Sunday, April 24, 2005

I'm Mad Mean, I Kill Mad Crews, I Read Mad Magazine

We should be up and running. Enjoy the Masta Ace and Black Sheep and we should have an update today.





I went to see Handsome Boy Modeling School on Wednesday night. I scored a couple of free tickets, which have become increasingly rare since my college years. After attending the show, I read Cocaine Blunts' review and was amazed how much my thoughts mirrored those of Noz. Mr. Dead was hilarious. Josh Haden looked uncomfortable. And I was embarrassed that the crowd seemed to have no clue as to the identity of Dres. Dres!

To apologize collectively on behalf of all White People, this post is dedicated to Black Sheep emcee, whose flow was truly ahead of its time. If A Wolf came out now, it would sound just as fresh as it did in 1991.

'Similak Child' seemed to have a different feel than the rest of A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing. Almost serene despite the dog barking, Dres used the fantastic backdrop to describe the pursuit of the full-package type of lady. Part of the beauty of this track is that much like other classic Native Tongue's tracks (Find A Way, Let Let Me In,) the pursuit was not quite as misogynistic as 50 Cent yet not as emo as Atmosphere. It tended to reflect the middle ground featured in the lives that most of us live. Also, Dres reference to a Long Island Ice Tea as L.I.I.T. is a useful timesaver for alcoholics.

Naturally, the sample utilized by 'Similak Child' was too good to only be unearthed one time. LA Jay remixed the Masta Ace Incorporated hit 'Saturday Night Live' with a similak-like beat.

Black Sheep: Similak Child (MP3) (Buy It)
Masta Ace Inc.: Saturday Night Live (LA Jay Remix) (MP3) (Buy It)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Sauce

Like 50 Cent on "Hate Or Love It," we here at Rapnerd.com came up too fast. We have been having some issues with exceeding our hosting, which enables you to download our MP3s. Therefore, we are going to be selectively updating in April and should be back to full strength in May. Hopefully, you all won't forget about us. We will also incorporate an occasional link to another site as we will today.

Most of you probably remember the fonds days of opening your mailbox and unearthing a new Source Magazine. This made the Source's downfall too disappointing. Hiphopdx has just an amazing, wonderful article with former Music Editor Reginald Dennis. It took me almost an hour to read and I wish it was longer. Please note that it is three parts. I'll have some music for you soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Thrown Into A Six By Eight Steel Cabinet

Kind people, thanks for the great comments.

LJS: I gotta see if I can track down that NO ID track. Regardless, I will probably do a day of lesser known Dug produced tracks. Thanks for the idea.

Sadly, we've been having some technical difficulties over here. I plan on making up the non-existant Wednesday post with a rare Saturday make up. Also because of these technical difficulties, I only have access to one of this week's planned tracks. Lucky for all of us, it is a doozy. I promise I'll be back on track tomorrow though.

RZA: Sunshower (MP3):

How can a track like this not end up on some major domestic release? It did find its way onto the UK version of Wu-Tang Forever and the bootleg Formula For The Cure. As much as I love the whole Bob Digi concept, if this is what the legendary Cure was destined to sound like, I am despressed that it never happened. Being who I am, I can always respect those who show a depth of character on the mic. Emcees with positive and negative aspects to their topics come off as more believeable and powerful than those who fight only the good or bad side exclusively. Imagine if RZA could have dropped the original Bobby Digital and The Cure within a year or two.

As much as I'd like to claim that I intended it, the constant references to rain here are merely coincidental.

Has anyone read The Wu Tang Manual yet? I am picking that up too soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Frontin On Me And Chef, Yo It's Dog Day

Three more tracks today featuring Tony Starks. Let's not waste any time.

Raekwon f/ Ghostface Killah: Let It Rain (MP3)

The depth of Only Built For Cuban Linx is simply stunning. All fifteen tracks, including the "Striving For Perfection" intro, shine. For good measure, the two bonus tracks add, "Heaven And Hell" and "North Star" were exemplary. "North Star," despite being cautiously labeled as a bonus track (I think this track was not on the purple tape...I only had the CD,) seemed to contribute perfectly to the album's narration. Even more amazing is that the Dalvin (Jodeci's Mr. Dalvin?) Remix of "Rainy Dayz," called "Let It Rain" is perfectly suitable for a bonus cut. I guess that because of the album depth's and perhaps due to chronology, it was not to be.

Ghostface Killah f/ The Dramatics: In The Rain (MP3)

I think "In The Rain" featured the Dramatics the same way that Pretty Toney's "Holla" featured the Delfonics. Ghost does the unauthorized collabo like no one else. Ben, who tends to have an impeccable chronology, believes this first surfaced sometime in between Ironman and Supreme Clientele. Why do the most touching tributes come from artists who try to infrequently to be emotional. It is a testament to cats like Ghost and Doom (i.e. "?") that the excel at a style of rap that other make their focus. And for the note, a walk in the rain does wonder for the soul.

Box In Hand f/ Method Man and Streetlife (Remix) (MP3)

Ben wisely pointed out to me that the actual reference to "Box In Hand" on the chorus almost makes you wonder if this was the original version. This site, which may not have the same accountability as Newsweek, refers to this track as the original promo. Whatever its orginal purpose, it's a great listen.

PS: Thanks to everybody for the great comments. I would have never imagined we'd be getting the traffic we do so quickly. If anyone has requests or would like to submit material, please feel free to email kevduce@gmail.com. And for the record, Rapnerd.com now consists of Kevduce (Yours Truly and Rap Nerd #1), and the much appreciated new addition Ben, who brilliantly dissected rap's sampling of The Beatles. I guess the point I'm making is that Ben is no longer a guest columnist, but a key partner in this.

And a reminder, if you want the Beatles tracks, get them today as they will be gone tomorrow!

Monday, April 11, 2005

LOVE MY LAST ALBUM THOUGH THE JOINT WENT WOOD

Ben is back this week as we run down some tuff-to-find Wu-Tang Clan tracks. Due my many weekend travels, Ben will handle day one solo and we shall collab after that. Day features what should've been the 4 best tracks on Ghostface Killah's Bulletproof Wallets.

To continue with The Rap Nerd's theme of wasted talent or great artists putting out shitty albums, perhaps the only thing more demoralizing is to buy an album only to find that a track you've been eagerly anticipating, perhaps for months, isn't even included on the album. It feels like you've been punched in the gut, and robbed of your $15. The Rap Nerd touched on this a few weeks back with lost gems off CNN's 'War Report' which while still good would have been brilliant with the added cuts. Usually the finger can be pointed at bootlegging, examples of which are those late 90's Nas albums (thankfully The Lost Tapes has set out to correct some of those egregious omissions) Jay-Z's vol. III and others. But perhaps the most notable victim of the chopping block is Ghostface Killah's 'Bulletproof Wallets.'

After the classic 'Supreme Clientele,' interest was overflowing for Dennis Coles' next album. As promo songs began to filter onto mixtapes and to the radio, the buzz was becoming a fever pitch. [ed. note: screw that movie... Let's Go Mets!] When the album finally hit the shelves, much to Rap Nerd #2's dismay, the songs I'd been hearing on the radio for months were nowhere to be found. To make matter's even worse there was a sticker on the front of the album taunting me with 'Featuring Slick Rick, and RZA' and wouldn't you know it, that track had been deleted as well. What was left was a watered down album, with only a couple of nice tracks, that rarely get's any burn on this Wu Brother's playlists. It seems Epic had no interest in giving the proper importance to guest or sample clearance. What had been eliminated were four amazing songs displaying, witty wordplay, science, conscience and all those other things we'd grown to expect from the Wu before the faithful lost their religion.

B's Notes:
-The Watch: Same Barry White beat on the street version of Nas's 'No Idea's Original' appears on Mos Def's 'Grown Man Business.' Rae's 'X and Jigga' critique of NY radio. Rae returns to tell a story about his own 'Missing Watch' on what may be the standout track from 'The Lex Diamond Story.'

-The Sun: One of my all time favorite Wu tracks. RZA's 4 bar science lesson at the end. Rick's philosphy. Ghost's 'Face'll do like this' line. (you can picture him scrunching up his mug in the booth.)

-Goodtimes: Almost crashed on the Belt Parkway first time I heard it. Ghost's social side, over the break from a Dy-No-Mite 70's classic. Check out his George Jefferson walk!

-Flowers: Created around a Bob James sample from 'Take Me to Mardi Gras' (used for another hip-hop classic.) James is notorious for vetoing samples, but had cleared 'Daytona 500.' They tried to work something out, two different versions of the song with the James sample were around, hence the silence where a James break had been removed :13, 2:47 and throughout. More evidence, Meth and Ghost punched in early at the beginning of their verses. Appeared on the album, with a reworked studio beat that killed the energy of the original.

I recommend creating your own album with the missing tracks, and if you're handy with some sound editing, adding the missing sample (2:00 of the James original) if you've ever heard the entire original break intact you know just how dope it was.


Ghostface Killah f/ Raekwon: The Watch (MP3)
Ghostface Killah f/ Raekwon, Slick Rick, and RZA: The Sun (MP3)
Ghostface Killah: Good Times (MP3)
Ghostface Killah f/ Method Man: Flowers (MP3)

More Wu all week.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

If You Aint Got, You Better Get


I obsess over the wasted potenital of emcees. It eats at me. In a perfect world, all the supremely talented emcees would drop and album every year and we could all be overjoyed. Just think of what little superior output we've gotten in this century from Pharoahe Monch (label woes), Raekwon, Common, Lauryn Hill, and The Genius. It looks as if Common is readying a classic. Hopefully, the rest will follow suit very soon. Still, the emcee whose lack of creativity eats at me the most is the mighty Mos Def. I must clarify that I'm not mad at him one bit. I am glad he is getting that acting money. In addition, I like watching him act. His guest appearance on My Wife & Kids as Damon Wayans' wheelchair-bound best friend was pure gold. Still, I feel disappointed when I remember that all we got in the past five years was an EP of 6 good songs that happens to also include a bunch of bad Black Jack Johnson tracks. Even more maddening to me is how good those New Danger successes are (the obvious gems being "Sunshine," "Life Is Real," and "The Closer Edge."

Ronnie Jordan f/ Mos Def: A Brighter Day (Remix) (MP3): A great feel good track. A unique combination of Mos backed by Jordan's guitar, which is accurately described on his website as "warm" and "sexy." This ended up on the Ronnie Jordan album "A Brighter Day" and was released as a fine Blue Note 12 inch.

DJ Krush f/ Mos Def: Shinjiro (MP3): DJ Krush has featured Guru, CL Smooth, Big Shug, DJ Shadow, Black Thought, Zap Mama, Company Flow, Shawn J Period, Anti-Pop Consortium, Mista Sinista, Mr. Lif, and Aesop Rock on his albums. He featured Mos on the fantastic "Shinjiro" and provided him a fantastic track.

Medina Green: Fla La Lashe (MP3): I swear that every track off every Rawkus twelve inch ended up on some Soundbombing, Lyricist Lounge, or random compilation. Somehow, I"Fla La Lashe" thumbed their nose at Bob Digi and remained Vinyl only, as the B-side to the deservedly huge "Crosstown Beef." Correct me if I am wrong.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I'll Crush Your Collarbone Into Little Cobblestones

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In 1999, a loose collective of NYC emcees released 'Plan A' on 3-2-1/Makin Records under the name Skeme Team. The A-side, "Con Artists" featured Pumpkinhead, Block McLeod, and Mr. Metaphor (of Word A'Mouth) over a wildly cinematic, orchestral track. The B-Side, "14 Years of Rap" had performers billed as WHT, actually Non Phixion members Ill Bill and Goretex with Arsonists Jise One and Q-Unique. "Con Artists" and "14 Years" exemplify braggadocious rap, and do so quite finely. Production is both stellar and appropriate. Some tidbits:

1. I really hope this is coincidental:

U.S. - Anti-Semitic stickers reminiscent of Nazi propaganda were pasted on street lamps in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The sticker has a portrait of a man with a hooked nose hoarding money. The sticker title was ‘Skeme Team’ (conspiracy team) which calls up connotations of the Jews’ plot to take over the world according to the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' .


2. There is a stellar, low-budget video of "14 Years Of Rap" here, complete with Bobbito appearance. The trouble loading the video is worth it.

Pumpkinhead, Block McLeod, Mr. Metaphor: Con Artists (MP3) (Lyrics)
Ill Bill, Jise One, Goretex, Q-Unique: 14 Years of Rap (MP3)

Monday, April 04, 2005



In the Winter of 2001, The Hip Hop Romper Room (V Funk and yours truly) joined forces with The Molemen to throw a concert at Chicago's Metro, which is not only my favorite venue but home to the Smashing Pumpkins final performance. The show's lineup was deep to say the least. Copywrite, Cage, J-Live, J-Zone, Akrobatik, Vakill, Prime, and Qwel all held down microphone duties. On the wheels of steel, contributions were made by DJ PNS, tactician DJ Presyce, DJ Contakt (who now happens to be the man in charge at Fat Beats), and to our collective joy, J-Live while also handling the rhymes on "Braggin Writes."

To be blunt, the show was not quite a commercial success. As often occurs though, there was a silver lining. Funk and I wisely sprung for an extra night's hotel stay for J-Live. The night after the concert, Molemen producers PNS, Memo, and Panik plugged the MPCs into the soundboard and provided then unreleased beats for J-Live and Molemen emcees Vakill and Prime. A run down of the contributors and contributions:

The Molemen: In the eyes of many, The Molemen are producers Panik, Memo, and PNS. Longtime members also include emcee Vakill, insansely talented DJ Presyce, and diligent Renassaince Woman/Business Manager Sonia. Former members, newer members, and frequent collaborators include Rhymefest, Rhyme Scheme, Prime, Juice, Qwel, Longshot, Mass Hysteria, and producer Madd Crates. Their Ritual of The Mole album is criminally slept on and additional compilations Chicago City Limits, Below The Ground EP, and Buried Alive are stellar. They have produced albums for Longshot and All Natural's Capital D. I am standing on one leg waiting for their full-length follow-up The Killing Fields. Memo took over The Hip Hop Romper Room and claimed that he would keep the name. Within minutes, it was Molemen Radio. No hard feelings though.

V Funk: You'll hear V Funk handle all the radio host vocals. I was wisely kept away from the mics or you would've heard Famalam like shouting at inappropriate moments. That wouldn't be Famalam like.

J-Live: J-Live spit writtens and I was glad he did. If I'm not mistaken all three verses ended up on All of the Above. Hearing him spit from the standpoint of one of his own lyrics from the booth was a treat. The beat, while coincidentally so, was eeriliy apt.

Vakill: Vakill, a native of Chicago's South Side, often invokes Ras Kass comparisons. There are surely some similarities, but in my opinion, they are overstated. His punchlines are sharp and he has a dry hilariousness. A favorite of both mines and V Funk's. You can check both The Darkest Cloud and his Lost Tapes style compilation Kill 'Em All, on which both of these freestyles are featured. A funny note is that he spit verses from "The Equinox" over the beat that would eventually become Prime's "Unbreakable." Both tracks from The Molemen's Ritual of The Mole.

Prime: Not to be confused with the Prime featured on Lyricist Lounge Vol 1. or the occasional Common Sense collaborator. I will go to the grave saying that Prime is the best battle rapper I've ever seen. While others like Supernat, Juice, or Rhymefest have the knack of performing big in huge battles, I've seen Prime battle for an hour straight against five different emcees and have the room rolling. I've wondered if he should supplement his concerts with a little bit of stand up. His battling skills would eventually get him featured on HBO, MTV, and numerous other stages. His Lambslaughter 12", featuring Slug, was a fine Panik production. My best friend Pete took the cover photo. He split with the Moles in the past couple years and is now working with his own crew called Middle Ground.

A HUGE shout to the folks at Rope-A-Dope for the link. The audio today is B+ fidelity but A+ quality.

Vakill, Prime, and J-Live: The Hip Hop Romper Room Freestyle Vol. 1 (MP3)
Vakill, Prime, and J-Live: The Hip Hop Romper Room Freestyle Vol. 2 (MP3)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Greatest Of All Time God Straight Up Told Me

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The Things A Rap Nerd Thinks About #1:
On The Game and 50's "Hate It Or Love It," how much iller is the song because producers Cool & Dre drop the hi-hats in the chorus? Fantastic.

Part V of Ben's fantastic Beatles rundown today. Thanks to Catch Dubs for the nice link. Ben clearly remembered, it's all caps when you spell the man's name.

And RIP to Mitch Hedberg, both funny and original. Some of his finer jokes:

" I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.

At my hotel room, my friend came over and asked to use the phone. I said "Certainly." He said "Do I need to dial 9?" I say "Yeah. Especially if it's in the number. You can try four and five back to back real quick."

I think Pringles initial intention was to make tennis balls. But on the day that the rubber was supposed to show up, a big truckload of potatoes arrived. But Pringles is a laid back company. They said "Fuck it. Cut em up."

Someone handed me a picture and said, "This is a picture of me when I was younger." Every picture of you is when you were younger. "...Here's a picture of me when I'm older." Where'd you get that camera man?

The next time I move I hope I get a real easy phone number, something like 2222222. People will ask, "Mitch, how do I get a hold of you?" I'll say, "Just press two for a while, when I answer, you'll know that you've pressed two enough."


Here's Ben:

After the nearly non-stop recording of Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper and the songs that made up Magical Mystery Tour, pressure was starting to take it's toll. After a pilgrimage to India, the Beatles headed back into the studio to record the songs that would become the The Beatles aka The White Album. It was a departure from the unified sounds of the previous LP's, more a compilation of various solo tracks. Although it would be the first double LP to go #1 on the pop charts, Lennon later admitted it should have been trimmed down to one solid album. Regardless there was still plenty of quality, and hip-hop has taken note.

Years before Jay and the Mouse mashed it up today, the White Album provided a nice sonic treat utilized by a Rockaway supervillian on the underground classic 'Doomsday.' Looping an orchestral outro sped up and slowed down, MF DOOM and MF GRIMM kept pace with tempo bending rhymes on the track 'Tick, Tick.' Sharing a common love for the Marvel Comics Universe, superemcee Ironman aka Pretty Toney aka Ghostface Killah also comandeered a
track off the White Album to drop this mixtape gem, a grimy drug dealing tale with a wailing guitar which was originally laid down not by one of the Fab Four but by an uncredited Eric Clapton. (If you can't get enough of MC's wailing off key to electric guitars, check out Eminem's poor interpolation of the same Beatles song on 'Haile's Song')

While not released offically until after the White Album and not on a Beatles album until Let It Be, the track providing the backdrop for Eligh's 'Makeshift Message' had been in the works during the creative process of the double discs. A poigant original, Eligh reworks it as a challenge to other MC's to step up their lyrical game.

Bonus tracks:
While diggin just yesterday I unearthed a lost Beatles cover by the Fat Boys. Finally to bring it all back into one great big grey circle, from Mellow Submarine a reggae Beatles tribute album John Holt's cover of the White Album's gentle 'I Will.'

Sample Key:
The Roots: Hey Bulldog
Organized Konfusion: Come Together
Poison Clan & RZA: Do You Want to Know a Secret?
Talib Kweli: Eleanor Rigby
Nas & Numark: Imagine
Knoc'Turnal: Old Siam, Sir
De La Soul: Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas
MF Doom: Glass Onion
Ghostface: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Eligh: Across the Universe
Fat Boys: Baby Your a Rich Man
Beastie Boys: When I'm Sixty Four, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, &
Sgt. Peppers Reprise, Back in the USSR, The End

It's been fun, be back soon. Bengo Star

MF DOOM f/ MF GRIMM: Tick, Tick (MP3) (Buy It If You're Nuts)
Ghostface Killah: Ghost Weeps (MP3)
Eligh: Makeshift Message (MP3)
Fat Boys: Baby, You're A Rich Man (MP3)
John Holt: I Will (MP3)