Beggars can’t be choosers

In the quest for free online entertainment you have to take what you can get

One of the drawbacks of trying to find free legal downloadable music on the Internet is that you have to take what you can get. Unlike at the local record store you can’t just hop in and grab that new African-tinged pop band everyone is in a tizzy over. You might have to settle for a sweet DJ mix instead. Lately though the one thing you can find in the blogs is quality hip hop.

Killer Mike — Ghetto Extraordinary (cdn.hiphopdx.com/audio/downloads/km-go%20(hiphopdx.com).zip)

Despite his association with Outkast Atlanta MC Killer Mike has had a tough time getting heard. After a strong guest spot on Outkast’s “Snappin’ & Trappin’” Killer Mike saw his 2003 debut solo album largely ignored other than minor hit “A.D.I.D.A.S” and then his real troubles began. Ghetto Extraordinary his sophomore album was originally set for release in 2005 but due to label issues it has been in limbo for years so Killer Mike finally decided to give it away for free to drum up some interest.

While Killer Mike’s plight is reminiscent of similar problems faced by Wilco and Fiona Apple a few years back it’s unlikely that Ghetto Extraordinary will blow up the way Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or the Jon Brion version of Extraordinary Machine did. It’s still well worth your attention though. Killer Mike doesn’t have the most technically stunning flow in the world but he does put an awful lot of emotion into his rhymes. Here he’s overflowing with vitriol for everything from George Bush to Andre 3000’s acting career to sharing a birthday with Hitler. The disgruntled emcee’s anger seems even more fitting — and remains surprisingly relevant — considering that his album has been collecting dust for three years.

J Rocc – Droppin’ Science with Blue Note Mix (www.zshare.net/audio/7300706e126f59/)

Blue Note recently released a compilation called Droppin’ Science: Greatest Samples from the Blue Note Lab which featured 10 songs from the label’s storied back catalogue that were later immortalized by various hip hop groups. As a promotional device J Rocc compiled a promotional mix containing sections of the original songs interspersed with the hip hop songs they inspired. The mix is fascinating not only for highlighting songs that are often loops lasting only a few seconds but also for showing how organically most of these samples were created and how seamlessly they can be reintegrated with their source material.

The mix features jazz tracks by the likes of Lou Donaldson Joe Williams and Jack McDuff alongside rap cuts by A Tribe Called Quest the Beastie Boys Biz Markie J Dilla and Dr. Dre among others. It’s absolutely essential for anyone with even a mild interest in the genesis of hip hop.

Rounding up the last few odds and sods German electronic pop deconstructionists The Notwist have finally resurfaced with news of a followup to 2002’s divine Neon Golden and a new song “Good Lies” (www.cityslang.com/mp3/goodlies.mp3) . Skatterbrain — a blog devoted to charming indie-pop — has posted a pleasant little 10-song mix called My Heart Beats Outside Itself and featuring a bunch of charming indie-pop bands like The Brilliant Corners Confetti and Blueboy.