Getting down on some Mos Def

I just had that kind of experience where an album hits you really hard. You realize how damn good something is and why other people listen to it, like it, and refer to it. It happened the first time I listened to Illmatic, the first time I heard Biggie's first album, it hit me when I happened upon the Canadian rap scene, and it happened again the other day.

I was walking around through the industrial district of South East Portland. Not a bad neighborhood by any stretch but certainly not pretty or quaint, but a good place to jam on nineties hip hop, get some graffiti done (if that's your jam), or just wander around taking in the parts of the world that aren't so glamorized.

Enter me, turning on my Zune freshly out of a coffee shop where I was reading F Scott Fitzgerald and listening to math rock whilst sippin' on a perfectly pulled shot of espresso expertly crafted into an Italiano. I'm wandering down the street and I have an urge to throw on some tunes I don't listen to much. Scrolling through the artist list after a binge of Victor Vaughn, Madlib, MF Doom, and their projects, I decide to give Mos Def's Black on Both Sides a shot. I mean, it's not like I haven't heard this before, it just felt right this time.

Man, I was bumpin' down the street, totally immersed in the smooth flow, the masterful production, the seamless transitions between tracks. The feeling and flavor drew me into a different era of hip hop, back towards the golden age, back towards the seminal albums that formed hip hop into what it is today.

Totally entranced by this now-perfect album, by the time I got home I had listened to it through once, and now, almost a week later, I've probably listened to it at least eight times. This album is raw. Fresh, precise, perfect hip hop.

Wordburglar - Rhyme O'Clock

This is FRESH. You can't have a Wordburglar video without at least a little bit of ridiculousness and you'll see what I mean when you watch this new joint from Backburner champ Wordburglar. Rhyme O'Clock is the first single from Burg's upcoming album 3rdburglar, which is the album that I'm most excited about this year (not to say that there aren't other awesome things coming out too). Coming through as the king of silly wordplay, Burg teams up with past collaborators More or Les, Fresh Kils (Juno nominee!), and Uncle Fester on vocals, production, and cuts, respectively.

The flow of the tune, chorus especially, is reminiscent of their previous collaboration on Burglaritis Spit Fresh, but it still stands out as its own track and only pumps up the Portland fans for this upcoming release. This video outlines what is sure to be an excellent album. B-boy braggadocio and nerd swagger combine to bring you Rhyme O'Clock. Enjoy it!

More about 3rdburglar:
Aside from tearing up 10 tracks on 2011′s Backburner: Heatwave album, its been 2 years since Wordburglar last dropped a full-length solo album (2009′s underground hit Burgie’s Bassement) and it’s with great pleasure that we’re preparing to unleash 3rdburglar, Wordburglar’s third full-length release of all-new material. Featuring 14 tracks of original lyrics, beats & cuts blended meticulously with ‘Burg’s patented style, every track is a stand-out. 3rdburglar also features production from Juno-nominated producer Fresh Kils & long-time collaborators Beatmason, Timbuktu and Uncle Fes, with guest appearances from Canadian rap cohorts More or Les, Chokeules, Garthim-Master and Timbuktu as well as Los Angeles underground rap legend Riddlore (Chillin Villain Empire/Project Blowed).

3rdburglar drops May 2012. The release party is happening in Toronto at El Mocambo on May 11, 2012 for only $10. Features additional performances from Ghettosocks, More Or Les, Timbuktu & Choke and Dream Jefferson.

It's definitely gonna be a good show but I won't make it because I live in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy yourself, you lucky Canucks.

More info @
and Wordburglar's Bandcamp Page
and on Facebook

I moved to Portland

There's a point where every person who writes a blog gets distracted with real life. That's just the truth; you know it and I know it. I like writing about the hip hop that I listen to and sharing the jams and won't deny it but sometimes I find myself caught up in work and all of the projects that regular life throws my way. I've got a finished mixtape that I just need to write about before I throw it up here and there are some seriously rad releases that I need to tell all ya'll about but here's a slice of my life instead.

Recently, I moved to Portland, Oregon, a food hub of the world which has a burgeoning hip hop scene. I missed a show up here recently with Kool Keith but that happens. I did catch the end of a show yesterday in which Sole was headlining but I didn't get to see Josh Martinez, Ceschi, VTRN, and Bleubird. I got a job as a server at a pub and I work for free doing kitchen prep at another joint. I'm adjusting to all the radness that this town has to offer but I don't even have internet in my house and thus don't blog much right now.

Life is good. Portland is tight. I'm about to get down on some hip hop myself because I haven't rapped on stage in a couple years and just the energy of the show last night made me want to get back in that game.

Currently listening to: Moka Only: Airport 3

Noah23's Final Album -- Zoom

Noah23, in an attempt to retire from hip hop, has released a final album entitled Zoom. The founder of Plague Language (the home of Livestock, The Main, Baracuda, and others), who has released more albums than I care to list, has decided to give up the throne.

Nine tracks long, this album features exactly zero guest appearances, which is a total bummer in my opinion, and has no production notes. I haven't listened to this yet, to be honest, because Christmas yesterday was a mad run between two families.

But I'll reiterate what I said in a previous post -- Noah23'll be back. Dudes like him don't disappear from the hip hop scene forever. It draws you back. It's unstoppable.

But until that happens, until he gets back into the game again... click on the album cover to get down on Zoom at the Bandcamp page.

The Main - Clamnesia

You... you haven't heard it?!

Clamnesia is the newest release by Guelph hip hop champion The Main, a solid 7 tracks all produced by Gregory Pepper and featuring Noah23 and Livestock.

I wrote a whole post about the album just a minute ago but Firefox crashed. Here's the shorter version:

I've been waiting for this album to come out for a long time, ever since I ran across Punch Card Blues, which is also featured on Livestock's For My Man Sitting in a Boat. In fact, the other day I was complaining about how Clamnesia was never going to come out and the very next day I got an e-mail about it being released.

Oh, joyous day! If you haven't caught this release yet, it's only FIVE BUCKS! Don't be a cheapskate, just pick it up.

Regardless, you can still listen to it in full on the bandcamp page, where you can purchase it HERE!

This release is tight.

Thanks, Mainy.

Vid O' The Week - Underground Pop Remix

Why this? A lot of people say its not as good as the original but it is still awesome. Enjoy!

I finally listen to Aesop Rock - Labor Days

Sometimes, somehow, you find yourself missing one of those pivotal albums, one of those albums that help define the genre for some and cause others to change their understanding of what music is entirely. And then, when you finally grab a copy and throw it on, you say to yourself, "how did I never listen to this before!"
The dishwasher and I were at work waxing philosophic about hip hop the other day and he told me that I had to listen to Aesop Rock. I told him I hadn't ever really picked up any of the dude's music because I felt like his discography was too big, I didn't know what to pick up. I asked him what the best album is.
He thinks for a second and says, "labor days. Definitely labor days."
Thus, I cop it.
Headphones in the next day, biking to work, I've got it blasting and I couldn't believe my ears. Holy hell!
How did I miss this?!?!

Needless to say, Aesop Rock's Labor Days is one of those masterpiece albums, a collection of songs that make you wish you had the raspy voice of a badass hip hop machine and a producer like Blockhead to throw you beats like the one on "Save Yourself." This album moves smoothly from one track to the next, seamless and perfect. Head nodding early 2000's hip hop at its finest. At just over an hour, it keeps you in that zone for a damn long time and I like that. He holds it down and brings you the plight of the working class in this near-perfect concept album.

Here's a sample to get you through until you find a copy of the album yourself.

One Brick (feat. Illogic)