New joint for those soft summer evenings by Anthony
Hamilton...there's a slow, easy feel to this track and
he doesn't let loose with his vocal strength until near
the end. A good song for those BBQ's!
Anthony Hamilton - All Day I Dream
A monthly assortment of reviews dedicated to art, culture,
and abiding the law to enjoy oneself!
RUB BBQ - Righteous Urban Barbeque
208 W 23rd St # 2
New York, NY
Amidst the hustle and bustle of 23rd Street, RUB BBQ has a
way of both sticking out and blending into the Chelsea scenery.
Past visits here have found the restaurant to be comfortable
enough for casual dining during a ballgame or raucous enough
for happy hour. The menu prices are about average for the
area, with the exception of the Down Home Pig Pick'n(which is
an entire BBQ'd side of pork with four sides) and The Empire,
which is a full-out platter of everything with a bottle of Dom
Perignon champagne. As far as appetizers go, definitely go with
the fried green tomatoes. The wings are okay, but a bit pricey
considering how much you get in an order. The brisket was a
bit dry but not to the point where it was rough and devoid of
all flavor. The chicken was especially good as well as the ribs,
although paying an extra 50 cents for sauce on your order?
Not so much. Be forewarned: they do run out of menu items
(as we found out when we tried to order the burnt ends) and
depending on what you want it can be a bummer. But the staff
is overwhelmingly friendly and overall, RUB BBQ is decent for
some 'cue on the go.
In 2003, the world got to finally go one on one
with J Dilla thanks to BBE Records' Beat Generation
series. Welcome to Detroit became a hip-hop staple,
one that played well in clubs as well as the streets.
A track that stood out for many was 'Think Twice', a
short gem full of aged spirit not unlike a glass of
Johnnie Walker Black. A quick homage to jazz pioneer
Donald Byrd's release of the same name, this song
featuring Dwele is rich and mellow. You can't help
but feel at ease once it begins. The key element that
many didn't realize until afterwards was that it wasn't
Dwele singing, but DILLA. While he was puffing on a
joint at that. Dwele played the piano and performed
on trumpet. Few realized that Dilla had a singing voice.
Consider that yet another facet of the treasure his
musical ability was.
This entry from the Mick Boogie mixtape Dillagence caught
a few heads totally by surprise. You immediately get drawn
in by its raw fury, both on the part of the beat and Busta
himself. Originally an instrumental from the Jaylib collaboration
sessions of Dilla and Madlib, the beat raps upon your temple
repeatedly like a salesman at your door. Its fresh vocal samples
mesh well with a vivid bass guitar loop. Busta, chock full of
the usual vigor is unparalled here, spitting lyrics out with
wild abandon. You can tell in his voice how hyped up he is to
have this beat in his headphones and yet another classic track
in both his and Dilla's legacies.
When Ghostface's Fishscale dropped in 2006, it
was to great appeal on the streets. 'Whip You With A
Strap' helped stoke the buzz beforehand due to it being
one of two tracks J Dilla produced before passing away
earlier in the year. Ghostface's matter-of-fact delivery
and gift for layered storytelling in this song about his
childhood and his take on how children are raised now
shine all the more brightly with such a mellow backdrop
Dilla created. The beat had been made before, and was
entitled 'One For Ghost' off of Donuts; combined with a
Luther Ingram sample, each subsequent note drips like
honey and stirs up warm memories. Just the way good
This instrumental is a gem from the recent release
'Jay Stay Paid'. From the opening note, it's all about
the head nod as Dilla lets loose with a steady drumline
that crashes repeatedly. This track is another example
of just how easily he could weave a few layers of sound
into a musical tapestry, from the signature airhorn to
well placed guitar riffs and verbal samples. Short it may
be but lacking in flavor it sure isn't.
What separates the slap chop producers from
the beatmakers is a varied skillset, one that
grows over time. One skill that some contemporary
producers could benefit from is the ability to discern
whether one should manipulate a sample drastically
to fit their vision or tweak it here and there so as not
to disturb the magnetic appeal of it yet letting it fit
what they want to do. J Dilla was highly adept at this
skill and arguably no other beat illustrates this than
'Heroin Joint', a rare beat unearthed just after his
passing. It's short, but seems to expand with every
horn and muted organ note. It drips with soul, and
no wonder; Dilla sampled 'King Heroin', a powerful
spoken word piece by Soul Brother Number one, James
Brown. It doesn't take a careful ear to pinpoint the
sample but one is needed to fully appreciate how
magnetic and full this instrumental is courtesy of
1995. The Pharcyde were at a crossroads as they
released their second album, Labcabincalifornia.
Infighting had led to the group's split with J-Swift,
producer of the first album. That moment brought
about another step in the rise of a brand new
producer out of Detroit...Jay Dee. It would be a
couple of years before he took on the moniker of
J Dilla, but the same pristine production was there.
'Drop' itself is both an ode to the irreverance that
made The Pharcyde famous but also new ground
that further showcased each member's lyricism.
Clever insertion of a Beastie Boys sample within
the hook balanced out with a deceptively simple
but catchy boom bap makes the track all the more
magnetic, so much that when Spike Jonze did the
now famous music video, it made 'Drop' one of the
more memorable songs that year. Think about that
the next time you see the standard rap video these
If you wanted a real in-depth look at the life of
J-Dilla, this documentary has that two times over.
Mainly shot on the day of his funeral in 2006, director
Brian ‘B.Kyle’ Atkins manages to get insight from
Ma Dukes herself and a great array of Dilla’s friends
and collaborators. Nah Right had a breakdown of
the documentary on their site, so they get utmost
thanks for this. This is worth 40 minutes of your
2:55) – Work Ethic Starts In The Basement
(7:35) – What To Listen For in A Dilla Beat
(9:10) – J.Dilla’s Range As A Producer. The King of Reinvention
(12:16) – Going Beyond His Influences
(14:39) – The Dilla Approach To Production
(20:21) – Jay The Producer vs Jay The MC
(26:08) – The Personal Side of J.Dilla
(29:04) – A Soldier Unstoppable!
(32:05) – Venturing Out. (as explained by Phat Kat)
(33:59) – Heading Home… Job Well Done.
(34:48) – We Salute You.
(Released February 2010)
When word got around that Freeway was going to basically
re-emerge with a new album late in 2009, the jokes began.
Freeway? Aint that the dude who went full out Islam? Did he
lose that nasal drip in his voice? Freeway has had his share
of ups and downs as an MC. The ‘Philly Freezer’ who rocked
a full beard way before Rick Ross got his 22nd tat and his first
verses had been established with his first appearance on the
classic Roc-A-Fella jam ‘Roc The Mic’. The problem for Beanie
Siegel’s main man was consistency. He had two albums,
Philadelphia Freeway and Free At Last which got mixed reviews
across the board. Getting dusted like a kitchen sideboard by
fellow Philly MC Cassidy on air in a freestyle battle didn’t help
matters either. Then Freeway got conflicted between being a
Muslim and being an MC who spoke about pushing weight and
letting off shots. All of which led some to question whether he
really could rise to meet his potential.
The Stimulus Package is an eye-opener on many levels. First off,
this got a great deal of acclaim despite the fact that it was an
independent release on the Rhymesayers label. Secondly, the
pairing of Jake One and Freeway is quite possibly one of hip-hop’s
best new collaborations. The Seattle producer had already turned
heads with his first release, White Van Music as well as doing
De La Soul’s ‘Rock Co.Kane Flow’, but this album made a LOT of
heads spin like Linda Blair. As for Freeway, this is the album that
has made him not only relevant again, but has possibly given us
a lot at how much more he can grow. The same flow is there, but
more determined with enough steel in it for a few switchblades.
Each verse he spits on this album carries serious wisdom and
experience…and you connect to it that much more.
The album is smooth even with all of the asphalt-like grittiness of
Jake One’s production. It’s a throwback to those days when hip-hop
did nothing but churn out albums made for cruising the block in
the whip no matter the season. That gets hammered home on the
introduction where Freeway and Beanie go in on a beat that would
have made TSOP proud. On his own, Freeway lyrically slaughters
tracks. “Know What I Mean” deserves to be mentioned in the same
breath as Biggie’s ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ for its matter-of-fact
do’s and don’ts of the game delivered in a manner so slick you’d
think you were right there on the corner with him. “The Product” is
a chilling track, full of haunting piano licks and Free’s vigorous
wordplay where he takes on the properties of drugs. Another
outstanding element of this album are the collaborations. Each one
adds luster, from Bun B’s twang on ‘Sho Nuff’ to Raekwon’s vicious
verse on ‘One Thing’. The Stimulus Package and its success proves
that for 2010, Freeway finally had the last laugh.