Does KRS-One still have what it takes to be a top notch MC? Listen to his appearance in the new one by Ras Kass and found out for yourself in what is called “Bardom”, which is far from boredom. This will appear on Ras’ new album Intellectual Property:SOI2, which you can order below via Amazon.com.
DDay One has assembled a 58 minute mix of love, romance, and tenderness in what he calls File Under: Love so if you need something to get you and a loved one in the mood or just need something to play on your long drive somewhere, check this free download through Bandcamp, featuring music from Jazzanova, Art Of Noise, Alice Coltrane, Roy Ayers Ubiquity, Mos Def, Gang Starr, Dennis Coffey, and many more.
If you read the title and know what Pepperland refers to, then you know it most likely has to do with The Beatles, and it does. Now you look at the graphic and are saying “but wait, I see Ol’ Dirty Bastard here. What’s going on?” In this case, it’s a remix project where Beatles samples were used to create new instrumentals for hip-hop songs. Look at all of the people who are on it, it’s insane. Here’s the track listing:
Hello Hello – Edan
Mr Mustard – Big Daddy Kane
Second To None – Rakim
Taxman – The Notorius B.I.G.
Gentle Thief – Nas
Where I’m From – Large Professor
Country Grammar – Talib Kweli & Bun B
Parlay – J-Live
Twist – Salt-N-Pepper
Birthday Dedication – Busta Rhymes
Open Mic Session pt. 1 – Masta Ace, Percee P, Lord Finesse, Frankie Cutlass, Easy Mo Bee & KRS-One
Number Nine – YZ
Self Titled – Heltah Skeltah
Bang Bang – MOP
Pepper – Kool G Rap
Bring Your Friends – Public Enemy
Interlude / Bridge – MC Shan
Last Forever – Artifacts
For The Children – Freddie Foxxx
Ringo’s Big Beat Theme – Spoonie Gee
Hold Poppa’s Large Hand – Ultramagnetic MC’s
Open Mic Session pt. 2 – Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane & Rakim
The End – Run DMC & Afrika Bambaataa
Circles – Wu-Tang Clan
Brooklyn Walrus – Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Buckshot , Masta Ace & Special Ed
Secrets – Slick Rick
Beneath The Diamond Sky – The Genius/GZA
Within Tomorrow – Busta Rhymes
The Beginning – Sunz Of Man
Gentle Drama – The RZA & Rugged Monk
Becausizm – KRS-One & Channel Live
Mary Jane – Tha Alkaholiks
Bong Water – Viktor Vaughn
Love In Summertime – Ghostface Killah & Beyonce
And I Lover Her Crazy – Jay-Z & Beyonce
Ruffneck Soldier – MC Lyte
Hey! – Beastie Boys
Get Back To The City – Large Professor
Hard To Leave Home – Nas
The Flyest – AZ
And Who? – Heiroglyphics
Lonely Thoughts – The Notorious B.I.G.
Can You Dig It? – Gravediggaz
How To Smile – 2Pac & Scarface
A Day In New York – AZ, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah
Stream it in full above or if you just want to download it and carry it with you on your travels, head to MonkeyBoxing.com.
In terms of coming up with an all-star album of rappers, Kid Tsunami’s The Chase (HeadBop) has to be one of the best, although the hip-hop elite might tell you “but wait: these are old school rappers.” As if that’s a bad thing.
The premise of The Chase is that all of the guests on the album are rappers from the 80’s and 90’s, so this is meant to have that old school feel, not only by those who are rhyming, but in the way the instrumentals are made, from well known and worn samples to the productions, where sometimes the horn samples may not be in the same key as the rest of the song. As for those rappers, check out the roster here: Sean Price, Masta Ace, O.C., Prince Po, Bahamadia, AG, Kool G. Rap, Buckshot, Chubb Rock, Pharoahe Monche, Jeru The Damaja, Percee P, El Da Sensei, Craig G., Yesh, J-Live, Thirstin Howl The 3rd, and Sadat X, all delivering fine lines and verses. The one who completely takes the entire album away is the one and only KRS-One, who talks about being in hip-hop for a long time, where hip-hop is from and where it’s going, and why people will still pay for a ticket to hear him speak over funky music. Rap music today may not be where it’s at, but when it comes to KRS-One, it is where it’s at and always will be. When Craig G. makes references to Australia in “Worldwide Connex”, he is referring to Kid Tsunami’s home base in the city of Perth, Western Australia. While most of the MC’s on this album are of American origin, there was a time when hearing their music truly felt worldwide. A small part of me wishes that some of these guys would have rhymed over different styled beats, but I think it would have given the album a bit of an imbalance. Not that Kool G. Rap couldn’t do it, we all remember his verses in UNKLE’s “Guns Blazing (Drums Of Death (Part 1)”, but I think The Chase captures not only a vibe, but a time in history, when going for the paper chase was something you did while making an emphasis to create good music. If the sole hunger is money, the music will suffer, at least to me. Kid Tsunami pulls it off quite well.
The “survival skills” in question are of course surviving in this game known as hip-hop, or at least the financial and commercial game. Both KRS and Buckshot talk about how you really need not only skills, but the knowledge on how to survive in a wicked marketplace, or you’ll end up in someone’s mental cut-out bin before you know it.
At first I wasn’t sure what to expect with this album. I’m a huge fan of both of these MC’s, but what I liked about it was that their input is equally balanced. I call them “elder statesmen” because that’s what they are, and you hear age and real life experiences in their voices, especially in tracks like “Clean Up Crew”, “Connection”, “Thing Of All The Things” (the latter featuring K’naan) and “Amazin'”. KRS is no longer the guy who had Scott La Rock next to him, but you hear someone who has the battle scars, seen the verbal and literal feuds, and isn’t afraid to attack even while he is preaching peace. Then you have Buckshot, whose days as a “Shorty” made him someone to watch and listen to in the mid-90’s. Today, his swagger and sly attitude is still heard in his lyrics, and he’s more confident in his singing that doesn’t go overboard nor is it destroyed by bad sound effects or filters. In fact, “Robot” is a middle finger to Auto-Tune and more specifically to artists who choose to show their lack of talent and skills over a messed up voice effect that had been done, and better, by the likes of Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaataa, and Roger Troutman. These guys aren’t so much angry as they are pissed at how the music has been molded into something else. One may argue that newer audiences mean a new approach to the music, but these scholars are saying that artists and fans need to take it back to the essence, because not many people today have it or know what it is. When Slug of Atmosphere joints them in “We Made It”, one can only imagine Slug being approved as someone with substance and skills.
A few people on various online boards have said that the cover art is corny and should have never been approved. It might be that, but I also interpret it as two guys who are not afraid to brave the elements. They aren’t just guys who rhyme lazily just because it sounds good with funky beats. To say this is yet another return to the boom bap would be too easy, for fans who know and respect hip-hop will tell you that “the real” has always been amongst us. Yet it’s perhaps not a coincidence that this was released at a time of the music’s uncertainty. What this album becomes is a guidebook full of lessons and tips on how to keep the traditions alive and vibrant. The dawn is not here yet.