Classic Material: Albums by The Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest Turn 25

ATCQ Midnight Marauders Enter the Wu-Tang

Today (Nov. 9) is a great day in music history - two classic albums that shaped and transcended hip-hop turned 25 years old.

On Nov. 9, 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest released their seminal albums, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers and Midnight Marauders, respectively, on the same day giving rap fans endless hours of head-nodding material.

Both albums offered two different musical compositions in rap. On Enter the Wu-Tang, veteran producer RZA delivered a cacophony of sounds that consisted of concrete-breaking beats and sampled vocals from kung-fu flicks. The album's unpolished production sounded like RZA recorded the project in his basement -- gritty and unfiltered.

Meanwhile, ATCQ had already released two classic albums - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) and The Low End Theory (1991), an impressive accomplishment from the iconic group. Unlike Enter the Wu, the production on Midnight Marauders was polished as the rap trio continued their creative fusion of hip-hop and jazz. Lyrically, Q-Tip and the late Phife Dawg delivered inventive rhymes that dealt with their day-in-a-life circumstances growing up in Queens, New York.

Both are unadulterated classics and I'm not going to even entertain a debate on which album is superior, instead, let's enjoy them for what they are - timeless masterpieces.

"We at 25 years, we know we have arrived at our destination. We're grateful for everyone that’s been a part of this,” said RZA about the LP's 25th anniversary (via Billboard ). “When we said 36 Chambers, the word chamber was giving everybody an idea that you will go through different chambers in your life. It's many things that you have to pass through in order to master yourself."

The RZA also revealed that the borough of Staten Island, N.Y. (native hometown to most of the Wu-Tang Clan members) will recognized Nov. 9 as "Wu-Tang Clan Day."

On the internet, they are a slew of tributes and retrospectives on both of these albums. Check out the list below (click the link):

Continue reading "Classic Material: Albums by The Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest Turn 25" »

Happy New Year: A Message From Me to You


Fireworks: Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!

2011 was a so-so year for me. I thought we were in a recession, but after watching people go HAM over Air Jordan 11 Concords, I guess the economy is back on track. WTF?!

But I digress . . .

I'm thankful for my writing gig at PopCrush. I'm able to still do what I love to do and that is write about hip-hop/rap music.

I apologize for not updating Beats and Rants on a daily basis. Keep in mind that this is a one-man operation and I have outside interests that holds my attention during the day. I will continue to update this blog as consistently as I can in 2012. I thank you for your patience and for not unsubscribing me from your RSS feeds.

I wish everyone a prosperous 2012. I love you guys. Peace and blessings!

Happy New Year!

Never Forgotten: 9/11 - 10 Years Later



(photo by Larry Rader via 9/

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the darkest day in American history on September 11, 2001.

I remember it so vividly because I was in New York on that tragic day and witnessed the horror and the chaos in its aftermath up close. I arrived in New York just minutes after the first plane hit the towers and the police were evacuating the train station on 34th street and shutting down ALL subways.

It wasn't until I arrived at my news desk that I saw on television screen the horror that was unfolding that day. I was one out of three journalists who made it into the office early that day. The other members couldn't make it into Manhattan because all transportation in and out of the city were shut down.

I had to report the tragic events to my various radio affiliates across the country all day. By late afternoon, I was totally overwhelmed by all of the television, radio and internet coverage of the disaster. At some point during the day, I became emotionally drained and put my head down on the desk in my cubicle and I cried.

But the day wasn't over for me. The fire marshall order us to evacuate the building and leave the city, if possible. Well, I couldn't go home because every transit system in the northeast was on shut down completely until midnight. So, me along with thousands of passengers were stranded outside of the train station waiting to get home.

It looked like a refugee camp outside as people huddled to find a spot in front of the doors -- they were all hungry, afraid, tired and distressed. I didn't catch a train until 2 a.m. the next morning. In the end, it was a very stressful and eventful day for me to say the least.

Much like Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 is another American tragedy that we must never forget. In addition, many thanks goes out to the brave police, firefighters and rescue teams who rose to the occassion to save numerous lives. And Rest In Honor, to the people who perished in the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon and the passengers who fought back on the plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I will never forget.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, State Farm partnered with acclaimed director Spike Lee to film a touching tribute to thank the heroes of New York City. Nearly 150 school children (ages 8 to 11) from the New York area visited four firehouses and thanked the firefighters personally through song.


God Bless, America. Peace.

New Music: Ab-Soul - "Time Is Of The Essence" (F/ Punch)




From California rapper Ab-Soul's new LP Longterm Mentality.

In my opinion, it's the first great rap album of 2011. Seriously, if you're looking for thought-provoking rhymes over some dope productions (props to Tae Beast and Sounwave) this is the album to buy. Head over iTunes and cop the album NOW!


Ab-Soul -- "Time Is of the Essence" (Featuring Punch)

Props: goodmusiconly


Steve Stoute Airs Out Grammys For Eminem, Kanye, Bieber Snubs


Steve Stoute


Steve Stoute's Grammy Letter


Former music executive and advertising guru Steve Stoute took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to blast the Grammy's organizing body, NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Science), for being out of touch when it comes to honoring artists for their achievements in music. He believes that the award-giving process are flawed and that artists such as Eminem, Kanye West and Just Bieber were all snubbed at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12.

Continue reading "Steve Stoute Airs Out Grammys For Eminem, Kanye, Bieber Snubs" »