Record Label: Stones Throw
Curated by Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw is releasing a 4LP boxset to commemorate the late MC, Charizma and the collection of works he and Peanut Butter Wolf created between 1990-1993. The anthology includes rare, classic and unreleased tracks that makes up eight sides of vinyl, along with never before seen photos and ephemera.
A lifetime has passed since the murder of Bay Area emcee Charles “Charizma” Hicks who, in December of 1993 at the age of 20, was shot and killed at random while sitting in his car. Despite his short life, Charizma made an impression on everyone he encountered. Charizma’s death deeply impacted his close friend and hip hop production partner Chris “Peanut Butter Wolf” Manak, who at the time stopped making music (and everything else) for several months after receiving the news. Ultimately, however, it was Charizma’s murder that gave PB Wolf the impetus to carry on and get their music heard by the world – setting up his own record label to do so. In 1996, Wolf founded Stones Throw Records and put out the first release, a Charizma/PB Wolf 12” single called “My World Premiere.”
Fast forward to 2014 and over 400 releases later, including the 2003 Charizma album Big Shots, Peanut Butter Wolf now presents a comprehensive tribute to his friend and musical partner, properly showcasing the full body of work left behind by Charizma over 20 years ago.
With this posthumous release of an artist who was only 20-years-old when his life was cut short, hip hop fans can only speculate as to what heights might have been reached if Charizma was still here today.
After spending much of 2012 in the studio, Black Milk returns in top form with Synth or Soul, a vinyl-only EP release prepared especially for Record Store Day. Black Milk’s first official release of 2013 also marks the launch of his instrumental series Fuzz, Freqs, & Colors. The series is a collaborative project with illustrator Upendo Taylor (Nike, Gatorade, Leroy Jenkins), with each volume bringing vibrant, colorful, and forward-thinking visuals to both represent and complement its sound and aesthetic.Synth or Soul offers a distinctly different styles on each side of the record, while showcasing development in his trademark synth-driven or soul-sampling production.
His debut LP for Definitive Jux, DJ/producer RJD2's DEAD RINGER is a deeply creative and musically poignant hip-hop record for summer 2002. Creating a raging underground listenership from a series of 45s and white labels and being the only non-MC signed to Def Jux, RJD2's talent as a DJ and as producer, to match beats and lay cult/pop gems over dusty soul tracks, is paralleled only by people like DJ Shadow and Z-Trip. However, his ability to record and marry MCs to his primarily instrumental and sample-based style is evidenced in outstanding tracks with Copywrite and Blueprint as well as his legacy with the MHz crew; at the end of the day that puts our man from Ohio ahead of his primarily one-dimensional peer group. This set will stand out as monumental for Definitive Jux, who with their first record outside of the New York MC box continues to stride toward really being definitive in their roster and catalog of independent hip-hop.
L.A. producer, Mndsgn’s most recent project, Breatharian, gets the official re-issue treatment via the newly formed Fresh Selects label. The rising instrumentalist - best known for his work with the likes of Danny Brown, Jonwayne, Sonnymoon, Blu, Knxwledge, and more - sees his first retail release in over 4 years and has pulled out all the stops for the occasion. A diverse, conceptual beat tape that takes a varied approach into exploring the strange phenomenon known as “breatharianism” - the project made waves when it first dropped last summer and has now been professionally mixed, mastered, and pressed to vinyl for the first time. Along with it are two new bonus beats, “Hiking” and “Bweyy” (featuring co-producer, Swarvy); the album also marks Mnd’s first ever official music video - in the form of two-fer, “Hiking” / “Fif Dim.
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.