Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Ill Bill and Dj Premier - Society is Brainwashed

Society is Brainwashed is the B Side to the first 12" single from the new Ill Bill album, The Hour of reprisal which drops on the 16 of September. The A Side is called I'm a Goon and is pretty dope but its the B Side that wins out on this piece of vinyl. Its a dark Premier produced banger that shows us that 2008 belongs to Premier. Ill Bill drops his usual drug stained conspiracy rhymes with ample skill over the Premier beat that sounds full of suspense and has some dope scratches and gunshots throughout. This track has me hyped for the album and I for one will be picking the album up when it drops. Non Phixion were dope and Bill has yet to disappoint. The album will feature production from Premier, Necro, Muggs and Moss among others. Bill has also managed to recruit some dope underground lyricists too; Raekwon, Vinnie Paz, Immortal Technique, B Real, Tech N9ne, Necro and Everlast. In addition to these guys theres alaso a rock element to the album with appearances from Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage, Max Calvera and Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains.

Society is Brainwashed

Friday, 22 August 2008

Reks & Premier at it again

Reks dropped his debut album Along Came The Chosen back in 2001 when the indie scene wasn't as stale as it can be now and then it seemed like he just disappeared. That was until earlier this year when he dropped Grey Hairs. An early contender for indie album of the year.

Though the bulk of Grey Hairs is produced by Statik Selektah, Reks gets a chance to prove his lyricism over the beats of legendary producers DJ Premier and Large Professor.
On the Premier “Say Goodnight,” Reks goes through multiple subjects, including his dislike for phony rappers and his legacy as an emcee, singing “I’m top ten dead or alive.” This same gritty attitude can be found on “All In One (5 Mics),” a track that highlights pure hip-hop at its finest and features Lil Fame on the chorus

The guest features on Grey Hairs are sparse, yet they all add to the album. The rapper spits alongside Consequence and Termanology on “Premonition,” as the trio speaks about their decisions to change their lives for the better.
As an ode to his mm, Reks draws an inspirational picture on “Cry Baby.” Over a soft soul-sampled melody, he revisits how his mum overcame many adversities, including her drug addictions and his incessant failure to help. You can’t help but feel sympathy for her this track also highlights Reks’ story telling abilities.
At 19 tracks, the album inevitably has a some filler. But even on these, Reks puts his undeniable skils on display, something lacking from most albums these days.

Reks Is'nt someone to rest on his laurels and has already let loose with a dope Premier produced track that serves as the first single off the next album, More Grey Hairs. Check the flava below, another dope premier production.

Reks - Cloud 9

Roots Manuva - Again & Again

This is the video for the dope second single from the new Roots Manuva album Slime and Reason. This a mellow reggae tinged track perfect for those London Sunny days, yes we do have them occasionally. Peep the ill album artwork below and grab the album when it drops on September the 1st.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Isaac Hayes The Legend

As we all know Isaac Hayes sadly passed away on the 10th of August 2008, he left behind 12 children, 14 Grand children, 3 great grandchildren and a loving wife. My condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

Isaac began his recording career in the early 1960s, as a session player for the Memphis-based Stax Records. He later wrote a string of hit songs with songwriting partner David Porter, including "You Don't Know Like I Know", "Soul Man", "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby", and "Hold On I'm Comin" for Sam and Dave. Hayes, Porter and Stax studio band Booker T. & the MGs served as the main production team for much of the label's output during the early and mid-1960s. In 1967 Isaac released his debut album 'Presenting Isaac Hayes' which although an outstanding album was a commercially unsuccessful.

His next album was Hot Buttered Soul, which was released in 1969 and showed Isaac's distinct sound (extended orchestral songs, heavy on organs, horns, and guitars, deep bass vocals, etc). On the album, Hayes re-interprets "Walk On By" into a dark and brooding twelve-minute orchestral exploration. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" starts with an eight-minute long monologue before breaking into song, and the lone original number, the funky "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" runs nearly ten minutes, songs of this length were totally unheard of in the Soul/Pop world of the late 1960s.

"Walk On By" would be the first of many times Hayes would take a Burt Bacharach song, generally made famous as three minute pop songs by Dionne Warwick or Dusty Springfield, and transform it into an soulful, lengthy and at times dark track.
In 1970, Hayes released two albums, 'The Isaac Hayes Movement' and 'To Be Continued'. The former stuck to the four song template of his previous album. Jerry Butler's "I Stand Accused" begins with a trademark spoken word monologue, and Bacharach's "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" is re-worked. The latter spawned the classic, "The Look Of Love," another Bacharach song transformed into an eleven-minute epic of soaring orchestral rhythm.

In 1971, Hayes composed music for the soundtrack of the film Shaft. The title theme, with its funky guitar and multi-layered symphonic arrangement, would become a his biggest hit single, and spent two weeks at number one in the Billboard Hot 100. The rest of the Soundtrack was mostly instrumentals covering big beat jazz, bluesy funk, and hard Stax-styled soul. The other two vocal songs, the social commentary "Soulville" and the nineteen-minute jam "Do Your Thing," would be edited down to hit singles. Isaac won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the "Theme from Shaft," and was nominated for Best Original Dramatic Score for the film's score.

Later in the year, Hayes released a double album, Black Moses, that expanded on his earlier sounds and featured The Jackson 5's song "Never Can Say Goodbye". This album is probably Isaac at his best and features amazing compositions and deep vocals. This is my favorite Isaac Hayes album. In addition to "Never Can Say Goodbye", other selections on Black Moses include covers of songs by artists The Carpenters (" Close to You", Toussaint McCall ("Nothing Takes The Place Of You"), The Friends of Distinction ("Going in Circles"), and Little Johnny Taylor ("Part Time Love").

Isaac has been sampled many hip hop groups including; Biz Markie, Snoop, MF Doom, Compton's Most Wanted, Public Enemy and the Wu Tang Clan (Isaac actually appeared on the Wu's 2000 The W album on the track I can't sleep which heavily sampled Isaac's Walk on by) amongst others.

I have uploaded a vinyl rip of Isaac's 1973 album 'Live at the Sahara Tahoe' as a tribute. This album features The theme from Shaft, The First time ever I saw your face, Never can say goodbye, Ain't no sunshine, Use me and the Look of love amongst others. This is truly a classic album. If you enjoy this please take the time to buy some of Isaac's back catalog.

Isaac at the Tahoe Sahara

Friday, 1 August 2008

Raekwon - Rainy Dayz remix promo 12" & Sample

In 1995 the Wu Tang Clan was unstoppable, they had changed the face of hip hop forever by dropping a classic group album on Steve Rifkind's fledgling Loud. After which they went onto sign solo deals and release albums featuring Rza production and all the other members of the Clan. My two favorite Wu Solo albums are easily Gza's Liquid Swords and Raekwon's Only Built for Cuban Linx. These both dropped in 1995; Raekwon at the start of the summer and Gza towards the end of the year.
Raekwon's album ushered in a new era of hip hop that soon had every other emcee giving themselves Mafioso pseudonyms (Don Cartegena for instance). The album featured gangster film samples and some of Rza's best production with Raekwon and Ghost spitting fire along with other members of the Clan and for the first time a Clan outsider, Nas. Although I love this album I didn't really feel the token track with a female singer on it, Rainy Dayz featuring Blue Raspberry. The track just seemed too formulaic and it kinda bored me. But in the Summer of 1996 a year after Cuban Linx dropped a promo 12" of Rainy Dayz popped up in the long since closed down Unity records off London's Carnaby Street. I had just had my first child and money was tight so spending £15 on a 12" was a big deal. However over the years I have not regretted shelling out that money. The main reason for the high price tag was the Rainy Dayz remix.

This track in my opinion is a hundred times better than the original and this is mainly because of the sample it is based around, a Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes track featuring Sharon Paige called You know how to make me feel so good. A fantastic duet between Harold Melvin and the underrated Sharon Paige taken from their 1975 album Wake Up Everybody. What really surprised me about the Rainy Dayz remix however was that it was produced by Mr Dalvin of Jodeci fame. Mr Dalvin does an incredible job of using the Harold and Sharon sample to craft a dope track for Ghost and Raekwon to spit over and the promo 12" even had an extended version which featured singing from Ol' Dirty Bastard as well as the remix instrumental. So for those of you who've never had a chance to hear these incredible tracks follow the link below and if you ever come across this gem in a record shop as Redman once said Pick it up pick it up.

Raekwon - Rainy Dayz remix promo 12" & Sample

Nas-What it is produced by DJ Khalil

For some reason this was left off Nas's Untitled album. Despite it being produced by DJ Khalil its a good tune and would have been better than that terrible track with Chris Brown that was on the album.
Esco Lets Go

Nas-What it is produced by DJ Khalil