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)

Vid of the Day: Twin Peaks - Just Say No

Twin Peaks is Ghettosocks and Muneshine.
This video is fresh. Same sorta feel as their video for Audrey Horne and my guess is that it's the same director. Enjoy.

Legendary Hip Hop Mix #1

... has been delayed for the next couple of days because I was out with Occupy Sacramento in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, the movement sweeping over the US.


Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.

I'm standing alongside Occupy Together and hoping for real, positive change to happen in this country. It's finally happening, folks.

In the meantime, listen to Sweatshop Union and support your local Occupation.

Mixtape SOON

The first volume of Legendary Hip Hop's Mix Series is droppin' on Sunday...

1. Finalized tracklist yesterday
2. Began write-up yesterday
3. Workin' on album art today
4. Printing physical copies tomorrow
5. Releasing SUNDAY

Just a head's up; this mix is amazing.

Blu and Sene - Stoopid

I'm sittin' here lookin' up things to plant in the garden for October. That's important, y'know, 'cause you can't eat the stuff they grow for the stores these days and nothin' tastes good like food picked right before it gets cooked. Anyway, I've got youtube open so I can browse around and listen to some music. I'm not on my computer so I don't have access to my library.

I'm listenin' to stuff off of Ron Contour and Factor's Saffron, which I have yet to purchase, and I accidentally click on a link to a song by Blu and Sene, which leads me on a quest all over listening to these guys. How have I never heard of them before?!

Super fresh stuff, if you haven't heard anything by either of them, here's a good start:

Blu feat. Sene - Stoopid

This track is mad fresh, flows smooth, beat's tight. All around badass. I think I've listened to this four times in a row now.

I'm gonna check these guys out.

Moka Only - Airport 5

Throw on my canvas backpack at around 9:30pm for a walk across town the other day. Trekkin' from South D to West to meet my girlfriend at work. I've got one CD in my walkman and it's going to have to do me well for quite some time, this is a good hour or so of a walk.

Moka Only's Airport 5, the fifth installment of the series, was the perfect jam for this session. I'm walking down the street past sorority girls in their short skirts laughing alongside frat boys trying to act tough, people driving too fast and everybody a little bit drunk. It's Thursday night but it's the first day of the semester at the local college. Around me for much of my trek is a whirlwhind of people, on the sidewalk going from one party to another or on porches and lawns of frat houses playing beerpong or giving bro hugs.

None of it registers quite right.

The smooth flows of Moka O's rapping fill my ears, the CD player volume up high with the bass boost on blast. I can't hear the outside world, I'm too entangled in the incredibly relaxing and poetic world that is Airport 5. Listening to this album, everything outside was bathed in water. I've got a swagger in my step to the beat, the production kickin' back, making worldly problems feel so damn trivial. The trees seem to sway with me and everybody moves out of my way, though I'm not an intimidating guy. I appreciate the world around me, feeling like I'm viewing it through a secret lens and nobody can really see me. called this album "high-flying doze-off rap," as an insult (they gave it 3.2 stars), but I think that describes it in a positively perfect way. It is doze-off rap, in a sense; the flow is so smooth is makes you wonder if Moka's mouth moves at all or if he just stands in front of a mic and they all just spill out into the pop filter, and the beats transition from one to the next with such excellent precision you don't even know it. I definitely didn't doze off, but I did listen to the album through twice before I finished my trek.

Incredibly smooth jams, I'd recommend this album for anybody who likes hip hop that's not slammin' in your face. Just chill out and enjoy it, it's damn good.

Vid of the Day: Buck65 - Gee Whiz (thanks to blogotheque)

I thought I'd share with you all the magic of Buck65, a poetic and beautiful man who's latest album 20 Odd Years is a collaborative work of genius. This video was released by Blogotheque, a French website that has some of the most amazing videos of musicians performing all over the world. Buck and his cohort perform Gee Whiz and nail it 100%. Expand the video and watch it in full HD, it is filmed wonderfully.

Buck 65 | Part 1 (Gee Whiz) | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Ghettosocks - Stolen Kicks (feat. PH)

So, a music video is finally out for Ghettosocks' Stolen Kicks, off of "Treat of the Day." Featuring PH, this is one of my favorite songs of the album and I'm glad to see it come to life. I stole the information at the bottom of this post from the YouTube page.

Video by: Lithium Studios Productions
Director: Darrell Faria
Producer: Mike MacMillan
DP: Daniel Grant
Editor: Luke Higginson
Post: Alchemy
PD: Martin Von Tours. copyright Ghettosocks 2009.

Noah23 & Krem "The Terminal Illness EP"

Released today, "The Terminal Illness EP," a collaboration between Guelph hip hop legend Noah23 and Utah producer Krem (aka Drone Jones) is a (disappointingly) appropriate title for one of Noah's final releases.

By the way, this release is completely badass.

You can purchase/listen to the release here: Listen HERE

On May 3rd, the rapper posted on his FaceBook account that he would be retiring at the end of the year. Though he still has a few more scheduled releases (OCCVLT TRXLL PART II and Crunk23's "Illegal Ideas Incorporated"), this means there may be no hope for a Weird Apples Volume II or a follow up album to his amazing album "Fry Cook on Venus," which came out earlier this year on Circle Into Square / Fake Four.

Will he actually retire? Hopefully not.

Noah's got hip hop in his blood, he'll be back.

In the meantime, enjoy this release!

I work at a restaurant

It's 2:00pm and I'm sweaty, tired, furiously working, and supposed to be at a 50th wedding anniversary in one hour. I've been at work since 8:00pm and we've had a slow day, but regardless, every Sunday shift ends with a long bout of cleaning as we get the kitchen spotless. Every inch of stainless steel surface needs to be scrubbed with kitchen cleaner and wiped down with a clean towel, of which there are very few by Sunday.

I run out to my car through the front door, forgetting to take off my apron over my chef's jacket, and I probably look like I've killed something because I rubbed pork juice all over it when I was prepping. I reach into my center console and grab the first CD that I think will pump me up for the end-of-shift cleaning spree.

Common Grackle is in my hands, then in the stereo. Their album, The Great Depression, is a work of genius that came out about a year ago, a collaboration between Canadian pop musician Gregory Pepper and prolific producer Factor.

The first song on the album, Thank God it's Monday, featuring the legendary Kool Keith, pumps through the room, bouncing off the walls and into everybody's ears. If there are still customers out there, I'm too busy to care, I've gotta be out of here in half an hour and this music has blasted me into work mode.

I scrub furiously, the perfect marriage of hip hop production, post-pop guitar riffs and superbly layered vocals allowing me to not care that sweat is dripping off the end of my nose and I'm going to be late no matter what I do at this point. Common Grackle keeps me going.

The music is a stroke of genius. We in the back of the house thank you guys for making music we can tune into. The kind of music that allows us to tune out the endless drone of the hood pulling air out of the kitchen, the clatter of dishes being flung around the scullery, the wait staff in and out of the swinging doors bringing the french presses and teapots and whatnot to the back. It puts me in the zone, in a mood to work quickly and efficiently. Who cares if I'm late, for now I'm groovin' through the motions.

And damn, this album is fresh.

The Return of Legendary Hip Hop

What could pull a hip hop writer out of retirement and back into the world of reviewing rap albums around the globe, jabberjawin' about excellent wordplay and searching for the holy grail of rhyme schemes? I mean, honestly, I certainly have been busy, be it writing/hosting music, going to school, or working as a champion-level waiter and cook, but I always keep one hand dipped in the now-overflowing well of hip hop gems to keep my ears sharp. What sane person can live without it? But man, I haven't wanted to write about it until recently, when I got my hands on a few albums that came out lately (Toolshed's The Lost, Timbuktu's Stranger Danger, and More or Les's Brunch with a Vengeance).

And I thought about it... should I get back into this? Well, the Canadians are pushing the bar really, really hard since I've stopped writing. There've been so many great albums coming out of that country that I think I'm doing an injustice by not spreading the word.

And then it hit me... I got wind of Backburner's Heatwave, a collaborative album featuring Fresh Kils, Wordburglar, Timbuktu, More Or Les, Uncle Fester, Ghettosocks, Chokeules, Jesse Dangerously, Jay Bizzy, Thesis Sahib, Beatmason, Frank Deluxe, Dexter Doolittle, Psybo, Ambition, Johnny Hardcore, Manalive, Ginzu333 & Mister E.

Did you read that lineup? It's absolutely ridiculous. Beyond awesome. They put out the first single from the album (music video coming soon) Heatwave, that just blows minds. Thesis Sahib, Timbuktu, Wordburglar, Jesse D, Chokeules, and Jay Bizzy (who I haven't heard anything new from in way too long).

Needless to say, this song makes other posse cuts look like child's play.

BACKBURNER - Heatwave by Hand'Solo

The album is out now, and it's a steal at $8.99 for a physical copy and only $5.00 for digital download in high quality, available HERE. <-- and you can listen to the whole thing for free.

I'm back. Backburner and Hand'Solo, I owe you one.

Stay tuned for more Legendary Hip Hop,

John James