Saturday, February 28, 2009

Angel of Death: Starting Monday

Remember that Ed Brubaker scripted, Zoe Bell staring web series that I spoke on a few months back? Well it's dropping March 2nd at and you'll be able to see a new episode everyday for two weeks. Not bad for free, right? Here's the trailer one mo' 'gin for you to get up to speed:

Be sure to check it out this Monday, and shouts out to Chad from Crackle for peeping the site.

New Instrumental Album from Blueprint

Blueprint and anything from Weightless Records will get crazy burn around these parts because not only did Blueprint provide me with one of the most memorable interviews I've ever done in my life, he makes dope music. His instrumental album Chamber Music was a What's Good staple back in the radio show days, so I'm excited for the recently announced follow-up:

Sold exclusively at the Weightless shop and limited to 500 copies? You know what you need to do.

Bonus: One of my favorite tracks from Chamber Music, "Bleach"

Friday, February 20, 2009

ATTN Bedroom Beatmakers: Looking for something to do this weekend?

How 'bout working on a beat that could get you free tickets to this year's Paid Dues Festival, along with a bunch of other cool swag? Warner Bros.,, and Zune are sponsoring a contest to remix "Everything" off of Murs' major label debut, Murs for President. How do you get on? Simple. Hit up Murs' website for a download of the a capella, then get to work. Once you've got your version ready to go, create a producer profile at Loud, then upload it!

Good luck, and here's the man himself performing "Everything" in Columbus, OH @ The Basement:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Throwback Thursday - From the Future to the Past

Since I posted about Atlanta's future yesterday, here's a blast from its past with the title track from Outkast's 1996 offering, ATLiens:

And even further back from their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in honor of my job interview in an hour, "Git Up, Git Git Out":

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Since the new GTA IV expansion reminded me of him...'s a B.O.B. video drop. A crime-drama video game focusing on an outlaw motorcycle club isn't the first place I'd think to hear Bobby Ray's ode to everyone's favorite audio plug-in, but Statik Selektah's in game radio show has "Autotune" in its rotation:

Here's B.O.B. on his new millennium ATLien ish, "Generation Lost" one of my favorite joints from his upcoming debut:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mix Tapes - Wu-Tang vs. The Abbott

"It ain't to the point where the crew is breaking up, we just not fucking with The Abbott…If this album drops or we don't come to some solution, of fixing what we all need to be comfortable with and what we all feel we need to be represented with, if we don't' get that and it's just about the politics then, let it be what it be…I already feel like the [Wu-Tang minus RZA] album is gonna have to come out."

This was Raekwon back in November of 2007, a month before the release of one of the most divisive albums of the Wu-Tang Clan's career, 8 Diagrams. Moreso than the fans, it very publicly divided the Clan as Raekwon and Ghost in particular aired out grievances with the RZA about finances and more notably the creative direction of the album. While Rae and Ghost (and admittedly most fans) wanted a return to the gritty, dark production of the Clan's heyday, the RZA was pulling from the work he's done on his own with live instrumentation and more orchestral sounds. The riffs calmed down as the album got closer to release but for many, Rae's gripes were well-founded and fans such as myself wondered when that RZAless Wu-Tang album was coming.

Well it's been more than a year since Raekwon told an interviewer that Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang would be coming and we haven't heard a peep about it from anyone involved in the Clan though they've all been active since. There have been tours, Rae's been amping up the Cuban Linx 2 talk yet again (with some impressive joints leaked, to boot) and RZA's been back at work with the Afro Samurai franchise, scoring another movie as well as the game. Yet and still, there have only been non-committal references to another Wu album by various members, with or without RZA.

After playing around with the idea, and a few conversations with friends about the notion of other producers working on a Wu full length, I decided to get to work on my own idea of what it might sound like. Entitled Wu-Tang vs. The Abbott, I've selected 11 producers who have either already worked with the Clan in some capacity or whose sound I believe with compliment Shaolin's Finest:

The Probable/Likely
DJ Muggs (1. General Principal, 2. Advance Pawns)
The RZA to Cypress Hill's Wu-Tang Clan, both crews have held allegiances with one another for quite a while, dating back to RZA and U-God appearing on "Killa Hill Niggas" on 1995's III: Temples of Boom. Muggs' dark, moody production fits the Clan's style, as is evidenced on these two tracks from his collaborative effort with GZA Grandmasters.

Pete Rock (3. The PJs, 4. Strange Fruit)
Another legendary beatmaker in the mix, Pete Rock's already worked with the Wu, producing more than a couple of bangers for Ghostface's solo album, and featuring clan members on each of his solo records.

DJ Premier (5. Jeru Da Damaja - One Day, 6. Crookyln Dodgers - The Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers)
The first producer I included in this list who I was actually surprised to learn that he hasn't yet worked with the Wu. As I'm typing this up I'm still looking around for anything at all, so if you find it, please drop a line in the comments to correct me. Premier literally defines that gritty sound of New York's early and mid-nineties golden era, using hard break loops and samples to craft Hip Hop classics. The Wu over a Premo track could be a match in Hip Hop heaven.

Mathematics (7. Ghostface Killah - Mighty Healthy, 8. GZA - Fam (Members Only))
While the RZA handled the majority of the Clan's production in the early days, there have been a few understudies in the crew: 4th Disciple, True Master and the next producer in the mix Allah Mathematics, better known as Mathematics. The influences of the Abbott are evident, but he's carved out his own niche over the years with solo joints and his own record company Quewisha.

Bronze Nazereth (8. Masta Killa feat. Inspektah Deck & GZA - Street Corner, 9. Bronze Nazareth, Solomon Childs & Byata - Street Corners)
One-third of the group Wisemen, Bronze Nazareth was invited into Wu's group of in-house soundsmiths back in 2002, and three years later he handled the bulk of the production on the compilation album Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture. One of favorite joints from it, "Street Corners" appears on Masta Killa's Made In Brooklyn. I included both since Masta Killa's version features clan members and further illustrates how well they can fit into someone else's production.

Carlos "6 July" Broady (11. Ghostface Killah - We Made It, 12. Royce Da 5'9" - Street Hop)
Even though he's apart of The Hitmen (Bad Boy's production team) he's one of the more underrated producers in the game. I got familiar with his work on Royce Da 5'9"'s album Death Is Certain, and his ability to balance soulful sounds with punch-you-in-face joints would suit the clan as a whole well.

The Wishlist
Da Beatminerz (13. Tek & Steele - Tools of the Trade, 14. Heltah Skeltah - Prowl)
The sonic backbone of another iconic NYC rap crew, Boot Camp Click, Da Beatminerz have worked with many East Coast underground luminaries over the years, and considering their signature sound of hard drums and samples is synonymous with New York rap, it's not hard to imagine how a Wu-Tang/Beatminerz joint would sound.

Khrysis (15. Sean Price - King Kong, 16. Sean Price - Stop)
As a member of the North Carolina's Justus League (Little Brother's their most well-known export), his efforts were overshadowed by his fellow JL beatmaker, 9th Wonder. When 9th parted ways with Little Brother, Khrysis' star seemed to shine a little brighter with spots on several Justus League affiliated projects, including these two joints from Sean Price's Jesus Price Superstar. When one of New York's most respected lyricists refers to you as his "personal go-to guy", you know you're onto something.

Marco Polo (17. Heltah Skeltah - Insane, 18. Marquee (Instrumental))
His 2007 album Port Authority was like a love letter to those that miss that ol' New York boom-bap, and has earned the respect of spitters like O.C., Masta Ace, and Kool G. Rap. With more than a few bangers crafted for East Coast heavy hitters, he'd have no trouble cooking up something for the Wu.

Dan the Automator & Prince Paul (19. Handsome Boy Modeling School - Waterworld feat. Encore, 20. Handsome Boy Modeling School - The Truth feat. J-Live & Róisín Murphy)
Both are incredible producers in their own right, collaborating with damn near the entirety of the Hip Hop community between the two of them. Their team effort, Handsome Boy Modeling School, particularly the debut album So...How's Your Girl? produced some of the murkiest, dustiest and atmospheric tracks they'd put out to that point. Most tracks were co-produced, but these two were solo joints, Automator on the former and Paul on the latter.

Maker (21. The Beginning, 22. Broken Wing feat. Qwel, 23. World of Shadows feat. Thawfor)
The most unlikely out of all of these, simply because of the producer's visibility and connection to the Clan in comparison to the other folks in the mix. I got put on to Maker when I was in college with his production for the group Glue, and as a member of the three man DJ squad The Comeups (Side Note: At the time they hadn't decided on a solid name, so they went through a few. When I first went to a party they DJ'd they were going by The Lou Ferrigno Experience). I was regularly blown away by his soulful and atmospheric production. His use of dusty samples and solid drums to make dark soundscapes would fit the Wu like a glove, IMHO.

Bonus: I can't believe I didn't mention this before, but I snuck a gem onto the end of the mix, "State of Grace" by Raekwon, produced by none other than the RZA. One of the first tracks to leak from Only Built For Cuban Linx 2, it's proof positive that RZA still has it in him to do the sort of record that Wu fans are looking for. It's precisely the sort of thing I thought of whenever talk of OBFCL2 was bandied about, and represents that there's still hope, however slight for the RZA and the rest of the Wu to hash out their creative differences and make a dope album again.

D/L: Wu-Tang vs. The Abbott

Hope you enjoy it, and let me know who YOU think should be included if Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang ever sees the light of day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Throwback Thursday: Wu-Tang vs. The Abbott

The full post for Wu-Tang vs. The Abbott has been postponed until tomorrow due to technical difficulties, but I didn't want to leave y'all with nothing, so I thought I'd devote a video drop to the whole concept of a Wu-Tang album without RZA behind the boards. On the mixtape itself I'll feature joints by producers that've already worked with the Wu, producers who aren't too far removed from working with the Wu, and producers who I wish the Wu would take notice of. This edition of the Throwback is dedicated to the first, producers already in the Wu's wheelhouse.

"Mighty Healthy" produced by Mathematics on Ghostface's Supreme Clientele

"General Principles" produced by DJ Muggs on his collaborative effort with GZA Grandmasters.

"American Cream Team Line Up" produced by DJ Scratch on Funkmaster Flex's The Mix Tape Volume III - 60 Minutes of Funk

Tomorrow: Wu-Tang vs. The Abbott


I promise.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Links Before the Storm

One more day of easy content before I drop a gem...

The end times are drawing close. Dr. Dre's Detox is dropping this year (supposedly), Rae's Cuban Linx 2 is dropping this year (supposedly) and Tarantino's finally bringing out Inglourious Basterds. Peep it at Yahoo! Movies in HD.

The A-Number One rare Hip Hop archiving site, T.R.O.Y just posted up an essay on Public Enemy's classic "Night of the Living Baseheads" that you can read here.

Magnolia's genre films wing Magnet (who released the amazing Let The Right One In last year) will be bringing Ong-Bak 2 to the U.S, according to 24fps.

Keep it locked to What's Good folks, Wu-Tang vs. The Abbott coming tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Busy Day, So Have a Dilla Drop

Out and about, so instead of proper content, we're going to continue to pay tribute to one of the best to ever do it, J. Dilla.

Won't Do from The Shining

Nothing Like This from Ruff Draft

Detroit Loves Dilla

Monday, February 9, 2009

Music for a Monday - The Oncoming Grind

Determination's the name of the game today, kids. With a very promising job opportunity on the horizon I'm keeping my head high and devoting today to the work that will someday enable me to not have to work for someone else. Here are a few tunes that're keeping me motivated. If you need a little push, here's hoping they'll assist.

Mos Def - Sunshine

Glue - Haunt

Q-Tip - Official

Cage - Good Morning*

Errol Garner - Stardust*

*Opening and closing themes, respectively. Hopefully that'll make sense some day.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dilla

Today would've been the 35th birthday of one of the greatest Hip Hop producers of our generation, James Dewitt Yancy. If you know anything at all about his legacy beyond being a master beatmaker, you probably know about the mess that his estate has been in following his death. Vibe magazine recently published an article about the trouble that his mother and family have had attempting to straighten things out. Artist and clothing designer Parra has collaborated with Stones Throw Records (label home of Dilla for his swansong Donuts) for a t-shirt, with its proceeds going to Dilla's mother, as she's currently battling the same disease that took her son's life.

Click the shirt for more info on it, and where to go cop it either online or at a shop near you. Below, I've included some of my favorite joints that Dilla's touched us with since his passing. Bump these, and any of your other favorite Dilla gems to honor him today.

Busta Rhymes feat. Q-Tip - Can't Hold The Torch

J-Dilla feat. Blu - Sun On My Face

Q-Tip - Move

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Throwback Thursday - The Thin Purple Line Edition

Since I gave you the soundtrack to my Feng Shui game, I'll bless you with a few of the videos for songs that didn't make the final cut.

From The 7 Day Theory (Amazon|iTunes), "To Live & Die in L.A" was going to serve as the "acceptable losses" ending if the players hadn't achieved the happy ending that they did.

Apocalypse Now by way of Menace II Society was a good way to describe the tone I was going for with the tone of hood warfare in the game. "Illusions" was perfect in certain scenes, but didn't make the final tracklist just 'cause of space issues. (Amazon|iTunes)

Another joint that personified how the neighborhood where the game's climax took place was otherworldly in its despair, "Cold World" by GZA from Liquid Swords. (Amazon|iTunes)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Game Night - The Thin Purple Line

I've dropped one RPG related music mix on you before, and since I do these pretty regularly I figure I'll keep 'em coming with a new series of posts called Game Night. This next one's pretty timely, as it's the soundtrack I put together for my gaming group after finishing up our Feng Shui game. Naw, we weren't arranging furniture or nothin' like that, it's an RPG based on Action Flicks, Asian ones in particular. Joints like Hard Boiled, Once Upon A Time In China, and Fist of Legend are among the scores of source material that's used for the basic setting. On top of the basic idea of the game taking place in an action movie universe, it also takes place in a few different time periods, with the main time period being 1996. Pretty crucial time period to the setting, because of England losing its lease on Hong Kong in the following year. Most people running the game tend to at least start in Hong Kong, if not do their entire runs there, but I decided to do this one a little differently and start the show in 1996 L.A. That gave me the chance to pull in a lot of cool plot elements and pull from real life. I make reference to the Tupac and Biggie murders, the aftermath of the L.A. Riots, the Rampart Division scandal and a lot of other stuff. We're pretty grown up when we play pretend over here. To cut to the chase, putting together the soundtrack for each Saturday evening was a pleasant trip back in time, and I tried to capture the feel of the whole game when I put the final list together:

1. A Tribe Called Quest feat. Consequence - Jam (Remix) - The game opener took place at the opening of a nightclub, and the remix of this record from Beats, Rhymes & Life fit the bill to kick things off. (Amazon|iTunes).
2. Elastica - Line Up - Solid piece of traveling/background music from the self-titled album of one of my favorite Britpop bands of the time. (Elastica|iTunes)
3. Cardigans - Lovefool - This song was dumb huge back then, and you're lying if you didn't get it stuck in your head at least once. In our game, one of the players was chased out of an Italian restaurant by the kitchen staff while this played in the background. Mind drilling qualities of that single aside, First Band on the Moon was a solid album. (Amazon|iTunes)
4. The Toadies - I Come From the Water - Most people know these guys from the song "Possum Kingdom" but the whole of Rubberneck a good record, and made for fine fight music in the game. (Amazon|iTunes)
5. Ghostface Killah - Daytona 500 - I finally got to realize my dream of setting a car chase to this song. I upped the ante by setting this chase on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. If you don't have Ironman, you're not a proper Ghostface fan. (Amazon|iTunes
6. Deftones - Teething - The Deftones were lumped in with bands like Korn and other nu-metal acts, but the difference with Deftones is that I actually like them. This song from the soundtrack to The Crow: City of Angels made for good music to commit violence by. (Amazon)
7. Tricky - Hell Is 'Round The Corner - When I was introducing the players to a South Central L.A. neighborhood that wasn't too far removed from a war zone, I wanted a less than obvious choice. Tricky's take on his Bristol neighborhood worked for me. From Maxinquaye. (Amazon|iTunes)
8. Xzibit - At The Speed of Life - Background music for group's time in South Central, from one of my favorite albums by Mr. X to the Z. (Amazon)
9. Ice Cube - Really Doe - More South Central background music, from Lethal Injection. (Amazon|iTunes)
10. DJ Shadow - What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 1 - With time travel being a major theme of Feng Shui, there's a place that exists in between all the time periods called the The Netherworld. This song from DJ Shadow's groundbreaking Endtroducing... introduced my players to it. (Amazon|iTunes)
11. Bishop Lamont feat. Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Busta Rhymes - Mouth Music - From the sublime to the base, one of the group's first spots to hit up in the Netherworld was a strip club. This was on the house speakers as they arrived. From Bishop Lamont and Black Milk's collaboration, Caltroit that you can download for free from DubCNN.
12. M.I.A. - Paper Planes - Before this song blew the 'eff up (after being out for quite a while already) I'd had it in mind to use for my game. By the time the group got to meet the character it was attached to, an African child soldier turned arms dealer, they got familiar with it in a different context. From M.I.A.'s album Kala (Amazon|iTunes)
13. DJ Krush - OCE 9504 - Given the strange and mysterious nature of the Netherworld, many of Meiso's tracks made perfect background music(Amazon).
14. Goodie Mob - Soul Food - Back in the real world, our players were tasked with protecting a Community Center in the war-torn neighborhood I introduced with Tricky earlier. Given that I took a lot of the personalities from that were running it from my younger days in the South, I felt it was more than appropriate to use this Goodie Mob classic. This song also came in handy during the group's trip to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. (Amazon|iTunes)
15. Raekwon - Verbal Intercourse - One of the characters was a cop, and I chose this to be the first bit of background music the players heard as he entered the precinct. Something about this joint from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx always sounded like it could've been right at home in a 70s cop show, dunno why. (Amazon)
16. De La Soul - Stakes Is High - Once things started to edge closer to the climax, the music reflect the dire turns the plot was taking. The title track off of De La's '96 album fit the game's themes like a glove. (Amazon)
17. Outkast - Mainstream - Along with Stakes Is High, plenty of stuff from Atliens fit the tone of the game in its late stages, this song in particular. (Amazon|iTunes)
18. Blu & Exile - So(ul) Amazing (Steel Blazin') - And here's the closer. Considering that the gang brought a bit of a brighter future to L.A., I thought that a song from one of the West's brighter spots in music nowadays would be appropriate. From the modern day classic Below the Heavens. (Amazon|iTunes)
19. Blu - CityOfLos(t)Angel(e)s f. Co$$ - The alternate ending, for the results they could have achieved. Less hopeful, more focused on the rough patches of L.A. From Blu's MySpace that he liberated a while back.

Here's the mix, which gets its title from the name of the game, which I took from a documentary called The Thin Blue Line. Google it if you don't already know, as it's late and this took a lot longer than I was anticipating:
Feng Shui - The Thin Purple Line

Bonus: I was going to actually include this remix of Paper Planes with verses from Bun B and Rich Boy in the soundtrack, but it wouldn't fit on CD with the rest of the sountrack. My players' loss is the internet's gain.

M.I.A. feat. Bun B and Rich Boy - Paper Planes(Remix)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Music for a Monday - Blaps, Rhymes and Life Vol. II

I linked to the first one earlier this this month, so it's only right I post up the second one during its release. Featuring a slew of MCs all over Illmind's production, this'll certainly make for a good addition to your ride's CD changer if you've had your fill of volume one.

Download - Illmind - Blaps, Rhymes & Life Vol. II