11/27/23

KILLKURT - KURT MUST DIE 3

Just because you're paranoid do[es]n't mean they're not after you. The best freestyles ever recorded likely live only in a megamarket corporate office's Google Drive folder labeled surveillance footage. May a sentient language model one day learn from it to unironically obsolete another executive position. Get rich and dine tyrant, the most dangerous game. In this sense, KURT MUST DIE 3 recalls an anecdote, mysteriously wiped from the internet, about Marx and Engels walking the streets of London. Passing some royal estate or another, Engels says imagine, one day nobody will live like this anymore, to which Marx goes nah, bro, everyone's going to live like this, like, that's the whole point.

11/24/23

Anna Catalanotto & Fony Wallace - Mind Of Horror With A Pretty Girl Aura

"I can't, I can't vibe with none of you. I don't even want to." That used to be me talking to the tools at Home Depot when dad dragged me along as a kid. Now, I find myself making lists of things I need to get there. Move two-to-three-prong outlet adapters to the top of that list. "Truth Hurts Interlude" yields the blunted-edge lyric at the top of this post. As it happens, it also concisely summarizes the Rakim-Dre collaboration that never was. But I digress. Mind Of Horror With A Pretty Girl Aura has more than a lovely voice and a clever near-rhyme going for it. Catalanotto and Wallace's tragic siren call also has vinyl, CDs, shirts and stickers, oh my. Vibe with all that and then some.

11/18/23

Gray to Dayglo: Black & White Roots of the Daisy Age


November 11, 2021, Bonhams London, New Bond Street sells at auction Six Original Studies for the De La Soul '3 Feet High and Rising' Debut Album Artwork at 32,250 British pound sterling. The auction house describes the lot's centerpiece as a "black and white photographic print with Posca paint pen art work on acetate overlay bearing the band and album name with floral design motifs, adhered with small pieces of tape to each side, stamped Grey Organisation along lower right margin." May 21, 1985, the Gray Organisation (GO) artists collective executes an "art terrorist attack" on London's Cork Street galleries, splattering their front windows with grey paint. Some years later, GO founder Toby Mott has De La Soul over to the collective's Grand Street, Manhattan loft for the 3 Feet High and Rising cover shoot. Prior to this encounter, Mott and co. film the video for "Potholes in My Lawn" in Amityville. The Super 8 recording begins in anarchic black-and-white stop-motion not so far removed from the Organisation's founding aesthetic. "We parodied yuppie and Soviet corporate monoculture with our uniformed anonymity, shaved heads, white shirts, English suits, making and exhibiting art as product without individual authorship, something inspired from the rigorous orthodoxy of Crass." The video ends in color. The cover shoot follows a similar trajectory. "We laid the trio down on the floor of our loft with their heads almost touching and took a black and white photo from above. They seemed mystified. We added the dayglo background and, since the daisy-age concept suggested flowers, I drew some on with Posca paint pens, which were the new thing, very popular with graffiti artists." Thus, from the Situationist International origins of Crass (d茅)collage, filtered through an acid house revival of psychedelic flower power, "The whole visual identity of the Daisy Age was born." Bonus trivia: Mott goes on to operate the Biz Markie puppet on the cover of Master Ace's "Me and the Biz" single and direct the video for Public Enemy's "Shut 'Em Down."

10/27/23

Magnetic the Shaman & Brainorchestra - "Hand Over Fist" ft. D酶酶F, Lungs​/​/​LoneSword & phiik

Brain fog bullet point dispensation:
• Magnetic the Shaman is why Philly remains my second favorite city
• His 2023 album with Brainorchestra, Can't Wait for Patience = 馃敟馃殥馃敟
• That's a firetruck on fire
• D酶酶F reps Virginia but I heard from around the way he used to stay in Merrick
• Me when Lungs says "Hakuna ... Matata": 馃拃
• For my money this is the best Phiik has ever sounded
• Seven "Days of Madness" until Planet X
• Me with "Hakuna ... Matata" stuck in my head: 馃

Cashmere P & Ray Robinson connect like the GWB

Sixth-borough ties between Long Island and New Jersey go back generations, from Redman dropping acid on Erick Sermon's couch to Hammond organ rascals rocking the Austin Boulevard pothole tract. Into this tradition comes the collaboration of Jersey City rapper Cashmere P and Deer Park-by-way-of-Roosevelt producer Ray Robinson. Their latest Seven Bakin arrives in the wake of 2022's Skyberry. Those and more dwell below like boardwalk miscreants. And it's all marvelously deadly as the '90s comics that today's comic nerds now pretend to hate even though their entire mental aesthetic is based off of that shit.

9/22/23

Carolyn Harding - "Memories" and "More Memories"

To some, intergenerational transmission of trauma remains a tenuous theory at best. The eggs are already in place, they say. But to them, I say, fine, what if it's just an evolutionary defense mechanism? I have anxiety for the same reason I know not to stick my head in a lion's mouth. Memory extinction or extinction memory? It goes both ways. Don't believe the hype, true, but do look both ways before crossing the street. YOLO, so stand clear of the closing doors and behind the yellow line while the train approaches. In unrelated findings, B-Wyze's sister is house music legend Carolyn Harding (indeed the picture for that last post comes from a radio show they co-host). YouTube calls her 1986 single "Memories" a Paradise Garage classic. Thirty-seven years later, Harding honors such memories of "Memories" with yet "More Memories." 

9/11/23

B-Wyze - "If U Don't Know"

The world needs more drive-in movie theaters. I don't mean Ace Hardware parking lot pop-ups. I mean massive open areas with multiple fields, each with its own jumbo screen and radio frequency. Kids tossing frisbees in the lanes before the previews start. A nightly tailgate party for art, not sports. Long Island's last, in Westbury, closed in 1998. But the sound of the drive-in movie experience lived on through the turn of the 21st century via the beats of MF DOOM and X-Ray da Mindbenda. This 2005 X-Tacy Radio x-clusive featuring former Legion of D.U.M.E. member B-Wyze is a prime example. 

9/9/23

ethereal loft. - [ d o w n t h e r a b b i t h o l e ] 馃悋

Tomorrow morning, if we get up and out early enough, at least an hour before sunrise, go to the beach, and look east just over the horizon, we might spot a one-inch green streak in the pre-dawn sky. It's a comet that takes about 435 years to orbit the sun. That means the last time it was visible to the naked eye was around 1588, and the next time will be 2458 assuming some interstellar incident doesn't knock it or us off course between now and then (馃). May it greet us from its ethereal loft with the words above and sounds below.

9/2/23

Lonny Love - Hoechella 2

Sometimes sexy is such an understatement it's a misnomer. In the deft care of Lonny Love, sexy drill is endearing, romantic, precious ... in a word, lovely. Even at his most detached, his lyrics retain a degree of tender worshipfulness. He's not just palming a cheek, he's slipping a digit. He's doing the most. Hoechella 2 is a collection of bordello balladry. An ambitious enough listener might adapt any rap album for cabaret theatre, but it's a different story when every song on the project actively lends itself to the task. The sample stabs on Hoechella 2 might as well be headboard squeaks, the bass bumps mattress thumps. In moments of instrumental dropout, it's like the beat's biting a pillow. Several mattresses had to be put out to the curb in the making of this album. "Shake your ass, you made it. I'm proud of you, girl."

8/31/23

sh0p7ift - #Grey

How about some feel-good lyrics to end the summer on a high note? "I hate my face, I hate my skin / Hate my stupid fucking brain, wish I didn't exist / I hate myself but I can't die / Cause if I did  then they would win." Whoa! Hold on, grey man. Not that high. How about we bring it down a little bit? "All I am is a bitch / Everything is all right / What'd you think, that I'd switch / I really hope I die soon." Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Let the sun shine over everything: sh0p7ift's brilliant stage name, $30-$50 beats, $45-$50 hoodies I'm hoping this post and my enduring fandom will earn me, and a discography so long you won't know where to start. Here's as good a place as anywhere else ... better even.

8/30/23

Ja'King the Divine, Javi Darko - Fear & Loathing in LI


Sadly, we all know at least one person who needs to hear this: adrenochrome can't be harvested from the human body. It's a synthetic that was so overhyped in the '50s, it was later fictionalized by writers Anthony Burgess and Hunter Thompson. And here we are today. The stupidest thing about the entire conspiracy surrounding this compound is that it relies on people's complete ignorance of the fact that the human body does naturally produce all kinds of chemicals that can get you high. This is how most drugs work in the first place. As far as scientific fact is concerned, though, your body doesn't have much use for hallucinogens. Consensus reality is already plenty hallucinogenic enough on its own. Psychedelic enthusiasts will claim that dreams are made of DMT, but this too is bullshit. However, if it weren't, and if we all were just overgrown mechanical elves wrenched in some interdimensional way station, we might do worse than to soundtrack our days with Ja'King the Divine and Javi Darko's Fear & Loathing in Long Island. After all, damn near half its denizens live like that anyhow, and not in the healthful "we're all connected, New York Telephone" ego-death type of way but the "none of this matters, so I can do whatever to whomever whenever and however I want" type of way. Oh, what cruel irony that those claiming demonic plots could use some by-the-book Satanism in their lives. Ja'King the Divine and Javi Darko speak to this conundrum, and it talks back ... loud as expected.


8/26/23

Sydney D. & Lokedo - IRIE

Unrequited love talks in circles like a loop. The continuous function, not the parkway continually under construction. Let that hurt go, Jane. Open-ended statements better describe the best questions: we courted to these movies, the happiest times the loneliest beauties. Perpetual condescension perpetuates imposter syndrome. Imagine Moli猫re ended every verse with "if that makes sense" instead of making verse of every sense.

8/24/23

Harri-O & Steevie Weevie - "Beatitude/Paranoimia"

For many, college offers a kind of political awakening. It's not just that you're old enough to vote now. You've been living with mom and dad for 17-plus years, largely focused on being a kid and less so on the non-governmental politics that (in)effectively govern society as we know it. That is, if you're socially and/or economically privileged enough to need not recognize and navigate such concerns earlier on in life. The rest of us have been political.

So, it'd probably be at least gross oversimplification, if not outright fantasy, to imagine some Adelphi University-inspired political awakening influenced the members of Spectrum City to remobilize as Public Enemy, the Bomb Squad, and the Security of the First World (S1Ws). But it was at Adelphi that Chuck D designed the Public Enemy logo. And it was there that he and another student by the name of Harry Allen first crossed paths. Public Enemy would later dub Allen the Media Assassin, even naming him as their director of enemy relations at one point. But before Public Enemy debuted on the national stage, when Harry Allen was introduced to the Spectrum crew, he went by or was given another name, Harri-O. 

Now, "Don't Believe the Hype" is generally regarded as Harry Allen's recording debut. If you've read this far, you know his appearance in the song so I won't draw this transition out any further. But what you might not know about is the time in February of 1985 or '86 when Harri-O went on Adelphi's WBAU to read an essay about apartheid in South Africa. One listener all the way up in Nyack, New York, was so moved he called the station and was connected with Harri-O himself. And so began the correspondence that forms the crux of today's post. Allen would go on to send this listener, a kid named Steve, a recording of the essay along with a trio of pause-tape beats he'd created.

Upon receiving this parcel, Steve would remix the recorded essay to Art of Noise's "Paranoimia," possibly drawing inspiration from the WBAU mainstay, Chuckie D and MC DJ Flavor's "We're Down with the DJs," which used Art of Noise's "Close (To The Edit)" as a backbeat. Steve then sent this remix, dubbed "Beatitude/Paranoimia," back to Allen. Decades later, Steve, now a self-proclaimed "archivist overlord" would upload the (unremixed) recording of the essay along with those three Harri-O beats to his Pause Button Remix site. In sharing these tracks, he referred to his remix as "dreadful, not worth publishing here." 

But back then, at least on paper, Harri-O would have disagreed. He told Steve he loved the remix and offered up some suggestions. But he didn't stop there. After all, this was the 1980s. Ambitions abounded. And so Allen wrote Steve, "Let's start an indy + begin it with a release of our own stuff. Mine thus far ... and whatever rappers, suckers or criminals we decide need to be heard," a noble ambition, to be sure. The postcard continued, "I have an idea for a group (rap-punk) that would be a Just-Ice / Dead Kennedys / Fishbone cross, and of which I would be lead MC. Write back soon concerning this idea ... or just send another tape." 

The correspondence would also yield a typed copy of the "Beatitude" essay "slightly revised" by Allen. Notably, its last page states that the essay was "originally presented Saturday, September 7, 1985 at the hempstead seventh-day adventist church, hempstead, ny." 

Perhaps it goes without saying that the rap-punk group Harri-O envisioned never materialized. (Unless, maybe this idea evolved into Son of Bazerk? Sheer conjecture on my part.) However, as alluded to earlier, Steve did hold onto "Beatitude/Paranoimia." And I asked him for it. And here it is, definitely well worth publishing and not at all dreadful. 


Which brings us back to politics. Assuming "Beatitude" was written in 1985, delivered on air in '86 and revised in 1987, it is cotemporaneous with the beginnings of Public Enemy. The group formed and recorded their first song in 1985, signed to Def Jam in 1986, and released their debut album in '87. Allen may not have been an official member of the Public Enemy/Bomb Squad/S1W collective at that point. However, he definitely shared their politics. He shared them at church and on the radio. 

But then again, to call these statements political essentially misses the point. What are the politics of basic human rights? Politics of survival? The more one considers that less than 40 years ago racial segregation was the law of the land in South Africa, and that then U.S. President Ronald Reagan attempted to block legislation imposing sanctions on South Africa over apartheid, the easier it is to see political ignorance for what it truly is, a bastion of first-world privilege. "I know ... the company I work for has a branch there."

8/15/23

AWOL Da Mindwriter & JHershey - SEGA-AM2 (Part II)

Super Mario World, TMNT: Turtles in Time, Mortal Kombat games with four buttons instead of three. Take it from someone who was there. Super Nintendo was the better system than Sega Genesis. But then again, Sega had Road Rash, Beavis & Butthead, and Mortal Kombat 1 with blood. So even if it was an overall inferior gaming platform, it did have SNES beat in terms of corrupting the minds of America's youth, as Joe Lieberman might have said. AWOL Da Mindwriter and JHershey's SEGA-AM2 (Part II) offers much the same appeal, steam-letting mischievousness with mad replay value.

"But Sega-AM2 was a game developer, not a system, you schmuck!" Word and "My Baby" does not fit the above description either, except for the replay value part. 

8/13/23

Samfl3 - The Kamara Method

Just like anyplace north of Yonkers is Upstate, anywhere east of Islip is Out East. 

And now I am become life goals of purchasing a home close enough to the City to feel civilized yet far enough from civilization to retreat into my own world of sand, paper, and vinyl (material, girl). The complications that make people human also make life sufferable and Samfl3's music personable despite any obscurity. The most-hidden gem of LongIslandRap.Comp v4 continues to shine like one despite possibly having relocated to a town upstate with a name so upstate it sounds made up but isn't.

8/11/23

NERO//FLESH - Disposition of Intimacy

Flesh tones bleat drone-pop cyber-dreams like ketamine therapy for electric sheep as Lucy's lullabies lapse the blood-brain barrier. (But yo, if I wrote that like this would you pay for it?

Flesh tones bleat
drone-pop cyber-dreams 
like 
ketamine therapy 
for electric sheep 
as 
Lucy's lullabies lapse the
blood-brain barrier.

Because if so, the kid's novella-cum-microfiction-collection contains myriad chapbooks. And that too, my friends, is a motherfucking metaphor.)


8/10/23

Glamorous, the first lady of Long Island hip-hop?

How's pioneer for a loaded term? Hear it now and think innovator. But the word has bodies and battle scars. Merriam-Webster traces its origins from the Middle-French pionnier, a "worker employed on field fortifications who accompanies an army," from Old French peonier, a "foot soldier, laborer tasked with excavation," to peon, a "foot soldier." Pawn also comes from this word. Insert sinister cynic-critic sexploitation plotlines. I for one am more drawn to the Juice Crew's having three Long Island rappers (Biz, Glam, and I.U.), and (speaking of foot soliders) this one with personal ties to Public Enemy's Professor Griff. 

Mike Street - Rubba Clip / Matt X

Take a month off, and the authorities might fuck around and find a LISK, burner profiles and all. If I ever followed you on Instagram, I apologize. I must've assumed you were a Long Island rapper, or else my finger slipped. "I'm freaking out bae smh," read the Unknown Sender's text. Down in the basement, there's a page of original art from Rick Veitch's Unknown Soldier #21 (Vertigo, 2010), purchased direct from the artist, the email about "I Gave You Power" unanswered, the seller's silence a clear admission that yes, he and Joshua Dysert knew damn well they bit off of Nas' shit. Me thinks Ebay may be in the cards, or at least a spot at the record fair in September.

6/28/23

Hus Kingpin & SmooVth - Paid In Full

I have owned multiple copies of the film, Paid In Full, all of which have either been lost or stolen. I prefer to assume the latter because it not only makes for a better story, but also speaks to the unique brand of cult fandom the film attracts; that it would be more larceny prone than other films, that a fan would reacquire it post-theft knowing the risk. Of late, Macapella has channeled the wave that made early Connection records sing universal. Now, he does the impossible, improving the "Paid In Full" beat. Hus and SmooVth follow suit.

6/27/23

Often Spaced - Yeptunes

They say do a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life. As if it were so easy. As if every mobile device included a free, full version of  Adobe Creative Suite. As if primary schools transitioned from keyboard class to not-getting-obsoleted-by-Apple class. As if Le Guinian utopia were here now and not another planet in the future. Instead, it's languish for 10 years in heartless work figuring out how to translate your passion into something that can make someone else enough money that it makes economic sense for them to pay you to pursue your passion. And then you still die! Ah well, you can always buy the doofus Nikes and board the comet.

6/24/23

G-Stro, Early Rhyming Partner of Rakim

In the mid-1980s, before adopting the name Rakim, William "Pops" Griffin rapped as Kid Wizard in two groups. First there was the Almighty 5 MCs and then there was the Love Brothers. Just who was in each group is difficult to pin down as accounts vary (see "Rakim: The Early Years"), but one name that has popped up in relation to both is G-Stro. One day on a whim I looked him up and found his Instagram and YouTube profiles. Both accounts contain tracks that appear to have been recorded in the past few years. The tracks vary from verse-length demos to complete songs, but all of them showcase a voice that is truly one of a kind. G-Stro's writing and delivery have clearly been honed over decades of personal attention. Sadly, three of them may have been spent in Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Regardless, G-Stro is out now and rapping on a level to do his early rhyming partner proud, an original elite master class. 

And as an added bonus, he's doing so over music composed by his peers, fellow Wyandanch legends DJ Kaos and Nate Tinsley. Stream several choice selections below then connect with G-Stro on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok for more.

6/8/23

Big Breakfast - BEACHBOY (mega bastard mix)

Just in time for summer, the sky's on fire! When NY said "all the smoke," this is not what it had in mind. Penelope's deviated septum and spotted eye do not approve. Holly's holding it down, though. Speaking of Mastic mammals, Mikey Breakfast is back to the BEACHBOY, having "kissed Alicia Keys six weeks before her and Swizz Beatz conceived (that's true)." It's like a ritual to lift the smog and fertilize the mosh (not where some guy from John Hancock goes every Thursday to get a fucking blowjob ... don't laugh, this ain't reality TV).

6/6/23

Son of Bazerk, Leaders of the New School, JVC Force members at Long Island Music Hall of Fame, June 11


Hip-Hop, now 50 years old, will be partying like a 50-year-old Long Islander this weekend. Which is to say partying hard at 2 p.m. on a Sunday. There will be performances by Son of Bazerk,  Bomb Squad/Public Enemy DJ Johnny Juice, DJ Jazzy Jay, and Fat Boy MC Kool-Rock Ski. There will be a panel discussion featuring JVC Force MC AJ Rok, Leaders of the New School members Dinco D and Milo In De Dance, and Video Music Box's Ralph McDaniels. The event is "free with admission" to the Long Island Music Hall of Fame at 97 Main Street in Stony Brook: $15 for students with ID, $17 for veterans and seniors, and $19.50 for everyone else. Additional details here. See you there?

5/25/23

Naww G - The Long Island Zoo

First thing that stands out about Naww G's Long Island Zoo track list: it contains not only the tempo of each song but also its key. (You're welcome, DJ.) Second thing that stands out, to me at least: the "Interlude" is tagged as a Naww G diss. By now, the self-deprecating introspection trick isn't all that new, but this one's curious because it actually features another rapper, 46SWIN. Get to the song and you'll hear that 46SWIN is in fact the only rapper on it. So, Naww G used a Naww G diss by another person as the centerpiece to his album. And it's a pretty personal diss at that. Dismiss this as mere gimmickry and miss the dimension it lends an album that's by its own admission alternatingly rep-obsessed and star-chasing. Hyperlocal meta-rap concepts for the win. 

5/24/23

Pozy One - "This Is Life"

Poz lives! 诪讜ֹ讚ָ讛 讗ֲ谞ִ讬 诇ְ驻ָ谞ֶֽ讬讱ָ 诪ֶֽ诇ֶ讱ְ 讞ַ讬 讜ְ拽ַ讬ָּ讬诐. 砖ֶׁ讛ֶֽ讞ֱ讝ַֽ专ְ转ָּ 讘ִּ讬 谞ִ砖ְׁ诪ָ转ִ讬 ,讘ְּ讞ֶ诪ְ诇ָ讛. 专ַ讘ָּ讛 讗ֱ诪ֽ讜ּ谞ָ转ֶֽ讱ָ׃‎. I just finished Snowfall and will politely resist the urge to spoil the final season for all of my friends out of a futile hope that they one day might enjoy it for themselves. But if you've seen it, you know what I'm getting at! Alternate take: never have I ever watched Stranger Things, but from what I can gather it's about how an abandoned top secret government facility out east inadvertently sent a warship back in time. Convince me otherwise. Poz lives! 讜ַ讬ֹּ֥讗诪ֶ专 讬ְ讛讜ָ֖讛 讗ֶ诇־诪ֹ砖ֶׁ֥讛 诇ֵּ讗诪ֹֽ专׃ 讚ַּ讘ֵּ֞专 讗ֶ诇־讘ְּ谞ֵ֤讬 讬ִ砖ְׂ专ָ讗ֵ诇֙ 讜ְ讗ָ诪ַ专ְ转ָּ֣ 讗ֲ诇ֵ讛ֶ֔诐 讜ְ注ָ砖ׂ֨讜ּ 诇ָ讛ֶ֥诐 爪ִ讬爪ִ֛转 注ַ诇־讻ַּ谞ְ驻ֵ֥讬 讘ִ讙ְ讚ֵ讬讛ֶ֖诐 诇ְ讚ֹ专ֹ转ָ֑诐 讜ְ谞ָֽ转ְ谞֛讜ּ 注ַ诇־爪ִ讬爪ִ֥转 讛ַ讻ָּ谞ָ֖祝 驻ְּ转ִ֥讬诇 转ְּ讻ֵֽ诇ֶ转׃ 讜ְ讛ָ讬ָ֣讛 诇ָ讻ֶ诐֮ 诇ְ爪ִ讬爪ִ转֒ 讜ּ专ְ讗ִ讬转ֶ֣诐 讗ֹ转֗讜ֹ 讜ּ讝ְ讻ַ专ְ转ֶּ诐֙ 讗ֶ转־讻ָּ诇־诪ִ爪ְ讜讜转 讬ְ讛讜ָ֔讛 讜ַ注ֲ砖ִׂ讬转ֶ֖诐 讗ֹ转ָ֑诐 讜ְ诇ֹֽ讗־转ָ转ֻ֜专讜ּ 讗ַ讞ֲ专ֵ֤讬 诇ְ讘ַ讘ְ讻ֶ诐֙ 讜ְ讗ַ讞ֲ专ֵ֣讬 注ֵֽ讬谞ֵ讬讻ֶ֔诐 讗ֲ砖ֶׁ专־讗ַ转ֶּ֥诐 讝ֹ谞ִ֖讬诐 讗ַ讞ֲ专ֵ讬讛ֶֽ诐׃ 诇ְ诪ַ֣注ַ谉 转ִּ讝ְ讻ְּ专֔讜ּ 讜ַ注ֲ砖ִׂ讬转ֶ֖诐 讗ֶ转־讻ָּ诇־诪ִ爪ְ讜转ָ֑讬 讜ִ讛ְ讬ִ讬转ֶ֥诐 拽ְ讚ֹ砖ִׁ֖讬诐 诇ֵֽ讗诇ֹ讛ֵ讬讻ֶֽ诐׃ 讗ֲ谞ִ֞讬 讬ְ讛讜ָ֣讛 讗ֱ诇ֹֽ讛ֵ讬讻ֶ֗诐 讗ֲ砖ֶׁ֨专 讛讜ֹ爪ֵ֤讗转ִ讬 讗ֶ转ְ讻ֶ诐֙ 诪ֵ讗ֶ֣专ֶ抓 诪ִ爪ְ专ַ֔讬ִ诐 诇ִ讛ְ讬֥讜ֹ转 诇ָ讻ֶ֖诐 诇ֵ讗诇ֹ讛ִ֑讬诐 讗ֲ谞ִ֖讬 讬ְ讛讜ָ֥讛 讗ֱ诇ֹ讛ֵ讬讻ֶֽ诐׃

5/22/23

A.Slay - Slaytape V1

By now, (if you exist, dear reader) you may have noticed that the Slayhouse Music Group tag has popped up more than once on this site over the past few months. The women's collective is the brainchild and namesake of none other than Westbury born, Brentwood raised singer-songwriter A.Slay. Sadly she hasn't released much of late, but her 2019 Slaytape EP just might be the crew's definitive statement. And I say this despite the fact that only one other member appears on it (K.Sole on the final track). Slaytape V1  is a sultry s茅ance of heart-worn dispossession. Better to have loved and to have lost vibes abound impromptu parties. And pops takes out the cipher. By the way, that's Volume one not roman numeral six but here's hoping for five more.

5/20/23

I.R.O.C. - "K.A.O.S."

The International Representatives Of Chaos (I.R.O.C.) were a Syracuse University rap act comprised of MC Jozzel, a track runner from Great Neck, and DJ Geminii. The latter would go on to launch Geminii records and do at least two more singles with Jozzel, although neither of them were released under the I.R.O.C. banner. The group is not to be confused with the Long Beach, California g-funk outfit that released "I Came from the Pound" in 1991 and again in 1993 on Doggy Style Recordz. This predates that by about three years. Other Long Island rap records released in 1988 include "Night of the Living Baseheads," "Strictly Business," and "Microphone Fiend," putting "K.A.O.S." in good company to say the least.

5/19/23

Mak Strange - #OPENSESAME

Presentism is a dead-end street. If Rakim first dropped today, would he go platinum or homeless? We like to think he'd find his way to the masses like Jay Electronica finding his way to Jus Blaze and then Hot 97, but let's not forget that Jay Electronica was homeless and is yet to go Platinum. But if Rakim were to first drop today, go homeless, and get even more obsessive over about his craft as a result, I like to think he'd be cool with Mak Strange. Every day might be a struggle. He might not ever turn a dollar from rapping. But he would still be the greatest rapper of all time. Every song here is at least three and a half years old. They've aged better than the public consciousness, and that's actually saying a lot in my opinion.

5/1/23

Blaq Kush - There's Always Hope Vol. 3

A catalog of dreams deferred, There's Always Hope opened up about as personally as possible, with a home recording of a child singing. If the series' second volume expanded its possibilities, the third doubles down on its duality. "Hope" is a good thing but also nothing. "Always" implies infinite, unattainable. When Rick told Islet, "We'll always have Paris," he meant memories. He was saying, "You'll never see me alive again." Kids represent potential. There's Always Hope Vol. 3 has a standout song called "We Couldn't have the Baby." It's about exactly what the title indicates, but still manages to end on a positive note, with the narrator and his lost love reunited in a nursing home. The project itself follows suit, concluding with the glistening twilight of "Summer in NYC." Here, Shalee Beats channels Uptown Saturday Night-era Ski Beatz while Blaq Kush reconciles independent-as-fuck irreverence with the shiny suit era it railed against. It's the song of a summer that may never come or go.

 

4/30/23

Swad - Boyz a Liar / Telling Everybody


For most of its existence, Hot 97's Summer Jam has been held in New Jersey. It's like Jets and Giants games in that way—ostensibly for New Yorkers but really only those who will make the trek to a neighboring state. In 2023, the rap music industry's major public-facing annual trade show returns to New York for the first time in 20 years. But it won't be held in New York City. Instead, the UBS Arena in Elmont will play host to the event. Will any of the performers taking the stage June 4 realize let alone acknowledge they're in Nassau not Queens County? Who knows? But you can bet that the show's promoters know it, and let it ride that there's some corporate tax benefit at the heart of this relocation maneuver. Box that like the Belmont Stakes. Hopefully, the audience will know where they're at, too, and in this recognize that Long Island is as inextricably linked to hip-hop's past, present, and future as any of the five boroughs. Like I was saying to one of my favorite musicians earlier tonight, there's the politic and then there's the emotion. Beyonce and Ice Spice offer plenty to consider in terms of both interpretations. And Swad's remixes of their recent hits relish in the interconnectedness of the two.

4/9/23

MeccaGodZilla - "Tread" ft. thekeenone & Eric Bobo

MeccaGodZilla was a flagship producer for billy woods' Backwoodz Studioz, Eric Bobo was a percussionist on Ill Communication, and thekeenone was the first person to express to me the value of streaming platforms for sharing one's music. This was in the days of divshare, which still exists somehow—wild. All of these artists are also much more than these minor credits. And in 2008 they coalesced for a Bobo song soon to appear on MeccaGodZilla's compilation, Hidden Jewels of Mecca.

Thekeenone obliterates everything here, on some BFG-9000 clear the room, take no prisoners shit. 

WilliefromtheDrive - Lose Until You Win

Job hunt, love life, house hunt, channel surfing, crate digging, competitive sport, poker, trading stock, fantasy sport, acting, songwriting, sentience, conception, evolution, the big bang—there are exceptions, of course, but generally it's all Lose Until You Win. Know the ledge and still jump like Geronimo on some "Ordo Abchao." The Myth of Sisyphus is about becoming the most superhumanly diesel version of yourself, like Pumping Iron.

Being an 80-year-old man, I've taken some lumps in my day, but it's not how many times you get knocked down—it's cushioning the ground beneath you such that getting knocked down becomes unbothersome, pleasant even. Keeping with that thread, WilliefromtheDrive would be the second artist posted here who I first heard about via an aforementioned PDF that hipped me to the fact Hempstead has a thriving drill scene. Lose Until You Win dropped in January, making it a semi-ancient artifact of said scene, but like I said, I'm 80, so times fly.

4/6/23

Kush Blank - Walking LLC

The farther east, the fewer the sidewalks, the closer the sands, real ones or deposits become real, oceanic countersprawl, low-tide phonk, high-tide subterranea. No waterworks, the waters rise, reclaiming mansions and making beachfronts of bungalows. Pocketbooks overflow, pharmacological and/or horticultural. SpongeBob: the whole operation's underwater. The fisherman comes back for revenge, visiting Jason Vorhees hockey penalties on retro-dandy price gougers, high sticking, slashing. New Zealand harbor mates communicate via whale calls and dolphin carrier bottle messages. "I get my powers from the water."

4/2/23

K.Sole - Purple N Passion

When purple haze dropped in New York, it so impressed, overnight every "kind" strain was branded "haze." This was a time of lower THC counts and less variety. Haze delivered an entirely different experience, so desirable it shifted consumer expectations. Nowadays (big lawn maintenance vibes), there are no fewer than 615 cataloged hazes, and Cam'ron's Purple Haze is to millennial rap fans what Hendrix's "Purple Haze" was to boomer rock fans. Purple flower put a generation through college, so don't talk to me about purple drink. K.Sole's Purple N Passion [PNP] dropped within the first few weeks of another big P, like only fogs can overshadow clouds.

3/28/23

Who Is Gustavo Louis?

MF DOOM used to say he rocked a mask to keep the focus on the music rather than the musician—a noble cause and a clever device to maintain one's anonymity, but I can't help imagining that it also has the opposite effect. Humans are inherently curious animals. When we see a mask, we automatically wonder whose face is under it. Is it horribly mangled ala Viktor Von Doom? Or is it the familiar visage of someone we've known all our lives? Or could it somehow be our own face under there, an evil twin come back to collect its revenge for some unseen slight? In Mexican wrestling, it is considered the ultimate disrespect to unmask one's opponent. 

Like the traditional Mexican wrestler, Gustavo Louis dons a luchador mask. Over the past year, he's put out no fewer than 10 projects. However, he actually came to my attention via a retweet from fellow Hempsteader SmooVth regarding their shared origin. Of course, the mask in the profile pic made me wonder 'who's that,' not necessarily in terms of the person's identity but more their profession, as in, 'Is there a rapper coming out of Hempstead wearing a luchador mask?' Yes, there is. His (rap) name is Gustavo Louis, and he releases music under the auspices of Narconomics Records.

The latest release in terms of albums and mixtapes is The Love Tape, which aptly dropped on Valentine's Day. But even newer than that is the Mixed for Narconomics playlist he compiled on Soundcloud, featuring just a couple of his songs as well as a number of LI familiars, including The UN's "Mind Blowin" and De La Soul's "Lovely How I Let My Mind Float" ft. Biz Markie (the LIRR post no less). Both projects provide a solid introduction: the former showcasing his flare for animated hustling and affinity for Phat Bastard beats (the two have three projects together with a fourth on the way), the latter highlighting some of his compatibles and inspirations. Both stream below, along with a clip from a new song produced by Jay Be Ill, possibly from their upcoming Illnarco tape. Get familiar.

3/25/23

Azomali - A MANGO A DAY!

Imagine complete civil unrest, as in every person in every city taking to the streets. At first, of course, it's met with the weapons of the state: police brutality, human rights abuses ... you know the drill. And as the cities burn with revolution, the rainforests burn for industry. Now imagine all that coming to its only logical conclusion. At the end of the day, even military oppression is a Band-Aid. Or, like my father always says, you can only put down a people so long until they pull you from your fucking home. When the revolution ends, then the hope, at least, is that the rainforest and its people can both breathe again. Obviously, there's more to it than that. Revolution, by its very nature, is unending. Rainforests regenerate except when they can't. 

A MANGO A DAY! (Keeps the Colonizer Away), Azomali's first multi-song release since 2019's Guyaba Mixtape, feeds on the nuance undergirding all these generalities. If you've been following his Instagram over the past few years, then between some of most impressive off-the-head freestyles ever recorded, you've witnessed a number of scenes not unlike those generalized above. But seeing is one thing and feeling another. As opposed to social media, AMAD! has a deprogramming effect. It bumps in the coraz贸n, jump-starting empathy. Impressively, it accomplishes this in under 20 minutes with just six songs and five field recorded interludes. For my part, it certainly didn't hurt that one of those six featured Johnny Storm and Azomali together on a track for the first time since they were known respectively as Sky Walker and Kaotik Ellement. But I digress.

Azomali's music ranges from transportive to outright transcendent. The scary thing is that it's only getting better. This naturally should tempt you to wonder what's next. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. For now, I suggest simply taking as prescribed...

3/23/23

Marley Marl Remixes Two Public Enemy Classics

Two years ago, writing about a Public Enemy LL Cool J blend, I said it "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." I sometimes write stupid shit. This is Chuck D at Mr. Magic's funeral service. Little did I know that Marley Marl had already remixed my favorite Public Enemy song, "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos." Apparently he put hands on "By the Time I Get to Arizona" at some point as well.