One of the first pieces of musical news I heard when I arrived in Austin was that Nate Dogg has passed away. I don’t follow hip hop nearly as closely as I used to cause the rigors of trying to listen to all the music 9B generates leaves very little time but I knew he’d been of ill health the past few years.

Nate Dogg’s voice, at least for me, is one of the signature sounds of the West Coast sound. We were introduced to him via Dr. Dre’s album, The Chronic, but is probably best know for his collaboration on “Regulate” with Warren G. Over the years he appeared in over 40 charting singles.

I’ll leave the eulogizing to more talented and qualified web sites. I just wanted to acknowledge his passing.

Dr. Dre – Lil’ Ghetto Boy (feat. Nate Dogg)
Warren G. – Regulate (feat. Nate Dogg)

Probably my favorite song that features Nate:

Eminem – Till I Collapse (feat. Nate Dogg)


Wife: On your lunch hour can you go get me the Flobots cd?
Me: Who?
Wife: The Flobots
Me: Who is that?
Wife: This band I’ve heard on XM I like
Me: ::rolls eyes:: I guess

Flash forward a couple of hours. Wife and I are in car going to some long forgotten location.

Wife: Turn that up a little.

Volume 21…22…23…24…

Wife: That’s The Flobots.
Radio: “I can ride a bike with no handlebars, no handlebars. Look at me, Look at me, hands in the air like it’s good to be”

Volume 24…23….22…21…20…19…18..17…15…14…

Wife: You’re such a music asshole sometimes.
Me: ::roll eyes::
Wife: You better get the cd for me.
Me: *sigh* Don’t Worry. I’ll get it.
Wife: You should listen to it.
Me: whatever
Wife: sighrollseyesshakesheadsighsagain

Volume 14…15…16…17…
radio whispering: “
I can make new antibiotics, I can make computers survive aquatic conditions, I know how to run a business, And I can make you wanna buy a product”

Me: ::roll eyes::

BUT…I did listen to it. I do like it.

That track they are playing on XM, “Handlebars”, sucks, but it’s the only track on the album that does. Now, I ain’t gonna pretend to know shit about The Flobots other than I like this album. I don’t even know if they are popular or not, but considering the fact that none of their raps invent a new dance or prop up a new energy drink, I am gonna guess that the answer is no. They really remind me of a new version of the 90’s industrial/political rap band Consolidated. I gotta admit it, the wife was right on about these guys. Check ’em out, and if you live in the Tampa/St. Pete area you can see them at The State Theater on July 29. I’ll be there.

The Flobots – Fight With Tools
The Flobots – The Rhythm Method (Move!)

The Flobots’ Official Site, The Flobots on myspace, Buy Fight With Tools

Bluegrass + Hip Hop = Gangstagrass

I am a sucker for a mashup, so when I saw this entry over on BoingBoing today I had to check into it.

I’m not a big fan of Rench as a band. I think it’s too gimmicky and aside from that I just don’t think they are very good but they managed to do a very interesting job with this mashup of Underground hip-hop vocals with Rench beats and tons of uncleared samples from early bluegrass, folk ballads, and blues as well as some modern bluegrass as well.

They did a really awesome job putting it together. Unlike most mashups there really isn’t any point during these 22 tracks where the mix feels forced. I never would have thought the two genres would mesh so well.

Anyhow, they’re giving it away for free so check it out here (official) or here (torrent).

Anai – On Lock
T.O.N.E-Z – On the Run

Outkast news + new song…

Doing the piece on Cunninlynguists got me to thinking about Goodie Mob and Outkast. I’ve heard rumors (confirmed via Wikipedia so much as Wiki can confirm anything) of Goodie Mob reuniting with Cee-lo for a new cd but what became of Outkast. IMO, they lost their mojo after Stankonia continued to fade with Speakerboxxx/Love Below and became utterly forgettable after Idlewild. Last I had heard, 10 the Hard Way, was supposed to have came out this year which would have satisfied their contractual obligations and I assumed Outkast would then die a much needed death until the eventual reunion tour/album. So what happened? I set out to ask Google and found my answers via 2 site (here and here):

One album remains on Outkast’s LaFace contract. It was originally planned as a ten-track release called 10 The Hard Way; shortly after Idlewild dropped, the duo confirmed the album is still in the works, though both have begun new projects without releasing any new information on the album. In a recent interview with the L.A. Times, OutKast confirmed that “10 The Hard Way” was still going to come out, but said they would keep it ‘under wraps’ until the album’s release, still possibly two years away.


While you’re waiting for info, here’s something new from the duo courtesy of Spine Magazine. “Da Art of Storytellin’ Part 4” feature’s Floetry’s Marsha Ambrosius and will appear on DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz: The Album, out next week.

DJ Drama (feat. Outkast and Marsha Ambrosius) – Da Art of Storytellin’ Part 4
Outkast (with Goodie Mob) – Git Up Git Out

Cunninlynguists – Dirty Acres

It was around this time last year that I first mentioned Cunninlynguists here on ninebullets, awarding them my “Best Hip Hop of 2006” award. Today they will release their fourth album, quite possibly the best hiphop cd of 2007, Dirty Acres. Ditching the concept album approach of A Piece of Strange, Kno, Deacon and Natti have made an album that takes this particular listener back to Goodie Mob, circa Still Standing. The throwback feel of this cd may be a stumbling block for some people, but I am not one of them. I don’t subscribe to the theory that a release must push the boundaries of its particular genre to have merit. There is nothing wrong with just making a great album with strong tracks from beginning to end, and that is exactly what Dirty Acres is, 13 tracks (2 interludes) of Southern-infused hip hop. Unlike most hip hop you hear on the radio, this album really doesn’t feel like it was created for the club. Eschewing hooks and chants for lazy beats and thoughtful lyrics, this cd is far better suited for afternoon drives with no destination than getting crunk. Perhaps, with the current state of hip hop, making an album that will stand the test of time, instead of an album that sells the newest vodka, is innovation in and of itself.

Cunninlynguists – Valley of Death
Cunninlynguists – K.K.K.Y.
Cunninlynguists – Mexico

Cunninlynguists Official Site, Buy Dirty Acres

Alex, I'll take hip-hop covers for 1000:

If a person is going to dis hip-hop, inevitably they will mention sampling. “Fucker’s can not even write their own songs! Take someone else’s music and talk over it….where is the talent in that?” blah blah blah…. While there are a multitude of angles from which to attack this argument, I am not here to convince people of the legitimacy of hip-hop as an art. If you can not recognize it on your own then you are probably an asshole. The other day I was listening to the new Swollen Members cd, Black Magic, while I ran some errands on my lunch break. Something in the song Torture reminded me of a long-ago cover of Natural Born Killaz by the band Christ Analogue. The cover was from a 1996 release titled Operation Beatbox put out on the now defunct Re-Constriction Records. Operation Beatbox was a compilation of industrial bands covering hip-hop songs. While it was largely forgettable it did contain some real gems such as the Christ Analogue cover. This chain of thought quickly lead to how much I like The Gourds version of Gin and Juice. Somewhere amidst my stack of cds I have a Drive-by Trucker bootleg where they do a quick cover of Outkast’s song Roses in the middle of one of their shows. I guess that as the high-school and college kids of today grow and their bands start to gain recognition you’ll see a lot more covers of hip-hop jams. They were raised with hip-hop and see it for what it is. See, Puffy is to hip-hop as Hinder is to metal. Lloyd Banks is to hip-hop as Kenny Chesney is to country. What I am saying is none of those mentioned artists are really representing their claimed genre. They are just pop music in the correct and carefully selected/marketed uniform. That, at the core, is the most annoying aspect of trying to defend hip-hop to people who do not care for the genre. They only see hip-hop as MTV. All of this bled over into the afternoon where I sat in my cubicle downloading hip-hop covers I suddenly wanted to hear. I figured I would share some of them with you today. I am gonna post the cover and the original. See who did it better.

Original: Natual Born Killaz – Dr. Dre and Ice Cube
Cover: Natual Born Killaz – Christ Analogue

Original: Gangstas Paradise – Coolio
Cover: Gangstas Paradise – Battery

Original: Gin and Juice – Snoop Doggy Dog
Cover: Gin and Juice – The Gourds

Original: Renegades of Funk – Afrikka Bambatta
Cover: Renegades of Funk – Rage Against the Machine

I made mention of these covers on a message board I frequent and a friend of mine sent me a link to a cover of Natural Born Killaz that his band rec|use did. Personally, I think they did a phenomenal job. Check it out:

rec|use – Natual Born Killaz

While I was doing all of this I ran across an ooooolldddd school hip-hop jam that I loved back in the day and since I have no idea if or where I would be able to post it again I am gonna drop it on y’all now:

Man Parrish – Boogie Down Bronx

Jurassic 5 & Dilated Peoples

After writing about the Cunninlynguists CD the other day I’ve had this nagging feeling I should mention a couple other Cd’s that were awesome and completely ignored. So, while these are not better than A Piece of Strange, if I was making a top 5 I’d have a hard time listing which was number 2….but, I would eventually settle on Jurassic 5 – Feedback so I’ll start there.

Jurassic 5 – Feedback


After a 4 year silence J5 dropped Feedback on us back in July. The album features J5’s token rapid fire back and forth vocal deliveries and those old school feelin’ beats are still in place despite the departure of Cut Chemist. This CD also came with a nod to the future. Feedback is definitely J5’s most pop-oriented album yet with the collaboration of Dave Mathews and Scott Storch. While some long-time J5 fans might find themselves put off by the new sound there is still plenty to keep their heads bobbing. Might I also add that the J5 show in St. Pete this year was without a doubt the best hip-hop show I saw and one of the 5 best shows I saw for 2006. Those guys were tighter than a nun. So check out Feedback. Every time I listen to it I find myself thinking that I need to listen to it once a week.

Jurassic 5 – Gotta Understand
Jurassic 5 – In the House
Jurassic 5 – Where We At

J5 Official Site, J5 myspace, Buy J5 cds

Dilated Peoples – 20/20

How. in. the. fuck. are these guys not huge? The moment lead single Back Again kicked with “Back again kinda like Bush & Blair, some were scared, some just wished they cared” they had me hook line and sinker. My favorite track off the CD has to be Kindness for Weakness which tells the tale of friends who betray. Evidence is undoubtedly one of my favorite rappers our there…second only to Gift of Gab possibly. Overall, 20/20 is the DP CD to shut down the haters. Check it out.

Dilated Peoples – Kindness for Weakness
Dilated Peoples – Back Again
Dilated Peoples – You Can’t Hide, You Can’t Run

Dilated Peoples Official Site, Dilated Peoples on myspace, Buy Dilated Peoples cds