Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nothing makes my head-nod harder than some good ole' hip-hop music! Nothing sounds better coming out of your Ipod (or off-brand MP3 player) like a SoundNexx underground hip-hop mix full of that ruff and rugged goodness. I don't normally critique my own mixes, but dammit....this one knocks hard! I dug up some of my favorite underground tracks that I feel most people have totally overlooked during the last few years of the hip-hop movement. Some of these songs are why I started listening to underground hip-hop in the first place. Most of these aritsts were only one hit wonders, while others had solid albums that never got noticed. Okay, this time around I am not going to get long winded with the commentary about this mix. I think these tracks can speak for themselves, so just make sure you are ready to listen...

On 2 tha tracklist.....

01 - Don't Sound Like Me Intro
02 - East Flatbush Project - Tried By 12
03 - Saucrates - Father Time
04 - Sonja Blade - Look 4 The Name
05 - Mr. Complex - Visualize
06 - Percee P - Throwback Rap Attack
07 - Ed O.G. - Let's Be Realistic
08 - J Live - Great Live Caper
09 - Apani - Abracadababra
10 - Charizma - My World Premiere
11 - Supernat - Mind Tricks
12 - Sir Melenik - Nightwork
13 - Headcrack - Clear
14 - The Points feat. Busta Rhymes, Mr. Long, Coolio, TB&H, Big Mike, Redman, and Biggie
15 - L The Head Toucha - Too Complex
16 - Common - Real Nigga Quotes
17 - Dutch Massive - Massive
18 - Crown City Rockers - Walking The Streets
19 - Access - U Don't Wanna Battle
20 - Lucky Dice - Imagine That


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"This was how the WEST was won!" While the music media has been concentrating on the album releases from rap heavy-hitters like Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z & Nas, groups like the Cali Agents go under the radar? Well, the Cali Agents have been under the rap radar for many years now. When it comes to the westcoast rap scene, these two katz are definitely on my top five emcees list! This supergroup is made up of two solo westcoast artists Plant Asia a.k.a Bleedy Eyes & Rasco a.k.a Dick Swan! Both of these emcees have several solo albums under their belts, but yet they still come together to make music as well. The Cali Agents have been putting it down in the game for many years, but yet they still sound hungrier on every release. Why? They seem to have a big chip on their shoulders? I guess being overlooked and underrated for many years, while gimmicky trash rappin' artists get major exposure and heavy promotion can make anyone a little frustrated. Instead of letting that frustration pull them down, the Cali Agents remain more focused than ever. The chemistry between these two emcees is amazing to say the least. They exchange vocals on the mic like a Westcoast Run-DMC with a splash of Jurassic 5, never missing a lyrical step. The production on this album is solid as well. You won't hear any sappy rap love songs on this joint, but you will hear plenty of those head-bobbin' basslines embedded with their signature guitar riffs. The Cali Agents are true emcees, so they left the singing to Pharell and 50 Cent a.k.a A Quarter, 2 Dimes and 5 Janet Jacksons with the iron marks on her back! The Cali Agents like to keep it ruff and raw. I like it that way too, in more ways than one! Honestly, it's nice to hear hip hop music that doesn't have some R&B singer overshadowing the lyrics with their vocals. As much as I love hip-hop, soul and R&B collaborations, I still enjoy hearing them separately in their rawest forms. This album is taking things back to the basics. If you crave that rugged hip hop, definitely give the Cali Agents a try!

Checkout these websites for more info on this group:

Cali Agents music

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Time to shine some light on some upcoming soul talents. Music has been apart of my life from as far back as I can remember. I have always kept myself surrounded by music throughout my life. Over my years, I have been blessed with opportunities to meet some of my favorite artists. I won't bore you with a grocery list of names, but there has been plenty. Some of the artists were real cool to talk with in person, and others were nothing like I expected? Either way, it is what it is, so I except that fact. Recently, I got a chance to meet an upcoming soulful talent from my hometown of Detroit. He goes by the name Velben, and I must say that I feel that he is one of Detroit's next rising stars. Not only can he put it down vocally, but he's a real down to earth kat that you can just sit down have a decent conversation with. He currently has a musical buzz overseas, so I thought I'd shine some light on him to increase his fanbase in the United States. Being an independent artist can be challenging, so it's important that fans of the music show support whenever possible.

Velben has released an EP entitled, "Formless" to showcase his music. The title of this project is very fitting, because Velben's music is very original in the sound and content department. His music has a very soothing and hynotic feeling to it. One of my favorite tracks is the cut entitled, "About Love," which has a real (Kevin) spacey like vibe. Velben is definitely trying to put his own person spin on soul music, which is surely needed these days. For that reason alone, I encourage you to checkout Velben for yourself and hear what he's doing. If you are interested in his music, and you want to buy the Formless EP, you can click on the album cover (shown on the left), which links you to the CD Baby website to make it happen. Also, checkout his myspace site to learn more about him and his music.

Next up is the newcomer Chrisette Michele reppin' Long Island, New York. I surfing the internet and I came across a track she had done called, "Unconditional" under the Def Jam label. The song was pretty decent, so I did some further investigation and realized that she is definitely making some serious moves. Not only does she have a few tracks floating around on the internet, but she is a featured vocalist on both Jay-Z and Nasir's upcoming albums. That's pretty good for a 22-year old newcomer. It's no coincidence that both Jay-Z, Nas and Chrisette Michele are on all on Def Jam, so this move benefits everyone involved. Letting Chrisette get some shine on two of the most anticipated hiphop albums of the year was a genius business move! I guess that's the real difference between taking the independent route and being on a major record label? The right kinds of opportunities and promotion can make all of the difference in the success of a music career. One of the things that I really like about Chrisette Michele is that her music is not saturated with excessive sexual overtones and man drama. It's more heartfelt and uplifting type material, which is actually refreshing. She definitely seems to have a bright future ahead. If you are a fan of India Irie, you should definitely give a Chrisette Michele a listen.

Let me back track a minute before I close it out. I mentioned that Ms. Michele was featured on the (somewhat) upcoming Jay-Z album entitled, "Kingdom Come" that will hit the streets on November 21st. Great news for hiphop fans by the way! One of my favorite tracks on the new Jay album is called, "Lost Ones," which features Chrisette providing vocals over a Dr. Dre beat! That track is some classic ish in my book, so I wanted to give Ms. Michele some props for giving that song just what it needed to be great. They could have easily gotten Mary J. Blige or Faith Evans to provide the hook on that record, but Chrisette held it down! Oh yeah, if you haven't heard the bootleg by now, step ya internet game up just a little.

Checkout her websites below for more info:


As most of you soul music fans know by now, we have lost another soul singing legend by the name of Gerald Levert last week. It's always a shame when good people die too soon! Gerald Levert will definitely be missed....

Thursday, November 09, 2006







Hip-Hop music has been going through some serious changes for awhile now. Some were good and some bad, depending on who you ask? One thing that has remained the same is the love that true headz have for hip-hop of the 1990's, commonly referred to as the "Golden Era of Hip-Hop" by most. Some people feel that this was the decade where hip-hop music hit its peak as far as creativity, originality and trendsetting goes. One thing is for sure though, that era produced some the best emcees that ever touched a microphone. Remember when you first heard Biggie, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang, Tupac, Big L and Big Pun? Names like those will remain in hip-hop history forever, but it's unfortunate that the majority of the folks I have listed are no longer with us. For the rap icons that have left us too soon, we will always remember them for their contributions to the evolution of hip-hop music regardless of how long they have been gone. That's the great thing about lives on forever creating new fans everyday. I am giving a personal salute to the hiphop veterans that are still releasing solid projects in 2006!

Well, today I bring you three hip-hop veterans that are still making moves on the music scene. Reintroducing...C.L. Smooth, Lord Finesse and AZ! All three of these katz have new projects available for purchase. C.L. Smooth dropped the "American Me" album back in October. If you are looking for his partner/producer in crime Pete Rock on this album, stop looking! Mr. Smooth has decided to do this project with other producers this time around. Even with Pete Rock not lacing the beats, the production is pretty solid overall. He ended up with a nice beat selection on this project. This album definitely worth a listen if you are a C.L. fan or just want a taste of what hip-hop used to be. Being a true Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth fan, this album definitely filled my void for the moment until The Chocolate Boy Wonder and C.L. Smooth get back in the studio once again. Let's hope it's soon!

Next up is the Funky Technician! If you have been hanging around the SoundNexx site for any amount of real time, you already know that Lord Finesse is one of my favorite emcees! This kat has always brought the effortless gift of gab on the mic for years, but I have always felt Finesse has never gotten the props he deserves. KRS-One (another legendary beast on the mic device) has even cosigned the phenomenal abilities that Lord Finesse possesses as an artist. That's saying a lot in my book! For those that are just waking up from a Nyquil experience, Lord Finesse has several dope albums and compilations worth your attention and this new one is no exception. The "Rare & Unreleased" compilation is packed with some of the more hard to find Lord Finesse material from his catalog. Full of the Lord's rare remixes and hard to find guest appearances, this compilation is full of that ole' N.Y. boom-bap from back in the day! If you miss the hip-hop sounds for yester-year, this is definitely one worth checking for. Some of these tracks have never been released in a CD format, so that in itself is worth your duckets! If don't own any Lord Finesse albums or at least some of the classic material from the D.I.T.C crew, your hip-hop collection is definitely lacking. Step ya game up!

"Life's A B*tch, and then you die" was the phrase that started it all for AZ back in 1994, when he appeared on Nasir's hip-hop classic "Illmatic" album. AZ used that opportunity to propel his rap career forward, which resulted in the release of his debut album entitled, "Do or Die" in 1995. The album was pretty solid, but it didn't really raise AZ's stock in the rap game like it should have? Since then, AZ has dropped several solid albums over the last 12 years of career, and "The Format" is his latest release. Personally, I like this album. No, it's not the best hip-hop album of 2006 in my opinion, but it delivers the consistency that many rap albums lack these days. A lot rappers know how to make hot records, but not many know how to make solid albums. AZ is one of the rappers that obviously has a the right FORMAT for putting together solid albums. Pay attention!

At a time when the music industry is filled with lame gimmicks, shameful subject matter and cookie-cutter artists that can't deliver the goods, turn to the hip-hop vetz that are still putting out solid projects. Most of them don't get the promotion and attention that they deserve these days, but they are definitely putting in work. Now, that Jay-Z and Nas both have new albums scheduled in the fourth quarter, it should be a great hip-hop holiday season after all!





Monday, November 06, 2006

Most fans of great hiphop music are still at a lost for words over J. Dilla's unfortunate passing earlier this year. Dilla was in the hospital for several weeks before his death, and his mother (Maureen Yancey) reamains in debt because of it. Maureen Yancey and family have released "The Chronicles of J. Dilla" The Mixtape to raise money for the cause. When this mixtape is purchased, all of the proceeds go directly to the Yancey Family. It all apart of the J. Dilla foundation that was created just after his death. If you are a Dilla fan at heart, this mixtape will be a nice added piece to your collection for sure.

Checkout this link below for further details about the project:


Friday, November 03, 2006

RJD2, El-P, Aesop Rock & Murs @ The Bowery