#rewindreview: Eleven & Jason D ‘Carefully Crafted’ 2022

The idea of “Hip-Hop is dead” comes from a place of despair, with a bit of warning but many subconsciously are still waiting on mainstream avenues to correct their capitalistic model. That last part being the most hypocritical mindstate, a person who wants to hear the grassroots of HOP music could have. Reason being, there’s always a place to find what you are looking for but one has to not depend on everyone else’s attention span matching theirs to support or give a chance to lesser known acts in rap music. ‘Carefully Crafted’ from the M.C. Eleven and D.J./producer Jason D is a natural callback to the basics of HOP music. For those old enough to remember first hearing Jurassic 5 in the late 1990’s, it was apparent that their mission was to carry on traditional rap music but also was a huge part of the character and identity of the group. Eleven & Jason D do not seem as though this is their “gimmick” as oppose to just the type of music they make. Eleven’s style of rap is reminiscent of the early 1990’s while Jason D’s beats have the DNA of what made D.J. Premier so successful over the years. The two have “crafted” a time capsule that might not impress many younger ears or even older ears who feel this isn’t something they haven’t heard before. It is however more proof that those who came through a time when HOP music felt more authentic, are still able to service listeners who want to at least feel that authenticity for their listening pleasure. What did you think of the album? Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: B.U.K.A. Entertainment presents ‘Bringing It Home: Volume One’ 2001

There was a moment when the HOP music compilation was a thing and extremely effective. An album that would introduce or expose a myriad of rappers to new audiences. Soundtracks were a great example of this, in particular ‘High School High, ‘The Show,’ ‘Rhyme & Reason’ and ‘Soul In The Hole’ were mainly HOP music but had more known acts attached to those albums. When ‘Lyricists Lounge Vol.1’ released it set a strong precedent in providing unknown rappers a space to be heard on a smaller label but larger platform. After that release many compilations were provided and were successful in their own right like the ‘Supperappin’ series, ‘Beats & Lyrics’ by D.J. Kool EQ, D.J. Spinna’s ‘Beyond Real’ compilations and more. Needless to say these albums caused mass stimulus to my brain and I was on the lookout for any compilations adjacent to them at the time. With Rawkus records giving me an introduction to D.J. Hi-Tek by way of Black Star and hearing Lone Catalysts on a couple of mixtapes, I became aware of a “Mid-West” movement that could have easily gone unnoticed outside of the region had it not been for those acts. There was another compilation called ‘Mission Control…’ that highlighted those same acts along with a group Mood that took me down the Ohio path, which lead to me discovering ‘Bringing It Home Volume One.’ This album highlights many of the acts who were connected to Lone Catalysts and their label B.U.K.A. which stood for (Brothers United Keeping It Afficial). An extremely independent label that once again gave space for more unknown acts to be heard. On this album a few names were familiar like Verbal Kent and Usef Dinero but even for an “underground Hip-hop head” at the time these were all new acts. The songs that truly stand out on this album really do like the B.J. Bigby heater ‘Surrender,’ K-Mos ‘High Noon,’ Afaliah Afelyone ‘In/Exhale’ and Usef Dinero’s ‘Misc.’ The problem is a majority of the record has tracks from artist that just don’t stand up to the best offerings here, and with nineteen tracks and album art that is not to enthusiastic it doesn’t create the best replay value. As a collector of the independent Hip-Hop music scene at the time it’s not a bad album to own and displays the street and traditional sounding HOP music of that era. What did you think of the album? Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: Quanstar & Poe Mack ‘Big Boy Barred Up’ 2023

  Quanstar is a friend of QUANTUM LEAP RADIO and remains so due to the solid music he continues to provide us. On this sonic trip he teams up with producer/M.C. Poe Mack who has worked with the likes of Cesar Comanche and others on the current “underwater” HOP music scene. The two keep ‘Big Boy Barred Up’ simple with only twelve tracks and two features while Poe Mack ensures Quanstar is provided a musical backdrop that can’t be described as “retro.” Quanstar is comfortable in his lane of providing lyricism that doesn’t aim to compete with the youth, instead relating to ears that can appreciate “grown man raps.” ‘Act Like Bosses’ speaks to the new age of “wannabees” who get so inspired by negative aspects of rap music that they begin to believe they are in fact built for those aspects. Something that as of this date of writing can be applied to very well known figures in HOP music. ‘Plugged In’ is also a stand out track, as an examination of the effect social media has on human’s thinking they are so smart we end up falling for anything, even our own lies to one selves. ‘Big Boy Barred Up’ is an excellent introduction to Quanstar and Poe Mack if one has never heard either of their offerings of music. More importantly another example of how HOP music will continue to produce for all those still interested in this ever aging genre. What did you think of the album? Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#RewindReview: SWURVHITTZ & Budda Early ‘As We Continue On’ EP 2023

  In the next collaboration with Bronx born and bred D.J. SWURVHITTZ and Budda Early, an appetizer is served for those who never heard of them and a possible holdover for a future release. ‘As We Continue On’ is a follow up to 2021’s ‘Religion’ EP but lacks the grounded effort that record had. This release feels more like an experiment or possible cutting room floor tracks but also is a glimpse into how New York is sounding currently. SWURVHITTZ provides beats that have minor to no sampling but lean heavy into bass and high hat drum kits. Budda Early displays lyrics that are not too deep and will grab the attention of fans of Maino or those still liking the Dipset era. ‘As We Continue On’ is an exercise in the two’s chemistry and working on what could be created next. They also offer an olive branch to that “next chapter” with the track ‘Food For Thought’ which only features J Dillenger, an unknown rapper who had the most profound track on the release. Take about fifteen minutes and dig in to continued vibes of underground HOP music from the place it all started from. What did you think of the album? Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: Mickey Blue ‘A Long Time Coming’ 2023

  This is another benefit of QUANTUM LEAP RADIO and the rap music acts we get introduced to. Mickey Blue is a beatmaker who has taken that dynamic first seen on Marley Marl’s ‘In Control Vol.1,’ and procured multiple M.C.’s to rhyme over the producer’s beats. Often this can feel like a compilation album but over the years the idea of some of the best beatmakers in HOP music, getting fan’s favorites to collaborate, has always been like a buffet of one’s favorite foods or a kid in a candy store. On ‘A Long Time Coming’ Mickey Blue has a myriad of rappers, with some more known in today’s under ground like M-Dot, Jay Royale, Spit Gemz and veterans like Copywrite and Ill Bill. Mickey Blue makes a strong case that this will be HOP music to the core with no additives or preservatives as the beats here are straight hardcore HOP music, ripe for anyone still claiming “Hip-Hop is dead” or the genre is “too soft.” Tone Spliff contributes to the subconscious familiarity of what makes rap music Hip-Hop by providing the cuts and scratches on the album. The issue here is the mood doesn’t really change throughout the album with the exception of the single ‘Twenty Ninety Four’ and ‘Don’t Blink.’ It’s definitely not a summertime album and by the second half of the release it starts to feel like a soundtrack for Halloween. Many will have no problem with this and I believe Mickey Blue knows his audience, which is why the album maintains it’s theme. For those needing confirmation that HOP music is still dirty and raw the time has come. What did you think of the album? Singles include: ‘Twenty Ninety Four’ Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: Teflon ‘2 Sides To Every Story’ 2023

  Teflon, the unofficial third member of M.O.P. took full advantage of the time we all “sat down” during the Pandemic, to plot a comeback. The rapper appeared on many features for M.O.P. and the Gang Starr family in the 1990’s and also put out an album of his own then. ‘2 Sides To Every Story’ is surprisingly solid and that is with all due respect. Teflon always seemed like he was a good “off the bench” player in the nineties but never had that release to show he could hold down an album. This release should not be overlooked for those wanting the simple formula of hard beats and hardcore rhymes. What makes the album so cohesive is D.J. Premier and Jazimoto produce the whole album and do a great job of blending their two styles to make it seem like it was Teflon and one producer. Teflon’s voice also play’s a critical role in why this album is good, as he has always had a unique high pitch tone and a way to play with the ups and downs of his delivery, and in 2023 he did not seem to lose that edge too much. The album also keeps features to a minimum and those bare minimum’s fit right in which is M.O.P., Benny The Butcher and I-Fresh on the hook for ‘Baby.’ The album starts off high energy on ‘Out The Gate’ and keeps that pace throughout the record. ‘Life In The Feds’ is one of the most memorable tracks as Teflon delivers his version Kool G. Raps’ ‘Ryker’s Island,’ that plays more like an audible ‘Scared Straight’ special as opposed to glamorizing the situation. ‘2 Sides To Every Story’ for me falls in line with the numerous veteran acts who in the last 8 years have evolved the idea that HOP music can only be created the best in ones prime. What did you think of the album? Singles include: ‘No Fake Love, ‘ ‘Life In The Feds’ & ‘Contraband’ Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: Showbiz & A.G. ‘Runaway Slave’ 1992

  Growing up my interest in HOP music came from the benefit of cable television. This didn’t mean that I grew up in a rich home by any means but that cable was cheap enough to have during certain times in those years. A period that was missed for me was late 1992 thru about 1994, so I missed a lot of singles that might have only been shown on Rap City or Yo! MTV Raps. One single that I caught before that cable bill was overdue and it was gone again was ‘Soul Clap’ from Showbiz & A.G. For those alive or paying attention at that time, know that the single was heavy and stayed in rotation. It was the introduction to the duo and left a lasting impression on ears for years to come. This single was also one of my first CD purchases as the ‘Soul Clap/Party Groove’ maxi single I bought used at the original Soundwaves records store here in #HUEston, after returning a ‘Boys II Men’ album I got for Christmas one year. ‘Soul Clap’ and ‘Fat Pockets (remix)’ was the only songs I was familiar with from ‘Runaway Slave’ at the time. It wasn’t until about 2002 when I finally got around to this album and from then it grew on me. 1992 is not one I put in my “favorite years” of HOP music list so when I initially heard this album it sounded “suspended in time” but Showbiz’s beats were crazy and stick to one’s auditory canal like barnacle on boats. A.G.’s rough rhymes mixed with these beats just gave an energy that can’t be denied. ‘Silence The Lambs,’ ’40 Acres And My Props’ and ‘He Say, She Say’ all have this jazzy but dangerous feel to the songs. ‘Runaway Slave’ also provides interludes to each song with members of D.I.T.C. (Diggin’ In The Crates) while also introducing the world to Big L. The album is a time capsule to a world where rap music was more genuine in why it was being created which can be theorized as to why the music holds up after thirty years. Equipment had to be bought, music had to be listened to, time and money had to be scheduled for recording, and M.C.’s had to be ready when these other stars were aligned to make a mark. All this was not done with a click of a button but instead digging in crates to create a unique soul in HOP music. What did you think of the album? Singles include: ‘Soul Clap,’ ‘Fat Pockets’ & ‘Bounce Ta This’ Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) ‘Run The Jewels’ 2013

  I could never imagine in 1998 that while listening to Company Flow’s ‘Funcrusher Plus’ and Outkast ‘Aquemini,’ that I would ever hear El-P and Big Boi rapping on the same track. This has been the legacy of Run The Jewels, which is providing the most amalgamated circumstances to all of us who were listening to HOP music prior to the 2000s. For those younger ears or one’s simply not in the know, this collaboration between El-P, Killer Mike and the features they have had is standard practice in a rap music world where that proverbial “line in the sand” is no longer existent. ‘Run The Jewels’ is the second collaboration with El-P and Killer Mike, but the first of what would make them a cultural favorite among younger ears. Unlike Killer Mike’s ‘R.A.P. Music’ album from 2012, El-P was strongly motivated to rap again by Killer Mike, thus creating this rapping duo. This album is to the point and really displays the chemistry “El & Mike” have. The content was a lot more abstract and fun, to which those aspects were really sold by the visual components of the record. The first single ’36’ Chain’ has one of the most laugh out loud moments as “RTJ” re-envision L.L. Cool J’s intro to the ‘I’m Bad’ single. More “inside joke” hilarity is found on the Prince Paul featured ‘Twin Hype Back’ where he reprises his role as “Chess Rockwell” of Handsome Boy Modeling School. ‘Run The Jewels’ for me is the easiest album to digest next to ‘RTJ4′ in the Run The Jewels catalog. El-P handles the majority of the production and keeps that “futuristic b-boy” feel which keeps this album strange in 2013 but over the years it has marinated to feel a little ahead of it’s time. If the run (no pun intended) of the duo is done, within a decade they have stamped their ticket as a solid rap group and boosted the value of Killer Mike, so run these jewels back one more time *no Diddy*. What did you think of the album? Singles include: ’36’ Chain’ & ‘A Christmas F***king Miracle,’ ‘Banana Clipper,’ ‘Run The Jewels’ & ‘Get It’ Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) ‘Run The Jewels 3’ 2016

  As a Christmas gift for a world who would now see a clown as the leader of the “free world,” Run The Jewels activated one more release before the end of the 2010’s. ‘Run The Jewels 3’ felt like a much darker album from the previous releases, if one could differentiate the music with expert ears. As collaboration albums go “RTJ” by this point felt more like an actual group than two separate entities getting together for another run. For me it was starting to feel like a burn out as by the time of this release I was still getting familiar with the first two. ‘Run The Jewels 3’ has more of an alternative rock influence which sonically is why I probably don’t find it as my favorite. The message and mission of the group remains which is providing a cynical outlook on society and more important how critical things seem to be in the election year of 2016. El-P and Killer Mike perform effortlessly through rhymes and ideas and are once again joined by Zack De La Rocha while adding a couple of more unexpected guest like Trina and Danny Brown. ‘Run The Jewels 3’ isn’t a bad record but it lacks the ability to convert “hip-hop heads” to the movement of RTJ with it’s overtly left of center/Trap music feel. What did you think of the album? Singles include: ‘Legend Has It’ & ‘Call Ticketron’ Listen to @QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST @90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

#rewindreview: Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) ‘Run The Jewels 2’ 2014

  In the third collaboration for El-P and Killer Mike the duo find themselves caught in an unexpected cultural phenomenon. With the success of the first ‘Run The Jewels’ album the critical response among new fans and a younger generation looking for more than the average top 40 radio sounds, “RTJ” become the new anti-establishment group of choice. After the Mike Brown killing in St. Louis, there was a sense of reality among “twenty-something year old’s” who grew up thinking racism was in the past and the world was as “black and white” as the villains and heroes in their favorite anime. ‘Run The Jewels 2’ serves as a “truth serum” that does not come off as preachy or mild musically with a rebellious energy. El-P embraces the southern bounce that seemed to connect with more ears from the first “RTJ” record and with the help of Wilder Zoby and Shalimar, intertwine a futuristic rock element that doesn’t allow the listener to fall asleep. ‘Run The Jewels 2’ really focuses in on the dangers of corrupt governing and questioning the leaders put in place to uphold law. Although there are a couple of different moments like the raunchy ‘Love Again (Akinyele back)’ which features Gangsta Boo as all three express the dirty side of wanting that “good ol’ thing back.” Where this album fails or in some ears succeeds is it all sounds like one long song. It can be hard to really distinguish the majority of songs but then again to the “RTJ” fan this is probably the best thing about the album. ‘Run The Jewels 2’ is made for the festivals, where suburban kids can live out their dreams of going wild and crazy while thinking this is “sticking to the man.” What did you think of the album? Singles include: ‘Blockbuster Night Part.1,’ ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry,’ ‘Lie, Cheat, Steal,’ ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count To F**k),’ ‘Early,’ ‘Angel Duster’ Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episode by searching and following @fanlink.tv/QuantumLeapRadio

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