Archive for Q-Tip

Mos Def, The Black Keys & Jim Jones – “Hoochie Coo”

Posted in Audio, Downloads, Media, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Monday, September 14, 2009 by Tim Althaus

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Holy shit. As you all know I love Hip-Hop, but I also love The Black Keys. There is something about their music that is so dynamic, that it pulls me right in. Their heavy Blues riffs, and great lyrics made me fall in love with their music. When I headed over to 2DopeBoyz today, I found out that the Black Keys are going to be putting out an album with a bunch of Hip-Hop guest appearances. On the album you will find: Mos Def, RZA, Jim Jones, Q-Tip, Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch & more. The album will be dropping on November 27th, or Black Friday. The project will be called Black Roc, and Dame Dash will have a pretty big part in this album being released.

Good Lord, this album sounds like it’s going to be incredible. The first single “Hoochie Coo” dropped today, and it features Mos Def & Jim Jones. I can assure you that I already like the Black Keys infused beats that I am hearing on this track. I think this album is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Download: The Black Keys, “Hoochie Coo” (Feat. Jim Jones & Mos Def)

Q-Tip Speaks on Kamaal The Abstract Becoming a Reality

Posted in Media, Video with tags , , , , on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 by Tim Althaus

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All of you hardcore heads out there know that Q-Tip had a project that was tragically shelved called Kamaal the Abstract. Thanks to the good lord the project will see the light of day on September 15th. I can’t tell you how personally ecstatic I am. All of Tip’s music is classic (solo & Tribe), and I have a feeling that this album is going to be no different. Watch the video above as Q-Tip walks Sway through the original situation with Clive Davis.

Spotted @ 2DopeBoyz

Wild Style Wednesday Review: Slum Village, Fantastic, Vol. 2

Posted in Music Reviews, Wildstyle Wednesdays with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, August 6, 2009 by Tim Althaus

SlumVillageFantasticVol2 I had another review planned for this week, but with the recent passing of Baatin this one feels a little more natural. Fantastic, Vol. 2 is another record that came very close to charting on my most influential albums list. Even though it wasn’t on my most influential albums list, this is another album that I can say would probably easily be in my top 20 favorite albums of all-time. The flow of this album is pure like water and yet it’s as melodic as heaven. Jay Dee’s production is so stellar on this album, that I’m fairly sure it will always withstand the test of time. From Jay Dee’s earlier Ummah sound, to the spaced out synth that he implemented later in his career, Fantastic, Vol. 2 has it all. Baatin, T3 & Jay Dee all sculpt to these tracks like clay and even though they aren’t the wittiest emcees in the world, this album is still utterly amazing. Continue reading

Alteezimo’s 2008 Year In Review

Posted in Year in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Friday, December 12, 2008 by Tim Althaus

Top 10 Hip-Hop albums of 2008 (in order from 1-10)

I really want to start off this post for the people that said that there wasn’t anything that special in Hip-Hop this year… My question to you is where the hell were you when these albums dropped?

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Black Milk – Tronic: It’s been one hell of  a year for Black Milk. He produced and featured on an album with Fat Ray, He produced the great majority of Elzhi’s debut album The Preface, put out a mixtape with Bishop Lamont entitled Caltroit and put out his newest album Tronic. It’s really nice to hear a cat like Black Milk, he is putting the D back on the map and giving the city some recognition like it deserves. This guy has some of the best production around right now and may be one of the best producing emcees I’ve ever heard. The thing that makes this album different from his freshman outing Popular Demand, is that Black really elevates his rhyme skill on this album and it makes for one hell of a showing. This album also features the best front to back production you will hear all year.

the-layover-ep Evidence – The Layover EP: When you work as hard as Evidence does, you are bound to turn some heads no matter what the issue. This guy has been working his ass off the last two years, he released The Weatherman LP (one of the top 3 of last year) last year and the LAyover Mixtape as well as the LAyover EP this year. All of the aforementioned material is leading up to the release of his second studio album Cats & Dogs. EV has been putting out some of the most consistent Hip-Hop that heads have heard for a long time. Putting out two albums of straight fire material is getting him the name that he deserves. I can honestly say that out of all of the albums that are on this list, to me this album has the most replay value attached to it. 10 straight bangers for your Hip-Hop loving soul.

jake-one-white-vanJake One – White Van Music: I wasn’t really familiar with Jake One before I heard White Van Music. I didn’t really know who he was, although I had heard some of the beats that he had done in the past for artists (at the time I had no idea it was him), I hadn’t heard a good collection of his material. The thing that is great about this album is that for the first time in his career, Jake is making beats for his own album and not a project for someone else. All of the artists that are on this album (for the greater majority) fit the beat that is provided. Some of the standouts are Black Milk, Royce Da 5’9″, MF Doom, Elzhi, Brother Ali & there really are many others. This is a great example of a producer doing an album with emcees that he thinks fit the build for his beats. Jake doesn’t rap, but if he did he would have some of the sickest beats in awhile to rap over.

the-prefaceElzhi – The Preface: The funny thing about this album is that most people don’t know who Elzhi is, but when they realize who he’s affiliated with it’s a different story. Elzhi has been a member of the Detroit collective Slum Village since 2001 (when Jay Dee left), and has put out a few mixtapes in the interim but nothing more than that. The Preface is almost entirely produced by Black Milk (so you know the beats are top notch) and features some great heavyweights from the Detroit scene (Royce Da 5’9″, Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Fat Ray and others). Not only does it have great production and great guest appearances, but it shows how versatile and brutal Elzhi is when he is in the booth. El uses simple words in a complex matter and the outcome is utter bewilderment. Elzhi is quickly on his way to becoming one of the best emcees of his time.

emc eMC – The Show: This album came out towards the beginning of this year, and right away I knew that it was going to hold true for the rest of the year and stay on my top 10 list. Of course, that probably could be the assumption when you have Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth and Stricklin all on one album, not to mention some of the best production in the game. These 4 emcees compliment themselves so well that it sounds like they are almost brothers. The Show follows the same structure that most Hip-Hop concept albums take (A Long Hot Summer, Disposable Arts) and to be honest it was hard for me to put it even this low, because this is one of the best concept albums I’ve ever heard.

rising-down The Roots – Rising Down: The Roots Crew has been a pivotal vessel for the Hip-Hop culture for 20 years now. Following the great (but gloomy) 2006 release Game Theory, The Roots took a step in the electronic direction that might not have been expected by a lot of their fans. The result is sheer genius. All of the beats on this album are high quality, and as usual Black Thought uses his “God emcee” skills and dishes us large slices of reality “Between the Greenhouse gases and Earth spinin’ off it’s axis/ got Mother Nature doin’ back flips/the natural disasters/it’s like 80 degrees in Alaska…”. This might be the most political album from The Roots to date, but it’s definitely another very solid outing from the Illadelph 5.

pete_rock-nys_finest_b Pete Rock – NY’s Finest: There really isn’t a whole lot I can say about Pete Rock the guy is a Hip-Hop legend. He is easily one of the top producers of all time, and is recognized as the best (he was Dilla’s mentor). I heard a lot of people criticizing this album earlier this year and honestly I think it received some pretty harsh reviews. People were talking about how Pete’s rhymes and cadences were off, I really don’t know what  the were talking about, please listen to “Till’ I Retire” (not to mention Till’ I Retire is one of the best beats this year) or “Best Kept Secret” and tell me that to my face. I may call you a complete Douche fearing that you know nothing about what you speak.

folder1Buff1 – There’s Only One: This is the third Michigan native to make this list and to be honest it really doesn’t surprise me one bit. Buff1 is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and he is currently a member of the Athletic Mic League and There’s Only One is his second album. I found out about Buff1 this year when I stumbled upon Pure which was his solo album that dropped last year. Let me tell you something, this guy is something else, he can rhyme his ass off and he’s very catchy. The production on this album is handled for the most part by 14KT who is part of the Lab Techs (a highly underrated production collective) and Black Milk ads his production for a track on the album. I also want to point out that 14Kt is one hell of a producer and he can really cook up some phat ass beats.

flying_lotus-los_angeles_b51Flying Lotus – Los Angeles: When you are being compared to the likes of J Dilla and Madlib, you have to assume that you are doing something right. Even though many would call Flying Lotus Electronica I am going to include him in Hip-Hop. Flying Lotus (Steven Ellison) is known for his hazy spaced out beats and the way in which he layers and produces his music. This is his second album and he has 3 or 4 EPs out at the current time. Fly Lo is going to be someone to watch for because frankly the music that he is making right now is already amazing. I can’t wait to see what kind of elevation this guy can take Hip-Hop and Electronica to in the next few years.

renaissance Q-Tip – The Renaissance: Chances are if you can withstand the test of time, you are going to be considered a legend and innovator by many people. Q-Tip was part of one of the most popular collectives in Hip-Hop history (A Tribe Called Quest), put out an acclaimed solo album (Amplified), had a solo project shelved… and now nine years after his first solo release comes his Sophomore album. A renaissance is defined as: a renewal of life, vigor, interest etc.; rebirth; revival. That is exactly what this album is all about as Q-Tip breathes a little bit of funk-disco groove into Hip-Hop’s soul with this record. Tip handles all of the production on the album by himself except for the track “Move” which is produced by the late great J Dilla.

Top 5 Non Hip-Hop Albums (In order from 1-5)

Most people that read this blog on a daily basis know that Hip-Hop is pretty much my heart and soul but I do love other types of music as well (just not on as big of a scale). Here is the highlights of this year.

vampire-weekend Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend: Have you ever listened to an album that was just plain ole’ fun? That is what I think of when I listen to Vampire Weekend’s debut album. Vampire Weekend is formed in New York and I feel that they are bringing a great deal of flavor to the genres of rock and indie rock with their melodic upbeat music. Ringing in at just over 34 minutes long their debut album has the quality that most 70 minute albums don’t come anywhere close to. Songs like “A-Punk“, “Oxford Comma” and “Walcott” give meaning to happiness, and songs like “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” are so beautiful they almost make me cry. I can’t wait to hear more from these guys.

the-black-keys-attack-and-releaseThe Black Keys – Attack & Release:I found out about The Black Keys earlier this year. I had a good deal of people telling me that Attack & Release was where it’s at. To be honest I slept on this album really hard and the only conclusion I can come to after listening to these guys, they can tear shit up. The group is a duo from Akron, Ohio, that’s right just a drummer and guitar player. The Black Keys have a heavy blues sound and boy can they make some amazing music. It really can’t hurt if Dangermouse is doing all of the production on your album either. The thing that makes this album a little different from the rest of the Black Keys’ albums is that it almost parallels a Trip-Hop feel on some tracks.

tv_on_the_radio-dear_science-cover Tv On The Radio – Dear Science: TV On The Radio has been tearing up the critics’ charts for the last few years, and this year is really no different. Dear Science is truly a masterpiece that can not easily be explained. There are many different feels on this album, but each one of them seem to work so well for these guys. After releasing an album like Return to Cookie Mountain most people would imagine that it would be too hard to release an album just as good or, even harder,a  better album. “Golden Age” is the lead single on the album and it almost has more of a funk disco feel to it and then you have tracks like “Family Tree” (please note that the link is for the amazing viedo and the song is absolutely beautiful) that are very slow and sentimental.

real-emotional-trash Stephen Malkmus & Jicks – Real Emotional Trash: Stephen Malkmus was part of one of the biggest underground alternative collectives ever (Pavement). For that alone I will love every piece of music that this man makes because he is a fucking genius. He is with a new band now, and it’s a whole new bag of tricks. This is the fourth album that he has played on with them and this album is very solid. I have to say this is some of the heaviest guitar material I have heard Malkmus play on since Terror Twilight, and I also have to admit that his apparent “guitar god” ambitions are incredible. This might be some of the best guitar playing you will hear all year. If you don’t think that’s possible take a listen to “Dragonfly Pie” and be amazed.

dno183fourtetringer300Four Tet – Ringer EP: I have been in love with Keiran Hebdan’s (Four Tet) music ever since I heard Rounds for the first time. I then found out that Dilla did a remix of As Serious As Your Life, and though if Dilla thinks that this guy is good, he has to be. Ringer shows Hebdan departing from his cut and paste method of Jazz, Hip-Hop, Electronica and folk and going more towards a straight techno feel. This EP is just over thirty minutes in length and it’s definitely a treat to hear Four Tet doing something different.

Top 5 Mixtapes of the Year (In Order from 1-5)

In a year that has seen the economy at all time lows, who doesn’t like to see free mixtapes? Here are my favorite mixtapes of the year.

jay-electronica-what-the-fck-is-a-jay-electronica-front Jay Electronica – What the Fuck is a Jay Electronica?: I want to start off by saying that this guy needs to get a proper release out there because he is the future of emcees. This guy is one of the most venomous socially conscious emcees I’ve heard in a long time and he has some of the biggest talent I’ve seen. If you take a listen to “Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)” or “Renaissance Man” it will send shivers down your back when you realize how good this guy is. He utilizes samples of movie dialogue and even raps over movie scores. All of this culminates with the fact that Just Blaze is taking this guy’s back as well as Erykah Badu, he must be something special.

ellllzlhhirz5 Elzhi – Europass: To be honest, in my opinion Europass may have been a little better than The Preface and that’s not taking anything away from The Preface. Europass is a mixtape that is laced with super hot beats (by Black Milk & DJ Dez) and Elzhi on his best lyrical tip. If this was an actual album release there is a chance that it may have had album of the year honors. You don’t usually get to see an emcee shine on a mixtape like this. This mixtape also featured my favorite track of the year “Fire”.

evidence-skee-the_layover-md-front Evidence & DJ SkeeThe LAyover Mixtape: Like I’ve consistently said Evidence is a hard working dude. He put this mixtape out before his EP came out this year and it’s 20 tracks long. Some of the tracks are from the LAyover EP but the majority of them are tracks featuring other artists, remixes and tracks over mixtape beats. The track “Letyourselfgo (Remix)” features Phonte of Little Brother and is absolutely insane. Phonte absolutely tears the beat apart and Evidence spits his lazy flow to create an instant classic. EV keeps putting out classic material and to think this was just some material to hold us over…

black-milk-elec Black Milk – Elec: This is a good collection of music that featured Black Milk (production and rhyming) from his last release Popular Demand up until the release of Tronic. This has tracks from everywhere in the game: GZA, Elzhi, Bishop Lamont and many more. This mixtape shows just how diverse Black can be in his production for other artists as well. With all of the appearances on this mixtape it makes it really hard not to have in constant rotation.

complexclipsemixtape_lead Clipse – Road Till The Casket Drops: If there is one thing that I’ve learned from Terrance and Gene (Pusha T and Malice) Thornton, it’s that you can pretty much incorporate “baking pies” (cooking crack) into rhymes very easily. I mean shit, it makes me want to go into the kitchen and fuck with pots and pans every time I listen to these guys. They have some of the catchiest and funniest rhymes I’ve ever heard. Over the past two years all of their production has been incredible (Neptunes), and I can see why Pharrell signed these guys to Star Trek right away. Watch out for their new album When the Casket Drops which is coming out next year.

Top 5 Songs of 2008 (In order 1-5)

These tracks were pretty much on constant rotation throughout the year.

Fire” (Original Song) – By Elzhi (from Europass)

To Be Determined” – By Evidence (featuring Elzhi and Aloe Blacc) (From LAyover EP)

The Matrix” – By Black Milk (featuring Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price & DJ Premier) (from Tronic)

“I Know The Secret” – By Buff1 (From There’s Only One)

Motown 25” – By Elzhi (featuring Royce Da 5’9″) (from The Preface & Europass)

Album that I love this year that came out last year

Every year it seems like I end up finding out about an album that came out the previous year that I fall in love with. Here is this year’s album.

weatherman EvidenceThe Weatherman LP: Unfortunately I didn’t find out about this album until January of this year. The Weatherman LP is one of the most solid albums I’ve heard in years, and this was just the beginning for Evidence (as a solo artist) (talk about one hell of a beginning). This album has some of the most impeccable front to back production I’ve heard as well and as usual EV kicks his lazy flow over some amazing head noddin’ beats. I can honestly say that this album might be one of my favorite albums of the last 3 or 4 years. This album did not leave my heavy rotation for the entire year, and to be honest I’ve probably listened to it a good 50 times this year (not being sarcastic) and I don’t see it getting old to me anytime in the near future.*

* Side Note: I listen to the track “Chase The Clouds Away” just about every day when I wake up, I feel as though it’s the only good way to start off my day.

Rookie of the Year

All of you must understand that out of the two candidates that I was considering neither of them are technically “rookies” to the game (I’m sorry I don’t really care for Wale) but this was based on debut album.

elzhiElzhi: There really isn’t much that I can say besides what has already been stated. This guy is one hell of an emcee. Elzhi embodies what most emcees wish they could be. I am telling everyone that reads this blog that I wouldn’t be surprised if Elzhi makes everyone else’s top ten emcees list in 5 years or less. When you can take seemingly simple words and make them sound so complex and rhyme using the same scheme as well as internal rhyme, your shit is going to be crazy. Elzhi already has an entire album produced by Black Milk (who is already on top of the Hip-Hop game right now), who knows what the future holds for this flame thrower from the D. If you haven’t heard anything by Elzhi my advice to you is get either Europass or The Preface and put either one on constant repeat. After a nice session with either of these albums I think you are going to be looking at your favorite rapper much differently. Like I said before Elzhi really isn’t a rookie, but his debut album came out this year and that’s why I’m giving the honor to him. I really can’t think of anyone more deserving this year.

Producer of the Year

This award holds very true to me because I love production, I mean music wouldn’t be half of what it is without sound production right? I have to tell you this was a very tough decision for me, Dangermouse almost got the nod but someone else stole the spotlight this year as well…

canthedrummerhavesome Black Milk: What can I say positive about Black Milk? I could use pretty much any adjective you could think of that is a synonym for greatness. This guy is pumping out a signature sound that can’t be paralleled right now by anybody in the game. When you are doing your thing on the boards and getting comparisons to J Dilla, you know that you have to be doing something right. Releasing two highly critically acclaimed album is no easy task, unless you are Black Milk. On top of being one of the best producers in the game right now he is climbing his way up the latter with his elevated rhyming on Tronic. You could also make the claim that Black is one of the hardest working producers in the game right now, he released his solo debut last year, a new album this year, a collaboration with Bishop Lamont last year, a collaboration with Fat Ray this year… the list seems to go on and on. Please do yourself a favor and take a listen to Hip-Hop’s prodigal son.

Biggest Dissapointment of the Year

I know I am probably going to get crucified for this one, and you have to understand that I’m not saying this is a bad album at all it’s just nowhere near what I expected and for that reason alone it’s a huge dissapointment.

leave-it Foreign Exchange – Leave It All Behind: As I mentioned above I’m not saying that this is a bad album at all, but it’s nothing like what I was expecting. When I heard that Phonte and Nicolay were putting out another album I was ecstatic. Connected is one of the most refreshing albums that I have ever heard, and I might even one up my feelings on Connected and say that I like it more than any Little Brother album that was put out. Phonte and Nicolay have a rare chemistry that is seen, similar to a Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, they just mesh together perfectly. I just don’t really get into them doing more of a soul and R&B record, don’t get me wrong Te is a good singer and Nicolay’s beats are nasty as usual I just don’t see them as an R&B group.

Who Do You Want To Look For Next Year?

This is the cat you want to be looking for next year but also in the near future…

jayelectronica Jay Electronica: This guy is the future face of Hip-Hop. Erykah Badu said that she first thought that Jay was an alien the first time that she met him. Just go on the Internet and search Jay’s name and you will be able to find him spitting over numerous Dilla treats or over a movie sample or score. This guy has so much talent that I really don’t know if the world is ready for someone like Jay Electronica. He has a debut album due out sometime in the near future entitled Abracadabra: Let There Be Light that is going to change the way that people think about Hip-Hop. I have also heard wind of digital EPs with Guilty Simpson and 9th Wonder, but then again that’s all here say so I can’t get my hopes up. Jay Electronica is that cat that you don’t know about, but my god you sure as hell want to know who he is.

That’s all I have for this year. Please give me some feedback and let me know what you think. Are there categories I could put in next year? Do you disagree with what I have written? Let me know… PLEASE!

Alteez

Review: Q-Tip, The Renaissance 

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by Tim Althaus

the-renaissance

It’s been 9 long years since Q-Tip has put out a solo album (and even longer since we’ve heard something from Tribe except for Rock The Bells), and the last time he put out a solo album it had the beat crafting of J Dilla. If it weren’t for the label disagreement with Kamaal the Abstract we would have seen a Tip release sooner.

9 years later and The Renaissance is here, and boy is it one hell of an album. The first thing that I really want to stress about this album is that Q-Tip has some serious production skills on top of his already “all the time” “on point” rhymes. This album carries more of a funk/groove feel to it that creates a great vibe for the album as well as Tip’s rhymes. The album starts out with “Johnny Is Dead” which has a great guitar riff at the begininning and a mesmerizing beat throughout and Q-Tip’s flow is like liquid over the track (keeping in mind that he doesn’t sound half bad singing). “Won’t Trade” is another great beat with a spot on sample (“I wouldn’t trade it for nothin’!”) that compliments the piano in the background. “Gettin’ Up” which was the album’s lead single is one of the highlights on the album with a rolling thick bassline and great piano melody. Tip’s rhymes fit “Gettin’ Up” perfectly (as well as every single track on the album) and the track gives off a very groovy feel. I really like the track “Official” because the cuts are crazy and I love the beat as well as the sample, I can’t keep saying this enough as well but Q-Tip really flows well and sings great over this track. The Highlight of this album in my opinion is definitely “Move” which is the only track produced by someone else, and of course it’s Dilla. The first part of this track literally smacked me right in the face and gave me a great vibe, the Jackson 5 flip on this is amazing and the beat just makes me want to dance. I can see why Tip loved to work with Dilla because their chemistry together is great and always makes for an amazing track.

This album is very solid from front to back and there really aren’t any moments that I can say make this album drag at all. This album is going to be a serious contender for album of the year on a lot of people’s charts, and makes for a great late entry. You can bet that it’s going to make a great deal of top 10 lists without question.

8.5/10

Video: Q-Tip “Move” (Live on Letterman)

Posted in Video with tags , , , on Monday, November 10, 2008 by Tim Althaus

tipWell as most of you heads in the Hip-Hop world know, Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest) released his sophomore LP The Renaissance last Tuesday. I haven’t gotten a really good listen of this record yet, but I know that I am highly anticipating it. This is Tip’s first album in 9 years (Amplified was released in ’99 (which was produced entirely by Dilla) ), and there has been no sign of Tribe anywhere (except Rock the Bells last year). I must admit I heard a snippet of the song “Move” and I almost went nuts. I had to find out who produced that track because the sample was flipped just perfect and I couldn’t get enough. I then found out that Tip produced the entire album except for that one track. Does anyone wanna talk a wild guess who the producer of “Move” is? That’s right my man Dilla did the beat and to be honest I’m really not surprised because he was the best at what he did, and that’s making beats. This beat is no different with a great sample flip of the Jackson 5 that sounds like Dilla chopped the track like butcher meat.

I’ve heard a few tracks off of this record and I can honestly tell you that Tip has some serious skill on the MP, and that this record jives way more like a disco-hop than anything. I love the vibe I’ve heard and I’m going to get a review up really soon. In the meantime check this great performance of “Move” live on Letterman.