Trip-Hop

I love experimental music and trip hop combines so many of the elements that each genre of music has to offer and combines it into one song. If you dont know what Trip hop is, Trip hop is a genre of electronic music that originated in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom. Trip hop is  “a fusion of hip hop and electronica until neither genre is recognisable.”

Trip hop music fuses several styles and has much in common with other genres; it has several qualities similar to ambient music and its drum-based breakdowns share characteristics with hip hop. It also contains elements of R&B, dub and house, as well as other electronic music. Trip hop can be highly experimental in nature.

Here are a few of my favourite tracks to introduce you the the trip hop genre:

Portishead – Glorybox

Thievery Corporation – Until The Morning

Massive Attack- Paradise Circus

Massive Attack – Karmacoma

 

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What I’m Listening To #4

1.  You Can’t Run You Can’t Hide – Dilated Peoples

This is probably one of Dilated Peoples’ most well known tracks.  They always somehow manage to get the best out of every producer on most of their tracks. A few of my favourite beats of all time (When Worst Comes to Worst, This Way, Proper Propaganda) are all from Dilated Peoples tracks. This one tops them all though in my opinion. It’s almost impossible not to bob your head to the upbeat tempo while the samples and scratching comes in. It mixes all the elements of raw hip hop to create a perfect intro for Rakaa and Evidence to come in and bless the mic.

 

2. Honest Expression – Binary Star

I’ve probably posted half of the tracks from Masters of the Universe on this blog but it just has too many good tracks.  Binary Star brings that raw element of hip hop. Their songs aren’t the best produced since they don’t have a huge budget but you can tell that they make music because they love making music.  They also use the best samples (Bruce Lee sample in the beginning of this song, Jeru sample in the scratches). Binary Star’s songs also have a common theme taking a shot at rappers who sold out going away from their true roots and culture. In the second verse One Be Lo calls out rappers for selling their reps as “gangsters” and drug dealers when they truthfully were pretty smalltime in that pursuit. Rick Ross naming himself after “Freeway” Rick Ross is a prime example.

3. What You Want – The Roots

One of the Roots’ hidden gems featuring Jaguar Wright on the chorus.

4. Ms. Fat Booty – Mos Def

I’ve been listening to a lot of Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) recently and really started to appreciate him more as an artist. When I first heard “Mathematics” around 7 years ago I never really liked Mos Def’s style. It was too abstract for me at the time since I was just listening to strictly “golden era” hip hop.  Now that I have listened to Black on Both Sides again I have to say it is an amazing album and Ms. Fat Booty is one of my favourite tracks on it because Mos really displays his full repertoire.  He paints a story with his lyrics about meeting the girl of his dreams knowing shes going to leave. The ending is pretty amusing. On a side note, I still can’t believe I didn’t realize Brother Sam from Dexter was Mos Def until halfway through that season.

 

5. Melancholy – Chill Bump

Chill Bump is an English-speaking French-made rap duo from Tours. The band was formed in 2011. Bankal, on the turntables, made a name for himself on the scratch battle scene (he won the French IDA Championship in 2010, and was also vice-champion for the DMC contest in 2010).  Miscellaneous (vocals) has been a member of French fusion band Fumuj since 2008, accumulating on-stage experience with each tour. I love the beat that Bankal made for this track with a vocal loop repeating “melancholy” but I’m a bit biased since I love looped vocals in hip hop (Ms. Fat Booty, Liquid Swords, Wu Banga 101). Miscellaneous has a surprising nice rap voice and his flow is on point. There is an amazing amount of talented hip hop artist overseas and Chill Bump is one of them.

What I’m Listening To #3

1. Future Sound- Jurassic 5

The 10th track off the album Feedback this track is one of Jurassic 5’s hidden gems. The nasty uptempo beat samples the classic rock One (One is the loneliest number) by Three Dog Night. Soup and Akil go back and forth exchanging verses giving the track a bit of a cypher feel. I also find that both their styles complement each other perfectly. Akil has a strong voice with a pretty predictable flow most of the time while Soup has bit of a more unpredictable flow and varies his tones in his verses. Soup almost sounds like he singing in some verses because of his change in tones.

2. We Specialize- Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

I recently went to a Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth/Camp Lo concert but got sick before they came on and had to leave. I wish I was there to see C.L. Smooth bless the mic with tracks from Mecca and the Soul Brother and The Main Ingredient. This track isn’t from either album but is one of their best tracks. It was released in 1996 and Pete Rock displays his amazing producing  talent in this track creating one of the most mellow classic hip hop beats almost made for C.L. Smooth to rhyme over. Hip hop at its finest.

3. Children Sing – Pace Won and Mr.Green

First of all let me comment on this beat. Mr. Green killed it.  The intro with the children singing in a choir building up to the main loop and drum line is one of the best intros to a song I remember in a long time. I just feel like Pace Won didn’t do the beat justice. He is a pretty good rapper but his style just doesn’t go with the beat. His voice is a bit too deep and the track is a bit too fast paced for him. Someone like Nas or Cise Starr would have made the track a true classic. Go check Mr.Green and Pace Won’s album The Only Colour That Matters is Green if you liked this track.

4. Watch Me- 7L & Esoteric

Esoteric spits over a wicked dark piano beat produced by 7L. He sounds like he should belong on AOTP and has a kind of aggressive and fast-paced delivery also reminding me of Hilltop Hoods. What I also noticed about Esoteric is that he must be a huge basketball fan since he has so many basketball references in this track. “On point like Mo Cheeks”, The mad men ballin out like the Pac-10″ (Although it is the Pac-12 now), “With the vocal tone, rap Moses Malone” . 7L & Esoteric are one of the most underrated duos out there in hip hop doing their thing since 93′.

5. All Natural- Elements of Style

There is an interesting story behind this song. One of the members of All Natural called Allstar and Eminem battled in the 1997 Rap Olympics in LA. Em finished overall second, to a rapper named Juice, but one of the judges still decided to pass his tape to Dre instead of the real tournament winner. The rest is history. At 3:33 they call out Eminem for this “reverse-racism” since his tape got sent on the basis that he was a white rapper and was therefore more marketable. Check out Eminem and Juice’s 97′ freestyle battle.

What I’m Listening To #2

1. Smif N Wessun- Wrekonize (Remix)
I love the Bill Withers/Grover Washington Jr. sample they used on the beat from the well known song “Just the Two of Us”. The original version had a different beat and lyrics but I feel like the remix complements Tek and Steele’s flow more than the original. The remix also makes the hook sound better in my opinion. Take a listen to the original and remix and you’ll notice the difference.

REMIX:

ORIGINAL:

2. J.Cole – Can I Holla At Ya

I was always kind of skeptical of J.Cole’s ability to rhyme ever since he came out. There was a lot of hype following him with people making claims saying he is the second coming of Nas. I never bought into the hype that much but listening to most of his songs I can give him credit for having a natural story telling ability. This track did not make it to the final cut of his album (Born Sinner) probably because of some legal issues with the sample they used for the song. The sample used for this track was none other than the classic song by Lauryn Hill, To Zion. The original song is one of my favourite tracks of all time and J.Cole used this sample perfectly to make a track about the good times and bad times of growing up with his mom’s boyfriend and how he feels about him. The first and third verse he talks about how he misses him and the second verse he lets him know what he feels like he did wrong.

You betrayed me
The day you played my momma you played me

Can’t believe I let you in my heart nigga
I should’ve, followed my instincts a stranger in my house
Only five years old but sense danger in my house
I was too young to scrap you but damn if I ain’t want to
I’m blowing up fast and I hope these words haunt you
Uh, thirteen years knew you more then my real pops
Put me on to ‘Pac, and all the rappers that killed cops
Who would’ve thought you’d leave my momma high and dry
Last words to a bitch nigga “why you lie?”
Feeling bitter so these words might seem jumbled
When you left I watched that lady crumble
I know by now you probably a old man
But I still I feel I won’t be satisfied until we throw hands
For all the ass whoppings
Heard you tryna’ talk, tell that punk don’t call me
You ain’t shit and I’m scared it rubbed off on me

3. Detron 3030 – Do You Remember

I went to a Deltron 3030 (Del the Funky Homosapien) concert last summer. He played most of the tracks from his new album Event 2 that was supposed to be released a few months later. A year and a half later, Event 2 was finally released a few weeks ago. I remember being at the concert and hearing this track and trying to look for it as soon as I got home just to realize that it was on the upcoming album. Although I still think his first album was superior to this one,  this track is better than any of the tracks on the first album. Just the gloomy futuristic feel this song gives you is perfect for the whole futuristic concept of “Deltron 3030. ”

4. Eightball and MJG – Love Hurts

Classic south coast hip hop track. Eightball and MJG are one the best hip hop duos in hip hop and have been making south coast bangers for years. This song talks about the love of money explaining money is the root of all evil. The chorus is really catchy with a woman singing:
“Who can u trust? God only knows , it’s hard to tell who u can call friend or foe
Money that’s all a nigga will die for so much pain and everybody wants more”

This track has a RnB feel to it that I really like and you can just hear the emotion in the voices of both the rappers.

5. Unknown Prophets – Mr. Mainstream

This should have WAY more than 1700 views. The track explains perfectly what all amateur hip hop artists feel. While wack ass rappers like Drake and Tyga are making millions of dollars and getting mainstream attention, the real artists that make music just for the love of music are getting ignored by “Mr. Mainstream”. The mainstream media does not appreciate the raw emotion and lyrics behind the songs because it’s all about making money. P.S. The beat in the background of the track just gives me shivers.

6. Das Efx – International 

This song is Das EFX’s best track in my opinion. It’s sad that even some Das EFX fans don’t even know about this hidden gem of a track. It only has 20,000 views on youtube with only one version of the track uploaded. The sample is absolutely genius, taken from the famous ballad “‘Los Angeles Negros – Como Quisiera Decirte”.

What I’m Listening To #1

It’s been a while since my last post and in that time I’ve discovered a lot of tracks to share. I had to dig deep to find most of the tracks on this list. Hip hop isn’t dead, it’s just malnourished and underfed.

1. Saukrates feat. Masta Ace, O.C. – Rollin’

I just can’t stop listening to this track. The only bad thing is I can’t find an uncensored version of this song on youtube. The intro to the song is perfect starting with the rhythm and the melody coming in while Saukrates calls out T Dot, his hometown. Masta Ace’s flow in the first verse is flawless as he destroys the beat from start to finish as does Saukrates and O.C. It awes me how all three of them have incredible flow in their own different way and it makes this song so complete.  The song talks about the power of money and my favorite quote is when Masta Ace says “Cash rules everything except me/That’s what cream mean, it don’t rule the mind” but O.C’s verse definitely made you think the most. Is money really worth it?

“Yo sauk, yo ace, what’s up wit money over there
Whippin’ on the street like he just don’t care
He’s flamboyant see annoying,
Ignorant nigga figure he gonna be rollin’ all his life
Being the big bad bull motherfucker, what!
Sellin’ drugs, you ain’t nuttin’ but a sucka, uh
Can’t free mold your mind mad mushy, intelligence all fuzzy
Get shot street nigga forgot who was he
Hit it to put things in perspective
Do right, don’t defy laws of life and be deceased or arrested
Mastermind desgined you had thru a science giver
Mad man dreams of a major alliance
Your world revolvs around gold, cars and diamonds
Sluts and scars , draggin behind bars still
The wake up call, face of the jail bully
Takin’ your manhood, as though you had a pussy
Come home seen your man, now the lies arise
Tellin’ your man you was fightin niggas twice your size
Your conscious is feelin’ it, sippin’ a brew
Two ways you got screwed, by the system and a stiff one
Mental swollen and your manhood stolen
Wrecked and got dugout for the price of rollin’

2.  Freddie Gibbs – One Mo’Time

This is a deep track talking about the realness of death in his personal life. It also touches on the problems of ghetto violence and drugs.  A good friend of mine recently passed and listening to this song reminded me of him. The first lines of the illustrate perfectly how I feel. Rest In Paradise K.L.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen your face
It’s strange, but, I can’t complain you’re in a better place
It ain’t a question; I know you’re resting in heaven
Ask God to let you listen to me for a second
There’s some things that I wanted to say
Because for a while life wasn’t going your way
Then the next thing I know you were gone for good”

 

3. Scarface feat. Devin the Dude – Smartz

Scarface showing you what real gangsta rap is.  One of my favorite Scarface tracks.

4. Large Professor feat. Q-Tip – In The Sun

Everyone knows Large Professor (Breaking Atoms) is a legendary producer but he deserves more credit for his rapping. He is an underrated emcee. His lyrics and flow are solid and he sounds even better because he knows exactly what kind of beat complements his flow The beat used for this track is unreal. It’s hypnotic and sounds like a choir is singing in the background making it a perfect beat for Q-Tip to spit over. In my opinion this was one of Q’s best verses. I have no idea how this song isn’t more popular.

5. Showbiz & AG- You Know Now

I discovered this track on Songza and as soon as I heard the beat come in (one of the best beats Buckwild has ever produced) I knew Showbiz & AG were going to rip it. I listened to this song so many times in the past month that I memorized all the lyrics word for word. The beat is so unique and mystical and the heavy bass just brings everything together. I also love the beat change after AG’s verse around 1:47. Overall a classic song.

Illinoize

A few weeks ago I was listening to None Shall Pass by Aesop Rock on Youtube and decided to look through the related videos on the side. I am so glad that I did because I came across a hidden GEM in hip hop. The song I came across used the beat from Sujan Stevens’ song Star of Wonder behind Aesop’s None Shall Pass. The beat really gave the song a different feel than the original and I really really enjoyed it. I decided to see who the creator of this remix was and happened to come across Illinoize.

Illinoize is a free remix tape put together by Vancouver-based producer Tor, sampling songs from multi-instrumentalist and indie hero, Sufjan Stevens. Tracks are sampled from his 2005 LP Illinoise, as well as 3 of his other albums, ‘A Sun Came’, ‘Seven Swans’ and ‘Songs for Christmas’, blending Sufjan Steven’s acoustic guitar, piano and horns with MC’s Aesop Rock, Big Daddy Kane, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious), C.L. Smooth, Outkast, Brother Ali, and Grand Puba.

This is probably the best remix tape I have ever came across and it was due to total coincidence. This is the beauty of music. Sujan Stevens’ instrumentals complement the vocals of every hip hop artist featured to perfection and I am dumbfounded at how little views the songs had. From the sheer quality of the songs, they should have at least MILLIONS of views. This is the epitome of sampling beats and what hip hop is all about. I just wished Tor made some more masterpieces but I haven’t had much luck finding any more remixes that he made.

Here are my 3 favourite remixes from the album but I strongly recommend you listen to all the songs. They are available for free at http://www.tormusic.net/downloads/illinoize/

1. Sufjan Stevens- Tallest Man/ Grand Puba- I Like It

The beat of this song goes so well with Grand Puba’s smooth flow that I even prefer it over the original. I especially love the sound of the trumpets in the background every few bars just because it just gives you the sense of buildup at the beginning of the song and after every few lines Puba spits. It is a genius sample at the least and not to mention the calm mellow beat in the background over a pretty basic snare and kick beat. It’s partly the amazing talent of Sufjan Stevens but the way it is all put together by Tor is what makes this song such a masterpiece. I found it almost impossible to not nod my head up and down the first time I just heard the drum line come in with the trumpets. Headbanger for sure.

2. Sufjan Stevens- Dumb I Sound/ Outkast- ATLiens

If you are a JMT fan you should instantly recognize this beat. It’s a very similar beat to the song Razorblade Salvation because they both sampled the same beat from Dumb I Sound  but the overall feel of the song is completely different. This is probably because the difference in rap styles between Vinnie Paz and Outkast. Vinnie has more of an aggressive, rugged delivery making the song sound like an emotional story about his mother. The vocals from Razorblade Salvation also adds to this effect. On the other hand, Big Boi and Andre 3000’s abstract delivery and chorus gives this song more of a chill and relaxed  Camp Lo feel. The sample in itself is probably one of the best in hip hop. (Stoupe from JMT always finds the BEST samples).

3. Sufjan Stevens- Star Of Wonder/ Aesop Rock- None Shall Pass

It is usually hard to make a remix of an Aesop Rock song since his delivery is a bit abstract and it is difficult to find a beat that truly brings out the genius behind his lyrics. This beat gives this song a totally different feel from the original. The original beat makes the song seem aggressive and rugged but the beat that Tor chose to replace the original has a calming melody. It gives the song a more emotional feel which I feel fits better with Aesop’s flow.

Alternative/Underground Hip Hop 5

Exam season is here and this is the time where music is the most important. Listening to good lyrics just makes me feel smarter than the stuff on the radio.

1. Dilated Peoples- Proper Propaganda

Glory, The pen is mightier than the sword
‘Cause the pen gives the word sending swords to war

This is by far the sickest quote in the whole track. “The pen is mightier than the sword” was coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy. Words are so powerful and this is why I love real hip hop because every song conveys a message with words that could influence so many people. Dilated peoples talks about the corrupted system of politics and war and also touches on the unfair justice system. I especially like his reference to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s trial in the lines:

“Yo, questions when answered leads to more questions
Why’d it take months to remember a confession?
The principles are the same even without the name
But I still say M-you-M-I-A”

If you haven’t heard of the trial basically Abu-Jamal was originally sentenced to death in 1982. His murder conviction was upheld through years of appeals. But in 2008, a federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing on the grounds that the instructions given to the jury were potentially misleading. His case is one of huge controversy and you should look into it if you are interested in the corruption of the justice system.

2. Blazo- Dock Ellis Remix feat. The 49ers

I heard this song through a friend that posted it on facebook. I instantly loved the calm violin melody and the chorus:

“CDs are my codeine, MP3s are my morphine,

the black vinyl’s like nicotine, yeah, I’m addicted to this music,

and if I can’t get it now I might lose it”

The song has a Nujabes feel to it and is perfect for studying.

3. Atmosphere- God Loves Ugly

In this song Slug talks about his life in this song and how his unique persona has helped him succeed in the rap game. Slug is embracing all his flaws, saying God accepts him for who he is. People nowadays are scared to stray from the norm. Like Slug explains, being unique doesn’t make you weird. Normal people just live in this world, unique people change it.

4. Jurassic 5- Concrete Schoolyard

This song is a classic from Jurassic 5’s debut album. I love how everyone in Jurassic 5 has such a unique tone of voice that compliments each other perfectly. The way they deliver their lyrics is also very different as they take turns saying a few lines of each verse. No mentioning of money, drugs or women. Just straight hip hop. If you like this song check out Thin Line and High Fidelity and What’s Golden also by Jurassic 5.


5. Flipsyde- Happy Birthday

This song has blown up since I first discovered it. Right now it has over 5 million views on the main video on youtube. The message behind this song is very deep, written for an aborted baby and what he could have been. It is an apology for making a mistake. Just listen to the words and you can feel the sincerity behind the lyrics.