ALBUM of the WEEK: Giant Panda – Fly School Reunion

“Ice Cube recording a record with De La Soul that was produced by Large Professor and Battlecat. Oh, and Stezo was there.”

This week’s album is a group named Giant Panda (not the hardest name ever). The internet is truly a wonderful thing I discoverd them “cyber-digging” as I like to call it. As a DJ, me and my brethren and close kinfolks, producers, are always on the hunt for records. For Dj’s we’re looking for the new hot thing or trying to find that gem of a record that we lost, broke, or passed over. Producers, SOME producers “beat junkies” if you will are digging for those precious few seconds of an old song to make a hit record or respect earning, head nodding beat. Anyway I digress, check them out at their Myspace page http://www.myspace.com/giantpanda . As always these are not the complete songs just clips of the songs, long clips (about 90 sec) so you can get a feel for the music. If you like what you hear BUY THE CD. If you want real hip hop or at least different hip hop to flourish we gotta support the artist.

TRACK LIST:

1. One Time.
2. With It
3. Super Fly
4. Just Cause
5. Diggin In The Tapes
6. 90’s
7. Sho Improve
8. Chops
9. Grand Prix
10. Always Dope
11. 3d Party
12. Racist
13. T K O
14. Strings
15. Classic Rock

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HOT 5 – 5 Best Song Intros

You know these songs. It only takes their first few notes to get a party hype, even if the party is only you in your car on the way to work. DJs wouldn’t dream of skipping these intros—they’re guaranteed to please everyone from true heads to radio surfers.

Shook Ones Pt. II – Mobb Deep
“Shook Ones” will probably go down as Mobb Deep’s biggest hit. As a DJ back in ’94 (daaamn, I know), if I even scratched in those first few distinctive notes, the dance floor would be packed by the time you heard “To all the killers and the five-dollar billers.” I don’t think any of their songs since have created that much excitement.

 

When they Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

It’s almost a DJ commandment: “Thou shall always play the opening horns from T.R.O.Y.”  I haven’t been at a party yet where they played “Reminisce” without them.  Skipping the very beginning of this song would be like not playing Busta’s growl in “Scenario”—you just don’t do it.
 

Check the Rhyme – A Tribe Called Quest
The beginning of Tribe’s “Check the Rhyme” just kicks in. When you hear that “uh, uh.uh. uh…” all the heads in the place break they necks for that nod. Other than “Case of the PTA” by Leaders of the New School, it’s the best song to get your 2- step on to.

Choice Is Yours – Black Sheep
The bass line under “Choice is yours” can sometimes catch you off-guard. Maybe because they’re whispering or something. What usually happens is a DJ blends it in with another song and you see signs of recognition slowly start to register on people’s faces. By then, Dres is saying “This or that, this or that,” and everyone is just waiting for that first line to drop. BOOM “Who’s the black sheep? What’s the black sheep…”

TIE (we couldn’t figure out which one to drop)
Jam On It – Newcleus 
Chief Rocka – Lords of the Underground

Taking ya way back.  “Jam On It” always seemed to come on after a slow song, but it’s the bass line — it’s gotta be the bass line. It’s a slow build, but once they hit the wiki-wiki wiki-wiki it’s on and probably pop-lockin. It’s the bass line, it’s GOTTA be the bass line (again).

“Chief Rocka” starts with the bass line too, and coupled with the “Chief Rocka-Chief Rocka” scratch, gives partiers a few seconds of “Oh, shit!” time to rush the floor. Even if you don’t know the rest, the opening “Boom shac-a-laka” line is strong enough to shake a room.

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GhTV – TRUE HIP HOP STORIES from DTV

Big what up to D-Nice (yeah, that D-Nice) . We ain’t cool or nuthin but D is doing a public service and recording rappers as they tell the stories behind some moments in hip-hop history. It’s nice to know what happens to rappers after the music stops.  D is seemingly doing well for himself (we’ll do an interview eventually): he’s a photographer now and does some Dj’ing on the side. Check him out here at his website.

http://blog.d-nice.com/

ANYway I think y’all should know this dude:

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CLIP of the WEEK: Freestyle Fellowship – Inner City Boundaries

Back in ’93 when this gownhead was a fresh out of college head (Hampton University ’92). I heard this song from Frestyle Fellowship. It immediately caught might interest ’cause it sounded like somethin straight off a a jazz album. The funny thing is a I bought the album Inner City Griots and was like “uhhhhhhh NOT feelin it” and away it went into the collection. Fast forward 14 years later and I’m putting all my records on CD (that’s a post in itself) so i get to the “F”s and my wife has a copy of Freestyle Fellowship’s CD. I’m like cool I can rip “Inner City Boundaries” and not have to go through the trouble of actually recording the track. So I figure its been awhile so I check out the album. I’m like dammmmn what the hell was I thinking back in ’93? Is this the same album? Nuthin like 14 years to change your perspective. They say your hearing gets worse with age I don’t know, in some cases it gets better (then it goes down hill after that). Anyway I ended up ripping like 4 other tracks from the CD to add to my DJ rotation. For more info about Freestyle Fellowship check out All Music Guide here. Shout Out to The Hip-Hop Purist who e-mailed me the link. I wasn’t even thinking about them till he sent me the video. So now I share it with y’all enjoy.

“Inner City Boundaries” – Freestyle Fellowship

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The Hip-Hop Purist – Brother Ali — The Undisputed Truth or Ali no Chaser

I saw Brother Ali for the first time at a MURS show in New Orleans.

I had heard his name in conversation and seen discussions about him on message boards, but it was never enough to garner my interest. So I walk in the show and the first thing I notice is this huge albino dude sitting next to the door with a small crowd around him. I was there to see MURS, so I spent all of my little money on MURS’s music and accessories before the show started.

The emcee introduced Brother Ali and lo and behold, it was that albino dude from near the door. He opened up the show with some braggadocious rhymes. They were catchy, but I prefer that introspective stuff. Then he caught my attention with “Forest Whitaker” and “Win Some, Lose Some.” I had to get a copy of his CD after hearing an a capela version of “Picket Fence.” Because I had already spent all of my money on MURS stuff, after the show I talked to Ali and told him I was ordering his album off of the ‘Net as soon as I got home.

But I couldn’t wait. I went to one of the dingy bars on Decatur Street to be overcharged by one of those cheap ATMs to get a copy of his album immediately. Buying “Shadows on the Sun” that night was a good decision.

Fast forward to 2007 with the release of “The Undisputed Truth.” The album’s name says it all. Ali has the ability to relay how he feels ferociously over a beat. No abstract style and no fancy word usage  —  just raw, profound hip hop. He will remind you of how fresh he is on some tracks, but the others are exactly what I am looking for: introspection. If you listen to “The Puzzle” and you are not feeling it, you are not human. 

“Every stone that’s ever been cast or blow that ever landed/ helped to build that man that’s standing before your bitch ass/I’m back to wreak havoc and never retired, retreated or recanted… ” Or “I was taught that mistakes made with great intentions were never sins / but where life lessons begin…”

He does this throughout the entire album! His one-liners are enough to blow you away but he is much more than just a one-line wonder. He really means what he says. He actually went through the situations he speaks on. Pardon the cliché, but he keeps it real. I don’t understand why every MMA fighter is not walking to the cage with “Pedigree” playing. I cannot be the only one who gets hype from that track.

Brother Ali also takes the hip hop love song to another level with “Here.” It’s not a sappy, LL Cool J-cum-Jodeci soft porn take on the mating ritual. It’s more of an overview of his flaws and fears that he lays on the table to a prospective mate.

On the flipside, later dedicates a song to his ex wife. “Walking Away” is politely angry: “I don’t love you —  I don’t think I ever did / and if you didn’t try to kill me I woulda’ stayed for the kid / There’s nothing more for us to say / I got my mind made up, I’m walkin’ away / Sometimes we just outgrow the role that we play / I hope you find a happy ending to your story someday.” 

There is a video for the song “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” which has a line in there that keeps my mind wandering: “The grown-up Goliath nation is holding open auditions for the part of David.” Man! Can anyone dispute that? 

Brother Ali has displayed himself to the world on 15 tracks. If you are not looking for honest self-expression, then you are not looking for hip hop as far as I’m concerned. I am sick of the lies Viacom allows to be spewed to the masses. Warner Bros distributed this album, so it should’ve gone platinum. I guess honesty is not catchy enough.

“The Undisputed Truth” is one of the reasons Nas was wrong. I have a good feeling we will be hearing more from Ali in the near future, regardless of album sales or the state of hip hop. Here is the reason, from “Daylight”: “Vocals know nothing other than soul touching / So if they land in yours it’s just a homecoming / If they don’t go there they might perish / Land on deaf ears but die unembarrassed.”

 Check out the video “Uncle Sam Godam”

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ALBUM of the WEEK: Danny! – Charm

This is our first official album of the week. We try and feature artist we think you might like and enjoy. This week it’s Danny! (yes ya gotta have the exclamation mark) that’s the rapper’s name, the album is Charm. If you want the inside scoop on Danny! check out allmusic guide here.

Folks have compared him to Kanye West (I guess cause he went college and he produces beats) but we think that’s just an easy out, you decide.

Just so you know these ARE NOT the complete songs. I hate sites that give you just 30 seconds of track so we try and give you like a minute and a half to two minutes of a track, just so you can get a feel for it. If a song is short enough we might play the whole thing. Those songs are marked accordingly. Remember if you like the CD, BUY IT. I don’t work for Danny! or any of the artist we feature but if you like the music support the music.

Playlist:

1. Intro
2. Give Me A Chance
3. Charm
4. It’s Okay (FULL TRACK)
5. Can t Wait
6. Temptation
7. The Last Laugh
8. Duck Soup (FULL TRACK)
9. Strange Fruit
10. What Now
11. Move Somethin
12. My Problem
13. Carousel
14. Lip Flappin
15. You Owe Me
16. Where Were You
17. No Guarantees remix
18. Fly
19. Cafe Surreal
20. Now You’ re Gone

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The Hip Hop Purist

Best of 2007

Busdriver – Roadkill Overcoat

I first heard “Kill Your Employer” on Busdriver’s MySpace page. I’m a fan, so I have grown accustomed to catching the words in his fast-paced delivery. I was hooked instantly. The angst he feels towards this group of people is shared by myself. The song’s subject matter is the hypocrisy of finding comfort in a system that you also protest against. Whether this comfort is living with your father who works for Halliburton or doing something as trivial as burning a flag vs. getting to the root of the problem, Busdriver’s words are brilliantly placed and the message hits hard. Recently in a CNN interview, Jack Nicholson said “You do not become militant if you wish to be a successful propagandist. Because all you will do is preach to the choir and further entrench your opposition.” Maybe, just maybe, Jack is a Busdriver fan too.

Roadkill Overcoat is full of very good writing over very good beats. There was one beat I hated initially so I continued to skip over the song. Plus, Busdriver was attempting to try his hand at singing, which made me hit skip even faster. But when I finally listened to “Sunshowers,” it became my favorite song on the album (at least for a little while). It is a song declaring the sin of watering down yourself to get exposure. I could name many rappers that I wish shared his ethics.

“The Troglodyte Wins” is his personal self-evaluation. He contemplates the point of trying when no one else is trying with you. What’s the point of being passionate about something when you are the only one with passion? Again, I relate. The words at the end

of his last verse are profound yet funny – “But this don’t go hand in hand with your Volkswagen van / because you voted in a defrosted CroMagnon man.”

Other notable songs on the album are “Mr. Mistake” (excellent delivery!!!!), “Secret Skin,” “Bloody Paw on the Kill Floor,” “Less Yes’s More No’s” and “Dream Catcher’s Mitt.” Of course, Roadkill Overcoat doesn’t follow the typical Viacom theme of what a hip-hop album is supposed to be. In this world of instant gratification, where anyone can be a hip-hop star, the audacity it takes to be yourself is worthy of the few dollars spent on adding this CD to your collection. If you are an artist of any sort, the cover art is another reason to pick the album up. That is, if you loathe the chicken scratch in your sketchbook. 

Here’s his homepage:

 http://www.epitaph.com/artists/artist/229/

 Check out  the video for “Casting Agents and Cowgirls” from the Roadkill Overcoat:

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Bougie: Notes for the Post-Bling Generation

Hold up!Bourgie

Why Bougie? Where I come from, bougie is an insult, as in “Quit actin’ bougie.” Derived from the French, it’s a colloquialism of bourgeoisie. The word itself means an inhabitant of a town, and went on to mean a member of a class who obtained their goods as merchants rather than the inherited wealth of aristocracy. In America, the equivalent would be middle-class.

It’s amazing to me how this very old French word came to be something poor folks in the ghetto use to insult one another. Marx used the word as an “objective description of a social class and of a lifestyle based on ownership of private capital.”

Where I come from, we really like private capital. But some of us want to hold on to the nobility of poverty. Trying too hard to “keep it real,” thinking that means “keeping it broke.” Someone who we call bougie is a snob. They live in the suburbs, they talk white, they wouldn’t be caught dead in a hooptie. Acting bougie usually means the person is acting as if they’re too good for something.

But doesn’t it make sense? Aren’t we all too good for ‘jects and roaches and unequal jail time? Aren’t we all too good for broke-down cars and cheap clothes and overprocessed, fattening foods? Aren’t we better than malt liquor and too-high drop out rates and high fees at check cashing places and giving all our money to stay in cities that don’t protect and serve us?

I know I am. My name is Toni and you can call me bougie.

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GHz RewinD: MOVIE REMIX: The Devil’s Advocate

EDITOR’S NOTE: For Ghz Rewind we like to dig in the archives and repost a nice diddy you might have missed

The movies we pick aren’t necessarily classics, but we like them anyway. We might like them even better if they were recast like this:
The Devil’s Advocate

Kevin Lomax is a hotshot southern lawyer who knows how to play the game. He gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is offered a job with a law firm that promises many opportunities. He takes his wife to the Big Apple in hopes of a better life and a good job. He only finds himself on the receiving end of trouble when his boss is the Devil himself and has some treacherous plans up his sleeve for Kevin. — From IMDB.com

The Devil’s Advocate is one of those movies where the revelation that Al Pacino is no angel comes as no surprise. It’s more of a journey watching him go to work on Kevin (Keanu Reeves) and seeing all the schemes, plans, and string-pulling he was in charge of as they are slowly revealed. Plus, Al gets his yell on in an over-the-top damnation scene.

Kevin Lomax: Keanu Reeves / Morris Chestnut


Morris did well as a young career-driven lawyer in Two Can Play That Game. He has the look of a well-intentioned but still a little dirty dude. Your typical All African-American kind of guy who might be going to hell. It may be difficult to hear his lines over all the Oohs and Ahs from female members of the audience.

 John Milton:Al Pacino / Morgan Freeman


We had to replace one Academy Award winner with another one (or at least a nominee), but unfortunately that leaves us with Sidney Poitier and Lou Gosset (both TOO old for the roles), Samuel Jackson–too predictable, “Training Day” Denzel, and Forest Whitaker, who even playing Idi Amin in Last King of Scotland just seems like too nice of a guy to be truly evil. Enter Morgan Freeman. He’s a talent, and he’s got to be chomping at the bit for a chance to break typecasting. The most magical Negro of them all might appreciate using his powers for evil for once. Besides, when was the last time you saw Morgan get any action on screen, let alone a menage?

Mary Ann Lomax: Charlize Theron / N’Bushe Wright


Now we need somebody who can play a strong woman, and N’Bushe has shown that again and again. But she has to lose it too — not N’bushe, right? Wrong, wrong. Check her out in a little movie from ’93 called Fresh, where she played a sympathetic heroin addict. WELL. And why not, the men need some eye candy too.

Mrs. Alice Lomax: Judith Ivey / Debbie Allen


The mama in the movie was all saved and going to church now, but as a teen, she got her freak on in one night of passion with a slick city boy—who was a little more than he seemed. Debbie looks like a Mama today, but we all know how she used to look on Fame (the movie and the TV show). So she’d be believable as a once-wayward saint, and way more relatable, too.

Christabella Andreoli: Connie Nielsen / Kerry Washington


Did I say eye candy? This character was brilliant, intriguing, a temptress. So we here at Grown Headz (okay, I) figured that the world needs more of Kerry Washington, not just looking good but looking DAAAmn good. Like in I Think I Love My Wife. Up until that movie she had always been cute, but after that movie the line of bruhs wanting to holla grew exponentially! In addition, she can be believable as an ambitious, big-time lawyer.

Check the trailer:

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