September 13, 2021

The Max-Approved Mixtape - Episode #15! (Brought to you by RandoMax Radio)


Episode 15 of the Max-Approved Mixtape is my favorite of the bunch so far. I realize I say that every time I upload a new mix, but the fact that I'm still having fun with this side project should be signal enough for the two of you that these mixes meet or exceed my unrealistically high standards of musical excellence. In other words, these ten songs are the bees' knees, or "the shit", as it were.

Hit that 'play' button and watch in awe as your commute just flies by. Oh, and word of advice - let the
mix play past that Quincy track. Trust me.


1. Hus Kingpin - "Runnin'" (featuring Miles Bonny)
2. Drake - "Lord Knows" (featuring Rick Ross)
3. Jay Royale - "Thousand Gram Figero" (featuring Skyzoo)
4. Your Old Droog - "Jew Tang" (featuring Matisyahu)
5. Xzibit - "Alkaholik" (featuring Erick Sermon, J-Ro, and Tash)
6. The Diplomats - "Dipset Anthem"
7. Slaughterhouse - "Microphone"
8. Cypress Hill - "Case Closed"
9. ScHoolboy Q - "Californication" (featuring A$AP Rocky)

I have it on good authority that only people with great taste in music will be able to appreciate this episode, so I encourage you to pass it along to anybody you know that fits the criteria. Their ears will thank you.

Until next post,


September 6, 2021

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

(I had mentioned before that the King's Disease II Patreon post would be open to all for a limited time - I meant that. I've since returned it to its rightful place behind the paywall, although it's still accessible to Patreon subscribers, of course. While I do what I can to drum up some content for the free site, here is a repeat of a 2019 post promoting two different free Patreon posts that are still available to everyone, and if you like what you see, three dollars a month gets you everything that's over there that'll never appear over here. Get in before the price goes up! (I mean metaphorically, in a 'Fat Joe talking about Jadakiss's performance on Verzuz'-kind of way, although the other, literal meaning could also come into play eventually, so...))

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.


August 30, 2021

RandoMax Radio Episode #34!

Episode 34 of RandoMax Radio is popping at the very end of August, just in time to ruin the days of the nonreaders who had hoped I somehow forgot all about this little side trip-slash-enterprise.

If you're a fan of actual good music, however, you're in luck, as that's what I compile these bad boys from. A mixture of genres designed to mimic the experience of putting my phone on 'shuffle', RandoMax Radio only gets better with each new edition. Tell your friends and enemies - they have the right to hear the good shit, too.

Tracklist coming soon because you know how I do.

EDIT: It's that time once again.


1. "A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays'" - De La Soul (feat. Q-Tip and Vinia Mojica)
2. "The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)" - Peter Schilling
3. "Gossip Folks" - Missy Elliott (feat. Ludacris)
4. "Dressed For Space" - TR/ST
5. "Da Joint" - EPMD
6. "Ceremony" - New Order
7. "Gooey" - Glass Animals
8. "Runnin'" - The Pharcyde
9. "Pit Stop (Take Me Home)" - Lovage
10. "Because I Got It Like That" - Jungle Brothers
11. "Licorice" - Azealia Banks
12. "Starshine" - Gorillaz
13. "This Boy's In Love" - The Presets
14. "After Dark" - Heiroglyphics
15. "Lost Souls" - Book of Love
16. "Squid Pro Quo" - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

General reminders and requests: subscribe to the RandoMax Radio feed to catch up on previous episodes and to receive updates before they appear on either of the sites; you can also troll me on Twitter at @hhid_Max; and of course, you can leave your comments, complaints, memes, song and/or article suggestions, and whatever else you two want me to see.

Enjoy, and pass this around! More listeners and more subscribers means more content!


August 17, 2021

Free Patreon Preview! (Featuring Nas x Hit-Boy)

In 2020, Queensbridge alderman Nasir "Nas" Jones recorded and released King's Disease, his twelfth solo album and first collaboration with producer-slash-rapper Hit-Boy. Coming off of the dual disappointments Nasir (his 2018 "album"fully produced by Kanye West) and The Lost Tapes 2 (his 2019 collection of leftover tracks originally intended for other projects probably), King's Disease was met with the most acclaim in the rapper's career, at least when looking at the last decade or so, and won over a lot of hip hop heads who gravitated toward Hit-Boy's nuanced take on boom bap and Nas's own energy, which somehow made him sound like he was actually excited to spit bars for the first time since 2012's Life Is Good.

King's Disease
also happened to win the man his very first Grammy award ever (after a slew of nominations, none of which were for songs or projects that you'd think were honor-worthy), so, unsurprisingly, this year brought us King's Disease II, a documentation of Nasir Jones, Hit-Boy, and their shared return to the well. Maintaining the throughline of jazzy boom bap-lite, heavy on shit-talk and proselytizing, King's Disease II also mixed in several ounces of nostalgia, matching the first volume's reunion of The Firm with numerous references to his past and one guest star (of many) that seems to have been selected solely to remind the listener of the man's first radio hit, although the end result here turns those expectations right on their ear.

I felt kind of bad for pushing the King's Disease II write-up directly to the Patreon, so for a limited time I'm opening it up to absolutely everyone. You can access it by clicking here. However, when I say "limited" I'm not fucking around, so what I would kindly ask is that you two consider a subscription to the Patreon site if you haven't already signed up: for just $3 (USD) per month, you'll receive exclusive, immediate access to over one hundred posts that simply won't ever make it here, and there are far less restrictions on subject matter over behind the paywall.

Enjoy, kiddos!


August 10, 2021

The Max-Approved Mixtape - Episode #14! (Brought to you by RandoMax Radio)


Episode 14 of the Max-Approved Mixtape, which I have right here in my back pocket but am willing to share with you in exchange for a favor, features ten outright banging hip hop tracks lifted from various eras of our beloved culture, presented withina  new context to allow for a much better appreciation. As I keep fucking telling you two, there is no expiration date on good music, which means it can sound just as fresh today as it did on its original release date. Grab the vice of your choice and zone out.


1. Nas - "Take It In Blood"
2. Casual - "That's How It Is"
3. 2Pac - "When I Get Free 2" (featuring Yaki Kadafi)
4. Rick Ross - "Nobody's Favorite" (featuring Gunplay)
5. Mach-Hommy - "Magnum Band" (featuring Tha God Fahim)
6. Bumpy Knuckles - "Bumpy Knuckles Baby"
7. Originoo Gunn Clappaz - "Da Storm"
8. Sauce Money - "Chart Climbin'"
9. Redman - "Cloze Ya Doorz" (featuring Diezzel Don, Double-O, Gov Mattic, Roz, and Young Zee)
10. Gang Starr - "Who Got Gunz" (featuring Fat Joe and M.O.P.)

Stream this shit until the world ends, which, as it so happens, is scheduled for one month from today. Mask up and be safe!

Until next post,


August 3, 2021

RandoMax Radio Presents: Wu-Mas 2020 Mix


Some of you may remember a series of posts from the last holiday season which celebrated the Wu-Tang Clan in their various forms, by way of eleven special episodes of the Max-Approved Mixtape that focused exclusively on the group and their sprawling membership. Today's post is partly me taking a breather, but mostly my attempt at rekindling that spark, since longtime readers know how important the Wu is to both the site and myself, and the worst-kept secret on the blog is that this upcoming holiday season is going to feature more Wu-related product, so I figured today's a good day to start that promotional run-up.

This very special episode of the Max-Approved Mixtape is comprised of twenty fine tracks lifted from those eleven chapters, presented within a new context but still banging through and through. There are some classic fucking tracks, some lesser-known but still fantastic offerings, a couple of outside guest artists, and at least one song I've put on too many mixes already but I don't give a shit.Wu stans will likely know every one of these tracks (some much more than others), but I urge everybody that stumbles upon this mix to both give it a listen and to share it with as many people you know that would appreciate such stellar examples of our chosen genre at its best.

WU-MAS 2020 MIX:

1. "Brooklyn Zoo" - Ol' Dirty Bastard
2. "Verbal Intercourse" - Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah and Nas
3. "I Get My Thang In Action" - Method Man
4. "Protect Ya Neck (Bloody Version)" - Wu-Tang Clan
5. "The Drummer" - Theodore Unit featuring Method Man and Streetlife
6. "Lab Drunk" - The RZA
7. "One" - Ghostface Killah
8. "4:20" - Method Man featuring Streetlife, Carlton Fisk, and The RZA
9. "4th Chamber" - GZA/Genius featuring Ghostface Killah, The RZA, and Killah Priest
10. "Fire" - U-God featuring Jackpot and Method Man
11. "Fire" - Ghostface Killah & Trife da God
12. "House of Flying Daggers" - Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, and Method Man)
13. "Iron God Chamber" - Masta Killa featuring The RZA, U-God, and Method Man
14. "Mighty Healthy" - Ghostface Killah
15. "Guillotine (Swordz)" - Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, and GZA/Genius
16. "Assassination Day" - Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Masta Killa, and The RZA
17. "The Hilton" - Ghostface Killah featuring Raekwon
18. "Heaterz" - Wu-Tang Clan
19. "Run" - Ghostface featuring Jadakiss
20. "Rainy Dayz" - Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah and Blue Raspberry

Enjoy this mix and share it widely! I'll be back soon, hopefully rested.


July 29, 2021

My Gut Reaction: The Game - Block Wars (July 29, 2016)

You two may recall a previous post mentioning how Compton ambassador Jayceon “The Game” Taylor spent his busy 2016, releasing two quickie compilations, both of which were soundtracks to unrelated efforts, both of which doubled as the promotional lead-up for his eighth seventh proper full-length album, 1992. The first of those efforts, Streets of Compton, was a soundtrack to a documentary reality miniseries describing the gang lifestyle in, well, Compton, a miniseries that I’m not convinced anybody ever actually watched, but at least I can locate proof that it existed: the second of the two quickies and the subject of today's Gut Reaction post, Block Wars, is a companion piece to a mobile video game of the same name that remains unreleased, at least according to the Interweb, which, as we all know, is never wrong. Oh well, at least we'll always have this cover art.