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.
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.
Born and raised in Washington DC, Damu The Fudgemunk of the hip hop group Y Society has been building a loyal fanbase through his soulful, multi-layered beats, which he crafts using little more than an Akai MPC 2000, a huge record collection and a stack of floppy discs. With How It Should Sound Volume 1 & 2, Damu looks to continue to build upon his already solid discography, while simultaneously reaching new fans and keeping his core audience satisfied with new music. This release bears all the hallmarks of Damu’s signature aesthetic. Crunchy drums bolster intricately woven narratives of soul-infused samples in compositions that thump and groove all at the same time. Horns appear from nowhere before dissolving sumptuously into the mix. Layers are steadily unveiled only to gradually fold back in on themselves. As with Damu’s previous releases, retailers and fans should expect this release, especially the limited vinyl versions, to move rather quickly.
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.
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.
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."
The Gift is a series DJ House Shoes started to spotlight under the radar producers. Pressed in a limited edition of 300 copies. Time for another gift y'all... Knx hipped me to Tuamie about 6 months ago. I was floored. This kid got some shit. Three songs on The Gift Vol IV come from MASTA KILLA, a dope tape that was released a few months back on Grand Garden Records. Enjoy. - Shoes
House Shoes is proud to present the first-ever physical release of Danny Brown’s Hot Soup, his debut album released in 2008 prior to the release of The Hybrid. Featuring Rapper Big Pooh and production by Quelle Chris, Nick Speed, and Danny Brown himself, Hot Soup immediately propelled Danny Brown into hip-hop’s national consciousness and solidifed him as one of Detroit’s most electrifying live performers. With his most recent Fool’s Gold album carrying Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” status, fans are hungry for a deeper look into the mind of one modern hip-hop’s most charismatic and controversial artists.
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. Announced in Fall 2005, the concept of a “rap album without rappers” struck some as minor novelty, but Donuts would prove to transcend the rigid definitions of what a hip-hop album could be. It plays part like a DJ mix, part like a hip-hop beat maker at work, its songs starting and stopping unexpectedly, like someone turning the dial on an imaginary radio station. But it's an unmistakably modern album, and one which perfectly encapsulated the artist's reputation among his peers and fans as a top-rated architect of soulful hip-hop.
A new Detroit classic from producer Apollo Brown who composes a smokey, rust riddled trip through the soul of Detroit. A lush sonic cityscape that layers piano over haunting samples and pits Journalist 103s narrative word play against DJ SoKos cuts. The Left is the sound of Detroit and along for the ride are Guilty Simpson, Finale, MarvWon, Paradime, Invincible, Kool G Rap, Frank West and Mu. Welcome Back.
James Yancey, better known as J Dilla was born in Detriot. His work as a producer has a defining role in Hip Hop. He produced hits for A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Common, Erykah Badu and Janet Jackson. At 32, he passed away in Los Angeles in the care of his mother, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey of a lupus related illness. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson pays tribute to Dilla by interpreting his music for a 60-piece orchestra featuring special guests Bilal, Dwele, Posdnuos, Talib Kweli, Karriem Riggins and more. This premiere performance left many in the sold out crowd in tears.
Apollo Brown’s Thirty Eight is a contemporary throwback, inhabiting the realm of reverent reinvention and innovation. It deftly bridges the gap between ‘70s Blaxploitation soundtracks (e.g. Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly or Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man) and the hip-hop records that sampled from them. The tracks on Thirty Eight are presented in gritty, heavily saturated Technicolor, the scratches and cigarette burns as purposeful as they are happily accidental. These are suites sounding from long barrels held by lone men lurking in grimy project hallways. Tinged with revenge and regret, shrouded in thick tendrils of hollow-point smoke, the songs have all the makings of an epic gangster tragedy. They’re also great when paired with anything Raymond Chandler. Crackle and sample hiss run like electric current throughout, charging the record with a retro feel and resonant warmth. Yet these qualities are only secondary to Brown’s impeccable ear for instrumentation. Thirty Eight is full of funk, soul, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and everything in between. The bluesy guitar twang of slow-burner “Black Suits” and the lush, orchestral strings of “The Warning” are just two examples of the depth and diversity Brown brings to the table. All singing on the album comes in the form of brief samples, some high-pitched and sped up, others left untouched. Taken together, they amount to glimpses of an emotionally affecting narrative, enabling the listener to fill in the plot and words between the booms and baps. Brown enlists New York mercenary Roc Marciano for the soundtrack’s two features. With the sharpest of eyes and the frostbitten wit of a Polo clad hustler slanging in the dead of winter, Marciano delivers his best verses in recent memory, his vivid narratives perfectly suited for Brown’s soulful production. Each CD comes packaged with 5" inch vinyl featuring the aforementioned Roc Marciano tracks. Quite possibly the first time a CD and 5" inch record have ever been sold together, cop yours before they’re gone. For fans who desire the full analog experience, we’ve pressed up 180-gram vinyl. Each vinyl copy also includes a 45 featuring two bonus instrumentals. Whether you buy a physical copy or download Thirty Eight digitally, don't call it a beat tape. With this project Brown has created an expansive cinematic composition for the theatre of your mind. Listen, envision, and enjoy the show.
Ten years after its initial & highly slept-on release, Fat Beats Records & Frozen Files are proud to present the first-ever reissue of UN Or U Out, the classic debut album from The UN.Consisting of Roc Marciano, Dino Brave, Mike Raw, and Laku, the UN first emerged on Pete Rock’s 2001 Petestrumentals album, a primarily all instrumental release minus two tracks—“Nothing Lesser” and “Cake”, both featuring vocals by The UN. At the time, the group hadn’t performed live and never had major prior releases, although Roc Marciano had already made his name as a member of Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad. Pete Rock fans were at first perplexed by the vocal appearance of an unknown group. Yet Pete not only had the confidence and foresight to introduce the four MCs, he also furthered the collaboration, making it full circle by lending production on “Game of Death (G.O.D.)” , “Avenue” and “Ain’t No Thang” on UN or U Out. UN or U Out remains a timeless listen, a deeply succinct homage to New York’s bygone era of gritty boom-bap, made with tasteful nods to Queensbridge’s cold-steel aesthetic.