Tag Archives: Ayatollah

Box Cutter Brothers 5 Beat Tape Stream – Drasar Monumental & Ayatollah

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Talented West Coast producer Drasar Monumental once again joins forces with East Coast heavyweight Ayatollah to deliver another raw masterclass in the art of sampling.


Box Cutter Brothers 4 Album Sampler – Ayatollah & Drasar Monumental

Veteran NY producer Ayatollah and Vendetta Vinyl’s Drasar Monumental join forces once again for another journey into the Box Cutter Brothers’ world of raw beats and obscure samples.

New Joint – Akil The MC

Akil The MC – “Soundcheck” (@AkilTheMC / 2016)

Ayatollah-produced title track from the Jurassic 5 member’s recently-released solo album.

The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth Album Stream – Ayatollah

ayatollah pic

New batch of beats from the veteran Queens, NY producer.

Box Cutter Brothers III Album Sampler – Ayatollah & Drasar Monumental

East Coast / West Coast production duo Ayatollah and Drasar Monumental have dropped the third installment of their “Box Cutter Brothers” projects, featuring another finely-crafted selection of sample-heavy instrumental tracks – peep my review of the album here.

Album Review – Ayatollah & Drasar Monumental

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Ayatollah & Drasar Monumental

“Box Cutter Brothers III”


When done well, sampling is an artform. That really can’t be disputed. The process of a producer digging for that right sample or loop and then applying their own creative stamp to create something brand new involves time, passion and talent. Legendary beat scientists such as the late Paul C, Public Enemy’s mighty Bomb Squad and live-guy-with-glasses Large Professor have all proven how just a few seconds of music lifted from an obscure (or in some cases, not so obscure) piece of vinyl can be transformed into a shining example of pure Hip-Hop gold.

Carrying on that tradition of dusty-fingered alchemy, NY’s Ayatollah and California’s Drasar Monumental have joined forces once again for the third installment of their “Box Cutter Brothers” series.

With Ayatollah’s lengthy production credits including work with the likes of Mos Def, Cormega, Masta Ace etc, and Drasar having been MF Grimm’s producer of choice in recent years for his “Good Morning Vietnam” projects, it’s safe to say this pair know more than a thing or two about crafting quality beats.

Split into two halves, with the duo rocking six tracks each, “Box Cutter Brothers III” follows in the footsteps of its two predecessors by capturing a variety of moods, from the rugged to the smooth, through the selection of well-chosen samples that are chopped, sliced and spliced throughout.

Monumental kicks off proceedings with the dramatically-titled “Apex Predator Blades”, which finds the West Coast resident dropping a brief, assured verse complete with claims of being a “third degree black-belt” in breaks over a funky, keyboard-driven groove, before the track builds into something that sounds like an ominous boom-bap remake of a cut off the original “Terminator” soundtrack.

“The Fine Art Of Survival”, meanwhile, offers a cool summer breeze vibe, with Drasar chopping-up a lush, sped-up soul sample which is both hypnotic and infectious, whilst “Black Calculus 2” is a more melancholy affair, based around sombre pianos and subtle-yet-persistent drums.

Following the example set by his musical comrade, Ayatollah also rhymes on his opening track, with the organ-laced “Graffiti” conjuring up images of 80s NY subway trains adorned with multi-coloured burners (“Up in the Bronx, I’ll meet you at the Writer’s Bench, Hop the turnstile, No token needed…”).

“The Best That I’ve Got” brings a mellow, back-to-the-future flavour to the table, with the track’s sweet, retro vocal sample being matched with thick, electro-style keyboards, a combination which is followed by the raw beats and manic piano stabs of the MC Shan-sampling “These Brothers”.

True masters of their craft, Ayatollah and Drasar Monumental have succeeded in creating another bi-coastal display of impressive sonic showmanship, with “Box Cutter Brothers III” proving once again that a dedicated crate-digger will never stop looking for that perfect beat.

Ryan Proctor

“Box Cutter Brothers III” drops on October 12th via Vendetta Vinyl and BandCamp – props to Drasar Monumental for hooking me up early with the project.

Box Cutter Brothers 2 Album Sampler – Ayatollah & Drasar Monumental

Having only just recently blown speakers worldwide with their initial Box Cutter Brothers project, veteran NY producer Ayatollah and Cali-based music man Drasar Monumental show no musical mercy once again, slicing and splicing a dope selection of samples on this new release.

COLOSSUS Album Stream – Ayatollah / Widowmaker

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Queens, NY production vet Ayatollah teams-up with Oregon production duo Blue Healer and Guttah Grey for this intense collection of gripping, sampled-based instrumentals.

The Box Cutter Brothers Album Stream – Ayatollah & Drasar Monumental

box cutters cover

Achieving a potent balance between the raw and the soulful, the rugged and the smooth, this instrumental project out of the Vendetta Vinyl camp is essential listening for crate-diggers and beat junkies alike.

Box Cutter Brothers Album Sampler – Ayatollah & Drasar Monumental

Ayatollah and Drasar Monumental join forces to wield their samplers like deadly weapons on this instrumental project, slicing, chopping and cutting their way through a high-quality selection of source material.

100 Best Albums & EPs Of 2014 (Part Four) – Ayatollah / Jam Baxter / The Roots etc.

Check Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Fel Sweetenberg – “The Invisible Garden” (Effiscienz) – Dedicated to, and inspired by, his Camden, NJ stomping grounds, former Nuthouse member Fel Sweetenberg’s latest EP featured the accomplished lyricist highlighting the negative aspects of his East Coast locale, whilst also celebrating the positive elements. Accompanied by solid production from France’s DJ Brans, Sweetenberg drove his thoughts, hopes and opinions home with a forthright delivery and nimble wordplay.

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Vanderslice – “Everything’s Awesome” (Dirty Version Records) – A punchy combination of instrumentals, interludes and vocal tracks, “Everything’s Awesome” found Phoenixville, PA producer Vanderslice chopping 80s-style electric guitar samples over dense, rock-solid beats, whilst the likes of Apathy, Celph Titled and Maffew Ragazino matched the album’s swaggering soundscapes with unabashed lyrical arrogance.

Vanderslice - Everything's Awesome

Luca Brazi – “Dying Proof” (Broke Records) – The Granville Sessions-affiliated wordsmith demonstrated his artistic range on this self-produced masterpiece by capturing a variety of moods and emotions throughout, moving from pensive verses and weighty self-reflection to sharp, ego-driven rhymes, all accompanied by Brazi’s  skillfully-crafted beats.

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Koss & A.G. – “Natural High” (Reaaal Talk Records) – Built on true-school values, this EP from Belgian producer Koss and Diggin’ In The Crates legend A.G. found the pair utilising their shared love of Hip-Hop to bridge any potential cultural gaps. Koss’s mellow, melodic beats provided Andre The Giant with plenty of breathing space for his trademark Bronx flow, as the lyricist dropped his usual mix of  thoughtful life lessons and direct braggadocio. Feel the high!

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Mr. Brady – “Timing Is Everything” (URBNET Records) – Underground West Coast vet Mr. Brady put his two decades of musical experience to good use on this self-produced project. Joined by the likes of Moka Only, LMNO and Blu, the San Diego resident crafted an album packed with intricate lyricism and soulful, bass-heavy beats, with the organic feel of “Timing Is Everything” giving listeners the impression they’d stumbled across an extended cypher jam session.

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Ayatollah – “Be Real Black For Me” (Elementality Productions) – With a storied production career that includes working with the likes of Mos Def, Masta Ace and Cormega, Queens, NY music man Ayatollah has been supplying us with quality music since the late-90s. This latest (largely instrumental) sonic endeavor blended emotive jazz / soul samples with head-nodding drums, resulting in a satisfying collection of stirring mood music.

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Raw Product – “Supplying The Demand” (De Facto Entertainment) – The aptly-named UK emcee / producer duo of Flix and Stealf definitely brought the raw to your door with this tight EP which also featured lyrical heavyweights Jehst, Cappo and Micall Parknsun. Stealf’s rugged beats and dusty loops provided the perfect backdrop for Flix’s rowdy flow and sharp verbal barbs, with the pair effectively showcasing an uncompromising but creative approach to their music.

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The Ol’ Days – “1979” (JimBro Records) – Chicago duo Rookie Chi and DJ Ki provided listeners with an entertaining mix of soul-drenched production, humour and throwback flavour on their debut album. Covering everyday subject matter from parking tickets and petrol prices to relationships and record-shopping, “1979” was a personality-filled project that made you crack a smile at the same time as it was making your neck snap.

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The Doppelgangaz – “Peace Kehd” (Groggy Pack Entertainment) – Displaying a slightly more polished and, in places, contemporary sound than had been heard on their previous outings, NY’s Ghastly Duo still proved they weren’t ready to take their cloaks off and fully step out of the shadows just yet, with Matter Ov Fact and EP filling “Peace Kehd” with their trademark brand of left-field lyricism, random observations and dark imagery.

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Shinobi Stalin – “Invisible Man” (Vets Of Kin) – Some emcees simply sound like they were born to rhyme. Bronx-born, Orlando-raised Stalin is one such artist. With a striking-yet-fluid lyrical style and a gift for penning meaningful, attention-grabbing verses, the talented wordsmith’s “Invisible Man” project provided an open window into the mind of this engaging artist as he attempted to navigate life with Hip-Hop as his soundtrack.

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Calvert & K Zorro – “Captured Soul” (KGuavara.BandCamp.Com) – An expertly-executed blend of honesty, confidence and vulnerability, London emcee K Zorro drew on both childhood memories and present day situations as his inspiration for this emotionally-charged release. A joint effort in the truest sense of the term, Calvert’s sample-based production perfectly matched the tone and feel of Zorro’s streetwise verses, ensuring “Captured Soul”  was well-equipped to capture the minds of all who heard it.

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Azaia – “Re-Animations” (Marvel Records) – French producer Azaia enlisted the talents of a varied bunch of mic-controllers for his debut album, with the likes of John Robinson, Reks and Dirt Platoon all blessing the quality instrumental creations being offered to them. Heavy drums, echoing horns and seismic basslines were on the list of musical ingredients here, with Azaia proving himself to be a true scientist when it came to bringing dope beats to life.

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Willie The Kid & Bronze Nazareth – “The Living Daylights” (Embassy Entertainment) – Described by the Michigan duo as “progressive boom-bap”, this project featured Wu-Tang-affiliate Nazareth supplying the slick-tongued Kid with a steady stream of quality beats laced with classic soul samples, providing the project’s vivid rhymes with added depth and encouraging featured artists such as Roc Marciano, Boldy James and Sean Price to drop MVP-level performances.

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Jam Baxter – “…So We Ate Them Whole” (High Focus Records) – If UK emcee Jam Baxter had been born in the 19th century the likelihood is that his poetic verses would be studied in schools today. Packing this solo album with an endless barrage of multi-layered rhymes, Baxter displayed a talent for making every line count, with fresh meaning to be found in his wordplay during each listen. Talented production vet Chemo bolstered Jam’s complex lyricism with an intoxicating score of boundary-pushing sounds, making “…So We Ate Them Whole” a challenging but ultimately rewarding musical experience.


Git & Hubbs – “Piece Of Mind” (UsedWax Records) – Displaying an undeniable creative chemistry, Staten Island producer Git Beats and Pittsburgh emcee Hubbs filled this collaborative album with jazzy, head-nodding vibes and authoritative rhymes ranging from the introspective to the boastful. Timeless music.

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Iron Braydz – “Verbal sWARdz” (Unorthostract Recordings) – Everything you needed to know about this EP from Triple Darkness member Braydz could be found in its title. Swinging his formidable lyrical talent in the direction of lesser emcees, culture vultures and uncivilised individuals, the London wordsmith attacked this largely self-produced release with the precision of a Shaolin warrior looking to take some heads. Joined by equally skillful tongue-fu practitioners such as Kyza, Prince Po and Sean Price, Braydz ensured “Verbal sWARdz” maintained a sharp edge throughout.

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Us Natives & Skrewtape – “No Filter” (Skrewtape.BandCamp.Com) – Teaming-up with production duo Ill Clinton and John E Cab, New Jersey’s Skrewtape delivered an album that was both uncompromising and unpredictable, capturing the raw energy of an emcee clearly passionate about his craft. At times sounding like an impromptu basement freestyle session, “No Filter” gave the mainstream the metaphorical finger whilst reveling in its unapologetic ruggedness.

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Ill Tal – “Still Trapped In The 90s” (IllTal.BandCamp.Com) – A brilliantly crafted tribute to one of the greatest periods in Hip-Hop history, this instrumental project from New Jersey producer Ill Tal gave sonic nods of respect to the likes of Pete Rock, DJ Muggs and Q-Tip with its combination of jazzy samples, huge basslines and dusty drums. Far more than just a simple beat-tape, Ill Tal’s attention to detail throughout “Still Trapped…” further demonstrated the crate-digger’s admiration for the decade that gave us so many undisputed classics.

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Step Brothers – “Lord Steppington” (Rhymesayers Entertainment) – Displaying no signs of sibling rivalry, Evidence and The Alchemist unleashed all types of sonic illness on this long-awaited collaboration project. Hardcore Hip-Hop with a dry sense of humour, the West Coast twosome filled this album with a non-stop flow of punchline-heavy verses, screwface-inducing samples and random soundbites. Steppington to the AM!

lord steppington cover

The Roots – “…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin” (Def Jam) – It’s damn near impossible at this stage for anyone to dispute that Illadelphia’s mighty Roots crew are one the greatest Hip-Hop groups of all-time. With their eleventh album further expanding the collective’s creative territory, Black Thought and Questlove led listeners on a dark journey with this concept-based project commenting on violence in Hip-Hop and American society. Not always the easiest album to listen to, “…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin” proved that, even after all their years in the game,  The Roots just aren’t content to simply retread old ground.

the roots cover


The fifth and final part of this list is coming soon. 

New Joint – 45 Grizz

45 Grizz – “Right Now” (@45Grizz / 2014)

The Now Rule / New Rochelle emcee drops his rugged delivery over an Ayatollah beat from his new mix-tape “Brand Narcotic”.

Be Real Black For Me Album Stream – Ayatollah

ayatollah cover

Having made his name with production for the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Masta Ace, Queens, New York beat-king Ayatollah release his new project “Be Real Black For Me” this week.

Consisting mainly of soulful, sample-heavy head-nodding instrumentals, the producer has also enlisted the help of Inspectah Deck, Silent Knight and Anthony Hamilton to add some vocal flavour to a couple of tracks.

Listen to the full album here.

New Joint – Ayatollah / Inspectah Deck / Silent Knight

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Ayatollah ft. Inspectah Deck & Silent Knight – “The Love” (@AyatollahBeats / 2014)

The NY producers drops a solid slice of soulful Hip-Hop taken from his forthcoming album “Be Real Black For Me”

New Joint – Ayatollah

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Ayatollah – “Nothing But The Funk” (ElementalityProductions.Com / 2013)

Taken from the NY producer’s forthcoming project “Avant Garde”.

New Joint – Moka Only & Ayatollah

Moka Only & Ayatollah – “Set Up A Mic” (Green Streets Entertainment / 2012)

New visuals from the duo’s “Bridges” album.

New Joint – Moka Only & Ayatollah

Moka Only & Ayatollah – “Come Along” (Nature Sounds / 2012)

Taken from the duo’s new album “Bridges” released today.

New Joint – J-Love / AG The Coroner / Wigs / Whyz Ruler

J-Love ft. AG The Coroner, Wigs & Whyz Ruler – “Dark Clouds” (J-LoveOnline.Com / 2011)

Produced by Ayatollah.

New Joint – J-Love

J-Love – “Vocal Scalpel” / “Another Victory” (J-LoveOnline.Com / 2011)

The producer-on-the-mic drops some quickfire bars on the Ayatollah-produced “Vocal Scalpel” before putting his own twist on Big Daddy Kane’s late-80s classic “Another Victory”.

Rugged Neva Smoove – RA The Rugged Man

Infamous underground heavyweight RA The Rugged Man speaks on a variety of rap-related issues (including details of a new album) after a recent show in Austria.

Part One

Part Two