Five years ago, the Soundcloud world was shaken by the 90s boom-bap of an anonymous EP titled “Your Old Droog,” an extended play rumoured to be Nas‘ follow-up album to legendary hip hop classic Illmatic.

Little did the world know that the EP was actually self-titled; not the voice of Nas, but instead Ukrainian-American rapper, Your Old Droog.

While his real name still remains a mystery, his masterly sound is far from a secret – in fact, its heavy resemblance to Nas continues to bewilder audiences. Now, Brooklyn’s very own, Your Old Droog (Y.O.D.), simply soars above and beyond as an independent artist (Droog Recordings) in his fourth studio album Transportation – a hip hop locomotive just as thrilling as it is impressive.

 

Transportation, a 15-track album, employs every form of transportation within his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, as a stupendous metaphor for the gritty movements and surroundings of its natives.

If you consider yourself a true fan of 90s underground hip hop, then this is an album you need to hear.

Listen now below.

— Almost 2 decades ago, DJ Clue? made his leap from the streets to the record label with the release of his star-studded debut album, The Professional.

Many of us can still remember a time when music wasn’t so accessible and musical products themselves were much more tangible. While today you can instantly stream or download just about any music that you want, things weren’t always like this. Artists found themselves creating projects on an incredibly tight budget, often over the course of months. Crews hit the corners to distribute mixtapes like the Sunday newspaper. And, Hip-Hop connoisseurs were in the streets sniffing out the hottest new product like shameless dope fiends. So, during the ‘90s, when Hip-Hop was receiving more admiration that it ever had before, DJ Clue? mastered a formula that made him one of the first and few DJs to take his talents to the record label.

DJ Clue Presents ‘The Professional’

On December 15, 1998, DJ Clue? released The Professional through his newly founded label, Desert Storm Records (a subsidiary of Roc-a-Fella and Def Jam). Prior to this release, DJ Clue? had become one of NYC’s top DJs due to his prominent street-level mixtapes featuring exclusive tracks from Hip-Hop’s biggest names like Mobb Deep and even Notorious B.I.G. However, once given the opportunity to deliver a studio album, DJ Clue? significantly stepped his game up while still providing quality exclusives that folks on the block can appreciate.

The list of featured acts on The Professional is absolutely insane. In some cases, you get hit with excessive firepower on tracks like “Fantastic 4” featuring Cam’ron, N.O.R.E, Big Pun, and Canibus. A young Fabolous continues making a name for himself on “That’s the Way” and “If They Want It”. Missy Elliot, Nicole Wray, and Mocha set things off with “I Like Control”. Jay Z and Ja Rule join forces for the smooth cut “Gangsta Shit”. Mariah Carey even got a skit. The remaining roster includes DMX, Drag-On, Eve, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Jadakiss, Styles P, Nas, Nature, Boot Camp Clik, M.O.P, Memphis Bleek, EPMD, Lord Tariq, Made Men, Redman, Flipmode Squad, Foxy Brown, Mase, Keith Murray, Raekwon, Big Noyd, and Mobb Deep.

As of 2001, The Professional has been certified platinum by the RIAA with over 1,000,000 records sold in the United States. Still, those numbers alone can’t sum up this project. This album is a piece of history – as all albums are. However, this is one where you can see where so many different artists were at a particular time in history as well as their chemistry with each other – all in one place.

Check out the full project above.

Written by DJ Robinson

– 25 years ago, a star was officially born when the MC formerly known as Nasty Nas released his debut single “Halftime” to critical acclaim.

There isn’t much to be said about Nas that most legitimate hip-hop fans don’t already know. He’s undoubtedly amongst the top tier of hip-hop’s greatest acts, although even then, he may be in a class of his own. That being said, today is an especially special day in hip-hop history as we look back on the single that originally put Nas on the map.

“Halftime”, produced by the also legendary Large Professor, was released on October 13, 1992 as the leading single for the soundtrack of the 1992 film, Zebrahead. The production was carried by a gritty bassline and booming drums with sections of velvety trumpet play for added pizzazz. Nas used this vibrant instrumental to introduce himself to the world in a way that only he could and, in the process, showed the world that there was a gaping hole in hip-hop that only he could fill.

With “Halftime” being released in late 1992 and Nas being labeled as the “new Rakim”, it is generally agreed upon that the 1994 release of Illmatic was long overdue. Still, Nas didn’t disappoint – in fact, he released what is commonly referred to as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

So, while you’re out and about today, be sure to bump Illmatic for old time’s sake.

Written by DJ Robinson