30
May
08

In Conclusion…

Well, well…where to begin. So many things are coming to an end right now. I guess I should start it off by saying: ’08 Seniors….WE OUT THIS BITCH! It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally done. I’ve spent 22% of my life in high school, and it’s crazy to think that it’s over. Looking back, I suppose I could have done a lot of things differently. I could’ve tried harder in class, could’ve joined more clubs, definitely could’ve made more friends, could’ve approached more females, could’ve had a better high school experience in general I guess you could say. But honestly, I have no regrets. All my successes and failures and trials and tribulations, made me the man I am today. I can look myself in the mirror and be proud of myself, so there is really no need for regrets. Did I make mistakes? No doubt. But I learned from those mistakes, and wouldn’t change that for the world. So peace to all my classmates. The world is ours, let’s change it.

Unfortunately, this mix also marks the end to Notes Of Life and my blogging in general. I’ve enjoyed it and it’s been a great experience for me, but I’m ready to move on to bigger and better endeavors. I know that my love for music and hobby of writing will take shape in some other form. Really though, I owe everything this site is to the fans. Whether this is the first time you’ve seen my site or you’ve been with me since the beginning, I thank you for showing love. The internet is one of the best resources towards discovering good music, and once you learn how to use it well, the opportunities are endless.

In conclusion…much love to those who showed it.

In Conclusion Mix

15 songs, 51 minutes, STREAMING/DOWNLOAD LINKS BELOW

This mix starts off with the feelings of graduation. It’s just a weight lifted off of our shoulders and feeling like we’re on top of the world. Then about halfway through the mix I chose some songs that would give some closing words that I wanted to share before this blog came to an end. Some of them are about dedication towards the love of music, getting props for music, and words of wisdom for the youth. Then at the very end I got Ace talking about regrets, and I finally (been looking to include this song for a while) got J-Live speaking on Hip Hop. That song basically summarizes how I feel about Hip Hop. So yea…goodbye!

1. Intro

2. We Don’t Care by Kanye West

3. Interlude

4. Champion by Kanye West

5. We Celebrate (feat. Kid Capri) by Ghostface Killah

6. Luchini (a.k.a. This Is It) by Camp Lo

7. Two Step Blues (feat. Darien Brockington) by Little Brother

8. Celebration by Kanye West

9. Nobody Like Me (Phonte’s Verse) by Little Brother

10. When I’m Nothing by DMX

11. Anything by Jay-Z

12. Hey Young World by Slick Rick

13. Outro

14. No Regrets by Masta Ace

15. Epilogue (Hidden Track) by J-Live

DOWNLOAD LINKS

Streaming & Download Mixed .mp3 File (zshare)

Separate Tracks, .Zip File (megaupload)

Guide To Downloading

23
May
08

The Best Hip Hop Concept Album: A Prince Among Thieves

Even if you’ve never heard of Prince Paul, you’ve heard him. He’s produced for greats like Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, Gravediggaz, Stetsasonic, 3rd Bass, and many more. He paved the way for a lot of producers, and created an innovative style of Hip Hop that has influenced many underground producers today, but in my opinion, his greatest contribution to Hip Hop has been A Prince Among Thieves.

A Prince Among Thieves came out in 1999 on Tommy Boy Records. At a time when creativity in Hip Hop was at an all time low and the subject matter was changing, Prince Paul quietly released one of Hip Hop’s most creative and well executed albums. As he put it himself, “I made this album to encourage art, creativity and sincerity, which is at an all time low, not just in rap but in all entertainment mediums.”

A Prince Among Thieves tells the story of Tariq (played by Breezly Brewin) and True (played by Big Sha). Tariq is an aspiring emcee struggling to make it big in the music industry. For a chance of success in the rap game though, Tariq has to try his hand in hustling. Tariq’s life long friend True hooks him up, and the rest you’ll have to listen to for yourself…

The characters that Tariq and True meet during the story are played by a very impressive lineup of emcees including Big Daddy Kane, Kool Keith, Chubb Rock, Special Ed, Biz Markie, Sadat X, Xzibit, The RZA, Buckshot, and many more. The emcees really get into their characters and help progress the story. And Prince Paul’s production fits perfectly with each scene in the story.

Concept albums are often hit or miss. It is hard to maintain a theme or story throughout an album without sacrificing the flow or quality of music. It’s obvious that Prince Paul spent time developing the story and motifs. A Prince Among Thieves seems more like a story told by Hip Hop than a Hip Hop album with a story. Every song is related to the story, and the necessary skits help advance the story and set the scene. Anybody who knows Prince Paul knows he’s extremely talented at creating realistic skits.

I’ve never heard another album like A Prince Among Thieves. Prince Paul showed that stories can be told through Hip Hop as well as they can be told through books or movies. I’ve listened to this album in its entirety on almost every plane trip I’ve been on. The story itself is great, and the way it’s told through Hip Hop makes it an enjoyable listen for any fan. Of course you can’t really skip around on concept albums. So take an hour out of your day, and check this one out and let me know what you think.

Download Link

Prince Paul: A Prince Among Thieves (divshare download, .zip file)

(my views on downloading: if you like it, support the artist & buy it)

Guide To Downloading

yo by the way, i’ll be back next week with a (final?) mix and some information about where this blog is going now that i’m done with school and on to bigger & better things…stay tuned.

16
May
08

Let’s Take A Sec To Think Back Mix

Yo…I tried hard as hell to write a real entry this week, but my mind is just too cluttered. I got a lot going on right now with wrapping up school and dealing with a lot of other things and I just couldn’t think straight enough to write. Next week I’m going to upload and review an album instead of a mix, and then the week after that I’ll do a special mix. Stay tuned.

Anyways, just a little something….So this mix is basically about growing up and childhood. I also threw in some theme songs from TV shows I used to watch when I was a young’n. If you’re my age I’m sure you’ll recognize them. It’s around that time when I’m starting to look back on the past 18 years of my life. You know, it’s kind of sad to say goodbye to the world I know, but I’m exciting to see what the real world is like.

Let’s Take A Sec To Think Back Mix

16 songs, 1 hour 7 minutes STREAMING/DOWNLOAD LINKS BELOW

1. Intro
2. Can’t Hold On by MED
3. In Remembrance by Blu & Exile
4. Old School by 2Pac
5. I-Hi by Devin The Dude
6. T.R.O.Y. by Pete Rock & CL Smooth
7. Da Da DaHHH by Redman
8. Garbage Pail Kids by Benefit
9. Grits (feat. Allah Real & Masta Killa) by The RZA
10. Reminding Me (Of Self) by Common
11. Child’s Play by Ghostface Killah
12. Growing Pains (feat. Fate Wison & Keon Bryce) by Ludacris
13. Born 2 Live by O.C.
14. Americans Add The Lessons by Babble
15. Trouble In The Water (feat. De La Soul) by DJ Honda
16. Back In The Day by Ahmad

Download Links

streaming & download mixed .mp3 file (divshare)

download unmixed .zip file, separate tracks (megaupload)

guide to downloading

12
May
08

Some Feel Good Songs

This isn’t a mix or anything, but I uploaded a bunch of songs for a friend who was in a bad mood. I hate wasting links, so I figured I’d throw it on the blog too. Some of the songs are just upbeat and happy and some are more relaxing. Whenever I’m down though, these songs always bring me up.

Blu- It’s Okay: I smile whenever I hear this song.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/1187919436d2aa50/

Pete Rock & CL Smooth – Take You There: Nice relaxing beat.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/11879018b2d24892/

Sound Providers – It’s Gonna Be Alright: Happy beat, and uplifting lyrics.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/1187920379376268/

The Pharcyde – It’s All Good: This is a short one, but it’s all good.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/1187908012a297bf/

Jay Electronica – I Feel Good: Happy beat, happy beat. Always makes me feel good…
http://www.zshare.net/audio/11879219684e0ade/

Blu & Exile – Below The Heavens (Pt. 2): Forreal, I don’t know how I could’ve made it through this year without this song. Anytime I was stressed out over shit, I would just throw this on and vibe out.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/1187969595ca8b73/

Camp Lo – Luchini: This is it, what? This song is so damn celebratory. No matter what’s happening in your life it always wants to make you celebrate.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/11879851ad2cb217/

Crucial Conflict – Hay: This is just a fun beat that always makes me happy.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/118798588138facd/

Brother Ali – Take Me Home: Just a happy beat.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/11879948c358b493/

C.R.A.C. Knuckles – Buy Me Lunch: Another happy, fun beat.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/11879967d0c946ce/

D’Angelo – Root: This song always calms me down.
http://www.zshare.net/download/11880092b73dc2a8/

Kanye West & John Legend – Home: If you like John Legend you’ll like this song. It’s the original version of home, a very motivating beat.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/1188011744edd823/

The Foreign Exchange – Be Alright: Connected is such a great feel-good album, it’s gotten me through some rough times. This album ALWAYS raises my spirits whenever I’m down.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/11880127f1a95c5d/

The Foreign Exchange – Happiness: Another song off of the Foreign Exchange album that makes me happy.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/118801411d3e04a2/

Biz Markie – Just A Friend: This beat always makes me happy. Just nod ya head.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/1188016786b95c93/

Nappy Roots – Good Day: If kids singing doesn’t make you happy…you might not have a soul.

http://www.zshare.net/audio/1169870076bf9ba3/

so yea…hope that raises ya spirits if you’re down. peace.

09
May
08

Dig Deeper Vol. 3 Mix

The last installment of my Dig Deeper series, where it’s all about slept on underground Hip Hop albums and artists from the 1990′s.

Dig Deeper Vol. 3 Mix

15 songs, 61 minutes, STREAMING/DOWNLOAD LINKS BELOW

1. We Rock Like So (feat. Dug Infinite) by No I.D.: “No I.D. my mentor, now let the story begin.” Not only was No I.D. Kanye’s mentor, but he also produced most of Common’s classic album, Resurrection. After that, he dropped an album in ’97 called Accept Your Own and Be Yourself which featured top notch production and most of the emceeing handled by Dug Infinite. A very underrated album from a very underrated producer.

2. I Been Gettin’ So Much $ by Royal Flush: Royal Flush is a rapper who just came out at the wrong time. He dropped his debut album (after building a name working with Mic Geronimo) Ghetto Millionaire in 1997, a time when Hip Hop was changing and there were already too many New York rappers rapping about the same thing. So his album got lost in the shuffle, but looking back, it still features great production and good lyrics.

3. Danger by Blahzay Blahzay: Blahzay Blahzay are a duo from Brooklyn. They released their debut album Blah, Blah, Blah in 1996 with this hit single. It went on to be remixed by DJ Premier and DJ Rectangle. The album is just classic boom bap rap.

4. Gods, Earths, and 85ers (feat. Nine) by Poor Righteous Teachers: I was always disappointed that PRT didn’t get the recognition they deserved. They were real political, yet seemed to be overshadowed by groups like Brand Nubian. They’ve been releasing quality album after quality album since 1990. This song is off their ’96 album New World Order, which is my personal favorite of theirs.

5. World Ultimate by The Nonce: The Nonce, a duo from L.A., released World Ultimate in 1995. It is considered an underground classic by many. The album has a real jazzy feel to it, and is perfect to just throw on and relax to.

6. Cabfare by Souls of Souls of Mischief: Souls of Mischief got some respect, but not enough. Most people know them for their now-considered-classic album ’93 Til’ Infinity. I know a lot of people have heard that album, so I chose this unreleased song of theirs instead.

7. Kings of Kaos by Sleestack’z: I’ll be honest, I don’t know a thing about Sleestack’z. All I know is that they released their debut album, Behind The Iron Curtain in ’96. It went unnoticed, but really is a diamond in the rough. Four different emcees trade verses over some quality abstract beats. This album still gets a lot of plays from me, even though not many know about it.

8. Keep Movin’ by Grav: Grav is from Chicago, and he released his debut album Down To Earth in ’96. The production is what makes this album. It’s got beats from No I.D., Dug Infinite, and a young kid nobody heard of at the time named Kanye West (he produced this track). Sure, these beats could have gone to a better emcee, but Grav still made an enjoyable album.

9. In The Game (feat. Big Daddy Kane & Rich Nice) by Red Hot Lover Tone: Red Hot Lover Tone used to be a part of the Trackmasters, a production duo that produced for artists such as Nas, Kool G Rap, and Will Smith. Tone came out with #1 Player in ’95. Along with this song, it had some great posse cuts that you’ll have to check out for yourself.

10. Real Live Shit by Real Live: I don’t know how this album never caught on. Maybe it’s due to timing again. Real Live came out with The Turnaround: A Long Awaited Drama in ’96. K-Def’s production is the highlight of this album. It’s got that grimy New York sound that was sadly starting to fade away.

11. 3 In The Mornin’ by UGK: Lately, UGK (R.I.P. Pimp C) have been getting the respect they deserve. But for a time, UGK was only getting play in the South. They’ve had so many amazing albums, but I think their best, and an undeniable classic, is Super Tight. A very underrated album that embodies Southern Hip Hop.

12. Enter The Center by A.D.O.R.: I don’t know that much about A.D.O.R. either. He came out with his debut album Shock Frequency in ’98 and somehow had a Pete Rock & Diamond D produce some cuts for him. The album is ok, but PR definitely hooked him up with some dope beats, including this one.

13. Why Me by Hyenas In The Desert: Hyenas In The Desert were a group signed to Chuck D’s Slam Jamz label. They came out with this dark EP, Die Laughing in ’97. The production is really impressive, and reminiscent of Gravediggaz. The lyrics range from many topics, making this EP a promising glimpse of what was to come from this group. Sadly, nothing came.

14. All Right by Lost Boyz: I saved some of the best for last…and fuck it, I’ll say it, Legal Drug Money is one of the most underrated Hip Hop albums of all time. It’s produced perfectly, and Mr. Cheek’s lyrics work perfectly with Freaky Tah’s (R.I.P.) hype man skills (there were some other guys too…but I could never figure out what they did). Definitely a must have for any true Hip Hop head. Great album, it saddens me that it doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

15. Loosifa by Juggaknots: Heres another criminally underrated group. The Juggaknots came out with a 9 track EP called Clear Blue Skies in ’96. It had enough of a following that they released a full, 20 track version called Re: Release in 2003. Breezy Brewin’ is one of my personal favorite emcees. His flow is just so hypnotic, and the production style that the Juggaknots have works perfectly. This album is the definition of a slept on album.

DOWNLOAD LINKS

Streaming & Download Mixed .mp3 File (zshare)

.Zip File, Unmixed, Full & Separate Tracks (megaupload)

Guide To Downloading

02
May
08

Storytime Mix: The Top 25 Hip Hop Storytelling Songs

Storytelling is a necessary skill for any great emcee to have. Without visuals, it takes a lot of talent to paint a picture and tell a story by only using words (especially when they have to rhyme). There is a story song on almost every album, but in my opinion, these are the top 25 storytelling songs:

Storytelling Mix: The Top 25 Hip Hop Storytelling Songs

25 songs, 1 hour 55 minutes, STREAMING/DOWNLOAD LINKS BELOW

(Intro)

25. Glen Close by Binary Star: In this song One Be Lo recounts the story of his problems with his crazy ass ex. He learns a valuable lesson in the end though.

24. Sweetest Way To Die by Vakill: Vakill is criminally slept on, and this song showcases his storytelling skills. He paints the picture of a graffiti writer deciding how to escape the law.

23. Shakey Dog by Ghostface Killah: Ghostface’s vocabulary makes for any good storytelling song. I know this one is recent, but it’s still my favorite storytelling song by Tony Starks. It’s funny as hell too. If only the sequel was this good.

22. Hellucination by Smif-N-Wessun: What a mesmerizing beat. Tek and Steele tell the story of how a normal day with them trying to get paid turned into a crazy adventure with shootings and crooked cops. And of course, this being Smif-N-Wessun, they’re smoking weed throughout the whole story.

21. Them That’s Not by J-Live: J-Live is another underrated storyteller. In Them That’s Not he tells the story of a mediocre emcee who had a hit single and tried to create a career for himself. But emcees need to be talented, and them that’s not don’t last in this industry. The beat cleverly goes with the lyrics too. My favorite story of an emcee’s rise and fall in the fickle rap game.

20. I Seen A Man Die by Scarface: On this song, Scarface tells the story of a young man just getting out of prison. As he struggles with living clean, he eventually turns back to the streets, and encounters the grim reaper.

19. Renee by Lost Boyz: What a sad story. Right when love was found it was taken…this is not your average Hip Hop ballad.

18. Casualties Of A Dice Game by Big L: Big L tells the story of how a dice game escalated into a beef. It’s complete with shootouts and betrayal.

17. Mr. Big by Eightball & M.J.G.: Eightball tells the story of a character on his way to becoming Mr. Big. But will he make it?

16. Uncommon Valor (feat. RA The Rugged Man) by Jedi Mind Tricks: Heres a unique storytelling song. It’s about Vietnam. What’s really interesting about this one is that RA The Rugged Man’s amazing verse is actually the true story of his father. For more information check out this interview. Amazing song and story

15. My Summer Vacation by Ice Cube: Ice Cube tells the story of how he moved to St. Louis for the summer to try to take over. It didn’t turn out too well…

14. I’m Gonna Kill You by Juggaknots: Breezly Brewin is such a sick emcee. I got no problem saying he has the most hypnotic flow of all time. On this great song, he tells the story of how he was threatened by his girl’s ex.

13. One Day by Jeru The Damaja: Jeru was another great storyteller, and in this unique track he combines a dope story with a deep metaphor.

12. Blowjob Betty by Too Short: Too Short is one of the funniest storytellers. This song here is a perfect example.

11. N***** Bleed by The Notorious B.I.G.: Biggie was so descriptive in his songs that you could actually see what was going on. This is just a classic tale of his.

10. Just A Friend by Biz Markie: This is arguably the most commercially successful Hip Hop storytelling song. And Biz does speak the truth, so listen closely fellas.

9. Soulja’s Story by 2Pac: Pac could really describe emotions and moods. Take this song for example, you could really hear the desperation in the soulja’s voice.

8. Boyz N Da Hood by Eazy-E: What a long and crazy story by Eazy. It’s not all that focused, and it’s really a couple of stories jumbled into one, but he still kills it.

7. Dance With The Devil by Immortal Technique: This is definitely the most haunting story on the list. Immortal Technique is a sick fuck. I’m sure most of you have heard it, but if you haven’t, it’s the story of a lost youth trying to prove himself.

6. Love’s Gonna Getcha (Material Love) by Boogie Down Productions: KRS-One was another great storyteller. In this song he tells the story of a young man who’s desire for material objects and money led to his downfall.

5. Warning by The Notorious B.I.G.: This is my favorite story song by Biggie. The sound effects and the whole story are just perfect. This is how stories should be told.

4. Stan by Eminem: Maybe this song is the most clever one on the list. Say what you want about Eminem, and I’m not a big fan, but this song is fucking amazing.

3. Undying Love by Nas: Nas is so descriptive with his lyrics. He can really paint a picture, and in this song he tells the story of him and his unfaithful girl.

2. La Di Da Di (Live Version) by Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh: And now, the greatest storyteller of all time…Slick Rick. I had to include the live version to capture their energy. The greatest storyteller of all time on the lyrics and the greatest Hip Hop entertainer of all time on the beat? Certified classic.

1. Children’s Story by Slick Rick: Best storytelling song of all time. Without this, 25-2 would have sucked. Rick paved the way.

Download Links (Large Files)

Streaming & Download Mixed .mp3 File (divshare)

.Zip File, Mixed & Separate Tracks (megaupload)

Guide To Downloading

let me know what you think…

25
Apr
08

Let Me Put You On Game: The Soul Edition

When you listen to a lot of Hip Hop, it’s only natural for you to explore other genres to see their influence on Hip Hop. The first soul album I bought was Al Green’s Call Me, which is still one of my favorite albums of all time. From there I just went on to the basics, Marvin, Isaac, Curtis, Donny, Stevie, Aretha, etc. At first, I felt like an idiot when I realized RZA didn’t compose I Can’t Go To Sleep, but after discovering soul classics, soul music became one of my favorite genres. So I figured I’d share the love with ya’ll. Once again, this is by no means a definitive soul list or anything like that, but these are the songs that made me fall in love with soul music. Maybe they can do the same for you.

Let Me Put You On Game: The Soul Edition Mix

(15 Songs, 54 Minutes, STREAMING/DOWNLOAD LINKS BELOW)

in chronological order

1. Intro

2. (What A) Wonderful World by Sam Cooke: Sam Cooke was a soul pioneer. He really broke through barriers and achieved mainstream success while not sacrificing his messages (A Change Gon’ Come). He gets underrated a lot, and some people think of him as boring, but check out his album One Night Stand: Live At The Harlem Square Club, 1963 which is one of my favorite live recordings.

3. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man by Aretha Franklin: The queen of soul. Her lyrics were poetic and her voice was mesmerizing.

4. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone: Nina Simone is one of my favorite female singers. She just embodies everything that comes with soul music. Her music was often political, and she wasn’t your average soul singer singing about love on every track.

5. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding: I don’t listen to too much Otis Redding, but this song and his debut album of the same name paved the way for a lot of soul musicians.

6. Walk On By by Isaac Hayes: This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I was pissed when I realized the Wu basically just rapped over the instrumental. Isaac Hayes sung with such passion.

7. We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue by Curtis Mayfield: Curtis is arguably the most soulful soul singer. His music just took you to a different place. Kanye didn’t create Touch The Sky by the way. Anyways, this is one of my favorite songs by Cuuuuuuuuuuurtis.

8. A Song For You by Donny Hathaway: One of the most underrated soul singers. He could compose some beautiful ballads, and this one is my favorite of his.

9. Sweet Wanomi by Bill Withers: Bill Withers is a real unique soul singer. He kind of had a country music sound to his music. You probably know him best for Ain’t No Sunshine, so I figured I’d play something else of his. He’s got a great voice too.

10. Tired Of Being Alone by Al Green: Alright, Al Green is my personal favorite, and one of my favorite musicians of all time. I can’t even explain it, just listen to him sing his soul out.

11. I’m Still In Love With You by Al Green: Just what this man could do his voice…damn…just listen.

12. I’ll Be Around by The Spinners: There were plenty of soul groups, but few had a lot of success. Most just had one hit wonders. Still, The Spinners were pretty successful, and this is a great song.

13. Down And Out In New York City by James Brown: The Godfather of Soul. You know how you have that one big hole in your music collection that you’ve been meaning to address? Well James Brown is that hole for me. I just haven’t really gotten around to his music yet. Which is weird, because he’s one of the most sampled artists in Hip Hop. Still, everything I’ve heard from him, including this joint, is great.

14. Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye: I know, I know…you’ve heard this song a million times. It’s been raped by movies, TV shows, and even commercials. I was going to choose a different Marvin song, but I don’t care. Pretend like you’re hearing this one for the first time. Marvin is the face of soul music, and his work needs to be studied to understand music today.

15. Living For The City by Stevie Wonder: Stevie is another legend. He has also had such an impact on the way music is today. I don’t listen to him enough, but this is one of my favorite songs of his.

DOWNLOAD LINKS

Streaming & Download Mixed .mp3 File (Zshare)

.Zip File, Unmixed, Separate Tracks (Megaupload)

Guide To Downloading




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