Blu is the leader of West Coast Hip Hop. Since the days of Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, and Jurassic 5, there have been few wordsmiths that have grasped the attention of listeners worldwide. Introduced to NWA and Public Enemy by his father, Blu later was captivated by the likes of Black Star, The Roots, and Common, creating a unique balance that is displayed in Blu’s personality and music.Blu’s first full length LP, “Below the Heavens” pairs Blu with producer Exile on the Sound in Color imprint. His first single, “Narrow Path” has rocked stages across the world, as fans begin to feel the impact of Blu’s music. His delivery flows flawlessly, while the content reflects the joy and pain of working class youth everywhere. Since the release of “Narrow Path,” Blu has performed alongside Slum Village, X-Clan, Platinum Pied Pipers, Lyrics Born, DJ Houseshoes, and many others, while participating in 3 high-profile nationwide tours alongside musical family members: Ta’Raach, Aloe Blacc, and Exile. The buzz has fans salivating for new music. Worldwide, people are looking to put hope into the ‘next’ emcee that will give them the same feeling when they first heard Black Thought, Common, or Slum Village. Blu fulfills this need, but maintains something that is entirely new, while not recycled.
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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.
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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.
One of the most heralded and greatest battle records ever made. Battle tested and approved by by Q-bert, Rob Swift, Mixmaster Mike, Roc Raida, J.Rocc, and just about every champion battle DJ ever born. Any DJ without two copies can get extra duck sauce.
All The Breaks Volume 3 is the third volume with 100 more drum break snippets. This record features an impressive collection of 100 original & sought after breakbeats, sourced and remastered from the original records, and then cut down to the essential parts.
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.
2007 debut album from Swedish outfit. featuring radiant vocalist Yukimi Nagano and her close high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrick Källgren (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards), Little Dragon stepped into the spotlight with the release of their first double A-side single on Peacefrog (home to Jos‚ Gonzalez and Findlay Brown), `Twice'/'Test'. A former Rough Trade `Single of the Week'. Yukimi has sung with Sweden's Electronica-Jazz outfit Koop, and both Yukimi and Erik play live with Jos‚ Gonz lez. The album is marvelously book ended by the drifting percussion and electronic dynamics of `Scribbled Paper', showcasing another wonderful vocal performance. Little Dragon take tired musical traces and styles, give them a shot in the arm to leave us with something fresh and positive. It is a debut full of subtle touches, capturing fleeting emotional moments, twinned with gnawingly memorable Pop flourishes and hooks.
12" Single of the Iconic theme song from "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air". Released as a limited edition 12" single featuring the 45rpm Radio Mix & the B-Side track of "Parent's Just Don't Understand" also by Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
Atmosphere, the prolific duo of Slug and Ant, return with their highly anticipated 6th official studio album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. With well over a million catalog units sold and an ever growing fanbase of Atmosphere faithfuls, When Life Gives You Lemons... finds Slug and Ant's storytelling, songwriting and musicality at its finest.
Now nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Score, Alejandro G. Iñárritu's survival epic is getting the vinyl treatment. Mastered for vinyl and limited to 3,000 units, this landmark release is handsomely packaged in a matte tip-on gatefold jacket with each of the two 180 gram pearlescent vinyl (one translucent blue, one cloud white) coming in their own euro sleeve. A download card for a digital version of the album is also included. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and shot in the frozen Canadian wilderness with only natural lighting, The Revenant is a story of loss, revenge and resilience in the face of impossible odds against the furies of man and nature itself. A film of this magnitude deserves a composer who understands creative artistry and unbridled passion. Japanese master and Oscar winner Ryuichi Sakamoto (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Last Emperor) fits the bill perfectly. Along with fellow Yellow Magic Orchestra member and frequent collaborator Alva Noto, Sakamoto has created a gripping soundtrack that is sure to be a treat for the winter crowds. Bryce Dessner (writer for Kronos Quartet and the LA Phil) also supplies additional music.
Knx, aka Knxwledge, is a beat maker raised in central New Jersey and Philadelphia, now dialing-it-in at home in Los Angeles. Anthology is the essential instrumentals curation from the forty some-odd Knx Bandcamp releases 2009-2013. At fifty three tracks, Anthology is also available as a limited collector's edition double-LP.
Mayer Hawthorne grew up just outside of Detroit, and vividly remembers, as a child, driving with his father and tuning the car radio in to the rich soul and jazz history the region provided. “Most of the best music ever made came out of Detroit,” claims the singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, who counts Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, Mike Terry, and Barry White among his influences, but draws the most inspiration from the music of Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, and the legendary songwriting and production trio of Dozier, Holland, and Holland Jr. The “retro” tag is added to almost any contemporary work that sounds like it was originally recorded between 1966 and 1974, and Hawthorne, among the newest contributors to the genre, is aware of how trends come and go. After being introduced to Stones Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf, even the label boss was skeptical. “He showed me two songs and I didn’t understand what I was listening to,” Wolf recalls. “I asked him if they were old songs that he did re-edits of – I couldn’t believe they were new songs and that he played all the instruments.” Mark Ronson: “I have no idea what this is, old or new, but it’s fucking good” Rolling Stone: “3 1/2 Stars (Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out)” Jason Bently, Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW: “I think this is my new favorite song of all time (Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out)” Gilles Peterson: “One of the biggest records of 2009!”
Instinct fuels Common during his pre-artistic makeover era. The most enjoyable tracks are the ones where Com lets his guard down and lets us peek inside his mind. "The Question" ponders the imponderable, in a way that Tribe Called Quest did on "What?" He exacts revenge on some stick-up kids on "Payback is a Grandmother." The finest moment is "The Sixth Sense," a collaboration with DJ Premier that has everything a hip-hop track should have: smart lyrics, sharp hook, plus beats and scratches. With Common flying by the seat of his impulses, Like Water For Chocolate serves as a reminder that he is a rapper first and social theorist second.
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J Dilla's classic work, Welcome 2 Detroit, strictly instrumentals with a new cover for the 10th Anniversary. Limited!
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.
The Witch is a horror film directed by newcomer Robert Eggers. Set on the edge of a dark forest in 17th-century New England, The Witch is a tale of only family’s terrifying unraveling under the specter of black magic, possession and an unknown evil. When an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation and relocates his family to a remote plot of land, strange and unsettling occurrences begin happening immediately – animals become vicious, crops wilt and one of the children disappears. Paranoia grips the family as they accuse one of their own of witchcraft. Any great horror film has an equally impressive composer. The Witch is no different. Mark Korven has created a one-of-a-kind spine-chilling score by employing obscure instrumentation from hurdy gurdys to nyckelharps. The result is a discordant, spectral affair that draws the listener into the misty world of the family’s farm as horror permeates throughout.
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.
Already Platinum. Impeccable design. Although this is one of the more talked about records of his career, there's no doubt that this is a testament to JAY Z's diligence, entrepreneurship, and artistic vision. Picking up where Watch The Throne left off, Magna Carta Holy Grail is JAY Z's twelfth studio album, and a portrait of an emcee embracing fatherhood, marriage, and striking a balance between a past spent coming up and a future shuffling around the top. The LP also includes a limited edition flexi-disc postcard of exclusive non-album track ''Open Letter'' hidden under the artwork on the back cover. Production is helmed largely by J-Roc, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Hit-Boy and others, while featuring performances by Beyoncé, Rick Ross, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Nas, and more. With MCHG, JAY Z understands that hip hop is starting to enjoy the same clout as fine art and, even better, hip hop is alive, a part of the world, evolving, and not cordoned off in a museum. Play it forward and grab a copy now.
Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will continue its Respect the Classics tribute to many of hip-hop’s finest with the 20th anniversary vinyl reissue of Hard To Earn from the seminal rap duo Gang Star featuring MC Guru and DJ/producer DJ Premier. Originally released in 1994 as the follow-up to 1992's Daily Operation, Hard To Earn was Gang Starr's fourth full-length and it found the duo stripping things down and offering more of a straight up hip-hop record full of raw beats and attitude. Includes the singles "Mass Appeal," "DWYCK" and "Code of the Streets" plus guest appearances by Group Home, Jeru The Damaja and Big Shug. “With Hard to Earn, one of the things that I was going through sonically was, it was right around the time that Guru started doing Jazzmatazz, and we kept getting categorized as ‘jazz rap.’ Which is why Guru did Jazzmatazz, because we wanted to protect Gang Starr from being categorized like that, because we felt like we were a hip-hop group from day one...Being that Guru was getting aggravated with us being labeled like that, I said, ‘I’m gonna strip this album down,’ just to show that I could use things other than jazz samples. We both wanted to show that anything I use is going to be a hip-hop beat. We said we were going to make it as raw as possible, and less musical, on purpose, just to show we’re good on any track, together." - DJ Premier
Producer Madlib (Otis Jackson) + MC Guilty Simpson = OJ Simpson. OJ Simpson. That’s the name of the album. No bloody gloves. No Ford Broncos. These are some 12 hard-hitting, straight-from-the-gutter hip-hop tracks featuring Guilty’s inimitable baritone, and an equal number of Madlib’s signature album-as-soundtrack/radio/sideshow arrangements, where the beat & sequence is as important as the rap. This, with a couple no-nonsense guest appearances, some cuts by J.Rocc, and a whole bunch of attitude, makes up one of our favorite projects in a while. The charisma that Detroit’s heavy hitting MC Guilty Simpson and the Los Angeles based Beat Konducta Madlib share testifies to a musical kinship that is rare in today’s rapper-as-an-accessory marketplace. Going back to Guilty’s first appearance on wax (Jaylib’s “Strapped” – 2003), Guilty over a Madlib beat to us is like hearing Guru over Premier circa Daily Operation, or CL over Pete around the time of “Straighten It Out.” Some times, a rapper and a producer just work well together. "One of Detroit’s illest representatives” –THE SOURCE “A hybrid of Ice Cube and The Notorious B.I.G.’s, Guilty Simpson lays out the joys and pains of coming up in his city. He can draw you in and make you relate to his story, even if you have never seen a liquor store or storefront church in your life.” –HIPHOPDX ”Guilty is undoubtedly the grimiest rhymer in Stones Throw history.” –URB
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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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