8/1/21

KMD-MF DOOM Way Street Dedication Ceremony

Yesterday, July 31, 2021, the KMD-MF DOOM Way Street Dedication Ceremony was held at the corner of Hudson Street and Riverside Boulevard in Long Beach, NY. 

Below are some phone-video recordings from the event, including heartfelt remarks and recollections from KMD member Onyx the Birthstone Kid, DOOM and Subroc's sister, Thenjiwe Dumile, and their cousin, Working Families Party National Director Maurice Moe Mitchell. 

This was a truly beautiful ceremony thanks to the KMD-MF Doom Way Committee, its leader, Dr. Patrick Graham, the Get Yours Posse, the City of Long Beach, NY, all the speakers (not featured below: DOOM and Subroc's aunt, members of the committee, and several public officials including NY State Senator Todd Kaminsky), and everyone in attendance.

7/5/21

Blaq Kush - Ghosts of Jazz Musicians

On record, Blaq Kush spits raps of/for cyphers; that is, rhymes that are both inherently inspired by those who came prior and purposefully unlike any others. Bars pulled from a collective space tend to flip out of thin air. 

If DOOM and Sean Price are the two late, great MCs who most readily embody that tradition, Blaq Kush and his Urbvn Architects cohorts (Josh Alias and Yung K) are three living upcomers most eagerly pushing it forward. 

Ghosts of Jazz Musicians makes that case as well as if not better than anything they’ve released to date, be it individually or as a group. (Which is not to say it’s their best album; that’s a different, arguably pointless discussion.) Voices of hip-hop immemorial flow among beats and choruses. Verses build on one another then mutate like ethereal mists.

“Blaq Kush News” closes with a standalone eight that updates the Rambo franchise’s premise for post-2020/21 headlines. The beats for this and four more of the project’s eight songs are provided by kckflip, whose loops are like chalky outlines – stretched just beyond corporeal, their significance unmistakable whether or not their sources identifiable. As such, they so lend themselves to the EP’s themes they could’ve inspired its title.
 
Another standout, “Suit Case // War Machine” (prod. by Lim0) has Blaq Kush rapping “Cultivate cilantro, journal written off fronto / I’m gone though, the dime rolled hitting like Joe DiMaggio / Signs show your mind’s slow, vacation no Cabo / Imagining with your eyes closed, place where I find flows.” If nothing else, this is what I’m talking about. Stream/download Ghosts of Jazz Musicians below and hit Blaq Kush’s Linktree for all types of ill shit.

6/24/21

EPMD Freestyle on WBLS Circa 1989

If you enjoyed the Def Squad Freestyles compilation posted here in 2019, or the EPMD remixes compilation posted here in 2014, this freestyle is going to really get you going. If you're unfamiliar with those, dig in because Erick and Parish are pillars of this whole structure. Here, they perform "Get the Bozack" off Unfinished Business, but with a completely different beat that sounds like something Marley Marl or DJ Scratch could've been cooking up right there on air. Trying to find the full episode from which this was taken, I stumbled on an August 1989 recording, which also featured DMC, but I don't think that's it. At any rate, you now have three links in addition to freestyle I came here to post, so I'm going to go watch Star Trek.

Billypalmtrees - S.W.A.A.M.P.

Earlier today I was saying one of the best pleasures in life is having a dream so funny you wake up hysterically laughing. That happened to me this morning. It's super-rare, which makes it all the more appreciable, like a Billypalmtrees release. Last heard from with 2018's Delorean, Billy's back with S.W.A.A.M.P. — i.e., Society Won't Always Accept My Personality — a sentiment I feel often and six songs to bring it out in any of us. In case you were wondering, in the dream the Hardy Boyz had returned to win the WWF tagteam championship, but they were dead. Jeff Hardy was just a tombstone with an arm reaching up from the grave; Matt wasn't present. I haven't watched wrestling in years.

Chilo - "Unleash the Beast"

 

Anything I write here will only get in the way of the 100 bar onslaught Chilo must be referring to in the title. Get devoured by it.

6/12/21

Kai Fortyfive Live in Brooklyn Friday, July 9

Kai Fortyfive, the rapper/producer behind Long Island Rap Records' latest release, performs live at The Living Gallery in Brooklyn (1094 Broadway) Friday, July 9. Also in the house will be Kai's Lowcaste LXRD$ ensemble. Tickets are $8 in advance via Eventbrite or $12 at the door. Merch will be sold at the show, including the newly released SLUGSMOKE & MIRRORS cassettes. Speaking of which, these arrived from the plant looking and sounding lovely. Check them out and order yours via the Long Island Rap Records Store or Long Island Rap Bandcamp.



6/5/21

Cassandra the Goddess MC - "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" / "Flows"

Even NYC by way of Detroit by way of Hempstead is, for this site's purposes, Long Island hip-hop, especially when you black out right from the jump like Cassandra the Goddess MC does with the first verse on her new album, Cobra

The video for "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" and "Flows" offers a solid example of the D-Block affiliated songstress's double-entendre Cassandra style, i.e., bars of death/depth. Speaking of the latter, check this Linktree!

FlareScouts - P.O.O.R. Tapes VOL. 1

It's been five years (!) since I've seen the name FlareScouts pop up on my radar. How it did that again, I'll save for another post, but the important thing is that it got me Googling, which put their November 2020 release P.O.O.R. Tapes VOL. 1 in my sights and then ears. Whether or not you've caught their previous work, the first notes of P.O.O.R. Tapes opener "We Seen" lets on you're in for some different shit. Alternative-alternative hip-hop, like that subgenre but better dressed, the tape (un)incorporates a little of this and a little of that, as FlareScouts do, like Lakeview being in both West Hempstead and Rockville Centre but also its own place.

5/31/21

Brothers of the Mind - 1992-1996

There are a ton of '90s rap acts that released killer singles but never dropped an album. NYC duo Brothers of the Mind just might be the quintessential '90s rap act that never dropped an album. Consider their names. Brothers of the Mind consisted of DJ Krazy Kraz and MC Lyrical Freestyle. I rest my case. 

That being said, their music, while very much of its era, also holds up exceedingly well today and not only because '90s rap has come back into vogue. Krazy Kraz and Lyrical Freestyle were clearly skilled in their craft, which would explain why, according to Kraz, in April 1992, renowned DJ, engineer and producer Pal Joey judged them best out of 85 acts he auditioned for a deal. 

The group released two singles, both produced by Pal Joey and recorded in his Astoria studio, The Temple. However, apparently they did a lot more songs with Joey than that, as, in 2010, his Foot Stompin Records issued a compilation of 15 Brothers of Mind tracks Pal Joey produced between 1992 and 1996. In addition to showcasing the unsung talents of both Krazy Kraz and Lyrical Freestyle, the project demonstrates that Pal Joey clearly knew his way around a rap tune. It's likely Kraz also had a hand in the production, as he worked as an assistant engineer and co-producer with Joey during the time these songs were recorded (you can also hear Kraz scratching on a bunch of instrumental 12 inches Joey dropped in this period). Regardless of who did what on which beat, it seems the project was very much Pal Joey's baby since he still put it out 14 years after the fact. Eleven years since then, it's my pleasure to share it here with you.

5/19/21

A Mentally Ill Crack in Time


Five months have passed since we got the news that DOOM was gone, and it still doesn't sit well. I've signed the petition to have his old block renamed KMD-MF DOOM Way (or maybe just Dumile Way if Long Beach City Council hasn't the stomach for that?), and I'm digging the photos KMD member Onyx the Birthstone Kid has been posting to Instagram, but somehow none of this feels right, as if the whole story hasn't been told yet. I don't mean the story of his death — his family has every right to keep that private — but rather that of his life and its work and impact. I will say, though, that Conor Herbert's Shades of Tomorrow series for Central Sauce, which I've only now just seen, does a wonderful job illuminating the beginnings of all that by connecting various threads. 

One mystery in particular, which I'd all but completely forgotten, revolves around the fate of the fabled third KMD album. At one point, DOOM talked about a KMD album called Mental Illness or Mentally Ill, which would've dealt with the dark period in his life following the death of Subroc. Later on he teased the release of an album called Crack In Time. Was either ever completed? Were they one and the same? Maybe someday these mysteries will be solved. Maybe it's better they're not. Make of all this what you will. At any rate, here are three loose joints credited to KMD, none of which appear on Mr. Hood or Black Bastards, each as brilliant as the last.