As some of you know, I took a job with a company based in Detroit a few years ago; not coincidentally the frequency of posts on this site took a severe nosedive right around the same time. Though not its main focus, the company has spent the past several years helping to invest in and rebuild the city. It's rare that there is much crossover between my job and my musical interests (though we do share an office with RapGenius), but the above promo video put out by my company and Big Sean is one of those occasions.
I don't have anything poignant to say to commemorate Phife's passing, but I came across these old Tribe videos today and felt the need to share. Easily one of the most quotable emcees of all time, RIP Phife!
At some point I'll get around to checking out The Life of Pablo - I'm too far out of touch to know whether further segmenting the marketplace for music is what it takes to maximize your sales in this day and age, though it was enough of a barrier to keep me away from the album for at least a week - but I wanted to take a minute to appreciate the early Kanye years when his life was dope and he did dope shit as Common's sidekick.
I won't spoil the ending for you, but the above video from DJ Funktual is well worth five minutes of your time to find out who exactly was the inspiration behind the Fugees' Killing Me Softly. Funktual breaks down the origins of the song with a tale that involves Roberta Flack, Lori Lieberman, Al B. Sure, and Marvin Gaye.
If you've never seen any of his videos before, I highly recommend Funktual's series of Hip Hop Sample videos. His knowledge about the records he talks about is second to none, and his enthusiasm for the music makes the videos incredibly enteratining. I started watching them last week, and have since binge watched nearly fifty of them. Start with Top 10 Samples in Hip Hop History Part 1 and go from there.
And back to the subject of Killing Me Softly, here's my favorite live version of the song featuring The Fugees and Roberta Flack during the 1996 MTV Movie Awards:
I don't know if this quite lives up to the video's title of it being "the best 7 minutes of your life," but DJ Scratch's routine is certainly worth a few minutes of your time. Keep an eye out for Scratch tucking his chain during MOP's Ante Up, you can never be too careful when that song comes on.
I'm not sure what it says about the state of hip hop journalism, or perhaps more accurately what it says about the specific hip hop outlets that I've been checking for lately, but ESPN's Highly Questionable was far and away the best source of rap-related interviews in 2015. (Honorable mention to HipHopDX for the overall interview of the year with Marti Shkreli.) This past week had one of Highly Questionable's most entertaing interviews, featuring Jay-Z's former 15 year old protege/sidekick Memphis Bleek.
Back around the time that I was rocking Roos and sipping on Caprice Suns, it wasn't out of the ordinary for a coordinated dance routine to break out in the middle of a rap song. These days it seems to be all or nothing; the only time you see a rap video with some dancing in it is when it's a song attempting to start up the next wedding dance craze. So it always catches my attention when a rap video features some sort of dancing, coordinated or otherwise. Not saying Baltimore's Tate Kobang is the next Kane or anything, but this video has gotten several replays from me.
After dusting off a solid year's worth of accumulated dust from my turntables this past weekend, most of the muscle memory came back and I managed to get in a few solid cuts over the course of a long session. I was starting to feel pretty good about my foray back into the dj world, but then I made the mistake of flipping through facebook and watching the above video. Nothing can humble you faster than watching an 11 year old outperform you at something you've spent years practicing. Props to whoever this kid is (though some points on the routine must be deducted for cramming in a Drake track in the middle of an old school break beat mix).
I'm not the biggest Schoolboy Q fan, but his mentoring program deserves props for managing the difficult task of turning Mac Miller into a legitimate rapper. I can't lie, there have been a couple of Mac Miller songs that made it into my guilty pleasures playlist (Knock Knock and Nikes on My Feet made it on the strength of the beats) over the years, but his sudden rise from Lord Finesse beat jacker to Reddit's favorite rapper has been something of a surprise. A few more songs like Diablo and you might catch me jumping on the bandwagon.