If you are a hip-hop fan, you know that February is J Dilla Month. So in honor of the late and great producer, I offer to you the 15th Anniversary Edition of The Shining LP (Japanese Import). This is one of many posthumous albums that was released after the Detroit producer’s death on Feb. 10, 2006.
The original album, released on August 22, 2006, boasts guest appearances from Busta Rhymes, Common, D’Angelo, Black Thought, MED, Guilty Simpson and fellow producer Madlib.
Two of my favorite tracks on the project is "E=MC2" featuring Common and "So Far to Go" Featurng Common and D’Angelo. I could play those two songs forever.
J Dilla will be sorely missed. But his music will last forever. Take a listen below and enjoy.
On Christmas Day (Dec. 25), filmmaker Jordan Peele gifted his fans with a horrifying trailer for his upcoming new film, Us. The movie's storyline is shrouded in secrecy, but here's what I have gathered from the internet.
Of course, Us is the follow-up to Peele's fantastic Oscar-nominated flick Get Out. The film reunites Black Panther co-stars Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke as they play parents of two lovable children. While on their beach vacation, the family come face-to-face with evil doppelgängers of themselves. As the Nyong'o suggests in the trailer, they have to kill them for their own survival.
"They look exactly like us, they think like us, they know where we are, we need to move and keep moving. They won't stop until they kill or...or we kill them," she chillingly says in the trailer.
At a press screening for the trailer, Peele explained to critics that he wrote Us to explore this "undeniable truth" that's been at the forefront of his mind: "The simple fact that we are our own worst enemies."
What makes the Us trailer so horrifyingly good is the use of The Luniz's 1995 classic weed anthem, "I Got 5 on It." The song, which samples Club Nouveau's 1987 heartbreaking ballad "Why You Treat Me So Bad," has now been reintroduced to a new generation of fans.
Not only that, the spooky remix of the Bay Area classic with its repetitive haunting keys near the end of the trailer will haunt you. Honestly, “I Got 5 On It” will never sound the same again.
After the trailer was released, The Luniz and their song were trending topics on Twitter.
Jordan Peele's new film Us will arrive in theaters on March 15.
Watch the Us trailer below. I also included The Luniz's classic remix video for "I Got 5 on It" after the flip.
During my editorial stint at the hip-hop website TheBoombox.com, I compiled a top 20 list of the Greatest Jazz Rap Albums of the 1990s. It’s not a thorough list by any means (I only had 20 slots to fill), so I missed a few albums. But I have most of the celebrated jazz/hop-hop albums of that era.
One of the many artists featured on the list was a little unknown band called Justice System. They were an eclectic live band out of New York who made a name for themselves by performing energetic live shows throughout NYC. The group was eventually signed to MCA Records and released their debut album Rooftop Soundcheck in 1994.
The project was a great collection of jazz and rap-infused sounds that celebrated hip-hop culture. The LP was a toast to New York with standout tracks like “Trouble on My Mind" (with its hat-tip to Public Enemy's Chuck D) and “Santana,” which paid homage to legendary guitarist Carlos Santana.
Twenty-four years after the release of their debut album, Justice System is back with a new track called “Bronxian Bauxite.” Produced by Jason Famous Beats, the song is a salute to the birthplace of hip-hop (Bronx, New York) and the five elements from the culture.
Listen to Justice System's "Bronxian Bauxite"
There's plenty of old-school phrasings and deft rapping from the two MCs who are spitting lyrics over a melodic piano groove and a classic boom-bap beat. Lyrics consists of reflective rhymes like this:
"Seminole headstrap my rap is inspired by the "Big Payback" and Uptown brainiacs / They were sonic archeologists, non-apologists, obvious ominous in the invisible metropolis / Minding for gold with no handhold / Records untold, they were buying by the billfold / And when a new break was found...it was like, get down-get down."
You can cop/stream Justice System's "Bronxian Bauxite" at all digital stores including at Spotify and Apple Music.
If you are unfamiliar with the Justice System's 1994 album Rooftop Soundcheck, I added two of my favorite songs from the project for your listening pleasure. Hit the flip below.
Back in June, Black Thought released arguably one of the best rap albums of 2018 with Streams of Thought, Vol. 1. Produced entirely by 9th Wonder, the EP featured the Roots MC delivers tough-as-nails bars over premium boom-bap beats.
After the release, fans were yearning for more Black Thought. And guess what...?
The Illadelph MC will deliver part two of his lyrical series next week. The Streams of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation EP will arrive in digital stores on Monday (Nov. 26). The project will feature production done entirely by Salaam Remi.
Remi is one of the best producers in hip-hop and R&B. The 46-year-old hitmaker is mostly known for his work with Nas - particularly on his two classic albums: Stillmatic and God's Son. But Remi has produced songs for the late Amy Winehouse, the Fugees, Jazmine Sullivan, Mack Wilds, and many others.
The set's first single is "Conception," a Marvin Gaye-esque rap ballad with Thought rapping and singing (under his alias Reek Ruffin). On the song, Thought delivers ruminations about fame and living the life of the everyday guy.
With the soulful grooves of "Conception" ringing in my head, I can only assume that Streams of Thought, Vol. 2 is Thought's more soulful venture with more R&B in the mix than on Streams of Thought, Vol. 1. This is the more grown and sexy Tariq Trotter.
Speaking of which, one of my favorite song on Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 is "Making a Murderer." You can listen to that track on the flip.
Back in June, Nas released his 11th album NASIR, which was produced entirely by Kanye West. There were no visuals accompanying the release, until now.
The good folks at Mass Appeal (of which Nas is a creative partner) and Def Jam dropped a new short film featuring the hip-hop icon performing all of the seven tracks from the album.
Directed by Rohan Blair-Mangat, the 16-minute-long film also features a cameo from Slick Rick who Nas sampled on his anti-police brutality track “Cops Shot the Kid.”
There are a lot of great moments in the film including the “White Label” segment with Nas donning old-school Gucci gear and spitting his bars in front of a vintage Mercedes Benz. The “Adam and Eve” segment gets a spiritual theme with Nas rapping in a church. The Queensbridge neighborhood (Nas’s native hometown) is also the star of this enthralling film as well.