Tag Archives: Army Of The Pharoahs

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2014 (Part Two) – Cormega / Habitat & DJ Severe / Diamond D etc.

Check Part One here.

Cormega – “Mega Philosophy” (The Slimstyle Recording Corporation) – A true veteran of the pitfalls of both the inner-city streets and the music industry, Queensbridge icon ‘Mega joined forces with the legendary Large Professor for this pure and honest dose of East Coast Hip-Hop. Backed by both Extra P’s impeccable beats and appearances from the likes of Raekwon, Nature and Black Rob, the NY lyricist ensured this album lived up to its title as he dropped jewels and life lessons throughout.

mega philosophy cover

Pawz One – “Face The Facts” (Below System Records) – Grounded in the streets of LA but looking much further than the end of his block for inspiration, West Coast emcee Pawz One packed his debut album with insightful, heartfelt commentary on everything from self-empowerment and police brutality to back-in-the day memories and his love for Hip-Hop. Standing out from the crowd with a strong sense of individuality and a good ear for quality production, the Cali microphone fiend ensured he separated the fact from the fiction on his first official full-length project.

pawz one cover

Supa Dave West – “Beat Boxing” (Redefinition Records) – Having supplied the likes of De La Soul, Common and Ghostface with some sonic flavour over the years, Queens, NY-raised Dave West demonstrated his versatility behind-the-boards with this speaker-busting instrumental effort, sculpting tracks that ranged in style from futuristic boom-bap and synth-heavy vibes to feel-good funk and old-school block-party beats.

supa dave west cover

Jack Jetson – “Adventures Of Johnny Strange” (RLD Records) – Promising to “hijack your plane of existence”, UK emcee Jack Jetson dropped one of the most lyrically entertaining releases of the year with “Adventures Of…”, a non-stop barrage of verbal mischief and mayhem. Think Dennis The Menace meets Canibus and you’re halfway there. With colourful, psychedelic wordplay exploding over brilliant beats from the multi-talented Leaf Dog, Jetson proved himself to be a genuinely gifted emcee with a lively imagination.

jack jetson cover

MindsOne & Kev Brown – “Pillars” (Ill Adrenaline Records) – This expertly-executed EP delivered the goods on each of its eight tracks, resulting in a relatively short but intense listening experience. Combining Maryland producer-on-the-mic Kev Brown’s trademark basslines, basement-style beats and direct lyricism with the sharp rhymes of MindsOne, the elegantly rugged “Pillars” quickly became yet another worthy addition to the steadily expanding Ill Adrenaline catalogue.

mindsone cover

Rocdwell – “Daily Chronicles” (Rocdwell.BandCamp.Com) – With a passionate, captivating rhyme style falling somewhere between Freeway and Sugar Ray of 90s favourites Double XX Posse, Detroit artist Rocdwell’s album of “adult contemporary Hip-Hop” found the lyricist dropping down-t0-earth rhymes over hard-hitting, soul-tinged production, with “Daily Chronicles” designed to act as a motivational soundtrack to assist us all as we battled with the trials, tribulations and everyday struggles of life.

rocdwell cover

People Under The Stairs – “12 Step Program” (Piecelock 70 Records) – Combining their shared passion for fun-fuelled b-boy antics, funky breaks and beer, West Coast duo Thes One and Double K filled their eleventh (!!!) album with their usual upbeat, feel-good flavour, proving yet again why PUTS have remained one of Hip-Hop’s most consistent and reliable acts since debuting back in the late-90s.

people under the stairs cover

Edo.G – “After All These Years” (5th & Union) – Proving the old saying that there’s strength in numbers, Boston’s Edo.G successfully enlisted the help of fans in 2014 for this Kickstarter-funded album. Featuring production from Pete Rock and 9th Wonder, plus appearances by King Magnetic, Camp Lo and Chuck D, “After All These Years” achieved a healthy balance between golden-era throwback vibes and present-day relevance, with Edo embracing his elder statesman status as he attempted to school the masses.

edo.g cover

Meyhem Lauren & Buckwild – “Silk Pyramids” (Thrice Great Records) – Combining gritty Rotten Apple attitude, a passion for fly apparel, and an unwavering pride in his home borough of Queens, Outdoorsmen member Meyhem Lauren’s heavily-anticipated collaboration with D.I.T.C.’s Buckwild lived up to expecations, delivering a hefty, slang-laden slice of traditional New York straight talk.

meyhem lauren cover

Habitat & DJ Severe – “Empire Building” (Boom Bap Professionals) – Having already left a dent on the UK Hip-Hop scene as part of Lincolnshire’s Heavy Links crew, emcee Habitat struck out on a solo mission to claim new musical territory, armed with sharp lyrical darts, the battle-hardened boom-bap of producer DJ Severe, and the support of lyrical allies such as Oliver Sudden, Chrome and Luca Brazi. No tricks in 2014, it was time to build.

habitat cover

Army Of The Pharoahs – “Heavy Lies The Crown” (Enemy Soil Records) – The second of two albums released by the East Coast collective in 2014, “Heavy Lies The Crown” found the AOTP emcees at their creative best, with the likes of Vinnie Paz, Celph Titled and Esoteric dropping vivid, larger-than-life imagery and bone-crushing punchlines over dramatic production from C-Lance, Stu Bangas, DJ 7L and more. Rough, rugged and raw.

aotp cover

Apollo Brown & Ras Kass – “Blasphemy” (Mello Music Group) – Taking on a variety of subjects, including religion, racism, financial recession and the rules of the rap game, West Coast verbal heavyweight Ras Kass and Detroit producer Apollo Brown crafted an album perfectly suited to today’s confusing times. Further proving the Cali lyricist’s well-deserved reputation as one of Hip-Hop’s most formidable wordsmiths, and adding yet another chamber to Brown’s already impressive discography, “Blasphemy” provided a robust mix of thought-provoking rhymes, microphone bravado and pounding, sample-heavy beats.

ras kass cover

Es-K – “Serenity” (Cold Busted) – A concept album dedicated to the memory of a close friend, the aptly-titled “Serenity” found Holland-born producer Es-K inviting the likes of D.I.T.C.’s Andre The Giant, C-Rayz Walz and Boston’s M-Dot to wax lyrical about the pain of loss, the beauty of cherished memories and the fragility of life, with poignant results. Providing a warm, hypnotic soundbed for the sincere and heartfelt verses of the album’s featured artists, Es-K excelled himself musically, delivering soulfully soothing beats which gave the project a moving, ethereal feel.

es-k cover

Diamond D – “The Diam Piece” (Dymond Mine Records) – Succeeding in blending old-school production values with a contemporary feel, the Diggin In The Crates’ producer-on-the-mic pulled together a generation-spanning group of emcees to bless “The Diam Piece”. The likes of Skyzoo, Rapsody, Freddie Foxxx and Grand Daddy I.U. all stepped-up to the mic-stand with solid performances whilst Diamond worked his dusty-fingered magic on the beats.

diamond d cover

Shabaam Sahdeeq – “Keepers Of The Lost Art” (Below System Records) – Approaching his first proper album in almost ten years with both the wisdom of experience and an ever-youthful passion for his craft, NYC’s Sahdeeq sounded like he hadn’t missed a beat since his debut during the mid-90s independent boom, lacing quality production from the likes of the UK’s Lewis Parker, Harry Fraud and DJ Skizz with his thoughts on life and Hip-Hop.

shabaam cover

Pharoahe Monch – “PTSD” (W.A.R. Media) – In less-skilled hands, a part-autobiographical, part-conceptual album covering topics such as substance abuse, mental health and emotional stress could very easily have been a creative disaster. Yet, with “PTSD”, Organized Konfusion’s Monch succeeded in effectively dealing with such potentially sensitive subject matter whilst still taking the opportunity to indulge in some good ol’-fashioned verbal showmanship, recording an album which balanced soul-stirring moments with competition-crushing verses of sheer lyrical excellence.

pharoahe monch cover

Tunnel Movement – “Overlooked” – Following in the musical footsteps of other Windy City talents such as All Natural and Common, Chicago duo KwoteOne and N.O.A.H. crafted an impressive sophomore album full of life-affirming rhymes and solid, soul-laced beats, which, in this instance, hopefully didn’t live up to its title.

tunnel movement cover

Raf Almighty – “G.T.F.O.M.Y.” (Effiscienz Records) – A product of his 90s-era Baltimore environment, Dirt Platoon member Raf Almighty brought a fiery combination of life experience and lyrical grit to the table on this uncompromising solo project, finding his ideal musical backdrop in the concrete-cracking production of France’s DJ Brans.

raf almighty cover

Sunblaze – “Dirty Rican LP” (SunblazeHipHop.BandCamp.Com) – Representing BK to the fullest, Rotten Apple resident Sunblaze evoked images of shadowy project hallways, street corner ciphers and scuffed Timberland boots with this rugged project firmly rooted in the tradition of East Coast boom-bap. With Timbo King, Pumpkinhead and Tragedy Khadafi providing lyrical assistance, Sunblaze utilised his street-related, razor-sharp rhymes to add on to the legacy of the City Of Gods. Boriquas on da set!

sunblaze cover

Apathy – “Connecticut Casual” (Dirty Version Records) – Drawing on his New England stomping grounds for inspiration, Demigodz member Apathy took listeners on a twisting journey through the underbelly of Connecticut for his fourth solo album, combining personal memories, local folklore and political intrigue with masterful penmanship on this largely self-produced and thoroughly captivating release.

apathy cover


Part Three coming soon.

New Joint – King Syze

King Syze – “Due Process” (@KingSyze / 2014)

Skammadix-produced track from the AOTP emcee’s new project “Union Terminology”.

New Joint – The Demigodz

The Demigodz – “Demigodz Is Back” (Demigodz / 2011)

Apathy, Ryu and Celph Titled rep their crew on this cut from the ‘Godz forthcoming album due 2012 – any track that samples the original “Rocky” theme works for me!


Movin’ Weight – Doap Nixon

TheBeeShine.Com interview with Jedi Mind Tricks / Army Of The Pharoahs affiliate Doap Nixon discussing his forthcoming album “Doap Trafficking”.

What’s Beef? – Reef The Lost Cauze

Reef The Lost Cauze speaks on the beef between AOTP members Chief Kamachi and Vinnie Paz.

New Joint – Apathy

Apathy – “Peace Connecticut” (Dirty Version / 2011)

Beatminerz-produced track from the Demigodz emcee’s new album “Honkey Kong”.

New Joint – Chief Kamachi

Chief Kamachi – “Chuck D” (Noize Gallery / 2011)

Audio Narcotics-produced lead single from the Illadelph rapper’s forthcoming album “Rise And Rhyme”.

Live Review – Heavy Metal Kings (Ill Bill / Vinnie Paz)

Venue: The Underworld, London  Date: 11 May 2011

Close to the end of their month long European tour, Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz’s stop in London was without doubt  one of this year’s most anticipated gigs so far. Having inherited the same hybrid fanbase of Hip-Hop heads, rock dudes and skater-types that Cypress Hill and House Of Pain once attracted, it was obvious from the outset that this particular show was going to be just a little different to your typical rap event.

Packed with drunk, tatted-up white dudes clad in La Coka Nostra / Jedi Mind Tricks t-shirts chanting “Bill! Bill! Bill!” and “Vinnniie!” long before the pair had even hit the stage, Camden’s dark and humid subterranean Underworld venue was perhaps the perfect spot for the Heavy Metal Kings’ brand of grimy, aggressive rap.

After strong, well-received sets from UK acts Grit Grammar and Rhyme Asylum, Non-Phixion’s DJ Eclipse took to the mic to announce the arrival of the headlining act. Hitting the stage to the sound of the HMK banger “Keeper Of The Seven Keys”, Bill and Vinnie drew thunderous roars from the crowd setting an energy level that remained high for the duration of the duo’s hour-plus set.

No gimmicks and no theatrics, the Brooklyn native and Philly emcee powered through their hardcore repertoire, drawing on material not just from the Heavy Metal Kings release, but also the catalogues of Non-Phixion, Jedi Mind Tricks, Army Of The Pharoahs, La Coka Nostra plus their own solo work.

With the gravelly-voiced Paz appearing more subdued than he was at last year’s London JMT show, it was left mainly to Bill to fill the gaps between tracks, displaying a dry sense of humour that only seemed to run out when, after playing peacekeeper between two fighting audience members, the pair’s scuffle led to the monitors being pushed out of place on the front of the stage – “You’re f**kin’ boring me now!” the agitated Non-Phixion member yelled at the two knuckleheads. “I actually don’t care now if you beat the sh*t out of each other or not, just leave the f**kin’ monitors alone!”

Cuts such as Non-Phixion’s conspiracy-driven “Black Helicopters”, Vinnie’s solo joint “Monster’s Ball” and LCN’s “F**k Tony Montana” were all delivered with fiery determination by the duo, with the show being nothing short of an hour-long adrenaline rush. Inbetween dropping sonic bombs, Bill and Paz gave props to their favourite rock acts such as Slayer, dropped a dedication to Gang Starr’s Guru and poked fun at the British accent, with Ill Bill joking that he thought the crowd was going to be a “bunch of Napoleon Dynamite-looking muthaf**kers”, to which Vinnie responded “Nah, the goons came out tonight” whilst surveying the rowdy scene.

Considering the pair’s lyrical content can often have a socio-political slant complete with anti-government rhetoric, it would have been interesting to hear Bill and Vinnie talk a little more about the inspiration behind certain tracks and their own take on current world issues, but perhaps that’s something they’d both prefer to keep for interviews rather than discuss onstage.

To their critics, the music of Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz is excessively violent and harsh purely for the sake of shock value. But let’s not forget that the likes of NWA, The Geto Boys and Onyx dropped some classic Hip-Hop moments whilst also fighting off criticism of being over-the-top in their music.

To their fans, however, the line between what should be considered food for thought (Ill Bill’s “The Anatomy Of A School Shooting”) and what should be considered pure hardcore entertainment (AOTP’s “Bloody Tears”) appears fairly clear.

Whether or not this Heavy Metal Kings project is a one-off remains to be seen, but judging by the quality of the performance witnessed on this particular night, Vinnie Paz and Ill Bill definitely have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of other perfectly matched duos such as Run DMC and EPMD and go down in the Hip-Hop hall of fame together.

Definitely a show to remember for all the right reasons.

Ryan Proctor

Murder Music – Apathy

Demigodz / Army Of The Pharoahs emcee Apathy drops a new freestyle entitled “Most Murderous Music” over some DJ Premier beats.

Check for Ap’s new album “Honkey Kong” coming soon.

New Joint – Doap Nixon / Planetary / Celph Titled

Doap Nixon ft. Planetary of Outerspace & Celph Titled – “Grand Opening” (DoapNixon.Com / 2011)

DC The Midi Alien-produced cut from the Philly artist’s forthcoming project “Gray Poupon”.

Divine Fire – Jedi Mind Tricks

Official trailer for the Babygrande Films DVD “Divine Fire” which documents the story behind one of Hip-Hop’s illest groups, Jedi Mind Tricks.

Raw Deal – Outerspace

Army Of The Pharoahs affiliates Outerspace performing in Boston last week at 7L & Esoteric’s album release party.