FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP: FIDDLERS ON A BURNING ROOF

Freestyle fellowship crew shot

Freestyle Fellowship: Can You Find The Level Of Difficulty In This? (Beneath the Surface, 1999, 12″)

When this single came out, the FF hadn’t officially appeared on a record together since 1993’s Inner City Griots. Think about how much hip-hop changed in those intervening six years and it may as well felt like six decades. Seemingly out of nowhere, “Can You Find” dropped in and within about 3 seconds, Mikah 9 dashed any fears that the Fellowship might be a little rusty.

Maybe you had to be there to truly appreciate how many minds were blown when this came out but while the rest of hip-hop was in the throes of the jiggy era, this was like a cluster of warheads being set off. Still feels the same today.

365 Days of Soul, #85

TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY

I reviewed Kendrick’s new album for NPR. I got more to say but just throwing this up here for now .

E-40: NOTHING BUT CHEESE

Federal

E-40: Rat Heads (Sick Wid It, 1993, Federal)

I love that that E-40, circa ’93, was tinkering with the mob sound that would soon fully blossom yet he still hewed to the sampling era by looping up some Isaac Hayes.1

365 Days of Soul, #84

  1. Truth be told though: Dre flipped it better for The D.O.C.

DEL: THESE COMPUTATIONS JUST AS POTENT

Del the funky homosapien dr bombay

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: Eye Examination (Elektra, 1992, B-side of “Dr. Bombay”)

For those of us who first came across Del as either 1) Ice Cube’s weird cousin from Oakland or 2) another rapper heavy on that P-Funk tip, we weren’t expecting something like “Eye Examination.” But snuck onto the B-side of “Dr. Bombay,” this felt like the “real Del” stepping from outside of Cube and Sir Jinx’s tutelage to lay down his true persona. (And it was glorious).

365 Days of Soul, #83

CAM’RON: GOT THE ‘PUTERS ‘PUTIN’

Camron PurpleHaze

Cam’Ron: Get ‘Em Girls (Roc-A-Fella, 1994, 12″)

Back during the early rise/reign of Dipset, I never quite got Cam’Ron’s appeal. To me, he was still that dude who had cut “Horse & Carriage,” which wasn’t exactly blowing my world up.

But then, at some point, I heard “Get ‘Em Girls.”

I. Finally. Understood.

The same way cats want Nas to get back to his “NY State of Mind” flow, I want every Cam song to sound like this: word play all day/swagger on a milli. I still marvel at this line, every time:

    First pile up in the rear/I style up in my gear
    Stallion of the year/medallions in my ear
    Whips on my fists/houses on my wrists
    Your budget on my neck/your spouse on my d—.

Whoooo.

365 Days of Soul, #82