For many years...I was obsessed with collecting albums; from vinyl to CD. I sometimes would spend hundreds on music within a week. Over this period of time I gained hundreds of CDs...most of these albums (95%) were all underground hip hop; many of which are now out of print. I loved the art work, layouts, disc image; and I always loved to have the track listing, liner notes, bios and album credits.
I eventually really got into instrumental Hip Hop. This, at first, was hard for me to get into because I always wanted to hear rapping over beats; but after listening To Hip Hop for almost two decades.... at this point in time (2000) things started to become redundant. The mainstream was doing a lot of commercialized rap/pop music at this time, most of my all time favorite Mceez were not really doing anything that was my particular cup of tea and hearing the same watered down similes & punchlines in the under ground, really had an effect on me. So it eventually became easier to listen to instrumental Hip Hop and it soon became a central cornerstone in my daily listening sessions. In ways...instrumental Hip Hop started to seem like Hip Hop in it's purist form during this time; because you never had the rapper's egotistical perspectives involved with the art form. The instrumentals speak for them selves; and that allows one to think and admire the music.
This took place between 2000 and 2007. In these moments I heard things in Hip Hop that I never heard before and that caused me to view Hip Hop music in a way....that eventually changed my life. for this 7 year period I came across beats and instrumentals that I always wanted to use someday. Some of these beats never had rapping over them in the first place; but they were some of the dopest I had ever heard and wanted to some day write a little to them.
After a while everybody and they grandma were doing mixtapes. Then I started to hear a lot of underground mixtapes with production from the mainstream (Nothing wrong with that. To each his own.)....that always kinda tripped me out though, because the underground needs all the love it can get, had all these dope instrumentals left untapped and has some of the best producers that I had ever heard.
So....in 2007 I decided to do The Black Lab Mixtape! It would be a mixtape with a concept; in that....we would only use our favorite beats from the underground and at the same time alert people to our favorite producers that influenced us...as a collective.
So this mixtape ended up being unorthodox in a few ways:
(1) Usually mixtapes are comprised of the newest beats that just dropped; but we were gonna use beats from any and all years.
(2) Usually mixtapes have beats that were songs of rappers....beats that had already had recent songs over them; but we were planning on also using a variety of beats taken from Instrumental albums as well, that never had vocals over them originally.
(3) Usually mixtapes are more about the rappers and their vocals...but this mixtape has a concept that showcases the dope producers, that Black Lab Felt should be brought above the radar.
(4) finally...mixtapes are usually comprised of instrumentals that are available or can be found on singles and the internet. Three of these tracks I have never seen instrumentals for...EVER. I actually imported the original songs off of CD and chopped the instrumental parts from the song and rebuilt the beats.
In the summer of 2008, before Ricky Pharoe moved to Cali...he came and recorded a Mixtape track for himself called, "Get Lost". I was like, "hey...I was gonna use that beat on The Black Lab Mixtape!" Ricky was like, "Use it on The Black Lab Mixtape." So Get Lost was technically the first song ever recorded for The Black Lab Mixtape and it was recorded in the Late Summer of 2008. All the rest of the recordings were done between the summer of 2009 and the end of 2010; but almost all of these recordings were done in 2009.
What your left with, is a mesh of styles that represent the producers who inspired them. A collage of kaleidoscopic textures, that paint a mural of Hip Hop from the perspective of The Underground. This mixtape truly embodies the hart and soul of The Black Lab and captures the very essence of the soundscapes that we would like to craft for ourselves and present to open ears. We wanted to bring to the forefront MCing, in it's Purest form...no catchy hooks...just raw uncut rhyming carried out in the tradition of The Wu-Tang Clan; and some of our other all time favorite Mceez from the East coast in the mid 90's, that laid a foundation for What The Black Lab does and represents . You have one Mc after another sounding off and most times where there would usually be a chorus or scratching...we left it empty...so it would have a raw feel and allow the true rugged vibe of the music that inspired us, to play it's part.
In the end...it's raw, grimy, warm, vintage and reeks of old dusty records; and the worn down turn tables that play them. Its back bone consists of chopped breaks & dated samples. It captures sounds and moments...to recycle and resurrect them for todays youth and for generations to come. Its drums are hard and heavy. The concepts are deep and passionate. It resonates the very frequency of a movement...but uses the elements of Hip Hop as its voice and vehicle. From the 12 bit sound of the SP1200 to the sample pads of The MPC 2000; It stands for something much more then ourselves and carries on a grand tradition, that was started by the children of the civil rights movement. Its a beautiful family tree, with many colored leaves, all diverse in shade and tone. It contributes to our lives and becomes the very air we breath; But BENEATH THE SURFACE...is where it all began and it's roots will always run deep in the hart of the underground.
released January 1, 2013
All tracks recorded, engineered, edited, mixed & mastered by Jewels Hunter in The Black Lab. All additional recording By Graves & Phreewil in The Black Lab. Scratching on track (1) by Graves33.
All songs were written and performed by the artists involved, between the end of 2008 and the end of 2010.
PRODUCTION: Track (1) Blatantly hijacked from Blood of Abraham's 2005 release entitled, "Eyedollartree".
Tracks (2 & 19) Produced by Blockhead and taken from his album, "Music by Cavelight".
Track (3) Produced by Alias and taken from his instrumental album, "Muted".
Tracks (4 & 5) Produced by Jel and taken ffrom his instumental Album called, "Green Ball 2-The Proud Parent of a US Marine".
Track (6) taken from Ayentee.
Track (7) Produced by DJ Premier and blatantly hijacked from Gang Starr's. "Step in the Arena"
Tracks (8 & 9) Produced by DJ Shadow. Track (8) was taken from his 1996 release entitled, "Endroducing....." and track 9 was taken from his instrumental album, "Preemetive Strike".
Track (10) Produced by Sixtoo & Stigg (Villain Accelerate). Taken from there instrumental album, "Maid of Gold".
Track (11) Produced by Factor. Taken from the album entitled, "Chandeller".
Track (12) Produced by Stigg. Taken from vinyl. The beat was originally from a Sebutones (Sixtoo & Buck 65) song.
Track (13) Produced by Buck 65. Blatantly hijacked from his album entitled, "Language Arts"
Tracks (14, 15 & the hidden track) Produced by Jel. Taken from his instrumental album. "Green Ball".
Track (16) Produced by Thavius Beck. Taken from his album, "Give Us Free".
Tracks (17 & 20)) Produced by Maker. Track (16) taken from the instrumental bonus disc off of Glue's album, "Catch as Catch Can". Track (20) Taken from his solo album called, "Honestly".
Track (18) Produced by Controller 7. Taken from his instrumental album, "Left Handed Straw".