Guest Mix By Hillel Cool J from Illmeasures

Science dropped by Martini & Jopparelli. Jun-16-2009

Hi everybody, here we go with another killer guest post. My man Hillel Cool J from read my rant about contemporary hip hop and he decided to make me change my mind with an astounding mix of  REAL Hip Hop. Well done J! This is what we love about the web. Meeting cool people and sharing dope music. Don’t miss this mix and don’t forget to visit his site, he’s got plenty of goodies for you!  peace – jopparelli

I’m honored and excited to be a guest blogger on Martini & Jopparelli this week. My love of music (especially hip-hop) began in the 80s and has been growing with each new exposure I’ve been blessed to grace my ears. It’s why I greatly appreciate sites like this one and attempt to give exposure to the music I love on my own website Illmeasures.

delasoulJoppa wrote a piece recently about the fact that rap sucks in 2009…”Where were you the day hip-hop died? Is it too early to mourn? Is it too late to ride?”… I’ve been thinking about that piece lately. Initially, if asked by someone that didn’t know hip-hop on what they should hear, I’d rattle off a list without thoughts: Tribe, De La, Rakim, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, BDP, EPMD, Big Daddy Kane…I’d lead them to the incredible production of: Pete Rock, Marley Marl, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, Prince Paul, the Bomb Squad. Man, I get all jazzed when I think about that golden era of hip-hop.

The HealingHowever, when I’m able to step back and give the question some thought… “yo, you got to check out Common, the Roots, Talib, Mos Def, Jean Grae”… “oh and right now there’s this group out of Portland, Blue Scholars”…”oh, and I was really feeling last year The Healing by Strange Fruit Project”… “and there’s Little Brother, Unspoken Heard, People Under The Stairs, Lupe Fiasco”…

madlibPeople like Jay Dilla (R.I.P.), 9th Wonder, Dangermouse, A Kid Named Miles, Madlib, MF Doom, J-Zone, all just have sick beats these days…As you can see, when I think about it all, I could go on and on about both the old and new cats… but these are just words. They aren’t the music. Thus, I present to you my version of a celebration of those classic cuts I love, with a hint of the joy that hip-hop music still is:


I hope it helps you love hip-hop as much as I do. Feel free to check out my other mixes through the website and the incredible house mixes by my fellow Chicago crew members. Thanks for the guest spot Joppa. I look forward to both the celebration and debate of music with yah.

Peace and Love, Hillel Cool J.

26 Responses to “Guest Mix By Hillel Cool J from Illmeasures”

  1. Antonio says:

    Although the style of the mix is very much “true-school”-oriented, I agree that there is a lot of good hip-hop around, nowadays. As you implicitly show, though, there is a definite separation between mainstream and “underground” hip hop.
    Maybe Joppa just need to dig a little deeper…

  2. You used to be able to buy albums by the record company logo and the album would have 1 bad song. Now days you might have 1 song on an album that is only ok. Todays hip hop is not the same as days of old. It all started to go downhill after Wu Tang came out. Biggie and Pac kind of held off the downfall for a while. What I am talking about is the amount of quality hip hop that was everywhere back when. Now days it few and far between. Just because the radio plays the new songs down your throat doesn’t mean that the songs are good. I know new jacks will debate me on this but the facts are the facts. And one more thing what happened to mixing on mix tapes?

  3. One more thing. I listened to mix from Hillel Cool J and if you noticed he laced in old jams into his mix because all of the new stuff on its own won’t stand up. The mix is good and he is a good DJ but new hip hop is not as good as old. Hip Hop did not die it just got watered down.

  4. Antonio says:

    Hip Hop did not die it just got watered down.
    I agree. But I think that the argument applies more to “commercial” hip hop.
    The songs you hear on the radio today are not as good as years ago.
    But on the other hand, there are still a lot of “non-commercial” gems.

  5. When I was writting this piece, I actually decided that I’m going to challenge myself to make a new mix that is solely artists from 2000 til today… I’ll enter that one into the dialogue as soon as I can. Otherwise, I do agree with the “non-commercial” category for supporting better hip-hop music of today. A lot of the people I mentioned in my piece probably aren’t known by the masses. BTW I lace in old jams because those are my favorites :) Thanks for listening and for the lively debate.

  6. Antonio says:

    A lot of the people I mentioned in my piece probably aren’t known by the masses.
    And this is, I think, Joppa’s problem. If you expect to hear stuff that holds up to Illmatic or Enter the Wu on the radio, nowadays, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. But outside of the mass market, a lot of people are still doing their thing. Besides the people mentioned already, I would name also Black Milk, Danny Brown, Jay Electronica, and many more.

  7. Billy Ray Valentine is the best nickame ever, he won.

  8. @Antonio
    WTF? that’s not fair.

    I don’t listen the radio and MTV at all. We are in 2009, come on. I don’t even have a television.

    I listen to new hip hop I find around in music blogs. Everybody is talkin about Jay Electronica, Black Milk and stuff. They’re not bad, but they are not comparable to THE classics.

    Sorry, got no time for the average stuff. I want classics!

    I’ll let Hillel Cool J try convince me with his next mix….

  9. Antonio says:

    Joppa, you said that you haven’t been listening to hip hop for years.
    So I assumed that the only hip hop you get exposed to is the one on the mainstream channels (radio song, the ones that we do not hear in Italy, but are played in USA and that can be downloaded everywhere).
    Listen to the Preface by Elzhi. That’s a classic. Listen to I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. That’s a classic. All Killa No Filla by DJ Honda and Problemz. Double Barrel by Marco Polo and Torae. Vulture Visdom vol 1 by Opio. Heavyweight by Recordkingz. Brand New Bein’ by Sadat X. have you heard those?
    I think it’s easy to say: “Everything is bad today, before there were a lot of classics”. I think you can do it for any musical genre. But I don’t think it’s either fair or true. I find that anything Kan Kick puts out, for example, is way better than a lot of stuff that is considered classic.

    • It depends on how loose is your definition of “classic”.

      Mine is very tight. A classic is a record that lasts forever. We’ll se if 15 years from now Elzhi will be reissued and will still sell copies, as Wu, Tribe and Biggie still do.

      Repeat with me: THEY ARE NOT COMPARABLE.

    • LoL Antonio c’mon you see more classics in the last 2 years than I see in the whole 90′s…

    • …and one more thing: they recently made a (nice) movie about Biggie. Will someone ever make a movie about ELZHI? LOL

      We’re talking about different things: I’m talking about HIP HOP LEGENDS, not just nice albums. I strongly doubt the ones you mention will ever be considered hip hop legends.

  10. Antonio says:

    In 15 years time, Lil Wayne will be considered the best rapper ever, and the Carter III a masterpiece. Is that correct only because a certain number of people think so?
    In 15 years time, Eminem will be considered (and already is, according to Vibe) better than Biggie. Does that make Eminem a better rapper than B.I.G.?
    In 15 years time, young boys will think that Soulja Boy is better than Rakim (it happens already). Oh really?
    Are you talking about classics or the perception of classics?
    Because if you are talking about the perception, then I agree with you.
    If you are talking about quality, you are making a statement on the basis of stuff that admittedly you don’t listen to.
    It would be like someone like you or me saying that country music is rubbish, and that no classic albums are recorded anymore. Bullshit. What do we know?

    …and one more thing: they recently made a (nice) movie about Biggie. Will someone ever make a movie about ELZHI? LOL
    They did movies about MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. Are they classic rappers as well?

    Another thing. Does the fact that the Stones or the Beatles made classic albums make rock people say that there are no classic rap albums made anymore? C’mon…

  11. Billy Ray Valentine again,
    The underground gems everyone is referring to are few and far between. I should not have to buy 100 cd’s just to find one good underground track. What I mean by that is a track that is good in the underground usually does not hold up over time. It hits for a moment in time and then we move on to the next. Name me one underground classic that you can still hear today without most of your friends saying “who is that? or you still rocking that.” Commercial or underground a good song is a good song.

  12. Antonio –
    “Brand New Bein’ by Sadat X. have you heard those?” – this is not a classic. Alot of people that come from groups are only good within that group. To much of the individual sometimes is to much to handle. Once the cd was over I did not say to my friends “you gotta hear this, this is good.” Sometimes you gotta know when to say when.

  13. Antonio says:

    Billy Ray, I’ll give you that. BNB is not a classic. It’s a solid album, though.
    The argument here with Joppa is that he says that there is no more good hip hop around. My argument is that you have to dig a bit deeper.
    What side are you on?

    P.S.: part of the problem is that I find difficult to take seriously someone who says that there is no good hip hop around anymore and then, at the same time, that basically he has stopped listening to hip hop since 2000 or something.
    Since I listen to at least 100 new hip hop albums a year, I find that a bit insulting. Jsut my two cents.

    • Wait, wait. I said I stopped listening HH on a regular basis, but i never said I stopped trying to listen new stuff.

      I tried listening ALL the stuff you mention: Elzhi, Black Milk, Opio, and so on. I try all the time, but I don’t find anything interesting beside a couple of tunes. And I don’t see anything around comparable to THE CLASSICS, that’s my point.

      • Antonio says:

        As much as I can agree with that, I think that there is a lot of nostalgia factor going on here.
        I mean, recently you guys posted a Wild Pitch compilation with Chill Rob G and such which I would hardly call classic. But maybe it is for people that really felt Wild Pitch back then, you know what I mean?
        If we are lucky enough to have the same discussion in 20 years time, I bet you that 15-old boys turned 35 will tell you that anything Weezy and Kanye did was classic and nothing will ever be comparable to such masterpieces.
        Joppa, admit it. When you were younger hip hop was more in tune with your taste. Today two-step or whatever interest you more. Fair enough.
        There is nothing wrong with that. It happens a lot. A lot of people grow on Mickey Mouse comics. They stop reading comics, and if they start again, they are like: “Those Mickey Mouse comics were so much better, back in the day”. Is it always true?
        What I have a problem with, also, is the use of LEGENDS and CLASSICS.
        It has a lot to do with personal taste and it’s not a scientific definition, is it?
        Other than that, I agree with you: Elzhi, Black Milk, Opio, Joell Ortiz will never be popular rappers. Thay will never sell millions of records. They will probably never crossover to the mainstream and therefore no one will ever say they are LEGENDS. True.
        They are still good rappers, though. Can we agree on that?

  14. I didn’t invent the “Golden Age” term.

    Some say it’s the 90′s, some say it’s the 80′s. But nobody says the golden age of rap is post 2k: apparently, there’s a lot of nostalgic people out there. Could Be.

    What about Funk music, can we say the 60s-70s is the golden age of Funk? Even if good funk music is still coming out?

    Each musical style has its own golden age, it is not difficult to admit. It’s natural, I don’t see any problem with that.

  15. djmp45 says:

    “Chill Rob G and such which I would hardly call classic” you missing out man….that chill rob g album is a classic with amazing production by mark the 45 king….and maybe apart from one hip house song it’s full off face-melting tracks

  16. Antonio says:

    Some say it’s the 90’s, some say it’s the 80’s.
    They say it now, almost 15 years after. You are missing the historic perspective.
    Also, I think that 1987 is the classic year by definition. Does anything done after 1987 suck? No, there are many classic albums. What about after 1995? Ditto.

    Each musical style has its own golden age, it is not difficult to admit. It’s natural, I don’t see any problem with that.
    Me neither, but I am not the one blogging about the fact that today hip hop sucks.

    that chill rob g album is a classic with amazing production by mark the 45 king
    Exactly my point. “Classic” is such an elusive term. What some people think it’s classic, some think it’s not.

    P.S.: your subscription form does not work.

  17. eric says:

    My view is that hip hop was great when the mass media supported great hip hop artists. Anotonio is saying the great artists are now only in the underground. But in the 80s and 90s, great artists were everywhere. And the underground was thriving.

    I would venture to guess that the health of the underground is actually a function of the mainstream. If you talk to most great artists from the 1990s — and even today’s “underground” artists — they will say that they were inspired by mainstream artists or underground artists from the 80s and 90s.

    Who are the influences and role models of today’s underground hip hop emcees?

  18. eric says:


    You do realize that many of the artists you mention — Elzhi, El-P, DJ Honda, Problemz, Opio, Sadat X — had their heyday 10-15 years ago. I can appreciate that you enjoy and support today’s underground hip hop artists, but if you asked the artists you mention… they would disagree with your assessment of hip hop.

    The state of hip hop is documented in the music. Around 1998, hip hop artists started to bemoan the general state of hip hop. And it was both an accurate assessment of the scene, and also a contributing factor in its demise.

    Also, I think music in general is suffering. Just take a look at the financial situation in the music industry. Many people would like to think that the underground is completely independent and impervious to what goes on in the mainstream. But that is not the case. The health of the underground is almost purely a function of the mainstream.

    In the Golden Era, the system was that the majors blew up underground artists on the regular. And that connection between the underground/mainstream was why the mainstream was so good.

    BECAUSE IN THE 80s AND 90s…


    Now they are totally disconnected, and they both suffer as a result.


  19. eric says:

    It’s a feedback loop, not antagonism.

    Symbiosis, not parasitism.

  20. eric says:

    Good mix, btw.