Mr. Odd Nerd - Origins

If there's an origin story for Mr. Odd Nerd to be found on his Origins EP, perhaps it'd be in "Death is the Birth," when he says, "My inception was a demented mad scientific invention/ Time machine engine turned my ape skin to remnants/ Half-snake placentile giant and intelligent/ The speed of life and fourth dimension left me with the reptiles/ Prehistoric killing hordes of organisms/ Lord of rhythm lifting scorching awnings petting ancient kittens/ I mean felines, get your fucking spine realigned/ Waiting for the day to blow up the lab that ruined my life." In addition, Mr. Odd Nerd is a visual artist and rapper from Bellmore. You can see more of his work here and get some handmade art along with the EP here.


Clarity & Buddy Holly Flight Simulator - Hot Wire Heart

If you've ever grown tired of programmed beat patterns and their live-drummed alternatives and wondered what it might sound like for an MC to rhyme over instrumentals that aren't necessarily immediately identifiable as belonging to one genre or another, well, there are actually plenty of examples of that out there, but, without knocking any of those, this one sounds like it wasn't forced into existence as much as it was called up out of it. There's syncopation and groove and reverence for psychedelics, yes, but not necessarily an indebtedness to that milieu, or any other, for one gets the sense that any bill of service rendered, psychological or otherwise, has now been settled in full. By all means, name your price though.


Look for the new EP by URBVN ARCHITECTS NYC dropping later this week.


Rakim Does Dubstep w/ Busta Rhymes & The Lox

Seven thoughts to end Rakim Week IV:

1) Ahhhhhh 2011;

2) Rakim has a Soundcloud, weird;

3) Holy shit, a behind-the-scenes;

4) A three-song live set;

5) And a pretty cool hat;

6) The non-dubstep version though;

7) Busta's definitely paying homage here with his flow and lyrics, a clear nod to "Microphone Fiend."

The Greatest Day In Hip-Hop History

Photo by Gordon Parks, September 29, 1998. XXL # 7. Rakim at 6:00.

"A Great Day In Hip Hop" directed by Nelson George, 1998.


Rakim's Soundtrack Work

Rakim's music, both as a solo artist and with Eric B., has appeared on countless film and video-game soundtracks. Above, however, are the songs he did specifically for particular soundtracks, meaning they might have ended up elsewhere later on, but they originally appeared on the soundtrack release, and in some cases were written specifically for the film or video-game to which the soundtrack was attached . Each song has a history unto itself, some more obscure than others. For example, everybody knows Eric B. & Rakim's era-defining hit, "Juice (Know the Ledge)," from the film of the same title, but what about "Take the Train," a kind of trip-hop collaboration with musician Danny Saber, which appeared on the Rugrats Movie Soundtrack?! Saber, interestingly enough, was a member of the group, Black Grape, which also featured personnel from the famous Madchester rock outfit, Happy Mondays. Also worth noting, "R.A.K.I.M.," from the 8-Mile soundtrack, was one of the few songs Rakim released while signed with Aftermath; and "Getting Up Anthem," though produced by Bronx producer Charlemagne, appeared on the soundtrack of a video-game scored by RJD2 and the RZA, which begs the question, how haven't I heard this.

As always, let me know if I missed anything.


Eric B. & Rakim - B-Sides, Rarities & Remixes (Vol. 4)

It's been going on nine years since The Seventh Seal, and it was another 10 between that and The Master, so maybe it's fitting that it took Hip Hop Is Read seven years to compile the fourth installment in their Eric B. & Rakim B-Sides, Rarities & Remixes series. We covered the first three back in 2015, during Long Island Rap's first annual Rakim Week. At that time, it had already been six years since HHIR dropped Volume Three, so I guess I assumed it was over and never checked back. Lo and behold, it appears the very next year they picked up where they left off. Many of these tracks have already been posted here, but now you can get them all in one place. Fingers crossed for Volume Five...


DJ Eclipse & Brian Coleman - "Paid In Full 30th Anniversary InterroMix" - Do The Knowledge Vol. 1

DJ Eclipse was the longtime host of the Halftime Show on WNYU 89.1, a kind of de facto successor to the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show on WKCR 89.9. He was also 1/4 of Non Phixion.

Brian Coleman is the author of Rakim Told Me and Check The Technique Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, a hip-hop historian of the highest order, and a big inspiration of mine.

Here, Eclipse blends the Rakim interview Coleman conducted for his first two books, with the songs and sample sources discussed in that interview to create an innovative mix celebrating the 30th anniversary of Eric B. & Rakim's classic 1987 debut, Paid In Full.


Rakim, R.A. the Rugged Man, and ... Rammstein!?

And now for something completely different ... something ... Ra-diculous if you will. The image you see here is of Rakim speaking with none other than Richard Kruspe, the guitarist of Rammstein.

If you don't know who Rammstein is, they're an industrial metal band from Germany that landed a big hit in the U.S. in 1997 with their song "Du Hast." They're also known for having a wild stage show featuring all manner of dangerous pyrotechnics. So, as you might imagine, the pairing of Kruspe and Rakim is an odd one to say the least. The man who made it happen was Aleks de Carvalho, owner of No Mystery Studios. Presumably sometime around 2011, de Carvalho brought together Rakim, Kruspe, singer Shontelle, and fellow L.I. rapper R.A. the Rugged Man for a track called "The Time Is Now."

In fact, someone apparently had the idea to film the studio sessions and use the footage to put together a trailer for something called "TWO WORLDS," which "seeks to capture the moment when artists from vastly diverse musical genres and, as importantly, contrasting life experiences join together to develop and record an original work that bridges all differences they confront," according to the YouTube description. TWO WORLDS never really materialized, as far as I can tell, but the trailer still lives on YouTube, and it's from there that the screen cap above was taken. To be precise, this the moment when Kraspe tells Rakim, "The interesting part of the song is that it's based on a real story, which is the first cannibalism in Germany ... he was eating the penis of the other guy." Ra-diculolous indeed! The trailer, the music video, and an in-studio conversation between R.A. and Rakim stream below.