elmattic

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the spraycan diaries

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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...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

slammed the child on the hard concrete

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Fetus - Nas / Birth - Ice Cube (feat. Khalid Abdul Muhammad) / The Birth - The RZA / Children of Children - The Black Market Militia (feat. Oscar Brown Jr.) / Wear Clean Draws - The Coup / Snoop Interlude / Grew Up Hard - Trife Da God & Solomon Childs / Young Man Grown - The Narcicyst / Message To Young People - Double Dee & Steinski / The Product - Ice Cube / Concrete Jungles - The Psycho Realm (feat. Crow) / Finger Painting - K-The-I??? / Home Work - Themselves / It's Just A Playground - Dday One / Little Child Running Wild - Curtis Mayfield / Children's Story - Slick Rick

[Update]

Really dope re-telling of 'A Children's Story' by Hell Razah & Killah Priest here.

ain’t gonna rain no more

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Reminiscing of another time: Parkside Ave and a bottle of wine...

Rain Dance - Arrowax / Make It Rain - Ultramagnetic MCs / Rain Drops - Jojo Pellegrino / Rain men - Deep Puddle Dynamics / Rain men (Remix instrumental) - Deep Puddle Dynamics / Rain Edit Interlude - Prefuse 73 / Rainy Dayz - Raekwon (feat. Ghostface Killah & Blue Rasberry) / Stormy Weather - Billy Woods / This Is It (Ain't Gonna Rain) - Schoolly D / Rain - RJD2 / The Name of Every Raindrop - Tracy Jones / Rain - Autolect / The Levees Broke - Jay Electronica / A Sudden Rain Storm / Flood The Block (Instrumental) - Havoc

cities of the red night

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Kicks off with some hip hop blues, then gets into some avant garde shit. These cats went diggin' in the crates and came up with Leadbelly. These cats went diggin' in the crates and came up with Baudrillard.

PJ's - El Michels Affair & Raekwon / Accepted - Autolect / .45 Caliber Blues - El-P / Rain Water - Brother Ali / Low Tide/Epilogue: Rain - Super Chron Flight Brothers / Play With Toys - Basehead / Old Soul - Malkovich Music / Asphalt Static - Red Ants / Crow Topped Walls - Twilight Of The Idols / Images Of .44 Casings - Dälek / Fallen Angels - Mentol Nomad / We Came From Lego Blocks - Faultline (feat. Vordul Mega) / Escapisms Pt II - Qwel & Silence / Temple Of The Mental - Material (feat. Killah Priest)

power from the streetlight…

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In The Ghetto (Drums Mix) - Eric B. & Rakim / Prelude To A Come Up - Cypress Hill (feat. MC Eiht) / Throw Your Guns - AZ & Nature / Arise - Mr. Lif / Come Clean/Channel One Suite - Jeru The Damaja vs. The Cinematic Orchestra (DJ Food & DK Mix) / Shook Ones (Original Version) - Mobb Deep / The Dark Ages - Mighty Joseph (Vast Aire & Karniege) (feat. Murs) / Madd Buttons - Vordul Mega / Facts Is Facts - Autnoyz / Wit Da Evilz - Boom & Science / The Final Call - The Black Market Militia (feat. Abiodun Oyemole of The Last Poets) / Lonely People - Talib Kweli / Ruby Ragdollenne - Qwel & Maker / America Is Dying Slowly - Wu-Tang Clan (feat. Killah Priest) / What Goes Around - Nas / Livin' in the Jungle - Schoolly D / Biggie's Dream - Jay-Z & Biggie vs. Sage Francis (Goodwill Projects Mix)