BADBADNOTGOOD – Kaleidoscope (Kaytranada’s Flip)


Badbadnotgood just keeps getting better and better. Notorious for their boundary-pushing and genre-fucking ways, these guys are are absolutely killing it these days. Not your typical jazz conservatory grads, this Toronto-based trio (Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alexander Sowinski on drums) initially garnered attention with their bad-ass jazz interpretative stylings of some popular hip-hop tracks and they’ve gone on to collaborate with artists such as Ghostface Killah, Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean just to name a few. They released their third album III earlier this year– their studio work is pretty damn spectacular, but let it be known that their live set is where the real alchemical shit goes down (improvisation, yo)…

BBNG’s sound is impossible to define (duh) but my best attempt right here right now is something along the lines of ‘jazz-informed harmonic bliss infused with experimental hip-hop-y beats with a dash of post-bop electronica and some punk-ass virtuosic fusion vibes’. In other words, there are no words. Only listening to be done.

On that note, BBNG + Kaytranada = magic. Not a remix, but a flip. Pretty aptly named in my opinion.


Ghostface Killah – The Rise Of The Ghostface Killah

ghostface killah

The DeLucas pressed Tony’s remains
Into 12 vinyl records
One for each member of the family
But little did they know
He would return…”

Bang bang. Somebody shot Tony Starks down. But he wouldn’t give up the Ghost.

FACT: There is no artist in any genre who has constructed a more compelling mythology for themselves than Ghostface Killah. It’s beyond wordsmithery or a compelling flow or great concepts or that voice that would command attention while reading the receipt from your last visit to the grocery store. It’s all that and more. The fact that one of hip-hop’s most engaging online editorial voices adopted the Ghostface identity and voice for their writing pretty much sums it up. How could anyone else top that high-quality imitative flattery?

Side bar – imagine if Ghostface got together with Quentin Tarantino to bang out a screenplay. You couldn’t pay me to stay away from the theatre on that opening weekend.

So aside from the titular man, what do we talk about when we talk about The Rise Of The Ghostface Killah? Atmosphere, for one. This bad boy is absolutely drenched in it. With the snares tuned loose and the cymbals lightly splashy, the drums provide a rickety bedrock. The choir of female voices that open the track bring the drama right quick. It’s all about that guitar tremolo though. Really, the production on the song, courtesy of Adrian Younge, is a marvel in and of itself.

Of course, this is a track from Pretty Tone so wordplay must be discussed. Ghostface has put out concept tracks and albums in the past, but The Rise Of… is high concept even for a dude who is used to writing the script and casting himself in the lead role. Our hero is a newly minted supernatural being – ex-mafioso, whacked by his employers – hell bent on vengance. There is much to mine here.

Tommy guns are irrelevant, I’m bulletproof now
I could fly through the air and duck your chick-a-pow
Black superhero, crime boss arch nemesis
Good vs. Evil since the first book of Genesis
Battle to the end that’s the way of the thriller
And Starks is reborn as the Ghostface KILLAH
No one could get iller.”

By the way, that “getting ashes pressed into vinyl records” that RZA is going on about in the intro is actually a thing that anyone can do. Try not to feel like a don when you put this on.

Ghostface Killah – The Rise Of The Ghostface Killah


Mark Ronson – Lose It (In the End) (Feat. Ghostface Killah)

So far the tracks released from Mark Ronson’s latest effort Record Collection have all been nothing short of classic. I posted Circuit Breaker back in May and was holding off on Bang Bang Bang till the next record hit the streets and with the release of Lose It the time is now. Ronson is one of my favorite producers for a plethora of reasons but mainly for his gift for seamlessly blending the old and the new, the analog and the digital, the classic and the you get the idea.

Without getting too technical, the advances in recording technology have led to some great improvements in the way sound is captured but as with everything that has come at a cost and a pricey one if I might add. With new age digital recording we’ve lost the equiptment that added a certain amount of distortion and harmonics to the music that we would later find out was very desirable to our ears. Anyways, if you listen to any of Ronsons productions and wonder why his sound is so different it’s because he makes it a point to use that vintage gear and capture the energy and sound so many of the classic records have. I’ve already written about this and you should spend your time listening to this new age old school, enjoy.

Mark Ronson – Lose It (In the End) (Feat. Ghostface Killah)

Mark Ronson – Bang Bang Bang (Feat. MNDR and Q-Tip)


Mark Ronson – Bang Bang Bang (U-Tern’s Disco Dub)


Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – The Sweet Inspirations et Ghostface

As far as Wu-Tang solo albums go, I would have to say that Supreme Clientele is among the top 3. The beats are crazy throughout, and although RZA only produced 4 tracks, you can hear his overall influence as executive producer.  His hand in the mixing helped the production from lesser known beat-makers achieve the certified Shaolin sound.  Sonically it is a true Wu-Tang album, achieved through a solo project, as was the case with Only Built For Cuban Linx.  Supreme Clientele was released in 2000, but clearly carried over the energy that was 90’s New York hip-hop.

“One” was produced by JuJu, and is simply made up of a loop from the 1:04 point of “You Roam When You Don’t Get it At Home” ending with the one. Using the same sample in a more involved way, one of my partners Dub Sonata created a track for a Double A.B. record based on a true story called “Dedication.”  Dub makes use of some other high potent segments, such as 0:46 which has the title of the song being sung first as a solo, second with harmony (he uses both parts).  Listen for small vocal chops from 0:11 and 0:16 being blended in at various moments, plus the sequence at 0:25 to switch things up arrangement wise.  To top it all off, Dub uses the one sample to end each hook.  Get all that? I’ll refrain from explaining the other ten chops he used.  That’s why he’s one of the illest when it comes to the samples. His full-instrumental album, Nights In Cuba comes out on iTunes this fall.

Sweet Inspirations – You Roam When You Don’t Get it At Home

Ghostface – One

BONUS: Double A.B. – Dedication [prod. Dub Sonata]



Mark Ronson – Ooh Wee (Feat. Ghostface Killah & Nate Dogg)

I was talking to my roommate about the death of hip-hop and then I thought to myself, imagine how people who grew during the golden age of Rock & Roll must feel about rock now? But that’s as far as the questioning went, I’ve never been one to care much for this type of conversation, all good things must come to an end to make room for the next good thing, and since there are endless possibilities it’s not worth much trying to hold on. I think it’s more important to create something new using inspiration from the past but just trying to hold on to the past alone can really limit your ability to experience new and exciting things which in the end might actually end up better then what your desperately trying to maintain.

Mark Ronson is one of those quality producers who understands this concept. Constantly blending all sorts of genres, styles and era’s, he creates music that keeps things moving forward while acknoleding the greatestness that’s come before him. I could talk for days about this but as usual Fridays non-stop and I’m finishing this as I walk into my next meeting, enjoy.

Mark Ronson – Ooh Wee (Feat. Ghostface Killah & Nate Dogg)


Enter the 37th Chamber

I hear the Shaolin monks say the Wu-Tang school originated with them… Shaolin still say that?

Two days ago I posted Shawn Lee covering pop and today I bring you the ruff rugged and raw version of that post by a band called El Michels Affair and their tribute album to legendary Hip Hop producer Prince Rakim aka Bobby Digital aka The Abbot aka Rzarector aka Bobby Steels or as most of you know him the Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah – Rza.

El Michels Affair is actually a sort of super group made up of members of The Dap-Kings, the Budos Band, and Antibalas – fresh. I’m sure most of you know by now but the Dap Kings are the guys responsible for that chart topping sound behind Amy Winehouse, much of Mark Ronson’s work and Sharon Jones. I was a huge fan of them but now that they’ve revinted one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time my appreciation has gone to another level. These days production is so impressive, clean sounding and perfect that you start to miss that natural imperfection and error. Don’t get me wrong I’m all about it yet there’s just something that always keeps me going vintage and that something is feeling. The El Michael cover of Heaven & Hell for example is so full of that real life and passion that you start to just get taken somewhere else, I mean as much as I like the Robot Rock I’m still human after all and nothing compares to the real thing. Anyways, this is a noteworthy album and I wish I has more time to talk about it but as usual there’s so much to do before I can officially call it a weekend, enjoy.

El Michels Affair – Incarcerated Scarfaces (Raekwon Cover)

El Michels Affair – Heaven & Hell (Raekwon Cover)

Bonus: Here’s the original Heaven & Hell, probably my favorite Raekwon song.

Raekwon – Heaven & Hell (Feat. Ghostface Killah)


Kevin Casey Music Presents Live From New York (1994-2001)

Man look at these suckers. I ain’t no rapper, I’m a hustler. It just so happens I know how to rap.”

In the beginning Hip Hop was about b-boying, djing, graffiti and emceeing. The drug game of the late 1980’s changed the ghetto so, it was only natural that it would change the music as well. Additionally, Hip Hop itself became quite profitable and in turn created an opportunity for a lot of trapped young artists to leave a life of crime, danger and limits. I’ve come to realize that people perform at the highest level when their backs are against the wall. The extreme conditions and adversity that came from living in the hood was transferred into a musical energy and ‘realness’ that was able to touch and reach an entire world. It was survival of the fittest and to be an emcee in the 90’s you had to hold your own, no exceptions.

You see me all my life I had to sell drugs, while you grew up with straight nerds, I grew up with thugs.”

Why the brief history? Well, if you want to appreciate New York City’s mid to late 90’s Hip Hop you’ll have to realize that these guys aren’t just talking loud and being aggressive for no reason, they’re representing an attitude one needed to have in order to survive and stay sane in the concrete jungle that was NYC in the 90’s. Look at it this way, you don’t go into a battlefield to put your gun down, read a book, have some tea and talk about where you want to summer next year. You’re going to be screaming and hollering, cold, alert and focused at all costs; you’re going to be aggressive and you’re going to be challenging that next man if he’s trying to take you out. Like I said, it was a concrete jungle and survival of the fittest was the type of mentality that applied, “only the strong survive”

That was the mindset in NYC because prior and even during Guiliani that was the reality. I’m not praising it or saying it was correct but if you want to appreciate the music for what it is without having actually experienced that lifestyle, then you have to listen with some perspective. So when you hear lyrics that sound somewhat extreme, violent, and brutal, understand that that is just the top layer and the language only serves to represent issues that went much deeper than the words being used to represent them. Lastly, the only way to escape an extreme circumstance sometimes is to develop an extreme type of mentality. Most people don’t have to deal with such challenges in life so it may be hard to relate. For the sake of this mixtape I suggest you try, it will be worth it.

With that said, we exclusively present a mixtape that captures that time in New York City better then anything I’ve yet to hear – Kevin Casey Music Presents: Live From New York. Officially this is a mixtape but the editing and thought process displayed on this tape will make you think you are listening to an extremely well produced album. The transitions and details from song to song are flawless and carefully crafted. It’s not often a mixtape displays this level of depth with no compromise of quality. Kevin Casey has done his research to provide listeners with an expansive yet refined taste for the best NYC had to offer. Pretty much all classic mainstream and underground NYC hits are represented. However, only the best verses from the wide spectrum made the cut, making the listening experience easy and extremely entertaining. Having grown up listening to this music, I can tell you this was no easy task. Rappers were hungry back in the day and there were a lot of good verses but Casey did in fact manage to narrow it down to the best. All the rappers you hear on this tape are at their absolute prime and deliver their lyrics with the energy and hostility of the street. Like the time it represents, this tape is hardcore, gritty, challenging and extremely entertaining. This mixtape is available as a free download at and was made for the sole purpose of spreading good music. It’s been a while since New York City’s golden era was revisited with such thoughtfulness and sincerity; this is truly worth the listen. All that said, let me end this post like the tape begins:

New York will… not… lose… ever!

Live From New York (Intro)

Live From New York (Intro)