Wednesday, January 31, 2007

One Month Later

This marks the end of my first month blogging. Next month, I'm really gonna try to do some more explorative writing as well as upload some more CD's from my extensive collection. Respect to all of the other bloggers out there that really push the limit and make me have to go back to the lab and do something different (like today). Blogs like Wake Your Daughter Up, Cold Rock The Spot, From Da Bricks, Dig It Out, Rap Dungeon, Rapaholic and the list goes on really make me have to step my game up and I'm appreciative of it. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog regularly (or irregularly). Next month's gonna be even crazier.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Classic Material AKA The Question Remains

The question is asked all the time in relation to hip hop releases time and time again, how do you determine what albums are undisputed classics? This is one of the toughest questions to answer in my personal opinion and I’ll try to flesh out why:

The first or early hip hop albums can always be easily put into the “classic” category with little or no resistance from hip hop heads and fans alike. The problems really arise when critiquing project made after the first Golden Age (1986-1989) . In order to determine what a classic album is you need a benchmark by which to judge them, the problem with this is that the albums of the 1st Golden Age were such masterpieces that what albums could compare to them...especially in the eyes of those that grew up during that time or heard these albums when they were released?

How in the hell can any album compare to Public Enemy ‘s“It Takes A Nation Of Millions..”, Stetsasonic’s “In Full Gear”, or Ultramagnetic MC’s “Critical Beatdown”? The answer is/was not many. The thing is that these albums couldn’t stay the blueprint for what one could call classic material forever. The industry changed, technology advanced, styles and content changed, hip hop became big business. New standards had to be made.

After the Golden Age died down, there was a short time of transition in which the rap industry had to find it’s way again between 1990 and 1991. Between these yeras, several albums had been released that would serve as the blueprint for the next Golden Era of hip hop music.

Some of these albums were Brand Nubian’s “One For All”, Ice Cube’s “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, Poor Righteous Teachers “Holy Intellect”, A Tribe Called Quest’s “Peoples Instictive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm”, X Clan’s “To The East, Blackwards”, Digital Underground’s “Sex Packets”, Main Source’s “Breaking Atoms”, Cypress Hill, Naughty By Nature and Organized Konfusion’s self titled debuts, Black Sheep’s “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing”, Del’s “I Wish My Brother George Was Here”, Leaders Of The New School’s “A Future Without A Past” and DJ Quik’s “Quik Is The Name” had all come out and established some brand new markers that would springboard hip hop into it’s next phase.

From 1992-1996, classic album upon classic album was churned out as were some okay/decent albums. Once 1997 passed and hip hop was taken into the post Telecommunications Act Era, people began to go back and listen to some of these albums and proclaim them “classics” as well. The perception being that since the music they heard from these recordings made between 1992-1997 was perceived to be far superior to the rap music of the era that was “winning” that it had to be classic...that wasn’t necesarilly the case, though.

Perception is another hurdle in determining what’s considered a classic hip hop album, you have to be careful to not confuse what could be called a “personal favorite” album of yours, one you could consider “slept on” for a “classic” album. These are different distinctions altogether, for example:

Slept On Album (Sub Classic): Shadz Of Lingo- A View To A Kill 1994
Undispusted Classic Album: Nas-Illmatic 1994
Slept On Album (Sub Classic): Pete Nice & Daddy Rich-Dust To Dust 1994
Undisputed Classic Album: Redman-Dare Iz A Darkside 1994

See the difference? Perception and time changed how these albums are now viewed. Back when they were first released, a great deal of albums that people regard as classic material now were merely seen as good albums or quality releases (3-3.5 mics in The Source) at the time. When heads who listen to music from both Golden Eras tend to compare it to releases from 1997 on, they tend to prefer it to the overly commercial music of the next era, forgetting that you can’t will something to be greater than it actually was just because YOU liked it. This is why “slept on” is a much better tag than “classic”, you can’t dispute what an individual believes to be a slept on album...a classic one, though? That can become an argument EASY.

Modern classic hip hop albums are harder to gauge by the public (not so much by critics, though) because classics now are pretty predicated on if the album sold well or not. By that thinking, Nelly’s “Country Grammar” was a classic hip hop album...I beg to diifer on that one. The more recent the release the tougher it is to deem it classic material because the albums don’t have the necessary distance for the listener to be able to objectively judge them. Is The Clipse “Hell Hath No Fury” a classic album? Is Ghostface Killah’s “Fishscale”? How about Nas’ “Hip Hop Is Dead”? All of that is up for debate, but people will generally agree that an older album like Nas’ “Stillmatic” can be considered a classic. Another obstacle in whether or not you can call an album a classic is regional bias and/or an aesthetic bias. I suffer from both personally, I still can’t bring myself to fathom that T.I.’s “King” is a classic album...or that Young Jeezy “Thug Motivation 101” can ever be considered one...

In conclusion, depending on what era you’re from and what you’re background in regards to hip hop is, you’ll have a diiferent foundation and therefore a different blueprint of what “classic material” in regards to hip hop music sounds like. While there are across the board clear cut classics that we can hold up as classic material, the current way albums are made and manner in which the industry is run makes it hard for albums to compete with those great albums of the past. Here are some rules of thumb for heads who want to accurately judge albums:

You can’t compare current albums to albums made in an era where sampling laws weren’t yet fully enforced ( i.e comparing modern albums to Beastie Boys “Paul’s Boutique”, Ultramagnetic MC’s “Critical Beatdown” or De La Soul’s “3 Feet High And Rising”).

You can’t compare groups or albums from one hip hop sub genre with’s like comparing apples to oranges (i.e. comparing Brand Nubian’s “Everything Is Everything” to N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton”)

Try to compare current albums with the best and most similar recent albums that can be considered classic material (i.e. comparing the new Sean Price LP with the last one to determine if can be called a “classic” or that standard it would just fall short, but it’ll still be better than 90% of what gets released in 2007).

Throw everything I said above out and call albums whatever the hell you want. If you’re nice enough with the words and argue your position well enough you’ll be able to convince people you’re right regardless (Damn, now that I think about about Tame One’s “O.G. Bobby Johnson” WAS a classic!).


Monday, January 29, 2007

DJ Spinna Is Beyond Real AKA DJ Spinna Is No Beginner...

This Monday I decided to start off by upping some hard to find material from one of the best producers in the hip hop industry, DJ Spinna. Spinna has been involved in several groups in his career, including the Polyrhythm Addicts and Jigmastas. He also owns and operates Beyond Real Recordings (Beyond Real is also the name of his production company), based in the Thingamajig Lab located on the planet of Brooklyn. DJ Spinna’s production credits and body of work are to be envied as the man has crafted numerous calssics for some of the best and brightest in the world of Hip Hop. I present to you all for your downloading and listening pleasure, Heavy Beats Vol.1 and Beyond Real Experience Vol. 1 & 2.

Heavy Beats Volume 1 was DJ Spinna’s project on Rawkus Records, it was released back in 1999 around the same time as Company Flow’s final Rawkus offering, the instrumental album Little Johnny From The Hospitul. The release featured the instrumentals “A Grooveamungus” (previously on the Rawkus promo The Cleaner), “Rock” and “The Haunted Space Freak”.

The tracks with emcees featured on them were the “Joc Max Preface”, “Who U Be” featuring underground heroes Missin’ Linx (Al’ Tariq, Black Attack & Problemz), “Time Zone” featuring (Polyrhythm Addict and Q Boro Sounds representive) Apani B. Fly Emcee and (fellow Rawkus razor shirt rocker) Talib Kweli. The projects other song ended up on the 12” Rawkus released to promote it “Watch Dees” with Brooklyn Hard Rock, Lo Life and Polo Rican Thirstin Howl III alongside another cat Rawkus slept on signing (along with Common, Kanye West and Saigon), Eminem.

The album came out around the time Rawkus’ Priority deal was ending and before they jumped to MCA. Company Flow and DJ Spinna were both less than enthused with the push the projects got and it became the final release that either of them would have with the razor on it.

The Beyond Real Experience compilations showcase the roster of Beyond Real Recordings as well as their extended family. This includes Skam, Shadowman, Ha The Jet Black, Jigmastas, Dynas, and Akil, many of whose early tracks are hard to track down. I also saw DJ Spinna’s Compositions 1-5 instrumentals series he made for the Female Fun label on someones blog a while ago. Look for it on

For full tracklistings, cover art or more general info on these uploads check out or do a regular Google search. All uploads are Zip files, download and enjoy ‘em:

DJ Spinna-Heavy Beats Vol. 1 (1999)

DJ Spinna presents Beyond Real Experience Vol. 1 (1999)

DJ Spinna presents Beyond Real Experience Vol. 2 (2002)


Friday, January 26, 2007

Move The Crowd! AKA The One Where Dart Bitches About Wack Ass Stage Shows

Back in the days it was customary for anyone that dared call themself an emcee (at least an elite one) to have the ability to perform a stage show that could satisfy a paying audience. This was partly due to the fact that every crew or emcee at that time relied on rocking shows or parties to gain their individual reputations. They all came up in the hip hop culture’s version of apprenticeships. You rocked the junor high school and high school dances and later moved up to the block parties and clubs, if you held it down in the club scene long enough, sooner or later someone would approach you to record with/for them. This process often took years to come to fruition and during it crews or emcees would clash with or battle/compete against the other elite emcees/crews on their way to earning a following, respect and a firm position entrenched in the world of hip hop. You knew that if you went to a show and saw a particular line up on a flyer that the show (and the sound system) would be rockin’.

This process ensured that 90-95% of all the acts that recorded the early hip hop records had the art of the stage show down to a science by the time a label sought them out or signed them. The issue was, could you take the energy, excitement and grandeur of a hip hop stage show and replicate it on a record? Could you take what Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Treacherous Three, Cold Crush Brothers, The Fantastic Five, Crash Crew, Afrikaa Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force and Funky Four Plus One More did live in a 3 hour set and condense it to 4 or 5 minutes and still have people feel it? The world has since turned upside down. The first question asked now is “Can this product sell?” If it can, labels will push the music on the radio to get it spins and then work on an image and produce a video...the stage show is at the bottom of the list of priorities.

If the song has sold independently, then you stike while the iron is hot an put it out immeadiately. If the crowd knows the song because they hear it on the radio 30 times a day, will they care if the performance isn’t that great? As long as it’s passable that’s fine...the audience will perform the song for the group when they perform it live anyways! This is what happens on 106 & Park on a daily basis today. The generation after the old school era consisted of more seasoned live performers (such as Run DMC, LL Cool J, Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Dr. Jecklyl & Mr. Hyde, Stetsasonic, Ultramagnetic MC’s, Public Enemy, EPMD, etc.) that came up in the same fashion. The end result? Between 1986-1989 hip hop broke out nationally as well as worldwide in what was universally hailed as the 1st Golden Age of hip hop.

Nowadays emcees/groups don’t have to necessarily pay dues and go through the process of performing live regularly. No more honing their craft and eventually earning the right to move up the ladder. What’s left now in the era of no DJ’s (but a home studio setup complete with a CD burner) is a rapper with a full CD complete with screenprinted covers looking to sell it and book some shows in hopes of “getting on”.

With the hot mixtape on the street or singles on the radio, the rapper can perform to an audience of ready made fans and perform the songs the listeners love...without having to work that hard to win them over in the first place. The indusrty is in reset mode every 3 to 5 years, meaning that 2 or 3 generations of new consumers have come and gone without even knowing what a “real” or “good” live hip hop shows even looks like...what they see today is what they’ve always. Hence, no complaints from them for the drop off in the quality of the live performance across the board in relation to hip hop/rap.

Technology has also contributed to the slow process of the deteriorating stage show in hip hop. Shortly after record labels successfully managed to remove the DJ from being the backbone/focal point of the hip hop crew, having a DAT (Digital Audio Tape) with your stage show cued up on it as opposed to vinyl for a DJ was becoming acceptable. More and more groups would just come onstage and rap to a tape in the mid to late 90’s. To add insult to injury, the backlash against “dancing” rap acts such as Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Kwame, Redhead Kingpin & The F.B.I. and Kid N’ Play and the upsurge of hardcore music helped to forever change the dynamic of the stage show.

Whereas proven masters of the live stage show such as LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, KRS One, Public Enemy and others began experiencing a decline in their careers near the mid 90’s, hardcore acts that pretty much just stood their while the crowd went crazy to the music took over. The stage show became somewhat of a lost art, although there were several acts that were popular during the mid to late 90’s that were actually excellent live performers (The Roots, The Fugees, OutKast, Onyx, DMX, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Redman, Method Man, Cypress Hill, Beastie Boys, etc.)

The money generated by the sales success of groups in the post Telecommunications Act Era (1996-) created a ripple effectin hip hop that equaled the ripple that occurred in Rock 20 years earlier when Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive” sold a disgusting amount of units on turned rock on it’s head after labels decided to go after sales rather than nurture groups/acts that made great music.This lead to groups with cultlike followings such as Dipset (notorious for having terrible live shows) who just trot out on stage, do the bear minimum, collect their show money and bounce with the audience no t even aware that they have been shortchanged.

This same thing happened in the film industry when “Jaws”became the first blockbuster and started the practice of trade magazines printing films weekly grosses the same thing happened in the film indusrty. The art suffered in deference to studios scrambling for the next hit film that could become a cash cow/franchise. Everything is everything and history repeats itself.

Nowadays, the underground hip hop scene seems to be the one place where your live show or performance prowess can move you up the ladder and gain you a bigger fanbase. It helps to first make quality product, though. Labels that have built reputations on their rosters’ tours and live shows are Def Jux, Babygrande, Hiero Imperium, Rhymesayers, Nature Sounds, Think Differently, Stones Throw and QN5 Music just to name a few. It seems that it is the only remnant of the old way left in the present hip hop world. When you see a flyer say that El-P, Mr. Lif, C Rayz Walz, Aesop Rock, Poison Pen and Pumpkinhead are doing a show somewhere, you know what you’re going to get for the most part...a rockin’ show (the sound system is another matter altogether).


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Only The Illest Kung Fu & Martial Arts Films AKA Dartflix Edition #4

I have been enamored with Kung Fu and Martial Arts films since I was 3 years old. I still remember the very first times I ever saw Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Gordon Lau, Jet Li, Yuen Baio, Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen, Madame Bow Sim Mak, Angela Mao and Michelle Yeoh in movies and wondered who they were. I grew up watching the old dubbed Kung Fu movies and I graduated to seeing the original uncut films in the original Mandarin and Cantonese like they were intended to be seen.

The dubbing process really diluted a lot of the souls of the films (and added an element that made them hard for Americans to take seriously because of the bad dubbing and off track dialogue) because the martial artists were normally trained in opera houses from childhood as actors as well as martial arts. When Americans watch Martial Arts/Hong Kong action films, they think of those actors in the same context of American/Hollywood ones. However, the typical Hong Kong action star (Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, etc.) is usually a great dramatic actor as well...not like in America where action stars usually have limited range and are one dimensional.

I also had to try to exclude most of the obvious films that everyone knows, but I had to add films that you can actually rent and people have heard of but probably never saw. Not very easy to do (at least for me) since I'd like to add a lot of the essentials and classics like "The Butterfly Murders", "Dirty Ho", "The One Armed Swordsman" and "Come Drink With Me", however, the more spectacular and mainstream stuff may be the better place to start.

In order to do this post effectively, I had to write a list of Kung fu movies that I like and are available for rent on Netflix. There are so many more martial arts films that Netflix hasn’t acquired that are mad good. In order to check out some of the newest titles direct from Hong Kong , Korea or Japan that aren't available for rental through Netflix, but are available for purchase at fair prices check the following sites:

For those who slept, I’ll put you on now:

Dart’s Three Trailers Of The Week (1/22/07-1/28/07):

Live Free Or Die Hard


Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer

Martial Arts films available for rent on Netflix (Martial Arts/Kung Fu/Wu Xia Edition):
Ballistic Kiss
Legend Of The Wolf
My Lucky Stars
Swordsman 2
The East Is Red: Sworrdsman 3
The Duel
Dragon Inn
Gen-X Cops
Gen-X Cops 2
Legend Of The Red Dragon
Iron Monkey
Fong Sai Yuk
Fong Sai Yuk 2
The Enforcer
Twin Warriors
Fist Of Legend
Who Am I?
Master Of The Flying Guillotine
The Blade
Dragon Lord
Fearless Hyena
Fearless Hyena 2
Once Upon A Time In China
Once Upon A Time In China 2
Once Upon A Time In China 3
Kiss Of The Dragon
Shaolin Temple 2
Master Of The Flying Guillotine
Shaolin Soccer
Kung Fu Hustle
House Of Flying Daggers
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey
Ong Bak: Thai Warrior
Princess Blade
City Of Lost Souls
Time & Tide
The One Armed Swordsman
Last Hero In China
The Bodyguard From Beijing
Black Mask
Operation Condor
Operation Condor 2 (Armour Of God)
Super Cop
Super Cop 2
Rumble In The Bronx
New Police Story

Dart’s Picks/Movies:
Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey: If you’ve ever watched Bruce Lee’s “Game Of Death” just for the end to see the scenes he actullay appears in, then you must see this movie. It is a documentary breaking down Bruce Lee’s last film as it was intended to be seen. Bruce Lee was not only a martial artist, but a renaissance man. He wrote (The Tao Of Jeet Kune Do), directed, taught martial arts, did fight choreography and was an accomplished artist as well. Bruce Lee only filmed the final sequence of The Game Of Death before he died (with hella dialogue) and it was lost, the studio made up a bullshit story, butchered some footage they found that Bruce shot (with one camera), spliced it into some more footage that they shot (with a lookalike) and released an alternate film titled “The Game Of Death” seven years after it was due. In this film, they found the full footage that Bruce Lee shot, complete with dialogue and the other actors that entered the pagoda with him...You get to see the different sides of Bruce Lee that the American audience were largely ignorant of, especially his sense of humor. A must see for any Bruce Lee/Martial Arts film fan.

Hero: This film has stunning visuals, great fight choreography and acting, things that are necessities in great martial arts movies. The epic period piece is a huge undertaking in Hong Kong cinema and execution is a point of emphasis. American film studios could really learn a lot from studying how the great Chinese directors go about making these kinds of films.

The House Of Flying Daggers: This film is along the same vein as Hero with the visuals and the overall feel of the movie. The difference being is that this film was an actually a mix between a love story and a martial arts/Wu Xia film that didn’t get corny at any point or lose focus on being an action movie.

Fearless: The same stuff I said about the above two (^) plus it's Jet Li's final (yeah, right...says the Jay-Z of Martial Arts!) epic Wu Xia film. Rent it, cop it, whatever.

The Protector: Tony Jaa (Phanom Yeerum) in his second major motion picture (Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior was the first) with a bigger budget and even more creative control. He makes the argument for becoming the worlds preeminent Martial Arts/action star now that Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat and Jackie Chan are all at the end of their action film careers. Jaa’s brand of high flying Muay Thai and innovative wireless stuntwork incorporates elements of red trouser Hong Kong stuntwork, French based Parkour and Brazilian Capoeira. Martial arts action (Muay Thai) at it's finest

Dart’s WTF? Awards/ Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk:
The Master (1989)- This is unfortunately credited as a Jet Li film...this was Jet Li’s first introduction the the American market in a terrible late 80’s flick made by a clueless director with no budget. Remember when they tried to break Jackie Chan in America with the cop buddy movie “The Protector” back in the days and cast him next to Danny Aiello? Yeah...this is WORSE. Having Jet Li beat up fake LA gang members at half speed for 90 minutes on what looks like the outdoor set of an old Italian porno is not my idea of a good time. Like the token black guy would say in a teen movie “This shit is wack!”.

The One- Yet another Jet Li film that was butchered by Hollywood production values, CGI and a director that had never done a Hong Kong style action movie. By trying to add a corny sci fi element to what essentially should’ve been a Kung Fu/action film hybrid completely screwed everything up. When you watch a Jet Li Hong Kong film, everything looks natural, even when he runs up walls or does something spectacular. When he does the same thing in an American action movie, it looks like it was done in slow motion and it looks mad corny. To add insult to injury, the premise of this movie was good but it was executed terribly. This is why Hong Kong action stars aren’t too keen on coming to America to do action films, it’s like a great soccer player coming over to America to play in the MLS for mad cash but wack competition...Lord knows that will never happen!

Any movie that Jackie Chan did for an American studio after 1998 (excluding the Rush Hour or Shangai franchises): Don’t even do it to yourself. If Jackie isn’t overdubbing his own Cantonese, it’s gonna suck. How many times can you watch movies where Jackie Chan is a chef/tailor/delivery guy forced into fighting off like 20 dudes with whatever the hell is lying around and he doesn’t know why they’re after him and he’s a pacifist that never actually hurts them intentionally? Miss me with that bullshit.

Next Thursday: The Dartflix Comedy Edition


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

3 More Slept On Hip Hop Albums

For your downloading and listening pleasure this Wednesday afternoon I offer you good people three more slept on albums. Those albums are as follows Styles Of Beyond’s 2000 Fold, Likwit Crew member Defari’s Focused Daily and Encore’s Self Preservation. Let the write ups commence:

This first album has been rereleased but this is the original version first dropped in 1998 on Bilai Bashir and Shawn Berman’s Bilawn Records. The album was distributed by Ground Level Distribution and the 2000 Fold project had quite an interesting line up of heads involved in it’s making. Divine Styler (“Killer Instinct”) appears on the album as well as contributing some beats to it (“Styles Of Beyond (Style Warz)” and “Gollaxowelcome”). California turntable legends DJ Rhettmaticand DJ Revolution speak with their hands and beatboxer Click Tha Supa Latin gets down for his crown. Extended fam Space Boy Boogie X and Emcee 007 also spit some guest verses. Beats were handled by Vin Scully, Bilai Bashir, DJ Cheapshot and Divine Styler. This album flew un der the radr for years before it started to build a following. Awareness of this album was actually raised by the release of Styles Of Beyond’s “Megadef” LP.

This album is dope from beginning to end and has only one misstep “Muuvon”, the lone attempt at an uptempo club song. In recent times, Styles Of Beyond have been put back into the spotlight due to their appearances on last year’s Jay-Z executive produced project Fort Minor-The Rising Tied. Styles Of Beyond also count alternarockers Linkin Park as extended family...inside the liner notes it reveals that Joseph Hahn (BKA Mr.Hahn) and Mike Shinoda were responsible for the insert photography and the art direction/graphic design of the CD packaging. Who knew? I have too many favorite joints out of the 20 on this album to list. Download it.

ABB Records artist and Likwit crew member Defari made the classic 12”s “People’s Choice”, “Keep It On The Rise” and “Bionic”. Eventually the desparate heads at Tommy Boy (who lost damn near all of their original roster) began offering A & R jobs to people at indie labels such as Hydra Records and ABB and signing big name indie artists. Chris Atlas came over to Tommy Boy and worked on his lone Tommy Boy release with Defari Herut. The former high school teacher enlisted the production help of his Likwit Crew members and their extended family...who just happen to be some of the illest producers in the hip hop industry.

Defari was blessed with bangers by Alchemist (“Focused Daily”, “Killing Spree”& “Checkstand 3”), E.Swift of Alkaholiks contributed some joints (“Lowlands Anthem Pt. 1”, “Likwit Connection”, “Yes Indeed”, “Juggle Me (For The DJ’s)”, and Dilated Peoples member Evidence finished up the LP by producing the brunt of it (“Never Lose Touch”, “Keep It On The Rise”, “Bionic”, “These Dreams”, Thunder & Lightning”, “405 Fridays”, “Gems” and “People’s Choice”). Barbershop Drevin produced “No Clue”. Even with these high powered beats, Defari continues doing his laid back style and sometimes reverts back to his signature slow flow delivery which I will admit isn’t for everybody. Even Defari’s detractors and folks that weren’t impressed with his ABB singles seemed to like this album. It’s great to go back and listen to the Liks, Defari, Xzibit, Evidence, Phil The Agony and Barbershop Chocolate Tye before Xzibit and the Liks fell out over the failed Open Bar deal. You already the right thing.

Underground Cali rhyme veteran Encore landed a record deal in 2000 with SanFrancisco and New York based indie label 75 Ark. The label was the machination of legendary hip hop producer Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, who made numerous classics in his San Francisco studio The Glue Factory. His first two big signings were the popular for some reason I can’t fathom crew Anti Pop Consortium (I’d rather jab a screwdriver in my thighs repeatedly and twist it then listen to those cats...their albums sound like schitzophrenics (not Checkmark & Tony Bones...the bad kind) screaming mantras over 70’s sci fi show sound effects) and Encore. Encore released “Self Preservation” and the Anti Pop Consortium released “Tragic Epilogue”. One was a discus (except to their fans...even though I’ve never met one) and the other is the album I’m writing about now.

Encore spits fire on an album produced exclusively by The Architect with the exception of the final song “It’s Going Down” by Joey Chavez. The only guest appearances on the project are Dave Dub, Grand The Visitor, Kedar, Turban, The Bishop and Pep Love of the Hieroglyphics Crew. Encore paints clear and concise pictures with his deft lyricism and his skill is evident on tracks like “The Bio”, “.084”, “The View”, “Love & Hate (The Mellow Drama)” and “Self Preservation”. It’s too bad this album never comes up when people discuss quality albums from 2000. These 14 tracks fell on a nation of deaf ears less than 7 years now, but the sleepers can now awaken. Download it and check it out.

For full tracklistings, cover art or more general info on these uploads check out or do a regular Google search. All uploads are Zip files, enjoy ‘em:

Styles Of Beyond-2000 Fold (1998)

Defari-Focused Daily (1999)

Encore-Self Preservation (2000)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

4 Slept On Hip Hop Albums

This entire week I will be uploading some of my personal favorite slept on hip hop albums, I start with Philadelphia’s Mountain Brothers’ Self Volume 1, Prince Paul’s concept album A Prince Among Theives, Group Home’s A Tear For The Ghetto and Chicago crew Rubberoom’s Architechnology.

The Mountain Brother first popped on the scene in Philadelphia in 1996 with a three song EP released through their own indie label, Pimpstrut Records. The Philly crew consists of Chops, Peril-L and Styles Infinite, all three members are nice on the mic and assist on the boards but Chops is the lead producer of the project. This album has the perfect mix of lyricism and beats. The subject matter deals with everything like dealing with women, being an emcee with a day job, being broke, and general daily life shit. The Mountain Brothers don’t take themselves too seriously, which makes the album an enjoyable listen. Instead of trying to beat you over the head by telling you how nice they are on the mic, they just go about proving it by making a nice album.

My favorite tracks on it are “Galaxies: The Next Level”, “Paperchase”, “Whiplash!”, “Ain’t Nuthin’ 98”, and “5 Elements”. There are quite a few short solo joints that are nice as well like Styles Infinite’s “Brand Names” where he takes a jab at the name dropping material obsessed emcees that were in abundance in 1998 (wait, they still are now!). My only issues with the album was the use of the alternate version rather than the original of “The Adventures Of...” off of the 12”. The original version is one of my all time favorite Mountain Brothers songs, they were also the voice behind a series of Nike commercials. After two albums, “Self Volume 1” and “Triple Crown” the Mountain Brothers broke up and Chops went solo as a producer (putting out 2004’s “Virtuosity”). Did I forget to mention that these dudes are all Asians? (Like that matters)

Legendary producer Prince Paul, who has crafted classics for numerous groups and soloists has also produced several comedy albums (Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, etc.) and a few concept albums (Psychoanalysis What Is It?, Here Come The Dix, etc.) made this 1999 concept album that was being pushed as a potential full length movie. The story centers around an up and coming emcee that has a meeting with RZA of Wu Tang Records coming up soon and he needs quick money for a professional demo to present to the God. He hooks up with one of his boys and asks him to hook him up with a job slinging krills to get the cash...then all hell breaks loose.

This album features apperances by some of Prince Paul’s favorites in the hip hop industry, Kool Keith, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Everlast, Sadat X, and Xzibit. The album also features Breeze and Queen Herawin of Juggaknots (“Clear Blue Skies” and “Use Your Confusion”) and Big Sha (I’m not sure if it’s Killa Sha from Queensbridge or not). This album is a certified classic and not to be slept on, too bad the trailer video and B side single didn’t give it a bigger buzz so someone would’ve picked it up and made the full length movie.

Group Home decided that they had to leave the nest (and DJ Premier beats) to go and fend for themselves on the mean streets of East New York. They landed on their feet with the aid of their team, Brainsick Mob, The Black Rose Family, Kai Bee and Guru. They released the classic 12’s “Stupid MF’s”, “A Train X Press”, “Dial A Thug” & “12 O’ Clock (Brooklyn)”. They secured an album deal on now defunct indie Replay Records in 1999 and released the surprisingly dope LP “A Tear For The Ghetto”. This time around Malachi only spit on like 3 of the 20 tracks on this album...thank God.

Lil’ Dap started Low Budget Environment Productions and began making beats (“Street Life”, “Politic All Night”& “Keep Rising”), he also enlisted production help from Agallah (“Tear Shit Down”, “Run For Your Life”, “Make It In Life”, “Be Like That”, “Oh Sweet America” & “Beefin’ For Rap”), Charlie Marotta of Solid Scheme Productions (“Da Real GH”, “Game Recognize Game”, & “Life Ain’t Shit”), Alchemist contributed “Stupid MF’s” and DJ Premier blessed the set with “The Legacy”. The remaining joints were produced by Jiv Pos and Rad (I don’t know who they are either, but of both the joints were cool). The album contains three skits featuring Mike Epps (“Next Friday”, “All About The Benjamins” and “Roll Bounce”) and Dominique Witten (“The Chappelle Show” & “Wild N’ Out”) that round out the thugged out soundscape. Download and familiarize yourself.

I first heard of Rubberoom through a 12’ that they released back in 1995 called “Body Snatch’n” (which is now available for download on 12 Inchers) and later in 1999 after their indie label Indus Recordings got signed by short lived 3-2-1/Zero Hour Records and Architechnolgy was released to the public. Rubberoom was comprised of DJ Stizo (who was also the graphic designer of all the groups promo material and release covers), the production half of the group known collectively as The Opus (Fanum and Isle Of Weight) and rappers Lumba and Meta Mo. The end result is one the the best and most slept on indie hip hop releases of the past 10 years.

The hard aggressive drums and the boom bap sounds coupled with spitfire lyrics from Lumba and Meta Mo is only heightened by the 13 different turntablists that appear on this project. This album also contains one of the most slept on posse joints in recent memory with flamethrowers Meta Mo and Lumba sharing the mic with Path, Kenny B and legendary Chicago MC Juice on “Style Wars”. Elusive underground emcee Thawfor also appears on “Vertigo” (if anyone knows where to find a copy of his album “Where Thought Is Worshipped” then let me know). My personal favorites are “Born”, “Smoke”, “Lock Jaw”, “Acid”, “Architechnology Nine”, “Style Wars” and “Space And Time”. The only thing with these guys is that their songs tend to go on as 11 of the 16 tracks are longer than 4:30 and 6 are over 5:00. There isn’t a weak moment on this album...unfortunately, I don’t know of any other releases they made after this project as the Big Juss (Company Flow & NMS) and Fiona Bloom helmed 3-2-1 Records folded and this album is no longer in print. Download it now.

For full tracklistings, more info or cover art from these uploads, check out or do a regular Google search. All uploads are Zip files, enjoy ‘em:

Mountain Brothers-Self Volume 1 (1998)

Prince Paul-A Prince Among Theives (1999)

Group Home-A Tear For The Ghetto (1999)

Rubberoom-Architechnology (1999)


Monday, January 22, 2007

50 Slept On Hip Hop Videos #3

1. Elevation (Free My Mind)- B.U.M.S.
2. Ak Hoo Hoo Ak Ha Ha/Dear Diary- Akinyele
3. For Real-Ruggedness Mad Drama
4. Step To The Left-Yaggfu Front
5. Deathwish-Sid & B.Tonn
6. I’m Hip-Many Facez
7. 12Pacofdoja-Lil’ 1/2 Dead
8. Yes N Deed-Society
9. Mix Tapes-The Nonce
10. Tragedy- RZA
11. All She Wanted-Knucklehedz
12. All About My Fetti-Young Lay
13. Beware Of The Rampsack- Rampage The Last Boy Scout
14. Who Me?-KMD
15. Whenimondamic-Lootpack
16. I Declare War-Pace Won
17. Breaker 1-9-Common Sense
18. Shorty’s Doin’ His Own Thing-Shorty Long
19. Watch Ya Back-Tucka Da Huntaman
20. Success-Fat Joe
21. 1st Sermon-Extra Prolific
22. Neck Uv Da Woods-Mystikal f/OutKast
23. Ladies In Da House- Big Kap f/Precise, Uneek, & Lauryn Hill
24. Born 2 Live-O.C.
25. Bringin’ Back Home-Cali Agents
26. One To Grow On-U.M.C’s
27. Peace Treaty-Kam
28. Return Of The Holy One-YZ
29. Problems-Young Zee
30. Toss It Up-Zhigge
31. IBWin’ With My Crewin’-YoYo
32. Back To The Hip Hop-Troubleneck Brothers
33. Check Out Da Ave-Poison Clan
34. Khadijia-Dirt Nation
35. Jingle Jangle-The Legion f/Dres
36. Freak Mode-Funkdoobiest
37. Just Another Day/Pronto-Cru f/Slick Rick
38. Do You-Heather B
39. Wrongside Of The Tracks-Artifacts
40. Keep It Real-Millkbone
41. Honeydips In Gotham-Boogie Monsters
42. Funk Soul Sensation-Jemini The Gifted One
43. No Flows On The Radio-King Just
44. Get With You-Questionmark Asylum
45. Flawless-Phife Dawg
46. Cheapskate-Sporty Theivz
47. Galaxies-Mountain Brothers
48. Rugged Neva Smooth (Remix)-M.O.P.
49. All For The Money-MC Eiht
50. Back In The Days-Dred Scott

Once again, I have all of these joints on tape and I’m working on trying to find the best (and most cost effective) way of uploading them seeing as A LOT of them aren’t available online (especially the Canadian ones, which no one can track down). If any readers have suggestions drop ‘em in the comment box, send a message to my MySpace or e-mail me @


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Congratulations To The AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts AKA Fuck The Super Bowl

For the first time in NFL history, two black head coaches will be leading teams into the biggest game in pro football in two weeks in Miami. Not only that, but it will occur on February 4th, during Black History Month....and I could give a fuck less about any of it.

I am a Patriots fan. I was a Patriots fan back when they sucked balls and they used to be called the Patsies. How bad were they? Patriots game used to come on at 1pm but we couldn’t watch them until 4pm because the league had a rule that if the home team didn’t sell out the game it would get blacked out. Therefore, we were forced to watch a blacked out screen with audio...Gino Capeletti would tell us just how shitty the Pats were playing in full detail. Once the prison shower rape was over, THEN the game aired at 4:30 so you could see the Roots style asswhuppin’ in living color and marvel that the game was even than Gino described. Boston used to have a USFL team called the Boston Breakers at one point...they used to get more love than the Patriots back in the day (I don’t even know what their uniforms looked like, mind you)

The Patriots went damn near 35 years before they even won an overtime game. I had to endure the following quarterbacks during my youth as a Patriots fan, Steve Grogan (the greatest Patriots quarterback ever up until Drew showed up...he threw more interceptions than touchdowns in his career), Tony Eason, Marc Wilson, Tommy Hodson, Hugh Millen, Scott Secules, Doug Flutie (before he went to the CFL) and Scott Zolak. Before Bob Kraft bought the Patriots from the Kiams, they had appeared in 6 postseasons in 34 years. The Patriots changed their old Pat the Patriot logo to the current one and took the 1st pick in the 1993 NFL Draft and used it on Drew Bledsoe, a 6’5” 245 pound kid with a cannon for an arm. Things were about to change in Foxboro.

All of a sudden, the organization started bringing in big name coaches, signing quality free agents and drafting quality people. After three years of building, the Patriots’ games were airing at 1pm in New England. They were winning overtime games...with touchdowns. The defense was forcing turnovers, the offense was scoring points by the bunches, the merchandise was flying off of the shelves. In 3 years time, the Patriots were a winner and in 1996, they headed to their first Super Bowl since the 1985 season (and the 46-10 cornholing they received at the hands of those Super Bowl shufflin’ ass Bears). The Patriots had become one of the elite teams in the AFC, they were sending players to the Pro Bowl, attracting marquee free agents and they had people OUTSIDE of New England buying their merchandise. This was damn near impossible before the Krafts took over the franchise.

I have been spoiled in recent years, I ‘ve been to four parades in the last six years (three for the Patriots, one for the Red Sox) and I’ve bought into the Patriots team ideal. They won when Terry Glenn bounced and Drew was injured, they still won whenTy Law and Lawyer Milloy bounced, they still won when Ted Washington and Damien Woody bounced. Even when Adam Vinatieri, David Givens, and Deion Branch left for greener pastures, the Patriots still managed to find a way to that the season is over and I KNOW that I’ve seen the last of Corey Dllon and Assante Samuel and Rodney Harrison’s future is up in the air.

I feel like the window of opportunity is closing for my team. You can only keep losing core members of your winning franchise before everything begins to fall apart. In the end, the Patriots overworked kitbashed defense began getting riddled with passes and draws up the middle. Tom Brady kept having to win the game with his arm...Like Gong Li’s character in Miami Vice said “Time is luck”. The problem with both? They eventually run out. Case in point, the Colts are in the Super Bowl.

Being that I would be for seeing two black coaches in the Super Bowl under normal circumstances, I could really give a shit about watching the Bears, a team that has a quarterback that listens to Coldplay (think about it...) or the bane of my existence, Peyton Manning and his elongated neck (how many fuckin’ commercials can one man have anyways?). After football, I have no fall back plan this year. The Celtics suck balls this year and everyone’s injured, even the color commentary guys! The Red Sox don’t play for months, and you know that the only thing brothers like about hockey is rockin’ the jerseys so the Bruins aren’t an option. I’m stuck watching college basketball like a jackass until April.

I’m not looking forward to the Patriots losing even more players from this team next year or the prospect of hoping that the new guys in the secondary are any good or for that matter that the Patriots can replace the loss of their top receivers. This thing can end up going downhill soon and the writing is already on the wall. For all those reason listed above and more, right now I could give a fuck what color the two coaches in the Super Bowl are...just what color they AREN’T.

Patriots Blue.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Two More Compilations AKA The Friday After Next

I’ve seen Haze presents New York Reality Check 101 mixed by DJ Premier up on blogs in the past but I’m not sure that those links are working anymore and I’ve seen mad heads request it so I’ll upload it for them. I also uploaded Ego Trip’s old school compilation The Big Playblack then was released in conjunction with Ego Trip’s Big Book Of Rap Lists back in 2000.

Haze an interesting compilation because it was made by a major label (FFRR/PayDay/PolyGram, who dropped the ball with an incredibly talented roster over the years), headlined by a grafitti legend (even though all he contributed to the project as far as I know is the design and art direction of the CD/vinyl), A&R’d by Mr. Dave AKA ColdWaxaNigga (who was reported to be a crack user in an article by a former worker at D&D Studios in either Stress or On The Go years ago...I need to find that article!) and mixed by D&D Studios lab rat DJ Premier.

This compilation was a big deal when it came out in 1997 in Boston because it featured local products Laster & Ed O.G’s “Off Balance” which was produced by local legend Madso-Desar of Knight Of Music and “Too Complex”, the classic track produced by some more local production legends Vinyl Reanimators and penned by L The Headtoucha (now known as Larry Cheeba). This mix features some of the biggest college/underground mix show favorites from 1996 and 1997 such as J-Live’s “Braggin’ Writes”, “Break It Down” by Brainwash, “Head Over Wheels” by a pre-Bad Boy G-Dep, “Lyrical Tactics” by Natural Elements”, “Change” by Shadez Of Brooklyn, “Metal Thangz” by Street Smartz, “Properties Of Steel” by Godfather Don, “Mixmaster” by Brainsick Mob (does ANYONE have this full song? I been looking for this for 10 years now!), “21 Years” by Choclair (T.Dot represent!), “Feel The High Pt. 2” by Finsta Bundy, “8 Steps To Perfection” (again?) by Company Flow and the runt of the litter and the weak track on the entire project “Inner City Blues” by Rezidue. I can’t believe this joint is 10 years old, now.

Ego Trip magazine was one of the best, most inventive (articles AND art direction), well written and influential hip hop publications of the last 10 years...therefore they were doomed from the day they started printing. Much like Stress and On The Go, Ego Trip was years ahead of it’s time. When they moved into publishing books it seemed the logical progression and they made two excellent tomes in The Big Book Of Rap Lists and The Big Book Of Racism (the ‘cism is indeed a powerful thing). They moved into television, producing several series’ for VH1 before the current White Rapper Show. The most slept on project with the Ego Trip name is this compilation entitled “The Big Playback”.

Not only does “Playback” feature some cerified classic joints from the days of wayback (Postive K droppin’ jewels on a Grand Puba track on “Step Up Front”, Marley Marl and MC Shan on “Marley Marl Scratch” and the largely influential joint “Beat Bop” by Rammelzee & K-Rob), it also features several overlooked gems that only real heads check for. Included in this collection are “Holy War” by Divine Force (which inspired Ghostface’s hook on “Mighty Healthy”), “My Mic Is On Fire” by Lord Shafiyq, “Get Retarded” by MC EZ & DJ Troup (Craig Mack & Teddy Lee), “Get Down Grandmaster” by Grandmaster Caz (featuring Ced Gee on the boards), “This Cut’s Got Flavor” by Latee (the song that put DJ Mark the 45 King and the Flavor Unit on the map), “Droppin’ It” by The Bizzie Boyz (featuring legendary producer Ski on the mic and behind the boards), “I’m Not Playing” by Ultimate Force (featuring legendary producer Diamond D behind the boards), “Do It! Do It!”by The Alliance, and “Brooklyn Blew Up The Bridge” by MC Mitchski (a song I never even heard of until I read about it in an old back issue of Ego Trip). Download this and get some wrinkles in your brain.

For more information, full tracklistings and cover art, either check or do a Google search. All uploads are Zip files, enjoy ‘em:

Haze presents New York Reality Check 101 Mixed by DJ Premier (1997)

Ego Trip’s The Big Playback (2000)


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Three Instrumental Albums I Got Off Of Sandbox AKA Music To Blackout To

I bought these two instrumental CD’s off of Sandbox a couple of years ago from two of my favorite producers, Oddisee (Justus League/Halftooth Records) and Ayatollah (Soundchron Records). The first CD is Ayatollah’s So Many Reasons To Rhyme and the second is Oddisee’s Instrumental Mixtape Volume One. Both of these CD’s are also now out of print/circulation as contain 20 plus instrumentals each.

Oddisee has moved on to do production for a wide range of artists and released a second instrumental CD in 2006. Ayatollah has also released the instrumental collection Personal Legend Vol. 1 (out of print, I just upped it on the night of the 30th), So Many Reasons To Rhyme (the one I uploaded today), Now Playing, and Listen (both available in retail stores and online). These CD’s are full of joints you you can either play as riding/walking/jogging music or you can use them for freestyles or demos. Just download ‘em and you already know the rest.

All uploads are Zip files, enjoy ‘em:

Ayatollah-Personal Legend Vol.1 (2004)

Ayatollah-So Many ReasonsTo Rhyme (2004)

Oddisee-Instrumental Mixtape Volume One (2005)


Only The Illest Anime AKA Dartflix Edition #3

I decided to put together a list of my favorite anime that didn’t include anything that’s too well known, annoying, corny or cutesy (this means no Dragon Ball Z, no InuYasha, or any of that shit that 10 year olds try to stay up late to watch on Cartoon Network). I grew up watching Force Five, Star Blazers, and Speed Racer back in 1979/80 with my big brother before he went to school and I’ve been watching anime ever since. It has also become a part of the hip hop lifestyle to watch anime, Night Sessions TV in New York used to make unofficial videos by playing underground joints to scenes from Ninja Scroll, Ghost In The Shell and Wicked City. Oftentimes, emcees reference characters from them in their rhymes and some take their names from them.

Hollywood has been stealing from anime for years without anyone noticing as well (Independence Day is pretty much Big Wars and Species jacked it’s premise from Baoh...the list is much longer, believe me), but in Asia anime is merely a way to make films that would never be greenlighted if you had to cast people in them and find a director. Some of the most violent and best action scenes you can imagine happen in anime films. For those who slept, I’ll put you on now:

Dart’s Three Trailers Of The Week (1/15/07-1/21/07):

The Number 23


Hannibal Rising

Anime films/series available for rent on Netflix (Anime Edition):
Golgo 13: The Professional
Ninja Scroll
Dagger Of Kamui
Ghost In The Shell
Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence
Black Magic M-66
Madox-01: Metal Skin Panic
Riding Bean
Samurai X: The Movie
Vampire Hunter D
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Big Wars
Venus Wars
Princess Mononoke
Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind
Wicked City
Grappler Baki
Final Fantasy: Advent Children
Blood: The Last Vampire
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Fist Of The North Star
Fist Of The North Star (series)
New Fist Of The North Star (series)
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex (series)
Tehxnolyze (series)
Robotech: Macross Saga/Robotech Masters/Next Generation (series)
Cowboy Bebop (series)
Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) (series)
Ninja Scroll: The Series (series)
Crying Freeman (series)
Cyber City Oedo 808(series)
Lain: Serial Experiments (series)
Gunsmith Cats (series)
Gungrave (series)
Outlaw Star (series)
Gantz (series)
Gatchaman (series)
Trigun (series)
Shadow Skill (2 Discs)
Captain Harlock (series)
Saiyuki: Reloaded (series)
Samurai Champloo (series)
Hellsing (series)
Gasaraki (series)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (series)
Wolf’s Rain (series)
Kikaider (series)
Doomed Megaopolis (series)
Bleach (series)
Gasaraki (series)
Heat Guy J (series)
Guyver (series)

Dart’s Picks/Series:
Gungrave ( 6 Discs): This might be the best urban anime series ever made. If this was a Showtime series, it’d be nominated for Cable Ace awards and Golden Globes. It follows the rise of two street thugs as they join the local Mafia and their subsequent climb to the top and eventual falling out. I could give mad details but that would spoil it. High body count, mad betrayals and the ultimate revenge tale make this one the illest anime series ever made.

Hellsing (3 Discs): The descendant of the famous line of vampire slayers, Integra Helsing runs and huge corporation that helps keep the world from being overrun by terrorist vampires, grudge carrying demons, corrupt clergymen, psychotic killer priests from the Vatican and armies of the undead. Her greatest ally is the world’s strongest vampire, Alucard, who may be invincible. The best characters in the series are the Valentine Brothers and the killer priest. Damn good.

Samurai Champloo (6 Discs): What happens with you mix a story involving two elite rival samurai each trying to escape their own sordid pasts with a teenage girl on a quest to find a samurai who “smells of sunflowers” and a score made by Fat Jon (Five Deez) and japanese hip hop producer Nujabes? One of the most inventive anime series in recent memory. Episodes include a samurai freestyle champion, and ninja graf crew and mad swordfights, blood and bodies. This series helped to inspire the creation of Spike TV’s Afro Samurai.

Trigun (6 Discs): Arguably the most complete anime series ever made. Adapted from the popular Trigun manga, this well written and well made series is about a pacifist gunman (?) who has a code against killing people, but has a $60 Billion bounty on his head so everyone and their mama is sitting in the bushes to light his ass up...the ski mask way. The way the series goes from comedic to serious is amazing because the main character , Vash could’ve come off as a cornball rather than a conflicted hero. Trigun also has some of the best characters in recent anime history like Millions Knives, Legato Bluesummers and Monev The Gale of the Gun Ho Guns but the illest by far was Vash’s reluctant partner Nicholas D. Wolfwood, the minister/gunman for hire that would kill without remorse, causing him and Vash to butt heads regularly. Check it out.

Cowboy Bebop (6 Discs): Cowboy Bebop is best described as a space western with a jazz score and soundtrack where broke ass bounty hunters hustle hard to try to make some cash to stay above water and keep their ships flying, have something to eat in the fridge and still have cash in their pockets left over (which is never). Ex cop Jet Black and former assassin Spike Spiegel join forces and daily look for the big score. Damn good series that even non fans of anime might like.

Dart’s WTF? Awards/ Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk:
Steamboy- This movie was so damn mindnumbingly boring that I was in awe. How could the same people that made Akira make this? A hero powered by steam? Are you fuckin’ kidding me? What’s next? Lever and pulley man! This movie was more than 2 hours long and it was 90 minutes before we got to any real action...The art was great, the MOVIE sucked.

Key, The Metal Idol (series)- The biggest problem with adapting an anime series to English from Japansese is that some concepts the Japanese have in their anime do not translate well to Americans or the English speaking market. The deal breaker of the entire series is about a concept called “Geist”and a girl robot created by a scientist that has the idea to become a pop star. Too damn confusing, not enough action and the problems with the geist concept ruin any of the dialogue in the series that would shed light on what’s happening. In the end, it turns out the the girl wasn’t a robot after all, but she was hypnotized to think she was..Huh? Hot garbage.

FLCL (Fooly Cooly) (series)- A quirky series that some anime nerds absolutely love. It makes no sense whatsoever and the humor doesn’t translate well at all from Japanese to English. You can watch this series intently and still not understand what the hell is going on or why this is popular in any country anywhere to anyone at anytime.

Paranoia Agent (series)- This series has an interesting premise. A kid on rollerblades with a baseball bat is going around hitting random people. He starts out as a rumor and then the rumors larger and larger as people worry about who’s next to get smacked upside the head with a bat. The series was going pretty well, until the incredibly over the top and dissapointing end. I think this series above all the others is actually worth watching. I just think that the fantasy style conclusion was too contrived and ended up being a cop out. The writers really dropped the ball on this one.

Next Thursday: The Kung Fu/Martial Arts Edition.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dart Adams Is In Deep Concentration AKA 17 Days

Today I offer for your downloading and listening pleasure, OM Records’ Deep Concentration series of hip hop compilations. Each compilation consists of tracks produced, composed and arranged by the top turntablists in the game circa 1997-2000 as well as some great tracks from the eras leading underground hip hop groups.

San Francisco’s OM Records (home of Ming & FS, People Under The Stairs, El Stew, Afro Mystik and Mark Farina’s popular Mushroom Jazz series) started out as an indie label that made some innovative releases by using the Enhanced CD format as well as releasing albums that featured to turntablists, underground hip hop, trip hop and other forms of electronica. They were the West Coast version of Asphodel but with a little more vision on the technical (as evidenced by the interactive CD features on Deep Concentration and Deeper Concentration) side of things. Deep Concentration came with a second CD containing an original beatmaking program called OM’s Digital Beat Box and the second was an Enhanced CD with Mixman Studio remixing software (Windows only, so screw it...The Mac goes “Rrrring”!) installed on it. The third edition didn’t come with any added special features on the retail disc.

Featured on these three CD’s is a proverbial Who’s Who of hip hop’s illest DJ’s and turntablists such as Cut Chemist (Jurassic 5), Prince Paul, Radar (Bombshelter DJ’s), The Angel (check her score for Kidulthood...ill!), Eddie Def, X-Men (X-ecutioners), Peanut Butter Wolf, DJ Babu & J-Rocc (Beat Junkies), Beyond There, Q-Burns Abstract Message, Ming & FS, DJ Revolution, DJ Sole, Plagaiwrists, DJ Infamous, Bulletproof Space Travelers, DJ Craze, DJ Cash Money (Philly reppin’), Danny Breaks, DJ T-Rock & DJ Faust (Third World Citizenz), Highlanders, DJ Apollo (Invisibl Scratch Piklz), J Boogie, DJ Spooky, Saga & Mei Lwun, DJ Ill Media, Task Force, Mix Master Mike (Invisibl Scratch Piklz), Push Button Objects, Part 2 (New Flesh For Old), and last but not least the Scratch Perverts.

Including in this series are tracks by underground groups like Latyrx (“Say That”), Siah & Yeshua DapoED (“The Cure For Your Stagnation”), Mass Influence (“Demo Type Shit”), Organized Konfusion (“Murder By Syntax”), People Under The Stairs (“Afternoon Connection”), Planet Asia (“Fresno State Of Mind”), and Blak Forest (LMNO, 3rd Degree, wiz.onder & DJ Rhettmatic of the Beat Junkies) (“Lovin’ Every Minute Of It”). These compilations not only contain some of the best DJ tracks assembled at the time but the people at this label really A&R’d the hell out of these projects and produced excellent product that still sounds fresh today as when it was first released to the public. The liner notes in the first release even feature a chronological timeline of early hip hop DJ’s and the people they, in turn influenced. Cover art on the final two releases was done by legendary aerosoul (yeah, I spelled it that way on purpose) artist Doze. Download ‘em and get your head nod on.

For full tracklistings, cover art and more info on these uploads check or do a regular Google search. Each upload is a Zip file, enjoy ‘em:

Deep Concentration (1997)

Deeper Concentration (1998)

Deep Concentration 3 (2000)


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pressure Busts Pipes AKA Shorty/Dude Should Go Solo

Back in 2000, I was working at CD Spins (at Downtown Crossing on Winter no longer exists) and this guy from a record label comes up to me with a sampler for this group he was promoting and asks me to listen to it and write my thoughts about the group on an index card he handed to me (I presume that I was the person he picked to do this because I was the only brown person working there at the time). I said “OK” and preceeded to go outside and listen to the CD sampler, the group was called Spooks and the album was to be named S.I.O.S.O.S. (Spooks Is On Some Other Shit). The group featured a female singer named Ming Xia and three or four other dudes rapping (I couldn’t name ‘em even if you offered me a naked Meagan Good and Patriots Super Bowl tickets). After listening to those five songs I was ready to deliberate, I wrote my terse take on the sampler, went inside and handed to the man. He looked at my index card and looked at me, then he laughed and said “What is it about Boston? That’s the fifth time I’ve seen that phrase and I’ve only been at this a few hours!” He shook his head, said thanks and left the store. I only wrote four words in my best graf handstyle with a black Sharpie on that index card “Shorty should go solo”.

This brings us to the subject of this particular blog, the internal and external pressures that often tear apart and slowly eat away at the fabric of certain groups causing them to go their separate ways. The “Shorty should go solo” scenario works in the case of two groups that had parallel two album careers complete with respect from hip hop fans and casual music fans alike, critical acclaim and commercial success, Digable Planets and The Fugees.

In the case of Digable Planets, they first appeared on the scene with a song that crossed over to the pop charts (“Cool Like Dat”) and became a huge single. They immeadiately received a lot of attention from mainstream media because they were perceived to be non threatening, approachable and they had an attractive girl in their group. Ladybug Mecca was splashed on the covers of several magazines and once the album dropped (1993’s “Reachin’: A New Refutation Of Time And Space”) and began flying off the shelves the talk began after their singles “Where I’m From” and “Nickel Bag Of Funk” both hit the radio.

In hip hop circles, Digable Planets were both respected for their talent and reviled for their status in pop culture as the medias new favorite rap group, replacing Arrested Development. They had an image that didn’t quite fit them and after a couple of less than stellar fluff interviews in major music magazines (including a corny ass Source article written by Toure’, the former Rolling Stone writer and current host of BET’s The Black Carpet) they realized that there might be a Digable Planets backlash if they didn’t do something about it soon.

Everyone had their own take on the group and what they should do next based on their first album. The prevailing attitude was that Ish (Butter) was nice on the mic and behind the boards, Mecca should put out a solo album and C Knowledge (Doodlebug) was the weak link in the group. They also won some major awards behind the strength and popularity of their album and singles.

The Digable Planets switched their style up for their next album, did away with the insect names and the weird song titles and focused on making a tight album that reflected what they TRULY stood for. That album was called “Blowout Comb” and the lead single “9th Wonder (Blackitolism)” made it clear that this album would be nothing like the first. The album was embraced by hip hop fans and publications but they fell out of their previous position of media darlings (it might’ve had something to do with all of that pro-Black/Black Nationalist/political talk on the album). Subsequently, the album didn’t sell very well and ended up getting seriously slept on. Soon after, they broke up and all went their separate ways. Ish went solo, Mecca went solo, and C Know, the business mind behind the group, started up a label with a diverse roster and ran it for years until they recently reunited.

The Fugees on the other hand, released their first album (“Blunted On Reality”) and it didn’t get much attention outside of the hip hop world and it wasn’t received well critically, either. It wasn’t until the albums second single “Nappy Heads” that they even made any noise at all (their first single “Boof Bap” made no noise whatsoever) and “Vocab” was a moderate hit as well. The Fugees didn’t become stars until their second album “The Score” dropped. Their lead single “Fu Gee La” was a surprise crossover breakout hit. The next single ‘Killing Me Softly” was an even bigger hit. “Ready Or Not” was another big hit. All of a sudden, the Fugees were media darlings and their album was flying off of the shelves. They were viewed as non threatening, approachable and they had an attractive woman in their group. In no time, Lauryn’s face was splashed on the cover of mainstream magazines all over. Of course, the streets began talking about The Fugees. The prevailing attitude was that Wyclef was nice on the mic and behind the boards, Lauryn should put out a solo album and Pras, the businesss mind behind the group, was the weak link...sound familiar? Eventually, the Fugees ended up breaking up and going their separate ways before Dave Chappelle performed a miracle and got the Fugees back together.

The constant pressure put on groups by surrounding peoplealways in their ears, the street, the media and the label is staggering and it has ultimately contributed to the undoing of several groups over the years. In the case of the group Leaders Of The New School it got to be downright unbearable. When the Leaders Of The New School first came out (with 1991’s “A Future Without A Past”), they sounded like a tight knit group on wax. They played off of each other and complemented each other perfectly, leading to a successful album and the hit singles “Case Of The PTA”, “Sobb Story”, “The International Zone Coaster” and the breakout hit “Scenario” with A Tribe Called Quest”. Busta Rhymes was seen as the standout member of the group and he often overshadowed his crew members in print, radio and television interviews. The attention that Busta recieved led to him getting a bunch of calls to do guest verses and the prevailing attitude being that Charlie Brown and Dinco D were wack in comparison to Busta. Brown and Dinco had people constantly in their ear s telling them tostep it up lyrically. Charlie Brown cut out the screaming and Dinco began spittin’ straight fire. To add more chaos to the groups dynamic, the groups former DJ Cutmonitor Milo was now a rapper called Milo In De Dance. Everyone (beside Busta) had something to prove in the booth and on the mic to the listener.

In 1993, Leaders Of The New School unleashed the album “T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind’s Eye)” on the public. It was a good album, but L.O.N.S. didn’t sound like a cohesive group that was playing off of each other anymore. They sounded like four individuals battling while each spitting 24 bar verses. They did overdubs and adlibs in unison and that was about it, fans heard the album and noticed the difference. The Source and Rap Pages intimated that the group might be on the verge of breakup...then that fateful appearance with Fab Five Freddy on Yo! MTV Raps clinched everyone’s was a wrap for L.ON.S. Busta Rhymes finally went solo and the fans got what they wanted.

This is partly why there are no rap groups today, between splitting up monies, public clamor for one member over the others, the mainstream media/critical praise being heaped on member more than the others or just plain tension between the members for a myriad of personal reasons. By the way, the Spooks dropped the album “S.I.O.S.O.S.” in the Summer of 2000 about 3 months after that guy let me hear the CD sampler. The general consensus behind the album from casual listeners and reviewers at music publications alike was that the rappers in the group were wack and the singer should go solo....I’m just sayin’, though.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Hella West Coast Compilations AKA Cali Been Active

I’ve been hearing rappers from Cali talking about "the West fell off" for years now and I have no idea what the hell they’re talking about. From 1997 to 2002 arguably more of the best produced, most innovative and lyrical hip hop was coming out of the West Coast. When I think of all of the emcees, groups and producers that came out of the West during this era it further supports my position: Rasco, Planet Asia, Ras Kass, Crooked I, LMNO, Krondon, Mykill Miers, Encore, Defari, Xzibit, T-Love, Madusa, Saafir, Homeliss Derelix, Insane Poetry, Lootpack, Dilated Peoples, Styles Of Beyond, Visionaries, Self Scientific, The Associates, Abstract Rude & A Tribe Unique, Living Legends, Jurassic 5, Latryx, Blackalicious, Madlib, DJ Babu, DJ Rhettmatic, Alchemist, Peanut Butter Wolf, Kut Master Kurt, Evidence, DJ Revolution, M Boogie, Fanatik, Joey Chavez, DJ Shadow, Chief Xcel, Cut Chemist and the list goes on...this group of influential artists comprise most of the appearances on these compilations.

The lineup today consists up The World Famous Beat Junkies Vols. 2 & 3, DJ Revolutions’ R2K V. 1.0., M -Boogie’s Laid In Full, Sway & King Tech f/DJ Revolutions’ This Or That and Battle Axe Records’ (Swollen Members) Defenders Of The Underworld. The first 4 selections were all distributed by Blackberry/Ill Boogie Records and Nu Gruv Alliance out of San Francisco.

The World Famous Beat Junkies Vol. 2 was a double disc compilation mixed by DJ Rhettmatic chock full of underground classics from 1998. Included in the 32 tracks are hard to find gems like Rasco’s “What’s It All About”, Foot Souljahz “Hoes To Doughs”, “I’m Comin” by T-Love, “Radiant” by LMNO and the “Dynamic (Remix)” by Pumpkinhead featuring DCQ, CES, Pokaface, Meat Pie, The Bad Seed, and What? What? (Jean Grae) . Volume 3 was made in 1999 and mixed by Beat Junkie Melo-D. It features joints like Quasimoto’s “Microphone Mathematics”, Defari’s “Say It Twice”, Lootpack’s “Whenimondamic”, LMNO’s “Grin & Bear It” and “Guaranteed” by Dilated Peoples. This comp also had “Flagrant” by Choclair (this joint bangs to this day!), “Keep It Movin’’ with Saukrates & Xzibit, “Mingling With Mayhem” by Grand Agent and the college mix show banger “CT To NY (Uncut Action) by Chris Lowe f/Large Professor (you know...the live guy with glasses). Download these and get familiar with them like Clinton Sparks.

The next four comps were all created in 1999, starting with DJ Revolutions R2K V. 1.0. Rev included heat rocks from Bumpy Knuckles (“A Part Of My Life”), Big L (“The Heist”), Rasco (“Sophisticated Mic Pros”), Self Scientific (“Love Allah”), Insane Poetry (“Shroom Vision”) and he gets props for adding “State Of The Art” from Boston/MA’s own 7L & Esoteric. Buc Fifty, Droop Capone, Other-Wize, Rasheed and Cheif Kamachi and Lootpack also have joints on here as well. Laid In Full is 28 tracks deep and mixed by M -Boogie (who also produced most of the interludes), Dignified Soldiers’ “Themes, Schemes & Dreams”, Insane Poetry’s “Lyrical Catacombs”, Bedroom Produksionz “S.E.L.F.”, Master Of Illusion’s “Magnum Be I”, Mr. Supreme & Al’ Tariq’s “Run The Show”, and Joey Chavez & Evidence’s “Reservation For One” are among the slept on joints that are included on this CD. Classic posse joints “Ubiquity” by The Associates f/Key-Kool, Evidence & Divine Styler and “From The Ground Up” by The Associates f/Shaydie, LMNO, T-Love & Iriscience are also on here, but as M-Boogie remixes. The DJ interludes feature Kut Master Kurt, DJ Revolution, DJ Dusk, DJ Rhettmatic, DJ Melo D, & Peanut Butter Wolf.

This Or That was a compilation put out on Interscope Records by the hosts of the legendary Wake Up Show, Sway & King Tech. They brought along DJ Revolution for the ride (and he produced all of the tracks with guest appearances). This comp was part mix CD, underground compilation and feature joints with original production over 32 tracks. The mix CD has old classic joints on it (“I Know You Got Soul”, “Looking At The Front Door”, “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”, “Court Is In Session”, “So What Cha Sayin” & “Ugly People Be Quiet”), the underground joints are “Rework The Angles” by Dilated Peoples, “Above The Clouds” by Gangstarr, and the “ Remix” by Ill Advised & Rahsheed f/Black Thought & Malik B of The Roots. The original joints produced by DJ Revolution were “The Anthem” f/RZA, Tech N9NE, Eminem, Xzibit, Pharoahe Monch, Kool G Rap, Jayo Felony, Chino XL & KRS One, “Underground Tactics” f/Heltah Skeltah, Crooked I & Planet Asia, “Improvise” f/Jurassic 5, “Ego Trippin’ ‘99” featuring Kool Keith & Motion Man, “3 To The Dome” featuring Big Daddy Kane, Chino XL & Kool G Rap, “Get You Mad” featuring Eminem (mind you, the sign of a true lyricist is someone who can make me listen to the lyrics over a beat I’m not’ll see what I mean when you hear it), and “Clientele” featuring Dirty Unit (what the hell happened to these dudes?). RZA also appears as Bobby Digital on the self produced “Belly Of The Beast” as well as freestyles by Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, Canibus, Redman and Sonja Blade (I see her on MySpace but what happened?). The final track is Wake Up Show Trivia. Solid mix of the old and the new.

The final upload is Defenders Of The Underworld, a compilation put out by Battle Axe Records. Battle Axe is the indie label started by Swollen Members (Madchild & Prevail), a Canadian hip hop duo that managed to make a shitload of friends on the West Coast. I was never a big Swollen Members fan (because they sound like two dudes that just came from playing D&D and went straight into the vocal booth), but I have all of their vinyl when they have mad guest appearances on them (like “Bottle Rocket”). This CD has joints from Buc Fifty (“Worst Enemy” and “Dead End Street” were probably on every comp made in 1999), Defari (“Cookin’ Up Your Brain”), Psycho Realm (“Pow Wow”), Del (“Hoe”), Son Doobie (“Buck Fifty 2 Ya Face”) and Aceyalone (“Super Human Hip Hop Head”) also drop joints on here. My favorite joints from this comp are Non Phixion’s “The Full Monty”, Arsonists “Fat Laces”, Pep Love’s (Hieroglyphics) “Trinity Lost”, and the before mentioned “Bottle Rocket” featuring Evidence, Madchild, Everlast, & Divine Styler.

In conclusion, please download and enjoy these joints and remember that regardless of what Game said the West NEVER fell off. Next time I upload some compilations they’ll be from OM Records Deep Concentration series. Congratulations to the New England Patriots who are returning to the AFC Championship game for the 5th time in 10 seasons and happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to everyone.

All uploaded albums are Zip files. For cover art, full tracklistings and more info, check or do a regular Google search. Here are the links, enjoy ‘em:

The World Famous Beat Junkies Vol. 2 Double CD (Featuring DJ Rhettmatic) (1998)

Disc 2:

The World Famous Beat Junkies Vol.3 (Featuring DJ Melo-D) (1999)

R2K Version 1.0 (Mixed by DJ Revolution)

Laid In Full (Featuring M Boogie) (1999)

Sway & King Tech f/DJ Revolution (Wake Up Show)-This Or That (1999)

Defenders Of The Underworld (Battle Axe) (1999)


Things That Keep Me Sane In A Crazy World AKA My Favorite Sites

We are in the information age and anything you need to know/find, all you have to do is hit up that Google bar and do a search. However, that still doesn’t mean you can necessarily find that site/forum that could be be of the most use to you. Given the sheer volume of wack shit out there, there are some places I use as sanctuaries/sources of information (I am an information junkie...ain’t it obvious from my blog?). Back in my record store days, I was pretty much called on to know a wide array of stuff. This is how I can bridge the gap between what I already know with what I don’t. These are my favorite spots on the net to visit and why.

The Red Bull Music Academy lectures help keep me convinced that there are hip hop producers that still have love and reverence for music and the art of Hip Hop. It’s like “Inside The Actors Studio” for producers, almost.

This is where I find out who the hell all of those British/European groups with tight ass clothes and weird names are that everyone talks about on Dissensus (UK music/culture board).

This is where I get old school NES games to play on my laptop with the arrows, Shift, Z and Space bar for Start. I’ll play Tecmo Super Bowl with Philly (Randall Cunningham was QB Eagles) and get my Mike Vick on until I win the Super Bowl....and break all types of Pro Bowl records.

Google and Blogger searches are cool, but you still miss mad stuff. This blog search engine is on beast mode. Sickamore from put me on to it.

Because even my memory has it’s limits in regards to albums

What’s that actors/actresses name? What was the name of that flick we saw as kids? When is Boondock Saints 2 ever coming out? This is where I go.

I grew up in the “Kung Fu Theater” generation and I grew up watching mad Kung Fu/Martial Arts/Wu Xia films. This is where I check out a wide assortment of trailers of classic (and some hot garbage) joints that I caught on channels 25 and 56 on a Sunday afternoon as a kid.

Whenever I feel like my writing is slacking, I check some of these spec scripts out. I soon realize that I’m doing the right thing with my life and back out another article/blog. Warning: Some of these scripts are unintentionally funny as shit...they’re SERIOUS. Keep that in mind while reading the 1st draft of the movie adaptation of Metroid (No...for real).

Rare CD’s and records? These are two of the spots I check first.

How well/badly did a film do? What was it’s budget? How’d it do domestically and internationally? Will there be a sequel? This is where I go to find out.

Streaming audio of retail albums.

This is where I get facts to separate from the fiction I see in all the goddamn movies I watch.

These are the hip hop sites I got to find out about the hip hop I grew up on and fell in love with along with the DJ, producers and emcees me and my frienemies and enemends used to argue and debate about on a regular basis. I got love for any site with writers who know who Eddie Sancho, Herb Powers, and Dave “Funken” Klein are.

Why do I love Okayplayer? Where else would they run off Lupe Fiasco for never having heard Midnight Marauders? Where else would they gang up on people that diss The Beatnuts rhymes and production skills? Where else could someone post poll threads like “El-P vs. Dr. Dre” “Necro vs. Timbaland” and “Cannibal Ox vs. Mobb Deep”and El-P, Necro and Cannibal Ox ALL WIN? Nowhere else but in OKPLand, fam! They keep me on my toes for real. If you don’t stay sharp you will get eaten alive in there.

My Favorite Blogs (I regularly visit ALL of these):


Saturday, January 13, 2007

50 Slept On Hip Hop Videos #2

1. Kreep-Chino XL
2. Miss Amutha Nature-Nefertiti
3. Time 2 Flow-D-Nice f/Treach
4. Hostile-Erick Sermon f/Keith Murray
5. Listen Up-E- Rule
6. So What Cha Want? (Soul Assassins Remix)-Beastie Boys f/B-Real
7. Take It Easy-Mad Lion
8. Days Of Old-Paris
9. Magnum Opus-Top Quality
10. On The Grind-Ghetto Mafia
11. Peer Pressure- Mobb Deep
12. Rubbin'-Choclair
13. Last Days-Onyx
14. Money Or Love-Saukrates
15. Livin' Like A Trooper-Greyson & Jasun
16. Hellbound-Almighty R.S.O.
17. Death Be The Penalty-Shabazz The Disciple
18. I.N.C. Ride-Masta Ace Inc.
19. Who Got My Back?-Trendz Of Culture
20. Raw Uncut-8 Ball f/Master P, Psycho Drama & Mystikal
21. Dig It-The Coup
22. True Master-Pete Rock f/Inspectah Deck & Kurupt
23. Must Stay Paid-Broadway
24. Letterman (Remix)-K-Solo
25. Days Of Our Lives-Bone Thugs & Harmony
26. Tears (Remix)-Da King & I f/Faceman
27. Longshot-Checkmate
28. Hold On- Brand Nubian
29. L.I. Groove-Hard 2 Obtain
30. Uptown Hit- Kurious f/Kadi & Lord Sear
31. Ain't A Damn Thing Changed-W.C. & The MAAD Circle
32. Maniac-Parental Advisory
33. Funkorama- Redman f/Aaron Hall
34. On The Mic- DJ Honda f/Missin' Linx, The Beatnuts & A.L.
35. #1 Player-Red Hot Lover Tone f/Rich Nice
36. Remember Me Ballin'-Indo G f/Gangsta Boo
37. Watch The Sound-Fat Joe f/Diamond D & Grand Puba
38. Word Is Life- Poor Righteous Teachers
39. Tired Of Gettin' Stepped On- The Click
40. Nika-Lil' Vicious
41. Easy To Slip-Solitair
42. Nuttin' But Flavor-Funkmaster Flex f/Ghetto Celebs (Charlie Brown, Ol' Dirty Bastard & Biz Markie)
43. Take It Personal-Gangstarr
44. What's That Cha Sayin'-Anotha Level
45. Innovations-2 Rude f/Saukrates & Pharoahe Monch
46. Mad Props-Da Youngstas
47. Norfside-Tara Chase
48. Pyromaniax/Backdraft-Arsonists
49. Operation Lockdown-Heltah Skeltah
50. Class Clown- Da Wascals

A lot of these videos are hard as hell to find (hence no links)...I have them all on videotape, though. Once I get the means, I'll up the ones that aren't readily available online. One.

Friday, January 12, 2007

50 Slept On Hip Hop Videos #1

1. Karma- Mood
2. Kausin’ A Menace- The Dredknotz
3. Precious Metals- Ghetto Concept
4. Mansion & A Yacht- Kurious f/Mike G & Sadat X
5. Kalifornia- Above The Law f/Kokane
6. Let’s Get It On- Smif N’ Wessun
7. The Worst- Wu Tang Clan f/Onyx
8. Handle Ur Bizness- M.O.P.
9. Love Comes & Goes- Ed O.G & Da Bulldogs
10. Rough, Rugged & Raw- Bushwackas
11. Wrongside Of The Tracks- Artifacts
12. Later On- Casual
13. The World Is Yours (Remix)- Nas
14. Hush Hush Tip- N-Tyce
15. Mighty Healthy- Ghostface Killah
16. Raise It Up- Ultramagnetic MC’s
17. Hardcore- The Beatnuts
18. Stress- Organized Konfusion
19. Itsoweezee- De La Soul
20. Total Wreck- Bahamadia
21. Don’t Get It Twisted- Jigmastas f/Sadat X
22. Vocab- The Fugees
23. Holiday- Witchdoctor
24. Let It Fall- Linque
25. Mic Check- Aceyalone
26. Defeat- Afu Ra
27. Come Widdit- Ahmad, Saafir & Ras Kass
28. Not 2 Far- D. Auguste f/Tajai & Opio
29. Cobra Clutch- Ghostface Killah
30. End To End Burners- Company Flow
31. You Never Know- Hieroglyphics
32. Hustlin’- Kardinal Offishal
33. Light Sleeper- Saafir
34. Formations- Mathematik
35. Blackitolism (9th Wonder)- Digable Planets f/Jazzy Joyce
36. Put It On- Big L
37. The Actual- All City
38. Bakneffek- Das EFX
39. Invocation/Hungry- Common
40. Renee- The Lost Boyz
41. Masta I.C.- Mic Geronimo
42. Do You Believe- The Beatnuts
43. Wrong Place- Del
44. It’s Real (DJ Premier Remix)- Fat Joe
45. Live Ordeal- Brassmunk
46. Boricuas On The Set- Frankie Cutlass f/Evil Twins
47. Put The Monkey In It- Daz f/Soopafly
48. Mo’ Money Mo’ Murder- AZ f/Nas
49. Stand Up- Charli Baltimore f/Ghostface Killah
50. Miami Life- Ras Kass

You can check for these videos on YouTube, Blastro, or other online hip hop video carriers like Once I get the necessary equipment to upload old videos, I’ll start doing it as well. Next week I’ll upload some more slept on albums, post some reviews, speak on the issues of the de-evolution of the live show in Hip Hop, women and their position in Hip Hop, a blog entitled Things I Learned From Hip Hop Album Liner Notes, do another edition of the New Boston Revolution, Dartfix #3: The Anime Edition, and premier the new recurring blog series, Can It All Be So Simple?. I had to leave out a LOT of movies that I thought deserved to be in the list (Let’s Do It Again, Uptown Saturday Night, Dolemite, Trouble Man, 3 The Hard Way, King Of New York, Colors, Billy Bathgate, Cornbread, Earl & Me, etc.)...I’ll post them all up in my Dartflix: Hood Classics Edition due next month....Oh yeah. I’m callin’ it right now!: Patriots 24 Chargers 14


Thursday, January 11, 2007

25 Most Influential Films To Hip Hop Culture AKA Dartflix Edition #2

Here’s my list of the 25 Most Influential Films To Hip Hop Culture as well as 5 Honorable Mentions. Disagree with any of my selections or omissions? Hit me up in the comments section with your choices or lists. Let’s get it started.

Dart’s Three Trailers Of The Week (1/8/07-1/14/07):



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

1. Sweet Sweetback's Baaadaasss Song*
2. Space Is The Place (Sun Ra & His Arkestra)**
3. Shaft
4. Superfly
5. The Mack
6. Wattstax
7. The Education Of Sonny Carson
8. Wild Style
9. Style Wars
10. Beat Street***
11. Krush Groove
12. Tougher Than Leather
13. Scarface
14. Boyz N The Hood
15. Menace II Society
16. The Warriors
17. Once Upon A Time In America/Black Caesar (tie)
18. Juice
19. Grafitti Rock****
20. Breakin’/New Jack City (tie)
21. Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
22. The Godfather
23. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
24. Carlito’s Way
25. Enter The Dragon

Honorable Mention:
26. Goodfellas
27. Mobsters
28. Return Of The Dragon/The Untouchables (tie)
29. Casino
30. 8 Mile*****

* Without Melvin Van Peebles indepedent 1971 film, there would have been no independent film market (he created it by himself unintentionally), no Blaxploitation Era, and who knows when a film with a Black lead would have ever been made had he not made Sweetback or it’s soundtrack? Almost every other film on this list was able to be made because of this seminal film (To see a film about the making of this one, watch Mario Van Peebles’ “Baaadasss”).

** Sun Ra was a huge influence of Parliament/Funkadelic as well as Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force as well as the entire Dungeon Family. The film Space Is The Place was the first musical social commentary film that addressed the issue of Black people’s mistreatment /2nd class citizenship. It also addressed the generation gap and problems with the youth/Black identity. It may seem weird at times, but it was groundbreaking when it was first released.

***Beat Street is essentially nothing more than Wild Style and Style Wars lite. That, however, does not change the fact that it's many people’s introduction to hip hop culture. Same goes for the Breakin’ movies, no matter how corny they are or much they really sucked.

**** Grafitti Rock was a TV show dedicated to hip hop music and culture made by Mike Holman (also the manager of New York City Breakers, the crew Rocksteady battled in Beat Street). This show was the first (and only) TV series that was made by and for hip never lasted past the pilot. Holman’s footage of hip hop events comprised Afrika Bambaataa’s videos for “Planet Rock” and “Looking For The Perfect Beat”.

***** 8 Mile was pretty much just a hip hop version of Purple Rain. That doesn’t change the fact that it introduced a whole new generation to the art of the battle and ultimately helped the Smack DVD’s and Fight Klub DVD’s become popular.

Special note: I’m not too keen on putting Mafia and/or gangster movies on a list of movies most influential to hip hop culture...I can’t bury my head in the sand and pretend that influence doesn’t exist at all, though. I don’t live in a cave.

Slept on hip hop related movies available on Netflix:
Graffitti Rock & Other Hip Hop Delights
The Art Of 16 Bars
The MC: Why We Do It
Freestyle: The Art Of Rhyme
The Freshest Kids: History Of The B Boy
5 Sides Of A Coin
Gil Scot-Heron- Black Wax/Is That Jazz?
DJ Q Bert Live: Australia/Asia
Adventures Of Grandmaster Roc Raida Vol. 3
Best Of The Source Awards Vol. 1
X-Ecutioners: Built To Scratch
Scratch: All The Way Live
Scribble Jam #7
Scribble Jam #9
Scribble Jam Archive No. 2
Bomb The System
Stones Throw 101
Revenge Of The Robots
Wu-Tang Clan: The W: Vol. 1
Wu-Tang Clan: Disciples Of The 36 Chambers
Roots: A Sonic Event
Black Moon: Behind The Moon
Boot Camp: From The Frontlines DuckDown Visuals Vol. 4
Mobb Deep: Infamous Allegiance (2 Discs)
Hieroglyphics: Full Circle Tour Live
The B. Coming Of Beanie Sigel
Jay-Z: Streets Is Watching
Jay-Z: Fade To Black
Nas: Made You Look: God’s Son Live
Rhyme & Reason
The Show

Dart’s Picks:
Hieroglyphics: Full Circle Tour
Revenge Of The Robots
Black Moon: Behind The Moon
Black Moon: From The Frontlines Duck Down Visuals Vol. 4
Roots: A Sonic Event
Wu-Tang- Disciples Of The 36 Chambers

I love seeing tour and behind the scenes footage of my favorite hip hop groups/artists. It personally makes me feel better for some odd reason, like visual/physical proof that hip hop hasn’t gone’s alive and well and don’t forget it! I have to say that the Def Jux documentary on Revenge Of The Robots might be one of the best docs I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t pick one and leave the others out because I love ‘em all.

Dart’s WTF? Awards/Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk!:
Rap War One- An aspiring emcee from the hood faces girlfriend drama and general stressful street shit as he tries to battle his way to the top of the heap. This movie looks and sounds like shit. The battles were trash and whoever wrote the lyrics in this film needs to have his ass whupped. The dialogue sucks, the script (assuming there was one) was hella predictable with all types of cliches throughout. This was a terrible, terrible film and a black eye on hip hop in general.

Murda Muzik- This film was done for close to 2 years before it was we know why. Mobb Deep made the quintessential wack ass gangster/hood/rap movie. At least they still make good, fuck...I forgot. 50 ruined them. Speaking of 50 Cent...

Get Rich Or Die Trying -Curtis “Million Dollar Budget” Jackson stars in a quasi remake of 8 Mile (which was a quasi remake of Purple Rain). I did not like this movie...not at all. I saw it and immeadiately forgot about it. Not one thing stood out to me about any aspect of this movie, that is sad on so many levels. God did not give us the gift of the movie camera to make forgettable films.

Death Of A Dynasty- How bad was this movie? It was worse than Paper Soldiers, State Property 2 and Soul Plane all spliced into one continuous film. One guy played 5 different parts simultaneously and another played 3. All of the guest appearances made little to no sense and didn’t advance the story. The main character was annoying as all hell and in the end I felft stupid for watching it all the way through. It tried way too hard to be funny, in the end it looked like one of those embarassing student films that people find in the trash around Emerson’s campus at the end of each semester. The only acceptable reasons for watching this shit are a gun/hammer/knife/crossbow to your head or the head of a loved one...or a lost bet.

Next week: Dartflix #3 The Anime Edition