The LOX – I Don’t Care

The LOX
I Don’t Care
Iconiq Vol. 2
Elevator
Directed by: Benji Filmz

Styles P, Jadakiss & Sheek Louch are coolin’ out & enjoying every moment of doing so. Their new visual is promo for the 2nd installment of the ‘Iconiq’ mixtape series. ‘Iconiq’ is a collaboration between the online music mag ‘Elevator’ & liqueur brand ‘Hypnotiq’. Elevator cover Hip Hop in a more alternative manner & Hypnotiq, a mixture of vodka, cognac & fruit juices, became popular in the Puff Daddy era of rap circa 2001.

Stream side A of ‘Iconiq Vol. 2’ here

Kool G Rap & 38 Spesh – Son Of G Rap

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Kool G Rap & 38 Spesh
Son Of G Rap
TCF Music Group LLC
Release date: July 6th

Originally scheduled for release on June 8th ‘Son Of G Rap’ was pushed back to today.

With the obvious help of a big name in the game, 38 should become better known to hardcore heads, even though he’s been on the scene for many years now. Kool G Rap himself need no introduction. Together, the duo deliver plenty of gangsta & hustling themes which is typical of their rhymes. With that said, the musical backdrop is surprisingly mellow & scattered with occasional background singing. Nas may not have had Pete Rock & DJ Premier produce on his latest album, but G Rap & 38 have. Also on the beats are Showbiz, Alchemist & 38 Spesh himself among others. There’s guest vocal appearances from AZ, Freddie Gibbs & the currently very busy Meyhem Lauren.

This is definitely a case of like father (figure), like son.

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Upstate 2 Queens
3. Landmine
4. Shame
5. G Heist
6. Dead Or Alive (feat. Cormega)
7. The Meeting
8. Binoculars (feat. N.O.R.E., Vado & Benny The Butcher)
9. Nothing Gonna Change (feat. Emanny)
10. Bricks At The Pen
11. Flow Gods (feat. Freddie Gibbs & Meyhem Lauren)
12. Heartless (feat. Dwayne Collins)
13. Honest Truth (feat. AZ)
14. Young 1’s (feat. Che’Noir & Anthony Hamilton)

Expected July 20th, preview & pre-order @ iTunes here

Stream, purchase & download @ Bandcamp here

Kev Brown – Blueprint From The Masters / Non Destructive Chop

Kev Brown
Blueprint From The Masters / Non Destructive Chop
Homework
Redefinition Records

Apart from some instrumental projects there’s been no Kev Brown vocal album since 2005. Well, the wait is over! This double header visual is the first promo from Kev’s forthcoming album ‘Homework’, which is scheduled for release on August 3rd.

30 years since Public Enemy declared: “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back”

Album Review

Public Enemy
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Def Jam Recordings/Columbia Records
Release date: June 28th 1988

Tracklist:
1. Countdown To Armageddon
2. Bring The Noise
3. Don’t Believe The Hype
4. Cold Lampin’ With Flavor
5. Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic
6. Mind Terrorist
7. Louder Than A Bomb
8. Caught, Can We Get A Witness
9. Show Em Whatcha Got
10. She Watch Channel Zero!?
11. Night Of the Living Baseheads
12. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
13. Security Of The First World
14. Rebel Without A Pause
15. Prophets Of Rage
16. Party For Your Right To Fight

Regardless of your age, listening to this album clearly indicates how much things have changed in Hip Hop.

This classic Public Enemy album made them the definitive Hip Hop group of the era. The follow-up project to ‘Yo!, Bum Rush The Show’ (a classic itself) was a change in sound, not only for them, but for Hip Hop in general. It heralded the introduction of multi-layered samples in tracks that revolutionized Hip Hop production. This was brought about by the creative genius of the Bomb Squad production crew. Consisting of brothers Hank & Keith Shocklee, Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadler & Chuck D, hours of searching through records for samples & fine tuning studio equipment knowledge paid off. The production content relied heavily on James Brown tracks, a choice that became very popular at the time. An intricate mix of funky beats & aggressive scratch routines delivered noisy, but pleasurable listening. They perfectly complemented Chuck’s powerful voice & delivery, never overshadowing his educational & socially conscious lyrics. The Black power, pride & unity subject matter was far more in effect than on their first LP, then it was mentioned from time to time, but a new time was dawning. Black conscious & message rap grew in popularity as Public Enemy became more influential, not only to other rap acts, but to Black listening audiences of all ages as well.

The group members were perfectly labeled. Main vocalist Chuck D was ‘The Messenger Of Prophecy’ with his political lyrics. Flavor Flav was ‘The Cold Lamper’, acting as light relief from the heavy message rap. Terminator X again stayed silent. He was the assault technician, tearing up records with an slightly messy, but aggressive technique. It was never technically artistic like DJ Jazzy Jeff, or DJ Cash Money, yet it blended with the organized chaos of the Bomb Squad beats. Finally there was Professor Griff, leader of the Security Of The First World (S1W). Although he was ‘The Minister Of Information’ he was limited to a few vocal appearances. Nevertheless, this didn’t stop this articulated student of Black history & facts speaking his mind! In many interviews his statements were heavily critical of Caucasians, leading to him being labelled as a racist & eventually removed from the group. The S1W’s themselves provided the group’s onstage security, performing military style drills with Uzi guns in hand for effect.

The record label they were signed to ‘Def Jam Recordings’ also had their profile raised, higher than it was already. Having the likes of LL Cool J & The Beastie Boys was already ensuring label owners Ruck Rubin & Russel Simmons success. Public Enemy’s growing reputation increased Def Jam’s success even more.

Even with their Black nationalist slant & criticism from much of the U.S media, Public Enemy’s fame spread worldwide.

‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’ was certified platinum. This happened in August 1989 after 1 million copies had been shipped for retail, then purchased.

Lyrically, the album doesn’t just deal the with the struggle & condition of Black people at the time, or Black nationalism. ‘Caught, Can I Get A Witness’ addresses the subject of sample clearance and the subsequent legal action that could (& many a time did) follow. The view at the time was “Why should we get permission to sample old music? “Nowadays it’s a non issue, it’s a form of theft. Get samples cleared or face a costly lawsuit & court case. ‘Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos’ is a fictitious tale. Chuck gets imprisoned for draft dodging the U.S. army, while in his cell he plans his escape. After taking out prison C.O.’s the S1W’s rescue him & he regains his freedom. The Video for the track is a who’s who of Hip Hop from the golden era. ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ was a long overdue message to the media. The negative press the group received was based upon assumptions & misinterpretation of Chuck’s lyrics. Add to this Chuck D’s reaffirmation of support for Nation Of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, himself a media target for accusations of racism, the target in P.E’s logo became more apt. All the misconceptions were resentfully blasted as Chuck & Flavor ranted on the false media. Enter Media Assassin Harry Allen! Women who are brainwashed by focusing on trash TV, rather than getting educated is highlighted in ‘She Watch Channel Zero!?’, ‘Night of The Living Baseheads is a strong anti-drug message.

Track titles such as ‘Countdown To Armageddon’, ‘Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic’, Mind Terrorist’, ‘Prophets Of Rage’ & ‘Party For Your Right To Fight’ gave a clear message of intent as if you actually needed it. It reflected the passion, energy that Chuck D had in his message. The urgency for the improvement of the Black social condition worldwide was felt in every word.

The album had 3 single releases: ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’, ‘Night Of The Living Baseheads’ & ‘Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos’. Two other tracks found on the album had also been released prior to this. They were: ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ (as b-side to ‘You’re Gonna Get Yours’ from their first album) & ‘Bring The Noise’ (No-Noise version from the ‘Less Than Zero’ soundtrack), both released in 1987.

Public Enemy
Don’t Believe The Hype
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Def Jam Recordings/Columbia Records
1988

Public Enemy
Night Of The Living Baseheads
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Def Jam Recordings/Columbia Records
1988

Public Enemy
Night Of The Living Baseheads
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Def Jam Recordings/Columbia Records
1989

Things are so much different now in the modern era of ‘rap’. ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’ reflects a time when the focus was rectifying what’s holding us back from improvement. Can we say that in this day & age? An additional lesson to learn from Chuck D’s lyrics is: we shouldn’t hold ourselves back from improvement.

All in all, regardless of changes in trend with lyrical content & music sound in today’s era, this album is a CLASSIC & nothing but positives can be taken from it. Again: Can we say that in this day & age?

(Rashad Unique)

Preview, buy & download ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’ @ iTunes here

35th anniversary concert planned for Video Music Box!

Concert Preview

Video Music Box
35th Anniversary Concert
Coney Art Walls
3050 Stillwell Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224
Scheduled date: July 7th 2018

Hot on the heels of the Yo! MTV Raps 30th anniversary concert, the creator of the legendary ‘Video Music Box’ show Ralph McDaniels is following suit. It’s now 35 years since the show was created by McDaniels and Lionel C. Martin. As well as this they also host the program which still runs to this day, the longest running of its kind. Video Music Box was the first TV show to predominantly feature Hip Hop videos. It aired on the New York City owned public television station WNYC-TV (renamed WPXN-TV) from 1983 to 1996. The program moved to WNYE-TV in 1996 after WNYC-TV was sold on.

You can expect appearances from the likes of: DJ Chuck Chillout, Brand Nubian, DJ Scratch, Funkmaster Flex, MC Shan, Large Professor, Lords Of The Underground, Edo. G, Special Ed, Nice & Smooth, M.O.P., Craig G, Blahzay Blahzay, Smooth The Hustler & Trigger Tha Gambler, Das EFX, Fat Joe, The UMC’s, Twin Hype & numerous others.

The event will take place at the Coney Island Art Walls outdoor venue in Brooklyn, New York from from 1pm to 9pm on Saturday July 7th.

Tickets are available now @ Eventbrite here

A Tribe Called Quest – The Space Program

A Tribe Called Quest
The Space Program
We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
Epic Records/Sony Music Entertainment
Directed by: Warren Fu

This visual has been available since March of this year, but only on limited websites. Now it has been given universal release for all to view. ‘The Space Program’ is taken from Tribe’s last ever album & resembles a short movie. It’s mystical imagery switches back & forth from set scenes & leaves you intrigued. What’s going on? This is like a condensed sci-fi film of a journey from past to present, ultimately leading somewhere, somewhere…

There are numerous big name cameo appearances including: Doug E. Fresh, Common, Black Thought, Erykah Badu, Questlove, Pharrell Williams, Consequence, Talib Kweli, Janelle Monae, Alicia Keys & Rosario Dawson.

What ever the specific meaning behind ‘The Space Program’ is, the visual serves other purposes. It’s the final A Tribe Called Quest music video & a tribute to Phife Dawg.

DJ Jazzy Jeff – It’s June Already

DJ Jazzy Jeff
It’s June Already
M3
Playlist Music
Animation by: Konee Rok

Just in time to reflect the vibe before the month ends, Jazzy Jeff drops a smooth & summery animated visumental entitled ‘It’s June Already’. The storyline is reflective of Jeff’s work as he travels worldwide to perform his DJ skills. The weather, location, hotel accommodation & modes of transport all change, but his family are always waiting at home for him when he returns.

This instrumental interlude is taken from Jeff’s latest album ‘M3’, the first on his own independent label & the last of his ‘Magnificent’ compilation series.