Curly Castro & Zilla Rocca’s Str8 Westcoastin’ Mix

Artwork by Adam LaMonaca

Instead of just shooting out to Phoenix and Los Angeles this week and bombarding you with needless Tweets, Facebook pics, and food poisoning from Carl’s Jr as updates, myself and Castro decided the best look for everyone would be free music, specifically our favorite hip hop songs from the land of weather, women, and weed (not so much the Arizona Diamondbacks, traffic, John McCain, astronomical gas prices, and $9 grape spritzers at juice bars in West Hollywood).

Plus, incorporating 1995’s Devil in a Blue Dress into the cover art is apt — Don Cheadle had his breakout role as Mouse, a gold toothed goon who could kill a man with an ashtray , and Denzel did Walter Mosely proud as the well known LA private eye Easy Rawlins. I’m pretty sure it was the last time Tom Sizemore had all of his teeth too.

You can stream and DL the mix over at Mixcloud


You can download the mix as one long MP3 complete with 2 bonus MP3’s: Curly Castro’s new backside smackin’ single “West Indian Rum” (prod. by Margel Overton of Sela) along with “It’s Always 5 O’Clock Somewhere” by 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers off the Broken Clocks EP


1.  Zilla Rocca’s Hellafied Intro
2.  “Mix Tapes” The Nonce
3.  “Exploits and Glitches” Noncando
4.  “Critical (Madlib Remix)” Zion I f/ Planet Asia
5.  “Killin’ It” Tha Alkaholiks f/ Xzibit
6.  “Made N*****” 2pac f/ Outlawz
7.  “Ditty” Paperboy
8.  “Doggy Dogg World” Snoop Doggy Dogg f/ The Dogg Pound
9.  Curly Castro’s Brooklyn Dodger Lament
10.  “Still Cruisin'” Eazy E f/ The Game
11.  “Place of Birth” Planet Asia
12.  “Mr. Dobalina” Del Thee Funkee Homosapien
13.  “Tell Me When To Go” E-40 f/ Keak Da Sneak
14.  “She Swallowed It” N.W.A.
15.  “Soul On Ice (Diamond D Remix)” Ras Kass
16.  “Otha Fish” Pharcyde


I Used To Rock Dem Tapes Vol. 2

For the second installment of I Used to Rock Dem Tapes, I’m turning the clock back 10 years, when pagers were still acceptable means of getting at a shorty, Wu-Tang ruled the world, and Lil’ Wayne was only 25 years old.

This was the first installment of a yearly nerd tradition I created for myself–a collection of the best Wu-Tang related songs of the past 365.

Titled From the Slums of Shaolin: Best of Wu-Tang ’98, this tape got crazy burn halfway through my junior year of high school in my trusty Walkman (which ended up getting stolen on the Broad Street Line).  What I notice most about this tape is that the B-Side kicks major ass.  Maybe I frontloaded the first half with Wu B-Teamers like Killarmy, Sunz of Man, and La the Darkman was to reward myself with ice cream after getting through the brussel sprouts that was Islord and Prodigal Sunn.   I’d give myself a C+ for Side A and an A- effort for Side B.

Unfortunately, since this tape was made, I sold the second Killarmy album, Sunz of Man’s first album, La the Darkman’s album, and Cappadonna’s first album when I moved out in ’05 to help pay for furniture, food, and newer CD’s.  I regret selling The Pillage and wouldn’t mind having a small playlist on my iPod with the bright spots from Sunz of Man’s The Last Shall Be First.  A few years later, the RZA must’ve read my mind with those Wu Chronicles releases that essentially did the same job as my mixtape series.  But I still kept going.  And yes, I did actually have a girlfriend when I made these.


From the Slums of Shaolin: Best of Wu-Tang ’98
Maxel UR
90 Minutes

Side A

1.  “The Worst”  Onyx f/ Wu-Tang
2.  “The Shootout”  Killarmy
3.  “Polluted Wisdom”  La the Darkman
4.  “5 Stages of Consciousness”  Killarmy
5.  “Tru Master”  Pete Rock f/ Inspectah Deck, Kurupt
6.  “S.O.S”  Inspectah Deck f/ Street Life
7.  “Dangerous Grounds”  Method Man f/ Street Life
8.  “Mantis”  RZA (Bobby Digital) f/ Masta Killa. Tekietha
9.  “Heist of the Century”  La the Darkman f/ Killa Sin
10.  “NYC Everything”  RZA (Bobby Digital) f/ Method Man
11.  “And Justice For All”  RZA f/ Method Man, Killarmy
12.  “Put Your Hammer Down” Funkmaster Flex f/ Wu-Tang Clan
13.  “Illusions”  Sunz of Man f/ Masta Killa

Side B

1.  “The Game”  Pete Rock f/ Raekwon, Ghostface, Prodigy
2.  “Play IV Keeps”  Method Man f/ Mobb Deep, Street Life, Inspectah Deck
3.  “Supa Ninjas”  Cappadonna f/ Method Man, U-God
4.  “Windpipe”  RZA f/ Ghostface, ODB
5.  “Black Trump” Cocoa Brovaz f/ Raekwon
6.  “John Blaze”  Fat Joe f/ Nas, Big Pun, Jadakiss, Raekwon
7.  “Big Dogs”  Method Man f/ Redman
8.  “Gunz N Onez”  Heltah Skeltah f/ Method Man
9.   “Element of Surprise”  La the Darkman f/ U-God
10.  “Intellectuals”  Sunz of Man f/ U-God, Raekwon
11.  “Handwriting on the Wall” RZA f/ Ras Kass
12.  “The End”  Ras Kass f/ RZA
13.  “Strange Fruit” Pete Rock f/ Sticky Fingaz, Tragedy Khadafi, Cappadonna

I Used to Rock Dem Tapes Vol. 1


Here’s another segment I’m throwing at ya, captain: I Used to Rock Dem Tapes.

Before MP3s and blogs and iPods, there was cassettes. Cassettes were my friends. They were small. They had a finite shelf life. They were cheaper than CDs. They provided the chance to make an actual “mixtape” since they were, you know, tapes. Essentially they were the beeper of music consumption–compact, handy and definitely limited.

But the limited capabilities made them great. You couldn’t just upload, drag, download or burn a mix in 6 minutes. If you were going to make a 60 minute mixtape, you HAD to sit there for 60 minutes and sequence song after song from whatever source the songs came from: vinyl, CD, radio, etc. More time had to be spend making a bangin’ mixtape so you had to be on your game. As you’ll see in the pics, I spent just as much time sequencing the material as I did putting together some cover art *NERD ALERT*:
tape cover
cover 2
cover spine

The first mix I’m throwing at you is my best of the Okayplayer/Rawkus era circa ’99. It’s called “Native Tonuges 2000” and it features the best music from The Roots, Black Star, and Common before they started getting shit on by critics who value cocaine and hand claps over great rap. But enough of all that…

Here’s the full tracklisting and some links to download a few choice MP3s from the mix.

“Native Tongues 2000: The Roots, Black Star, Common”
Maxell UD II CD High Bias
110 Mins

1. Definition-Black Star
2. RE:DEFinition-Black Star
3. The Lession Pt. 1-The Roots f/ Dice Raw
4. 100% Dundee-The Roots
5. Push Up Ya Lighter-The Roots f/ Bahamadia
6. Freestyle-Funkmaster Flex f/ Common
7. Freestyle-Tony Touch f/ Common
8. Body Rock-Mos Def f/ Q-Tip, Tash
9. Fortified Live-Reflection Eternal f/ Mos Def, Mr. Man
10. Twice Inna Lifetime-Black Star f/ Jane Doe, Punch & Words
11. Maybe One Day-Brand Nubian f/ Common
12. Travelin Man-DJ Honda f/ Mos Def
13. Ain’t Sayin Nothin New-The Roots f/ Dice Raw
14. Check the Method-Common f/ No I.D.
15. Proceed-The Roots

1. 1-9-9-9-Common f/ Sadat X
2. Freestyle-Funkmaster Flex f/ Mos Def
3. Like They Used to Say-Common
4. Stretch & Bobbito Freestyle-Black Thought, Common, Pharoahe Monch, Absolute
5. Talkin to You-Black Star, Pharoahe Monch, Rah Digga, A-Butta
6. Chaos-Reflection Eternal f/ Bahamadia
7. Universal Magnetic-Mos Def
8. Next Universe-Mos Def
9. Respirtation-Black Star f/ Common
10. Respiration (Pete Rock Remix)-Black Star f/ Black Thought
11. I Used to Love H.E.R.-Common
12. Love of my Life-The Roots f/ Common
13. Double Trouble-The Roots f/ Mos Def