Record Label: Mahogani Music
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Lost Tapes follows last year's Mahogani-housed Dillatroit, and crams a hefty 20 tracks onto two sides of vinyl. Although Dilla is best known as part of the hip-hop world - through his work as part of Slum Village, solo albums and productions for Busta Rhymes, Phat Kat and more - his connections to house music also run deep, and he worked with Moodymann, Andres, Amp Fiddler and more in his time.
Produced by James Yancey aka J Dilla
Simultaneously serving as both endless fodder for intellectual debates and the album most likely to be blaring out of the adjacent car's window, All Eyez on Me is a phenomenon that packs a wallop with every listen. Unquestionably the most nihilistic album to top the Billboard charts--and it's doubtful that any will match it--Eyez also manages to dish out the good-times dance tunes and still flow seamlessly. Recording commenced within hours of Tupac Shakur's release from prison, and a year's worth of pent-up ideas are unleashed with a fury akin to lifting the lid on a box of plutonium. The line between high art and insufferable reality, possibilities and self-destruction, has never been so blurred. Eyez is a landmark achievement that is unlikely to be topped by any heir apparent to the hip-hop crown.
Mark James (AKA The 45 King) is a world renowned DJ/ Producer pioneer in Hip Hop music. His breakbeat classic “The 900 Number” has been a staple among DJs since its release in 1987 (notably featured as the song to “The Ed Lover Dance” on MTV’s Yo MTV Raps). Throughout the last 30 years, 45 King has managed to stay relevant, producing hits for some of Hip Hop’s biggest names including Jay-Z & Eminem, with production for their hit songs “It’s A Hard Knock Life” & “Stan”, respectively. With a prolific output and catalog of beats, he has set out to release a series of limited edition 45s with brand new and never before heard music. The Third Album is third in a series of unique, “mini 45 RPM albums” featuring 45 King’s signature sound; breaks chopped and looped to perfection.
With their fourth album Beats, Rhymes and Life, A Tribe Called Quest manages to be one of the few hip-hop acts to successfully age by pushing both their music and their lyrics into new directions. Stylistically, the record is closest to its immediate predecessor, Midnight Marauders, in the sense that the group's jazz-rap fusion are downplayed and the beat stays surprisingly hard throughout the album. What distinguishes Beats, Rhymes and Life from Marauders is a deeper sense not only of eclectism, but of spirituality and maturity. Shortly before the album was written and recorded, Q-Tip converted to Islam and the religion's ideals are an undercurrent in nearly every track on the album. But what really stands out is Tip's unease with the transience of the youth-oriented hip-hop scene and his own urges to settle down. Unlike most rappers, he confronts these feelings in the music, by writing lyrics and helping to create music that illustrates the contradictions of growing old with hip-hop. And by tackling the issue head-on, A Tribe Called Quest sound fresh and suggest that it is possible to sustain a career in rap as you approach a full decade of recording, after all.