Thursday, April 26, 2007


Don't Quit Your Day Job!

Aite yeah I just been listening to a heap load of new music lately. Something that has been banged constantly over the past week or so is that debut Consequence album "Don't Quit Your Day Job!" Dude has been around a while but it is a joy to hear him on every track on an album, rather than the odd Kanye or A Tribe Called Quest Track track here and there.

Quence (originating from Queens) immediately sets himself apart from other rappers with his unique voice and flow. It's not surprising he is Q-Tip's cousin. He has that kinda higher-pitched voice but his flow is real cool too: very laid back. He kinda rhymes in a similar style to that with which he speaks (you here him speak on the rather amusing skits in the album). It's kinda like he is here, but his mind is elsewhere. And he can't really be bothered articulating what he is saying much, cos he's not really thinking about it anyway. Maybe he is thinking of the next line...cos cat keeps streaming onto the next line. He rarely pauses. And all this combines for a real cool, different rapping style.

As for the album, its dope how it has a bit of a theme. I like an album with a theme. It sorta means, if your feeling a certain way, you could return to a certain album that speaks to you in that area. For example, with this album, it's about weighing up pursuing the dream of making hip-hop music, or staying realistic and following more subdued work choices. At the start of the album Quence decides to put "pride to the side/Go get a 9 to 5" over a deliciously laid back beat on the track "Job Song." Throughout the remainder of the disc he touches on other subjects along the way (like "Sexy Mamas"), but ultimately gets fed up with that job and decides to quit and focus on music, despite his mother's nagging. So you could easily have similar frustrating periods in your life (I know I have) and just kick back and play this album and chill. The final track culminates everything nicely: "Who New My Luck Would Change." Who indeed?

While some lament the inclusion of the 4 year old "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly," I applaud it. It is a strong track, and this is after all Consequence's debut album. Artists should put all their best songs they have created on their first release, no matter how long ago they may have been made. Another not-so-new track is DJ Khaled's "Grammy Family." But is again a solid, laid back track and really fits in on the album so I have no qualms with that. The seagull in the beat, while cliched, is cool.

On "Callin Me" Quence puts out some of his best work on the album. He sounds completely disinterested when letting some guy know about a girl who keeps calling him, and it works perfectly. As for production on other tracks on the joint, the preceding track, "Feel this way" featuring John Legend, is another chilled beat, as is the following track "Disperse" featuring GLC and Really Doe. You may have noticed I mentioned that a lot of these tracks have nice soulful chilled beats. Its true. The production on this album is top-notch, for the most part.

Where the album doesn't work is when cat Consequence tries to do that normal rapper bravado stuff...most noticeably on the track "Night Night". Cat just doesn't sound fierce enough to be getting away with all that shit. I don't really think he is gonna smack me and make me go "Night, night." He might make me some tea and then tell me "Night, night."

Still, its a small blip on an otherwise dope album. I'd recommend ya'll check this album out some time soon. Its the 2nd best album this year after Sean Price: Jesus Price Superstar, so word that up.

Night, night!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Playoffs Preview

13 Years!

Ok so the NBA Playoffs are here. Everyone seems to be glad the regular season is over and many even labeling it one of the most uninteresting campaigns ever. I cannot understand such negativity. Maybe it makes analysts feel better about themselves when they globally criticize a whole competition. As their always has been, and always will be, there were plenty of talking points throughout the season. New ball V Old ball, Amaechi being gay, Iversen to Nuggets, Knicks Nuggets "fight" etc. Their have also been some great basketball performances...Amare's comeback, Boozer's big year, Kobe's 4 games of 50+,Goldenstate's late season surge to grab a spot in the playoffs and the Mavs incredible win-loss record after losing their first four. Ok so they were all in the West. Just because the East didn't do so well, doesn't mean the regular season was disappointing. The Pistons had a great year again, Toronto's rise was a feel-good story and Cleveland, in spite of continuing criticism over its lack of chemistry on the offensive end, managed to equal last year's impressive win total of 50. There are great match-ups everywhere in the play-offs. Let's have a look at some of the more intriguing ones.

  • Miami V Chicago
I read recently that in recent play-off history the Number 5 actually wins more first round match-ups than then Number 4 seed. In this case, Miami is the number 4 seed...but Chicago actually has a far superior win-loss record. So who knows what will happen? Most are predicting Miami to go through here, due to their play-off experience. While Miami is one of my favourite teams in the league, I am not unaware of Chicago's strengths. This team can light up. One of Benny Gordon, Luol, Kirk or Nocioni could light up each night. Often more than one. This is what happens with a jump-shooting team. The fact that they get Nocioni back just gives an extra scoring threat. Then defensively, the whole unit will shut you down. Say what you want about Tyson Chandler putting up numbers similar to Big Ben at a lower salary and younger age...yo can't tell me Tyson has the effect Big Ben does on defense. Ben it just geared for defense. He was born with a gift for it. He'll just stop plays happening half-way through their conception with his positioning. The match-up he has with Shaq could definitely decide this match-up. While Wade has shown how clutch he is, everyone knows he struggles against Kirk. This could well come down to the battle of inside...the Bulls won't score much in there but if they restrict Heat's inside scoring I believe they can come out on top.

  • Rockets V Jazz
People are writing off Jazz already. While I predict Houston will go through, Jazz are no easy-beats. Sure, their end of season form has not been what they would have liked...but they still got Boozer in there. They still got Deron Williams who could decide the fate of this series if he exploits one of Houston's weaker links, Rafer Alston. I love Rafer. But dude might struggle against Deron. I hope not. While Boozer and Yao have had similarly dominating seasons, I predict T-Mac to tip the ledger in Houston's favour. He has been playing great of late. He's never made it out of the first round but I think this year he will...

  • Dallas V Warriors
Peep this match-up. Dallas dominate inside with Dampier and Diop. Ok so you got B-Diddy and Monta Ellis up against Jet and Harris. and Jackson and J-Rich versus Josh Howard. But Nellie will often play Al Harrington at center. Shit, can't play Dampier and Diop on him. Um...inside dominance reduced...luckily Dallas have Dirk spare to help and get em through this tricky match-up.

  • Raptors V Nets
Nets have experience. However, Chris Bosh is ready to show the world what he can do in the playoffs. Theres gonna be a bit of mismatch inside, to be honest. I expect Bosh to dominate this series. And I expect the Raps to go to Round 2.

  • Suns V Lakers
Cool. Rematch. Should be dope to watch. But Lakers got no chance this time...Amare is back so that settles that.

  • Spurs V Nuggets
Here I can see an upset happening. Denver are in fine form. Sure, Spurs have experience. But man, its not just Carmelo and Iversen clicking...its the whole team. Camby is fit...which is a scary sight. Nene has become a beast. Those two could be a handful around the rim for the Spurs. Tim can't do everything down there. Its no secret Tony Parker will want to drive in on Steve Blake...he'll have to remember Camby is waiting in the key. He'll have to dish it out. And if the Spurs can light up from outside, which is a possibility as the Nuggets exterior defense is pretty lackluster...then you'd back the Spurs.

All that's left so say is, "Will you be watching when..."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Top 10 Producers of All Time

Sorry Quik...your Number 11 on my list!

Waddup ya'll. Here check this here post out I'm about to make. I was thinking, "What to write about?" Yeah why not list my top 10 hip-hop producers of all-time.

10. Just Blaze

The dude sneaks into the top 10. Top effort for a young cat. Man this guy can produce some bangers. Most recently he has produced some fire with "The Second Coming" for Juelz and Nike. But the cat has produced some real nice tracks in this century: "Breathe", "Flipside" and "Pump It Up" being just a few examples. Cat likes the MPC and can whip shit up bloody quick on that. Always brings that big sound.

9. Pete Rock

Ok so some people might have him higher. Yeh, maybe as far as contribution to hip-hop goes, this guy should be higher. But the 8 guys above him on this list, I just enjoy their music more. Ya dig? That said, I really dig Pete's shit. There are producers who wouldn't even be in my top 20 producers who I still enjoy. So this is a pretty high position anyway. But chances are you know all about Pete Rock. Mr Soul Man. The Soul Survivor. This dude produced straight up classic shit for CL Smooth in the early 90s. The music he created, fusing Jazz and Hip-hop, seemed to fit CL Smooth's style perfect. Then, after falling out with dude CL, his solo "Soul Survivor" LPs proved that he can produce that quality with all kind of cats. A living legend.

8. The Neptunes

Hugo and Pharrel are quite a match made in heaven. They have been making music together since high school, which is quite remarkable if you think about it. Two talents of that magnitude ending up together by chance is akin to the four Beatles ending up together by chance in Liverpool. Or all the Wu-Tang Clan fools ending up around each other. Anyways, point is, these guys are fucking talented. They're a collective hit-factory, but can stay critically acclaimed at the same time as they manage to sell records without compromising quality. That is a rare gift. They have a real ear for interesting sounds and have no hesitation in sharing their ideas with the mainstream public. Sometimes it fails. Mainly it works...My favourite joints are the two Clipse albums they produced, "Hollaback Girl", Lupe's "I Gotcha", Noreaga's"Superthug" and T.I.'s "Goodlife".

7. Timbaland

There was a time where I didn't really dig Timbo that much. But recently dude has won me over with an incredible amount of quality productions. The guy's drum programming is quite simply the best I have ever heard. The percussion he brings to his songs can be varied...but always sounds immaculate and interesting. He is very creative with sounds. Not afraid to use his own vocal chords to bring you the sound he's thinking of, he remains ahead of the game creativity wise. His production for Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds" is the best he has done pop wise, and some of the best pop production I've ever heard. And then you realise he released Nelly Furtado's "Loose" in the same time it's astonishing the quality and quantity he keeps up. Other classic cuts of his are Ginuwine's "Pony", Aaliyah's "Try Again", Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and Jeezy's booming "3 A.M."

6. Kanye West

Kanye just brings his heart and soul to the production table. His perfectionism is matched only by Dr Dre of producers on this list. He always brings a nice feel to his songs. His strength is definitely in utilizing soul samples extremely well and incorporating memorable melodies into his songs. My fav productions of his are Kweli's "Get By", his own "Never Let Me Down" "Two Words" and "Heard em Say", Jay-Z's "Lucifer" and "Heart of the City" and Keyshia Cole's "I Changed My Mind". Kanye can do it with strings, piano, anything.

5. J Dilla

The late Detroit producer was really making strides before his death in early 06. The thing is, if it wasn't for his illness, "Donuts" might not have been so personal, so special, so beautiful. Without the illness he may have never looked within himself so deeply and never unlocked such inspiration and shared it with us so candidly. Or maybe he would have...who knows. Its a shame we will never know. We are lucky that J Dilla made such dope music. We are all blessed with many great recordings thanks to him and should be thankful not just for him, but every artist on this list. Dope cuts he produced for other artists are "Verbal Clap" for De La, the album "Fantastic Vol 2" for Slum Village, Kweli's "Stand to the Side" and Common's "The Light."

4. Madlib

Madlib will just put anything down on the MPC and loop it up. Anything. Any type of sample. The result is a shit load of recordings...some of which are shit. However, a high proportion are brilliant. Fucking creative cunt. I guess that's what happens when you smoke weed all day. He is the first one to remind us that weed brings out creativity, either telling us through rap or inserting samples regarding the matter. The guy can sometimes go overboard with the vocal samples, disrupting songs halfway through by stopping the music and playing the sample, sometimes multiple times. This puts some people off, but I love it. He does it so it actually fits in if you think about. If your on weed...

Lol anyway the shit on Quasimoto's first record "The Unseen" is straight up classic jazz hip-hop style shit. One of the best collection of beats I've ever heard. Madvillain with MF Doom is on the same level. Other dope cuts are "Shopping Bags" for De La, "Nightlife" for MED, and "What Can I Do?" for Kweli.

3. Dr Dre

Dre! The most famous hip-hop producer of all time no doubt. This guy just lives by his music. He wants to make high quality shit. It all starts in the drums for him. Everyone knows Dre has the best drums. But on top of that, he just keeps it real chill. Guitars are popular. Synths. Anything chilled. "Nuthin But a G Thang" is one of greatest hip-hop songs of all time, and easily the most chilled. Then he just brings out stupidly simple classic shit like "Still D.R.E." - yeh Scott Storch came up with the chords but the fact is, Dre brought it all together. You can come up with some dope shit when Dre is around. He doesn't just make the music - he produces. He'll make you a hit. He'll make sure you bring what's appropriate. Recently I have enjoyed his laid-back Piano Chord jams "Lost Ones" for Jay-Z and Young Buck's "U Ain't Going Nowhere" although others haven't been impressed. Don't worry...Detox is gonna be so hot you'll forgive him for the years of delays. His track record suggests so anyway...

2. DJ Premier

This is New York hip-hop right here. Premo always brings it raw. Using his trusty MPC 60 this guy will give you a great platform for you to rhyme over...always. It all starts with those Boom Bap drums. It's real hip-hop...the beat doesn't dominate and allows you to listen to what is being said...but you will always be nodding your head regardless. Check out all them Gangstarr cuts. Or Jeru's shit. Dude fucking sampled water drops on "Come Clean." Ridiculous. Other 5 star shit he produced is Nas' "NY State of Mind," J-Live's "The Best Part", Jay-Z's "Bring It On" and recently Termanology's "Watch how it go down." All allow the MC to shine while being incredibly hot beats...that is no mean feat.

1. RZA

Just can't help it. Can't resist those beats he made back in the mid 90s. Can't help but be seduced by those minimalistic gems. GZA, Raekwon, Method Man and Wu-Tang Clan are always at the top of my most played list. While the lyrics are often dope, the main reason is RZA's production. That's real production - producing whole albums. That's where you can bring that real shit. You can create a whole MOOD. On Wu-Tang's debut, shit was incredibly raw. Straight from the streets. Just a gritty, tinny beat, and some hardcore spitting over it. The use of samples was ingenious too. "C.R.E.A.M." is just an impeccable track. The nursery rhyme piano line just stays in your head, and Deck and Raekwon brought some real shit over that - the point is yet again, its a dope beat without taking away the lyrics of the MC. When he progressed in the next few albums, he didn't really progress at all. He'd bring in some dirty bass lines maybe. But he'd keep that shit simple, on his Ensoniq keyboard. The debut full-length GZA and Raekwon albums are just all perfectly produced in addition to his classic shit on the Wu-Tang debut. The other albums he produced in full are also high quality (when the name Bobby Digital was not involved lol).

This guy is thus my number 1 producer. A combination of quality and quantity which is hard to beat. Ask me tomorrow I migth say Premo again those two are neck and neck to me. Shout out to cats like DJ Quik, 9th Wonder, Prince Paul, Hi-Tek, Alchemist, Eric B, Havoc, Large Professor, Bomb Squad, Pimp C, Oh No, Black Milk, Muggs, DangerMouse, Will.I.AM, DJ Toomp and Scott Storch who would be on the next level down.

Monday, April 9, 2007

MVP Thoughts

Two MVP award. Who will get it?

The NBA regular season is almost over, and major attention turns to the announcement of individual awards. In this day and age, when a player's legacy can oddly seem more important than a team's, everyone starts talking about the MVP award. History shows that it goes to a key player on an elite team. That would make there 3 candidates...Dallas' Dirk, Suns' Nash and Spurs' Timmy. Sorry Kobe, if last year's efforts couldn't win you the MVP, I don't think this year's slightly less amazing numbers (only just) will win it for you. Your team just doesn't win enough, it seems. Also special shout-out to Carlos Boozer, whose numbers have been phenomenal. Your team hasn't won enough either...also everyone mentioned already happens to be from the West. My east coast MVP would goto Chris Bosh.
  • Tim: Big Tim has had yet another great year. The consistency he has shown throughout his career is nothing short of amazing. He never really improved his numbers that much cos they started so high anyway. And while his minutes have been down a bit in recent years he has still kept up the high production. Its no wonder his Spurs just keep having winning seasons. The guy is a top-5 shot blocker, top-5 rebounder, top-20 scorer and top-10 FG%. He'll also through in the most assists of any centre in the league (truthfully this year Brad Miller averages 0.1 assists per game more, but he has played far less games). Oh yeah and the Big Fundamental has started every game this year too. Your damn right he should be considered for the MVP. All that said, the Spurs have only really clicked since after the Rodeo Trip. They have not had it all their own way this year. This thus puts Duncan below the other two.
  • Dirk: The best player in the best team, Dirk is probably favourite for the award right now. The guy has advanced his reputation as a match-up nightmare even further this year. He does everything in balance. He will drive-in on you, OR shoot the mid-range jumper on you OR post you up OR pop a 3 on you (less these days which has improved his variety) OR dish to a team-mate in a better position. His opponent would rarely have any clue what he'll do each time he gets the ball. He has great trust in his supporting cast. More often than not, he, and they, deliver. That is why they were pushing 70 wins this year. Oh, and those people who say "call him Irk cos he has no D"? You wish you had D like Dirk.
  • Nash: While all of the above is true, there is this guy Nash. Sure, in 2005 Shaq deserved the MVP. Last year, it was Kobe who deserved it. Nash scooped both. This year though, Nash fully deserves the title. His numbers are this year pushing into the unheard-of category. While some marvel that he increases his team-mates stats, I marvel at his very own stats. The guy dishes out 2 more assists per game than the league's second best-assisting player, the excellent MIP-candidate Deron Williams. He averages 3 more assists per 48 minutes (15.6) than second best TJ Ford. He is clearly the best passer in the game: no one would deny that. But then if you add his shooting skills on top of this, it makes for a simply perfect Point Guard. He shoots 53% from the field, 47% from behind the arc, and pours in 19 PPG. Oh yeah, let's not forget his exemplary foul shooting too.
"Yeh, but his D sucks!" That is far from true. Its not as good as his offense, true, but Nash is no slouch on the defensive end. Sure, he isn't as athletic as many of his opponents but he does put everything in on defense which is a lot more than can be said of many other players in the league. This year I have seen him make many clutch defensive plays. Pheonix have improved their D big time this year and Nash is no different.

So why Nash over Dirk?

Well, first off, I believe his numbers are more impressive than Dirk's. Secondly, the dude is clutch. That is very important to me. I have seen Dirk hit some clutch shots. I have also seen Dirk pass the ball at the end of games and rely on someone else to make the big play. With Pheonix, you know Nash will be involved somehow when it counts...with a killer pass, a huge 3, or even a defensive stop. Adding it all up, Nash is a real leader and has been more valuable to his team's success this year than Dirk has...

All this said, I believe Dirk will be named the MVP. And good luck to him. If I was casting a vote however, I would go with his former team-mate and good friend Nash. I'm sure both will be happy whoever wins it.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Top 50 NBA-related commercials

I don't even care if you don't follow the NBA. You'll still appreciate watching some of these.

Special shout out to Number 37!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Top Three Albums of the Quarter

Time flies huh. Yep, 3 months of 2007 have already passed us by. I thought I'd mark the occasion by providing my top 3 releases of this period. Musically, the year has started very well, as far I'm concerned.

3. Devin the Dude - Waitin' to Inhale

"I pick you up I look you up and so fine / In my mind I'm saying now how can i make this ho mine?"

I've still only listened to this a few times, cos its newly released. But it sounds real nice. Real chilled beats once again. These south cats have a nice sound going on when they get a guitar nonchalantly strumming chords and adding a hip-hop beat over that. Then you put one of the coolest voices in hip-hop over it, and you got yourself a real nice sound. Devin is always fun to listen to cos he always will take a song down a path you may not have been expecting (see "Just Because") Also noteworthy on this release is Andre 3000's stellar work on "What a job."

2. Talib Kweli & Madlib - Liberation

"Our music went from tap dance to the lap dance / try to get me to sell out and thats a fat chance"

Peace to the Libs for putting this release out for free. They didn't wanna mess with sample-clearing so just put it out for free. Madlib has some real nice beats here, in the mold of that Movie Scenes Beat-CD he released last year. So yeh, lots of soul singing and melodious flutes but also nice dirty bass lines. All the beats are adventurous and extremely replayable. Kweli also shows he is returning to form on this release. Just always on point. Watch out on "The Function" Kweli does something pretty new for him...he starts rapping in that voice that you only hear at his live shows (IE he shouts and projects from his chest rather than that more nasal voice we love). In fact, he switches up his style much on this joint. This is welcome, as it is a free release so I don't mind if your trying out some new directions. You just gave me the music for free so do whatever you want.

1. Sean Price - Jesus Price Superstar

I posted about Sean P below. Everything said then still stands. This guy is sick.

COULD BE DOPES: I ain't gonna lie, but I haven't listened to that Consequence album yet. I hear its pretty fire. I also hear Black Milk, that crazy producer/rapper from Detroit, has released a dope album entitled "Popular Demand" which I must check. El-P's joint "I'll sleep when your dead" I must also check.

FUTURE CUTS: There are some potentially dope releases I'm really looking forward to coming out soon. From underground type ish like Marco Polo, Pharoahe Monch and Talib Kweli to more mainstream stuff like Raekwon, Dr Dre, Joe Budden, Common, UGK and Young Buck this is set to be a great year for hip-hop. EDIT: The Young Buck was actually finally released this week. Its selling very strongly - and with that mix of producers its no surprise. I am about to listen to it now...