Monday, April 30, 2007

Tell Her Make Like the Motherfuckin' Duke Boys and Crawl Thru the Motherfuckin' Window

That cover doesn't really scream "gangsta originator" does it?

415 - "41Fivin"

415 - "Snitches & Bitches"

415 - "Side Show"
41Fivin, 1991

I think it's safe to say that most people don't realize just what a fuckin' OG Richie Rich is. So since I haven't done a Bay post in awhile, I've got a gang of shit to let you know. I got you so many tracks, in fact, that I'm splitting this into two posts, part two tomorrow.

Richie Rich's original group, 415, was some of the first gangsta shit outta the Bay, and really some of the earliest d-boy raps I've heard from anywhere. (See, to those of us from the Bay, crack raps aren't ironic, they're nostalgic.) It ain't Richie Rich, but on "41Fivin" it's plainly stated:
N***a, be down to astound the world,
You won't be shit if you don't pimp the white girl.
Sellin' dope is basically what I'm sayin'
I'm comin' up 'cause motherfuckers keep payin'.
I don't remember too many portrayals of the crack dealer persona before 1991, so understand when I say that 415 were groundbreaking. Really most of the credit goes to Richie, I think. Far as I know the group was his brainchild, and he had that real chill and relaxed flow, which wouldn't become the norm for Cali gangsta rap until the rise of Snoop.

Oh yeah, and Snoop has fully admitted that he ganked that shit from Richie Rich. Ok, ok, my words not his, but still he said "a major influence" or some such. It's nice to see him admit to stealing Bay swagger for once. (Not that I don't love Snoop.)

What's more, "Snitches & Bitches" expounds on some shit that you may have heard a bit about in the news lately. I dunno, they say there's been some bru-ha-ha over the words "bitch" and "ho" and about the phrase "stop..." something or other. Again this song's seventeen years old.

One last 415 gem, Richie went solo on "Side Show" and it is, as far as I know, the first song made to elaborate upon one of the Bay Area's most long-lived and endearing traditions: the sydeshow. Otherwise known as a bunch of fools getting together and doing crazy tricks with their cars... what, you thought ghostriding just popped up outta nowhere? Know your history. (Plus it uses the same sample as a classic Arrested Development song.)

Richie also released a solo record back in that 415 era, Don't Do It, which is fun but not really what I want from him. It's a little too nice and not very West Coast.

But then Richie got locked up and 415 made a new album without him, which I never even bothered to listen to. But what of Richie Rich? Would he manage to get out of prison and successfully come back into a radically changed rap game that he helped shape? Part two tomorrow.

(Oh, and the answer is yes, yes he would. Very, very well.)

southern playa-listic

Score: 7/10

Best Song: Player's Ball

Worst Song: Funky Ride

So the story of Outkast begins where stories tend the beginning. This particular debut comes along back in '94, before any movies, crossover successes, potential singing careers, name changes, Erykah Badu, period. This was back when, if you can believe it, Outkast was nothing but a couple of guys from Atlanta who could spit pretty damn well. Apparantly they also smoked a lot of fucking weed, because if nothing else, this album should be a dedication to the practice of gettin' high, since they rap about it in almost every song. And by "they" I don't just mean Big Boi and Dre, since they brought along a few friends as well...namely the entire Dungeon Family. Unlike the album that came out in 2001, there is no mistake who the star players are here, but that doesn't mean we don't see plenty of their buddies making guest appearences on multiple tracks. How do I feel about this? Well, I understand that this was the first album, the boys were probably really excited and wanted to get all their friends in on this shot at success, but it does hurt the album as a whole. For one thing, a lot of these songs are way too damn long, especially with the unimaginative subject matter that's being dealt with. Songs like "Call of Da Wild", "Git Up, Git Out", and "Funky Ride" are all too fucking long, even though I like the beat in "Call" and "Git Up, Git Out" actually has the best verse in the entire album, including anything Dre and Big Boi contribute, and that would be Cee-lo's impassioned first verse. Man, even back then Goodie Mob were damn talented, and the only members of the Family I would say really justify their appearence on this album, though nobody really sucks. Despite that best verse nod(the song winds up going on for almost 8 mintues, which it has no business doing), I'm gonna have to give the best track to an obvious cut, and that would of course be "Player's Ball", which is the first song to follow what I like to think of as the "Classic Outkast Single" formula: Big Boi or Dre lead the song off, the other does the second verse, they alternate a third verse (optional), add a catchy hook. They would prove in subsequent albums that this always made for a hot track, even if they were doing other things that were a bit more outside the box. Special credit goes to Sleepy Brown, who does the hook on "Player's Ball" as well as his extra singing on the otherwise useless "Player's Ball (Reprise)" which closes the album. In fact, for the most part, in spite of the stellar Goodie Mob contributions, Outkast is at their best here when they keep it (relatively) brief and simply with the two of them, such as with the also very good opener, "Myintrotoletuknow". If you want to see where inviting their friends to the studio was probably not the best idea, I'll take you right over to the aforementioned "Funky Ride". There are a number of things wrong with this song: firstly, it runs at about 6 and a half minutes, which is too fucking long for the kind of songwriting on display at this point, the guy singing on it sounds like a child molester and makes the proceedings really uncomfortable, and, most importantly, where the FUCK is Outkast? They aren't on this song at all. On an album that clearly states it is by a group calling itself Outkast. This is inexcusable. The rest of the album I haven't talked about consists of solid but overlong tunes like the title track, "Ain't No Thang" and others like it, the only thing worth noting about them other than the rapping on hand being consistently good is that the hootie-hoo call in the appropriately titled "Hootie Hoo" is pretty annoying. Still, a good start for a group that would fix a lot of their shortcomings very quickly and already have the competition beat by a significant margin, worth a listen, especially if you wanna hear Outkast with a few growing pains left to do.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

New Show & A... Wait, New Show & A?!?!

Showbiz & A.G. - "Business As Usual" (cuts by DJ Premier)
(found at Nah Right)

It figures that the very day after I guiltily leave them off my top 25 I hear a new song by Showbiz & A.G. of all duos. I gotta admit, I really never expected them come back, I mean none of their post Runaway Slave shit got very big, right?. I can't figure out how much of my liking this new song is due to the song itself and how much is due to the fact that I actually have a weakness for older rappers coming back and talking about how long they've been around. ("Blow the Whistle" was similar fire.)

Anyway, to those new jacks who don't know why a return of these two means so much to me:

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Elijah Gives In, Here's His Top 25

As you may or may not know, the world of hip-hop blogging has recently been swept up in a list-making fever, courtesy of Straight Bangin's request for everyone's top 25 Hip-Hop albums. Now, despite being pretty heavily obsessive compulsive myself, lists like this have always been hard for me to do, I'm no good at deciding what's better than what, because I generally believe that different things have different merits and that that can't be put into an order from "better" to "worse". On the other hand, as I've been reading everyone else's lists I've started to seriously itch to do the same, and so now I'm caving in to pressure (that only came from myself in the first place) and hittin' ya'll with my own take.

Of course, these are not necessarily the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, and not even written in stone as my favorites, they're the 25 I thought up as my favorites right now. Ask me on a Tuesday and we'll see what I say. Also I have plenty of high-ranked favorites that I left off, so don't go getting mad that such-and-such isn't there. Lastly, this is my personal list, it does not represent the opinions of anyone else here at Better Than Butt Sex.

I wish I could post a song from each record, but I don't have the energy, so here goes:

25) Cali Agents - How the West Was One
Yeah, I'm probably the only one with this on here, but I'm really trying to go for records that I appreciate and enjoy the most. As you'll probably see throughout this list, I love shit that sits between two extremes. Rasco and Planet Asia are vicious battle rappers here, but despite coming out independently in 2000 they are not on backpacker shit at all on this record. Just good boasts, good rhymes, and the ability to be without weapons and still sound hard as fuck.

24) Slum Village - Fantastic, Vol. 2
Not the best rappers, of course, but as Barrington Levy would say, the vibes is right. More importantly, this is musically one of the most immaculately put together and outright beautiful records of all time. Not to disrespect his later work, but in my opinion this is Dilla's masterpiece.

23) Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth - Funky Technician
A friend and I (what up, Simon) once discussed transplanting the brains of Oscar Wilde, Groucho Marx, and Lord Finesse into a robot body, thereby creating a cyborg that would be the wittiest being to ever walk this Earth. The slick brotha with a fade and a half moon took punchline rap to a whole new level of art, and it is not hyperbole when I say that this record sounded ahead of its time.

22) Saafir - Boxcar Sessions
I swear this isn't a concession to the part of me that wants to be different, nor the part of me that wants as much Bay shit on here as possible. Saafir is a lyrical genius in an entirely different vein than the aforementioned Lord Finesse--not necessarily better, but entirely different. The epitome of using one's voice as an instrument, the vocals here twist themselves in and out of the sample-driven tracks in ways that I couldn't imagine before I heard it. Yet with all of the jazzy beats and iconoclastic lyrical dexterity, Saafir manages to keep shit sounding very Left Coast somehow.

21) Gang Starr - Moment of Truth
As I was making my list I slowly realized that there wasn't any Gang Starr on it. Part of me is mad that I put them so far back on the list, but I almost forgot about them entirely, so that should automatically keep them from being too high up. Don't get it twisted though, I love Guru and Primo with a passion. I've always felt that, until The Ownerz, they just kept improving on themselves, so by that logic Moment of Truth is my pick. It didn't have that jazzy feel anymore, but just about every other song is certified classic, and you can get lost in the production.

20) E-40 - Tha Hall of Game
I consider E-40 to be one of the greatest and most inventive lyricists of all time, but picking a "best" album of his was incredibly difficult for me. Nothing on this album is quite fucking with "Captain Save a Hoe" or "Sprinkle Me", but all in all I'd put this as his most consistent. He starts off the album by dissing Rasheed Wallace, what more could you want?

19) Slick Rick - The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
Yes, yes, this should be higher. I was about five when this came out, so it's not like I felt its impact at the time. I love all classic 80's rap, but this and the other pick from the era are the only ones that had enough of an impact on me personally to make it here (no disrespect to Kane, G Rap, Lyte, Rakim, etc.). Much has already been said about this record, so I'll just add that when you can have "Hey Young World" and "Treat Her Like a Prostitute" on the same album and not seem like a hypocrite, you are a genius.

18) Souls of Mischief - '93 Til Infinity
Maybe not the best or most influential Hiero record, and maybe my backpacker is showing right now, but Souls were fucking ill back in the day. Alot of people think lyrical=East Coast, so I always love anyone who can be intricate and complex with their words and still come across very west. Plus, this album could just be the title track being played over and over again twenty times and it'd get on here.

17) Jungle Brothers - Done By the Forces of Nature
Already been covered.

16) 2Pac - All Eyez On Me
Yeah, I grew up right next to Oakland, so 'Pac has to be on here. It's just a rule. Me Against the World is great, but his intensity on this record is unrivaled, and most of the production is pretty fucking spotless. If it had been edited down to one disc it would be much higher on the list, but nonetheless "Ambitionz As a Ridah" might be the greatest opening track ever.

15) Black Star - Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star
People pretty uniformly hate on these two nowadays--with Kweli I kinda understand it, and with Mos I entirely do--but this is them at their best. At the forefront of that late 90's indie boom, and much more in my vein than any Company Flow or Juggaknots type shit, they combined the best of that Rawkus MCing ideal (back when that was a good thing) with a kind of soul and consciousness that really spoke to me at the time. This may be one of those records that only means so much to me because of where my life was at the time, but if so, so be it. Also they showed the right way to pay homage to the classics with their "Children's Story" cover, and the use of "P Is Free".

14) Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
I know, I know, this is way to far back on the list, but I'm really trying to go by my favorites and not by how influential something is. What can I say about this that hasn't already been said? Nothing really.

13) Too $hort - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1: The Player Years (1983-1988)
Yes, I'm cheating. I couldn't chose a favorite $hort record, but at least I didn't pick something all-encompassing either. This may be before "Freaky Tales", "Don't Fight the Feeling", and a gang of other greats, but all that early shit on 75 Girls was so classic and influential. Not only did he popularize cussing and the word "bitch" back in the early 80's, but alot of these old tracks showed their non-rap influences by essentially being seven minute 80's synth funk jams with a few minutes of rapping--and I mean that in a good way. "Blowjob Betty", "Invasion of the Flat Booty Bitches", "Girl (Cocaine) That's Your Life" the list of Oakland classics that I've been hearing as long as I've been alive goes on and on. When he said "I don't stop rappin'" he meant it.

12) Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - Mecca and the Soul Brother
Alot of people making these lists have been picking Main Ingredient instead, and I can understand that. It was a hard choice, but "Straighten It Out" decided for me. Again, is there really much new that I can say here?

11) OutKast - Aquemini
I definitely feel that 'Kast not cracking the top ten is purely a matter of how I feel at the moment. This record has the perfect balance of OutKast's different phases--from the early trap rap of "Slump" to the slow funk of "SpottieOttieDopaLiscious"... not to mention every other single track here. Damn, this is making me want to listen to that shit again right now.

10) Common - One Day It'll All Make Sense
My personal favorite Common record, but it only beats out Resurrection by a slight margin. Like Aquemini, what I love about this record is how perfectly it sits between the different extremes that the artist went to. Common started going conscious here, with some incredibly heartfelt songs, but he doesn't sacrifice bangers like "1, 2 Many" or stories like "Stolen Moments". The last of his albums with his in-house producers, and man did they pull out all the stops here. Also, this was the only CD in my discman on one of the most long, important, stressfull, and ultimately giddy and life-changing days of my life, so it will always be impossible to separate it from personal experience.

9) UGK - Ridin' Dirty
I admit that for the longest time I was one of those people sleeping on UGK. When I finally got around to hearing the opening notes of "One Day" and faux-Ron Isley "well, well, welllll" voice I almost wanted to cry once I realized what I'd missed. For everyone still talkin' shit about Bun and Pimp; if you can honestly listen to "Murder", "Diamonds and Wood", "Fuck My Car", and the title track and still not recognize a giant in the game, and a classic album, you obviously know nothing about rap music.

8) Notorious B.I.G. - Ready To Die
Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is here.

7) Nas - Illmatic
Duh. And yes, I did just put these two next to each other because it was easier than really picking spots for them. We all know they're classic, and I love them just like everyone else.

6) Dr. Dre - The Chronic
Again, nothing needs to be said here. It's a classic and I'm putting it with the classics. I will note, however, that it's in front of the last two records for a reason. Growing up on the West Coast this was far more ubiquitous than the other two, and pretty much shaped our day-to-day life throughout all of the 90's more than anything else.

5) The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II: The Pharcyde
How many rappers would admit to picking up a chick who turned out to be a guy? Also, "Ya Mama" is one of the greatest songs ever made.

4) Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
My other 80's favorite, and no it's not this high up because I think that's what people want. I heard this album about ten years after it had come out, and it hit me almost as hard as it would have if I'd heard it '87. KRS is a beast here, and he became my idol even throughout a good portion of his current crazy period. Technically speaking there is filler on this album, but it's only filler in comparison to the real standout tracks--shit still stands head and shoulders above almost anything else. Could you imagine the current KRS-One doing "Super Ho"? Shit, and "9mm Goes Bang" might be one of the most gangsta songs of all time... he just sounds so happy on that chorus.

3) De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
My favorite De La album is one of those things that fluctuates with my mood, the weather, if I've got a chick or not, what I've had to eat, the day of the week, and any number of other factors. But for the moment, I'll go with the sophomore outing. If they had made another record in the feel of 3 Feet High and Rising they would've become self-parody... so instead they quite consciously parodied themselves, and made a masterpiece. This record has much the same structure and energy as its predecessor, yet it's twisted and distorted, turned into something new and horrific. Yet even that horror is goofy and fun, until the record hits its tragic centerpiece of "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa"--a funny title to a haunting track. What's more, instead of just being little interludes between tracks, this album's skits did the incredible job of predicting all the criticisms that fans would have for the album as they themselves were even thinking them. Oh yeah, and there's a bunch of incredible production and genius rapping.

2) A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
For the longest time this would have been my number one. Midnight Marauders is surely enough fire from end to end, but this record is so incredible. If you told me to recite a certain song from Low End Theory chances are good that I wouldn't be able to... but if you told me to recite the whole album, I probably could. Despite no real theme, and no skits or anything, this record feels more like a whole than almost anything else I've ever heard. Every song is perfect, from the ridiculous stripped down and spare production to the massive talents shown by both MCs. If you aren't hooked by that first bassline you have no goddamn soul. And if you aren't nodding your head and singing along to "Scenario" you have no taste. I may actually prefer De La to Tribe overall, but this record is perfect.


1) The Coup - Genocide & Juice
That's right, I had to go back to The Town for this one. But while my being from the Bay certainly helps me in appreciating such an intrinsically Bay thing as g-funk-laced, extremely witty, afrocentric Communists, I like to think that I'd love The Coup no matter where I was from. How can you front on Boots? The man manages to make every song actually be about something, with no normal MC braggadocio, and every track is political and conscious without ever preaching or getting boring. Even Chuck D didn't manage to do that every time. The tracks on this record are all beautifully gritty and minimal Oakland funk, and the raps are just plain ridiculous. Boots weaves detailed stories and expresses unmatched anger, all in complex rhyme schemes spoken in a calm Bay drawl, and E-Roc plays the dependable and grounded Phife to his Q-Tip. The fact is, even if eleven of the album's tracks were wack (and in point of fact they're all classic) it would still be one of the greatest of all time due to the opening three part tale explored in "Fat Cats, Bigga Fish", "Pimps (Free Stylin' At the Fortune 500 Club)", and "Takin' These". We're drawn into what starts as an especially well-told hustler tale, and then it evolves into something entirely different. Right out the gate you realize that, even though Boots had proved his ability to be straight-up and convincing on the last record, here he's mastered an entirely new kind of subtlety that is so nuanced it's almost painful. How can anyone be that good?

Reasonable Doubt, Uptown Saturday Night, Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space), A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, and Warriorz would probably been 26-30 on this list (not in that order). Also I basically fought myself into not having different entries by the same extended crews (with the exception of Native Tongues, obviously) which explains my lack of and Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop and Runaway Slave. Also, to justify myself I've come to the conclusion that my top 25 hip-hop tracks would look very different, both as far as the artists and regions represented (shit, "I Got 5 On It" would at least be number two).

But there we are... more East Coast than I expected, but good stuff. I hope someone enjoyed it.

Ain't a hustler on the street could do a whole community.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Speaking of the Chocolate Boy Wonder...

Floodwatch Music has put together an incredible, 42 minute mix of Pete Rock instrumentals. Put this on, sit back, and feel your problems melt away.

The Featurings Game Round 1: R. Kelly and Pete Rock

Gee, guess which one I'm the bigger fan of.

So, in case you're not up on what the Featurings Game is, here's the original explanation. Anyway, Nazty Fresh gave me one that honestly shouldn't count, since R. Kelly isn't a rapper, but I figured what the hell, let's do it.

Now, the hard part about this one is that these two obviously travel in different spheres, plus according to my own rule it doesn't count if the rapper doesn't actually rap on said song, which rules out alot of artists who Pete Rock has worked with. What I've got helping me out, however, is that both of these guys have been recording for over a decade. So I took the Chocolate Boy Wonder to the Chocolate Factory in three steps (I get the feeling alot of them will be three) but once again this is off the top of my head, 'cause that's more fun for me. It's possible it could be done in two if I seriously researched it, but that's not the point. If anyone else has a better, or interesting, connection, by all means comment.

Step 1: Fat Joe - "Make It Rain (remix)" featuring R. Kelly, Lil' Wayne, Baby, T.I., Ace Mack & Rick Ross

So this is the one I'm putting up today that everyone's heard; a fun posse cut if you're in the mood for that kinda stupid mainstream shit (and I actually don't mean that in a bad way). Can I just say that Kelly's verse is the perfect example of how having a good voice lets him say whatever dumb shit he feels like? "Don't ask me what my name is, stupid bitch I'm famous" shouldn't sound that beautiful.
Just shot a video with R. Kelly, but no homo, though,
Really didn't wanna do it, but I fuck with TS and Fat Joe-Joe, though.
- Lil' Wayne, "Dipset" (otherwise known as "Reppin' Time")

Step 2: Big Pun - "Twinz (Deep Cover '98)" featuring Fat Joe
Capital Punishment, 1998

Proof that 1998 was longer ago than it feels to me: can you imagine a big, video single from a record being a cover of a pre-Chronic Dr. Dre track? (I wonder if the snitch in that video is supposed to look like the Beastie Boys in "Sabotage"?) Anyway, it obviously isn't hard to find a song with Fat Joe and Big Pun on it, but this one is a favorite of mine partly because of the flawless source material, partly because Pun fucking kills it ("Little Italy" is all I'll say), and partly because Joe's voice seems tailor-made to say "yeah, and you don't stop!" Although I wonder why a guy who supposedly speaks Spanish pronounces the "g" in Cartagena like a dirty American. Too bad this song wasn't engineered to take out all of Pun's horrific fat-man-breaths... disgusting, and also tragic in light of his death.

Step 3: Pete Rock - "Verbal Murder 2" featuring Big Pun, Noreaga, & Common
Soul Survivor, 1998

And now you see why I was making the connection by way of a detour through Terror Squad. This is a great track, it flips the same sample from BDP's "Illegal Business" and manages to fit a Common who was sliding towards consciousness into a pretty damn hard song (for some reason the back of the CD listed him as "Common aka Willie Stargell"). Dunno about "pack clips between my nuts and my fat dick" though, that sounds dangerous.

So there you have it, round one is finished. If you enjoyed this, or felt that this idea has the potential to be enjoyable, please leave me a pair to connect in the comments... or just comment. See ya next time, fools.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm Dedicating This Bitch To The Bitch In You

Friday, April 13th, 2007:

Comparing Don Imus' language with hip-hop artists' poetic expression is
misguided and inaccurate and feeds into a mindset that can be a catalyst for unwarranted, rampant censorship.

Thoughts on quote one: I agree. After blaming hip-hop, the next-step is clearly to change it "for the better." I've got some problem with a complete differentiation of the language of two groups of people. If you want me to get real controversial, I'd talk about my stance on the whole white/black use of the term "nigger." But, for another day. Right now, is it completely fair that we should hate on Imus and not say...Devin the Dude.?

Monday, April 16th, 2007:

People who are angry, uneducated and come from tremendous struggle, they have poetic license and they say things that offend you. You have to talk about the conditions that create those kinds of lyrics. When you are talking about a privileged man who has a mainstream vehicle and mainstream support and is on a radio station like that you have to deal with them differently.

Thoughts on quote: While, I still hold the same problem with this quote as with the previous one concerning whether the "angry, uneducated" really have more "poetic license" than the "privileged man." At least this one addresses the idea of forum, public versus private discourse. It is easy to believe that both quotes came from the same person.

Monday, April 23rd, 2007:

We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words 'bitch' and 'ho' and the racially offensive word 'nigger.' These three words should be considered with the same objections to obscenity as 'extreme curse words.

Thoughts on quote three: Here's the subtle, logical "next-step" in action that the first quote warns about. This quote was clearly not issued by the same man of the first two.

But wait? It was? In fact, you might've heard of the gentleman before. Russell Simmons sound familiar?

You know, brother to that dude on Run's House. Yeah...that guy.

Alright, Rus. Real talk time:

That's a bitch move for your hoe ass to make, nigga.

  1. You brought that abrasive hip-hop to the homestead. You didn't work this hard to bring that in-your-face attitude to a lot white people, to take things a couple steps back because of white people. Someone who acquiesces like that, sir, is what we here in the Hip-Hop community like to call a bitch.

  2. You think I didn't notice that book deal you had going on, Russell? Coincidence that you should completely flip your entire opinion the day fucking before your new book comes out. More importantly, if you after publicity like that, don't go pimp out hip-hop with your greasey shit. Rap made you what you are, and you gonna flip it for a few minutes on television. If music was your sugar daddy (and let's not act like it isn't), then you, sir, are a straight hoe.

  3. Don't even think this is about you, nigga. Five dollars said Don Imus never listened to a hip-hop song in his life, save for "Hot in Herre" and "Drop It Like It's Hot," because no one could avoid those. You don't need to get all self-righteous and do something. Can we discuss something for a minute? Is Don Imus an idiot? Yes. Should he have been fired? No. I'd even go so far as to say he had a point. Did you see those chicks?

Tell me this shit ain't nappy. Good lord.

Anyway, Russell: Stop being a fuck.

Hip-Hop: For as many times you've been blamed, you'd think you'd realize it isn't always about you.

Don Imus: Go buddy up with Michael Richards. Take that shit on the road or something.

Oprah: Suck a dick and cut a check.

Rutgers' girls: Seriously, ain't they got some salons up in Jerz?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Take Out Your Rubber and There's One More Inside Her...

I've kept pretty quiet on all this Imus bullshit and its fallout, but this shit is just nuts. I mean how you gonna start shit with someone just because he didn't rebuke someone else five years ago for a song that was made almost twenty years ago? Good God.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Tribe of Fingers All On One Hand

So I promised ya'll some New York rap, and here it is. You know the deal: complex rhyme schemes, vivid pictures of life in the projects, painful, overwhelming, grimy, claustrophobic...

Oh... oh wait no. I'm givin' ya'll some fun danceable shit. Whoops.

Proto stunna shades?

Jungle Brothers - "Acknowledge Your History" featuring Vinia Mojica

Jungle Brothers - "Doin' Our Own Dang" featuring Q-Tip, De La Soul & Monie Love

Jungle Brothers - "Kool According To a Jungle Brother"
Done By the Forces of Nature, 1989

Jungle Brothers - "Promo No. 2 (Mind View)" featuring Q-Tip

I do love dark, complex New York-style hip-hop as much as the next guy, but I just haven't been in the mood lately--I go in phases. But no matter what my mood, there's one thing I always love:

Native Tongues.

Whenever I have a white person who needs to be upped on rap music, this is who I use. Yes, the Native Tongues, that wonderful conglomeration centered around De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Jungle Brothers. Without a doubt one of rap music's best extended crews, the Tongues were playful, friendly, and creative, without sacrificing skill, braggadocio, or afrocentrism. Now, I could write so very much on De La or Tribe, and probably a good deal on Latifah, Monie Love, Black Sheep, and even Chi-Ali--but today, it's all about the J. Beez.

Of the mighty Tongues triumvirate they are definitely the most under appreciated, even if they were also the first to drop a record. There's a reason for this, of course, I mean fact is they aren't as skilled as De La or Tribe. But they make it up with fun and loads of swagger... not to mention that they aren't exactly lacking in skills either. But while 3 Feet High and Rising, The Low End Theory, and many others are often held up as classics, I don't know what the overall hip-hop head consensus is on 1989's Done By the Forces of Nature. (Best believe if I was making a top 25 list for Straight Bangin' this'd be on there.)

I wonder if generally this or 1988's Straight Out the Jungle is considered to be better. Because Jungle's got all the singles ("Straight Out the Jungle", "Jimbrowski", "Black Is Black", "I'll House You", and of course "Because I Got It Like That") yet Nature is, I think, one of the most cohesive rap records ever... and it only came a few months after 3 Feet High and Rising essentially created the cohesive rap record. What's more, while perhaps not the most technically astounding piece of work, Nature just makes me feel good in a way few albums do.

The intrinsic problem with a cohesive record is that it gives me a gang of trouble in picking just a few songs to post. But "Acknowledge Your History" is a good example of the J. Beez dropping some real knowledge. The "red's for the blood" refrain at the end is one of my favorite things ever. "Doin' Our Own Dang" is one of the best posse cuts, and a great picture of the Native Tongues at the heighth of their little era. "Kool According To a Jungle Brother" is the kind of track you only get on a record that is specifically not a collection of singles, and it closes the album beautifully. That's all I need to say.

Nice guy that I am, I put up one of the Native Tongues rarities I've got. "The Promo" on the Jungle Brothers' first record was just what the title said, a promo for the next act, showcasing Q-Tip as he rapped about how great the upcoming Tribe record would be. A great song. I found "Promo No. 2" in those old glory days of Napster (when it was the only file-sharing around, and I pretty much just used it for obscure b-sides) and so I have no idea what it was originally a b-side to. But who cares where it came from, it's 80's Tongues shit.

So there you have it... that came out much longer than intended. Maybe sometime in the future I'll write a post about why 1997's Raw Deluxe is actually pretty good, even if I'm the only one who thinks so.
I know this brother, smoooooth like a cat.
So I looked in the mirror, and I patted him on his back.

Yo, Give Me Some of That Hurricane Ethel!!

Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Shimmy Shimmy Ya (Studio Ton remix)" featuring E-40 & MC Eiht

Between the recent posts of ODB songs, and the huge bevy of unreleased Wu-Tang I thought I'd share one of my more obscure Wu joints. Being from the Bay myself I idolize E-40, so this is a beautiful thing. I also really like hearing Big Baby Jesus over such a West Coast track by way of Studio Ton, plus there was even a video of this remix. Damn, I really wonder how this all came together, and why hardly anyone seems to have heard of it.

So this probably ends what somehow became "ODB extended weekend". As I promised, my next in-depth type music post will really be some East Coast shit, for once (this one's kinda halfway).

The Wu is coming through, the outcome is critical...

Who said they wanted some unreleased Wu-Tang tracks?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Better Than Butt Five: Week Three

One of these days I'll start a post not mentioning how I've been a bit busy the past few days, I promise.
But until then:

The Better Than Butt Five: Week Three (Reasons Why ODB Should Be On Any Cover You Make To A Song Ever Edition)

1) Ol' Dirty Bastard-"Cold Blooded" [A Cover of Rick James's "Cold Blooded"]
Let's start with the basics. Nigga Please is rife with odd moments, some more successful than others, but you're not fucking with a Dirty album until he croons something vicious. "Cold Blooded" is a whole lot of that. Fortunately, ODB had the grace of covering a song from a man who didn't necessarilyhave the best voice (R.I.P. Rick James...and Dirt McGirt for that matter), so this cover is much more forgiving than some of the others.

2) George Clinton-"Flashlight (ft. Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes & Ol' Dirty Bastard)" [A Cover of Parliament's "Flashlight"]
Back in the day when the thought of seeing any of these three rappers on a track got me geeked, seeing all three of them together with George Clinton was damn near the best thing to ever happen to my life. Times have changed and the only rapper from that line-up that still gets me remotely excited isn't even alive anymore. But as far as this track goes, it came during those glory days before one of them could do more than make up stories about slinging drugs and back when the other one still sounded half-excited to be rapping.

3) Ol' Dirty Bastard- "ODB, Don't Go Breakin' My Heart (ft. Macy Gray)" [A Cover of Elton John & Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"]
There are certain songs where I don't need to say a damn thing because the title speaks for itself: this is one of them.

4). Ol' Dirty Bastard-"Sussudio" [A Cover of Phil Collins's "Sussudio"...sort of]
This is another one.

5)Mark Ronson-"Toxic (ft. Ol' Dirty Bastard & Tiggers)" [A Cover of Britney Spears's "Toxic"]
I think I really love this song, but I'm not sure. Ronson comes through with those swanky horns he's been big on lately with Amy Winehouse. Tiggers, who I've never heard of before, does a good job with giving the song a new interpretation than the previous pop version. Sure the Ol' Dirty verses, which some of you may recognize from the version of "Lift Ya Skirt" without Missy Elliott on it, have been used before, though perhaps not on anything that isn't bootleg, I'll listen to ODB say "Fuck a pussy 'till it's orange like Ernie and Bert" every day of my life.

Bonus Track: Rhymefest-"Build Me Up (feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard)" [A Cover of The Temptations' "Build Me Up, Buttercup"]
As the track was originally written by 'Fest for ODB, it's only fair that this gets mentioned as well. Sure Mark Ronson's flipped pop songs before for a better performance, but you can't really fault this too much. It's cheesy and campy, yes, but once again, Dirt Dog proves that no one will be able to murder a classic like he does.

And for Eli: No m4a's, I'll go back and fix those Mafia joints too. And umm...Pete Rock and R. Kelly-go!

On Our Way

We got mentioned by Oh Word, bitches!!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Featurings Game: Explanation

Nobody ever mentions it, but I'm pretty damn sure that rap is the most collaborative genre of popular music, at least insofar as collaborations between separate acts/entities/whatever. You never see a rock record where a third of the songs has some other random-ass singer on them (unless it's some kind of ridiculous Duets album). In fact, collaborations are SO commonplace in rap that we hip-hop heads are actually so spoiled as to complain about albums that have too many guests on them. I mean, I complain about it too, but you've gotta admit it sounds silly when you think about it.

Anyway, ya'll know the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, yes? For quite a long time (longer than I'll admit) I've been toying with the idea of a similar game, where two rappers are named and then I see, through features/groups/etc, how many songs it takes to connect them. So I thought it'd be a fun little thing to do here.

The rules are as follows: First of all, no connections because one rapper produced a song for another, they have to have rapped together. (The exception is if it's said producer's actual album, because the other rapper is still a featured guest.) It also doesn't count if one rapper's voice was sampled on another rapper's track, or if one rapper did a cover of another's track. Just collaborations or groups... maybe members of the same extended crew, we'll see as we go. I'll do my best to make the connections just off the top of my head, without researching it, but there are a few tiny gaps in my knowledge, (mainly involving rappers I really don't like) so we'll see.

As for your part, try to pick two who are very divergent either in terms of eras, geography, subject matter, etc, so that it'll be a challenge. But don't go picking some little underground person who only made one single and never collaborated (although, Kid Hood's single verse on record is enough to connect him to anyone) 'cause that ain't fair, but most anyone is allowed. Be creative, the more wild the combination the more I'll probably enjoy it.

I'm going to allow anyone, even someone who isn't on Blogger, to comment--hopefully we won't get a shitload of spam. So just sound off in the comments with any good pairs you can think of, I'll try to address any that are worth addressing, but if there are already a bunch maybe hold off for the next post and comment then. For today, I'm gonna just do a simple example to get the ball rolling, so without further ado:

T.I. and Big Daddy Kane
These two have been in my mind because of Noz's recent comparison, I'm not sure I agree, but I see his point. Both are good looking, charismatic rappers who can get the female audience, but they can also each be lyrical monsters. One's from Atlanta and one's from Brooklyn, and their respective eras are very different, so I thought it'd be a neat little challenge at least for a start. I connected the King of the South and King Asiatic in three (off the top of my head that is, it's possible it could be done in less).

Step 1: T.I.P. & Beanie Sigel - "Two Glock 9s"
Shaft Soundtrack, 2000

Before his first record, when he was first called T.I.P., a young T.I. did this fun, violent song with Beanie Sigel (originally found here) on the Shaft soundtrack. I wish I knew what brought about this collabo in the first place.

Step 2: Jay-Z - "Where Have You Been" featuring Beanie Sigel
The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, 2000

Obviously it isn't hard to find a track where Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z work together, but this incredibly personal and haunting song from that Roc-A-Fella showcase album is by far my favorite example. When Sigel gets so overcome with emotion that he has trouble getting through his bars, the effect is incredible. Not every song with kids on the hook has to be "Hard Knock Life" or "I Can".

Step 3: Big Daddy Kane - "Show & Prove" featuring Big Scoob, Jay-Z, ODB, Sauce Money & Shyheim
Daddy's Home, 1994

From one of Kane's not so successful attempts at a comeback album (although with a great cover) this posse cut features a pre-fame, pre-slow flow Jay-Z who pretty much jacks Das EFX's style. The future "greatest rapper alive" doesn't come off very well, but maybe that's why Big Scoob opens the song--to make everyone else look good.

So that's that, comments please.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Get It? Two 'Pacs.

Fans of any genre or medium are always making top 10 lists of something or other, and usually they're pretty negligible, but this might be my new favorite ever rap list...

Pause Tape. It's a list of rap's best uses of the verbal pause. Very good stuff, plus number one is one of my favorite songs of all time--no exaggeration.

(Spotted via Oh Word.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kickin' It Old Skool: Better Than Butt Five Week 2

Alright, so ya boy been's a little behind on things lately, I'll admit that. But no fear, the good Professor is back with another week's BTB5, and probably week three's tomorrow.
For a new, exciting twist, this week's list (and probably most if I'm clever enough to think of one) will be themed. Also new, links will just be provided for each song if you don't need the whole packaged set.

So because I can't let a good discussion die down, I bring you
The Better Than Butt Five: Week Two (Three 6 Mafia Produced Songs That Leave [Relatively] Unaltered Willie Hutch Samples Running Through Them Edition)

1. Three 6 Mafia-"Stay Fly (ft. Young Buck, 8ball & MJG)" ["Tell Me Why Our Love Has Turned Cold"]
Sampling Willie Hutch is not something new for the Triple 6, but doing so with relatively little chopping or screwing is. From what I can tell, it began with Project Pat's "Choose U." Even "Testin' My Gansta" was played around with a bit. Anyway, I'm sure y'all heard this before, but this is easily their biggest (read: most commercially successful) hit, and furthered their use of Willie Hutch samples. While I enjoy the remix, especially Trick Daddy's killer verse, the original gets props for making it "A Tennessee Thang," as DJ Paul would say.

2. Project Pat-"What Money Do" ["Brothers Gonna Work It Out"]
An interesting use of a Hutch sample, it's chopped up for the chorus and left alone for the verses. It's interesting to note how well the beat is built around such a laidback sample to create such a bouncier, more aggressive song. Points too for talking more obscure portions of this song. I'd talk about Pat, but it'd be nothing all.

3. Three 6 Mafia-"Poppin' My Collar" ["Theme from The Mack"]
The spiritual brother to "Choose U", or "International Players Anthem," if that's your thing, the song works in very much the same way. A swelling Hutch sample builds up to dizzying fanfare before Three 6 smack it with some drums and flip it all over again. Once again, I'd imagine everyone's heard this by now, but if not, peep it now.

4. Project Pat-"You Like" ["I'm Gonna Hold On"]
If you can get past the very bizarre and very blatant racism that pervades the song, then you're in for one of the finest cuts from Crook by da Book: The Feds Story. The production is, if you've heard the three above this one, really no surprise at this point:sample, drums, little bass kick, and the rapper. However, Project Pat bounces around the track in a way he normally doesn't do: adeptly. Don't get me wrong, I love Pat as much as the next man, but you'll hear the difference on this one, trust me.

5. Three 6 Mafia-"Don't Cha Get Mad (ft. Li'l Flip)" ["Sunshine Lady"]
Play "You Like" in reverse, and you've pretty much got this. Breezy little song, with not too much to say that hasn't been said about the other songs. Except for the fact it's kinda strange to hear Three 6 Mafia do a real laidback song like this.

Bonus Track: Daz-"Boyz in da Hood (ft. Nate Dogg)" ["Brothers Gonna Work It Out"]
For being late with it, I bring you this bonus track. Daz spitting his Left Coastisms, Nate on a nice double time hook, and that sweet flute sample flipped to perfection. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Don't Drink Cristal No Mo', I Just Pour It On White Bitches' Heads

Do ya'll have any idea how hard it is to find a good picture of Weezy with his shirt on? Props.

Lil' Wayne - "We Takin' Over (remix)"

Lil' Wayne - "Get High Rule the World"
Da Drought 3 (bootleg), 2007

I'll save my "why free mixtapes are great (other than that I like free shit)" speech for another day. I'll also save the dissertation on how I went from Lil' Wayne's biggest hater to a major fan for when Tha Carter III drops this summer. (For awhile I wanted to just call him "the guy who stole Hollywood Divorce", but I don't think Petro would like that appelation.)

The point is, the much anticipated Da Drought 3 mixtape has been leaked. Personally I wasn't even aware that Droughts one and two existed, between my recent discovery of this and the Sqad Up mixtapes (can someone, probably Nazty Fresh, please enlighten me on the deal with Sqad Up?) I'm now realizing that the man's mixtape output isn't simply prolific... shit's ridiculous.

But Uncle Elijah? Is Da Drought 3 any good?

Well, young one, technically this is a bootleg: DJ Khaled insists that it's unofficial and that there's plenty of finalizing to do, etc, etc. But yes, yes it is very good. Now I certainly don't condone bootlegging (because that would be wrong, even when it's a free mixtape) and I do plan to up myself on the real thing when it hits... but that said, I've gotta say that said real thing being hosted by Baby and DJ Khaled, as opposed to the bootleg's straight run of tracks with no interludes, isn't the world's biggest draw.

Anyway, as of the bootleg version, Drought 3 does have some stuff we've already heard before--like Weezy and Juelz Santana's freestyle over "Black Republicans" (sans Juelz's second verse), the freestyle over Jay's "Show Me What You Got" (off of last year's most bumped by Elijah mixtape--if you do nothing else, listen to "Famous"), and the same verse from the Rap City freestyle that I posted recently, except this time it's over "Shoulder Lean". Also from the "we've heard it before" file is the "We Takin' Over" freestyle (oddly shown on the tracklisting as a remix) that I've posted up above. It's Wayne at his most ridiculously frantic, as well as the best showcase of his "who cares" attitude concerning "OMG HES GAY" rumors, which is by far the best way to deal with it. He says "damn right, I kiss my daddy" for fuck's sake.

Throughout the mixtape (and shit is two discs!) we get rhymes over "This Is Why I'm Hot", "Upgrade U", "Throw Some D's", and "Top Back" to name a few. Plus he absolutely kills "Walk It Out", but I don't have access to the file right now, so I can't put it up. What I am giving you is his take on Nas' classic "If I Ruled the World". It's always nice when someone uses an older track on their mixtape (a certain Jay-Z classic makes an appearance too). So IF I were the type to condone the downloading of music, I'd say get that shit.

Next big post, with music and info and such, I'm going to give you New York hip-hop. I don't know what it'll be, but I just realized that (excepting this, which didn't count) I haven't posted any east coast rap yet.

Well... That's Surprising

Like most people my general opinion on MIMS' "This Is Why I'm Hot" is that it's a pretty fucking dumb song. (Although, whenever it's come on in the club I've gone nuts anyway.) So question: How does one make "This Is Why I'm Hot" well... hot?

Answer: Junior motherfuckin' Reid.

Ok, so this only really redeems the first third of the song, but whatever.

Real post coming later today.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Um, Holy Shit

In case you really can't wait for Desire, here is every single Pharoahe Monch non-album track and guest appearance ever. Goddamn, huge props for this shit.

We Can Go To the Flat and Get Tantric

The Roots - "Thought @ Work" (unreleased version)

Big Daddy Kane - "Raw" (1987 demo version) featuring Kool G Rap

So last night the esteemed Nazty Fresh and I were drunk as shit, and somewhere in the inevitable ramblings about rap music we got to talking about "Thought @ Work", and as he had not heard the OG version I thought I'd post it up here.

I kind of feel like I should dedicate some time to the '88-'90 fast rap style of G Rap, Kane, etc... but at the same time it isn't as though that shit hasn't gotten major, major blog love already, so we'll see. The main point is just that on The Roots' 2002 Phrenology record there was "Thought @ Work" which perfectly emulated those older songs, and which I enjoyed very much. Sometimes throwback rap goes too far, but I felt this one was just right. Black Thought continued his love affair with the style on a few songs from The Tipping Point (a record I actually kinda enjoyed) and even got to perform with Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane in "Dave Chappelle's Block Party", but that's another story.

The thing is, "Thought @ Work" wasn't originally going to be a Roots song at all. It was originally meant for a (now scrapped) Black Thought solo album, and so the OG version is actually a more traditional sample-based rap song, without live instruments. It could never be officially released though, because it samples The Beatles ("Hey Bulldog" specifically) and that's a kiss of death to any rap song. Michael Jackson will not let those rights be used for anything but many, many, many commercials.

While I was writing this post I remembered another unreleased fast rap song, this one from the beginning of the style. Everyone knows Big Daddy Kane's "Raw" (or goddammit they should!) but this demo actually has a guest verse from Kool G Rap when he was unknown but about to blow up. If you're a rap nerd like me this is the kinda shit you love (tinny quality and all)... if not, you should still give it a listen.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Odds & Ends, Plots & Plans, Pots & Pans, Stocks & Grands

So here's a little wrap-up of a few things I want to share:

T.I. - "Big Shit Poppin"
T.I. Vs. T.I.P., 2007
(Edit: I'm afraid the powers that be have removed the above T.I. song from my divshare
account. I'm all for fighting the man, but I pick my battles, and a sneak peak off an album I'll probably buy anyway isn't worth it.)

(Found at The Smoking Section.) Sure there's been a snippet of our first glimpse at T.I.'s next record floating around, but here's the whole song. It's produced by Mannie Fresh, and is pretty much what I'd expect from both parties involved (in a good way). I have to say I'm not sure how excited I am about T.I. Vs. T.I.P., I mean on the one hand it's T.I., and King was a great record. On the other hand, in interviews he's making it sound like there's way too many guest stars, and I'm scared he'll get bogged down too much in the whole "concept" thing. But "Big Shit Poppin'" sounds like a basic T.I. song, so that's good. (Then again, I remember getting all hopeful when "Mighty O" sounded like a basic OutKast song.)

Rap City Freestyles (from OnSmash of course)

Bun B

Sometimes I feel like this site is dangerously teetering towards UGK fan-site, but who can blame us? Underground Kingz, May 8th! (Ok, probably not, but sometime this year, I hope... damn, I can't wait.)

Li' Wayne

Some other time I shall elaborate upon my incredibly fast transition from Wayne hater to Wayne stan. For now I'll just say that alot of people are still fronting on him, and I guess I can sort of see why... but I dunno, swagger, delivery, wordplay, etc. go a long way for me.

The Wake-Up Show

This is apparently from the L.A. days, but The Wake-Up Show (which I know as a Bay thing) was like the west coast Stretch & Bobbito show. Here's a song they did that, I assume, was really just a bunch of rappers who were together on the show one day. Lauryn Hill, Nas, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Po, Ras Kass, Shyheim, Saafir... damn. It'd be great if this was actually released as a track on something, but I assume that they'd have to pay too much to Nas and L-Boogie for it to be worth it. I'm guessing this is from '97, or so, judging by the fact that Lauryn isn't a crazy recluse yet, but she isn't rapping either. Anyway, if anyone knows who the rappers are whose verses sandwich Shyheim's I'm very curious to know. The youtube page says Saul Williams is on it, but I sure as hell don't hear him.

One last thought: Jim Jones and Mike Jones should do a collaborative album. Now I know it sounds silly, but that's why it's perfect, because neither of them shy away from goofy shit. Now think about it, they both have real simplistic rhyme styles, but the gruff voice and the nasal voice would contrast perfectly. Just imagine: they could call it Keeping Up With the Joneses and the cover would show them all flossed out in front of a huge mansion, on a beautiful lawn with a white picket fence, and some hot chick would be pushing a lawnmower behind them.

EDIT: Someone chopped and screwed that Wayne freestyle (the video too) and I though it was worth adding here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Y'all Niggas is Pussy, Poonani, Vagina, Your Monologue's Getting Tired

Everyone close there eyes, and go back to 2004.
Remember that time?
Swizz Beatz suddenly came back to help T.I. bump "Bring 'Em Out," and Kanye was winning people over with "All Falls Down."
Everybody there now?
Now let's take it to New York. You're coming out with a single, named after said city. Give me your three choice MCs for the cut. Anyone, you can get Hov, Nasty Nas, Monch, bring back the old like Kane or KRS, maybe even a Wu drop or two. You pick:
Jadakiss-Not bad. Homeboy can spit pretty gutter.
Fat Joe-Umm...alright, I guess he can make people remember Big Pun.
Ja Rule-Word, nigga? It's gonna be like that?
Alright, well maybe you can bring it back with that production.
I'm sorry? Did you just ask for Cool & Dre? But...those kids ain't even from New York.

And so became, strangely, what was the best single Ja Rule ever put out. Cool & Dre put out some straight grime for that beat, and the verses became a roaring crescendo of pure East Coast braggado-Joey even took a shot at Ma$e...crack!

Now, three years later, with the release of "New York is Back" DJ Khaled forces us to ask the question, "Can lightning strike twice."
The answer:
Sweet Jesus Ass-Fuck No.

No one likes sequels.
Cool & Dre are running out of tricks. (Speaking of which, where the hell were they on The Game's last album?)
Jadakiss & Ja...haven't really done much since the last time the gang got together, and Fat Joe's currently on vacay in Miami.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DJ shout-outs that would make Funk Flex blush are not necessary at all. If you wanna get on your album, try producing something.

P.S. Hate to break it to you fellas, but until Desire gets dropped this summer, New York ain't coming back.

"New York" by Ja Rule feat. Fat Joe and Jadakiss
"New York is Back" by Ja Rule feat. Fat Joe and Jadakiss

(EDIT:sorry for the Zsharing, but DivShare's acting goofy)

New Project: Falls From Grace

Ok, so here's how it's gonna go. The music business is a notoriously fickle one, and if that holds true for the industry as a whole, it goes double (or perhaps triple) for hip hop. An artist can be utterly inescapable one moment and the next completely forgotten, callously tossed aside in favor of whatever the new flavor of the month is. I will be dedicating my next several updates to looking back at the catalogues of artists who we may have never thought would find themselves victims to this fate, but lately seem to have fallen hard. The first, and it truly pains me to do this, is Outkast. How is it, that just a few years ago these guys sold 10 million copies of their last album, scoring several inescapable radio hits and becoming not only rap icons, but people who seemed to lord over music in general. They didn't seem poised to take over the world, they had already done it. Now we hit 2006, and dual flop of a movie and an uneven album (Idlewild) sees Andre 3000 trying to hack it as a rapper again and failing, and Big Boi suddenly seems to have been sapped of all energy, which is doubly a shame since he practically carried the duo in recent years. All they do now is slum around on guest verses of lesser rappers (UGK excepted) and generally phoning it in every time. The worst of all this is that nobody cares...nobody bought Idlewild, they have all moved on and left our favorite ATLiens by the wayside. That is why, to remember better days for the group and hope for the future, my next post(s) will chronicle the fine catalogue of these two artists, and maybe I'll be able to amend this in the future with a note saying how they are on top again...but somehow I doubt it.