– Almost 25 years ago, West Coast hip-hop trio, Tha Alkaholiks dropped 21 & Over, a classic among underground hip-hop fiends.

On August 24, 1993 Tha Alkaholiks, composed of MCs J-Ro and Tash and DJ/producer E-Swift, released their very first project 21 & Over. The album didn’t do particularly well commercially as no single reached the Billboard Hot 100, however it did well on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and was critically acclaimed in the streets. So much so, 21 & Over has been regarded by many as the single best West Coast party album to date.

While the group was known for their party-themed rhymes, Tash and J-Ro are no mediocre lyricists. The MCs provided witty and comical rhymes with outstanding timing and delivery, creating a much-needed balance in the era where West Coast gangster rap was in its prime. Ironically though, Compton native and prominent gangster rapper, King Tee, is who assembled the group.

The production of 21 & Over, without a doubt, has a lot to do with the greatness of this album as well. E-Swift of Tha Alkaholiks, King Tee, Derick “D.Pimp” Williams, and The Lootpack collectively handled the production. Samples from legends like James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Rick James, Run DMC, and Lyn Collins were used as well – just to name a few. And, in case you didn’t know, The Lootpack, is a hip-hop group consisting of Wildchild, DJ Romes, and the crate digga’ himself, Madlib. 21 & Over was where The Lootpack made their first appearance making the album that much more of a landmark project in hip-hop history.

In the long run, Tha Alkaholiks never received the commercial success and exposure that many truly feel that they deserve. However, amongst the cult-like underground hip-hop community they are viewed as Gods in their own right. Furthermore, by releasing such light-hearted content powered by emphatic rhymes and a vibe that often paid homage to the east coast, Tha Alkaholiks have nonetheless been able to penetrate the eardrums of a wide range of fans. From collaborations with Xzibit to Marley Marl to Pharrell to Kurupt to Ol’ Dirty Bastard to Q-Tip – everyone was rocking with Tha Alkaholiks. So while many may not have heard of Tha Alkaholiks, they could very possibly be your favorite rapper’s favorite rap group.

Written By DJ Robinson

– June 13, 2000 was the date that Madlib officially introduced his Quasimoto alter ego to the world with his first solo project, The Unseen.

17 years ago today, DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and rapper, Madlib, officially split himself in two separate entities and subsequently delivered one of the most classic hip-hop albums of all time. That album is none other than The Unseen; released by Madlib’s newly created alter ego and side project, Quasimoto.

The Quasimoto character was birthed from Madlib’s desire to rap over his own production. However, with a voice he felt was too deep for his intentions, he used some studio magic to create a high-pitched voice effect similar to that used on Prince’s 1986 album, Camilla. Madlib proceeded to establish his alter ego as a “bad character”, with Quasimoto saying everything that he would say if he was on the mic himself. While the birth of Quasimoto was something different and creative with his high-pitched voice alteration and witty and introspective lyrics, this still only shows a small portion of the unmatched musical genius Madlib showcased when he released, The Unseen.

While Madlib allowed his double, Quasimoto, to take the front seat with the project’s vocals, he stole the show with his jazzy and smooth, yet choppy and gritty, production. Madlib accomplished this by first using an assortment of “found sounds” that he snatched from the most interesting people and works of art such as Augustus Pablo, Melvin Van Peebles, and the eccentric French film, La Planete Sauvage.

Interludes and dialogues were also well mixed into the album – including an encounter with a subpar record store that killed Quas’ crate diggin’ vibe. They were so well mixed in fact, that you’d likely have no need or desire to skip any tracks. You’ll be nodding along to the next 3 songs before you even notice that you finished listening to the first one. This is a major accomplishment, especially because of the album’s wide-ranging production, sporadic spurts of lyricism after substantial periods of instrumentals, and unpredictable song structure.

Happy Listening!

Written by DJ Robinson

– Check out some of these dope projects by (or inspired by) DJ/Producer, Madlib, just as he launches a 7-city international tour.

Although Madlib and Freddie Gibbs have declared that their follow-up joint project has been completed, no official release date has been set. However, on Madlib’s end, we have a lot to hold us over as well as plenty to look forward to in the next few months.

This summer, Madlib will embark on his ‘Medicine Show’ Tour, which will take him into the fall season. The tour was launched at Distortion Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark this past weekend and will end at III Points Festival in Miami, Florida.

If you can’t make it to any of Madlib’s live shows, don’t fret. Thanks to Madlib himself and New Hampshire producer, D. Begun, 3 instrumental mixes and a 21-track album have been independently released within the past month.

Madlib is solely responsible for the three mixes, all ranging from 17-20 minutes long. The mixes all pay homage to some part of Italy and are named “Lost in Polignano a Mare”, “Beat Konducta in Lecce”, and “Beat Konducta in Alberobello”.

D. Begun, on the other hand, made a risky move by tampering with some classics. However, he was extremely successful in combining Madlib’s classic Quasimoto-released album, The Unseen, and assorted verses from Nas. He cleverly named the mashup project, Nasimoto

Madlib’s full tour schedule is listed below.

Jun 01: Copenhagen @ Distortion Festival
Jun 04: Amsterdam @ De School
Jul 15: Chicago @ Pitchfork Festival
Aug 10: Oslo @ Oya 2017, HIFI Tent
Aug 12: London @ Sunfall
Aug 19: Locorotondo, Italy @ Viva! Festival
Oct 13: Miami @ III Points Festival

 

Written by DJ Robinson