Old Music

common the light

With the recent passing of his father, Lonnie “Pops” Lynn, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been listening to Common’s “Pops Rap III… All My Children” all week. It seems fitting then that Complex‘s latest Magnum Opus episode spotlights one of the many gems on Like Water For Chocolate — the beautiful, career-defining “The Light,” produced by another soul who is sadly no longer with us, J Dilla.

In the video, Common remembers first hearing the beat, writing his rhymes while Dilla went to the strip club and how the song helped him “find that pure place within me.” We also get to hear from Erykah Badu, Common’s girlfriend at the time and the inspiration behind the song, Bobby Caldwell, whose 1980 track “Open Your Eyes” was sampled by Dilla, and Plex’s own Noah Callahan-Bever.

Watch below…



20 years ago today The Notorious B.I.G. released one of hip-hop’s most celebrated albums to date. Even with the grisly title, fans from all over the world flocked to Ready to Die. Biggie’s lyrics on this LP made you feel you like were standing right next to B.I.G. on St. James, slangin’ crills.

In his honor, DJ Mister Cee and Funk Flex put together an incredible mix of B.I.G. classics, rare songs, interviews, mixtape cuts and more. All day we’ll be celebrating the life of the true King of New York.

Listen to the mix below and check out HOT97’s Biggie tribute video below…



Chairman Mao aims to uplift spirits with his latest Redbull Radio mix, Across 135th Street ‘Message to the World.” Digging up vintage Soul and Funk jams that have a social message and real value, Mao mixes it up with classics and rare gems as usual.

“Often we listen to music to escape. But with world events looking particularly dire in recent times, I felt like devoting the latest episode my RBMA Radio show “Across 135th Street” to vintage soul and funk with something to say. (Because god forbid anyone contemporary should make a quality recording of substance that acknowledges any of this shit. But I digress…) Here’s a set of classic material – and maybe a couple of tunes you’re not so familiar with – with the common theme of more humanity, less insanity.– Chairman Mao

Listen to the music below…


biggie ready to die

Ready to Die, the seminal debut LP from The Notorious B.I.G., becomes the latest rap album to turn 20 later this month. To celebrate, The Bishop gallery in Brooklyn is hosting an art exhibition called “The Only Christopher We Acknowledge Is Wallace,” curated by DJ Clark Kent. Of course, Clark Kent used to work with BIG and introduced him to Jay-Z back in ’96, so he’s the perfect man for the job.

The exhibition takes place on September 20 at 916 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn.

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The date August 25, 2014 marks 13 years since the passing of Aaliyah in a tragic plane crash. The singer-actress’ spirit still lives on stronger than ever, serving as inspiration to many of today’s new stars. Taking time out of his “Throwback at Noon” mixshow on Hot 97, Mister Cee pays tribute to Aaliyah with old school classics, No.1 hits, and features on more recent records.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton would have been 35-year-old today. Stream and download the mix below.

Continue after the jump……


mike jones still tippin

Mike Jones’ time in the national spotlight may have been fleeting, but “Still Tippin” remains a Southern rap classic to this day. With its 10-year anniversary fast approaching, Mike, Slim Thug and Paul Wall sit down for Complex‘s “Magnum Opus” series to look back on the making of Swishahouse’s second biggest single. Bun B, Michael “5000” Watts, Joie Manda, video director Mr. Teeth and the song’s producer Salih Williams all join the Texas trio to tell the comprehensive story behind this timeless track.

Watch below…


common fat beats 1997

After unearthing a historic clip of a 19-year-old Kanye West performing at Fat Beats’ NYC opening party back in ’96, DJ Eclipse treats the Internets to another rap relic. This time, it’s a video of fellow Chi-Town native Common freestyling over Gang Starr’s “You Know My Steez” at the same Fat Beats store in NYC (RIP) in 1997, just a few days before the release of his One Day It’ll All Make Sense LP. Lord Sear also got on the mic that day, while Mista Sinista from the X-Ecutioners provided the music.

Watch the throwback clip below…



Today marks the 20th anniversary of Biggie’s breakout single, “Juicy,” and Shea Serrano/Grantland took the time to put together an extensive standardized test on the classic record. There’s a couple “facts” that most rap fans are aware of, including all that was seen in Notorious. I guess only a few folks really know everything that went on behind-the-scenes, but if you consider yourself a rap scholar, take Grantland’s test and prove it!

Grantland tossed out a few disputed tidbits: Pete Rock says he came up with the original version, and that Diddy lifted it from him. Perhaps this is turnabout, though. Consider: In 1993, San Francisco’s Dre Dog released an album called The New Jim Jones. His lead single, “The Ave.,” also used a slice of Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” as its spine.

Biggie wasn’t all that excited about recording the track at first. We all watched Notorious. We all saw that part of the movie:


Throwback Thursday: The Notorious B.I.G. and Craig Mack Freestyle on Funkmaster Flex’s Show

kanye west robocop

Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak album spawned some pretty incredible visuals, including the Hawaii-exploring “Amazing” and “Welcome to Heartbreak,” which fooled everyone into thinking their screen had just broke. It looks like a video was also shot for “RoboCop,” and thanks to Shihan Barbee, an animator who worked on the production, we’re treated to a 15-second preview of the unreleased video.

The clip features Kanye in a tux while an Amber Rose robot-doll pulls off some stop-motion dance moves besides him. It’s safe to assume the couple’s break-up lead to this video being trashed, so don’t hold your breath for the full thing to arrive anytime soon.

Watch the unreleased “RoboCop” clip below…


2pac all eyez on me.jpg

18 years after its release, 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me has finally been certified Diamond by the RIAA. The legendary West Coast rapper’s fifth LP inched past the five million shipped units mark this week, but with it being a two-disc album, that figure gets doubled, earning the classic record another plaque. Yep, a fairly dubious rule, but who are we to strip ‘Pac of another historic achievement?

All Eyez On Me joins OutKast’s SpeakerBoxxx/The Love Below, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, MC Hammer’s Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em and Biggie’s Life After Death, as well as 2Pac’s Greatest Hits, as some of the other rap albums to sell over 10 million copies. And yes, as you can see, many of these are also double-disc releases.

[Props HHNM]

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