06-28-2012 § Leave a comment
Three more months are behind us in the year, which means it’s time for part two of four posts (maybe 5?) I’m planning on recapping. This list compiles April – June’s best releases in the forms of albums, mixtapes. Don’t forget to check out the 2012 first quarter releases post!)
REKS – Straight, No Chaser (produced by Statik Selektah) on iTunes
Ab-Soul – Control System (album) on Amazon MP3
4:20 The Classics presented by Statik Selektah & LRG (free download, one track blended)
Big KRIT – Live From The Underground album on iTunes
XV – Popular Culture (mixtape) free download at Live Mixtapes
Crooked I – Psalm 82 v 6 (mixtape) available on DatPiff mixtapes, free download
Smoke DZa – Rugby Thompson (album) [produced entirely by Harry Fraud] on iTunes
06-16-2012 § 1 Comment
What to do after six days of celebration, for #happybirthdaytupac?
1. Rap Phenomenon (Mixtape) [DJ Dirty Harry, DJ Vlad & DJ Green Lantern] This project is amazing, I can remember when it was announced and I ordered it on one of those mixtape sites where you pay $5 for a sticker, and it comes free w/ a mixtape of your choice (loopholes are great, right?). It’s one of my all-time favorite projets as it’s mostly composed of high quality mixes, blends and actual guest appearances rather than taking another artist’s vocals and mixing them in. Check it out, here for free.
2. Got Your Back (Book) by Frank Alexander. Tupac’s bodyguard the last months of his life wrote this book a few years ago – and it’s quite amazing. You can obviously get it wherever, I just linked Amazon since it’s where I usually browse.
3. Tupac: Resurrection (2003 Film). Has it really been that long since this came out? Incredibly well done, and emotional for a fan. I love biographies on artists, and imagine one told from an artists point of view, with his own words – posthumously! I know they modified some interviews to reflect things out of context, but this truly is an incredible film. You can check out the trailer & info here, and rent / buy / stream it pretty much anywhere.
4. RareInk presents Tupac canvas (Biggie, too!) – I just actually found these the other day, and I’m planning on buying a set for a blank wall in my hookah lounge. It’s a form of protest against the marketing in the 1990s of artists, containing a target and a vinyl record look over the artist photo – and you’ll notice “Los Angeles” and “Brooklyn” in the background. Dope!
5. LA Times Investigation into Tupac Killing. I don’t know how much of this I truly believe – Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t losing any money over Tupac’s continual dis tracks, but maybe he was losing sleep? The top is lonely, they say – maybe there just wasn’t room for two larger than life personalities …
6. In The Depths of Solitude (Poetry) by Tupac Shakur.
7. Only God Can Judge Me (from the album “All Eyez On Me” & featuring Rappin 4’Tay) This is likely my answer if you asked me what my all-time favorite Tupac record was.
“I hear the doctor standing over me, screamin I can make it
Got a body full of bullet holes layin here naked
Still I, can’t breathe, somethings evil in my IV
Cause everytime I breathe, I think they killin me
I’m having nightmares, homicidal fantansies
I wake up stranglin, danglin my bed sheets
I call the nurse cause it hurts, to reminisce
How did it come to this? I wish they didn’t miss
Somebody help me, tell me where to go from here
Cause even Thugs cry, but do the Lord care?
Try to remember, but it hurts
I’m walkin through the cemetary talkin to the, dirt
I’d rather die like a man, than live like a coward
There’s a ghetto up in Heaven and it’s ours, Black Power
is what we scream as we dream in a paranoid state
And our fate, is a lifetime of hate
Dear Mama, can you save me? And fuck peace
Cause the streets got our babies, we gotta eat
No more hesitation each and every black male’s trapped
And they wonder why we suicidal runnin round strapped
Mista, Po-lice, please try to see that it’s
a million motherfuckers stressin just like me
Only God can judge me”
06-15-2012 § 1 Comment
I get to cheat a bit here, as one of the best features Tupac has been a part of already has it’s own post on my site, check out my post on “Mind Made Up” (featuring Kurupt, Daz, Method Man, Redman & Inspectah Deck).
There was conflict, I actually couldn’t decide between two tracks – but I realized at the last minute one was actually unreleased! I’ve just had it so long I figured it was out there. Saving that one for a future (in the works) post I’ll put up sometime in … September, seems appropriate.
Also, note that while none of the Notorious B.I.G. & 2Pac tracks were officially released, I will not be including them OR any collaborations between Tupac and The Outlawz specifically, because face it – who could actually pick if you included those tracks? Not me.
1. Smile (with Scarface) Released in 1997 on Scarface’s “The Untouchable” album, this is a great collaboration between two legends. Sadly, the Billboard Hot 100 had this track as *high* as number 12. It was also released as an equally dope alternate version on “Death Row’s Greatest Hits” with a different beat.
“Sellin my soul for material wishes, fast cars and bitches
Wishin I lived my life a legend, immortalized in pictures
Why shed tears, save your sympathy
My childhood years were spent bury’n my peers in the cemetary
Here’s a message to the newborns, waitin to breathe
If you believe, then you can achieve, just look at me”
2. Thug Luv (with Bone Thugs N Harmony) Tupac joins Cleveland’s sons over a shotgun blast riddled beat from DJ U-Neek, on their “Art of War” album – released in 1997.
“Until they stop me bury murder me or drop me
I got Thug Luv for my nationwide posse feel me”
3. Homies N Thuggs (with Scarface & also featuring Master P) Scarface makes the list again, and I’m not at all upset about it. This track came out a year after the previous, in 1998 – but features a video including Tupac laying his verse. Again, there are two versions of the track and both are on the Scarface album “My Homies.”
“Until the day I die
you catch a nigga high off weed, the police can’t find me
My shit will drop and I’ll sell five million
while all the niggas enter the game get caught up in drug dealing
How can I fall?
how can I ball, how can I catch my enemies and murder them all?”
4. Initiated aka Thug Pound (with Daz Dillinger also featuring Kurupt & The Outlawz) Can’t imagine a more appropriate version of a posse track, than this one. The Outlawz meet Tha Dogg Pound, released in 1998 on Daz album “Revenge, Retaliation & Getback.” Daz left Death Row after this release, and almost completely signaled the end of the G-Funk era.
“Picture a felon in ya presence
takin’ bustas back to the Essence
tellin’ my people peep my lethal message
visions of me gettin’ money got me in mash mode
murderous motives for niggas stoppin’ my cash flow”
5. Military Mindz (with Buckshot, also featuring Cocoa Brovaz) I actually appreciate both versions of this track, but seeing how most people have probably heard the released version on “Better Dayz,” I’ve decided to include the [OG] version here. Tupac worked with Boot Camp Clik on almost an album worth of material that most never expected to see the light of day.
“May God forgive us though we dwell inside a paradox
Thugged out and drug dealin, from the womb to the block
My live mind got me survivin five rounds
My forty-five got my fortified with live rounds
When shit’s thick we plot hits, when my glock spits
All hail, I don’t bail, wrath of 2Pacalypse”
6. 4 Tha Hustlaz (with Too $hort & MC Breed) Tupac actually managed two tracks with Too $hort, and another four by my count with MC Breed (Gotta Get Mine was my other finalist for this spot) – this track was on the album “Big Thangs” from producer Ant Banks in 1997. A lot of star power, for tracks most fans probably haven’t heard.
coming stapped with the gat when you see me
Label me a threat to society, but I ain’t quitin’
Thug life motherfucker ain’t no bull shittin”
7. Niggaz Done Changed (with Richie Rich) I couldn’t have made this list without including at least one track with Bay Area rapper Richie Rich. Everything he and Tupac worked together on came out so smooth, and they are some of my favorite collaborations ever. This track was on Rich’s 1997 album, “Seasoned Veteran.”
“I’ve been shot and murdered,
cant tell you how it happened word for word,
but best believe that niggaz gonna get what they deserve,
in the same way God bless my brain cause game pays
gettin cash and ass for dayz now niggaz done changed”