Monday, November 30, 2009

Blu & Exile - Below The Heavens

Had to drop a quick note about a 2007 album that I first heard a couple months ago; "Below The Heavens" by Blu and Exile. My guy hit me up and told me I had to hear this, and he was correct; it's been in my rotation since my first listen. Blu is a newcomer from Cali with a nice flow, and Exile provides top-notch production throughout. Definitely a duo to keep an ear out for; get your hands on this LP if you can. Hit the links below for a few choice tracks. One.

- JB

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday night R&B

Let's end the weekend on the softer side with a few R&B hits......

Alicia Keys-Diary(Unplugged)

This is seriously one of my favorite videos ever because my man singing with the back up singers absolutely murders this song.

R Kelly-Banging the Headboard

"Oh my god a rubber rubber rubber"

112-You already know

Classic 112 and one of the most underrated R&B groups of all time.

Sunday Hits

It's a lazy Sunday after a successful thanksgiving weekend, so why not hit the streets with some new jams.......

DJ Kay Slay ft Ray J, Yo Gotti, Jim Jones, and Busta Rhymes-Blockstars

Common ft John Legend-Strange fruit

The Roots-How I got over

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Album Review: People Under The Stairs - Carried Away

Thes One and Double K have been doing this for a while now, and if you haven’t heard of them, they’re a duo that needs to be on your radar. With acclaimed albums such as “Stepfather,” “O.S.T.,” “The Next Step” and “Fun DMC,” few have represented LA as enthusiastically and developed such a unique sound. As the album cover suggests, “Carried Away” is their 7th album. Does it live up to the others? Definitely.


The album kicks it off properly with “Step Off,” a track that begins with a sample of what sounds like a British academic, who says, “Somehow pot and pills and assorted academics aren’t enough anymore…I need something more; more than a pill, or a pint or a poem...I need the hard stuff.” What follows is a simple yet powerful muted-guitar sample, echoed vocals and driving percussion. A track full of “we’re still here, and we’ll never quit” braggadocio, Thes One concludes with a line that echoes throughout the album: “We’re forever the P.”

Two joints that PUTS fans will undoubtedly appreciate are “80 Blocks From Silverlake” and “Down In LA.” “80 Blocks” features a funky electric piano sample, while “Down In LA” includes a slower piano sample and carefully-placed percussion. These are the type of tracks you expect to hear from PUTS, as Thes and Double K rap about the laid-back party life of the West Coast. Although the flow is definitely there, neither is blowing you away with witty lyrics or crazy methaphors; their work has always hinged on the production. The two have always had an incredible ear for samples, and it shows again here and throughout the album.

Two other nice tracks include “Trippin At The Disco,” an upbeat, feel-good track that was the LP’s first single, and “My Boy D,” an addictive, bass-heavy song that features a wah-wah guitar sample and trademark PUTS storytelling.

As most PUTS albums do, this one concludes with some of the album’s best production work. The last track is also the title track, and features a soulful guitar sample, echoed vocals, and drums that fit the mood of the song perfectly. Here, Thes and Double K pay tribute to hip-hop, and let you know that they truly love doing what they do.


There are two complaints I hear from both PUTS fans and non-fans. The first is that all of their songs sound alike. If you feel that way, than this album won’t be for you, as it’s pretty much more of the same from PUTS. The second is that there are too many goofy songs about drinking and blowin trees. There are two tracks devoted to just that on this album, “Beer” and “Cmon, Let’s Get High." Personally, I don’t have a problem with it if the rest of the album is filled with good work and the corny tracks are entertaining, which is the case here. PUTS are known for clowning and having fun on the mic, and these types of tracks fit in with that. It’s genuine.


To be sure, this album is one of my favorite releases of the year. I can’t get enough of Thes One’s production; in fact, I’d confidently put him among the top 15 producers of all time. It’s tough to consider anyone underground these days, but I’ve heard people say that Ant of Rhymesayers fame is the best underground producer, and I put Thes One right up there with him. The two are neck-and-neck.

PUTS are one of those rare acts that can be artistic and skillful, and look like they’re actually having fun doing it. If you need something a little lighter to ride to, cop this album now, you won’t regret it. There’s true talent here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

- JB

Lupe Mixtape Quick Review

As expected, it's on point. Lyrically, very few are on his level, period. The only knock is that it's short. "All The Way Turnt Up," "Fireman," and "Say Something" must be heard. Download from 2dopeboyz here. Chuch.

- JB

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lupe Fiasco Mixtape - "Enemy Of The State: A Love Story"

Word has it that a new Lupe mixtape is set to drop on Turkey Day. Peep the video from 2dopeboyz here. Apparently Lupe has a chip on his shoulder, which is good news for all of us. FNF U-P!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Album Review: Wale - Attention Deficit

Does this really need an introduction? If you’ve been anywhere near a radio for the last year, you’ve heard of Wale. He’s generated a strong buzz (he was the house performer at the VMAs, after all), and many have been waiting on this album. But is he worth the hype? To the highs and lows we go.


As one might expect, Wale comes out the box swingin’ with the first track, entitled “Triumph.” Produced by David Sitek, the beat has a military feel to it, featuring an addictive horn section, echoed, dramatic drums, and background percussion. Wale’s swagger and clever flow are demonstrated in the first verse, which he concludes with the following: “Always knew where the pot was, with no receivers had to pick another option, Tommy Frazier on the motha fuckin 1 and 2s, or Michael Vick, if ya’ll bark, homie ya’ll through.”

The second track is one of the best on the album, entitled “Mama Told Me.” Produced by The Best Kept Secret, the beat features a dramatic string/horn sample and perfectly-placed percussion that give it an anthem feel. Wale spits the “struggle to success” verses that you’d expect to hear on a debut album, and he does it properly, letting you know that he’s arrived and here to stay.

Another nice joint is “Beautiful Bliss,” produced by DJ Green Lantern and Mark Ronson. The beat features a well-known string sample (you might have heard it on Lupe Fiasco’s Theme Music To A Drive-By), chorus vocals from Melanie Fiona, and a verse from another very promising newcomer who is everywhere these days, J Cole. Wale’s verses are consistently dope, but to be honest, J Cole steals the track with his performance. This is a must-hear.

Other noteworthy additions include the well-known singles “Chillin,” featuring Lady Gaga (produced by Cool and Dre), “Pretty Girls” featuring Gucci Mane (produced by Best Kept Secret), and “World Tour” featuring Jazmine Sullivan (produced by Cool and Dre).


There are only a couple knocks I have on this album. The first involves “Let It Loose,” a track produced by The Neptunes. To be honest, I typically like anything done by the Neptunes or Pharrell; they usually capture an alien-like sound that no one else can come close to duplicating. However, the production here isn’t their best effort; it seems like this beat was a throw away from the last Clipse album. Usually their production is unique, but polished. Here, it seems sloppy. Compare it to the Neptunes beat Lupe got on his debut album, and you’ll hear a distinct difference.

The second thing to note is that this a guest-heavy project. Normally this isn’t a problem, but its not what I’d want to see on a debut album. This LP is Wale’s introduction, and when there are guest performances on every other track, it sounds more like a compilation. Only established artists can appropriately have 5 or 6 guest appearances; we know what they are capable of and what to expect. While Wale is talented and has a decent following, he’s not on that level just yet.


To be clear, Attention Deficit is a good album. The production is impressive, and although Wale had a ton of hype to live up to (that will happen when you drop a track like “Nike Boots” ), this album still managed to impress. The man definitely has skill, and his presence on the mic is undeniable; he certainly shows promise. This album will leave you anticipating his second installment.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

- JB


One of my favorite new hip hop up and comers is Wale. Go support my man and buy his sick new cd.....

Wale ft Melanie Fiona and J.Cole

Wale ft Bun B-Mirrors

Back By Popular Demand

The streets were calling me back so LET'S GO.....

Clipse ft Cam'Ron- Back by Popular Demand(Popeyes)

Gucci Mane ft Lil Wayne, Jadakiss, and Birdman-Wasted Remix




Three six mafia ft webbie


I have decided to grace everyone with some straight up jams. After a few months off due to my distaste for the state of Rap Music, I am back and ready to do work. I am ready to get it crackin with some hot new jams, but here is a throwback to get it started.........

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Album Review: Brother Ali - Us

Brother Ali has come to symbolize what many look for in today’s MC. An insightful writer, Ali couples pinpoint wordplay and detailed narrative with a knack for tugging at your heartstrings with introspective subject matter. Combine that with a flow that cannot be denied and a voice that you can feel in your chest, and you have the makings of one talented wordsmith. Oh yeah, he can also rock a party with the best of them. After all, you can’t always be serious, right? “US” is Ali’s third full-length installment, and he continues to showcase his versatility throughout.


The first two tracks set the tone for the album. The first is an intro entitled “Brothers & Sisters,” as a minister (Chuck D?), amidst the soulful vocals of a church choir, laments about the despair of the world and introduces Ali as a shining beacon of hope. The second is aptly titled “The Preacher,” and Ali comes out in full force. The beat is a blend of up-tempo drums, distorted guitar, and perfectly-placed horns that begs you to turn up the volume as loud as you can.

Following shortly is “The Travelers,” one of the best songs I've heard this year. Ali’s ability to tackle pertinent social issues in a creative, forceful way is unmatched, and this talent is shown here in spades. Ali speaks about race in a direct manner – partially through narrative – without being accusatory or divisive. The beat is driving and powerful, with a steel-drum/xylophone sample that fits perfectly.

Another highlight is “Babygirl,” in which Ali describes a young woman’s difficulties in overcoming childhood abuse. Again, Ali addresses a sensitive subject with the appropriate passion and skill that it deserves, and what results is a track that few artists can duplicate. The sample includes a muffled guitar riff, keys, and carefully placed percussion that famed Rhymesayers producer Ant is known for.

Other nice tracks include “House Keys,” in which Ali recalls robbing his drug-dealing upstairs neighbors and selling their products (don’t worry, they deserved it), “You Say (Puppy Love),” Ali’s ode to his lady over a string-laden guitar sample, and “Fresh Air,” another up-tempo, joyful track that proves Ali’s flow is a perfect match for Ant’s production.


There isn’t much to dislike about this album, but there is one thing to mention. “Best @ It” is a decent track featuring Freeway, but the production is confusing. Freeway handles the first verse over a mediocre sample. After Freeway spits, the beat changes to a much doper interpretation of the same sample (the drum pattern, bass line and melody are modified) and Ali absolutely murders it. It then switches back to the first version. Ali is still nice on the last portion, but it’s tough to understand why they went that route with the production. I think Freeway could have been featured in a better light; listen to it here and you’ll see (or hear) what I mean.


Brother Ali is a complete MC, and US is another solid effort. While it may not match his first LP, Shadows On The Sun, it certainly comes close. Ali and Ant have proven that they are a winning combo, and this is an album any hip-hop head can appreciate.

Rating: 4 out of 5

- JB