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RiotControl Ten

The RiotControl squad (Burt Fox, Sonny Noir) have come to end 2007 with a dope edition of the RiotControl podcast (this is #10, with Burt Fox on the decks). In their words:

To celebrate our tenth episode and the start of the new year, we selected some classic New York bangers and other assorted nonsense. Pure energy that you need to kick off 2008.
Sick. I didn't add the bolds, either. That's all them. In any case, grab the MP3, and check out this dynamic tracklist:

RC Theme - Burt Fox
Also Sprach Zarathustra - Deodato
Fresh IS The Word - Mantronix
Ugly People Be Quiet - Cash Money and Marvelous
NYC remix - Rub N Tug
Sample Slayer - Armand Van Helden
White Label Remix - Nas
Oooh Wee Instrumental - Mark Ronson
Pushin On Remix - White Label
However Do You Want Me - Burt Fox Blend
The Mexican - Bombers Boogie
Down Bronx - Man Parrish
Feel The Bass Instrumental - Sa Ra
Set It Off - Strafe
It's Like That Instrumental - Run DMC
Sexual Sportswear - Sebastien Tellier
Your Love - Jamie Principle
Clash - Logic System
Love Stoned - Justin Timberlake (Justice Remix)
Murda. Pure murda. Make sure you keep up with RiotControl via their website, their RSS feed, and hit up those archives!
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On That Leak: "Auld Lang Syne Remix"

The boy Manny Faces has been on fire this year with the remixes, just hit his site and grab an assortment of hot flips to your favorite cuts. He's flipped the New Year's classic "Auld Lang Syne" with a bit of the Hip-Hop under it. This is for all of you DJs who are going to be spinning at midnight, or you heads who will be home and want a bit of the headnod with your New Year's wishes. It's about a minute long, and does exactly what it is supposed to.

Play it and drink up!

DOWNLOAD Manny Faces "New Year's Eve Auld Lang Syne Flip Remix"
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rock the dub radio, episode 12

Did you cop your Ace of Spades yet? I didn't... I'm not a big sparkling wine man... but I do love Hip-Hop. This year has given us a lot of highs, and an enormous amount of lows, but there's a gang of tracks that fell by the wayside, or you might have just overlooked waiting for that new version of "Crank Dat" or whatever you pollute your iPods with. So I figured, why not showcase some of the tracks from 2007 that I dug but didn't get much burn? Peep this, the last rock the dub radio for 2007:

rock the dub radio 012

(direct MP3 download)


02/Three 6 Mafia ft. UGK "On Sum Chrome"
03/Trae ft. Slim Thug "Nuthin' 2 A Boss"
04/Rich Boy "Get To Poppin'"
05/DJ Drama ft. Young Jeezy, Willie The Kid, Jim Jones, Rick Ross, Young Buck & T.I. "Takin' Pictures"
06/Infamous Mobb ft. The Alchemist "Hustle Hard"
07/L.E.G.A.C.Y. "Too Far"
08/9th Wonder ft. Ness & Skyzoo "Let It Bang"
09/Edgar Allen Floe "Off And On"
10/Little Brother ft. Lil' Wayne "Breakin' My Heart"
11/DJ K.O. ft. Phonte, Wordsworth, K-Hill & Masta Ace "Ladder Of Success"
12/The Away Team ft. Sean Price "Psycho Ward"
13/Che Grand "Swing"
14/Show & A.G. "The World Is Listening"
15/Scanz ft. Akrobatik "Choose Your Hustle"
16/Donny Goines "Inspiration 2007"
17/Styles P "Da 80s"
18/interlude: Wise Intelligent "Niggaz Iz"
19/Wu-Tang Clan "Take It Back"
20/Prodigy "Return Of The Mac"
21/Jay-Z "American Gangster"
22/Jay-Z ft. Nas "Success (9th Wonder Remix)"
23/Freeway "When They Remember"
24/Beanie Sigel "I'm In"
25/NYGz "N.H.B. (Nigga, Ho, Bitch)"
26/Busta Rhymes ft. M.O.P. "Code Of The Streets"
27/Phat Kat ft. Elzhi "Cold Steel"
28/Talib Kweli ft. Styles P "Real Recognize Real"
29/Bishop Lamont & Black Milk ft. Rass Kass & Royce Da 5'9" "Go Hard"
30/KRS-One & Marley Marl "The Teacha's Back"
31/Prodigy "My World Is Empty Without You"
32/Joe Budden "Green Lantern Freestyle"
33/Styles P, Beanie Sigel, Freeway & Uncle Murda "Green Lantern Freestyle"
34/Manny Faces "Auld Lang Syne Remix"
I'm not sure where rock the dub radio is going in 2008... I am debating cutting the shows into 1 hour parts, but I haven't gotten any hate mail inre: the length of the show (but, I didn't get any love mail either). We'll see. I also need to start using this SHOUTcast jammy from the good folks at NovaShells. More on that ish when I figure out what it is I'mma gon' do. In any case, to everyone who has sent me a track or a shoutout, God bless. Enjoy your night. And please keep rockin' the dub with me.

RSS / podcast URL / e-mail
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The Right Man For The Job

Well, well. It looks like the "Rebel Without A Pause" is throwing his hat into the now-vacant Def Jam President position. Seeing as though Chuck D, with Public Enemy, brought Def Jam so much success and acclaim during the late 80s/early 90s, he seems like the definite candidate. As per AHH, he is wanting to run this label like a sports team:
1) Being ahead of the technology curve; preparing for a thinned out industry; and managing budget efficient acts is very noteworthy of my resume which is simple. I told these cats the online revolution was coming and they needed big adjustments. They relied on lawyers, courts, and accountants only to now look upward at Apple, etc.

2) Their cost factors didn't fit the times, I come from a world where the $50,000 investments resulted into 6 - 7 figures. Now it's a business where 7 figures are invested to make 6.

3) I would run it like sports. These artists would be busting their tails on tour and
on the stage to gain a fan. They would be coached on how to do their thing right. Braintrust will be high, and subcontracting to the right contributors will be comparable of the efficiency of these labels like Jazz and catalog departments. You cannot have people working, that haven't the slightest clue of what they are in the middle of.

4) Any criminal mindedness in artistry, and management would have sit this one out, go their own way. It's like bad apples the long run ain't got nothing to do with entertainment. You can't mix the stage and off stage parodies.

If that ain't what needs to be done, I don't know what does. I doubt his chances, in today's Industry Rap climate, but his voice is necessary. He surely has my vote.
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Sum PSP Hax0r

Representing Indiana, Sum (aka SuMoNe) is a talented producer who I've only heard for his nasty jungle beats. Then I hop on DOA and see the following post:


Sum aka SuMoNe aka Jeff has been turning out killer cuts for the past few years. Being an avid video gamer, Jeff hacked his PSP almost immediately upon purchase, installing the PSP Rhythm. Using the advanced audio engine of the PSP and PSP Rhythm, he produced an entire album that spans several sounds from straight up Jungle to Dubstep to Trip-Hop to Breakcore.

01. PSP Dubstep
02. PSP Selektah
03. Jah Jah Bizniz
04. Manchester Blues
05. Big Salad
06. PSP Ruffneck Personal VIP
07. Forward & Fiyaka
08. PSP Badman
09. PSPcore
10. GaBbEr01

Click Here to Download the Album for FREE!

So, being the drinkin' adventurous nigga I am, I grab the file and I am truly amazed that dude is really coming at me with some PSP-crafted beats. The jungle/DnB cuts like "PSP Selektah!" and "PSP Badman" are HEAVY, with loads of edits and fast-paced breakbeats. Proper jungle style shit. "PSP Dubstep" is a godsend, and there's even a bit of the Trip-Hop and Hardcore/Gabber thrown in. If you like experimental music, or just want to hear what one can do with a PSP, grab this up NOW!

Highly Recommended.
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2007 Rap Up

Skillz has unearthed his dissection of 2007 in rhyme form. His "Rap Up" of 2007 (stream/dload via zShare) continues in the same form that he's established since 2002. Not sure what beat this is, but it's not one I would have figured he'd choose.

Lyrics? On point.

Here's a behind the scenes video of what I guess will be the accompanying clip to this year's Rap Up:

Will this be out by Monday, though? In any case, shouts to Skillz for keepin' this alive.

Shouts to Nah Right and You Heard That New...?.
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On That Leak: Strictly Leakage

On this, Christmas Day 2K7, Atmosphere has made a 13-track album available for downloading: Grab Strictly Leakage and enjoy it. Peep this video:

It's festive and shit. I haven't unzipped it yet, but I know there's some of you chin-stroking Hip-Hop fans out there. You want this. Sad Clown Bad Winter 11 is out now, and When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold (album title of 2008 contestant), which will be available on the 22nd of April, 2008. Chea.

EDIT: This thing plays like an ill mixtape. "YGM" has one of my favorite samples in there, while "The Things That Hate Us" gets its "Liquid Swords" on. They even rock "Road To The Riches". Definitely pick this one up. Loving this, Atmosphere! I like how they take those samples I know but flipped the original as opposed to just rhyming over a Hip-Hop instrumental. Dope shit. Happy Holidays!
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Jay-Z Chunks The Deuce

We speculated on this like 3 weeks ago, and it's been confirmed by XXL that Jay-Z is stepping down as President of Def Jam at the end of the year, although he will still remain an artist for Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam. I guess that fucks up any future talk of "oh my LP bricked b/c Jigga is on tour".

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INRE my Scanz review

In my efforts to play catch-up, I just wanted to say that in reviewing Scanz' Prelude To A Legacy album, I neglected to mention that the man behind a chunk of those beats (including "Feel It", "Deep End", "Bigger Than Rap" and others) is a cat reppin' Piscataway, NJ, who goes by the name of Frank G. To be honest, I only got a promo MP3 copy, with no real liner notes or other info, but in any case, I wanted to give dude his props.

He's most recently dropped a CD reppin' his "ISH Productions" stamp. This features not only Scanz, but Channel Live, KRS-One, Yasin and others. I also heard that not only is dude working with Scanz on his NEXT album, but he's done work with a female by the name of Tara Michel, who is down with John Legend.

Basically, if you thought New Jersey Hip-Hop was only Redman, Joe Budden, Naughty By Nature and Queen Latifah, you were sadly mistaken.
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A Date With The Health Inspector

Yes, this is a Season 1 episode of The Boondocks; Ma Dukes just got me the Season 1 DVD jump-off, and I peed myself laughing to this. This one, if you didn't pay attention the first go-round, is a parallel to the Iraq "war". Plus it features Sam Jackson AND Charlie Murphy?!?! Wild:

Part 1

Part 2

Too funny.
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Sacha Baron Cohen has retired both his Borat and Ali G characters.

"It is like saying goodbye to a loved one," Cohen told the Daily Telegraph, in what appeared to be a straight-faced interview (although one never knows with Cohen). "It is hard, and the problem with success, although it's fantastic, is that every new person who sees the Borat movie is one less person I 'get' with Borat again, so it's a kind of self-defeating form, really.
Makes sense, but I keep having a sneaky suspicion that dude is doing this so he can lay low, hit unsuspecting marks with Ali G or Borat when they aren't expecting.

Who knows. Borat was genius. Ali G Indahouse? Not so much.
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Metal Face Imposter?

Nah Right posted this link from The Kaos Effect, detailing a show "MF DOOM" did in the A on the 13th of December, and it mirrors countless tales of fake/imposter Dooms showing up, lip synching short sets, then making a quick dash, sometimes with the money from the door!

This one is deeper, though, because this is the first time I've seen actual video of the suspect DOOM. Check this out:

I mean, I've never seen DOOM live, but I've heard live recordings. For his kind of style on wax, his voice is one style, but live it's a different story. The environment calls for DOOM to almost shout his lines, because his recordings are a bit smoother, not the "raow-raow" of say a Busta or Onyx. Translating that live would mean he'd have to kick his voice out a bit more, and with his actual voice, it would come out a bit different. Dude looks too calm and collected in these shits. Just mad suspect - makes me feel bad that I've supported dude all these years.

The thing is, maybe it's DOOM pulling his own Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton kind of thing? I highly doubt it, but if you break it down, it's an interesting parallel.

At the end of the day, the people getting cheated are the people DOOM is cheating out of ends and support, which will only lead to backlash and hatred. I'd say fix up, but I guess if it ain't broke, keep stealin'.
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Scanz Prelude To A Legacy [review]

Here's my 2nd review of one of the Rawkus 50, and boy do I have high hopes. Dude calls his sound "new millenium boom-bap", and this album lives up to that moniker. For fans of artists like Duck Down, who appeal to both the backpackers and the gatclappers, Scanz is bridging that gap, and at all of 19, and being a beast on both the beats and the pad, the game is his...

"You Know The Deal"
This is one of those "we don't need no hook" joints, mainly because dude murks the beat for just about 3 minutes... and does really well. The beat is very interesting, with those heavy drums but a weird harp-sounding melody in there, with some piano and synth flourishes. Lovely intro to this opus.

"Don't Front"
Jazzy guitar, funky bass... this one is for the whip, no doubt. It even has that sampled scratch sound low in the cut. Scanz has that butter flow, coming with loads of punchlines and ill visuals. Tracks like this sound like the underground sound of like '96.

"Something New (ft. Yasin)"
This is one of those thick-bottomed, soulful cuts that you'd jot down and learn the lines to spit to that thick-bottomed shorty at the bar. Yasin's verse is a bit too rugged to go with Scanz' first two verses, but somehow it works.

"Choose Your Hustle (ft. Akrobatik)"
One of the best instrumentals on the entire album. There's a few piano loops in here that just sound so beautiful. Maybe I'm just a sucker for that kind of stuff, but this is just that sound. This one is dedicated to breaking down how cats should approach whatever hustle they are going on, and you realize that, while Scanz is only 19, his mind is old (whattup P). Ak comes in and does what he does best - kick dope lyrics.

"Make It Happen"
This one has a smooth, deep bass to it, with some ill organ noodling over it. Just a nice beat to get on top of and ride like a horse, and Scanz does just that.

"Like This"
I'm not the biggest fan of this one, but it still works. I swear I've heard that sample before, but I can't place it... more of that heat.

"Feel It"
Beautiful sample on this one, it has a Dilla/Ummah feel to it with the ill Rhodes-esque sound. I didn't expect this one, based on the hard boom of the previous tracks, but it is just a testament to how ill dude really is.

"Bigger Than Rap"
Another curveball - last thing I was expecting was a dubby/reggae/skankin' affair on the beat here. Dude's flow fits the beat, but the stylin' doesn't feel fresh after a few bars. I was almost expecting him to spit a Jay-Z "Hawaiin Sophie" kind of style, but nah, this was just about the syllables.

"A Dimepiece"
This is one for the ganja smokers in the house. What's ill is, during his verse, you almost can't tell if he's talking about loving caressing a blunt or caressing a broad. The beats come odd, too, like some Madlib, blunted Hip-Hop shit. Peep the switch around 2 minutes in...

"Deep End"
That sample has a blaxploitation cool to it. Nice track to vibe to. This one goes into some ill storyline, with a dude who fucks with this chick he doesn't need to be dealing with, but can't help it b/c she's so intoxicating. Listen close to this one.

"I Am Hip Hop"
This one has that Diamond D feel to it. That piano is lush, and fits in there perfect with that melancholy beat. This is true independent Hip-Hop.

"I Can Teach Ya"
I love the organs and synth melody in this one. Really brings that head-nodding feel to it. Dude gets on his rhymes as well. Perfect example of how to be a dope producer and ill MC.

For a debut album, I'm very impressed. No wonder dude is getting production work with Akrobatik, Channel Live, KRS-One, Monie Love and others. This guy has it - that vintage sound, coming from such a young dude, is explosive. If you want that real Hip-Hop, and don't want to rely solely on Primo, Extra P and the older school, check out Scanz' shit.

rock the dub gives Prelude To A Legacy a 3.75 out of 5 stars. Dude definitely is on to something, both lyrically and on the beats. With only 12 tracks, there is a bit of redundancy, and a hint of filler, but if you wonder "where's the ill, real new Hip-Hop at?", Scanz is right here.

Burn Deez: "Choose Your Hustle", "Feel It", "Make It Happen", "Deep End"

Prelude To A Legacy is available via Amazon MP3, iTunes and other digital distributors.

related links:

Check out the video for "Don't Front":

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Guilty Pleasures of 2007

Lately, I've been watching a gang of videos. 106 & Park, VH1 Soul, whatever, I'm tuned in. I've seen a load of videos - some very dope, some just not, and I figure, why not post a few from 2007 that I couldn't escape:

Kanye West "Can't Tell Me Nothing"

I didn't get this track until the day I reviewed the CD, that morning on the bus stop. It all made perfect sense to me, the way he was basically saying what everyone else was saying, but his style and creativity is so out there, it comes out mad different. This record is so hood, and the more I think about it, the Jeezy ad-libs are the key that allows you to see the link between this and trap rap.

Playaz Circle ft. Lil' Wayne "Duffle Bag Boy"

Shorties in the beginning look right; this song is nothing if not a dope beat and an ill chorus. The verses are garbage, but I will keep this on repeat all day.

The Dream ft. Fabolous "Shawty Is A 10"

Yeah this one is not my steeze at all, but its just undeniable. The Dream is doing his thing with the pen, and tracks like this just seemed effortless. I never did know a bitch to grill in her bathing suit, but I digress...

UGK ft. OutKast "International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)"

I can (and will) scream RIP PIMP C all day, but this track isn't just about Pimp. This is 3 southern entities (Three 6 Mafia, OutKast and UGK) linking up and creating a beautiful moment in Hip-Hop. A perfect 10 hit.

Rihanna "Umbrella"

Big departure for homegirl with the odd forehead. This shit owned my May/June.

Britney Spears "Gimme More"

I don't go to clubs, I don't go out, and I am not a fan of Britney's at all, but I like the way she looks in those fishnets with the lil weight she gained. If I was drunk at the BBQ, I'd get it poppin' to this one.

DJ Khaled ft. T-Pain, Trick Daddy, Rick Ross & Plies "I'm So Hood"

Another track where the chorus/beat match is perfect. I like the whole beginning of this video, with TDD runnin' to the whip. It was done kind of fly.

There's probably more, but I can't think right now.
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On That Leak: Thriller 25 2K8 Remixes

Spotted these over at The Leak Source; it looks like they ripped the clips that YN posted yesterday (and ended up taking down) and converted them to MP3. I'm not the biggest fan of the CHOICES Michael Jackson made for these updated versions, but whatever, MJ has always been about shining with those who are the hottest. I just don't fuck with will.i.am, or Fergie... or Akon for that matter. Check them out:

There's also a .rar with all of these tracks HERE. I have a feeling these will be going down, early, so hit the links and take a peek if you are down with Thriller.

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Saigon: Done Being A Bitch

That's what Saigon was lookin' like last month, when he "quit" Hip-Hop. Now, eskay posted up news that SaiGiddy has actually taken that back, and is not quitting. I know you guys thought it was true, and that he was totally gone. We can't be that lucky, I guess.

Dude isn't the champion lyricist, and no matter how heartfelt and deep he can be in his rhymes, stunts like these just make him look more bitch-made.

I will now only be looking for his album for the Just Blaze beats...
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[video] Sean Price LIVE at Stand Up

Wow... Sean Price is definitley one of the illest in the underground right now. In this clip, he rips through "Jesus Price Superstar" and a personal fav from Monkey Barz, "Boom Bye Yeah". Grimey. Phenomenal. Check it:

His hypemen are mad hyper than he is, but it doesn't matter. Shouts to Rafi.
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[video] NYOIL "You're A Queen" LIVE

Another Stand Up gem. NYOIL delivers a passionate version of his pro-female track "You're A Queen". Get more insight on NYOIL via Oh Word. Do not sleep on this one:

Pointed intensity is the shit.
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Lupe Fiasco The Cool [review]

Given my review of Lupe Fiasco's debut album, it might not even make sense, me attempting to review this, but I always feel I should give artists a second chance. And hell, most new-school Hip-Hop heads love his shit, right?

"Baba Says Cool For Thought"
Yeah I'm not really into the spoken word intros, especially ones as predictable as this one.

"Free Chilly (ft. Sarah Green & Gemstones)"
A short tribute to one of his homies locked down, I believe. I can respect that.

"Go Go Gadget Flow"
The LAST thing this LP needed was a wack double-time rap over a weak beat. The drums in this sound better in Timbaland productions, and those strings lull you to sleep...

"The Coolest"
Damn this one just plods along as well. I guess this is the introduction to the two pieces of this "concept" album's puzzle, Streets & Game. The fact that the whole plot is known before this drops, as it is everyday, just leaves tracks that extend the narrative as a paint-by-numbers snoozefest.

"Superstar (ft. Matthew Santos)"
I can't get into this at all. From the whiteboy chorus to the simplistic melody. I actually leave the room when this video comes on. Just not something I can even fuck with on a "listen to this right quick" level.

"Paris, Tokyo"
Lupe gets his Q-Tip... oh wait, scratch that. This beat sounds mad Midnight Marauders-ish... forget it. This beat knocks, and Lupe raps about his chick and travelling. I'd like this to be a single so I could get the instrumental. Dope beat, and that "wherever I go/she goes" is sly.

"Hi-Definition (ft. Snoop Dogg & Pooh Bear)"
What a waste of a Snoop cameo. The low-end on this one knocks but its just a mash of electro bullshit and trunk rattlin' fuzzy bullshit. Just not what's hot at all.

"Gold Watch"
I love this beat off the rip. The whole female vox in that shit, all start-stop, that's what's on. I even chuckle at Fiasco's lines about Street Fighter II and such, but for the materialism/hypebeast posturing of the rhymes, the chorus makes me wish he played up the whole "fly nigga with a fancy/average chick" angle he hints at.

"Hip-Hop Saved My Life (ft. Nikki Jean)"
This sounds like the biography of Soulja Boy or some other MySpace rapper who got put on in 2007. The odd bit is that, while Lupe disses Tribe and other backpackin' niggas, he spits just like them, not just sonically, but in his intricate lyrics. Why diss niggas whose style you revamp?

"Intruder Alert (ft. Sarah Green)"
Yawn. Very downtempo beat with a sleepy piano loop. You'd think, for someone who is being championed as the nigga with the double entendres and dope, forward-thinking flows, that he'd be able to craft a story that wasn't so damn easy to see miles away.

"Streets On Fire"
Hah. I love the straight-forward amen in this one. Best part of an otherwise blah track. I can understand wanting to not sound like any other nigga, but does that mean you shouldn't sound dope? I could see some wild video for this getting overlooked and underplayed very soon.

"Little Weapon (ft. Bishop G & Nikki Jean)"
Lil' niggas got gats. Lupe raps as a lil' nigga with a gat. The beat sounds like Nick Cannon from Drumline. Next.

"Gotta Eat"
Hearing Lupe say "if I see this nigga, I'm gonna kill him" just sounds so fake. He should have gotten someone else to say shit like that. He sounds like someone's "enlightened" brother talking that 5 percent shit. Only a lil' too aggressively.

"Dumb It Down (ft. Gemstones & Graham Burris)"
Yes I like the rhymes on this one. A definite rewind on this one, just for the rhymes. Lupe almost gets his Jay-Z on, which is funny. For Jay, this would be a sub-par track, but for Lupe, it's the damn highlight of the disc.

"Hello/Goodbye (Uncool) (ft. UNKLE)"
If this were any other Hip-Hop blog, I'd make some comment about this being "that Rock shit". Nah, UNKLE is dope, this track is just fucking wack.

"The Die (ft. Gemstones)"
The death... of The Cool. Given the scatterbrained feel of this "narrative", I had no idea the Cool was alive, or kicking. Another double-time flow. I hate him singing. I hate him flowing with the 80s synth. Hearing someone spit "any nigga" on that 'double time' shit is funny sounding though. Jay did this better back in the day, though.

"Put You On Game"
Blah. Dude rappin' as bad shit. Come on, I can't even listen to this, it's like a bad after-school special.

"Fighters (ft. Matthew Santos)"
It sounds like someone is eating Pringles to the beat. Matt Santos, get the fuck out of my earpiece. The beat putters on like a heartbeat, and I wish it would just flatline...

"Go Baby (ft. Gemstomes)"
...but it doesn't. Dude tries to get his Gnarls Barkley on, but doesn't realize you need a good producer to pull off something that creative. This chorus sounds like a Gi Phi Gi chant.

Go ahead, call me a hater, but I don't believe the hype. You call him the future, I call him a relick of the worst parts of the Native Tongues era. All thought, no real funk. Very good concepts, wack ways of delivering them. Nice influential sounds (he must have a dope CD collection), but no real idea in how to bridge those futuristic sounds with a thumpin' backbeat. A narrative that would have fit better in the hands of someone like Prince Paul. I mean, "The Cool" was one of the better tracks off of Food & Liquor; why take that and abandon it for the majority of the disc? Out of 18 cuts, barely half of them keep the story going. And the ones that do might as well have been spoken-word interludes to keep us involved.

I have no reason to hate on Lupe; hearing "Gold Watch" or "Dumb It Down", I know the nigga can make hot tracks. Sadly, like I felt with his debut, he seems to drop the ball and fall onto tired ways of telling his tale. I've heard all of this before, and no matter how effortless his rhymes come to him, all of that talent does not equal a stellar disc. This is barely a repeat play for me, and aside from 3 or 4 cuts, the rest of this exits the MP3 player, early.

rock the dub gives The Cool 2 stars out of 5. For all of his accolades and "cool", this one putters on top of the backs of his fans. Without them, you'd be asking "Lupe who?"

Burn Deez: "Gold Watch", "Dumb It Down", "Paris, Tokyo"

The Cool is in stores December 18th.

related links:
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rock the dub radio: episode 011

EZ. This show was simple: first hour was going to feature some Ghostface, with the 2nd half being a Pimp C tribute. I'm not the largest UGK fan, but in his death, I've discovered some favs (big up Enigmatik on that). Check it out, there's some keepers in here:

rock the dub radio: episode 011

(direct MP3 download)

02/Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon & Cappadonna "Daytona 500"
03/Ghostface Killah ft. Beanie Sigel & Styles P "Toney Sigel (AKA Barrel Brothers)"
04/Saigon ft. Swizz Beatz & Jay-Z "C'mon Baby (Remix)"
05/The ARE & Dem Damb Jacksons ft. Roc C "When You're Down"
06/Oh No ft. Wildchild "WTF"
07/AvE "Blue Magic Freestyle"
08/Joell Ortiz ft. Novel "Duffle Bag Boy (Remix)"
09/Raymond Scott interlude
10/J Dilla "Lightworks"
11/Busta Rhymes "Step Up"
12/Jay Electronica "A Prayer for Michael Vick & T.I. (We Love You Family)"
13/Mickey Factz "I'm Sean (50 Shots More)"
14/Quest M.C.O.D.Y. "Fade Back"
15/Barak Yalad "Lion"
16/Ghostface Killah "Wise (In The Rain)"
17/Menace interlude
18/Ghostface Killah ft. Method Man & Masta Killa "Killa Lipstick"
19/Ghostface Killah "The Struggle"
20/Pimp C interview pt. 1
21/Pimp C ft. P.O.P & Lil' Keke Vs. ANS "Knockin' Doorz Down (DJ Nappy THUGSTEP Refix)"
22/UGK ft. T.I. "Hit The Block"
23/T.I. ft. UGK "Front Back"
24/UGK "Murder"
25/Pimp C interview pt. 2
26/UGK ft. Rick Ross "Cocaine"
27/UGK "It's Supposed To Bubble"
28/UGK "Ridin' Dirty"
29/UGK ft. Scarface "Still Ridin' Dirty"
30/Pimp C interview pt. 3
31/UGK ft. Slim Thug, Vicious & Middle Fingaz "Take Tha Hood Back"
32/Jay-Z ft. UGK "Big Pimpin'"
33/Pimp C ft. Suga & Mannie Fresh "Cheat On Yo Man"
34/UGK "Pregnant Pussy"
35/UGK ft. OutKast "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)"
Enjoy this one. The last RTDRadio of the year is coming. I'm going to try and feature 2007-exclusive cuts.

RSS / podcast / email me tracks! / one love.
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The Wire Prequels

It's kind of nice being home on the weekends. I was poppin' through my HBO On Demand yesterday afternoon and discovered these gems. They are lil' scenes from the pasts of some of your favorite characters from The Wire, letting you know that they have been the way they are for a long time. For the true fan, these will bring a smile to your face:

"1962: Young Proposition Joe"

Homeboy has been making deals for the LONGEST!

"1985: Young Omar"

True street code.

"2000: Bunk & McNulty"


The final season premieres on the 6th of Jan., 2008 at 9PM.
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Mixtape Sunday: Vietnam Vol. 1

From the crew that brought you Mickey Factz and "The Supra Song", here's a dope new mixtape from GFCnewyork and Steve-O: Vietnam Vol. 1. Download it while you peep the tracklist:

1. The Supra Song- GFC All Stars
2. Creator- Santogold
3. Face The Gun- Kenna
4. Mars- Kelis
5. Pop The Glock- Uffie
6. Talk Yo Ish- Mickey Factz
7. Go Baby- Lupe Fiasco
8. Day 'N' Nite- Kid Cudi
9. Bermuda Love Triangle- Addiquit
10. Gold And A Pager- The Cool Kids
11. Nike Boots- Wale
12. Hero- Thelonious Kapps
13. I Aint Something- *CurT@!n$*
14. Everybody Is A Star- N*E*R*D
15. The Jimmy Choo's- Chester French
16. What It Look Like- Spankrock
17. Thrilla- Villains

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On That Leak: "On Sum Chrome"

Three 6 Mafia ft. UGK "On Sum Chrome": I just got the blast on this one. Looks like this is the last track Pimp C laid vocals on before his untimely death. Got that nice vibe to it, really hard cut. I also like how Bun B managed to write a rap using the term "tomfoolery". Bump this HARD for Pimp C.

You guys should do yourselves a favor and peep this UGK tribute video.

Shouts to FUTURE STAR for this one.
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LOST Season 4 Trailer

Don't ask me what the hell this is about. Everything flashed by so quickly. Popwatch has their own thoughts, though.

I saw on G4's The Feed that Season 4 of LOST was to premier on Jan. 31st, 2008, in the time slot formerly occupied by Grey's Anatomy. Holla.
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Whopper Freakout

I took Friday off, and in the last two days, I've seen this commercial about 4080 times. This is such a good idea, in terms of the sheer ease it took for people to show their love/appreciation for the Whopper. Shit, I want one right now.

I should be getting paid to post this - or at least getting a Whopper.
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2Pac The Best Of 2Pac [review]

2Pac "Best Of" compilations nowadays are a weird thing. With the crazy strings of unauthorized bootleg releases, as well as the sheer volume of NEW material that gets released every couple of years, this has to be one of the worst tasks to embark on. But, 'Pac's legend lives on, and this double CD tries to explore the duality of Pac's short stay on this planet: the Thug and the Life.

This disc starts out right, with a gangsta party. Snoop Dogg drops in for "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted", dropping that proper G-Funk. The funny thing about tracks like this is just the fact that the whole concept was in the chorus, but the actual lyrics would go everywhere. Pac would go from shouting out Snoop to just going off on people trying to hold him down. Nice intro to his THUG side. We also touch on the original "California Love", which is one of the biggest tracks in the Death Row days of Pac's life. Another funked out ride, Dr. Dre and Pac show appreciation to Cali as well as giving Roger Troutman (RIP) his spot in the limelight once again. Pac's verse on this is one of my personal favs, he just attacks the track with a smooth fury. "So Many Tears" is vintage Pac, but seems weird. It's almost a compassionate kind of thug on this one, acknowledging his past, but still unafraid to shed a few tears for his homies. "I Ain't Mad At Cha" is on the same level, but jacks the melody Blackstreet did, which was cool for the time but doesn't seem to age that well 10, 11 years after the fact. I am so glad that "Hail Mary" was included: this was the anthem off of the Makaveli CD, aiming his darts at noone and everyone, over a thick-bottomed beat. "How Do U Want It" is the joint you put on during a party full of liquored up females and niggas, everyone trying to get their swerve on. I'm not quite sure why a remix of "Dear Mama" is included on this THUG disc, or why Anthony Hamilton is on it, but my Contemporary Soul moms would love this smoothed out acoustic guitar jawn. I have to give it up, though: the old Pac, first album Pac, was my shit, so the inclusion of "Trapped" is such a blessing. This is that concious Pac, the one who understood the bullshit and was showing his Panther roots. I just wish this THUG disc was a bit more thugged out.

The LIFE disc starts out with a track entitled "Definition Of A Thug Nigga", which just seems super out of place. When something is so regimented, one disc being THUG and another being LIFE, you'd figure the lines were drawn pretty sharply. Trick Daddy shows up for the underwhelming "Still Ballin'" remix. I'm just not impressed by the beat on this one at all. "Never Call You Bitch Again" (with Tyrese) means well, but seems like a reason to include an acoustic guitar-driven beat to the disc. They should have stuck with "Thugz Mansion" and just kept the beauty and originality of that singular. This one does what Master P wished he did with "Is There A Heaven For A Gangsta". "Dopefiend's Diner" is boring and not even interesting enough to have been included on this disc. Again, that classic Pac sound is the shining moment, with "Brenda's Got A Baby" sounding more prominent today than it did 15 or so years ago, as does the uplifting funk of "Keep Ya Head Up". "When I Get Free" is the voice of that disgruntled nigga who is not rehabilitated, trying to get back into society to get back on top. One of the sleepers of this set. That "Until The End Of Time" remix is predictable and not really necessary - the original does the job.

At the end of the day, neither of these discs are perfect. They definitely paint great pictures of Pac's life, and the duality of his character, but the lines seem blurred, leading to cuts you'd assume were more THUG being on the LIFE disc, and vice versa. At the end of the day, though, 2Pac is a thug poet, a lost griot, and one of the dopest entities the Hip-Hop game had the pleasure to be blessed with. His voice is more necessary than ever nowadays, and the bright spots on these discs showcase this.

The Best Of 2Pac Part 1: THUG - B-
The Best Of 2Pac Part 2: LIFE - B+

Burn Deez: "Trapped", "Thugz Mansion", "Breanda's Got A Baby", "Definition Of A Thug Nigga", "Hail Mary", "So Many Tears"

2Pac's The Best of 2Pac (discs 1 and 2) are available NOW!

related links:
2Pac Legacy.com
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Donny Goines @ Stand Up (video)

Donny Goines performing "Never Let My Talent Die" LIVE at Stand Up. This is a tribute to the song's producer, and good friend of Donny Goines, Disco D. Check it:

RIP Disco D. Interestingly on point comment from the Oh Word post on this vid:
Quick aside… Have you ever noticed the phrase “that’s hip-hop”, similarly to “it is what it is”, is basically another way to say “man, this totally sucks”?
Truer words have never been spoken.
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Hired Gun @ Stand Up (video)

Over at Oh Word, Rafi posted this video of Hired Gun performing "Rappers Are In Danger". More videos of the STAND UP event are to be coming over the next week.

Lovin' this. Can't wait for the rest of the vids to be made available.

PS: Big up HG for rockin' a Jason Kidd jersey.
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Too Hood To Be True?

Rizoh posted this video over at TRU, as now the situation surrounding the Criminals Gone Wild DVD is now coming to a head, and the validity of the whole damn thing is in question! The one nigga who robbed and shot/shot at numerous heads in this documentary (mockumentary?) is now saying that everything was staged:

Donny Goines commented on this, and says that he believes the whole damn thing is fake, just based on the reactions alone, which I can definitely see: there's one scene where dude walks into this guy he is cool with's apartment, with a fucking cameraman, and dude is like yeah sure come on in... they end up sticking them up, and find a nice chunk of weed. Now come on. If I'm even THINKING about weed, I'm not letting some nigga I don't know, who has a camera, all up in the spot like it's peace.

Stranger things have happened, but it's kind of insulting that this nigga is making dumb loot (1000s of DVDs sold, at roughly $27 a pop?), and the shit ain't even real. There's more hood DVDs like this out there anyways...

Shouts to Enigmatik for picking the iller title for this post.
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On That Leak: "Imagine That"

Joulz Il "Imagine That" (prod. by Entity Starr): my dude Joulz is still unsigned, and he is every BIT of a problem. Ill lyrics, wicked flow, hot hot beats from the one like Entity. Dallas, Texas has a beast on their hands, and is making moves right now. Hop up on this one and get involved, for serious.

Hit up his MySpace page for more info and audio.

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Dub Floyd & Wally Sparks present: Hip-Hop Dock-Trine Two

Another illRoots.com exclusive! This is the newest/latest OFFICIAL mixtape of The Boondocks. Two discs of that FIRE! Check it out:

Hip-Hop Dock-Trine 2: The Official Boondocks Mixtape
Disc 1ne (Hall of Justus Edition) (download)
Hosted by Little Brother & Skyzoo

Hip-Hop Dock-Trine 2: The Official Boondocks Mixtape
Disc 2wo (Thugnificent Edition) (download)
Hosted by Metaphor the Great

The full tracklistings are up at illRoots, and feature a laundry-list of dope Hip-Hop acts, such as Chaundon, Asheru, David Banner, L.E.G.A.C.Y., Dres, Cormega, Amanda Diva, Tanya Morgan, Barak Yalad, NYOIL and a whole host of others. Just a beautiful set of discs. Grab this, watch the shows, and appreciate the whole art of creative Black artists.

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RIP Ike Turner

I'm no fan of woman beaters, or coke heads, but I will send condolences to the family of Ike Turner, who passed away at the age of 76. He is a true ying and yang in Rock & Roll (word to "Rocket 88", boo to spousal abuse), and a Rock & Roll HOFer. Rest in peace, dog.

"Ike Turner was the King of the Woman Beaters, until OJ took his title..." -Chris Rock
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Feds Takin' Pictures

I first caught wind of this via illRoots: Criminals Gone Wild, a DVD that had you riding shotgun with real thugs while they robbed, shot at, and engaged in other nefarious conduct. I was alarmed, and intrigued (I'll admit it), even asked the filmmakers for a promo copy for review (I was turned down, told to buy the jammy when it came out, which I never did). In all of my conversations about this, one question remained: aren't the cameramen essentially accomplices? Well, based on this news piece, it looks like the NYPD has gotten invovled, due to victims who found out about the DVD and were trying to contact the filmmakers with more info on the suspects.

What's even odder is the original trailer was banned from YouTube (due to the excessive violence, I guess?), but the feds weren't tipped off then. We wanna protect the bigwig RIAA/MPAA industries when it comes to copyright, but when human lives are at stake, we are on some "sweep it under the rug" shit? I'm callin' foul on the whole lot of you.

BONUS: Shouts to WSHH for streaming the entire DVD.
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Seinfeld Gets Pissed

You gotta love it. Jerry Seinfeld was on Larry King, and King seemed kind of confused. He didn't know if Seinfeld got canceled or if Jerry left the show. Jerry is noticeably pissed, but holds it down:

I'm not the biggest Seinfeld fan, but I like how he didn't fly off the handle.
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On That Leak: "Work To Do (Obama '08)"

Shouts out to Kidz In The Hall. Not only have they recently linked up with Duck Down, they've produced an anthem in support of Barack Obama's Presidential campaign.

Kidz In The Hall "Work To Do (Obama '08)" (zShare dload/stream link)

Here's some wise words from Naledge, AKA 1/2 of KITH:

Having followed Obama’s political career from its early stages, Kidz In The Hall’s MC Naledge is very excited to be a part of the movement for change. “From Chicago’s Southside, to The University of Pennsylvania, Kidz In The Hall has always promoted positive change in American communities through social action. The message at the forefront of this soulful anthem is that no one should settle for less than success, because each one of us has the ability to change this world for the better. “Work To Do” is not necessarily a song that was meant as a “campaign song,” but more so a philosophy on how to approach life in general. I think much of what is wrong in my community is that hope has been lost by many of my peers. What many fail to realize is that one person can control his or her own destiny, it just requires due diligence and the ability to fight adversity. I happen to think that Barack Obama embodies everything that is promising for the future of our nation and represents the hope I sought to speak on in the song. Being from Chicago, I have seen his rise to prominence first hand and I can honestly say that I believe he is the best option for our next president.”
Word life. They've also shot an official video for this anthem. Check it out:

There's also some making-of footage HERE, if you are down to see the behind the scene work. Shouts out to KITH for this; I was just thinking the other day, in less than a year we will be voting the next President of the US into office, and with the right push, we can get Obama in there. Let's do it, people!
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Wu-Tang Clan 8 Diagrams [review]

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.
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"Cookies & Milk"

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.
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Drama Gangsta Grillz: The Album [review]

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
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Michael Jackson Thriller 25th Anniversary info

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 will.i.am*
12. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008 with Michael Jackson and will.i.am*
13. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 with Michael Jackson, Akon and will.i.am*
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 will.i.am 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...
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