Music Reviews

Dessa – “Castor The Twin” – [Doomtree Records]

MSTiZA   1/7/2013   CD, Hip Hop

Dessa, a member of the Doom tree family. Her sophomore release is much more achieved and matured. Possiby even too mature for non cmommercial radio. In no way is this an insult to either party. Simply, it begs the question- where do mature female rappers/song writers belong? In college radio? It’s moody and honest; sometimes story telling in song. A talented backing band creates the moods with guests like Cecil Otter on Mandolin.


Scales – “Mister Roger Bails Out of Everything” – [Self-released]

abacus   12/12/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Some slippery slop hop from local guy Scales. Apparently he wrote the songs for this EP while going through a schizophrenic breakdown, so he says, and it sure sounds like it. Hallucinatory imagery and an unhinged perception of the social climate are the content of his thoroughly confused ramblings with skewed diction and a stumbling cadence. “Chronic constipation” of fantastical scenarios and silly dialogues and dark brooding beats and layered textures that left me “wet with saliva.” A deluded mind spitting some diluted reflections… “Yo their milk is whack!”

Rah Digga – “Classic” – [Raw Koncept]

abacus   11/23/2012   CD, Hip Hop

This ain’t the little girl you see on the front! This is the sophomore release from Newark, NJ emcee after taking 10 years off to raise her child. She has worked with a number of hiphop groups including being a member of Busta Rhymes’ crew Flipmore Squad and working with the Outsidaz, who collaborated with The Fugees. She’s working here with the same producer as her last album, Nottz, who provides some fresh cuts including looped samples of rock, soul, funk, gospel and more along heavy bumping beats, even some radio broadcast sampling on 8, video game sounds on 9.??A perfect background to frame Rah Digga’s brash, in your face style with creative rhyme schemes and a mature delivery, a true disciple of the golden age and firmly rooted in a 2000’s style. All in all some raw classic real Rah Digga, dig it.

Kool Keith – “Legend of Tashan Dorrsett, The” – [Fat Beats]

MSTiZA   11/14/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

The Legend of Tashan Dorrsett takes the original album, minus the bonus tracks, and remixes them. This also features the instrumental remixes. If “The Legend of Tashan..” was a hobo. No, if “The :egend of Tashan..” was a prostitute, then this release is like letting her take a hot shower and buying her a new dress. Not dinner, just a shower and a new dress. Instead of dropping her off on her same old corner, she’s let loose on the small town boulevard where no one knows she’s more than familiar with the streets. At the local dive she’s exotic and the men lap at her heels. She gets to choose, instead of be chosen. All is good when an old bag still has new tricks. The Legend lets the beats shine, outfitting the instrumentals ??on it’s own 12″. Pimp it on clean sheets while you can.


FCC: A2, A3, A5, A6, B2, B5

P.O.S. – “We Don’t Even Live Here” – [Rhymesayers Ent.]

humana   11/12/2012   CD, Hip Hop

I know nothing about hip hop. That said, I really liked this release. Stefon Alexander is P.O.S.; he’s from Minneapolis, and here he offers some thought-provoking, fast-talking rap on top of some pretty energetic beats (check out 5 and 8). One review commented that this is a departure from “his noisy past in favor of futuristic beats fit for a Berlin nightclub”. I wish I could be as articulate.

Mighty Underdogs, The – “Droppin’ Science Fiction” – [Definitive Jux]

Dianthus   10/31/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is the debut album from a bay area supergroup comprised of Quannum/Solesides members Lateef “The Truth Speaker” (Latryx, Maroons), The Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Headnodic (crown City Rockers). Together they formed the Mighty Underdogs after Lateef liked enough Headnodic- produced tracks from his solo album that he wanted to make another album with him and Gift of Gab saw his opportunity to collaborate. With special guests including MF Doom , DJ Shadow, Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, Tha Alkaholiks’ Tash, Chali 2na, and Julian and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley this album appeals to the masses. Not the usual creative lyrics I expect from these artists, but still some fun hooks on tracks like supergalactic “Gunfight” and “Hands in the air” Lateef’s flow enchants you on “UFC remix” and “Laughing at You” features creepy laughter and beat-boxing. Great road trip hip-hop for sure! – Dianthus-

Immortal Technique – “Revolutionary Vol. 1” – [Viper Records]

mickeyslim   10/17/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Outspoken rapper Immortal Technique’s first album is pretty fucking amazing. Born in Peru, grew up in Harlem, started a reputation as a ferocious battle MC. Using the money from battles, he produced this, Revolutionary Vol. 1.

Whatever the topic, Immortal Technique raps with utter conviction, even in the track “Beef & Broccoli” he got me all up in arms about people who diss on the food he likes to eat… theres also the usual racism, killing cops, government control, world revolution, etc.

Track 2 is apocalyptic, track 6 has a cool flute groove with the lyrics half in Spanish, tack 7 has a siren, track 8 blows you away, and the whole album is full of FCC’s. SAFE HARBOR FUN!

Oh No – “Dr.No’s Ethiopium” – [Disruption Productions]

MSTiZA   10/10/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

Oh No, producer and rapper. 1/2 of the duo Gangrene [with the Alchemist], whose recently added picture 12″ got many plays at KFJC. Here is a 2009 release of music inspired and filled with samplings of rare 60s & 70s Ethiopian funk, soul, jazz, folk, & psychadelic rock. The track Xcalibur features samples of “A shweyna” by Mahmoud Ahmed. Juke Joint features samples from “Gubyle” by Mulatu Astatque. The grooves are gritty, the beats are fuzzed out. Mixtape shout outs commanderas stngers buzzing a fuzzy “Dr. No’s Ethiopium” in the same way that Tubby dropped a tape echo or Scientist sliced with the snare. Transport your self to the Horn of Africa, get rooted with one of history’s great kingdoms.


JJ Doom – “Key to The Kuffs” – [Lex Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/6/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Hitting heavy on the stream of consciousness levee. MF DOOM’s flow
surges like a river ready to burst, Jneiro Jarel drops flotsam
and jetsamples into the mix, keeping it thick. Hell, the first
track is actually called “Waterlogged” and it will work just fine
for Negativland fans, it helps to set the cartoon world where
Doom lives. With a voice as strong as his mask, and a mind
as steely, Daniel Dumile goes miles beyond the simple 8 and
a cliche fate. It’s 20 years plus since KMD, and Doom is
not weighed down by history, or homeland insecurity. Is he
really locked out of the USA, could be a stunt or something
less blunt, but he’s got the keys to the kuffs and an imagination
that most rappers can’t dream of. Hooking up with Jarel has
brought out some tweaky beats, no fear of the experimental
elementals. Janel also does some reverse editing, zapping
some of the coherence out of spoken samples. This is an
album that get you thinking and laughing, especially with Doon’s
cockney rhyming slang gangster. Even if he’s no G, he sure
as hell is O. Guest rappers step into the mix, but I found
myself waiting for time to collapse (sorry Dawg) and get back
to Doom. Even if he’s just goofing on bad hygiene (“Wash
Your Hands”), or delving in to a skin-on-skin resurrection
(“Winter Blues”). Like all the best comic books, much more
going on than treats the eye/ear here.

-Thurston Hunger

Dave Dub – “Treatment, The” – [Stones Throw]

Thurston Hunger   10/6/2012   CD, Hip Hop

For some reason this album makes me think of a slinky in space.
The beats are nearly gravity free, never pulling just pushing
you along, E-mu SP-1200 drum machine dialed down to minimal life
support. However the bass is often heavy as a singularity, would
sound good cruising in a Romulan bird of prey. And to warp that
metaphor past its drive, there some definite Spock-in-love
beats… Like on “Space Nigga”, man that definitely has the
fragrance of flowers from This Side of Paradise. And while
looking above past the final frontier into God’s secret lair,
the lyrics here do get a little preachy, but I figure it’s like
when a baller throws down a killer dunk and then thanks god,
the actual earthly show and flow ain’t too shabby. Anyways, the
emphasis is on the complex, not the Messiah most of the time.
You want French horns set to stun, lock into the Day or Reckoning
(one of two instros, the other is “Gratitude”). Party track with
friends to close with “Domination”. Third stones throw from the
sun, and check “Tribulation” for cosmic Hendrix consciousness.
-Thurston Hunger

Sixtoo – “Almost a Dot On The Map. The Psyche Years” – [Vertical Form]

MSTiZA   9/12/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

Vaughn Robert Squire is Canadian DJ/PRoducer/Rapper, Sixtoo. Before the Iphone, Ipod/pad, there was a generation of youth that used the walkman. During this era, in Hip Hop, you rocked a back pack. It contained what you ‘signified’: uni-wide, mean streak, black book, note book, walkman. These were the tools, the means were the hands. They threw up illegal art in public protest, nodded their vote in a battle, anchored bboys in their cyphers, and finessed a cut and scratch out of dad’s old record collection. The rhythm of life, coupled with reality’s blues, and backed by beats all paved an escape. The beats that Sixtoo filled this era with are heavy with nostalgia. Like spoken word, his raps are filled with emotion. Aggression, misanthropy, empathy, and compassion are themes lacing time together, giving insight into the subconscious of VRS and the post-golden era of hip hop.
FCC:1, 7, 8, 10, 13, 16, 17, 22
FAVE: 2, 5, 19, 21,22

Eligh – “As They Pass” – [S/r]

abacus   9/5/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Debut solo release originally put out on cassette in 1996 from this Living Legend, Eligh. This is right about the time he moved from LA up to the East Bay and is joined here on a number of tracks by fellow Legends PSC (Luckyiam), Murs and Grouch, as well as some soon to come like Safari/Bicasso and Arata out of Japan. ??Dark, apocalyptic beats set to creepy tone melodies evolve into some more low-key summertime chill grooves for contrast. We get some hard driving, bottom heavy beats and some more glitched, all with a studio focus, not sample heavy, but never redundant and always dynamic. Eloquent off-rhyming and creative lyricism reflect themes of success and lack thereof in the music business, hopes and dreams and ideological turmoil in daily life in the Bay, sociological changes at the dawn of the computer era and a lot of philosophical introspection within Eligh’s abstract,??asymmetrical??phrasing. The multilingual tracks (10, 11, 17) are definitely the highlights, with Arata on 10, Yuki Hara out of Japan on 11, and Kool Savas from Germany on 17 (a track about KALX!). This is a piece of history digitally remastered for our listening pleasure, so hit it! FCC 4, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 18

Stones Throw 101 [coll] – [Stones Throw]

The Mole   8/30/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Peanut Butter Wolf, executive producer and DJ, started the Stones Throw label in 1996. This release from 2004, is a mix CD of the hits, misses and unreleased tracks, 42, count them. Wolf’s ability to connect the thick beats togetha in a seamless string of continuous rhymes and shuffles, has the listener asking “is this hip hop or what”? The reviewer says “sometimes”. The term Hip Hop is widely used, but the Stones Throw label is so wide that you could fall head first into Percee P and end up flat on your back with a hazy funk from J Rocc. Hip, yes, very, Hop, yes, on both feet, this 70 minute mix will take you into a blaze of finger snapp’n, toe tapp’n and tongue lash’n verbal assaults, that will convince you that it ain’t all rapp’n. The mix opens with a fifteen year old Charizma, lay’n out hommage to PBW and then blasts into artists like, Dudley Perkins, Lootpack, Jaylib, Madvillain, Quasimoto, and the utterly wild, Gary Wilson. This smooth mix will have you laying down pipes like a plumber. PLUS, there is a DVD with 15 KOOL video’s.


Bomb Worldwide [coll] – [Bomb Hip-Hop Records]

mickeyslim   8/29/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

Fresh tracks from hip-hop artists around the world; U.S., U.K., Germany, Canada. Japan and Australia. We have 4 of the 5 artists from the U.S, in our library, but the rest are new to KFJC. The album really takes off on track 4 when we hear four German groups go at it together on “Hip-Hop und Rap,” rapping mostly in German and fucking????laying it down. The tracks on here from artists in the U.S. are kind of overshadowed by the international hip-hop tracks, mostly ’cause of their novelty, but I am a fan of the Defari, J-Live, and the Dilated Peoples tracks.

The Australian group, Def Wish Cast, uses unique samples and sounds, almost a Beastie Boys with awkward Aussie accents.??The Japanese song, by Muro feat. Gore Tex, is the only song without any English, and the German songs are rapped MOSTLY in German. I am a sucker for rap in a British accent, but the beat in “Payin’ the Price” has a little cheese, maybe steer clear.

Lots of cool tracks on this double LP, I marked some good ones. If you’re a hip-hop lover, hit this sheet… but watch fo’ FCC, yo.

Usual – “Fake” – [Leaving Records]

Thurston Hunger   7/25/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

I’ll have the Usual, and by that I mean the foggy windows
and the mystery meat of the MC hidden in shadows.
Single-sided 12″ but the song splits into two, the
first part a hyper-abstract self-exam over keyboards
that are oozing sweat, and a slugged out drum kit.
Halfway through the ride the MC has a “Panic” attack
and the story shifts to a crime scene. Might be in
Illadelphia, might be in Detroit, either way familiar
streets and grooves of the gangsta. The drums pick up
perkier on that latter half, but it’s the dirty rub
of the analog synth that give this single, from
MatthewDavid’s Leaving Records label, the sting that
lingers. We all choose the ruse with no excuse…
So what’s Fake…

-Thurston Hunger

Gangrene – “Odditorium” – [Decon Records]

surferrosa   7/25/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

The Alchemist and Oh-No team up once again to deliver the beats, scratches and psychedelia. The hip hop here has a dark, warped sort of air to it. It wiggles, wobbles, convulses and foams at the mouth. Samplage is heavy and often times bizarre, echoing of fuzz guitar and drug use. This record is saturated with odd sounds and all sorts of static, which makes this listen surprisingly noisy. Check B2 for frog sounds. Rhymes are divine, strung together artfully, bringing home the clever and often speaking of food and other substances. The loops here are infectious, maddeningly repetitious and certainly something to bounce to. Gangrene slathers their art with a thick layer of grit and grime, producing a truly eccentric sound like no other. -Surfer Rosa

Man’s Best Friend – “New Human Is Legal, The” – [Morr Music]

Dianthus   7/25/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop


An essential item for any Anticon fan, “Man’s Best Friend” is the solo project created by frontman Sole. Produced and arranged by the man himself, this hip-hop gem not only brings lyrically planned out attacks against the government and authority, but also some interestingly obscure background beats. Experimentally crunchy and goth-hoppy, jelly-cloaked sounds serve as ambiance to Sole’s hoarse voice and gut wrenchingly truthful raps on tracks like “Little Bank Anthem” and The Devil’s a Traveling Man”. A light and happy launching pad for such fierce spoken words are aided by soul & funk hooks on tracks”Idol Victim” and “Ode to Clean Air. “Numb” and “Attack Russia”bring the electronic oscillators to Sole’s politically charged discussions about life and warfare as only he can explain best. Some of the tracks can be a bit fuzzy and does sometimes overshadow the rhymes, but overall a fulfilling record to reflext on the 2003-2004 unsteady world climate and a sarcastcally, brutal freestyle that makes Sole one of the best underground rappers around.


“Never Not Fresh” [coll] – [Decon Records]

Roland Blunt   7/16/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Rap compilation from New York-based media/production company Decon Records, featuring a notable roster of Emcees & Deejays collaborating to flaunt a dappled array of verbal and musical acrobatics. Aceyalone, RJD2, Jurrasic 5, Blackalicious, The Alchemist, and Del The Funky Homosapien shine brightest among other heavyweights of the hip hop overground, such as Casual, Lyrics Born, Abstract Rude, Micah 9, Chali 2na, and Dilated Peoples.

Recommend: Track 2 for its smooth flow and rolling groove; Track 3 for its clever production and strong rhymes; Track 6 for it’s uber-collaborative tongue twistage; Track 10 for laid back vibe and strong hook; Track 14…RJD2’s impressively lush theme music for AMC’s Mad Men.

***Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, & 13 have naughty language!!!***

Radioinactive – “Akashic Record, The” – [Flying Carpet Studios]

MSTiZA   7/2/2012   CD, Hip Hop

It’s been a long time since Radioinactive has released new material (Soundtrack to a Book, 2006). The history of Radioinactive begins with Log Cabin Crew in the early 90’s and featuring Murs, Eligh, and Scarab. Later he collaborated with Awol ONE and MC Circus which would turn into the Shapeshifters, releasing The Planet of Shapes (1997), Know Future, and Shapeshifters Was Here (2007). These two collectives, out of LA, were centered around the underground hip hop mecca on the West Coast, the Good Life Cafe . Radioinactive has a distinct West Coast/So Cal style similar to other indie hip hop artists from the era/area. On The Akashic Record, Radioinactive pairs humor and and nostalgia with his a rhythmic, syncopated cadenced rap style. Akashic is a Sanskrit word meaning “aether” or rather “ether” in both its elemental and metaphysical senses. In hinduism, Akasha means the basis and essence of all things. It is the fifth element of life and it’s main characteristic is Shabda (sound). The Egyptian American/LA based artist, takes simple subject matter and merges middle eastern elements to west coast roots.

PGM: Track 3 Insturmental

FCC: 11

Exile Radio – “Am/fm” – [Plug Research]

Laethaka   6/25/2012   CD, Hip Hop

LA remixed dance/commercials/hip hop out to confuse and amuse. Almost every song starts with a short analog radio dial spin– make listeners think something just popped loose! Some remixes awesomely expand on lyrical content. Tracks 2-12 are the real meat but there’s some decent rap on the outer borders. Favorakkas: #3 wicked sample of some California gal “OMGGGG LET’S GOOOOOO”, #9 smooth groove love & devotion, #12 overpopulation commercialism reaction hysterics, #19 inequality, negritude, sweet spoken in-/outros, #20 expert rap that gets analog-radio-dial spun around a few times

FCC #12, 19, 20

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