Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brother Ali: The Rope-A-Dope (Compilation Mixtape)

This is a rough compilation of relatively recent tracks featuring the great Brother Ali. Some of them have been posted on this site already, some have appeared on other artists' albums, etc. So if you don't already have all of these tracks, I would suggest you download the file and check out some quality Brother Ali (with plenty of other great guest artists) that you may have missed out on previously. Download link after the following tracklist.

Brother Ali: The Rope-A-Dope (Compilation Mixtape)

Most Official: I'm Ya Guy (EP)

Minneapolis (via Grand Rapids, Michigan) import and one-time contest semi-finalist Most Official released his debut EP I'm Ya Guy. With complementary guest spots from Muja Messiah and Termanology, this EP is a brief but effective introduction to Most Official. Since his participation in the Loud contest, Most Official has signed a deal with SRC Records, so be on the lookout for future material from him! Tracklist to the EP is as follows, download link is after the image.

Most Official: I'm Ya Guy (EP)

Mac Lethal: The Price of Having Sex with Mariah Carey (Video)

I'm almost sorry for posting this, but it was too funny to pass up. Mac Lethal exercises his journalistic capacities in documenting the lengths people would go to have sex with Mariah Carey.

M.anifest: Top 5 Epic Moments of 2008 (Video)

Mikkey Halsted: "Karma" (Download + Video)

I wish I would have caught this No-ID produced cut when it first dropped, but I guess I was gone, so what can you do. I'd provide some of my thoughts, but I am only just getting home, and have other business to take care of. Download link after the video.

Mikkey Halsted: "Karma"

On Tour w/ Double O (Video)

Double O clownin'. I've never tried a Zune before but the word is they're pretty cool. Fuck it, I still deal with iPods.

Kid Cudi: Hustler Watch (Video)

I'm back in STP, ya'll, to bring in the new year. First though, I realize I missed out on quite a bit of Midwest hip-hop during the past six days that I have been out of town with no internet. I'm not going to post EVERYTHING that took place since I've been gone, but I'll throw up some general highlights rapidfire style right now. Then hopefully before the evening gets started, you'll all also be able to read my final entry in the Best Albums of 2008 series.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Of 2008: Top 25 Albums (Entries 10-6)

Previous Midwest Broadcast Best of 2008 Posts:
Non-Hip-Hop Albums
Top 15 Mixtapes
Top 25 Albums (Entries 25-21 + Honorable Mentions)
Top 25 Albums (Entries 20-16)
Top 25 Albums (Entries 15-11)

I have little time for additional commentary right now. I'm up north in Two Harbors, MN, at an internet cafe that is closing in about 5 minutes. I'll be back in the cities tomorrow afternoon, and will play some serious catchup in the blog game, and will post the top 5 albums of my best of 2008 list. Stay tuned!

10. Mike Mictlan & Lazerbeak: Hand Over Fist
My expectations for the Doomtree collective in 2008 were rather modest. I had variably kept track of updates from individual members of the posse, mainly P.O.S. However, I grossly underestimated the rest of the group’s ability to reliably make above average music. Although multiple Doomtree members released solo albums in 2008, none shined more brightly than the collaboration album between rapper Mike Mictlan and producer Lazerbeak, Hand Over Fist. This is an album of hard-knocking beats and intricate lyricism — a tried but true formula. Some of Mictlan’s rhymes are among the best of the year, as are some of Lazerbeak’s beats. I was able to find few weak spots, and don’t have much to gripe about. Lazerbeak, his real name escapes me at the moment, is also a guitarist for the Plastic Constellations. I have a feeling he plays the guitar himself for a number of these tracks, instead of relying on sampling. If true, that’s pretty cool. Key Tracks: “Hand Over Fist,” “Suicide Jimmy Snuffa,” “Clam Casino,” “Wolf Tickets,” “L.A. Raiders Hat,” “Prizefight”

9. Johnson & Jonson: Johnson & Jonson (Review)
Blu’s “other” album of 2008 was also one of the year’s better releases. Johnson & Johnson pairs the Cali emcee up with mysterious producer Mainframe, a person for whom even a thorough Google search session turns up little information. All I know is that, without exaggeration, Mainframe had one of the best rookie production debuts in recent memory. Johnson & Johnson intro track, a song that can often make or break any album for me, was one of my favorite songs of the year. Mainframe looped a grunge guitar riff, layered in some snyths, a flute (yeah, really), and some ill drums and let Blu do his thing. This album was superior to C.R.A.C. Knuckles’ The Piece Talks because it had more general structure, but was still free-flowing and creative. And while I’m talking about the better tracks of the year, “The Only Way” needs to be included in that discussion as well, in which Blu absolutely raps circles around a repeated vocal sample about the struggles about escaping ghetto life. Key Tracks: “J&J,” “Up All NIte,” “Wow!,” “The Only Way,” “The Oath,” “Hold On John”

8. Doomtree: Doomtree
Minneapolis group Doomtree’s debut full-posse studio album is the crew’s second appearance in the top 10, and rightfully so. Let me explain the group dynamics of Doomtree for those of you that are not quite familiar. They are composed of five rappers and four producers. Usually, between two and three rappers appear on a single track, while either one producer does the beat himself or two producers collaborate on a single track. The rappers all have varying backgrounds: spoken word poetry, hip-hop, punk rock, etc. Basically, everyone in the group has a somewhat unique style, and they somehow had to find a way to bland that all together for a single album. So, for Doomtree to not be in complete disarray could be considered a resounding success. But for the album to be great, which it was, should be attributed more to divine intervention. I have no idea how it worked, but it did. Key Tracks: “Drumsticks,” “The Wren,” “Dots & Dashes,” “Accident,” “Twentyfourseven ft. I Self Devine,” “Pop Gun War”

7. Common Market: Tobacco Road
Many people know of Common Market because its producer, Sabzi, is also in the more popular group Blue Scholars. This may or may not be fair, but regardless of how one discovered Common Market, their 2008 release Tobacco Road should help catapult them to the forefront of the Northwest’s underground hip-hop scene. Rapper Ra Scion is mistakenly underrated sometimes. Perhaps it’s the Freeway-esque beard that, because he’s white, make him look more Amish or pro-wrestler than rapper. Perhaps his slightly more famous beatmaking partner overshadows him. Either way, Ra Scion, with a voice occasionally eerily reminiscent of Talib Kweli, spit some of the year’s most intelligent verses. Still, the lyrics only formulate one-half of the album. Ra Scoin’s counterpart, Sabzi, delivers on his end of the bargain. Tobacco Road is beautifully crafted, with melodic, soothing, and harmonious beats and surefire yet elaborate lyrics, it holds the highly coveted crown for 2008’s most underrated album. Key Tracks: “Trouble Is,” “Winter Takes All,” “Nina Sing ft. Funklove,” “Crucible ft. Geologic,” “Tobacco Road”

6. Elzhi: The Preface (Review)
A lot can be said of Black Milk’s production on The Preface (he crafted beats for 14 of the 16 tracks), but in all reality, his work for Fat Ray and his solo project were superior efforts. The production on The Preface was still great — Black Milk’s usual ear-splitting snare hits and quick choppy loops are plentiful here — but this album was Elzhi’s lyrical showcase. For anyone who has followed Elzhi’s career, this project was a long time in the making. Elzhi is no stranger to the rap game, but with his first solo album, he needed to craft a record that accurately displays his unmatched knack for rhyming. In fact, on The Preface, Elzhi may at times get too carried away, overcompensating by making his rhyme schemes and delivery unnecessarily complex. Yet if the album’s biggest drawback is the fact that Elzhi is too good at rapping, then little concern should be expressed regarding the quality of The Preface. Elzhi has a lyrical gift that he is not shy about demonstrating, and The Preface accurately affirmed his status as one of rap’s best lyricists. Key Tracks: “Intro (The Preface),” “Motown 25 ft. Royce Da 5’9”,” “Brag Swag,” “The Leak ft. Ayah,” “Hands Up,” “Growing Up ft. AB”

Friday, December 26, 2008

Best Of 2008: Top 25 Albums (Entries 15-11)

Previous Midwest Broadcast Best of 2008 Posts:
Non-Hip-Hop Albums
Top 15 Mixtapes
Top 25 Albums (Entries 25-21 + Honorable Mentions)
Top 25 Albums (Entries 20-16)

Intro: As you are reading this, I am probably driving up to Northern Minnesota for a little vacation. All my posts thus far today were written last night, but able to be delayed until later thanks to pre-scheduled posting options. I'm going to eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) finish writing my final ten entries on the Best Albums of 2008 list, and ideally I'll be able to drive to a coffee shop or something where I can find some wireless internet. So expect post updates for the Best of 2008 series sometime within the next two days, but in the meantime, all other posts (news, downloads, videos, etc.) will likely be lacking. I'll be back on December 31 to bring in the new year, and once 2009 kicks off I'll be back at Midwest Broadcast in full force. Until then, keep on checking back to see the rest of my rankings for the Top 25 Albums of 2008!

15. Guilty Simpson: Ode To The Ghetto
Guilty Simpson’s flow at times almost sounds so lackadaisical that his skill gets overlooked. However, with his debut album on Stones Throw Records, Ode To The Ghetto, that mistake will be made much less often. This album is sixteen tracks of gully, Detroit street-rap. Simpson’s topical content is limited at times, but he makes up for it in ability. The production on Ode To The Ghetto was equally stunning. With an A-list lineup featuring regular contributor Madlib, the late J Dilla, Black Milk, and Oh No, the beats were consistently strong throughout. Black Milk even gave Guilty one of his best beats of the year with “The Real Me,” which ended up being the album’s best song. Key Tracks: “The Real Me,” “Robbery,” “Ode To The Ghetto,” “My Moment”

14. Heiruspecs: Heiruspecs
Even though I already have had this album for about two weeks now, I got not one, but two copies of the new Heiruspecs album for Christmas. At least that means my family knows me pretty well. I’ve said it before, but no music group or artist reminds me of home more than Heiruspecs. So, naturally I was ecstatic when I discovered they would be releasing their first studio album since A Tiger Dancing. I have only given this album about 1.5 good listens, so this rating is moderately tenuous. Still, I was very satisfied with how the album turned out. Heiruspecs sound more mature and earnest with this new effort. Gone are post-track shout sessions of “Bitch! Bitch! Blah Blah Blahhhh!” and guest appearances from Mark Wheat. Instead, Heiruspecs the album has a theme of change. Songs like “We Want A New Flow” and “Change Is Coming” make it clear that the Saint Paul hip-hop band refuses to put up with most of the radio-rap bullshit presently dominating the airwaves. Heiruspecs are back, ya’ll, and they’re taking their craft that much more seriously. Key Tracks: “Get Up,” “All In All,” “Broken Record ft. I Self Devine,” “On My Way”

13. Muja Messiah: Thee Adventures of a B-Boy/D-Boy
Minneapolis has found a new dope boy who proved that you don’t need to leave the Twin Cities to “Get Fresh.” Thee Adventures Of A B-Boy/D-Boy was a criminally overlooked album in 2008. Muja sounded less like the rookie releasing his first studio album that he is, and more like a savvy veteran of the Twin Cities hip-hop scene. Boasting potentially intimidating guest raps from Slug, Black Though of The Roots (!!!!), I Self Devine, and Musab, Muja managed to hold his own lyrically, instead of merely sharing the spotlight. This helped ensure that B-Boy/D-Boy was his album to claim. Muja effectively and emotionally weaved tales of the street and of his own personal life. Two songs continually stick with me from this album. The first is “What’s This World Coming To ft. Slug,” on which Muja raps “My big sister drowned in a river / years later my brother got gunned down and they never found the killer / I know I’m next, yup, death’s coming for me.” The second song is “Tha Madness,” on which Muja has one of the coolest opening verses of the year. He raps, “I was born blessed with a curse / money over breakfast first / Bury me a ‘G’ / Black stretch Lexus hearse / What’s it all worth, on this planet we call Earth? / Call me crazy, but madness is the psyche’s nurse.” Those two examples, my friends, are what make this album so special. Key Tracks: “Tha Madness,” “What’s This World Coming To ft. Slug,” “Growing Pains,” “At All Cost (My Economics,” “Patriot Act ft. I Self Devine”

12. The Knux: Remind Me In 3 Days...
If The Knux grow increasingly popular with mainstream hip-hop, they have more potential to revolutionize the genre than anyone else today. In fact, it’s amazing that Interscope has not done more to help promote them. Krispy Kream and Rah Al Millio are two New Orleans blues rockers who moved to LA and refined their sound to be more hip-hop. Their album, Remind Me In Three Days..., kind of sounds like, dare I say, TV On The Radio meets The Cool Kids. That admittedly might be a little ambitious, but these swanky guitar-playin’ rhymers have some serious potential to change the face of hip-hop music. Their raps may be mildly commonplace at times, but they’re not afraid to tackle a wide variety of topics and concept. But it was the beats on their album that were dazzling, and help boost their significant prospects. Key Tracks: “Bang! Bang!,” “Cappuccino,” “Shine Again,” “Life In A Cage (Electric),” “Wake The Fuck Up”

11. 88-Keys: The Death of Adam
88-Keys has been producing tracks for over a decade, but it took until 2008 for him to release his first solo album. The result was The Death of Adam, an album that follows the tale of the death of — you guessed it! — a man named Adam. The album begins lightheartedly, with the joyous track “Morning Wood,” but Adam proceeds to get into increasingly deeper and trouble until he meets his ultimate demise. 88-Keys is an average rapper, but he gets a solid guest list of rappers to make cameos for the album: Phonte, Redman, Kid Cudi, Kanye West. What was more impressive was the production. Kanye West executive produced The Death of Adam with 88-Keys, and they produced an extremely unified album. As each song tells a progressive section of Adam’s adventures, so too do the beats reflect the mood and theme of the story. 88-Keys must have done some dilligent crate digging, as he was able to consistently take chopped-up vocal samples that perfectly reflect the song’s message. Key Tracks: “Morning Wood,” “Stay Up! (Viagra) ft. Kanye West,” “Close Call ft. Phonte,” “Burning Bush ft. Redman”

Concert Announcement: Toki Wright at The Dinkeytowner

As if one show on December 27 wasn't enough, there will be another good hip-hop concert in Dinkeytown for you Gophers to attend. Toki Wright will be headlining "Hip-Hop Night" at the Dinkeytowner. The show will also feature Set The Smith, Lyrics Devine, and Carnage (Doing his second show of the night!) As goes for the Big Quarters show in Minneapolis, if you attend this concert and take any footage, definitely send it on over to me!

Behind The Beats, Vol. 4: Lupe Fiasco's "The Pen and The Needlz"

This particular Lupe Fiasco song appeared on one of his first big mixtapes, Fahrenheit 1/15 Part I: The Truth Is Among Us. It's easy to see why Lupe caught the attention of major labels, as his flow was mind boggling even way back when. Dropping lines like, "Make you feel it like I mispronounced 'fillet'" or "I'm back atcha, and I pack like cap backwards." Overall, I'd say the Fahrenheit mixtape series features some of my favorite Lupe material that he's ever done. This track is pretty high on my list. As for the production, I have no idea who flipped this track, but I accidentally stumbled upon the sample when listening to some Marvin Gaye a while back. It's from Gaye's classic track, "Mercy Mercy Me," but you have to wait to the very end of the track to catch the actual sample.

Marvin Gaye: "Mercy Mercy Me"

Concert Announcement: Big Quarters at 7th Street Entry

This will be a good show, guaranteed. Not only are Big Quarters taking the stage, but Kristoff Krane, Hyder Ali, Carnage, and the homie El Guante will be rocking the mic as well. I'm unfortunately going to be in Northern Minnesota until early on December 31, so I can't make it. Still, I give this show a strong cosign, and encourage you to attend. And if anyone wants to shoot some footage and send it over to me, please feel more than welcome to do so!

Star Tribune 2008 Recap

Chris Riemenschneider of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote a nice little story recapping the best of 2008. Included in the article are some nice hip-hop references. Muja Messiah received "Best Two-fer Musician," in dropping two differing releases this year, MPLS Massacre and Thee Adventures of a B-Boy/D-Boy. Rhymesayers festival Soundset 2008 was honored as "Best Festival," and Ant and I Self Devine were even given their respective best moments of the year.

It's good to see artists other than Brother Ali or Atmosphere get their shine in larger publications like the Trib. The Twin Cities hip-hop scene has much more to offer than just its big-name acts, and that is beginning to be recognized more.

To read the article, hit the following link: Star Tribune, 2008 Recap: Just The Best

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Big Sean: Serchlite TV Freestyle (Video)

I realize I've never posted anything from Big Sean before. I'm relatively new to him, too. He's a rapper from Detroit, who apparently seems to be doing his thing. He made an appearance on the 88-Keys mixtape that made my top 15 list. He also was featured on a remix to Kanye's "Paranoid (Remix)," which was on this DJ Benzi mixtape that dropped a little while back. That track is provided as a little Xmas bonus after the video. Get familiar.

Kanye West: "Paranoid (Remix) ft. Big Sean & Mr. Hudson"

Concert Announcement: St. Paul Slim at the Kitty Kat Club

Best Of 2008: Top 25 Albums (Entries 20-16)

Previous Midwest Broadcast Best of 2008 Posts:
Non-Hip-Hop Albums
Top 15 Mixtapes
Top 25 Albums (Entries 25-21 + Honorable Mentions)

On with Midwest Broadcast's top 25 albums of 2008! This time, we're at numbers 20-16. As usual, feel free to voice your opinion by dropping a comment or sending me an email.

20. The Game: L.A.X.
This album got a fairly mixed reception from critics. Some said it was Game’s worst album yet, while URB hailed it as one of the year’s best. I adopted a more favorable stance on this album. I feel that Game has been a rather consistent artist throughout his whole career, and although he may never make a classic, he does have a handful of pretty good records under his belt, L.A.X. being one of them. The production, as per usual on Game’s albums, was pretty great (“House Of Pain,” and “Big Dreams,” off the L.A.X. Deluxe Edition, are bangers). Game’s lyrics were pretty sharp, as well. Despite a few cliché tracks, his passion for rap music was as evident as ever on L.A.X. Key Tracks: “Bulletproof Diaries ft. Raekwon,” “House Of Pain,” “Never Can Say Goodbye ft. Latoya Williams,” “Letter To The King ft. Nas”

19. Jake One: White Van Music
Chalk it up to Seattle-based producer Jake One and Rhymesayers Entertainment to recruit what was by far this year’s most impressive collection of rappers for a single album. Jake One’s White Van Music had the best of all worlds. M.O.P., Little Brother, Posdnuos, Slug, MF Doom, Freeway, Brother Ali, Evidence, Busta Rhymes, Blueprint, Bishop Lamont, Young Buck, Casual, Royce Da 5’9”, Black Milk, Elzhi, and various others all made guest appearances on the album. That covers the Midwest, West Coast, East Coast, down South. That covcrs mainstream and underground artists. That covers intellectual rap, battle rap, storytelling rap, stream-of-consciousness rap, etc. But wait, with so many different styles represented, how was this album not a complete, for lack of a better word, clusterfuck? Well that can be attributed to Jake One. Each beat was tailor made for each rapper’s individual song; yet each song still meshed together to make the album a cohesive effort. If only Young Buck and Keak Da Sneak’s throwaway tracks were replaces with other material, this album would have been even better. Oh, and “The Truth ft. Freeway and Brother Ali” was the best song of the year, mark my word. Key Tracks: “Gangsta Boy ft. M.O.P., “The Truth ft. Freeway and Brother Ali,” “Oh Really ft. Posdnuos & Slug,” “Trap Door ft. MF Doom,” “Scared ft. Blueprint,” “Glow ft. Elzhi & Royce Da 5'9"”

18. GZA: Pro Tools
With Pro Tools, GZA released what is probably his best material since his seminal classic Liquid Swords. He was more lyrically sharp than he has been in recent years, and the production on this album was spectacular. His chorus on the track “Alphabets” is mind-blowing, as is the Black Milk produced “Seven Pounds.” I saw him perform a couple of these tracks earlier this year, and it was pretty impressive. This album is a must-have for any Wu-Tang fan. Key Tracks: “Alphabets,” “Seven Pounds,” “0% Finance,” “Life Is A Movie ft. RZA & Khan-Acito”

17. Atmosphere: Strictly Leakage
I gave myself one free pass by allowing Rhymefest’s Man In The Mirror Mixtape to be on the 2008 mixtape list even though it came out in late December of 2007. Well, I’m doing the same thing with Atmosphere’s free album, Strictly Leakage, as it was released on December 26, 2007 (Download). Sluggo and Ant put Strictly Leakage together after creating Lemons. So with all these extra songs sitting around, they chose to give it away for free (though Slug has since admitted the tracks could never be sold because of sampling issues). The album has more of a party vibe than anything else they have ever done, but Ant’s sampling is as flawless as usual. Slug, on the other hand, adapts a more sarcastic, easy-going, party mentality for his rhymes on Strictly Leakage. The album still gets plenty of rotations on my iTunes, and was a pleasant change of pace from the Minneapolis duo. Key Tracks: “YGM,” “Little Math You,” “Full Moon,” “The Things That Hate Us,” “Crewed Up”

Side story: Just two nights ago, I was out in Dinkeytown celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday. We were walking down 14th Street, and I saw Ant just chilling outside of the Dinkeytowner. I stopped to talk to him briefly, and mentioned how I saw his show in London this past summer and spoke with him for a while at the pub afterwards. He remembered, which was personally satisfying for me. It’s great to see that Ant and Slug have not lost their down-to-earth, humble, and personable relationship with their fans. Just last year they gave away an album for free. Slug and Ant always hang out at their concert venues with their fans before their shows. The track “Crewed Up,” off of Strictly Leakage, shows love to plenty of emerging local artists (Muja Messiah, St. Paul Slim, Toki Wright). It’s relieving to know that there are still some truly genuine artists in hip-hop, doing it for the love of the music. And with Lemons setting record sales number for Rhymesayers, it’s just as reassuring that these artists are still being supported by their original fans.

16. Murs & 9th Wonder: Sweet Lord
After that little digression, we’re back to the list. How about another free album to crack the year’s top 20? Most of the hype surrounding Murs in 2008 was focused on his major-label debut album, Murs For President (Review). However, that wasn’t even his best album of the year. That title is reserved for Sweet Lord, produced entirely by 9th Wonder, and released for free online this past summer (Download). The album follows the same formula as the past Murs/9th Wonder collaborative efforts: short (10 tracks) but sweet (9th’s soul samples, Murs’ love raps). These two have an unparalleled chemistry together, and will hopefully please fans by working together more in the future. Key Tracks: “Nina Ross,” “And I Love It,” “Pusshhhhhh,” “Love The Way”

Concert Announcement: Outside Christmas Bash at O'Gara's

Local hip-hop band Outside are throwing a Christmas concert tonight at O'Gara's Irish Pub on Snelling Avenue in Saint Paul. The photo above was the best I could get (jacked straight from FeedBack's Facebook profile!) featuring Outside lead emcees Raps Deluxe and FeedBack ripping it on stage. The bottom line is if you're not doing anything at 9:00pm tonight, head over to O'Gara's and check out a dope show. Outside will be doing some group cuts, and Saint Paul emcee J.Loonz, recently returned from Prague, will probably be doing a couple of songs as well. It will be a fun time. If you haven't heard of Outside, here's a taste of what to expect:

Vandalyzm: "Mirror, Mirror"

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everybody. Not quite sure how many people are going to be checking their laptops today, but in the spirit of giving, here's a dope new Vandalyzm track for you all. I'm digging this sample for sure! If you didn't catch my last Vandalyzm post, hit this link and grab his mixtape. Otherwise, have a great day ya'll, and be safe if you're heading out tonight.

Vandalyzm: "Mirror, Mirror"

Best Of 2008: Top 25 Albums (Entries 25-21)

Previous Midwest Broadcast Best of 2008 Posts:
Non-Hip-Hop Albums
Top 15 Mixtapes

Intro: Well, it’s officially Christmas, so I suppose it’s time for me to begin writing this series. With 2009 around the corner, it’s been more fun than I expected — albeit far more tasking, too — revisiting the seemingly endless number of albums that dropped in the past year. Narrowing this list down to a top 25 was arduous, hence the plethora of honorable mentions. In all honesty, I’ve already changed the order of this list about 10 times in the past thirty minutes. From about #20 and on, the rankings are not terribly clear-cut. Still, these albums were my favorites of 2008, and I urge you to check them out if you have not yet done so. Maybe you could even buy an album or two (GASP!). Without further adieu, entries 25-21 for the best albums of 2008, plus the honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions: Kidz In The Hall, The In Crowd; Torae, Daily Conversation; Madlib, WLIB AM: King Of The Wigflip; Vast Aire, Deuces Wild; Termanology, Politics As Usual; Pacewon & Mr. Green, The Only Color That Matters Is Green; DJ Revolution, King Of The Decks (Review)

25. Lil’ Wayne: Tha Cater III
Lil' Wayne makes this list reluctantly. But Weezy F. Baby managed to sell like three trillion copies when other rappers were struggling to move records in their hometown, so he had to be doing something right. Whatever, quite a few of the songs on The Carter III were kind of ill. But that “Phone Home” bullshit nearly ruined the entire album for me. Key Tracks: “3 Peat,” “Mr. Carter ft. Jay-Z,” “A Milli,” “Dr. Carter,” “Let The Beat Build”

24. C.R.A.C. Knuckles: The Piece Talks (Review)
2007’s rookie of the year and one of my favorite rappers, Blu, teamed up with Detroit producer/emcee Ta’Raach to release an “I-don’t-give-a-fuck-album,” of sorts. It was dangerously haphazardly put together (tons of random interludes, little cohesion, absolutely no commercial appeal), but maybe that is also why it was so cool. Ta’Raach’s minimalist boom-bap beats were ideal for Blu, especially since lots of his raps on this album sound more like on-the-spot freestyles than thought-out written verses. If only Blu could have done all the rapping, then we would have been working with something. Key Tracks: “Love Don’t,” “Respect,” “Go!”

23. Heltah Skeltah: D.I.R.T. (Da Incredible Rap Team) (Review)
When D.I.R.T. was released in late September, I was legitimately impressed. I even prematurely assumed it would end the year in the top five or ten best albums of the year. However, once the initial excitement wore off, I don’t think I’ve re-listened to a single song of the album until recently. What I now realize is that I was generalizing the notion that I thoroughly enjoy about four songs off the album to a faulty belief that the entire album is spectacular. It wasn’t. While Ruck and Rock are uncompromising in making street battle rhymes, their shtick eventually grows weary. And while the production was terrific on a few of the songs, the rest of the album was relatively average. But due to the strength of the best tracks on D.I.R.T., Heltah Skeltah still crack the top 25 of 2008. Key Tracks: “The Art Of Disrespekinazation,” “Twinz,” “D.I.R.T. (Another Boot Camp Clik Yeah Song)”

22. Kanser: Future Retro Legacy
If some Minneapolis rap veterans release an album in 2008, will anyone pay attention? I wish more people knew about Kanser. Maybe they do, but I just have not met them yet. Either way, this trio put out the one of the best "everyman albums" of the year. These guys seem almost too down to earth, referencing brushing their teeth and sarcasticly dissing their fellow homies, Twin Cities hip-hop group Big Quarters. But what really helped Future Retro Legacy succeed was the production. One of the best things about being in underground hip-hop seems to be that sampling is much less restricted than in the mainstream. Artists don’t have to worry about clearing samples, with allows for better production on albums, from start to finish. Such was the case for this album. Key Tracks: “Pleasant,” “Coming Out Again (The Sunshine Song),” “Save The Day,” “Legacy”

21. Fat Ray & Black Milk: The Set Up
To be concise, Black Milk dominated this album. In all honesty, Fat Ray is a halfway decent rapper. He’ll spit some pretty nice battle rap punchlines, or some bright metaphors from time to time, but nothing that makes your jaw drop. But Black Milk’s production on The Set Up had me drooling. It was perhaps his best work of the year, and that’s saying something, because Black Milk completely owned 2008. As you continue to read this series, you’ll see a pattern developing regarding that fact. Key Tracks: “Bad Man ft. Guilty Simpson,” “Not U,” Get Focus ft. Phat Kat & Elzhi,” “Ugly”

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Common: Sunday Night Sound Session Interview (Video)

Add-2: "Set It Off Freestyle"

Add-2's Tale of Two's City Mixtape nearly made my Top 15 Mixtapes of 2008 list. Frankly, I feel a little guilty for not including it, as it was a banger. But, I suppose as a consolation, Andrew let loose a little freestyle Add just dropped.

Add-2: "Set It Off Freestyle"

Concert Announcement: Hip-Hop Against Homophobia

Chris of Culture Bully just send this over to post. I'll be sure to repost an update when the concert draws nearer. As for now, here's the press release:
Hip Hop Against Homophobia: Friday, January 23 at the Nomad World Pub
Twin Cities hip hop artists—gay and straight alike—come out to support LGBTQ rights

On Friday, Jan 23, the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis will host "Hip Hop Against
Homophobia," a show sponsored by music blog, local record label
Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records, Join the Impact Twin Cities, the Twin Cities Avengers
and OutFront MN. Performers include some of the Twin Cities' most successful hip
hop acts, representing both the LGBTQ community and its straight allies: Maria Isa,
Toki Wright, Alicia Leafgreen, DeeJay Blowtorch, Kredentials, Tish Jones, See More
Perspective and the show's lead organizer, Kyle "El Guante" Myhre.
I feel like Minneapolis hip-hop is always taking a very progressive stance against some of the widespread convictions that mainstream rap culture faces. Make sure to head to the Nomad in late January to support this movement!

One Be Lo: In The Studio w/ The North Starz

Ketchums over at Speech Is My Hammer, a real dope blog featuring mainly Michigan hip-hop, posted this video of One Be Lo working in the studio with a production team from Michigan, The North Starz. These guys' beats are pretty crazy, and One Be Lo spits some insane verses. They are working on a mixtape presently, and Kethums also reported that he's heard a little bit of One Be Lo's upcoming album, B.A.B.Y. (Being A Black Youth). One Be Lo is a favorite rapper of mine, so I'm eagerly awaiting anything he's working on.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Of 2008: Top 15 Mixtapes

Previous Midwest Broadcast Best of 2008 Posts:
Non-Hip-Hop Albums

Intro: Hip-hop is as flooded with aspiring rappers as it has ever been. So, consequently, a seemingly endless number of artists dropped mixtapes. Naturally, I did not listen to them all. I even passed up some of the bigger-name mixtape artists of the year (Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, G-Unit, every Lil’ Wayne mixtape, etc.). Still, I think this is a pretty comprehensive list. A good mix of underground, emerging, and established artists dropped superb mixtapes this year. If you have not listened to any of the artists on this list, I encourage you to download their music, as all of these mixtapes are worthy of repeat listens. Artists made the list based on overall quality of the mixtape, originality, topical content, lyrical prowess, production quality, and other various factors. Oh year, and it doesn’t hurt if I don’t have any DJs constantly talking their shit, which seriously disrupts a song’s listenability. Anyway, without further adieu, here are the 15 best mixtapes of 2008.

15. Evidence: The Layover Mixtape
Evidence was really on his grind this year. With his series of self-produced videos, mainly featuring him tirelessly working in the studio, it was clear how dedicated Evidence is to releasing quality music. His work paid off. Now it’s on to 2009 for his sophomore album, Cats and Dogs. Key Tracks: “The Layover,” “Bigger Dreams,” “For Whom The Bell Tolls ft. Phonte, Blu, & Will.I.Am”

14. Jay Electronica: What The Fuck Is A Jay Electronica?
This was actually a compilation mixtape put together by those at We Do It Right. However, it effectively introduced new listeners to Jay Electronica, the elusive and intriguing New Orleans rhymer. This collection of tracks (22 songs in total) accurately showcases Jay Electronica’s eclectic and diverse style. New Jay Electronica music has since been hard to come by — and few people seem to know what he’s really up to, besides barraging us with Twitter updates — so this mixtape will tide us over until his next project drops. Key Tracks: “Something To Hold On To,” “Renaissance Man,” “Bitches and Drugs”

13. 88-Keys: Adam’s Case Files
If you did not catch 88-Keys’ recent studio album, The Death of Adam, then your iTunes library is seriously lacking. It was one of the better albums of the year, and impressively followed one concept throughout: “The power of pussy,” as 88-Keys said himself. However, just as strong as the actual album is, the mixtape that preceded the album, Adam’s Case Files, is also a must-have. It is presumably composed of concept tracks that didn’t make the final cut, yet they’re still pretty great. 88-Keys is a sample wizard, and always finds the right track to mesh with his songs topics. Key Tracks: The mixtape follows a story, so listen to each song sequentially — it will be worth your time.

12. Wafeek: The Aristocrats Mixtape
Originally from St. Louis, Wafeek is a talented rapper who got some recent internet shine for this mixtape. He can destroy a track in multiple ways: swagger raps, up-tempo raps, concepts, metaphors, and more are all featured on different tracks. “Let The Beat Die Backwards” is arguably the year’s best and most creative remix of Weezy’s “Let The Beat Build.” Another positive aspect about Wafeek’s mixtape is that it gets to the point. Many tracks clock in under 2 minutes; there aren’t annoying shit-talk interludes; I didn’t have to sift through 25+ songs to find the good ones. Wafeek kept it short and to the point, only including above average material. Rappers take notice on this formula (It actually works). Key Tracks: “Let The Beat Die Backwards,” “Imma Learn Ya”

11. Royce Da 5’9”: The Bar Exam 2
Detroit had quite a renaissance in 2008. Well, the actual city is fucked, but its hip-hop scene is absolutely dominating right now. Royce Da 5’9” was one of the centerpieces of that resurgence. The Bar Exam 2 had to be one of the most highly anticipated mixtapes of 2008, and it did not disappoint. Royce was blacking out on a regular basis. In fact, perhaps Royce was blacked out when he made the mixtape — he makes a lot of humorous references to his affinity for liquor. But all in all, The Bar Exam 2 was basically composed of Royce straight up taking other rappers to school with his relentless flow. Key Tracks: “I’m Me Freestyle,” “I’m Nice,” “Royal Flush Freestyle ft. Cannibus & Elzhi,” “Ignorant Shit Freestyle”

10. Kid Cudi: A Kid Named Cudi
Cleveland just earned itself an ambassador for the new era of hip-hop. Kid Cudi released A Kid Named Cudi this past summer to quite a bit of fanfare, and he followed through with one of the more original releases of the year. The Kanye-cosigned, G.O.O.D. Music artist proved to be a huge breath of fresh air to hip-hop music. He’s abstract, yet honest: “They can’t comprehend, or even come close to understanding him / I guess if I was born they would love me more,” says Cudi on “Man On The Moon (The Anthem).” Either way, Kid Cudi proved to be one of the more promising artists of 2008. He executes the increasingly popular singing/rapping combo better than nearly anyone. He’s emotional, a Martian, a weed-lover, a drinker, and we look forward to his next moves in the following year. Key Tracks: “Is There Any Love? ft. Wale,” “Man On The Moon (The Anthem),” “Day ‘N Nite,” “Heaven At Nite,” “50 Ways To Make A Record”

9. Muja Messiah: MPLS Massacre
Minneapolis’ has its next rap star. That is, if people start the attention that’s due to Muja Messiah. He’s one of the newer Minnesota rappers with an uncompromising vision. It turns out you don’t have to sound like Atmosphere to be successful in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Muja raps biting tales about politics and street economics, and does it well. And he should be recognized as a trendsetter: Muja remixed M.I.A.’s infectious single, “Paper Planes,” months before seemingly every other rapper in the world took a shot at it. Key Tracks: “Paper Planes ft. M.anifest,” “Oh Silly Me ft. Slug,” “Where’s The Joy ft. I Self Devine,” “Amy Winehouse,” “The Other White Meat”

8. Blueprint: Blueprint vs. Funkadelic
Rhymesayers artists do not often put out mixtapes, so this was an exciting release for me. Furthermore, we hadn’t heard from Blueprint for quite some time until this came out. Blueprint vs. Funkadelic is pretty much what the title implies. Blueprint sampled a bunch of Parliament Funkadelic tracks and rapped over them. The mixtape was a little short, and a little rough at times. But it was mostly just awesome. Key Tracks: “La La La,” “Too Funkadelic”

7. Rhymefest: Man In The Mirror
This mixtape dropped on December 29, 2007, so fuck it, I’m counting it in the Best of 2008 list. Everyone was probably too drunk bringing in the new year to give it a spin until 2008, anyway. Rhymefest and musical genius Mark Ronson put this mixtape together as an ode to Michael Jackson. The beats are all either Michael Jackson or Jackson 5 samples, and Rhymefest does what he does throughout the whole mixtape. This unique mixtape was risky, but successful in cementing his status as one of the illest spitters in hip-hop. In fact, I’d call it the best “dedication” mixtape of the year (No Lil’ Wayne). Key Tracks: “Can’t Make It,” Get Up ft. Wale,” “Never Can Say Goodbye ft. Talib Kweli,” “No Sunshine”

6. The Cool Kids: That’s Stupid: The Mixtape
If every mixtape could be as straightforward as this, I would be a happy man. Chuck English and Mikkey Rocks released a six-track compilation of all new songs. There is no filler. Short and sweet. Enough said. Key Tracks: The mixtape is only six tracks long, so just bump the whole thing!

5. Omer Saar: The Green Album
This was a perfect summertime mixtape for me. Omer Saar of Universoul Productions put out one of the smoothest releases of the year. Inspired from Al Green’s tremendous recent release, Lay It Down, he sampled some of his favorite Al Green songs, made some fresh hip-hop beats, and laid some classic verses on top from the likes of The Pharcyde, Jay-Z, MF Doom, Big L, and more. So chill. Key Tracks: “Stakes is High ft. The Pharcyde, Notorious B.I.G., & De La Soul,” “Woo Haa! ft. Busta Rhymes,” “MVP Interlude ft. Big L,” “Real Hip-Hop ft. Das EFX,” “Passing Me By ft. The Pharcyde”

4. Jay-Z: Live At Glastonbury 2008
I was living in London this past summer, and Jay-Z’s performance at the traditionally rock-based Glastonbury festival was creating quite a bit of controversy. I remember watching the set live on TV, and Hov absolutely delivered. He must have an absolutely unflappable confidence, because he didn’t so much as blink during his set. Focused and determined to prove the skeptics wrong, Hov eliminated any doubt that a rapper does not deserve to headline a rock and roll festival. Thankfully, Hip-Hop Is Read gathered up the audio files from the concert coverage and released a mixtape of Jigga’s whole set. Besides simply being a great live performance to listen to, this mixtape also bring back personal memories, because I caught the next Jay-Z show in London about 4 days after Glastonbury took place.

3. Clipse: Road To Till The Casket Drops
Re-Up Gang’s We Got It For Cheap, Vol. 3 was a mild disappointment, although still relatively solid. Re-Up Gang’s studio album was not even worth a listen. So, I was admittedly a little worried that Clipse’s mixtape wouldn’t be that terrific. Boy was I wrong. This might be the best thing Clipse has ever done, even including Hell Hath No Fury. Pusha T and Malice are some of the cleverest rappers in the game. I don’t understand how they can literally rap about only one thing, and consistently do it so well. They’re also rather articulate, which makes this mixtape a very fun listen. The first three tracks are damn near perfect. I’m officially excited for Till The Casket Drops in 2009. Key tracks: “Intro,” “The Haters’ Wish,” “Big Dreams,” “Numb It Down”

2. Nas: The Nigger Tape
This mixtape was arguably better than Nas’ Untitled. While Untitled is laced with metaphors and thought provoking assessments of racism in America, The Nigger Tape is an unrelenting, uncensored reflection of Nas’ views. This was probably the album Nas wanted to put out, but wasn’t allowed to. Which technically makes sense, but is disappointing evidence of the state of mainstream hip-hop. I admire Nas for still finding a way to voice his opinion, regardless of whether he’s right or wrong. Key Tracks: “Gangsta Rap (Remix),” “Cops Keep Firing,” “Association ft. Stic Man,” “Ghetto (Remix) ft. Joell Ortiz”

1. Wale: The Mixtape About Nothing
I thought the day Seinfeld became hip-hop would be the day hell froze over, but Wale managed to bridge that gap masterfully. Somehow, just like Seinfeld, The Mixtape About Nothing is really about everything. Maybe, if you pay attention, you’ll catch “the undertone of the message,” as Wale proclaims on “The Opening Title Sequence.” Still, as he raps, “If you love substance you’ll love Wale / But most niggas love nothing so I made this tape.” On the mixtape, Wale assesses racism, love, stardom, the state of hip-hop, violence, materialism, and misogyny in rap, and more; those of us that were paying attention caught the best hip-hop mixtape of 2008. Key Tracks: “The Opening Title Sequence,” “The Freestyle (Roc Boys),” “The Kramer,” “The Grown Up,” “The Star”

Royce Da 5'9": "Part Of Me"

Just got home from the LONGEST day of Xmas shopping. Why I always put that off until December 23 is beyond me. I guess I can only blame myself. But at least I checked the email and got a new track from Royce. This is the final mastered version of "Part Of Me," and will appear on Street Hop, dropping April 9. The album is executive produced by DJ Premier. Oh boy...

Royce Da 5'9": "Part of Me"

Knonam: Live on B96 w/ Peter Parker

Minneapolis rapper Knonam made an appearance on B96 for a little self-promotion. He spits a quick verse, discusses the story behind his name, Length Of The Blade, and previews his latest Jake One produced single, "Knock You Down."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Behind The Beats, Vol. 3: Black Milk's "Shut It Down"

With another edition of Behind The Beats, the focus is on one of my favorite tracks off of Black Milk's 2007 release, Popular Demand. "Shut It Down" features Black spitting some characteristic braggadocio over a heavily chopped R&B sample from Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Aspiring producers pay attention — Black Milk is one of the best on the boards.

Marily McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.: "Nothing Can Stop Me"

Vandalyzm: Megatron Majorz Mixtape + Bonus Tracks

So I jumped on the Vandalyzm bandwagon a little late, but I've got a feeling some of my Twin Cities readers have not yet heard of him yet. Vandalyzm is a talented rapper/producer from St. Louis who has been getting some internet love for his work lately. HipHopDX even recently gave him a feature in the DXNext section. Anyway, Vandalyzm is part of Little Brother's Hall Of Justus camp, and should be making some big moves relatively soon. I also had a couple of Twitter conversations with the dude and he seems real humble and genuine. Posted below is his latest mixtape, Megatron Majorz. Vandalyzm handles production himself on over half of the tracks; there is also some heat from Khyrsis, and a guest spot from Rapper Big Pooh. Finally, I've also included a couple bonus singles, as he's grinding out new tracks weekly. Keep an eye out for Vandalyzm in the future, and I'll be sure to provide updates when he drops new material.

Vandalyzm: Megatron Majorz Mixtape

Vandalyzm: Okay Alright
Vandalyzm: Where I'm From

Black Milk & Elzhi: Red Bull Big Tune Concert

Via DJ Hyphen:
Black Milk and Elzhi were the featured performers at the Seattle stop of the Red Bull Big Tune beat battle on 9-12-08 at Neumos in Seattle. Black Milk ran through a couple songs, including his “Sound The Alarm” single, while Elzhi performed verses from “Motown 25,” “Hiding Place,” “1, 2,” and more.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best Of 2008: Non-Hip-Hop Albums

As the year comes to a close, I'll be bringing you a series of "Best Of 2008" lists. Thus far, I'm planning on putting out lists for best mixtapes, songs, rappers, producers, and the top 25 albums of the year. If you have any other ideas you'd like to see, hit up the comment section or send me some electronic mail.

As for this first list, I figured I should at least mention some of my favorite non-hip-hop albums of the year. I have not been able to listen to some albums that I would have liked to yet, so this list may not be entirely comprehensive. I'll be more thorough, and provide more elaboration with all the hip-hop related posts to follow. Commentary was provided for albums that I had something to mention at the moment. But if I didn't write something about an album, it does not mean I liked it any less than the others. So without further adieu, here are my favorite non-hip-hop albums of 2008, in no particular order.
  • Al Green: Lay It Down
He's still got it, ladies and gentleman. One of my favorite singers ever outperformed most of today's more youthful crooners in dropping another splendid soul record. This has been in steady rotation since the summertime. ?uestlove also executive produced Lay It Down, so that's pretty cool too.
  • TV On The Radio: Dear Science
  • Raphael Siddiq: The Way I See It
Another terrific soul record. The Way I See It did a great job recreating that Motown sound, and Siddiq's smooth vocals topped it all off. And the "Oh Girl (Remix)" featuring Jay-Z was icing on the cake.
  • Portishead: Third
  • Gnarls Barkley: The Odd Couple
Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse easily could have just hit the studio and banged out some cookie-cutter replica of St. Elsewhere. But they chose not to — and still were successful. I definitely regret not going to the Gnarls Barkley concert at the Minnesota State Fair last summer.
  • Foreign Exchange: Leave It All Behind
I'll admit I was pretty pissed when I discovered that Phonte was not going to rap on Leave It All Behind. Their last album, Connected, was a near-classic that too often gets overlooked, and it worked because Phonte's typically intricate wordplay was even more on point than usual. Leave It All Behind ended up with something like one verse from Tigallo, and singing admittedly isn't his strong point, but the album was still pretty damn good. Nicolay took the reigns with this project, and his beats are perfect to chill out and vibe to.
  • Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend
This is some great pop music. These songs are fucking catchy. Let's hope they don't suffer from that dreadful sophomore slump that has ruined many an album in the past.
  • The Black Keys: Attack and Release
This is some grimey blues rock. Danger Mouse executive produced this album, too, and did a good job. I saw these guys live in September or October earlier this year, and they were great. They were in the lineup at this SoCo Music Experience, wedged right in between GZA and The Roots, and fucking killed it. It's hard to describe how good they are live, but The Black Keys are only two dudes, and they make some drums and guitar sound like a 5-person rock band. Amazing show.
  • The Hold Steady: Stay Positive
I really like the song "Sequestered in Memphis." There is also this cool bonus song at the end of this album where the lead singer references some Twin Cities landmarks — four of the five band members lived in Minneapolis at one point. I think on one of their older albums they have this song that is completely about various drug-buying hotspots all over the Twin Cities metro area.
  • The Raconteurs: Consolers Of The Lonely
Jack White is one of the best muscians doing it right now. I love pretty much everything he does, unless it's a song that Meg White sings.
  • DJ/Rupture: Uproot
  • The Walkmen: You & Me
  • Kanye West: 808s and Heartbreak
This is last on the list because I thought long and hard — that's what she said? — about including this album on the list. I really didn't want to put it on, but I suppose Kanye might actually be as good as he says he is if he releases an all autotuned-singing album, and it didn't suck balls. That alone earns him a place on my list.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments? Feel free to post/critique/criticize in the comments section or drop me an email.

Mikkey Halsted: "La La"

Mikkey goes in over an ill instrumental.

Mikkey Halsted: "La La"

Kanye West: "Flute Flow"

This is an older Kanye song that has recently made its way to the blog circuit. Naturally, I'll post it as well. There's even a video of the recording session. Kanye seems to be actually freestyling this entire song, which happened to turn out way better than "Pinocchio Story," off 808s. Download link after the video.

Kanye West: "Flute Flow"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Atmosphere: Sad Clown Bad Dub 4 Preview

Happy Holidays from Rhymesayers:
Repackaged, remastered and uglier than ever, the critically acclaimed third official studio release from Atmosphere, God Loves Ugly, is back after being out of print for over a year. The God Loves Ugly re-issue also features a FREE bonus DVD. Originally released as the limited Sad Clown Bad Dub 4 (The Godlovesugly Release Parties) DVD, it features 2 hours of live performance footage, backstage shenanigans, several special guest appearances and music videos for "Godlovesugly", "Summersong" and "Say Shh". This previously out of print DVD has been repackaged in a custom sleeve that comes inserted in the re-issue of ˆ for the first time ever. Check out the trailer below and be sure to pre-order your copy now from Fifth Element today!

Royce Da 5'9": "Shake This" (Video + Download!)

I'd have more to write about this, but I'm pretty drunk right now. I'm sure Royce would approve, as I know he loves drinking as well (judging by his raps on The Bar Exam 2.) Whatever. I'll get back to this shit tomorrow. Oh yeah, this is produced by DJ Premier, and will be on Royce's upcoming LP in April, entitled Street Hop. Download link after the video. Enjoy.

Royce Da 5'9": "Shake This"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Heiruspecs: "Let It Fly" + "Lenses" + "Change Is Coming" (Album Release Party Footage)

Heiruspecs had their album release party last week at First Ave, and someone was kind enough to shoot some footage of them performing "Let It Fly." Go get the album!

Update: Added "Lenses," featuring Maria Issa on the vocals.

Update: The just keep the videos coming. Here is "Change Is Coming," featuring Dessa of Doomtree. Notice how she cut her luscious locks?

Heiruspecs: "Change is Coming ft. Dessa & New MC" + "Broken Record ft. I Self Devine"

No Twin Cities artists remind me of home more than Heiruspecs. Not Atmosphere, not Brother Ali, no one. So you can imagine my excitement that that their new self-titled album is out. I wasn't planning on posting any mp3 downloads, but since these tracks have been posted on various other blogs, I decided I may as well throw them up. Big shout out to Heiruspecs! Good to see them collaborating with other Twin Cities figures. Oh, and buy the album!

Heiruspecs: "Change Is Coming ft. Dessa & New MC"
Heiruspecs: "Broken Record ft. I Self Devine"

Knonam: "Knock You Down" (Prod. Jake One) (Video)

Last time I dropped the preview clip for Minneapolis-bred Knonam's Jake One produced cut, "Knock You Down." Here's the full thing. If you aren't bumping Length Of The Blade then you're slipping.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Last Of The Record Buyers EPK (Video)

That's "Electronic Press Kit" for those of you that don't know. Check the Myspace. I'm going back to drinking/watching Eastern Promises now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

P.O.S.: "Goodbye" + Tour Dates!

So right now is the first time I have been home since 8am today, so I'm rather late in getting this post out. My apologies. But the homie P.O.S. just leaked the first track off his upcoming album, Never Better, and I must say it sounds great. Check this shit out, and make sure to pre-order the album.

P.O.S.: "Goodbye"

Also, here are the dates for his upcoming national tour with fellow Doomtreeans Sims, Mike Mictlan and Lazerbeak.

Feb 05 - Missoula, MT @ The Badlander
Feb 06 - Seattle, WA @ Nectar
Feb 07 - Portland, OR Satyricon
Feb 09 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Feb 10 - Los Angeles, CA @ Knitting Factory
Feb 11 - Phoenix, AZ @ Clubhouse
Feb 13 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Feb 14 - Denver, CO @ Marquis
Feb 15 - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Jr.
Feb 16 - Madison, WI @ High Noon
Feb 17 - Chicago, IL @ Reggie's
Feb 18 - Columbus, OH @ Skully's Music Diner
Feb 20 - Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Feb 21 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
Feb 22 - Boston, MA @ Harper's Ferry
Feb 23 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
Feb 25 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Feb 26 - Champaign, IL @ Canopy
Feb 27 - Eau Claire, WI @ Stones Throw
Feb 28 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave