US


 

Achieve freedom any means, relentless fight
to live life as we feel it’s right, die living proof.
All guts no glory in it, that’s what I tell em
when they ask what kinda story is it.

Verbal Kent – Ahead of its time (prod. M-Phazes)

 

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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)

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The Upliftment Struggle (2012)

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Reports from the Field: In the Trenches (2012)

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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)

Re-post, you know why. Keith Elam is no more. Probably the one death in hip-hop that shocked me the most. I didn’t give two shits about Tupac, and Biggie had it coming, too. Then again the murder of Jam Master Jay was a real tragedy, without a doubt. Now the Guru was supposed to grow old and grey, wasn’t he? Rest in peace.

Keith Elam and Christopher Martin are among the rare cats that have had a career in hip-hop that spans more than 20 years. Most people fall off at some point, but these keep going. From the beginnings when they were the flagship for jazz-rap to the dirty, choppy, “classic” New York sound of the Nineties and Noughties that has been coined in great part by Premier himself, it’s pretty safe to say that this duo has left its mark on hip-hop music. DJ Premier’s magic beat formula has helped countless MCs to have their instant classic singles while Guru has guest-starred on tracks and connected with people around the whole world. Guru and Premier are the embodiment of NY City hip-hop, even though neither of them was born there, Primo being from Houston and Guru from Boston. Together, they’ve brought the Big Apple sound and style to every head on the globe.

This is a compilation (a bootleg, I guess) of the tracks they’ve done outside their Gangstarr releases, i.e. either Premier production/remixes or Guru guest spots as either an MC or a producer himself.

All in all, there are no less than 476 tracks, or 2.5 GBs that come in servings of about album-size, lettered from A to Z. The tracks themselves are in no particular order, but if you want to know what’s there to have, peep the tracklist here.

Peace,

9@home

P.S.:

*pro·lif·ic (pr-lfk)

adj.

1. Producing offspring or fruit in great abundance; fertile.
2. Producing abundant works or results: a prolific artist. See Synonyms at fertile.

[French prolifique, from Medieval Latin prlificus : Latin prls, prl-, offspring; see al-2 in Indo-European roots + Latin -ficus, -fic.]

pro·lifi·ca·cy (--k-s), pro·lific·ness (-k-ns) n.
pro·lifi·cal·ly adv.

Released for Valentine’s Day 2008, this is a quick EP from my favourite peoples, the kids over at QN5. As usual, they manage to serve up a conventional theme like Valentine’s Day with a twist for your laughing muscles.

1. PackFM – “Plucking Daisies” [Prod by Deacon The Villain]
2. Session – “The Letter” [Prod By Tonedeff]
3. Cashmere The Pro – “Know I Do (RMX)” [Prod By Kno]
4. Substantial – “R Love Songs Gay?” [Prod By Tonedeff]
5. Mr. SOS – “Digital Video (f/ CunninLynguists & SunnyStylez)” – [Prod By Deacon The Villain]
6. Tonedeff – “Close” [Prod By Domingo]

QN5 Music – Baby Blue For Pink [EP]

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