Song of the day 5/16/13

I never knew Money By T.Shirt

I’m not even gonna lie to you. I’m hungover like a motherfucker today. Normally I’d be scouring the internet for something for you to vote “Yay or Nay” on but I simply don’t have it in me today. So, as an alternative, I figured I’d bring back the good old “Song of the day”. Why not, right?
Today’s entry is by Ny Rapper T.Shirt. I did a “Yay or Nay” with him a while back and he got a mixed response but, truth be told, he’s probably my favorite “new” artist I’ve heard in a minute. He’s got a bunch of free mixtapes available so , if you like this, I’d say you should go check the rest of his stuff out.

Okay…So, now that that’s done, I’m gonna get back in bed and sit in the dark for few hours.

Song of the day 2/22/13

Funky Lemonade Remix By Chi Ali

I can imagine a day will come when someone might make a documentary about Chi Ali. Not cause of his music so much as the crazy turn his life took that surprised everyone. He was one of the first “kid rappers” that older rappers co-signed, who seemed like he might actually grow up to become decent. Much like groups like Illegal and Da Youngsta’s, Chi Ali came about in the early 90’s when it seemed like everyone was scrambling to find the first great kid MC. Sure, LL cool J had already killed it as a 14 year old in the mid 80’s but I think people were angling more toward a high voiced kid, where as Cool J was more of a man child.
Ali was first heard on the posse cut “Pass the 40” off the debut album by Black Sheep

Ali definitely stood out as, for one, his voice was so high it sounded like a dog whistle. But, more importantly, he held is own on a track with adults as well as craved out a niche of a child rapping who wasn’t on some bubble gum shit. Sure, he may or may not have had underarm hair yet but he was still rapping about bagging hoes. As a person who was the same age as him at the time. I sure as hell loved it. Shortly after that, he put out his only album “The Fabulous Chi Ali” that received a little buzz here and there but, mostly, no one really gave a shit. I’d imagine listening to a whole album of a squeaky voiced child rapper just was too much for most hip hop heads to handle back then.
His single was a minor success but that was about it.

The unfortunate thing about his debut is that he had crazy beats all over it. Produced almost entirely by the Beatnuts, had those tracks been given to any decent rapper from that era, it would be an album people would still be talking about to this day.
I can’t blame the dude though…he was 14. For a 14 year old, he was a good rapper. However, things changed (literally) right after that when he released two songs as a new man…a man with an adults voice. Things seemed to be on the upswing. One song is the remix above. The other was a remix for his song “Roadrunner” (Titled “The puberty remix).

Unfortunately, right when things started going well for him, he shocked everyone by murdering his sisters boyfriend. He was even on “America’s most wanted”. That’s pretty much where his recording career ended. I was especially surprised cause i had actually sorta met him while in high school. He knew a friend of a friend and, one day after school (this was around 90-91), we briefly hung out. I noticed he was a really shy dude. Like the type who looks at the ground a lot to avoid eye contact. Perhaps he was just not feeling boisterous that day or whatever but he certainly didn’t seem like a murderer.

Whatever the case, he served a 12 year sentence and is out now. It’s kinda ironic cause had this taken place ten years later, he might have gotten tons of street cred from killing someone and, perhaps, it would have even helped his career. Bad timing , I suppose.
As for his current status, I have no clue what he’s up to but, hey, I wish him the best.

Song of the day 2/15/13 RIP Tim Dog Edition

Dog’s gonna getcha By Tim Dog
The first time I heard Tim Dog was on the Ultramagnetic MC’s song “A Chorus Line”.

I honestly didn’t think much of him. Little did I know I was listening to someone who’s music would become a major part of my life a few short years later.
Explaining why I love Tim Dog to , say, a rap purist isn’t easy. I mean, let’s be honest, part of the reason he was so awesome is cause of how he walked the line between being the most thugged out man on the planet and being completely ridiculous. He was hilarious both on purpose and by mistake.
My second taste of Tim Dog would be the same one most people of that era had of him. It was the NWA diss song “Fuck Compton”. It kinda came out of nowhere. Prior to that, I don’t recall anyone in NYC having an issue with NWA (and the rest of the west coast for that matter). But, I guess Tim Dog was sick of west coast gangster rap getting all the publicity when there was plenty of hardcore New York shit going on under the radar. So, he said fuck it, and made this:

I mean, how awesome was that? The video. The song. Just perfect. He was basically like a mono syllabic bully who just started wailing on his opponent. It just worked.

Now, during that time, I lived a few blocks away for a record store that always got advanced releases. In particular, they would get anything that came out on Columbia Records like 2 months before it dropped in stores. One day I was perusing their cassette section (this was back when i only bought cassettes) and saw Tim Dog’s Album “Penicillin on Wax” just sitting there. Not only had it not been released yet but it hadn’t even been reviewed by the source. It was like it didn’t even exist yet and I was discovering it. I bought it for five bucks and went home. Life was never the same.

To say this is one of the best albums of all time is a stretch. Cause, “best”, i feel, should be saved for works of genius. However, without pause , I will tell you this is one of my favorite albums ever made. It bought me so much joy for so long. To this day, if 85% of these songs pop on anywhere (which is rare), I’ll rap along like a lunatic with a deranged smile on my face. The album is the perfect blend of hilarity, fear and craziness all set over a collection of beats seemingly touched by lord baby jesus/buddah/allah. I mean, for christ sake, the dude started his whole album rocking over the same beat NWA did to start of their album just as a fuck you…So good.

While his follow up album didn’t really match up, he still put a few things out over the next 10 years or so. One of the more slept on things he did later in his career was his album with Kool Keith called “Ultra”. On the song “The industry is wack” I think his verse is legit awesome. Not even in the slightest , ironic way…he kills it. The words “You used to wear tims now your ass is in tights” still rings true to this very day. The man was a prophet.

Well, anyway, yesterday I got home to see twitter a buzz about the passing of Tim Dog due to complications with Diabetes. Honestly, I was shocked as I had no idea he was even sick. The most recent thing I had heard/seen about him was a piece on Dateline about him ripping off lonely women. While this is something that was obviously not a good thing, it did somewhat support the Tim Dog Legacy as a fairly ill , fucked up dude.
The first person I saw mentioning it was, of course, J-Zone. Zone may be the only person I’ve ever come in contact with who has more passion for “Penicillin on wax” and TIm Dog in general than myself. In fact, he wrote a piece on him that I feel is pretty much the end all of understanding the man himself, Tim Dog. So, instead of me just re-writing a version of what he wrote, just peep this link. Aside from getting your learn on, Zone is a funny ass writer with a very unique perspective.

As for the song of the day? In honor of TIm Dog, there can only be one song that exemplifies his legend. That song? “Dog’s gonna getcha”. The same song that I’m somehow quoted on Tim Dog’s Wikipedia page as calling “Quite possibly The hardest song ever made”. Btw, No clue how I got in his wiki page but , obviously, it’s a huge honor.
RIP Tim Dog.
I suggest you all cuddle up with a copy of “Penicillin on wax” as soon as you can and just let the greatness wash over you.

Song of the day 1/8/13

Big Boat up the river By Harry Belafonte

Apparently, the east coast is once again about get shit on my the weather gods in the forms of lots of snow. But, you know what? I’m not playing that shit. Instead of sitting about stewing about something I can’t control, I’m gonna just put this song on and Imagine I’m riding a fucking banana boat up some river in wherever Harry Belafonte is always singing about.
Truth be told, Belafonte is the man and often over looked when discussing musical power houses of yesteryear. There’s more to him than Day’O. So, this song if my gift to all those people trudging through the snow/sleet/rain today wishing they could be anywhere but where they are. While you’re going through that, just imagine Harry Belafonte’s crazy ass juggling fresh guavas while getting head from some indigenous women of unknown race. Feels better, right?

Song of the day 2/1/13

Give’em Hell By Prodigy and The Alchemist
I won’t lie. There are very few old rappers out there still making music effectively. All my heroes have, for the most part, stopped delivering over a decade ago. So, when one of them beats the odds, it feels good.
In the case of Prodigy, he fought off irrelevance simply by not giving a fuck. It also doesn’t hurt that he linked up with The Alchemist, who also seems to be having a career renaissance.
This song is from their up coming album “Albert Einstein” and it succeeds cause they simply just did what they do. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Song of the day 1/24/13

Stop Shammin’ By Big Daddy Kane

I was recently reminded of some of the forgotten work of one of my favorite all time rappers. I’m in that age group where Rakim, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane will always be in my top 3. Like all rappers though, people get old and lose their edge. While I’d by lying if i said I was really checking for any of these dudes currently, all three of them had a deep and profound effect on the way I listen to hip hop. They were the elite mc’s when I was young and, even after they peaked, a lot of that older shit they did still held up to the standards of whatever was current in hip hop.
In the case of Big Daddy Kane, he had some up’s and downs. After releasing two classic albums (Long live the Kane and It’s a big daddy thing), he saw the first signs of backlash with his album “A taste of chocolate”. While I understand why, I also felt it was wildly slept on and very unfairly judged. But, instead of me explaining why, peep this video right here where RA the Rugged man breaks it down perfectly:

Anyway, because “A Taste of Chocolate” was so intensely judged, the next album was a crucial one for kane. So what did he do? He dropped a dud. “Prince of darkness” , while it had a few moments, was easily the worst Kane album (during his still capable years). Filled with bullshit slow jams and pretty much playing like exactly what people had been saying about his previous album. It’s like he took the criticism and was like “They think that’s soft? Wait’ll they hear this..). After “Prince of Darkness” A lot of people had seemingly threw in the towel on Kane. His loverboy style of rap has gone overboard , he was seemingly mailing it in and people just didn’t wanna hear that shit anymore.
Well, someone must have alerted Kane of this cause he did what so many rappers before him who had had similar fall offs had done…he made a “return to the streets” album. Now, normally, this would be some pandering bullshit that was just the fallen rapper kicking thuggy rhymes in a last ditch effort to regain the fans he had lost by rapping like a pussy. But, in the case of Kane, he was actually still a good enough rapper to pull it off. His album “Looks like a job for…”, featuring a photo of him in a hoodie on the cover, was a return to form. Sure, he wasn’t the same kane who change the game but he was still good enough to make a strong album. So, while “Looks like a job for…” wasn’t fucking with his older catalogue, it was still a good album.
Anyway, I write all that to write this: I had all but forgotten this album until recently and I had a chance to revisit some of it. This song was always one of my favorites from it. Not only the rhymes but that beat? goddamn. Easy Moe bee for the win. Good stuff.
As a bonus, here’s Big Daddy Kane Primer course for those young’uns out there too young to know…Here are some highlights from all his albums up to “Looks like a job for…”
Long Live the kane

It’s a big daddy thing

A taste of Chocolate

Prince of Darkness (This is where things went to shit…)

Ughh…He was definitely mailing it on the highest level there but it did have this song

Looks like a job for…

Song of the day 1/17/13

TREE IMG_0031 edit high res[2]
Nino By Tree feat. Young Giftz

I posted a Tree song a month or two ago to mixed reactions. In fact, I wasn’t really sold on him fully at the time. While I still don’t think he’s the second coming of rap, I’ve certainly come around to his stuff more recently.
So, let’s try this again.
Chicago rapper who is somewhat gangster but not in an over the top way with beats that blend soul samples and trap like drums to great results. I like it. Perhaps you should too?
This is a joint off his new mixtape. Peep it.

Song of the day 1/11/13

Live and Stink by Mike Zoot

That Tony Bones post from earlier this week got me listening to a bunch of old indy shit I hadn’t heard in a while. One song that popped up was this joint by brooklyn (If i recall correctly) rapper Mike Zoot. Zoot had a bunch of 12″ records out back in the day and made a little buzz but it never really went beyond that. That was unfortunate cause I always felt he was a good rapper with an original style. This one in particular was always my favorite as the playful Buckwild beat went perfectly with Zoot’s carefree rhymes. This is one of those songs that certain lyrics of will just pop into my had to this day. Good stuff, bros.

Also, I was recently on the “Shot’s Fired” Podcast with Jeff Weiss, Nocando and Open Mike eagle. We discussed the history of rap alter ego’s. It’s got some really funny moments and, if you listen, you just might learn a thing or two.

Song of the day 1/4/13

It was a very good year By Richie Havens
Here’s an alternate link on the off chance the above one gets taken down…
I gotta admit something. I’ve pretty much ignored the work of Richie Havens my entire life entirely due to mistaking him for someone else. Up until last week, I’m ashamed to say that I always got him and Richie Valens (of La bamba fame) mixed up and just kinda assume he was on some early rock and roll, Big Bopper type bullshit that I had no interest in. Well…fuck me. I was wrong.
I saw “Django Unchained” last week and , in it, there was an amazing cover of “Motherless child”. I had no clue who made it but , lo and behold, it was Richie Havens. Ever since finding that out, I’ve been on a search to find that song. That search has come up empty (anyone out there with an mp3 would be my best friend if they threw a download link in the comments section) but the bright side of it all is that it’s made me delve a little into Mr. Havens Catalogue. Basically, I’ve been sitting and listening to snippets of him on the I-Tunes store all day cause, you know, that’s how you listen to music nowadays when you’re too lazy to deal with spotify.
This particular song jumped out at me as a nice way to start the year in “songs of the day” as , like everyone else, I hope this to be a very good year.
But more than anything, I feel like a dick for sleeping on Richie Havens this long…For shame.

Song of the day 12/28/12

6th Sense By The Underachievers
A while back I posted about a video by a relatively unknown Brooklyn based rap group called “The Underachievers”. Not following what appears to be the musical release protocol, they didn’t drop 5 mix tapes directly after dropping their first video. Weird, right?
So, those of us who were into it were left with a few videos and youtube clips to sit on while we wondered what these dudes had brewing.
Well, word on the street is they got signed to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label and will be putting out some new music shortly. So, that’s good news. Until then, here’s a newish song I recently heard that seems to follow up nicely to the other joints they’ve leaked thus far.
For those who missed it, here’s the older song that everyone went nuts for. And I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. I too think it’s pretty fucking awesome. New rappers! Yay!