You know what time it is, folks. The Hip-Hop Dojo is back for its fifth installment. Typically, we try to separate the playlist based on certain themes or sounds, but this week’s crop is our largest and most unique ever, making it tough to group everything together, but we tried our best. There is one pervasive idea that seems to shine throughout a majority of this playlist though, which is “keeping it real.”
This week’s edition is a revival of sorts, featuring plenty of industry veterans, and a few names you probably haven’t heard in quite awhile. We start things off with De La Soul, fresh off a 10 year hiatus to provide the game with some toughness once again. Channeling the “Spirit of the Wu,” the trio show us they haven’t lost a step as they go in over a sample of the “Intro” from Wu-Tang Forever. While De La Soul represents the Wu in spirit, Raekwon represents them for real on Statik Selektah‘s new single, “Bird’s Eye View.” Along with fast-rising youngster Joey Bada$$, and the criminally underrated Black Thought, the Chef and crew absolutely merk the soulful instrumental as they give us an idea of the view from above. Next up, we listen as another holdover from the 90′s, DJ Premier, pays homage to his Gang Starr running mate, Guru, alongside the great Talib Kweli and producer Marco Polo. Our next few songs carry on with the 90′s vibes. Honestly, the only way you can tell these piano-backed tracks are from 2013 is by their pop culture references.
Now, our next track might seem a bit controversial to some of you out there. I don’t normally endorse rappers spitting over classic instrumentals, but XXL Freshman, Logic, shows us he’s more than worthy of his new title over Outkast‘s “Ms. Jackson.” I’m still having a hard time trying to resist belting out the chorus whenever I listen to it though. Moving on, we have a previously unreleased joint from the late, great J Dilla, set to be featured on his posthumous album, The Diary. Dilla takes a sample of 80′s record cars “Cars” by Gary Numan, and completely flips on its head, glorifying “big ass trucks and big ass rims.”
Our next three tracks feature pairs of emcees trading bars back and forth. While The MyNORS kick it old school, MMG’s Rockie Fresh and Rick Ross give us a little taste for “Panera Bread” over some stellar production from Lunice of TNGHT. Following those acts up are MAHD and JD Era, two emcees who absolutely shred the beats given to them. Linking up on our next number are two former G-Unit labelmates, Havoc and Lloyd Banks, who give us some insight on the life they chose for themselves.
Coming to you for his second appearance in the Dojo is Texan spitter, M.I who brings along a new friend you may already be familiar with, Chamillionaire. Although the Houston native hasn’t been entirely relevant in recent years, he reminds us all why we fell in love with his music years ago, delivering a killer verse on what may be the standout track on this playlist. We then shift things over to Dade County to visit talented young emcee, Denzel Curry. While the title “N64″ makes it sound like it should be a fun track, Curry is doing anything but playing around here. Over some dusky, ominous production, Denzel “Aquarius’Killa” Curry tackles the issue of gun violence, and sheds the spotlight back on the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. On a related note, Doley Bernays also dedicates his newest single to the subject of violence, but chooses to enlighten us from a different perspective. Sampling the Deadmau5 single of the same name, Bernays and running mate Denzil Porter discuss the difficulties of choosing between a life on the streets and pursuing their dreams as emcees. Check out the recently released visuals for the track to garner the full effect.
As we approach the finish line, we decided to cool things down a bit. While none of these are quite 4/20 worthy material, they’ll definitely help you mellow out after some of those more serious numbers. The first joint comes to us from across the “Ocean,” as UK spitter Paper Plates shows that he certainly can hold his own against the American boys. The next track I’d like to highlight is Sound FX‘s “Apathy,” a song which is guaranteed to lift all your worries away as the California natives spit over a light, airy backdrop. Now, before you Charles Hamilton fans get too excited about a comeback (I know there’s still some of you lingering out there), I’d like to warn you that this final track is actually an unreleased collaboration from a few years back. XV recently decided to remaster and re-release his previous four mixtapes, including four new unheard tracks from each recording session. If you’re a fan of Vizzy and want to polish up your library, it’s definitely worth at least a look.
We hope you guys enjoyed our fifth edition of The Hip-Hop Dojo as much as we did. As always, send all submissions/suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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De La Soul
Get Away (feat. The Spirit Of The Wu)
Birds Eye View (feat. Raekwon, Joey Bada$$ & Black Thought)
G.U.R.U. f/ Talib Kweli & DJ Premier
7th Floor (Prod By SoulChef)
Caged Bird ft. Ezdread
Blasphemy in Babylon (prod. by DJ Mentos)
Joey Purp & Tokyo Shawn
World Turning (prod. Caleb James)
Mr Mista feat Nottz Raw ( prod by DP)
Write Brothers (Feat. Thee Tom Hardy) (Produced By K
Panera Bread (Feat. Rick Ross & Lunice)
Marz Barz (Freestyle)
Life We Chose Feat. Lloyd Banks
Fast/Slow feat. Pusha T
Nothing You Can Do (ft. Chamillionaire & Corbett) (prod by Tyler Keyes)
Denzel AquariusKilla Curry
N64 (Prod. By N/P)
Raise Your Weapon Feat. Denzil Porter
Ocean (Prod. Juna Cosmos)
Stronger (Prod. by Jii Amadehuss)
Nevermind (Remix) ft. Charles Hamilton