Roc Marciano - Pimpstrumentals

For those not keeping score, Roc Marciano dropped four albums this year: Rosebudd's Revenge 2: The Bitter Dose, Behold a Dark Horse, KAOS (with DJ Muggs), and now Pimpstrumentals, his first instrumental album.

One could argue that to find a comparable run you'd have to go back to MF Doom circa 2003-2004 (another Long Islander for those who are keeping score).

Coincidentally, Pimpstrumentals is brought to you by Adult Swim, the same label that put out Doom and Danger Mouse's Danger Doom album, The Mouse and The Mask, which arguably bookended the aforementioned run.


Ohitika De Gallo on Everything

Ohitika aka Lil Tika aka Tika De Gallo not only makes some fun, polished, original music — he also has some of the freshest, most ridiculous visuals I've seen from any Long Island rapper in recent memory. Case in point: the IG photo and videos in this post. It's not all fun and games, though. The name Ohitika comes from the Lakota word for brave, and many of his songs tackle serious topics like mental health issues and emotional trauma. Check the videos below then stream the new album 222.

JHershey - Hershey Files - 02

J-Hershey showcasing the advancement. Hit him up.


Grandmilly & DJ Surrup - Toad

A collaboration of Zero Klique MC Grandmilly (left) and DJ Surrup (right) has been long overdue, so when Surrup and Klique creative director BigZeem started tweeting about a triple ZERO radio mix featuring the two artists, it started to sound like such a meeting of the minds might actually materialize. A few days later it did. On October 25, Grandmilly and DJ Surrup released Toad, a three-song EP featuring beats and rhymes by Milly, with scratches and mixing by Surrup under the creative direction of Zeem. A celebration of character, Toad is grimy, sticky and dissectible. Stream/support below, then head to ZeroKlique.com to cop some exlusive merch, including the long awaited Adventureland cassette.


MF Doom Side Dishes

MM.. Food was MF DOOM's sixth full-length project as a solo MC. However, technically, it was only the second he released as MF DOOM (the others, in order, being by King Ghidra, Viktor Vaughn, Madvillain, and Vaughn again). Regardless, MM.. Food arrived toward the tail end of what has since been recognized as one of most impressive and consistent two-year runs by any MC in hip-hop history. In fact, Take Me To Your Leader and MM.. Food are separated by only one year and five months, the former being released June 17, 2003, the latter November 16, 2004.

Not only were these and most all of the releases in between well received by critics and fans alike; they also sold extremely well — and this, despite being released by a number of different labels — thereby establishing MF DOOM as one of the hottest commodities in the "underground" hip-hop marketplace, which was then commercially facilitated at least in part if not primarily by such online retailers as Hiphopsite, UGHH and Sandbox Automatic.

Which brings us to today's "Side Dishes," 2004's MM.. Leftovers and MM.. More Food, two promo CDs released alongside MM.. Food. 

Some context here: several of the aforementioned websites, in efforts to boost sales and top competing retailers, often packaged their releases with promo CDs, given away "free" with certain (or in some cases, all) orders. Typically, these promo CDs came very flimsily packaged, with little to no casing and often no cover art or tracklist to speak of either. Many were throwaways that have been largely forgotten, but some such as the promo CDs that accompanied the online release of MM.. Food, have actually since been reissued as bootleg vinyls and cassettes. Indeed, original CD copies of MM.. More Food and Hiphopsite's MM.. Leftovers now fetch $30-$40, far more than MM.. Food itself.

While it might be tough to come across a phsyical copy of either promo release, both have survived digitally via YouTube, blogs, forums and the like, which is important because the tracklists of these mini-projects actually include a few MF DOOM remixes you won't hear anywhere else. Thus, for the DOOM completist, they are indispensable. Additionally, for any Monsta Island Czars fans out there, MM.. More Food contains three Rodan solo tracks, one of which DOOM co-produced, along with the insrumentals for all of them. (These all also appeared on the Witchcraft II 12" releasesd by Quaczar Records that same year, though this too looks to be pretty rare as it's selling for $10-$30.)

To my ears, however, the true standouts both come from MM.. Leftovers. They are: the Madlib remix of "One Beer," not to be confused with the original mix featured on Madlib's Mind Fusion Vol. 1 mix nor the drunk remix (download here) included as a one-sided 45 in Madvillainy 2: The Box; and the "Beatboxappella" of "Hoe Cakes," which features DOOM's acappella vocal track over the beatbox that appears on his original version of the song from MM Food.

The first I've chosen to highlight here for the obvious reason that it's an otherwise-unreleased Madlib remix, a concept now so remarkable it calls into question the track's authenticity. (This is conjecture, but it wouldn't have been beyond the pale for Hiphopsite to have Frankensteined the track out of a loose Madlib instrumental and the DOOM acappella.) Additionally, the track seems to foreshadow some of the darker and more electronic sounds DOOM would explore years later on Born Like This and Key to the Kuffs. On the other hand, I call readers' attention to the "Hot Cakes (Beatboxappella)" because, stripped down like this, I think it documents how, despite all the credit DOOM is given as a forerunner to today's crop of alernative rappers, at least part of him remains a golden-era schooled, b-boy oriented MC. A true original, his style can stand up to the best of any era and he has the cadences to prove it.

I encourage everyone who's not familiar with these releases to stream the tracks below, then head over to DatPiff to download MM.. Leftovers and while you're at it, download More Food courtesy of DirtDog over at the Philaflava forum.


Coltrane Home Declared National Treasure

A big follow-up to a post from 2016, in which we encouraged attendance at that year's Coltrane Day Music Festival: the Coltrane Home, located at 247 Candlewood Path in Dix Hills has been named a "National Treasure" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Basically, what this means is that the Friends of Coltrane group is that much closer to reaching its goals of having the home renovated and opened to the public as a space for music education and cultural enrichment. Full story here.


Siege Spitfire - Shook Ones Freestyle

By the time Eight Mile dropped, this beat was getting so played you really had to have some skills to rock over it. With P gone now, it's only a select few who can get theirs on this. Siege Spitfire does the honors.


Drownmili & Burnkas - Drown & Burn

Back in April, I posted a playlist of a handful of songs Drownmili, Burnkas and Purpdogg had done together, though it looks like a few of those songs have since been taken down or moved around, as the list has been whittled down to three tracks. At any rate, the three artists have continued to put out tunes together and recently dropped a six-song EP. If its title sounds unfeasible, the cover illustrates how it's done.

The EP is also available in iTunes if you'd prefer to download.


Julian Morgan - This Is The Remix

Julian Morgan of Medford is a pianist and a singer. You won't hear him rapping on this, his new tape.

You will, however, hear him singing over the beats (or interpolations of the beats) for "Nice for What," "Many Men," "One More Chance" and "No Freezer" among others. You'll also hear a DJ Kayslay co-sign, as he hosted the tape.

RIYL: Usher, Trey Songz, Jeremih, etc.


SmooVth & Giallo Point - Medellin II

SmooVth reunites with frequent collaborator Giallo Point, who produced not only 2017's Medellin but also 2014's Portrait of a Pimp. Other Long Islanders turning in guest spots include Rome Streetz, Roc Marciano, and of course Hus Kingpin. Cassettes have sold out on Bandcamp but are still available via Fxck Rxp Rxcrds.


Craig Mack - That's My Word EP

"I got my album getting ready to come out this summer, called That's My Word, you know what I mean? Because that's what it is." That was Craig Mack talking to BBC Radio 1's Tim Westwood in June of 2000. The album never dropped, but Mack did drop a number of singles that year as well as a fantastic freestyle that night. In memory of the late Craig Mack, British DJ Tape Deck King compiled those cuts into an EP that imagines what Mack's lost album might have sounded like had it materialized during his lifetime. The freestlye and other segments from that Westwood interview are thrown in for context. Stream below and as a bonus check out the 1995 concert to which Westwood refers at the start of their convo.

Sir Diggy - Bohemian Grove Freestyle

 "a king's moves is limited suggest ya protect ya queens/ my girl's rock is glimmering you should see how that face gleam/ admit my heart sink when she swim in the ocean' it's cool though copped the insurance so now my mind's floating"

If you're diggying this, check Sir Diggy's Gold Frame Portraits, featuring cameos from Outdoorsman/Roc-signee AG Da Coroner and Boot Camp Klique's Rustee Juxx.


Siggy & NooB Got Beats for Ninjas & Pandas

Available here.

Hazestacks - Have A Nice Day

"When I was 10 I didn't have mad friends
But I had a little thing called the interweb
I played Neopets and dress-up games
I just didn't want to play outside those days
Why bother if I was better than the rest
No one ever stepped to me, I'll purple-nurple on your chest
You ain't ever. touched. me. again.
Find out where you live and egg your mom's every now and then"

Also booze, snacks and Britney Spears samples...


Adventureland Release Party & Pop-Up Shop

The Stones Throw debut from Grandmilly & Shozae is out August 24, but you can get it a day early  by heading into NYC for the 8/23 pop-up, or connect with the artists at their album release party in West Hempstead this Saturday. Also, don't miss their feature on Tiny Mix Tapes.


Knxledge & Roc Marciano - dntaskmefrshit


WhoIsAriel - "No Pulse"

WhoIsAriel sent over his Zoose project from 2017 this January, but I slept. Don't be like me. Do the knowledge on this Elmont MC/producer and his crew, The RevILLution, starting with this self-produced single from a few months ago, also available for purchase.

Chilo - "Slow Cooked Meals" / "Aware W.O.L.F." ft. Ppul

One of the most talented writers on Long Island today, Chilo hit the inbox with a couple new joints.

"Slow Cooked Meals" is a collaboration wth the New Jersey collective Sessions at the PM, produced by Trill.

"Aware W.O.L.F.," produced by Al Dubz, features Ppul from Washington Heights crew The Machine.

I'd say both knock, but it sounds like the door's been kicked in already.


Urbvn Architects NYC - "First 48"

New video from Urbvn, with Yung K and Josh Alias on that back-and-forth black-out.


Knowledge The Pirate - "Ahoy"

Knowledge the Pirate has at long last released his much-anticipated debut album, Flintlock. A 15-track manifesto that's equal parts sinister and scintillating, the album is out now on mp3 or wav via Knowledge's own Treasure Chest Ent. A limited run of cassettes sold out very quickly, but look out for a 2LP release coming soon on Tuff Kong.

To celebrate the release, here's some more gold from Knowledge's buried treasures, this one off DJ S&S's 1999 mixtape, Harlem World Order. Props to Gusty Wingers at Philaflava for unearthing it.


True Life - Cocaine Crack (You Might Not Make It Back)

Something of a novelty record, "Cocaine Crack (You Might Not Make It Back" appears to be the only single released by Hempstead group True Life and one of only two records records from their label Top Shelf, "Connoisseur of Fine Music."

Released in 1986, it lists Eric Sadler (later of Bomb Squad fame) as a producer, though he (or someone claiming to be him on Discogs, which would be very weird) claims he was only in the studio and not involved in the making of the record. Sadler also tells us that listed songwriter W. Blunt II was "a police officer trying to make a statement record."

From the same Discogs comments section, we learn that Blunt's full name was William Charles Blunt aka Duce and that another listed songwriter, J. Eatman, went on to become Da Bandit, one half of a duo that put out an EP on Tuff City some eight years later. The other two songwriters, presumably pictured above, don't have any other readily identifiable credits, but with a little bit of poking around on Discogs, we find that Blunt was also credited on the other Top Shelf release, Silhouettes / Cream Tea, which came out the following year.

...And this is why Discogs is the best thing on the internet. Of course, respect due to Ingo Zoerntlein aka MC ZRock, a German YouTuber with a channel dedicated almost exlcusively to anti-drug raps.


Theravada on NTS

Theravada's madness begins at 31:54.
(*) denotes unreleased content


Horror City - "Vibin'" prod. by Pete Rock (Premiere)

Horror City frontman Superstar has adopted the collective's name as his own and sent over a brand new Pete Rock-produced single and accompanying artwork to mark the occasion.

Long Island Rap Blog, having eaten through one free Soundcloud account, is proud to premiere said single as the first upload to our new Soundcloud account, @LongIslandHipHop.

You, being all about referring to things like songs and blog posts as "content," recognize that this is some dope original content, follow everybody involved and enjoy thoroughly.


Rakim Performs New Song & Reworks Classics @ NPR

Perfoming a set including the new Luke Cage song "King's Paradise" as well as "Paid In Full" and "Know the Ledge (Juice)", Rakim is joined by Adrian Younge (keys), Ali Shaheed Muhammad (bass), Jack Waterson (guitar), David Henderson (drums), Loren Oden (vocals), Saudia Mills (vocals), Angela Munoz (vocals), Stephanie Yu (violin), Bryan Hernandez-Luch (violin), DeAndre Shaifer (trumpet) , Jordan Pettay (saxophone), Joi Gilliam (vocalist) and Christone "Kingfish" Ingram (guitar).


ShoZae - Coffy

Shozae and Grandmilly's long-anticipated Adventureland album drops later this summer on Stones Throw. Look for that, as well as an interview with the duo, coming soon. In the meantime, here's something in the way of a funky followup to Sho's Beneath the Mantle Volume 1.


Oxygen & Paul Nice - Body Language


Rome Streetz - Noise Kandy

This EP starts with a hard beat.

Then the first two lines are: "Fuck a nine-to-five, to survive, dunny, we moving yay / Rolling money folded like my name Daniel Dumile."

Then you freak the fuck out, punch a hole through the wall, grab your neighbor by the throat (through the wall), and choke the chump to sleep.

Then you listen to the rest of the EP.

Akari - Dreamgarden

Is Akari the Barry White of hip-hop?

OR ... is Barry White the Akari of soul?

That's The N$64,000 Question.

Don't be a Lazyboy.

Download this one.


Horror City - "Current Affairs"

Horror City's Superstar's unorthodox style somtimes carries all the way over to his actual method of putting out new material. Case in point: he dropped this video by posting it to Facebook and a link to it in the comments section of a post on this website. I had to reactivate my Facebook account just to get the embed code. At any rate, a new album's coming from him this summer, so look out for that.


Midnite Society - "MidniteIzm"

Dunny Cold Facts, Sho da Flo Man, and Petey Max warn, "Don't walk in the park after dark," from what appear to be a basement apartment and the World's Fair Playground in Flushing Meadows. You might remember an earlier, rougher mix of this track from LongIslandRap.Comp Volume 2. In today's edition: an emphasis on the Izm.


Fumei - Stardust Series EP

A question I sometimes hear in submissions: "Do you post beat tapes / instrumental hip-hop?" The answer: "Yes, motherfucker, dig." Actually, I'm much more polite. Sometimes, in fact, I'm the one asking the producers for submissions, on some, "Hey, hi there, I like your beats and want to post your music. By the way, where on Long Island are you from? I want to tag your post correctly on my blog." Fumei's from Hicksville, the same stomping grounds of Swad Beats, another dope LI producer who's been featured here and who Fumei calls "a gooooood friend" of his. This EP he calls, "A nebulous smear of mp3 files capturing the emotion of a person spending time in the unknown."


Billypalmtrees - Delorean

Billypalmtrees, of Elmont, who you might recognize from the Kenneth Callier-directed "Nickey Barnes" video, just dropped an EP of amazing, weekend-ready, get-right raps, five of which feature Roosevelt's Quis Christ.

Trees' pipes take center stage on "Orlando," but each of the other eight songs on here are forward-bar oriented. Which, of course, isn't to say they lack for mood and melody. Feels abound.

Big shouts to Mike Martinez and Tiffany Fugit, who/wherever they are, for the riff that gives "Layers Of Skin" its musculoskeletal foundation.

 Get in the car.


Josh Alias - "Horror Story" ft. Tedy Andreas

Urbvn Architects are killing shit right now.

Josh Alias said, "Forgive me for exploring options, mind's in the clouds / Tryna' soar avoiding foreign objects, flowing from the Jordan River / To a project faucet cannot forfeit can't force this / Who you think led the Israelites across it?"

That's in his new song, "Horror Story," featuring Houston's Tedy Andreas.

Alias's debut project, Growing Pains, will be out shortly. If you like this blog, I suspect you will enjoy it thoroughly.


DJ Stitches - Mixin In Action Vol. 1-5

I somehow just found DJ Stitches' IG account, which led me to the mixes below. It also led me to these posts, which seem to be the front and back cover of an instrumental album called The Reinvention. I don't have IG, or a direct line on Stitches, but if anyone does, please let him know the site is hungry to hear that.

MC Destruction - Blow of Death EP

Now, hold on. Before you start, I know what you're going to say: '"But $bin♦, MC Destruction isn't from Long Island. He's from the Bronx. Why, it says it right there on the Dope Folks website." And you're right, but there's more, see. Check out the label of the origial release, a split with Corey Pee called The Black Wax Posse, and you'll see that the record was put out by one Black Wax Records, whose address was 1 Janell Lane, Farmingville, NY. Google that with the name of the producer.

So, yes, while MC Destruction might have been from the Bronx, the record was produced by none other than Marc Niles of Farmingville and Centereach, better known for his work with R.A. the Rugged Man, who helped Dope Folks bring this record back into the light. Moreover, the songs were recorded in 1989 by Brian Unger at Paris Recording Studio, which was in Ronkonkoma, and the label that originally released these songs back in 1990 was apparently based out of Niles' spot in Farmingville. Dope Folks made the wise curatory decision to leave the Corey Pee side of the split on the cutting room floor, but some of that survives on YouTube as well, which is nice, because, to give you an idea of how rare the original release is, Discogs lists only two sales ever: one for $700 and one for €700.

At any rate, props to R.A., Encarnita (whoever that is) and Dope Folks for putting this together. Copies of the limited reissue are still available, here.

Fantab - "Fool For Ya"

Central Islip's Fantab posts up with a song in the tradition of Cormega's "American Beauty" and Nas's "I Gave You Power" (and there's another in that personification style, which is actually about the same exact topic as this, but it escapes me right now). "Fool For Ya" aka "I'm a fool" is off Fantab's Get Money mixtape; stream here, download here.


Vik Sh@de - Vik

Vik Sh@de currently resides in the Miami area, where, according to one of the illest Reverbnation bios ever, he makes his living as a licensed funeral director. You might hear some mortuary influence in his music, but Miami? Not so much. Vik went to school in Hempstead and Uniondale before heading south during his senior year, and says he "was able to grow up in a very organic time on the Island. He also says "dirt rules everything around me, DREAM" and "rugged like your mama, don't wander far or you'll get smacked up." If you don't get either reference, there's little chance you'll dig this. We can still be cool, though. However, I'm moving to Minneapolis, so not really.


Remembering Craig Mack fka MC EZ

The January 29, 1995 New York Times includes an article by Anita M. Samuels titled "Icon of Rap World at Home on the South Shore." Long Island landmarks name dropped in the piece include: Westwood Drive in Brentwood, where that icon lived at the time; Main Street in Bay Shore, where he played billiards at a pool room; Islip Speedway on Route III, where he'd developed a passion for race-car driving; and the woods by Spur Drive North.

It's a failure of this website to have never posted anything about Craig Mack until now. So too was it a failure for me to sell my Project Funk Da World vinyl at a garage sale last summer, though this the lesser mistake, as it accomplished what the site's silence did not. Below, far too belatedly, enjoy some music by Brentwood's own Craig Mack fka MC EZ, along with a documentary by the ever esteemable TRB2HH.


5 Favorite Lines from RR2

5. "Wrap the brick up like it's Mumm-ra"
4. "Prior to my first release they said the East was done"
3. "How can I be demonized speaking on the shit I seen with these eyes"
2. "White bitch said I reminded her of Ralph Macchio (bitch buggin son, I look nothing like that nigga, bitch I look like GOD)"
1. "The rest of the meat ended up in Schenectady."

Pay tithes.


WXRTHY - "Thinking About You" (prod. by BMC Beats)

WXRTHY is a singer/rapper/producer from Hempstead by way of Bellmore. "My goal," he tells us, "is to continue to create art for the people of the Island, while building relationships with like minded folks." This song's from WXRTHY's Sakura EP, out now on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Dunbar - "'96 Bulls" (+ C&S Version)

Dunbar is an Amityville duo consisting of Sure Shot and Bunchy Cartier. Their "96 Bulls" anthem has been out since February 2016, making this post so late its author is operating at screw speed. Catch up via No Hook 2.

Jimmy Jump - "Wild Thoughts" / "Act Like You"

"Right now there's a youngin from Uniondale that got the golden touch in the booth," Lisaan'dro told me. "His name is Jimmy Jump. Look out for him. He’s only 21 and has the potential to be an extra blown-up superstar. All he got to do is stay focused, keep out of trouble, and the world could be his. He’s the young homie from around the way. I’m going to send you some of his music." Said music streams above.


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.


TRB2HH Presents: Check out My Melody
A true story about Rakim

It's Sunday, January 28, 2018, which means today is the 50th birthday of the God, the Greatest Of All Time, Rakim. It also means that this is the start of Long Island Rap Blog's third annual Rakim Week. For the uninitiated, each year, the site dedicates one week in January to the music and living legacy of William Michael Griffin, Jr., better known as Rakim. We've dug through obscure Facebook and Blogspot posts to rediscover lost curios from the God's career ... but all that is light-work compared with what the folks at TRB2HH have accomplished with Check Out My Melody, a two-part documentary chronicling Rakim's early years coming up in Wyandanch, NY.

Produced, narrated, and edited by James "Kraze" Billings, the documentary features such familiar faces as DJ Maniack, EPMD, DJ Belal, Nate Tinsley, Eric B., DJ Stitches, Freddie Foxx, Grand Daddy I.U. and a host of others who provide insightful first- and second-hand accounts of Griffin's evolution from Kid Wizard to God MC.

The doc fills in more than few a holes from the "Oral History" post that ran on this site a few years back. Most impressive of all, however, is the original "Check Out My Melody" 1984 'jazz' version, produced by DJ Maniack, Stevie "Blast" Griffin, and Rakim, which plays at the beginning of part two and appears to have been provided directly to the filmmaker by Maniack. Elsewhere in the film, Eric B. claims to have a cassette copy of the 90-minute (!!!) demo Rakim recorded years before dropping his first single. That Holy Grail of Long Island Hip-Hop remains tucked away for now, but here we have a treasure trove of anecdotes, music, pictures and archived footage that together represent the most complete retrospective of Rakim's early years ever compiled. What Grammys? Watch this instead.


Grand Analog - "Mutations" ft. Posdnuos

For a rapper who's been at it 30 years, De La Soul's Posdnuos has done shockingly few solo features. Here he teams with Canadian hip-hoppers Grand Analog for a spot on their new Survival EP. I've been meaning to put together a follow-up to The Lost Tapes' Plug Wonders compilation, called De La De La Soul - (Un)Plug 1, so you can bet if that ever gets done, this'll be on there.


J. Ruff (J. Wellz & Ruff) - "Put Ya Hands Where My Eyes Can See"

Been on a huge Busta kick lately, which I don't see ending anytime soon, so this collab from Amityville's Ruff and Copiague's J. Wellz really gets me right now; a worthy homage, which speaks volumes in and of itself.

Gramatik - "Anima Mundi 2017 Version" Ft. AllOne (BmO Remix)

Hauppauge-based MC AllOne sent this track over with the following description: "The song is a winding straight verse of pure writing for humans, writing for writers. Dense with wordplay, imagery, confession, abstract ideas and philosophy over a compelling remix of a Gramatik song." That's good enough for my time, but if you're looking for some more words on it, here's another blog post with all the lyrics and some background info. AllOne also has a new EP, which dropped literally minutes ago and is apparently fully produced by Savannah, Georgia rap legend Dope KNife, so be sure to check out that Dusty Dossiers EP as well if you're digging this.


Ekundayo & Spittzwell - "Life or Death"

Ekundayo lives hundreds of miles from here, but like the man says, "I'm like black genes, you cannot stop the features." This one's off his latest album, the aptly titled Magnificent Brilliance, which dropped last August and is produced entirely by Spittzwell.


Busta Rhymes, Notorious B.I.G., Roc Marciano, J. Dilla - "Modern Day Gangstas"

Busta Rhymes, Roc Marciano, Knowledge the Pirate, and Rockwilder
(presumably backstage at Highline Ballroom),
December 26, 2017, via KP's Insta.
Strap in because there's some history behind this one ... or just scroll down to the track. Story goes that the original version of Busta Rhymes and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Modern Day Gangstas" aka "Dangerous MC's" aka "The Ugliest" was recorded over a J. Dilla beat in 1996 for Busta's debut, The Coming, but was shelved because Biggie went hard at Pac in his verse (like borderline self-incriminatory hard), and Bus didn't want to get mixed up in the beef.

Puffy retained the masters, because he's Puffy I guess, and then released a remix of the song over a Nottz beat on Notorious B.I.G.'s posthumous 1999 album, Born Again. This version featured Snoop Dogg and Mark Curry, whereas the original Dilla version features Busta Rhymes affiliate Labba. (Peace to The Lost Tapes for shedding light on the above back in 2014.) There's also a 12" promo release of "Dangerous MC's" on Bad Boy, featuring Mark Curry, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes, with "Who Shot Ya" on the b-side. Discogs doesn't give a date for this release, it's not up on YouTube, and I'm not cracking the seal on my copy, so who knows when that came out or what it sounds like. Alas, none of these versions, as far as anyone knows, featured Roc Marciano.

Fast-forward to late 2017. Roc Marciano Tweets this:

Shortly thereafter, DJ, producer and friend of the late J. Dilla, House Shoes implies that he has the unreleased song in question:

Sure enough, five days later, Shoes kicks off the December 13, 2017 edition of his dublab program, Magic, with a track he lists as "Biggie Dilla Busta Rhymes ft. Flipmode – Modern Day Gangsters / Dangerous M.C.’s." The full program is available to download. All I did was cut out the first song, using Audacity. Stream/download Busta Rhymes and J. Dilla's "Modern Day Gangstas" ft. Notorious B.I.G., Labba and Roc Marciano below.

(P.S. It has been suggested, due to some differences in volume between the Roc verse and the rest of the vocals, that this track was Frankensteined using several different versions of the song. Note the DJ Kay Slay drops over Roc's verse and DJ Whoo Kid drops over Big's, which support that theory, as the Dilla version without Roc appeared on Busta Rhymes and DJ Whoo Kid's Surrender mixtape. But do you really care?)

***Update 2/13/20***
Roc Marciano's manager, Jazz, confirms on Twitter that the Roc Marciano verse comes from a DJ Kay Slay radio broadcast, hence the drops. He adds that it was played only on the radio and did not appear on any Kay Slay mixtapes.

***Update 4/14/21***
Props to Civilian3030 for pointing out that because The Coming was recorded before "Hit 'Em Up," it's highly unlikely, if not impossible, that "The Ugliest" was recorded for those sessions. Alternately it could have been intended for When Disaster Strikes or perhaps another project altogether.