Old School Mixed CDs: Rahdu Presents Grace
DJ Rahdu is back again with this week's hotness.
1. Kwan the Alabama Poet (T.A.P.) - Grace Intro
2. Diargi - Emocional
3. Seek - Rise
4. Mecca's Groove - It's You Hustle (Hustler's Theme)
5. Little Brother - Whatever You Say (The Maxwell Mix)
6. Laurnea - Sun Don't Rain w/9th Wonder & Spectac Instrumental
7. Dwele - Lady Love
8. Yesterday's New Quintet - Golden Lady
9. 5 Point Plan - Damn
10. DKD - Brighter Day
11. Vikter Duplaix - I Got You
12. Alison Crockett - UR (Yam Who Remix) w/ Kev Brown - Can't Stay Away Instrumental
13. Zero 7 - Distraction (DJ Spinna Remix)
14. Queen AAminah - It's Love
15. Shihan - That Type of Love
16. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Take You There (9th Wonder Remix)
17. Moss - Retread Lightly
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Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Blackstar
Thought I'd switch it up on ya a bit. The Black Star album is widely regarded as a classic piece, usually by people who believe that the current output from group members Mos Def and Talib Kweli sound like ass. The release of this album resulted in the Rawkus Records heyday, and even though nobody bought this album (except for true hip-hop heads), it brought much needed shine to the two gifted emcees, who would go on to expand their musical visions. While they started off as two solo artists linked up by the label, the chemistry between them was such that putting forth a combined effort soon outweighed the need to release solo albums right away.
I got the release date of the album from Amazon.com, but I don't believe it. I remember one of the best hip-hop Tuesdays ever in stores happening September 29, 1998 (I'm too lazy to check on that date, though). I remember stopping at the Best Buy (with my brand-new credit card) and scooping up this, Tribe's The Love Movement, Outkast's Aquemini all in one shot.
Too bad music like that just doesn't happen anymore.
My Personal Picks.
2. ASTRONOMY (8TH LIGHT)
People (read: internet nerds) choose not to remember that when Kweli was fresh-faced on the mic, he sounded mad awkward over beats by everyone, even his frequent collaborator Hi-Tek. (Hi-Tek would go from producing good conscious rap songs to running with G-Unit. Raise your lottery tickets if you saw that coming.)
The first single. Great way to introduce people to two (dare I say?) important rappers that they never heard of before now. I remember the video being pretty hype, too.
6. BROWN SKIN LADY
Nice, chill song. Remember the "awkward" Kweli, though; proceed at your own risk.
8. K.O.S. (DETERMINATION) (FEAT VINIA MOJICA)
Made me want to start a revolution and also made me fall in love with Vinia Mojica on voice alone...
9. HATER PLAYERS (FEAT APANI)
And now I'm awake. If you don't like this track, you should just retire, get your complimentary watch, and be out. Seems more like Kweli featuring Mos, though.
11. RESPIRATION (FEAT COMMON)
My favorite song on the album. Actually one of my favorite songs, period. This is the closest I've heard that sounds like spoken word spit over a great backing track, and yet it's not as pretentious as most spoken word. The video was pretty hype, too.
12. THIEVES IN THE NIGHT
I remember when I heard this album for the first time, I thought the two emcees were cool, but the beats didn't do them justice. Nearly ten years on, I appreciate the beats more, but they're a little too quiet for anyone to care what's being said.
13. TWICE INNA LIFETIME (FEAT JANE DOE, PUNCHLINE, and WORDSWORTH)
I remember thinking that this song was almost exactly like the last song on Tribe's The Love Movement, except this song has Kweli and the other one had Q-Tip. This song was the epitome of what people thought Rawkus Records was representing. Turns out, they wanted to make money just as badly as the majors.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Black Star is worth the listen. I find joy in listening to early albums by established artists, looking out for flashes of brilliance. It's kinda like Will Smith on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was good but who knew what greatness lie ahead? It was only in flashes like the episode when his dad came back in his life (and ultimately left him again). Mos and Kweli are like that: they were two talented artists who show a lot of promise early on, and even as they make crappy choices in the future, you still want them to succeed.
BUY OR BURN? Buy it. It's a good listen, and most won't be offended by the misogynistic themes usually permeating rap music. And, you'd be supporting real hip-hop, which I believe is tax-deductible.
BEST TRACKS: "Respiration"; "Brown Skin Lady"
2. Astronomy (8th Light)
5. Children's Story
6. Brown Skin Lady
7. B Boys Will B Boys
8. K.O.S. (Determination)
9. Hater Players
10. Yo Yeah
12. Thieves in the Night
13. Twice Inna Lifetime
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