Sunday, December 16, 2007

6 year old Connie Talbot has an amazing God-given voice

This little gap toothed 6 year old has an amazing God-given voice. She's never had singing lessons. Amazing...

Here's her myspace if you want to support her and buy her new cd here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

KT Tunstall

I don't know why I've been in such a rock chick listening mode lately. There are so many quality hip hop releases that have come out recently that I liked (Jay-Z, Freeway, Beanie, Kanye, Cormega, etc.), but I still find myself listening to songs by Amy Macdonald, KT Tunstall, and Kate Voegele the bulk of the time.

Out of those three my favorite albums are the brilliant debut cd's of Amy Macdonald and Kate Voegele, but most of my favorite songs are by KT Tunstall. This woman just has the classic guitar rock chick sound down.

Here are my two favorite KT songs (both from her brilliant "Eye to the Telescope" debut cd).

1) Suddenly I See

2) Other Side of the World

This is one woman that I have to see live one day when she comes to California. Check this great live performance of "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree" (again from her debut album). I'm going to make sure that I see her when she comes to the Bay Area. I look forward to one day seeing her perform "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree," "Hold On," and "Suddenly I See" live.

She really is a one-woman band. Notice how she uses the pedals to record her voice and her playing different instruments. And I've always been impressed by people who can sing and play the guitar well, and this is miles ahead of that. I've never seen a woman with a guitar nail a performance like that. Amazing...

And just to show that she has some heat on her new cd here's her 1st single from her "Dramatic Fantastic" cd.

"Hold On" - This is a great video to bring out the energy of the song. This video shows that KT has a little bit of hip hop in her...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Michael Jackson - Who Is It (IHS mix)

Here's a rare remix that can remind any R&B fan what a talent Michael Jackson was when he was ruling the pop charts.

This song along with other unreleased and rare songs were made available on Michael Jackson's "Ultimate Collection" box set. Amazon has a special where you can get the 4 disc & 1 DVD box set for only $29.99 (w/ free s/h).

Since things are coming full circle and R&B acts are trying to bring that classic MJ sound back (Ne-yo's "Because of You"), it's kinda cool hearing a classic MJ song with a hip hop backdrop.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cormega - "Who Am I?" IN STORES NOW!

Mega has what most other rappers wish they had. Not the street credibility (he's a street legend in Queens NY), ill lyricism, the ability to fight (he was a boxing champion in jail), or money and girls, but the feeling of being comfortable in his own skin.

In a day where most rappers have to put up fronts to sell records, Mega is himself and his fans and hood love him for it.

One thing that you'll always get with any Cormega release is your moneys worth, but this might be the best package yet. You get a 3 hour 50 minute DVD and a soundtrack for the price of a regular cd ($13.99). The soundtrack is a dope collection of songs by Mega and his peoples in the game (many of who you get to see in the DVD), but the jewel is the DVD. This isn't a typical hip hop dvd where the rapper shows off his guns talks tough and then packages it to make a quick buck. This dvd takes you into the life of Mega (what he's been up to, his mentality of the industry and situations that have happened to him).

You get to hear about his legendary rap battles, his situation with Nas, his shoe collection, his Def Jam situation, his time when he rented buses and took his hood to an amusement park, when he visits patients at a hospital, etc. This isn't a side that many street legends would share with you, but that's what makes him different.

On top of that you can't loose the fact that he's one of the best street poets in the game. You get his seldom-seen music videos that he made that didn't get any play on MTV or BET.

What makes Mega's music stand out from others is that he speaks with such sincerity that you can feel what he's saying even if you haven't been through what he's been through. This DVD isn't any different cause you can feel his pain and sincerity in his voice when he describes what's happened in his life.

To give you an idea of his talent here's a clip of a verse that he dropped at a show at BB Kings in NYC:

Monday, November 19, 2007

What If?

Here's an interesting track that gives a number of interesting "what if" situations.

"What if Big L was still rhymin'
and Roc-A-Fella records was the label that signed him
Would I have to remind them
that in a Roc Big L was a diamond"

Anytime someone gives props to one of my favorite all-time rappers I gotta listen...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When customer service goes wrong!

Here's a couple of clips from Touch Tone Terrorists cds that I listen to when I feel like cracking up. There are too many classic quotes from these clips to list, but you'll probably never be able to hear the name Jim-Bob without cracking a smile ever again after hearing this character.

Here a caller is trying to track her package and a couple of characters Jim-Bob & Junkyard Willie give her a hard time and tell her that she "shoulda sent it sooner."

Here Jim-Bob is the caller looking for Scooter and the auto shop employee gives even more to Jim-Bob then he's able to dish out. Jim-Bob's shining moment was calling him a "turd burgler" and the auto shop employee's shining moment was calling Jim-Bob a "Brother hugger." A pretty even match, but Jim-Bob loses when he's called a "hillbilly barefoot b*stard" before he gets hung up on.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

David Banner's Speech To Congress Over Hip-Hop Lyrics

Here's David Banner's Speech To Congress Over Hip-Hop Lyrics. I was never a fan of his music but the more that I learn about David Banner the more I like him even though I've never really been moved by any of his music. When David Banner stopped promoting his album to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina he hurt his own career because the sales for that album tanked. He went through a depression shortly after. This is a guy that all of us should be pulling for.

You can tell that David Banner is speaking to congress because they're attacking something that he loves. He speaks for those of us that don't have a voice when we try to explain to people that hip hop is unfairly judged:

Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. My name is David Banner. I am an artist for Universal Recordings, a producer, and label executive.

Thank you for inviting my testimony.

This dialogue was sparked by the insulting comments made by Don Imus concerning the Rutgers women's basketball team. Imus lost his job, but later secured a million dollar contract with another station. While he appears to have been rewarded, the hip-hop industry is left under public scrutiny. As this dialogue played out in the media, the voices of the people who create hip-hop and rap music were silenced. We were not invited to participate on any panels, nor given the opportunity to publicly refute any of the accusations hurled at us. While Congress lacks the power to censor, it is of the utmost importance that the people who's livelihood is at stake be made a vital part of this process.

I am from Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson is one of the most violent cities in the United States. Much like Washington, D.C., Jackson stayed in the murder capital run. When I was growing up, it always ranked as one of the top ten cities for the highest number of murders per capital. Being located right below Chicago, a lot of kids got in trouble up there and were sent to Jackson by their grandparents, who were from Jackson.

The by product of this migration was violence. I was blessed to have a very strong man for a father, and a very, very strong woman for a Mother.

Honestly, rap music is what kept me out of trouble.

Statistics will never show the positive side of rap because statistics don't reflect what you do, if you don't commit a murder or a crime. When I would feel angry and would think about getting revenge, I would listen to Tupac.

His anger in a song was a replacement for my anger. I lived vicariously through his music.

Rap music is the voice of the underbelly of America.

In most cases, America wants to hide the negative that it does to its people. Hip-hop is the voice, and how dare America not give us the opportunity to be heard.

I am one of the few artists who went to college. I still see my friends who, as college graduates, are unable to get a job. The truth is that what we do sells. Often artists try to do different types of music and their music doesn't sell. In America, the media only lifts up negativity.

People consider me a philanthropist. I give away close to a quarter of my yearly earnings to send children from impoverished neighborhoods to different cities and to Disney land. This gives them another vision. Rap music has changed my life, and the lives of those around me. It has given us the opportunity to eat. I remember sending 88 kids from the inner city on a trip. I went to the local newspaper and TV station, only to be told that the trip wasn't newsworthy. But if I had shot somebody, it would have been all over the news. I threw the largest urban relief concert in history. That never made the front cover of a magazine. But as soon as I say something negative, rise up against my own, or become sharp at the mouth (no pun intended), I am perceived as being disrespectful to Black leaders. That negativity overshadows all of the positive things that I've done as a rap artist.

Some might argue that the content of our music serves as poison to the minds of our generation. If by some stroke of the pen, hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence, and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed. Our consumers come from various socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. While many are underprivileged, a large percentage are educated professionals. The responsibility for their choices does not rest on the shoulders of hip-hop.

Still others raise concerns about the youth having access to our music. Much like the ratings utilized by the Motion picture Association of America, our music is given ratings which are displayed on the packaging.

These serve to inform the public of possible adult content. As such, the probability of shocking the unsuspecting consumers sensibilities is virtually impossible. If the consumer is disinterested or offended by the content of our music, one could simply not purchase our CDs. The music that is played on the radio must comply with FCC guidelines. Again, this provides a safeguard. Ultimately, the burden of monitoring the music that minors listen to rests with their parents.

Some argue that the verbiage used in our music is derogatory. During slavery, those in authority used the word "nigger" as a means to degrade and emasculate. There was no push for censorship of the word back then. The abuse that accompanied the label "nigger" forced us to internalize it. This made the situation easier to digest. Our generation has since assumed ownership of the word. Now that we are capitalizing off the use of the word, why is it so important that it be censored? The intent and spirit of the word "nigga" in rap music does not even remotely carry the same meaning nor historical intent.

Attempting to censor the use of a word that merely depicts deep camaraderie is outrageous. People should focus less on the offensive words in our music, and more on the messages that are being conveyed.

The same respect is often not extended to hip-hop artists as to those in other arenas. Steven King and Steven Spielberg are renowned for their horrific creations. These movies are embraced as art. Why then is our content not merely deemed horror music?

Mark Twain's literary classic, Huckleberry Finn, is still required reading in classrooms across the United States of America. The word "nigger" appears in the book approximately 215 times. While some may find this offensive, the book was not banned by all school districts because of its artistic value. The same consideration should be extended to hip-hop music.

As consumers, we generally gravitate to and have a higher tolerance for things that we can relate to. As such, it is not surprising that the spirit of hip-hop is not easily understood. In the 1971 case of Cohen vs. California, Justice Harlan noted that one man's vulgarity is another man's lyric. The content and verbiage illustrated in our music may be viewed as derogatory or unnecessary, but it is a protected means of artistic expression. In 2005 Al Sharpton, who is a proponent of censorship, stated on CNN that rappers have the right to talk about the violence they come from; if they're going to rap about it and sing about it, they have the First Amendment right. Much like imagery supplied via television, literature, and by other genres of music, we merely provide a product that appeals to our patrons.

Our troops are currently at war under the guise of liberating other countries. While here in America, our rights are being threatened daily. This is illustrated by homeland security, extensive phone tapping and ill placed attempts at censorship. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves getting closer to a dictatorship.

Traditionally multi-billion dollar industries have thrived on the premise of violence, sexuality, and derogatory content. This capitalistic trend was not created nor introduced by hip-hop. It's been here.

It's the American way.

I can admit that there are some problems in hip-hop.

But it is only a reflection of what is taking place in our society. Hip-hop is sick because America is sick.

Thank you,
David Banner

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Jay-Z's VH1 Storytellers performances

People can say what they want about Jay-Z, but it's hard to deny what a great rapper he is. Though it seemed that a lot of his Kingdom Come cd went above people's heads, his American Gangster album is just what the public and hip-hop heads wanted from him.

These performances complete with a live band show that you don't need to dance to put on a great show. Here's Jay-Z performing some strong cuts from his instant-classic American Gangster album.


American Dreamin

I Know

Roc Boys (from Letterman)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Saigon & Jay-Z - Two of the greatest rappers in the world on the same track

The day has finally come that Saigon's "Come On Baby" remix featuring Jay-Z was released to the streets. A couple days before the world premiere of Saigon's "Come On Baby" on Rap City (11/8/07).

"They put the world's most underrated
on a record with the greatest of all-time, can't no-one debate it..."

It looks like punching Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) on stage a couple of times at a Mobb Deep show didn't derail his grind. This song will be off of Saigon's debut cd "Greatest Story Never Told" coming very soon...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Blender has offically lost what little hip-hop credibility it had

In the current issue of Blender (with Nicole Sherizinger on the cover) blender names the "Worst Lyricists In Rock." Now I understand Diddy being on the list, but with the inclusion of Common & KRS-One Blender shows that they have no clue when it comes to hip hop.

Their reason is his lyrics from "Making A Name For Ourselves" which is actually spit by lyrical-beast Canibus:

"I'm you're worst nightmare squared
that's double for nigg*s that ain't mathematically aware"

The writer listening for Blender probably didn't even know the difference between the two rappers. And if they listened to the rest of Common's masterpiece "One Day It'll All Make Sense" they'd see that there's no way anyone can justify Common as one of the worst lyricists.

Really, if someone wanted to make a list of the worst lyricists when it comes to rap do you even need to do much research? Even if you didn't know anything about hip-hop (like this Blender writer) then all you'd have to do to hear some horrible lyricists is tune into your local urban radio station and listen for about twenty minutes. You're guaranteed to hear a song that officially makes you dumber after listening to it. Laffy Taffy anyone? How about Walk It Out? Unfortunately, I could go on...

Even for the writer that doesn't know hip hop, if they take one listen to Common's latest single "Drivin' Me Wild (w/ Lily Allen) they'd see he's one of the few talented poets that gets run on urban radio.

"...Had a drive for a drive from Rodeo
She spent pesos on those labels
Spin class at the gym, strip tease on a pole
She was so obsessed with her body and clothes
To every party she goes, tryin' hard to be chose
They say it's hard for a pimp but extra hard for these (hoes)..."

How is John Gibson still a Fox News anchor?

It's no wonder why so many people think that hip hop is responsible for so much violence in this country when people like this clown can say spew uninformed hate like this.

I hate to tell all of you uninformed parents that are upset that your kids listen to hip hop and want to blame it for all of the bad in the world, but violence was around before hip-hop and will continue to be around after Jay-Z retires (for real). Even after John Gibson is told that the shooter was white and listened to Marilyn Manson he still continued to blame blacks and hip-hop. Amazing...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Amy Macdonald - Barrowland Ballroom

Barrowland Ballroom

This is probably my favorite song on the album. I just love the happy and upbeat feel of the music and lyrics. I left it off of the original Amy McDonald post because there was no video for it, but it needs to be heard.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kanye West - rare gems

There are a few rap artists that have great unreleased catalog of music. Tupac and Nas are the first rappers that come to mind, but Kanye West is the third rapper that I think of.

I remember reading in a magazine recently about how the crown jewel in Kanye's Graduation cd was the song "Homecoming" with Coldplay's Chris Martin. I remember thinking how I thought that version of the song didn't even come close to matching the feel of the original.

The original version was on the advance version of the "College Dropout" album, but didn't show up in the later released retail version. I'm guessing because of sample clearance issues.

I remember that I had three favorites on the advance version of the album and I was telling people how good the album was. It's funny that two of my favorite three songs didn't show up on the final retail version, but yet the retail version was better than the advance version. It just goes to show how much quality material Kanye had recorded for his album.

Here's two rare Kanye gems:

Home - the original version of the song with John Legend left off of "College Dropout" that was later re-recorded and turned into "Homecoming."

Good Night (f/Mos Def & Al Be) - Here's a track that was made available as a bonus track on the Japan version of "Graduation." This is such a better showing for Mos & Kanye (especially for the Mighty Mos Def) than "Drunk and Hot Girls." For whatever reason that made the album, and this didn't.

I feel that "Homecoming" doesn't come close to "Home," but that could be because I loved the original version so much that the newer version just sounded odd to me. I spoke to a friend a couple of days ago who loved "Homecoming" and didn't like "Home." I suspect for the same reason that I liked "Home" (he got used to the newer version, so the original version sounded odd when he heard it).

This is just the tip of the iceberg on Kanye's great unreleased catalog...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Amy Macdonald - This is the Life

We all have those albums that we listen to a couple of times and a couple of songs jump out at us and we find ourselves listening to just those songs and don't pay the rest of the album much attention. Well, usually that's for good reason cause the rest of the album doesn't catch us. Occasionally we miss out on the greatness of an album cause it doesn't catch us at first listen. Luckily, I decided to give this album a second and third listen before it disregarded the rest of it and I'm glad I did. What I found was a great album by a 19 year old Scottish singer/songwriter that'd be impressive even if she was 39 years old.

Her parents must have known that she was going to be something special when she taught herself how to play the guitar fueled with only the passion to write and play songs. That passion that drove her to teach herself how to play the guitar still shines through in her music.

Here's three great songs from the album:

Mr Rock & Roll - This was the first song that caught my attention from the album.

L.A. - This is the newest single.

Poison Prince - Her first single.

This extraordinary debut cd doesn't have a US release date yet, but it is available in the UK iTunes page with 3 exclusive bonus songs. I'm looking forward to hearing much more great music from this talented lady. I can see her becoming a huge critically-acclaimed worldwide star in the future. When that happens you can let everyone know that you were up on her way back in 2007...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Joe Budden is now free!!!

To celebrate one of the best rappers in the game's release from the hold of Def Jam I'm going to post some classics that he's released since his self titled debut album in 2003 and one song from his debut cd. I'm not bashing Def Jam, but it was clear that they didn't see the greatness in him that the rest of us did when we heard both of his installments of the Mood Muzik series.

Hopefully now we'll get to hear some new music from him. I'm looking forward to hearing Mood Muzik 3 as well as his sophomore album. What separates Joe from most other rappers is that he has a brutal honesty and shares his uncut thoughts in his music.

Joe Budden - Calm Down

In this song Joe shares the story of how he overcame drugs.

Joe Budden - If I Die Tomorrow

In this song Joe Budden looks back at his life and accomplishments if he were to die tomorrow. Though many people would at first think about what they haven't yet accomplished, I like that this is a positive song that focuses on what he's already accomplished. This isn't exactly what you'd expect from a rapper who's only released one official album that went gold but was expected to go platinum.

Joe Budden - Stained

"I pour my heart out on wax you gotta feel me..."

After listening to these songs you can probably see why Joe has such a cult following. He doesn't hold anything back in his music and that's why his fans feel that they actually know him. In a day where most rappers have to get into character to rap, Joe is a breath of fresh air to people who want to hear great wordplay from someone who's real.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My 2 favorite Lily Allen songs

I really enjoyed Lily Allen's "Alright, Still" album for two main reasons. The first reason is that even though the sound of the album is bubble-gum pop (with a hit of hip-hop & reggae influence), the lyrics were edgy.

The second reason is because of the story behind how her album got released. She was signed and her label wanted to send her to the "hit factory" and work with big songwriters & producers to become a manufactured star. Lily refused and instead recorded her own songs and posted them on her myspace page. She got such a following in England that her myspace songs were getting radio play and her label let her release her music her way.

It's good to see that musical integrity still means something to some people. Could you imagine how much better the quality of music being released by these record labels would be if the artists & people had the power (like in this case)? The unfortunate thing is that most artists don't have the luxury to take this stand cause they need the label to support them if they still want to eat. Lily is the daughter of actor/musician Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, so she probably didn't need to be a slave to her record label. That still doesn't make her standing up to her record label any less credible in my eyes.

Now that you're up on why I liked this album so much here's some songs so you can see if you'll enjoy it. I'm going to share my two favorite songs from her 2006 "Alright, Still" cd.

DJ Safe's 1st Favorite) LDN

I love how this song sounds so beautiful & upbeat, but if you listen to the lyrics it speaks of how things look great at first glance, but if you look closer you can see things for what they really are.

"When you look with your eyes, everything seems nice
But if you look twice, you can see it's all lies..."

This song describes what Lily sees in London (aka LDN), but really could be applied to almost anywhere. This video gives great visuals of what she describes in the song.

DJ Safe's 2nd Favorite) Alfie

Here's a song that sounds like it could be the music to a Disneyland ride until you listen to the lyrics. Everyone's had a friend that is a weed-head and smokes too much, so almost everyone can relate to this song. That person in Lily's life is her brother, Alfie.

Here's her song trying to talk to Alfie to get him to stop smoking and get out of the house. Though her brother didn't appreciate the song too much (I read that he broke a laptop computer when he first heard the song), I'm glad that she shared it with the rest of us.

Like the LDN video this video offers great visuals of the story that she's describing in the song.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

KRS-One - False Pride

I had an urge to listen to this story by KRS-One yesterday and I thought
that I'd share the story w/ you. I think that this story shows some some
rappers actually are poets...

False Pride by KRS-One by (from his 2001 cd "the Sneak Attack)

Okay now, listen to this..

{*sound effect: seagulls*}

A mystical teacher sat by the seaside

It was about five o'clock cause we heard the free ride

Anyway; the teacher was talking in stride

sitting upon a rock that was wide

and warning against false pride

"Come to where I reside!" a woman cried

and the teacher replied, "Do you serve your fish fried?"

"Yes," she replied, "with potato salad on the side."

And the teacher replied, "Well where do you reside?"

She said, "Up on the hillside, it's not a far ride.

If you came to have dinner, I would be so gratified."

The teacher replied, "It's six o'clock, seven o'clock, you decide."

She replied, "Seven o'clock, do you like stir-fried?"

She was mystified and felt so dignified

The teacher was coming to the house where she resides

So she purified with pesticides

{*sound effect: chemicals sprayed*}

Called her friends up nationwide

{*sound effect: phone being dialed*}

Some of her friends were tongue-tied they felt so glorified

She made steamed fish, baked fish, fish that was fried

Soup, steamed vegetables, potato salad on the side

{*sound effect: food cooking*}

You could smell the bread in the oven far and wide

Natural juices and water purified

Organic fruits brought from the countryside

with silver forks and knives placed side by side

{*sound effect: silverware clinks*}

You could not be dissatisfied;

looking out the window staring at the mountainside,

you would have died

6:59 she's swollen with pride

As the moment intensified, there's a knock from outside

{*sound effect: door knocking*}

She opens the door, for the teacher has arrived

{*sound effect: door creaks open*}

But to her surprise, it was a bum who cried

"Please, I smelt the bread from outside!

One piece," and then she replied

"The teacher is coming, he's soon to have arrived.

You're making me look bad, come on now, step aside!"

The bum then replied,

"When I say I'm hungry I haven't lied.

Give me some of that chicken that you just fried."

{*sound effect: food cooking*}

She replied, "Chicken - fried?

No that's for the teacher, you're not purified"

Then she slammed the door and went back inside

{*sound effect: door closes*}

Sat on the couch with the TV Guide

She looked at the clock, it was 7:09, then 7:30;

he still hasn't arrived

Eight o'clock, she's on the downside

Nine o'clock, by now she's teary-eyed

She's pissed off and her anger multiplied

She cried, then fell asleep dissatisfied

Next day she woke up, and was preoccupied

with meeting the mystical teacher who lied

Where could he hide?

She ran down by the seaside

{*sound effect: seagulls*}

He was there teaching about - false pride

"You lied!" she replied, "You lied!

You said you'd be there at seven o'clock, you lied!"

He replied, "No I have not lied.

I came at 6:59, and you told me to move aside.

I asked for bread and the chicken that was fried.

{*sound effect: food cooking*}

And you said, that I wasn't purified."

She replied, "I wasn't notified!

I had no idea that you was the bum that cried!"

And the teacher sighed, then replied,

"This concludes our lesson on false pride."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The next great rapper - Saigon (pt 1 of 2)

To celebrate the news of Atlantic Records giving a December 4th release date to Saigon's long awaited debut album "The Greatest Story Never Told" I'm posting the first of two parts to introduce Saigon to many people who might not have had the opportunity to hear his music. I found it kind of interesting that they chose Jay-Z's birthday as the release date. I wonder if they're going to do anything with that. Anyways, back to the post...

Anytime someone asks me who are my favorite rappers in the game now there are only two rappers that come to mind. Cormega & Saigon. While Mega (short for Cormega) has three critically acclaimed solo albums out, Saigon has never released an official album.

You're probably thinking "How is he your favorite rapper if he's never released an album?" Well, the answer to that is mixtapes (AKA Mix cd's. Some still refer to them as mixtapes cause they used to be tapes, but today they're all cd's)

Saigon's first mix cd "Best of Saigon" was released in 2003 with DJ Whoo Kid & DJ Kay Slay and he's been releasing classic mix cds ever since.

I first picked up Saigon's 12" single "Say Yes/Contraband" in 2001. At the time Rawkus was the most respected rap label because they were releasing classic records by the likes of Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Reflection Eternal, Blackstar, and many other quality vinyl-only classics. I picked the vinyl single up cause I figured odds are there'd be something good on there cause of Rawkus' track record of releasing quality material. At the very least, I thought that I'd get another dope Alchemist instrumental to use.
I was blown away with the lyricism of Saigon on both Say Yes and Contraband for two different reasons. Say Yes had multi rhyme patterns in a catchy chorus that at the same had a anthem feel to it.

"If you be living for death and don't be giving an F
Then hit a pig in the vest and say yes (yes!)
If you be puffing the cess and laying sunk in the S
Then punch a punk in the chest and say yes (yes!)
If you a gangsta, hustla, thugsta that bust slugs
N*gga that don't trust hugs, and don't f*ck with the bustas
Hold a blunt in your right and raise your left
You blessed so you should just say yes (yes!)"

Contraband blew me away because cause of how his lyrics showed that he was a thinker. It was an ill concept that he asked a question then gave four thought-provoking answers in a multiple choice format while at the same time wove them together with ill multi-rhyme patterns.

"The fourth question's a question that's still in me
Who do y'all n*ggas think it was that killed Biggie?
A, southside crips cause Puffy owed 'em a grip
B, some crazy Pac fan that flipped and unloaded a clip
C, missiles from pistols of government officials
D, the same cat that came back and then sang I missed you..."

How can you listen to that and not think "hmmmm?" I don't think that Puffy did it, but it's an interesting question. The point is that he would raise a question that makes you think? Now ask yourself, how common is that with any music artist?

I'll give one song with this update and give you two more on the next update. After listening to the songs in the next two posts you'll get an idea of some of the incredible songs that this man has already released eventhough he's yet to release his debut album.

The Color Purple - This Scram Jones produced banger is a song where he reaches out to talk to gang members to end gang violence. It's lyrical & catchy but not corny.

"It's been a long time coming but I'm about to change things
Holla at these kids that like to gang bang
whether you real wit' it or just playin' games
whether you maintain or bangin' that thang thang
if you're bumpin' this in your whip you should change lanes
slow up and get your brain on the same frame
we all bleed the same blood through the same veins
we all need the same love, feel the same pain..."

To purchase Saigon merchandise (cds, dvds, etc) you can go to his store here. And before anyone asks, yes this is the same guy from the HBO tv show Entourage (where he plays himself). (that's in the acting sense, so my words don't get twisted)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Vanessa Carlton - Heroes and Thieves (10/9/07)

I've always liked Vanessa Carlton's albums. She's pop, but she has her own unique sound. Almost every song sounds like a climax to a musical (not that I've ever seen any besides the South Park movie). She's a singer/songwriter that has a very dramatic piano heavy sound that seems very influenced by her dancer background. You can picture some classically trained dancer doing a routine to almost every song she does.

The success of her debut single 1,000 miles in 2002 was both a gift and a curse. It was a gift because it was hugely successful and made her a household name. It was a curse because after that song ran it's course people didn't want to hear much else from her.

Anyone who gave her other songs a chance were greatly rewarded. Here's some of those songs that made me a fan and had me looking forward to her new album.

Pretty Baby - From her 2002 cd "Be Not Nobody"

White Houses - Lead single from her 2004 cd "Harmonium" I like this song much better than 1,000 miles, but it does have the same feel.

In 2004 her follow up cd Harmonium was released and didn't perform well which led to her and her label parting ways. I was very skeptical when I heard that Vanessa signed with Irv Gotti (of Murder Inc. records). I'm happy to say that it seems like he let her do her and didn't try to get her to sing over a bunch of hip hop beats. What she ended up with is her best album yet.

Here's two songs off of her new album "Heroes and Thieves" that comes out on 10/9/07. I've listened to the cd all the way through 3 times today and I'm going to boldly say that it's one of the best pop albums of the year. If the album doesn't perform well it's not because Vanessa didn't turn in a quality collection of songs. She bares her heart and soul on the album. It was hard to narrow it down to 2 songs to give people an idea of the quality of the album, so I just threw in the towel and posted three.

These three songs are a good representation of the feeling of the album. Vanessa sings most of the album with the feeling that she's singing them to her boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend). I feel that any of these songs could be huge, but "Come Undone" is my favorite song on the album. With the right promotion & video for "Come Undone" she could have another smash on her hands.

My Best

The One (with Stevie Nicks)

Come Undone

If you listen to these songs you'll notice that the piano is not as much in the forefront of these songs as some of her past songs. This theme continues throughout the album. Instead of the piano being as dominant and (at times) overpowering as it was on past albums, in this album the piano is more of a compliment to Vanessa's songwriting & voice. It reminds me of the time when Mariah Carey made an effort to put her high notes more in the background after her Music Box album. She still showed that she had the talent, but it was more subtle.

I liked Vanessa's old sound, but her new sound is an upgrade. Hopefully when October 9 rolls around music fans will think so too.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Paris - Assata's Song (remix)

Here's another song for one of those rap critics who say that all rap music degrades woman. Today's offering is a classic song from the Bay Area underground legend Paris. Paris is like an underground version of Chuck D. He has intelligent heart felt lyrics that are delivered in a straightforward way where anyone can understand.

On top of being a beast on the mic, he's even a bigger beast behind the boards. Anyone who's heard his production on his first two albums can vouch for that. (I put his 1st album "Devil Made Me Do It" right up there with "the Chronic" as one of the best west coast produced albums ever) Paris is a one man band cause he does all of his own beats. He also produced the Conscious Daughter's first album that included the hit "Something To Ride To (Fonky Expedition)."

"And sista you don't need a man
who cheats and mistreats and beats you bad
It's better to have
somethin then nuttin at all
And end up like a case being worse than a close call
So listen to the message in the song
It ain't nuttin but a way to make us strong
being so quick to chase the juice
And diss us tryin to taste another's fruit..."

This song is to uplift black woman, but a lot of the lyrics apply to the uplifting of all women in general. This classic remix was originally only available to DJ's on 12" vinyl, but has since been made available on Paris' collection that collects remixes, rare cuts, and b-side songs called "the Devil Made Me Remix."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kelly Sweet - A redheaded norah jones?

A couple of songs came up on my iPod the other day and I almost forgot how much I enjoyed them. People that know me know that I'm a big fan of the singer/songwriter. People that really know me know that I also a fan of a pretty readhead. It's because good ones are so rare. I'm talking about singer and songwriters, of course... But it could also apply to... Back to the lecture at hand...

The first video is for "Raincoat." It's a relaxing song reminiscent of Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" in feeling.

The second clip is a live performance of my other favorite song from the album "How 'bout you" It's a catchy mellow pop song.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Golden Era classic: Mad Lion "Take it Easy"

Here's a classic that I was listening to on my iPod the other day and was thinking that this is a song that everyone needs to hear. This is a classic from 1994 that most of you have probably heard one way or another. They've probably played it in a club or mixshow and you wanted to track it down but never knew the name of it.

This came out in a time when Nervous records was still a credible record label for urban music (after the success of Black Moon and right before the Smif-n-Wessun album).

KRS-One handled the production and he gave Mad Lion a banger. Krs' production did for Mad Lion what it did for Chanel Live, it gave them a hip-hop classic as a debut single...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Stephen Lynch cracks me up!

I first saw this guy on Comedy Central Presents several years ago and he cracked me up. Since then I've made sure to give everything by him a listen. Here's two of my favorite songs of his. (warning there's colorful language in these performances)

1) Special - From his 2000 cd "A Little Bit Special"

This song is about his friend "Special Ed who got dropped on his head."

2) Talk to Me - From his 2002 cd "Superhero"

Here's a song of him getting caught in a compromising position. There's no better way to describe it than to just give the lyrics to the chorus:

"Well it seemed last night you caught me spankin' it
There's no denying it I was really crankin' it
Well dry your eyes don't be so sad
if you could just forgive me.... and talk to me dad."


If you just want to hear the songs (for those of you that have youtube blocked at work) I got you covered too.

Special - From his 2000 cd "A Little Bit Special"

Talk to Me - From his 2002 cd "Superhero"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Deep Cut Conversations: Cormega "The Saga (Remix)

Here's a great Cormega interview where he also discuses his "Who Am I ?" dvd and the writing process of his classic track "The Saga."

Here's a portion of the interview:

I’ll never forget writing “The Saga;” I was in Brooklyn, at my sister’s house, with no heat in the house. I went to sleep with a f**kin’ winter coat on. I was feeling that pain, that struggle. Damn. We had to heat up the house with a stove; this is how it is for n***as that’s poor. There’s people that live like that everyday. It’s probably March. My man KL from Screwball was there too, writing. We’re sitting there freezin’. So I said, “The saga begins, I’m a reflection of the drama within, in the ghetto I live in,” so I started just writing about the s**t I see.

I wrote the following about the song when I listed it in my "6 pack of underrated hip-hop songs"

It was hard to decide if this or (my personal favorite Mega song) "R U My N*gga" would make this list. I figured that this would be a better fit because the beat is incredible on this track where the lyrics are the biggest strength on the other track (the track is good too, just not incredible like this one).

There are other rappers who describe what goes on in the hood, but I don't think that anyone does it better than Cormega (Mega for short) because he can explain it in vivid detail without glorifying it.

"some of my friends first bids are two to fours
others are on the run with huge rewards
Mothers watch son's walk through the door
for the last time 'till they go view at the morgue
life is deep, we all just tryin' to eat
rap's a mental narcotic, I supply the streets"

What separates Mega from almost every other street thug turned rapper is that he tells you the side of their mentality that you rarely get to hear.

"when I go to make a sale
at times I wonder, are we goin' straight to Hell?
or does God realize we're tryin' to make it as well
my sleep is interrupted by food on the stove
not gun shots, we're immune to those..."

In these lines Mega speaks on his mind frame when he was selling drugs. He knew he was doing wrong and he didn't want to have to do it but he was just trying to "make it." How often do you get to hear the mind frame of a street legend so candid and vividly described?

The answer... Only every time a new Cormega album is released.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Best rap endorsement commercials ever

Here are two of the greatest rap endorsement commercials ever. Reebok must have came out of pocket for the promotion of Iverson's shoes this year cause they hired The Trackmasters to put together a banging beat out of basketball sounds and Jadakiss to drop some lines about the most popular player at the time (Iverson). Though the St. Ides radio spots and the Nas & AZ commercial were dope, I feel that these take the cake. Let me know (by adding a comment) if you can think of a commercial that could give this one a run for their money and I'll add it in a future posting and see if people agree.

Jadakiss - Answer 5

Jadakiss & Allen Iverson - Answer 6

In this installment Jewels (AKA Allen Iverson) surprisingly holds his own with Kiss.

"Tryin' to build a team, I'm the playa ya need
hard like Willis Reed, top thief & scorer in the league"

This very commercial might have been what made AI think that he could do a whole album cause he came off kind of nice here. He didn't really get run over like many others do when they're on a track with Jada.

If you just want to hear the songs (for those of you that have youtube blocked at work) I got you covered too.

Jadakiss - Answer 5

Jadakiss & Allen Iverson - Answer 6

Monday, September 17, 2007

The World's Worst Burglar

This clip isn't new. I remember forwarding it to my friends about a year ago, but I did have an urge to watch it again. Here's a clip of a guy that robs a liquer store after hours. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, I guess it's more complicated then it looks. At least, he makes it look more complicated. I've got to hand it to the guy though, cause he can sure take some punishment.

Hopefully, the guy will land on his feet after he serves his time. Cause he sure wasn't landing on his feet while he was robbing the place. Bwahaha. I kid, I kid...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Natalie Imbruglia - "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007"

Here's a post about my favorite pop star Natalie Imbruglia. Like almost everyone else in this country I couldn't get her hit "Torn" out of my head in 1998. The song was everywhere. I, like most others in this country, wrote her off as a one hit wonder since I didn't hear anything else from her.

Sometime later when I joined the BMG music club I had to pick some cds selections. I picked the cd's that I really wanted (though I can't think of them now) and I was getting to the final selection and I didn't know what to get. I remember thinking that I loved "Torn" and she sure was beautiful in that video so I'll check it out. I'm glad I did.

Songs like "Left of the Middle," "One More Addiction," and "Wishing I Was There" struck me instantly. I liked the feeling in Natalie's songs so in no time her cd was in heavy rotation. Once I read the credits and found that she wrote her own songs I became a big fan because I really respected her musically. By that time I tried to track down every Natalie Imbruglia song I could cause I found that I liked everything I'd heard from her up to that point (IE: every song on the album). I bought the limited edition 2cd version of "Left of the Middle" that has 5 bonus tracks and every cd single that had a bonus song (that I didn't already have). I was very happy with the quality of her b-side songs cause some of them ended up becoming favorites of mine like "Tomorrow Morning" and "Frightened Child." (I know it sounds like a drug addict.) When I have an artist that I really like I support them and will get everything that they put out (I have at least one copy of everything Cormega's ever put out).

(Here's "Wishing I Was There" from her 1998 cd "Left of the Middle")

After her second album "White Lilies Island" came out in 2001 she became my favorite non-rap artist. It wasn't necessarily because of the music (though I feel that this album is a masterpiece), it was because what I read in an interview. Natalie wanted to be respected as a songwriter and it didn't sit well with her that her biggest hit was a remake (translation: not written by her). I liked that this didn't sit well with her but it was what she said next that really got my attention. She said something like "I will never have another hit song written by someone else." I remember thinking that's a pretty bold statement, but after she delivered with a masterpiece I officially became a believer. This album has my favorite long-distance relationship song ever "Satellite" which was perfect timing cause I was in a semi-long distance relationship at the time.

Natalie must have been in the zone during these sessions (or she just recorded a lot of great songs since her debut album was released) cause there were great b-side songs that were released with the singles to this album (Shikaiya, Just Another Day, Always Never, and Standing There).

(Here's "Wrong Impression" from her 2001 cd "White Lilies Island")

natalie imbruglia - wrong impression from max tampax on Vimeo.

(Here's a AOL sessions performance of "Satellite." The album version is from her 2001 cd "White Lilies Island")

The purpose of this post is to celebrate the release of her "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007" cd coming out this month (Amazon says 9/17 while Best Buy says 9/25). I know that I'm going to get the special edition with the DVD of all of her videos. For some of you this may be a great way to be introduced to (and support) a respectable & talented pop star.

(Here's "Shiver" from her 2005 cd "Counting Down the Days")

If I were to recommend any of her cd's to a first time listener of one of her entire albums it'd be "Counting Down the Days" cause I feel that it's her most brilliant album. However, since it didn't get a US release I know that it's a lot to ask to fork out over $20 for an import cd, so "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007" might be a great alternative. Either way, there's great music out there if you're willing to dig a little deeper than what you hear on US top 40 radio.

(Here's "Glory" from her 2007 "singles + 5 new songs" cd "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007")

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ed O.G. & the Bulldogs - Be A Father to your Child

Today I'm going to share with you one of my favorite hip hop songs ever. This is a song that every hip hop fan, everyone hip hop basher, and every man should listen to.

This song illustrates why many hip hop fans that were fans during the "golden era" can't stand to listen to rap radio or watch rap video shows today. Not due to any thing against many of the mainstream rappers of today because I like a number of them (Jay-Z, Kanye West, TI, Andre 3000). Most of us don't like that there's not much variety. For every 50 Cent (negative thug) getting radio play there should be a Saigon (reformed thug trying to lead his people in the right direction). For every Rich Boy (rapper getting carried by his beats) there should be a Crooked I (rapper who has incredible lyrics). And so on...

I couldn't imagine a song like this getting radio play today because unless the song is negative, is about a dance, or has singing on the chorus it's not going to get any love. That's why we should all be thankful that this came out in the "golden era" and not today, or this hip hop classic may have gone unnoticed.

This track is from Ed O.G. & the Bulldog's 1991 LP "Life of a Kid in the Ghetto" (which also contains his classic "Gotta Have It" that puffy jacked for Mary J. Blige's 2003 hit "Ohh!")

Monday, September 3, 2007

Jena Six

This is pretty sad that racism is still such a reality in some places

If you haven't heard the un-bias facts about the Jena Six story watch this:

(I saw this pic recently of Mos Def & Bun B showing their support)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cee-Lo Green the Soul Machine

Though many might be familiar with Cee-Lo's work with Outkast, Goodie Mob, or most recently Gnarles Barkley (he's the singer) the majority of music fans aren't aware of this man's talent.

Cee-Lo reminds me of Canibus (the rapper, not the drug) cause when he's at his peak not many can mess with him. I believe that the only thing holding these artists back is that they're not at their peak as often as they could be.

The thing that has kept Cee-Lo from being my favorite R&B singer is that I haven't liked any of his entire albums (including the Gnarles Barkley album w/ Danger Mouse). But what's kept me a big fan of his is that each of his albums have shown enough flashes of brilliance to keep me anticipating his next release. Here's three tracks that best exemplify why I feel that Cee-Lo is a star that not many in R&B or poetry can mess with (maybe I'll have another post dedicated to his raps w/ Outkast & Goodie mob).

1) All Day Love Affair (from his 2004 CD "Cee-Lo Green Is The Soul Machine")

This song shows if Cee-Lo sings about a topic that anyone can easily digest his voice will shine and he can create a timeless soulful love song.

2) Gettin' Grown (from his 2002 CD "Cee Lo and His Perfect Imperfections")

This is a song that you'd only hear from Cee-Lo. The uptempo backdrop is perfect for Cee-Lo to just break down some of his struggles growing up (or "gettin grown"). This video is a little odd, but it's entertaining and doesn't take (much) away from this great song.

3) Wake up show spoken word poetry freestyle

He drops some knowledge in this poem. I was pretty speechless when I first heard this...

He's collaborated with everyone from Lauryn Hill, Carlos Santana, Common, Diddy, Macy Gray, and Everlast to writing for the Pussycat Dolls (he penned their hit "Don't 'Cha") & Brandy. Hopefully after you listen to these tracks you'll see why Cee-Lo is probably one of your favorite singer's favorite singer...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

He almost passed with flying colors!

This copper gave this guy a sobriety test that I wouldn't have even been able to pass, and I don't drink.

He was doing great until the end... Ahhhhhh....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

6 pack of underrated hip-hop songs

I stopped listening to urban radio about 5 years ago because I got so frustrated by the quality of music that was getting air play. The songs that I'm going to describe show why rap music can be so special.

Here's a list of 6 under-rated hip hop songs and what makes them great. They're unranked cause I'll probably have another list of 6 and I don't want to have to re-rank them each time.


1) Common (feat Lauryn Hill) - Retrospect for Life [from Common's 1997's LP "One Day It'll All Make Sense"]

In this song Common talks about his respect for life and other thoughts that would go through a man's mind when his girlfriend's pregnant.

The first verse has Common talking to his unborn son about the struggle with his baby's-mom getting an abortion.

"You would've been much more than a mouth to feed
But someone, I woulda fed this information I read
to someone, my life for you I woulda had to lead
Instead I lead you to death
I'm sorry for takin your first breath, first step, and first cry
But I wasn't prepared mentally nor financially
Havin a child shouldn't have to bring out the man in me
Plus I wanted you to be raised within a family..."

I haven't been in that situation, but if I did I'm sure that I'd be thinking about a lot of the same issues that Common mentions in this very powerful verse. The second verse Common talks to his baby's-mama.

"Girl I want you in my life cause you have made it better
Thinkin we all in love cause we can spend a day together
We talkin spendin the rest of our lives
It's too many black women that can say they mothers
but can't say that they wives..."

What's great about this song is its honesty. Because of the way Common breaks down his thoughts and delivers them, I believe that anyone who listens to the lyrics of this song would be hard-pressed not to be moved by them.

Top all that off with a very soulful (Stevie Wonder covered) Lauryn Hill sung hook that matches the mood and sincerity of the song.

It's anybody's guess why this song didn't get much radio play.

2) Masta Ace - H.O.O.D. [from Masta Ace's 2004 LP "A Long Hot Summer"]

From the opening seconds of the very energetic & soulful track (produced by D.A.M.S.) this song catches you. What separates this song from most other songs about the hood is that this is a somewhat positive song. Masta Ace speaks of the struggles of the hood, but at the same time makes it clear how much love he has for it.

"They got wild and rough blocks where it's hard to trust cops
Get shot on your way to school at the bus stop, damn
That kid was a fine scholar
Hear his mama whine and holler he died for nine dollars
Young mothers trying to learn the ropes
And them one dollar lotto games turn their hopes"

"They got one in every spot on the planet
And if you wasn't raised there you prolly can not stand it
Some call it the hood I'm calling it home
And there's love feel it all in my poem..."

3) Cormega - The Saga (remix) [from Mega's 2004 "Special Edition" (The original version of "The Saga" was from his 2001 LP "The Realness")]

It was hard to decide if this or (my personal favorite Mega song) "R U My N*gga" would make this list. I figured that this would be a better fit because the beat is incredible on this track where the lyrics are the biggest strength on the other track (the track is good too, just not incredible like this one).

There are other rappers who describe what goes on in the hood, but I don't think that anyone does it better than Cormega (Mega for short) because he can explain it in vivid detail without glorifying it.

"some of my friends first bids are two to fours
others are on the run with huge rewards
Mothers watch son's walk through the door
for the last time 'till they go view at the morgue
life is deep, we all just tryin' to eat
rap's a mental narcotic, I supply the streets"

What separates Mega from almost every other street thug turned rapper is that he tells you the side of their mentality that you rarely get to hear.

"when I go to make a sale
at times I wonder, are we goin' straight to Hell?
or does God realize we're tryin' to make it as well
my sleep is interrupted by food on the stove
not gun shots, we're immune to those..."

In these lines Mega speaks on his mind frame when he was selling drugs. He knew he was doing wrong and he didn't want to have to do it but he was just trying to "make it." How often do you get to hear the mind frame of a street legend so candid and vividly described?

The answer... Only every time a new Cormega album is released.

4) Jay-Z - December 4th [from Jay's 2003 LP "the Black Album"]

Of Jay's amazing catalogue of existing songs (singles, album cuts, features, etc.) or songs he'll do in the future, I don't see any song ever replacing this song as my favorite Jay-Z song. From the first couple of seconds of this song the brilliant track (courtesy of Just Blaze) sets a very dramatic yet soulful backdrop for Jay to bare his heart and soul of his life growing up.

"Now I'm just scratchin the surface cause what's buried under there
Was a kid torn apart once his pop disappeared
I went to school got good grades could behave when I wanted
But I had demons deep inside that would raise when confronted"

"Now all the teachers couldn't reach me
And my momma couldn't beat me
Hard enough to match the pain of my pop not seeing me, SO
With that disdain in my membrane
Got on my pimp game
F*ck the world my defense came..."

The last lines in the song are the equivalent of Jordan hitting a shot at the buzzer to win the championship and retiring.

"if you can't respect that your whole perspective is wack
Maybe you'll love me when I fade to black..."

If I was going to retire after an successful rap career I'd want this to be my last song and those to be my last lines.

If the lyrics weren't personal enough, then Jay's mom's stories of Jay as a child (at the opening of the song and during the hooks) should give you insight of his childhood that few artists share with their listeners. This touch is what put the song over the edge by turning a great song into a classic, but I also believe that it was the lack of a chorus that kept this song from becoming a single. As a single this song would have went against the grain because it didn't have a catchy chorus, but because of the song's quality, I still feel that this song could have been huge commercially.

5) Method Man - Say [from Meth's 2006 LP "4-21 the Day After"]

Meth has gone through a lot of changes since he first came onto the scene w/ Wu-Tang Clan. With his first solo album he had such a great voice and style that his lyrics were more of an afterthought. (Though he killed it on "Bring The Pain" and a couple of other standout tracks) This song is a great example on how he's much more polished with his lyrics. His rhyme patterns on some of the verses are something that you would expect from some lyrical greats like Rakim or G Rap.

"Ask Miss Hill, half these critics aint got half the skill
Often so hungry that they have to steal
If I didn't have my deal and didn't have this mass appeal
Then im back up in that trap slangin' crack, it's real
And that aint worth the time so search and find a new nerve
And here's 3 words stop working mine..."

In this song Meth shares his thoughts of critics who have been speaking unfavorably about his music. What's great about this song is Meth conveys his frustrations in a way where you not only sympathize, but in many cases would probably agree.

"The last album wasn't feeling my style,
this time my foot up in they ass Bet they feelin me now,
cause Tical, he put his heart in every track he do
But somehow, you find someway to give a wack review,
It aint all good, they writin that im Hollywood,
trying to tell you my sh*t aint ghetto and they hardly hood.
Come on man, Until you dudes can write some rhymes
keep that in mind when you find yourself reciting mines"

I'm not sure if it's the line about "where hip hop lives" that shut this song out on radio, or the fact that Meth publicly didn't support the song, but based on quality this song should have been one of the biggest songs of 2006.

Being backed by Def Jam, slick wordplay, smooth beat, and a catchy hook (courtesy of a Lauryn Hill sample that matches the song perfectly) I didn't think that there was any way this song couldn't blow up. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

6) Cuban Link - Letter to Pun [from Cuban Link's 2005 LP "Chain Reaction"]

When I first heard Cuban Link's "Flowers For the Dead" dedication song to Big Pun I felt that it was in the top 3 dedication songs of all time.

But when I first heard this song, I had a different reaction. On my first listen, I instantly felt that this is hands down the greatest rap dedication song ever. The lyrics are heartfelt and honest. You can hear the emotion in his voice and know that he's speaking from the heart. And anyone who's familiar with Cuban Link's music knows that he's a beast with his lyrics. Lyrically, he wasn't as far behind Big Pun as people might think.

"Life's like a roller coaster ride Just try to hold on and drive
Its all about surviving, one day we all gon die
I tried to hide all these feelings I was holdin inside
Cuz they always told me thugs aint suppose to cry
And show their emotional side But tears soak up my eyes
Cuz I never had nobody really close to me die..."

In "letter to Pun" not only does he tell Pun about how he's feeling but also takes the opportunity to inform him on what's going on with all of the other members from their old (Terror Squad) crew. The most famous member of the Squad other than Pun was Fat Joe where he describes here.

"Since u been gone Joe's been stronger than ever Still with Lorena
I can't go to bed knowing he stealin your cheddar
About a mill or better. To me, he just real as pleather
We built this together. Still and all, he had me set up
I shoulda' known better
I let it ride for too long
Let it slide for too long
Let it hide for too long
Now I'm tryin to move on
Without trying to do wrong
But my pride is too strong
I'ma ride through the storm..."

It wouldn't be a letter without a closing. As with the rest of the song the closing doesn't disappoint.

"Im just writin down how I feel, Hoping you hear me
Puttin my heart and soul in it, So you can see it all clearly
I hold you dearly in my thoughts. Cuz like you, there's no other
Sincerely yours Cuban Link, Your twin, your brother Baby I love ya"


I've always thought, that you shouldn't judge a game by people who can't play. I feel that there are a lot of people who are turned off on rap because the majority of the songs that you hear on the radio aren't of this quality.

The only way that we can change the quality of mainstream music rap music is with our wallets. If you like any of these songs then please support these songs and the artists. Purchase the songs or cds, spread the word about the artists, go to their shows, etc.

The two greatest things about djing are that (1) you get to be creative with music and (2) you get to introduce others to great music that they might not otherwise hear. After reading this and listening to my cd samples you can see that I take pride in both. 'Till next time...

DJ Safe