Donuts began simply enough as an idea to turn a particularly good demo beat tape into a full-length release, and has since became a classic hip-hop album, one of the defining works of the artist’s life. Completed during a year in which J Dilla spent mostly in a hospital bed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Donuts would gain particular poignancy when, only three days after it’s release, February 10, 2006, the artist passed away, losing his battle with a rare blood disease. Back late 2005 when Stones Throw was getting ready to release J Dilla’s Donuts, they made a casual decision to use a drawing for the cover of the 2LP vinyl release, rather than the standard cover photo of Dilla used for the other releases. But now here it is, better late than never: J Dilla’s classic album Donuts now released on vinyl with the smile on the cover. Cover & illustrations by Jeff Jank; photo of Dilla by Andrew Gura. Just a few months ago Stones Throw published a short back-story on the cover photo.
The original release of the Madlib and J Dilla collaboration, created between Los Angeles and Detroit in 2002-2003.
PayJay Productions, Inc. was the company James Dewitt "J Dilla" Yancey founded in 2001 to house his production company and his publishing company. But it was also a symbolic move: PayJay was a sign that the maverick producer then known as Jay Dee would see his individual goals in music industry realized, and he would get paid in the process. The Estate of James Yancey has revived PayJay as a functioning imprint, and is announcing its release of J Dilla's long lost vocal album, The Diary. The Estate of James Yancey is administered by attorney Alex Borden and overseen by the Probate Court of the State of California on behalf of Yancey's four heirs – his mother, Maureen "Madukes" Yancey, his brother John "Illa J" Yancey and his two daughters, Ja'Mya Yancey and Ty-monae Whitlow. "Anthem" and "Trucks" were two of the songs J Dilla recorded in late 2001 and early 2002 as he put the finishing touches on what was supposed to be an album featuring his raps over production by the likes of Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. These two tracks, however, were produced by Dilla himself. These tracks come straight from multi-track masters found on 2-inch tape shortly after Dilla's passing in 2006. These songs have been mixed by engineer Dave Cooley, who worked extensively with Dilla during his years in Los Angeles. Using Dilla's original demo mixes as his guide, Cooley attempted to finalize Dilla's vision for these tracks, while keeping all of the elements that Dilla had in place in his original demos present. Rounding out this 12" is Dilla's original mix of "Trucks" discovered as a two-track demo mix. We've included this mix as it features an alternate version of Dilla's vocals and a third verse not found on Dilla's final sessions for this song. The first press of this 12" features clear vinyl atop an original Jeff Jank sleeve with art by Mason London and placed in a thick, fold-over plastic sleeve. Subsequent runs will not have the clear vinyl or the fold-over plastic sleeve.
The Unseen, released in 2000, was among the new decade's first sleeper hits, ranking on Spin's year-end list at a time when the producer and label were unknown outside of hip-hop DJ circles. Few could have known that this, Madlib's solo debut, would be just the first album in a rich catalog of music spanning from hip-hop to jazz, with wild experimentation and collaborations with MF DOOM & J Dilla. The identity of Quasimoto himself was a bit of a mystery - maybe he was Madlib, maybe he wasn't. Maybe it's none of our business. In fact, Madlib created Quasimoto as someone to rap on his beats for his own private listening while living in Oxnard and Santa Barbara in the 1990s. The Unseen was born out of Peanut Butter Wolf's convincing Madlib to release these recordings for the rest of us to hear.
MF DOOM is the man in the iron mask. The most mysterious figure in hip-hop has also become one of the most popular, supplying beats and rhymes for Gorillaz, De La Soul, Madlib, Danger Mouse, and Wu-Tang Clan, and drawing praise from heavyweights like Just Blaze, Nas, and Mos Def. Since 2002, DOOM has released numerous volumes of Special Herbs, one of the longest-running instrumental series in hip- hop history. Now, the ninth and tenth volumes in the acclaimed series are available on vinyl for the first time in years. With obscure loops and dusty samples galore, Special Herbs Vol. 9 & 0 is a must-have for any DOOM fan or hip-hop head. Also includes a limited-edition bonus 7”, featuring two beats from DOOM’s days as a member of 90s hip-hop trio KMD.
Roll over, Josie and the Pussycats, and tell the Archies the news: There is a new cartoon band in town, the poppy, trippy, hip-hoppy Gorillaz. But cosmonaut vixens or pie-faced high school kids the Gorillaz are not; instead, they're an urban-chic troupe of misfits known as Murdoc, Noodle, Russel and 2D. For more on their story, go to gorillaz.com. As for the music, well, the people who actually created Gorillaz sorry to spoil the fantasy include avant-garde hip-hop producer extraordinaire Dan the Automator Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Deltron 3030, Blur vocalist Damon Albarn, Cibo Matto singer Miho Hatori, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, and former Talking Heads/current Tom Tom Club members Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. The album is a tasty brew of the many musical stylings purveyed by its creators. The single, "Clint Eastwood," combines the Automator's toe-tappin' beats with Albarn's chipper, oh-so-British vocals "I'm feeling glad/I've got sunshine in a bag", and Del's tough-guy raps "Chicks and dudes/Who you think is really kicking tunes?". Other standouts include the aptly titled, minute-and-a-half Albarn screamfest "Punk"; Del's Grandmaster Flash-style rap "Rock the House" featuring the call-to-action "I want y'all to just get down"; the groovy indie rock of "Re-Hash," featuring Hatori's sweet backing vocals; and the ominous Pink Floyd-esque art-rock of "M1 A1," which features a sample from the horror flick Day of the Dead. Yep, this album is all over the place, but the Automator's production skills and seamless segues hold it all together. Action figures sold separately. - Barnes & Noble, Bill Crandall
From the first glimpses of Henry Laufer's work as Shlohmo, it was clear that the LA native and visual artist turned self-taught musician was onto something. With an effortless grasp on sound design, Laufer combines deceptively simple and emotive melodies, subtle bass drops and swinging slow motion drums. His early work has placed him at the forefront of a new wave of rising talent amongst West Coast producers. Inspired by the desire to write songs and create a release of full-range instrumentation and vocals all his own, Laufer promptly began home-recording Bad Vibes, his proper full-length debut album for the Friends of Friends label. Some might say the songs on Bad Vibes represent the spawn of a new "rhythm and blues" - one that swings and sways under the backbone of Henry's own take on modern electronic music. Augmented with delicate slide guitar playing, homemade synth sounds and lilting, tuneful melodies, Shlohmo's latest output is one that will take you places - specifically the un-paralleled vibes swirling through this young man's head.
Ridin' Dirty is the third studio album by dirty south legends Bun B and Pimp C – together known as UGK. It is easily considered one of the greatest southern hip hop albums ever made, but let’s drop all the labels this is just pure good rap music, for any region. It's all right there, everything that people have come to expect from Houston rap: candy-painted cars, wood-grained steering wheels, flashy jewelry, late-night odes to lean and weed, passing references to DJ Screw tapes, those warm funk synthesizers that sound like radio oldies. All of Ridin' Dirty feels iconic now— among other reasons, because so many of its lyrics have since been cribbed by everyone from Slim Thug to Jay Z. There's the laid-back badassery of ""Diamonds and Wood,"" the zoned-out celebration of ""3 in the Morning,"" the ridiculous boasting of ""Fuck My Car."" Everything here is essential. Ridin’ Dirty was produced entirely by Pimp C and features start to finish bangers such as “One Day”, “Murder”, “Hi Lif” and of course the title track “Ridin’ Dirty.” Pimp C’s makes use of perfectly chosen Soul, Funk and Gospel samples to create a perfect soundscape for he and Bun B to trade verse over. Despite there being no singles or videos released from the album, the set went on to be a pivotal moment in southern hip hop as well as UGK's best-selling and most critically acclaimed release.
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When Queens natives Capone-N-Noreaga dropped their 1997 debut album The War Report Hip Hop was in the middle of a transition period. A new crop of MC’s were coming in, many of the benchmark artists of the late 80s early 90s were starting to fall off and labels focused their efforts on getting artist on mainstream radio ushered in by the “Jiggy Era”. For Capone-N-Noreaga this commercial shift was not an option, they represented what just a few years earlier their Queens brethren Mobb Deep displayed on their second coming “The Infamous” LP. To make the Queens connection even deeper, the mastermind behind The War Report was QB Legend Tragedy Khadafi who discovered and molded the duo into the flagship artists for his newly christened 25 to Life Records. In many ways Tragedy was the unofficial 3rd member of the group as he appears on more than half the album. The War Report represented a new era of street science and gritty New York beats, tracks like “Illegal Life”, “Stick You” & “T.O.N.Y” all became anthems that summer, making this one of the Greatest Debut Albums in Hip Hop History according to Complex Magazine. From the moment you hear the piano line of “Bloody Money” it sets a clear tone for this album, the War has begun. With features from Tragedy, Iman Thug, Mobb Deep and uncredited Busta Rhymes ad libs CNN’s debut is treated as almost a revolving door of like-minded MC’s determined to keep the music pure. Rounding out the production aspect, The War Report features EZ Elpee, Nasheim Myrick, Bucwild, Lord Finesse, Marley Marl and super DJ Clark Kent who all bring their unique style while all meshing together perfectly to make this debut a capsule to late 90’s Rap.
Powers That B will be a double disk CD and vinyl consisting of two separate albums, Niggas on the Moon and Jenny Death. The first album, Niggas on the Moon was released as a free digital download over the summer on Death Grips' website.
This limited release is a black vinyl 7-inch recreation of the original 12”, featuring the single’s classic artwork on a printed 7” jacket, plus a special matte black 2nd outer sleeve, embossed with the seminal skull design. In the early 1990s, a dark force began to rise in Los Angeles, fueled by classic ‘80s New York boom-bap and equally inspired by evil-tinged rock groups from the 1970s, like Black Sabbath. Just like that era of Los Angeles itself, pre-Riots and pre-The Chronic, Cypress Hill – producer and DJ Muggs with main MC B-Real and his lyrical partner Sen Dog – brought the city’s bubbling unrest to the surface, bathed in weed smoke and exploring injustices done to the underclass by both the Police State and the Government. Technically a “Double A-Side,” Cypress Hill’s first single, from 1991, took a minute to penetrate the rap scene at large. Once it took hold, though, there was no turning back. Part of the delay may have been the aural dichotomy shown here – “The Phunky Feel One” is a ridiculously funky groover, laced with liquid flows that might not create a full-on party vibe, but certainly brought listeners to the brink of the dancefloor. The flip, which eventually became the group’s breakthrough (thanks in part to its use in the climax to the film “Juice”), was a claustrophobic exploration of the gang lifestyle and mindset that was prevalent in the LA of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. “Here is something you can’t understand,” the chorus snarled, “How I could just kill a man.” According to group members, “Phunky Feel” was their record label’s choice for the A-Side, and “Kill A Man” was the song they themselves wanted to show the world with their first shot. No matter which way you slice it, the single showed an impressive range in just two songs – a complexity which would soon be fully exposed with the group’s debut LP later that year.