DOWNLOAD: “Jones” – Thaddeus David (prod. by Ta-Ku)

Click image to download.

In honor of the 20 18 year anniversary of Illmatic‘s release, Thaddeus David drops this tribute to the estimable New York City classic. “Jones” is produced by Ta-Ku and connects dots between the budding rap career of TH and Queensbridge legend Nas.

Watch for Thad’s Apprentice EP coming soon.


DOWNLOAD: The Found Tapes – Nas

Click album cover to D/L at Datpiff.

Experiencing a high number of ho-hum reactions to new material from Mr. Nasir Jones? Send a handwritten “Thank You” note to DJ Rhude for compiling this set of rarities. The Found Tapes is the closest thing to a hip-hop time machine you’ll find right now.


DOWNLOAD: ELmatic – Elzhi (w/Will Sessions)

Click album cover for D/L link.

Let this be said: ELmatic, Elzhi’s re-interpretation of Nas’ classic Illmatic, is good. In fact, it’s excellent (covers head for fear of the Rap Gods’ wrath). In hip-hop, the line between imitation as the sincerest form of flattery and straight-up biting is a hazy one. Is ELmatic an example of Elzhi’s hubris run amok, or a true honorific attempt at adulation? Whatever it is, we shouldn’t let the young ‘uns decide. The only worry hip-hop should have over this remake is that kids under the age of 18 will think it’s all original. Parents, educate your children.

Click here to read more of my ELmatic thoughts on SSG Music.

Downloads SSG Music Cross-Post Video

SHOW: K’naan & Wale @ The Fillmore NYC on 3.31.10

Me and a friend went all Atlanta-brave last night and snuck our way into the sold-out K’naan and Wale show at The Fillmore, NYC. Those suckas have a separate “smoker’s section” roped off just outside the venue. The area has a separate entrance and everything — easy to infiltrate if you’re skinny and quick on the dash, FYI.

The show was notable because it was the jump-off for K’naan and Wale’s co-headlining US tour and, even though I’m not a huge K’naan fan, my friend wanted to pay tribute because she’s from Toronto, a city where K spent a good part of his life after immigrating from Somalia.

Anyway, the highlight of the show was when K’naan told the story of the first time he ever heard Illmatic, a formative hip-hop experience that I’m sure we can all recount with perfect clarity. The backing band started playing the song “New York State of Mind”, with K’naan rapping the first verse, and when he was done, this happened:

Needless to say, the roof nearly caved in. It was one of the greatest live hip-hop moments I’ve experienced. What made it so great is that The Fillmore is not a huge venue (capacity is probably a little more than The Showbox). Thusly, New York’s Finest (debatable) did not appear as a mere speck on the horizon, but a living, breathing slice of hip-hop history we could almost touch.

The moment served to remind me that live hip-hop is only truly enjoyable in small, intimate venues. I’ve had great experiences with other live music in large venues, but never hip-hop. Like K’naan’s rhymes, the lyrics are often intensely personal. The shorter distance they travel from the source, the greater the impact.

Live Coverage

Rock the Bells Loves Seattle (?)

RockTheBellsSEAaug09While we’re on the subject of shows, another one you probably shouldn’t miss is this year’s incarnation of the now seminal Rock the Bells tour (Friday, 8/14, The Showbox at the Market).

And, while the Seattle lineup is certainly nothing to sniff at, you’ll notice some glaring ommissions from the roster appearing at larger venues across the nation. Namely, Nas, The Roots, Common, Ice Cube, EPMD, and, uhh well, the list goes on…

So this year’s version of RTB is not only big-time scaled-back from last year (when it was at The Gorge), but Seattle is receiving an even further stripped-down version than say New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, which, due to our market size, stands to reason.

Oh well, should be a good show, anyway. The lone local act is Khingz, one of our most important artists doing it big around the 206. I’m still getting down on From Slaveships to Spaceships (it’s hella deep), and hope to pass along my thoughts soon.

Live Coverage

Sweet As Choklate

I know this blog is supposed to be dedicated to Seattle-area hip-hop only, but excuse me while I digress for just a moment…

Mary J. may have the national title “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” on lock, but Seattle’s got its very own local hip-hop soul queen and she goes by the name of Choklate. Her latest album To Whom it May Concern is simply astounding! (No need for hyperbole here either, folks. Just listen and you’ll agree.)

Anyway, she’s doing big things as evidenced by this free download. It’s a track called “Film,” produced by 2008 Red Bull Big Tune champ C-Sick. It features Nas on the vocals and none other than Miss Choklate on the chorus. Bump this!

More Choklate…

At Jazz Alley.

“Sun’s Out/Grown Folks” video.

Chok’s talented nephew, KD Cutz, chops up “Sun’s Out” and slaps us across the face with it!

Video Views From the Peanut Gallery