As per every year, the only thing we check the BET Awards for is these excellent ciphers, and this year is no different.
The 2012 edition brings you some utterly superb lineups, with the clip up here being a personal highlight as it features several of my favourite upcomers-A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Childish Gambino and Angel Haze, alongside newcomer Driicky Graham. The rest of the ciphers feature the likes of T.I., B.o.B., Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, DMX, Eve, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Kurupt, DJ Quik, Xzibit, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Hopsin and more.
Plenty of promise, click on below to check out all of the ciphers. Who do you reckon had the standout performance? Big fan of Joey Bada$$ with the cipher up here, and my winners for the rest are below.
→ Continue Reading BET Hip-Hop Awards 2012: The Cyphers
In those 5 minute gaps between prison sentences, DMX has managed to find the time over the last few years to put together an 11-track free EP of all new material to satisfy those who still retain any interest in the veteran. It’s been 6 years since his last (non-compilation) album, and truthfully he’s hardly cultivated his brand in the intervening years. Nonetheless, I’m sure there’s an audience, even if its the morbidly curious.
Couple of big names help Earl out on this one, as Snoop Dogg, Tyrese and Lil’ Wayne make appearances, whilst Dr. Dre is listed as being behind the boards on the Snoop Dogg feature. I’ve not got great expectations for this project in truth, but if it reinvigorates DMX’s career then I’m all for it. At worst, you’ll head down memory lane thanks to those trademark canine-inspired adlibs. Free grab below.
DMX-The Weigh In
Now this is more like it. For some reason Swizz Beatz decided to release a second #MonsterMondays for us, also featuring DMX and this one for me is much better than the previous one.
This really does feel like the old DMX, he spits with the same energy that made him such a favourite with the fans back when he was on top. Bringing back that relatable sound with some emotion, in particular he closes out the song as he sings: “all my life, I’ve been struggling, problems I’ve been juggling….but I’ma be all right.”
The Biggie sample Swizz Beatz uses for the hook also goes down very well with me.
Swizz Beatz – Time To Get Paid ft. DMX
Swizz Beatz has dropped his latest instalment of #MonsterMondays, linking up once again with his former Ruff Ryder compatriot DMX, as he did on one of his first MM tracks here.
This time round, Swizz and DMX take on the legendary Sam Cooke classic A Change Is Gonna Come, and in my eyes you really can’t go wrong with this track, it’s such a classy single to remix. Any B.o.B stans (like me…) might actually remember his cover version on his B.o.B vs Bobby Ray Mixtape way back in ’09. Swizz really doesn’t have to do much with the track, but gives it a slightly more uplifting beat, and interestingly X seems to have toned down his aggression somewhat, even giving us a sample of his singing voice on the intro. Maybe ‘change is gonna come’ and X is going to stay out of jail…
Swizz Beatz ft. DMX–Change Is Gonna Come
Swizzy’s #MonsterMondays continue with this hard-hitting collaboration. It’s fair to say this series has actually surprised many with the quality of the music, and Swizzy comes through with another decent effort.
Not only does it contain two of the original Ruff Ryders crew, but the production really oozes the classic RR vibe, with a pounding, driving Swizzy beat having a real throwback quality. X brings his typically aggressive style to his raps, and although his hook feels a bit dated, it does fit with the old school vibe of the track. Worth a listen.
Swizz Beatz-Y’all Don’t Really Know ft. Busta Rhymes and DMX
I love standing in for Indi’s Sunday Classic Collabo’s because they allow me to revisit a time in my life when hip-hop was still very new to me and, sometimes, allow me to revisit some of my guilty pleasures.
It’s 2003 and Curtis Jackson’s debut LP Get Rich Or Die Tryin has stormed to the top of the charts worldwide. Here we have 50 making a rare appearance on a non-Shady/Interscope artists’ joint: DMX’s Shot Down from his 5th studio album, Grand Champ.
DMX had already sided with 50 with regards to the Ja beef and some consider Shot Down as taking subliminal shots towards the Murda Inc MC. Shot Down also has the Styles P feature, which came about before 50′s Jadakiss/D-Block beef and it’s awesome to see three of New York’s finest artists at the time all collaborating together. (Side note: Interesting Hot 97 conversation with 50 and P from back in 2007. Both acting like adults whilst right amidst the beef. Then Cam’ron calls in, a little hot-headed, which saw the beginning of the 50 / Cam feud. Keep up folks).
There are several things I love about this track. 1) It’s great to remember what 50 used to sound like around that GRODT time. 2) It’s a filthy, harrowing beat and each artist goes in on their respective verses with their trademark street-thuggery lyricism . 3) DMX really shows 50 some props. He spits: “I remember 50 in a cypher when Onyx was “Slammin” (AIGHT?) / Now we meet again, it’s all good my nigga / Back to the street again, it’s all hood my nigga.”
DMX (feat 50 Cent & Styles P) – Shot Down
I think we’re all hoping DMX can stay out of trouble now and put his troubles behind him. If he can refocus his energy on music (as this video and recent Busta Rhymes remix suggests he’s doing) then maybe he can. There is no doubt that DMX was one of the most talented and unique rappers around.
Not going to lie, I wasn’t at all impressed by the original of this Swizz Beatz production, however with T.I., Ghostface, Cam’ron and (recently set free from prison) DMX on this, my attention has been attained. Makes the whole track a much more enjoyable experience to my ears, and it should do for yours too. Go download this below.
Busta Rhymes – Stop The Party ft. Cam’ron, Ghostface Killah, DMX, Swizz Beatz & T.I.
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
I wish DMX was still popular/didn’t let his life fall apart. Always been a favourite of mine and his new stuff still sounds good, like this very track.
DMX – It’ll Be Alright
Earl Simmons will always be one of my most favourite rappers ever, his first 5 albums went straight to #1 in the States, which considering how hardcore his music is – was a phenomenal feat. For certain reasons, his career went from bad to worse though but it’s great that he seems to be concentrating on music again.
Grab his new track below which features Tyrese.
Hold You Down ft. Tyrese
If you worship the ground Jay-Z walks on then walk away now. (No don’t, I’ve got a goodie for you at the end of this review. Consider it a reward for the bashing I’m about to unleash). If, however, you have an open mind to hip-hop and can see past the rap mogul’s disguise then please read on (I’ve dropped loads of goodies throughout this week’s review).
→ Continue Reading Throwback Thursdays Vol 8
I’ve been AWOL for the last 24 hours, so I’m having to put together another catch-up post. Lots of decent stuff for you below (predominantly hip-hop), be sure to click on and make up for a quiet 24 hours in your iTunes library.
→ Continue Reading I Should Get Fined For This