Thoughts On The XXL Freshmen Class Of 2012

My general reaction to the 2012 XXL Freshman Class picks:

I’m not even gonna go in depth on any of the individual MCs listed, although I am questioning Iggy Azalea’s questionable usage of the term “runaway slaveowner” or some such foolishness in a song.   It’s sad that XXL is moving in the direction of the other hip-hop publications that it originally represented the contrast to.  XXL was the magazine we turned to when five mics stopped meaning something.  We looked to XXL for who’s “dope”, not who’s “hot”.  The major hip-hop publication is dead.  Takes a lot of money to keep the lights on and they clearly can’t do it without accepting payola on the back-end.  One thing I can promise about Front-Free is that it will stay genuine.  If I don’t f*ck with it, I don’t run it, period.  Look around…there are no ads…one, so that the site looks better than the other blogs and two, to show that what goes up is stuff I genuinely dig and want to get some shine.  Keep reading, tell a friend, and stay free of fronts.

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Mixtape: Consignment x Boldy James


If you’ve been riding with Front-Free or my Twitter for a while, you might recall I’ve been talking about Detroit MC Boldy James for quite some time.  Trapper’s Alley: Pros And Cons was a street classic which would have easily had my wallet open to pay for a full-length LP and a show, but Boldy came back with another free mixtape (26 tracks!) to drop on our heads.  The man makes nothing but quality and gives it to us free.  Just more proof to my theory that the studio album as we know it might be dead or on its way there.  Download here.

Check the trailer.  Track list down bottom.

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Vintage Goods: Iced Down Medallions x Royal Flush f. Noreaga

Flushing, NY MC Royal Flush dropped Ghetto Millionaire in 1997, a golden era for New York rap.  “Iced Down Medallions” became a top 20 rap single and though the album was highly slept-on, many who are in the know recognize it as a classic.  The video wasn’t doing too much and it didn’t need to.  The jazz sample and complimentary flow over it spoke for itself while the video was relatively run-of-the-mill.  But it still spoke to the place and time period.  Salute to Royal Flush!

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Other Goods: She Sells Sanctuary x The Cult

 I first became familiar with this song watching one of my favorite films ever, Layer Cake.  The soundtrack to the film is all kinds of dope in terms of syncing beautifully with the style of the movie, but to me this song specifically kicks ass.  This song was originally on band The Cult’s 1985 album Love.  Check out the lead singer, Ian Astbury, getting busy in the opening of the video, though.  The beat drops and it’s nothing but FOOT-WORK.  I died laughing.

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Visuals: Heaven Is x Ski Beatz f C Plus

Visuals dropped last week for a track off the latest release from Ski Beatz titled 24 Hour Karate School Presents: Twilight (I swear this has nothing to do with the candy-ass vampire films).  This video looks like they tried to duplicate the same effect found on the video for Ski’s joint “Cream Of The Planet”, featuring Mos Def.  I’m not mad, though.  Though this MC clearly isn’t Mos by a longshot, the song works.  Looking forward to hearing the whole album, as it’s presently chillin’ in my recently added playlist on iTunes.  The backlog struggle is real.

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Vintage Goods: 1 Luv x E-40

A discussion came up a few days ago regarding E-40, which inspired this post.  As a Bay Area, California native, I remember the music of the mid to late 90s vividly.  The Bay Area at that time had a way of supporting its artists to the point that they didn’t need to venture outside of the Bay and try to sync up with what people everywhere else were doing as much.  We had our own unique sound totally different than even what was coming out of LA at the time.  

When I moved to DC, I was surprised to hear that people out here were up on Bay Area rappers.  E-40 specifically is an acquired taste and if you’re not from the Bay, I don’t expect you to understand why we liked him.  Once he started getting down with the youngins and their “hyphy” movement, I could no longer get down as much, but 40 Water paved the way for a lot of Bay Area MCs and showed that you can be successful serving the home turf and staying true to yourself.  Service the home base first and foremost.

“1-Luv” was a heartfelt, yet upbeat joint featuring singer Levitti.  If I could get Levitti to croon these ad libs at my funeral, I can head to the upper room in peace.

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