Category Archives: Rap

THE KAY GEE COLLECTION


Eminem gives respect to Treach as one of the most innovative lyricists of the early ’90s, and Naughty By Nature’s main producer—Kier “Kay Gee” Gist—is long overdue for a similar recognition on the music tip. After debuting in 1989 as a trio named The New Style, this group of East Orange, New Jersey friends landed a management deal with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit. They soon changed their named to Naughty By Nature, got signed to Tommy Boy and started producing for Flavor Unit’s roster. The group’s classic self-titled debut featured “O.P.P.,” one of rap music’s first massive crossover hits that didn’t sacrifice hip-hop credibility.

The success of Naughty set Kay Gee up as a producer-for-hire, but even from the jump, his focus seemed to be on artist development. He found early R&B success with bald-headed duo Zhané, who he signed to Naughty’s Illtown Records. While he originally produced in collaboration with the Naughty crew, he broke out on his own in the mid-’90s and formed a new label named Divine Mill. Once again, he found R&B success with Next, and later soul crooner Jaheim. In honor of everyone driving out to Jersey this weekend for Summer Jam, I wanted to make a mix of 30 key Kay Gee-related tracks for this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch release. Enjoy…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

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THE MUGGS COLLECTION


The influence of Soul Assassins mastermind Lawrence “DJ Muggs” Muggerud on West Coast hip-hop shouldn’t be underestimated. Originally a native of Queens who moved to LA as a teenager, the ill Italiano got his chops in the late ’80s DJing for short-lived Geffen Records rap group The 7A3 (as DJ Grandmixer Muggs…he’s the one on the left). KDAY’s Julio G introduced him to rappers B-Real and the the Reyes brothers (Sen Dog and Mellow Man Ace), a partnership that led to the formation of Cypress Hill.

The massive success of the group, fueled by Muggs’s unique, playfully dark sound, blazed a new trail for West Coast rap. The producer’s sample-heavy, New York-influenced beats made the group’s first two album hip-hop classics, and before long he was one of the genre’s most in-demand beatmakers, working with heavyweights like Ice Cube and mentoring newer Soul Assassins artists like Funkdoobiest, House of Pain and a young Alchemist. The rise of the West Coast underground scene in the ’90s owes a massive debt to Muggs’ unorthadox work, which proved that music that was decidedly not g-funk could still represent Cali correct. I compiled a grip of must-have Muggs classics for this week’s second Uggh…Nice Watch collection…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE BATTLECAT COLLECTION


Quik and Dre are rightfully lauded as the giants of West Coast hip-hop, but one guy that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath is Kevin “DJ Battlecat” Gilliam. This dude is g-funk in the flesh. Amazing. Originally a radio DJ at KDAY, he blew up as a producer in ’93 with Domino’s huge hits “Getto Jam” and “Sweet Potato Pie,” adding a cooled-out, jazzy R&B flavor to the funk-based sound of the minute (Doggystyle came out two weeks before Domino’s debut).

Since then, Battlecat has become a West Coast staple, producing hits and hidden gems on a slew of classic albums, from Ras Kass to Snoop. I was watching video video of him in the studio recently (this one), and it really made sense that he would be such a big Tribe Called Quest fan. He’s sort of gotten pigeonholed as a niche West Coast-only producer for whatever reason, despite his creativity, track record and amazing musicality. A lot of great producers come and fade away, but a Cat track is still as dope today as it was in 1995. Take a listen to this week’s release and you’ll hear what I mean. I compiled some highlights from the last 20 years…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE BACKPACK RAP COLLECTION

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Making fun of modern day backpackers is definitely one of my favorite hobbies, but truth be told, I was obsessed with the original era of so-called “backpack rap” in the mid-to-late ’90s. At the same time that hip-hop’s bigger-than-life jiggy era was in full bloom, an alternative scene sprung up, centered around independent vinyl releases, lyrical experimentation and a rejection of “the industry.”

Most of these classic records were only issued on 12″ single in the years before file-sharing exploded, and as a result, many of these artists and songs have been forgotten. To me, the backpack era officially ended in 1999, when Eminem blew up and Funk Flex started playing Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says” on Hot97. I’ve compiled 40 of my favorite joints from the era for your listening pleasure.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINKS

THE 25 BEST SINGLES OF 2008

#1: Lil’ Wayne
“A Milli”
(Produced By Bangladesh)
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#2: The-Dream f/ Young Jeezy
“I Luv Your Girl (Remix)”
(Produced By Tricky Stewart)
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#3: Young Jeezy
“Crazy World”
(Produced By Midnight Black)
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#4: Lil Wayne f/ Static Major
“Lollipop”
(Produced by Jim Jonsin & Deezle)
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#5: Young Jeezy f/ Kanye West
“Put On”
(Produced By Drumma Boy)
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Click Here To See The Rest Of The Singles (#6 – 25)

THE 25 BEST ALBUMS OF 2008

#1: Young Jeezy
The Recession
(CTE/Def Jam)
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#2: T.I.
Paper Trail
(Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
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#3: Lil Wayne
Tha Carter 3
(Cash Money/Universal)
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#4: 50 Cent
Sincerely Yours, Southside
(ThisIs50.com & Whoo Kid)
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#5: Hot Chip
Made In The Dark
(EMI)
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Click Here To See The Rest Of The Albums (#6 – 25)

HEY: REMEMBER 2007? (PART II)

Excuse the delay…

Uggh…Nice Watch Presents
The Top 25 Songs Of 2007

1. Kanye West “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” (Produced by DJ Toomp + Kanye West)

2. Foxx f/ Boosie & Webbie “Wipe Me Down (Remix)” (Produced by Mouse)

3. 50 Cent “I Get Money” (Produced by Apex)

4. DJ Khaled f/ T.I., Rick Ross, Akon, Fat Joe, Birdman & Lil Wayne “We Takin’ Over” (Produced by Danjahandz)

5. Playaz Circle f/ Lil Wayne “Duffle Bag Boy” (Produced by M-16)

6. R. Kelly f/ T.I. “I’ma Flirt” (Produced by Lil Ronny)

7. Kanye West f/ T-Pain “The Good Life” (Produced by Kanye + DJ Toomp)

8. Huey “Pop, Lock & Drop It” (Produced by The Bakery)

9. Collie Buddz “Come Around” (Produced by Crown N Kah So-Real)

10. M.I.A. “Paper Planes” (Produced by Diplo & Switch)

SEE #11 – 25