1994 REWIND

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I decided, over the weekend, to open a time capsule to my 20s: my boxes of cassette tapes, most of which I recorded/collected over the course of the 1990s. I hadn’t bothered to touch any of these in at least six, possibly ten years, since I boxed them up to move down from the Bay Area in 2006.

It was a little overwhelming but I’m glad I held onto all this even if the idea of trying to […]

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THE TECHNIQUE OF RECORD BOXING

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We may be deep in a much ballyhooed vinyl revival but surprisingly, record cases haven’t seemed to have kept pace. With all these folks buying records again from their local record store Whole Foods, you would think there’d be more variety in boxes/cases available. RSD has nudged this along incrementally, especially with prestige releases that tout special packaging but compare the variety of vintage cases you might find on eBay or Etsy vs. new cases being manufactured now and you feel like there’s a missed opportunity.

The last time I saw […]

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DROOP-E AND SADE: PERFECT ZONIN’

Droop-E: I’m Loaded (2010, Blvck Diamond Life)

Late pass. Didn’t realize Droop-E did a mixtape of all Sade samples back in 2010. Lurvin’ this. Feel like he’s been MIA for a minute…what’s Droop been up to?!

VINCE STAPLES: FROM THE CITY WHERE THE SKINNY KEEP STRONG HEAT

Vince Staples: Norf Norf (Def Jam, 2015, Summertime ’06)

Speaking of summer music: the new Vince Staples is killing it. I don’t think any other hip-hop album is going to move me off To Pimp A Butterfly as my favorite of the year but Vince comes pretty damn close. Now pardon me, I gotta go get a Louis Burger.

365 Days of Soul, #173

MEOW THE JEWELS

I’m just going to leave this here. Join the Meowvolution.

365 Days of Soul, #171

PAPOOSE + PREMIER: LIGHTING FIRES

Truth be told, this is one of the best Primo beats I’ve heard in a minute. Not like no one’s ever messed with those Shirley Bassey horns before but I’m surprised more folks haven’t tried to squeeze juice out of it. Monster.

365 Days of Soul, #168

GHETTO BOYS: GOTTA BE DOWN

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Ghetto Boys: Be Down from (Rap-A-Lot, 1988, 12″)

I’ve been reading Scarface’s new memoir and by coincidence, also picked up this early Geto Boys 12″ the other week, back when 1) they were called the Ghetto Boys and 2) before Scarface had joined the crew. This song, for example, is pretty much a Willie D Johnny C. solo track.1 Nice use of “Slippin’ Into Darkness.”

365 Days of Soul, #157

Oops. For some reason, I thought Willie was originally from NY but either way, clearly I […]

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AFTER FURTHER REVIEW + REWORK THE ANGLES: TICAL 2000

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(Editor’s Note: I first started reading Zilla Rocca‘s Rework the Angles series on Jeff Weiss’s blog and 1) loved the concept and 2) thought it aligned in spirit with the After Further Review series I’ve tried to mount. I reached out to Rocha about collaborating for a podcast where we combined our mutual interests in revisiting older albums and because of our crazy schedules, we ended up banging this out in print instead over the courses of several weeks. –O.W.)


Oliver Wang: Zilla, since you’re my guest here, I did the host-ly thing and let you pick what album we’d revisit. You chose Method Man’s 1998 album, Tical 2000. Why?

Zilla Rocca: I always like looking back on albums that were misunderstood or downright hated on arrival. That’s the case with Tical 2000 — it’s a victim of the late ’90s Music Industry Boom. CDs were moving millions every week, but CDs also gave artists too much time. There was no restraint in the CD heyday – 22 track albums with 75 minutes of playing time was the norm in rap back then.

The original Tical is a great cassette album: it’s muddy, it’s bass heavy, and it’s 13 songs long. That was ’94. By ’98, when Tical 2000 dropped, Def Jam was on fire, and Method Man was a super duper star. So when I revisit Tical 2000 now, I have to wade through literally TEN SKITS and countless wrong turns before I find an album worthy of Method Man’s talent. If you have some patience and rearrange the tracklisting, you’ll notice that Tical 2000 shows Method Man as one of the best emcees of 1998 (he was competing with Jay-Z, DMX, Big Pun, Canibus, Busta, Outkast,Black Star, etc)

Tical 2000 never comes up when discussing great Wu-Tang solo albums (and rightfully so), but when I cut it down to size, it’s a really devastating record. And enough time has passed for people to get over the disappointment or the bad experiences they had with it back then to just enjoy a great rap record by one of the most entertaining rappers of all time. Continue reading AFTER FURTHER REVIEW + REWORK THE ANGLES: TICAL 2000

THE DISCO FOUR: ADD HARMONY

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The Disco Four: Move To The Groove (Enjoy, 1980, 12″)

At some point, I bought into some bullshit logic that “only hip-hop after 1986 is good” and when I finally dropped that childish belief, I finally got to enjoy, uh, the Enjoy catalog in all its disco rap glory. I can only assume that’s Pumpkin on the drums (undersung beat baron of this era).

365 Days of Soul, #145

ZION I: YOU KNOW IT’S JUST BLISS

Zion I: Human Being (Live Up, 2012, Shadowboxing)

At a certain point, Zion I landed on this blend between classic Bay Area lyricism and a heavy electronic production style (maybe around the time of True and Livin’?) and that’s helped fuel an impressive longevity by any token. Seeing these guys still do their damn thing gives me faith in humanity (and their tastes).

365 Days of Soul, #106