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Max Herman
20 September, 2004 12:00 am

      With hip-hop groups that use live instrumentation becoming commonplace, it’s not easy to stand out amongst a sea of keyboard toting bands. The quintet Crown City Rockers (formally known as Mission) are one of these bands fighting for distinction. On their new album, Earthtones, MC Raashan Ahmad, producer Woodstock, keyboardist Kat Ouano, bassist/producer Headnodic [cont.]

13 September, 2004 12:00 am

Compilation; No Rating Given        With one of the most controversial Presidents in American history looking to get re-elected, the politically-fueled hip-hop/ electronic compilation, Who’s America?, serves as a fitting soundtrack to our country’s heated political climate. Thankfully not one of the artists on this compilation is flat out telling you who to vote for. [cont.]

13 September, 2004 12:00 am

“See the thing that pisses me off about rappers most of all in their endeavors and journeys to ‘keep it real’ is these motherfuckers lie so much that the average audience thinks that we’re all liars.”     These words voiced by Qwel on “The ‘IT’ in ‘Keeping IT Real’” are hard to argue with. But [cont.]

7 September, 2004 12:00 am

    Capital D is pissed and for good reason. Much of the rhymes he spit with his group All Natural may have been directed towards those giving hip-hop a bad rap, but for the better part of his new solo outing, Insomnia, Cap has even bigger fish to fry. The title of this Chicagoan’s album [cont.]

1 September, 2004 12:00 am

     After a six-year hiatus, Brand Nubian is re-entering the game as a pack of hip-hop elders ready to share their street wisdom and lead the youth in the right direction. Their fifth album, Fire In The Hole, is far from their best work to date, but Sadat X, Lord Jamar, and off again/ on [cont.]

1 September, 2004 12:00 am

   The music of Wale Oyejide, a.k.a. Science Fiction, is not what you’d typically expect to find in the hip-hop/rap section of your record store (or at HipHopSite for that matter). You see, this Nigerian-born, now stateside musician sings instead of raps and his production is a lot more than emotive than your typical boom-bap. [cont.]

17 August, 2004 12:00 am

    On Chief Kamachi’s long-awaited debut, Cult Status, his hunger to be heard oozes out of his commanding voice. Like the title of this album implies, this Philly-native has garnered quite a following. But this has been achieved through collaborations and by recording only a handful of songs (Remember “Nile Nutrition” featuring the Last Emperor?). [cont.]

16 August, 2004 12:00 am

As radio stations and music video channels keep a stagnant rotation going, it’s easy for many casual hip-hop fans to grow either fearful or oblivious of anything truly original. Producer/engineer/DJ/graffiti writer and Sonic Sum member Fred Ones is hoping his debut album, Phobia of Doors: A Collection of Short Stories, will show people that underground [cont.]

20 July, 2004 12:00 am

     If it wasn’t for Prince Po’s guest spot on Danger Mouse & Jemini’s Ghetto Pop Life last year (“Copy Cats”) it would have been safe to assume for most heads that Po fell off the face of the earth. Compared to his ex-Organized Konfusion partner in rhyme, Pharaohe Monch, Po has taken a bit longer to [cont.]

28 June, 2004 12:00 am

    Some MCs talk about ‘taking it back’ and even more boast about ‘being on some next shit.’ Meanwhile the little known trio, The Others, have found the equilibrium right between these two ideologies. Don’t be fooled by their name–these Charlotte, North Carolina reps aren’t creating inaccessible music by any means. Following in the steps [cont.]

28 June, 2004 12:00 am

    The raspy voice of AWOL One is unmistakable–once you hear it, you’re not likely to forget it. But it’s not just the hoarse resonance of this L.A. MC’s vocals that catches ears–it’s his internal conflict that is channeled through this voice. On his new self-titled album, AWOL continues to treat his raps like self-help [cont.]

9 May, 2004 12:00 am

     After sending shockwaves throughout the underground with last year’s masterful Shadows On The Sun, Brother Ali returns to defend his champion status on the mic. Expectations for Ali’s work may now be astronomically high, but the Champion EP proves that he’s still standing victorious in the ring of hip-hop with beatsmith Ant sitting in his [cont.]

27 April, 2004 12:00 am

    Afu Ra has been reppin’ his Perverted Monks crew since what seems like his debut on wax, but it’s not until roughly ten years later in 2004 that his crewmates Respect, A-Sun and Ca-See are officially brought out from the shadows. On Afu-Ra Presents: Perverted Monks these four self-proclaimed righteous men let us know that we [cont.]

20 April, 2004 12:00 am

       When the East Coast independent scene was only in its infant stages in ’96, the upfront crew Non-Phixion was right there helping pave the way for a new era of hip-hop. Remember the single “5 Boros” or its b-side “4 W’s”? After years of dealing with botched record deals with everyone from MC Serch’s Serchlite [cont.]

6 April, 2004 12:00 am

     Part of what has made California’s Living Legends a mainstay in underground hip-hop is the fact that they’re just regular guys. Compared to the book smart rappers who often spew obscure references, the LL crew is just easy to relate to on one level or another. Roughly ten years after their emergence, the Mystik Journeymen, [cont.]

6 April, 2004 12:00 am

      Prozack Turner of Foreign Legion has charisma and he knows it. The people at Dreamworks obviously knew it too when they signed him. While DreamWorks has since been bought out, leaving Prozack in uncertainty, this bay area MC took the initative and made “tour only” copies of his solo debut Death, Taxes & Prozack available.      [cont.]

30 March, 2004 12:00 am

     As the lyrics from the title-track of the Visionaries’ new album, Pangaea, imply, this six-man crew out of Cali began like a supercontinent–just like the Earth did before it drifted as separate continents that shifted. Key Kool illustrates the metaphor best when he raps, “We’re not all alike but fall right into place.” And [cont.]

23 March, 2004 12:00 am

Eyedea & Abilities have been taking risks with hip-hop since they were still in high school and their new album, E&A, is the big payoff. Never bothering with college these two recorded their first album and went touring coast-to-coast with Atmosphere when they were still teenagers. But a lot has changed since then. I talked [cont.]

10 March, 2004 12:00 am

It’s been a long time coming for the Sound Providers. Six years after dropping their debut on wax, “Dope Transmission” b/w “The Field,” they finally get their proper chance to show and prove. Their full-length debut, An Evening with the Sound Providers, draws the listener into a simulated performance at an intimate club as producers [cont.]

10 February, 2004 12:00 am

     The always meditative 2Mex has become one of the most compelling MCs to surface from LA’s renowned underground. Rolling with the Visionaries, Shapeshifters, and Of Mexican Descent, 2MEX has dropped ample material solo and alongside his many crews. On his latest, self-titled album, he draws upon the many styles we’ve seen him flex along [cont.]

  Mixtape D.L.
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