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)



Robert said...

hahaha...I really loved Muuvon,how Cheapshot freaked Good Times,still love it but it's a very dope album,didn't really care for the 2nd one except "Megadef"

Travis said...

I was never a big fan of that Defari as big of a Likwit fan as I was. He voice just seems to want to put me to sleep.

I flirted with putting up that Encore on Tuesday....

Nice post

Sincere's Mommy said...

Great Post!!! You have great taste in music. Very few people do now days. If you or anybody you know is going to be in San Francisco area Feb 3 stop by the Mighty we are doing a dj show with Ali Shaheed Muhammad from Tribe. Its going to be sick. Just trying to support the artists that did that true school hip hop. Peace.