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The Reavers – Terror Firma (CD) (2005) (320 kbps)

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The Reavers kind of came together like, (cliche’s aside), Voltron. Seriously how did this many underground MCs get together and form a group of this size and caliber? Most likely you recognize a good amount of heads in Reavers. Some notable members include Killarmy family member Don Pachino, Monsta Island Czars Spiega and Kong, and Vordul Mega of Cannibal Ox. Throw in people like Hasam Salaam and Karniege and you basically have a lot of real formidable dudes stepping up on various cuts throughout. Tracks like “America” showcase how all these different styles really become one on this album. “Beast” features the two Monsta Island Czars doing their thing. Definitely check the songs featured on the first single in “Slums” and “Dusted”. A group of this magnitude pretty much demands a listen.

Members: Akir, Billy Woods (of Super Chron Flight Brothers), Dom Pachino (of Killarmy), Hasan Salaam, Hicoup, Karniege (of Mighty Joseph), Spiega (of Monsta Island Czars), Priviledge (of Super Chron Flight Brothers), Kong (of Monsta Island Czars), Vordul Mega (of Cannibal Ox)

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Digable Planets – Reachin’ (A New Refutation Of Time And Space) (CD) (1993) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

Landing in 1993, Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), settled in on the consciousness of a large cross section of listeners ranging from alt-rockers, metal freaks, and headz worldwide. A surprise hit with the press and the general populace alike, Reachin’ was released at the most opportune time of the ’90s. The so-called alternative scene had just blown up in ’91 and ’92, so commercial radio was actually playing something close to variety and major labels were signing acts and developing them at an unprecedented level. Played on rock and urban stations, Digable Planets’ debut represented an actual alternative to the masses who had grown up on Van Halen and Whitney Houston and, as a result, Digable Planets found themselves with a Top 20 single in “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat).” In a lot ways the song paints the picture for the rest of the album with samples that are drenched in cool jazz and interlaced with smart catchy rhymes that move across the hip-hop spectrum of self-aggrandization and political awareness. The widespread appeal of Reachin’ lies in Doodlebug, Ladybug Mecca, and Butterfly’s smooth delivery. Never too excited but always passionate, they keep it going with seemingly lighthearted pieces like “Where I’m From.” Here Butterfly almost falls into hip-hop stereotype by tripping on the theme of geographical location (see Paul’s Boutique); but instead of really letting the listener know where they’re from, they go into a chorus of “everywhere, everywhere” and thus really pointing out this record’s underlying theme: under the hood of inventive beats and well-placed layered samples are the ideas and attitudes of universal and cosmic spirituality combined with personal-consciousness expansion that crosses geographical and ethnic boundaries. Easily one of the most successful hip-hop records ever made and a must-have selection in most any collection.

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Ray West & O.C. – Ray’s Café (Deluxe Edition CD) (2014) (FLAC + 320 kbps)

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Red Apples 45 continues its boutique-style catalogue with Ray’s Cafe, this time around pairing the talent of OC of DITC and producer Ray West. This combination of talent is set in the theme of a smokey jazz cafe in the 1970s where OC is free of all boundaries and limitations. Timeless songs of love, life, loss, and glory fill the air of the cafe with mystique and inspiration.

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Halo Featuring Masta Killa – Mansa Musa (2014) (iTunes)

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North Carolina buzzmaker HaLo and Wu Tang veteran Masta Killa have joined forces to unleash their first joint full-length, the Mansa Musa LP.

Drawing heavily upon the collaborators’ boom-bap influences, the 16-track project comes heralded by four Booth-approved singles: “No Matter,” “Galore,” “Stop It” and “Jerk Chicken.”

Bad Lucc, Problem, Rapsody, Rocki Evans, Tab-One and Talib Kweli are just a few of many talented guests to join the twosome throughout the set, which boasts beats by the likes of 9th Wonder, Amp, Khrysis and Nottz.

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