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Featured Music

Songs that defined the decade!

by Angie B. Freshhip-hop

[Ed: Angie B. Fresh is the host of ‘The Corner‘ on CFUV 101.9 FM in Victoria, B.C.  She’s also the newest contributor to 4080 Records!  Read on for her inaugural post: a passionate, articulate survey of the last decade’s best hip-hop.  And if you know what’s good for you, tune in to her show every Friday from 5-6 p.m.]

Being a child of the late 80’s, this past decade has been the first I can remember from start to finish.  And while I can’t speak for my generational peers, I will always feel as though the 00’s belonged to me.  Rolling Stones called it the “decade of lost chances”, Time called it the “decade from hell”, but I look back on the double-zero’s as the decade of my musical awakening.  Thanks to my brother, I was introduced to hip hop in my early teens and its been my passion ever since.  On that note, I’d like to take a quick look back on the music that served as a soundtrack to my life.

In the interest of keeping this short and sweet, I picked one song per year.  Consider first that Pitchfork Media‘s feature on the best music of the decade contained 500 songs.  Picking just ten favorites was not an easy task, but here goes!

Common – The Light
For a long time after I heard this Grammy-nominated love song I only had ears for Common.  Produced by the legendary Dilla, this soulful and sensual tribute is uplifting and romantic in the most genuine way.  Common’s well articulated love and respect for his woman had ladies everywhere wishing they were Erykah Badu.  “It don’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine”

Nas – One Mic
An instant classic from one of the biggest names in rap, One Mic still gives me goose bumps.  The slow and subtle start, the crescendo into his rage-filled declaration of power, no wonder critics called in legendary. Two years ago I took a short road trip with a few fellow heads to watch Nas perform in Vancouver.  Hearing the opening bars to this track live was an experience of almost spiritual proportions.

Talib Kweli – Get By
I can clearly recall the first time I heard this song; 7 years have passed and I still love it. Produced by Kanye West, it became Talib’s biggest hit to date as a result of its commercial appeal.  The beat is deliciously funky with its piano loops, handclaps and Nina Simone samples, while the lyrics are positively righteous: “They need somethin’ to rely on/ We get high on all types of drugs, when all you really need is love, to get by”.

Little Brother – The Listening
9th Wonder’s beat samples Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” while Phonte and Big Pooh lament the fact that no one listens to full albums anymore or pays enough attention to the lyrics.  This is a song about hip hop by hip hop fans.  “I got suspicions your ear’s to the street where we’re whispering/ are you listening?”  I know I was…

Danger Mouse & Jemini – Ghetto Pop Life
Epic beats from one of the most versatile producers in hip hop, nay music, combined with the inventive and energetic flows of a very talented but underrated MC resulted in a near perfect album.  It was hard for me to pick just one track off this album as the whole thing is clever, creative and fun so I opted for the title track.  It’s a real shame that this project was so slept on because the kind of musical chemistry found with this dynamic duo doesn’t come along often.

Zion I – Bird’s Eye View
Zumbi’s lyrics in this ode to hip hop don’t really put it in the same realm as “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, however the sincerity of his unconditional love for the culture is obvious.  And when his poetry is coupled with the beautiful synthy production provided by Amp Live- complete with subtle strings and pretty piano loops, what you get is a deeply soulful tribute.  “She’s my heart, my mind, my spirit and my bones/ She’s the only one I know that would go across the globe/ Meet me in a foreign land, treat me like I’m home”

Lupe Fiasco – Daydreamin’
This was a tricky pick for me because of the commercial success it garnered.  However I truly believe that good music is good music despite who listens to it.  I was late getting into Lupe, but once I did I knew I was hooked.  The master of metaphor, his slippery lyrical prowess is in full effect in this Jill Scott collabo.  The concept is imaginative, the sound is wonderfully jazzy, what more could you ask for?

Blu & Exile – The World Is (Below The Heavens…)
This album came out of nowhere and then proceeded to blow my mind again and again the more I listened to it.  If you were like me you were asking yourself where the heck this kid Blu came from (he was 22 at the time of its release).  Exile has since become one of my favorite producers,  (check last year’s “Radio” if you like instrumentals) and Blu one of my favorite MCs.  Every beat is perfectly matched to its lyrics; every verse is revealingly heartfelt; this is an album I’ll be listening to for years to come.  “Hell is what you choose to call the present/ That’s why you’re going through it/ I just choose to call it stressin’/ To tell you fools the truth, I don’t feel that’s what I’m destined/ So you can call it hell but bro, I’ll just say I’m below the heavens”

Q-Tip – Gettin’ Up
This sophomore release was a long time coming and worth the wait.  Being a Tribe fan, I welcomed that familiar high-pitched voice back into my playlists immediately.  The vibe is mellow and warm at points yet Tip sounds enthusiastic and energetic throughout. With help from the likes of Raphael Saadiq, D’angelo, and Norah Jones, Q-Tip put together a smooth sounding and perfectly timed celebration of life and love; you can’t help but get into the spirit.  Welcome back Tip!

Tanya Morgan – She’s Gone AKA Without You
Hands down my favorite album of the year, Brooklynati had me wishing I could take up residence in this fictional locale and spend my nights watching the “Hardcore Gentlemen” perform their 15 year old hit 15 times (only people who have been to Brooklynati will get that one).  “She’s Gone” has been described by some as our generation’s “I Used To Love H.E.R” (so I like Common okay??) and it’s just one of the many infectious tracks on the album.  Production from Von Pea and Aeon will have you reminiscing about the so-called Golden Era of hip hop when well-cut jazz loops and soulful samples laid the canvas for thoughtful, witty rhymes. This is one you can pop in and listen to front to back and not have to hit that skip button.

Image from: http://media.photobucket.com/image/hip-hop/nycson98/LoveofHipHop-Collage.jpg


Lupe does New Moon?


This post is going to have a couple of weird Lupe facts, but I promise they will be worth it.

First of all, raise your hands if you’ve heard of the Twilight movies.  Yes? No?  I’m going to assume you all have, since that damn teenage vampire series has been all over the media like judgmental sportswriters on Tiger Woods.

Well, the latest movie in that series came out (it’s called New Moon, in case you wanted to go see it).  And while the soundtrack is filled with a variety of indie rock and mellow guitar licks.  And then, out of nowhere, comes Lupe.

No he’s not rapping, at least not really.  And considering my latest post, I guess it’s fitting to do another on a rock/rap fusion track.  I don’t even know how to describe it, but people seem to love it.  I mean, big ups to Lupe for finding a formula that works for him and broadening his appeal.  He’s always been willing to experiment and push the envelope a little bit, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

Pitchfork turned me on to this video, and I have to give them props for it.  It definitely made me chuckle.  And they have the best way to describe it:

If you ever wanted to see Lupe performing in an alley intercut with lots of footage of CGI werewolves, now’s your chance! This track, at least, has a more technically competent guitar solo than Lil Wayne’s recent rap-rock tracks.

Check it.

My second tricky Lupe fact, also brought to you by Pitchfork, is that Lupe, Santigold, Jessica Biel are planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for the worldwide water crisis. It’s a noble goal but also a strange publicity stunt.  

Art Music

Lupe Fiasco pretends to be British

insight-mar07-mailbox-sentrThe crew over at Pitchfork has given us a heads up about Lupe Fiasco’s latest effort.

Although he denies it, Fiasco’s been linked to Japanese Cartoon, the latest awful rap-rock hybrid beast.  And Lupe is the lead singer.  With a faux-British accent as his alter-ego Percival Fats.

That just seems hard to believe.

Although I’ve got mad love for Lupe (Food and Liquor was an amazing album), this band is not very good.  Frankly, I think his skills as a lyracist are better suited to hip hop than to rock.

But you can see for yourself by checking out the Japanese Cartoon MySpace here.

Check out Army, it is…something.  To be fair, Heirplanes isn’t that bad, but it’s really not great either.

[Source: Pitchfork]


Lupe Fiasco Remix Dopeness and New Heat From Q-Tip!

Lupe takes a break from lunch to record some new fyah

Anticipation for Lupe’s “Paris, Tokyo” remix has been building since it was first announced a few months ago, and now that it’s finally arrived heads across the interweb are scrambling to get their hands on it.  And thanks to 2dopeboyz.com, we’ve got a copy for your listening pleasure available below.  Also available is a surprisingly catchy jazz remix of the same song by Chris and Denise Paultre.  And, to add to the overall goodness of this post, we’ve also upped some new Q-Tip, courtesy of From Da Bricks.  So get your listen on and enjoy!

Lupe Fiasco – Paris, Tokyo (Remix) ft. Pharrell, Q-Tip & Sarah Green

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Chris and Denise Paultre – Paris, Tokyo

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Q-Tip – Gettin’ Up

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Mixtapes are yes at Datpiff.com

If you’re on the hunt for free music, look no further than Datpiff.com.  The self-described ‘authority’ in free mixtapes, Datpiff offers a ludicrous amount of underground, unreleased, and sometimes unpolished music for your listening pleasure.

Although quite a few of the tapes are marginal at best, there’s enough quality beats and rhymes on the site to make it worth your while.  The Game’s You Know What It is Vol. 4, for example, is classic material – “Hustlers” feat. Nas is straight fire – as is Lupe Fiasco’s Revenge of the Nerds and, given the controversy its received, so is Nas’ The N***** Tape.

Either way, head over to Datpiff and show some love for the medium that launched so many of hip-hop’s greats.


4080Records Strikes More Interweb Gold!

This post’s title may be over the top, but its content sure as hell isn’t.   First up is a stupid fly remix of Tokyo Police Club’s “The Baskervilles” featuring Aesop Rock and Yak Ballz.  Whipped up by Amplive, this track is courtesy of okayplayer via Pitchfork.  Check out the song below, then visit the okayplayer post to watch a video of Amplive discussing its making.  And if you’re wondering who Yak Ballz is, after the jump check out a clip of him rhyming on air.

Also making waves on the web is talk of the imminent release of Lupe’s “Paris, Tokyo” remix.  Apparently it’s going to be huge.  At least if you believe all them bloggers.

Next is a leaked track from GZA’s upcoming album Pro Tools courtesy of The Full Clip via Where HipHop and Libertarianism Meet.  Called “0% Finance,” the track has that classic Wu-minimalism vibe to it.

Finally, check out this K-Def remix of Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys.”  I’d describe it for you, but there’s no way I could improve on how the dude at Metal Lungies puts it: “Def’s version of “Roc Boys” is a complete about-face from the original’s feeling. It’s slow and downbeat, centered around a series of jazzy electric guitar riffs. Every few bars, the guitar is joined by urgent strings and police sirens. The remix switches the drums to light, live sounding drum taps. K-Def’s stripped down instrumental is compelling enough to demand attention by itself, while focusing the listener’s attention on the lyrics.”  Fo’ real.

Listen to the original here, then check out the remix:

Jay-Z – Roc Boys (K-Def Remix)

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Lupe Fiasco Confirms Retirement Rumours

It’s long been rumoured that Lupe’s next album, apparently entitled L.U.P.End, will be his last. In a recent interview with MTV, the rapper acknowledged the rumours and confirmed he was indeed considering retirement: “I don’t want to say I’m 100 percent sure, like, ‘Yeah, this is it.’ But 85 percent.”

Lupe also revealed he has lost his “passion for the music industry” and has suffered health problems as a result of “running so hard doing music.”

If, like me, you’re a fan of Lupe’s music (The Cool was dope for sure, but I think “Kick, Push” is still my favourite) let’s hope he pulls a Jay-Z and returns to the game ‘ere long. Still, even if he does stop making solo albums Lupe has hinted Child Rebel Soldier – the group he formed with Kanye West and Pharrell Williams – is planning an album for release in late 2008. According to Allhiphop.com, our boy’s also working on an album with Gem and Shayla G. Hopefully this means we’ll be hearing from Lupe for years to come.

Finally, if all this talk of retirement is getting you down, check out the video for Lupe’s newest single, “Paris, Tokyo:”