Song of the day

Haven’t done this in a while and , honestly, I don’t have time to write shit today soooo….Here’s a song I’ve been bumping a lot lately. It’s actually from the summer but I’m late to the game as usual and heard it last week. Tree and twista on the same track? Yeah son…Just a warning, I have a feeling most of you will not like this. But, hey, such is life.

Song of the day: “One of the hardest”- Saafir

saafir1-wheelchair
Saafir- One of the hardest
http://www44.zippyshare.com/v/63735750/file.html

Saafir the Saucee Nomad holds a very special place in hearts of a lot of old rap nerds my age. I first heard him on Casual’s Debut album where he arguably stole the entire show with one verse. Shortly after that, he dropped his debut album “”Boxcar sessions”. Saafir was one of a kind. NO ONE rapped like him. Not even close. On top of that, he was fairly abstract in his beat choices, often straying from the jazzy, melodic tracks his contemporaries would use and going with beats that were straight up grating and aggressive. His first album got him a nice following and some devoted fans but, after that, he never really ascended. He did have a moment when he made a few songs with Ras Kass and Xzibit as a group called “The Golden state warriors” but after years of promising a full length album, it simply never came together.
Now, when I say he never ascended, I mean in popularity. He was still making music. Good music. But while other abstract rappers like Aceyalone or his hiero affiliates were making critically acclaimed albums, he sorta just did his own thing. Choosing a decidedly more west coast and gangster sound that probably scared away a certain backpack wearing portion of his fan base.
Well, it turns out that it was deeper than that. In 1992, he was in a plane crash and hurt his back badly. This snowballed into all sorts of other problems (and , honestly, really poor life choices on his part). You can read all about that here:
http://www.okayplayer.com/news/why-is-saafir-in-a-wheelchair-shock-g.html
I bring all that up to talk a little about the song I posted above. It’s off an EP of the same title that was apparently released in 2005. In this song, Saafir talks about many parts of his early career. One verse talks about his first time coming to NYC and linking up with rappers from this side of the country. In the last verse, he gets into the plane crash that would eventually have him sitting in a wheelchair. Now, obviously, when he made the song, I don’t think he know what his predicament would be but It’s still a really dope retelling of the events. I will say that the recording quality leaves a little to be desired but , if you’re old like me, you grew up listening to dirty 4th generation tapes anyway. This just sounds like my youth to me.

Song of the day 9/1/14 (the Your Old Droog saga continues)

nas-amy2
No Message By Your Old Droog and Rast RFC

It’s fun when two rappers you like come together out of nowhere. In this case, we have Rast and Your Old Droog. Two guys I recently did “Yay or Nay” columns about. Both from NYC and both are getting some shine right now. While Rast has a very interesting story (read about it here) I’d say the man of the hour is Y.O.D.
Why? Well, it’s cause everyone thinks he’s Nas. Literally. People have a theory that this is some sort of side project and Nas is all fucking with us. On paper, this sounds ridiculous. Why would Nas do that? But, when you step back, it would seem like a lot of signs point to this being the truth. His voice sounds A LOT like him. He’s affiliated with Mass Appeal (Nas and Former Ego Trip Founder Sasha Jenkins have direct ties to Mass Appeal). He’s certainly playing into the rumors too. Or, I should say, some other people are. Someone made a fake twitter account that seemed very real and started both Posting YOD songs as well as tweeting quotes from Nas albums.
Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 11.00.16 AM
Weird.
But, here’s the thing. He’s not Nas. At least I’m 99% sure he’s not. How do I know this? Well, I’ll start with the soft evidence. While his voice is very similar to Nas, his flow and lyrics don’t sound anything like Nas. So, just off the basis of an ear test, to me, he’s not Nas. That’s not enough though, right? Well, how about , prior to him getting a little shine he had all sorts of videos on Youtube. Actual music videos that show his face. This face:
YourOldDroog
This blew my mind the most cause, honestly, I’m totally racist when it comes to white guy rap voices and thought there was no way on earth Your Old Droog wasn’t a black dude. If the videos (which I saw before they were taken down) he’s more of an arab or a chechen. I can’t even tell. But , one thing is for sure, he’s not Nas. Still not enough evidence?
Well, how bout this article:
http://www.complex.com/music/2014/06/your-old-droog-is-not-nas

So, that’s my case. The truth will all be revealed in NYC on september 3rd when he plays a show. I might not be around for that show but I’m sure phone cameras will be there to record the happenings. If you’re curious or simply wanna see him rock (After all, the thing getting lost in all this is that he’s pretty fucking dope, despite the Nas similarities), here’s a flyer for that show. Oh, and Rast is playing that night as well. Pretty great line up.
Check it
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Song(s) of the day 7/17/14

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Ig’nant
M.A.T.H.
By Al Shid

http://www68.zippyshare.com/v/91927289/file.html

There was a long time in the 90’s, into the the early 2000’s where I bought tons of Vinyl. Not referring to stuff I would sample but things like Indie rap 12″ records and Lp’s. The thing about that era, for me, is that it’s both nostalgic and sometimes embarrassing. There’s so much music from that era that I loved that, for some reason or another, never aged particularly well. Underground rap is funny like that. I always contend it has to do with rapping styles of that era. People were going out of their way to sound different and, in order to do so, often found them selves out on a creative limb. While it paid off for some, others didn’t fare as well. For that reason, styles came and went. As did artists. Every now and then, though, a dude would come along that seemed timeless. Typically, it would be a more traditional rapper who embraced the underground rap aesthetic. This would sometimes be problematic for a few reasons
1)There was SO much music coming out back then, people often got lost in shuffle. Great rappers would just flare out for no real reason , other than over population in the record racks.
2)Because being weird was the thing back then, traditional guys would often get pushed to the side. In reality, these were guys who had potential for broader appeal but were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I say all that, to intro these two songs by rapper Al Shid. He was a protege of J-Zone (Zone did the beats on both these songs. Let’s never forget how dope his shit was during that era). Shid was rude, direct and clever. He put out two 12″ records in 2002. These two songs were the jewels of the bunch. I distinctly recall walking into Fat beats and Breezly Bruin was working there at the time. We’re were friendly and having a casual chat when he was like “Yo, have you peeped this new Al Shid joint!?!? He’s a beast.” Honestly , I bought it off the strength of that (and J-zone) and did not regret my choice at all.
Bruin wasn’t lying.
Sadly, I don’t think his records ever took off like they should of. I’d chalk it up entirely to timing. Underground rap was on some postive, head wrap shit back then and I’d imagine a song about “Money and than hoes” didn’t sit well with a lot of people. It’s too bad though…cause I loved these songs…and I still love them today. So, here ya go. Enjoy the glory of Al Shid.

Song of the day 4/9/14

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Queens Cat By Shirt

I’ve been a big fan of Shirt since I first heard him a while back. His new album has been out for a minute but he released a weird video to one of my favorite songs from it so I figure, hey, what the fuck…let’s shine the light on him one more time. This is one of the few times you will ever see me support anything cat related. So that in itself is a pretty strong statement.

If you’d like to own this song, you can download his entire album for free here:
https://soundcloud.com/shirt/rap-album
It’s a banger and I highly recommend it. The song “Either you with me or with god” in particular has been my shit since it dropped so go download that shit. Why not? You hate free things? Don’t be silly.

Song of the day: 3/7/14

Godfather Don
7 Degrees of Elevation by Godfather Don
http://www40.zippyshare.com/v/94165318/file.html
(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?

Song of the day: 2/25/14

Bold By Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, Busdriver and James Lynch
http://www.mediafire.com/listen/fjtka0gz3d9d0vi/BOLD_(final).mp3

I haven’t done a “Song of the day” in ages cause, well, I’ve pretty much given you guys all the music I own at this point. So, every now and then, a song pops up that I forgot about or slept on that needs to be shared.
This song, in particular, is one that Aesop, Rob Sonic and Busdriver made while on the tour. I could be wrong but I think it may have been recorded on garage band. Aesop gave it a way a while back on his website 900bats.

This one is kinda special to me cause it touches on something that any old rap fan can relate to. Getting old in hip hop. Not just that, but looking back at it asa formerly “cutting edge” type artist who is now earing his 40’s. As one of these people, I can say there is an undeniable balancing act we must do to keep to our roots while staying open minded enough to stay relevant. Some pull it off better than others.
When dealing with extremes, tt usually goes one of two ways.
1)The old rap fan who just hates everything new. Complain about how it’s not like it used to be and that everything is “soft”.
2)The old rap fan who breaks their back to stay up on the new rap trends. So much to the point that they end up championing some shit they probably would have loathed 4 years earlier.
I fashion myself somewhere in the middle. I like a lot of new rap and have for some time but I still scratch my head at some of the shit people lose their minds over nowadays. At the same time, I also have very little interest in revival rap that just re-creates the stuff I listened to when I was coming up. It’s a lot like when musicians go into studios and attempt to make funk music that sounds like it was made in the 70’s. When they pull it off, it’s great but , most of the time, it’s just a copy cat act.

The problem with getting old while hip hop stays young is that you do start to see a distance form between you and the current music. I try and be rational about it. I swear. As beats have gone from samples and breaks to blips and bleeps with some weak 808 kit beneath it, against all I believe in sonically, I’d attempted to keep an open mind. Sometimes, this has been to great benefit with acts like Sparkmaster Tape. After all, it’s music. Sometimes it takes, sometimes it doesn’t. But, to age like this, there is an inherent fear that the ship is leaving you behind at all times. Thing is, while i don’t wanna be that “old dude shaking my fist at the new bold youth”, I also don’t wanna be that guy that pretends to like something I know is not for me. Music is about a feeling you get. That’s not something you can force when it comes to what you like and dislike. As much as i wanna be able to be playing ball at the YMCA and relate to the 17 year olds telling me J-Cole is a genius, it’s just never gonna happen. But, you know what? Those kids call me “sir” and “mister” anyway so who the fuck am I trying to relate to in the first place? I’m literally as old as some of their dads. That said, i bet their dads and I could talk about hip hop for days but I digress…
I think the right way to be an old dude in hip hop is to both embrace your past but don’t be so willing to shut down everything cause it’s new and different. The same shit I think about someone like Young Thug (I don’t get it…at all) is probably what the generation before me thought of Company Flow and the generation before that thought of De la soul. Part of getting old is that you’re literally getting old. There’s no way to stay on point with the youth culture when you’re so far removed from it. unless, of course, you wanna be THAT kinda old dude…