Tha Mad Dog | Tha Buried Treasure Trilogy, Vol. 1: Relentless (Tha Beginning)

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Tha Buried Treasure Trilogy, Vol. 1: Relentless (Tha Beginning)

by Tha Mad Dog

A rapper showing flashes of potential, while just starting out in his first year of rhyming, who was inspired by Wu-Tang Clan, Killarmy, Mobb Deep, and Gravediggaz
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap: Hardcore Rap
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Tha Buried Treasure Trilogy (Intro)
1:22 $0.99
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2. Where da Mic At?
2:51 $0.99
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3. Don't Stop
3:52 $0.99
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4. Echelon
3:41 $0.99
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5. Tha Future of tha Mad Dog
1:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Tha Mad Dog wants to make it clear that this EP is not his best work. Rather, it stands as the first stepping stone in his musical odyssey. While many of the songs recorded in his first year were in his words “terrible,” he felt that the tracks included on this volume were the first to show flashes of his burgeoning talent.

“Relentless” is the first installment of a three part album series entitled “Tha Buried Treasure Trilogy.” This collection contains the earliest and previously unreleased material of this artist between the years 1998-2006. Throughout the trilogy, listeners are taken on the journey of the dramatic story and evolution of Tha Mad Dog aka Jay Steele along with him.

“If you never heard my music before, I recommend listening to Volume 3 or later material first and then going back to see how it all started,” Jay says. “If you are familiar with my music over the years, then I recommend listening to this first to check out how everything developed.” How this trilogy was discovered and unearthed is a story in itself…

Just before his 20 year anniversary of being a recording artist, Jay Steele came across his rhyme mentor who he hadn’t seen since the genesis. He had heard Jay’s worst earliest material and brought up how lackluster it was. This event inspired Jay to start doing some digging.

“When I became a conscious rapper, at some point I thought all my songs from my first few years were horrible,” Jay explains. He recalls thinking at this point, “Let me go see just how bad it is.” He continues, “I put all these old tapes and CDs in my basement and didn’t listen to ‘em for like 15 years. But, it’s funny you don’t even remember your own life. I mean a few of the songs are as bad as I remember, and I wouldn’t even want to hear ‘em, but I found a few songs that really show serious flashes of potential and definitely have some magic in them musically.”

As he continued excavating the old material from his basement, he reports that he made another discovery. “I was inspired to look everywhere down there, and I found a lot of material I did from my second and third year rappin, after I improved a lot, that I totally forgot about, Jay recalls. “I mean some of it I don’t even remember making! And it was hardcore, but it was amazing, and I couldn’t believe I didn’t remember my own life!”

As a result, “Tha Buried Treasure Trilogy” was born, and the improved material would become Volume 2. While compiling and arranging this collection, he became inspired to write and record his latest album “For Tha Love," which he feels is his finest material overall.

Reminiscent of Mobb Deep’s album “Juvenile Hell," in which the young rappers hadn’t fully developed their adult voices, Tha Mad Dog’s voice is much higher on this EP than on his subsequent work. He says that he was a late bloomer in many ways, and listeners may find it interesting to hear how his vocal tone evolved along with his skill and lyrical content as the trilogy unfolds.

One of the highlights of “Relentless: Tha Beginning” is the prophetic “Don’t Stop." “This was my first concept rhyme with a theme,” Jay reveals. Indeed, the song foretold of what was to come with lines like, “I stick around like oil spills.”

There are a few shaky spots and inconsistencies in Mad’s delivery and flow on this track, but such as it goes for a rap neophyte in his first year creating music. However, these flaws are evidence of his relentlessness and passion toward honing his craft and the strides he made through time in utilizing rhymes. Then of course, within this same song are several flashes of the melodic vocals and skill that would become hallmarks of his undeniable talent.

Undoubtedly, the chorus of “Don’t Stop” stands as one of the strongest features of the EP. The vocals that Mad and producer Tone Rec arranged using the vintage MPC machine combines with Tone’s beat, which is fueled by a “relentless” sounding hypnotic piano and driving drums to form something both meaningful and utterly mesmerizing.

This song’s theme of continuity also accounts for the basis of the title of this volume. “Relentless," which is literally tattooed on Jay’s left shoulder, signifies his all encompassing dedication as a young and driven aspiring rapper and bodybuilder.

“Echelon” features Tha Mad Dog’s lyrics once again being all over the place but with a far more smooth and consistent delivery. The title of the track is the name of the place he was raised, which is not far from his birthplace of Philadelphia. The area holds a special place in his heart, because while he did struggle immensely there, he also overcame so much there and became who he would become.

His usage of terms like “norepinephrine” reflects his study of psychology as a college student at the time as well as his penchant for wielding advanced vocabulary. The content is aggressive and this is the result of trauma he endured growing up. Tone Rec explains this briefly on the album’s introduction, and it is further expounded upon, and much more coherently and skillfully, on Volumes 2 and 3.

On “Where Da Mic At,” Mad finishes strong lyrically in the final verse with lines like, “I make you all say who dat? The cat – Jay Tha Mad Dog – leave days in a blaze of fog,” and with the closing metaphor, “Might be different but I ripped this – like gift paper after Christmas.”

“Where Da Mic At,” like all songs on this EP, features the beat production of the ultra talented producer and rapper Tone Rec of Mt. Holly, NJ. Jay recalls the day they made the track together, “Tone’s ability to make beats was incredible. He’d ask you when you came in to record what kind of beat you wanted and the vibe you were looking for.” Jay continues, “Then he’d sit there and make you a beat in like 20 minutes that was exactly what you had in mind! It was amazing! I always thought he was one of the best producers.” Indeed, the compelling keyboards Tone Rec comprised throughout the EP evoke the legendary DJ Premier.

After recording but not putting out the music now found on “Tha Buried Treasure Trilogy," Jay Steele would go on to release 5 socially conscious political albums (including “Music for a Better World” and “Tha MisEducation of Tha Masses”) under the artist name “Tha Truth.” These albums have affected people from around the world with their powerful and insightful lyrics that advocate for equality and human rights.

After his 5th Truth album, Jay was diagnosed with a serious medical condition, which left him believing he would not be able to continue as a recording artist. However, several years later, while compiling the trilogy, he found new inspiration and began to write again. Soon after, he was delighted to discover that he could in fact still record new material.

While preparing “Tha Buried Treasure Trilogy” for release, he concurrently began creating his latest album “For Tha Love”. For Tha Love likely constitutes his most meaningful and positive music, and through hearing this early collection, listeners can understand just how far he has come.

The material on “Relentless: Tha Beginning” and the rest of the trilogy was not released at the time it was made for a host of reasons. Yet, over a decade after it was created, it can now be considered unearthed “buried treasure” and an interesting series of prequels for fans of this artist’s later efforts.

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Reviews


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Dominique

Genesis
The relentless album is an EP that have some promising hooks, beats, and rhyme schemes. Where Da Mic is my favorite song followed by Echelon. I have been a fan of this artist since he went by “Tha Truth”. It is far from his political stuff but I applaud his courage to allow us to see the genesis of what this artist has become. The intro and outro along with the bio permits me to get into the head of Jay and understand his life a little more.
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