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dedication to all b-boys



B-boys in the front, back, side and middle. Check out my b-boy rhyme and riddle.

No samples this time. Sometimes I just wanna hear the beat. Also my doctor advised me not to watch either of the Breakin' movies.

'B-boy' was originally an all-purpose term for anyone who rocked with the hip-hop elements, then it was used strictly for breakdancers (or maybe the other way around).  I don't know what we're all called now. Maybe we're too many, too varied. I mean, Kitty Pryde doesn't rock shelltoe Adidas. Jay Electronica probably wears...moccasins.

But this is a dedication to all b-boys.

Dedication To All B-Boys - Schoolly D / B Boys Style - Lil' Jazzy Jay & Cool Supreme / B-Boy Beat - Wild Style Allstars / 5 elements/B-Boy Breaks - Z-Trip / Tribute to the Breakdancer - Grandmaster Flash (feat. MC Supernatural) / B-Boy Contortionist - Idiot Proof / Return Of The Funky B-Boy Drums - Zeb.Roc.Ski. & Ms. Def Cut / Lords of Cardboard - DJ Format & Kid Aroe / Breakdance Electric Boogie (Junior Cartier Remix) - West Street Mob / Street B-Boy Beatz - Calagad 13 / Dedication - Brand Nubian / Invocation - Common / Dedication - Beastie Boys / Boombox - Blueprint / B-Boy - Orko The Sycotik Alien / B-Boy Stance - Global Phlowtations / Dedicated To Hip-Hop - DOOM vs. Mos Def (DJ Phonetic mix) / A B-Boy's Alpha - Cannibal Ox / I Remember - KRS-One




Kryloniqatsi I / Writing On The Wall - BPMZ / Aerosoul - Tommy Tee / The Taking of Pelham One Two Three - David Shire / Lune TNS - Company Flow / It's All Destroyed - Zeb Roc Ski / Kings In The Game - Sick Jacken (feat. B-Real) / Wholetrain - KRS-One & El Da Sensei / The Trains Are Now So Clean - Daedalus / Third Rail - Masai Bey / The Manhattan Project - Typical Cats / Homage 2 Da Bomberz - Tame One / The Amphitheatre - Grandmixer DST / Antivandalism - Sixtoo / Search & Destroy #1 - Tenshun / Hisstory - Material (feat. Rammellzee) / Armed With Krylon - Dälek / Kryloniqatsi II / Krazy Kings 3 - El-P

Graffiti is ephemeral by definition.  It's going to be buffed, washed, painted over.  When it first started, a piece could run a year or so on a train.  But when the buff came in, writing became not only more of a protest against disenfranchisement but almost a philosophical one as well--against entropy, against mortality, against the inevitability of gradualism.  The futility combined with the incredible craft is part of what makes it so powerfully defiant: I AM HERE. YOU CAN ERASE THIS, BUT I AM HERE.

There's also the aspect of a cultural guerilla war.  Writers took on a lot of guerilla tactics, thinking, language, and brought war into art.  I remember an interview with Max Roach around 1987 where he said the drums on LL Cool J's LP sounded "like war drums, like armies on the move."

Graffiti isn't dead by a long shot. There's hardly a city in the world you can go to without seeing some great pieces.  But New York subway art, that's been dead for almost a generation.  And in a lot of ways, graf is a lot poorer for it.  A giant wall mural gets the scale right, the setting right--graf looks bad in galleries on canvas because it's too clean, too small, too quiet, too de-urbanized.  (I'm feeling Seen's new metal wild style sculptures though.) I think it's a mistake, and a serious reach, to try and jam graf into art history. It is of itself, for itself, and by itself.  But I think really it needs that thunder of sound, that movement a train gives it to really come to life how it was meant to, as the writers used to:

...in some deserted midnight yard, they will find their natural canvas which is of course that metal wall of a subway car ready to reverberate into all the egos of all the metal of New York, what an echo that New York metal will give into the slapped-silly senses of every child-psyche who grew up in New York, yes, metal as a surface on which to paint is even better than stone.

If you weren't there, you can only imagine what it was like to be down there in those dark, dank stations, all dirty tile and I-beam pillars and filthy bums and shit.  And suddenly with a roar and a screech a twenty-foot explosion of color rolls in right in front of you.  A gift of beauty. In the form of someone's name.

"The name," Cay 161 told Norman Mailer, "is the faith of graffiti."  What did he mean by that.  Mailer interpolates:

You hit your name and maybe something in the whole scheme of the system gives a death rattle. For now your name is over their name, over the subway manufacturer, the Transit Authority, the city administration. Your presence is on their presence, your alias hangs over their scene. There is a pleasurable sense of depth to the elusiveness of the meaning.

Sometimes I think hip-hop is how I figure out what it was like to grow up in New York as a child who was afraid of everything. Because graf artists weren't afraid of anything. That shit they did in the yards and tunnels was on some ninja nibelungen shit into the dragon's lair.  They had a passion and commitment and fire that I wish I could even aspire to.

So, also this is something I saw:

People who rented STYLE WARS (DVD) also rented...KNIGHTS IN ARMOR...POWAQQATSI

And what the fuck is up with that, because Rammellzee is dead, and who else would rent that combo of flicks?  Dondi is dead.  Iz The Wiz is dead. Kase 2 is dead.  Stay High 149 just passed last week.  Even the subway cars they wrote on have been dumped into the sea.

But yeah. Knights In Armor. Powaqqatsi.  Kryloniqatsi--in Hopi, 'qatsi' means 'life.'  Spraycan life.  Did anyone ever tell you what was written on the trains?

the spraycan diaries



Subway Theme - DJ Grand Wizard Theodore & Grandmaster Caz / Out To Tag - Serve 1 & Sue Works / Platform Rapform - The Chemist / Graff Time - Chali 2na / Out For Fame - KRS-One / Ambush in the Night - Looptroop / Tagz, Throw Ups & Pieces - Da Nuthouse (feat. El Da Sensei & Sak One) / End To End Burners - Company Flow / Wholecar - Roger Rekless / Slow Burna - Akrobatik / Getting Up Anthem: Part 1 - Talib Kweli (feat. Rakim) / Wrong Side Of Da Tracks - Artifacts / 4 My Writers - MC Juice / Got The Fever (Lewis Parker Remix) - Meyhem Lauren / Graff Life - Literates / Bombing (Snippet) - L.I.F.E.long & Shamalex / The Escapades of Futura 2000 - Futura 2000 & The Clash / Pump Me Up (All City Mix) - Trouble Funk / Telemundo (Bombing Theme) - El-P

Graffiti, and I guess breaking, were the first prominent aspects of hip-hop...graf artists were having gallery shows before any records hit the charts, and for sure New York's general public noticed their subways turning into riots of tags and burners before they heard 'Rapper's Delight.'

Let's skip the whole boilerplate history of graf, what it meant, voice of the disenfranchised, frustration into artistic expression, art as vandalism, claiming part of the city as their own, the word 'palimpsest' which really gets on my fucking nerves, and FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD. (Also just for the record, this thing about Egyptian hieroglyphs. That wasn't graffiti, unless you also want to claim the Sistine Chapel as an end-to-end burner.)

There's so much you could say about graf, but it's been done better by many smarter motherfuckers than me, especially on the sociopolitical steez.  There's the creation of a whole new art form--a wholly original one--out of raw talent plus what was available: the spraycan, the marker, pop's turntable...and the improvisation to build on that: the caps off your mom's oven cleaner, the blackboard eraser, breaks on old records, power from the streetlight.  And the jawdropping results.  How the fuck did you make that detailed, precise painting on the side of a goddamn train, in the dark, with a couple of spraycans?  How did you take some wack disco and old R&B records and make that hard-ass funky beat?

There's the exclusionary, internal messages; writing for the initiated.  The rebirth of the anonymous and ignored into superheroes with aliases and powers (you don't think doing 3D letters is a superpower? Or spitting a tight 16?)  The repetition of these names, the power of the names. And this obsession with language itself, using letters as an artform, using speech as a musical instrument--that's real interesting to me. It starts with the names and becomes this transformation of language into a medium, an implement itself--the twisting of letters into wild style, the twisting of words that rhyme.  Rammellzee saw this as graf's most subversive aspect, it's just that nobody understands what the fuck he was talking about. In 1959 Burroughs said 'writing is 50 years behind painting' and changed the game. By 1979 painting was 20 years behind writing. Graf caught it up to the year 3000.

Anyways. There's only about 50 songs about graf writing. Why is that? Why isn't there an acknowledged classic graf theme besides the Artifacts joint? Maybe because the golden age of graf was over before the golden age of rap started, thanks to the buff, Koch and the MTA. (Imagine if the crackdown on sampling had started in 1987! The entire culture would have been snuffed out in infancy, on some Moses-falls-out-the-basket dolo. Bullrush the show.)

So this mix is a non-identical twin to Hevehitta's The Writers Bench, which you should peep out because he killed it. No drips. We shared tracklists so there's some overlap but like I said, there's only so many tracks.

This is The Five Elements, Part One. Destroy all lines.

pero no pueden salir



New York's always been a big advertising target for Roach Motel.  On the subway they used to run them in every car: Roaches Check In...But They Don't Check Out. In Spanish it always seemed extra ominous to me: Las Cucarachas Entran...Pero No Pueden Salir. (That's probably the only complete sentence in Spanish I know that doesn't start 'Tu madre'.)

And what is a subway car but a moving roach motel.  What is New York but a big stack of roach motels.  "All American cockroaches were immigrants," notes Roach Facts.  According to the Observer in 2008, New York's roach population has fallen as a side effect of gentrification.  Four years further into the recession, I bet that's not true anymore.

I don't need to draw you a map.  Dehumanization is always the first step in exterminating people.  And reclaiming epithets is what hip-hop has always done best.

Cockroach Omen - Red Ants / Everyday In the Street (Dukes Go Up's Can You Dig It Remix) - El Da Sensei (feat. Bekay & Sean Price) / Ruger - elhuana (feat. Bloody Monk Consortium) / CockRoach People Remix - Dig Dug (feat. Skrilla G) / Hard Times - J. Period (feat. dead prez & The Roots) / L.I.F.E. - Joell Ortiz / Same White Bitch (Got You Strung Out On Cane) - Schoolly D / Cockroaches - Necro / Ode to the Ghetto (Dr. Quandary Remix) - Guilty Simpson / Black Soap (Beatnikz Remix) - C-Rayz Walz (feat. M1) / Day of the Jackal - Sadat X / The Gold Watch - Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire / women revolution tennis shoes - Skipp Coon & Mr. Nick / Collage - Ka / Imani (Willie Green Remix) - Vordul Mega (feat. Billy Woods) / Right Back At You - Mobb Deep (feat. Ghostface Killah & Raekwon) / Momentum - Priviledge & Dr. Monokrome / Thank God - Danny Brown

requiem for snotboogie



It's A Crime - Roc Marciano / Vein - Cannibal Ox / Scrap Or Die - Danny Brown / Scot Free - Bronze Nazareth (feat. RZA) / Caught A Body - Ryks / Crime Saga (Perfecta '79 Remix) - Shabazz The Disciple / The Shit Is Real (DJ Honda Mix) - Fat Joe / Take It In Blood - Nas / The Street Theme - Greenhouse Effect / 125, Pt. 2 (Fresh Air) - Joell Ortiz / Advance Pawns (instrumental) - DJ Muggs / I Can't Cope - Skipp Coon & Mr. Nick / Small Time Hustler (instrumental) - The Dismasters / B More - Super Chron Flight Brothers (feat. Zesto) / Barksdale Corners - Shabazz Palaces / Street Diction - Dälek

city on the edge of never



I don't want love.  I don't want forgiveness.  All I want is out of here.

--Burroughs, 'White Subway'

Evil Streets (Remix Instrumental) - Onyx / Departure - Jay Electronica / Dead Flowers - Bronze Nazareth (feat. 60 Second Assassin, Killah Priest & C-Rayz Walz) / Sleeping Giant - Epsilon Project (feat. Dopamine Rush P.O.E.) / Loves Gonna Getcha - Boogie Down Productions / Dreams - MoBonix / Paradise - C-Rayz Walz / Dream - Rob Swift (feat. Breez Evahflowin & Noam Chomsky) / Down - Ensilence / Gunbeat Falls - Shabazz Palaces / Will I Get Shot By A Dope Fiend? (Instrumental) - Third Sight / Memoirs of Tragedy - Killah Priest / Hock - 6RME / Vast Hope - DJ Bootsie (feat. Vast Aire) / Ruffturrain - Call O' Da Wild / Open Doors - Super Chron Flight Brothers / The Edge of Never (feat. Jodie Foster & Frank Sinatra) / Shadows - The Reavers

slammed the child on the hard concrete 2



This ain't funny so don't you dare laugh.

Intro / Children's Story Freestyle - Shabazz the Disciple / I Can't Go Broke - Joell Ortiz / Children's Story - Everlast (feat. Rahzel) / Catacomb Kids (AspeQt Remix) - Aesop Rock / Children's Story - Black Star / A Gangsta's Fairytale - Ice Cube / Hood Lullabye - The Black Market Militia / This Child - Joell Ortiz / Say Our Goodbyes - Grey Matter / Dead Like The Young - Pasobionic / On Coming From A Broken Home (Part 2) - Gil Scott-Heron / Kids In The Street - Hell Razah / Things Done Changed (Simple & Memory Lane March 9 Remixes) - The Notorious B.I.G. / Boys To Men (Instrumental) - Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic) / Our Father - Saul Williams / Synopsis Two: Mother's Day - The 24 Carat Black

Part 1

neon king kong standing on my back



...something something something, broke my sacroiliac.  Which means 'ass-bone'. Only time an MC's used proper medical terminology.  Kinda surprising since there's so many 'doctors' (Dre, Ice, Octagon, etc.). But I guess nothing rhymes with things like 'pancreas.'   Except...blancreas.

Really though, "The Message" is the well from where all conscious hip hop flows. 27 years later the beat is still tight. The lyrics drop some serious poetical gems. It's real art and therefore eternal.

The Message - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five / Hard Times - Run-D.M.C., Vordul Mega, Onra, Baby Huey / In The Ghetto - Eric B. & Rakim / Ghetto Misfortune's Wealth - The 24 Carat Black / Dead Homiez - Ice Cube / I Been There - KRS-One / Streetlamp Confessions - WindNbreeze, Cryptic One & Alaska / Minimum Wage - Redshield / Rent Control - Super Chron Flight Brothers / A Tribute to Melle Mel - Breez Evahflowin / The Message - Nas / The Message (Remix Suite) - Roots Manuva, Cutting Edge, Ice Cube, Richie Rich, El-P, Mobb Deep, Willy Mason