Ever since he burst onto the scene in 2007 with the widely acclaimed Exile collaboration Below The Heavens, L.A. rapper Blu has been hailed as the most promising up-and-comer hip-hop has seen in years. With his cool L.A. demeanor and intricate lyrical musings, Blu blew a breath of fresh air into a stale SoCal hip-hop scene, leading hip-hop tastemakers like HipHopDX and XXL to name him one of the genre's top newcomers. After releasing further collaborations with Detroit's Ta'Raach and L.A. producer Mainframe, Blu attracted the attention of Warner Brothers, which will release his first major label album later this year. Lately, the internet has been buzzing about Her Favorite Colo(u)r, his unreleased debut EP. Initially available as a low-quality download from Blu's myspace, HFC is finally mixed and mastered, and will be in stores everywhere on April 19, 2011. With love-themed movie quotes drifting in and out and Blu's heartbreak raps sitting atop his own mellow production, HFC is the most distinct and cohesive project Blu has released to date.
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.
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.
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 boothwithout inhibition or an exaggerated rap persona. Piñata, a 17 track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of histransparent 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 previouslybest 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. Simpsonwith 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 trackslike “Scarface” and “Knicks,” to perhaps thealbum’s most personal song, “Broken,” a collaboration with Scarface, who, along with Tupac, DMX and 50 Cent, make up the rapper’s ownMount Rushmore of MCs (“You’re getting a hurricane of all those motherfuckers hitting you at once when you listen to Freddie Gibbs,” hesays). “Deeper,” a Gibbs favorite and the third single from the album after “Thuggin’” (2012) and “Shame,” (2013) is an ode to hip-hop inthe mold of Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.”; “High,” featuring Danny Brown, is self-explanatory and just what you would expect fromGibbs, Madlib and one of Detroit’s finest; while on “Real,” Gibbs addresses an old score just as Michael Corleone settled all family businesson baptism day.As a producer, Madlib, quite simply, is music, and ten years into his career—a time when other artists become comfortable—Gibbs remainsrestless, focused, with an eye on the competition and their position relative to his ascent. This is because mentally, he’s still on the cornerhustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. With Piñata, Gibbs confirms that he is anything but average.
Clear Soul Forces is next to carry the burning flame for the city of Detroit. Discovered, championed, and mentored by Royce da 5’9”, the four-man group rhymes like genetically enhanced street poets from the 70’s who are here to remind us what album rap sounds like. The vision of E-Fav, L.A.Z., Noveliss, and producer/emcee Ilajide combines golden era, 21st century, backpack and sub-woofer hip-hop but never sounds dated, derivative, or awkwardly avant garde. These guys are serious performers and hard workers devoted to making music that honors the legacy of Detroit’s legendary lineage. The group emerged in the aftermath of a serendipitous studio session in 2009 where the four emcees scraped together money to record individual music. Royce, who was recording his album “Street Hop” at the time, had coincidentally booked the room next door. The four soon-to-be group members jumped at the chance to kick some rhymes for the local luminary, and the rest is history. By the time the sun rose nine hours later, the four star-crossed strangers were now officially Clear Soul Forces -- and they already had a powerful first fan. After their debut mixtape “Clear Soul Radio”(2010), follow-up EP “The Departure”, an A3C Festival appearance, two SXSX showcases, induction to Red Bull Academy’s Soundstage program, the release of 2012’s “Detroit Revolutions” LP, and performances with Tanya Morgan, Just Blaze, Alchemist, Talib Kweli, and Freeway, Clear Soul Forces are ready to make good on the potential seen by Royce da 5”9”on that fateful night in Detroit. Their new full-length album, Gold PP7s, will be released this September on Fat Beats Records.
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.
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."
Oddisee’s newest instrumental project: “The beauty in all is about the flaws & mistakes that give life its character & worth. How even ignorance can give light to knowledge. For me, not knowing how to do something & still trying is the process of how I evolved my own production style. If everything we are is out in perfect tutorials, I might have never deviated from the teacher. This record is dedicated to imperfection & the sense of pride & accomplishment we get from our struggles. Hopefully you listen to this record & reflect on the ups & downs of life and see the beauty in all.” INCLUDES DOWNLOAD CARD FOR DIGITAL COPY OF ODDISEE'S TANGIBLE DREAM MIXTAPE