Friday, May 20, 2005

My Name Is Cool J, Manipulator, Innovator

As many of you probably know, the "Rock The Bells" featured on LL Cool J's Radio was not the originally recorded version. When RUN-DMC heard the original, they found it to be eerily similar to their own "Peter Piper" and Marion from In The House was convinced to record the more common version. The fantastic Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists can shed a little more light, if you are interested.

LL Cool J: Rock The Bells (Original Version) MP3

Thursday, May 19, 2005

You Turned Into A Basehead Cuz You Heard What J Said

Do you think Jay-Z would recycle that line if he heard it?

I couldn't carve out too much time to write today but wanted to leave you this treat, a rare LL Cool J cut. Additionally, neither I nor the omnipotent Google, know anything about this song's origins, so writing too much would be pointless. Luckily, I have quite a knowledgable readership. If you can shed some light, drop me a comment or email (

LL Cool J: Blame It On Me (MP3)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

God Save The Queen(s,) Part 2

Like most, after hearing the first 4 or 5 songs off 'The Massacre' my reaction was less then enthusiastic. regardless of chart positions, 'Disco Inferno' blew, and 'Candy Shop' was wack. I liked them much better the first time around as 'In the Club' and 'Magic Stick.' 'Just a Lil' bit' solidified my opinion that Massacre was a lackadaisicle generic/commercial followup to 'Get Rich or Die Trying,' an album I did enjoy.

I stuck by my original evaluation until I spotted a new 50 track on an itunes playlist belonging to a FORN (Friend of Rap Nerd) April. The title was 'God Gave Me Style' (nerdpoints to anon for the quick call yesterday) and after I heard it, I was impressed with the song and the fact that 50 listens to Coldplay. The song started to turn my opinion, figuring any rapper who's listening to Coldplay's gotta have some sort of ear. After reading reviews which highlighted 'Ski Mask Way' and 'Baltimore Love Thing' I decided to cop the bootleg. (yes, Rap Nerd #2 unabashedly supports the free transfer of music, because as I read in Q4Music Magazine 'people who spend hours downloading digital music, also spend hours on legal music')

Anyway, after listening to the entire 50 album, I was pleasently surprised. Well, maybe 50% surprised. Half the album features your standard 2005 MTV pap, with wack beats and concepts like 'Piggybank' including a whole slew of synth/pop clunkers from Dre and Em. The flipside of the coin was a number of amazing East Coast tracks, where 50 really seemed to shine (including a beat recycled from the 'Pretty Toney' album, funny considering all three emcees on the GFK track have had alot of unflattering things to say about 50!) So my official opinion is a great 1/2 an album, with that harcore ish and some soulful beats. The other 50 (per)Cent is on some BS that highlights exactly what's wrong with this Hot 97 Hip-Pop being pushed to the masses today.

I'm curious to hear other opinions, so leave a comment and let me know what track you're really feeling on the album, or if I just need to sit down and shut the fuhg up. And of course without any further (Freddy) Adu: Curtis Jackson's take on Chris Martin's lyrics, 'The Massacre' remake of 'Rush of Blood To the Head's' 'God Put a Smile on My Face.'

50 Cent: God Gave Me Style MP3

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

God Save The Queen(s)

Welcome to part one of what may be the most 'unusual' musical threads we've explored here at Today and tomorrow yours truly, Rap Nerd #2, will explore the intimate musical connections of two of the hottest acts in the industry, Coldplay and 50 Cent. While both have experienced global sales over the diamond mark (10 million) in just a few short years, in recent weeks they've made noise on the Billboard charts by matching feats set by The Beatles, another Rap Nerd Favorite. (but you'd already know that if you've been following along)

At one point after the debut of 50's The Massacre, the South Side Jamaica Queens MC was holding position on the singles chart with no less then 4 separate songs, two of his own and two from former G-Unit member The Game. Certainly no small task, in fact one that had only been accomplished by the Lads from Liverpool. Within a month, Coldplay had matched another Beatles feat by being the only other British group to debut a single in the Billboard top ten with the track 'Speed of Sound' from their upcoming album X & Y (already garnering critical raves.)

Well, RapNerd #2 has been a Coldplay fan for some time now (after being put on by a beautiful British lass from Brighton.) To my surprise, apparently so is 50. On the new album, he interpolates a Coldplay track for a standout song on 'The Massacre.'

Extra credit #1: Name the 50 track, I speak of, which we'll post tomorrow.

But that's not where the Coldplay Q-Boro connection begins. After the breakout success of 2000's 'Parachutes' some unknown DJ took the ballad 'Trouble' and mixed it with a hip-hop beat, for a very catchy dance track featuring a vocal sample by none other then the Infamous Mobb Deep's Prodigy, a former compadre of 50's.

Extra credit #2 & 3: Nerd points to anyone who can place the song where the Prodigy vocal is ripped from, and major props from yours truly if you know who the hell the DJ is who remixed it.

Tomorrow, I'll dig a little deeper into the Curtis Jackson album, including aforementioned the Coldplay connection.

Coldplay: Trouble (Remix) MP3

Monday, May 16, 2005

They're Like The Drunk Uncle In Your Family

Despite being the most visible rapper alive, Jay-Z finds ways to reward his dedicated fanbase. If you took your time and effort to unearth that track that never graced a Jay-Z album, then you heard "Beware of the Boys." Ladies flock when you spin that "La La La" twelve inch on platters at house parties. And so, much like Jay snuck the perfectly corny 'Anything' on Beans' The Truth, he props up Memph's 534 with "Dear Summer."

Jay-Z: Dear Summer (MP3)

Friday, May 13, 2005

You Was My N***a When Push Came To Shove

For obvious reasons, great emcees are often overlooked as producers. In addition to contributing to A Tribe Called Quest's classic production as a third of the Ummah, Q-Tip blessed some different five footers (Mobb Deep) with The Infamous' 'Give Up The Goods,' 'Temperature's Rising,' and 'Drink Away The Pain.' 'Crooklyn' was vaguely credited as 'Produced by A Tribe Called Quest.' And as his simple, effective vocals on NaS' 'One Love' suggest, The Abstract did in fact back the kite to his homie.

Large Professor remixed it.

Nas: One Love (Large Professor Remix) MP3

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Got Mad Hits Like I Was Rod Carew

Rap Nerd #1 steps aside today as Ben takes on Large Pro, Mike D, Adrock, and MCA.

'Sure Shot,' originally featured on 1994's** Ill Communication, was remixed by Large Professor for both the "Sure Shot Maxi-12," also released in 1994, and the Video Anthology DVD. 'Sure Shot' has been labled 'a straight hip-hop' track for the Beasties, who have been known to rock out a lil bit. Ironically, Extra P updates the song by adding an old school loop (ed: the less famous of the two sampled by Big Daddy Kane's 'Ain't No Half Steppin'...not the Emotion's 'Blind Alley but ESG's 'UFO') with some mid-90's flavor to it. The 3 NY boys have always been name-checking pop culture into submission, and 'Sure Shot' is no exception. Big up Vaughn Bode and Lee Perry, both influences on early hip-hop culture. Lil' kiddies, if those names are foreign to you, look 'em up (ed: or follow my extremely helpful links).

Beastie Boys: Sure Shot (Large Professor Remix) MP3

** Shouts to Funky D for reporting a factual error that slipped by in editing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I Bathe In Basslines, Rinse In Riffs, Dry In Drums

However trivial the reason, the history of hip-hop always seems to contain some connection or coincidence that allows an amatuer writer, such as myself, to link things in a way that could make Seinfeld or Kevin Bacon jealous. The strange connections between Large Professor and Common Sense's seminal Resurrection are of the more trivial, "cute" significance. Most notable is the fact that Resurrection's title track was brilliantly remixed by Large Pro. Less obvious was the fact that the unheralded "In My Own World" sampled Professor's "Yeah, Yeah, now check the method" from his guest appearance on A Tribe Called Quest's "Keep It Rollin."

"Resurrection" is easily my favorite Large Professor remix. Amazingly, the remix might better the near-perfect original. Far less somber than the original beatwise and lyrically, Extra P hooks Common with the laid back, melodic style beat that superbly suits any top notch lyricist but would expose a less-gifted rapper. This remix is also the rare type that strays from the original in both beats and rhymes. After Com wishes "that Madelline was back on video LP," verse one is unfamiliar to those only in tune to the original. The remix's verse two is also new while the original verse two becomes the remix's verse three. All in all, the "Resurrection (Remix)" embodies the "playful aggressiveness"** that would draw much of Common's dedicated, and at times frustrated, fan base to his side.

This remix also features two of my favorite alcohol related quotes. Don't sleep on:

"I wonder can I walk a righteous path drinkin' a beer."
"I had to halt with the...malt liquor. Cause of the malt liquor, I fought niggas."

Common (Sense): Resurrection (Extra P Remix) MP3

**I read this characterization of Common's flow recently and can't place the source of it. I don't want to take credit for it but the term is too perfect. If it sounds familar to anyone, let me know so I can properly credit the author.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Illuminator, Motivator, Who's Greater?

I must admit that this will be one of my less enlightening posts. Released originally as the B-side to the promotional "Pass Da Tek" twelve inch, "Da Funk Mode" features Tragedy and Havoc verses, Large Professor ad-libs, and a lovely Large Pro-duction. My understanding is that this record originally dropped in 1995 and has been repressed this millennium. I tend to review tracks that I can contribute some trivia to, and regardless, I found 'Da Funk Mode' to be essential to any Large Pro remix collection.

Tragedy f/ Havoc: Da Funk Mode (Extra P Remix) MP3

Monday, May 09, 2005

Prince Standing Next To Me/ And Especially The Extra P On The SP

This week, I pay homage to one of rap's underappreciated "producer rappers (As Kanye would say.)" As a member of the Main Source, Large Professor flowed magically on tracks like "Lookin At The Front Door" and "Watch Roger Do His Thing." Pro split over the cliched creative differences and the world awaited his solo effort on Geffen. We were teased by singles like 'Ijuswannachill' and 'The Mad Scientist.' We were taunted further by Professor's verse and stellar production on A Tribe Called Quest's 'Keep It Rollin.' His verse's finale "Queens represent, buy the album when I drop it," turned out to be one of rap's most unfortunate lines as Geffen would never give us The LP. In his absence, Large Pro would do a great deal of producing for the world's finest emcees. Extremely notable are llmatic's "One Time 4 Your Mind" and "It Ain't Hard To Tell" as well as many stellar remixes, five of which will be featured this week. Up first, the Prince and the Pharoahe, Organized Konfusion, with "Stress."

Organized Konfusion: Stress (Large Professor Remix) MP3

Friday, May 06, 2005

He'd Hit It Once And Shake Her Hand

Next week, will feature five remixes from one of rap's most underappreciated producers. Any guesses who? A hint: He taught DJ Premier how to use a SP1200.

To close out this week, a final MF DOOM track, the Madlib Remix to Madvillain's "Figaro." The Remix is taken from the Stones Throw 101 CD/DVD combo, which I will pick up too soon.

Madvillain: Figaro (Madlib Remix) MP3

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Beat Is Cut In Pieces Like Pizzas

Good looks to all who have commented of late. I should address some of those.

- is a wonderful site. I recommend it to all. I will, in fact, link it soon. Also to those who have suggested their blogs for link. So long as I can find all of your emails, I will link you ASAP.
-Zilla, great fact. For those who missed it, 'Sommersault' was the 100 millionth download on iTunes.
-Beez: "Rhinestone Cowboy" is something special. Madvillainy will turn out to be timeless. Not a crazy prediction but I think Madvillainy is a certified classic.
-Terrible Jim: You know my love for all things Dr. Dooom.
-If anyone is interested in the Diary of Prince Paul DVD I have mentioned (too much,) there is one available on ebay.

We've got two new loose MF DOOM cuts today, both of which I enjoy greatly. Blend Crafters, Pomo and Jurassic 5's DJ Numark feature DOOM on the remix to 'Melody.' You may remember their "Imagine" from Ben's Beatle week. The Gorillaz, the animated Damon Albarn outfit you should know by now, feature Doom on "November Has Come." Enjoy.

Blend Crafters f/ MF DOOM: Melody (Remix) MP3
Gorillaz f/ MF DOOM: November Has Come MP3

Monday, May 02, 2005

She Was Thicker Than The Kick Off Supersonic

There's some albums you never forget experiencing for the first time. You don't just remember the first time you listened, but inconsequential minutae surrounding those virgin plays. Sadly, it seems that as one gets older, newer albums of even equal quality, seem to lose the significance of those that shaped your love in music. Today, I often re-examine some of my favorite albums from pre-teen years and am shocked at how mediocre they really are. Therefore, I especially cherish any album that I 'experience' after my high school years.

I haven't had many 'experiences' as an adult. Even more depressing is that my love for some of these 'experienced' albums is not sudden and immediate. The Unseen and Madvillainy took some digestion before I realized their brilliance. (Maybe it's a Madlib thing?) Perhaps the only album of the past eight or so years to instantly dazzle me was MF DOOM's Operation Doomsday. After hearing a certain now-jailed message board veteran incessantly rave about the album's brilliance, I was able to track down some MP3s in a pre-Napster era. On first listen, I was floored at the album's unique feel and overall quality. The next day, I woke up and decided that picking up this album was ultimately more important than attending some core college courses. I have no regrets. Doomsday was in my crate for every radio show I ever did, spanning roughly 3 years. Just in case. (That would prove to be helpful when an unmasked Dumile, then rumored to be much more reclusive than now, attended the radio show and read what would prove to be our only PSA.)

DOOM has been getting alot of 'featured artist' love of late. Featured today is Zero 7's 'Somersault (Dangermouse Remix.)' Zero 7 is composed of British producers Sam Hardaker and Henry Bims, and may remind hip-hop fans of Morcheeba, although that comparison could be way off (my ear for electronica and IDM is a bit untrained.) 'Somersault' features the lovely vocals of Sia Furler, as the remix works in two fine verses from Doom, and spectacular production from Dangermouse. Hopefully, this is an accurate preview of the quality of the upcoming Danger Doom project.

My guess is that some of you hip-hop fans will scoff at the softer, orchestral feel of this track. I, myself, am a sucker for the hip-hop love song. Enjoy and hit up the Comments section with a short review.

Zero 7 f/ MF DOOM: Somersault (Dangermouse Remix) MP3