Archive for the 'Features' Category

Memory Lane: A Digital Museum of Three 6 Mafia’s Mystic Stylez

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

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Words by Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

The legacy of Three 6 Mafia is almost as mysterious as their music. Originally forming in the early 1990s, DJ Paul and Lord Infamous–then known as the duo Da Serial Killaz–spent their early years reading about the diabolical mind. Paul literally hung portraits of serial killers on the wall in his bedroom and studied their dark motives to get inspiration for what he would eventually put on wax. Years later, Paul and his half brother would release music of their own with Portrait Of A Serial Killa in 1992.

Memphis’ hip-hop scene at the time wasn’t really noteworthy outside of the surrounding states. Early Gangsta Pat tapes provided some structure on how to record what would eventually blossom into the M-Town sound. From 1992 to 1994 prospective Memphis cliques jockeyed for the city’s attention. The unheralded nature of Memphis’ rap output only fueled the fire for those from the area to support their own. If you had songs that got play in the clubs or more importantly, bumped in the whip on Sunday’s at the Crystal Palace skating ring, you were on and there was profit to be had. Mixtapes at the time could sell upwards of 100,000 copies with little overhead. Very few artists had music videos out, radio play, or even a recording budget.

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Right or Nah? with Camp Lo

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

While other rap groups have come and gone over the years, legendary Bronx duo Camp Lo is still at it, cheffing up their unique brand of slang-heavy slickness. And this Tuesday, they’ll be releasing a brand new full-length project titled Ragtime Hightimes (full title is actually Ragtime Hightimes in a Padded Room of Pink Elephants Playing with Spiked Mushrooms, pre-order here), produced by the same man behind their classic 1997 debut Uptown Saturday Night and 21st century gems like “Ticket 4 2″—the one and only Ski Beatz.

We’re fired up for this new Camp Lo shit, because here at NahRight we have the utmost respect for the innovative flyness these two cats have given to the game during the past two decades. Hearing a full album of new Ski Beatz-produced Camp Lo tracks in 2015 is a blessing to say the least. And if everything is as fresh as “Black Jesus” and “Bright Lights,” we’re truly in for a treat.

To get warmed up for what we already know is going to be one of the dopest releases of the year, we got on the horn with Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede for our latest edition of Right or Nah? to see where they stand on a handful of current and relevant topics. The way it works is simple—if they fux with what we ask them about, it’s a RIGHT. If not, NAH. Ya dig? Now let’s get into it, you jive turkeys.

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Jay Z’s Top 15 Actual B-Sides

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Jay Z’s newly announced Tidal B-Sides concert, and though it’s not gonna drive me to cancel my free, three month Spotify Premium account (thanks Sprint!), I must say I’m enthusiastic about the idea of seeing Hov perform the lesser-celebrated gems in his discography. But are the songs that everyone keeps saying they hope he performs actually B-Sides? For the most part, not really.

To examine the actual B-Sides Jay Z has released during his double-decade rap career, we put together a Top 15 list of Hov songs that once appeared on the flipside of a Hov vinyl single or promo—literally. Let’s count ‘em down, shall we?

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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…