Archive for the 'Features' Category

ICYMI: Twelve Jewelz (Volumes 1-4)

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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In case you missed any of these, here are the first four volumes of our Twelve Jewelz series, featuring carefully curated rap rarities from the ’90s and early 2000s presented by the dozen. Free download links are included at the bottom of each post too, ya dig? Enjoy.

Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 2)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 3)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 4)

Catch up on all NahRight features HERE.

Mixtape Memories: 10 Classic DJ Clue Mixtapes Released in 1995

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

1995 was a landmark year for New York hip-hop. Wu-Tang Clan released a trio of classic solo albums (Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers, Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, and GZA’s Liquid Swords), Mobb Deep dropped their magnum opus The Infamous, Biggie and Nas continued their reigns with incredible features, loosies, and remixes, and legendary hometown heroes like KRS-One, Fat Joe, and Kool G Rap all put out stellar solo LPs. And in the midst of it all, DJ Clue was there to usher in the flavor.

Straight out of Queens, DJ Clue—who now holds down an evening slot on Power 105 and is known worldwide for his club and party-rocking talents—made a name for himself back in the ‘90s breaking exclusive records on his mixtapes. In 1995, Clue was heavy on the scene, battling dudes like DJ S&S, DJ Craig G, Doo Wop, Tony Touch, and Ron G for the top mixtape DJ spot in the city. And though his competition was stronger than ever, Clue’s consistency, quality, and uncanny ability to get records no one had yet at a rapid rate made him the guy to beat. He was even nice with the blends. Yup, Clue was definitely putting in work in 1995, dropping hot tapes nonstop.

Twenty years later, let’s take a look and listen back at 10 Classic DJ Clue Mixtapes Released in 1995 for our latest edition of Mixtape Memories, and revisit all the tight tracklists filled with crazy songs he introduced us to—early. Do remember.

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NahRight x UpNorthTrips Present: Memory Lane, a Digital Museum of Mobb Deep’s The Infamous

Friday, April 24th, 2015

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Words by Paul Meara (@PaulMeara) with additional reporting from Evan Auerbach (@UpNorthTrips)

Mobb Deep were legends far before anything they created touched wax. The two met each other in high school when a young Prodigy witnessed his eventual rap partner fighting a kid twice his size in the school yard. Outmatched by size and the fact that his nemesis had a knife, Havoc dipped every swing and eventually won the bout. There was no such thing as Mobb Deep back then. Poetical Prophets didn’t even exist. It was just Albert and Kejuan. At the time, P was perusing a solo career but that quickly changed after meeting Hav. All connections he made and access to free studio time disolved once potential labels found out that any ink-to-contract came with also signing a then unknown lyrical accomplice.

The duo would eventually land on 4th & Broadway in 1992 and release their debut Juvenile Hell album a year later. The project was widely regarded as a flop and Mobb Deep was dropped from their first label later that year. Only 17 at the time, each have admitted in retrospect that their immaturity and work ethic weren’t all the way there when recording their first LP. Luckily, they would have a second chance. That re-up would be The Infamous.

The Mobb’s sophomore effort developed in a manner similar to their own childhood. It was cultivated in the cramped confides of Hav’s childhood home in building 41-15 and later brought to the studio for further development. Q-Tip, who originally helped Mobb Deep obtain their first deal with the Def Jam offshoot label, would become one of The Infamous’ masterminds. Every scratchy sample spawned by Havoc’s MPC 16 and every cold-blooded verse from Prodigy’s barbarous delivery was amplified by the A Tribe Called Quest producer. He, along with the Mobb, put together one of the darkest albums the genre has ever seen and arguably the best sonic representation of the place they called home.

The Infamous was released on April 25, 1995 but it was a body of work that represented the short lived triumphs and struggles Mobb Deep had faced since officially joining forces in 1991. It was the cultivation of learned lessons both musically and in life during the four years previous. The album represented the transition from a written off, immature duo to the makings of what would become one of hip-hop music’s preeminent groups. NahRight recently spoke to numerous key players involved in crafting The Infamous, including P and Hav. To best understand the album, where it came from and the people who made it what it was, we also gathered photos and key audio to accompany stories about its formation and lasting impact. Or a trip down “Memory Lane,” as Nas would put it.

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In The Lab with Yelawolf

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

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Words by Eric Diep
Images by Steven Lau

We’re at an undisclosed location in SoHo with Yelawolf, and he really wants chicken wings right now. It’s early in the morning. Not exactly the typical time for people to eat a hot plate of wings and fries from Virgil’s, but you got to satisfy your cravings somehow. The conversation with everyone in the room shifts to all the dope BBQ spots around the city, including one in Brooklyn called Delaney. “Nobody does fried chicken like NYC,” Yela says, describing how the Big Apple has mastered cooking with a black iron skillet. For someone who was born and raised in Gadsden, Alabama, a town deeply rooted in Southern BBQ traditions and soul food, it’s quite the compliment.

Since signing to Shady Records in 2011, Catfish Billy has done little to conform to mainstream’s standards. The heavily tattooed rapper has stuck to his upbringing and influences of rock, hip-hop and country, releasing music that attracts all types of listeners whether you’re a fan of Eminem or Tim McGraw. After his breakout mixtape Trunk Muzik, he released a subpar debut album entitled Radioactive, where he has vocally expressed his frustrations about it, even when the title itself implied his dominance on radio. Never letting missteps bring him down, he put out a steady stream of free music—EPs with Ed Sheeran, Travis Barker and DJ Paul, as well as Trunk Muzik Returns—in hopes of regaining the spotlight. Nearly four years later, Yela focused on delivering music that’s true to his roots with Love Story.

To get a better feel for his second studio album, we caught up with the Shady Records signee just a few days before the release date. We discussed recording in the famed Blackbird Studios in Nashville, his writing process, learning from Eminem and more. We also touch on why he quit skateboarding to pursue a rap career, his plans for producing the entire next album, his love for Johnny Cash, and the upcoming lyric book that’s coming out with Love Story. “The entire album is handwritten in the lyric book we are putting out and Eminem handwrote his verse too for his feature,” Yela revealed. “The lyric book has all the handwritten lyrics to every song and a bunch of the making of photos. It’s pretty cool.”

We can’t wait. But for now, read up on how the Slumerican gets to work in the lab.

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Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 4)

Friday, April 17th, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

We’re back with Volume 4 of Twelve Jewelz, and I must say, I really like how this series has taken shape. It’s been fun digging back in my physical and digital crates to rediscover some gems from rap’s wealthy history, and for those who have been rocking with us since Volume 1, I hope you’ve enjoyed these carefully curated journeys down memory lane. Thankfully, there’s a lot of dope new rap music out right now to keep us occupied. But it’s always nice to take a break and revisit the past, which is why we started this column in the first place. Enjoy our latest batch of rarities, B-sides, remixes, and more below (there’s a download link included at the bottom of the post, too).

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Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (The Videos)

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Raekwon’s classic solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, guest-starring Ghostface Killah and produced by the RZA. Some people (like myself) would argue that Cuban Linx is the dopest solo Wu-Tang Clan album ever. Some people (like myself) may even go as far to say it’s just the dopest Wu-Tang Clan album period. And some people (like myself) might be bold enough to say it’s the dopest rap album of all time! Is that a bit extreme? Maybe so, maybe no. But let’s keep it a hundo—Cuban Linx is as lyrically and musically impressive, interesting, trend-setting, and flat-out ill as any other classic you might bring into the G.O.A.T. album discussion, if not more. Which is why it’s important that we celebrate it to the fullest extent, especially during this 20th anniversary year.

Rae and Ghost know how impactful Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… was and still is on our culture, which is why they’ve already begun their campaign to bring the Purple Tape Files—a new documentary about the making of the album—to the masses. They were at Sundance earlier this year teasing it, and they’ve got a FanBacked page popping right now so you can support its release. So in anticipation of what’s sure to be one of the best rap docs of the year, and to celebrate the album’s upcoming 20th anniversary on August 1st, let’s get in the Purple Tape spirit and take a look back at the five awesome music videos released off Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…

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Next Up: Nino Man

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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Nino Man is the epitome of the New York rapper: a hard working hustler who knows how to get it and never when to stop. The 29-year-old Harlem native has been in the streets relentlessly over the past few years and has finally forged enough important relationships and cultivated his own platform whilst flipping over the hourglass waiting for his time to shine.

Being from Harlem has provided Nino the DNA to create his own path with no worries. In fact hip-hop was once a non-worry for him as survival was the primary focus. The daily grind and struggle those from 112th & Lenox Ave face is enough to keep anyone from the area battle tested and ready to take on anything.

“Being from Harlem means you can just go through anything. Harlem is a real flashy place; real trendy. You learn a lot being from Harlem–growing up street-wise, money-wise, every category, so being from Harlem, you can make it anywhere.” Being from the notorious Big Apple borough also helped him connect with others who laid the hip-hop foundation before him. Jadakiss was one of those people.

Nino and Kiss met through his manager. And once the young gun started vibing with the veteran and the music started playing, it was only a matter of time before the two would officially join forces. Since then the duo have worked on a ton of music together. Nino also recently appeared on Shade 45’s Sway In The Morning. It was an opportunity for him to showcase what he has to offer while also explain the bond between himself and his mentor. Continue reading this post…

All The Way Live: Action Bronson Celebrates Mr. Wonderful In His Hometown, Baby

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

“It’s been a long time coming, man. What the fuck.” That was Action Bronson, pausing for a moment to address the sold out crowd at Terminal 5 last night as he attempted to make sense of everything that’s happened these past four years. This shit is not a fluke, bruh. Action Bronson has worked his ass off to become one of the greatest rap stars New York City has ever given birth to, and anyone who disagrees at this point is completely out of touch with what’s popping right now in the Big Apple, and beyond.

Last night was the first of back-to-back shows celebrating Bronson’s major label debut Mr. Wonderful. And to properly pay homage to his glorious new body of work, he—along with The Alchemist on the wheels and Party Supplies on the instruments—performed the album in full from start to finish. As Action emerged from backstage and raised his fist to the uproarious crowd (who had waited outside on a ridiculously long line wrapped around the venue to see him), it was clear that this was going to be a special night.

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Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 3)

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

Our Twelve Jewelz series is back again with more rap rarities, remixes, and mixtape gems for you to enjoy. Keeping the focus in that ‘90s to early 2000s sweet spot, Volume 3 picks up where 1 and 2 left off, with carefully-selected joints by rap giants Redman, KRS-One, and Prodigy, as well as early material from El-P and Eminem. Plus, some crazy collabos, a ridiculously hot Jay Z blend, and a never-before-heard exclusive by one of the Bronx’s best kept secrets. Let’s dig.

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The Green Room with Lil Dicky

Friday, March 13th, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

Lil Dicky is a funny guy, but his talent ain’t no joke. Watch his video for “Lemme Freak” once and you’ll instantly understand. Dude is legitimately nasty with the bars, an insanely skilled songwriter and storyteller, and a natural comedic performer. And the most exciting thing about LD is that he’s just getting started.

With the spring leg of his Professional Rapper Tour kicking off this week (a follow-up to his first tour ever last year), we got on the horn with Lil Dicky for our latest edition of The Green Room to get a detailed look at what life is like on the road for the blossoming rap star. Turns out things aren’t as glamorous backstage as you might expect, though it sounds like that might all change this go-around. Read below to find out about Lil Dicky’s live show steez, in front of and behind the curtain.

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