Following the success of his major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, in 2012, the rapper Kendrick Lamar's long-awaited follow-up, To Pimp a Butterfly (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) is about carrying the weight of that clarity: What happens when you speak out, spiritually and politically, and people actually start to listen? And what of the world you left behind?
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Run the Jewels released their sophomore album Run The Jewels 2 in October 2014, which went onto universal critical acclaim. The album went on to receive multiple year end accolades including: 2014’s #1 Album of the Year (Pitchfork, Stereogum, USA Today, Complex, London Evening Standard, etc), Album of the Year List (Billboard, Consequence of Sound, Rolling Stone, NME, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Spin, Newsweek, etc), Song of the Year List (Spin, NME, Time, etc) and more! Their press coverage has extended to far beyond just music publications, with features running in Slate, Gizmodo, Fast Company, CNN, US Weekly, Huffington Post, etc. Since the album release, the duo has gone to finish a nearly sold out 45+ date Wolrld Tour. Furthermore, a kickstarter project based off of remixing the album with cat sounds, entitled “Meow the Jewels” went viral and raised over $65,000; this project is set to release later this summer. Due to an overwhelming high demand, the group will be re-issuing a physical version of their now-classic first album, Run The Jewels, for the first time since 2013. CD and Vinyl releases will include a cool, new iron-on Run The Jewels patch. This album was named Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” upon release and features Big Boi, Prince Paul and Until the Ribbon Breaks. Run The Jewels continue to support their album this year and will bemaking several major festival appearances including Coachella, Bonnaroo and Pitchfork Festival, amongst others.
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Blu is the leader of West Coast Hip Hop. Since the days of Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, and Jurassic 5, there have been few wordsmiths that have grasped the attention of listeners worldwide. Introduced to NWA and Public Enemy by his father, Blu later was captivated by the likes of Black Star, The Roots, and Common, creating a unique balance that is displayed in Blu’s personality and music.Blu’s first full length LP, “Below the Heavens” pairs Blu with producer Exile on the Sound in Color imprint. His first single, “Narrow Path” has rocked stages across the world, as fans begin to feel the impact of Blu’s music. His delivery flows flawlessly, while the content reflects the joy and pain of working class youth everywhere. Since the release of “Narrow Path,” Blu has performed alongside Slum Village, X-Clan, Platinum Pied Pipers, Lyrics Born, DJ Houseshoes, and many others, while participating in 3 high-profile nationwide tours alongside musical family members: Ta’Raach, Aloe Blacc, and Exile. The buzz has fans salivating for new music. Worldwide, people are looking to put hope into the ‘next’ emcee that will give them the same feeling when they first heard Black Thought, Common, or Slum Village. Blu fulfills this need, but maintains something that is entirely new, while not recycled.
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Animated sci-fi masterpiece La Planète Sauvage (a.k.a. Fantastic Planet), winner at Cannes Film Festival in 1973, is a bizarre and beautiful film. Towering blue-skinned figures, tiny humanoids in the midst of revolt, and drug-induced Tantric sex transport viewers to a truly magical setting. Composer Alain Goraguer creates an equally hypnotic score from a palette of effects-laden guitars, flutes, Fender Rhodes and strings. While the lush arrangements are reminiscent of Goraguer's collaborations with Serge Gainsbourg in the 1960s, space-age synth flourishes suggest a more psychedelic era. Moody vignettes flow together in tense, slow-paced funk rhythms and Baroque textures. It comes as no surprise that La Planète Sauvage has been cited as an influence on contemporary artists such as French duo Air and American hip-hop producers J Dilla and Madlib. Gorgeous, interplanetary soundscapes resemble the surreal meeting point between Pink Floyd's Obscured by Clouds and Broadcast's Future Crayon. This long out-of-print vinyl release features the original soundtrack recording and newly designed artwork. Recommended for fans of Ennio Morricone, Basil Kirchin and David Axelrod.
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.
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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.
Blu is the leader of West Coast Hip Hop. Since the days of Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, and Jurassic 5, there have been few wordsmiths that have grasped the attention of listeners worldwide. Introduced to NWA and Public Enemy by his father, Blu later was captivated by the likes of Black Star, The Roots, and Common, creating a unique balance that is displayed in Blu’s personality and music. Blu’s first full length LP, “Below the Heavens” pairs Blu with producer Exile on the Sound in Color imprint. His first single, “Narrow Path” has rocked stages across the world, as fans begin to feel the impact of Blu’s music. His delivery flows flawlessly, while the content reflects the joy and pain of working class youth everywhere. Since the release of “Narrow Path,” Blu has performed alongside Slum Village, X-Clan, Platinum Pied Pipers, Lyrics Born, DJ Houseshoes, and many others, while participating in 3 high-profile nationwide tours alongside musical family members: Ta’Raach, Aloe Blacc, and Exile. The buzz has fans salivating for new music. Worldwide, people are looking to put hope into the ‘next’ emcee that will give them the same feeling when they first heard Black Thought, Common, or Slum Village. Blu fulfills this need, but maintains something that is entirely new, while not recycled.
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.
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J-Dilla's Donuts began simply enough, in summer 2005, as an idea to turn a particularly good demo beat tape into a full-length release. We think we can safely say it has since became a classic hip-hop album, one of the defining works of the artist's life. This box set includes the album on seven 45s and a bonus 45 with "Signs" from the long out-of-print Donuts 'Fan Club 45' b/w DOOM & Ghostface's "Sniper Elite & Murder Goons" - two tracks over Donuts beats which were recorded in late 2005 prior to the original release of the album. These two tracks were released digitally in 2008, but have never before appeared on vinyl. Side D contains the "Donuts Outro/Intro" appearing as an interlude at the beginning of "The Diff'rence" which dates back to the first, original sequence of the album. 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 critics as either a novelty, or a minor break beat album - but Donuts would prove to transcend the rigid definitions of what a hip-hop album could be. It plays part like a DJ mix, and part like a hip-hop beat-maker at work, sounding like a producer turning the dial on an imaginary radio station. But it's an unmistakably modern album, and one which perfectly encapsulated the J Dilla's reputation among his peers and fans as the definitive architect of soulful hip-hop.
The classic album from Immortal Technique now available for a limited time on red vinyl. Features Akir, C-Rayz Walz, DJ Roc Raida, Diabolic, Jean Grae, Lou Cipher, Mumia Abu Jamal, Poison Pen, Pumpkinhead & Tonedeff.
Restocked! All orders due to ship BY Monday, November 30th. Ever since he first appeared in 2011 with his three independent online offerings House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, which subsequently turned into the chart-topping platinum-selling 2012 epic, Trilogy, Toronto alternative R&B mystic Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd has become one of the go-to voices in music. Everyone from Wiz Khalifa to Juicy J has enlisted his talents for singles. Meanwhile, he became a live draw, joining both early champion Drake and Florence + the Machine for full tours. Now, the Polaris Music Prize-nominated House Of Balloons, part one of the Grammy-nominated trendsetter's critically acclaimed Trilogy series makes its official vinyl debut in 2015. Featuring production from Doc McKinney, Illangelo, and Zodiac plus samples of songs by such diverse artists as Beach House, Aaliyah, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins and Nine Inch Nails.
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.
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Thundercat presents “Drunk”- a 23-track epic journey into the often hilarious, sometimes dark mind of the Grammy-Winning singer/bassist - featuring a few of his friends joining him along the way including: Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Wiz Khalifa, Kamasi Washington and Brainfeeder mastermind Flying Lotus. This 4x10" box set comprising four red vinyl 10”s housed in 3mm spined sleeves with artworked inners. Photography by Eddie Alcazar, artwork by Zack Fox and art direction by Adam Stover.
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"He is unmatchable in flow, delivery, and voice. Danny Brown has all the tools to be the greatest working rapper." -PITCHFORK Atrocity Exhibition is one of the freshest and boldest-sounding rap albums in recent memory, a sonic swirl inspired by the work of Talking Heads and Joy Division that nonetheless sounds like nothing else from the past or present. Featuring contributions from producers like Evian Christ, Petite Noir (who also lends vocals to the world-weary clang of “Rolling Stone”), Black Milk, the Alchemist and frequent collaborator Paul White, the album is full of laser-beam guitars, gym-teacher whistles, creaking vocal samples, and air-raid drones. It is the most intriguing take on hallucinatory rap since the heady heights of Cold Vein or Madvillainy. Known for his wide range of collaborations, including everyone from Purity Ring, the Avalanches and Rustie to Schoolboy Q, E-40, and Ghostface Killah, Atrocity Exhibition sees a continuation of this carefully curated mix. Kelela lends her snaking vocals to the intriguingly murky “From the Ground,” Cypress Hill’s B-Real delivers “Get Hi”’s languid hook, and Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, and Ab-Soul all convene for the twinkling ominousness of album standout “Really Doe.” “When XXX came out, all of us were peers, and those were the three rappers who were the best,” Brown explains on having the star-packed trio appear on the track. “I felt like we were competitors, they made me want to step my game up. I wanted to put the hottest rappers in the game on there.” This album is a highly personal take on Brown’s ruminations on life and the changes that have occurred -and those that didn't - following the ups and downs of career success. Atrocity Exhibition makes for a thrilling third installment in the Danny Brown biopic, one not to be missed.
With all due respect to New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Miami, the epicenter of the rap universe in 2016 just may be Chicago. With young stars ranging from Chief Keef to Chance The Rapper to Lil Bibby to Vic Mensa, the Windy City continues to push the boundaries of hip-hop music and culture. The latest artist to emerge from this hotbed of talent is Mick Jenkins, a gifted lyricist who has built a strong buzz online with a series of acclaimed mixtapes. Now, one of those collections will be available in physical format for the first time ever, with a limited-edition vinyl pressing of "The Water[s]" set to hit stores soon. Originally released online in late 2014, "The Water[s]" features appearances from fellow rising stars Joey Bada$$ and Noname Gypsy, plus production from Statik Selektah, Kirk Knight, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, DJ Dahi, and many more. XXL called the project an “indisputable success”, declaring Jenkins “a formidable opponent to some of hip-hop’s most highly regarded MCs”.
Future’s second studio full-length begins with the menacing sounds of a single, serpentine guitar line and a carbonated beverage being opened and sipped. Like much of DS2—also known as Dirty Sprite 2—“Thought It Was A Drought” finds the rapper floating along in a syrupy haze, combining effervescing vocals and hypnotic production. Where “The Percocet & Stripper Joint” is a plush and unapologetically languid ballad, “Where Ya At” sees the self-proclaimed Future Hendrix joining forces with Drake for a psychedelic banger. -iTunes
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