September 17, 2019

Eric B. & Rakim - Don't Sweat the Technique (June 23, 1992)



The closing chapter in the Eric B. & Rakim saga, Don’t Sweat the Technique, wasn’t supposed to be the duo’s final album together. The short version of the story finds Eric “Eric B.” Barrier and William “Rakim” Griffin Jr. at a professional crossroads with their record label, MCA, their contract having just about run its course, leading to our hosts fighting their bosses in court over financial matters. The slightly longer, more accurate version, however, finds Rakim Allah in a place where he was curious about what a solo career could entail, which both terrified and enraged Eric, as it was common knowledge back in the early 1990’s that Rakim was more of a draw than the guy he once wanted to run for president, even though they had split everything down the middle from day one.

Obviously, things did not go in Eric’s favor, as Don’t Sweat the Technique was their fourth, and final, project as a team.

September 10, 2019

My Gut Reaction: DJ Muggs x Meyhem Lauren x Classic Car Club Manhattan - Members Only (September 6, 2019)


Members Only is the third project in three years from the team of DJ Muggs and Queens-based rapper-slash-television personality-slash-F.O.B. (that’s ‘friend of Bronson’) Meyhem Lauren. It follows 2017’s full-length Gems From the Equinox, which doubled as the prolific Muggerud’s full-time return to the culture after a hiatus of sorts, and the 2018 EP Frozen Angels, which compiled all of the various bonus tracks off of Gems and threw in some other trinkets for the fuck of it.

I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of years talking about DJ Muggs, and there's only so many ways I can keep telling the same story, so we’ll keep these paragraphs brief.

September 3, 2019

Free Patreon Previews! (Featuring Dan the Automator and Kool Keith)

In 2006, 2K Sports released NBA 2K7, their annual attempt at recreating the NBA player experience in video game form, on multiple platforms. Although previous editions featured songs that were recorded exclusively for their respective games, the 2006 release was the first to have its own official soundtrack. To mark the occasion, 2K Sports, in tandem with record label Decon, sought out a producer to curate a selection of tracks that paid tribute to the sport of basketball. Curiously, the producer they signed up was Dan The Automator.

Dan The Automator Presents 2K7 features appearances from the likes of Chali 2na of the Jurassic 5, Ghostface Killah, Rhymefest, Lupe Fiasco, Slim Thug, and a motherfucking Tribe Called Quest, all of which take place over original Automator beats crafted exclusively for this compilation.

Click here to read some of my thoughts on 2K7.

Earlier this year, Mello Music Group teased the release of a new Kool Keith album featuring wall-to-wall production from Psycho Les. Aside from the first single “Zero Fux” and the project’s title, KEITH, there wasn’t much for his fans to work with, and yet it easily became the man’s most highly anticipated release since the second Dr. Octagon album with The Automator. Kool Keith is a legend for his swagtastic, obtuse shit-talking; tenure; malleability; and, of course, his multiple personas (if not for his work ethic alone – even though he threatened to retire from the game several years ago, the number of albums the man has released probably reaches high double digits at this point), and Psycho Lester has been in the game for a hot minute (the first Beatnuts EP dropped in 1993), so the combination of the two showed promise.

Click here to catch up with Kool Keith's KEITH.

And if you want access to more of this bonus content, you should subscribe to Hip Hop Is Done. For the low low price of three dollars (USD) a month, you'll receive additional reviews and articles that don't fit within the Hip Hop Isn't Dead project.

Thanks for reading! I'll be back soon with more bullshit of some sort.

-Max

August 27, 2019

RandoMax Radio Episode #10!


Episode 9 of RandoMax Radio ended up charting on a list of indie rock mix shows on Mixcloud. Not exactly what you'd probably expect from what is still technically a hip hop blog, but still a good look nevertheless. So consider this your invitation to the bandwagon, where you can have a comfortable seat as opposed to having to run alongside me just because you were late to the party.

August's episode of RandoMax Radio, available after the jump.

August 22, 2019

RandoMax Radio Presents: Wu-Massacre 2 (a fake album starring GZA, Inspectah Deck, and Masta Killa)

...at which point Max decides to start being all creative and shit  

So I got bored one day and decided to mess around with an idea that had been bouncing around in my head ever since Wu-Massacre dropped. If you remember the write-up, or if you follow any of the bullshit I write on Twitter that isn't just promotion for my various creative outlets, I mentioned that, while the Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and Method Man teaming was dead in the water, there was potential to revive the series if the focus shifted to three lesser-known members of the Wu-Tang Clan: GZA, Inspectah Deck, and Masta Killa. (Of course, "lesser known" just means "those three weren't signed to a major label at the time or publication", and they still aren't.)

Since it's become obvious that Wu-Massacre 2 isn't ever going to come to fruition, I chose to make it myself.

Kind of.

August 20, 2019

Cypress Hill - Stash (EP) (July 2, 2002)


In 1996, Ruffhouse Records released Unreleased & Revamped, an EP from Cypress Hill that was intended to keep the group’s name active within the culture while the trio of B-Real, Sen Dog, and producer DJ Muggs worked on their fourth album, IV.  It consisted primarily of reworkings of previously-released tracks, serving mostly as a vehicle for the label to promote the Fugees remix of “Boom Biddy Bye Bye”, as the two groups were among the most well-known on the roster. The trick seemed to work out for all parties: the Fugees remix seemingly received much more airplay than any of the actual singles from the Hill’s third LP Temples of Boom, since that was around the time when Lauryn, Wyclef, and Pras were nigh untouchable.

In 2002, Ruffhouse Records released Stash, an EP from Cypress Hill that was intended to keep the group’s name active within the culture while the trio of B-Real, Sen Dog, and producer DJ Muggs worked on their seventh album, Till Death Do Us Part. It consisted entirely of reworkings of previously-released tracks, serving mostly as a vehicle for the label to make a quick buck off of the Cypress Hill brand without any attention paid to quality control. There are six songs on this EP, five of which are inexplicably censored, as though the label were actively trying to recruit children and parents for the cause, even though anyone who was even remotely interested in the Cypress Hill of the early 2000’s would have already sought out their work, explicit lyrics and all.

Stash is a goddamn fucking mess.

August 13, 2019

Jeru the Damaja - The Hammer (EP) (June 17, 2014)



Jeru the Damaja’s discography consists of five full-length albums chock-full of East New York holier-than-thou bluster released since 1994. Now, as the hip hop head I assume you to be if you’re still reading today’s post as opposed to waiting until I write about Drake’s Views or something, you’re forgiven if you can only recall the first two of those projects: his debut, 1994’s The Sun Rises in the East, and its follow-up Wrath of the Math two years later. Now there’s a reason why you two only ever bring up those first two albums whenever Jeru comes up in conversation, but it isn’t exactly what you think.