chorus is ass, but it definitely explains the track: they took it back, forreal. I love the cuts in this one, even if it doesn't sound live. Oh shit, Easy Mo Bee co-produced this. No wonder. And is it just me, or does Raekwon use this flow every other track?

"Get Them Out Ya Way Pa"
It's kind of awful that the best thing about a track is the chorus. This track is straight weird, with the odd bassline going on in there. Masta Killa's verse fits perfectly: both his verse and the track are undeniably Hip-Hop, but on that offbeat, off-kilter shit.

"Rushing Elephants"
I love the title, but I do not like the beat. RZA's verse is wack, he keeps repeating the same words, and the ones he does not repeat, are so predictable I feel like I'M the one smoking the honey dipped blunts (and sippin' on cranbewwy fwoot jooce). As a matter of fact, GZA's verse was sub-par as well.

"Unpredictable (ft. Dexter Wiggles)"
WTF is a Dexter Wiggle? Deck always sounds hungry when he gets his rhymes on. This one has an interesting string work on this, but that guitar feedback shit is just not working for me. I also don't know what the hell is going on. Is the track supposed to mirror the title? If so, that's mad predictable. That hard guitar shit has no business on this track, it's like forced leftfieldism.

"The Heart Gently Weeps (ft. Erykah Badu, Dhani Harrison & John Frusciante)"
This is the track that sampled the Beatles, only not really. I had this on on the busride home and fell asleep. All three verses are dope, but I'm not really into this at all. That muted guitar reminds me of Carlos Santana for some odd reason, which is not something I want on my Wu-Tang plate. This sounds like it's trying to appeal to the Adult Contemporary crowd, which again, is just not necessary. What Wu fan is trying to hear this?

OK so ODB smoked crack, and he died. To replace him, they bring in George Clinton. And it sucks. His contribution would sound nice on a P-Funk record. The beat isn't that bad, though. Not an all-out banger, but I like that looped vocal in the beat. For a 4 minute, 16 second track, this shit feels like its 9 minutes long.

"Gun Will Go (ft. Sunny Valentine)"
This definitely has potential. The guitar sounds like a Portishead loop. As a matter of fact, the whole thing sounds like a Portishead track. That chorus sucks. A lot. The track is called "Gun Will Go", but dude keeps saying "gunna go gunna go!". Mef comes correct as well.

I had high hopes based on the kung fu flick sample in the beginning. I thought I was going to be transported to 1993. Nope, I get some Bobby Digital sounding bullshit. RZA, verses like these sounded out of place on Gravediggaz albums - what makes you think we need THIS!?!?

"Stick Me For My Riches"
God awful track, which Mathematics co-produced. Damn near the first minute and a half is singing? Next!

"Starter (ft. Sunny Valentine & Tashmahogany)"
I love the loop in this, that odd horn thing. This beat is one of the better jawns, really heady RZA head-stash flavors. I hate the chorus, though. First time I've heard GZA go at some sex rhymes in the longest.

The strangest beat out of the bunch... that random loop sounds familiar as hell. I swear its a Portishead loop... but its from Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang" (I guess that Kill Bill shit is good for more than a quick buck). Raekwon sounds dope over the beat, but it's Masta Killa who sounds the most at-home. I'd love to hear him do a spoken word LP over the RZA's most off-center tracks.

"Weak Spot"
I hate when RZA jacks those common drumbeats and tries to be all innovative on top. This is boring and lazy. GZA comes fluid on this one, I love it.

"Life Changes"
The Dirt McGirt tribute track, sans Ghostface. I hate that he isn't included. I wished something like this would have dropped around the time he died, and not years later. I also do not like how they pushed this release a month after it was supposed to. Such a bad omen. And why does the Genius wonder what ODB would say on a track that speaks on his passing?

"Tar Pit"
U-God sounds weak on his verse, like his style is being 2 steps behind the beat, like that's hot (and wtf is "dopium"?). This track would have sounded iller with lighter, sampled drums. That hard drum doesn't work for the sweet sounds in here.

"16th Chamber (ODB Special)"
I love how this bonus track is two recycled verses (one from Meth, one from ODB) over a vintage beat. Fun, but I don't see the point.

Which is how I feel about the majority of this album. What the hell is the point? There's no running theme, no common thread to link these tracks together. All members seem to be spitting about nothing in particular, whether its hard or OK. The best tracks on this album wouldn't even make a dope EP. I love the new-found vigor in the rhymes of Meth and Deck, and Masta Killa shines over a ton of the weirdest, most out-there productions on this set, but as a whole, this CD is one hot ghetto mess. With Birkenstocks on.

rock the dub gives 8 Diagrams a 2.75 out of 5. It pains me to say it, but this could have been left on the wayside. I won't say Rae and Ghost were right, but the production leaves a lot to be desired. And for as abrasive and in-your-face as some of the rhymes are, you'd think the sonics would match them. Maybe next go 'round?

Burn Deez: "Take It Back", "Life Changes", "Windmill", "Starter"

Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams is in stores December 11th, 2007. Hit up the Wu-Tang Mega Store to purchase this CD, as well as other Wu-related music and merch.

related links:
Wu-Tang Clan on MySpace
Wu-Tang Corp.

Portishead LIVE at ATP (Dec. 7th 2007)

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Shouts to dude on DOA who linked these clips. The assumption is that these are new tracks, for I haven't heard them. No word on the names, though. Get invovled:

The Observation Deck (10th Dec. 2007)

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expect to see more of this in the coming year...

  • The Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 in favor of reducing crack offense sentences. I'm telling you, the blocks are about to get dumb hot.
  • Michael Vick has been sentenced to 23 months for funding the fighting of dogs. With good behavior, my guess is he'll be out in half that time.
  • Imeem has lucked out and is inking a deal with Universal Music to allow users to listen to UMG artists' music for free.
  • Over at HYSMD, we recently covered Jamaal Tinsley's recent late-night gun battle in Indy. What a moron.
  • The details for Pimp C's funeral are up at XXL.
  • Shouts out to this nun who had the balls to ban a list of words, and just to get her point across, read the ENTIRE list, curse words and all, to the kids.
  • Venezuela has it's own time zone. They set their clocks back a whole 30 minutes, in some shit that just sounds like "yo we gonna do this because we can".
  • Tonight's the big three-hour WWE Raw 15th Anniversary show. Tune in to see which stars will be poppin' in (Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin will be there, and I even heard a rumor that 2 Cold Scorpio will be in the house).

Put that in your crack pipe and geek out.

"Cookies & Milk"

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Here's a clip from The Perfect Holiday, which is in theaters this Wednesday (Dec. 12th), and stars Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Katt Williams, Charlie Murphy, Terrance Howard, Queen Latifah and a host of other Black actors in an "African American Christmas family film". Looks funny, I'd def. check this one out.

Check out the trailer HERE.

Fully Flared

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I'm not the biggest skateboarding fan, but I like seeing good skateboarding. Here's Lakai's Fully Flared in its entirety, apparently. Cop the DVD here.

Drama Gangsta Grillz: The Album [review]

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I've actually been waiting for this CD for a bit. After the feds swooped down on him, I assumed he was going to put the whole project on freeze, so I applaud Drama, Don Cannon and the rest of the AMG fam for pressing on and creating this opus, which combines the hot beats of a dope mixtape and, well, the ridiculous rhymes of a dope mixtape.

"The Setup"
The intro to this disc is a skit showing what probably happened during the raid of Drama and Cannon's studios. It's done well, but it's not really funny or anything, plus it's predictable - I knew dude was going to throw this disc in his CD player after the raid. It'd be a dope setup to the album if this was something that was constant throughout the CD.

"Gangsta Grillz (ft. Lil' Jon)"
Lil' Jon gets his nigga on, being crazy ignorant and non-rappin'. Big bottomed beat on this one, which is basically a minute and a half of Jon talkin'. Yawn.

"Takin' Pictures (ft. Young Jeezy, Willie The Kid, Jim Jones, Rick Ross, Young Buck And T.I.)"
Dame Grease produced a heater of a track on this. It's a simple enough melody, but it has that intensity and fury. Big anthem for those d-boys and shit on the block. Jeezy lets us know he wants to be a crack dealer, Willie tries to sound relevant, Jimmy still drops "ballin'!" adlibs, Rick Ross sounds like Jeezy with swag, and Young Buck is just happy to be included. T.I. waxes everything without really saying anything. One of the highlights of this disc.

"Keep It Gangsta (ft. Yo Gotti, Webbie & Lil' Boosie)"
What a waste. Wack beat, wack MCs, predictable all the way through.

"Cannon (Remix) (ft. Lil' Wayne, Willie The Kid, Freeway & T.I.)"
The original was a wild number with Busta Rhymes and Tip going for broke over a heater of a Cannon track. This one doesn't top it, sadly. You'd think someone like Weezy could do the track justice, but he's spat better on lesser beats. I am not feeling Willie at all... he sounds like he's trying to be Papoose, like that's hot. Freeway does the beat justice, and Tip sounds weird, like he had a cold. Why touch ill shit?

"Makin' Money Smokin' (ft. Willie The Kid & LA The Darkman)"
Why? ... answer me that.

"5000 Ones (ft. Nelly, T.I., Diddy, Yung Joc, Willie The Kid, Young Jeezy & Twista)"
The pre-requisite skrip club track. And it sucks. It tries everything to be "Make It Rain", but fails. Ultimately, an expensive turd.

"The Art Of Storytellin' Part 4 (ft. OutKast & Marsha Ambrosius)"
Noz already let you guys know how ill the Andre verse is. Cannon's beat is a gem, understated and smooth, letting true MCs do what they need to. Probably the most Hip-Hop track on the disc, and another true highlight.

"Katt Williams Interlude"
What's pimpin', pimpin'? Katt just doing his thing, talkin' about smokin' weed and being his hilarious self. Not really necessary, but I am a fan.

"187 (ft. Project Pat, BG and Eightball & MJG)"
This track got that 808 drum rockin'. Project Pat's flow got old years ago, but its funny to hear him say shit the way he speaks. Not really a track you put on to get into. It's one of those tracks that you end up keeping on when you are passing a dutch in a car on a cold night. You don't want to listen to it, but it's OK enough to let ride.

"The Mad DJ"
Dumb interlude where some white girl buys the Gangsta Grillz mixtape while some dumb dude wants a DJ AlmostDoesn'tCount mixtape. I don't know many mixtape sellers who will tell you that they don't want to sell you something. That never happens in my hood.

"Beneath The Diamonds (ft. Devin The Dude, Twista, LA The Darkman & Mr. Porter)"
Some pimp shit. Lovin' that smoooth ass beat. I mean anything with Twista AND Devin The Dude is beautiful idea. D12's Mr. Porter does his thing with the beats though.

"Talk About Me (ft. Young Buck, Lloyd Banks & Tony Yayo)"
I love this beat. Nottz is the man with his. Young Buck's verse and chorus are laughable. Lloyd phones in his 16, and Yayo... Yayo. I know MCs like to do doubles, to accent certain lines and shit. Yayo sounds like he's trying to be his own hypeman, which sucks when all of his lyrics are garbage.

"No More (ft. Lloyd, Willie The Kid & T.I.)"
Is this an attempt at a radio single? If so, it sucks. And why is Willie The Kid all over this? He is not someone you should be building an empire around.

"Diddy Interlude"
Diddy sucks on Drama's dick. Explains why Dram is called "Mr. Thanksgiving". Yawn.

"Throw Ya Sets Up (ft. Yung Joc, Willie The Kid, Jadakiss And LA The Darkman)"
Why Jadakiss is in between these bullshit MCs is a great Question. Cannon's got a batch of beastly beats. I think, with a beat this fierce, they coulda took out Willie, Joc and LA and put in, like, Beanie Sigel, Ghostface and who knows... Kool G Rap or some shit. They fucked the dog on this one.

"Aye (ft. Young Dro & Big Kuntry King)"
P$C in the house. I'm not the biggest fan of either Dro or Kuntry, but this has a nice bop to it. The Runners are everywhere... on the low.

"Grillz Gleamin' (ft. Lil' Scrappy, Bohagon, Diamond & Princess (Of Crime Mob))"
What a bunch of bullshit. Is that an R. Kelly sample in this? This beat sounds unfinished. And the rhymes sound unfocused. Too weak of a track this late in the disc.

"Gettin' Money (ft. Paul Wall, Killa Kyleon, Lil' Keke & Slim Thug)"
Texas in the house. Nice laidback 'Lac ridin' music. Not that that's always dope, but you can chief and bop to this one.

The boss at the precinct gets upset because they busted mixtape DJs. That's the only connection to "The Setup", which is just sad, given the potential for commentary Dram could have exhibited.

"Cheers (ft. Pharrell & The Clipse)"
Dope Khao beat, with some sly bass in it. Skateboard P said this is for the fly Spanish girls, then just spits garbage. Pusha & Malice let us know that they can murk beats that are NOT Neptunes creations. Fire.

I'm disappointed. The potential = right there. Don Cannon, fly guest MCs, but this is just like your misguided mixtapes. No underlying, interconnecting theme. No genre-defining moments. It has some dope tracks on it, but it's muddied by a host of wack rappers, tired beats, and seems to be thrown together to capitalize on old trends.

rock the dub gives Gangsta Grillz: The Album a 2.5 out of 5. The pros don't outweight the cons by a long shot. If you want to sip on some 'gac and puff a few blunts, this is the soundtrack to that. If you are looking for the real, you will be more disappointed than anything.

Burn Deez: "The Art Of Storytellin' Part 4", "Talk About Me", "Takin' Pictures"

related links:
DJ Drama on MySpace
The Aphilliates website
Gangsta Grillz website

Michael Jackson Thriller 25th Anniversary info

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Coming February 12, 2008, the 25th Anniversary Edition of Michael Jackson's Thriller drops on Epic/Legacy Recordings. This is a deluxe edition, with brand-new 2008 remixes of classic joints, unreleased tracks and DVD footage, which includes digitally-restored short films, as well as MJ's performance from Motown 25. Check out the info:


Thriller: Original Tracklisting
1. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" - (#5 Hot 100, #5 R&B)
2. "Baby Be Mine"
3. "The Girl Is Mine" (with Paul McCartney) - (#2 Hot 100, #1 R&B, #1 Adult Contemporary)
4. "Thriller" - (#4 Hot 10, #3 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks)
5. "Beat It" - (#1 Hot 100, #1 R&B)
6. "Billie Jean" - (#1 Hot 100, #1 R&B, #9 A/C)
7. "Human Nature" - (#7 Hot 100, #2 Adult Contemporary)
8. "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" - (#10 Hot 100)
9. "The Lady in My Life"

Bonus Material
10. Vincent Price

Previously Unreleased Tracks For 25th Anniversary Edition
11. The Girl Is Mine 2008 with*
12. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008 with Michael Jackson and*
13. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 with Michael Jackson, Akon and*
14. Beat It 2008 with Fergie*
15. Billie Jean 2008 with Kanye West*
16. For All Time (unreleased track from original Thriller sessions)*

Bonus DVD
The Videos
1. Thriller
2. Beat It
3. Billie Jean
4. Billie Jean performance from Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever
How sick is that. I figured that the tracks Kanye West, Akon and were working on were NEW tracks, not 2008 versions. I am also kind of surprised that Kanye wasn't on P.Y.T., given it was the basis of "Good Life", but I digress.

This is one for the casual fan and the fan who is ga-ga for MJ. "Lady In My Life" is the jam, and I know my mom still has 2 copies of this on wax in the attic. I grew up on this album, and might have to grab this...

Wyclef Gets It

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Over at XXL's Scratch blog, the transcriptions from a Wyclef cover story are being posted up. Part 1 has Wyclef totally understanding what exactly the Internet and bloggers can do for an artist:

“I think really with the internet, that’s the A&R. So if you want to know who I think the real A&R’s of today are, [it’s] the kids that are on the internet. I’ll give you an example. Take a Wyclef Jean song ‘If I was President.’ Every kid knows that song. It’s not like the song got any radio airplay, they seen that shit on Dave Chappelle, [and downloaded] it. Now over twenty million kids know that song. If you go on the internet its up there with ‘Gone Til November.’ Then you gotta be like, ‘Hmm, interesting.’ But Clef ain’t really never get no airplay for this song. How can that be? Now, honestly bro, an A&R would skip right through that song because that song wouldn’t be a song that’s played on the radio, you know what I’m saying? But we cant run away from the new wave that we’re expressing. So I feel like back in the days we had those underground systems where we heard new records, so today the internet actually is that world where you can put anything on and then the crowd could decide. With Youtube and with Myspace, now you’re able to connect quicker. And so you start off with your Myspace page, you know, you can go ok, all of the people are listening… send out a blog now. ‘Yo what up, I’m working in the studio on The Carnival 2. I’m about to hit ya’ll with this crazy Paul Simon/Wyclef record, some of you motherfuckers is too young to know who Paul Simon is. You other motherfuckers know whats going on, that shit got that acoustic flavor so check it out. Give forty seconds of it. Now you know that the bloggers is gonna go crazy. They gonna find it. And I think that’s like the coolest shit. And at the end of the day its going to turn to revenue. Whether through record sales, whether through live shows, whether through endorsements.”
If that ain't the truth I don't know what is - well, I don't know about 20 million kids know "If I Was President", but I get his point. I knew it was a reason why I copped The Score and Carnival. I might have to go peep that CD. Shout out to the Fugees.

BONUS BEATS: I been feelin' the "Sweetest Girl (Remix)" anytime I catch it on 106 & Park. I love how 'Clef threw "C.R.E.A.M." in there.

Wyclef Jean ft. Akon, Lil' Wayne & Raekwon "Sweetest Girl (Remix)"

And for ish and giggles, here's the video for "Fast Car", which features Paul Simon:

Friday, December 7th 2007 playlist

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Fucked up week. We lost a true soldier. The leaks were kind of dry (the list isn't super small, but it's not rivaling weeks past...), and I'm just in an odd mood. Don't sleep on the top 5, believe me.

01/Pimp C ft. P.O.P. & Lil' Keke Vs. ANS "Knockin' Doorz Down (DJ Nappy Thugstep Refix)" [RIP Chad Butler]
02/Che Grand "Swing" [do NOT sleep!]
03/Scarface "Git Out My Face" [did you check out my review?]
04/DJ K.O. ft. Phonte, Wordsworth, K-Hill & Masta Ace "Ladder Of Success" [smoooth!]
05/Riskay Vs. Reform "Dope Girl (DJ Nappy THUGSTEP Refix)" [i love that beat. her seductive rhymes sound so ill over it. Another win.]


let it rain...


Here's Young Chris & Mick Boogie's birthday gift to Hova: The Newprint mixtape. Young Chris spitting over old Jay-Z tracks. Tracklist:

1. The C-Lude
2. Dead Presidents
3. Excuse Me Miss
4. Newprint Interlude
5. What More Can I Say
6. A Week Ago
7. Allure
8. Newprint Interlude
9. Big Brother
10. Never Change
11. Secret Weapon
12. This Can't Be Life (f/ Pooda Brown)
13. Newprint Interlude
14. Threats
15. A Million And One
16. Guess Who's Back (f/ Pooda Brown)
17. Bonus Track: Roc Boys Remix (f/ Jay-Z)

WTF is a Pooda Brown?


Cosmo Baker and DJ Spinna linked up and dropped this limited edition CD for Digiwaxx Media. The CD is mad rare, but the mix is available for download. Peep out The Get Back:

1: Intro
2: The ARE Featuring Dem Damb Jacksons "Oh" Featuring Denis of Neon Collar
3: Ryan Leslie "Diamond Girl"
4: Kanye West "Flashing Lights" Mick Boogie Remix Featuring Dwele & 50 Cent
5: The Boys And Girls Club "Summer In The City"
6: S.O.U.L. Purpose "The Way We Live"
7: Camp Lo "Black Hollywood"
8: Common "The Game"
9: Terminology "So Amazing"
10: South Rakkas Crew "Real Hot"
11: M.I.A. "Hit That"
12: Q-Tip "Work It Out"
13: Big Moe "Confidential Playa"
14: Brother Reade "Let's Go"
15: Andre 3000 "Banana Zoo"
16: Wale "Good Girls"
17: King Britt "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs"
18: Cool Kids "What It Iz"
19: Mike the 2600 King "Oh Yeah"
20: Pharoahe Monch "Welcome To The Terrordome"
21: Pete Rock "We Roll"
22: Guilty Simpson "Make It Fast"
23: NYGz "Ya Dayz R #'d"
24: J Live "Red Light Green Light"
25: Waajeed "W-A-A-J-E-E-D"
26: DJ Spinna Featuring Phonte "Dillagence"
27: Supreme Team "See"
28: Common "Black Maybe"

You know you want it.

Check out this week's FYLP for a nice helping of DNB flavorfuls. Loads of mixes from the following cats: Vicious Circle, Breakage, Spor (with MC AD), Sol.ID, Boj Lucki, soulTec, DJ Bailey (steppin' in for Mary Anne Hobbs' Experimental BBC Radio 1 show), and the return of Dylan's FREAKSHOW Radio program. Hot.


Rizoh spread the word about the American Gangster acapellas going around. I haven't listened to either of these, but there are two projects already surfacing: American Gangster Opera and Billboard Gangsters, a Jay-Z Vs. Elvis thing. Interesting...


Monsta, who represents LIFE4LAND, and is dropping both DnB and Dubstep tracks, knocked out his first podcast. This premier mix is 30 mins long and features L4L cuts, as well as some DnB and Dubstep. Tidy:

1.MDS - message to the core
2.Luke Envoy - mugen
3.Jam Baxter / Dirty Dike - too many steps
4.Mr Key - freestyle
5.Stivs - Babylon
6.Ghost - putting down some letters
7.Monsta feat Mr Key - space raiders
8.Life4land feat SMB - cribs
9.Dirty Dike / Ed Scissortongue - who am i
10.Monsta - gimme the weed


RIP Pimp C.
UGK "Wood Wheel"

UGK "The Game Belongs To Me"

Have a good weekend, folk.

American Hustle: The Movie

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I forgot to add this to my Christmas list:

Scarface Made [review]

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I knew that this CD would be good, but I was still surprised at how consistently dope this disc was. I've been a fan of Scarface's, but for some reason I don't own a lot of his material. I am going to change that very soon, and his 7th (and final?) solo LP, Made, made me do it...

Pretty straight forward on this intro. We reestablish that we hate you punk ass snitches, you B.A.N.'s, and we reppin' for them real niggas. And damn, 'Face been doing the damn thing for 20 years? Holla...

Best track on the album, and the first new Scarface track I heard off this joint. Just has that hypnotic beat, and the way he plays his rhymes off the "never" sample in the beat was a nice touch. If you wanted to know what 'Face stood for, just put this one on and listen carefully. Real nigga quotes through and through.

"Big Dogg Status (ft. Wacko)"
Nice, 808-and-fake organ beat. Dude is just straight boastin' in this one, slippery smooth flow with that hard edge to it. Thick funk for the trunks.

"Girl You Know (ft. Trey Songz)"
This is the single. Scarface is lettin' you ho's who stay with the Q&A that he is gonna do whatever he wants, but he still loves you. Sort of. Nottz did his thing on the beat.

"Burn (ft. Z-Ro)"
Stone-cold killer feel. Scarface puts you in the passenger seat, letting you know what's going through the mind of a dude who just took someone's life and is escaping from the scene. That chorus is so involved. So involved.

"Go (ft. Nina)"
I feel like this a lot - just need to get the fuck out of the spot every now and again. Get out of everything and just go zone out. Not that you hate your family, you just need time for delf. This beat isn't the dopest, and while the chorus works, I could have done without it personally.

Tone Capone with a wild track on this one. Scarface comes from the gut with this flow. The beat has these sounds that remind me of raindrops, or could it be change falling from the sky? I don't like the chorus on this one either.

"Boy Meets Girl (ft. Tanya Herron)"
One of the top tracks on this disc. This is some ghetto Romeo & Juliet shit. The story catches you in the end, and it's worth the wait. Another funky number, but on the slower pace.

"Who Do You Believe In"
Dude reminds me of Pac on this one. Just goes extra hard and poetic into the social commentary. Nice, organic sounding beat. I'd love to hear 'Face rock these tracks live with a band behind him. I also like how the chorus is just the title said twice, and the rest is left blank. Dope track.

"Git Out My Face"
Hardcore Hip-Hopera. Complete with an opera chorus singing some shit about "fake ass niggas". The way the strings are worked with that beat are dope, too. One of the most original beats on the album, and a bit off center from the rest of the disc, but one of the sleeper gems. Scarface just goes at it on this one.

"The Suicide Note"
Not since Biggie's "Suicidal Thoughts" has a Hip-Hop track about death left me speechless. Super storytelling on this one, with 'Face delving into a situation where he leaves a suicidal friend only to have to turn back around to a grisly discovery. Ill, too ill.

Instrumental of the beat from the intro. Really moody, macabre shit. Cinematic almost.

All in all, one great Hip-Hop album. I am upset that Scarface is planning on not doing any solo albums anymore, for he is one of the only guys who can, lyrically, keep you involved throughout an entire long player by himself. You see those features? Those are all cats on hooks - Face shares no verses. And he doesn't need to. He seems to never smile, but for the dark, gritty, real life subject matter, no smiles or happiness is needed. Know what you expect, and give this elder-statesman of Hip-Hop his props.

rock the dub gives Made a 4 out of 5. For what it is, it performs perfectly. Dope beats, raw rhymes, and a constant theme. 'Face does it the best.

Burn Deez: "Git Out Of My Face", "The Suicide Note", "Never", "Burn"

"Girl You Know" video:

Is Jay-Z Chunking The Deuce?

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News like this is nothing new - it seems like every 6 months or so, another article or rumor is out, saying that Jay-Z is going to be leaving Def Jam. I am only posting this because XXL is reputable, even if this bit comes from a New York Daily News piece:

With Jay-Z presidential contract with Def Jam expiring at the end of December, it looks like the rapper’s future at the label is uncertain, according to one report. An article in the New York Daily News’ Rush & Molloy gossip column today claims that contract renewal negotiations between Jay-Z and the Universal Music Group have hit a wall. “He wanted big, big money that was way out of sync with the realities of today’s record business,” an anonymous source told the paper, also claiming that L.A. Reid and UMG big boss Doug Morris are said to have found Jay’s demands “excessive” in light of the time he’s been spending on tour.

“People have lost count of how many times he’s come out of retirement,” the source went on. “Everybody knows he’s not around the office much. Everybody at Universal loves him, but they can’t justify paying him the money he wants when so many people have been laid off.”

Still, a “friend” of Jay’s told the paper that “the talks will continue when he returns
to New York. They still have a ways to go before a decision.”

What do you guys think? Do you think Jay is silly enough to ask for some wild amount of money, even if he's hardly in the office? I mean, he might not be in the office, but didn't Ne-Yo, Rhianna, Kanye West and others have a good year? I mean he might not be batting a thousand, but he does knock a good amount out of the park. More on this as it develops... or fizzles out into rumor smoke.

The Observation Deck (6th Dec. 2007)

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  • Bun B, Big Boi and Swizz Beatz spoke to MTV about the loss of Pimp C. TMZ has video of Mama Wes speaking on the love she's getting right now. Noz also posted parts 2 and 3 of his phone interview with Pimp C. RIP.
  • There's a new video blog from Layla Kayleigh up. She's afraid of the supernatural and likes to sing/rap to herself. Yum.
  • Since when does killing someone who is trying to rob you grounds to be arrested? This dude needs a medal for killing that Fabolous lackey.
  • Over at HYSMD, I have a post about the recent Jason Kidd fiasco with my NJ Nets. I am on pins and needles - we need Kidd to survive, on the real.
  • In Trenton, NJ, the Director of Police, Joe Santiago, says he cannot live within the city (which he is required, by law, to do, but is getting a pardon by the mayor) b/c a) he cannot afford it and b) he is afraid of gang threats. OK, in Trenton, NJ, the average income is something like $37K; this dude makes $100K a year. Come off it. Secondly, NIGGA YOU IS A POLICE! YOUR JOB IS TO STAND UP TO THE GANGS, NOT BE SHOOK OVER THEIR THREATS! He needs to go, for that ignorant comment alone.
  • Why does Keifer Sutherland get a 48-day sentence for drunk driving, but Lindsay Lohan got 84 minutes? America loves White Females.
  • Google and AIM have linked up through GMail chat. My days of productivity are over.
  • Chimps are found to be smarter than humans... on one memory test.
  • Ricky Hatton says he got into Floyd Mayweather's head, and I hope he did. I would love to see Mayweather get his shit pushed in.
  • Barry Bonds wants to play in 2008. Why, I don't know, but I think he should give it up. Just be easy and get ready for the trial, my dude.

Finally, STAND UP goes down TONIGHT in NYC. Cause, Hired Gun, NYOIL, and Donny Goines, plus a special guest. the iNTERNETS CELEBRITIES hosting. OhWord & SitDownStandUp collaboration. If you are in that area, get your ass out there.

On That Leak: Che Grand "Swing"

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Che Grand "Swing" - I've been waiting for this, the first single from Everything's Good Ugly, which is to drop during early 2008 - as long as everything works out fine. I've been feenin' for new Che music since I interviewed him last July, and I have not been disappointed. Dope rhymes, a funky beat, and that cool party vibe should set this one off for your upcoming winter jams. Turn this one up LOUD and get down!

related links:
Che Grand on MySpace
Che Grand's Blog
Download The Fixtape, from Che Grand & DJ Low Key (link is down right now, check back soon!)

Barak Yalad A Loss For Words [review]

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Calling both Springfield, Mass. and Brooklyn, NY home, Barak Yalad is one of the Rawkus 50, and his debut album, A Loss For Words, was released on the 27th of November. Dude is super lyrical, and the beats are definitely unique. Let's track-by-track this jawn:

Yalad is mad humble. He don't care if you download it, bootleg it, or whatever, he's just happy to have an album out after 18 years in the game. I love the weird backwards-sample loops in the beat. Kind of a random intro, but hey, it could be on some dumb shit like some other MCs...

"The Beginning"
Oooooo... any track that wheels itself mid-verse gets an instant grin from me. The beat is just ill by itself - imagine a Gregorian chant being looped and pitched, then add a funky bassline and tight drums to it. Def. takes me back to the headnodding tracks of '98. Dude's got rhymes galore, something that makes the title of this album mad ironic, but his voice and delivery reminds me of Pharoahe Monch during the later Organized Konfusion days, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That chorus is kind of lacking, but whatever.

I'm not a big fan of heavily-distorted rock-infused beats, but this one has me open. I like that "fitted like white-people's jeans" line, and dude def. has wild lines, but you have to pay mad attention, which is refreshing. There's mad shit going on in his verses...

I'm a sucker for beats that sample from like old TV shows or just that sound of the '50s and '60s. My assumption is that this is jacked from the Bewitched theme song, but that's just an assumption. Dude is stylin' on mad cats with his "slick talk and walk", but there's no real concept as of yet, which is a fault of many underground MCs. That "ritzy" sample at the end of the track is ill, too.

Ah, a track with more depth. Yalad spends this one breaking down things in life that are beautiful. You can imagine how this one goes down (peace is beautiful, not paying bills is beautiful), and it does exactly what you'd expect. Dude is mad insightful, and intelligent, though. Understated beat, not really one of the bangers on the disc.

"The Release"
I'm not really feeling this one at all. It seems like it's more about his spiritual ideals, I guess he is a muslim? Not really my thing, and that chorus reminds me of a random Busta Rhymes line...

Best beat on the entire album; sounds like some Shirley Temple shit. I do NOT like how he kind of just stopped rhyming at the end, instead repeating a mantra, but I do like how aggressive and, well, lion-esque he was on this one.

"Times Change"
This one puts me to sleep. The piano-driven sample sounds odd, like it has some weird filter on it. His rhymes are more on the tapping the paranoia and problems of our society today, but I've heard this numerous times in the past, and done a bit better than this.

"Eat you like a sandwich". Word. Dude just has rhymes for days. Not all of his lines pop, but put together its a heavy package. This is actually one of the odder cuts, only because he hits with so many lines, this is would be for the punchline-lovers, but its lacking in sharp darts. I really do like that beat, though, with that faint saxaphone in there.

"So Cool"
Interesting organ-driven beat on this one. One of the better choruses on this LP, too. This one would go down well in concert, has a nice swing to it.

"False Prophets"
So he's a Hebrew Israelite? I knew a kid who was a Hebrew Israelite. He used to sell FAT sacks of green, but then when I bought it, I'd be at his tiny crib, so we'd smoke out of the sack I brought. It was a lil better than schwag, but wasn't KB in any sense of the phrase. I saw the R. Kelly video AND Fight Club with this dude, and even performed his ceremony on a Friday night once. He used to kick this stuff, letting me know who was real and who was perpetrating. He was a cool dude, actually. I miss that guy.

"Crop Cream"
I dunno who this chick is rhyming on here, but she's kind of aggressive. "New Jack like Ice T" is a funny line. I was never big on beats like this; it's mad large, but that wailing in there just does not appeal to me. And I wasn't expecting dude to even speak about cats that "will eat your food", but yeah.

All in all, this is a solid set. I'm not sure I know a lot more about Barak than I did when I first heard this - I know he's lyrical and spiritual. He definitely has rhymes, maaaad rhymes, but sometimes it can be quite overwhelming, especially for a 12 track album that's less that 50 minutes long - I feel like I've sat through an hour and a half of lyrics. Some nice ideas on the beats, but really, you've heard a lot of this before. It's just good to hear Rawkus giving guys like Yalad the chance to shine in today's scene.

rock the dub gives A Loss For Words a 3.75 out of 5 stars. Dude has boatloads of rhymes, and the beats definitely knock, but the ultimate goal doesn't feel like it was met. I am intrigued, though, to hear what Barak Yaland has in mind in the future.

Burn Deez: "Lion", "So Cool", "Bewitch"

related links:
Barak Yalad on MySpace
Barak Yalad's Rawkus Profile
Barak Yalad on Facebook
Listen to the entire LP via Rhapsody

On That Leak (5th December 2007)

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Buckshot "Gangland" (prod. by Dirty Elegance) - this is the fruits of hard work. Buckshot and Dru Ha are slowly getting Duck Down Music closer to a status not readily achieved by independent Hip-Hop labels. They have the ESPN College Basketball deal jumping off, and now recently inked deals with both The History Channel (through their Gangland series), they've now got a deal with YouTube as one of their exclusive parternered clients, based off the videos they've been producing and throwing online. Add to that the recent interview with DJ Evil Dee, and it looks like Black Moon and Duck Down are plotting some serious world domination.

DJ K.O. ft. Phonte, Wordsworth, K-Hill & Masta Ace "Ladder Of Success" (prod. by Analogic) - shouts to Jimmy for sending this one over to me. You see that lineup? Yes it's as dope as it looks. Very dope track, ill ass rhymes - quality Hip-Hop, period. This is from DJ K.O.'s forthcoming Perception Is Everything EP (hit up his MySpace page for more info).

Anyone else trying to get their music to the public? Hit me with it -

40 Emcees

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Got the bug to post some Amanda Diva, due to the recent 15 Min. interview over at TSS:

The Best Of Both Offices

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You already know:

Ghostface Killah ft. Beanie Sigel & Styles P "Toney Sigel A.K.A. The Barrel Brothers"

Styles P ft. Beanie Sigel "You Ain't Ready"

Rik Cordero = on fire.

More on Pimp C

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Just keeping you guys abreast on the developments in the untimely passing of Pimp C:

  • TMZ is reporting that the coroner's office in L.A. is saying Pimp may have died from natural causes. This would be a relief. Many who know Hip-Hop and the UGK definitely knew how Pimp got down...
  • Sway has an article up on, remembering Pimp C.
  • Here's Part 1 of a phone interview Noz conducted with Pimp C for Scratch last December.
  • "Mama Wes" spoke on Pimp C's excitement about his forthcoming project, a collaboration with Three 6 Mafia (they are living out in Hollywood now, right? I wonder if there's a forthcoming season of Adventures In Holyhood with Pimp C footage)...

related links:
RIP Pimp C


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Pimp C ft. P.O.P. & Lil' Keke Vs. ANS "Knockin' Doorz Down (DJ Nappy Thugstep Refix)"

(more download links via sharebee)

I don't normally leak THUGSTEP like this, but with Pimp C passing, I felt I should unearth this refix my nigga Nappy did. The beat is kind of bouncy, very grimey, and sits well under those pro-unity lyrics.

BGDB posted this update, with words from Jive Records:

It is with great sadness that Jive Records announces the passing of Chad "Pimp C" Butler, a member of the celebrated rap duo UGK (Underground Kingz). Jive Records' President and CEO Barry Weiss states: "We mourn the unexpected loss of Chad. He was truly a thoughtful and kind-hearted person. He will be remembered for his talent and profound influence as a pioneer in bringing southern rap to the forefront. He will be missed and our prayers remain with his family and Bun B. I've known Chad since he was 18, and we loved him dearly and he was a cherished member of the Jive family."

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Butler's father was a trumpet player who played professionally with Solomon Burke. Outside of his father, the 33-year old rapper's influences varied, ranging from Bobby Bland, Jimmy McGriff, the 1960's Motown artists to Run DMC. Butler met his inseparable partner Bernard "Bun B" Freeman in high school where they formed UGK. In 1992, the duo signed to Jive Records and went on release a total of eight albums for the label. They earned their highest achievement earlier this year when their most recent album, UGK (Underground Kingz), debuted in the number one position on the album pop chart. According to the New York Times, UGK "helped inspire a generation of Southern hip-hop stars, from OutKast to Lil Wayne."

Bun B is not available for comment at this time.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the case is being looked at as a homicide as of right now, mainly due to there being no evidence of this being a natural death.

Enjoy this. Trill in Peace, Pimp C.

RIP Pimp C

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It's with a heavy heart that I write this... Pimp C, one half of Texas' Underground Kingz, was found dead today in Hollywood, California... if you aren't up on Pimp C, Bun B or UGK, I don't know what else to tell you. Grab their latest (shit, their last) album, pick up Pimp C's solo work, do the knowledge to their history and blast the shit out of their music.

Boo Goo Doo Boom had a dope UGK Week this past May; find some gems you might not be up on in there. Noz has always been a UGK supporter as well, check out the Cocaine Blunts posts featuring their work.

I don't know what else to say. Forever Trill, RIP Pimp C.

Pimp C "Knockin' Doorz Down" (uncut)

UGK LIVE @ Zune "Live At The BBQ"

Jay-Z ft. UGK "Big Pimpin'"

oddly enough, today is Jay-Z's birthday...

My heart goes out to Pimp C's family, Bun B, all of the Texas Hip-Hoppers, and everyone who got to experience Pimp C, whether it was a crazy interview or some hot tracks. He WILL be missed.

Praise God

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YBF is reporting that Lauren London is NOT engaged to Lil' Wayne. Thank God for that. Imagine what the babies would've looked like!

On The Set: "Sensual Seduction" video

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SKEE.TV takes us behind the scenes of Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction" video shoot in this segment:

EDIT: Snoop also spoke to Sucker Free to let you guys know the difference between Autotune and the Talkbox (shouts to Roger Troutman).

Ghostface Killah The Big Doe Rehab [review]


In recent promotions for The Big Doe Rehab, Ghostface has been seen with the goalie mask back on. I immediately took that as a sign of the God MC being back on his grisly, and I was 100% right. RZA is lucky that 8 Diagrams won't drop on the same date, for based on early reviews, The Wu woulda lost. And for good reason: Ghostface crafted one of, if not the, illest LPs of 2007. Not just on the basis of "yo these beats are dope" or "yo he has some wild rhymes on here", the shit just, end to end, is fire.

A hilarious intro sets the pace, early. Ghost encounters some dude flossin' at his table, trying to be really Big Will, and dude owes him money! Ghost promptly gets in dudes ass, and I can only assume that this is a metaphor for how Ghost feels in the current game of Rap. We are then immediately transported to a fire collaboration between Tony Starks and Beanie Sigel, going hard as hell on "Toney Siegel (AKA The Barrel Brothers)". "Yolanda's House" follows this, and is a surprisingly fluid mix of rhymes with Method Man and Raekwon. It's a hilarious tale of Ghost on the run, ending up in Mef's lady's crib, while Meth is airing her out! Just some wild stories and flows coming through here. You can forgive Ghost for sounding redundant, topic-wise, when he steps into the "I just murdered a man" story on "Walk Around", but he goes down a totally different lane, exposing the inner torment and paranoia that's birthed from an experience like that. We revisit Fishscale's "Shakey Dog" with "Shakey Dog Starring Lolita", jumping right into the robbery gone wild story, only this time we get to not only experience the Tarrantino-style story with a Robert Rodriguez-esque Mexican shootout with "!", which is a nice touch.

Most of Ghostface's lyrics are on that level, though: vivid, intricate descriptions, with smooth flows that make you smell the gun powder, duck from the gunshots, laugh at the blunt-soaked comedy, and just get enraptured in the world according to Ghost. "White Linen Affair (Toney Awards)" has Starks and Shawn Wigs taking you into a crazy awards show, with Tony serving as host and M.C. for the evening, with station breaks and such to boot. Ghost's son, Sun God, hit with a hilarious line ("if he lollygaggin'/word to momma I'm bodybaggin'"), but the rest of the Theodore Unit sounds like the Bravehearts through most of the album. "Paisley Darts" (one of 5 joints laced by LV and Sean C) sounds like an updated Enter The Wu-Tang flavor of a beat, with the wailing in the beat, the hypnotic drone, but with tighter drums. The production on the album is just lush, and a wicked combination of that hardcore grimey street flavor to the usual soulful-affairs that are now commonplace on a Ghostface longplayer. Scram Jones packs a string-driven gut punch with "Yapp City", which has loads of kicks alternating back and forth, accentuating the thunder and fury of the lyrics. One of two bonus tracks, "Killa Lipstick", has Ghostface waxing seductive sorcery over a loop of Faze O's "Riding High", weaving tales of sexy female hitmen, who seem to be the only females that Ghost is infatuated with. Method Man comes with a dope hook, and Masta Killa even steps in and murders his verse. There's seemingly nothing wrong with this disc.

And that's the beauty of Ghostface. He's rarely off when it comes to the darts, so it usually hinges on the production and the overall flow of the album. At just under 50 minutes, this album doesn't spend too much time trying to be something it's not. Ghost knows his role, and spends equal time dropping dark, edgey Rap tracks alongside more touching, heartfelt cuts in his own signature style ("I'll Die For You"). Hell, even the interludes that he doesn't rhyme or speak on (like the Ox-assisted "The Prayer") still speak volumes, and you can tell he's right there, big smile on his face, truly feeling everything.

The best thing about Ghostface's persona is that he is the epitome of real. He doesn't give a shit if you think he's weird for getting choked up about his people dying, or showing his true feelings when he takes a life, or is all about the witty scenarios, bringing comedy to situations like getting chased by the cops. It's all him, and all the marks of a true MC. He can create tornadoes where calm days laid, and make thunder appear from the palm of his hand. He will "fuck you will you die slow" and push your whole onion back, but you will know before you go that he had ample reason, and meant every inch of it. And it will sound fly as FUCK. If this isn't the best LP of 2007, let me know what is.

rock the dub gives The Big Doe Rehab a 4.75 out of 5. Ghost does everything right on this CD, wasting no time in giving you all facets of his personality, and matching the illest rhyme to the perfect beat. The only drawbacks: a lil' too much of the Theodore Unit, but even that is excusable with such quality around them.

Burn Deez: "Paisley Darts", "Shakey Dog Starring Lolita", "Tony Siegel", "Walk Around", hell, the entire CD is essential.

Ghostface's The Big Doe Rehab is in stores December 4th. Go grab that if you love Hip-Hop.

related links:
Ghostface on MySpace
Ghostface's Def Jam page
Ghostface breaking down the LP with MissInfo

On That Leak: Wordsmith "Ultimate Celebration"

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My boy Wordsmith has a new mixtape jumping off entitled The Revolution Begins With A Takeover, Vol. 1 (review forthcoming on this very site), which will be mixed by DJ Furious Styles, and is being sponsored by We here at rock the dub not only have a copy of the cover, we have the first single from the mixtape, as well as a special 10% off discount coupon ffrom Vintage Clothing Limited (that 10% is good for your ENTIRE order, and expires Jan. 12th 2008).

Wordsmith "Ultimate Celebration" (prod. by Lucki Handz)

Get that coupon:

The Observation Deck (3rd Dec. 2007)

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  • HBO's The Wire is BACK on the 6th of January, 2008. 2DB has the previews that are currently running on HBO HERE (I saw the one with Bubbles in rehab, but big up to 2DB for throwing the other ones up).
  • Don Imus came back this morning, and wanted you nappy-head ho's to know that his format is NOT going to change. More dry humor and boring conversation to be had! (NOTE: how should I feel that John McCain, his call-in guest today, ended his convo saying "Welcome back, old friend"?!)
  • Now they saying Miss Puerto Rock's belongings had no traces of pepper spray in them. Ain't that about a bitch.
  • Do you guys remember former American Idol finalist Jessica Sierra? Me neither, but apparently, upon being arrested for a drunken dispute at a bar, she not only flung racial slurs at one officer, she then turned around and offered up some sexual favors for her release. Ironically, she is the same woman who was the subject of a forthcoming VH1 show, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, but I'd imagine this show is not happening now.
  • What's good with Montel Williams telling high school reporters that he's gonna blow them up? I know he burns due to his MS, but what kind of green was he smokin' on!?
  • What's good with rumblings of a GameSpot employee getting fired over giving a low rating to a game, then not changing it? I understand you guys spend advertising dollars, but at the end of the day, a low score is just an opinion. I'd like to see how much harm that low rating does to that company's bottom line. Don't worry, I'll wait.
  • Are you a Battle Rapper? Fight Klub is looking for new talent for Season 2. Hit up their website or their YouTube channel for more info.

It never stops. Keep it locked...

rock the dub radio: episode 010

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10th episode, already? Seems like just last week I was embarking on this interesting ride. To help me celebrate my 10th episode, I present to you a mix in two parts: this is the first of the "Dub Vs Boom" sessions, with mixes from myself and my partner Enigmatik, who runs Boo Goo Doo Boom as well as blogs about Basketball with me over at "Have You Seen Me Dunk?". All I asked is that he throw some of his favorites into a mix. What he did was drop some new with a touch of some older jams as well. I went a bit further back, digging into some gems that I personally love. Check us out:

rock the dub radio: episode 010 (dub vs boom 001 - pop shots)

(direct MP3 download)


Part 1: Enigmatik
Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Pop Shots"
Wu-Tang Clan - "Life Changes"
O.C. - "M.U.G."
Little Brother - "Extra Hard"
Joell Ortiz - "125 pt. 2"
Jean Grae - "Until"
J Dilla - "Fuck The Police"
Ice Cube - "True To The Game"
Skillz f/Freeway - "You Don't Know"
DJ DMD f/Lil Keke, Fat Pat - "25 Lighters"
DJ Khaled f/Bun B, Paul Wall - "Hit 'Em Up"
DJ Drama f/Young Buck, The Outlawz - "Ridin' Down The Freeway"
G-Unit - "Feel Good"
Saigon f/Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz - "C'mon Baby (remix)"
Jay-Z f/Nas - "Success"

Part 2: khal
M.O.P. ft. ODB "Pop Shots RMX"
Freeway ft. Jay-Z & Beanie Sigel "What We Do"
The Roots "Dynamite!"
EPMD "You Gots To Chill"
Busta Rhymes "So Hardcore"
MF Grimm "Break 'Em Off (Intermission)"
Wu-Tang Clan "Heaterz"
Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killa & Masta Killa "Glaciers of Ice"
Boot Camp Clik "Headz Ain't Redee"
De La Soul "Itsoweezee (Hot)"
De La Soul ft. Common "The Bizness"
R.A. The Rugged Man "Casanova (Fly Guy)"
Jay-Z "It's Like That"
J-Live "Feel Like Spittin'"
Gems, man, gems. Shouts to E for the help-out; I'll keep you posted on the next Dub Vs Boom mix-up.

As per usual, any MCs/producers/labels/etc. trying to get their artist(s) some shine, hit me up with tracks.

rock the dub radio: the podcast \ RSS \ WGHH Radio

Lupe Fiasco The Cool snippets

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I'm no fan of Lupe Fiasco, at all. But, I know many of you guys are, and spotted the snippets to Lupe's forthcoming The Cool over at 2dopeboyz (via illRoots), so here they are. I figured SOMEONE has to listen to this and tell me how it sounds, b/c I don't think I'll be checking it out, based on my dislike of "Superstar" alone.

Styles P Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) [review]

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Last year, I reviewed Styles P's Time Is Money, and while I felt it overall, I was kind of upset that there was an overabundance of rhymes that, while dope, didn't have the STING that P usually infuses into his mixtape masterpieces. Since then, P left his previous label and linked up with Koch to bring forth Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), which must be a play on his debut solo album. He's progressed since that set dropped, but does that mean he is capable of dropping an end-to-end banger?

Well, if you're a D-Block fan, the answer is an undeniable "yes". On the short intro, Styles lets you know how he feels: "I'm better than all of you muthafuckas. Point, blank, period". What does he do next, though? Drops a weird ode to herb, "Blow My Mind", which has Swizz Beatz providing a track that sounds like more of an ode to someone's moms or lady, as opposed to a track devoted to getting ready to get blowed. I can see something like this going off well in concert, with Ls and bags of burn getting thrown around crazy, but not only P's flow can save this one on wax. This is followed by the random Ray J-featured "Let's Go". I was confused as to why Ray J is a) on the mic singing and b) on a Styles P album, but anyone who can smash Kim Kardashian, then get paid for the sextape can sing my eulogy. Hi-Tek's bottom-heavy bounce sets this one off perfect. Imagine getting lit with a chick to "Blow My Mind", then getting ready to go to the club or to the summertime cookout; "Let's Go" is the soundtrack to getting dressed and riding to the spot to get live. From then on, Styles lets loose with a barrage of that raw uncut. "Alone In The Streets" has Vinny Idol doing what he does best: throwing some ill piano flourishes overtop a hard kick. Paniro spends this track letting you know that he's out in the streets all night/morning trying to "get it in", although I find it hard to believe that a 33 year old dude is truly still in the game.

The Alchemist drops two heavy tracks for Styles: "All I Know Is Pain" has a very non-ALC beat (it actually sounds like a spiced-up Eminem instrumental), but it still knocks, allowing Ghost to pour his heart out about damn near everything. The other is "Green Piece Of Paper", which is another "wow, ALC produced that?" kind of tracks, and is one of the highlights of the album. Throw it on, hear the first bar, then WHEEL IT! Akon produces and is featured on "Got My Eyes On You" which, if you didn't pay attention to the lyrics, would sound like a serious anthem in those clubs where the rainbow triangle is prominent. This track is OK, but "I'll Still Kill" hits a bit harder. I was surprised at how much I dug "Look @ Her", what with P saying he needs to do a track for the females. P nails his persona nicely: a rugged, fitted-hat-low nigga dropping science about his lady, his way ("she remind you of your first .22/she real small and got alotta bang"). I saw that not only did P have Beans on this CD, but he had Ghostface as well. I was disappointed by the instrumental for "U Ain't Ready" (hey Dame Grease, who really wants to hear some melancholy, Drumline sounding beat?), but Beanie and P go back and forth nicely. "Star Of The State" is a bit better, but again it's more for the chemistry between P and Starks. Pete Rock comes correct with the flipped Isaac Hayes sample on "Gangster, Gangster", which features both Jadakiss and Sheek Louch doing what they do best: giving you that fire rap over a dope beat. I also loved hearing the Black Thought-assisted "Cause I'm Black", which features a line I use to this day, both in jokes and in serious convo, and has a dope, 70s Black Power/revolution feel to it. And if you have any question on how dope Styles is on the m-i-c, throw on "Da 80's", which has a throwback sound to it provided by the one and only Kid Capri.

What I dislike is that, there's mad gangster, and hardly any gentleman on here. Styles P prides himself on the duality of his character: he has spent most of his career being the intelligent hoodlum, the thug poet. And with a title like Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), you'd expect him to go hard in the 187um rhymes as well as the more conscious flows, but we don't see that at all. Kind of like how he did with Time Is Money and "I'm Black", which is disappointing. I can understand that you niggas won't buy an entire disc of pro-Black shit, nor will you cop that real deep, introspective shit, but with a guy like Styles P, who definitely has a large fanbase, it would take a cat like him, or a 'Kiss to help convert cats. Make those niggas on the block spend some time speaking on the ills of society instead of strictly speaking about which whip they are going to cop next. It's actually insulting; the title makes me immediately think that there should be some kind of balance, some kind of effect to explain the causes. But sadly, we get what P always brings us: that raw with no consequences.

In the end, you can't really blame P, though. It's damn near a documented fact that niggas don't buy shit that could be considered "smart". Tony Roberts' interludes personify the kind of niggas that are sheep, flocking to what their MC idols portray, but instead of giving them more food for thought, P just feeds them more. One of these days, our stomachs are going to bust, and who's fault will it be? I doubt MCs will take any responsibility, they were just going for the "Green Piece Of Paper"...

rock the dub gives Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) a 3.5 out of 5. For all of his intense, vivid rhymes, P fails to knock it out of the park. For all of the duality he spits in various interviews, his CD continues to fall back on the same jewels he always spits, which will no doubt satisfy hardcore D-Block-ites.

Burn Deez: "Green Piece Of Paper", "Da 80's", "Gangster, Gangster", "Cause I'm Black"

Styles P's Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) is in stores December 4th, 2007.

related links:
Styles P on MySpace
Styles P on Koch Entertainment

BONUS BEATS: "Blow My Mind" video:

Mixtape Sunday: Afroclassics & Bash Bros. present Workaholics

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Spotted this nugget over at GRANDGOOD. Some left coast Hip-Hop from Afroclassics (Scarab & Very) and Bash Bros. (Piseas & Lefty), linking up to unearth tracks featuring cats like Planet Asia, the Living Legends, Knows & Voice Watson. Grab Workaholics (which is mixed by DJ Icewater) EARLY!