Mixing it up for cuz


That picture is of a guy who made the NJ Amber alert earlier this month. He tried to steal his kid, I think.

No relation.

My cousin came to visit. Stayed about 3 months. Good times, good times. Dude was my first  friend, first ace! First cat I drank beers in NYC with. My dude. Family.

Now that I’m at that crucial juncture where I have mouths to feed and people who look to me to take care of them — the carefree days are over.

Well, not really…it’s just another era for me.

Enjoy the mix, it was inspired by Pancho.


Valentine’s Day: Don’t Avoid It <3

St. Valentine’s Day approaches. As if you couldn’t already tell by all the red hearts and chocolate the stores have been pushing since like a day after Christmas.

Above, the namesake for the commercial holiday we use to remind ourselves to tell people we love them, while at the same time boosting the jewelery, candy and flower markets in these rough winter months. Saint Valentine was a priest who got caught marrying people, so the story goes. He was thrown into jail and tried to show the Roman emperor Claudius II the ways of the lord. In response he had his head chopped off on February 14th in 269. He’s considered a martyr, and according to Catholic.org

He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.


To get into the loving spirit, check out this now classic Valentines Day mix by the DJ legend, Neil Armstrong. And order a gift pack CD if they’re still in stock. Check, here.

WarmFuzzy Mixtape (DJ Neil Armstrong)

Track list

DL the Mp3 here.

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Missing Lauryn’s Newark State of Mind

“It’s all economics…” Lauryn Hill goes in on Jeru @ 4:15 in the video above.

When the news hit that Lauryn Hill is going on a 17 city tour, I met it with a big “so tf what?”. I’m tired of all this anticipation for her, man. She’s from my geographic area on the map, and next to Redman, she was like the only other person we could claim as our own, our super, mega best. Really all she did was make people question my part of New Jersey. Yeah, more Jersey jokes.

That crazy woman had the whole industry in the palm of her hand. She did the cool thing by rejecting it, but then all that diva-ish behavior and then no solid comeback? Squalid, man. Squalid career. She left a lot of people impoverished, her music fed a lot of souls. A vitamin if you were down. A soothing tonic if you had some relationship troubles. I won’t tell you which songs, because if you look at her catalog, there’s only so few to choose from.

The thing though that really gets me is that she didn’t represent. Here you have Rah Digga, who even though no one buys her records, she’s still grinding. STILL.

Lauryn marries into a musical legacy and hops off the planet. Now, I’ve seen her perform in these “secret” shows and other false Fugees reunions that she’ll do for a corporate buck, but it all lacks.  I think she tries to explain in this recent interview what made her a recluse, again.

But back to my main point. She didn’t represent like she was supposed to. See, she was repping South Orange, which is basically (greater) Newark, depending on your degree of boughy-ness. As stated in

Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast:

“Whether you’re representing Newark (aka Brick City), Irvington (aka Hooterville), or East Orange (aka Illtown), you still represent Newark”

As for Mrs. Hill, I wouldn’t hold my breath for any comeback or new songs, maybe in another 20 years when she’s older. For now, here are the classics, like warm butter on some syrupy pancakes:


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Internationally Screwed & Chopped


In about a month, certain parts of Houston and the world will remember the birthday of DJ Screw, and November marks the 10th Anniversary of his death.

Austin Surreal properly informed me recently about the latest DJ Screw spin-off, “Screwed Anthologies“. Think Nortec, but improvising over plodding bass lines and drooping renditions of popular rap songs. Go here, for an audio sample. The Houston-based musicians should be stopping in Ithica and Boston this week

In Mexico, there´s a reminder of Screw. It´s not in the super slow-paced way you handle bank transactions here, or the syrupy slow wait in the line at Wal-Mart Mexico. I´m talking about the wound down accordian-jamming sound of  cumbias rebajadas. Rebajada,  means to bring it down, as in the pitch.

The realm of digital cumbia isn´t complete without a walk in this slow dimension. There´s a certain gangster quality to listening to cumbia this way. Not unlike those guys in Texas who have Screw blasting out of their cars.

I´m interested in getting a good story together on the subject.  People on both sides of the border are discovering the music again, and again. But no clear answers as to what connects Screw to rebajadas, or if there´s a definitive creator for pitched down cumbia.

According to  Dr. Auratheft:

Story tells …. early low-key/ghetto cumbia gigs in Mexico would use really shitty/dysfunctional turntables, not only slowing down but also fluctuating. This launched a genre somehow and kids in Mexico are just all about rebajadas”.

Or are the origins of cumbia rebajadas as Toy Selectah told me in Austin a few months ago? He suggests that boomboxes at Monterrey block parties would slowly run out of batteries, leaving people to bailar to slowed cumbia.

Whatever´s true, most of what´s written about Screw dates chopped and screwed music to the early 90s, and rebajadas mixtapes are said to have been available since the 80s, coming directly from Monterrey DJs and making their way throughout Mexico y el mundo.  Let´s see if we can get this all on the record. Until then check out this rebajadas mix by Dr. Auratheft:

Rebajadas_El_Maldito Acordeón

And this 1998  chopped and screwed mixtape by Houston rap landmark Swishahouse:


Look here for normal cumbia.

Track listing for both mixes after the jump.

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The jams before Whitney

How did I miss this mixtape?

New Edition was part of that soundtrack to your childhood and early teens, flowing perfectly from elementary school radio pause tapes, to middle school dances. The first time you probably slow danced was to  “Can You Stand the Rain,” your hands high enough around your partner’s waist to be respectful.

That’s if a fight didn’t cut the night short for everybody.

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Another L.A. Crip on the Grind

“Born in the 80s, raised in the Sixties”: Nipsey Hussle gives some background on gang ties and who he may or may not see as an “enemy” on the street in a two-part interview with Streetgangs.com’s  Alex Alonso.

C-Boy from Harlem (not the  Uptown locale, but Jefferson Park) called me once about 5 months ago to tell me about Thundercat from the 60s.  His grind had been paying off for a while and he was ready to take his rap game corporate.

Nipsey Hussle is the rap name of the aforementioned hood star from 60s, pictured in the video above, who says he’s never seen Kurupt on the block. He  considers him a D.P.G only.

Hussle still has a lot to prove. If the son of a Black mother and an Eritreanfather can pick up where Game left off, then he’s in good shape. But just like the Game, he needs some radio- friendly hook-happy hits to push his star along. Because these days, the biggest news out of L.A. hiphop is going to be how a Utah high school wasn’t gangster enough for G. Malone.

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