Here we go again! I proudly present to you the 2nd #hiphopthursday mix. The last one was well received and I’m curious to see what y’all think of this one. Click here for the download. Enjoy!
1 - Brother Ali - Fresh Air
If you’ve heard of Brother Ali, chances are you know that he’s a devout Muslim, legally blind Albino. If you’ve ever heard his music, or better yet: experienced a live show, you know that he has an amazing voice and a unique knack for telling stories. His delivery is similar to that of a preacher giving a sermon. Maybe that’s what he is. He has a great message to spread. This song explains how he went from “nothin’ to somethin” as they say and he expresses how lucky he feels to be who he is regardless of the trials and tribulations he’s endured along the way. This message is laid down over top of a funky beat to make it all the more appealing.
2 - Chiddy Bang - Slow Down (ft. Black Thought & eLDee The Don)
I happened upon Chiddy Bang a few years ago at a Wale concert at the TLA in Philly. Prior to the show I’d only heard that they rapped over unusual (at the time) beats. They were huge crowd favorites, as they’re from Philly, and I made sure to download "The Swelly Express" when I got home. I was not disappointed. 'Opposite of Adults', complete with MGMT sample, is their most recognized track but they have a lot of fun songs out there. Here they team up with the Legendary Roots Crew’s lead MC Black Thought and Chiddy (the rapper. Xaphoon is the DJ) finds a way to fit punnett square into a verse. Props.
3 - Gorilla Zoe - Helluvalife (ft. Gucci Mane & OJ Da Juiceman)
Ahhhh. Guilty pleasure rap. This is off of Zoe’s second album "Don’t Feed Da Animals". He teams up with Gucci and "Young Ju Man" on this bouncy track. The braggadocious lyrics are a tad ridiculous but, in my opinion, sometimes songs that sound good should just be judged as that: songs that sound good. I don’t prefer to listen to hours of “brilliant ignorance” (credit 2DopeBoyz) it but I do enjoy it from time to time.
4 - K’naan - If Rap Gets Jealous (ft. Kirk Hammett of Metallica)
K’naan has one of the most incredible stories in all of Hip Hop. He came from literally living in a war zone (Somalia) to having his song chosen as the anthem to the 2010 World Cup (Wavin’ Flag). This is a rock remix of a song that was featured one of his first albums. I highly recommend his 2009 album "Troubadour" because of it’s perfect fusion of Hip Hop and Rock/Pop. The music sounds good and the underlying message is profound. Also, his live show is FANTASTIC.
5 - Kanye West - Christian Dior Denim Flow (ft. Kid Cudi, Pusha T, John Legend, Lloyd Banks & Ryan Leslie)
This is a posse cut off of Kanye’s GOOD Friday series which led up the release of MBDTF. This is my favorite of that series. I like how many different artists are showcased. Hearing Pusha rap about his performance at the VMAs and the way Cudi finished up the track is especially dope.
6 - Lil Wayne - I Feel Like Dying
Wayne put this out in 2008 and it was SO different than anything he was doing at the time. Unfortunately he failed to clear clear the sample resulting in a lawsuit. An official release was not to be. Oh well! Trippy song.
7 - Reef the Lost Cauze - Sound Of Philadelphia
REEF! This is quite the anthem. Reef grew up in Philly and wrote this song, which was eventually used on Monday Night Football for the Eagles. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. Reef is appreciated locally and underrated everywhere else. Oh, and he kicks his shoes off when he’s gettin into it at live shows. Wild.
8 - Rick Ross - Mafia Music
This appeared on and opened up Ross’s 3rd album "Deeper Than Rap". No hook. No bridge. Just a straight monologue, during which he mentions his then-beef with 50 Cent. I love how this song flows. Ross is a wizard at wrapping his vocals around the beat.
9 - Smoke DZA - Cloudkickin (ft. Den 10)
This is a cut off of Staten Island’s own Emilio Sparks' tape "Scumbino’s Way". The title is an homage of the clothing line Cloud Kicker which Emilio is also involved with. Mike Cash with the jazzy production here. Support Harlem’s finest Smoke DZA, the Charlie Rose of Hip Hop Emilio Sparks and the fresh threads of Cloud Kicker. Great people.
10- Tech N9ne - Worldwide Choppers (ft. Ceza, JL (of B Hood), Uso, Yelawolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes, D-Loc & Twisted Insane)
When I first heard this song it BLEW my MIND. Funny thing, though, is that to this day my mind is still blown. Following up on his tracks ‘Midwest Choppers’ 1 & 2, Tech decided to go all out. He enlisted MC’s from all over the world to rip it up. Represented in this song are: Turkey, Kansas City, Denmark, Alabama, Chicago, New York & California. These gentleman rap at a blistering pace and still manage to complement one another quite well. For a lyrical rundown, hit up Rap Genius. Craziest song of 2011. Seriously.
11 - Theo Martins - The Spotlight
I happened upon Theo (originally from Rhode Island) on a blog and dug what I heard. I decided to dig further and I came upon "Sincerely Yours, The Dance Floor". The production is incredibly fresh and gives off a fun vibe. If you like this song you, too, should dig further.
12 - Theophilus London - Flying Overseas (ft. Devonte Hynes & Solange Knowles)
Two Theos in a row? Yessir. Mr. London’s flow will be compared to Kid Cudi’s but I genuinely think he brings something different to the table. This is an out-of-the-box kind of song that gives off a dreamy vibe. You almost feel like you’re chillin with him on the beach.
13 - XV - Smallville (produced by J. Cole)
XV (pronounced Ex Vee) is a rapper out of Wichita, Kansas. You don’t hear that often, right? Touted as ‘The Kid With the Green Backpack’, Vizzy brings a his own flavor to hip hop. J. Cole blesses the track with a Smashing Pumpkins’ sample and XV tells up about his childhood. This cut was featured on his latest mixtape Zero Heroes, which also has slick cover art. Personally, I look forward to hearing more XV and seeing if he can hold his own with rap’s finest. Keep your eyes (and ears) on the leader of the Squarians.
Hit me w/some feedback over on twitter @thechrishero Thanks and enjoy!