Check out the new underground hip hop blog by long-time Beetbak supporter John Henry from Brazil! There are some gems on there, and I'm sure there are more to come. Welcome! http://lostfilezoveternia.blogspot.com/
Thank you once again, Cody, for the hookup with this fat underground release! Sporting one of the dopest covers in the history of album artwork, Dojah released this tape back in 1998. I'm not sure if he was doing this on the anonymous tip, or if he just had really poor marketing skills, but his name is absent on both the cover and the tape, as is that of all guests. Either or, I like to think the music speaks for itself. Half of this tape was posted up way back on the mighty Ghetto Tyylit, with the exclusion of the intro, outro, interludes and instrumental pieces. While it's true those excluded pieces don't do much for the album (covers of "The Banana Boat Song", the "Pink Panther" theme, and "Don't Worry, Be Happy" would be strange inclusions on any release, especially on a project which is otherwise so accomplished), I think it's important to present this album in its entirety, warts and all.
Big Shawn from Bored Stiff appears on "R-A-P", and a couple emcees I can't identify show up on "Let' em Have It". Beats are appropriately stoney and sample-based in that '98 flavor.
"The Co-Op Vol.1" is a classic underground tape from 2000, aptly named because of it's many wonderfully gratuitous group efforts on the mic. Before the "Chuck Taylor Presents the Capitol's Best Collection" album, this street level production (along with the Cuf's "Cufilation" release) represented the voice of the Sacramento underground. Led by emcee-producer Anonimous, The Underated Collaberated collective was home to a gang of talent, including members of the afore-mentioned Cuf; as well as of Verbatum and Socialistik, plus many others. The label, Sound Cultivator Productions, I believe, was also Anonimous' project. Along with two other emcees on this release, Fiasco and Kgee, Anonimous went on to form The Rebels Of Rhythm (not related to the J-5 Rebels), and also Hollywood Kill (also with Kgee). His name is also attributed to production work for L'Roneous and Hieroglyphics.
Sonically, this release is as beautifully gritty as you want it. Anonimous' beats are sample-based, unadorned, and heavy. They are unnerving - sometimes they're jumpy, sometimes they shamble forward, dragging their feet, shaking their chains. Unexpected, jarring sounds often enter the mix, raw and scoured. Listen to the opener, "The Most Hated", or "A Story" to catch the meaning. Musically, it's captivating, and a perfect backdrop for these emcees, who aren't really the wine and roses type. Krush is on this piece after all. They spit raw - there's nothing very glamorous about The Sac anyway.
It's hard to imagine this release being as old as it is. It's from 2000, 15 years ago now. If this was rock music, it would officially be fair game for the classic rocks stations on the radio. Listening to this tape tonight, I'm struck by that sneaky, persistent passage of time. Not because of the music - to me, this still sounds fresh and undated - rather it's due to the mannerisms, lyrical content and subject matter of the various voices here. At some point in time, I'm not sure when, I stopped feeling that almost tangible connection to the underground in a current sense, and began experiencing it as a dear period of time in my past - in a nostalgic sense. And by the grey hair growing on my temples and the wrinkles forming on my face, it's clear I'm no longer 20 years old. Listening to the trials and tribulations of the various performers on this release, I can see they can only come from the unhindered and unburdened shoulders of young people, with just one foot out the door. However, I listen to this without any sense of mourning for my youth - and its the reason I keep coming back to music like this, made my young people, or people who were once young - because it takes that kind of young energy for me to be inspired. This music is rough, sometimes abrasive, but it's also beautiful and breathtaking - this is music made by minds that aren't afraid to experiment (in fact, it never occurred to them to be afraid), with naive reflections on life that are almost painful in their unguardedness.
I'm also struck listening to this music, that I've been living and loving hip hop for the great majority of my life. I was born in the seventies, became Aware Of How Shit Is in the eighties, and once I heard Public Enemy there was no turning back. I've seen the passage of time and how hip hop has changed with it, and I appreciate more than words can express how it has embraced with open arms people of all ages, races, and cultures as it too has grown. It is with this, as I listen to The Underated Collaberated, that, despite hearing it through a tunnel of age and experience, I feel as in tune and supported and in love with the culture as ever - despite the fact I'm probably twice the age now as some of the voices on here. I can't claim to represent or speak for hip hop in any way, I would never presume that, but I think it's safe to say hip hop is not a fad to just grow out of. It's not a young man's game. It's for life. There are children practicing their battle raps, there are kids in their teens making their own recordings, there are the grown folks who keep it working, and there are the elder statesmen, like Chuck D, whose voice I still find as crucial as it was back in '91. Hip hop is infinite. No matter where I am or where I will someday be, I call it home. And for that I have infinite thanks.
William Rider of Ghetto Chilldren uploaded this unreleased Tribal joint today, and I had to share. It's actually two cuts; the B-Self solo tip "Born 2 Cree8" and the Marvel Team-Up of Ghetto Chilldren and Narcotik known as "Free Enterprise", from back in '97. Although I never heard either of these tracks at the time, listening to these songs makes me feel absurdly and buoyantly happy. There's nothing else like the pure joy that good music brings - especially if it's unheard jams from your favorite hip-hoppers from back in the day. Tribal Records has slowly been releasing stuff from the vaults, and I pray to Baby Jesus that they keep doing so. For now, just feast your ears on this healthy portion from B-Self, Vitamin D, C-Note and Tizzy T (RIP). Tribal Legacy
Thank you once again, Cody, for hooking me up! This time we have the legendary Chicago Chapter 1996 tape from Anacron's Peanut Gallery Network. Atop of 4-track production and analog hiss rides a slew of young lyrical talent and seriously propulsive beats. Perv One, Jahn the Baptist, Funsho, Astrobwoy, and several others join Anacron on crew cuts, freestyles, solo joints and interludes. It's a truly accomplished and impressive effort, showcasing what a force of nature Anacron can be when he puts his mind to something.
The Peanut Gallery isn't a movement that I've spent a lot of time exploring, and the more I hear, the more I realize I have been missing out. Well, 20 years still isn't too late, is it? For all of you who are in the same boat, this is a perfect place to start. PNTGLLRYNTWRK
Thanks again go out to the homeboy Cody, who sent me this tape, with the intent to have it posted. I had never heard this before I received the tape in the mail, and I have to admit I was seriously missing out. Totally out of left field. Let's get one thing clear, this isn't a beat tape. This is a fully-realized instrumental head trip of a record. They are complete works unto themselves, and they don't invite you to freestyle over the top of them. And although it's only six tracks long, it's a full album's length. Songs stretch out, slow, and raw. Percussive rhythms move in and out of the mix, taking the forefront, then disappear to let lonely samples become the focus. Murky bass lines poke out here and there. These compositions suck you in, slow your head nod to a standstill, and instead spark inward movement. This is music to stare at your shoes to, or to contemplate your navel with. This is music for turning inward.
Anacron is no slouch on the mic, and I'm not well-versed in everything he's done, but I have to say this is my favorite work I've had the pleasure of hearing from him. Listen!
Bobby Gibson, brother of Existereo and Innaspace, made this dope graffiti documentary whilst living in Europe 10 years or so ago. Featuring a wealth of great footage from Portuguese graf writers, and a great soundtrack of European hip hop, this was unseen on my radar until the the man Dylan hyped me to it. Seriously, give it a watch. This is shit you never knew. Major shouts to Hazard for making such a unique and crucial testament to the art.
Massive thanks going out to Cody, who sent me a phat collection of underground tapes recently, this being one of them...
1998 was the year. Zion I always had a unique style; they had those DnB rhythms and that slick, slithery flow. It was evident even on this early tape. It's great to hear all that slickness coming through the scratchy, hissy noise you get from a tape, it roughens it all up nicely. 8 proper tracks long, with an intro and a shout out as well.
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