whatnauts and what not
09/16/2009, 10:55 AM
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The Whatnauts: “Instigating (Trouble Making Fool”)

The Whatnauts put out some great 45s on Stang Records during the early ’70s. They also joined forces with The Moments for “Girls“, a great cut that was later sampled by Diamond D.

He’s nothing but an instigating, always fakin’, trouble makin’ fool…” is the hook on this 1973 single. The song is a warning to an ex-lover about her new, shady boyfriend. It’s actually a sweet tune despite the negative lyrics about some nefarious dude. This is the only 45 The Whatnauts ever cut on GSF Records. “Instigating” is another smooth Whatnauts joint, full of nice melodies and even nicer harmonies.


catch the blast of a hype verse
09/16/2009, 9:51 AM
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I can’t think of a rapper that has aged as well as Ghost has. Raekwon is 39 and Jay is turning 40. And while both dropped big albums recently, their best work is likely behind them. But with Ghost, who is 37, there’s still the possibility that he’ll outdo himself. He’s so natural and is sharper than ever. Like his earlier work, he still raps with vigor, except it’s more focused, more tempered and a lot funnier. Big Doe Rehab has some great songs on it and, I think, is heavily slept on.

I received the sampler for his new project, Ghostdini: Wizard Of Poetry In Emerald City, a while back. I didn’t realize how near the release date was or else I would’ve posted this sooner. A big part of why Cuban Linx 2 wasn’t a total failure was because of Ghost’s appearances. If you like Starks, peep the sampler for his new one, Ghostdini: Wizard Of Poetry In Emerald City. It leans more towards Pretty Toney than Fishscale, but I’m still looking forward to it. It comes out in a couple weeks. Hopefully that supposed Ghost/DOOM project, Swift & Changeable, will be next.


(end of) summer songs
09/14/2009, 11:22 PM
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sf sundown by mike drummond

Summer’s over and I’m bummed to see it go. No more sunsets at 8pm. No more t-shirt weather. Now comes rain and the terrible holiday season. To bid adeui, here are four tracks I intended on posting in May but never got around to it. The first three are among the sunniest songs ever; the last, not as much, but it’ll remind me of summer when I hear it during the cold, bitter winter.

1) “Let’s Have Some Fun (Pt. 1)” is a foot-stomping funk 45 by the Mod Singers & Mod Lads. It’s a bit novelty, but it’s one of the happiest songs I’ve heard and captures what it feels like when summer first starts. It’s akin to Shirley Ellis’ “The Clapping Song“, but shorter and less literal. I picked up this 45 in Chicago for two bucks.

2) These next two are Latin tracks from my friend John who was recently in South America. The first, “Menino Jesus de Praga”, is by the great Jorge Ben. It’s from his late ’70s phase, off the album A Banda Do Ze Pretinho. It kills during John’s DJ sets and certainly goes great with summer.

3) This second one is “El Rayo de Sol” by Le Mans. It caught my attention at a BBQ in early August. Sweet and totally laid back, this is a summertime joint if ever there was one.

4) This last one is Dusty Springfield’s killer cover of “Spooky”, the 1967 Mike Sharpe (AKA Mike Shapiro) recording which has been covered many times. And though it isn’t particularly rare or anything, it’s a song that aesthetically sounds like a hazy, summer evening.

Large Pro uses payphone
09/14/2009, 4:48 AM
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Large Professor (ft. Nas)- “One Plus One” from The LP

Is this the best picture they could find? Who’s on the other end? The awkward (and hilarious) photo is from a piece I did on Large Pro and is currently one of the coverstories for Waxpoetics Japan.

On the real, Large Pro has made some classic material. Plus, he’s a revered figure— Pete Rock and DJ Premier have cited him as being influential in their own development. He also helped Nas’ career early on, recording demos that later became Illmatic. It’s fitting this article is currently out since Large Pro’s lost debut, The LP, was also recently released. Shelved since ’95 or ’96, it finally came out after years of speculation. To read my interview with Large Pro, hear more of The LP and buy it, head over to Wax Po’s storefront.

reasonable clout
09/14/2009, 4:39 AM
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I like Jay-Z. I like how he carries himself in interviews. I like Blueprint 3 too (though it ranks lower compared to his back catalogue). Not many mainstream rappers actually rap anymore. No one cares about having different cadences or actually riding rhythms. Cats like Wayne have made it cool to be lazy, to limp over beats as if ferocity is somehow played out. Jay still switches up his flow and remains pretty charismatic, but even he doesn’t utilize (16) bars like he used to.

DJ Ayres just posted a new mix–D.O.J.- The Best Of Jay-Z— on The Rub. I seemingly like Jay’s new stuff more than Ayres does, but I also agree with his overall sentiment. The dudes over at The Rub (DJ Eleven, Cosmo Baker and DJ Ayres) are the homies so please check their site, and prolific mixtapes, if you haven’t already. For now, check Ayres’ killer mix to hear pre-retiremant Shawn Carter, when he was vicious and more wordy.


Jesse Serwer on NYC Badmen
09/08/2009, 10:35 PM
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nyc badmen cover


I’ve been asked a few times how I “got into” dancehall. It’s pretty simple: I’m from New York. (Anyone asking me this is usually not from here). Jamaican music has been a familiar soundtrack for nearly as long as I can remember. I think it was around 1990, when I was 11, that it first left an impression. New York’s twin Black radio stations WRKS (“KISS FM”) and WBLS were playing records by Shabba Ranks and Mad Cobra. Chaka Demus & Pliers’ “Murder She Wrote” first came out around then, beginning its steady rise to Bar Mitzvah/White Folk Wedding-level ubiquity.

Truthfully, I didn’t like the stuff at first. Not knowing too many Caribbean folk at the time, the lyrics, particularly from gruff deejays like Shabba, were initially tough to decipher. And the rhythms, made more for the dancefloor than passive consumption, didn’t grab me the way hip-hop beats did then. My gateway drug came in the form of Shabba Ranks’ “The Jam,” a collaboration with the reggae-absorbent KRS-ONE, and Bobby Konders and Mikey Jarrett’s “Mack Daddy.” This was dancehall, but with a hip-hop beat, and I was hooked. I’d heard rappers like KRS toss around patois in their own songs, but the sound of Shabba and Jarrett’s full-throttle toasting over the familiar thrust of a hard-hitting breakbeat grabbed me in a way I can’t quite explain so many years later. Continue reading

Stones Throw Contest Winners!
09/08/2009, 5:05 PM
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First off, thanks to everyone who took the time to enter! Second, thanks to Stones Throw for building with us!

The response was much larger than expected! We were stoked to see entries as close as San Jose, California and as far away as Australia and Japan! The East Coast and Canada represented too! Thanks so much! We’re looking forward to doing it again with more of our favorite labels and companies. Stay tuned!

CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS: Kamal, Waylan, Lady K, Benjamin, and KB! Hope you like the freebies!

Here are the answers to the contest: Continue reading