Friday, February 22, 2008

Ta'Raach "Yeah" (2006)

Most heads probably already have an opinion on Ta'Raach at this point, seeing that he's dropped two albums in the last three years. I'll also admit that I haven't heard most of his material, so I don't have an opinion one way or the other on how thorough his discog is to date.

That being said, when my man DJ June put together a crate of hip-hop from '04-'06 that I'd apparently been sleeping on, this joint bubbled up to the top quickly:

"Yeah" is one of those joints where you can't point to one aspect that makes it a banger - it's the cumulative effect that's just RAW. On the surface, Ta'Raach's flow is slightly disjointed, stream-of-conscious - but possesses a confidence that makes it come off as more raw than Kool-Keith-style incoherent:

I'm like whatever - I'm a do me dog, just be ya
N*ggas hearts still fell apart, like cheap Filas

Ta'Raach's delivery is that 'fuck all y'all'/slappin-suckas-silly vibe, which only contributes to the disjointed nature of the lyrics and flow. Then there's the beat itself, which perfectly matches his delivery. It's mostly a simple loop, but the consistency of it (and its affirmative nature - "I feel it") serves as the perfect foundation for the aggressive/abstract stab of the flow. A few xylophone notes drop occasionally to complement the cyclical piano loop...shit is just ill.

B-side "Heaven" is dope as well, and even darker, fueled by a muted bassline and slightly more focused flow, although his delivery retains the same instinct to pause after spitting a few bars he exhibits in "Yeah". If these tracks weren't produced as well, shit might not come off like it does, but the cumulative effect is one of the better indie 12's I've heard in a while.

Includes "Yeah" (street/radio/inst), as well as b-side "Heaven" (street/radio/inst).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dedication To The Suckers 12" (1999)

This record was actually requested a good while ago, but Life has been hell for the kid lately. But gratefully things are looking somewhat positive and I've finally found time to up this banger for the masses.

(picture courtesy of

Dedication To The Suckers has to be one of my favorite 12-inch singles of all time. This record is a great example of quality from start to finish. This record is as much about Phat Kat's charisma and style on the mic as it is about the late great J-Dilla's ill drums and superior samples. The title cut of this record, "Dedication To The Suckers" has an ill empty feeling, with hard drums and a light sample. Phat Kat pretty much discusses his disgust with weak rappers and bullshitting emcees.

If you're a fan of J-Dilla or Detroit hip-hop in general, then this single is a must have in any person's collection. The production takes a huge step up on "Don't Nobody Care About Us." Easily one of my top favorite tracks over the past 10 years. Phat Kat recites KRS-One's verse from "Friends" for the hook and brings more Detroit flavor and savvy that actually helps you appreciate the beat. With a perfectly placed Biggie sample, the beat shows Dilla's ear for making great music.

Cause don't nobody care about us, all they do is doubt us
Until we blow the spot then they all wanna crowd us

The last banger on this single is "Microphone Master," which is a little lighter than the previous two tracks, but just as effective in its delivery. "Microphone Master" brings to mind a more familiar flavor that Dilla fans are use to hearing, with a light jazzy mood with abstract female vocals samples. Phat Kat comes with a fun approach on the track with several comedy filled metaphors and the type of "shit-talk" that shows his Detroit roots.

Each and every one of you got a job to do
Gotta stay real and keep your shit true
If you want it punk, you betta bring yo whole crew
Your shit stink, like that damn doo-doo on your shoe

With silly lines like that you obviously see where Phat Kat is taking it with his braggadocio on this track. A
ll 3 songs as well as all 3 instrumentals are available. Peace.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Nine "Lyin' King" (1995)

From Funk Flex's "Six Million Ways to Die" on, Nine's managed to drop a number of semi-classic records. Producer Rob Lewis put together enough ill tracks to make a name in the process, and in making his case as slept-on mid-nineties producer, "Lyin' King" should be 'Exhibit A':

However you may feel about Nine as an MC (it's "mostly the voice" right?) - this is one of the better examples of How To Make A Hip-Hop Cut. Tight, effective, ill intro. Beat that switches up the samples, at times subtle, at times hits you over the head. Chorus that includes both chanting and a vocal sample. Lyrics tightly focused on a theme, from the get-go:

I heard your album, and I don't believe a word of it
I think you're soft like that chick Mother Hubbard,
fillin' the cupboard
with canned goods like Mother Goose who lived in a shoe-
next door to your weak-ass crew...

I won't pretend this cut is particularly obscure - Profile managed to market it pretty well in '95 - but the twelve" here is essential, for the attention Rob Lewis' beat gets. The "Catch the Beat" instrumental is a pared-down version of the track; the only sample that is included is a quick piano stab, which highlights the drum programming. Obviously, though, the main attraction is the original instrumental, which is much more intricate a track.

Includes "Lyin' King" (clean, LP, instrumental, acappella, "Catch the Beat" instrumental) and "Industry Party" (LP and instrumental).