Nas fans pay attention because without Main Source and Large Professor, we wouldn’t have had Illmatic. You see Main Source were the first act to put Nas on. Remember the intro to Illmatic? Well those Nas vocals were from Main Source’s Live At The BBQ from their brilliant 1991 debut Breaking Atoms. Anyway, I digress.
Here’s (perhaps) my favourite joint from Main Source; a cut from the somewhat politically-incorrect titled motion-picture White Men Can’t Jump. (N.B. Some Heads get caught up between the original and this remix but the differences are minimal so we’re rolling with this as it happens to be the audio I have).
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 43
Lawrence Kris Parker is undeniably a pioneer of hip-hop and a true father of the genre. Although I happen to feel KRS-One is somewhat overrated as an MC, one thing I can’t deny, aside from his contribution, is his ability to craft a banger.
In anticipation of his upcoming collaboration project Godsville with Showbiz, here’s a throwback to the first time these two greats chopped it up together, way back in 1993.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 42
Inspired by Complex Magazine’s excellent best 25 Lloyd Banks’ verses and on the back of the release of Banks’ heavily anticipated third LP, The Hunger For More 2, I’ve decided to take us back to a time when 50 Cent was merely an underground king and Banks, alongside Tony Yayo, his noble foot soldiers.
2002 was a busy year for 50 and his G-Unit imprint, with the release of now-classic mixtape 50 Cent Is The Future, compilation album Guess Who’s Back, today’s featured mixtape No Mercy, No Fear, before finishing the year with God’s Son and putting the final touches to his 2003 debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. But all this wouldn’t have been possible without the solid footing 50 had in the underground and the lyrical prowess of a certain 20-year old keen to follow in his mentor’s footsteps.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 41
Canibus’ debut, Can-I-Bus (1998), although often panned by critics (and Canibus himself) for Wyclef Jean’s somewhat bland production, was bis’ full introduction to the world of hip-hop.
Spearheaded by the savage LL Cool J diss record Second Round K.O., Can-I-Bus wasn’t totally lost due to Wyclef’s mediocre board-work. Tracks such as What’s Going On, Channel Zero and today’s throwback Niggonometry put aside that common misconception.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 40: Canibus Edition
Perhaps I’ve let a couple of TT’s slip over the past few weeks (it’s three actually). But as we move into OTU’s most important month to date, not only does October signal OTU’s desired worldwide domination, but also forms a cherished relationship with Canibus.
Therefore in warm up to our October 21st gig debut and in dedication to the man himself, OTU will devote each Thursday to reminisce and educate on some of Bis’ most classic material. And if that wasn’t enough for you, we’ve also got a couple of Hate Is The New Love episodes to further wet your appetite and keep you teetering on the edge of your seats…
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 39: Canibus Edition
Whilst the self-proclaimed kings of New York were battling it out for the throne, attention had turned to the underground where the streets were going crazy for the hip-hop supergroup Diggin’ In The Crates crew.
In early 1990 Lord Finesse brought together some of the most talented producers, DJ’s and MC’s in the game who would later become one of the most respected hip-hop group’s of all time. Diamond D, Showbiz, A.G., O.C., Buckwild, Fat Joe and finally Big L one-by-one eventually teamed up to form the legendary D.I.T.C.
Heads, you know what to do. Click that red. → Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 38
Eric B and Rakim are a bit like my mother. I respect the work they did, the blueprints they laid for me, but I don’t fancy them. You might, but I just don’t.
They personified innovation and pushed the boundaries of hip-hop with Eric B’s soul-sample infused backdrops and Rakim’s internal rhyming and extensive, creative metaphors. They influenced not only artists to come, but even artists before such as Run DMC and KRS-One who became mesmerized by Rakim’s inventive rhyme-scheme. DJ Premier may have held high the torch for hip-hop production, but Eric B gave it to him in the first place.
With that last metaphor in mind, I therefore don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that other producers have since improved those original, important foundations and taken the genre onto the next level. And that, is why I just can’t fancy them. (And I don’t fancy my mother because that’s just plain wrong – No matter where you’re from).
With all that said, I love this song.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 37
The joint I was going to drop today would be better suited to a Hate Is The New Love or Sunday Classic Collabo so (reluctantly) I’m going to save it.
Instead, and perhaps more aptly, I’ve got some classic production to share with you today. Yes, you guessed it, DJ Premier on the boards. Obsessed? A little. Enjoy it in it’s intensity.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 36
Nas, AZ, Nature, Foxy Brown and Dr. Dre. Pretty dope supergroup right? Wrong. Well, wrong in some ways.
The Firm was born after Nas (following the late great Notorious BIG) decided to take a mainstream direction and Dre began to diversify his empire. AZ, Nature and Foxy were, although all Nas’ comrades, primarily along for the ride.
I say wrong because their first and only self-titled album was considered a failure. Dre fans will remember the Forgot About Dre line: “All you niggas that said that I turned pop / Or the Firm flopped / ya’ll are the reason Dre ain’t been getting no sleep!”
But it wasn’t all bad for the formidable MC/production group as I will show with this week’s gritty throwback which is essentially a Nas, AZ, Dre collaboration.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 35
In 1999 two of New York’s finest MC’s came together to create not only one of the 90’s most memorable rap albums, but an album spearheaded by one of the 90’s most memorable rap songs.
That’s right, we’re talking Wu-Tang’s Method Man and Def Squad’s Redman with their debut LP Blackout! and their cornerstone single Da Rockwilder. The album’s hyped success saw it go platinum less than three months after it’s release date and is considered amongst many hip-hop advocates as a debut classic.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 34
The Gravediggaz are credited as one of the most influential horrorcore groups hip-hop has seen. In 1994, with their acclaimed 6 Feet Deep album, they laid the foundations for artists to come such as Big L, Eminem and Necro.
After widespread success, Prince Paul found himself between a rock and a hard place with regard to his label. To vent this frustration, Prince started to create a new, heavier sound but needed a crew to aid him. This is where he enlisted Wu-Tang’s RZA, fellow Stetsasonic MC; Frukwan, and Too Poetic to complete his quartet.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 33
I’ve let my game slip a little bit recently. Last week was just plain lazy. The previous few I tried to force some niche throwbacks. This week, we are taking it old school straight up classic. I’m back bitches.
Step up De La Soul and their 1989, 5 star, 3 Feet High and Rising.
I knew this video existed and I was a little worried when I couldn’t find it on a certain well-known video site. The reason was even though Eye Know reached the dizzy heights of number 14 on the UK singles chart, it wasn’t actually released as a single over in the US. Crazy Huh?!
This song is so infectious and I bet you find yourself whistling it for the rest of the day.
Let’s get into it.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 32
As you may have realised over the past few weeks, there is a rather important football (soccer) tournament taking place which unfortunately puts me in a bit of a rush this week.
However, what that does bring is an urge for me to drop ‘party’ music and this week’s throwback falls nicely into that category. Gamers will recognise this track from Tiger Woods’ PS2 game from a few years back, hip-hop heads will recognise it from DMX’s third album …And Then There Was X.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 31
For the real underground / hip-hop Heads I bring you a throwback from Pharoahe Monch’s Organized Konfusion.
Organized Konfusion are widely respected amongst the hip-hop community on the strength of their debut, self-titled album and their successful sophomore; Stress: The Extinction Agenda released in 1991 and 1994 respectively.
Although Organized Konfusion are made up of both Pharoahe and Prince Po (Poetry), Pharoahe always steals the show for me with his complex rhyming technique and intricate and intelligent raps.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 30
Not only have the past 28 throwbacks helped Heads alike reminisce on old school hip-hop, but arguably more importantly, it has educated the ‘newbies’ amongst us on where the genre has grown (or declined) from and highlighted the artists important in shaping its direction.
We have covered all time greats, undisputed for their contributions to the genre; lesser known artists; and finally artists who don’t get the credit they deserve.
Up this week is Ja Rule. An artist touched on briefly in TT 8, yet on the strength alone of this track deserves his own TT dedication. This is the track to silence any of Ja Rule’s critics.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 29
And he returns.
I’m in a pretty matter of fact mood today having finished a certain 4 year degree on Monday. First off, shout out to Indi for taking the reins last week. If you missed his work then catch up here.
Time for some classic hip hop? This track (amongst others in the album) has helped me through the past few weeks of pain.
Mos Def’s Hip-Hop is the centerpiece of his 1999 classic debut Black On Both Sides. A brilliantly crafted piece of progressive, alternative hip-hop.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 28
Once upon a time, there was a white boy….and he changed the whole game.
What’s this? Indi on Throwback Thursday duty? Don’t worry, Murray didn’t die – he’s just currently busy fending off a pack of wild boars. Click on for the very first (and possibly last) Indi instalment of Throwback Thursdays…
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 27
Ajay and Myself are having a bit of a ‘Mobb Deep week’, which always goes down well where I’m concerned (This throwback is for you too buddy!). Big Noyd is / was always Mobb Deep’s side-kick, making appearances on all Mobb LP’s up until Blood Money (apparently 50 didn’t see him fitting into the ‘grand plan’).
Being Mobb’s sidekick meant N.O.Y.D. was graced with the presence of cast-off Havoc beats and as uninspiring as that sounds, in fact, some of them Hav was crazy to let go. This week’s throwback is definitely one of those.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 26
Unfortunately I now find myself embroiled within my finals so the next three TT’s may be slightly more on the shorter side. That doesn’t mean for one second I’m going to skimp on the audio side of things though.
As promised from last week, today I’ve got a very clever track from GZA’s critically acclaimed sophomore Liquid Swords (contrary to popular belief, his debut was in fact Words From The Genius in 1991).
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 25
Having yet to dedicate a TT to my favourite hip-hop act it’s fair to say I’m a little bit like a kid in a toy store right now. I can only apologise in advance for what may come across as a rather biased review.
Out of all Mobb Deep’s back catalogue (and what a back catalogue!) I wouldn’t have predicted I would be dropping this one. It is, without doubt, a banger. However, ‘banger’ isn’t always the term I would associate with the Mobb. ‘Gritty’ and ‘harrowing’ are much more on point (I’m yet to hear a more perfect example of these words than the Hell On Earth LP). The point is, and bare with me there is one, is that Quiet Storm signals an end of an era. Many (and I’m not sure where I fall on this) feel Quiet Storm was Havoc’s last first-class beat. Others savour Quiet Storm as a dying breed (released March 1999) before hip-hop as we knew and loved was changed forever. Wherever your opinion lies, no one can deny Mobb Deep’s contribution to hip-hop. → Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 24
Chief Rocka is one of those joints that is instantly recognisable yet hard to put a name to. Always featured on throwback records, Chief Rocka is the Lords of the Underground’s signature song from their 1993 effort: Here Come The Lords.
As I declared last week, L.O.T.U.G. are my flavour of the month and their first two albums offer some ample backdrop to the fast approaching (UK) summer months. I’m expecting to hear Chief Rocka blasting out of car stereos across the country after this throwback.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 23
So before we all get too caught up in this Shyne-bashing brought about by his recent drops, lets take a minute to revisit his past. Afterall, Shyne won’t be the first nor the last industry great to ever fall off.
I know I have broken the rules a little bit this week, but More or Less (2004) is my favourite Shyne track. And, in part, I’ve got Kanye West to thank for that… → Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 22
Providing hip-hop with a late Golden Era resurgence saw the Native Tongues affiliated Black Sheep burst onto the scene fall of 1991 with their classic record A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.
Sheep took the critics by storm and were praised for their humorous and creative content. They were one of the first acts to parody gangsta rap in the amusing U Mean I’m Not and the duo provide a refreshing throwback to a time when hip-hop was fun and before the dark undertone of street life set by later East Coast work.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 21
Wow. 20 Throwbacks.
It became a bit of a history lesson last week so today I’m swinging my throwback in the direction of both an artist and track which hopefully most of you can relate to.
I had a lot of fun writing this. Busta Rhymes is a real character and browsing through his past videography brings back some serious high school memories (keeping with the school theme of today). So much so that I’m scrapping the track I was going to do (sue me) and instead I’m opting for one of those high school throwbacks in the splendid candour of Gimme Some More. → Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 20
At the risk of alienating some of my audience, although this week’s throwback won’t be an instantly recognisable classic, Black Moon’s work was highly influential as the genre progressed and therefore it is imperative we give them the props they desire.
Without spending too much time on the periphery to their debut effort Enta Da Stage (1993), the album is overlooked in comparison with other East Coast greats (you should know by now which ones I am referring to), but is very much considered an underground classic and assisted in the East’s resurgence.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 19
Who thinks Fat Joe is wack? Think again.
It is understandable to form this opinion for any artist who you have to overlook their past six efforts to see the diamond in the rough. Unfortunately Joe is within this category, an exemplified instance of ‘selling out’ via the popular medium of ‘ringtone rap’. However under the alias ‘Fat Joe da Gangsta’, Joe wasn’t always like this…
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 18
This week’s TT is for Ajay as much as anyone as I know he is a big fan of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth. They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y) was the lead single from Rock and Smooth’s debut Mecca and the Soul Brother (1992). A now classic, T.R.O.Y was inspired by the death of a close friend, “Trouble” T. Roy of Heavy D and the boys.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 17
Just one word to describe this week’s throwback: Banger. For those of you unfamiliar with Pharoahe Monch’s work, he crafted his trade working within the alternative underground duo Organized Konfusion in the early nineties. Internal Affairs (1999) was Monch’s debut album on the now well-known indie label, Rawkus Records.
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 16
A Tribe Called Quest has a prominent, and often overlooked, place in hip-hop history. Alongside De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest (heron referred to as ATCQ) formed part of the Native Tongues satisfying the industry with their positive-minded, afrocentric lyricism and electric-sampled and jazz-influenced beats.
Rapper Phife Dawg, producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad and all-rounder Q-Tip’s fourth effort spawned Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996); their darkest album to date in terms of concept and unlike their previous releases, was tentatively received by critics. Although BRAL won’t be recognised in the same category as The Low End Theory (1991), Midnight Marauders (1993) or People’s Instinctive Travels and The Paths of Rhythm (1990) (try saying that when you’re drunk), the album is significant in a number of ways… → Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 15