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Professor Brian Oblivion – “Dissertation: Volume 1″ – [Clockwise]

Professor Brian Oblivion is a producer and DJ whose sample based, boom bap style is rooted in Golden Era Hip Hop while steadily projecting towards new treatments. Utilizing turntables, an MPC and a diverse sound library ranging from soundtracks, funk, soul, jazz, psych rock, world music and everything in between, he creates a rubric unparalleled. In the same vein as Ras G’s Raw Fruit and Madlib’s Beat Konducta, Professor Oblivion releases the first of the Dissertation series, showcasing twenty-two raw, open beats in a seamlessly arranged bombardment of funk.With influences of the world’s musical past, the professor meticulously synthesizes and reframes specimens of sound to create sound collage that is rooted in principle and steeped in culture. Hard hitting drums, scintillating synths, dancing melodies and grooving basslines construct “Dissertation: Volume 1″, culminating in a cacophony of head nodding slappers. All tracks FCC Free and Inst.

  • Reviewed by Arcanum on December 26, 2015 at 1:26 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Dirty Old Men – “Beerhandles & Lovebellies” – [Self Released]

    Dirty Old Men ??? Beerhandles & LoveBellies

    Local indie Hip Hop. Beerhandles & Lovebellies sounds like a personal
    journal of a couple of alcoholics who got together over some cold ones
    and took their freestyle notebooks and put together an album. FCCs on
    all tracks except 3,6, and 9 which are instrumental interludes.
    Interlude 9 is cool track that includes samples from Charles Manson,
    Jimi Hendrix, and Frank Zappa. This album is most likely going to get
    you to nod your head or shake it in disdain. All in all the real hip
    hop heads will find something to appreciate in the album especially on
    track 8 and the interlude tracks.

  • Reviewed by Arcanum on October 28, 2015 at 9:14 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Gangrene – “You Disgust Me” – [Mass Appeal]

    Filthy, let me count the ways…not just the FCC plunger
    with f-bombs backing up day time pipes, not just the
    beats (“The Scrapyards” “The Man With The Horn” and of
    course the leadoff track, “The Filth”) but also in
    some of the lyrical and topical treatments. “Better
    Things” starts with the shit flying verbally all over,
    DeNiro cruises by the track before in his taxi with
    a famous sample. Dirty rats, nasty-ass backed up toilets
    (with a hair dam included) so the poop troupe can
    get down and dirty with that stuff, and there’s other
    adolecenct putrefaction at play here, including a
    “reverse Bill Cosby the ho” on “Gluttony” and two
    super doofuses at the end of “Sheet Music” and an
    excitable gonad of a guy at the end of “Better Things”
    (honestly his sample cracks me up every time…)
    Between the the bombast and the ass blasts, and the
    mandatory sped up gremlin vox (“Flamethrowers Pt. 2″)
    if you want to be offended, go ahead, but you’re
    missing out on some stupid fun (where else can you
    find Ken Griffey and GG Allin in the same line-up).
    Plenty of friends want to play in the muck with Oh No
    and the Alchemist. -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on September 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Diamond District – “March On Washington Redux” – [Mello Music Group]

    Diamond+District+DD03

    making waves in the D.C. underground, hard-hitting trio Diamond District reviving golden era sounds with fresh styling. X.O, yU and Oddisee bringin soulful sampling production, gritty drums and grimy raps; filthy enough to come from the streets but conscious enough to provoke thought; sophisticated lyrical content on politics, culture and philosophy without being overly intellectual and verbose, more emphasis placed on complex wordplay and rhythmic interaction. worthy of the fame they’re on the cusp of with an almost-grammy-nomination back in ’09, but they don’t let the attention get to them, yet.

  • Reviewed by abacus on August 12, 2015 at 10:18 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Odin, Raven – “Illicon Valley” – [Audiocrats Productions]

    ravenodin

    All I know about Raven Odin is that he’s smart. He’s an amazing writer and his quick-paced speaking makes you sit up and take notice of what he’s saying. His name seems to be based on the myths of Odin, the god who used ravens to tell him all the news of the kingdom. That is exactly what Raven Odin does here in this CD based on Silicon Valley (aptly changed to Illicon), where I assume he hails from. I particularly enjoyed hearing him drop local names such as the Voodoo Lounge in his track “In the Zay.” Modern-day poetry–well worth listening to.

  • Reviewed by humana on August 3, 2015 at 10:58 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
  • 1 comment
  • Suite For Weldon [coll] – [Stones Throw]

    75a2b9b9a2880144aa7605b327fc0627

    This collection of fantastic jazzy/hip-hop pieces were contributed by Yesterday’s New Quintet, Mr Dibbs, and Breakestra in honor of late jazz pianist Weldon Irvine, Jr., whose work was said to be instrumental to Mad Lib’s jazz expression in Yesterday’s New Quintet. The album was conceived so funds could go to Weldon’s son. With its moves and groove and beats, it is a fine tribute.

  • Reviewed by humana on July 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Big Daddy Kane – “How U Get a Record Deal” – [Cold Chillin' Records]

    220px-How_U_Get_a_Record_Deal

    1993 single from a legend of the golden age out of Queens. summertime boom bap with some laid back horn riffs on the production from Trackmasters. title track more philosophical and the B side more in your face. instrumentals a capella Cold Chillin.

  • Reviewed by abacus on June 24, 2015 at 10:06 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Younge, Adrian / Souls of Mischief – “There Is Only Now” – [Linear Labs]

    No one can stay young forever, not even Adrian, but while many
    wax poetic about 90′s hip hop, Younge creates a new yet lasting
    testimony. Summoning the Souls of Mischief with killer bass lines
    and swirling soul-savior sounds. Flutes, chic guitars, hovering
    keys…and super slinky drums. Younge presents a street opera
    musically, while the four Souls dodge bullets and beats, Tajai
    falls into the clutches of Womack (Busta Rhymes). You know he’s
    bad even before he slips Miriam a mickey which leads to vehicular
    miscarriage. Vengeance is sworn, other epithets fly (running this
    at length needs to wait for the FCC to sleep…or really wake up).
    Lots of side angles at play, and a radio narrator for K-NOW, you
    know the essence of now, is there to take the pulse of the city
    (dig quick Oakland phone-by’s on #13, and a jingle to boot too)
    A Tribe called Request? Snoop plays the role of Dear Abby on a
    cut setting up some Stoney love. “Finally Back” is both conscious
    and conscience rap, weighing wounds and fate. But by “The Last Act”
    the souls have got Womack’s last breath in sight. Might be as
    much non-fiction as there is inner city friction. An instro disk
    is included giving not just the drummer some, but the band who
    are as tight as the shadows where they reside. Check the drums
    on #14, the guitar/synth sizzle on #11 and the two moods on #6.
    Backpackers got your back.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on June 11, 2015 at 5:56 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • J-Zone – “Peter Pan Syndrome” – [Old Maid Entertainment]

    While punk rock struggles with being classical music (“Symphonia
    Uber Alles?) hip hop muddles in middle age where finally those
    velour jumpsuits are needed! J-Zone actually hung up the headphones
    for a stretch in 2009 and thought about another path, which helped
    seed both a book (“Root for the Villain”) and this fine album.
    Instead of giving the drummer some, he became the drummer! So
    this has more shake than Foster’s Freeze when you were only
    as tall as Shawn Bradley’s knees. This album is a fun as the
    best summer you ever had (and has the exact attitude about a
    job that you lost during that same summer.) He drops some words
    that should NOT be aired during daytime, monster.com and linkedin
    and even that four-letter nasty : kale. He drops that kale and
    slips on it in “An Honest Day’s Robbery” the instro after that
    gets mighty rubbery, his live drums when added really pack the
    right punch. The instros #4, #9, #14, #18 often have some
    swirling or downright psychotronic samples tucked in nicely.
    But the lyrically laced tracks are where it’s at, Zone-bone
    connected to the funny bone, although in single track listening
    you might miss the overall effect. Well he’s funny to me, even
    when he’s laughing at me. And his little Kazzoo cartoon sidekick,
    Chief Chinchilla, puts the id in solid and stupid. He may have
    missed his calling just going for the mic and throat as a comic,
    rap-wise though he should be considered the O-OCD-G on tracks
    like “Crib Issues” and “The Fox Hunt.” 409 is NOT a crime!
    Assuming his alter ego Swagmaster Bacon doesn’t blow up,
    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 7, 2015 at 12:37 am
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Grayskul – “Zenith” – [Fake Four Inc.]

    2013 hip hop album from the duo of Onry Ozzborn and JFK out of the Pacific Northwest.
    These guys have worked with Oldominion, Dark Time Sunshine, The Gigantics, Barfly, Norman, Sleep, Aurora, Ceshi, Maker, Mr. Hill, Aesop Rock, Cage, Slug, and Fakts One among others. Tons of guest musicians and MCs on this album. Some really good beats and pop feel but lyric and rhyme focused. Singing on several tracks gives it a popular vibe. Songs about politics, pot, sex and being grateful.
    I like the flows on track 4, 10, 11, 12 and the beats on 6,12,16.
    FCCs 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 18.

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on April 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Variable Unit – “Handbook for the Apocalypse” – [Wide Hive]

    Second skirmish from Bay Area hip hop hard
    corps, well-stocked with munitions of samples.
    However, the typical battleplan is inverted,
    the samples detonated here are written rather
    than rhythmic. And instead of a quick clip of
    snares bursting in air, this new VU let’s its
    sampled pieces go the distance. Including work
    from Burroughs, Howard Zinn and an excellent
    Conrad Aiken poem. Their wired barbs impale the
    soul jazz that offers something between a beat
    and cognitive dissonance. Sonic smoothness
    stands against more jagged verbal slags. DJ Zeph,
    aka Azeem, broadcasts that lack of a revolution
    in the year 2029 in one of the lighter moments.
    Bombs are dropped close to home, sons are sent
    to war in a quick leap from infancy to infantry.
    In the end, DJ Quest and his comrades dole out
    an odd ration, an existential sandwich with God
    in the middle?!? Overall, a well-read badge of
    courage. My kind of patriotism!
    -Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 21, 2015 at 2:23 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Homeboy Sandman – “Hallways” – [Stones Throw]

    Angel Del Villar II is no sequel, but he is Homeboy
    Sandman and armed with some killer production from a
    variety of folks, he deadpans straight through to the
    brainpan. His lyrics remind me of kids keeping journals,
    more focus on frank takes than rank fakes. Early on
    when Sandman says “Street don’t want him around he too
    deep, The deep don’t want him around, he too street”
    that’s a promising calling card, things that fall
    between the margins, or live in the borders tend
    to be more interesting. Sandman lives and walks around
    NYC (literally on “Stroll”) and while on “Heaven Too”
    his stomach may be turning, he keeps the home fires
    burning with a hint of sideways pride on “America
    the Beautiful.” On “Problems” it starts with him
    wanting a free clinic to give him the gift of no
    gift and good news, but he winds up on a bus with
    second hand smoke and headed towards hipsterville.
    He dodges a mirror but runs into a flock of rabid
    Kurt Cobain fans, and he may be one himself. He’s a
    reflective dude, and his cadence has a little of that
    Kool Keith clip to the end of his line lurch, but his
    weirdness is not intergalactic, more homegrown and
    finely tuned. Side C may be the Sex side, although he
    already hit the free clinic, but the squeezing between
    the “Grand Pupa” and his “Personal Ad” his own braggadicio
    is flagging at times, self-flagellating but not that
    way. He still honors that drive of “Out of woman, comes a
    man, spends the rest of his life getting back when he can.”
    That’s not his lyrics but he’s trying to “right his ship
    and keep it steady” it’s not a pirate booty quest and yo
    ho for the ho’s. The sexxiest song might be “Stroll” not
    so much lyrically but the Bossa Nova that’s stuffed into
    his beat pocket as he hits the streets. All the lyrics
    are printed inside the gatefold and worth perusing, well
    no printed for the two bonus vinyl tracks, “Army” and
    “Holiday.” The former with a sweet singing Jeannette Berry
    metaphor mixing love and war while “Holiday” takes the
    forced family get-togethers to force an honest eye in his
    uncle/sister’s ears. I was hooked by the power of the very
    first side, but his insights and inside rhymes present a
    real guy, no cardboard cut-out or product displacement
    and not a hallowed hologram. That alone qualifies for
    originality… No sleeping on the Sandman.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on March 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Talibam! – “Puff Up The Volume” – [Critical Heights]

    db_file_img_12533_500xauto

    Hip hop from Talibam! The lyrics are printed up on an insert if you want to follow along as these two fellows come up with an impressive array of rhymes. Impressive in that there are so many; not so impressive in content. The music itself is fairly upbeat and the voices are rather funny (especially the Donald Duck voice on A8), but all the sex talk makes me feel like I must be turning into a prude. The interludes are amusing (probably because the voices are supposed to be those of aging geezers), although the album ends with ambulance sirens as part of the “Golden-Ager Croak.”

  • Reviewed by humana on February 13, 2015 at 8:21 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Durag Dynasty- 360 Waves (2013) Hip Hop 12 inch lp

    Durag Dynasty (Doo-Rag) is new to me but after
    hearing this album I would be willing to be sized
    for the appropriate headwear. Heavy flows and
    abstract beats. Not much dancing here, but a bit of
    head bobbing. ‘Topper’ rap about how these MC’s
    are better than the rest. Beats are samples and loops
    that work as backbones for the lyricists and their
    guests, some fatter than others.
    Good tunes for when you’re sitting at the gas
    station, sippin a cold one, waiting for your crew to
    arrive.
    I liked sides C and D most. (Tracks 9-15)
    ALL TRACKS HAVE LANGUAGE – FCC

  • Reviewed by rasbabo on February 2, 2015 at 11:26 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library,Hip Hop
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  • DJ Baku – “Goth-Trad, Saidrum, Bleeder” – [Self-release]

    baku_bleeder
    Y2K! Turn of the milennium, turntablism. Actually two disks,
    the first one preferred by me with some fine flickery of the wrist
    on steel wheels! Fader, pitch and other patches over tracks that
    are already pretty heady. I could see a lot of people plying
    the 2nd “Instrumental” disk with their own samples/mixes dropped
    on top, or even just letting them run alone. Honestly, I’m a
    little turned around, I think the instro disk is a bunch of pieces
    by three different Japanese producers (Goth-Trad, Saidrum and
    Bleeder) and then Baku busts out the ju-scatch-jitsu on the
    first disk. If so, Bleeder’s two pieces are deep and dark,
    “Wrong Trousers” moving through movie scores and stringing
    tension, and “Rendomaccesssample” floating a funky flute through
    a searching bass line. Really all six tracks are pretty dark,
    Goth+Trad opens icily (sample from a Scooby Doo drop?) and
    his closer “Alchemy” slow as a mad scientist walking up the
    steps to his mountain top laboratory. Saidrum with two
    “Eartifacts” the first found percussion in the world, maybe
    a pachinko parlor? The second, an ear-worm burrowing bass, with
    breathing appartus and chimes added on. All tracks are solid
    but the scratching (and dropping in some vocals, maybe Dose One,
    help make the first disk a wilder ride. Check out what he does
    with the “Wrong Trousers” enhanced beyond mere pants! Zipper
    cuts included! Looks like Baku has his own Pop Group imprint
    still rolling, curious to see if he’s still on the experimental
    tip. This was a nice find in the used bin by our Music Dept
    truffle-sniffers! -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on January 30, 2015 at 6:04 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
  • Comment on this review
  • Medaphoar – “100 Dolla Bill” – [Stones Throw]

    MED is west coast MC Medaphoar. He made his debut back in 1999 on the Lootpack album Soundpieces: Da Antidote. His track, Level Zero features Oh No(half of duo Gangrene and son of jazz trumpeter John Faddis). He shares post among SoCal’s(via Oxnard) vanguard including Madlib, Wildchild, and Oh No. This 2009 single is guaranteed the fire-y rap style from MED and the solid production of Madlib. Solid A & B sides, clean versions, and instrumentals delivered to add some rap slices to your menu.

  • Reviewed by MSTiZA on January 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • DJ Qbert – “Extraterrestria” – [Thud Rumble]

    Who is DJ Qbert? He is San Francisco[Excelsior neighborhood] native, Richard Quitevas. He is a member of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, co-founding member Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and world renown DMC Champion. It has been over 15 years since his last solo release, Wave Twisters (1998). This past summer he mobilized his fan base and generated over $100,000 to fund this double album project through social fundraising site, Kickstarter. Extraterrestria is one half of the project, GalaXXXian being the other half. Qbert is agile and adept. He builds a story of terrains, starting in the desert [1,2,4] in the east to western windstorms[5] to surf the deep sea waves [9]. Qbert scratches out percussion [3, 8, 10], let’s the graffiti go in Gotham city[6], and gets galactic [7]. Besides a few vocal samples, all tracks are instrumental. Extraterrestria sets the scene for DJ Qbert to capture your soul with Kung Fu master style Karate kuts, a fury of flicks in the mix, and scissor swift swipes.

  • Reviewed by MSTiZA on November 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • DJ Qbert – “GalaXXXian” – [Thud Rumble]

    GalaXXXian is one half of the double[2014] release from DJQbert[Invisibl Skratch Piklz, SF]. It appears that Qbert has partnered up with his homies. The artists & MCs obviously have a mutual respect for Qbert’s obvious skills. Emcee Roscoe Umali[1,12] has a vocal style and sound that I thought sounded along the lines of AWOL One, so it was no surprise he is out of LA. Kool Keith[2] drops the sci-fi freak out. Del[9] delivers galactic ganja raps. Use caution with the sexually illicit track, Kooty Kat [3],courtesy of P.E.A.C.E., of Freestyle Fellowship. Mr. Lif[4] rocks the mic while El-P mixes up some nostalgia reminiscent of Blue Flowers. Beats go from classic bboy breaks[12, 8] to hard hitting bongo bangra-esque [5] beats. Launch GalaXXXian and take a journey with astronomical MCs and scratch commander Qbert. FCC: 3,4,6,7,8,10,12 Intro:11

  • Reviewed by MSTiZA on November 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • T-White – “Gift Vol. 5!, The” – [Fatbeats]

    twhite_giftvol5h_101b
    Instrumental hip-hop, short and upbeat, slip the needle
    scratch the service. The dance floor is denied in these
    short cuts with long memories (did I hear Flip Wilson as
    Geraldine on “Discovery”). “Eternal Lee” has some pretty
    majestic moves inside, “Ow!” doesn’t hurt (although a
    cartoon baby bird was crushed by the heavy drum and piano
    drop on top), a French discussion gets woven in between the
    beats on that. The lead-off track makes you think DJ Shadow
    meets comedy, samples are less ear-popping after that, but
    definitely a fun and creative vibe. Yeah, there’s cowbell
    sampled and apparently some organic elements as well
    (behold the Old Nasty Organ), hard to pull everything
    apart. T-White is a Chicago operative…damn shame KFJC’s
    Spiderman is not around for this House Shoes party mix.

    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on October 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Odd Nosdam Featuring Jessica Bailiff – “Untitled Three” – [Anticon.]

    333

    god damn is this a collaboration to write home about. Odd Nosdam stands at the helm of hip-hop’s avant-garde with his crooked, broken, bottom heavy beats pickin hard at the heart strings; add Jessica Bailiff’s distant dream-laden vocalizations to open and close and a lethal injection of instrumental beauty from herself and her partner in pageantry Jesse Edwards (not to mention local cat Dax Pierson cutting deep with the melodica and other goodies on a particularly moving track), and you get some of the most gorgeous production I’ve heard on anything that can claim street cred. passionate, raw, but dare i say ethereal? definitely not

  • Reviewed by abacus on October 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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