Anderson .Paak needed solutions. The California native saw both of his parents and stepfather sent to prison by the time he was 18, and earlier in his adult life, he, his wife, and his son endured homelessness after he was unexpectedly let go from his job at a Santa Barbara marijuana farm. ''When I look at my tree, I see leaves missing, generations of harsh living, and addiction,'' he sings in his old-soul rasp on Malibu, his second album as Anderson .Paak. He's faced uncertainty as a musician, too, but after ''Suede'', a song he recorded with beatmaker Knxwledge under the name NxWorries, caught Dr. Dre's ear, .Paak became a significant part of Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, making six appearances on the album. Not surprisingly, those songs combined for .Paak's big break, and now, eight years after deciding he wanted to make music his livelihood, he's released his best project yet, an affecting album that masterfully marries hip-hop, R&B, and soul.
Madvillainy is a collaboration between rapper MF Doom and producer Madlib under the group name Madvillain. MF DOOM and Madlib were off the radar to many in 2003, but the announcement of a collaboration and the first track, “America's Most Blunted”, brought all the quiet fans out of the woodwork, and let to a controversial and highly acclaimed album release in early 2004 that helped expose the two artists to a large audience for the first time. While the producer and MC both did was what completely natural to them at the time, they turned the formula of popular rap at the time on its head, creating an album that is both unique and true to it's hip-hop influences.
The contributions of the late Detroit producer James DeWitt Yancey -better known to the world as J Dilla- to the world of hip-hop can't be overstated, and nowhere is his legacy more apparent than his work as a member of Slum Village. A founding member of the trio, (Alongside rappers T3 and Baatin) Dilla provided the group's distinctly esoteric, free-wheeling sound, built around winding basslines, quirky drumbeats, subtle low-end frequencies, and classic jazz & soul samples. Against the backdrop of Dilla's rich production, T3 and Baatin's free-flowing style of rhyming would also earn wide critical praise, leading to comparisons as the successors to A Tribe Called Quest. (A label they themselves have rejected.) It's on Slum Village's 1997 studio debut, Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1, that all these elements come together in the most proficient manner. An instant hit among Detroit's underground hip-hop scene, the album seemed to combine all the best elements of the reigning alternative and gangsta styles of hip-hop into one cohesive style that was a hit among critics. Fan-Tas-Tic's influence extended far beyond Detroit, as its sound heavily influenced the sounds of D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, and The Roots just to name a few. (Roots drummer ?uestlove has even declared that: "Hands down this album birthed the neo-soul movement.") Ne'Astra Media Group now presents the album reissued on vinyl, for the first time in several years. Every wobbling bass note of J Dilla's production has been preserved and every freestyle line of T3 and Baatin has been re-created, to maintain the legacy of a late-90s rap classic, and the legend of one of hip-hop's greatest beatsmiths.
Long Beach, Cali rapper Vince Staples debuted his seven-song EP, HELL CAN WAIT late last year. The release of HELL CAN WAIT followed Vince s 3-week, 13-city Paisley Summer Tour headlining stint, which wrapped up at Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas. Vince has contributed tracks to dozens of today's hottest artists, including Earl Sweatshirt's first and second albums to Dilated Peoples' Directors Of Photography to Jhené Aiko's The Vapors (on her Sail Out debut, the biggest-selling EP in Def Jam history) and Common's latest album, Nobody's Smiling, on his single Kingdom, performed live by Common with Vince at his side on Jimmy Kimmel Live and at the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards. As Common stated in XXL, "He's cold on the mic... This dude can really rhyme. It made me want to write." With HELL CAN WAIT, Vince turned the microscope on himself and his family for some of hip-hop s most remarkable music. Ain't nothing realer than the truth, he explains. Ain't nothing better than the truth, like I really did all that. I really seen all that. I really been around that my whole life. Vince's debut album, Summertime 06, set to drop this summer, will be no different. Vince describes Summertime 2006 as the summer that started it all. He looks back in time to tell a story of how his budding career came to be; this album will provide insight into who Vince is and why he does what he does. The countdown to Summertime 06 is on!
Freddie Gibbs is the product of violent, drug-laden streets but unlike most rappers with similar resumes, he brings the block to the booth without inhibition or an exaggerated rap persona. Piñata, a 17 track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of his transparent approach to making music, combining an at times stark honesty with electrifying talent as a lyricist and performer. Piñata is “a gangster Blaxploitation film on wax,” says Gibbs, who came up on the streets of Gary, Indiana, the disregarded city previously best known for producing Michael Jackson. Here he is joined by Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Domo Genesis, Ab-Soul and a host of others in setting his soliloquies of the streets alongside film snippets and dusted funk, soul and prog musical tapestries. While this is the latest in a series of single-artist collaborations for Madlib, after Jaylib (J Dilla), Madvillainy (MF Doom) and the street-centric O.J. Simpson with Detroit’s Guilty Simpson, the pairing is unique as it is the first time for Gibbs working with just one producer. On Piñata, where Gibbs can shift from textbook lessons in robbing and drugging on tracks like “Scarface” and “Knicks,” to perhaps the album’s most personal song, “Broken,” a collaboration with Scarface, who, along with Tupac, DMX and 50 Cent, make up the rapper’s own Mount Rushmore of MCs (“You’re getting a hurricane of all those motherfuckers hitting you at once when you listen to Freddie Gibbs,” he says). “Deeper,” a Gibbs favorite and the third single from the album after “Thuggin’” (2012) and “Shame,” (2013) is an ode to hip-hop in the mold of Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.”; “High,” featuring Danny Brown, is self-explanatory and just what you would expect from Gibbs, Madlib and one of Detroit’s finest; while on “Real,” Gibbs addresses an old score just as Michael Corleone settled all family business on baptism day. As a producer, Madlib, quite simply, is music, and ten years into his career—a time when other artists become comfortable—Gibbs remains restless, focused, with an eye on the competition and their position relative to his ascent. This is because mentally, he’s still on the corner hustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. With Piñata, Gibbs confirms that he is anything but average.
Oddisee makes music that rattles in your bone marrow. It’s imbued with love, honesty, and selflessness. It’s virtuosic in its musicality, direct in its language, and infinitely relatable.In a landscape overrun with abstract indulgence and shallow trend-chasers, the Prince George’s County, Maryland artist has created 'The Good Fight', a record that reminds you that it’s music before it’s hip-hop. Released on Mello Music Group, it’s for the fans and for himself. It finds the musical heavyweight balancing between craft, career, and successfully growing into the world around him.For Oddisee, 'The Good Fight' is about living fully as a musician without succumbing to the traps of hedonism, avarice, and materialism. It’s about not selling out and shilling for a paycheck, while still being aware that this is a business requiring compromise and collaboration. It’s music that yields an intangible feeling: the sacral sound of an organ whine, brass horns, or a cymbal crash. It’s not necessarily the syllables, but rather what they evoke. A song like “That’s Love” is more than a declaration; it’s a meditation on our capacity to love and the bonds binding us together. Ambition and greed war with our sense of propriety. “Contradiction’s Maze” offers a list of paradoxes we all face (“I want to tell the truth when it hurts/but when it comes to me, I want the blow softened.”) Oddisee’s production simmers in its own orchestral gumbo. You sense he’s really a jazzman in different form, inhabiting the spirit of Roy Ayers and other past greats. The Fader’s compared him to a musical MC Escher, calling hailing his “grandiose and symphonic sound” and “relevant relatable messages.” Pitchfork praised his “eclectic soulful boom-bap.” 'The Good Fight' acknowledges the stacked odds, but refuses to submit. It’s both universal and personal. The child of a Sudanese immigrant highlights the rigors of his own upbringing: his pregnant mother working the register until she was about to burst, his pops’ shuttered diner that couldn’t survive Reaganomics—the one that Oddisee drives past every time he returns home, just to remind him how quickly the world can turn bad. It’s these minor details that add into something major. It’s testament to the indelible nature of art: when you can turn what you love into something that lasts.
Back in Stock!!! Here's what you've been waiting for: A battle record without "boring, redundant, looped beats;" "Only scratch sounds and phrases on both sides." Loaded with all of the standard fare, plus plenty of bits you haven't heard before, giving you more different ways to call out rival crews as the bitches and suckaz they are. Not for the weak-wristed, punk.
Hailed as the world’s best club DJ, J.ROCC continues to capture music enthusiasts around the globe. In 1992, Jason Jackson, internationally known as J.Rocc, launched his vision of forming a DJ crew comprised of talented musicians, by introducing to the world Southern California’s first turntable band - the Beat Junkies. A prized accomplishment enthusiastically received by worldwide audiences, J.Rocc continues to invent musical styles that display his creative expertise. Highly recognized for his funky showcases and original arrangements, J.Rocc has clearly distinguished his place in music history. Funky President Edits, Vol. 1 is the first installment of J Rocc’s 7” edit series featuring “Brothers Party” & “The Technique”, two party sureshots familiar to the discerning listener and edited with precision.
The first full-length release from Danny since his acclaimed The Hybrid in 2010, XXX is a concept record about hedonism, growing up, and Detroit, taking listeners on a profane and psychedelic journey through the uncensored mind of rap's most electric MC. There's no laundry list of guest appearances or producers-for-hire, keeping the focus squarely on Danny and his rhymes: a triple stack of pop culture references and did-he-really-say-that? provocations atop the heart of a poet. "The most peculiarly infectious voice since Dizzee Rascal." - Pitchfork "Obsessed with words in an era that doesn't support laboring over lyrics, Brown is reinterpreting hip-hop his own way." - The Fader
Underneath his mysterious metal mask, MF Doom hides the cachet underground legends are made of. After KMD's 1994 sophomore album Bl_ck B_st_rds was turfed by Elektra in 1994 and Subroc (one half of the sibling rhyme duo) passed away, surviving KMD member Zev Love X mutated into the MC Avenger known as MF Doom. The Rap world is better for it. This 19-cut deep album is ridiculously dope, in a bizarro Ol' Dirty Bastard kind of way. Doom sounds either high or drunk on most of the tracks, his self-produced beats are gritty, and his rhyme styles are almost indecipherable. On arguably the best track, "Rhymes Like Dimes," Doom weaves some pointed lyrics through his abstract wordplay, spitting 'only in America could you find a way to earn a healthy buck / And still keep your attitude on self-destruct.' Doomsday features female vocalist Pebbles the Invisible accompanying the masked rhyme avenger on his journey to denounce wack MCs, while on "?" he trades hot verses with former Columbia artist Kurious Jorge. Doom's avant-garde ghetto-rhyme philosophies take even more intentionally weird twists on "Tick, Tick..." where he and guest MC MF Grimm's flows warble over a rhythm track whose tempo speeds up and slows down continually. The comic-book themed skits, many of which include snippets of dialogue from Marvel's Dr. Doom series, will help take you deep into the mind of an MC who is as otherworldly as they come. And in today's bland commercial Rap universe, Operation Doomsday's left-of-center beats and rhymes are the perfect remedy.
Anderson Paak is the next R&B virtuoso on the verge of blowing up. His eclectic style, songwriting abilities and musical chops allow him to effortlessly blend genres borrowing from hip hop, alt-rock, R&B, jazz and electronic. Album features Tokimonsta, Ta-Ku, Lo-Def and more.
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.
Liquid Swords is the second solo studio album from Wu-Tang Clan member GZA. Upon its initial release, Liquid Swords received critical acclaim for its complex lyricism and hypnotic musical style. Over the years, its recognition has grown, with a number of famous publishers proclaiming it as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Continuing with its Respect The Classics campaign, UMe will be reissuing the classic back on standard weight vinyl for its 20th anniversary.
PayJay Productions, Inc. was the company James Dewitt “J Dilla” Yancey founded in 2001 to house his production company and his publishing company. The Estate of James Yancey has revived PayJay as a functioning imprint, and announced the release of J Dilla’s long lost vocal album, The Diary. The tracks come straight from multi-track masters found on 2-inch tape shortly after Dilla’s passing in 2006. Many were mixed by Dilla himself. Those that weren't 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. The Diary is an album of vocal performances recorded between in the early 2000s over production by the likes of Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. The Record Store Day vinyl issue of The Diary includes a special 7” pressing of The Ex that will only be found on the RSD issue of the LP.
2LP Green/Pink Neon Colored Vinyl, Custom Die Cut Jacket, 3’x4’ Double Sided Poster, Two Illustrated Record Sleeves, Album Lyrics & Digital Download Card. Indie-rap mainstay Aesop Rock has announced his new album, The Impossible Kid, dropping April 29th on Rhymesayers Entertainment, marking his first solo venture since 2012’s Skelethon. On the new album, Aesop continues finding new ways to improve on the skills that have made him one of the kings of indie hip-hop. His creative process now includes a newfound willingness to open up about his personal life, going deep on topics like depression, his sometimes rocky relationship with his family, and the turbulent handful of years that culminated in Aesop leaving his adopted home of San Francisco to live in a barn out in the woods, where he recorded the foundations of The Impossible Kid. There’s also moments of levity though, as Aesop taps into the funny side of his persona that he suppressed during the period where being taken as a serious lyricist was more of a priority. Like Skelethon, Aesop exercised complete creative control over every aspect of the album, from the production (which he handled himself, with instrumental help from Philly’s Grimace Federation) to conceptualizing the cover art by his friend Alex Pardee. Though it’s been four years since his last solo album, Aesop has maintained an impressive creative streak, releasing collaborative albums with Kimya Dawson (The Uncluded’s Hokey Fright in 2013), with Rob Sonic (Hail Mary Mallon’s Bestiary in 2014), and with Homeboy Sandman (LICE’s self-titled EP in 2015). He’s also been actively crafting beats. Recent projects include producing the 32+ minute instrumental mix, The Blob, working together with Nike to provide the music for a series of their skateboarding videos, and producing the soundtrack for the upcoming film Bushwick, starring Dave Bautista and Brittany Snow. He’s also started skateboarding and drawing again, which were his big passions before his hobby of making rap songs turned into a paying gig that evolved into an accidental 20-year long career, taking him from making beats in his bedroom to playing for crowds thousands deep. Going back to his roots has proven useful in processing everything that’s happened in his life over the past couple decades, and maybe to figure out the person he’s become: The Impossible Kid, a person who’s spent his life doing things that seemed unthinkable before he just went and did them, blazing a visionary trail all his own. Two decades in, he’s still out there pushing it forward.
Forever a wildcat and wild card, Los Angeles' bassist/songwriter/vocalist Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, is impossible to tame artistically. A true master of his craft, he can be found playing bass with Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu and Suicidal Tendencies, in the same breath as performing live with the likes of Stanley Clarke, Snoop Dogg or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His 2011 solo debut (The Golden Age of Apocalypse, co-produced by Flying Lotus) created an equally genre-blurring enigma of indie rock and jazz, with a touch of electronica. On his second album, Apocalypse, Thundercat pairs up with executive producer Flying Lotus to pull the veil back and reveal the simple truths of the cycle of life, for all its beauty and destruction. An album about loss and rebuilding, trying to gain something back, and capturing that moment of clarity where one finally finds feet back on the ground again. Bringing a fusion of pop, soul, electronica, prog rock and funk into an unexplored dimension, the album slowly descends and tunnels to the core of what it takes to grasp peace, at a time that it seems most far. From the deep, rumbling entrance of 'Tenfold,' each of the 12 tracks coalesce with Thundercat's signature bass, his riffs and basslines gliding sky high to meet Fly Lo's astral touch. Bruner's vocals and harmonies also soar with open honesty, rising above heartbreak with uplifting odes to love and companionship ('Tron Song') and wise mantras to live by ('Special Stage'). The album plays as a comedy and tragedy at the same time, delicately addressing tracks like 'We'll Die' while bringing the all-out cosmic funk of the anthemic 'Oh Sheit, it's X.' As heavy as the lyrical weight may be, the divine musicality of Flying Lotus, and Thundercat's instrumental collaborations, brings light. Navigating dense rhythms and intense harmonic progressions, the LP pushes through the hypnotic strands of 'The Life Aquatic,' the analogue explorations of 'Lotus & The Jondy' (recorded in Adrian Younge's studio with drummer Thomas Pridgen), and Thundercat and Lotus' prog rock jam 'Seven,' a spontaneous improv recording that organically materialized in less than an hour. It's no wonder the kindred pair often refer to their freeform sessions as "going to space." Continually pushing tracks to their furthest point, they take the listener to another place completely - somewhere beyond time, a place that transcends this realm. As the aforementioned track 'Seven' (named for its challenging time signature) asks, "Can you hear the sounds of infinity?"
Released back in 2003, Take Me To Your Leader is arguably the most cinematic of MF DOOM’s albums from this period: entirely produced by him, it’s all dramatic strings, skyscraping samples and reflections on earth from Geedorah’s “alien perspective on humans. Reissue limited to 500 copies. Digital download included.
The instrumentals to Madlib’s acclaimed sophomore album as alter ego Quasimoto. Madlib resurrects his sticky-green obsessed, helium-huffing alter-ego, Quasimoto, for the The Further Adventures of Lord Quas. While Madlib has always been one of the most experimentally savvy beatmakers in the underground, his creation of the electronically altered narrator Quasimoto, has become one of his biggest selling points for alternatively minded fans. Quas made his full-length debut in 2000 on The Unseen, an album which reached over 38,182 fans, and was dubbed one of the “Top 20 albums of 2000” by both SPIN and URB. Meanwhile Madlib’s Quas-filled collaboration with M.F. Doom on Madvillainy has been deemed a cult classic. Madlib does not dissapoint on The Further Adventures of Lord Quas.
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 likeJust 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, volumes five and six of the acclaimed series are available on vinyl for the first time in years. With obscure loops and dusty samples galore, Special Herbs Vol. 5 & 6 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.
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, volumes three and four of the acclaimed series are available on vinyl for the first time in years. With obscure loops and dusty samples galore, Special Herbs Vol. 3 & 4 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.
Bayou-born soul sensation, Durand Jones, is bringing his raw energy to Colemine Records with his debut LP. Jones brings you two fiery original soul music, pairing soaring vocal work with dusty drums, slinking guitars and screaming organs. With a stellar background in gospel, Jones got his start in the church, singing in the choir of his hometown in rural Louisiana. When his music career took him to Bloomington, Indiana, he was selected to join the legendary Indiana University Soul Revue, and it was through his involvement that he met writer/producer duo Aaron Frazer and Blake Rhein. The three began writing original soul music, recording themselves straight to tape in the basements of Bloomington- a process which brings you the gritty sounds available on Ohio-based Colemine Records. Sure to satisfy fans of Charles Bradley, Lee Fields, Aloe Blacc, and Leon Bridges.
Beat Konducta in Africa is a 37-track instrumental hip-hop album produced & mixed with Madlib, featuring J. Rocc. This album bases itself on the obscure vinyl gems from the afro-beat, funk, psych-rock, garage-rock & soul movements of African countries as diverse as Zambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Botswana and Ivory Coast.
If you’re just tuning into Open Mike Eagle’s stellar career, the LA Weekly anointed him last year as the hottest thing in indie rap. Pitchfork called him a “whiz with matching easy-going hooks to intimate personal reflection.” But Dark Comedy could be the best thing he’s ever done—a record that captures the perennial struggle between art and commerce, the last half- century of widening class rift, and the need to be funny or die. This is intended to dump whiskey on the unsuspecting heads of those with false ideas of authenticity or what rap should be.
Stones Throw does it again - with a massive batch of older funk rarities that tops most of the rest on the market! Cold Heat is a follow-up to the label's smoking Funky 16 Corners set - and like that one, it's overflowing with great bits that have barely (or never) been heard by the rest of the world at large. Compiler Egon has gone through a range of rare singles, masters, and demos - and has come up with tunes that burn with a brightness that's undeniable. The grooves are all on the harder end of the James Brown Funky People side of the spectrum - an some tracks are by names that are finally getting their due, thanks to the work of Egon, Wax Poetics, and some of the other funky forces doing the good work over the past few years. In a way, the collection is a summation of some of the singles and reissues coming out through the Now Again/Stones Throw imprint - but it also features some other bits and alternate versions that are totally great!
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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