This Valentine's Day post consists of 2 mixtapes that Mos Def put his name on in 2004 around the time he released “The New Danger” and the debut album by hip hop’s 2nd most famous band. Namely, these albums are U-Know The Flex The Mixtape Vol. 1, Bronx Meets Brooklyn & Dujeous’ City Limits.
Mos Def’s old crew UTD (Urban Thermo Dynamics) was made up of his brother Jashiya and his sister Ces. They had an album “Manifest Destiny”get held in label limbo and they were dropped from the label and released from their deal. Mos Def did some acting and honed his skills doing spoken word at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and spittin’ at open mics such as the Lyricist Lounge with his boy Talib Kweli. He eventually signed a deal with Rawkus and his brother Jashiya formed a new crew with his people called Medina Green. Mos Def helped his people get a one off 12” deal on Rawkus which resulted in the classic single “Crosstown Beef/Fa La Lashe” (the cover is included on my blog).
The success of the single led to attention from labels, namely the newly formed Tommy Boy Black Label which was overseen by De La Soul. Medina Green had the underground smash “I See” appear on the compilation “Tommy Boy Black Label presents Hip Hop 101” (which is available on this very blog). Tommy Boy dropped the ball with the label, forcing Medina Green to instead ink a deal with indie label Mammoth Records where they released the single “I See/Full Court Press” for their upcoming album...unfortunately that album never materialized. Jashiya took on the name illson and formed Illson Media, releasing mixtapes such as this one: U-Know The Flex containing both old and new material (including the song “Beef” from his brother Mos Def). It’s worth a listen at least.
Bronx Meets Brooklyn is hosted by Minnesota (Money Boss Players/Larceny Inc.) and Mos Def. The two are known for collaborating on Mos Def’s last two albums “The New Danger” and “Tru3 Magic”. They decided to put out a dual mixtape featuring old Money Boss Player material, songs by the groups newer incarnation, the Boss Money Gangsters and other Minnesota produced Mos Def joints that can’t be found anywhere else ( “It’s Brooklyn”, “Summertime”, & “Ambition”). Of course, “Beef” also appears on this mixtape with “Grown Man Business” featuring Minnesota from “The New Danger”. Money Boss Players’ extended fam Joe Grind and Big Mega appear alongside Kurupt and Sadat X. This mixtape is better put together than the previous one...even though I got them 2 for $8 off of Sandbox Automatic 3 years ago. Download this mixtape.
When you think of hip hop bands, what groups come to mind? Most people are only aware of the legendary Roots Crew. There have been several throughout history, the first were the in-house bands for Enjoy and Sugar Hill Records and next to make noise was Stetsasonic. After Stetsasonic disbanded following their “Blood, Sweat & No Tears” LP it was years before another hip hop band appeared on the scene. The Roots (then known as the Square Roots) were coming up in Philadelphia around the same time that bands were backing hip hop acts and emcees at spots like the Good Life Cafe in LA.
By 1999, the same year Dujeous released their first vinyl single on their own imprint Wax Poetic (“All M.C.’s/Spilt Milk”) there were quite a few hip hop bands on the scene. The Roots, Dujeous, Survival Sounds (they played the backing music on the 2nd disc of the Lyricist Lounge CD) and Rocky LaMontage’s All That Band were all pretty well known. Dujeous released singles and a CD while touring and playing on several projects (such as on Rob Swift’s “The Ablist”). They built up quite a following before finally signing with short lived indie label Third Earth Music and releasing this CD “City Limits” in 2004.
The 16 tracks were produced by Dujeous (with some help from legendary producer Sam Sever) and features the talents of emcees Mas D, Mojo & Rheturik. Apex, David Guy, Taylor Rivelli, and Tomek are the core of the band. These cats have recently played the music for the Crank Yankers theme (with Rhymefest) and currently are the travelling band of UK pop sensation Lily Allen (I got the idea to upload this album after seeing Dujeous as Lily Allen’s backup band last night on Conan). If you aren’t familiar with these cats then download this album now.
For full tracklistings, cover art or more general info on these uploads check out http://www.discogs.com or do a regular Google search. All uploads are Zip files, download and enjoy ‘em:
Mos Def & Illson Media presents Medina Green U-Know The Flex The Mixtape Vol. 1 (2004)
Bronx Meets Brookyln (Hosted by Minnesota & Mos Def) (2004)
Dujeous-City Limits (2004)