When I was in college long ago, there was a record store down the street from my dorm. Some days I wonder if it is still there, but I'm sure it is. What I loved about that store was the availability to buy "live" bootleg albums. In the business these are mostly refered to as imports because they are usually recorded from live shows done overseas. When ever I would go into said record store, I would talk to the owner about different types of music and peruse the import section to see what was new. I have had the pleasure of being able to own a couple of awesome albums, but over time they have ended up lost.
I visited my brother years ago and he took me to meet a friend of his, Travis, so we could hang out and relax. Travis is one of the main reasons that I have all the music that I own. We "borrowed" each others music and ever since then I have been amazed at the stuff I am listening to. One of the albums he lent me was Aceyalone's "Lost Tapes." Lost Tapes is not a real album that has been released by the artist or the record company. It is through and through a hodgepodge of different recorded tracks over a period of time. Some of these tracks are live freestyles from radio stations or tracks that just never got released. For me, the true highlights of albums like these are the live, on-air radio freestyles. They allow you to hear the instantanious thought process of an artist.Albums like this allow fans to get an insight to the actual ability of the stars. Usually the only place to find any of these tracks is off of youtube, but at the same time, you would have to know the titles of the tracks because they are never listed anywhere.
The hard part of albums like this is that you truly have to deal with some of the crap that tends to be on them. Whether its a horrible remix or a track that should never have been done. Or even worse, a track that has tons of potential but no thought was put into any part of the production. Overly bassed or too much static feedback are the usual suspects in cases like this.
Aceyalone's "Lost Tapes" is a really decent import. It opens with another remix of "Mic Check," but we don't need to go into any part of this track. The second track is called "Perfect Romance" and I really dig it. The lyrics are well thought out and the beat is solid. It's a shame that it gets lost onto a tape like this.
"Double Dose" follows with a Project Blowed track. Project Blowed is a collaberation between Aceyalone, his crew Freestyle Fellowship, and many other LA underground emcees. It is a decent track, but nothing to amazing nor devestating. Tracks like this make me a little sad. I think I would rather be completely blown away or disappointed by something than to be left in a blazah blazah state. "The Greatest Show on Earth" follows with a remix by Fat Jack. I actually feel that I've heard this remix on the "All Balls Revisited" album. The track "OG Crew" is a bit of a misplaced title for me. When I think of many things "OG," Aceyalone is not one of them. Plus the manner in which the hook is really mellow, doesn't fit with it as well. Now, the "Headaches and Woes" remix provides a pretty decent opening beat reminiscent of the early 80s. I feel that a Afrika Bambata breakdance battle is about to occur with this beat. It is a nicely done remix, cause the lyrics match up pretty nicely with the slowed down beat. The next two tracks, "Feet Up on the Table" and "Show Your Right," were released on "All Balls Revisited," so there is no need to discuss them.
"High and Bye" is the next track and it is a shame it never got released anywhere. It's low key and mellow in the right places. Now the hook is a little weak, but the beat and lyrics are well done and flow effortlessly. The album ends with two more radio freestyles and remixes of previously recorded tracks that are decent, but nothing amazing in the reworking. One of the closing tracks is a highlight for the album because it is an untitled demo track.
One of the hardest things to get a hand on are demo tracks. These are the tracks that allow you to hear where the pure intensity, integrity, and artistic passion come from. Before any producer can adjust and tweak an artist into whatever it is you hear now. Demos are amazing and should always be released.
All in all, I love "import" albums and am happy to have this one. If you are a fan of music, find your local record store and ask them about imports. One of the amazing things about imports is that you get little presents wrapped up and ready for you to open. Like an artist doing a live cover of a song that you never thought they would do. Sorry there aren't more links with the tracks, but this is a hard one to locate tracks for.
Next album: Aceyalone - "Magnificent City"