Tuesday, January 31, 2006

No tricks in '06.

The attempt was to be "as awkwardly separate from the crowd as possible."

If BB King's wasn't such a can of sardines, maybe I'd be able to take a decent picture once in a while. Of course I was also under the ripping tide of a stomach virus which gave me no desire to stand up, which is essentially all you can do in this overpriced bombshelter fuming with hot wings, mixed drinks, and secret stash blunts from the core of the crowd. Ah, the signs you're at a New York hip-hop show in Midtown. Gotta love it.

But thankfully I found a place to sit, and in fact sleep for about forty-five minutes, on a bench near the door while I waited for pretty much the most influential emcee to bless the mic live on stage for the first time in, well...who knows really how long. But mark it on your calender: January 30th, 2006. The concert that would go down in history....kind of. Rakim, the motherfuckin' legend. If you missed him this time around, you have another chance.

The openers sucked for the first hour, I won't lie. But then Grandmaster Caz and Raheem from the Furious Five showed up to rock a few joints. Immortal Technique made an appearance too. And Pete Rock hyped up the crowd with "The Creator." Daaaamn. The surprise guests made the listed guests pale in comparison.

Then Kid Capri took the stage to rock the ones and twos for Rakim, who finally showed up and played for about roughly under an hour, probably more like forty-five minutes without any noticeable mistakes. "No mistakes allowed"....but the sound guy actually fucked up his mic at the beginning. Easy to fix. Ra stormed through all of his hits. It was definitely nuts. He had the crowd danglin' off his gold chain, hanging on his every verse, rapping along like it was an Evangelist telethon.

Man I wish I had more energy, to be healthy enough to move with the crowd's hype. I suppose this is a blessing in a way because it's nice to not have to feel so claustrophobic every now and then when seeing a show you actually want to enjoy.

Also, BB King's is notorious for awful overpricings on even the simplest of drinks. Three dollar sodas, seven dollar draft beers, and four dollar bottles of water. Get the shit outta here, c'mon. Who that is sober will actually drop that much money there? Fuck Times Square.

Done with venting. Good show overall, worth the money indeed. Now here's a song for you.

Eric B. and Rakim - "In The Ghetto" (Drums and Rakim mix)

This was on the flip to the original "In The Ghetto" single released back when Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em was fresh for 1990. Hate to say it, but even after seeing the song's video, this here mix completely obliterates the original. All you need are simple and hard hitting drums like these to back a vocal dominance like Rakim, and the track will be completely obliterated in correct fashion. Props to the Godfather for coming out of the woodwork. It's been a long time.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Headphone masterpieces # 1.

Practice what they preach, maaaan.

I would love to make another weekly institution, just to motivate my sorry ass to writing more. But this formula might run thin. I suppose I could do my best for a while and see where it goes. Indulge me.

Sometimes the best moments in listening to music outside is that moment that you actually start walking. Like if you're coming out from the train station to be blessed with a sunny sky, or leaving your apartment for the first time to go greet the day. Hell, maybe this is one of those songs that can be just as effective as you're pulling out of the driveway to go to work on a cold winter morning. But the point is, its private listening while you're mobile.
This is one of those songs.

The Radio Dept. - Pulling Our Weight (mp3 link)

Gentle guitar, pounding but subtle rhythm, lush harmonies. It's all you need, nothing fancy. I listen to this track and feel the urge to just raise my head up and look to the sky. Not to be tacky, but sometimes you just listen to tracks like this, and they make you smile without going "awww" to yourself, you feel?

Plans? Let's see. Tonight I'm going to see more of my fellow alma maters at Paul Canetti's birthday party down in the Murray Hill area. He'll be also playing some music, so it should be a good time.

Right now I'm gonna enjoy this beautiful day. And eat somethin...


Friday, January 27, 2006

Throwback Friday #4.

Yeah, you could say that I've been going through the motions this week. You know, since there are no more days off for a while, and the weeks have become chockful of business from here on out, it makes sense how I could fall victim to the tide of forgetfulness. I didn't even download music, or even as much as listen to any music outside of the iPod while travelling throughout the metropolis. Considering I am a music nut, this should essentially clue you in to where my mind has been.

On the computer, yes, but more so in front of the TV. And boy do I hate it.

But let's digress, shall we? Thank Ghostface its Friday. Did I just say that? Well, why not. Right now he might as well be God since both the streets and the messageboards are more hyped than ever over
Fish Scale, which officially comes out a month from now. Get ready, its about to go down.

No, I'm not thinking about Cam'ron. Not thinking about Jay-Z. That's for the fourteen year olds to dwell on. I'm just thinking about dope old school mixes and how much I wish I was born ten years earlier. Adrien Brody and I would have rolled together, that's my word.

You guessed right: I read the Mass Appeal interview. Thirteen years it took to win an Oscar, damn. Am I willing to wait that long? If I start tomorrow I probably won't win an Oscar until I'm fuckin 50, and yes, that is plenty of time I am willing to take to have my dream come true.

On with the entry. Today's
Throwback Friday covers one of the all-time greats. We're also gonna take a trip down south, and backpeddle a few months to a REMIX to the hottest damn song of 2005.

But first the meat of this dish. YSI this time because, eh whatever, I'm STILL lazy after this week.

Willie Hutch - Tell Me Why Has Our Love Gone Cold (mp3 link)

A-ha! Sounds recognizable, right? This song is great though. Rest in peace to the god, he just passed away last September at the age of 60. And what a voice he had. Like for real, it's definitely its own instrument. He really knows how to do more than just
sing, laying the smack down on the funky rhythm, violins and all. I also am fond of Willie's guitar work on here, as I think it is absolutely is the secret weapon to making this song so desirable to Juicy and Paul. Presenting....

Three 6 Mafia feat. Trick Daddy, Slim Thug, & Project Pat - Stay Fly Remix (mp3 link)

Now, I know my audience. Aside from a few exceptions (hi, mom), I know that everyone reading this right now has more than likely heard the original version of this song. And likewise, I'm sure that a good majority of those rap fanatics have also heard the remix. But, we had to make choices, people!

Besides, how could I not give my props to Project Pat? I know nothing about this southern crunk shit like a lotta other bloggers do. Definitely not the best source for that. But if I learned anything from J-Zone's Ig'nant mix CD (the first one anyway, oh shit cousin I don't see you owning it!), I say, simply put, learn to appreciate. I ain't gonna be on no Three 6 dick now, that's not my style. But I definitely appreciate when a great song comes around. The production is obviously one of the best of 2005, whether its flipped for a remix or staying the course of its more familiar form. And what's more, it allows Three 6 the recognition among new and old heads alike that they're still in the game. Excellent choice of sample.

It's now time for me to part and stop rambling on about fluff. Gonna get my drink on down on Delancey (props to J-Logic---good lookin' out). Also, visit The Get Right again! Updated like craaazy: Copperpot interview and a conversation between Jive and Syl on beatmaking. Don't sleep.

I'm gonna write more this weekend, believe it!


Monday, January 23, 2006


The word of the day is "possession". Where as Kobe possessed the ball for basically the entire game, the more glaring fact was that Kobe himself was possessed. On your 666th game, I guess the deal has to go down, right?

Well, see you in hell, Kobe.


P.S. - Go Steelers!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Throwback Friday #3.

Oh shit, are those the feds looking over your shoulder? Ha! Made you look!

Damn it. I don't have much time to post right now, since I have to catch a bus back home and want to bring this in today as promised. Consider yourselves lucky this time around!

On this edition of Throwback Friday, we'll be taking a look at a throwback that isn't a funk or soul track, and a neo-soul cut that can actually make the heads nod. Props to my man Syl for digging this single up. I don't remember much about this band since I didn't grow up in the 60's, but I do know that they played at the original Woodstock Festival. John Sebastian ended up moving to the hills of Woodstock too, oddly enough, and started his family there. I probably met his son somewhere along the way but forgot to put a face to the name.

Lovin' Spoonful - "Didn't Want To Have To Do It" (mp3 link)

A great homage to this track's lovely guitar work is found sampled in a new track by J. Rawls off his latest and probably best official solo work to date, The Essence of Soul.

J. Rawls feat. Middle Child - "What If" (mp3 link)

Middle Child actually shows up four times on this album. Good choice, J. The album also features Wordsworth, Eric Roberson, Jonell, and Aloe Blacc, who in my opinion steals the entire album with his one contribution, the closer "Bailar", which I may have to put on here somewhere along the way. Do yourself a favor and pick up The Essence of Soul if you're in the mood to put your loved one in that perfect Valentine's Day mood (don't run away, it is coming up after all).

I'm out!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Remember 2002?

Using the right touch of purple! On the next Project Runway...

I do.

It was the year after 9/11. I had just finished up my freshman year of college, academically getting by with the skin of my teeth. It was the year I learned from a play I was in,
Icarus, the infamous adage that has stayed with me since: "Don't look back. Don't ever look back."

It was also the year I started to learn, after a random conversation with a fellow student, to never regret anything. And although I shaped it over time to work within my own set of morals (which do exist, believe it or not), I never forgot that moment, and I began to have the personal epiphany about what I really wanted.

Digressing now from here on in....

2002 was the year when I started foolishly working for Vector Marketing as a summer job, selling Cutco knives to families who didn't know any better. Thankfully, I didn't get past the second week because I realized I had no heart to scam people I didn't know: see, after the first two weeks you simply can't just try selling to your parents or your parents' friends, you have to sell to your parents' friends' friends.

Yeah, so I got paid some money but the method of conduct this business practiced in was too....not unethical, but definitely a bit
much. Kinda like if Evangelism translated into a summer course on business. And although the people who stuck with it whom I know quite well have made a buttload of money, I myself knew in my overly enlarged heart that I simply couldn't seriously go forth with this practice. It wasn't me.

But that was fine! Because shortly after, starting in June, I went into NYC to move on with my accredited internship at a small production company. My parents managed to find me a sweet sublet apartment in Chelsea for me to stay at for six of the eight weeks of my internship, making it officially the first time I would ever really stay in Manhattan for any long period of time at all. The first and last weeks were spent crashing at my cousin's apartment in the Upper East Side area.

You could say I learned a lot in those eight weeks: I got my first taste of the trains, got lost in Harlem, experienced first hand how awful New York summers are, became exposed to the retardedness of Hot 97, oogled over the beautiful women (at FIT), got served with the reality of rejection in the working world, and fell victim to the madness of losing my only set of keys. All in one summer. It was a nice crash course.

It was also the summer when I first heard of this character called Cam'ron. That summer he would be all over Hot 97 and MTV with songs from his critically acclaimed and recently released Come Home With Me. Songs like "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma", you couldn't escape hearing them. Though these songs were indeed dope and the videos were entertaining, I wasn't buying the steez at all back then cause I wasn't into his pretty boy pink-outfits and staggering flow.

But there was one track I enjoyed. One of the first songs of his I heard on any radio station, and it was actually before I even arrived into Manhattan to begin with.

See, the Vector people made all of us recruits at the first meeting sit in these grade school chairs inside a barren office space located in what probably was otherwise a drug trafficking center in the heart of Kingston, New York. While all of us sat waiting for the meeting to start, the radio hummed in the background. An awful pop station that had been marketing itself as "The All New" for three years, K104. A trashy bimbo and I were arguing about Eminem (who at that point was still too busy rapping about pajama time and beefing on Moby and a few other dated idols of the early aughts) and the quality of his music. Annoyed that I actually allowed myself to get into an argument with someone who didn't think, I slumped back into my chair and attempted to tune out and shrug off the ignorance. And then this song came on:

Cam'ron w/ Jay-Z and Juelz Santana - Welcome To New York City (mp3 link)

This is what they call "fighting music". Fuck R. Kelly; this track is what really went down as the Best of Both Worlds. Here you had BK's own banger and Harlem's own gangster, supplement with the gangster's second banana who was still ripe at the edges waiting to open up. While Juelz brings the hook, Jay and Cam go back-to-back rhyming over what might go down as the best Just Blaze production of all time. If not the best, certainly one of the best, and certainly capable of going down as one of the best beats to come out of New York this decade. Just Blaze is the truth and its essentially one of the main reasons I check this song as certifiably definitive. Not only because it was a dope track laced by one of New York's premiere commercially succesful producers to come out in a hot minute, not only because it was the unification between president and secretary-of-state, but because of this:

After 9/11, riding on U2's dicks for emotional support was getting totally played out. The band wasn't even from America. And falling in line with the masses by parading around quoting Alan Jackson was simply too patriotic and a little bit hokey if you want my honest opinion, espeically if you were from the east coast. New York needed an anthem, that spoke to the streets and carried a triumphant sound underneath a confident, precise chorus. This was it.

But unless I failed the Billboard chart history test (completely possible...), "Welcome" was never an official single. It just happened to be one of those tracks that could be played on the radio. So I suppose I was lucky that hot day in May, as the fan whirred from across the room and my peers conversed in clumps, to listen to the anthem that never was.

"Welcome to New York City" eventually saw its way as the theme song to some video game (I remember seeing the commercial and all and being like, wait, this isn't the 50 Cent game?), but it would have been cooler if the song picked up when it was still fresh. It stands the test of time as one of the all-time Killa Cam fan favorites.

A little bit more about Cam'ron and then I'll wrap up. I have heard all of Purple Haze. Nothing on that album lyrically comes close to the velocity that Cam takes it on this track. Very few times does Cam keep it somber and sensical in his songs without talking smack. Something tells me that its these few chances he takes to keep away from being flashy and pun-driven, is what makes him so notable as a rapper nowadays. It's all in perspective. And though he really will go down as one of the best lyricists in the game, there is no way I could see Cam'ron going down in hip-hop history as an "emcee". There's just no way. Whether he sounded intelligent compared to Bill O'Reilly or not, duke has more stuffing in his head than the teddy bear I got back upstate.

And so that's why I don't take this recent dis of his to Jigga too seriously. Cam is otherwise all jokes---he just knows the right way to be clever and clear and still "talk to the streets" at the same time, is all.

Right...but so does Jay, and whether you like it or not Dame and him were business partners. So technically were it not for Hova stepping into the fray once upon a time when R-O-C was a force, Cam would arguably not be in the position he is in the game (but most importantly, I wouldn't be posting this entry, heh).

If you want to hear what Cam has to say about Jay in his ridiculously cumbersome seven-minute dis track, go ahead and go to any of those hip-hop links I have on the side. I'm sure they'll talk about how Cam'ron is the truth and all that, but in the end, I'm not too impressed. Politics to this degree never really impressed me, to be perfectly honest.

But a triumphant track with an all-star cast? Sure as hell gets my nod of approval.

Man, its these kinda factors put into account that make me kinda miss 2002.



Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No clientele to sell it to? Internal revenue!

Cleanest subway car ever.

A big shout-out to my boy Sky celebrated the big 2-1 today. On this edition of The Most Compressed Birthday Presents Ever, we're gonna take a trip down memory lane for you New York heads, all the way back to 1998. The A-side was a certified heater called "Sleepwalkers", and the B-side went down as probably every Non-Phixion fan's favorite song of all time, a De La Soul semi-homage entitled "Thug Tunin'".

Certainly not a fledgling group by the time the album was finally released, Non Phixion took FOREVER to come forth with their official debut to the world. Finally in 2001, The Future Is Now dropped after five years of pressing wax. The "Sleepwalkers" 12" was one of the very first. So it made sense that, due to how aged the tracks were, neither cut made it on the album. Eclipse (Non Phixion's producer) probably wanted to make more room for the cuts produced by Primo, Pete Rock, The Beatnuts, and of course, Large Professor (two joints!).

That being put into account, I'm still waiting for an official follow-up, now that all three members--- Ill Bill, Goretex, and Sabac Red ---have released solo albums. But Uncle Howie doesn't end at the guys from Non Phixion. There's so many frickin' side projects I can rattle off right now. Keep your ears peeled, and if you really want to know what's new, I'm sure I'll probably post it here. Except if it involves this other artist on Uncle Howie, Mr. Hyde. That's where I draw the line. Sorry, guys.


Thug Tunin' (mp3 link)

Calling it a straight jacked beat would be an insult. It's definitely much grimier and the drums hit with a pound of dust instead of a packet of sand like it was when it was better known as a Prince Paul beat (all respect due). Flawlessly spit verses, especially Ill Bill's at the end.

Happy birthday, Sky!


Monday, January 16, 2006

Dreams are like fish, you've got to keep on reeling.


I have a dream that, one day, we will all flip the system off and rebel against the codes which we are told to live by.

I have a dream that nearly 100 rap albums will make their way onto the web for free download on some random blog.

Folks, that dream has come.

Mustafa Goodprose Day has commenced. (refer to 1/14 and 1/16)

Do not stop dreaming.

(btw, happy martin luther king jr day everyone)


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dorky and Dorkier.

"This is how we do it..."

Oh I'm a happy boy. Links are finally updated, look right there! Now with special groups! Hurrah for organization! Hooray for.....


I'm gonna go out and drink now. I love this fuckin' song.


Throwback Friday #2.

Friday was kinda busy and what's more, my computer wasn't really being cooperative last night, so sue me. I'm not one known for deadlines, but I can assure you this won't happen again. I have just the perfect song for this weekend. If you're looking outside at the same weather I am, this song will be perfect for you. On this edition of Throwback...er, Weekend, we cover some timeless jazz. Once again, I'm gonna use a rapidshare instead of a yousendit link unless someone says otherwise. I'm not looking to make these joints expire anytime soon.

Grover Washington, Jr. - Moonstreams (link)

The bookending wind effects make this song extra eerie, and it's simply a beautiful track. I don't know what I can really say about it. I guess I should point out it's one of those songs I can play over and over again and I would never get tired of it. I think I even played it on repeat while I went to sleep one night. Fuck those Mind Food tapes, gimme this song and I'll be set. Washington's sax has a somber voice on here that can make anyone chill out.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, we have our boy DMX. From his second album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, comes probably one of the best and introspective tracks of his entire catalogue. And it samples our good friend Grover!

DMX - Slippin' (link)

Keep in mind I'm not the biggest fan of DMX. I have distinct memories of hearing his first album ad nauesum during my days of sleepaway camp at Frost Valley way back in '98, when the album was the hot commodity). Courtesy of this guy named Eric (what up kid), whom I've known as a rap head before I was even really becoming knee deep in the genre, the entire bunk was blessed nearly all the time with the raging sounds of Swizz Beatz layered under the growls and barks of the Dark Man.

Lucky for me, that association made me not so interested in checking for X's music after the summer ended. Which was a shame because, speaking on the present tense tip, I can totally see myself checking for songs like the one I just upped. Dare I ask my audience, if I like this track, what else has he put out that speaks in this manner?

As it turned out, DMX kinda fell off his rocker after about the third album (the last real big hit he had was probably "Party Up"), slippin' (hardy har har) into a trite territory of thug rap, getting arrested for really stupid shit, and talking about being a preacher thanks to a talk with that sneaky zealot Mase. He's also coming out with a new album on Sony Urban this year after three years of all his insane shenanigans. I think he's hit the crackpipe too hard. We'll see though.

I suppose I wasn't really missing much. Props to the boy DMX though for putting out a song that uses a great sample, instead of the usual Swizz Beatz style. Switchin' it up like any good artist should.

Now if only I could find out who the hell produced it. (update: DJ Shok, who produced a lot of shit in the Ruff Ryders camp. Also, for the visually stimulated: a video.)

Enjoy your weekend, I'll try getting to this again if I get the opp.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

One day, I had a taste for trout...

Okay, so I'm being a little unfair. Not like Jive Alive isn't my friend, comrade, fellow DJ, and sole influence of about eight different acts which I wouldn't even have given the time of day early on in my college years were it not for his intuition and knack for having a good ear towards almost everything. Basically, we're like the same person.

But the difference is, Jive can actually spin. And, furthermore, he can make mixes with a startling display of specific selection. So though it may be unfair that my immediate connection gets in the way of an unbiased opinion, keep in mind the simply yet trite adage: "When you're hot, you're hot, and when you're not, you're not." And after years of waiting for the sequel to all his rap mixes, he finally comes correct with this excellent mix of swing and vocal pop. Quoth the DJ,
"This disc is the result of about a years worth of digging through dollar bins and trying to work older tracks into the playlist of the Humble Drums radio show."

Good show too, currently being held down by a frequent collaborator Altruistic? every Sunday night from 8-10 pm EST. You can listen here (when you remember that is). It's my favorite show on the radio, simply because I have yet to hear anyone else doing what he's doing on the airwaves.

And likewise, Jive Alive keeps the spirit of being unpredictable in music selection going on this mix. Which you should all check out! Due to all the sample issues, Jive Alive is giving them away as promotional items for
The Get Right, his website which you may notice as already one of my standard links on the side of the page. My advice? Do yourself a favor and check it out. Dare I make this any more clear once again: THE ALBUM IS FREE.

And here's a sample track in case you need some more convincing:

Gale Garnett - "So Long" (mp3)

Just what you might need for those lonely winter nights when the snow is falling and you don't even feel like looking outside. There are quite a few other surprises on here which will definitely put you in that lethargic mood. And then some gems which make you want to shake up a martini and wear your best fedora. Something for everyone. Tony Bennett, Fifth Dimension, Sergio Mendes...hell, Jive even throws in some newer joints to keep the bread fresh.

Before I head out, I'd just like to say, I have no idea where my head was this week. First this guy comes into New York for his first time and crashes at my pad until Monday, then a friend comes through last night as soon I'm getting out of my acting class. I suppose I'm quite a popular person, but that's open for interpretation. All I know is, when things like this spontaneously happen, at least I have family members who watch Project: Runway to keep me posted on who's eliminated.

So now that I'm finally alone, I'm back just in time for tomorrow's weekly institution, Throwback Friday. I suppose I'm doing something right, I've been getting some positive feedback thus far, and I've barely started. Keep it coming, people. I'll be back tomorrow with updates and a whole lot of other goodies.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Throwback Friday #1.

(L to R): Rawls, Axelrod, H.B. Barnum, circa 1966.

Every Friday, I'll post up a classic track that has been sampled in rap. If ya lucky, I'll post up more than one. For the first Throwback Friday, I have some unfortunate news. The artist of this week's pick died today. Lou Rawls, the Grammy Award-winning soul singer, succumbed to cancer earlier this morning. He was 72. Read more here.

Rest in peace, Lou.

Now I'll be honest with you. I'm still learning about music. Constantly a student of the music I love and have yet to hear, I feel no shame in my lack of knowledge of certain things. That's the whole point of being an appreciator of music. That being said, I only know one Lou Rawls song. And for those in the know, O-Dub, from Soul Sides, was the guy who put me on to him last month when he presented a track from David Axelrod's
The Edge, released last year on Blue Note Records. It's the track that got Lou Rawls to go gold, a beautiful track with Axelrod at the musical helm. And I've got the YSI as my only testament for a tribute to a man with such a wonderful voice.

Lou Rawls - You've Made Me So Very Happy (mp3)

I wish I could do more justice. But it just doesn't seem suiting for me to talk about an artist I'm not really that familiar with. However, I will share a little story with you...

Last night I went to Lombardi's on Mott & Spring. Pretty damn great pizza if you ask me, if not a little on the expensive side for one person (12 dollars for a small pie, they don't serve any single slices). But damned if it's not an excellent steal for a group dinner. All in all, there's nothing more therapeutical to the empty stomach than pizza with a beer. Nothing.

So I'm listening to the satellite radio station while eating. Not sure which provider, but the music played was straight 50's and 60's rock. One song that was played near the end of my meal was some unidentifiable cover of the Lou Rawls joint you have right there. So many people have covered it, so I'm not really sure. All I know is, it wasn't nearly as great to me as the original stands. The fact that it didn't have the ill piano loop that Axelrod put in there was just not enough for me to really get into it. Polishing off my Brooklyn Lager I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be amusing if the Lou Rawls actually came up on the shuffle before I got home?"

Sure enough, on the last block before arriving to my apartment, the track actually came on! So I suppose more than usual it had more of a lasting effect on me. It really drew me in initially because of the production--- the piano loop has been used on one of De La Soul's earlier albums,
Buhloone Mindstate, on two songs that really make the album for me incidentally: the lush instrumental "I Be Blowin," featuring the amazing Maceo Parker, and Part 2, "I Am I Be",
showcasing one of Pos's best all-time verses (the first one). I've gone ahead and upped the latter of the tracks for those looking for the perspective. Prince Paul laced this one right as a testament to both Rawls and Axelrod (another artist whose music I really should sink my teeth into this year).

De La Soul - I Am I Be (mp3)

All that being said, another RIP once again to Lou Rawls.
If you or anyone you know have any suggestions for what I should bring to the table for next week's installment of Throwback Friday here on Beta-K, drop me an e-mail at betakerosene@gmail.com!

The roommate comes back tonight, so time to tidy this place up a bit.



Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Struggle Continues.

Damn it, I knew I was forgetting something. Sorry, Bluepint. I am such a bastard. This album was so dope, and I totally forgot to give it the recognition it deserved. It came out last year and should have easily made my top 20 for 2005. But it didn't, because I flaked out and forgot its entire existence while compiling the list. Because there's always that one, you know? That one you bump incessantly and hope it will grow on you and then it disappears when you make the shift outward.

Truth be told though, 1988 wasn't a very memorable album. But it's still a very stellar album. I can only think of a few tracks I really enjoyed off the top my head. Like the title track, and "Big Girls Need Love Too" (it had to be done), and of course, "Fresh". I guess a few factors came into play here to why I slept...

1. I have apparently misplaced the album, and when I was finally getting to moving in all of my CDs into my apartment, the absence of 1988 caused me to oversee its presence as a contender.

2. When I got my iPod I was so entranced by the song I'm about to post in moments time, that I nearly forgot about all the other songs. Maybe this is why it is indeed useful to put entire albums on iPods anyway (something I normally don't even entertain the possibility of---I still got a discman, bitches!).

Blueprint is a good cat. Tours constantly with his Rhymesayers fam, really easy to approach in casual conversation, and has a very good handle on how to eclipse past the nuances of a normal battle rapper. At his live show he did a freestyle over "Billy Jean," and when I noticed the crowd reaction, I was pleased to see that young fans are being able to appreciate the lesser known cats, as oppose to clinging onto Slug for dear life.

Let me backpedal here for a second. Another Rhymesayers stablemate, MF DOOM, for example, doesn't tour really that much, he just gladly gathers up all the checks Cartoon Network's been cutting him so he can raise his family in between what I'd like to call The Next MF DOOM Collaborations. Right now these are his album with Ghostface, and Madvillain 2. You could say he's one of the few who can stay in the studio and still make quite a bit of money off it. Meanwhile, the rest of Rhymesayers doesn't have the luxury. Nor the patience: it's all about touring when you're the typical starving artist. It's a good thing that at least Rhymesayers is bar none, if not the most successful, up there with those Jef Dux hipstahs as the most successful underground hip-hop label of the 21st Century.

But I'd still wager on Stone's Throw bringing more realness to the table when all is said and done at the end of this decade.

By the way, in case you were wondering if I've got some proof with the dee-licious pudding, the Kork Agency released some numbers this past fall about the Atmosphere tour. The link to the statistic has since gone astray, but the facts still remain: $500K, and that's NOT including what was made off of merchandise (and they sell a lot of merch, believe me). They obviously are doing something right, and they've got plenty of the right artists to keep the grind steady.

Whoa, I got off topic faster than a plane to the tropics. Do yourself a favor. Let's refresh, ok? If you haven't picked up that Blueprint album yet, go to Amazon or any other site you frequent to buy albums, and check it out if its your thing. The track I'm about to post did not make the album. Instead it graces the b-side to 1988's first single, "Boombox". That track is alright I guess, but the b-side is what keeps the wax worthwhile in my opinion.

"Dead Presidents" (mp3)

Unless someone is vehemently opposed to Rapidshare, I'm going to use it instead of YouSendIt. Mainly because the YSI website was all crapped out when I tried getting to it just now, so in any case, let me know your thoughts and I can adapt to your needs. You picky little bastards.

Apparently, at this very moment, somewhere in this big city (most likely in Midtown), my alma mater is hosting a Network Night like I went to last year. I am so glad I don't have to be there. If only I could lie. If only...

And so, on a final note before I wrap things up for the night.....well, simply put, I had this idea in mind. Tell me what you guys think. Today is the birthday of my good friend Mel the Canuck. I was thinking....every time someone I know (WHO READS THIS) has a birthday, I will post up a song from my collection to serve as their birthday present of sorts. I figure at the end of the day, music is probably my greatest asset to make someone out there happier.

And so for this sparkling occasion, which I will hearby dub from now on The Most Compressed Birthday Presents Ever (
*ahem* working title), I have decided on posting up a rare Charizma track I got off Freemotion several months ago (ah! another link to add to my site. visit them, they've got the ill goods to last you until next year, including *ta-da*, an excellent new Blueprint track, whaddyaknow). It's called, aptly, "Phone Ring Track." Being that our beloved Canadian is a closet PB and Charizma fan, this will do just the trick. Teach your kid well when they enter the world, Mel. It ain't all about metal.

Happy Birthday!


I've always wanted a flying umbrella.

Rubber spoon, rubber spoon...

Allow me to go on the record to say that this doof with the rabbit hat should have been nixed from the final cut, plain and simple. I have no idea why he's in this, but if he's supposed to be a supposed fellow classmate of those other hysterical hooligans, it's simply not going to work.

Otherwise, allow me to fully support my fellow comrades at The Dutch West Internet Comedy Troupe for their brand-spanking new webisode (the first of 2006) which officially debuts...today. Which means you are watching something that probably everyone else is watching at this very moment. O_O

Oh, uh, that reminds me.

You deserve choices. Pick your preference, and happy viewing!

If you are interested in seeing the rest of what the Dutchie's got to offer, you'll be happy to know I've supplied a direct link to their homepage on the side of this page. It's funny stuff for sure.

Also: If you're interested in seeing what these rabble-rousers are all about in the flesh, a handpicked few can be seen at Identity this upcoming Saturday night. It's the God Freedom improv show, only $10 to see. A ticket for one free beer comes along with it; a steal I say. Doors open at 8 pm, and the show starts at 8:30. Usually goes on about two hours, tops. Location is: 511 E 6th St btw Ave A & B. The gigs are always downstairs in the lounge area, and boy are those couches awesome. And the acoustics are perfect.

Ehh, okay. /end plug.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

You're In Big Trouble Like Tucci.

There's a very little known quotable circulating deep in the core of hip-hop obscurity. Its founder is identified as rapper Celph Titled, aka The Rubix Cuban. A flagship founder of the Demigodz Crew, Celph safely has many well known quotables already. For example: "The closest that you ever got to a punchline/ is waiting for refreshments at the prom in '89" or "Real gangstas don't say much, we talk with our hands/ And keep a surplus of Ziploc bags and rubberbands". Got the picture? As clever as these and many others I could cite are, they just don't pertain to the direction I'm trying to take this entry.

"Don't ever call me a producer behind the mic/ I'm an emcee behind the boards, you
better get it right." - Celph Titled, "Makin Music Remix" featuring Lexicon and Apathy, 2002

Enter J-Zone aka Captain Back$lap, who essentially is the exact opposite of this statement: a producer who accidently ended up getting on the mic, more than he expected anyway. A graduate of SUNY Purchase, 1999's
Music For Tu Madre(one of the best album titles ever, haha) was his senior project. And for the most part, every single one of his last albums have presented him as the star of the show, along with occasional guest emcees. With each consecutive album, the roster gained more familiarity with his audience, peaking in my opinion with Devin The Dude on last year's A Job Ain't Nuthin But Work, a track called "Greater Later". But Zone's best beat in my opinion will always be "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" featuring New York veteran Masta Ace, off of 2003's $ick of Bein' Rich. With each album he releases, J gets nuttier and nuttier. It also has been good for his career, because with Celph Titled, it looks like the nutshell is about to explode.

You see folks, luckily for Celph and Zone, they
do share the same thesis in life: not giving a fuck about anyone or anything in their path. So after many song collaborations, they are finally joining forces for an entire album. Together, they are the Bo$$ Hog Barbarian$, and are set to drop their full-length in stores in March. Their single goes on sale in a few weeks, and although this is not the single ("$teady $mobbin"), this shit is a straight burner, and should not be dismissed lightly.

"Celph Destruction" (mp3)

I mean, it's like right out of...shit, I just tried pigeonholing a J-Zone beat. Zone's shit is so easy to identify though, he chops shit up meticulously like a young DJ Premier, and that's truth (yup, I said it). But instead of finding the perfect headnodder like Primo is best known for, Back$lap is obsessed with
disecting the less-than-ordinary sounds you'd expect in a rap track, like a piano without ritalin (sorry, Madlib), or a triumphany organ grinder (once again...). Even better, on this, Zone brings up something straight out of a middle school laser tag match. Am I not right? Seriously. And furthermore, among the many signature sounds on a J-Zone production are his sampling of conversations found on rare tapes he gets out of the frickin' library, or simply silencing the music so he can highlight the obscure dialogue gems (keep an ear out for the one at the end of the track).

As far as the emcee goes, the guitar sounds fittingly gritty over Celph's endless two minute rhyme marathon. Which is dope in itself, because its the tightest verse Celph Titled has probably ever spat. If he manages to keep it diverse on the album, The Rubix Cuban won't necessarily be known as the emcee with punchlines. No...because like he said on that Lexicon joint, "Punchlines are just bad jokes." So, enough with the humor I guess, time to get a little more serious, and a little more "ig'nant" as Zone calls it. No survivors left, in other words, except for the heads that knew the time all along.

Speaking as a fan of Zone's, but more so as someone interested in hearing what Celph can really bring to the table for an entire album, I would venture to say this new album is gonna be on the money.


Coming up tomorrow: I get to start nursing/catsitting a cat with cancer for the next four days! Among other awesome miscelleneous money making tactics to make all my friends still in school jealous! Wake up call 8 am! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSDARETOBEONCRACK.

Also on the way, a surprise. And it involves me. Humuliation may occur. Stardom...unlikely.


A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Sometimes I have this strange sinking feeling I need to make more resolutions I know I can keep, without questionable distortion of the original intentions. So, I opted to leave the inevitable desires and necessities out of my resolutions this year. I soon plan on buying a lamenated map of NYC, including one with the subways on it, along with carefully chosen color pens/highlighters. I've decided, due to my ever increasing curiosity and wonder about the place I now call home, to mark my path. Everywhere I go, I'm gonna document through my map by colors, according to what mode of transportation I use, be it taxi, bus, subway, or just the ol' shoes on my feet.

New Year's Resolution for 2006: Explore as much of this city as possible with purpose, intent, and motivation. Even if I don't make it through all of Manhattan, exploring Queens, The BX, Brooklyn, or hell, even Staten Isle will be a feat to make up for that.

Maybe I have too much time on my hands. Maybe I'm in over my head on this one. But if I can't show a sense of coverage by the time half a year has gone by, I'm definitely not trying. Because considering the span I've covered in over four months, this game may prove pretty worthwhile.

I'll have plenty of time to do this tomorrow. I can see Murray Hill being covered in abundance, for one.

Meanwhile, not to make you think I posted a picture of one of my cats for no reason whatsoever, I'm posting a video on impulse because I just came across it after it apparently has been online for MONTHS. WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME. A PIECE OF MY okay I'll stop yelling. A piece of my childhood, and it was not brought to my attention! Nor to the attention of anyone else with such a good memory as mine.

It's baaaack.....The Cat Came Back! (short animation, 1988)

Who would have thought I would ever actually gotten the opp to see that awesome animation and Canadian sense of humor at work for the six year old in me? And what the hell were they smoking when they put eight to ten women tied up on train tracks. Genius, I tell you. All the way to the cow, even. Thanks, Cordell Baker.

Coming up later tonight if you're all good little Internet nerds: New J-Zone and Celph Titled. Together they are the Bo$$ Hog Barbarians, and if you're a fan of the Neptunes' hard-on for video games, well you're in luck, scenestahs. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Who's got the "skillz" now?

Ahhh, who thought it would kick off this way? Oh well. My boy PackFM, for all my rap fans out there, has started something a little new. See, VA's own Skillz has kinda fallen off on his yearly wrap-ups (still dope though, don't get it twisted). Last year, Pack even beat him to the chase cause Skillz didn't want to even do it for 2004. And this year was the same damn thing for S-k-i, and what do we get, a 7 minute track? Damn, man.

Enter the "Rap Preview 2006" by PackFM, the rapper who stands 5'7, but fights like he's 6'2. Known for packing a punch without going over the top, Pack is one of New York's most crafty and entertaining emcees, a figurehead at QN5 Music, and is soon to be dropping his debut album on the label sometime this year. Tonedeff already dropped his epic
Archetype last year, and now Pack is set to release WhutDoesFMStand4? Regarding this song you're about to hear, consider FM standing for "Freakin' Malicious." Er, or something. All I know is, someone had to say it about Mike Jones, Lil' Kim, Akon, and more names you probably heard too much of in 2005. I know I did.

Onward! "Rap Preview 2006" comes in two nifty download packages!

Street Version (Dirty) [192k Quality]
Radio Version (Clean) [256k Quality]

Props to the homie Pack for more entertaining shit, and let's hope the album is as hot as I think it's gonna be! If you want to learn more about the label, redirect your browsa, bowsa: peep the links on the side of this page and click "QN5 Music".

Meanwhile, I'm gonna nurse this mild fever and get some air. I can't wait to reveal my New Year's Resolution, heh.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Behind the name.

First off, thank you for finding this. If you were an avid reader of my first journal which I kept for nearly four years, this is probably going to be a change of pace for you. Not really a free-for-all of emotions, but rather a free-for-all of thoughts. YES there will be funny pictures, YES there will be occasional mp3s, YES there will be links to news articles and funny stories, but most importantly YES I haven't sold out to the typical attitude of most blogs on this site. Even though I read them all the time, and gain much inspiration from them. That being said, all of you do yourselves a favor sometime, and click some of the links on the side. It's a start right now, but soon I will have more links up. And what's more is that, uh, they will actually be grouped together properly. But suffice with the substance for now, aight? I promise that through all these inspirations will come something completely archetypal. Believe dat.

Now about the name, "Beta Kerosene". Beta obviously refers to the second item of any system. Kerosene is the fuel for heaters. And beta carotene was a vitamin I used to take for years when my chemical inbalance was in full swing. It's converted to vitamin A when inside the body. As if this was any nerdier of a name idea, I figured putting it all together would make one nonsensical but memorable name. It's short, catchy, and well, I couldn't think of anything else besides "Let's Be Friends". Which in all honesty, is kinda hokey if you don't get the inside joke that probably only Jive Alive and I get.

Oh yeah, and the other thing I wanted to mention...in case you're not familiar with this site and have been living under Kristie Alley's hips this whole time, anyone can post comments now, even if you're not a member. I'd prefer if you don't be a stranger though and at least identify who you are when making a comment. I really want to get A LOT of feedback. Because this blog is gonna be my baby for 2006 and hopefully beyond, and I know most of you who are going to read this are going to want to have something to say.

I hope everyone had a great New Year, and that you're all nursing your hangovers carefully. Stay tuned for more great shit coming your way.


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