New in the player this week….
Michael Franti ''U Can't Bomb The World To Peace'
Ex-Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and Spearhead front man gives us the benefit of his intelligence and common sense on this issue. Check it out at Daveyd.com. The site also reports that over 20 big names in hip-hop are to join forces on a track titled 'Raise Your Hand' to voice their collective dissent, but doesn't reveal exactly who at present.
Common 'Come Closer (remix)'
Common's love song to fiancé Erykah Badu features Q-tip (sampling his own song 'Bonita Applebum'), the ever present Pharrell with Erykah on backing vocals. So laid back.
Redman 'Where My Hoes At?'
Not a love song. Not sure who produced this but its bodes well for his Summer LP.
Going back in the player this week….
Great smooth jazzy cut by the once brilliant Pharcyde from 'LabCabinCalifornia'. Pick up the extended mix if you can.
Common 'The Bitch In You'
Classic diss against Ice Cube detailing the hypocrisies.
Jay-Z & Young Chris 'Nigga Please'
Took me a while to get into 'Blueprint 2' but you can't sleep on this Neptunes production. They are sticking closely to a strict production style, but it works.
Given its popularity at the moment, Master P has taken the unusual stance of asking for an end to diss tracks and that he and his label won't be playing any part in it in future. P takes centre stage on a bonus track from latest New No Limit artist, Choppa, claiming that the artists involved are merely "seeking attention and need help".
Death Row Records appears to be back, after brief dalliances with name changes to Tha Row Records and New and Untouchable Death Row Records. The first release from the relaunched label will be the OST to 'Dysfunktional Family' on April 21st, set to feature both label artists and collabs with Murder Inc. artists like Ja Rule and Ashanti. To promote it, Suge Knight recently made an anus of himself on Jimmy Kimmel's US talk show. Obviously pissed, he opened with an AIDS joke and proceeded to waffle on about nothing loudly whilst puffing on a big cigar.
Not satisfied with working with Jay-Z on his latest LP and being produced by the Neptunes, Beyonce Knowles takes a step further into hip-hop territory by recording new vocals over the backing to 50 Cents' 'In Da Club'. Basically, it's a slight rewrite of the original but at least shows that there is a clever marketing brain at work behind the thighs.
Coming Soon/Here Now
Whilst the Def Jux label's website is up and down like a yo-yo, the quality never dips. Consistent quality hip-hop, no gimmicks and no guest appearances taking up half of the LP cover.
Much like last week's coming soon MC Proof, Murs has been around for a long time working with underground side projects and guesting on LPs. His solo debut 'The End of the Beginning' is a breath of fresh air, and is sure to be looked back on as a template for how it should be done. Lyrically, he totally avoids the cliches and is actually saying something, actually talking sense.
The production is refreshingly raw at a time when synth tracks and speeded up soul loops are becoming the sound of the culture. In places it brings to mind Meat Beat Manifesto's weirder moments, on point but still out there. Play it next to some mainstream hip-hop and see for yourself.
If even that sounds a bit too straight ahead for you, check out his collaboration with Slug as Felt entitled 'A Tribute to Christina Ricci' for a slightly more leftfield perspective.