Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Year end lists are still forthcoming but I needed an excuse (badly) to filter through a pile of singles and albums cluttering my desks.

    Alchemist: 1st Infantry (ALC/Koch). I don't think Alchemist is as consistent as other comparable producers (Premier, Kanye West, Just Blaze) but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of his new CD. Its aesthetics are very much flavor-of-the-month influenced but very well executed, especially the current single "Hold You Down" which bears a close resemblance to Killa Cam's "Oh Boy" but improves on the formula.

    De La Soul: The Grind Date (Sanctuary). An unqualifiably good album by De La. It's so reassuring to know that at a time when practically all their peers from the late '80s are struggling, De La sound like they're still enjoying themselves after 15 years-plus. The album could ease a little bit off the "respect us, we're pioneers!" tip but otherwise, this is just a blast to listen to.

    Edan the Dee-Jay: Sound of the Funky Drummer (Humble). Edan starts with James Brown's "Funky Drummer" and then follows that with over 20 songs that sample "Funky Drummer." You'd think this was monotonous but far from it - Edan throws down some seriously heat (I need that "Sir-Vere" joint, for real). But hey, where's George Michael's "Waiting For That Day"? That song was dope! I'm serious!

    Al Green: The Immortal Al Green (EMI). Anthology of the year. I'm prepping a much, much longer exploration of this 4-CD set but seriously - if you're wondering what kind of music to buy for the holidays (or ask for) this should make your short list.

    Haiku D E'Tat: Coup De Teatre (Project Blowed). It's been a minute since Aceyalone, Mikah 9 and Abstract Rude have combined forces but their chemistry sounds untouched by time. Heady lyricism to be sure but so brilliantly executed and intriguing that you'll embrace your inner nerd anyways. Check "Mike, Aaron and Eddie" for a blow-your-dome experience.

    Consequence's "And You Say" (Sure Shot). Kanye + Consequence remaking Grand Puba's "I Like It"? We can dig it.

    D.O.D.'s "Higher" (The Legion). Imagine Twista but cloned into twins and with Kanye still producing heat behind it. The video is butt but the song is nice.

    Fabulous' "Breathe." I'm just as surprised to see this up here as you are. Just Bleezy does it again.

    Giant Panda's "With It" (Tres). This sounds lke the best Ugly Ducking song they never made but just to note: Ugly Ducking, Giant Panda...the animal connection? Regardless, this isn't just a feel-good song; it's feel-great.

    GM Grimm's "My Love" (F5). Wait, Metal Face Grimm is not Gingerbread Man Grimm? Uh ok, whatever you want. Just so long as every track you drop is as good as this MF Doom produced cut, you can call yourself Little Mermaid Grimm for all we care.

    DJ Day's "What Planet What Station" b/w "It Still Ain't Hard To Tell". Both sides excel - side A is a funky club banger that's more than just a remix of the Jungle Brothers - it's its own song...the JBs are just hitching a ride. Flipside is great remix of Nas' "It Ain't Hard To Tell" - spacey, spooky, completely awesome.

    Nas' "Bridging the Gap." I first thought this was a case of better concept than execution but I take it all back. The song is hot, hot, hot, the most energetic single Nas has released since "Made You Look." I'm dying to hear this in a club.

    Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot." Hate all you want, the Neptunes finally blip back onto the radar and do it in impressive fashion with one of their most intriguing beats since Timbaland hooked up Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody." Pharrell just needs to stop pluggin' his ugly ass Ice Cream Reeboks.

    Sound Providers' "Who Said What" (ABB). I have yet to hear a single by these guys that I don't like. San Diego represent!

Starting to listen to...
    Ray Charles: The Complete Swing Time and Down Beat Records, 1949-1952 (Night Train). Call it "The Genius in Waiting."

    Foreign Exchange: Connected (BBE). Apparently, folks are raving about this collaboration between Phonte (Little Brother) and producer Nicolay. It's pleasant enough and I can see its appeal for previous fans of Little Brother and Slum Village. The vibe is super chilled out; no club jams but great driving music.

    M.F. Doom: MM...Food (Rhymesayers). Even though I was one of the few recovering backpackers who didn't think Madvillain was The Truth this year, I'm still a Doom fan and he's going to make heads happy with this follow-up to Operation: Doomsday. More bugged rhymes. More bugged beats. (J-Zone and Doom need to collabo together - just a suggestion).

    SA-RA Creative Partners' "Double Dutch" (Ubqiuity). I haven't heard so much buzz around new producers since Jay-Dee. I'm not sure if that's auspicious or not but loved what these guys did with Jurassic 5's "Hey".

    V/A: Rewind 4 (Ubiquity). The latest installment in their series of custom remixes, Rewind 4 might be their best yet but alas, it's not out until January. I'll write more on this again, when the time is right.


don't come back
now, ya hear?

Normally, I'd crack a smile to know that John Ashcroft has resigned as Attorney General except that I wonder if Bush is going to appoint someone even more radically Right than John-John. In resigning, Ashcroft said, "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved," which is an outrageous claim as it is, only made worse by the way he did it: ramming the Patriot Act down everyone's throats (thanks Congress! Don't think we forgot about your complicity.)

Why do I have the sudden sinking feeling that if and when Bush nominates his first Supreme Court justice, Ashcroft might be on the short list?