On September 4, Southern California’s Blu & Exile return to their collaborative origins with the release of Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, the long-anticipated followup to the duo’s landmark debut, Below the Heavens. Featuring Fashawn, Homeboy Sandman, Johaz of Dag Savage, Black Spade of Hawthorne Headhunters, and ADAD, the new album on Fat Beats / Dirty Science is both an evolution from and complement to their first: a cohesive, kicked back collection of hip-hop buoyed by Blu’s gymnastic wordplay and Exile’s soulful, sample-driven beats. While Blu’s penchant for introspection and analysis remains intact, his perspective ebbs from the sun-soaked nostalgia of Below the Heavens to a more playful realm where raps about lost love and forgotten dreams find equal footing with those about Gondry films and delivery cheesecake. Together Blu & Exile have taken the raw materials of rap and crafted charmingly idiosyncratic, album-minded mu- sic that transcends coasts and continents alike. As with Dilla & Common, Hi-Tek & Talib Kweli, and Pete Rock & CL Smooth, there’s a kindred understanding between Blu and Exile that invites instant ease and empathy. Although Exile has produced tracks for Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Akon, Aloe Blacc, Jurassic 5, Kardinal Offishall, and Mobb Deep, it is with Blu that his production feels most at home. Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, though undoubtedly a logical progression in both sound and scope, defies all the hype, precedents, and expectations to reaffirm the duo’s position at the forefront of LA’s burgeoning beat scene.
Run The Jewels, the super dynamic duo of El-P and Killer Mike, two of the most distinctive and celebrated names in rap, are set to release their sophomore album, Run The Jewels 2, on Mass Appeal Records. In addition to being made available as a free download, it will be released on CD, 180gram Collector’s Edition 2xLP and and across all digital platforms. The immensely anticipated album includes guests ranging from Zack de la Rocha to Travis Barker amongst others, but the duo maintains that the album is first and foremost about the creative partnership between the MCs themselves.
The name Will Sessions was born as a producer alias of trumpeter Sam Beaubien. After sharpening his keyboard skills and learning writing and arrangement from the accomplished David Van De Pitte (who arranged for countless Motown recordings including Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On) at Wayne State University, he decided to start a band. With classmates Tim Shellaberger (bass) and Bryan Arnold (drums) along with recruits Ryan Gimpert (guitar) and Eric Kacir (Percussion), the band was complete.T h e y helped to develop a nascent monthly funk music party called Motor City Funk Night, and three years later, the party has grown into one of the sta- ples of the Detroit scene, and Will Sessions were playing in front of crowds of up to 3000 people. The success of the Funk Night parties led to significant studio work with artists like Black Milk, Mayer Hawthorne, and Slum Village, and the hip hop sessions in particular led Beaubien to concoct the idea of Will Sessions recreating his favorite sample-based music in a live setting with the full band. His vision would be realized with three smash concerts in 2009 for Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, and Phat Kat, which left hip hop fans in awe of how the band stayed faithful to the original sampled and programmed beats, while creatively elevating the songs to new heights by recreating them live. It was the particular challenge of duplicating the unique beats of J Dilla that gave Beaubien the confidence to work on the emcee Elzhi’s anticipated project Elmatic. Elmatic had been initially planned and announced in 2008 as a tribute to the historic 1994 album Illmatic by Nas, but it wasn’t until early 2011 that Elzhi and his manager Jae Barber agreed that it would be best to recreate all of the beats from scratch--and there was clearly nobody who could do it better than producer Sam Beaubien and Will Sessions. Since it’s widely considered to be the holy grail of hip hop recordings, the prospect of du- plicating the music from Illmatic was daunting. By using the original sam- ple sources of the album’s tracks as a foundation, producer Beaubien and the band members managed to recreate both the sound and the mood of the classic album with stunning precision on Elmatic, exceeding lofty expectations set by loyal fans and skeptical critics alike. With an ever-increasing body of recorded work, a skyrocketing reputation within their hometown market, and their first tastes of national and international interest, Will Sessions are primed to be among Detroit’s hottest musical exports.
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 world moves faster than ever these days, and even in the digital age, things can always be counted on to go in cycles. Despite all of the advances in computer recording technology, home studios, and electronic instruments, there is a flourishing interest in analog recording techniques and in recreating the mood and sound of vintage soul records. With one foot in the past but their eyes firmly set on the future, El Michels Affair are among the leaders of a resurgent funk & soul movement from New York City that's sweeping both the music community and the charts. Led by saxophonist/organist Leon Michels and producer/engineer Jeff Silverman, El Michels Affair began as a loose collaboration of session musicians (including members of top-selling acts Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, the Budos Band, and Antibalas) that looked to blend some of the vibrant quality of soundtrack records with the recording aesthetic of early reggae, and the rawness of 60's rock--they called it 'Cinematic Soul.' This delicate balance was evident on their 2005 debut album Sounding Out the City, which earned critical acclaim and acted as the inaugural full-length release for Michels and Silverman's burgeoning label Truth & Soul (also the moniker for the duo as a production team). The buzz generated from the album and a series of moderately successful 7" vinyl singles from Truth & Soul led to an invitation by Toyota's Scion division for El Michels Affair to accompany the rapper Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan for a promotional concert. As avid Wu-Tang fans, not only were the band leaders thrilled with the opportunity, but Michels found that the 'Cinematic Soul' sound was consistent with the moods of RZA's gritty soundscapes on the classic Wu-Tang releases. The concert was such as success, El Michels Affair went on to play several more concerts nationwide backing Raekwon and other members of the Clan, and the shows led to the recording of two smash 7" singles featuring instrumental reinterpretations of the Wu-Tang classic songs "C.R.E.A.M." and "Bring Da Ruckus." The singles combined to sell an extraordinary amount of over 7,000 units worldwide, and their success led to a contract in 2007 with indie hip hop powerhouse Fat Beats Records to record an entire album of Wu-Tang Clan interpolations entitled Enter the 37th Chamber. Since the contract was inked, a worldwide explosion of retro soul led by Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings has transformed the pop music landscape, and the Truth & Soul production duo have been in strong demand, recording with everyone from breakthrough Grammy-nominated artist Adele to punk rock innovator Iggy Pop. They've been commissioned for official remixes of Amy Winehouse and Dinah Washington (for the popular Verve Remixed series), and produced for Australian multi-platinum acts Jet and Gabriella Cilmi. Despite the eclectic group of clients for the Truth & Soul production company, El Michels Affair continued to build an audience within the hip hop community. A track from Sounding out the City was sampled for Ghostface Killah's 2007 track "Shakey Dog Lolita," and a horn part written and performed by Michels (for Menahan Street Band) was famously lifted for Jay-Z's smash single "Roc Boys." Truth & Soul also worked in the studio on original productions with multi-platinum producer Just Blaze (T.I.'s "Live Your Life," Jay-Z, Usher). With their increasing presence behind the scenes in the industry, El Michels Affair looks to have their status as recording artists rise significantly in 2009. With the release of their finally-completed album Enter the 37th Chamber, they can finally step out of the shadows of the retro-soul trend and establish their status as one of the most exciting and versatile bands in modern recorded music.
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.
Not since the days of Nasty Nas has an unsigned artist developed such a following and anticipation for a debut album, not since Pharoahe Monch has an MC taken so much pride on lyrics and not since MF DOOM has an MC been so original without trying. Enter Queens, NY MC Homeboy Sandman and his official debut album “The Good Sun”. This album is the culmination of several independently released projects and years of ripping stages all over the country alongside some of Hip Hop’s biggest names (The Roots, Souls Of Mischief, Talib Kweli). The album, his 1st on indie powerhouse High Water Music, boast some of his most personal material to date plus some of the best producers at the moment. Tracks like “The Carpenter” showcase Homeboy Sandman on full emcee mode. With his spit rapid flow Sandman shows that you can have fun while demolishing a track. “Being Haved” produced by DJ Spinna shows Sandman in story telling mode as he narrates a fun story of an everyday kid growing up. “Yeah But I Can Rhyme Though” produced by Ski Beatz is a third person narrative questioning Sandman about his career. Also along for the ride and behind the boards are Ski Beatz (Jay-Z, Camp Lo), DJ Spinna (Stevie Wonder, Eminem, Michael Jackson), Psycho Les (Beatnuts, Mos Def) and underground heroes 2 Hungry Bros plus new comers Core Rhythm and KO Beatz. On the mic, the album boasts appearances by Fresh Daily, John Robinson and Daniel Joseph. As well as receiving statewide (Hot 97, Sirius) and international radio play (BBC) Homeboy Sandman has appeared on DJ Spinna’s critically acclaimed Sonic Smash album and has been featured on MTV (http://highwaterismusic.com/2010/01/homeboy-sandman-on-mtv/), Blender Magazine, XXL (Chairman’s Choice) and The Source (Unsigned Hype) to name only a few.
With years of valuable experience from working alongside some of the most influential figures in the recording industry to date, Raekwon is ready to navigate his ship with the formation of his record label, Ice Water Inc. and reemerge his urban flair to the masses with the sequel to the aforementioned blockbuster…Only Built For Cuban Linx II (The Purple Tape). This Shaolin Island legendary flamethrower, gave fans something to chow on with the 08 release of the “Vatican” Mix-tape and now he has prepared a delicious plate and his lyrical recipe has been groomed to make his presence felt nationally with the OBFCL II ‘09 release. With the smash hits “ Mean Streets“ and “ We Ain’t Going No Where“ featuring Busta Rhymes, this lyrical juggernaut has been marinating and is now ready to assume the throne and his rightful position as the flashy Don of Dons and Hip-Hop ambassador in the entertainment industry. The album features cameos from many industry heavyweights such as The Wu-tang Clan, Jadakiss Styles P, and many others. OBFCL II also features blazing tracks from the who’s who of extraordinary Hip-Hop producers such as the RZA, Eric Sermon, Dr. Dre, Scram Jones, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, Allah Mathematics and J Dilla, layered with Raekwon’s melodic flows, thought provoking visual content and street orientated delivery, Only Built For Cuban Linx Part II (The Purple Tape) will produce the dish that true Hip Hop heads have been salivating for many years.
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.
Box Set Includes: 3 LPs of The Future Is Now pressed on extremely limited, jaw-dropping Triple Haze Vinyl 40" x 24" Mear One Poster of the original cover art 10" x 10" Booklet Bonus 7" featuring an unreleased Large Professor-produced song from the original The Future Is Now sessions. Fresh off their NYC Halloween reunion appearance, indie powerhouse Non Phixion drops the ultimate vinyl version of "The Future Is Now". This limited edition box set includes "The Future Is Now" album on 3 LPs, 40" x 24" Mear One poster of cover art, 10" x 10" booklet and a 7-inch record of a previously unreleased Large Professor produced song from the original "TFIN" sessions. 400 will be pressed in the jaw-dropping "Triple Haze" variant and an extremely limited 100 copies will be available in the nuclear-radiated "Glow In The Dark" variant. This triple vinyl box set is strictly limited to these 500. A double vinyl version without all the bells and whistles will be available Spring 2015.
After waiting patiently behind two singles, a dope video, and a neon-blue triangle shaped vinyl, Union is ready to unleash the most musically challenging, painstakingly crafted, MC-packed album in the dawn of 2012 - Analogtronics. Featuring Talib Kweli, Elzhi, MF DOOM, Roc Marciano, Guilty Simpson, and more, Union produces space-aged bangers that mold perfectly around each guest, in addition to sprinkling in a few lush, eye-widening instrumentals. This is the full length we have all been waiting for, as bonus tracks provide over twenty songs hypnotic interstellar boop-bap. Union consists of two Parisian producers whose otherworldly approach to analog-driven, melodically abstract, sample free hip-hop inspired Fat Beats Records to extend a label invitation immediately. When a mysterious, monolithic, glossy black package arrived at FBHQ with nothing more than a cryptic note and an unlabeled CD inside, the staff wasn’t sure if Stanley Kubrick had risen from the dead to make mixtapes or if their lives were about to be transformed forever. Luckily it was the latter, and today the legendary label is poised to unleash Union’s debut album Analogtronics on an unsuspecting Earth in the dawn of 2012. Union was born when OJ, a Dilla-obsessed beat junkie with an unhealthy obsession for science fiction, met Gold, a jazzhead whose vast collection of vintage keyboards and synths left little room in his flat for trifling vanities like clothing and kitchen appliances. Though both shared a parallel vision for the music of tomorrow, they each occupied opposite corners of Paris’ electro underground when their worlds collided in 2009. OJ, upon catching a flash of Gold’s keyboard prowess at a Belleville loft party, approached the funky technician immediately in hopes of applying his melodic touch to a nearly finished beat tape. Gold loved what he heard, and thus two unique creative energies become one distinct Union.
In 2011, hip hop artists from Detroit have continued to create some of the most celebrated music in the genre, and no one is raising the standard in the underground as high as Black Milk and Danny Brown. After their collaborative track “Black and Brown” from Black’s LP Album of the Year became a fan favorite, the two decided to record an entire EP together, fittingly titled Black and Brown. While the aforementioned track appears on the EP, the remainder of Black And Brown sees Danny Brown exclusively handling mic duties, with Black Milk showcasing his masterful production. Black Milk’s Album of the Year dropped in September 2010 to strong reviews and an impressive showing on the Billboard charts, and his stock has continued to rise ever since. Performing with a live band for over 80 shows on a worldwide tour in support of the album, he has established himself as one of rap’s best live performers. He also became the first rap artist to record and release music with rock superstar Jack White, who co-produced and played on the much-publicized “Brain” 7-inch single on White’s label Third Man Records. Never straying from his hip hop roots, Black Milk also serves as a member of the group Random Axe (with Sean Price and Guilty Simpson), and entirely produced their successful self-titled 2011 full-length release. Danny Brown first gained wide recognition with the release of his album The Hybrid as a free download in March 2010. Since the release, he’s emerged as one of rap’s most distinct new voices. The shock value of his drug- fueled and sex-laden rhyming has been frequently compared to the early works of Eminem, and his ear for progressive beats as well as his unique fashion sense has made him a favorite with critics. His latest project XXX was released as a free download in August 2011, and was instantly hailed as one of the top rap albums of the year by artists and fans alike, while receiving heavy coverage from media outlets like Pitchfork, MTV, and The Fader.
There’s a lot to be learned from Large Professor – how to produce, how to rhyme, how to cultivate new talent, how to stay creative and consistent for decades. The passing years only increase his legendary status – as a major collaborator with Main Source, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, etc. – while re-confirming his originality with each new project. So what’s on the syllabus for the Professor’s latest class? In his own words: “taking it back to the B-boy uprock style.” His latest masterwork Professor @ Large drops June 26 on Fat Beats Records. Large’s impeccable craftsmanship shines on each of the 15 songs, many of them at upbeat park jam tempos. Whether he’s spitting hard with MOP’s Lil Fame, dropping an ill instrumental, or casting his wizened gaze out of the kaleidoscopic cover art, Large Pro is always smooth, on point and uniquely himself. In addition to Lil Fame, the album features a connoisseur’s selection of fine MCs: Busta Rhymes reminiscing in double-time on “Straight from the Golden”; Cormega and Tragedy Khaddafi bringing the streets on “Focused Up”; Mic Geronimo and Grand Daddy IU keeping cool on “Mack Don Illz”; and Cormega, Saigon, Roc Marciano and Action Bronson comprising the stunning “M.A.R.S” – easily the best posse cut of 2012. In a classy move, Large Pro gives Marco Polo the album’s only production guest spot on the title track.
With the official follow-up to the classic "Operation Doomsday," MF Doom has hip hop heads foaming at the mouth. Cooked up with his special herbs and spices, get ready to devour "Mmm...Food," with the help in the kitchen from Count Bass D, Mr. Fantastik, and the good folks at Rhyme Sayers Entertainment.
Recently, a mysterious album titled Jesus turned up on the popular music site Bandcamp, uploaded by an artist calling himself "b". Soon, the LP was discovered to be the latest work from enigmatic L.A. rapper Blu, and within hours, it was the talk of the blogosphere. The album was soon removed, but now it's back, this time in physical form. New World Color is proud to present the latest lo-fi masterpiece from one of hip-hop's most intriguing figures. Officially the debut for alter-ego "b", Jesus is sure to satisfy the cult-like fanbase that's been steadily growing around the artist most famously known as Blu.
Clear Soul Forces and Nameless' new record Fab Five on gold/navy 2xLP vinyl. Available only at fatbeats.com, limited to 100 copies! Detroit’s Ilajide, E-Fav, Noveliss & L.A.Z. (aka Clear Soul Forces) armed with an arsenal of thunderous beats from rising producer NAMELESS combine to form the Fab Five. The group’s vision – combining Golden Era rhymes with a contemporary style – is as clear as ever here, heightened by their collective synergy with Nameless, who handles the majority of the production on the LP, reprising his role as producer to Clear Soul Forces from “Unlimited Bounce”, a highlight off of their last full-length, Gold PP7s. Fab Five ushers in a new era for Detroit’s storied musical tradition – the city that produced Motown, Jay Dee and Eminem has seen a revival of late, with the likes of Black Milk, Danny Brown and Royce Da 5’9” weaving the city’s rich history into their work in increasingly inventive ways. Clear Soul Forces & NAMELESS continue the tradition nodding to the Motor City’s artistic legacy while carving their own path. With production by NAMELESS and raps by the four Detroit emcees, the Fab Five are here to save Hip Hop the only way possible, with quality rhymes over quality beats.
L.A. rapper Blu burst onto the scene in the late 00s with the widely acclaimed Exile collaboration Below The Heavens, igniting a West Coast hip hop renaissance in the process. In the years since, the enigmatic emcee has released a steady stream of critically-acclaimed projects, from the love-themed concept album Her Favorite Colo(u)r to the genre-bending NoYork. Now, Blu is back with Good To Be Home, his first ever double album. Featuring a host of West Coast hip-hop luminaries, Good To Be Home is an unapologetic celebration of Los Angeles music and culture. “This is my most defining record ever,” says Blu. A cohesive collection with two discs and no filler, Good To Be Home is an important addition to Blu's already impressive catalog. Available on double disc CD, double cassette, and 2xLP vinyl. Translucent gold vinyl limited to 1000 units and available while supplies last. Artwork designed by famed contemporary artist Joseph Martinez.
POSSIBLY THE BEST HIP HOP ALBUM OF 2010 NOW INCLUDES NEW BONUS CUTS! From Hempstead, Long Island, representing an area that boasts some of rap history's most iconic giants (Eric B & Rakim, Public Enemy, EPMD, De La Soul), Roc Marciano will settle for nothing less than greatness. After a long history with Busta Rhymes and The Flipmode Squad in the late 90's and early 2000's, Roc found himself in limbo without a solo deal. Undaunted, Roc continued to record at his Long Island home studio which became the meeting grounds for his brain child The UN. With his solo debut on Fat Beats Records, and collaborating with some of the new producers in the game (Marco Polo, DJ Babu and The P Brothers), Roc plans to show the world his raw lyricism and production savvy. "I just remember sitting next to the radio trying to tape Marley Marl’s Rap attack" adds Roc. "It was all about Rakim, EPMD, Big Daddy Kane, Granddaddy I.U all of that. Back then whoever was the nicest on the mic had to get dealt with. You couldn't just be talking about anything on the mic. That was millions of blunts ago. I wanna bring a little of that feeling back." With songs like "Snow" and "Thug's Prayer" he is well on the road to doing just that. "[Marciano] stakes his claim as one of Hip- Hop's most original and exciting artists, with his pulse-pounding 90s throwback of a debut" -Hip-HopDX (Top 25 Albums of 2010)
Debut album from super-group Random Axe comprised of Sean Price, Black Milk, and Guilty Simpson. Their self-titled album is entirely produced by Black Milk & features guest appearances from Rock of Heltah Skeltah, Roc Marciano, Danny Brown & more. Be sure to catch Random Axe performing at ROCK THE BELLS (San Francisco, NYC, & New England Dates).
Experience an experiment turned masterpiece…NoYork! Los Angeles emcee Blu's oft-delayed masterpiece has been the talk of the internet for years, but has never seen a proper retail release. While Blu has turned in a number of critically acclaimed projects lately, NoYork (also known as York) is his most ambitious project to date. Applying timeless vocals over detailed, textured instrumentals, Blu seems to have placed himself at the forefront of a new genre, melding classic hip-hop lyricism with the experimentation of the L.A. beat scene. With contributions from beat icons like Flying Lotus, Exile, Shafiq Husayn of Sa Ra, Daedalus, Dibia$e, and Samiyam, the album boasts a unique sonic backdrop that sets it apart from his previous work. NoYork also features appearances from Edan, U-God (Wu-Tang Clan), Pac Div, UNI, J*Davey, Nola Darling, and more.
Corey Woods aka Raekwon The Chef, aka Lex Diamonds, aka Shallah, Raekwon has been a staple in the Entertainment industry since his debut in 1993 as an integral part in undeniably one of the greatest Hip-Hop groups to date, the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. Rae's verbal ability took center stage early in the original cult classic "Protect Ya Neck", but little did the world know as we bopped our heads in unison to the mesmerizing Wu-Tang catalog, that we were merely indulging in delicious appetizers delivered by Rae. It wasn't until 1995, when Raekwon The Chef emerged from the kitchen and invited the Hip-Hop faithful into his personal chamber and the world was privileged to partake in the perfectly sautéed full course meal cooked by the Chef himself culminating with the album that changed the game as we knew it... Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is a Hip-Hop classic that would serve as binoculars for not only how the general public would view Hip-Hop artists, but also and more importantly, how Hip-Hop artists would view themselves Raekwon has influenced many of the Hip-Hop aficionado's such as Wyclef, Outkast, The Game, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Eminem, The Lox and the late great Big Pun. Never before had the game seen the flashy swagger, coupled with the Mafioso undertones that so eloquently fit, along with the use of numerous aliases by an artist, the unprecedented skits, the Staten Island slang and the verbal techniques that Raekwon The Chef so effortlessly demonstrated in the Platinum classic album that would withstand the test of time. By possessing these rare qualities and Iron Chef credentials, the Brooklyn born "Shaolin" bred MC became one of the most versatile Hip- Hop artists that the industry has ever seen and considered by many as one of the Greatest MC's Of All Time. Much like the career of one of his favorite artists, Marvin Gaye, Raekwon not only appeals to the male dominated street community but he also possesses the unique ability to attract a huge female following. The hoods all across America have been craving for it, the streets have been starving, and now the country is famished for the release of Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang. With years of valuable experience from working alongside some of the most influential figures in the recording industry to date, Raekwon is ready to navigate his ship with the formation of his record label, IceH20 records and reemerge his urban flair to the masses with the aforementioned blockbuster. This Shaolin Island legendary flamethrower, gave fans something to chow on with the `09 release of the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 ("The Purple Tape") and his lyrical recipe has been groomed to make his presence felt Worldwide. This lyrical juggernaut has been marinating and is now ready to assume the throne and his rightful position as the flashy Don of Dons and Hip-Hop ambassador in the entertainment industry. The album features cameos from many industry heavyweights such as The Wu-Tang Clan, Rick Ross, Raheem Devaughn, Jim Jones, Black Thought, and many others. Blazing tracks from the who's who of extraordinary Hip-Hop producers such as the Eric Sermon, DJ Khalil, Scram Jones, Havoc, Kenny Dope, Allah Mathematics and Alchemist, layered with Raekwon's melodic flows, thought provoking visual content and street orientated delivery. "He promised it. The fans demanded it. And, now it's finally here! Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang, the long awaited concept album from Raekwon the Chef. Back with the gritty tales from the street that have made him a hip hop legend, Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang captures Raekwon at the top of his lyrical game. The album includes tracks such as: "Molasses" featuring Rick Ross, "Rich and Black feat. Nas, "Last Trip to Scotland" feat Lloyd Banks and many more. Having enjoyed unparalleled comeback success with the 2009 release of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, Raekwon is back again to give the fans exactly what he promised them. And, they won't be disappointed."
Pete Rock & Smif N Wessun have joined forces for a MONUMENTAL album. Pete Rock has provided the entire production on the album, as well as vocals on several key tracks including the title track, MONUMENTAL. The album features Bun B, Raekwon, Styles P, Sean Price, Buckshot, Black Rob, Freeway, Memphis Bleek, Rock of Heltah Skeltah, Hurricane G, Top Dog of Boot Camp Clik, and Jahdan of Noble Society.