Time to introduce you folks to a highly recommendable producer from my neck of the woods: Basel, Switzerland.


SimonAyEm is part of the five-headed producer crew Prismatic Beats as well as the hip-hop collective TripleNine, a hold-all for producers, DJs, MCs and graff artists. TripleNine have become one of the more notable hip-hop hotbeds in the local and national scenes and have definitely shaped the arts in the last 14-or-so years, giving their output a recognizeable “Basel” branding. If I was to characterize what makes Basel, I’d say a bit rough and occasionally rude around the edges with tongue firmly placed in cheek–and a lot of heart for the art.

This year, SimonAyEm’s decided to do a bit of showing off, going through his immense back catalog of beats, to tie us beat heads a neat package of 13 dope instrumentals each week. All year round. For free! (Gasp!) Some have been used on published tracks, others haven’t. He’s currently at installment number 21, and there’s more than that where it came from.
So I strongly suggest you head on over to his blog to fill your boots and ears, and read up on the dude who should really get a lot more attention beyond our area.

The Greatest Gift by SimonAyEm


Just to let you know: I’m about to go and kill all RS links this coming week.

If you want something and it’s still up, better grab it now.

As a next step, I’ll remove all cheap posts I made “from the hip”, as it were, and just keep this as a collection of good-enough write-ups, as well as posts on free, legal music.

I’m not doing this because some authority or server provider is wrestling my arm, or because an artist is crying into their pillow about me. Matter of fact, in these 6-odd years I’ve probably got a mere two requests to take down material I’d upped – and both were on strictlybeats. (One was a brandnew Aloe Blacc album – which I fully understand, and one was a then 14-year-old Brand New Heavies album – which is bonkers.) And to both I did oblige at once, as promised. No stress, it’s all love.

When I did get comments from artists, they were usually happy to see themselves remembered. And from the comments of you, the people, I know I’ve introduced the odd one or two artists to an avid listener and made their life better – or so I hope.

But it’s time for me to clean up my blog. I do realize it’ll turn away all those who’ve been hitting me up about the Dusty Fingers and the Ultimate Breaks and Beats collections, which have been incredibly popular. But that’s okay. There are others who are quicker and with more free time on their hands, who will help you out with these.

Be well and see you soon with more fresh music. – That’s not going to end, mind you.




Building a whole lotta steam before he launches his new album “The Sounds of Lowclass America” in May 2012, I Self Devine has dropped not one, not two, but (aw shucks you guessed it by now) mixtapes for the people.

What feels great about this guy is that he’s been around for a while now, being part of The Micranots, among more groups, writing graf, organizing communities in the Twin Cities and taking a firm stand for the vast majority of Americans: the non-rich folks. (Take that you crystal-sipping sellouts.) I’m not sure if artists come much more complete than this.

Check out this whopping serving of free material, and see if you’d like to support this hard-working man when his album drops.

L.A. State of Mind (2012)


The Upliftment Struggle (2012)


Reports from the Field: In the Trenches (2012)


I Self Devine Website

Easily in my top 10 all-time favourite MCs, Brother Ali dropped a free EP earlier this year. Just for the love. And it is about love. Beats are by Jake One and Ant, nuff said.

Click for download

Brother Ali – The Bite Marked Heart (2012)

Brother Ali Website


Immortal Technique, “100 per cent independent, I’m the fucking boss”, runs Viper Records, blasts injustice and hypocrisy within the music industry as well as on the level of global politics, and just to show he can, puts out an entire album of bangers–for zilch. And with guest artists others would gladly bend over backwards to get onto a track with, Chuck D and Brother Ali among them.

Always one to encourage his fans to just download his music and bump it outside if they don’t have the money to buy it, this is an impressive display of his freedom as an indie artist. Instead of bickering about downloaders, he focuses on getting his message out, touring to promote the artists on his label and kicking ass.

As someone who’s followed his work since Revolutionary Vol. 1, it needs to be said that Tech is the kind of artist that keeps growing, technically and subject-wise. And each release gives you a glimpse into what he’s been up to recently, what he’s been reading, what’s happened in the world, etc. It’s refreshing to watch someone put so much work into his work – and then give it out to his fans.

Click to download

Immortal Technique – The Martyr (2012)

Viper Records

I’m certainly not the first to post about this release, but even though I knew this was gonna be rocksolid at the very least, I wanted to take the time to let it work its magic on me.

In a nutshell, DJ A to the L and his partner MC M.E.R.C. from Talahassee, FL have gotten their wits and skills together to craft an album based on the alltime classic Tribe Called Quest record we all know and cherish. Calling it a “mixtape” really is a bit too modest, cos what they did was re-create the beats from the basics, adding a little twist here and there, while M.E.R.C. drops fresh verses over them that are playfully reminiscent of the originals, but still entirely new. In fact, M.E.R.C.’s voice is vaguely similar to Q-Tip’s, so that it’s both unsettling and the perfect fit, but he’s far from just copycatting. When I listen to M.E.R.C. I can’t help but think of how much work it must be to make it sound so effortless. He’s certainly on equal eye level with the Q, if not a bit above. On top of him, the album boasts the occasional guest-appearance on the mic of none other than A to the L himself (who kills it, if you ask me) and their local crew, some of whom can be heard on the Blazin’ 102.3 radio show Diggin in the Crates, as well, which is one of the outlets from where A to the L usually blesses his listeners with gems from “the deepest crates in the 850.” And that’s not just a gimmick line.

As you listen to this, what you can’t miss is the love and dedication these underground cats have for their art, and how fucking good they are at it. That’s what Ali Shaheed Muhammad says, too.

Have I mentioned it’s hilarious and clever in more ways than meets the ear at first? I’m pretty sure I’ll be pumping this joint for a good couple of months without getting tired of it.

I could babble on and on but I can’t spare you the listen. Go and do yourself a favour now. Thank them later.

M.E.R.C. & DJ A to the L – Daylight Marauders (2011)

Amazing video, catchy-as-hell beat. And it’s a wonderful dedication to one of their fans and to all the graff writers sneaking around the block at night.


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