Jonzun Crew – Lost In Space (1983) (Vinyl) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

Michael and Soni Johnson, who were born in Florida, formed the Jonzun Crew in Boston with Steve Thorpe and Gordy Worthy. They were a mix of electrofunk and rock beats and comic/ novelty lyrics and had sizable hits in 1982 and 1983 with “Pack Jam (Look out for the OVC)” and “We Are The Jonzun Crew”. Michael Jonzun left the group in 1986 for a solo career, but didn’t do much beyond one A&M release. He had more impact as the person who discovered New Edition and as the writer/ producer of their hit “Candy Girl”.

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Kenny Dope – Nervous Hip-Hop: Continuous Mix (CD) (1995) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

Nervous Hip Hop (LOG)

Nervous Hip-Hop is a 1995 compilation album featuring a non-stop mix of songs on Nervous Records done by producer Kenny Dope. “While the Wu-Tang Clan had taken over in 1994 and 1995, they were not the only one representing New York hip-hop. This compilation is a small glimpse of what was, courtesy of some of the artists who were on the Nervous family of labels. True hip-hop headz, THIS is one of the best comps you’ll ever hear. Featuring Boot Camp classics, Funkmaster Flex, and some other lesser-known but very talented artists, this disc is a must-have for those who know. Made in a non-stop, mix-tape format, the songs all smoothly transition from one to the next. Some of the best tracks are remixes of tracks from Black Moon and Smif-N-Wesson’s debuts. If you don’t know who they are, you better do a little research then come back. For those of you who do, you won’t be disappointed. While yes, those tracks can be found on other discs, you’ll never get a better deal with them all on one, plus other great stuff like Mad Lion(a rasta-rapper protege of KRS-One), and a rare non-LP appearance by Nine on “Six Million Ways to Die,” produced by Funk Flex. For Nine fans, his rap is of course excellent, but that track is marred by a terrible middle verse by Tragedy. The disc ends with the remix of Black Moon’s classic “I Gotcha’ Opin,” and from beginning to end this disc just never lets up.

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cLOUDDEAD – Ten (CD) (2004) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

cLOUDDEAD - Ten

The most artistic hip-hop has usually relied on a rapper’s ability to transmit to listeners an eye-level view of his surroundings (and possibly comment on them), but what are a group of rappers to do when those experiences — on a video shoot, no less — apparently include the following, as cLOUDDEAD claim?: “Two small girls and a handful of dressed men walk a cage full of goats across a basketball court.” (“Rifle Eyes,” their response to 9/11, is only slightly more bizarre.) The only question is whether this trio of subunderground rappers, influenced by Eno much more than EPMD, can conjure a musical backing that fully conveys the surreality of their surroundings. Surprisingly, the mélange of tape grime and nth-gen samples that constitutes Ten is certainly the proper arrangement for these psychedelic, stream-of-consciousness raps. Doseone and Why? pair their vocals or mumble or speak in nursery-school singsong, while head producer Odd Nosdam plunders thrift-shop LPs and forgotten reel-to-reel recordings for samples, often airing spoken-word passages as between-bars commentary. Random and disorienting on a first listen, Ten is actually a closely composed piece of modernist music. Not what you’d call an enjoyable listen, but one to be respected anyway, and also one that worms its way into your head.

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cLOUDDEAD – cLOUDDEAD (CD) (2001) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

cLOUDDEAD - cLOUDDEAD

Culled from a series of limited 10″ releases, Clouddead’s eponymous debut isn’t so much a fully formed album as it is a well-executed exercise in seasick, proggist psychedelia. With background textures that rival Boards of Canada in pastoral, tree-lined opacity and an obvious predilection for boggy atmospherics, Clouddead handily distances themselves from the rest of their hip-hop brethren. Indeed, this is something more considered and sinister — less about wayward braggadocio than it is about keeping your doors deadbolted at all hours of the night. Even their less-is-more approach to vocalism eventually starts playing tricks on your mind; when lyricists Dose and Why? emerge, it’s usually to puncture the pleasant fog of some dulcet, wavering sample. The whole album reads like that; the sonic equivalent of your first legitimate drug trip as narrated by two jittery but triumphant kids who can’t bear to keep their choice hiding place a secret any longer. While it’s perhaps a tad overlong, Clouddead doesn’t suffer from any shortage of great ideas. It’s menacing, it’s enthralling, and it’s one of few modern-day records (hip-hop or otherwise) that honestly doesn’t sound like anything

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cLOUDDEAD – The Peel Session EP (Vinyl) (2001) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

Clouddead - The Peal Session

The Peel Sessions marquee usually means a dry run through of current “hits” or else pointless fodder for obsessive collectors. While this five track EP may not break the mold, cLOUDDEAD push the collector angle as far as possible. The longest track, “Physics of a Bicycle” is like the Danielson Famillee reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Elsewhere, it piles on all manner of found sound, monologues about their cat, a guided tour of the local graveyard and maybe even 35 seconds of hip-hop.

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Apathy – Handshakes With Snakes (CD) (2016) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

Apathy - Handshakes With Snakes

Championing his fifth solo album in a consistent and longstanding career, Apathy delivers a plate served up with only the finest ingredients that you’d expect from a seasoned lyricist and producer. On this outing, Ap takes you through the perils of the current state of hip hop, corporate phonies and idiotic pop culture. Sprinkle in some trippy tales with vivid imagery plus the right amount of braggadocio verbiage, and the Demigodz frontman brings you full circle via industry rule number 4080. Listeners of this record will become cautious of who they shake hands with. Production duties are handled entirely by Apathy himself, captivating fans on a ride fully orchestrated in his own creative vision while bringing along a handful of carefully selected guest emcees. Having experienced firsthand what it’s like to start independently from the dirt, then be entrenched in a major label contract during the peak of hip hop’s commercial success, to touring alongside RIAA certified diamond-selling mega rockstars – Apathy’s knowledge and wittyness on the subject spills out to be pure audio gold. This project represents those of us not willing to compromise our artistry for fame and money. Can we shake on that? CD and vinyl include original cover art illustration by Dave Quiggle.

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The Other Guys – Life In Analog (WEB) (2016) (320 kbps)

The Other Guys - Life In Analog

Following the success of their collaborative albums with Von Pea and Substantial, DMV production duo The Other Guys return with their new album, Life in Analog. Busting at the seams with the soulful sounds and hard hitting drums the duo has been known to provide, Life In Analog features guitarist Brian Woods and bassist Mitch Beer, with vocal performances from veteran artist Skyzoo, Tanya Morgan, Kooley High & Substantial. Life In Analog careens through tales of friendship, family, and the everyday grind

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