Kai Fortyfive - SLUGSMOKE & MIRRORS (LIRR03) Deluxe Edition Cassettes Now Available for Pre-Order

There are few poetic flourishes among SLUGSMOKE & MIRRORS’ breathing details of New York street life, no glitz, glamor, glory, or even grit, just survival or death. In a place where yesterday’s foreign car could be tomorrow’s only home, futures are built on regrets or not at all. With this in mind, Kai Fortyfive speaks plainly and bares souls.

SLUGSMOKE is really just a compilation of stories/memories from not only my life but the lives of my friends,” says the rapper/producer from Elmont, New York. “It was type hard to write this album because mentally I had to go back to a lot of shit I’ve been through. It’s tough to recollect on pain and trauma, but I feel like in order to deliver the album the way I needed to, I had to go back and relive those stories. All in all, this is definitely my most important work I’ve ever done and I’m glad people are in tuned for real.”

Call these criminology bars or worse, reality raps, and severely miss the point. There’s little space here for distinguishing between shadows and ghosts, let alone musical classifications. The rhymes are dope, the beats are hard, and Kai Fortyfive does them all. The only guests are family, Lowcaste LXRD$. The only style the painful truth flickering through fogs of war.

SLUGSMOKE & MIRRORS is Kai Fortyfive’s fourth release and first on cassette. This deluxe edition, limited to just 25 copies, includes the album instrumentals on the-b-side. Tapes are expected to ship in late June 2021. Preview the album below and pre-order now via the LIRR Store (no fees, $ goes direct to LIRR and Kai) or Bandcamp (cards accepted).


NugLife - "Milly Joint" ft. Grandmilly

There's an indefinable yet undeniable quality about Grandmilly's music such that when LA producer NugLife brought together a dank roster of rhymers (including Planet Asia, Rome Streetz and Chuwee among others) for an album aptly titled The Beat Dispensary 2, Milly's joint was simply called ... "Milly Joint." 

My man said, "When the water supply get low and aint no money to blow / And the constables won't respond to any crime outside your door / Controlling stock prices, covering up UFOs / The same ones genetically modifying food that I stole." 

What more can one say?

Midnite Society - "Familiar Stranger"/"Midnite Crypto"

From crypt to crypto, Midnite Society have two new(ish) videos shot by the Diggers — "Familiar Stranger" featuring Dunny Cold Facts and Petey Max and "Midnite Crypto" on which those two are joined by Y2the3rd — both produced by the maestro Shozae.


Akari - danse

Scrolling through Akari's Twitter looking for an image to include in this post, I found a Tweet where he said, "i'll never not be ecstatic about the abundance of amazing music out in the world," and I just want to say in response, fuck yes, and also that his new project, danse, is giving me the same exact feel. An "ode to the dansefloor and the grooves that it provides," danse is the deep house set the whole world needs right now and always. (By the way, the image comes from Akari's set for whoswyLee's sleeopver so check that out too.)

Hus Kingpin - The Threesome Pt. 2: The Art of Sex

Despite the title, The Threesome Pt. 2: The Art of Sex is a prequel in that if The Threesome EP was about having threesomes, Part 2 is more about being so sexy that opportunities to have threesomes present themselves in the first place. To that end, the beats set the mood. A standout, "Date Night" incorporates a film sample into both the beat and the vocals in ways I'm not sure I've ever heard before, which is to say it's as if Hus is fucking with the beat (produced by Chin Beats), the sample and the listener all at once, paying equal attention to each as one does. A foursome then?

Vinyls and hoodies are available via Wavo3000.com.  


Hardcore - We Got It All / The Power of Rhyme

Who is Hardcore? Aside from the rap act with maybe the least googleable name ever, it's hard to say, as Hardcore apparently only released two singles, neither of which lists any writing credits. The closest you'll find to one of those is on the second single (to be covered further in another post), which cites Chris Nicholson and Brian Birthwright as its producers. Brian Birthwright, aka Double B, would later become a member of Resident Alien and is referred to here in the song, "We Got It All," as the DJ. Listen close and you will also catch the name of the group's MC, Cooley High. Whether or not Cooley is Chris Nicholson is unclear. Unfortunately, the name Cooley High is not on the label of either single, and there does not appear to be any other information about him readily available. At any rate, Cooley is almost undoubtedly from around the way as he shouts out "the ville," and both of the singles involved Long Island legends. Case in point: We Got It All / The Power of Rhyme was produced and mixed by none other than Prince Paul.

Notably, this single, released in 1987 on Priority imprint NuBeat Records, actually pre-dates Plug-Tunin', making it possibly Prince Paul's first production credit apart from his work with Stetsasonic. As for the sound of that production, it's certainly more closely identifiable with Paul's work from Stet — heavy basslines, loud snares and a kind of electro feel to it — than with De La. (In fact, at the end of the single Cooley shouts out Stet along with Paul. He also name-drops Rakim for that matter.) The B-Side, "Power of the Rhyme" is similarly straightforward and true to the name Hardcore. Nevertheless, both songs bang in their own right and showcase Prince Paul as a young producer who was more than capable of making a dope record or two. As for Cooley, he sounds here no less capable as a rapper, which only adds further mystery to the question at the start of this post. 

Who is Hardcore? Tough call. But in 1987, at least according to this single, they had it all.


John Jigg$ x BP - "Slang Original"

Filmed at 7th Headquarters with private dances by mood light over bumper pool, "Slang Original" is the latest video off John Jigg$ and BP's new album, The Madness. If any of those elements appeal, stream or download this. If all of them do, politely insist on a physical release as well!


DJ Surrup - Trappin Out Tha Bandwidth VI

Like Alchemist telling Wapo he'd been living under a rock not knowing about Armand Hammer, I couldn't name one of the artists on this choptape, slowed or not. To be fair, we've all been living under our own rocks for the past 12 months, masked up, time stretched, trapped, hearing only what's on our bandwidth, what the algorithm allows.

How long has it been like this? Has it always?

Oh wait, I think that's A$AP Ferg. Yeah, that's him. How's it going!?

{Slowed down lady laugh}

Public Enemy + LL Cool J - Rebel Mama Said Knock You Out Without a Pause (Stretch Armstrong Blend)

Marley Marl deserves mention in this post's title as much as, if not more so than, LL Cool J, but when you hear that four-note vocal sample odds are your brain jumps to James in a boxing ring not Marlon in a recording studio. So it goes. This blend was mixed live on a January or February 1991 broadcast of the world-famous Stretch & Bobbito Show. After this, Stretch transitioned seamlessly into the full song, "Mama Said Knock You Out," but the blend is what grabs my attention, as it 1) is dope, 2) brings together two of the headliners of the 87 Def Jam Tour, and 3) in a roundabout kind of way, reconciles Rap Attack's infamous on-air diss of "Public Enemy No. 1" by placing Chuck and Flav's voices on beat over a Marley Marl loop. Talk about the magic of radio!

As it happens, in addition to the PE-LL dream team, this broadcast also featured songs from several other Long Island rappers, including EPMD ("I'm Mad"), Bolaji ("Massive Material"), and L.O.N.S. ("Where Do We Go From Here?"), and although I can't say for certain, we may even hear a young Zev Love X shouting out the latter group during Kurious's mic break around the 18:20 mark.


Dzoe - "Patience Freestyle" + Slowed Version

Missing the days when walking through Midtown meant making sure to not take the CD that was being handed to you as that was considered grounds for beginning a transaction.... 

Thinking I might need to adopt that same sales tactic as soon as this plague is over...

Meanwhile, if Times Square lights made music, it might sound something like this... 

Orrrrrr thhhiiisss....

Dzoe with the glow up...

That's a thing the kids are saying, right?