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Welcome to Underground Fossils, brought to you by Dimxsk and Trylemma. The purpose of this blog is to assist in the sharing of out of print and/or rare examples of the hip hop genre. We believe that every release we post is an integral part of history and deserves to be heard by older fans as well as new seekers. We do not post or encourage the posting of anything that can be bought easily from the artist, those can be found elsewhere. Furthermore, if any artist who is featured here wishes not to share their material we will remove it immediately. Most of the rips found here were made by other people, but some of them were made by us. We are not sound engineers, so while the quality will usually be 320 kbps, they will be recorded from the source material as is. Please message us if you are an engineer and want wav files to master. Enjoy!

PS: We also want to thank all of the women and men before us who shared music in this way. Your work made our collections what they are today, and we are grateful.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Blades - Blades of Hades (2003)



So for this Friday I'm happy to offer you guys Blades of Hades, the original debut of Newcastle Australia's own Blades (fka Blades of Hades at the time of this album). I personally think these guys are seriously underrated, and they've been grindin' since way back. Along with Def Wish Cast they are some of the original pioneers of Newcastle hip hop, which has a dark and hardcore rhyme style with a production reminiscent of early East Coast US rap.

I first heard this band on the Off the Radar Vol. 1 compilation alongside songs by Astronautalis and Sole as well as some indie rock and electronic acts. I was impressed with their rapid fire delivery and hard hitting production, and finding more from them I was really surprised I'd not heard of them earlier. I've since educated myself more on the subject of Australian rap and was lucky enough to come across this one.

Be aware this is by no means their best work. It lacks the polish and confidence of their later albums, but it's pretty cool to have as a curiosity and a decent accomplishment in it's own right. Comparing it to Blades 2013 album The Leak makes it clear how much they've put into their art.

Interesting trivia, Blades was actually the hip hop origin of the talented and gorgeous Abbie Cornish (MC Dusk, or just Dusk), who came up with the group and has since moved on to star in some major Hollywood movies such as Limitless and the more recent dark comedy Three Billboards... MC Dusk is not featured here, but she spits some verses on the albums This Installment and Shadow Art, which can and should be picked up on their Bandcamp page here.

Click here for a music video from the album, called "Find Ya Higher" if you're still on the fence. Hope you enjoy Blades of Hades!


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Music: The Hell Hole Store (Darko the Super & iAlive) - Three the Hard Way



"Jeff Sessions / gave me indigestion / because he's bad for your health / no question" - from track "Godzilla" by The Hell Hole Store


Located somewhere in Philly is The Hell Hole Store. It is a place run by emcees and producers (? can't find producer credits, I know iAlive makes beats) Darko the Super and iAlive, where you can get everything from Lawry's Seasoning to "ornery dromedaries" and rub shoulders with musicians like Open Mike Eagle and Height Koch while fast forwarding through Swordfish like you may have done in middle school.

So that's the premise behind this collaboration, and obviously it's not something to take particularly seriously. I really like iAlive, his production is fairly unique and tripped out, sampling psychedelic rock with futuristic electro pop synths to craft beats with a flowing, syrupy weirdness that perfectly suit his laid back style of rapping. He's also got a fairly awesome singing voice that lends a sense of completeness to most of his better songs, as well as those made by his peers like kidDEAD and Cody Cody Jones (fka Stillborn Identity).

Darko the Super I don't know much about. I've never heard any of his solo work. I will say he's got a definite lyrical proficiency with an emphasis on content, stylistically a bit like a cross between Coolzey and the aforementioned fellow shopper Open Mike Eagle. Both Darko and iAlive have some pretty classic lines on this tape, often funny in ways that catch you by surprise (see above).

These two artists do sound good as a pair as well and while I can't speak to the effect this collaboration has on Darko, iAlive is certainly taking himself less seriously and letting his mind wander more than on his earlier material. Punchlines abound, with famous names, brands, movies, shows, restaurants, anything is for sale and subject to deconstruction and renovation during these songs, also spiked with standard rap braggadocio and punk sensibilities. They do go everywhere,  and often nowhere. However, they are fun in an era where if a musician wants there is plenty to be angry / sad / frightened about. Can't fault anyone for wanting to get zany and hoping you won't mind laughing a bit in the car going somewhere you don't want, or taking a break from the ever more depressing news.

This being The Hell Hole Stores third exhibition, it's natural to compare it to it's earlier outings and that's where I feel like this tape falls a bit behind. With the exception of the single with OME "I'll Take What I Can Get" which stands out both production wise and overall, most of these songs kinda flew by me without making too much of an impression. I didn't feel that way about their previous album Return to the Hell Hole Store, which was definitely good. This one felt a bit rushed, didn't have the catchy hooks and beats that I was hoping for.

Honestly I wish that we heard a bit more of iAlive's singing. I really like his voice, and throwing in a sing-alongable hook every few songs wouldn't hurt the sound of this tape at all. It would certainly give it a more standout quality in what is becoming a sea of nerd x art + comedy rap albums following the success of the now (insert whatever the word is that's "thrice" but for four) mentioned Open Mike.

So it may not be a glowing recommendation, but understand that when iAlive spoke on this project he said it was a comedic outing, and not like his solo work. This is supposed to be fun music, and expecting an album of the year from a tape like this simply isn't fair. iAlive on his own is often very good, and from what I hear of Darko he has the talent that could shine with the right songwriting. So, if you've never visited The Hell Hole Store, start with the self titled debut or especially Return to the Hell Hole Store. If you like those give this one a chance.


Get Three the Hard Way as a digital download, or support what seems to be a dope label and get it on the tape it was clearly meant to be here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Undergrowth - A Drink of Air (2002)



Last week I posted, in several installments, my complete Sandpeople CD collection on IG. One CD in particular got me a handful of inquiring DMs - Undergrowth's "A Drink of Air" from 2002.

"A Drink of Air" was a very independent project put together by head Sandpeople founder Mo-B, then going by 1770-8 (though this predates the formation of the Sandpeople by a couple years.) The album is essentially a compilation featuring various Northwest names, though "Undergrowth" is the name given to the general grouping of artists involved.

The sound is very lo-fi overall, though this doesn't take away from the album too much. I believe the majority of the production is provided courtesy of Mo-B himself. It's pretty much what you'd expect from 2000s NW underground Hip Hop - darker yet also melodic beats. The rapping is gritty but also experimental and often abstract. Features include Uziah, Flavordisk, Mako, Sulfur, Snafu, Pale Soul, Dialek, Goldini Bagwell, and various others. 

The album isn't the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, but it's certainly worth checking out, especially if you enjoy the Northwest sound and/or are curious to hear how many of the Oldominion/Sandpeople guys sounded early on. Peep below! 



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Music: Fat Jack - Virgo / Nobody - All Too Familiar






Today we're getting a double dose of new instrumental music in the form of a Project Blowedian "welcome back" and a Project Blowedian (pseudo) "farewell." 

Fat Jack is sort of a monolithic name in the L.A. underground. The man was a part of Camp Freestyle and the vital Abstract Tribe Unique (to whom this blog owes its name) but he's perhaps best known for putting out the groundbreaking "Cater To The DJ" album in 1999 - an album that is now synonymous with the Blowed. 

After having a solid 2000s, Fat Jack sort of went quiet entering the new decade. Then, last year he teamed up with Aceyalone to put out the (in my opinion mediocre) "43rd & Excellence." Now, in 2019, we finally get the first Fat Jack solo album in over a decade,"Virgo," thanks to Daddy Kev's and Self Jupe's Order Label. 

"Virgo" is no general "beattape." It's an album packed full of heavily developed, lush, jazzy, spacey instrumentals. Fat Jack really made this project his own and nearly all of the beats take you on some sort of auditory journey - no rappers needed. It's a very very good return to the scene and I hope that he stays put because Fat Jack has certainly proven that he can still make very quality instrumental music. [I will say that, in addition to making new music, I hope Fat Jack also takes some time to go dig out his hard drives that apparently contain folders and folders of unreleased Project Blowed related material!] 

When Fat Jack was dropping "Cater To The DJ," another Project Blowedian producer, Nobody, was starting to rev up his career. After a couple demos and 12 inches, Nobody dropped his official debut "Soulmates" in 2000, which featured the likes of Freestyle Fellowship, 2Mex, Medusa, and Abstract Rude. 

As time went on, Nobody stayed very productive, dropping music under various names, with various groups, and with various sounds. He might be best known in the wider pop culture for helping found the newly retired L.A. weekly, Low End Theory. After over two decades in the game however, it looks like Nobody is retiring the "Nobody" name (just the name) with his latest album, "All Too Familiar."

Nobody has always had love for more indie rock sounds, so it's fitting that he really digs into that for this project. The album, which features no samples, is perhaps best categorized as melodic riffy psychedelia. Nobody plays guitar for most of the album and it comes across very well. The entire project has a very "late summer night" vibe to it which is perfect as we enter the summer. 

What a great time for instrumental LA music! You can cop Fat Jack's "Virgo" HERE and Nobody's "All Too Familiar" (which dropped on CD and Vinyl) HERE. Enjoy! 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Royal-T - Weirdo Music For Elitist Aliens (2004)



It’s a bit bittersweet to be sharing this album for me. Royal-T (R.I.P.) is one of the many great musicians who was taken too soon in the last few years, and I really want this post to be especially about celebrating his legacy. I feel that putting his early work out there (work that was in my experience incredibly difficult to locate) might help to cement how amazing this guy was.

Hailing from Thunder Bay, ON Canada, Royal-T was one of the founding members of Deepcave Records probably best known for their 2009 eponymous album with Factor. The crew consists of emcees like Big Bear, 40oz, Nevamind, Lev, Webster Death as well as many different collaborations between them like Filthy Animals and The Yesmen. Royal-T himself collaborated with well known producers like The Dirty Sample and DJ Kutdown, but he always seemed at home and in his element working with whomever behind the boards.

The Deepcave Crew and Royal-T were great at putting out hard hitting tracks over dope production, with technical skill and a sense of humor. Royal-T himself had a rapid fire technique that always made for impressive and enjoyable listening. Weirdo Music For Elitist Aliens was his first official solo album, and is a long and expansive look at his early days. The styles are numerous, the production is usually good although a few songs can be pretty out there. The liner notes indicate this album was never really mastered to his satisfaction, and he promised the next full length would be better. I really think this work is an example of all that I like about indie rap. He's having a good time, making stuff that mostly hits, sometimes misses, but is all his own no matter what.

I was personally shocked to hear of his passing, and as unlikely as it may be if any who knew him end up reading this I hope you take this post as a sign of my deep respect and admiration for the man's talent, and that you know how much I enjoyed his work.


Download


A ton of Deepcave material and videos can be found here. These guys didn't seem to care about giving stuff away for free, as far as I can tell most of their albums were shared at some point. Many of the older links have been removed, but last I checked some of the more recent postings still function. Check it out!

Oh, and I'd really love to get my hands on that NWO album and the first and third Yesmen albums, if anyone wants to share them you'd get an official thank you from UGF and my personal gratitude. See you guys next week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

New Music: OneWerd - Timeless



Okay, hella stoked for this one! Another CDBaby discovery (that site is ill no question), I've been aware of this guy for 8 years or so. It's been a pleasure to start seeing his name pop up on the periphery, and gradually make it's way to the center of things. First he's remixing Restiform Bodies. Then he lands a guest spot on Variex's Milled Pavement debut Braille Dive. Then his name is showing up on tour announcements, he's dropping a phenomenal album on Acid Lab Records (Becoming, check it out!) and putting out Alive EP on one of the gold standards of indie music, Fake Four. Dude is now a major player in the SF music scene, and has opened for acts from Sahtyre all the way to the Epic Beard Men and everything in between.

Not only is OneWerd an incredibly hard working (and talented) musician, he's also a nice, humble dude. His music is positive, fun and especially creative, he can go from dropping rhymes over drum and bass influenced beats to producing soulful guitar driven melodies with ease. Then he's out of the studio and teaching middle school to survive the Bay Area grind. And Timeless is all about that grind, how do we live our own definition of a successful life when our time on this earth is finite and filled with obligations and work? Very few of us are where we want to be, but what holds us back?

The album opens with a reflection on the feeling of lost opportunities, trying to catch up to your peers and excel on your own terms. Something most everyone understands. OneWerd's music has often touched on the power of belief to achieve one’s goals, and his message is one of determination and optimism. He believes in putting in the time and energy with patience and being rewarded, and through his personal journey he wants to share this with us.

OneWerd sings during the melodic chorus of "Open Up My Eyes" "it's difficult accepting lessons that you're never not there, open up my eyes", which brings to the forefront OneWerd's roots in faith. While it's not mentioned as prominently on some of his newer releases, Werd definitely relies on his belief in everyday life and it used to pop up a lot in his work. One of his earliest albums Basement Futuristik is most definitely Christian rap. I'm not personally a Christian, so his less explicit meditations on faith are a bit more relatable for me, but the way I see it a lot of us like The RZA and not all of us are Five Percenters. Differing perspectives in music are always welcome, and anyone who finds themselves hesitant to listen to an artist solely over issues of faith just stands to miss out, in my humble opinion. That said this album, while spiritual, doesn't really drop any names which should make it more palatable for those who find religion a sensitive subject.

The production (which is honestly what I tend to focus on in hip hop as an amateur musician) is where I believe OneWerd really sets himself apart. This album is entirely self produced in every sense of the word, he mixed it himself and it sounds very crisp and professional. He does have a signature style (electronic, though not without clear rock roots) but he always manages to take it places that are new and interesting, some of my personal favorite beats of his are the ones where he plays the acoustic guitar with dubstep style synths and drums to back it up, producing a sound that is his own (such as on the album closer “No Stone Unturned"). I'm confident I could identify his work alongside other producers, and I respect that. Even in indie music styles are becoming more and more homogeneous, to my dismay.

Guest spots are sparse with Timeless being a more personal venture for Werd, however his delivery has evolved to the point that he can and does rap at most speeds and sings very well which keeps his vocal work interesting. The artists who are featured should be very familiar to you all, with Eligh of Living Legends rapping about living clean on "Nothing to Stand On", and Scarub of the same coming with a tongue twisting mediation on the grind over the bluesy acoustic guitar driven beat of "No Road Home". For those who like to experience the interplay of styles that's one of the great pleasures of rap, his compilation style album The Faculty Pt. 2 is a good look at his music alongside some surprising guest rappers (Bakus of Learning Curve, Myka 9, Brzowski etc.)

From tuning into his Indiegogo I get the impression that this album is both a labor of love and a masterpiece for OneWerd. Every track is good, and I think it would serve as a perfect introduction to any new listeners and would really drive home to older fans how seriously he takes his craft. There's been growth on everything he's ever done, and it's been a pleasure to watch it happen. Speaking of watching, check out the music video below for "Walk Into the Ocean", a beautiful look at the best parts of the SF Bay over a standout track from the album.




OneWerd is here to stay, don't miss out on something that will have you nodding your head while improving your mood and maybe giving you hope when you need it. Get your digital copy of Timeless here with physical merch available soon at the same location!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Open Mike Eagle - The Finger Booger EP (2003)






While he certainly has yet to reach his peak fame-wise, Open Mike Eagle is already a Top 10 Rapper of All Time in my opinion. The man has a large catalog full of styles, content, and quality, and shows no signs of slowing down. Today's post is the project that introduced Open Mike Eagle to the world (or maybe just a few random people in L.A.) - "The Finger Booger EP." 

"The Finger Booger EP" is a collection of 7 tracks + 2 bonus tracks that Mike burned on cdr (less than 100 copies) back in the day to hand out to various people around Los Angeles. The EP is notable for being a major influence on milo's decision to pursue rap.

When you consider some Project Blowedian cdrs, this one has pretty good sound quality. Technically, Mike shows a lot of early promise with his cadences, multis, and flows. You can, however, definitely tell via his voice that this is a younger Mike Eagle. The biggest thing to note is the content. The EP has a lot of straightforward braggadocio and battle raps - unsurprising considering that the Swim Team was essentially a battle crew back then. While Mike is known today for more social and political commentary, I think he still sounds good on here just talking about how dope he is! There is an awkward slut-shaming track, "Bust Down," that doesn't come across too well and is one that I'm guessing Mike wishes he could erase (the song does attack male sluts as well as female sluts...but that doesn't really help things.) The production on here isn't anything special (save for the "Dear Wack" beat) but that doesn't stop Mike from shining on the lyrical side of things. 

I'm not fully sure when exactly this dropped. I've seen 2003 and 2005. It's possible that there were several versions of the project released during this time period. Anyhow, if you haven't already, peep the EP. The files were uploaded by Mike Eagle himself a while back (the original link is now dead.) Also be sure to check out Mike Eagle's new tv show with Baron Vaughn, "The New Negroes," on Comedy Central every Friday at 11:00 PM. [And as a bonus, peep my Open Mike Eagle CD + Cassette collection after the DL!]