Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I listen to lots and lots of music on the regular, but there are a few tracks that seem to remain in my regular rotation. Honestly, even my so-called "regular rotation" is not really regular. I find myself changing music like positions in bed (I mean while I'm sleeping). Get your minds out of the gutter, there's not enough room because mines is taking up so much space! Anyway, I present you folks with some of my highly played tracks for your listening pleasure. Not all of these tunes are brand-spankin' new, but they may still have been missed by the masses? I pulled these joints from everywhere too like albums, mixtapes, compilations, bootlegs, etc. Some of these tracks have those big mowfed DJs that I so truly despise shouting nonsense throughout the songs. I say "To Hell" with the all of the loud mowfed Disc Jockeys of the world that deliberately say useless verbage over wonderful records just because they can dammit! Ignoring them may be a chore, but do the best you can. Okay, enuff of my jibber-jabber...let's get into some tunes!

Dudley Perkins feat. Sadat X - Come Here (Remix) --> Dudley Perkins is an acquired taste for many music lovers, but I enjoy his work personally. Madlib always seems to lay down some of his nicest beats for Mr. Perkins as well, which always makes his projects diverse and interesting! Sadat adds his legendary Brand Nubian flavor on the track to make it official. I like this remix a lot! An for those who are totally out of the loop, the rapper Declaime is to Dudley Perkins what Phonte is to Percy Miracles.

Dwele - Count Back --> Dwele is one of my favorite soul crooners, and this little overlooked track is off of the "Dirty District 3" mixtape. Typical Dwele feel to the record, but I bet a few of you guys out there can definitely relate the lyrics. Shame on you...

Corinne Baily-Rae - Call Me When You Get This --> This track is actually my favorite off of her great album. Her voice is hypnotically-soothing to my ears, and I really like the lyrics as well.

DJ Exile feat. Aloe Blacc & Blue - Tell Me --> DJ Exile & Aloe Blacc make up the group Emanon. The funny thing is, I like them much better when they work solo for some reason. I thoroughly enjoyed that DJ Exile "Dirty Science" album released last year, and this is one of my favorite joints off that project.
Keith Murray - Incredible (Prod by DJ Premier) --> Mr. Murray has always been pretty thorough on the m-i-c, but he still doesn't get his props? Maybe, this joint will help him get some respect?

Anthony Hamilton - Struggle No More --> Anthony is in a class all by himself when it comes to vocals. This is one those uplifting tracks. Anthony would make a great preacher too! Chuuch!!

Wade Waters feat. Cubin Link - Rock Solid --> Soulstice and Haysoos are really under the hip-hop radar for most, but I really like this track for some reason. I really think it's the production that has my ears trapped?


Monday, January 29, 2007

The first quarter of 2007 is going to be full of great soul album releases. One of my most anticipated albums of 2007 was definitely Sunshine Anderson's "Sunshine After Midnight," which is only her second album in over 5 years. Sophomore albums are normally hell on an artist. The infamous "Sophomore Jinx" is always lingering around, and the skeptical critics never make it any easier when they ask those leading questions. With her debut album "Your Woman" bringing her critical acclaim back in 2001, would she be able to recreate that magic in 2007? Would she duplicate her past work, or reinvent herself this time around? After being absent from the music scene for 5 years, does she still have it?? Some of these so called critics (music, movies, etc.) really chafe my hyde (not literally) with their preconditioned spins on everything. They should just call themselves "Opinionist" instead, because all they are doing is giving their personal opinions anyway. No different from you or I. Even though they are supposed to remain optimistic and fair in their analysis, I am skeptical that they can remain consistent in that approach! As a fan of music, I don't think you need a critic to tell you what is good or not. That is totally your decision. Coming from a fan's perspective, I could give a dayum about any of that really! I am just glad one of my favorite female crooners is back in the mix with a new album for 2007. Remember, some artists never get a second chance to make an album. Just ask Davina and Yvette Michele!

Like so many other artists in the past, Sunshine's music career was derailed by shady record label politics. At one point Sunshine found herself without a label to call home. Sunshine was basically pushed out of the industry kicking and screaming! She took her show on the road to try and keep her name out there during her label wars, but eventually the fan following began to desolve. She finally went back home to regroup and establish a new music course for her career. That was a very depressing time in her life, but she finally got it together. She finally I have put ears on the new "Sunshine After Midnight" album, and it's definitely not a duplicate of her first joint. Well, sort of anyway? The new album seems to have more of a darker and melodramatic feel to it in my opinion. Understanding the rough road she's been on over the last few years, I totally understand her vibe. She does take it back to her 2001 vibe a little with standout tracks like "Something I Wanna Give You," "Good Love" & "Problems" that all kept my head bobbin'! Overall, the 10 tracks of "Sunshine After Midnight" are not in the classic category, but nevertheless the album still holds it's own. This album deserves a listen. Try to remove all of your preconceived judgements about this new material, and listen to it with an open mind and a fresh ear. I promise you it will sound much better under those conditions...

If you Ms. Anderson is not your thing, you still have artists like Ciara, Cassie and Shareefa that may be more to your liking?

Checkout Sunshine's sites:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unbeknownst to many, Detroit has a pretty large hip-hop music scene. Due to local haterizm and poor promotion, not many of the hip-hop artists have made it past the city limits (8 Mile) when it comes to being recognized by the masses! As in all situations there are a few exceptions. Ta'Raach a.k.a Lacks is one of them. No, his rap name may not ring any bells, but I am quite sure some of his music will? He's definitely not new to the whole music scene. Some would say he's one of Detroit's undergroud vets that is finally getting some well deserved exposure. He has worked with several artists over the years like J-Dilla, Platinum Pied Pipers, Dwele, DJ Exile, Scienz of Life & Dabrye developing his musical resume.

Ta'Raach grew up in Detroit, and he got his start working with his homies Dwele, Elzhi (Slum Village) & Big Tone back in the late 1990s. At that time, all of those artists were pretty much unknowns, so working together seemed like the right move. They formed a super-group called The Breakfast Club, which made a lot of buzz locally, but never really reached the mainstream arena. Ta'Raach handled most of the production on the project. The group's endeavor did get the attention of the local producer phenom Jay Dee (J. Dilla), and he asked Ta'Raach to come out to California to put in some work on his Welcome 2 Detroit album. After hanging out in Cali for a few weeks, he met some key folks that could basically take his career to next level. After making several trips back and forth between Detroit and California, he finally relocated to Cali in 2005. His move to California was strictly to further his career by capitalizing on some great opportunities. Unlike Detroit, California had a lot of production work available for an up & coming rapper/producer to capitalize on while networking and establishing new relationships.

Ta'Raach may now reside in California, but he still reps Detroit pretty hard. He's borrowing the career blueprint of his good friend and mentor J. Dilla who had a gift of meshing that Detroit sound with other genres of music. You can definitely feel that vibe on his new album "Fevers," which hits the streets at the end of the month. This joint is packed with that unorthodox Detroit boom-bap with a nice twist. On the "Fevers" album Ta'Raach manages to balance hardcore street and the neo-soul vibed tracks pretty well. He doesn't sacrafice the level of quality on either end of the spectrum, which is nice to hear. Some of the tracks are pretty short, but that is normal for Ta'Raach's music. Where most rappers may spit 16 bars on a song, Lacks may only spit 6 bars and let the instrumental bang for a few extra seconds. Works for me! This method definitely prevents you from getting bored with his tracks, plus there aren't any of those infamous filler verses that you hear on other cheezy rap albums. Ta'Raach may not be for everyone, but I dig his style. For all of you J. Dilla/Slum Village fans, you should give Ta'Raach a listen and hear what you think!

Checkout his myspace page:


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

As of late I have been leaning toward hip-hop driven posts a little, so today it's all about getting back to soul music dammit! All my soul music headz out there, I haven't forgotten about you! It's amazing to me how many unfortunate souls out there STILL doesn't know who the hell soul crooner Raheem DeVaughn is? He debut classic album "The Love Experience" dropped in the summer of 2005, and lots of folks are just realizing how dope it is! There are many great soul singers out there doing their thing, but what separates Raheem from most is his consciousness. He's not just singing meaningless verses about juvenile sexcapades like the many of the other young male singers, but he uses his music to uplift and educate the masses as well. Uplifting tracks like "Catch 22" and "Green Leaves" reveals that Raheem is not just a one trick pony, and he can sing songs about love, life and the struggle without losing the cohesiveness of the album. Honestly, one of my favorite Raheem joints is not even on his album. It's entitled "My People" and it is one of the most uplifting songs I have heard in very long time! It has that Marvin Gaye "What's Goin On" feel to it. I can actually feel the pain and passion in his words on that track, and if that song doesn't get you energized then trying sticking a metal fork into an electrical outlet. So, if you haven't bought, stolen or downloaded that Raheem DeVaughn album by now, definitely put your ears on that one! On second thought, stop being cheap and purchase Raheem's album dammit! If you can buy Pretty Ricky, then you can definitely buy Raheem DeVaughn too!

To make this post complete, I put together a compilation/mix of some of the soul tracks that I feel folks have missed or slept on. There are also a couple of rare and exclusive tracks on here too to make it a little more interesting. So, take a listen and hear what you think!


1))) Who Do You Think You Are? - Natalie Williams
2))) Don't Stop - Spanish Fly
3))) I Don't Need To Love - Loose Ends
4))) My People - Raheem DeVaughn
5))) Just What It Takes - Kenny Lattimore
6))) All We Need - Darien Brockington
7))) Heaven - Urban Ave
8))) Pretty Girl - V
9))) Dreamin' - Jill Scott
10)) Why U Wanna - Raheem DeVaughn
11)) All I Need - Angela Johnson
12)) Surely - Ovasoul
13)) We, Ours - Sky Hy
14)) Kiss Me - Tortured Soul
15)) It's Not Gonna Happen - Spacek
16)) Two Hearts - Myron & Juliette
17)) I Can't Help It - Davina


Friday, January 19, 2007

Kev Brown Chopping Beat Samples

The art of beat making!

The Scene Dance Show (Detroit 1982)

The Scene was Detroit's version of Soul Train! This is a classic moment from that show. All you Detroiters out there remember Nat Morris, the man around town back in the 80's. These brothaz were gettin' they boogie on for real too! LOL

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Your hip-hop alarm clock has just gone off, which means it's time to WAKE UP!! Nap time is officially over. While plenty of the mainstream rap fans are thoroughly entertained when they hear average/mediocre production, I desire more. Sometimes, I am sucked into the cesspool of mainstream trickery, but I remain loyal to the underground movement. One of the premier producer/emcees reppin' the Maryland/Washington D.C. underground scene is Mr. Kev Brown. I wish I could be shocked that not many people have heard of him, but with a definite lack of advertising and promotion I totally understand why. Plus, Kev seems to be low-key type of person that enjoys sitting back in the shadows rather than being upfront in the spotlight. He's using his music to speak to masses instead of his voice, and it seems to be working well for him.

Kev has managed to work with a large range of artists over his career like De La Soul, Jazzy Jeff, Raheem DeVaughn and Jewel to name a few. He has also remixed several tracks for artists like 702, Lone Catalyst, Amerie, Little Brother and a slew of others. His greatest musical endeavor to date would have to be the remix project he with the Jay-Z "The Black Album," which he entitled the "The Brown Album." The success of his remix album was overshadowed by DJ Danger Mouse's controversal remix project "The Grey Album" that same year. Even with that stumbling block, Kev Brown was still thrusted into the forefront and showered with praise for his efforts.

Kev Brown is a definite student of hip-hop music, but he's no novice. His smooth jazz-infused production sound reminds me of the greats like Pete Rock, Marley Marl, Jay Dee and DJ Premier. That a definite compliment by my standards. Paying homage to the true school while honing his own sound, Kev Brown has garnished a reputation as the torch-bearer of the golden era. He's not alone on his quest of bringing hip-hop back the days of true-school era though. His partners in rhyme Kenn Starr, Kronkite, Cy Young, Critically Acclaimed & Oddisee call themselves the Low Budget Crew, and they bring much to the table as well. These katz seem to have a bright future, and I thank them for helping me maintain my sanity during these days of hip-hop kaos!

Enuff talking. Let's get into the music part of this post. For your listening pleasure, I have provided a megamixx highlighting some of my favorite Kev Brown production moments. Put your ears on this.....


1...Raheem DeVaughn - Catch 22
2...Kev Brown feat. Wayna & Raheem DeVaughn - Hennessey Pt. 2
3...Shawn Stockman feat. Cy Young - How I Do
4...Kev Brown feat. Grap Luva - Struggla's Theme
5...De La Soul feat. Yummy Bingham - Special
6...Jay-Z - Lucifer (Kev B Remix)
7...Cy Young - There Dey Go
8...Kenn Starr feat. Sean Born & Raheem DeVaughn - Another Day
9...Procussions - Life
10.V feat. Kev Brown - Best Friend
11.Kev Brown - Life Is A Gamble (Remix)
12.Erro - Rock Wit You
13.Kenn Starr - Walk The Walk
14.Kev Brown feat. Phonte & Oddisee - Beats-N-Rhymes
15.Kenn Starr feat. Kev Brown - Relentless
16.Grap Luva feat. Phonte - Can't Stay Away
17.Cy Young feat. Raheem DeVaughn - We Are
18.Kev Brown - Albany
19.Jay Z - Dirt On Your Shoulders (Kev B Remix)



The coolest thing about music for me is finding new and upcoming talents that freshen up the game with creative flava! I can usually tell by the first track that I hear from an artist whether I am going to like them or not. I heard a track from this kat reppin' Northern Virginia named J. Laine, and I will admit it had my head bobbin' something serious. I am a beat man, so catchy basslines and hooks are enough to get me hooked in most cases. The song is entitled, "Take N Stride," which Laine chops and fillets the hell out of a Jackson 5 sample! My man DJ Roddy Rod handles the vocals on the track, and it comes together nicely too. As you can tell from the photo above, J. Laine is a big Jay Dee a.k.a J Dilla fan as well as many others around the world. I guess you can say that Dilla was a big inspiration to him.

According to his myspace page, the beat used for the "Take N Stride" track is an instrumental entitled "J Dilla Can Win," which is featured on his J Dilla instrumental tribute album "Apple Jons." There are 32 instrumental tracks produced in the same style of Dilla's "Donuts" album. Judging by the tracks I heard, this could be some classic material. Even thought Laine is new to most of us, he's not new in his home state. He's worked with many of VA's heavy hitters like DJ Roddy Rod and W. Ellington Felton. If everything goes as planned, Laine will be dropping his debut album entitled "To Live and Die in VA" in the summer of 2007! Be on the lookout.....

Checkout the J. Laine feat. DJ Roddy Rod video:

Myspace pages:

Monday, January 08, 2007


Most people when they think of Detroit, don't automatically think about hip-hop music. I know I wouldn't! Artists like Eminem, Slum Village, Jay-Dee, Esham, D-12, Phat Kat, Royce Da 5'9 & ICP have put the city on the hip-hop map, but it seems like the respect for the true talents that dwell here is non-existent. Who's to blame for that? It really depends on who you ask. Detroit's independent hip-hop scene is no different than any other when it comes to following typical lyrical content such as phat booties, gun talk, drug selling, expensive jewelry & drinking the best liquors. It seems like those are the only topics that will get any radio spins these days? Hip-Hop music is not all about radio spins anyway, right? Dare to be different. Challenge the powers that be. Not many are willing to, but there are a few that are still about the art of music and not just about making a dollar.

There is one of the local katz reppin' Detroit that i'm diggin' who is making his way through the hip-hop music trenches with his Timberlands laced tight, and his beat machine in hand. His name is Black Milk. He's not only a beat maker, but he's an emcee as well. Black got his big break producing a some tracks for Slum Village back in 2002 on the "Dirty District: Mixtape Session" and the "Trinity (Past, Present and Future)" album. Soon after that, Black Milk found musical chemistry with another up and comer named Young RJ, and they joined forces creating the group BR Gunna. As BR Gunna they released the "Dirty District 3 Mixtape" showcasing there production skills. Soon after the release of the DD3 Mixtape, Slum Village dropped their third album entitled, "Detroit Deli" that featured production from BR Gunna on 11 of the 13 tracks of the album. Needless to say that people outside of Detroit began to notice BR Gunna's talent, and were requesting beats for their upcoming projects.

In 2005, Slum Village released their fourth album and it featured production from not only BR Gunna, but some solo production efforts from Black Milk. The "EZ Up" track from this album became an instant hit around the world, which obviously influenced Chevrolet to license the track and use it in nationally televised commercials to promote their 2006 automobiles. Black Milk has production credits on the last Canibus and Lloyd Banks albums, as well as the upcoming Pharoahe Monch joint "Desire" that will be dropping this year.

Black Milk has already released an independent solo album back in 2005 entitled, "Sound of The City" that I personally thought was pretty good. Not many folks knew about the project when it dropped due to no advertisement, but it still made some noise locally. Just recently he released an EP entitled, "Broken Wax" that has eight solid tracks. I like this chumpy! After listening to a few Black Milk's tracks, I really get the feeling that this kat really enjoys and appreciates not only hip-hop, but music in general. Not many young katz in the business today seems to give a dayum about the music, so it's refreshing to see someone that does. Another reason why I like Black Milk is that he stays on his grind. Constantly making moves to improve his craft and develop his career. Just recently he signed a deal with Fat Beats Records, and he set to drop his second solo joint "Popular Demand" on March 13, 2007. Keep your eyes out on this dude. He's going to be doing great things in the future!

Since, I am quite sure that the majority of you folks have never heard of Black Milk, I added this little clip from YouTube that showcases the man's talent at beat making! I must say that I was impressed after watching this. This beat is dope as hell too! Check it out above!

Checkout his MySpace site as well:

Thursday, January 04, 2007

According to Talib Kweli's Myspace site, this new Talib & Malib collabo project entitled, "Liberation" will be available for free download for a limited time! Yes, I did say FREE! It's not too often you have a artist giving away free music. So, make sure you get a copy of this project before it becomes unavailable. This is a nice way to start off the New Year! Hopefully, this is a nice look into what Talib's new "Ear Drum" album will be sounding like? You can't go wrong with Madlib on production. Stop sleepin' on Madlib too...he's your favorite producer's favorite producer! Now, all we need is a new Black Star album Talib, and the music world would be a better place!

Liberation Tracklist:

1) The Show

2) Funny Money

3) Time Is Right

4) Engine Running

5) Over The Counter

6) The Function

7) Happy Home

8) Soul Music

9) What Can I Do?

Click the album cover to download, or go to Talib Kweli's myspace page: