When I initially started this blog about 4 years ago, one of the first posts I ever did was upping a bunch of extremely rare songs and freestyles I had recorded off the radio in the 90’s. I was looking through my I-tunes the other day and happened upon them once again. I thought “Hmm, I should bring these back out cause, logically, my readership is completely different now than it was 4 years ago.”
So, as a gift to all you meticulous rap nerds who love underground rap from the early/mid 90’s, here you go.
To be clear, these are all things I personally recorded live off the radio from shows like Stretch and bobitto, Nighttrain and Martin Moore on WNYU. I Used to stay up way past my bedtime and go to school like a zombie just so I could have the newest shit to listen to in my walkman the next day.
I’m not gonna do a track listing (it’s 27 tracks) but included in this folder of music are Rare freestyles from the artifacts, Jay-z, Cage, Redman, MAster Ace, ODB and many many more. Also, there are demo’s and unreleased songs. The demo’s are mostly obscure groups that never came out but there are a few that will surprise you. Including a super rare Kool Keith song and a Jay-Z song not many people probably know ever existed. Like I said, this is deep crate nerd shit but, if you’re like me, this will be your shit.
If you’re an audiophile who can’t deal with anything below a certain bit rate, skip this. This isn’t for you. This is all stuff recorded on cassettes off the radio. The quality varies but, at it’s best, it’s never amazing.
So, I hope you all enjoy this stuff. This is definitely the music of my youth and stuff like this is what inspired me to get into rap music in the first place.
OLD NYC RADIO GOODIES!
As much as I think year end lists are bullshit, I’m not above them. Let me live and, in turn, allow me to give you a mix of songs to bump, in case you zoned out and forgot to listen to music this year. Hey, it happens.
Despite what people will say every year, it was actually a good year for rap music. The last few years have been. Lots of creative output coming from all over the country and people don’t seem to be mailing it in like they were 5 years ago.
Just to clarify about this list:
1)These are in no specific order
2)I did not include music by people I know or music I worked on. Meaning Hail Mary Mallon, Armand Hammer, Open Mike Eagle , Marq Spekt and Run the Jewels (and others) were all excluded. Why? Cause, even though they all made music that would have easily made this list, I’m kinda sick of musicians making top ten lists that are 80% their friends. If you know about me, you know about these guys. This is more about exposing you to some stuff you might have missed.
3) These are my ‘Favorite”. Not to be confused with the “best”. Nothing in my musical taste is so definitive that I can come out here and claim it’s the best. These are the joints I bumped a lot. That’s all. It’s not that deep.
4)I picked one song per artist. There were a few artists who probably would have had 2 or 3 songs on the list but I opted to spread the love.
5)There’s a chance a song or two on this list came out last year. Well, blow me. I enjoyed them this year so I’mma go with what I know!
Here’s my ten favorites. Download link is at the bottom.
1)Martyrs: Mick Jenkins
Chicago based MC, Mick Jenkins, dropped a strong album this year. While, at times, he gets a little preachy for me, when he hits, it works incredibly well. This song is just a showcase for his booming voice , sharp social commentary and keen ear for beats. It’s grower for sure.
2)Snow Beach: Ratking
RatKing represent the new New York. Unlike other younger “underground” NYC mc’s , they’re not trying to bring back that 90’s sound while rapping on skateboards. They’re approaching it from a much different angle. Sonically, they didn’t really sound like anything else this year. Beat wise, it’s decidedly more abelton live than it is MPC. And Wiki sounds like a reborn version of Cage from the mid 90’s, all while rapping nothing like him. This song in particular strikes a chord with me cause it’s about the city being overrun with NYU kids and other transplants, thus changing the face of the city in a negative way. I feel you, brah.
3)Le feat. OVA: Ugly Frank
This one came out of nowhere. Well, to be exact, it came out of Tacoma Washington. It’s just a fun song where Ugly Frank Raps his ass off over a beat that reminds me of “Nigga what?” by Jay-z but happier. Ugly Frank was definitely one of the more pleasant surprises for me this year.
4)Either you here or with god: Shirt
Shirt Come out guns blazing this year with a video that got some buzz and very solid “mixtape”. He’s an artist I had trouble just picking one song from. I chose this one cause it’s just got such an ill vibe to it. The beat, in particular, is really crazy to me. Not sure if he borrowed it from someone for his mixtape or if it’s original but , whatever the case, he does it justice. Shirts one of those mc’s that make “cocky asshole” work.
5)House Cleaning- Michael Christmas
Aesop put me on to this guy and I fell in love with his album “Is this art?”. He’s definitely the most likable mc of the year for me. Dope beats, laid back funny attitude and just an overall great rapper. His arrow is pointing up and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him much more famous a year from now.
6)Undying- Quelle Chris
Much like Michael Christmas, Quelle Chris is an extremely likable guy who makes good music. He’s got a great ear for beats (And he makes many of them too). Detroit hip hop has been a force over the last few years and he’s no exeception.
7)Shots: Vince Staples
Without question, he’s my #1 rapper of the year. He put out an amazing mixtape and a great EP and pretty much bodied every track he was on. He’s not an mc with “barz” but he’s a rapper who simply sounds cool saying anything. He often gets compared to a new snoop dogg, and I can see it, except he’s a better rapper than Snoop ever was. This song is literally one of 8 I could have chosen but I picked it cause the beat is murderous. Just some slow grind psych rock sample with hard drums.
8)48th Street: Your Old Droog
What a year this dude had. For the first half every dumb ass conspiracy theorist (shout out to the dumbest of all who was all up in my comment section) thought he was Nas when, really, the only thing they had in common was a raspy voice. His debut album is chock full of great loops and Y.O.D. relentlessly rapping his ass off. This song, however, is an strange one. It’s Y.O.D. rapping about his love of guitars and an ode to 48th street in manhattan (where all the music stores are/used to be). It’s possibly the oddest topic for a rapper to cover in recent memory but , when accompanied with the slow cooking of the beat is just makes perfect sense. I do wonder if he can actually play a guitar though.
9)Motion Sickness: Shabazz Palaces
Hey guys, weirdo rap hasn’t left us! Shabazz Palaces continued making music that might fly over my head but still catches my ear. This song is a sneaky one. Ish kills it and really embraces the subtle oddity of the track. Also, this track reminds me that I really gotta check out that Clipping album. To be honest, I’ve been kinda intimidated to even approach it. But, i digress…Shabazz Palaces is an example of an old rapper who is constantly evolving. How many mc’s who dropped a hit in 91 can say that? None. Literally. He’s the only one left making relevant music. (Doom might be included here too but he’s trapped in the UK and not making much these days)
10) Godlike- Tree
He made my favorite album of last year and this year he dropped an EP and some loose tracks. This one is just as mellow as it gets. Simple drums over a lazy piano loop. Sometimes that’s all you need.
So, I’m hungover and have just been loafing around today. Definitely been in sweat pants since I woke up (Like a boss). Anyway, I was perusing the interwebs and came across an accapella for Bobby Shmurda’s mega hit “Hott N#gga”. You’ve all heard it. In fact, you must be pretty fucking sick of it by now. Well, I feel your pain. So here’s a version I whipped up for fun. It’s a more emo look into the eyes of Mr. Shmurda.
Whatever the case, it’s just for shits a giggles so take it for what it is.
Here’s a download link , if you actually want to own this track:
So, someone on facebook recently hit me up asking about some random track I did a long time ago and I was reminded of these three compilations. Basically, I took all the tracks (at least the ones that i remembered and could find) that I’ve ever produced that weren’t on Aesop albums, and gave you three installments of music. All in all, 39 songs. Some very rare, some, not so much. But, I figure there are a lot of people out there who like having everything. This should suffice. Some of this stuff dates back to the late 90’s so, you know, this is some throwback shit right here.
It should also be noted that these were compiled before I did any of the albums with Illogic, Billy Woods and Marq Spekt so, obviously, I’m not including those. Also, go buy those. Help me buy that picture of a yacht I’ve been eyeing.
Anyway, here is a ton of free music. Enjoy and please never tell me I never gave you anything.
1)Apology: Vast Aire & Aesop Rock
2)Meditation: Johnny 23
3)Smokin’ them trees: Blair Cosby (AKA Camu Tao)
4)In Crowd: Chase Phoenix
5)A thousand apologies: Chase Phoenix
6)Hotel no motel:Lodeck 7)Scenester: Cage
8)Tough Guy: Chase Phoenix
9)Beautiful Disease: Lodeck
10)Blood boy: Cage
11)Get rich (or try dying): Despot
12)Killing time: Illogic Feat. Aesop Rock
13)Unicycle (water cycle): Cryptic One
1)Substance D: Despot
2)Twenty Something: Chase Phoenix
4)Feed me grapes: Lodeck
5)Mermaid pornography: Mac Lethal
6)Love to fuck: S.A. Smash feat. Aesop Rock
7)Room the breath: Hangar 18
8)Struggles: Vordul Mega
10)Bicycle(Gold cycle): Cryptic 1
11)I pollute: Lodeck
12)Tuscon: Isaiah Toothtaker
2)Crap Artists: Despot
3)Too Heavy for Cherubs: Cage
4)The west Wing: Hangar 18
5)Fishin’!: Blair Cosby (AKA Camu Tao)
6)Happy Pillz: Murs Feat Aesop Rock
7)Secret Agents: Chase Phoenix Feat. Aesop rock
8)Sticky Pigs Feet: Chase Phoenix
9)Midnight Manhattan: Mac Lethal
11)PAtience: Chase Phoenix
12)Miss By a Mile: Slug, Eyedea and Aesop Rock
13)Tricycle: Cryptic 1
14)Winds Know Better: Isaiah Toothtaker Feat WitchDoctor
A few years back, I did a mix in honor of Independence day. It was basically collection of songs with the word “freedom” or “America” in them. Well, this is that exact same thing, only updated. I added a few songs, took off a few and figured, hey, who hates free music? Jerks, that’s who.
This is a mix you can play at your July 4th BBQ just as easily as you could play it at your anti-America hate rally. It could really go both ways.
So, happy 4th of July, or not. I don’t give a shit. I’m not a particularly patriotic. In fact, if NYC could succeed for the the country, I’d be 100% with it. But i digress…This is about the free music. This mix is all over the map, genre wise so , hopefully, there is a little something for everyone. Enjoy!
(sidenote: there is a chance “Freedom street” and “United states of whatever” might be corrupted due to an old hard drive crash I had. If that’s the case, my apologies. They’re not dangerous files, they just won’t play. whatever the case, the rest of the songs definitely work and it’s still some free music, guys)
Download link here!
For the last couple years , during live shows, i’ve been doing a variation of this Nina simone mash up. Basically, I took a bunch of different samples from her catalogue and made one song out of them. I’m bout ready to retire it from my live set so I figure I might as well release it into the world.
I made downloading possible but there’s a limit at 100 so, just in case, here’s an alternate link to download it.
So, I got nothing of great importance to share today. But, luckily for all of us, the internet never sleeps. So, instead of force some random “song of the day” on you, here’s a run down of a bunch of random shit I think you might enjoy. Music, videos, articles, etc…Basically, a gumbo of the things i’ve been into this past week or so. So, dig in…lots of goodies here.
First off, Nahright did something awesome and put together a compilation of all the loose outkast tracks out there. I thought I was up on all their shit but, apparently, i was mistaken. Peep this and download the 34 songs mixtape. Some really great shit on here.
People are always asking me at shows , “do you have a recording of your live set?”. Sadly, my answer is no cause, well, if I give that away, what do I have left? People coming out to see my shows is literally the last way I can still make steady money doing music. Some things need to be left alone. That said, there is one recording I did a while back of a live set. It was done during one of my first tours ,in NYC, and it was available on a tour only CD called “The block is hot pt. 2”. That Cd has long since been sold out but the live set is on youtube in it’s completion. So, if you really want to own this, you can still do so…just go to one of those youtube/mp3 conversion sites and Voila!
Here’s the youtube link either way.
My homeboy, good rapper and host of the awesome “Kinda Neat” Podcast, Intuition, just put out a new album. He and his producer, the highly underrated Equalibrum, have been working on this for, oh I dunno, forever? But it’s finally here. Well worth the weight. Dope beats, dope rhymes. If you’re a fan or the more introspective side of rapping, this will be your shit.
Peep it here:
Oh shit, i almost forgot…
Speaking of homeboys and music, my Buddy Premrock also put out a new album and I did a few tracks on it. Dope shit right here…Peep it.
You up on this Desus vs. Mero podcast yet? You might wanna get on that. Basically, the two funniest motherfuckers on twitter (who both happen to be from the bronx) got together and made a podcast. While it was initially just an audio show, it’s now become a tv show, thanks to the good people at Complex magazine. This shit is amazing. If you’re a fan of two hilarious dudes just snapping on everything, this will make your week. If not, you’re a big fucking nerd. Sorry…but you are.
My friend recently put me on to something very awesome. It’s an instagram profile of a girl who draws pictures of the awful men she deals with on OKcupid. I could explain it more but just read this article and follow her on instagram. The shit is hilarious.
The Troy Blog put up this lost gem today. For all you rap nerds, here’s Saafir’s demo tape that he originally sent to the Source. I actually had this back in the mid 90’s but have since lost it. Pretty psyched to get it back.
And I’ll finish this all off with some funny youtube vids…Why not?
Lastly, here’s a full hour long set of Comedian Patrice O’neal from 2004. He passed away last year , right as he was about to really ascend. Anyway, what’s interesting about this is that , in this set, it’s hard to really tell what the crowd thinks of him. He certainly doesn’t “Kill”. To be clear, Patrice was wildly offensive. Especially towards women. So, watching this is both hilarious and nuts cause he simply doesn’t back down from his opinions. He’s relentless. In fact, he buries himself deeper and deeper regardless of the crowds reaction to his jokes. So, while this may very likely infuriate some of you ladies out there (especially towards the end where his entire bit is based on the premise that , in general, men don’t like women) you gotta hand it to the dude for being fearless. Also, guys, you’ll love this.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while the name “The Skins” might be a familiar name to you. They’re a brooklyn based band that’s very likely going to be all over the place in the near future that I’ve been big upping for a whine now. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, hanging and working with them. For more info (and a free mix I made of random hip hop) read this:
As for this Remix, I did it a while back and honestly just want people to hear it already. I’m not the most patient guy on earth. It’s a definite departure from the original but, hey, that tends to happen when a hip hop beat maker remixes a rock song. Anyway, Enjoy.
Here’s a download link if you’d like to own this song as your very own (for FREE!)
If you’re feeling the skins, like them on Facebook:
I don’t typically do this but , fuck it.
Normally, I would give you guys some sort of poll about new music. Sometimes I come across an album that is so clearly a “yay”, in my eyes, that I don’t wanna give you people a chance to ruin that for me. Fact of the matter is, I realize what kind of rap music the typical Phat friend reader is into. It’s intelligent. It’s a little abstract. It’s also generally very white person friendly. Meaning , topically, it’s not about street shit and if the rapper has any sort of regional accent, it’s a problem. Judging from past “Yay or Nay” columns the amount of times some of you recoil upon hearing anyone rapping about guns or drugs (regardless of context or creativity), it’s as if you’re your own parents. That’s fine. We like what we like. I’ve been there. I used to curse Puffy and Mase in the late 90’s as “not real” hip hop. I know how it feels. However, good rap is good rap. And, let’s not forget, this is rap music. Not folk rock. At least that’s what I’m trying to show you guys every time I post a new artist with a street edge.
Enter Vince Staples.
He’s Odd Future Affiliated and his new mixtape/album “Shyne Goldchain II” just dropped.
Vince is a dude I honestly didn’t pay much attention to until recently. Prior to his murderous verse on Earl’s album , where he easily stole the show from Earl (a highly talented rapper himself), he had done a few little things here and there. Honestly, I couldn’t get past the production in most cases so I kinda let it just fly by me. This album though? He got some beats. Or I should say, he found the sound that works for him.
As a rapper, he reminds me a little of Snoop dogg in his laid back demeanor but way more serious. He also has shades of another of my favorite under rated rappers Young Bleed. With both comparisons, I’m seeing a somewhat mellow killer. While I could easily see people listening to this ,in passing, and writing him off as just another rapper talking about the same street shit, those people would be wrong. Yes, he is just another rapper and he does talk about street shit but , with rapping, it’s all about HOW you talk shit. He’s got style, presence ,a great voice and an original way of putting familiar words together. Look at the Clipse and how they made selling coke in rap an art form.
The point of all this is, hey, give it a chance ,you uptight and short sighted rap nerds. It’s funny to think that you can expand your horizons by actually giving something you might deem “beneath you” a chance. Consider this…you know how you feel about the rap music you love? Like you think if that guy you know who only likes Rick Ross and drake would just give it a chance , he’d finally see why you hold it in such high regard? It works both ways. Grey area is everywhere.
So, here’s a link to Vince Staple’s New mixtape FREE DOWNLOAD!
Here are some clips from the album:
For a stream of the whole album:
7 Degrees of Elevation by Godfather Don
(the big orange “Download” button is what you should press to download the song)
Nowadays, former rap nerds tend to hide their pasts. The word “backpacker” gets thrown around like a badge of shame for kids everywhere who were just that: kids. In the mid/late 90’s, the indie rap craze took off and that eventually led to the indie rap explosion of the early 2000’s , which led to it’s inevitable backlash a few years later. That’s how music works. To this day, I can guarantee that whatever genre is popular now (is it Trap? I have no clue), it will not only be scoffed at in 3 years but the people who used to champion it will play down their former love of it immensely when it comes up in conversations. Like I said, that’s how music works. I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve been there. There is so much old rap I used to worship that , if I hear now, I get embarrassed I ever knew the words to it. However, with all that said, there are always gems within each genre that never sour.
If you’re a indie rap aficionado, you’re aware of Godfather Don. He’s one of those super underground legends that just never seemed to get his shit together at the right time. In 1991, he released an album called “Hazardous” that, let’s be honest, wasn’t very good. Sure, revisionist rap fans will speak a different story cause , to them, if it’s old and rare, it’s automatically a jewel. But, fuck that. I was around when it dropped, I bought it and I bumped it. It was pretty wack. That said, you could see the talent.
A few years later, he re-emerged but this time behind the boards. He made a bunch of awesome beats on the Ultramagnetic Mc’s album “The Four horsemen” and even kicked a rhyme on there that showed some improvement.
Around that time, he started popping up regularly on the stretch and Bobbito radio show.
Not just as a guest but Bobbito would play his demo tracks with some regularity. It was then that a young me got obsessed with Godfather Don. The First track I had heard was called “Slave of NY”. It was clear he had evolved as an artist and found his voice.
Not only that, but his beats…man…his fucking beats were insane. Every week or two, Bobbito would play another demo song and I’d feverishly rush to record it off the radio. The song above, “7 Degrees of Elevation” , was my all time favorite. With it’s hazy, drugged out jazz loop over a classic drum break, Don just goes off. He certainly was a rapper who would often put the flow ahead of his lyrics (at least in a “the flow sounds tight but do the words mean anything?” kinda way) but his word association flow and run on sentences worked for me. To this day, I can’t say many people have or can rap like Don was doing in the mid-90’s.
While the songs made at that time were not available to anyone who didn’t record radio shows, he did release an amazing record with Kool Keith under the group name “The Cenobites”. This Ep is pretty much a classic to anyone who was listening to that kinda rap during that time.
After those demo’s and the Cenobites, Don had a decent run of 12” records on Hydra Records and even a full length (which, in my opinion, was not his best work)
Luckily for us nerds out there, the bulk of those old demo songs got released a decade or so later.
If you’re into this song I posted, I’d suggest tracking down his compilation “The 90’s sessions” cause it’s got tons of great stuff on it.
So, yeah, enjoy these songs but , most of all, embrace your rap nerd side. There’s no shame in it. Trust me, it could have been way worse. Imagine how Hanson fans feel?