Blu, J Dilla and Capone-N-Noreaga Coming to VMP Hip-Hop

On September 15, 2022

Our next three Hip-Hop Records of the Month —  which you’ll receive if you sign up for VMP Hip-Hop in October, November and December 2022 — feature a mixtape turned album, a posthumous release from a legendary producer and a fiery debut album.

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October: Blu’s Her Favorite Colo(u)r

In October, VMP Hip-Hop members will receive Blu’s Her Favorite Colo(u)r, the 2011 album from the indie LA rapper first released as a mixtape in 2009. Our exclusive edition is pressed on 180g “Aq(u)a” colored vinyl with lacquers cut by Cicely Balston at Alchemy Mastering at AIR, with Listening Notes from Nate Patrin.

Stacked with audio from movies like Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk LoveHer Favorite Colo(u)r operates like an art house version of Wu-Tang records built on crime pulp and martial arts films. As Patrin put it, “This album hits the way it does because it’s about love, and love is about vulnerability … It’s an untraditional album that blurs the lines between pop culture references as familiar touchstones and the specificity of a film or a record that speaks to an artist’s own impossible-to-duplicate experience, a run-on sensory-overload experience that could feel mysteriously impressionistic an painfully specific all at once.”

About the selection of this record, VMP Director of Music Andrew Winistorfer said, “Blu’s natural, dusty 2009 mixtape was formally released in 2011, and both years it felt like one of the best rap albums released that year. In this era, Blu was the king of the underground, but he wasn’t content to stay making the same album over and over, he made this album, which is mostly concerned with love and its discontents.” 

He added, “A showcase of a master at work, we’re honored to bring this album to our Hip-Hop members in October.” 

Sign up now to receive Her Favorite Colo(u)r.

November: J Dilla’s The Diary of J Dilla

Our November Hip-Hop Record of the Month is The Diary of J Dilla, Dilla’s legendary lost album released posthumously in 2016. The VMP exclusive edition of the record is pressed on 2LP Purple & Orange Marble vinyl, with lacquers cut by Cicely Balston at Alchemy Mastering at AIR and the original liner notes from Ronnie Reese.

“As the maker of one our first ever hip-hop Essentials Records of the Month, we knew we had to do a Dilla album at some point in our Hip-Hop subscription,” Winistorfer said. (J Dilla’s Donuts was featured in Essentials in March 2015.) “We decided to make it this one, the album where Jay Dee raps more than on most of his other projects, because it’s one that Dilla saw before his death as his breakthrough as an MC,” he explained. “The Diary shows that resting on your production laurels can only fulfill you so much; Dilla also wanted to be an MC, which he gets to be on The Diary.” 

As Reese concludes in the liner notes, written in 2015, “The Diary is undeniably the result of the iconic producer’s singular, unhampered vision, and is finally presented in its final form … For Dilla’s collaborators, friends and family alike, The Diary is the last piece of an enigmatic puzzle.

The Diary of J Dilla will be available for sign-ups starting October 20.

December: Capone-N-Noreaga’s The War Report

A quarter century ago, Capone-N-Noreaga released their first studio album, The War Report. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, their debut is the VMP Hip-Hop Record of the Month in December. Our exclusive edition is pressed on 2LP Yellow vinyl, with lacquers cut by Cicely Balston at Alchemy Mastering at AIR and Listening Notes by Will Dukes.

“It’s been a minute since we’ve done some back-to-basics NYC street rap, and I’m glad we’re returning with The War Report, one of the most outrageous albums to emerge from New York in the late ‘90s,” Winistorfer said. “An album so important it got a sequel, it’s a throwback to the era when it seemed like New York had a new rap duo on every block, but none as ready to go all out as CNN.” 

In the late ’90s, the duo’s debut came right in the middle of a transitional period for East Coast rap. As Dukes put it, “The War Report is a timeless collection of jubilant wild-out anthems and sobering correspondence from the front lines. Capone-N-Noreaga’s unlikely come-up is encapsulated in nearly every giddy banger. With zero compromises, they bogarted a scene that was tired of pretty-boy posing and R&B chicks over bullshit tracks. Those boots (that Capone and Noreaga rock on the album cover) were certainly made for stomping a mud hole in the rap game.”

The War Report will be available for sign-ups starting November 17. 

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