Instrumental Series Vol.3 - Philly Underground

Philly rappers have had a stigma for a while now that they all sound alike. Is that a good or a bad thing? I've always thought it was a compliment that our city has a recognizable style. Naturally every region thinks they're the best and has a preference for its own music. As far as I know, Philly rappers were often overlooked because we didn't have major label influence. It became business as usual for rappers/artists to go the independent route. I don't know how many of our local talents were signed to some sort of deal but they never saw the light of day.

The success stories of the underground are still short lived. "State Property" was "the team to beat" for a few years. Through Rocafella, they spread a lot of our Philly style to New York. New Yorkers then claimed certain things as their own ideas and spread them to the rest of the country. I'm not going to get into that because that's a different discussion. Anyway, ROC put Philly on the map starting with Beanie Sigel back in 99. Over the years we've had a lot of talent and beef seems to bring out the best and worst in everyone.

SP started cooking with gas when they erupted a city wide beef against Major Figgas. SP members literally come from all parts of the city while MF was mostly North Philly... in particular "Erie Ave" (EA and GTown Aves are major arteries in North Philly and have a deep rap history). Their beef spilled out onto the radio Power 99 "Come Up Show" and people throughout the tri-state took notice. Some people would say that since Rocafella was the only group in Philly getting any shine for a while that everybody else was jealous and it made them a target. That's exactly what happened. ROC had to defend from ALL SIDES. The SP vs MF era had a legitimate reason for getting started though, but I'm not going into that either. A new generation of up and comers saw this as their foothold into the underground. Come at whoever is on top. As different rappers got a buzz, some no name guy out of left field would kick dirt on his name and became damn near famous. Every time someone got a buzz, they started a team or formed an alliance. Different teams would beef and hope to blow things so far out of proportion that it would be impossible not to know about it.

The gift and the curse to the Philly underground was Norristown's "Big Star." He had been filming raw talent for years all the way back to the early-mid 90's. One day he got the idea that he could cash in and started making DVDs and they were TOP NOTCH. With one DVD in particular, he changed the game... Ground Zero. Stars were born! Whether any of those guys are still stars now, I don't know. I've severed all ties with mixtapes and rap DVDs. The problem with this is that, Big Star put a lot of effort into his work and it showed. Everybody else started making their own DVDs and rarely did they measure up in terms of talent, quality, availability, and variety. People who were flat out wack were getting filmed just because they knew a guy who knew a guy. There was no distribution. You had to buy them at a handful of spots in the whole city. They lacked menus and extras. The market got flooded with mediocre DVDs filled with endless beef and no name battle rappers. Even those who made a name in battling bought into their own hype and thought they could transition into the industry, but it didn't work out. There's always exceptions to the rule though. Paperchasers' original Bananas DVD was a mess, but it's still one of the hottest Philly DVDs ever.

Some people who I thought were hott at some point: Chic Raw, Kre, Elliot Ness, Cassidy, Ab Liva, Gillie, Hollowman, Spittage, Sandman, Vodka, Sigel, Freeway, Cyssero, Lil' Frank, Sandtana, and Jakk Frost.

The funny thing about Philly is that everybody here raps even if they won't admit it. These instrumentals aren't strictly by Philly artists... not by a longshot. It's just that, they speak to our sound and represent the best of the best beats used in Philly underground mixtapes and DVDs. Some of these weren't used but should have been and 3 others I did myself and I know Philly rappers/fans would LOVE them.

Disc One

01. Smoothe Da Hustler - Broken Language
02. Mobb Deep - Click Click
03. Ram Squad - Ballers
04. Stat Quo - Like Dat
05. Young Gunz - Look in Our Eyes
06. Cam'ron - Just Fire
07. Cassidy - Blood Pressure
08. Diplomats - Somebody Gotta Die Tonight
09. Fat Joe - It's Nothing
10. Juvenile - In My Life
11. Game - Aim Ya Gunz
12. Talib Kweli - Revolution
13. Hrangue - Shaolin Workout
14. Jakk Frost - Crash Da Party
15. M.O.P. - Breaking All the Rules
16. Tragedy Khadafi - Straight Death
17. Young Gunz - Dead or Alive
18. Alchemist - Feel This
19. Notorious B.I.G. - Biggie
20. D12 - How Come
21. Lil' Flip - Package of Power
22. Freeway - All My Life
23. Consequence - Niggaz Get Knocked
24. Lloyd Banks - Banks Workout
25. Cuban Link - Unknown
26. Saigon - Letter P
27. Mobb Deep - Crawling

Disc Two

01. Hrangue - Vicious Cycle
02. LL Cool J - I Shot Ya
03. Cassidy - Can I Talk to You
04. Kanye West - Jesus Walks
05. Alchemist - Thats That
06. Ja Rule - Clap Niggaz
07. Jim Jones - Baby Girl
08. Mack 10 - Wanted
09. Mobb Deep - Clap First
10. Diplomats - What's Really Good
11. The High and Mighty - The Red Light
12. Tragedy Khadafi - Blood Type
13. G-Unit - Gangsta Shit
14. Saigon - The Color Purple
15. State Property - They Know Us
16. Big Noyd - Bang Bang
17. Little Tragedy - Stay Free
18. Mobb Deep - Quiet Storm
19. Elliot Ness - My Hood
20. Papoose - License to Kill
21. Sheek Louch - Red Dot
22. Obie Trice - The Set Up
23. Juelz Santana - Ladies
24. Nas - Ether
25. Hrangue - Spilaphilia

Get it here!

Like Kiss said one time... "We make other niggas beats sound like we paid for 'em." Philly was known for that. That Cuban Link instrumental is one of my faves but I couldn't tell the name of it from looking at the cover way back when. If you know it, drop a line. And you know I'm smellin' my own right?

And kudos to Blog Do Nirso for the 2 tracks I sampled.

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