Released without the usual flurry of hype, Before I Self Destruct fulfills 50 Cent's contractual obligation to the Interscope label. It also doubles as a throwback album, returning the rapper to the hunger and hatred of his early mixtapes while skillfully recasting him as a wannabe upstart. That is, for the most part. The four radio-friendly bedroom numbers that conclude the album are out of place but fairly good to dime-piece beautiful, with the best being the Ne-Yo showcase "Baby by Me" ("Have a baby by me, baby/Be a millionaire"). As pleasing as these final numbers are, if you leave the room after the macho bruiser "I Got Swag" ("I'm infinitely special/Girl the Lord is gonna bless you/If you do what I tell you to do"), you'll return to a confusingly different album, one that's as glamorous but less vital. The monstrous run of tracks that leads up to this flash and polish can be summed up by 50's "This ain't Tha Carter/It's Sparta!," a witty, deceptive, and brutish line barked over a prime Dr. Dre beat during the great "Death to My Enemies." On the cut, the producer sounds like he's been digging on RZA, but the tension and dark-night feel he has created for "Psycho" is easily identifiable as Dre. Add an especially rapid 50 trading horror-show rhymes with Eminem and the G-Unit soldiers will testify that the Shady/Aftermath dream is still alive. While "So Disrespectful" is the perfect title for a song that shocks, stuns, and brings reminders of the gritty G-Unit Radio mixtape series at its best, the Rick Rock-produced "Stretch" is an even craftier balance of amoral and humorous as it references Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic before explaining the profitable benefits of cutting cocaine. There are only three guest vocalists, and save a production credit for Havoc, the G-Unit posse is absent, and yet 50 is able to carry the album alone, sounding as inspired as he did on his Interscope debut. That album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', beats this one thanks to its proper balance and structure, but Before I Self Destruct is still a fantastic juggernaut of a 50 album if you exit early, and a very good one even if you don't.
Get Rich Or Die Tryin' is the debut studio album from rapper/entrepreneur 50 Cent on Aftermath Entertainment/Shady Records. Driven by the smash #1 hits "In Da Club" and "21 Questions" along with additional singles "PIMP" and "If I Can't," Get Rich Or Die Tryin' debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts selling 872,000 copies in its first week and in excess of 10 million copies to date, making it one of the best-selling hip-hop albums of all time. The album features production from mentors Dr. Dre and Eminem and guest appearances by the latter along with Nate Dogg, Young Buck, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo. Get Rich Or Die Tryin' was also nominated for a Grammy award for Best Rap Album. "Ten years ago...the hip-hop landscape shifted. 50 Cent, a young upstart from Queens, New York, put the rap game in a chokehold with the release of his debut studio album "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." The album was an audio snapshot of a hustler balancing machismo with romance and vengeance with ego. On "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," 50 pocked gritty street tales with stitched hooks that thawed the iciest of haters, mainstreaming a style popularized by his foe Ja Rule and appropriated to boost his own ascent. "...Upon release, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" laid a new blueprint for hip-hop releases. Whereas few artists ventured outside of the major label system to build buzz, the rapper overcame getting dropped by Columbia Records and recovering from nine gunshot wounds to architect a career in the streets. The rapper took a mixtape model - DJs curating compilations that were bootlegged on corners - and bent it to his advantage, using instrumentals from popular songs to create classic releases like "50 Cent is the Future" and "No Mercy, No Fear" with his G-Unit crew. The mixtape-as-marketing-tool earned him a record deal with two artists with heavy co-signs: Eminem and Dr. Dre." - Steven J. Horowitz, Billboard
Two of Hip Hop's most cherished icons, Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder have come together to create what undoubtedly will go down as an instantly classic album. INDIE 500 features an All Star supporting cast, including Problem, Slug (of Atmosphere), Rapsody, Pharaoh Monch, Brother Ali, Hi-Tek, NIKO IS and more. After exploding on to the scene as one half of the legendary Black Star alongside Mos Def in 1998, Talib Kweli quickly followed up in 2000 with the album Train of Thought, his collaborative effort with producer Hi-Tek. As fans,critics and his peers unanimously agreed, Kweli was cemented as one of hip hop's top lyricists and continued to release one acclaimed album after another - garnering direct praise from Jay-Z on his song ""Moment of Clarity"" from Jay-Z's classic The Black Album. Meanwhile as the early 2000's progressed, a new trio was bursting on the scene from North Carolina known as Little Brother. Behind the boards of this trio was producer 9th Wonder, who very quickly established himself as one of hip hop's best producers. As their 2003 album The Listening reached a fever pitch, 9th Wonder's buzz became so hot he claimed a highly coveted production spot as well on Jay-Z's The Black Album. Through the years both Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder have gone on to work with a staggering list of hip hop royalty. However both of their respective works outside of the recording booth have become prominent pieces of their stories as well. 9th Wonder has established himself as Hip Hop's top educator, working as a professor at Harvard, Duke and North Carolina Central University, while Talib Kweli has become one of Hip Hop's most vocal and respected voices, who appears regularly on news outlets such as CNN and programs like HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. A collaboration between Kweli and 9th almost seemed to make perfect sense, but INDIE 500 represents even more to the artists. "I've always been a fan of collectives, like Native Tongues and the Dungeon Family," explains Kweli. "INDIE 500 is a tribute to the spirit of unity exemplified by some of great hip hop artists that influenced us." Collectives are nothing new to the two, who have both successfully run their own labels in Blacksmith, Javotti (Kweli) and Jamla (9th Wonder), helping to break a number of popular artists over the years.
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.
Though the abstract rappers finally betrayed a few commercial ambitions for Midnight Marauders, the happy result was a smart, hooky record that may not have furthered the jazz-rap fusions of The Low End Theory, but did merge Tribe-style intelligence and reflection with some of the most inviting grooves heard on any early-'90s rap record. The productions, more funky than jazzy, were tighter overall — but the big improvement, four years after their debut, came with Q-Tip's and Phife Dawg's raps. Focused yet funky, polished but raw, the duo was practically telepathic on "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)" and "The Chase, Pt. 2," though the mammoth track here was the pop hit "Award Tour." A worldwide call-out record with a killer riff and a great pair of individual raps from the pair, it assured that Midnight Marauders would become A Tribe Called Quest's biggest seller. The album didn't feature as many topical tracks as Tribe was known for, though the group did include an excellent, sympathetic commentary on the question of that word ("Sucka Nigga," with a key phrase: "being as we use it as a term of endearment"). Most of the time, A Tribe Called Quest was indulging in impeccably produced, next-generation games of the dozens ("We Can Get Down," "Oh My God," "Lyrics to Go"), but also took the time to illustrate sensitivity and spirituality ("God Lives Through"). A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders was commercially successful, artistically adept, and lyrically inventive; the album cemented their status as alternative rap's prime sound merchants, authors of the most original style since the Bomb Squad first exploded on wax.
Sold Out - $29.99
Digitally remastered and expanded edition housed in jewel case with special silver foil cover to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of this release. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, hip hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest release the original album remastered from the original tapes by Grammy-Award winning engineer Bob Power with three exclusive new remixes by a few of today's biggest hip hop artists who have credited A Tribe Called Quest as a major creative influence. Featuring remastered versions of classic cuts like "Bonita Applebum", "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo", "Can I Kick It?" and more.
In the wake of the release of A Tribe Called Quest's first album, 1990's stellar People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, critics who had previously ignored hip-hop sat up and took notice of Q-Tip's sophisticated and unorthodox productions, and Phife Dog's party rocking but winningly self-deprecating rhymes. But the critics often overlooked Tribe's far-reaching roots in the hip-hop underground and their larger place in the history of black music in general. The Low End Theory was in many ways a conscious attempt to redress these critical oversights; it also happens to be one of the finest hip-hop albums ever recorded. From the sinuous Art Blakey samples and myth-making rhymes of "Excursions" to the joyous free for all of the epic posse cut "Scenario", The Low End Theory is a stone masterpiece that establishes Tribe's place in hip-hop's history. They draw on everything from the crowd-hyping improvisations of their early park jams, to the complex sciences of Golden Age rhyming styles. Simply put, The Low End Theory is essential for anyone seeking to understand hip-hop.
Hits, Rarities & Remixes is a compilation album by A Tribe Called Quest. It features two previously unreleased songs ("Mr. Incognito" and "The Night He Got Caught") as well as remixes and some of the group's more familiar songs. It also contains songs that were featured in movie soundtracks.
Sold Out - $14.99
At. Long. Last. ASAP (stylized as At.Long.Last.A$AP) is the second studio album by American hip hop recording artist A$AP Rocky. It was released on May 26, 2015, by A$AP Worldwide, Polo Grounds Music and RCA Records. The album serves as the follow-up to his debut album, Long. Live. A$AP (2013). At. Long. Last. ASAP features guest appearances from Joe Fox, Bones, Future, M.I.A., Schoolboy Q, Kanye West, Juicy J, UGK, James Fauntleroy, Lil Wayne, Rod Stewart, Miguel, Mark Ronson, Mos Def, Acyde and A$AP Yams. The production on the album was handled by producers such as Danger Mouse, Jim Jonsin, Mark Ronson, Emile, Mike Dean and Kanye West, among others, including Rocky himself, under the pseudonym LORD FLACKO. The album was supported by the release of three singles, "Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)", "Everyday" and "L$D".
2013 debut from the Harlem born and raised rapper. The album feature the buzz worthy "Goldie" and the Noah 40 Shebib produced hit, "F*#kin' Problems" featuring Hip Hop elites Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar. Executive produced by A$AP Rocky and A$AP Yams, the album also features guest appearances by ScHoolboy Q, Santigold, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T. A$AP Rocky takes the reins as producer and co-producer on several tracks along with Danger Mouse, Jim Jonsin, Rico Love, Clams Casino, Skrillex, Hit-Boy and others.
Sold Out - $39.99
Twenty years ago, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number introduced the world to the stunning talent of Aaliyah. Her sensuous, soulful vocals, combined with the writing and production skills of R. Kelly, established her as one of R&B's brightest stars. This collectible 2LP edition of her debut is pressed on white 180-gram vinyl and features the Top 10 hits "Back & Forth" and "At Your Best (You Are Love)" plus the rare international bonus track "The Thing I Like."
LP includes 12" x 12" poster insert and a CD copy of Mr. WonderfulHe may sound like Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, but when rapper Action Bronson calls upon his past life as a chef and spits heavy culinary knowledge in his songs, you certainly won’t confuse the two. After studying at the Art Institute of New York City’s culinary program, Action went on to join the restaurant business as a chef. He slipped in the kitchen breaking his leg, was out of work, and decided to become a rapper. His mixtapes gained him popularity on the web and his performances intrigued the masses landing him a major label deal.
Sold Out - $13.99
Saaab Stories is the second extended play by American rapper Action Bronson. The EP was released on June 11, 2013 and is entirely produced by American record producer Harry Fraud. The EP, which was released by Vice and Atlantic Records, serves as Bronson's major label debut project. It features guest appearances from fellow American rappers Wiz Khalifa, Prodigy and Raekwon.
Soulful, stylish, stunning, and absolutely transfixing: 21 is the highly anticipated sophomore release from British singer/songwriter Adele. The album follows up her critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning debut 19. Is there a better up-and-coming female vocalist in music? Doubtfully. Recorded in Malibu and London, 21 offered Adele the opportunity to work with such luminary producers and songwriters as Paul Epworth, Rick Rubin, Ryan Tedder, Dan Wilson and Fraser T. Smith, as well as continuing to work with Francis "Eg" White and Jim Abbiss. The new collection of songs showcases the growth of this incredible artist who, at the very young age of 22, exhibits the poise of a seasoned veteran. Inspired by an introduction into roots and country music, Adele's music takes some new direction while staying true to her signature style. "I discovered lots of artists I'd never heard of, particularly Wanda Jackson, Allison Krauss, Yvonne Fair, Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Lady Antebellum and Steel Drivers who I fell in love with," she explains. "Then I delved in to more from artists I've loved forever - Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Elbow, Mos Def, Alanis Morissette, Tom Waits and Sinead O'Connor. There's something in every single one of these artists that have really really inspired 21." In early 2008, as her debut was reaching Double Platinum status in her native UK, Adele took North America by storm delivering groundbreaking performances on everything from Saturday Night Live to the Grammy Awards, where her four nominations yielded two impressive wins. Entertainment Weekly described Adele's voice as "astonishing" and People called it "a knockout that's rich and supple," but The LA Times put it best when it proclaimed "Adele exudes stylish confidence."
Adele is set to release "25," her highly anticipated new album, which will be available globally on Friday November 20th and is the first new music from her since her Oscar winning single 'Skyfall' in 2012. "Hello" is the debut single from ''25." The cinematic video for ''Hello'' was shot in the countryside surrounding Montreal and is directed by the celebrated young Canadian director Xavier Dolan (Mommy, Tom at the Farm). "My last record was a break up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make up record. I'm making up with myself. making up for lost time. making up for everything I ever did and never did." - Adele
The first official release from multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and producer Adrian Younge, Black Dynamite (Original Motion Picture Score) was the meticulously crafted sonic accompaniment to the 2009 Michael Jai White comedy. The title is now being reissued as a limited edition picture disc on Younge’s own Linear Labs imprint. Inspired by the great blaxploitation soundtracks of the 1970s, Younge commands the Rhodes electric piano, Hammond organ, Hohner Clavinet, harpsichord, synthesizer, vibraphone, guitar, bass, flute, sax, cello, and drums to craft a singular vision of the era. Since its release, the film has grown into a formidable franchise including a comic book and animated television series on Cartoon Network. Now five years later, the score is being reissued with the full set of instrumentals and four additional tracks including a rare version of “Jimmy’s Dead” by Tommy Davidson. A certifiable cult classic, the film centers around ex-CIA agent Black Dynamite’s fight to avenge his brother’s murder while cleaning up the streets of the deadly Anaconda malt liquor. Having been involved with the film from its inception, Younge’s score is intimately woven into the film’s narrative. As editor, Younge worked closely with director Scott Sanders to ensure the authenticity of the film’s pace and musical accompaniment. The final result is a clever homage that sounds more like an unearthed gem from the ‘70s—complete with MPC-ready Wu-Tang samples—rather than a modern creation. This authentic sound is one that Younge has been cultivating for years. His ability to replicate the nuanced stylistic effects of a bygone era are the result of utilizing exclusively vintage analog recording equipment and techniques, and long hours studying the sounds of heroes like Ennio Morricone and Curtis Mayfield. Laboring away in his Los Angeles based Linear Labs studio, Younge played every instrument on the record, teaching himself anything he didn’t already know. Through a dogged work ethic and determination, Younge has painstakingly constructed a modern vintage sound that harkens to the past with its sights on the future. Black Dynamite is a must-have for any fan of the blaxploitation era and dark soul music, a modern-day classic whose legendary status will only grow stronger over time.
In the four years, since the release of Adrian Younge's Something About April, he has been coined America's black genius: the evocation of analog vestige in a digital era. His majestic music has garnered him reverence, likened to Ennio Morricone's best work and the Beatles' tenacity to create new sounds. Fortuitously, Something About April has made an indelible impression on modern vinyl heads and producers alike, being sampled by DJ Premier, Jay-Z, Common, 50 Cent and more. The Something About April brand is an axiom to the modern "Breakbeat" and Linear Labs is happy to announce its successor: Something About April II. Recorded with Younge's collection of rare instruments, Something About April II advances his musical paradigm with enterprising concepts and grander compositions - it synthesizes the boundaries between dark American soul and classic European cinema. With effervescent conviction,Younge executes with an array of entrancing vocalists: Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab) and Bilal perform duets on "Step Beyond" and "La Ballade," reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin; Raphael Saadiq blends "Black Jazz" vocals with psychedelic soul on "Magic Music;" Israeli star, Karolina, delivers haunting chants over concertos like "Hear my Love" and "Winter is Here;" Loren Oden croons as if the apparent ghost of Donnie Hathaway created one last love song, "Sandrine." Younge is the experimental spirit of the modernist vanguard, looking at the past to create the future. What this album extrapolates, from vinyl culture, will become further magnified by its sampling down the line. Something About April II will replace the former as a holy grail for producers and collectors alike.
This deluxe reissue vinyl on Younge’s Linear Labs imprint includes a bonus instrumental song from the original album sessions – “Niacin.” In the four years since Adrian Younge’s Something About April album first appeared, the Los Angeles-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has become his own musical cottage industry. Not only has he collaborated with musical legends ranging from The Delfonics to Ghostface Killah, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and The Souls of Mischief; his work has also been sampled by such rap giants as 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Common. In an equally impressive twist, DJ Premier produced an entire album with Younge’s work as his only source material (including multiple samples from April, of course): 2014’s PRhyme, with MC Royce Da 5’9”. Something About April is an album that flaunts all of the trademarks that have made Younge an in-demand name as a composer and sample source-point. His work oozes raw, analog soul and the primal sonic edge of psychedelic rock, sitting nicely alongside Ennio Morricone’s best soundtrack work; Pink Floyd’s early catalog and Parliament’s Osmium. Younge’s songwriting is what truly makes this album unique and keeps ears engaged. While many of his tunes are initially vamp-driven, there are changes and aural twists that lurk around every corner, as evidenced on stand-out cuts including: The intense, deep groove and stripped-down vocals of “Turn Down The Sound” [sampled for Common’s “Out On Bond”]; The turns of both tension and beauty on “Reverie” (with all TWELVE instruments per formed by Younge) [sampled on Jay-Z’s “Heaven,” with Justin Timberlake]; The gorgeous, cinematic ballads “First Step On The Moon” and “Two Hearts Combine”; The breakbeat fiesta of “Sirens” [used by Jay-Z for “Picasso Baby”]; The new millennial soul/doo-wop of “Lovely Lady,” complete with lead guitar by funky soul legend Dennis Coffey.
1998's Moon Safari is the acclaimed full-length debut from French postmodern electro duo Air - acronym for "Amour, Imagination, Reve" (love, imagination, dream) - comprised of sound auteurs Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel. The pair originally recorded Moon Safari's basic tracks on a Fostex D80 in Saint-Nom and then flushed the songs out in Gang Studios in Paris while the album's strings were arranged by music legend David Whitaker at Abbey Road in London. Highlighted by lush arrangements and the stylistic electronic compositions "Sexy Boy" and "Kelly Watch the Stars," Moon Safari's ethereal space-pop not only put Air on the musical map, but it distinguished the duo as gifted musicians and songwriters who only sounded like producers.
Airbird & Napolian is comprised of producers Joel Ford (Ford & Lopatin, Ejecta) and Ian Evans who have combined forces for a record on Cascine. The producers met while working on Napolian's Rejoice EP (Software) and an easy chemistry took shape. The debut Airbird & Napolian LP is inspired by west coast dreams and east coast nightmares. These worlds meld to create a gripping blend of American House, Cosmic Funk and Hip Hop. The producers' disparate environments are uniquely present in the material: New York sensibilities shine through in Joel's melodic bass lines, astral vocals and idiosyncratic song construction, while Ian, born and bred in LA, delivers consistently cool and heavy beatscapes, surrounded by psychedelic ambience and hard focus.
Sold Out - $25.99
Effiscienz is proud to announce the vinyl release of "Universal Language", the first album of AKD & Deepstar. Released last year, but only on CD and digital, the emcee AKD (UK) and beatmaker Deepstar (Australia) earned a resounding success among "real Hip-Hop" fans worldwide. Accompanied by renowned artists such as Masta Ace, AG (DITC), Rapsody, Tragedy Khadafi and Dj Rob Swift, the duo was able to prove that they have their own universe and could produce music way beyond the notoriety of their guest appearances. Impressed by the quality of the project, Effiscienz decided to highlight the ill combo by realeasing a collector's edition double vinyl "splatter".
With their debut album, Blue Sphinx, the trio of singer Sarah Sulai, Hans Hustle, producer and guitarist, and drum pad enthusiast Manu L One takes the listener on a journey somewhere, though exactly where is hard to tell. Maybe it's somewhere between worlds; a parallel dimension between hip hop and jazz, glitch drums and gentle harmonies, between groaning synthesizers and warm guitar riffs; somewhere between narrowness and infinite space. Inspired by artists such as Flying Lotus and Portishead, Akere experiments and creates music that lands far away from any stereotype. The group does not force a mix of existing genres. Instead, the resulting sound feels natural and effortless. Akere makes the music they want to make, or they have to make, or simply, that they make.
Sold Out - $10.99
Since forming at Leeds University in 2007, admiration and favorable comparisons have come thick and fast for Alt-J. Even before the release of their debut single on Loud And Quiet Recording in October of 2011, the band was likened to Wild Beasts, In Rainbows-era Radiohead, The xx and Antony & The Johnsons, four acclaimed acts noticeable by their ability to create the kind of patient, sophisticated, intricate music that Alt-J hangs their hat on. However, so much of the band’s sound is their own, perhaps because, as guitarist/bassist Gwil Sainsbury puts it, “we never had any ambitions at all.” From Joe Newman's (guitar/vocals) high soul cry and Thom Green's (drums) refusal to drum with cymbals, to the sparse guitars and Gus Unger-Hamilton's (keyboards) delicate key clunks, a neat sound-bite for Alt-J’s music is yet to be coined, and perhaps never will be. And by challenging what constitutes folk, hip hop, indie and pop music, the band quickly found themselves in the studio at the beginning of 2012, recording their debut album for Infectious Music with long-time producer Charlie Andrew (Micachu & The Shapes, Eugene McGuinness). The result is An Awesome Wave, a debut album which further explores Alt-J's varied soundscapes and percussive, experimental grooves, but it’s also a record that isn’t as stringently leftfield as some might be expecting. Veering wildly from psychedelic avant pop to skeletal folktronica, the album promises to trade in understated beauty one minute and epic oddities the next, just as you’d expect from a debut album that tackles everything from love to bullfighting to the heroic life of 1930s war photographer Gerda Taro, crushed by a tank on the frontline. Other tracks are inspired by cinema, including "Matilda" (about Natalie Portman’s character in Luc Besson’s Leon) and the Good The Bad And The Ugly referencing "Tessellate"; others seem to have come to the band as unexpectedly as they come to us, sounding like great experimental pop acts we already know.
This Is All Yours is the highly anticipated sophomore album from English rock act Alt-J now comprised of a trio featuring Joe Newman (guitar/vocals), Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) and Thom Green (drums). They released their debut album, An Awesome Wave to critical acclaim in June 2012. The New York Times called the band’s sound “a handsome alloy of dry acoustic timbre and reverberant effect, suggesting a very British convergence of texture-minded electronic music and psychedelic folk.”