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Tuesday October 21, 2014
Feature of the Week

[Paperwork] No trouble this time, man.

T.I. Review

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Lil Boosie & Hurricane - Bad Azz Hurricane (Single)

Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Artist: Lil Boosie & Hurricane
Title: Bad Azz Hurricane
Label: Asylum Records

For a song that's only three minutes long to begin with, it's a shame that Lil Boosie and Hurricane waste the first 20 seconds with non-instrumental machismo that would have been more interesting to a beat. Speaking of beats, producer Gus (no first name or last name - just GUS) is competent here but by no means mind-blowing. His track treads the careful line between bounce, club and crunk without firmly commiting to any of them - keeping the melody to a few notes while adding enough extra layers of keyboard orchestration to keep it from becoming totally stale. The "money thang" here is nothing new though, nor is bragging about "canary and blue diamonds on me." Does anyone think there's a significant portion of today's "swagger" aritsts who are grossly out of touch with the real economy? If not they're just playing the stereotypical role the audience expects regardless of whether they have the wealth they're bragging on. Of the two featured here only Boosie has shown the potential to say and do more, but by sharing a track with Mr. Ay Bay Bay he seems to have been dragged down to the latter's mediocre and cliched level.

Hopie Spitshard - The Next Great Female Emcee

Great female emcees are hard to find. Actually great emcees, regardless of gender, are hard to find, but it’s always been especially tough to find a dope lyrical lady. Hopie Spitshard, who hails from the Bay Area, is one of the few I would put in that class. I was put on to her in a very roundabout way. Last month I did an Artist Of The Week feature on Kaz-well and when I was making sure his MySpace link worked I noticed Hopie as one of his top friends. The combination of her look, her name and her association with Kaz-well made me click on her and I’m really glad I did (hey, MySpace does still have a use!). We got to talking, and Twittering, and she sent me a copy of her full length album, The Diamond Dame, to check out. I was impressed, which is why this week I caught up with her to find out about the history of Hopie, how being a part of two minority groups in Hip-Hop affects her, and why what she does in the bedroom is a subject you’ll never hear her rhyme about.

Read the full interview at:

Braille - Back on the Saddle

Braille - Back on the Saddle

Hello universe!!!  I've spent the last couple months doing a lot of self evaluation and growth.  It was sparked due to some circumstances and trials I was facing but it ultimately ended up being beneficial.  With some situations in life, no matter how difficult they are, we either allow them to rob us of our purpose, passion and personality - or use it to strengthen the foundation of who we are.  I've found myself operating with more clarity then I've had in a long time.  I'm reading more, exercising more, being more patient and taking life one day at a time.  Below are some pretty exciting updates, check it out and hit me back with your feedback.

1. After being on hiatus for almost two full years -  I'm bringing back Hiphop IS Music!!!!  I had to close the first chapter, and I was literally considering closing down the label permanently.  The label was actually very successful right from the jump - but the surrounding circumstances in my life made it to much to handle.  As a 24 year old man who didn't graduate high school I was touring with James Brown, running a label, preparing for my first child, paying bills on my first home and managing an increased income of over 7 times what I made in any previous years all at the same time.  With a lot of things in my life, I"ve had to learn the hard way.  Just sort of jump in the deep end and starting paddling my arms until I learned how to swim.  I feel like I have the confidence and humility to continue approaching the record label, even if we remain operating on a small scale.  So with that... our next release is right around the corner!!!!  The first official solo album from Sojourn (of Future Shock) titled "Sojournalism: The Summer Articles" will be dropping September 1st.  Rather then giving you a bunch of info about the record, I'm going to provide you with a link that includes a free mp3 download of the single, the album cover and a text document with the track-list and press release.

Download the file, pass it to your friends, post it on your blogs and all that fun stuff.  For press, radio and tastemakers - email me directly and I'll provide you with a link for the entire advance!!!  The release date is September 1st 2009.  If you'd like to carry this album in your store then hit me up now so that I can prepare your order!!!

2.  I will be hosting and performing at the National Federation of the Blind Youth Slam on July 29, 2009.  The NFB Youth Slam is the most dynamic gathering of blind youth ever and the largest mentoring program for the blind in the country. This five day leadership academy inspires and engages blind youth in science, technology, engineering, and math subjects. On July 29, the event will feature a talent show with performances from NFB Youth Slam participants and a special guest MC--Braille! Learn more about the National Federation of the Blind at and follow the NFB Youth Slam on Twitter Location: NFB Jernigan Institute 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore Maryland 21230

This is a huge honor for me and a step I'm excited to take as an ambassador for Braille literacy.  You can read more about the event at the link below.

3. Blessed Man t-shirts!!!  I have a limited stock of brand new "Blessed Man" shirts.  You can view the shirt, as worn by Poems in my profile pictures at Myspace and Facebook.,

I have sizes S-XXL.  the cost is $20 (U.S. Shipping included) and you can pay using paypal to or by sending check/money order to

Bryan Winchester
18485 sw stepping stone dr. #64
beaverton, or  97006

4. A quick CloudNineteen update.  I have continued giving out CDs at all my concerts and by the end of this month we will have reached 15,000 units given away so far.  This is halfway towards our goal of 30,000 total.  Pretty insane.  I definitely feel inspired to start working hard on my next album "Audibly Enhanced Dreams" right now.  Hopefully I'll have some new tunes to leak in the next month or so.

5. Two final notes.  Me and Nikki just celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary.  We plan to start traveling together a lot more, and we both just got new 3G Iphones.  So yeah, cool stuff.  haha.  My tour schedule is rocking for the rest of this month and August.  Check out tour dates at

also, check me out on twitter. - I don't really follow folks yet but if you wanna follow me I'll lead you down as many rabbit trails as possible.

Oh - and before I close out I want to say thank you to my local church community Solid Rock.  I feel more connected then ever before, they have walked with me through the last couple months and I'm excited to serve there.  You can check them out and even listen to some podcasts at

Peace and GOD bless
Thank you, from Braille and the Hiphop Is Music team. |
Free Music Fridays: Two Burners Edition

Ladies and gentlemen, I apoligize for the delay. Last week was a mysterious miss, but no worrires, I have twice the heaters of free music for all y'all. Get ready, this one's a jiffy!

Atmosphere - Leak at Will EP
^ Earned 8 of 10 ratings on RapReviews!

[While this EP is an obvious jack to Ice Cube's "Kill at Will" EP title (pun intended for all Ice Cube fans), Atmosphere shows the world how he continues to bless the world with their fresh music, free or not. This one happens to be the former as they give you seven great tracks for you to listen to (including a brilliant remake/sequel of De La Soul's "Millie Pulled the Pistol on Santa" as the last track).]

1. C'mon
2. They Always Know
3. The Ropes
4. White Noise
5. Feel Good Hit of the Summer
6. Mother's Day
7. Millie Fell Off the Fire Escape

Derty Den and DJ Hitz - Southern Dynasty (Stall & Dean and Fluid Watches Edition)

[Carolina emcee Derty Den links up with DJ Hitz to release some of the bangin' fried Southern joints that's been heard all summer. They even had Stall & Dean and Fluid Watches as their sponsor, so you should know how legit this is]

1. Derty Den - Intro
2. Derty Den - D.O.A.
3. Young Jeezy - Sunny Days
4. Rick Ross - Eternal Life
5. Gucci Mane ft. Busta Rhyms - Hood Up
6. Lil Wayne ft. Gucci Mane - We Be Steady Mobbin
7. T.I. - Make U Sweat
8. Soulja Boy - I’m All That
9. Soulja Boy - I Got Mojo
10. Yung Joc - Grind Flu
11. Derty Den Interlude
12. Ed Ruger - Ballin Like A Midget
13. Team Irac ft. OJ Da Juiceman - Put It On Me
14. Ace Hood - Loco With The Cake
15. Lil Wayne -  Told Y’all
16. Gucci Mane - Wonderfull
17. Killer Mike ft. Big Kuntry King - I’m A Fool Wit It
18. Rick Ross - Neverland
19. Gucci Mane - Running Back
20. Lil Wayne ft. Gudda Gudda, Mack Maine & Shanelle - Sacrifice
21. Plies - Becky
22. M.O.S. - Holla
23. Smallworld ft. Drake - Get Low
24. Derty Den ft. Gorilla Zoe - Fly Shyt
25. Rick Ross - Skyline
26. Derty Den - Outro

Drake - So Far Gone

[Ahem, just incase you've been wondering which album Drake's single "Best I Ever Had" is on, the answer is none. In fact, it was released on this free mixtape which became a breakthrough hit for this Toronto rapper/sainger. Here's the mixtape, in full, for you to hurry up and get before it becomes so far gone.]

1. Lust For Life
2. HoustonAtlantaVegas
3. Successful (feat. Trey Songz)
4. Let's Call It Off
5. November 18th
6. Ignant Shit (feat. Lil' Wayne)
7. A Night Off
8. Say What's Real
9. Little Bit (feat. Lykke Li)
10. Best I've Ever Had
11. Unstoppable (feat. Santogold and Lil' Wayne)
12. Uptown (feat. Bun B)
13. Sooner Than Later
14. The Calm
15. Bria's Interlude
16. Outro
17. Brand New

And here's a bonus Drake track for FREE:

DJ J-Ronin & DJ Snips with DJ Nino Carta: ALL ELEMENTS Freestyle Files Vol.1

[Three DJs, DJ J-Ronin, DJ Snips, and DJ Nino Carta, joined forces to collide some of the best emcess in the East, West, and Midwest to create this dope hip-hop mixtape of the summer. Be careful, your hard drive might combust into flames after d/l'ing this heater.]


1. Intro ft. DJ Nino Carta, DJ J-Ronin, DJ Snips, DJ Premier, DJ
Mister Cee, Kid Capri, Tony Touch and Doowop
2. Jaz-O - Black Republican Freestyle
3. Planet Asia - Fish Freestyle
4. Hell Razah and Killah Priest - Young Gifted and Black Freestyle
5. Ill Bill - ALL ELEMENTS 8 freestyle
6. Teflon from M.O.P. Sav Killz, Shabaam Sahdeeq and Steele from SmifN Wessun - ALL ELEMENTS Crooklyn Dodgers 07
7. Royce Da 5′9, AZ and Sav Killz - Success ALL ELEMENTS Blend Freestyle
8. Donny Goines - ALL ELEMENTS 10 Freestyle (prod. by DJ Snips)
9. Raze - ALL ELEMENTS 5 Freestyle (prod. by Magnetic)
10. Steele from Smif N Wessun - Who Shot Ya Freestyle
11. Timbo King - ALL ELEMENTS 9 Freestyle
12. Sav Killz ft. Spit Supreme - Hoodlums and Crooks Freestyle
13. Poison Pen - The Brooklyn Way Freestyle
14. Killah Priest - The Letter Freestyle Session
15. Mistah Fab - J-Ronin Freestyle
16. Strong Arm Steady - ALL ELEMENTS vol.10 Freestyle (prod. by DJ Snips)
17. Naledge of Kidz in the Hall - J-Ronin Freestyle
18. Hell Razah - Verbal Intercourse Freestyle
19. Phantasm of the Cella Dwellas - We Made It Freestyle
20. Killa Sha - Grimey Way Freestyle
21. Sav Killz - Danger Freestyle (prod. by The Molemen)
22. Famoso - Hardcore Freestyle (World Premiere)
23. Shabazz the Disciple - Children’s Story Freestyle (World Premier)
24. Gutta of the VietKong - This is My Life Freestyle
25. Miz - Hit Em Freestyle (World Premier)
26. Jeru tha Damaja - J-Ronin Freestyle
27. Skeem ft. Mz. Hustle and Paladino - Talk to Em Freestyle
28. Thirstin Howl III - Been Fresh Freestyle
29. Letia Larok - Rok Freestyle
30. J.ARCH - Staples Freestyle (prod. by DJ Snips)
31. Akir - Funk Died Freestyle (prod. by DJ Architect)
32. Outro ft. DJ Nino Carta, DJ Snips and DJ J-Ronin

DJ Noodles & Hunt - Pockets So Heavy Mixtape
[Tampa rapper Hunt and DJ Noodles creates "Pockets So Heavy," a mixtape full of head-noddin beats as well as rhymes of an emcee on the come up. Check it out!] 

1. Rising to the Top ft. Lee Wilson [prod. by Patrick Star]
2. Dum Dum Tress [prod. by Y.E.A. Productions]
3. Pockets So Heavy ft. Gucci Mane [Prod. by Grand Larceny]
4. Young Millionaire ft. 2 Pistols & Smitty [Prod. by Hustle Heart]
5. Show U How 2 Do It [Prod. by 76 Beats]
6. Talk it Over ft. Tyler Woods [Prod. by 9th Wonder]
7. Plaing By the Rules [Prod. by One Way Beats]
8. Microwave ft. Kocky, Ya Boy, Smitty [Prod. by Kocky]
9. I Had a Dream ft. J-Son [Prod. by Jaywon]
10. I'm Paid [Prod. by Hustle Heart]
11. If It Wasn't for my Paper [Freestyle]
12. Paper Touchin' [Freestyle]
13. Fuck Em All ft. Red Cafe & Fabolous [Freestyle]
14. Sunshine [Prod. by Ballistick Productions]
15. Breaktime ft. Nino Bless [Prod. by Hustle Heart]

J. Rawls - Hotel Beats Vol. 1 (Mixtape)

[Lone Catalyst's J. Rawls is no stranger when it comes to being a producer with classic beats (including on RapReviews' Nines acclaimed records, such as "Good Music" and "Hip Hop"). Rawls decides to release a beattape full of heaters that upcoming rappers can freestyle over or heads can just nod and relax to it. Here's a luxorious hotel quality music you could use for the night, without the expensive room prices.]

1. Intro/Peace
2. Red Peppers
3. Requiem for Brooklyn
4. Casina
5. Janea
6. A Game...
7. Michelle
8. Sunrise
9. Hotel Lobby Theme Music
10. Hold On To It
11. 4 A.M.
12. The Get Up
13. Light Shine
14. Together
15. Migrane
16. Feelin' Swell
17. The Go Between
18. Two Girls
19. Guess Who?
20. Equinox
21. Stand Down
22. Bonus Track: The Lee Morgan (Story by J Rawls & John Robinson Presents: JAY ARE)
23. American Idol (Alt Version) featuring L.e

K-Def - Beats from the 90's Vol. 2
[Join K-Def as he goes back into time with his beats that sounded like they were crafted in the 1990s, without sounding dated. Armed with only Akai MPC 3000 and S-3000, retro tools of the trade, Def provides in-your-face beats that'll leave a Kool-Aid smile to ya face. Yeeeeeeeah boyyyyeee!]

1. The Magnum
2. Watch Out
3. Preying Mantis
4. Heaven Or Hell
5. Survive The Blast
6. Hey Funkbox
7. Bring The Gat
8. Having A Bad Day
9. Redcoats Are Coming
10. Mystery Man
11. Orig Blind 1995
12. He Is Waiting
13. Guitar Licking

Kenn Starr - It's Still Real...

[Kenn Starr has been one of D.C.'s hip-hop best kept secrets for a while now. It's about time for him to be heard with this soulful "It's Still Real..." mixtape. These beats have been crafted from 2006 to now, but can you tell that? You don't know which one is a newborn or three years old because his fresh music proves that there's no expiration date on it. Check it out!]

1. Let It Be Known (feat. Hassaan Mackey & Silent Knight) (prod. Analogic)
2. The Truth (feat. Kaimbr) (prod. RODDYROD & Kev Brown)
3. In Check (feat. Oddisee & Supastition) (prod. Oddisee)
4. DJ Flexx Freestyle (’01 Throwback) (Live on WPGC Washington, D.C.)
5. It’s Time (feat. Soulstice, Eternia & Tiffany Paige) (prod. M-Phazes)
6. Low Budget All Stars (feat. Kev Brown, Oddisee, Cy Young & Kaimbr) (prod. Marco Polo)
7. Represent (feat. Akir & Oddisee) (prod. Oddisee)
8. That’s How We Kick It (feat. J. Sands) (prod. Chief)
9. Price 2 Pay (feat. Asheru, Oddisee & Darien Brockington) (prod. Oddisee)
10. DJ Eclipse Freestyle (’04 Throwback) (Live on WNYU New York, NY)
11. Wonder Why (feat. Wale, Big Sean & Mike Posner) (prod. 9th Wonder)
12. Q&A (feat. Oddisee) (prod. Oddisee)
13. The Dropoff (feat. JLaine) (prod. JLaine)
14. Kemistree Meets Low Budget (feat. Hassaan Mackey, Kev Brown & Gut) (prod. Young Cee)
15. DJ K.O. Freestyle (’04 Throwback) (Live on WRSU New Brunswick, NJ)
16. Coming Of Age ‘09 (prod. Nick Tha 1da)
17. Hennessey Pt. 3 (feat. Kev Brown & Raheem DeVaughn) (prod. Kev Brown)
18. Sum Ish For Dave (feat. Haysoos) (prod. 9th Wonder)

Kid Cudi - RiCUDIculous [The Freestyle Mixtape]

[Day and night, you've heard Kid Cudi's smash hit "Day N Nite" being played over the summer. In fact, most who have heard that song never heard how polite Cudi is on his mic skills. In other words, is he nice or not? Well, here's a new mixtape showing Cudi's freestyle in over 20 different tracks (along with a bonus track, as well)! Hear this dude out and you'll see that he ain't just another Kid on the block.]

1. Foggy Glasses
2. Sky High
3. Higher Up
4. Enough Freestyle Part I
5. Enough Freestyle Part II
6. On Da Spot Freestyle Part I
7. On Da Spot Freestyle Part II
8. Excuse My Hood (Kinda Like a Big Deal)
9. Who's Real Freestyle
10. Hottest In the Hood Freestyle
11. House Beat Freestyle
12. Too Short Freestyle
13. XXL Freestyle
14. Soundtrack to my Life Freestyle Bet
15. Respect My Conglomerate Freestyle
16. Paper Planes Freestyle
17. London Girls (Done Pimpin')
18. Drop (09) Freestyle
19. Cudi Spazzin'
20. Dose of Dopeness
21. Bonus Track: Off the Top Freestyle

Low Budget - Budget is Low Mixtape Vol. 1

[Ah yes, the budget is indeed low. In a time where we're going through a recession that's been sucking our money dry, we'll appreciate any free music that's give our wallets a sigh of relief. We'll doubly appreciate it if the free music is DOPE! Well, I'm going to be the one to top it of by saying it's better than DOPE - it's nearly  DRUG PARAPHERNALIA! I'm surprised I'm not arrested for supplying this to you. Chocolate City's own Low Budget gives it to you raw and uncut. Yeah that's pure man.]

DJ RODDYROD & DJ Marshall Law present…
The Budget Is Low Mixtape Vol. 001
1. Kev Brown - Another Random Joint
2. Oddisee - Hip Hop Is Cool Again
3. Sean Born - Go Hard (prod. Kev Brown)
4. The Al Green Project (Kaimbr & Kev Brown) - Grits
5. Kenn Starr - Say Goodbye (prod. Black Milk)
6. Kev Brown & RODDYROD - Down By The Riverside
7. Grap Luva feat. Kev Brown - Git Mines (prod. RODDYROD)
8. Diamond District - I Mean Business
9. RODDYROD feat. yU & Finale - Neva Find Me
10. RODDYROD - Take In Stride (prod. JLaine)
11. RODDYROD feat. Phonte & Carlitta Durand - This Time Around
12. Kaimbr feat. Kenn Starr - The Truth (prod. RODDYROD & Kev Brown)
13. RODDYROD feat. yU & XO - UNI-VERSE
14. Sean Born - Take It & Run (prod. Kev Brown)
15. The Al Green Project (Kaimbr & Kev Brown) - Songs (Hands Up)
16. Oddisee - Camera
17. Critically Acclaimed - Appreciation (prod. Sean Born)
18. Kev Brown feat. yU - Marvelous
19. Isaac Jones (Sean Born & Kenn Starr) - Keep It Movin (prod. Kev Brown)
20. Kev Brown feat. Raheem DeVaughn & Kenn Starr - Hennessey Pt. 3
21. Critically Acclaimed - Triple D (prod. Kev Brown)

Max Minelli - Backpack Dreams & Hip Hop Wishes

[This Louisiana emcee has been in the game for a hot minute. From rapping alongside J-Von and producer Happy Perez on Concecration Camp to selling over 50,000 of his solo catalogue independently. Here's a new mixtape from Max Minelli a/k/a Max Pain titled "Backpack Dreams & Hip Hop Wishes." Give it a listen or two!]

1. Backpack Intro
2. Brain Distortion
3. Full Metal Jacket
4. In My Street Dreams
5. Fresh 2 Def (Remix)
6. Dead Rappers
7. Pirahnna Bait
8. Miss My Doggs (Prod. by The Alchemist)
9. Padded Room
10. It Ain’t No Secret
11. Like They Love B.I.G.
12. Show You How To Do This
13. T.O.M.S
14. Take The Money
15. SLFEMP Sixteen
16. Robot Army
17. I Still Love Her
18. Dear Streets

Pac Div - Church League Champions

[Califonia-bred rap group Pac Div have been known as the underdogs for a while. This year, they're claiming their status as the big top dogs. "Church League Champions" features original Pac Div tracks rapping over hip-hop beats. Lend them an ear, it might be the last time seeing them below before they ascend to the top.]

1. Dick Vitale
2. We The Champs (Duke v. Carolina)
3. Pac Div
4. Mayor
5. For You
6. No No
7. Knuckleheadz
8. Whiplash
9. Underdogs (interlude)
10 Shut Up
11. Young Black Male
12. Never
13. Back

Sophia Fresh - So Phreakin' Fresh [Hosted by DJ Lil Boy]

[OOH WHEE, NAPPY BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOY~! If you never heard that term, you'd might as well better start get used to hearing it. Because Sophia Fresh, the superladies of T-Pain's Nappy Boy Entertainment, has this free tape out entitled "So Phreakin' Fresh."]

1. Check Me Out
2. What it Is ft. Kanye West
3. Kid N Play ft. T-Pain
4. Something
5. I Need Autotune
6. Drop It
7. Doin Me Without You
8. Lives in the Club ft. J-Lyriq
9. Make It Hot
10. Stuck
11. Soulja Boy
12. Work For It
13. Forever ft. Akon
14. Feel Good
15. Hot
16. Go Green ft. T-Pain
17. There They Go
18. Thats Right
19. No Diddy Party
20. Do The Dance
21. Super Bad ft. T-Pain
22. Hurt U So Bad
23. Nicolette

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Yesterday's link for this mixtape is currently down. But you can find a working link in their official website below.]
Wyld Money - G-Spot Music

[Straight from the V-Dot, is Wyld Money makin' music for the "G-Spot". This one'll be the ladies pleaser, minus the batteries. Check this mix out, but if you have a lady, listen at your own risk.]

1. Intro
2. Rockin' That Thang ft. Luke James XIII
3. Shout
4. What You Girls Like
5. Turning Me On
6. Virginia
7. Baby I See You ft. Owe & Smoke Official
8. Voicemail
9. Fuck Me Through The Phone ft. Luke James XIII
10. Downtown ft. Cali Stylz & Hollow
11. Intermission
12. We Run The Night ft. Junior Reid
13. Smoke With Me
14. Blame it
15. I'm That Nigga
16. Can I Get That ft. Delicia Gordon
17. Love In Lenox ft. Priscilla Polet
18. Fucking You Tonight ft. Luke James XIII
19. Fall Back ft. Marsha Ambrosius
20. Outro

This concludes a crazy week of Free Music Fridays. Again, I apoligize for such a delay. Hope this one is well worth it. If you have any free music you would like to be placed on this site, please e-mail me at with the subject as "Free Music Fridays: {insert title here}". Thank you!
Young Money - Every Girl (Single)

Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Artist: Young Money
Title: Every Girl
Label: Universal Records

Potentially the monster single for the summer of 2009, this is a song you simply can't avoid no matter how hard you try. Besides the fact Seattle production duo Tha Bizness provide an infectious musical backdrop with a whistling chorus, the supergroup lineup of Drake, Lil Wayne, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine take it over the top ON said chorus with the imitatible chorus "Cause we like her, and we like her too" ad nauseum complete with the too explicit screwed & chopped line "I wish I could fuck every girl in the world." Radio cleans it up though, and there's no shortage of that given every member of the group goes Autotune on the track. The lyrics are borderline retarded, but impossible to forget, especially when you hear Drake overpronounce "les-bi-an" and use it as double entendre for "let's be honest." That shouldn't work... but it does. It's fucking IMPOSSIBLE to get this song out of your head, and for what it's worth you have to admire their honesty - they're young, rich, and horny like a motherfucker.

Poison Pen - BK's Fat Boy (Single)

Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Artist: Poison Pen
Title: BK's Fat Boy
Label: EMVEEZ/Gold Dust

Creeping up on 2009 like a case of swine flu, the self-professed fat boy of Brooklyn may not be mistaken for the new Biggie Smalls, but his style is still infectiously fun. "Whether, pins and denim or suit and tie/I bleed, venom, for Do or Die/Don't think too hard or flash too many signs/Don't rap too much, just givin the time." DJ Static's track is simple and symphonic, uptempo with a nice switch-up on the chorus to a slow soul break saying "beware, young girl." Pen brims with confidence and brags that "blockin ain't an option" when he's headed your way, and he's got the charisma and distinctive flow (a little raspy, a little bit Funk Flex, in a good way) to back it up. I'm not sure if his lyrics hold muster over the long haul given this is only 2:18, but future singles will prove out whether he's the real deal or not.

Brown Bag AllStars - Larry Norris (Single)

Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Artist: Brown Bag AllStars
Title: Larry Norris
Label: Brown Bag AllStars

You should already be familiar with BBAS right now after RapReviews previously gave exposure to the hard bumping "Brooklyn Queens Expressway" single. In yet another attempt to prove the best things in life really +are+ free, this New York collective returns with a DJ Goo produced track has more layers than a Dagwood sandwich. Pick apart the fixings and you can hear crowd noise, soul samples, funky drummers, echoing conversation and smooth hip-hop lyrics. That may read like a cacophony in print but when you put on a pair of headphones this is a beautiful medley. J57 brags that the AllStars will steal the show "with the hands raised high like it's Van Damme's order" but one-ups himself under a minute later with a vow to keep hands in the sky "like it's Bishop and O-Dog." Soul Khan's voice sticks out like a sore thumb in a good way - a distinctively nasal flow like the 2009 B-Real. When he notes BBAS have their shit together and he'll "never be the forty-oh that hits the pavement" the song abruptly comes to a halt. While it's like smacking a brick wall at 70 MPH, it doesn't hurt one bit - in fact it just makes you want to hit rewind and take the trip all over again. Go to the Brown Bag AllStars website and get your ticket to ride.

Hip-Hop Trading Cards Review - From the Old to the New

The Official Hip Hop Trading CardsToday we take a look at a brand new line of hip-hop trading cards. If you saw these at the corner bodega or local Wal*Mart, would you pick them up? Would kids spend their own allowance money to get them? Could hip-hop trading cards be bigger than Pokemon?

While The Official Hip-Hop Trading Cards may be a brand new product in 2009, trading cards have been around an awful long time, going back to the days when they were called "tobacco cards." Initially cards were inserted into packs of cigarettes just to stiffen them up and make them more attractive on display, but soon enough it occured to someone to put famous people and athletes on the cards to make them collectible. This resulted in the first card collecting controversy as concerned parents and religious groups were convinced it encouraged youth smoking, and unintentionally early 20th century baseball player Honus Wagner created the first "rare card" by demanding his image be removed from packs and destroyed. Finding an authentic Wagner T-206 card in good condition in 2009 is like getting a free $2,000,000 lottery ticket.

Spidey-Card! Spidey-Card.Trading cards are easy to come by these days without having to get a nicotine fix. In fact you don't even have to get a stick of gum with your trading cards, which was the rule of thumb when I was a little kid. I'm glad that was done away with that, because it was always the consistency of cardboard and left a nice greasy stain on the back of your favorite ballplayer's card. When I got older I realized there were more than just baseball player trading cards out there. I started picking up football cards, comic cards, any kind of pack I could get for less than a buck - sometimes four FOR a buck. Amazing that one pack can cost you FOUR bucks these days. I digress - there were a lot of options out there for a young card collector, even one on a pittance of an allowance. For a young hip-hop head with a subscription to The Source I found what I THOUGHT was the ultimate - Yo! MTV Raps trading cards.Yo. Yo, yo, yo! A complete box like the one pictured here contains 36 packs of cards, 10 cards to a pack. By the time these came around in 1991 trading cards were already creeping closer and closer to a dollar a pack, and the only store that carried them was 20 miles away, but that didn't stop me from trying to complete the first series. For the life of me I can't remember the one card I'm missing. It doesn't help that I can't find the album they're stored in either - an actual Yo! MTV Raps card collector storage binder I sent away for in the mail. I suppose that's a collector's item now in itself. (And yes, if I do ever find that binder, I'll probably open the box in the photo to get that one card.)

Unfortunately, even though I was stoked about the fact somebody had released trading cards for the culture and art I obsessed over, there were plenty of glaring holes. There was literally no rhyme or reason to the organization of cards. Big Daddy Kane gets three cards. Vanilla Ice gets EIGHT. That's even more appalling when you consider that BDP only had three cards, just one featuring KRS by himself. I suppose the creators thought that the best-selling artists at the time deserved more shine when they came up with the design, but Rob Van Winkle had already been exposed as a fraud by the time these cards hit stores and getting almost one of his stupid face per pack was to quote the aforementioned KRS "WICK WICK WACK." I wantonly destroyed the duplicate Ice cards - immature but fun. Slick Rick only had one card in the set, while MC Hammer had FIVE. You get the idea. As a representation of the current hip-hop scene in '91, let alone the culture of hip-hop as a whole, it was outrageously bad. No offense to the dead but when Ted Demme gets a card yet Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo do not, especially in that era of rap, your whole concept is FUBAR. It was even sexist, as neither MC Lyte nor Queen Latifah were represented. At least Public Enemy got 9 out of the 100 - more than Mr. Winkle, but just barely. As for the prizes, I didn't win that trip to see Yo! filmed live in New York City... or anything else for that matter. Ah well.

For a short time there was a competing series of cards called THE RAP PACK, which unfortunately were even harder to find than the Yo! cards. WCW Nitro!I say unfortunate because although the graphic layout of the artist cards wasn't very appealing (big blocky text - to the point of being cartoonish) they actually cared enough about hip-hop to include GRAFFITI ARTWORK STICKERS. I treasured these. When I was bored in high school I would attempt to copy the designs in my notebook, or come up with my own, neither of which would turn out well - but it kept my mind focused on the music and the culture. I think out of 150 cards in the series I only ended up with about half, but they DID have N.W.A. cards, which the Yo! set sure as shit did not. I was impressed. That was about it for trading cards though - for me AND for hip-hop. Every now and then I look at trading cards at the grocery store just to see what kids collect these days. You can still find sports cards, celebrity trading cards, occasionally even pro wrestling cards (I found the pack pictured left at a Meijer in Michigan, clearly dated given WCW died years ago) but for the most part it's all Bakugan and Pokemon. You gotta catch 'em, err, collect 'em all.

In 18 years since Yo! cards first hit shelves I never saw another pack of hip-hop trading cards and honestly thought no one would every try again. TOHHTC caught me by surprise. I got their press release in e-mail and was immediately intrigued - after all this time someone was actually giving rap cards another chance. Fredro Starr pack courtesy TOHHTCI requested a sample pack for review and the producers kindly sent me what you see pictured to your right. The Official Hip-Hop Trading Cards come in clear plastic, five to a pack, plus one insert with the company's logo on a separate card. It's an immediate positive to be able to see what the cards look like before buying a pack, so you know the product is real hip-hop and not some cornball BS. On the negative side if the distribution of cards in the series is truly random, what's to stop a kid from pawing through an open box of packs just to find the one with a Jay-Z visible on the back? With all due respect to Fredro Starr, this one's probably getting thrown back in the box. He ranks higher than Vanilla Ice simply by having been in Onyx, but his solo career hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in the last eight years. At least the biographical information from the interview seems thorough and accurate, so if Fredro Starr actually was your favorite rapper ever, you'd be happy with the "stats" on the back.

Design still seems to be an issue in oh-nine. These are a lot better than the cards I remember getting in THE RAP PACK but they could still use some work. Once I opened up the pack and spread out the cards I discovered that they all had a single solid color border, with most rappers sporting the same generic "mean mug" pose for the camera. Other than the chains they're wearing and the fact one is a producer and the other raps, Dame Grease and Fredro Starr are completely interchangable. Besides that the static shots bring back an age old debate from my youth - whether or not "action cards" were better than "headshot cards." It's certainly more impressive to see Andre Dawson swinging for a homerun than standing there smiling for the camera, but there's also something to be said for getting to know the face of a star when it's not covered by a ballcap or dripping in sweat. Unfortunately I have no idea if there's any such thing as action cards in TOHHTC because I only got one pack and all five hip-hop representatives are just chilling - nobody's doin' shit. The samples on their website suggest that's the norm though. Maybe series two will feature Tame One bombing a wall, LL Cool J rocking the bells, Crazy Legs doing a backspin and DJ Revolution on the turntables. There's always hope.

Caktuz Tree..? 13Earlier I apologized for knocking Fredro Starr as a B-list rap star, but at least his was a name I knew and recognized, so I'm REALLY going to have to apologize to Caktuz Tree..?13. To his credit he's rocking the only original pose of the pack, looking away from the camera and sporting a baseball bat - a nod to my old card collecting days I approve of. If you're trying to establish these as the OFFICIAL hip-hop trading cards though go with some OFFICIAL rappers from the get-go. The best analogy I can think of is if you bought a pack of Topps baseball cards in 2009 hoping to get Albert Pujols and instead found the St. Louis players in your pack weren't even in the majors - they were toiling away in some AA franchise in North Carolina. I don't want to belabor this point, but I can't imagine any kid buying a pack of these and being excited to get CAKTUZ TREE instead of Nas, Busta Rhymes or 50 Cent. Even if you're a snob and don't consider Atmosphere or Sage Francis to be in the major leagues, they still have more name recognition than Mr. Tree. I probably see upwards of 500 rap albums a year and this name hasn't come up once, not even as a cameo appearance. Now that I own his trading card though I'll certainly notice him the first time it does.

Camp Lo courtesy TOHHTCI'll say this for TOHHTC 2009 - I appreciate their effort and I appreciate their willingness to embrace the whole of hip-hop from the A-list to the Tree-list. Their e-mail responses were nothing but professional and courteous, and they even sent me a follow-up inquiry to make sure the sample pack arrived. I also appreciate the holo-style silver foil logo that the bottom of each card is embossed with. It definitely brightens up the dull solid color borders and adds a touch of class to the series, so their design is already headed in the right direction.

The biggest thing I can knock is not actually their cards or their professionalism - it's their website designer. TOHHTC is very flashy but it's all sizzle and no steak. The "about us" section really tells you nothing about them at all. It would be nice to get the whole story about what inspired them, how they got funding to launch the product, what level of distribution the cards have, what their goals are - anything more than "contact us for more information." That seems a little lazy, as is the fact the word "collection" is spelled wrong. Most of all there needs to be at least one page on the website that tells you how much a box of packs sells for, the suggested retail price for individual packs, and how many cards there are in the series - preferably with a detailed checklist so you'd know if you ever completed the set. Given the cards aren't numbered on the back, this is a NECESSITY especially given any card collecting kid in '09 is sure to get on the web while brokering card trades with their friends. After all you can't trade cards at school - mine always got confiscated that way - and since these probably cost a buck or more a pack that's money you can't afford to lose. I think after 18 years, Official Hip-Hop Trading Cards are an idea whose time has come - again. There's plenty of potential to do it better than it was done when I was young, and if they step their game up this will not only be fun but vitally educational to the culture. If kids today can get a Gucci Mane card and a Schoolly D card in the same pack, we all win in the long run. I only ask that they consider bringing back the graffiti stickers - I miss that shit. And for the love of God, no Vanilla Ice cards.

Hip-Hop Shop #40 w/ Steve 'Flash' Juon

Hip-Hop Shop is the precursor to K4D every week on Sunday night. Episode 40 features new material from Brown Bag AllStars, iCon the Mic King, DJ JS-1 and even our homeboy Ric Atari! If you would like to sponsor Hip-Hop Shop please send an e-mail to for more information. The Hip-Hop Shop is 100% podsafe so distribute to your friends and tell them to visit!

Download Here (right click to save)

Tracks featured this week:

* Brown Bag AllStars - Brooklyn Queens Expressway
* Senor Kaos - Summer Madness (ATL Remix)
* Pseudo Slang - Yes Doubt
* iCon the Mic King f/ Awar - Fall From Grace
* DJ JS-1 f/ Masta Ace, O.C., Pharoahe Monch - Ridiculous (Remix)
* Random f/ Side Effect - Get Equpped
* Ric Atari - Better Alone

Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys Discloses His Fight with Cancer

BBC News and the official Beastie Boys website are both reporting that Adam Yauch, the famed MCA of the Beastie Boys, has a cancerous tumor in his left salivary gland that has to be removed. Needless to say this is sad news to hear, and Beastie Boys fans will also be dissapointed to hear that their summer tour has been postponed as a result, including an expected stop at Lollapalooza. The thoughts and prayers of an entire hip-hop community and worldwide fanbase are sure to be with him. Yauch IS expected to make a full recovery post-surgery. We'll keep you updated on his condition.

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Welcome to for the week of October 21st, 2014!! Please like us on Facebook and shop Amazon through RapReviews so we can bring you new material every week. This week we have TEN new items for you! Check out the 5 rappers to follow on Tumblr article, Akrobatik's "Built to Last," Steve 'Flash' Juon's The Hip-Hop Shop #296, MarQ Spekt and Blockhead's "JustPlayWitIt," Saigon's "G.S.N.T.3. - The Troubled Times of Brian Carenard," Smoke DZA & 183rd's "Ringside EP," T.I.'s "Paperwork" (our featured review), Vince Staples' "Hell Can Wait," Emanuel Wallace's The (W)rap Up for October 14, 2014 and Ray West & O.C.'s "Ray's Cafe." Please note the Vince Staples review is the debut of new staffer Clara Wang. Big up Clara!!

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