Big Breakfast - "Magnolia"

"Your favorite blog maybe not gonna cover it / But this shit Long Island Rap arc of the covenant." Aw, you shouldn't have. "Catch the kid getting fresh like a peppermint / The only white LI rapper you should be messing with." Shots fired! Also, nah but go ahead. "When I'm in Mastic Beach I'm like the president / You should get my ass impeached like the president / I'm getting cash at least like the president / But I don't have to scam or cheat or embezzle it." 👾


Artists Needed for Prisoners Human Rights March

Stephen Figurasmith, of Valley Stream, is a local volunteer representative of the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington, taking place August 19. He writes, "I'm looking for artists, musicians, and writers who are passionate about the fight against police violence, modern day slavery, and the prison-industrial complex ... we need artists who are willing to help get the word out to people and make sure Long Island is represented in D.C."

If that's you, visit the iamWe Prison Advocacy Network website and Long Island Joins Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March Facebook group, email Mr. Figurasmith at sfigurasmith at gmail dot com and sign up to perform at the march. [Note: Figurasmith has not directly addressed inquiries into whether or not he's a Russian operative, so click above at your own risk and resist on your own terms.]


TrueFreedom x Grandmilly - Voodoo

Word on the Tweet is that Grandmilly and frequent collaborator Shozae have signed to a certain record label that rhymes with thrones stow. So if you don't already know, you'll soon know all about Grandmilly the rapper. But what about Grandmilly the producer? Well, here's a little-heard collabo he did with the truths speakers from The TF Society. Stop sleeping.


Hus Kingpin - Cocaine Beach

"The vibe on this project is flat out what you see on the cover yo...the soundscapes of that 80s crack epidemic. Dirty Money. Reaganomics...dookie ropes n medallions the size of small rodents...Dapper Dan suits...Lamborghini Countaches n Ferrari Testarossas...Miami Vice...Chicks rockin aerobic shit wit colorful thong leotards on top of spandex leggings...Headbands... Let the music carry you away to that time...to a place called Cocaine Beach."
Only in America can a man establish himself as a Ghostface-aping rap reviewer and parlay that reputation into a critically acclaimed run as a rap producer. Download Cocaine Beach here.


Pozy One - "Train to Heaven" / "One of Those Days"

Pozy is not the best rapper on Long Island, but he's definitely one of the most consistently creative and courageous. The kid is constantly pushing the envelope, and it's one he stuffed and sealed by his own damn self, which is something you have to respect. Here are two new visuals from the Pozy One, with an assist from Rob-O on the first.

Siege Spitfire - "Practice"

"Not cocky, a little bit, little inconsiderate / I could read minds, they illiterate / I don't got time to remind my illegitimate children when I rhyme that I'm killing it."

If this is "Practice" for Sage Spitfire, then you can imagine what game time is like.

As you can tell from the cover art, "Practice" comes from The Kindling EP, which I believe dropped back in 2012 or so. For something more current, check out 2015's Triangle Overnight EP.


LongIslandRap.Comp Volume 3

"You really was going off the sound of the record. Straight skills. Once it started getting more publicized and hip-hop started being more of a money-making thing, then you get these corporate ideas where you wanna put what it looks like to sell what it sounds like..."
-Daniel Dumile

Download LongIslandRap.Comp Volume 3 via Dropbox or MediaFire. Support the artists.

Prodigy - "Don't Be A Follower" from Black and White - The Soundtrack released on Loud Records; Kasper Dangers - "Hell's Winter" from It's Raining Outside; Theravada - "Bombs In Manhattan" unreleased; DJ Pr!nce - "KRK" from Chop Fui; Big Breakfast - "Sade Joint" from SPORTS PLUS; Josh Alias - "Bass Drop Til I Say Stop" unreleased; Oscar O'Malley - "Vitality Stone" from Orange Starburst Baboon an da First Offense Vol. 1; Eternal Intellect - "Power Up" unreleased; Mido - "Melancholy High" unreleased; QS - "Omw in 5" unreleased; Quis Christ - "Free Sons" from upcoming album; Uncle John - "Mary Poppins Wasn't My Babysitter" from Guns, Drugs & Love; Monsta Island Czars (Megalon, Egyptian Queen, King Cesar, Spiega, Loch Ness, Kong) - "DIE (Organik Poisons Remix)" unreleased; Eric B. & Rakim - "In The Ghetto (Drums Mix) from In The Ghetto VLS released on MCA Records; James Bomb - "Trapped Music" released on The SpitSlam Record Label Group; June - "2k17"/"What's Good" unreleased; Marlo DeMore - "Mangos" ft. Buddy Lofton (prod. by BMC Beats) unreleased; Versive - "Endless" from The Demonstration EP; BONUS CUT: AZOMALI & DJ Surrup - "Burmese Ruby (Slowed & Throwed Mix)" from LongIslandRap.Comp V2.SL0W.

Special thanks to all the artists who submitted songs for this compilation.


Uncle John - Lyrical Assassin 2

"I does what I does, I do what I do, aint nothing more / I changed my name from Sky Walker 'cause I went with the force / Now I'm Uncle John..." And with that, the artist formerly known as Sky Walker stakes out new territory with a familial name, a renewed focus and the re-energized bars to go along with it. Lyrical Assassin 2 may be the titular follow up to the last Sky Walker tape, but it's also one of six projects that he's dropped since changing his name last year. A recent signee to Cashius Green's Promisd Land Records, Uncle John has already churned out a mixtape (this one) and an EP (Belly of the Beast) for the label and is now working on an album, so look out for that as well.


TDK Presents Gas Drawls: The Birth of DOOM

Listening to Black Bastards and Operation Doomsday back to back, the contrast in sounds and moods is so stark, it's almost hard to believe they're born of the same mind. Almost. I've found that the more you listen to Daniel Dumile's late Zev Love X recordings and early MF DOOM tracks, the more similarities you uncover. Tragedy turned Love to DOOM, no doubt, but in retrospect, certain lines from either persona seem to indicate that the transition between the two was more seamless than history would have us believe. British DJ Tape Deck King (TDK) shows just how fluid the transformation really is in a musical sense, by compiling a mix of late-Love and early-Doom recordings, including some very dope demos and 12" versions of songs that later ended up on Operation Doomsday. For greater context, listen while reading the pieces linked below.

"International God of Mystery: An M.F.'n Look Back With M.F. Doom" by Noah Callahan-Bever
ego trip #12, 1998
"The Mask of Doom" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The New Yorker, September 21, 2009
"MF Doom: My Adventures Shooting the Supervillain..." by Adam Bhala Lough
The Daily Swarm, October 31, 2012
"KMD's Black Bastards and the Birth of MF Doom" by Brian Coleman
Check the Technique Volume 2, 2014


Subscribe to Long Island Rap News

The first issue of Long Island Rap News has been sent. Signed up yet?

The inaugural edition includes links to download LongIslandRap.Comp V1 and V2, a call for V3 submissions, 10 Soundcloud highlights from the past week or so, and listings for a few upcoming shows.

If you didn't get the newsletter, check it out here. If you like what you see and want to get future issues, subscribe here. It's free and ad-less.



Jaylyn "jFire" Jackson moved with his family from Bowling Green, Kentucky, to East Meadow in February 2016. Specifically, he resides in an area called Mitchel Manor, which he says is "specified for members of the military," like his mom. He also says, "I try to really have meaning with my music, and I hope my listeners get a special feeling when listening to it." My feeling is that the kid is nice with his, and this song he sent us, "RECOGNIZE," is aptly titled, because that's what one ought to do after listening.

Look for the Fire and Ice EP by jFire and producer YearLong, currently in the works.


LL Cool J - Live in Philadelphia (1984/86)

Couldn't let this site go a full three years without a single LL Cool J post, so here go some oldies. You probably don't care but there are date discrepancies about both of these. The first recording streaming below, a live freestyle at the After Midnight club, which was played on Philadelphia radio in the mid-80s, has been dated 1985 (and that may in fact be when it was played), but thanks to an appearance by LL Cool J on the Philly TV show "Beats & Rhymes," hosted by Brian Dennis, we know that the freestyle was actually recorded in 1984 and later edited for radio. The second recording below is of LL and DJ Cut Creator performing "Rock the Bells" live in Philadelphia (possibly somewhere called Lan) in 1986. I'm saying it's 1986, even though the internet says 1987, because LL says in the recording that he's celebrating his 18th birthday that night. LL was born on January 14, 1968, so this would have to be January 14, 1986. If you're keeping score, that means he was only 16 during the first recording. What did you sound like at 16?


Eternal Intellect - Grey Skies

Learning is fun! And we can all stand to learn a thing or two from Eternal Intellect. Passive listeners beware, though: this is not dumb-out music, not by any stretch. Zone-out? Definitely. But sleepy heads need not apply. If, however, you dig tunes that don't just reward repeated enjoyment but hit so hard they wear out the rewind key to the point that each song is extended by default, then soak this up.

the pure - present

Here's another impressive project from the 456 Movement, the same clique that had us drinking Kmplx Vzn's "Kool Aid." This one, though, is by a rapper called the pure. It was he who actually put me onto Kmplx Vzn in the first place, but make no mistake; this is a totally different sound. Across seven tracks, present flirts with jazz, house, trap and pop styles, but keeps the vibe fresh, airy and kinetic throughout. In the words of Big Pun, "What you wanna do? You wanna wile up? You wanna dance?" Well, with this, you can do both.


R.A. The Rugged Man - Stretch & Bobbito Freestyles

R.A. The Rugged Man appeared on the Stretch & Bobbito Show at least three times by my count: May 20, 1993; October 20, 1994; and March 20, 1997 (dates from playlists on Stretch & Bobbito blog.)

As funny as the freestyles are, the on-air banter is equally hilarious, like in '97 when R.A. discussed living with brother-in-law One-Eyed Jake, or in '94 when he (successfully?) propositioned a woman in the studio before leaving.

Stream the '97 & '94 freestyles below. Download all three appearances here.


K-9 Posse - "This Beat Is Military"

In memory of the late Charlie Murphy, here is the video he appeared in for his half-brother Vernon "Vas" Lynch's rap group, K-9 Posse. Murphy was credited as executive producer on both of their studio albums.

Oxygen on Rare Groove Revolution (2005)

If you've ever channel surfed in NY at 2AM, you've probably seen DJ Soulero's Rare Groove Revolution. What you might not realize is that Soulero is a Long Island local hailing from South Hempstead. If you haven't seen it, the premise is simple; Soulero talks about and plays rare groove records. Sometimes he's joined by a guest. Once in 2005, that guest was none other than Oxygen, who played a number of rare Long Island funk LPs. Dig.


DJ Surrup - SURRADIO Episodes 1-3

DJ Surrup is best known for his slowed and throwed remix albums, but his full-tempo'ed mixes are often just as impressive, and yes, some of that is due to his cutting prowess, but it's the more essential sequencing and blending skills that really stand out, at least to my ears. The Barcelona Brazy mix series was an excellent showcase of that, as well as his eclectic tastes, another selector necessity. Those mixes have all but disappeared from the internet, but over the past month, Surrup has poured out three installments of SURRADIO, "a mixshow that may include guest mixes from other DJs, newly submitted tracks from indie artists on the rise and of course, screw music," he writes. "Genres will be diverse so have an open mind."


Brothers G.R.Y.M. - Ghetto Repaired Young Minds

JVC Force, Horror City, DJ Stitches, The Chosen Few, Too Poetic, and now this; it's getting to the point where the only Brits I can think of who've done more for Long Island hip-hop than Chopped Herring Records head fisherman Bob Liptich are the chaps from Coldcut.

Long story short: Brothers G.R.Y.M. was a group comprised of three brothers: a pre-Gravediggaz Poetic aka Grym Reaper, producer E# aka Goalfingaz, and Brainstorm (who was on LongIslandRap.Comp V2).

Read the long version here, preview the EP below and get your pre-order in here (ships mid-May).

Moose Raja - "Chasing the Clouds" / "Card Games"

Moose Raja embodies what this website is all about for two reasons: 1) He's lived in multiple LI neighborhoods (Valley Stream, Westbury, and currently East Meadow); and 2) having done so, he strives to "actively depict the diversity and creativity that flows on the island," as he put it to me. His last project, As A Kid, dealt with his time growing up in Westbury, and while that story is surely one many can relate to, Moose tells it with a style all his own. Download here and stream below.


Cryptic One - The World According 2

Cryptic One stays busy. When he's not dropping a new beat and accompanying video every goddamn day, he's churning out chunes with fellow Atoms Family kinsman Alaska as IT, digging out Vordul Mega's Verses From a Vault, curating his own greatest hits compilation, or most recently, dropping EPs from his scheduled-four-part World According series.

The first, World According..., came out in September. The second, the aptly titled World According 2, arrived Friday. Stream the video for track one below and click "hear more" for the rest.


Grandmilly - "The World Is Yours" / "The Da Vinci Code"

Two new joints from Grandmilly and Shozae, neither of which appear on their forthcoming album, Adventureland, which is coming soon and possibly available on cassette if you make the effort.


Rozewood - The Ghxst In The Mirror

Rozewood continues pushing his sound a darker, deeper, deconstructed direction, with The Ghost In The Mirror, a moody musing on death and destruction that's being pushed as "the prequel to Channel 13."

The full 12-track digital album is available for purchase. A four-song preview streams below, like smoke from the creepy cover art.      


Quis Christ - "Menace"

Quis Christ is a rapper out of Roosevelt who dropped his debut EP, Son..., at the top of the year (1/10/17 to be exact). This isn't on there, but it bangs.


Public Enemy - "Bring the Noise" (Todd Terry Mix)

This unreleased PE remix comes to us from Umberto Lampanosa's YouTube channel, a trove of exclusive acetate rips like this one. A closer look at the label shows us that this acetate was pressed May 27, 1988 (52788) by Dick Charles Recording Inc.


Knowledge the Pirate - Buried Treasury

"While Trump tweeting quotes from Mussolini / Shit I'm trying to raise my Kundalini." Those lines, juxtaposing fascism and Dharma, have won Knowledge the Pirate some well-earned praise since Rosebudd's Revenge dropped. His "No Smoke" verse, clearly a show stopper, is in point of fact just the latest in a string of solid contributions to Roc Marciano projects, following "Didn't Know" and "Drug Lords" from Marci Beaucoup; "Slingers," "Shower Posse," and "Ten Toes Down" from Pimpire Strikes Back; and "Not Told" from Reloaded. Add on the non-album cut "Her Vice" and the Ricky Dubs feature "Shot A Man," and you've got a nice playlist of Marciano-Pirate collabos.

Nice indeed, but these hardly represent the complete discography of Knowledge the Pirate aka Knowledge, an MC whose work dates back to the mid-'90s. Knowledge previously shed light on his history via a 2013 interview with the Village Voice, in which he discussed early come-ups via big-name affiliations such as Teddy Riley, The Neptunes and Will Smith. (The picture above was taken on the set of Men In Black, according to Knowledge's IG.) Though it provides a decent overview of Knowledge's first forays into the recording industry, the story fails to mention any of his early recordings by name.

With the recent news that a video for "No Smoke" is on the way (preview it here), I figured now's a good time to dig and see which rare Pirate jewels we might unearth. Using a few of the names mentioned in the VV interview, I combed Discogs and YouTube for previously unheard Knowledge the Pirate songs and came up with six tracks, including one solo cut and five guest features, which I compiled into the playlist streaming below. While you listen, note that the earliest of these tunes dates all the way back to 1994, making Knowledge's debut as much as three years older than "The Prophecy," Marciano's first appearance on wax.

1. Knowledge The Pirate - Am I The Blame (CD Baby single, 2010)
2. Mike E - Before We Get Too Close ft. Knowledge the Pirate & Queen Pen (Master Plan, 2000)
3. Nutta Butta - Freak Out Remix ft. B.B.O., Knowledge the Pirate & Teddy Riley (12", 1998)
4. Big Mike, Biggie Smalls, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Buckshot, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, Heltah Skeltah, Ill Al Skratch, Jamal, Knowledge*, Menace Clan, Redman - The Point (Panther, 1995)
5. Blackstreet - U Blow My Mind ft. Knowledge (Blackstreet, 1994)
6. Blackstreet - Baby Be Mine ft. Knowledge (Blackstreet, 1994)

*Knowledge may not actually be on "The Point." A rapper with that name is listed in the credits linked above, but it's hard to pick his voice out here, and there's always the off-chance that this credit actually belongs to a gospel MC who goes by the same name and has been incorrectly lumped in with Knowledge the Pirate on Discogs. If Knowledge the Pirate contributed something to this song, it may have been writing or background vocals. If he didn't, the song's still worth your time. And if you can clear any of this up, please comment below.

Kmplx Vzn - "Optimist (Kool Aid)"

Would you rather be confused or contented? Your answer says a lot. For those who enjoy the challenge of figuring things out, focus your attention on Kmplx Vzn, the Huntington Station MC at the forefront of the 456 Movement. His 2016 debut, Silken Web, recalls at least one time-honored LI hip-hop tradition, the skit. Don't get it twisted, though; Kmplx Vzn sees things his own way. See for yourself.


DJ Pr!nce - American Beauty Mix

Not entirely sure what this is but a new mix from DJ Pr!nce is always welcome. The Original Selector aka Roach Killa aka WiFi OG aka Steven A. Spliff has been getting around a lot lately, so American Beauty is probably a reference to the NYC club of that name.

As a matter of fact, if you're not already in for the evening, you might could catch DJ Pr!nce spinning some Brazilian Samba, Afro Funk, Soul and Disco at Ode to Babel, 772 Dean St. in BK. Bump this on the way.

De La Soul Live from London

Do you have a Tidal? (Tidal!)

De La Soul, they have a Tidal. (Tidal!)

and the Anonymous Nobody, he has a Tidal. (Tidal!)

Well, if you do have a Tidal (Tidal!), then you can stream De La Soul's upcoming London concert at the Roundhouse, this Friday at 4 p.m. Those who've seen De La Soul in concert know their live show's one of hip-hop's best, the result of decades of practice. For some perspective, revisit De La Soul live in Philly circa 1989, and below check out a G.O.O.D. Music party cipher from 2008 featuring De La along with Will I Am, Mos Def, Nas and Kanye West.


ALLAN - "DK" (prod. by Manny McPlanes)

ALLAN of TrueFreedom flew through to drop off a new video directed by the inimitable Kenneth Callier for a track produced by Freeport's Manny McPlanes.

"With (Self-entitled Bullshit) dropping tomorrow it only seemed fitting," he writes.

This one was filmed guerrilla style on location at the parking garage of The Source Mall in Westbury during the early morning hours, presumably to get those sweet 360 shots with nary a vehicle in sight.

D.A. The Future - Da Illa Tape

J. Dilla was born and died in the month of February. Thus, every year around this time, hip-hop becomes even more saturated with JD tributes than usual. (Don't act like half the beatmakers out right now aren't essentially Dilla tribute acts to begin with.) One project, however, that actually feels like a fitting homage comes from Amitvyille's own D.A. The Future, who manages to honor the frameworks of Dilla's original compositions without sacrificing the spontaneity that made his music so magical. Stream above and download here.


Midnite Society - "ReddWithTheOx"

"ReddWithTheOx" is the tentative title of this second leak off Midnite Society's upcoming project, The Morning Can Wait  (following "Butterfly Dreams," which we posted last October), It's also the name of one of the three MCs on this track, the others being Petey Max and ShoDaFloMan (aka Shozae, who delivers the 1st verse; Redd's on the hook and P.E.T.E. has the 2nd verse). Can't wait for The Morning? Well, you're going to have to. Producer of this track, Shozae says, "We working on that album right now. We got some ill shit coming." So just sit tight.


Black Teenager - The "Death Boy" Tape

This is Black Teenager. Black Teenager is from Brownsville, not LI, but he goes/went to SUNY Farmingdale and is/was at least loosely affiliated with the RADICAL$ crew, which is how I was introduced to his music.

Black Teenager has a new album out on Soundcloud and iTunes, called The "Death Boy" Tape, which has a macabre audio-aesthetic concept I won't give away, but dig the early procession progression.

Stream below. Download here.

Roc Marciano - Rosebudd's Revenge Part 1 (LP OUT!)

The wait is over. Rosebudd's Revenge, the fourth official album by Roc Marciano, is out now via rocmarci.com, having arrived in the dead of night like a streetwalker.

There are 15 songs, 7 produced by Roc himself, 5 by a member of the Arch Druids production duo.

Portions of tracks 2, 1 and 13 are collected in the video below titled Rosebudd's Revenge Part 1, which dropped last night along with the album. These are produced by Don C[halant], George "Mushroom Jesus" Paulin and Roc Marci, respectively.

Get that money.


JVC Force, Mikey D, T-Money - WBAU Promo (1988/9)

This. Is. IN-SANE. Mikey D, then of L.A. Posse, later of Main Source; B-Luv and AJ Rok of JVC Force; and T-Money of Original Concept in the background. Ever wanted to hear what B-Luv's verse from "Force Field" or AJ's verse from "Tear the Show Up" would sound like acappella? Now you know, thanks to Oxygen, who taped this and held on to it for damn near 20 years, and DJ Wildman Steve, who posted it to Soundcloud. Download here.

AM The Meister - "To The Bank"

Here's a new one from Eight Immortals member AM The Meister, who says, "Since our lives had gotten busier we needed to take a short break from releasing music. Now that things are picking back up again we are constantly working on improving our craft. I am working on a new project set to release sometime in the spring of 2017." The song above, "To The Bank" is taken from that project and produced by AM's Eight Immortals partner Akari (fka Illucid), whose "Bad and Boujee" Remix is also not to be missed.


Theravada - "Speedboat"

Big Breakfast - "Sade Joint" & AMH Show

Big Breakfast will be performing live at Amityville Music Hall, Friday, February 24, with support from Karma Kids and co.

Just a few hours ago, he shined the first light on his next tape, rapping:

"Rappers yapping about the latest Baco's soy beef substitute / Boy what's up with you? / Put the tool to your noodle like a cup of soup / I'm a fool when I doodle with the number two pencil / You just doodle like a number two, mental / But maintain my cucumber cool / Got my hand on my balls like bumper pool."

Bars below...


ADUM⁷ - 光: Let There Be... / ERROARS 3.3: 起死回生

The Freeport-based student of the universe formerly known as MeccaGodZilla and Ryu Black is back with a new moniker and two, yes two, new instrumental albums. Both deal with the loss of loved ones (the first, a death; the second, a breakup), so this marks a very serious turn for the artist now identified as A Dream Universally Manifested to the God Power (ADUM⁷).

Speaking on the first release, ADUM⁷ says, "This album is dedicated to my little brother Daniel "Majesty" Sanchez. From music to activism we worked together for years and he was the roughest loss I have experienced in my entire lifetime. For me when it comes to losing (people), solitude, self reflecting and continuing to create art are so important. These self reflections lead to rediscovery of love and light… and I just want to share that energy as much as possible. The world definitely needs it. Just a reminder of how simple things can be. No drama. Just bliss. It sounds sappy but… this world at times is crazy af and seeking out love vibrations is key to keeping the shine going."

If 光: Let There Be... is a blissful tribute to a fallen friend, ERROARS 3.3: 起死回生 is a painful exorcism of love lost. ADUM⁷ explains: "I remember not eating for 5 days… I literally had to force myself to eat and get sun. I started working out more and meditating but pain truly changed me. The only way I could regain my footing was to start creating. I found a week long crash course online and taught myself how to play chords on piano in order to be fully self expressed with my music production. I didn’t want to simply sample records or lean on listening to previous works find inspiration. Digging for sounds is great don’t get me wrong…but the sounds were all inside of me and I needed to create and hadouken it all 'instantly.' Jeez…speaking about this up until last fall was slightly difficult… I didn’t want to write songs because of where my head was at…instrumentals were the way to go. It was my way to share energy that didn’t violate the choices of my ex you know? Break ups are wild, regardless of why they happen…I didn’t want to go so low frequency to the point I started losing myself…so instrumentals were the better choice. I thank the universe for artists like Björk, Beck and Taku. I leaned on them heavy during this time.”

Stream below courtesy of Manafest Vision Media and show your support by downloading 光: Let There Be... and ERROARS 3.3: 起死回生 via your preferred music service.


Grandmilly & SHOZAE - Advertureland (Grand Opening)

Adventureland, the followup to Grandmilly and Shozae's 2 Stoopid Dogz EP, is slated to open February 10, one week from today. In anticipation of it, the team has dropped a video for the album's opening track, the aptly titled "Adventureland (Grand Opening)." In other news, Milly has been added to the bill for a March 5 show at Amityville Music Hall. Video, album cover, tracklist and show flyer are all below.


Josh Alias - "Casablanca" / "Fortune Off"

Coming from the Floral Park/Elmont area (less than one mile from the current Long Island Rap headquarters actually), Josh Alias is a force to be reckoned with, whether off the top or on the page. Case in point: "When I need that bread financial aids like FASFAs / I've been held back with no captors / Pondering white boys go ghost like Kasper / Like most rappers I grilled and killed, their soul don't know where to go after." Body bag bars ... like if this were Karate Kid, there'd be somebody in the background cackling, "Get him a body bag, yeaaaah!" right about now. Josh Alias' debut project should be out "in 3 months or so depending," according to the MC. Look out for that, as well as the debut project from his collective, which includes Blaq Kush, who's featured on the 2nd video below along with Yung K. That one should be released "in a month or two."

Elucid - Valley Of Grace


Rakim Interviewed by Canibus for The Source

The February 1998 issue of The Source included a cover feature on Rakim titled "Lyrics of Fury: The Sequel," with photography by Chris Buck and an interview by none other than Germaine "Canibus" Williams. The respect was clearly mutual between the two, as in one highlight, Canibus says, "You know, like if another planet is battling Earth, if you say, 'Yo, niggas is battling another planet with alien MCs and this is for the pot of gold. They gonna wipe us out as a species if you can't bring it.' Your name is right there. They gonnna say Rakim." To which Ra replies, "Don't be surprised if they say Canibus." Read the full interview here, via Ghetto.ru, and stream Bus & Ra's 1999 single "I'll Buss 'Em U Punish 'Em" below.


Rakim is Rakim (the Mercenary?) in Gunmen

Apart from soundtrack work and documentary appearances, Rakim's Hollywood film career is limited to a single 1994 film about undercover DEA agents and drug smugglers and mercenaries and I don't know what else. Gunmen stars Christopher Lambert, Mario Van Peebles, Dennis Leary, and Patrick Stewart (!!!!), and also features appearances by Eric B., Big Daddy Kane and Yo! MTV Raps hosts Doctor Dre and Ed Lover. All of them play themselves, but that's not the strangest part. The strangest part is that these iterations of Rakim and Kane are not just rappers, but also some kind of gun-running, puddle-jumping mercs for hire apparently. I'm not sure how that works exactly, but you can see for yourself by streaming the trailer and purchasing the movie below. In case you need any more incentive to do so, (get your head examined and) here's a Washington Post review written by David Mills, who went on to become a TV writer for The Wire among other shows.


DJ Revolution - Rakim Tribute Mix

Pipomixes says this might be the best tribute mix he's ever heard. Coming from him, you know that's official. As it turns out, DJ Revolution, the Wake Up Show resident behind this mix, is actually from Long Island as well.


Rakim's Juan Epstein Interview

Just in case you missed this extensive interview that came out last November, here it is again. Props to Complex for the stream, to Calligrafist Photography for the image, and to me for screening this thing to make sure Rosenberg didn't say anything so herbed it barred inclusion on this site. He came close by referring to The 18th Letter and The Book of Life as separate albums (apparently forgetting the names of The Master and The Seventh Seal?), but Ra either played along or also forgot the names of his solo albums, so whatever. Great interview, definitely worth your time.
Rakim on Juan Epstein ....


Rakim on Soul Train

According to show logs, Rakim appeared on the classic television program Soul Train on three separate occasions, twice with Eric B. and once with Truth Hurts to perform their single "Addictive." Although footage of the latter recording is yet to surface online, we do have tapings of the first two.

The first, episode 11 of season 17, aired November 28, 1987 and was therefore one of Rakim's first TV appearances, if not his actual TV debut. This appearance is also notable for the way host Don Cornelius makes direct reference to Ra's stoicism, which is now known as one of his defining traits. Cornelius goes on to say "...the way that Rakim raps, he has kind of a low pitch that's unusual for me." Though Eric B. was billed back then as the star of the show, it was already clear that Rakim (or Rakeem as Cornelius repeatedly called him) was truly one of a kind.

Eric B. & Rakim made their second Soul Train appearance on episode 24 of season 21, which aired March 21, 1992. By this time, Rakim had clearly established himself as the duo's frontman. Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled for the video of this segment, so click here to see Eric B & Rakim perform "Juice (Know the Ledge)" on Soul Train. A second video from this taping features a performance of "What's On Your Mind." This is embedded below, albeit in lower quality than either of the other two videos.


Behind of the Boards of Coldcut's "Paid In Full" 7 Minutes of Madness Mix

As monumental as the title cut off Eric B. & Rakim's debut album is, the success of this fifth single is owed in large part to the work of British DJ duo Coldcut. With their 7 Minutes of Madness Mix, Jonathan More and Matt Black revolutionized the art of the remix and helped launch Eric B. & Rakim to new heights of international success. (More and Black went on to found Ninja Tune, one of the most pioneering electronic labels in history, but that's another story.) According to a 1997 article from the Chicago Tribune, Coldcut were paid 700 British pounds for their remix. "When he heard it, Eric B described it as `girly disco music,'" says More, "and Rakim said it was the best remix he'd ever heard; I thought both assessments were quite brilliant."

A year after the release of the 7 Minutes of Madness Mix, Coldcut dropped an instrumental version cheekily titled "Not Paid Enough"; likely a reference to the success Eric B. & Rakim achieved as a result of the remix, hindsight always being 20/20. In 1995, Coldcut revisited the journey-into-sound-collage theme of 7 Minutes with their 70 Minutes of Madness Mix, which has often been called "the best DJ mix album of all time." Below, stream Coldcut's behind-the-boards commentary on the sample sources of their 7 Minutes mix, the remix itself, the instrumental version and the aforementioned mix album.


Chilo & B.O.K. - Faces of the Meek and Fearless

Right now, in bars across Long Island, angry men and women are saying foul, ignorant things about their neighbors. Pockets of progressivism do not undo racist undercurrents. Over the past year, our Island has witnessed a significant uptick in incidence of hate speech: KKK flyers on the LIRR , "Make America White Again" graffiti in Mineola, swastikas in bathrooms at Nassau Community College, and more recently, a 20-foot version dug into a Levittown field.

Imagine the passion it must take to do something like that, the dedication. One cannot simply turn the other cheek in the face of such hate. One must confront it head-on with equal passion, dedication and fearlessness.

That is what Chilo brings to every verse of his latest album, Faces of the Meek and Fearless, a call to resist rooted in the social experience of a Long Island Latino poet, set to a soulful soundtrack by B.O.K. with jazzy instrumental accompaniment by Johnny Lynch; a perfect harmony of progressive vision and warrior tradition.

Make no mistake: these are not the typically vague political declarations and bland boom-bap beats of the #conscious rap artist; these are studied observations conveyed via refined rhymes and riddims. This is not "the album that hip-hop needs right now" or some such; there are plenty of gifted MCs out, with insightful stories relevant to the day. However, it just might be the album Long Island needs right now, all genre biases aside. Play it for your parents and your teachers and your friends and your neighbors and the strangers at the bar. Ask questions. Take stances. Speak truths.