Archive for the ‘Hip-hop reviews’ Category


Nas & Slaughterhouse Rock Eastern Michigan University

by admin ·

As usual, Nas was incredible at Eastern Michigan University on February 6. The Queenbridge-bred rapper performed songs from Illmatic, all the while celebrating the seminal album’s 15th anniversary. Nas told the crowd, “Some of y’all were two when this came out.” A telling but true statement of how legendary of an emcee he remains to be. Still, his relevance dimmed in no way as every song her performed was a crowd pleaser.

Opening act Royce Da 5’9″ brought some big time friends along when he opened for Nas at EMU. Joe Budden, Crooked I, and Joell Ortiz rocked the packed arena as the lyrical monster Slaughterhouse. It wasn’t the first time an audience has been treated to this group. The group started out as a song of the same name. It begs the question: did one of the best songs of 2008 create one of the best new groups of 2009 or vice versa?

Complete with nifty t-shirts with their names on the back, Slaughterhouse did their thing and completely warmed up the excited college crowd. Their presence in Michigan almost guaranteed that they were recording. While nothing was confirmed, the smirks on their collective faces suggested an affirmative.

All in all, it was a great show that won’t be quickly forgotten. Here are some clips.

Slaughterhouse – “Live at Eastern Michigan University”

Royce Da 5’9” – “Boom”

Nas – “Sly Fox”

Nas “Made You Look”

Nas performs “N.I.*.*.E.R.”


Preview: Common’s Universal Mind Control

by admin ·

As Common plays “Universal Mind Control,” the opener to his Dec. 9 album of the same name, he can’t help but pop-lock a little bit as he mouths the words along with the track. By his own admission, Common’s records have never been known as club bangers but that’s definitely about to change. While attending his live shows’ after-parties last year, he noticed a distinct pattern while everyone celebrated.

“My own DJ wasn’t playing none of my songs and I realized I needed something for people to rock in the clubs,” he explains to the small group of media folk assembled at New York City’s Legacy Studios. It’s almost as if Common only recently noticed that he had a certain image that the rest of us assumed he was cultivating intentionally. Never content to sit back and do the expected, in early 2008 he began work on the Invincible Summer EP that eventually grew into this full album, Universal Mind Control.

While much of Universal Mind Control is comprised of dance records, don’t think that Common is somehow compromising himself. He still injects his own high-minded take on music into each track and, with the help of The Neptunes and Mr. DJ of OutKast infamy, conducts experiments on sound.

“We wanted to take the music to the future and do things that I had never done before and they had never done before,” asserts Common. Mission accomplished: even for a production team known for diversity, UMC breaks new ground.

1. Universal Mind Control (prod. The Neptunes) – The Afrika Bambaataa inspired single featuring Pharrell that sets the tone for what’s to come. No big changes from what we’ve already heard.

2. Punch Drunk Love (prod. The Neptunes) – A laid back swing where Com talks to a lady giving him “the eye.” Kanye heard it and insisted on getting on the hook so some changes were made and the original featuring Pharrell became the remix. That other version is likely to appear as a bonus track.

3. Make My Day (prod. Mr. DJ) - A little bounce mixed in with So-Cal top-down music with a touch of Outkast. Cee-Lo assists on this hook, who Common says he’d like to work with on every album.
4. Sex 4 Sugar (prod. The Neptunes) - Common ties on a little Jungle Brothers on top of a thumping beat and marching-band snares. Common’s talking to a stripper on this one and it’s definitely not about going to college.

5. Announcement (prod. The Neptunes) – Another single featuring Pharrell, who according to Common came to the studio with his verse already on the track. “We just wanted to make a tribute to Biggie in our own way,” Common says of the track, which flips the late Frank White’s “Dreams” into 2008.

Announcement – Common

6. Gladiator (prod. The Neptunes) – Anyone who would still accuse him of being granola or going hipster will have their mouths shut after listening to “Gladiator,” a ridiculously hard auditory assault. Common jokes that he tried to mix a little Ghostface in to the RZA influenced beat (“You know how Ghostface will come on the hook like, “Yeah n*gga, what!’”). A definite favorite of the critics assembled in the room.

7. Changes (prod. Mr. DJ) – Again, Common hasn’t entirely abandoned inspirational themes and imagines that this track could be something for Barack Obama to play on inauguration day. [Ed. Note: Common played this before Obama was President Elect] Mr. DJ layers sounds to create a bright visual for him to speak on and at the end, Common’s eleven year old daughter steps in to drop a little poetry.
Changes – Common

8. Inhale (prod. The Neptunes) – Common says this one is “just good Hip-Hop. I don’t really have a big explanation for it.” Probably the most prototypical Neptunes beat with Chad even joining in to scratch in a sample of Tribe’s “Sucka N***a.”

9. What a World (prod. The Neptunes) - Common breaks down the typical conventions of structure to tell the story of his life on a Funk inspired track. D.A. from Chester French passionately sings the hook over Max’s guitar riffs and a N.E.R.D.-meets-Blondie flavored arrangement.
10. Everywhere (Runaway) (prod. Mr. DJ) – Believe it or not, if Common formed a band with Pat Benatar or Stevie Nicks, this is probably what they’d come up with and it turns out a lot better than you’d assume. Probably the most deliberately 80’s song and absolutely accomplishes the goal of delivering something unexpected.


While this record is decidedly not another attempt at the critically panned Electric Circus, it is a more expansive take on Common than you’re probably used to. Hollywood is paying Common’s bills quite nicely these days, freeing him to truly make music for the love. With his musical career experiencing a second Renaissance and Hip-Hop opening up to a more broad take on the art, it’s perfect time for him to branch out, and he takes full advantage. Don’t let Universal Mind Control slip by in the sure to be crowded December schedule.


Bump It or Blow It?: Creme De La Creme Mixtape

by admin ·

Welcome to the first edition of Bump it or Blow it.  In this feature, we’ll be presenting you with mixtapes, videos, and occasional singles and leaving it to you, the readers to make the call. 


Dub Frequency comes through with imeem to bring you the Creme De La Creme mixtape, an eclectic mix of artists from all over the country and all corners of Hip-Hop. 


The Cool Kids rock “Pop The Trunk” while  the Kidz In The Hall “Drive Down The Block.” Other notables such as Blu from Blu & Exile, Mickey Factz also populate the underground heavy mixtape.  Check it out right here and lets us know if it bumps or it blows.




The Creme De La Creme

Poll Answers


American Gangster: Film & Soundtrack Review

by admin ·

Featuring Common, RZA, T.I. and a slew of Hollywood’s finest acting talent, this movie is stolen by Washington who shows us the complex levels of a man who had what it took to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but instead ended up another victim of racism-induced rage. Co-star Russell Crowe’s steady performance (featuring a shaky accent that lands somewhere between Australia and New Jersey) is solid but not enough to make the audience root for him, while Washington, as brutal as his character is, steals hearts, minds and theater audience applause.

After you see the movie, don’t forget to check out the adequate, although somewhat typical, official soundtrack featuring a diverse slate of artists such as Anthony Hamilton, Bobby Womack, Public Enemy, The Staple Singers and more. Surrounded by classic artists, Hamilton offers brand new soul stuff in the form of the lead single “Do You Feel Me” (which he also performs in the film).

And keep an eye open forJay-Z’s unofficial soundtrack of the same name. Due to drop November 6, it’s chock full of new material and ranks as the Def Jam honcho’s best work in years. Really.

Full film review

Film website


Underground Spotlight: Rock The Bells Review

by MCavanaugh ·

While I was not lucky enough to catch both shows at Rock The Bells in New York, [the June 29] performance is guaranteed to be remembered as the wettest and nastiest day in Hip-Hop history.

The status of the Rock The Bells festival has raised drastically since its single show in 2004 in Boston. That concert will always be historically remembered by Wu-Tang fans as the last performance of the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Four months later, ODB overdosed from pain killers and cocaine in the Clan’s studio. R.I.P. Russell Tyrone Jones.


Chicken Noodle Soup, Anyone?

by Ife Oshun ·

Chicken NoodleWell if you didn’t know about the new dance craze out of Harlem, U.S.A., here’s the scoop. It’s called Chicken Noodle Soup and it’s all over the place, including YouTube and BET.

Basically the song of the same name chants lyrics like “Let it rain!, Clear it out!” and has inspired this nutty looking wobble leg wop. As a result, you can go to the oh-so-ripe-for-a-lawsuit YouTube, and see jillions of videos of homies doing the chicken noodle soup… In the streets, on the corner, in churches… in the bedroom… everywhere.

BET takes it one better. They’re sponsoring a talent search where you can submit your video of you and your friends doing the chicken noodle soup. The best ones get to sport their skills on BET On Blast and/or 106 & Park.

We think the song is like those old-school New York jams from back in the day (think Frankie Smith’s “Double Dutch Bus”) even though it has that snap music vibe. You gotta love Young B on this track, taking it waaaay back. As for the dance… there’s nothing old school about it.Take a listen and a look and tell us what you think of this.

Webstar feat. Young B – “Chicken Noodle Soup” Windows|Real