Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HFTB's Ten Favorite Albums of '08.. Plus More!

*Slick Rick voice* And heeeeeeere we go..

1. Nas - Untitled

From the first piano chord of Jay Electronica's beat on "Queens Get The Money" and Nas' phenomonal verse ending with "Bring back Arsenio/ Hip-hop was aborted so Nas breathes life back into the embryo/ Let us make men in our image/ Spit it, I'm Huey P in Louis V at the funeral throwin' molotovs for Emmitt... I'm the shaky hand that touched George Foreman in Zaire/ The same hand that punched down devils that brought down the towers," I knew Untitled was one for the ages.

Beyond all the uproar about the title, Nasir focused on speaking his mind without a damn care in the world for the haters. He addressed politics, the industry, the media, Obama, and still had time to holla to the streets. From the amped-up revival anthem of "Hero," the venemous attack on U.S. media of "Sly Fox," and the uplifting tone of "Black President," Nasir did his damn thing to resuscitate the very music that he deemed lifeless just years ago.

2. Q-Tip - The Renaissance

Amidst all the golden era acts trying so damn hard to become relevant once again (Marley Marl, EPMD, etc), Q-Tip returned effortlessly with his second solo disc. The Abstract flows smoothly over the LP's 14 tracks (self-produced except for one, I might add), gliding through the female-friendly "Gettin' Up" and feel-good-yet-still-raw "Official."

The best part comes during the J Dilla-produced "Move/ Renaissance Rap," as the late producer reinterpreted a Jackson 5 groove for an (gasp!) intelligent dance song. Then, just when the listener thinks it's over, the beat switches up to a laid-back boom-bap as Tip spits, "Gather around, the renaissance, man it's finally appeared/ And I'm astonishing rap characters and causin the tears/ Quasimoto in the quotables I speak from my mouth/ And no doubt, we rubbed you wrong I'm rubbin you out."

Though I doubt it will cause any true change in hip-hop's tendencies, the disc plays as a modern-day throwback to an era gone but not soon forgotten.

3. The Roots - Rising Down

Adopting a darker sound that emerged on Game Theory, the hardest-working group in hip-hop delivered a politically-charged, conscious record with Rising Down. Drummer ?uestlove admitted that they branched off from their standard live sound by using more synths and exotic instruments, and it worked.

Lead MC Black Thought is one of the most underrated lyricists of our generation, ripping through various tracks like the lyrical onslaught of "75 Bars (Black's Reconstruction)" and "Rising Up" featuring Wale & Chrisette Michele.

The stand-out joint here comes early in the disc with "Rising Down," as Mos Def and Styles P aid Thought over a synthy-bass sonic backdrop. Thought expresses his anguish with today's bullshit, spitting furiously, "Yo I don't wanna floss, I done lost my passion/ And I don't wanna climb, I done lost my traction/ They makin' me break, my contents under pressure, do not shake/ I'm workin' while the boss relaxin'."

Yet another quality release from the Philly pioneers.

4. Black Milk – Tronic

Talk about a repeat. Detroit producer/MC Black Milk had an outstanding ’07 with his across-the-industry production credits and debut full-length solo album Popular Demand, so what does he do? Return stronger than before with a refined lyrical game and extended prowess on the boards.

Tronic is just a raw album from the jump with in-your-face heater “Bounce” and multi-layered single “Give The Drummer Sum.” The rest of the disc follows in a similar vein, with Black Milk at his best on “Hold It Down” and “The Matrix” alongside Pharaoh Monch, Sean Price & DJ Premier.

Thankfully, Black stepped up the only aspect lacking previously – his ability on the mic – for arguably the most solid all-around self-produced effort of ’08, save Q-Tip’s aforementioned album.

5. Common - Universal Mind Control

Longevity - it’s what an artist strives for yet seldom achieves. But Common isn’t your ordinary MC. Though many complain that Universal Mind Control resembles Electric Circus too much, I gotta disagree.

Yeah, Common went a little outside of the box for UMC – especially with the Planet Rock-influenced title track and bouncing pop tune “What A World” with Chester French – but he never strays too far from what has made his career, and that’s socially-relevant, fresh rhymes. Take the the album’s best track “Inhale” for instance, where Comm rhymes “I breathe deep like a old man in a deep sleep/ Or Indian peace-piped in a tepee/ The beginning, the end, the first, the last/ Breath into eternity, the verse will last.”

The experimentation is well-intended here as Comm pushed past conventional hip-hop, a daring move that always seems to bring along its fair share of haters.

And rounding out my Ten Favorite Albums of ’08 are..

6. Murs - Murs For President

Best Tracks: “Everything,” “Lookin’ Fly” ft.

7. Jake One - White Van Music
Best Tracks: “Bless The Child” ft. Little Brother, “The Truth” ft. Freeway & Brother Ali

8. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter III

Best Tracks: “A Milli,” “Mr. Carter” ft. Jay-Z

9. Pete Rock - NY's Finest

Best Tracks: “Till I Retire,” “Best Believe” ft. Redman & LD

10. Kanye West - 808's & HeartBreak

Best Tracks: “Heartless,” “Welcome 2 HeartBreak” ft. KiD CuDi

Honorable Mentions:

Elzhi - The Preface

Best Tracks: "The Preface," "Motown 25" ft. Royce Da 5'9

Tanya Morgan - The Bridge EP

Best Tracks: "The Bridge" ft. Elucid, "Got 2 Get Done"

T.I. - Paper Trail

Best Tracks: "Whatever You Like," "I'm Illy"

Statik Selektah - Stick 2 The Script

Best Tracks: "To The Top (Stick 2 The Script)" ft. Cassidy, Saigon & Termanology, "So Good (Live From The Bar)" ft. Naledge, Reks & CL Smooth

EMC - The Show
Best Tracks: "EMC (What It Stand For)," "Traffic" ft. Little Brother

Cool Kids - Bake Sale EP

Best Tracks: "88," "Mikey Rocks"

The Game - L.A.X.

Best Tracks: "Big Dreams," "My Life" ft. Lil' Wayne

Little Vic - Each Dawn I Die

Best Tracks: "The Exorcist," "The Evil That Men Do"

Jay Electronica - Style Wars EP
Best Tracks: "Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)," "I Feel Good"

Common Market - Tobacco Road

Best Tracks: "Gol'Dust," "Winter Takes All"

There you have it. I'll be back soon with my favorite mixtapes and tracks but your boy needs to go get ready to party like it's 2009..

Happy New Year!

SportsCenter Top 10 Plays of '08

I think Eli to Tyree should be Numero Uno but you can't really argue with Phelps, what a beast!

Check it..

10. Georgia High School Football Philip Lutzenkirchen Lassiter

9. Pittsburgh vs San Diego (NFL) One Handed INT Troy Polamalu

8. NCAA Basketball Western Kentucky

7. Hockey Nash

6. MLB Rangers White Sox

5. New York Basketball

4. Texas Tech vs Texas NCAA Football

3. Tiger Woods

2. NY Giants Super Bowl Eli Manning David Tyree

1. Michael Phelps

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top Ten Quotes of 2008

This is classic right here, as you'll find Sarah Palin and John McCain among other elected officials (We didn't forget about ya, Dubya) saying the darndest things. Plus, I got an opportunity to post this exquisite pic of Tina Fey.

Here they are, compiled by the Editor for the Yale Book of Quotations, via The Big Picture and the NY Post:

1. "I can see Russia from my house!" — Comedian Tina Fey, while impersonating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the TV comedy show "Saturday Night Live," broadcast Sept. 13.

2. "All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years." — Palin, responding to a request by CBS anchor Katie Couric to name the newspapers or magazines she reads, broadcast Oct. 1.

3. "We have sort of become a nation of whiners." — former Sen. Phil Gramm, an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, quoted in The Washington Times, July 10.

(This next one is the most ignorant one of all.)

4. "It's not based on any particular data point, we just wanted to choose a really large number." — a Treasury Department spokeswoman explaining how the $700 billion number was chosen for the initial bailout, quoted on Sept. 23.

5. "The fundamentals of America's economy are strong." — McCain, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, April 17.

6. "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." — the Treasury Department's proposed Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, September 2008.

7. "Maybe 100." — McCain, discussing in a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, how many years U.S. troops could remain in Iraq, Jan. 3.

8. "I'll see you at the debates, b------." — Paris Hilton in a video responding to a McCain television campaign ad, August 2008.

9. "Barack, he's talking down to black people. ... I want to cut his ... off." — Rev. Jesse Jackson, overheard over a live microphone before a Fox News interview, July 6.

10. (tie) "Cash for trash." — Paul Krugman discussing the financial bailout, New York Times, Sept. 22.

10. (tie) "There are no atheists in foxholes and there are no libertarians in financial crises." — Krugman, in an interview with Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time," broadcast Sept. 19.

10. (tie) "Anyone who says we're in a recession, or heading into one — especially the worst one since the Great Depression — is making up his own private definition of "`recession.'" — commentator Donald Luskin, the day before Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, The Washington Post, Sept. 14.

Wow, you can't even make ish like this up. More 2008 lists coming soon.

Kickin' Fresh..

I'm so hyped about these kicks, I can't believe I gotta wait 'til after my birthday in March to get my hands on a pair, damn Nike on it's grind. Guess I'll have to continue on with my Dunks and Vandal fetish 'til these bad boys drop. recently released some hi-res snapshots of DJ AM's custom Air Yeezy's from the promo video for the NikeiD Zoom Kobe IV, and sneaker heads everywhere are either drooling over 'em or hating because they are, well, haters by nature.

Personally I hope this color scheme is available come '09 (that pink interior and tan exterior combo is meannnn, and did I mention they glow in the dark?) but I'll settle for whatever they release. Check out some close-ups below and the full set of photos here. I'll keep my loyal readers updated with any more Air Yeezy developments. Enjoy!

R.I.P. Freddie Hubbard

[April 4, 1928 - December 29, 2008]

The LA Times reports that jazz virtuoso Freddie Hubbard has passed away from complications of a heart attack at the age of 70.

Hubbard was a multitalented trumpeter, known for his strong hard bop and post-bop sound from the 60's on. During a career that spanned more than 4 decades, he recorded and toured with John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock among other musicians.

He received a Grammy in '72 for best jazz performance by a group for his LP First Light and received the most prestigious award in jazz, the Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment of Arts, in '06.

If you aren't familiar with his music, check out this well-known LP I've uploaded below entitled Ready for Freddie released in '61 on Blue Note Records. Hubbard led the band comprised of McCoy Tyner on piano, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax (the first collaboration between the two), Bernard McKinney on euphonium, Art Davis on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. My personal favorites are "Arietis" and "Crisis," Enjoy!

Rest in Peace.

Download: Freddie Hubbard - Ready for Freddie

Track List:

1. Arietis
2. Weaver of Dreams
3. Marie Antoinette
4. Birdlike
5. Crisis
6. Arietis (Alternate Take)
7. Marie Antoinette (Alternate Take)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cleanin' Up Like Beltran

.. That's right, with all this talk about the Yanks throwin' money around trying to buy a World Series, I'm still reppin the Mets. Let me get my Beltran on right quick, call this cleanin up. (Disclaimer: The Yanks are cool, don't get me wrong, I'd root for them in any series but a Subway. Sorry, haters.)

Notorious B.I.G. - Microphone Murderer

Let's start it off with an original demo from the G.O.A.T. himself. Veteran mixer Mister Cee dropped "Microphone Murderer" on Hot 97 over the weekend to drop some knowledge on all these young heads claiming they know hip-hop. I'll let Big do the explaining:

Keep my eyes open and keep the case closed No eyewitnesses, no names are exposed Just the heavy-set one with the big gun When I sweep, come, shakin down everyone

Overlook the low-quality radio rip and you'll see that Cee dusted off a gem from Big Poppa's early days.

Jadakiss ft. Faith Evans - Letter To BIG

Speaking of Big, Jada released this tribute that should appear on the OST for the late, great rappers' upcoming biopic Notorious. 'Kiss does a nice job of both expressing his emotions to his homie while simultaneously calling out the industry whores. Case in point:

People in power is queer I could go on for a year
About how would it be if you were still here
Game has got cheaper Rappers is more commercially successful now But the heart's a lot weaker

Remix the joints you had But they could never, ever duplicate your swag Meanwhile, I'ma keep pursuing my lil' plans And you might bump into a few of my lil' mans
Up there steppin with God Down here, Mister Cee and BK is still reppin you hard

Good looks to Jada for keepin the spirit alive, forever RIP.

Fabolous - Brooklyn (Go Hard) Freestyle

Speaking of BK, Loso just couldn't stay away from this beat. He reps his birthplace to the fullest over the Kanye-laced heater:

Gates and Nostrand to Linden and Powell I need an O, I would like to buy a vowel Known for ice grillin not for phony smilin' Fresher than Easter Sunday on Coney Island

Go head, Fab. Why not?

Wale - UK Freestyle

And last we'll take a trip across the Atlantic courtesy of Capital City newcomer Wale. He has some fun on this freestyle:

Y'all ego is your ethos
Behind is where I leave 'em
Remind you when I see you
Cause I lap you very easy
Hundred miles and runnin
They behind but they frontin
Zero on any table of multiplication, young'n

I'll leave y'all fresh and clean on that note, lemme go 'head and put the mop away. Til tomorrow, when I unveil my picks for Best Hip-Hop of the Year and Guilty Pleasures '08.

Thanks to TSS, Shake & Meka, Eskay and Lowkey for the new tracks, Enjoy!

Links in the Cbox --->

Tune In Now..

To ESPN to watch my alma mater win a third straight bowl game today at the Bowl.. GO SCARLET KNIGHTS!

P.S. - Keep an eye on #88 Kenny Britt, he's a problem.

[Edit: Told y'all.]

Jay Goes Harder + More '08 Pictures

I go the hardest or I could just call this a night

I know I've been MIA lately, I took some time to hang out with family and friends I hadn't seen in a while during my post-Christmas weekend. My bad, loyal readers! I took a little holiday hiatus but I'm back in full effect, hope you didn't miss me too much. Now it's time to gear up for '09, but not before we reminisce right quick.

I dunno how everyone feels about these year-end photoblog slide shows, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia so I love 'em. Plus, it was a crazy year for politics with the Presidential election, sports with the Olympics, the economy with the financial crisis and stock market volatility, plus much, much more.

So, the New York Times just released its very own Year in Pictures project. They break it down by topic - the election, economy, the world, etc for easy navigation. Check it right here - there are some very powerful and emotional shots that are worth viewing if you get a free couple minutes.

While you do that, you could listen to this fresh remix of "Go Hard" as Jay-Z hops on the Kanye West, T-Pain & DJ Khaled joint. Still the same verse from 'Yeezy and Khaled's annoying antics but how could you go wrong with Jigga goin in strong?

Shouts to Eskay for the link, Now go and Enjoy!

Check the Cbox ---->

DJ Khaled ft. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Go Hard (Remix)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Check It.. 2008 Remixed Recap

I hope everyone had as good a day as I did. I got some quality gifts from the fam and gave a bunch of good ones, too. Also sipped on some Moretti courtesy of my boss, stuffed my face with mom dukes' classic cooking, watched Iron Man, and just enjoyed relaxing at the crib.

After listening to holiday music for a month straight, I'm finally sick of it. So I was ultra amped when I peeped Mick Boogie & Terry Urban's Best of '08 Recap remixtape over at Press Play Fashion Forward.

In conjunction with Cornerstone Promotion, The Commissioner and Co. put a fresh twist on many of the year's flyest tracks.

Personal favorite moments were a Biggie verse spliced with Slim's "So Fly," an insane blend of MIA's "Paper Planes" using the beats from "Public Service Announcement, I Got 5 On It" & "Guess Who's Back (SICK!) and lyrics from Oasis' "Wonderwall" mixed in with Jigga's "Jockin' Jay-Z."

While I work on throwing together my picks for the Best of 2008 lists, vibe out to this well-crafted project, Enjoy!

Download: Mick Boogie & Terry Urban presents Cornerstone #112: 2008 Recap

Track List:

Intro (6th Sense)
So Fly (Slim f Biggie - Mick Boogie Mix)
Announcement (Common f Biggie - Mick Boogie Mix)
I Luv Your Girl (Dream f Jay-Z MB/TU Mix)
Paper Planes (MIA - Terry Urban Mix)
Swagger Like Us (Jay-Z - Mick Boogie Transition)
Jockin My Wonderwalls (Jay-Z & Oasis)
Diamond Girl (Ryan Leslie f Kanye West - Mick Boogie Mix)
Paris Tokyo (Lupe Fiasco f CL Smooth - Mick Boogie Mix)
Girls Around (Lloyd f Rakim - MB/TU Mix)
Drivin Down The Block (Kidz In The Hall f/ El-P)
Gettin Up (Q-Tip)
Milli (Lil Wayne - Wonder/Excel Mix)
Love Lockdown (Kanye West f LMFAO)
Falsetto (Dream - Terry Urban Mix)
Day N Night (Kid Cudi f Jay-Z - Terry Urban Mix)
Lollirock (Lil Wayne & Kanye West - Kickdrums Remix)
Dangerous (Kardinal f Akon)
The Boss (Rick Ross f Lil Wayne - Mick Boogie Mix)
Out Here Grindin (Khaled)
My President (Young Jeezy f Nas)
Black President (Nas f Young Jeezy)
American Boy (Estelle f Jay-Z and NERD - Terry Urban Mix)
Everyone Knows (NERD - Sammy Bananas Remix)
Dont Touch Me Remix (Busta Rhymes f Nas)
Magic (Robin Thicke f Jay-Z - Mick Boogie Mix)
The Light 08 (Common)
How We Rock (Termanology f Bun B)
Rising Down (The Roots f Mos Def & Styles)
Viagra (88 Keys and Kanye West)
Midnight 08 (Q-Tip)
Go All Out (9th Wonder and Buckshot)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Really Feelin' The Spirit..

.. I'm finally done with all I need to do for the day, what a relief.

I want to wish everyone a very blessed holiday season and, for those that celebrate, a Merry Christmas Eve.

I put together this here mix for you all to enjoy tonight and tomorrow. I included a bunch of my favorite Christmas joints across different genres - jazz instrumentals, traditional, Motown, religious, rock, soul, pop and even one hip-hop (sorry, I'm not really feelin' most of hip-hop's holiday contributions, I'm more of a traditional head myself).

You'll find classics like Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song," Frank Sinatra's "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and Stevie Wonder's "Someday At Christmas" alongside more obscure tunes like Jethro Tull's "Ring Out, Solstice Bells," John Lennon & Yoko Ono's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's rock-opera "Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24."
I tried to appeal to different tastes with this mix - I hope it enhances your holiday experience.

Time to wrap the last of my presents, set up the new BlackBerry Storm and spend some time with the fam before church, Enjoy!

Download: HFTB Christmas '08: Feelin' The Spirit

Track List:

Al Green - I'll Be Home For Christmas
Charles Brown - Please Come Home For Christmas
Chet Baker - We Three Kings
Dave Brubeck - What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
Diana Ross & The Supremes - Silver Bells
Donny Hathaway - This Christmas
Eddie Dunstedter - Let It Snow!; RudolphThe Red-Nosed Reindeer
Eddie Higgins Trio - Winter Wonderland
Frank Sinatra - The Christmas Song (with Bing Crosby)
Frank Sinatra - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Howard Levy & Connie Ellisor - Go, Tell It On The Mountain
Jackson 5 - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Jethro Tull - Ring Out, Solstice Bells

John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Happy Christmas (The War Is Over)
Luther Vandross - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Nat King Cole - Adeste Fideles
Nat King Cole - O Come All Ye Faithful
Nat King Cole - O Holy Night
Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)

Otis Redding - Merry Christmas, Baby
Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmastime
Perry Como - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
The Piano Tribute Players - Carol of the Bells
The Piano Tribute Players - Greensleeves

The Piano Tribute Players - Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Run-D.M.C. - Christmas In Hollis
Stevie Wonder - Someday At Christmas

Stevie Wonder - Ave Maria
The Temptations - Little Drummer Boy
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - An Angel Came Down
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - An Angel Returned

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Canon
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve/ Sarajeva 12/24
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The First Noel
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - O Come All Ye Faithful / O Holy Night
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Prince of Peace
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Wizards in Winter
VA - Ding Dong Merrilly On High

Santa Claus' GMail Screenshot

LOL This is some great holiday humor. The homie John Gotty at TSS posted this earlier, and it made my Christmas Eve at the office that much more tolerable.

The best ones:

From Donner
"Gonna Be Late Today - Like 15 min. I got blitzened last night. I wound up on s...."


From Frosty the Snowman

"Check it, I snapped a pic of this chick I fu...."


Click the pic to enlarge this screenshot of Santa's GMail account, Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Analyze This..

How come I've never heard this? Shiiiit who cares, I'm amped I found it today.

The homie Chuck over at Hip Hop & Vinyl Giant liberated this 12'' vinyl rip of a mid-90's heater called "Analyze This" featuring an all-star line-up - Nas, Jay-Z and Lord Tariq (yes, of "De Ja Vu" fame with the senior Gunz) over head-nodding Pete Rock production.

Anything I write can't even describe this raw, vintage hip-hop, so I'll let the MC's do it. Jay's up first:

Everything's for dough now
Flow, you gotta pay a little mo' now
It's platinum nowadays, we put the gold down
We stepped it up, y'all don't even want a show down
Get wetted up by the sleeve that leave the bezzle out
Y'all don't like it? Sue me, fuck, I'll settle out
Ghetto-ed out in the vehicle, bent
These days I've mellowed out, see success make a fella content

Gotta love Jigga's laid-back swag from back in the day. Tariq is on deck:

Ain't nothin changed but the players, the game remains the same
I had a ten-year run, hey, I can't complain

Took the next step see, from coke to Pepsi
From the BX we ridin' to South Beach on jetski

Not bad. Then Nasir closes things out like a healthy Billy Wagner:

Bought my clique glaciers and pagers
Ten deep to Las Vegas
Copped a live crop, chopped it up, hit my block off wit gators Feedin peoples from the Bridge to Decatur
By now, 2 years, five months and 30 days later
I still put out the street flavor

A great end to a solid throwback joint, I'm lovin it.

Once again, big props to Chuck at HH&VG for the crisp vinyl rip, Enjoy!

Nas ft. Jay-Z & Lord Tariq - Analyze This prod. Pete Rock

Link in the Cbox, fam --->

When Online Shopping Doesn't Work

.. Generally, I'm amped for the holidays. I believe in the adage that it's better to give than to receive, so I'm excited to give presents to my family and some close friends.

Attempting to avoid some of the chaos that ensues in stores and the mall at this time of year, I hopped online and did a good amount of digital shopping. Now I love online shopping, 'cause it's beautiful when it works. The thing is, you gotta be careful or you'll get burned.

Which leads me to my ultimate point - I'ma complain real quick about two online purchases I made this year that I regret. First, I grabbed a "Barack Star" T-shirt over at for a friend - I thought the design was cool and that she'd love it.

Here's the thing - I placed my order on November 17 and these sons-of-bitches STILL haven't shipped it yet. I e-mailed and called for the past couple weeks, but this bootleg operation doesn't even have the decency to hit me back.

So you know what I did? I put in a dispute on PayPal. And if they don't get in touch within the next week, I'm escalating that ish to a claim and you better be damn sure I'm getting my money back. I mean, it's only a T-shirt - not like it'll break the bank or anything, but this is about more than the money, it's about principle.

The other complaint I got is about a site I featured on my blog, the Imaginary Foundation. That is definitely the perfect name for this "company" because I'm not sure if it actually exists. I placed a small order and it was supposed to ship yesterday, I followed the tracking number and everything.

And you know what happened? USPS said they couldn't deliver it because it was "undeliverable to address." You gotta be SHITTIN' ME! I checked if I made a mistake on the shipping address, and of course I didn't. I'm a perfectionist especially when my money's involved. So I e-mail and call and again, no response. Aight, they pissed me off. So I filed another dispute, this time with my bank, and you better be certain I'll fight 'til the end to get my order or my money back.

Sorry for the long rant, I just know some of y'all have been burned before so you feel my pain. Now even if both packages show up at my doorstep tomorrow, I'll still never order from these half-ass, amatuer operations. If they want to burn me for a couple bucks, they better know I'm gonna air them out AND never give them my business or refer my homies to them. That's some low-life ish, and if they really are trying to take my money, they'll win this round but I GUARANTEE THEY WILL LOSE THE WAR.

'Nuff of that, I'm out to go to a real spot and cop Iron Man and Dark Knight on DVD so I'll have somethin to watch when I'm setting up my new BlackBerry.

Hope your holiday shopping experience was better than mine, I'm ghost.

It's Almost Here..

.. Christmas, the best day ever, that is. And just for my loyal readers, I'll be running thru these holiday albums and others here at the office to bring you the first annual HFTB Christmas Mix: Feelin' The Spirit tomorrow..

So stay tuned!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dreamin' & Whatnot


I'm dumb tired after work, the gym then grabbin' a bite to eat with some of the fellas so my brain isn't necessarily functioning right now, my bad. But, that won't stop me from posting some new ish.

I slept on this first track for a hot minute, most likely 'cause I'm not that excited about this "group." Idle Warship - comprised of Talib Kweli, Res and Graph Noble - rocked a mediocre freestyle over Common's "Universal Mind Control." Since Kweli is one of my all-time favorites, his part is really the only one that I enjoyed:

This what your promoter lackin
Mad love given is automatic
Me and you, let's go, what's happenin?
Thick like Robin, I know it's magic

I dunno how I feel about the rest of the track, though. I'd love to hear more Kweli and less of the other two, maybe I'm just biased. I'm not hatin' on his hustle as CEO of Blacksmith Ent at all, I just reminisce too much of his good ol' Black Star days.

The other track we've got this evening is apparently the first single off DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz Part 2 featuring Akon, Snoop Dogg & T.I. Yeah, it's exactly what you expect - a sing-song chorus from 'Kon and seductive lyrics from D-O double and Tip. I could see this one as being a end-of-the-night club joint, as T.I. pleads:

Her booty big enough to swallow up a g-string
Hey, go on put that ass on me like a bee sting

LOL, these silly ass rhymes. Chalk this one up as one of the last guilty pleasures '08 has to offer.

Check the CBox for fresh links to both MP3's ---->

That's all I got tonight, I'm bout to get to dreamin' myself. Thanks to Meka for the Idle Warship free and KSY Music for the Drama and friends. Enjoy!

Ready For A Christmas Eve Storm

.. Not the snowstorm that's predicted for Jersey on Christmas Eve, but my new BlackBerry Storm that's on order to be shipped by Wednesday.

Due to some, err, alcohol-induced events on Saturday, my BBerry Curve is, for lack of a better phrase, out of commission. An since Verizon planned well for the high-demand holiday season (sense the sarcasm?), I have to wait for them to ship the Storm.

I don't think I've gone more than one day without a phone since I was about 16, not to mention it's probably the worst possible timing to not have a phone. But alas, salvation will come a day before the good Lord is born and hopefully I'll be celebrating a Storm on Christmas Day.

Currently, I'm working on putting together a compilation of my favorite holiday songs for your listening pleasure. I'll have that out before the 25th just in time to get into the spirit.

For those that don't celebrate Christmas, I'm wishing you a Happy Hanukkuh or Kwanzaa or whatever you choose to observe. As far as my phone, I'm gonna say a couple prayers and hope for the best.

For now, Peace!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Movin' On & Chillin'

[wale & lohan LOL]

Of all the new lyricists bombarding the street circuit and blogosphere, Wale and Joell Ortiz are two of the ones that I look out for the most - and for good reason.

The former is a DC verbalist building a following (count me in!) for his unique rhyme structure and clever wordplay while the latter is a BK brawler hitting the industry hard with in-your-face realness.

Want proof? I got my hands on some new tracks from both. First up is Wale on a Cool-N-Dre produced "Chillin," where he goes in:

I got the right to be cocky
Did so much good disc jockeys jock me
You niggas mad 'cause you not me
I remain a Giant and you Jeremy Shockey

Bwahaha, Get 'em fam! If this jam doesn't make you want to listen to more from Wale, I don't know what will.



The second bit of evidence is a new Joell featuring Jersey rep Joe Budden called "Move On" off Ortiz's upcoming The Free Agent Mixtape. Here are some memorable lines:

Set up to be a loser but was made to be a winner
If they paint hip-hop, I bet my face be in the picture
If they wrote a rap Bible, bet my name be in the scripture

I gotta give my own interview
Since niggas that do my interviews
Focus on whatever's miniscule
Or paint me as cynical
But the canvas will limit you You can't go beyond what there's no limit to

Yup, this is what it's all about.

Like always, the links are in the CBox to the right. Props to Eskay for the Ortiz/ Budden and KSY-Music for the Wale, Enjoy!

Wale - Chillin' prod. Cool-N-Dre

Joell Ortiz ft. Joe Budden - Move On

Feelin' The Spirit

.. The Christmas spirit, that is. Before I get my ass in gear to finish up my holiday shopping, I wanted to spread some musical cheer.

When you think of hip-hop holiday music, the lackluster Dipset tapes and ridiculous Ying Yang Twins debauchery usually come to mind - but not today, my friends. I spotted a worthwhile project over at Kevin Nottingham's blog by producers Danimal & L.a.k.i.m. where they properly flip some Christmas classics to make some really cool beats.

Simply titled the "Christmas Beat Tape," you'll hear interpretations of "Let It Snow," "Winter Wonderland" & "Greensleeves" and the like. I really dig some of these instrumentals and I hope y'all do too.

I've posted the track listing and download link below. Once again, thanks to K Nottingham, Enjoy!

Danimal & L.a.k.i.m. - Christmas Beat Tape

1. Christmas Greetings from Biggie
2. The Joy of Christmas
3. Special Gifts
4. Deez Chestnuts Roasting
5. Let It Snow
6. Yellow Snow
7. How The Warriors Stole Christmas
8. Christmas Glitch
9. Christmas Vacation (Just Relax)
10. Xmas in the Tropics
11. Holiday Decorations
12. Chopping Down The Tree
13. Rest On
14. Winter Wonderland
15. The Grinch (aka Greensleeves)
16. Driving Home
17. The Greedy Kid
18. Dilla's Christmas Upstairs
19. Rapper Big Pooh Is Santa Claus
20. X Equals
21. Return of the Grinch (Boom)
22. Santa's Other Helpers
23. At Christmas Time
24. Christmas Eve
25. The Fresh Princemas

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Night Flavor

At least I got some good new music to vibe out to tonight during whatever I get into.

We've got some heavy hitting hip-hop for your end-of-the-work-week celebrations this evening. First, a new joint from Jay Electronica called "Swagger Jackson's Revenge" produced by 14 K.T. off his upcoming Scratches & Demo Tape Volume 1. For those that are unfamiliar, he always spits some heady shit that is too real to pass up - I'm REALLY feelin' this one, peep game:

What a pity
The hope on the politician's tongue,

ever trickles down to the city
Yeah, so if a nigga put a president's mask on,

And run up in the bank with a mac sayin 'Gimme, gimme'

I ain't glad at him, but I ain't mad at him

Told you it's heavy.

Next up is some new heat from Rapper Big Pooh. "The Comeback" is neck-snapping rawness produced by Khrysis off Pooh's upcoming Delightful Bars. I've always thought Phonte had the slight edge on Pooh during their Little Brother years mostly 'cause of his voice and delivery, but Pooh certainly makes his case on this joint:

This is me, no muse
Pooh be on his Hova shit, I will not lose
My mama said never argue with the fools
They drag you down 'til you swimmin' with the schools

Or maybe drownin' in the pool
Knowledge is a weapon so I'm packin' my tool

Aight Pooh, we hear ya.

Finally, we've got a great conceptual effort from Termanology. Entitled "Circulate (100 Bars)," Term shows off his verbal dexterity over a crazy J Dilla instrumental:

Went on a beef chase stashin' my briefcase
Hash and my weed's laced, flashin my deep crates
Like Flex but I flex album release dates
I'm damagin' beat tapes, samplin' beat breaks
I trample the weak, fake, rappin' disease snakes

Word. This is a taste of Term's upcoming tape If Heaven Were A Mile Away (A Tribute to J Dilla) dropping on New Years Day. Termanology over all J Dilla beats? Sounds like a perfect way to ring in the New Year.

That's all I've got for now, shouts to FWMJ for the Jay Electronica and Shake for the Pooh and Term, Enjoy!

Check the Cbox for links ---->

Jay Electronica - Swagger Jackson's Revenge prod. 14 K.T.

Rapper Big Pooh - The Comeback prod. Khrysis

Termanology - Circulate (100 Bars) prod. J Dilla

Pepsi Proper NYC

.. Since I'll most likely be snowed in tonight, I don't think I'll be making the trip to the city unless the weather breaks. Even so, I might swing through the Pepsi Proper Tour NYC Retail Clothing/ Music event tomorrow.

Held at the Open House Gallery, the Pepsi Proper Tour features a pop-up store full of big names in clothing during the day like Hellz, Absurd, Rockport, & Commonwealth plus night-time entertainment from DJ Neil Armstrong (Jay-Z's tour DJ) and DJ Mick Boogie among others on the 1's and 2's.

The pop-up gallery is from 12-7 PM and the DJ's rock from 9 'til midnight. If I go, I'll be sure to let y'all know how it is, thanks to Hypebeast for the flyer!

[click to enlarge]

Twitter Time

.. Yea, yea, I know, I know - hand me a super late pass. I was so used to using Facebook that I didn't sign up for Twitter til just now.

It's funny 'cause Twit is like the hip-hop Facebook - it's dope I can follow ?uestlove or Elliot Wilson and see what they're up to on the regular.

I'm still learning the in's and out's, so bear with me. Follow me at to stay updated on, well, me and my life!

Like always, thanks for stoppin' thru.

Samples of the Year

.. Wondering where Bangladesh found that dusty, snapping snare for "A Milli"? Trying to figure out where you've heard that vocal sample Just Blaze flips on "Live Your Life"?

Me too.

But don't fret, I've got you covered. Well actually, I can't take any credit for the research and digging it took to compile a list of the top samples of the year - I can only point you in the right direction.

That's where the homie Ivan of Hip-Hop Is Read comes in. I and his team of digital crate-diggers found the original grooves used for numerous '08 bangers, from the Run-DMC-provided vocal hook of "Jockin' Jay-Z" to the Jackson Five jam that drove Q-Tip's frenzied dancefloor catalyst "Move."

I've listed my favorites below but you're gonna have to peep the original post to download the entire list and read the intriguing write-ups for each track. Once again, props to Ivan and his whole team for the monumental effort, Enjoy!

Best of the Best:

Véronique Sanson - "Une Nuit Sur Son Épaule"
Sampled for Jay-Z & Tony Williams' "History" prod. Kanye West

A Tribe Called Quest - "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo (Vampire Mix)"
Sampled for Lil' Wayne's "A Milli" prod. Bangladesh

Eumir Deodato - "San Juan Sunset"
Sampled for Lupe Fiasco's "Paris, Tokyo" prod. Soundtrakk

O-Zone - "Dragostea Din Tei"
Sampled for T.I. & Rihanna's "Live Your Life" prod. Just Blaze

David Axelrod - "Holy Thursday"
Sampled for Lil' Wayne's "Dr. Carter" prod. Swizz Beatz

Jackson Five - "Dancing Machine"
Sampled for Q-Tip's "Move" prod. J Dilla (R.I.P.)

Let It Snowww

.. Our office is closing at noon today here in North Jersey, so I'll be driving home in this snowstorm. Hey, I'd rather be driving home than sitting at my desk for the next 6 hours, oh yeaaa!

Here's some hotness to help get through today's cold - the aptly-titled Khrysis: On The Boards With The Heat mixed by DJ Rhettmatic, a collection of bangers produced by the heavy-grinding Khrysis from his previous work with Sean Price, Little Brother, Torae, Smif-N-Wesson and Evidence of Dilated Peoples plus many more.

And if it's not cold or snowing by you, then this tape will help get you to the weekend. Good looks to Kevin Nottingham for the heads up, Enjoy!

Track List:

1. Intro
2. King Kong (Sean Price)
3. Awesome (The Away Team)
4. The Rap Game (Cormega ft. Little Brother)
5. Still Here (LEGACY)
6. Hearing Aid (Sean Price)
7. That N*gga (Jozee Mo)
8. Talkin Dirty (Ness)
9. Cool As A Fan (Little Brother)
10. Back At It (Little Brother)
11. Money On The Table (The Away Team)
12. N*ggaz Is Commin (Torae ft. Tash)
13. Starvation (Little Brother ft. Chaundon)
14. Can I Live (Chaundon)
15. Crazy (Rapper Big Pooh)
16. Keep It To The Side (Rapper Big Pooh)
17. Greedy (The Away Team)
18. After The Party (Little Brother)
19. Waitin On You (Kenn Starr)
20. Sick Em (Smif-N-Wesson)
21. One (Sean Price)
22. Something To See (Torae)
23. Psycho Ward (The Away Team ft. Sean Price)
24. Word Has It (Supastition)
25. Rize (Median)
26. Sum Of Me (The Away Team ft. Evidence)
27. Gun Rap (Smif-N-Wesson)
28. JM Heartbreak (Jozee Mo)
29. The Weirdo Zone (Joe Scudda)
30. Told You That (Chaundon)
31. Real Late (Peter Rosenberg ft. Phonte)

The Big Picture..

I'm kinda salty this morning even though it's the best day of the week (TGIF!). I got an e-mail back from Fool's Gold about tonight's DJ Premier/Cipha Sounds event in Manhattan saying that the guest list was closed.

Hmmmm, well I sent in my RSVP mad early and now you finally get back to me that there is no more room on the list? Whatever. Maybe the homie DJ Sick Roc can pull some strings and still get me in. If not, screw it.

Anyway, as the year ends, the Boston Globe highlights the most captivating photos in its annual "Year in Photographs" series. Parts 1 and 2 are available here with Part 3 on the way.

I haven't had a chance to look through all of them but I've seen some very powerful, emotional shots thus far of natural disasters, war, sports, and geopolitical events. Thanks to the folks at Hypebeast for linking to this great series, Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Looking Forward To This..


.. But I'll say it again, I still think Joe Budden's Padded Room will not drop February 24th, I foresee another push-back 'cause that's how it is for Jumpoff Joey.

Then again, I dunno - Amalgam Digital is pretty persistent in its promo. Matt from MAC Media shot me a press release from Amalgam today about the Jersey MC's sophomore LP and it sounds pretty serious:

"Throughout his trails and tribulations with Def Jam and sparring with Hip-Hop’s heavyweights, Joe Budden has largely reinvented himself without losing what endeared himself to fans; his deep thinking lyrical brilliance (can anyone forget Joe’s brilliant “Who” trilogy?).

In fact, with his “Joe Budden TV” videos going viral and becoming a staple on blogs worldwide, Joe has to a large extent become Hip-Hop’s “peoples champion” as Joe’s personality and “every man” personality transcends and fans can undeniably relate to his daily life (could a reality series be far behind?).

Joe’s relentless grind culminates on 2-24-09 with the release of his official sophomore LP Padded Room (which has already received rave reviews from XXL, Spin and Smooth Magazines) and the LP’s lead-single “The Future” featuring former adversary The Game is already burning up the Internet and the duo will also be filming a video for the track shortly."

Word. I'm definitely looking forward to PR - shit, it's been a long-time coming and I love seeing my home state reppin' (Stand up!). He needs his time to shine, let's see if Joey can step up and deliver a gem.

Thanks again to Matt from MAC Media and Shake & Meka for the track list heads up, Peace.

Joe Budden - Padded Room

Track List:

1. Now I Lay (produced by Blastah Beatz)
2. The Future f/ The Game (produced by Fyu-chur)
3. If I Gotta Go (produced by the Klasixs)
4. Don’t Make Me (produced by Blastah Beatz)
5. Blood On The Wall (produced by Moss)
6. In My Sleep (produced by Blastah Beatz)
7. Exxxes (produced by the Klasixs)
8. I Couldn’t Help It (produced by the Klasixs)
9. Adrenaline (produced by Dub B)
10. Happy Holidays (produced by Quan)
11. Do Tell (produced by Blastah Beatz)
12. Angel In My Life (produced by Blastah Beatz)
13. Pray For Me (produced by Versatile & Dilemma)

Only Gettin One Life..

So I gotta live it up

.. That's right fam, I'm livin' right now. Just got back from my office's holiday party early and I'm lovely. I got the dopest present - but don't get it twisted, I had to earn it.

We had an NFL pool throughout the first 14 weeks where we would try to pick the winners for the games every Sunday, and you're boy tied for first place in the whole office.

What was my prize, you ask? Well, let's just say I'll be gettin' my Ron Browz on this New Years with this here bottle of Vueve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut! I can't find my digital camera right now or else I would have posted a real pic, my bad but I'm so amped, chyea!

Also, I got to kick it with the one-and-only homie William Cooper a.k.a Booth 'cause he dates one of my co-workers. For those that don't know, he's a producer/rapper from Jersey who has worked with Wu-Affiliates, 9th Prince, Tragedy Khadafi, Black Market Militia, and other dope underground MC's. He gave me the inside scoop on his debut album coming soon - he's got appearances from Nature, Ill Bill and possibly Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks so I'll keep you all updated on the album's progress, good looks Coop!

Other than that, I'm off work early so I'm coolin - bout to clean my car and knock off some more of the must-listen hip-hop before I compile my year-end lists and submit my picks to the Rap Critics Poll. Here's how I'm doin (I added a couple that I want to peep):

88-Keys - Death of Adam (Check, it's aight but waaay over-hyped)

Akrobatik - Absolute Value

Astonish - From Now Until Forever (Check, I'm feelin it)

Big Jess - High Rule

Braille - The IV Edition (Check, definitely some deep shit here)

Common Market - Tobacco Road

Elzhi - The Preface (Check, this is goooood)

Grip Grand - Brokelore

Jazz Liberatorz - Clin d'oeil (Check, I'm lovin' the jazz-hop)

Kanser - Future Retro Legacy

Knonam - Length of the Blade (Check, dude is real powerful on the mic)

Moe Pope - Moe Pope and Headnodic are Megaphone (Listening now)

Murs - Murs For President (Check, probably my favorite so far, Murs is a microphone fiend)

Reks - Grey Hairs (Check, it's not bad)

The Mighty Underdogs - Droppin' Science Fiction

The Mighty Underdogs - The Prelude

..So, I'll probably get through the rest of Moe Pope & Headnodic's today and move onto Big Jess and Kanser later on. I'll be round, holla!