Won’t buy an album? Buy this instead…

April 18th, 2014 | By

Broken Record

I read a recent article about rap artist Apathy speaking out against so-called fans and their support of music. Apathy basically pointed out that way too many people feel music should be free and done “for the love“. I agree with him and he made a really great argument. People are willing to buy a few drinks – something that it is pissed out the same night – but claim $10.00 for an album is too much.

This really got me thinking. In the spirit of Apathy, I decided to make a list of similiary priced items that people buy on a constant basis. You have no problem buying these items, so what about music?

  • • A pack of double-A batteries
  • • 2 coffees from Starbucks
  • • 3 gallons of gas
  • • A burrito from Chipotle (with Guacamole)
  • • 2 to 3 beers
  • • Entrance to a small club/lounge
  • • 1 mixed drink
  • • 5star Notebook
  • • 1.5 packs of cigarettes
  • • iPhone case
  • • A pack of white t-shirts
  • • 1 month of Netflix
  • • A bottle of Tylenol
  • • USB stick
  • • a pizza
  • • phone charger
  • • A pack of socks
  • • A comic book
  • • A movie ticket
  • • make up
  • • 1 Gillette Razor
  • • 2 Fast food value meals

*Note – All prices were based on where I live close to New York City. Your dollar may stretch a little further depending where you live.

The next time you pick up one of these items, remember – you could be buying an album that will outlast any of the above.

Lake - Crush Linen (Alchemist)

March 24th, 2014 | By



Roberta Flack hardly needs an introduction. From multiple hits, samples, and the Fugees remake of “Killing Me Softly“, I’m not even going to get into it. The track “This Side of Forever” was featured on the Sudden Impact soundtrack from the early 80s. Lalo Schifrin (also needs no introduction) provided the music for this cut and most Dirty Harry related films. The intro to the song was sampled by super producer Alchemist for Queensbridge rapper Lake‘s “Crush Linen“.

Lake – also known as Lakey the Kid – is an MC who got his starts with Nas‘ original crew in the early 90s, similar to Cormega. However, at the time Illmatic was blowing up, he was sent to jail for shooting a guy in the stomach. When he was finally released in 1999, Nas threw him a bone and helped release The 41st Side compilation. The album featured many of Queens finest and beats from Alchemist, who at the time was at the height of his career. Al laid down the “Crush Linen” beat by speeding up and looping the intro to “This Side of Forever“. Peep how he flipped it.

Scratch Magazine TV presents… The Common Beat Tape

March 8th, 2014 | By


Scratch Magazine TV presents... The Common Beat Tape


The good brothers at TheBeatTapeProject.com and Scratch Magazine TV have put together their latest series of beat tapes. This time, the crew assembled instrumentals that would fit Chicago legend Common (the artist formerly known as Sense).

The album contains 36 instrumentals and is available for free download. Check out track 13 “That’s the Mood I’m In” produced by me aka Ill Tal.

Nas - The Black Bond

February 20th, 2014 | By



When most people hear the name Howard Roberts, they think of the Jazz guitarist who worked with David Axelrod. This Howard Roberts is a lounge artist, similar to Bert Kaempfert. One of my regular record suppliers told me to pick up this LP for $10 so I did. It contains a cover of the Burt Bacharach / Hal David classic “Look of Love“. I was surprised to hear the intro bars to the track as they were used by none other than nasty Nas.

Arguably a classic and one of Nas’ best LPs, Life is Good was chock full of dope beats, mostly provided by veteran producer Salaam Remi. It was a mix of replayed samples, live instrumentation, and looped movie scores (done by Remi himself?!). One of the bonus tracks of the album, “The Black Bond“, is a story-telling cut inspired by James Bond (obviously). Salaam looped the first bar of “Look of Love” for the backing bass/drums and then added some horns and other instrumentation to get that Bond-feel. Check out the original.

X The Incredible - Rhymes Like These (feat. AsherNaut)

February 7th, 2014 | By



Check out the new track by from Dallas rapper X The Incredible featuring AsherNaut. X makes plenty of 90′s references in this throw back track, produced by Ill Tal. Miss the good old days of boom bap? Check this one out.

Magictones - Good Old Music

January 27th, 2014 | By



Most diggers are familiar with the drum breaks on both Funkadelic and Parliament’s version of “Good Old Music“. However, you may not be aware of the version by The Magictones.

The Magictones were a soul group on Westbound records (the same label as Funkadelic). Two members of the group – Tyrone Barkley and Calvin Stephenson would later become members of a more known soul act, Undisputed Truth. Before they moved on to bigger and better things, they released a few singles in the late 60′s on Westbound. One of those singles contained a b-side of “Good Old Music“.

Basically, the Magictones are singing over an instrumental version of the Funkadelic song. I’m not sure if it’s the exact version or an alternate take. Some of the guitars do sound a little different. Like the original, the intro contains a nice, long drum break. It differs from the Funkadelic version, in that the clap/snap is much louder and you can’t really hear the vocals in the background. George Clinton is credited as the writer and the producer.

If you’re looking for some new drums, check it out.

Android 4.3 Issues with Samsung Galaxy S3 / Verizon

January 15th, 2014 | By

android_sucks

Normally, I keep my site strictly music-related, but need to put this one on blast… A few days ago I got a notification on my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 to upgrade to the new version of Android – 4.3. I did hoping it would add some cool new features. It did! New features like:

1. Shorter Battery Life – Before updating I would get 6-8 hours of life out of my phone. After the update? About 2-3 hours (that’s half the life for anyone mathematically inclined). In the morning after unplugging the phone fully charged, it goes down to 96% in about 10 minutes. No exaggeration.

2. Slower Response Times – After the update, EVERYTHING takes longer. Opening apps, “waking” from the lock screen, even typing. Yes – writing a text there is a noticeable delay in the time I press a key to the time it appears on the screen.

3. Wifi Connectivity Issues – Before updating, never had an issue. Now I keep getting “Unstable Wi-Fi Connection” errors and the phone switches to 4g. (Probably a scam to make you pay for more data but who knows). My wifi is Verizon Fios, so good luck blaming yourself for that one.

If the above wasn’t bad enough, the response from Verizon/Samsung/Android has pretty much been silent. In fact, there is a forum of over 27 pages on Verizon’s Community Help Center of customers with the same issues.

View the unhappy Verizon Customers here.

The Customer Support people must think everyone in the forum is an idiot and we all think it’s just a coincidence that everyone’s phone stopped working correctly after the update. Some helpful replies from Customer Service include:

1. Here is a link to helpful tips to increase battery life
2. Have you done a factory reset?
3. We will send you a refurbished phone

Some people actually tried the above and still ran into the same issues once the phone automatically updates to 4.3.

All in all, this is typical of large corporations. Pass the buck, deny, deflect. I’m actually disappointed as I’ve been a Verizon customer for 10+ years and I had no problems with my S3 prior to the update.

Having similar issues? Let them know about it on Twitter and Facebook.

Verizon Wireless Twitter
Verizon Wireless Facebook
Samsung Twitter
Samsung Facebook

Onyx - Evil Streets (Remix)

January 8th, 2014 | By



Esther Phillips had a lengthy career, starting all the way back in the 1950′s. She had some decent success early on, but it was short-lived. Unfortunately, Phillips acquired a crippling heroin addiction and needed to take a break from the music scene. In the 1960′s, she again had success, but succumbed to addiction. After checking into rehab, she eventually found herself at the Jazz powerhouse Kudu Records during the 1970′s. She got to work with several well-known Jazz artists including George Benson, Ron Carter, and Hank Crawford. Sadly, she passed away in 1984 from liver complications due to drug use.

The title cut from her 1972 LP Alone Again Naturally actually got her a Grammy nomination. The album also contains the song “Georgia Rose” which was not-so-famously sampled by Onyx for their rare cut “Evil Streets (Remix)” featuring Wu-Tang’s Method Man.

The “Evil Streets” remix was originally released on promo-only vinyl, with the equally rare b-side of “Purse Snatcherz Pt 2“. The remix surfaced again (on vinyl) prior to the release of Onyx’s 3rd album Shut Em Down via a promotional double 12-inch “Best of Onyx“. Unfortunately, it only contains the clean version. More recently, the remix was available on the independently distributed digital-only album, Cold Case Files, which contains rare Onyx songs.

Both the piano loop and the vocal sample were taken from the Phillips song. At around 8 seconds in, the piano is slowed down a few octaves and repeated for the main loop of the song. At 38 seconds, the vocal sample “now I’m not saying that the struggle’s over” is cut.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the production credits for the song. Either way, check out the way it was flipped.

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