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Author Topic: The Official Rap Thread  (Read 468129 times)

Offline daigong

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I copped the leak. it was alright, Kanye did better work on his OWN shit. I got Diamonds on a loop.

John Cena?? Whoa, that's what Masa was telling me and I thought he was drunk.

I heard about MF DOOM. might wanna check that out. When's that collabo coming out?

found this Shoutcast station that plays underground and old school: Smoothbeats.com http://64.236.34.4:80/stream/1012
(now that I found streamripper, I can abuse this shit without any worries)

nuff MM. time to catch up with my Rap knowledge. :D

Offline daigong

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Unique Ason will be dropping his post-humoous album "A Son Unique" Aug 09, 2005



PRE-ORDER NOW!! :w00t:

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=6848281&style=music&frm=lk_boombox

Offline daigong

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THANKS for the MTV Raps and previews dude :thumbsup

Dirt Dawg's Words of Wisdom are classics. He will be missed. Next to HAPPY! ... gotta be pimping his new disc!  :D

Yeah...what up Dash. I bet the Wu-Tang guest joints are better, at least RZA has his paws all over it.

Offline Masa

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Danger Doom has leaked and it's pure fire  :)
More shit about Danger Doom coming soon.

BREAKING NEWS!

BABYGRANDE RECORDS FORMS JOINT VENTURE WITH DREDDY KRUGER & THINK DIFFERENTLY MUSIC GROUP

"Babygrande Records is pleased to announce it has formed a joint venture with Dreddy Krugers Think Differently Music Group.

Three projects are planned for immediate release. The first which will be in stores October 18, Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture is an unprecedented pairing of Wu-Tang artists, producers and affiliates with some of independent hip-hops east and west coast elite. RZA, MF Doom, GZA, Rass Kass, Aesop Rock, Masta Killa, Del the Funky Homosapien, Sean Price, J Live, Tragedy Khadafi, C Rayz Walz, RA the Rugged Man, Littles, Cannibal Ox, Sunz of Man, Royal Fam and many more artists, producers and even award winning filmmaker Jim Jarmusch have come together for what will be a historic moment in hip-hop.

The first single, Biochemical Equation featuring The RZA and MF Doom will premiere on ITUNES next month.

The next two projects will be (i) a solo album from Wu-Tang affiliate producer Bronze Nazareth who recently produced tracks for RZA, GZA, Masta Killa, Immortal Technique and Black Market Militia and (ii) a solo album from long time Wu-Tang affiliate LA the Darkman/Embassy Entertainment.

'I learned how to make albums...the whole process of putting a record together directly from The RZA and Schott Free (Loud Records). It feels good to finally have my own situation to bring my conceptual thinking to hip-hop and I look forward to working with Babygrande to make it happen, says Kruger.

Think Differently Musics CEO and Founder Dreddy Kruger began his career as an artist signed to RZAs label Wu-Tang Records. Recently he A&Rd the debut albums for Masta Killa and Black Market Militia which led to the formation of Think Differently Music Group and the A&Ring of its first release, Think Differently: Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture."

OMG HELL FUCKING YES! Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture will be the illest compilation album ever. Look at that line up: RZA, MF Doom, GZA, Rass Kass, Aesop Rock, Masta Killa, Del the Funky Homosapien, Sean Price, J Live, Tragedy Khadafi, C Rayz Walz, RA the Rugged Man, Littles, Cannibal Ox, Sunz of Man, Royal Fam.
Fuck, if that ain't the illest line up ever, I dunno what is  :shock:  :shock:  :shock:

And finally a Bronze Nazareth solo album. I've been anticipating it for years  :w00t:
Bronze Nazareth = the future of WU

Offline daigong

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Post Danger Mouse dude!! Stop leaving us hanging!

Wu-Tang and the Indie Scene, that's where it's at...nuff of this wack Ludacris collabos. Meth better get his ass in here too. Bronze Nazareth could show him a thing or two.  :w00t:

Offline StreakInTheSky

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Well I hate rap. But I love hip hop. I like the underground shit. Fuck Dre., Fuck 50, fuck Ludacris, fuck all those fuckers who play pussy as shit just so they could be rich.

Offline daigong

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2005, 07:23:12 AM »
:evil:  :evil:  :evil: went to the local record store and they said ODB's A Son Unique has been DELAYED!!!

to something like next week? or the 20th?? FUCK!

Offline Masa

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2005, 08:00:49 PM »
Some mad interesting news:

Kweli signs label deal with Warner Music Group.
(jacked from sohh.com)
Word is Talib Kweli ended his relationship with Geffen Records. During a recent episode of "Rap City," the BK emcee revealed that he had inked a label deal for his Blacksmith Records. He added that he intended to sign underground standouts MF Doom and Jean Grae and that he hoped to sign Rakim to his roster. A source at Warner Music Group confirmed to SOHH.com that Kweli had a deal with the company. However, the source said the labels' artists had yet to be confirmed.

DJ Muggs vs. GZA
(credit to Wu-Tang Corp)

Release date: October 25th
Featuring: Rza, Raekwon, Masta Killa, Street Life, Meth', Ghostface, P Sunn, Sen Dog (Cypress Hill).

DJ MUGGS SET TO RELEASE “DJ MUGGS VS GZA: GRANDMASTERS”
Cypress Hill founding member and architect DJ Muggs is releasing his latest effort, DJ Muggs vs. GZA: Grandmasters, this October on Angeles Records, an imprint on Fontana Distribution. The stunning collection contains 11-tracks of Muggs’ neck-snapping beats with the Wu Tang’s GZA on the mic.

“We’ve talked about collaborating since we worked together on the first Soul Assassins records back in 1997,” remarks GZA. “And we’re both Grandmasters at what we do,” he says, referring to the album’s title and term for a chess Virtuoso (Incidentally, chess is a game GZA thinks should be part of the school curriculum in America).

Most know GZA as perhaps the most lyrically gifted of the Wu Tang Clan--he’s released numerous acclaimed projects in his own right. His solo album, Liquid Swords, has been hailed as a hip-hop classic, and his subsequent work has been lauded as among the most seminal of Wu-Tang’s solo projects.

Never one to keep his talents in check, GZA is currently penning a book about the mind state of the hip-hop artist.

Tracklist:
1.Opening
2.Those Thats Bout That
3.Destruction of a Guard
4.Exploitation of Mistakes
5.General Principles
6.Advanced Pawns
7.Queens Gambit
8.All in Together
9.Unstoppable Threats
10.Unprotected Pieces
11.Illusory Protection
12.Smothered Mate

It seems like GZA has been playing some chess lately. Anyway  Grandmasters will be copped  :)

Here's the tracklist of Raekwon's new The Vatican Mixtape Vol.1:
1. Intro 0:16
2. Let My n****s Live Feat Nas 3:29
3. Skit 0:54
4. You Might Die 3:11
5. Major Waves 0:59
6. Tony Soprano 0:20
7. Gun King 0:57
8. Still Killin' 0:55
9. Yae-Yo 2:33
10. King Pinz 2:30
11. The Heist Feat Ghost Face & Busta Rhymes 3:55
12. Baggage Handlers Feat Busta Rhymes 3:09
13. Diesel Feat Wu-Tang 4:58
14. Spring Water 2:42
15. 45's 0:40
16. Big Spender 3:23
17. The Truth Feat Method Man 2:09
18. Make Moves 3:19
19. Eldarado Feat Ghost 1:19
20. Purple Jag Feat Posta Boy 2:13
21. Bump Bump Feat Prince Po 2:37
22. Shame on a n**** feat O.D.B 1:16
23. Pop Off 0:59
24. Joe Pesci 0:27
25. Ice Water Inc 3:24
26. Thousands to M's 3:06
27. Kids Thats Rich 2:28
28. Scarface SKit 1:32
29. Raekwon Speaks and Good Kush Feat Jagged Edge 1:47
30. Fish & Chips 1:57
31. Biggie, Big Pun, Raekwon, Nas 3:24
32. Vatican 0:39
33. Down South 0:37
34. Ice Water Cuts 1:32
35. Ghetto Boy Feat Wu-Tang 2:10

New Ghostface interview
(credit to IGN)
Born Dennis Coles, Ghostface Killah began his career with a seemingly indefatigable series of lacerating verses on both Wu-Tang Clan's historic debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, the first album released by his longtime partner-in-crime Raekwon the Chef. But Ghostface's own solo debut, Ironman, heralded the arrival of a hip-hop savant - an artist who re-invented emceeing even as he offered some of the genre's most exhilarating verses - and announced that his was a talent that didn't require an ensemble in order to bolster its strength.

Three more albums came and went - including Supreme Clientele, Bulletproof Wallets and The Pretty Toney Album - and even if Ghostface's record sales didn't always grow, his status as one of the most respected rapper in the industry continued to appreciate; last year, he landed a recording deal with Def Jam, and intends to release a follow up to Pretty Toney by year's end.

During his recent appearance with Raekwon at the Rock the Bells concert in San Bernadino, California, Ghostface sat down with IGN Music to discuss his future as a rapper on Wu-Tang projects and as a solo artist. As he reveals, the lifestyle of a successful lyricist isn't always the decadent stuff of music video fantasies, but a difficult, dispiriting experience where one album flop can land you at the bottom of the hip-hop heap.
IGN Music: Do you follow any kind of guiding principle when you put together the music and lyrics for your songs?

Ghostface Killah: Yeah. It's all in the music first. The music is like women to me. It's like how you pick your music: everybody got their own different way how they pick their women and their music, and I guess that's what the album becomes. I can't even describe what I like; what I like is what you already heard, from Ironman to Supreme Clientele to Bulletproof Wallets - that's what I had felt - to Pretty Toney to what's going on right now. It's all about the beat first, and after the beat, the beat makes me go ahead and work my album, once I hear the beat and whatever mode I'm in to approach that beat or whatever that beat makes me feel. Like on "All I Got is You," it made me feel like that's what needed to be said, and it's like the beat made me do it. People say 'the devil made me do it,' but it's the beat that made me do it. But from hip-hop music, God gave me an ear - it's a soulful ear, a fresh ear - it's just something that where my soul is at, it just grabs it, and that's where I come up with all of my beats.

It's [also] what you do to the beat. It's like how you get a woman, it's like how you f*ck her. Some n*ggas can't f*ck, and a lot of n*ggas think they know how to rhyme that can't rhyme. But it's how you make love to the beat. That's what I kind of try to do, and that's how you get Ghostface albums.

IGN Music: Your music continues to employ sampling despite the industry trend towards more live instrumentation. What is it about sampling that appeals to you over the use of an actual band?

Ghostface: The reason why I hold onto samples is because that's me. That's what made me. When I sample from old records, those records were in my heart when I was a little kid. I feel like that's the best music that ever was made, ever in time. The new sh*t, like you said, is synthetic; it's like a body with no heart, you know what I mean? Like you are a clone. It's like with no heart, no nothing. They make love songs now that I can't really feel, but when I heard The Moments and Isley Brothers and Marvin Gaye and all of the greats from back then, you could feel it. Otis Redding and them- you could feel it. And I always thought that music was better than the music that we come with right now. It's like, everybody's using keyboards in everything, but back then we were using straight instruments and making albums. We don't do that no more. There's no creativity in what we're dealing with, so there's no feeling.

IGN Music: How much are you influenced by your own personal experiences when you write lyrics for your songs?

Ghostface: It depends. Like "Save Me Dear," I did on my last album, it was like 'yeah, I loved a girl that much,' like I really liked a girl, you know what I mean? But with that right there, I made it about a girl that I wished that - the story is true, and a lot of things that I added on to wish on how she would fit that mold right there to be my kin. There aren't too many other stories on there too much, though, [but] I got "Love," and I love that beat right there. It felt like you needed some love on it, so I did "Love," the sh*t I did with Musiq [Soulchild]. I did "Tooken Back," and I did some and it was based on this girl with a little bit of other herbs sprinkled on it though to try to complete the record, but mainly based on a true story. So sometimes you make true stories, and sometimes you make fiction stories, or whatever, as long as the picture that you can paint to the people [is something] that somebody else can see, or that somebody else went through.

IGN Music: I have a bunch of your white-label 12" singles that have been released in the past couple of years, including tracks like "The Watch." How do you come up with the flow and content of these songs, which seem so unpredictable?

Ghostface: The music makes me feel it. 'Catch me in a crisp blue six, deep dish, doors is crisp, velour stopped at the wrist,' and once I got the velour jacket 'that stopped at the wrist,' my watch is right there (looking at his watch). Also, 'talk to me trick daddy,' and I was just like, oh, let me make it like [my watch is] talking to me. That's what is was, and then we start arguing because he started getting smart like, 'yo, you ain't live no more,' and we're beefin', and I'm like 'I'll put you back on the shelf' and 'I'll stop your heart from ticking' and it just went like that.

IGN Music: Well, after you work so hard to come up with an idea like that, how do you decide what goes on an album and what doesn't, since these tracks are as strong as anything that shows up on your LPs?

Ghostface: It wasn't that. They wouldn't clear my sample (Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More, Baby"). I wished that would have been on my album.

IGN Music: Do you make a distinction at all when you are writing or producing tracks for yourself as opposed to your collaborations with Wu-Tang or Raekwon?

Ghostface: No, it's all the same. I just do it just to do it, but I know when I do Cuban Link, I've got to get way, way, way more street and grimy, but other than that it depends on what they're saying on the track. If I'm on a Clan album, then I might have to follow suit; it just depends on how it goes, but if I'm setting it off [by myself], then I've got to just feel how it should sit on the beat. Because if a beat is too soft, I'm not really going to say no hard sh*t, but it depends- what the beat calls for, you know what I mean? Like the beat gets what is called for at that time.

IGN Music: How have those experienced how the new record sounds or will sound as you are assembling it?

Ghostface: I could never really tell you what direction. It's just however God just makes it; that's how all of my albums are. I don't really aim for a direction, but I just pick the best beats I can pick and that's it.

IGN Music: How far along is the new album?

Ghostface: That's finished. I'm just waiting for he guys to get on, because I did like thirty songs in like four months because I broke my ankle. God gave me a lot of nice beats through people like MF Doom, Pete Rock, Lewis Parker from Europe, I've got Scram Jones...

IGN Music: Are you trying to explore production outside the lines of the commercial mainstream?

Ghostface: I'm resting with the underground right now, and all of that other stuff. It's like I had Missy Elliot on the last track, but it was kind of commercial and people said I shouldn't have made that move right there, but Def Jam released it at the wrong time - they should have released it when I did that Beyonce thing ["Summertime"] when Missy was kind of bubblin'. After I came with "Run," I came with that, and it kind of f*cked me up. They thought it was going to take me out of here on some commercial sh*t and it backfired on a kid, you know what I mean?

I don't want to deal with too many $60- 100,000 producers, because I don't have the type of money to be putting in their hands anyway, but I've got a bunch of smaller guys - 'come on, I've only got five g's, g' - and I've got three, I've got ten, but anything over that, I can't sling that like that. It's a beat; it's just going on the album, it's not even making like if that's going to be a single, so I stay with the underdogs.

IGN Music: Do you have a favorite album or track from all of the material you have produced?

Ghostface: I don't know. I can't really tell you, because Supreme was funnier, more live, I guess based on the skits, and maybe sometimes the feel of the music. Like I said, I've got a certain feel, so on Bulletproof Wallets, if people would have gave me those kinds of beats, then I could have f*cked around and did that. But I didn't get those type, so I gotta work with what I work with, and that's how you get certain albums.

At the same time, I don't want every album to sound the same anyway, but if somebody respects, say, Supreme, I would love to go ahead and do it again for them. Like how they say 'hey, Cuban Link,' but if all of the Cuban Link beats had the same feel, then it's going to be a different feeling, and it might be a better feeling - you never know. It's always hard to try to knock the next one that you had just put out.

IGN Music: Has changing labels changed your approach or your creative freedom on new songs or albums?

Ghostface: It's all the same. This is my second album made on Def Jam, and the first one flopped based on [the fact] they made a transition there, they switched bosses, and my album was just left in the air. It was a good album, though, but I couldn't do anything. The only thing [changing labels] gives me is a bunch of headaches or something, knowing that I can do good. If these were drugs, this would be the top of the line of coke, like the top of the line, but it just didn't get marketed right. It's not going all over the world and it's not getting distributed how it should be. [But] I got L.A. Reid and Jay-Z up there and I think they understand because I wouldn't be there if it was like that, so I just hope that through God's will everything will just be fine and I can go ahead and feel how I'm supposed to really feel. Sometimes I'm making the music, but then when it's only selling 100,000, it seems like it weakens you a little bit, so you can be doubting yourself, and it can tire you. So you've got to be string and fight through all of that, and that's what I'm going through right now. I'm just fighting, because that's how I eat - just by doing records and then going on shows and getting money from shows, surviving.

Offline daigong

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2005, 09:58:26 PM »
Damn!! GZA couldn't be outdone by RZA!! It should be thicker at least.

Haven't heard much Muggs shit lately...I did like Soul Assasins. Wu-Tang makes me poor too.  :o

Offline Masa

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #49 on: August 15, 2005, 08:46:34 PM »
I got yall some serious crack:

DJ Muggs & GZA - Those That's Bout It
DJ Muggs & GZA - All In Together

Those That's Bout It is the first single and the beat is fire, GZA sounds a bit lazy on it but overall it's tight. All In Together is an ODB tribute. I love the beat and GZA's sharp lyrics paint a beautiful picture of ODB's tragic life. RIP ODB. If the whole album is as dope as these two songs, it's definitely gonna be GZA's best album since Liquid Swords. I haven't been feeling Muggs' latest shit at all but dude really stepped his game up.

GZA & DJ MUGGS :thumbsup

PURE CRACK!

Offline MochaNutz

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #50 on: August 18, 2005, 07:11:39 AM »
Kanye's Late Registration comes out in less than 2 weeks.  I don't care what y'all say about Kanye, I like him and at least he's bringing quality music to the mainstream =)

Listening to the snippets, it seems like its gonna be a decent album.  

Tracklist

1. Wake Up Mr. West (:41)        
2. Heard 'Em Say featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (3:24)        
3. Touch The Sky featuring Lupe Fiasco (3:56)        
4. Gold Digger featuring Jamie Foxx (3:27)        
5. Skit #1 (:33)        
6. Drive Slow featuring Paul Wall & GLC (4:32)        
7. My Way Home featuring Common (1:43)        
8. Crack Music featuring Game (4:31)        
9. Roses (4:05)        
10. Bring Me Down featuring Brandy (3:19)        
11. Addiction (4:27)        
12. Skit #2 (:31)        
13. Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix) featuring Jay-Z (3:53)        
14. We Major featuring Nas & Really Doe (7:28)        
15. Skit #3 (:24)        
16. Hey Mama (5:05)        
17. Celebration (3:18)        
18. Skit #4 (1:19)        
19. Gone featuring Consequence & Cam'Ron (5:33)        
20. **BONUS TRACK**Diamonds From Sierra Leone (3:58)        
21. **HIDDEN TRACK** Late (3:50)  

Most of the beats i've heard, I didn't like them at first.  When I first heard Diamonds,  I was like, "eh".  But when he performed it live at Much (i was there! =D) Its fucking dope now.  Same goes for Gold Digger, its a funny track that i can't help bumpin' =D

Heard Em Say is one of the snippets that i liked right when i first heard it.  Nice way to start the album.

If thats the same My Way he wrote back then, its gonna be even better with Common on the track.

Crack Music, i'm getting used to...

We Major feat Nas, that track is kinda weird at first.  I think that sample is from Phantasy Star Online or something... i heard it before.  But the more i listen to it, the more i like it.  Same with Gone.  

Hey Mama, we knew it was gonna be on this album =)  I still bump it.

Anyways, 2 weeks.  Seems like its gonna be a great album.

---

I recently got the Frank Sinatra & Notorious BIG : Bed Stuy Meets Blue Eyes.  Its fucking dope!  Frank Sinatra songs sampled on biggie acapellas.  I really recommend it.

Hmm, i think thats all the new shit i got.  The 9th Wonder/Buckshot album is pretty nice.  Typical 9th Wonder, but still good.  Don't Know Why is a dope joint.

What else, oh Canadian Hip Hop, Listen to DL Incognito.  I have his 2 albums.  Real nice.
word.

Offline Masa

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2005, 05:13:25 PM »
Kanye's new album finally leaked and I'm feeling it more than College Dropout.

Jacked from Chambermusik:
Breaking News: We have just been informed on the progress of the 5th Wu-Tang Clan album. So far, they have recorded 10 songs and RZA is orchestrating a live band to back up the Clan. So far though; Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah and U-God have not appeared on any of the tracks. Even vocals of Ol' Dirty Bastard are on this album. More newz will follow.

 :shock:  :shock:  :shock:

Offline daigong

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #52 on: September 01, 2005, 10:13:43 AM »
thanks for the link, got da hook up from Masa earlier. I think I heard "Back To Basics" somewhere before and that's my fave song of the 2.

Fave songs on Late Registration: Crack Music (yeah, it should be our theme song) and Touch The Sky :D

Offline kyo45

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #53 on: September 06, 2005, 08:04:19 PM »
the only rappers i've really been into are del the funky homosapien and mc chris

Offline MochaNutz

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2005, 05:47:53 AM »
Del is dope.  I've only started listening to those Heiro cats this past year.  Besides Del,  Pep Love is one of my favorite mcs from Heiroglyphics.
word.

Offline MochaNutz

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2005, 11:44:06 PM »
am i allowed to do this?

well, since this is the rap thread, i can talk about this.  i posted my doom remix on the doom boards HERE

Sure all my friends think its good, but i wanted to hear what the public would think.  I got pretty good responses, actually.  So, i'm happy.  i agree with what they said.  I hope DOOM listened to it =D

If you have to delete that link to the doom boards, then here's the rapidshare page
http://rapidshare.de/files/3879925/MF_DOOM_-_My_Favorite_Ladies__Sentimental_Friends_Remix_.mp3.html
word.

Offline Masa

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #56 on: September 27, 2005, 07:40:09 AM »
This, That, and the 'Other': The RZA on the Miscegenation of Hip-Hop
by Chi Tung (http://www.asiaarts.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=30240)

One can't help but wonder: what is The RZA, hip-hop visionary and all-around badass doing on the cover of an Asian arts magazine? Why, to tell us, of course, that rap music rings loudest and clearest when it springs from the unlikeliest of sources.

Here’s something you might not hear every day: Hip-hop could learn a thing or two from Asian culture. Yes, Asian culture. If that’s a tough pill to swallow, consider this next statement: hip-hop, contrary to what those with sociocultural degrees would have you believe, isn’t changing the way this generation expresses itself. It’s how this generation sees itself --ballsy, self-congratulatory, articulate in inarticulation -- as refracted through nearsighted lenses. Squint a little harder and you’re left asking inane questions like: Is 50 Cent’s name supposed to be ironic? How deep does Mobb Deep roll? (In case you were wondering: No, and two.) Still, you can’t knock the hustle -- with the twitch of an eyelash, hip-hop has turned into the greatest story ever sold, bar none. Except what’s not told, at least not without a lot of hemming and hawing, are words that still cause us to collectively shudder: the “R” word (race), the “C” word (class), the “M” words (misogyny, masochism, materialism.) Let's broach the topic anyways: how do we reconcile the seedy underbelly of hip-hop culture with its Mr. Brightside: this burgeoning sense of solidarity, of authenticity, of unbridled huzzah that the huddled masses -- tired, poor and everything else in between -- can finally call their own?

Short answer: We can’t. At least not yet. At least not completely. Long answer: Because as the long-suffering folks in New Orleans can attest to, there are the have-nots and then the rest of us—armchair critics, politicians, people who mean well but haven’t got a clue. Therein lies part of the problem: most of us still treat hip-hop like some charity project -- give us some slithering basslines and some zero-to-hero swagger and we’ll shake our tailfeathers, no questions asked. Ask the same of our hearts -- or our minds -- and the conversation immediately turns to U2. Hubris, violence, vulgarity: pick your poison. But think carefully before you decide where to cast stones, for reasons that are twofold. Number one: Asian culture. Number two: the RZA.

“Shaolin is like the well all martial arts films spring from, and Wu Tang is an offshoot of that,” he explains. Explicitly, of course, he means the legendary warrior clan, not the rap supergroup he heads. Then again, the differences may not be as great as you think.

“First thing that drew me to martial arts films was the action,” he admits. “American action films at the time were all about sucker punches and stuff that wasn’t so tough. But then when Bruce Lee appeared, you had a chance to see something smoother, with more catlike agility. So I was more hooked on the look.” In other words, it was lust at first sight. True love, however, awaited him.

“It wasn’t until I saw 36 Chambers [Hong Kong chopsocky great Lau Kar Leung’s piece de resistance; read about it here] that I understood Shaolin Temple to be this real, live place. And it just sparked my heart; it hit me somewhere I understood. I wasn’t watching it for the moves anymore; I was listening to the philosophy, listening to what was being talked about.”

What was being talked about within the film were themes commonplace in kung fu lore: brotherhood, patience-as-paramount-virtue, the transferral of inner woe onto your unsuspecting foes. Outside of this metaphysical vacuum, however, a subtler conversation took place between the RZA and ... well, the RZA. The spark had ignited a flame that could not be fanned by mere urban triumphalism and dog-eat-dog street smarts.

Which leads us to a rather peculiar sense of ethos, not to mention identity. Because yes, there’s no getting around it: the RZA is Black. He’s also quite a few other things, all of which are no less noteworthy: rapper (pseudonyms include Prince Rakeem and Bobby Digital), producer (Wu-Tang albums as well as soundtracks, such as Kill Bill), actor (small, but scene-stealing roles in Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai and Coffee and Cigarettes, a starring turn in the upcoming Derailed), director (his own contribution to the martial arts canon, Man with the Iron Fist, is slated to be filmed in Taiwan later this year). Then, there’s arguably his greatest achievement, the one that, interestingly enough, nobody talks about: planting Asia smack-dab in the middle of a discussion that has perennially been the proverbial stomping grounds for, yes, Black people.

“It’s kinda funny, when I first started the Wu-Tang Clan, there were some guys in the neighborhood that wouldn’t get down with it. They said, “You’re on some Chinese shit.”

The RZA furrows his brow a bit when he says this; it’s a silent acknowledgment that the blurring of color lines, even on a municipal scale, is more convoluted than you think. But the implications are impossible to ignore: the Wu -Tang Clan, rap’s poster boys for interdependence and thicker-than-water synchronicity are, as it turns out, fronted by a Black man who’s “on some Chinese shit.”

Which means ... well, what exactly? There’s a thin line between fetish and fandom, neither of which accurately describes the RZA’s allegiance to Asian culture. You see, I failed to mention earlier that on top of everything else, the RZA writes. Books. (Well, technically, a book—so far only Volume One of the Wu Tang Manual is sitting on shelves.) On Asian philosophy. East-Asian spirituality. On how a bunch of young, angry black men reppin' the East coast (Staten Island, in particular), through his coaxing (and presumably coaching) found themselves aligned with the far East, not just aesthetically and semantically -- the first few Wu albums are littered with sampled bits of dialogue from classic kung-fu flicks -- but ideologically too. The physical themes -- guns, drugs, institutional oppression -- enmeshed in a metaphysical framework that upon first listen might be indecipherable, but with renewed persistence, lodges itself right in the marrow.

Only someone with an unobstructed cross-cultural vantage point would dare to cobble together the grimiest, most unscrupulous aspects of street culture with the élan of Asian cinema (meaning kung-fu, samurai flicks, and their accompanying credos) and attempt to pass it off to the unsuspecting consumer as just another typical East coast rap production of its time -- raw, uncensored, chocked full of attitude. But the RZA didn’t stop there. Beyond its trenchant insights into what makes the Wu tick, Volume One of the Wu Tang Manual is a blueprint for a lifestyle that has nothing at all to do with glocks and gangs and everything to do with living. And with that, bursting right through another one of rap’s taboos: proudly emblazoning the “S” word -- spirituality.

Here’s what’s interesting though: when the RZA talks about his spiritual roots, he’s not standoffish about it. (Um, Tom Cruise?) Nor does he get into the habit of building castles in the sand. Forthcoming immediately comes to mind, though it’s more than that -- he’s always attuned to the rhythm of the conversation, so he knows when to say just as much as what and how to say it. To borrow a Wu-ism, he kicks some knowledge. The kind that permeates thoughts without overwhelming them. The kind that's content with leaving loose ends untied.

“It’s a very humble, passive life,” he declares haltingly when I ask him about the Buddhist tenets that color his worldview. Then there’s no holding him back: “But we live in a very turbulent world. So with that humble, passive existence, what happens when it meets that turbulence? I see it as staying at peace but preparing for war. Same way as when a man says ‘amitofu,' the Buddhist mantra. It’s a greeting, but also a block. So I was able to use all that and apply it to myself. Like if it’s not my brother, I can go as wild as I want. But among your brothers and classmates, you should always humble yourself and turn the other cheek.”

In hip-hop, turning the other cheek is a laughable concept, not to mention a highfalutin one. Even your Commons and Talib Kwelis -- contemporary rap at its most milquetoast -- aren’t above verbal brawls and petty name-calling once in awhile. The Wu Tang Clan, meanwhile, helped legitimize anarchic gestures in rhyme, constantly boasting about their exploits and threatening to exact street justice.

“It’s funny that the Wu Tang are considered bad guys,” he says with a noticeable snort. “Because they still had that foundation in Shaolin. We can’t deny that in the beginning, we broke a lot of clubs, a lot of rules, but to me, it fit in right where we were supposed to be.”

Believe it or not, that foundation found its way into the Wu’s familiar gangster posturing. Through thick and thicker, a palpable sense of respect lingered --the clumsily endearing fashion in which they called on each other to lend a hand, whether it be musically (dropping a guest verse or two) or otherwise (stashin the dope; running from the cops). This sweet, but never saccharine bond extended to the Wu’s friends, allies and other figures of import, real and imaginary. Context and connections meant everything to the Wu -- their shout-outs and oblique references added heft to their personal experiences, a sense of greater belonging. Not to mention a few “H” words.

“I start writing Volume Two in January,” announces the RZA excitedly. “This one will be similar to Volume One, except there’s even more history, even more about people paying homage to each other.”

“Homage” and “history” are concepts that inevitably weave their way into the hip-hop landscape, especially as discursive fodder. And rightfully so -- hip-hop, like any other art form still struggling to find its footing amidst all that pop-culture-cacophany, has one foot in the distant past and the other, well, in the past a little less distant. Unsurprisingly, all configurations traverse through a sprawling, well-traveled road of Black homogeneity -- African folk and soul music serving as the sonic backdrops; slavery, the Civil Rights Movement and the Nation of Islam the driving lyrical and thematic forces. In the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, acts like Ice Cube, KRS-One and Public Enemy jumpstarted the Black power movement; resulting in contemporary hip-hop’s raison d’etre (if there is, in fact, such a thing) -- bringin da funk to the fan. Since then, its visceral impact has been slowed by social, cultural, economic complacency, leaving hip-hop in a curious state of limbo: certainly not worse off -- creative advancements grow more and more startling by the day -- but less forceful and ensnared in self-denial.

Self-denial because as much as we’d all like to think snapshot commercialization and one-off virtuosity -- it’s no coincidence that a hip-hop artist’s first album is always his or her finest -- is the exception rather than the rule, let’s face it: cash rules everything around us, and rappers are no different from the rest of us in that they want to capitalize. Which goes back to rap and society: there’s no doubt that the subcultural divide is being bridged by artists and groups who never could’ve existed ten, 20 years ago. But at the forefront, there’s what? Kanye West, maybe Outkast, and everyone else. This doesn’t constitute a movement, just scattershot brilliance.

Connecting the dots, then, becomes quite a daunting task: where does one begin? Strangely enough, with mythology. And, of course, the RZA and his infinite wisdom.

“I’m gonna say this straight up,” he booms, nearly ominously, and you know that playtime is effectively over. “Wu Tang stuff is considered mythology. But a myth is something that’s not true. We spoke the truth on a lot of stuff, but it’s just so out of place in the world today that it seems like a myth. There’s always gonna be a spot for the truth because it’s the dominant force in the universe, whether man accepts it or not. Man fights it every day but what he doesn’t realize is when he breathes in, he’s gotta breathe out -- he can’t overtake the truth and what’s real.”

He pauses, ever so briefly, perhaps to catch his breath, though it’s probably of greater importance that I catch mine.

“For example, someone can watch the TV all day and not realize he’s watching different colors and a piece of glass. If you really want to, you can pick up a bottle and break it and you can envision what you want in the bottle. I play with glass and it becomes camera lenses.”

He finishes with the crème de la creme: “Just know that society distorts things. The truth is considered a myth and the myth can be considered the truth.”

Essentially, what he’s saying is this: realness, the perpetual measuring stick for hip-hop, is totally arbitrary: getting shot nine times in the mouth and then selling a shitload of records may be loosely based on history and homage (think 2pac, Biggie, and the L.A. riots), but who cares when that understanding is so fractious and frivolous? Can an art form which inflates its past fully come to terms with its present? And more importantly -- what is the truth anyways?

The answers have been blowin’ in the wind for quite some time -- rappers are better at diversion than anyone on the planet -- but the point is they don’t have to be. The key to hip-hop’s permanent stranglehold on cultural relevance may lie in its ability to unlock the interlocking past of others. It’s not always well-publicized, but more than any other ethnic group, African-Americans feast on martial-arts films; from the Bruce Lees of yesteryear to the Jet Lis of the present, kung-fu artists are lionized for their take-no-guff, anti-establishment chutzpah. Only instead of packing the rhetorical punch of Black martyrs like Malcolm and Martin, they let actions speak louder than their words—the flying dragon kick, for example. Conversely, Asian youth desperately seek ghettoization; it’s about refuting the reputation that they’re too straight-edged and hung up on bourgeois entitlement issues. The cynic might argue it’s a classic case of escapism -- neither group wishes to look their own squarely in the eye, so they find their jollies elsewhere. But that’s ignoring the undeniable benefits of multiculturalism -- the irrational fear that by letting in a greater variety of images and ideas, your own authenticity gets diluted in the process. It’s exactly this sort of tunnel-visioned cultural approach that, in the eyes of the RZA at least, goes a long way in explaining the vicious cycle that has plagued both hip-hop communities and global ones alike.

“A lot of the brothers in my neighborhood studied Mathematics, the study of Islam,” he says.” “And the first question in the 120 [120 Degrees, the teachings of Mohammed] asks: ‘Who is the original Black man?’ And the answer says, ‘The Asiatic Black Man.’ No disrespect to the white man, but he separated everybody; within Asia he made 50 countries, within those 50 countries he made 50 cities, within those 50 cities he made 50 neighborhoods. So why are some of these other artists into Black power? They’re also making themselves separate. It’s not about Black power; it’s about peace for all man.”

You don’t have to drink the kool-aid on everything the RZA says. A lot of open-minded, discerning folks will take one look at the words “Asiatic Black man” and decide that enough is enough. But the principle is an important one, even within the limited confines of hip-hop and race. Separatism is by no means the defining characteristic of today’s hip-hop (or even yesterday’s), but give it the tiniest bit of daylight and darkness descends over what is singular, and what is just plain stuck.

“Me being a man that appreciates culture -- if it wasn’t for Asian culture and civilization, I’d have no true reference of history,” he says candidly. Because everything in history for the Black man in America during the ‘70s and ‘80s didn’t go past slavery.”

We tend to think of history and spirituality as abstractions rather than living, breathing entities: the Emancipation Proclamation was a watershed event, not some dried-up, crusty manuscript; God/Buddha/Mohammed lives within us, even if we can’t always see his/her/its presence. But hip-hop was built for the quotidian; the size of a glock, the pain of the hustle finely and unflinchingly rendered. All of which is small potatoes when stacked next to something like, oh, say, the Shi Ji: a towering colossus of lurid details, melodramatic plots, government overthrows -- in a nutshell, a blow-by-blow account of dynastic China. Compiled by a man named Shi Ma Qian, it’s the world’s most comprehensive -- and dramatic -- history textbook, and a living, breathing one too -- one could argue that it -- along with Confucius’ Analects, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and the Dao De Ching --shaped the very fabric of Chinese intellectual, political, psychological, economic thought, even to this day. What’s my point? Only that it’s not enough anymore to eulogize your own. Simply put, for hip-hop to thrive on its own terms -- not the terms of our congressmen, pop culture trendsetters, or, ahem, music critics -- it must not forget to breathe out once it breathes in. To face what is at first foreign and mysterious and exotic may not be comfortable or make for art that is knee-jerk compelling. Who knows: perhaps the Asiatic Black man is a myth. But myths are created for a reason: to spark our hearts in ways we never imagined. And to show us that what’s illusory one moment may become hard, incontrovertible fact the next.

“History writes itself sometimes,” the RZA says with a shrug. The question is, should we expect the same from hip-hop?


RZA is the man!

Offline daigong

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #57 on: September 27, 2005, 08:06:55 AM »
RZA is my idol

and Mocha...mad fuckin skillz bro!! :bow: hypnotic hooks with the piano bit at the beginning.

Offline Masa

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #58 on: October 28, 2005, 04:24:44 PM »

UNITED!

From sohh.com:

There was no No. 45 jersey, but teammates, both old and new, came out to support Jay-Z as he made a Michael Jordan-esque comeback last night at his "I Declare War" concert at New Jersey's Continental Airlines Arena.

The location, which also serves as home to Hov's New Jersey Nets, seemed like a fitting one. As the jerseys of Nets greats like Julius "Dr. J" Erving hung from the rafters, there was a sense of history in the air.

For those in attendance at the first of two scheduled "I Declare War" shows-the second to be held in Philadelphia tomorrow night-they got to witness a Hip-Hop reunion and a new alliance in the same night.

First there was the reunion as Beans made his return to the Roc. Dispelling rumors that he would or had signed a deal with 50 Cent's G-Unit imprint, Beans, decked out in Roc-A-Fella chains, emphatically said, "Roc for life, n****."

If that weren't enough, later in the show Jigga was joined by Nas. In a move that many thought would never happen, the two emcees not only shared the same stage-they performed "Dead Presidents."

While Jay and Nas have reconciled, the Queens emcee took what appeared to be a jab at a certain multiplatinum MC who's also from Queens: "I don't understand n****s making all this money and being mad at the world...We're bringing NY back."

Despite all the speculation as to who Jay was going to "declare war on," the rest of the show was beef-free. The Lox performed with no mention of rival G-Unit. They teamed with Jay, Beans and Sauce Money for "Reservoir Dogs." The Yonkers trio even reunited with Diddy for "All About The Benjamins."

In true Jay fashion, the show also featured a host of other celebrities who have in one way or another worked with President Carter. The show included appearances by Kanye West, Young Jeezy, T.I., Paul Wall, LeBron James, Swizz Beatz, Akon, Tiearra Mari, Ne-Yo, Peedi Peedi, and GLC.

In between the star-studded collabos and guest appearances, Jay did perform a host of his classics like "Song Cry.," "What More Can I Say" and "Hard Knock Life," among others.

Jay-Z closed the show appropriately with "Encore." With Nas on the hook and his famous friends backing him up, Jay closed the show as only a president could-diplomatically.

"That beef shit is wack," he said. "We did that, we had fun. Now lets get this money."

This is hip hop history!

East Coast is back bitches!  :yep:

Offline StreakInTheSky

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The Official Rap Thread (NEW WU-TANG ALBUM 2007 | DL Puffy Victory last pg)
« Reply #59 on: October 29, 2005, 06:25:52 AM »
:shock:

Nas and Jay-Z?!  :lol:

Nas > J btw  :P

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