One Last Round-Up of Year-and-Decade Round-Ups

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Heading into this New Year season I was none too enthusiastic about taking time out of my hectic schedule to look back at shit. Especially a whole decade’s worth of it.

But I wound up doing a bunch of different round-ups (links below), and enjoying a bunch of others. Here are the best look back corrals I came across:

Interestment’s Top 100 Things from the Last Decade (featuring R.A. the Rugged Man. Nuff Said.)

The Smoking Section’s 15 Notable Storytelling Rap Songs from the Decade (you bet your balls Rae and Ghost are on there)

Hip-Hop DX’s Top 10 Discs of the Decade (a tough task, but dudes killed it)

The Village Voice‘s Decade in Music Genre Hype (great stuff – featuring a phenomenal slap at underground hip-hop)

My Mother of all Hip-Hop Look-Back and Preview Round-Ups (with Top 20 Rap Discs and Top 50 Rap Singles of 2009)

Fameless Fam’s top 50 Albums of 2009 (all genres, but includes some niche hip-hop releases that I missed on my list for sure)

Year-End Rap-Ups from Skillz and Bekay

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Year-in-review rhymes are a major perk of hip-hop fandemonium; I’m pretty sure that folk, rock, and country cats don’t do this, and if I’m wrong I have no interest whatsoever in hearing them. Somehow I don’t think I see things through the same lens as anyone who’s ever worn cowboy boots or Birkenstocks.

While Skillz is the undisputed king of this annual art form, I have to say that Bekay came a bit stronger this year. In addition to picking the best beat for the job, he brought it right up to date, with mentions of Charlie Sheen’s heavy hand, Jersey Shore whores, and even the Christmas bomber. As a kicker, dude even shouts out Billy Mays.

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LISTEN: Skillz – 2009 Rap Up

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LISTEN: Bekay – 2009 Year in Review

The History of Boston Hip-Hop – Live On The Air Right Now

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I know that a lot of you enjoyed the extensive Boston hip-hop throwbacks that we’ve brought you in the past few months. Even those of you who bitched about it left wet marks on your keyboards.

Today and tomorrow, on WZBC 90.3FM in Boston, Bean rap DJ-enthusiasts Brian Coleman, Pacey Foster, and Scott Limanek will be tearing through some local vinyl history.

I’ll be joining them tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, from 3pm-5pm, when I’ll swing through with hotness from 2000 through the present. But you can tune in right now for the 90s – or stream live below…


(Literally) A Disturbing New Trend

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I couldn’t tell you much about these guys except:

a) from Boston

b) Affiliate on vocals, Silvamore on production

c) they actually pressed up a CD(!) for their four-track almost-EP Year of the Carnivore

d) the CD actually has some cool artwork and style to it(!!)

e) Silvamore was part of the JTTS-affiliated team that smashed Hip-Hop Trivia at the Good Life a couple weeks ago, for which…

f) I’m still owed compensation for my contributions (cash, check or sock full or drugs)

f) this track is dope

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A Disturbing New Trend- Winters

Flava Flav Will Never Let You Go

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

It’s gotta be fate that this drops just in time to put the final punctuation on this long, dark crack dream of a decade. As the sun sets on a period of stress and upheaval, let the dulcet Autotuned notes of William Drayton, Jr. bring comfort to your acknowledgment that the only constant in life is change. Everything you thought you knew about anything will very soon be a shit stain on the seedy carpet that is American culture.

Or, in the words of ON&ON, looks like 2010 is shaping up to be a great year in music.

Don’t Be Blinded By The Right

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Even those of you who who blast my writing must concede that I make more sense than those conservative assbags who populate the New York Times Best Seller List. Of course you won’t – since you’re likely ignoramus sympathizers yourselves – but deep down you know what I’m talking about.

My Boston Phoenix colleague David Bernstein has executed a remarkable round-up featuring the best of the worst right-wing tomes of 2009. Dude smashes all over Malkin, Beck, Coulter, and every other published pundit who deserves to get their brains stabbed with their nose bones.

Don’t just read up because you’re a big fan of East Coast Avengers and their anti-O’Reilly crusade. Take notes so that you can have ammunition when confronted by your intellectually retarded family members who consider Fox News to be a reliable source of information.

In 2009, liberals held firm control of the presidency, the US Senate, and the US House of Representatives. But there was one realm where conservatives dominated: the New York Times bestseller list. That probably isn’t a coincidence. The rise of Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress has given right-wing rabble-rousers something they’ve lacked for eight years: a clear target for blame, anger, and suspicion.

With an economic crisis added to the mix, conditions were ripe for what we’ve seen: a booming “movement-conservative marketplace” (MCM), as I have previously dubbed it, feeding off the adherents of the cobbled-together ideology known as movement conservatism, first promoted by think tanks and advocacy organizations in the 1980s. Today, an audience of perhaps 10 to 20 million people nationwide is eager to spend its time and money on right-wing television, radio, books, newsletters, and interest groups. And candidates, too, as evidenced by the outpouring of millions in support of Congressman Joe “You Lie” Wilson and the New York Conservative Party congressional campaign of Doug Hoffman.



Beyond Dilla and Dipset: Can Hip-Hop Deliver in 2010?

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

For a break from radical posturing and whizzing bullets, 2010 promises spreads from two of the genre’s most reliable beat specialists. Lucky for us, former Aesop Rock collaborator BLOCKHEAD‘s The Music Scene (Ninja Tune, due January 12) arrived at the Phoenix months ago and is surely his most mesmerizing sonic spring break ever. I have yet to hear The Colossus (RJ’s Electrical Connections, January 19) from instrumentally inclined stylist RJD2, but if anyone can bounce back from a lackluster performance like 2007’s The Third Hand, it’s him.


“Somehow, Someway” Remix from Law & Order

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Before the year ended I wanted to direct one and all to the Law & Order mixtape by Big Willie Green and NASA. Shit is sick – for proof just peep this fly fucking remix of one of the greatest Organized Konfusion cuts ever known to alien-kind. Mixtape recommended for anyone who has yet to give up on the underground.

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LISTEN: Organized Konfusion – Somehow, Someway (Law & Order Remix)


A Healthy Holiday Helping of Termanology

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

While some of us had our hip-hop hustles on hold for the holidays, it seems Termanology was in the laboratory. Dude has surpassed just about everybody in the prolific rhymes department – including that sucker who considers himself the top dog but who really makes junk music with the son of some guy who molested Kirk Cameron in the 80s.

Here go two new Term cuts that I found in my in-box upon returning from New York: 1 – his “3am Freestyle” that DJ On&On premiered on last week’s Launch Pad; and 2 – another bang job from Statik Selektah‘s third extended posse comp, 100 Proof. Finally – at the bottom you can find the FREE MIXTAPE DOWNLOAD link for the latest from Term’s DJ, Deadeye. Haven’t checked this one yet myself, but the last one was fire.

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LISTEN: Termanology – 3am Freestyle

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LISTEN: Statik Selektah feat. Termanology, Talib Kweli, & Royce da 5’9″ – Come Around



When Def Jam Was Just That

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Upon seeing my spiel last week about how Jay-Z fucked up Def Jam, JTTS friend and occasional accomplice Enig sent over a link to remind us what sort of powerhouse the integral imprint once was.

Hopefully some of you are old enough to remember the Survival of the Illest series, which came on three free green discs as bonuses with Def Jam releases. Basically, they foreshadowed the full-lengths that were to come and leaked exclusive cuts to the non-vinyl, pre-Internet set.

Here goes a download featuring all three installments – with a track list to guide you through. If anybody remembers which releases they came with, help remind me. I could look it up, but that’s no fun. I’m pretty sure that one came with Flesh of my Flesh…


101. Ja Rule – Freestyle over Eye 4 an Eye
102. Shut Em Down Sampler/It was Onyx (interlude)
103. Freestyle over True Confessions
104. Raise It Up/Throw Ya Gunz
105. Street Niggas
106. Broke Willies
107. React (feat. X-1 & 50 Cent)
108. For Nuthin’ (interlude)
109. Shut Em Down (feat. DMX)
110. Face Down
111. Fuck Dat
112. The Worst (feat. Method Man & Streetlife)
113. Def Squad – Full Cooperation
114. Cormega – Testament
115. LL Cool J – The Ripper Strikes Back
201. Ja Rule – Freestyle over Criminology
202. WDEF: El Nino Sampler
301. Ja Rule – Kill ‘Em All (feat. Jay Z)
302. Slick Rick – Kill Nigguz
303. Jayo Felony – Nitty Gritty
304. Keith Murray – Incredible (feat. LL Cool J)
305. Richie Rich – If…
306. Cormega – Killer’s Theme (feat. Mobb Deep)
307. Method Man – Dangerous Grounds (feat. Streetlife)
308. Method Man & Redman – Big Dogs/4,3,2,1 (by LL Cool J)

We Told You We’d Be Back

Monday, December 28th, 2009

New posts underway right now…

Our fucking in-boxes were stuffed…

Just like your mother’s…

Best Christmas Song Ever. Hands Up.

Friday, December 25th, 2009

The only Christmas song I’ve ever liked beside “Dominic the Donkey”

Sticky literally has Santa buying crack

And I’m pretty sure St. Nick gets laid somewhere in there

We here at JTTS can only hope you have an equally fulfilling ho ho holiday

Hip-Hop In 2010: Mainstream rap relies on one man, but will Jay-Z atone for done damage or keep polluting his genre?

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

There’s a song on JAM’N 94.5 that makes me want to slash and laugh myself to stitches. The tormenter is Def Jam recording artist Jeremih “Birthday Sex” Felton; his weapon, “I’m a Star,” is a miraculous synthesis of hackneyed production and faux-consciousness. It’s one of those insulting tracks that proves how powerful big label honchos truly are, and how payola supersedes product. If Def Jam can pass off Jeremih as acceptable urban entertainment, then they could sell my grandma as the new Foxy Brown.

One need not employ chicken-or-the-egg philosophy to understand why certain hip-hop acts succeed while others flounder. In the words of Chuck D: “Consumers have the audacity to think consumption starts with them.” Like dogs beside a kitchen table, rap fans dance and drool over any ragged scraps their masters throw them. In the post-sample era, that’s mostly meant that FM listeners get stuck with barren beats and rhymes to match. But with such genuinely skilled artists as Wale earning marquee acclaim, it seems as if that cycle may snap. Whether trends bend, though, all depends on Jay-Z, and the direction in which he steers his new Roc Nation venture.

In his four-year tenure as the president of Def Jam – from 2004 to 2008 – Hova was ideally situated to bombard mass audiences with authentic and inspired fare. Instead, he surrendered the archetype imprint to the likes of Bobby Valentino and Rihanna, ultimately softening the urban soundscape in the wake of DMX and Ja Rule’s pop brutality. Jay also prudently embraced vapid Southern crack rappers like Young Jeezy for the sake of survival; but his morphing Def Jam into an R&B cheesecake factory was a spineless bottom-line driven copout.

Now it seems that Hova might wish to atone for spoiling Ric Rubin’s legacy. Beyond “Death of Auto-tune (D.O.A.)” – a tremendous gesture that ironically triggered an influx in transparently synthetic vocals – Jay selected North Carolina rhyme surgeon J. Cole to front the Roc Nation roster. Cole is anathema to 95 percent of contemporary radio rappers; in the fashion of Golden Era stalwarts like Nas, Rakim, and Ghostface Killah, he casually executes astounding verbal feats over spreads ranging from the corny to the complex.

Suggesting that Hova, via Cole, might single-handedly slant the arc of hip-hop is a major overstatement – particularly considering his also signing Alexis Jordan (of “You’ve Got Talent” fame) and Music Kidz, a production squad that manipulates more smoke and mirrors than a Neptunes track engineered in Snoop Dogg’s powder room. Still, Jay alone has the proper platform off which to flip the tired script, so the significance of his first recruit is indeed cause for champagne showers.

Even with his pockets lined by Live Nation compensation, there’s a chance that Jay may cower. Though one of hip-hop’s most commercially triumphant acts in his own regard, he routinely neglected legitimate acts while presiding over Def Jam and Rocafella. Just ask Redman, Sauce Money, Black Thought, Ghostface, or Memphis Bleek about their marketing budgets. Now, with a $150 million corporate crutch, Jay could find the sack to push substantial hip-hop back into the spotlight. Surely now is the right time to change the guard, what with 50 Cent and Kanye West growing more irrelevant each moment.

Of course; if you don’t feel like waiting for Jay-Z to resuscitate the game, you can explore the depths of so-called alternative and underground hip-hop on the Internet and college radio. I just thought the big man needed some encouragement; his pole position, after all, may be the last hope for rap to maintain a mere sliver of the mainstream integrity that the genre once enjoyed.