Category Archives: NY REALITY CHECK
Has anyone else ever noticed how truly dope the late great Punisher’s collab’s with Noreaga were? Hip Hop has produced some amazing duos but while Pun has always been associated more with Fat Joe and Nore with Capone and Tragedy, it’s the collaboration’s between these two Puerto Rock hardbodies that’ve got me fuxin’ with the internets here tonight. These are a few i have in my own collection but a simple YouTube search will turn up even more. Walk with me now…
Big Punisher ft Noreaga – You Came Up
This Rockwilder produced gem was the third single from Pun’s 1998 debut album Capital Punishment. Pun reps the BX while Nore holds down Queens over some funky horns. There’s a video out there for this but i prefer the album version.
Noreaga & Big Pun – Thug Brothers
This is from Funk Flex’s 60 Minutes of Funk Volume 3. If you don’t have your own copy of it there exits a better version on YouTube that i couldn’t embed for some reason. Nore puts in a gold medal performance on this, at no point being outshone by Pun.
Royal Flush ft Big Pun & Noreaga – Clap Yo Hands
I own this 12″ and i fuckin love it, it’s also quiet a rare track from what i’m led to believe. The Punisher slaughters this joint sampled from The Metres Handclapping Song, it’s as simple as that. It rivals his appearance on Beatnuts’ Off The Books. Flush and Nore let ya know Queens is in the house also but they had to work for it after Pun.
Pete Rock ft Big Pun, Noreaga and Common – Verbal Murder
Pete Rock’s solo debut was packed with memorable guest-spots and this ranks among them highly. Why Common is on here i don’t know but it’s never been more evident that there will never be another Pun or Nore, both amazing characters in their own right. I never listen as far as Common because there’s no need.
Kid Capri ft Noreaga & Big Pun – Block Party
Mix-tape king Kid Capri put out an album at the end of the 90’s that featured just about every (living) major rapper of the era but it wasn’t really that good. This is an exception though. Nore’s flow is almost anti-pun’s in that he leaves so much breath in the beat while Pun fills every single measure of a bar with syllables, except for when he’s snorting the breath back into his lungs. I fuck with Nore on this though.
DJ Clue ft Cam’Ron, Big Pun, Noreaga, Canibus – Fantastic 4
It was the end of the 90’s on Clue’s The Professional and Pun and Nore were playing rap’s odd couple again. Book-ended by two impressive performances from Cam’ and Can’ it’s Pun and Nore (getting head in the whip in any street) for my money on this shit. The beat gets on my nerve after a while but the constant darts will keep you entertained.
Producer Oddisee provides the bed for the artist formely known as Freddie Foxxx and the King Asiatic to spit blackout darts on.
E’ry day is MdotOdotPdot day around here… Mashout Monday, Warriors Wednesday, Fizzy Wo Fridays. We even do Bukka Bukka Blaow Sundays.
KA and Preservation drop another jewel exactly 1 month after the first for the upcoming release Days with Dr. Yen Lo. Some people can’t get into him but personally I’ve been a big fan of KA. Even though he’s got a laid back flow it’s mad aggressive and abrasive in it’s delivery at times with his back ups, which is dope. Minimalistic beats with selective tones create a sick backdrop for him..His handywork with the camera and the B&W edits give his work an additional depth in my opinion.
A true poet with originality in league of his own..
On one of my eternal quests to stay inspired, one day i went looking for new rap music and happened upon Long Island’s Hus Kingpin and Rozewood. I don’t know a great deal about either but i have seen their music being championed over at Ego Trip and Nah Right in recent months. I remember emailing links of their stuff to a handful of my friends and the response was a reply of general indifference, “yeah that’s kinda cool, meh” keep it moving.
I think it’s time to start spreading the word on these two guys. Where the recent spate of Roc Marciano features have had me essentially looking straight past them, Hus and Rozewood are rekindling that feeling i used to get when listening to The UN or when i first heard Marci’s magnificent “Snow” and “War Games” long before Marcberg had everyone screaming “Al Pacino with a tan”s praises.
High Rises was the first joint i heard that really piqued my interest, reminding me a bit of that old B-1 aka B-One 12” that dropped on Rawkus, Empire Staters / Verbal Affairs.
Hus and Rozewood don’t slouch on their output either both having released numerous albums, mixtapes and iTunes singles over the course of the last few years. This clip is taken from their free 100$ Taper album of mid last year.
The most recent full length release came via Rozewood’s The Beautiful Type which dropped in December 2014. Produced entirely by Illatrate and featuring appearances from Hus Kingpin, Boog Brown and SmooVth.
Rozewood talks The Beautiful Type and the process of working with friend and producer Illatrate.
Shibuya Shrine ft. Boog Brown & Hus Kingpin. Taken from The Beautiful Type
If talent were gauged on youtube views then these two dudes should be getting 200,000 plus views per video but they’re not. In saying that though, i have noticed the underground starting to pay more attention to these more than deserving MC’s. A quick YouTube search will have you discovering the amazing quality of music Hus and Roze are putting out at an alarmingly efficient rate, with flows and cadences reminiscent of a hungry Roc Marci or even Planet Asia and a left of center lean that reminds me of Alchemist and Oh No’s Gangrene project. Head over to iTunes or Amazon and start supporting this grass roots hip hop movement today!
But before you do peep how Hus and Roze do their thing over a beat originally found on The Alchemist’s Rapper’s Best Friend vol. 3.
Hus Kingpin & Rozewood – Star Castles
I remember years back receiving a textual transmission from my friend and esteemed colleague Proof telling me to check out this blog he’d just discovered called Daily Mathematics. I’d never heard about the blog of which he spoke and in the following text he proceeded to tell me that it was written by a hip hop music attorney and lawyer who wrote these amazing stories about his time within the industry, needless to say i was intrigued. That evening i went to my future wife’s computer and typed Daily Mathematics into its search engine and spent the remainder of the evening glued to the incredible and often hilarious stories on the screen. I stuck with Daily Math for a while, Combat’s insider tales about everyone from Dame Dash to Easy Moe Bee had me hooked, his stories were crack for a confessed rap addict such as myself.
I’ll try not to sound like a Wikipedia entry here but Combat Jack was born Reggie Osse a native New Yorker (Brooklyn to be exact) of Haitian decent. After receiving degree’s from Cornell and Georgetown Law he interned at Def Jam in 1989 where he’d work sample clearances for 3rd Bass’ Cactus Album. From there his credits are endless, after brokering Jay-Z’s first ever deal with Payday Records he’d go on to work with everyone from Bad Boy and Rockerfella to Capone-N-Noreaga and RA The Rugged Man. He also worked as a managing editor at The Source for a minute as well as a very brief stint with MTV, he was hugely involved behind the scenes of a lot of the most popular records of the 90’s. He retired from the music industry unsatisfied and disheartened by its constant fuckery in the early 2000’s.
He started blogging about his time within the industry under the alias of Combat Jack following his retirement and fast gained a following in hip hop blogging’s formative years of 05/06, translating that following on to an online radio show and then on to a prominent hip hop podcast. His broadcast alongside team member and prominent NY sneakerhead Premium Pete is going from strength to strength and has been a weekly must listen for a few years now. The show is an intrinsic look at hip hop and New York culture and i consider it one of the most important documentations we have of hip hop at this point in time. I was a little concerned when Dallas Penn retired from the team last year but the show didn’t miss a beat and has only gotten better in my books.
The guest list over the years is endless, if they were involved in East Coast hip hop anytime from the mid 80’s on then they’ve probably been on the Combat Jack podcast. Recent episodes with Lord Finesse, Freddie Foxxx, Jermaine Dupri, Chuck D, Kane, Cormega and Ice-T have been stellar, jam packed with history, stories and a literal tonne of amazing content. Not to mention episodes with Clark Kent, Bobbito Garcia, photographer Glen Friedman, Spike Lee, the infamous first Dame Dash episode and the episode where Havoc of Mobb Deep said he wrote those tweets about his man Prodigy and that a publicist told him to say he left his phone at a gas station, he continues on essentially calling P a bitch.
No matter how little i know about some of the guests i’m constantly intrigued and usually enthralled by most of the discussions. Like it, follow it, rate it, stream it, listen to it and enjoy it. Go back through the archives and discover something about someone you might know nothing about. The Combat Jack Show is available over at iTunes and Soundcloud and also streams off their website below.
Unless it’s The Godfather II, i’m not much for sequels.
In the sport that is rap music i’ve come to the conclusion that sequels are what rappers do in a vain attempt at reclaiming some form of past glory in an era where music sales are at an all time low, one last moment in an otherwise dimming spotlight. Fat Joe, CNN, Red & Meth, Jay-Z and far too many others have all dropped sub-par sequels to one of their classic recordings. Off the top, the only sequels that i can think of that worked were Raekwon’s OB4CL2 and Prodigy’s HNIC2 and in saying that, i don’t think Cuban Links 2 was exactly what everyone hyped it to be, it was good but a classic?! Nas’ Stillmatic probably deserves a mention also but only time can define a classic so we’ll wait and see…
Now, to the contrary. The possibility of a sequel to Cormega and Tragedy’s timeless track “They Forced My Hand” pricked my ears up when i caught this video last night, the reason for that being that in 2014 i don’t think either QB veteran has been sharper with their pen. Tragedy’s been dropping heatrock after heatrock in the lead up to Magnum Opus and you already know how dope Mega Philosophy is from earlier this year. A Mega and Trag collab is always a welcome thing in whatever form but a sequel to “They Forced My Hand”, if handled by the right producer, could be a very good look for two incredibly sharp MC’s known for reflective and emotive music.
Til then let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope that Ghost never drops that Supreme Clientele 2 he’s been promising for the past couple years. I’d hate to see another album’s legacy tarnished by a shoddy, inconsistent follow-up.
Here’s “They Forced My Hand” for those that don’t know what the fuck it is that i been talkin ’bout.
I think DJ Skizz is owed a great debt for having the stones to put together this collective of hardbody rap gods on one track. I’m neither here nor there with the Droog/Nas comparisons but i give thanks to Skizz for letting one of the greatest MC’s DITC ever birthed another chance to shine.
Brooklyn stands strong on this track but Uptown reigns supreme once Milan Costantine has done his thing.
DJ Skizz- Hot Breath ft. Your Old Droog, Sean P, Li’l Fame and Milano Constantine.
How many of y’all know what Super 8 film is? For those that don’t, it’s 8mm Film Stock. Super 8 was the home movie camera format from 1965 thru to the invention of the videotape based home systems of the late 70’s. Super 8mm generally cost around $30 for a 3minute reel (well it was when I was buying it in the 80’s/90’s), that would have to be sent to a camera distribution dealer such as Eastman Kodak for developing. Ahh, the beauty of film. I can go on about it for days, but know that digital in any capacity, will never achieve film’s raw beauty and look. Period. Expensive yes, worth it? Absolutely, viable and affordable by today’s standards? Not so much. Technology wins again. Moving on….
The point of the above blurb now leads us back to this clip. It was shot on Super 8mm film in 1992. Really, someone still using this film format in the 90’s? Pretty much unheard of. The footage is raw as fuck. Dirty grain ridden exposures and next to nothing lighting set ups, this clip reminds me of my first short films I was shooting around the age of 12. Handheld and ruff as guts.
This clip is so raw not just because of the film stock, but also because of the history and crew involved. Mobstyle were no joke! Harlem heavy hitters in the dope game & the streets who came with a vicious style plus a very public on record hatred for NWA. PT Pacino called em fakes, studio gangstas, and reportedly, PT was rumoured to be responsible for starting a riot at an NWA gig back in the day in NY.
The track is furious and the injection of vocal samples from the film “…And Justice For All” re-enacted by the actors in the clip is classic. But hands down, the street heaters pulled out in the clip are heavy as fuck. The stand-out scene has to be the Barber Shop scene where PT is getting a “T” shaved in his chest by the barber.
Judge – “You’re out of order!’
PT – “You’re out of order! If I do time I’ll kidnap ya daughter!”
Directed by Roy Taylor
Back in 2011 (seems so long ago), with some solid savings and life presenting one of its many opportunities, I did what many before me have done, that being ‘the pilgrimage’ to the the worlds capital city, the mecca, the birth place of Hip-Hip culture (New York City).
Me and the wizz snagged a short stay apartment in the LES Manhattan, immersed and embraced every aspect of being a mother fucking New Yorkers for a month; from getting to know my local pizza pie chef for the daily $2 slice of chicken and broccoli to pissing it up with the Rican’s at 2am fiendin’ that beef, beans and rice with the hot sauce from a truck on a stinking side walk of Brooklyn.
Story’s are many from that trip albeit, one that I’ll take the grave that’s worth sharing was the time Queens took over Tammany Hall in Manhattan for an barrage of unadulterated hip-hop for the Large Professor/Neek the Exotic – Still on Hustle release Party.
If I remember correctly, Sunday night I was briefly trawling the webs for live venues and found the upcoming shows for Tammany Hall page. I lost my shit when I noticed one of the greatest MC/Producers was going to be hitting the stage the next following me reading this. The adrenaline started pumping with fan boy excitement right there and then. I said to the Mrs we’re going to this shit and we’re rocking up for door entry EARLY!!
Monday night, I knocked back a few 40z colts back at the apartment as you do and deliberated whether or not I should take the DSLR and flash (glad I did). We turn up to the venue at 8pm on the button and not a single person in sight other than a fuck off sized bouncer who ushered us in to the stub bitch where we paid $20 each for entry into a intimate venue. The flyer stated ‘show at 9pm’ but being foreign to shows in NYC I figured we best be early with this line up and it’ll give us time to get slightly marinated and check my camera etc..
About 45 minutes passed, I’m pretty pissy and I’m thinking what the fucks going on, there was all of about 15 people in the spot!?, “yeah it’s Monday but this aint Brisbane!! this is meant to be the fucking city that never sleeps” I said to my Mrs. Went outside for a bit of polluted air to see if there were more out front…fuck all people however, I met a guy from LA and after he hands me his business card and I tell him my name and business we realised that we did some business together a few years back (small world eh). We talk some shit, I get some fanboy photos with all the mad Queens rappers etc…Head back in and notice a few more heads have filled the venue out but probably only 30-40 max in the spot. Walking to the bar to get my last drink before shit kicked off, I was greeted by the towering Mayhem Laurenavich who says “what’s good” and hands me his CD…Sick cunt!
Finally the the show kicks off with Mayhem and J-Love warming things up. Few dudes behind me were baggin and booin J-Love. Granted he’s not the best rapper but he go alright live and I gotta respect the part he played in Mega’s ‘The Realness’.
General Steele, Graig G, Mr Cheeks, Cormega, Royal Flush, J-Love, Mic Geronimo all blessed the stage dropping in an out for some freestyle bars. No show of Trag and JuJu who were on the flyer but that was made up by the underboss, Lord Finesse grabbing the mic from behind the decks and dropped a gem of a verse.
Extra P and Neek went in and killed their new joints from Still on the Hustle, mad hype energy and crowd control! After their set was done and dusted, Cappadonna appears ended the night with back to back bars, blacking out in a chipher side of stage surrounded by performers and crowd.
What a fucking cracker of a night, seeing these dudes on home turf was truly amazing and something I’ll hold very close. Was like some VIP party shit. Below are a couple of photos I took from the evening along with a video I found on You Tube.
If you have the opportunity to travel to NYC..DO IT!
There’s a lot that can be said of the quintessential New Yorker and there’s just as much that can be said of Ricky Powell. New York to his core and self described as “the Oscar Madison of Hip Hop”, iconic photographer Ricky Powell has been involved in the culture and business of Hip Hop almost since it’s inception.
Sometimes referred to as the (unofficial) fourth Beastie Boy, Ricky Powell’s attitude and photography has seen his work appear everywhere from numerous album covers to The New York Times. Having been a fixture within Manhattan’s Lower East Side scene of the 1980’s Ricky would host his own public access televison show “Rappin With The Rickster” through the early to mid 90’s and go on to release his famed book Oh Snap in ’98.
The culture of New York City is one that fascinates me, as do the individuals that helped shape it’s many urban movements pre gentrification. Press play on the video above and peep the science of one such individual and always remember that “money can’t buy you flavor…”
Big Poppa give it to ya proper… With the 20th anniversary of Biggie’s amazing debut Ready To Die now just behind us, i thought it no better time than to dust off the Lord Finesse produced, Sadat X featuring classic Come On Motherfuckers. Puffy reportedly cut “Come On” from Ready To Die to keep the album from taking too gully a tone opting towards tracks like Big Poppa and Juicy as early singles. Puffy would make numerous concessions though by understanding the value of the street track being being included as the B-side to the commercial single, ie; Juicy’s B-side being the Preemo assisted Unbelievable.
Read To Die’s only guest spot was Method Man’s scene stealing performance on The What. Mr. Mef’s light was shining bright back in 1994 both with the thugs and ladies so you know Puff (being the consumate business man) wasn’t going to cut Tical over Sadat X, and rightfully so, but that takes nothing from how truly amazing this track is. Sadat’s nasal BX cadences are as at home on this Finesse produced smash as Biggie’s Brooklyn Bullshit and the results are undeniable.
Exactly one year ago I was standing in New York City, a literal jungle of concrete and culture!
Peep The Lox video from earlier this year. D-Block breathes life into a break you’ve definitely heard elsewhere with some old fashioned block-rockin’ spitting while the visuals are as stark and engaging as the city they’re paying homage to.
This track is available as a single on iTunes.. Cop that!
According to hip hop folklore – and for those of us that weren’t there, if you happened to be at the famed Manhattan night spot Latin Quarters in the mid to late 80’s and you heard the drums from the start of “Go Stetsa” drop, it was time to grab ya girl and tuck ya chain!
Before there was The Roots there was Digital Underground and before that there was Stetsasonic. Hailing from Brooklyn and arguably hip hop’s first band, Go Stetsa is an amazing track from thier 1986 debut album On Fire and if those Brooklyn Hard Rocks were up in the LQ and this got played, it was time to make room… “Go Brooklyn! Go Brooklyn! Go Brooklyn!”
Its my opinion that MC Delight rocks this with flows and cadences that sound as good today as they did nearly 30 years ago… Stetsasonic members Prince Paul and Frukwan (RIP) would go on to form the Gravediggaz with The RZA the following decade, while Paul would find greater recognition for his groundbreaking work on De La Soul’s first three albums.