Mon, 29 April 2013
"...try to re-educate ones who are lost."
Crazy month. Had to make sure to get a Boston track into the selection, and that's not even counting the Gang Starr track, with Guru - a native Boston MC - kicking classic lyrics. Just over an hour long, but it took me more than twice that to write all the show notes and find the links...
Thanks to everyone who came down to the Example photo exhibition this month! If you'd like to buy yourself one of my prints, follow this link and get at me :)
O.C. : It's Only Right
Buried deep in the "Jewelz" album is this low-profile gem - pun only partially intended! It's all about that bassline, taken from a classic funk album (my copy was grabbed from my parents' collection) then slowed down to match those nice Beatminerz drums for something that sounds like it's straight from a park jam - and OC gets on the mic and does it justice!
Pro P : Friday Freestyle
Going local for the first instrumental bed of the month - Pro P is a Manchester beatmaker who has been getting very busy with a series of beat tapes as well as handling production for guys like Cheech (Old Man Reefer) of the Mothership Connection. Keep an eye out for this man.
Gang Starr : 2 Deep (City Lick Mix)
RIP Guru! I can still remember buying the "2 Deep" 12" when it first came out at Crash Records in Leeds (still there). At the time, I really didn't like this remix and hadn't heard it for about 20 years but dusted it off and found my tastes had matured enough to enjoy it :) The original track is of course from Gang Starr's third album, "Daily Operation" - that should have a home in any head's record box. The remix is courtesy of the UK's Dodge City Productions (IG Culture and DJ Dodge), who were performing as a group in the early 90s as well as getting busy in the production/remix arena. I think I may have something of theirs tucked away on cassette, so that may come out one month! They're working separately these days but still very much respected in their field, so don't be surprised to see their names in credits!
Panacea (ft. Green of The Five One) : Revolution World Crazy
Washington DC in the house! Capital business on this cut from the US capital :) Raw Poetic on the mic and K-Murdock on production make up Panacea, and Mr Murdock kindly passed me a copy of the "12 Step Program" album this month while on a visit to Manchester! I hear there's something new in the pipeline, so will definitely be checking for that. Raw and Green push their way to the fore on this one, which is in competition for the loudest track of the episode - and that's not because I was turning it up!
Slum Village : Reppin'
Chatting to Lee Majors of More Bounce (who are bringing SV to Manchester) the other day, I remarked that with all the lineup changes over the years, Slum Village is almost more of an idea, a spirit, than a group. Always representing Detroit and the lineage of J Dilla, this track from the "The Dirty Slums" mixtape with Mick Boogie is manned by the line up of original member T3, Illa J (brother of Dilla), and Young RJ. Unmistakeable Detroit sound here, drums and bass coming together beautifully - the surprise for me is the little guitar-led changeup at the hook though, bit of a change of pace!
Special Teamz : Get Down
A little something out of Boston! Special Teamz is made up of Edo G, Slaine, and Jaysaun, all big names out of the city, with Edo G probably being the most familiar to the average fan, having been in the game since 1991! From their 2007 "Stereotypez" album we get this rugged opening cut where they all set their stalls out, with Young Cee on production and Jayceeoh on the turntables. No frills, just Hip-Hop. The album is worth checking if you come across it, but is more solid than spectacular - do check for their respective solo records though!
DV Alias Khrist : New Testiment Of Soul (sic) (Instrumental)
Did anyone ever, ever call him just "Khrist?" I suspect not. DV was on a kind of half-singing, half-rapping flex in the 90s and had a number of 12"s but never really broke out big. He did co-produce this beat though (with Mr.B), a B-side to "The Attack Is On" which you may know if you're really into your 90s!
Brand New Heavies : Stay This Way (Slam Mix)
Love this tune and I feel like it's a good time to play it :D The beautifully soulful original was on the Heavies' first album, but you can find this harder remix on the first "Elephantitis" remix collection - which I highly recommend. I'm coming back to that one in the future to play another cut or two, please believe it...
Ultramagnetic MCs : Chorus Line, Pt. 2
Bronx! Great B-side track from the Ultras, on the flip of "Make It Happen" and of course the sequel to the original "Chorus Line" - I've chopped off the closing verse by TR Love here but that's simply to make the mix work...seek out the whole track to hear the conclusion! This track does have some elements of the original, but has big beat changeups for every MC - when it wasn't a common thing to hear at all. A lot harder to do when you're recording to reels of tape than on a PC!
Fluke : Atom Bomb
I'd be lying if I said I knew anything about Fluke outside of this track! Ok, I know they're British, but that's about all. I'm going to give you this link which will give you the lowdown - I recognise my limitations :) I know about this tune from the "Wipeout 2097" soundtrack which is a great compilation of electronic music (though I will never get Underworld. Oh, how I have tried).
Sway : Flo Fashion
No, not the MTV guy. This Sway is a Ghanaian-British MC who came up really grinding hard, producing his own stuff and releasing it independently, coming right up to All City releasing his first full album "This Is My Demo," which included this track. Definitely one of my favourites from the LP, he shows his characteristic humour on this story of living large on the never-never. Remember to pay your bills folks!
Fun-da-mental : Dog Tribe (Instrumental Primitive Mix)
Just dug this one out and dusted it off, I'd be surprised if it had been on my turntables in the last decade! It just kind of fit the tempo I needed for the blend - sometimes it's just like that :)
Mr. Mike : G's Perspective
Nothin' but the gangsta. Remember a time before No Limit and Cash Money got big? If you do, you may well remember Suave House, home of the group South Circle amongst others. I know I remember them from all the ads in "The Source" :) Anyway, South Circle (Mr. Mike & Thorough) were out of Houston way before it was a hotspot in the wider Hip-Hop consciousness, and dripping with that Southern funk flavour. On this tune from his solo "Wicked Wayz" LP, Mike gives you unrelenting street lyrics over a killer E-A-Ski & CMT production. Check how the heavy piano works as the bass on here, with wah-wah and keyboard just providing the seasoning. G indeed.
PRO ERA : Run Or Fly
I mentioned this track in the show notes a few months ago as my favourite on the "Peep: The aPROcalypse" mixtape/album - love the slightly off-centre feel and the voice sampling from Sacramento's Lee Bannon. The Nougold guys have told me more than one about the flavour coming from California's capital and they aren't wrong! On the mic we have Joey Bada$$ (whose profile seems to grow by the day), Dirty Sanchez, CJ Fly, and the late Capital STEEZ - swaggering all over the track. Nice to hear younger guys embracing something of the older sound but then bringing their own slant on it!
Sir Michael Rocks : New Dress
Dug this one out while flicking through various mixtape downloads I hadn't stuck on my iPod yet - pleasanly surprised to find it! Rocks is 50% of The Cool Kids and this is one of a collection of tracks left over from the "Premier Politics" mixtape - put together into a "Premier Politics 1.5" release. Might be a bit soft for some, but that beat just drew me in...
Oceanlab : I Am Who I Am
I can't totally remember how I found this one - might have heard it on internet radio somewhere. Thought it was great, so decided to search out more! I was probably a little wrong describing the rest of the "Sirens Of The Sea" album as not really being downtempo - it has it's share - but this track is still a clear standout to my ears. Amazingly for a group formed in 2000, they only released that album, their first, in 2008! Still, the wait probably gave them the time to really craft their sound, and this tune shows their polish, with the vocals gliding over some low-key drums and a synth-constructed track. Lyrically it sounds like one lover talking to another in frustration...you'd think that if you were with someone, you'd like them as they were without trying to change them...
The Underdog : From Beyond
Just a little something from an instrumental collection ("Attic Tapes, Vol. 2") by the UK's Underdog, probably best known for his work with The Brotherhood. A low key track to nod your head to!
Don Blackman : Holding You, Loving You
Soul classic! The only way to really pay tribute to the life of Don Blackman was to play this track. It's a love tape staple, and has been sampled a good few times to great effect - it's just gorgeous. The clear standout from his self-titled album - the only solo release of his career. Rest in peace!
Please remember to support the artists you like! The purpose of putting the podcast out and providing the full tracklist is to try and give some light, so do use the songs on each episode as a starting point to search out more material. If you have Spotify in your country it's a great way to explore, but otherwise there's always Youtube and the like. Seeing your favourite artists live is the best way to put money in their pockets, and buy the vinyl/CDs/downloads of the stuff you like the most!
Sun, 31 March 2013
"Old school, new school need to learn though."
I recorded this on a brand new PC setup, been a bit fiddly but got it done! March is here again, so of course there's some Biggie Smalls in the selection. Besides that, got a couple of great Camp Lo tracks (saw them live this month), a new tune out of Manchester, and plenty more - enjoy this while you eat your Easter eggs :)
In other news; check out some of my nicest Hip-Hop photography at [Ex]hibition #1, opening on April 11th at 2022NQ Manchester, and follow it up with a night at More Bounce with Maseo (De La Soul) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest) on the wheels!
Camp Lo : Lumdi (Remix)
Pretty much every time I hear these guys on the mic, I know I'm going to enjoy it :) This one could do with being a bit longer, and being on vinyl! This has a little bit more boom to it than the original (which I think I heard after this) but doesn't change it too much. Both versions take the same classic soul sample but this remix made me think it was a Bollywood sample at first! I think Pete Rock might have produced this version...heavy either way.
Camp Lo : Krystal Karrington
Most people associate Camp Lo with that smoothed-out sound, and justifiably so, but this opener on "Uptown Saturday Night" is just hard as nails sonically. Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede just weave in and out with their legendary slang style all over this menacing Ski-produced banger. As an aside, with a bit of pitch-slider trickery on the turntable you make the sound at the start sound like "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" :)
[Q-Tip] A Tribe Called Quest : Butter (Instrumental)
One of my favourite Tribe beats from "The Low End Theory" - light and crunchy at the same time. There's probably an advertising slogan that would fit here. Several great samples blended into this beat, but I don't know if they're all cleared so you're going to have to do your own detective work on this one...
The Mouse Outfit ft. Black Josh : Air Max
Breezy and easy with a collaboration between one of the hottest crews coming out of Manchester and one of the MCs from the Ape Cult, another local crew who are coming up and making some noise. I don't know what the songwriting process is with these guys, who incorporate live instruments but also MPC work and of course MCs, but it is definitely working...single is available free here, but let's hear an album!
David Porter : I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over
Bit of a soul classic! David Porter used to write and produce alongside Isaac Hayes at Stax but also had a recording career himself, and this 1972 number is a fantastic record. It's mostly here because it was the source material for the track that follows, but the eagle-eared (?) will spot at least one more sample here...
The Notorious B.I.G : Who Shot Ya?
Always feels a bit weird playing this given that Biggie was shot and killed, but it was one of his hardest tracks so it's a shame not to! 2Pac thought this was aimed at him (so to speak), but this was always denied. In fact, this song seems to have a fairly complicated history on other fronts; it wasn't on "Ready To Die" but I have a version of the album with this as a bonus track, and I think it was originally supposed to have Keith Murray on - I've got an MP3 of an early version that indicates such. The beat seems to be the only constant, a classic from Nashiem Myrick and Puffy (or P Diddy, for the youngsters). You should be able to find this on the B-side of the "Big Poppa" 12".
Kid Tsunami ft. Sean Price and Chuck Chilla : Bang Exclusive
I'd never heard of Kid Tsunami until I saw this track posted. He's a producer from way down south in Perth, Australia, but signed to a US label (Headbop) and works the Brooklyn connection by pulling in Sean Price on the mic to body this one. Very nice, and the whole single is available on Bandcamp.
Tall Black Guy : Make Life Better
Detroit business! If I remember correctly, it was a tweet by Phonte of Little Brother that put me up on this track. Absolutely brilliant piece, his own take on the Jones Girls' "Nights Over Egypt" with a stack of electronic bounce. This apparently didn't make the cut for the "Hollyweird 2.0" EP, so you know the rest has to be fire! I will definitely be checking for this man in the future...
Marco Polo w/ Big Daddy Kane : Nite & Day
An early leak from the upcoming Marco Polo production project "Newport Authority 2," this is easily one of the best new tracks I've heard this year. Once again a piece of the classic Al B. Sure! "Nite & Day" makes its way into a Hip-Hop track, but this use is centred around the vocal rather than the familiar groove. The resulting beat sounds to me just a little like Gang Starr's "Royalty," or would blend well with it at least! Based on this, that album/mixtape is going to be a must-own on release.
Ahmad : If You Want It
You may or may not recognise the name - LA artist, got a little shine with an early single "Back In The Day" in 1994. He released one eponymous album which I bought on the strength of the great Roger Troutman being featured on a couple of tracks. I looked Ahmad up and apparently he has really done well for himself - Sociology degree from Stanford, and still writing and producing to this day. Salute! Anyway, this particular track is from the 1995 "Pump Ya Fist (Hip-Hop Inspired By The Black Panthers)" compilation, worth getting if you see it cheap. The funked-out production here is by Big Dave, which would have been a great name for a UK artist...
E-40 & Ice Cube : Behind Gates
It's that "down" sample all the way through this Rick Rock beat that grabs me - your mileage may vary. Picked this 12" up cheap without hearing, just on the strength of the MCs on the track. It might not feature their best verses of all time by any stretch, but it's still pretty good! Nice to see two giants of the west (Vallejo and Los Angeles respectively) come together on this single from the "Loyalty & Betrayal" album.
Heltah Skeltah ft. Vinia Mojica : Therapy
Part of that first Boot Camp Clik wave; a single and a great cut from the debut "Nocturnal" album, but not even the best! If you like that heavy mid-90s sound, you should definitely pick up the whole LP. In the meantime, here's just a taste, with the head nod style of Baby Paul providing the base for them to talk about how life out there affects mental health.
The ARE : Keep On Trying (Instrumental)
I thought The ARE was a collective but Twitter tells me it's just one man, who has turned out some killer beats! He had a project "Dem Damb Jacksons" which was all based around Jacksons samples, and this is from the instrumental version. Definitely worth checking just for the cleverness!
The Notorious B.I.G ft. Diana King : Respect
Biggie running down his life story up to that point. I've had the impression from more than one person that they regard this song as a weak inclusion on "Ready To Die." Wrong :) This was one of my favourites early, that beat (by Poke of the Trackmasters) is extra-crunchy, slowing down the KC and the Sunshine Band version of George McRae's "I Get Lifted" and putting some extra weight on it. Diana King just broke through to the mainstream with "Shy Guy" after this appearance, where she brings some extra flavour on the hook with her take on Pan Head's "Gun Man Tune." Don't hate.
DJ Vadim ft. Motion Man : Till Sun's In Your Eyes
Nice UK track I'd been thinking about including for a few months, finally found a good place to blend it in; I've had it on 12" for a long while, a single from the "USSR : The Art Of Listening" album. This kind of heavy beat with the semi-wobbly bass is the kind of thing that definitely works for Manchester crowds, but the one thing everyone remembers about this track is the awkward silences in the hook - nice touch!
Clipse ft. Pharrell : Young Boy
Catchy (well, the hook anyway), bouncy, and amazingly dysfunctional! The super Thornton brothers come through with a track from their 2002 debut "Lord Willin'" describing how their family life lead them into the drug business. Great tune, but a pretty awful story if you think about it...
Fat Joe ft. Big Pun : My World
This one is being included in large part because the bit in the hook about Prince always makes me laugh :) The beat takes just a tiny snatch from Luther Vandross' "Don't You Know That?" and uses it well - a second Baby Paul track for this month. No other hidden gems to impart on this one, but you can get it on the "Don Cartagena." Probably a few missteps on there reaching for commercial appeal but where it hits, it hits hard!
pH7 : New York (Instrumental)
Sometimes you just pick up one of those really miscellaneous records when shopping, and this was one! Instrumental of the last track on the "Blazing Heat" 12" on Groove Attack records, which I didn't give much play to but dusted off to find the beat I needed for this spot. pH7 is from Cologne and I've just seen a recent interview with him and his production partner JR - if you like the track, then it's worth a read!
Public Enemy : Long & Whining Road
Great closer in my opinion - I'd recommend seeing the excellent video for this one too. Chuck D, a man too rarely mentioned in the discussion of greatest MCs of all time, gives a full career retrospective of himself and Public Enemy. Get that back catalogue if you haven't already! You could do worse than grab the album this features on, "How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?," which also contains the track "Harder Than You Think" which was heavily used on the UK Paralympics coverage.
Please remember to support the artists you like! The purpose of putting the podcast out and providing the full tracklist is to try and give some light, so do use the songs on each episode as a starting point to search out more material. If you have Spotify in your country it's a great way to explore, but otherwise there's always Youtube and the like. Seeing your favourite artists live is the best way to put money in their pockets, and buy the vinyl/CDs/downloads of the stuff you like the most!
Sun, 24 February 2013
"You thought I fell off? You smokin' somethin'..."
- Tim Dog
Big dedication episode. February is the month where we mark the passing of J Dilla, Big L, and Big Pun, but this year we also lost Donald Byrd, Cecil Womack, and Tim Dog. Allow me to pay tribute in this month's selection the best way I know how...putting them into a quality mix.
Caveman : I'm Ready (12" Version)
One of the generation of UK classics from just before I was really up on UK material. Caveman were real trailblazers, coming out of High Wycombe and getting themselves signed to Profile (home of Run DMC and others) back in 1990 - this 12" is based on a track from their "Positive Reaction" LP. Yes, you know the main sample - Jimi Hendrix' "Crosstown Traffic" - no secret there!
Public Enemy : Welcome To The Terrordome (Instrumental)
This is The Bomb Squad at their noisy best! You don't get tracks like this anymore, partly because the cost of all the sample clearances would be off the scale :( For the full version of this track, grab yourself the "Fear Of A Black Planet" album.
Big L & Kool G Rap : Fall Back
I've not played much Big L up to now but was looking for just the right track to slot into this episode. I think the link up with Kool G Rap on this one might have been an editing move, but someone else will know better! The "The Big Picture 1974-1999" album this appears on was released after L's murder, and was drawn from material he was working on at the time but had further work done on it. Regardless, he comes out here on the flamboyant style and then G Rap cleans up and handles the hook over a Shomari beat.
Pharcyde : Soul Flower (Wrong Tree)
After this month's great Pharcyde show (check the photos), I had to give them some love and play a track here! As usual though, tried to go for something a little different :) This is UK producer The Underdog's remix of this track from the debut "Bizarre Ride II..." album. There's apparently an EP of pure "Soul Flower" remixes but I got this on an unofficial-looking vinyl with two versions of "Ya Mama" on the other side.
EPMD ft. LL Cool J : Rampage (Pete Rock Hardcore To The Head Remix)
If you don't know the original for whatever reason you need to check it now - no-frills, extra-hard early 90s track based around a piece from Lowell Fulson's "Tramp." I put this remix a shade behind it but that's no shots, it's still a great cut - Pete Rock bringing out all the percussion on this one along with his signature horns. Great move on production (which a lot of people would have got wrong) to make sure to keep DJ Scratch's cuts in - wouldn't have been the same without them. The original is on the "Business As Usual" album, EPMD's third and, in my opinion, greatly underrated. I got this remix on a white label but I think it's on the original 12" release of the "Rampage" single too.
KRS-ONE & Tim Dog : I Get Wrecked
Bronx bass destruction! Producers TR Love and Moe Love probably locked the mixing room's doors and made Joe The Butcher turn everything up to 11 on this one :) They also provide that Ultra backing for Tim Dog here, and he comes with that raw, gruff style alongside KRS, who is not in "building a nation/saving the children" mode here - just battle mode all the way! Lead single from the "Do Or Die" album, which I don't actually have - didn't make as much noise as "Penicillin On Wax" did, but "F*** Compton" will ensure he's never forgotten...
J Dilla : Side 2, Beat 5
Short and very sweet - I wish I had a proper title for it though! This was from a "white label" (not actually white) of Dilla beats I got many moons ago, some of which turned up on retail tracks but I can't say I recognise this one from anywhere else. If anyone else does, fancy letting me know?
J Dilla ft. Havoc & Raekwon : 24K Rap
Took me a while to work out "why is that bassline familiar?" Then it hit me - Xzibit's "Los Angeles Times." It's used pretty much the same way on both tracks, but Dilla puts a touch more speed on it and hits with enough extra drumming and that spooky keyboard on the top to give it a totally different feel. You can get this one on the "Jay Stay Paid" album, which was released three years after Dilla's passing, which was formed from instrumentals he'd already done and put together by a pair of executive producers - his mother, Maureen Yancey (aka Ma Dukes) and Pete Rock. They brought in guest contributions from people Dilla was a fan of, and here we get Havoc and Raekwon on some straight street business. Good choice.
The Beatnuts ft. Big Pun & Cuban Link : Off The Books (Remix)
I definitely prefer this to the original, and that was a great single! "Off The Books" was one of the first tunes to really introduce people to Pun - I can never decide whether they did the right thing letting him open the song or whether they should have put him at the end to nuke the whole thing Freddie Foxxx/GZA style...
DJ Lord Jazz ft. Doitall, Mr Funke, J-Ro, Tash, & Sticky Fingaz : Royalty
I was given the CD this is on by the man Lord Jazz himself after a show in Manchester! The DJ from New Jersey's Lords Of The Underground is definitely doing his own thing on the producer showcase album "The Plain Dealer" but has the whole group together on this track alongside most of The Alkaholiks and Sticky Fingaz. My goodness, does he give them an evil track to rhyme on...love it :)
Mystro ft. Mr Thing : Mystentatious
Illll.Lll. Great example of clever lyrics, Mystro taking a cue from GZA and weaving a street tale while working in the names of places all over the UK. The British listeners will probably appreciate this one the most, but hopefully everyone worldwide will be able to spot a good few :) Scratch expert Mr Thing (formerly of the Scratch Perverts) gets busy on the cuts in the hook, and the on the beat too - definitely dope but does take a back seat to the crazy lyrics on this one! Excellent work from two of the nation's finest, taken from the "Mystrogen" LP which features Junior Reid and Homeboy Sandman amongst others and can be got for a very reasonable price!
Donald Byrd : Wind Parade
A true jazz classic, and a record which has been sampled many times in Hip-Hop, by artists from Black Moon (maybe my favourite) to Organized Konfusion and 2Pac. The late, great Donald Byrd was serious with the bebop but showed plenty of stylistic versatility during his career. The 1975 "Places And Spaces" album, produced by the Mizell Brothers, yielded this beauty. RIP to one of the giants...
The Dazz Band : Let It Whip
Not sure if these guys ever blew up on this side of the pond, but this track won a Grammy! 80s funk with a glittery dancefloor flavour to it, you can tell the difference between this and your 70s kind of records. Dazz are a group from Cleveland, which makes me think there's just something about those Ohio bands - The Ohio Players and Roger Troutman/Zapp all hail from the same state. This track was from the "Keep It Live" album on Motown, though I got it on a 7" - as it was a big hit, it shouldn't be a hard one to find!
Michael Jackson : Get On The Floor
Check out the point at 45:58 coming out of the breakdown where he just overflows with joy and laughs on the track! Full-on disco from the 1979 "Off The Wall" which really is a classic, must-have piece. I thank my godmother for being the first to put me up on this album!
Womack & Womack : Teardrops
As a kid, this record was my introduction to the Womack family - big chart tune which stilll gets love today! There's a whole long story about how Cecil and Linda came together, for which I'll just give you a link - let's talk about this record. It doesn't hit you in the head with loads of different lyrics, but what is there works a treat and is delivered with quality by Linda Womack - makes it a great sing-along track for the dancefloor. On the music side, it's more sparse than you thing; you get some subtle synth and ill bass playing, and those drums are smacking hard! This song will always be old, but never get old.
Blue Six : Bittersweet
This is definitely in the lane of cooled-out house-ish stuff I have grown to really enjoy over the last few years. Blue Six is an alias of the producer Jay Denes and this is from the third and most recent album under that name, the 2010 release "Noesis." More than once in reference to this album, I've heard Roxy Music mentioned, and I can hear little hints of that inspiration in there. Check out what I like to think of as the "unfinished" bassline, minimal and perfectly fitting. Vocals are from Aya, who I've played on the podcast before and who I still hope will release a second album - "Strange Flower" was great! One more subtle detail for the producers - check how the low-pass filter changes on the kick drum line...
Nuyorican Soul : Mind Fluid
For those with wide-ranging tastes in quality music, the 1997 Nuyorican Soul LP (headed up by Masters At Work) is an essential one for your collection. MAW are primarily house producers but the album has Latin, jazz, and a whole load of other flavours going on, played by live musicians for the most part. This track fit nicely in the mix and I love how frenetic it is, the percussion going absolutely mental at that speed and then the synth action really giving a rush too. Only giving you a portion here, but I'd say to you to go and get the rest :)
Wookie : Time
His surname is Chue - you can see how schoolyard business ends up generating his stage name! Wookie's a UK garage producer but his stuff is definitely towards the more soulful and complex end of the spectrum on both the lyrical and musical fronts. This is the closing track on his eponymous debut LP, which is very affordable and recommended!
Please remember to support the artists you like! The purpose of putting the podcast out and providing the full tracklist is to try and give some light, so do use the songs on each episode as a starting point to search out more material. If you have Spotify in your country it's a great way to explore, but otherwise there's always Youtube and the like. Seeing your favourite artists live is the best way to put money in their pockets, and buy the vinyl/CDs/downloads of the stuff you like the most!
Thu, 31 January 2013
"We need more construction workers, more doctors, more lawyers..."
Droppin' it heavy.
Happy new year! First podcast of 2013, got it done just in the nick of time thanks to being super-hectic at work and having a big photo project to work on...hopefully can expand on that later in the year. Anyway, hope you enjoy the tunes, got a few old favourites in there, a couple of left turns, and some great new stuff.
By the way, trying something different in the notes this month - linking to each artist's Twitter profile, not sure if I'll continue to do it in future months but let me know what you think!
Kicking off the month with a very recent release, the title track from the third and latest collaboration between the producer from North Carolina and the Brooklyn mic legend. The album isn't classic, but it is solid enough to be worth a listen. This was a great closer that gave me this month's epigram :) It's so true too - there are far too many people trying to be professional MCs/DJs/producers/whatever who need to just do that as a hobby and have something else to pay the bills! (I have no delusions - I have a day job...)
Large Pro : Still Hanging Out
From his "Beatz Vol. 1" collection, a slight update on the beat he did on "Just Hangin' Out" on the first Main Source album, "Breaking Atoms." You should already know...but if not, it's never too late to learn!
Keith Murray : Escapism
Couldn't help but prick my ears up at the mention of "curiosity" in a track about travelling to Mars! The final non-bonus track from Keith Murray's debut album, and one I always liked. A bit of Hip-Hop trivia for you - allegedly, this track in particular (though the rest of the record too) is what Prodigy is referring to on "The Infamous Prelude" when he complains about MCs who talk about "how much weed you smoke, and that crazy space shit that don't even make no sense..." thus kicking off the beef between them!
Sadat X : Escape From New York
I used to have the "Wild Cowboys" album (one of my few compact discs at the time - goodness knows where it is now) and somehow managed to utterly overlook this track, didn't have it in my memory in the slightest! A few years ago, I was listening to the Mick Boogie & Terry Urban "Unbelievable" Biggie mixtape and the track "Escape From NY" had a Biggie verse followed by Prodigy's second verse from "Keep It Thoro" over a killer jazzy beat. Turned out to be this, and I'd had it for years right under my nose on a vinyl sampler for the Sadat album! The vibraphone and piano-splashed beat comes courtesy of Pete Rock - if nothing else gave it away, the voice samples around the hook are signature.
Joseph Cotton : King Selassie I Live
Bit of a direction change here, going with a quality Rastafari devotional on the Answer riddim. When I was a kid at home, I would hear this bassline everywhere, often coming from streets away, and always wondered why everyone was playing the same tune all the time :) I didn't yet understand the concept of a riddim being used and reused on multiple songs, and this is one of the classics - just check the catalogue...
Artifacts ft. Busta Rhymes : C'mon Wit Da Git Down (Remix)
It's a Newark/Brooklyn connection on the mic, with the Bronx supplying the beat (Buckwild from DITC does the honours). I don't own much Artifacts group stuff but picked this up on a white label; straight-ahead track, nothing left-field about it. The original version on "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" was dope, but this is definitely better - heavy but laid back. All about that bassline.
Mecca:83 : Detroit Twilight
Great Manchester instrumental here, despite the title! I've heard this guy drop his beats live and he's got plenty of talent. You can get this one on the "Life Sketches Vol 1&2" album for a very reasonable price, so have a listen!
Ras Kass & Doc Hollywood : Heidi Klum
From yet another free release, the "Spit No Evil" mixtape/album, they did just enough with this Seal sample to make it work; nicely covered in drums and percussion, with just the right amount of stuttering to add some extra flavour. I had this on the hard drive for quite a while before properly discovering it, but glad I dug it up. When this was recorded, Seal and Heidi had apparently just split up...I guess Ras just couldn't help himself!
Jasiri X : Universal Ruler
Besides "Bushes," this is easily my favourite cut on "#thewholeworldiswatching." Jasiri is a minister in the Nation Of Islam and brings his theological perspective to this tune, which was apparently originally released on a Malcolm X tribute CD. Someone called Kreid is credited with the production, which really grabbed me straight away, does have a very mystical/outer space feel.
Raekwon : Lead Season
Another new track, from the just-released Raekwon free (12-track!) EP "Lost Jewlry" - and funnily enough, right next to the leaked track I played last month! You should already know Rae is one of my favourite MCs, and here he's just bringing those classic street crime bars in his own style. As for the production - I don't know who Frank G is, but he slays it with some heavy chopped guitars all over this one. Get the EP, there's really no excuse not to :)
J-Live : Pronounced Spitta
The "S.P.T.A (Said Person of That Ability)" album kind of slid out there in 2011 without any fanfare (even by underground standards), but it is definitely worth having. J-Live is a true triple threat, who rhymes, produces, and also gets busy on the turntables - on the album, he displays all three sides with skill. On this particular track, Marco Polo brings his own style of modern-vintage production, and J is on the rhymes and cuts - very nice cuts at that!
[None] PM and Universal : Monsterous (Instrumental)
The "The Shinin' - Director's Cut" EP-type-thing has been getting passed over for so long, I had to show it the light of day! This was a 2000 release on Drunk Decibel records including tracks from guys like Dr. Oop, Samson S, and Vitamin D. I think local legend Pressy was the one who mentioned the name Dr. Oop to me so I picked this up on the strength of that all those moons ago. Doesn't look like the type of record to have had a huge run, so if you like the sound and you see a copy then snatch it up!
Guilty Simpson : Make It Fast
From a bit of a bizarre compilation - "Peanut Butter Wolf presents B-Ball Zombie War!" I was somehow under the impression that it was a soundtrack to one of the NBA 2K games, but not sure...anyway, this tune is Detroit all the way with the beat coming from the late great J Dilla.
Ghostface Killah ft. Method Man & Raekwon : Flowers (album version/original version)
This is from Ghost's 3rd album, "Bulletproof Wallets," which for me didn't hit like the first two but was still decent. The album version of this track (which plays for the majority of the time here) is actually my favourite, but on the internet at least the clear favourite appears to be the heavily-sampled original. Unfortunately, they couldn't clear the sample and so had to rework the track for release; this copy is off a white label 12". If you like it and want a copy, it's probably your only path...
Too Many Cooks & English : As The Record Revolves
My spars! Back in the day, myself and Too Many Cooks were the DJs behind the Manchester night Family Gathering, and for over four years put together what I'd like to think of as some classic parties :) I met Leeroy and Obelix at an open mic night and as well as DJing they really worked on their production skills - it was great to see them put their heads and wallets together to put some vinyl out. This was easily my favourite track from their "Live And Direct" 12" and features another member of the crew, London mic man English - listening to this will always take me back a little in time :)
When did "x" become the new "&" ? I definitely missed that memo. Anyway, I digress. Murs has been putting in work for years, coming out of L.A on what you might call the underground circuit, including a series of LPs with 9th Wonder. Fashawn is one of the new generation coming up and also a Californian - I know he's one of DJ A-Up's favourites, and that's a DJ who definitely stays up to date. The two MCs came together to give us the "This Generation" album and it's a very good piece of work - if you like the West Coast sound you definitely want to hear this. It's very much contemporary rather than harking back overly to the past, and lyrically they have great mic chemistry. Recommended listen!
A3 : LIML
I don't know who A3 is, but this is a nice little beat, taking a big chunk out of Michael Jackson's classic "Lady In My Life" and adding some vaguely Dilla-esque accents to it. Grabbed this from the free "The Smooth Grooves Beat Tape," none of which tries to hide its source material - as such, a good one to listen to for aspiring beatmakers/producers!
Trinidad Steel Drummers : Cissy Strut
A classic track in a different style! The Meters' original version is a funk staple (even if you don't think you know it, you know it) which has been sampled many a time, but to hear it covered on steel pan makes me smile. The drummer on the standard drumkit gets busy - especially on the hi-hat - to keep the time and lets the pan players do their thing in beautiful harmony. Quality.
Sun, 30 December 2012
"...pay the reparations for the damage I'm doin'."
The British winter hasn't properly kicked in, but we stay prepared. For some reason it was a tough task getting the selection ready this month, but there's a good scattering of different stuff and I can almost guarantee there'll be something on here you don't know! Let's get into it...
Jim Jones ft. Noe and Tom Gist : Christmas Eve
Not exactly the most festive song, but then when else am I going to play it? Lyrically maybe a glimmer of a jewel buried somewhere in the second verse but overall, a healthy dose of ignorance I think it's fair to say! I never quite worked out how Jim Jones came out of the Dipset camp to become large as a rapper, but I guess I'm not the target market. This is from the Jim Jones/Skull Gang "A Tribute To Bad Santa" project...sounds about right! I do love the sound of the hook though...
Patrick O'Hearn : So Flows The Current
Serious left turn. I only learned who Patrick O'Hearn is this year (thanks to Peaceful Moments Radio!) but he's made his way onto my relaxation listening playlists. A composer who also plays a string of instruments, he was schooled in the jazz tradition before going on to do a couple of years in Frank Zappa's band, then branching out to play in the bands Group 87 and Missing Persons, finally ending up as a solo artist. This is the title track from his eighth solo album, and hopefully it might pique the interest of some of you. Going New Age on this one!
Saigon : Rap Vs. Real
Big early track on the new Saigon album "The Greatest Story Never Told 2 : Bread & Circuses" and it's a killer; I definitely respect what Saigon's been trying to do as far as bringing some conscience to the rugged side of the music. Strong message here, basically calling out everyone who trots out the usual stereotypical subject matter - or tries to live that life - without considering the other side. Just Blaze and Clev Trev bring out a suitably haunting soundtrack to back the words.
Mad Skillz : Inherit The World
Long before he started doing a "Rap Up" of every year, Skillz had a "Mad" at the front and this was one of the final tracks on the Virginia MC's "From Where???" album. Nice combination on the musical side - Shawn J Period on the beat, and DJ Riz on the cuts, killing it with that sample from Onyx's "Shiftee." The album is worth checking - apparently but unsurprisingly it was out of print for years but is available now; notably, J Dilla is now the top-billed producer on the packaging, when he was just at the start of his career when this was originally released!
G-Dep ft. Faith Evans : Everyday (Remix)
2002 Bad Boy release - this is the remix but I think the original is pretty similar. Can't remember how I came up on this one, given that I never really followed his career at the time. It's odd listening to his records now knowing that he was holding onto such a heavy secret the whole time...
Dean Martin : Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Too! Many! Exclamation! Marks! I actually hate this song, but after hearing it at a Xmas house party, I got the idea of just playing a snatch of it before fading into...
Roc Marciano : Snow
Pariah : Detroit Falls
Either Andy Peek or Agent J put me up on this tune originally, and despite my general dislike of anything leaning towards the so-called "future beats" style, this one can't be denied! I like the way it deceptively starts with the old soul sample before breaking it down like an organic compound (© Keith Murray) and drowning it in a sea of effects and bass - and yet somehow manages to keep the flavour. As far as I can tell online, Pariah is coming out of London but the exact identity of who's involved is a bit murky - the name Arthur Kayzer has come up more than once. Big props, whoever you are!
Mad Rapper ft. Desert Roze : Surviving The Game
Strangely, The Madd Rapper doesn't actually rhyme on this song from the "Tell Em Why U Madd" LP at all! However, under his real identity (Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, responsible for a good chunk of big tunes), he does produce it - nothing groundbreaking but it works for me. MC-wise, I've never heard of Desert Roze before or since (and she seems to ignore that name in favour of "Mae West" in this track), but she sounds very influenced by the Lil Kim rhyme style of that era - in fact, I half expect someone to tweet me and tell me it actually is her!
MF DOOM : Deep Fried Frenz
I must confess, I'm not the biggest DOOM fan - I mean, I liked KMD and thought "Operation : Doomsday" was very dope, but most stuff since then has been very hit and miss for me - and that's even before the pretty grubby history of live no-shows... Anyway, at least this track from" Mm...Food" is a heater! Bitter perhaps, but quality - and very appropriately uses a vocal sample from Whodini's big hit "Friends" and music from Ronnie Laws' "Friends and Strangers" - this info is already out there, I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble!
Raekwon ft. Altrina Renee : 86
That clean 80s R&B sound on production, but enough low end on it to make it...right. This is an early leak from an upcoming free EP Raekwon is recording, don't know if it'll be all this kind of stuff or if the rest will be a bit more rugged but I'm good with it. Now, where did I put my curl activator...?
Mica Paris : I Should've Known Better
Straight classic! British soul legend and Band On The Wall patron Mica Paris with easily my favourite track from her, a living testament to Chuck D's assertion that the "B-Side Wins Again!" This was on the flip of "South Of The River" and again on "I Never Felt Like This Before" (which is where I got it) - always a bridesmaid, so to speak. Mica and Omar collaborated on the production side...flawless victory.
Blahzay Blahzay : Federal Reserve Notez (FRN'Z) (Instrumental)
They may never again have reached the heights of "Danger," but they didn't stop putting out records after that first album! This was a self-produced 12" that came out on Game Recordings, not san essential on its own but one to look at if you're trying to complete a Blahzay or Game collection.
Red Cloud : In My Hands
Can't see many people outside some of the DJs having this one! Produced by the UK's own Nextmen and released on Bad Magic, this is the first of the only two Red Cloud 12" singles I can find any reference to. I remember reading he's a Native American MC (which rings true when you hear the name), making him a representative for a minority marginalised as a whole - even in Hip-Hop.
People Under The Stairs : The Cat
This is a 12" I think the vinyl collectors should be trying to get! The A-side is this cool-sounding piece which I instantly liked, but the B-side ("Live At The Fishbucket Pt 2") is a more uptempo workout - I can't even find a Youtube link to it, but trust me, it's fire! Anyway, Thes One is credited with the production on here but he brings a few live instrumentalists in on this one to add to his flavour and it's a winner. Big Los Angeles business.
PRO ERA : Wrecord Out
This was just released a couple of days ago, on the free new "PEEP The aPROcalypse" mixtape. PRO ERA is a pretty large crew of young MCs consisting of Joey Bada$$, CJ FLY, Kirk Knight, Chuck Strangers, and Capital STEEZ (RIP), and it definitely sounds like there's some promise there. This isn't my absolute favourite track on there (that honour goes to "Run Or Fly"), but it fit well here! Chuck Strangers on the beat, using the same Biz Markie sample that Tribe used on "The Chase, Part II" - sounds good again!
JVC Force : Keep A Handle
Ok, this is your second warning. Eventually you're going to listen to me when I tell you that you need the "Force Field" album in your collection. I've been listening from 1990 to now, and it still sounds quality -not necessarily current, but quality. This is a track towards the end, based on a sample from one of those undeniable 80s soul classics, "Don't Look Any Further" by Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett. (Watch the video. They don't make them like that anymore. Some would say "with good reason.")
[Hypno] IMC : IMC Freakstyles (Instrumental)
This could almost be the poster child for the anonymous 12" that sinks without trace! 2001 release on Thoroughbred Entertainment/MyMan Recordings, it looks like it's out of California somewhere. This is the instrumental of the B-side, which is a freestyle. Is it a "must own?" No, not to me. However, at least you get a chance to hear it now rather than it shrivelling away on the shelf - which is part of what this is all about!
The Brand New Heavies : Day By Day
Gorgeous uplifting tune to end the episode, from the 1997 "Shelter" album, with Siedah Garrett coming in as the lead vocalist. One of the great British bands in my opinion, and they've been doing it a long time without sounding "old" if you get my meaning - and having seen their live show for the first time recently (with N'Dea back on vocals), I hope they keep going for a long while yet!
Tue, 27 November 2012
"...the government lies..."
This was one of those months where I think I've really found some great blends with some very varied tunes - not an all Hip-Hop outing by any means, but stay with it :) Oh, and the episode title? Well, I may not have the biggest name, but those who know...know how I get down.
Ab-Soul ft. Danny Brown and Jhene Aiko : Terrorist Threats
That. Hook. That could be the 2012 version of the big speech by Cyrus in "The Warriors!" I listen to The Combat Jack Show mostly for the chat/interviews but it was also the first place I heard this track - didn't know who it was or what it was called so I had to look it up, and it was well worth a purchase. This definitely falls into the category of the new Hip-Hop I'm not totally up on, but Ab-Soul is a Californian MC and member of a group called Black Hippy - this is no flower-power business though. He and Danny Brown connect on this with high-energy rhyme styles over Dave Free's slow, half-haunting, half-club beat, topped with Jhene Aiko's vocals. I need to put the "Control System" album on my homework list to see if there's anything else close to this!
[Timbaland] Aaliyah : One In A Million (Instrumental)
A true landmark record. It might be hard to remember but when this came out there was nobody doing drum programming like this - Timbaland unquestionably changed the game with his work on the "One In A Million" album. As an aside, I remember being at a battle at Jazz Cafe once where a band were playing in between rounds or something. When the drummer started playing this pattern live, the crowd went absolutely nuts! Aaliyah was definitely more established than Timbaland when this came out, but after having showed some of his style with his production of Ginuwine, this was really the start of the big breakout. A choice pick from a must-hear album.
School Of Seven Bells : Show Me Love
This is one of those records that'll throw people a bit! I don't listen to much at all in the "indie" lane but I do check out Shell Zenner's radio shows and one week I heard her play this record and it grabbed me straight away - heavyweight sound! This particular track reminds me a little of "Mezzanine"-era Massive Attack but that's just an observation. School of Seven Bells - or SVIIB as they're sometimes known - are a duo (formerly trio) out of New York City who blend electronic sounds with electric guitar and a style of dreamlike vocal that ticks my boxes. If you've got a system that does really good sub-bass, check the little sneaky licks under the main groove. Niiice :) If you're open on this, try checking the rest of the Ghostory album, their third - it's not the same sound all the way through, but it's a solid album which I'm glad I picked up.
Smith & Mighty ft. Tammy Payne : Move You Run
Such a great tune - extra-heavy bass, those background dub echoes and a crystal-clear vocal from Tammy Payne. I learned a top fact about these guys this month - they produced Massive Attack's first single! Now that is a serious credit, before you even get onto their own records. You can find this on the "Big World Small World" album, which is definitrely worth having if you like the British, West Indian-influenced sound.
Pete Rock ft. dead prez : Warzone
I don't think anyone would pick this up as a Pete Rock beat without being told beforehand, or even after - at the time this came out, it was an incredibly radical departure from anything he'd previously been known for. The second single from his second solo album ("Soul Survivor II"), it might at first sound like a common-or-garden club record but as it progresses you quickly realise it's something a lot more dystopian and political - Admiral Ackbar might describe it as a trap! dead prez get it dead on point with the lyrics, taking the surface sheen off the stereotypical club scene as portrayed on so many other records and exposing the dysfunction beneath. On the beat, Pete Rock gives it a sense of tension and urgency - and just check how those drums explode at 15:44. Man's a genius.
Hijack ft. Huntkillbury Finn, The Icepick, and Shaka Shazam : The Contract
If you don't know, Hijack are one of the most important groups in UK Hip-Hop history - founded as a DJ crew (Turntable Trixters), the addition of Kamanchi Sly on the mic and the further expansion of the crew created a monster. The monster was so powerful that Ice-T signed them to Rhyme Syndicate Records - a hugely significant deal. The "Horns Of Jericho" LP is a must-own in my opinion, and this was one of the closing tracks; all the speed of what some would call the "Britcore" era, but with a bit of refinement also. Classic!
Leftfield : Afro Ride
The opening sections of this track are just untouchable for me when it comes to this lane of music; the drum pattern, keyboard and African-sounding speech (it's nonsense, by the way) together are just super motivating :) Back in the mid 90s, when I was spurning anything I thought came under the banner "techno," I happened to get the chance to review "Wipeout," one of the first releases on a little something called the Sony Playstation. There was a marketing effort being made to move gaming from something for kids to something for young adults, maybe after a night at the club or whatever. In keeping with the strategy, the soundtrack to the game was made up of tracks licensed from different electronic acts, and this was one of them. After playing the game, I couldn't front on the flavour of Leftfield or Orbital, to name just two - who says video games don't teach you anything? Big B-side on the "Afro-Left" 12".
DJ Quik : Quik Is The Name
Taking it back to 1991, you can almost smell the jheri curl juice! Title track from DJ Quik's first album, and one of the more uptempo Hip-Hop records you'll hear (in keeping with the next two). When I think back to some of the press coverage of the time, I laugh at the ignoramuses who saw him as just a "Compton clone," a follower in the shadow of NWA - they evidently failed to spot the enormous talent. Hopefully they ate their words in time - he's clearly one of the best producers Hip-Hop history, and is pretty handy on the mic too!
Ellis Meade : Do Not Follow
Ellis aka L-Digz is one of the new generation of Mancunian artists coming up - doing his own style and making his own moves. I first heard this on NouGold but since then it's been released as part of the free "Conceptions" mixtape, which you should definitely check out! Rare to hear a modern track tear along at this kind of speed but this stripped down self-produced number does, and Ellis flows over it with confidence and clarity. Perfect length as well!
Leaders Of The New School : Transformers
Supreme Radio in Leeds back in the day is to be thanked for introducing me to this tune! For those who are older but not Hip-Hop savvy, or those who are pretty young, this is the group Busta Rhymes was in before he became a solo artist. This is from their debut "Future Without A Past," which everyone should at least hear! Dante Ross kills the production on this one, and the scratching tops it off - funnily enough though, not many transforms...
Louie Rankin : The Sting
A second straight pirate radio discovery for me - released back in 1992, someone played part of the track once and I flipped out over it! Despite that, I never quite managed to come up with the money for the "Typewriter" EP before it disappeared from the shops - and this is the pre-internet era, remember! A few years later when I came to Manchester in '96 I found it for a bargain price on vinyl and here it is for your enjoyment :) Louie Rankin doesn't have a huge discography - most of his stuff is in the 1991-1993 period though he does go back as far as 1983 - but he's been in at least one film, playing Teddy Bruk Shut in "Shottas" (not a great film, but some quality quotes!)
[Alchemist] Mobb Deep : Got It Twisted (Instrumental)
Has this Mobb single already been forgotten? I think I'm the only DJ who ever plays this out! Alchemist uses the Thomas Dolby single "She Blinded Me With Science" and made it evil. I approve.
James Brown : Funky President (People It's Bad)
Everyone should know this one. Not to say you already do, it's just that you should! Apparently this track was written about Gerald Ford, but I'm repurposing it on some President Obama business. Opening track on the "Reality" album, which came into my record collection via my father's record collection ;)
LL Cool J : Cheesy Rat Blues
I can't think of a song anywhere that better (or more humourously) describes how it goes when you've fallen off! Great album track from LL's "Mama Said Knock You Out" LP. I did wonder how based in reality it was, but LL says it wasn't autobiographical. I can't help but picture him though! On the music side, Marley Marl's on production rocking that same sample that you might know from the ATCQ "Scenario" remix, and this track also provides the hook sample for another track on this same LL album - "The Boomin' System." That's good recycling right there.
Chris Lowe : Round & Round
Not the one from the Pet Shop Boys :) This is a low-key man with an interesting story - a student of the late, great Paul C, he was most active in the late 80s/early 90s and produced classic tracks like Stezo's "It's My Turn" before largely dropping even further into the background, apart from the occasional release. The "Black Life" album this track is taken from was released in 2004 but I could have sworn I read somewhere it was recorded several years before. Anyway, if you like the no-nonsense classic production style, and good-time rhymes in the vein of Large Professor - get yourself a copy!
N.E.R.D. : Lazer Gun
(Yes, with a 'z.') We need to get rid of this "bonus track" business. To think that any number of people who bought the 2008 "Seeing Sounds" album might have missed out on this song makes me sad inside.
Ski Beatz : Ticket For 2 (Instrumental)
This needs to be on an airline commercial! Super-smooth production from the man behind Camp Lo's biggest tracks and some of the best of Jay-Z's first album. Got this on a 12" single - the main mix of the track has Camp Lo on the mic. Allow this to float you beautifully into the closer for this month...
Jazzanova : Takes You Back (Unexpected Dub)
So fresh, so clean :) One of less than thirty "five star" tracks on my iPod, it could have earned them just for that "I don't wanna lose you..." section at the start of the second verse - don't know why, just does it for me! The crew out of Berlin smack it out of the park on the production of this track from their debut album "In Between," with Desney Bailey supplying the vocals. The magazines might call it "nu-jazz," but whatever the label, it's quality and still a great listen ten years after release.
Wed, 31 October 2012
"Look behind the camera..."
Tough selection this month - decided I wanted to try and keep the same tempo through the whole episode only to find lots of tunes I quite fancied playing were 5 or 6 BPM slower! Still, the restriction made me dig a little harder and I think it's another good set. We start off in face-smashing mode and go from there...
Hostyle : Guilty
No flash, no glamour - just a rugged street record! You can't expect anything less from a member of the ferocious Screwball. Hostyle attacks Godfather Don's beat not with any particular complexity but just a straight blast of aggression. You know what? Sometimes that's just what has to be done. This is the A-side of a great 2002 12" which I'll definitely be revisiting in a future episode...
donwill + suhBURB : Guilty
I was flicking through a few things when I realised I had this - no way was I passing up the opportunity to blend it in here. Same sample, not a massively different usage but the drum/percussion change definitely gives it a different feel. This is the second time I've dipped into the "Suburban Sprawl" album (last time was way back on episode 18!), and it's another winner. Short but sweet!
[Salaam Remi] Nas : Made You Look (Instrumental)
One of those classic Hip-Hop 12"s that Nas always has always had the ability to drop throughout his career. Of course here, we go without the vocals and just run with Salaam Remi's fierce beat, slowing down the classic Incredible Bongo Band "Apache" break (one of the foundation breaks of Hip-Hop, if you didn't know) and morphing it just slightly into something to get the guns out to!
Bekay ft. Canibus, Shuko, Heltah Skeltah, Chino XL, DJ Revolution : Do This
First heard just the Canibus verse on a promo mix for Coalmine Records a few years ago and thought it was incredible, but didn't know where to actually get the track! Ran into it while flicking through Spotify though and snatched up a digital copy. I can't say I know much about Bekay other than that he's from Brooklyn (BK!), but it's a solid enough track - I think he gets outshone by the guests though. That said, you want to put together a hot product at the end of the day so why go for people you can easily beat just to satisfy vanity?
DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles : More Levels
Definitely one of my favourites from the "Kolexxxion" album (which I was lucky enough to get signed this month, thanks guys!) Reminds me a little of the Jackson 5 "Walk On By" version with the organ sounds and drumming but I don't think that it's necessarily sampled from there. The switch-up for the hook is ridiculously ill though, the guitars make it and the cut-ins add that extra flavour to blast it over the top.
Dynas ft. Skam : Dime Out
Apologies for the sound quality - I think it's the original recording itself. Heavy tune though, coming from the "Beyond Real Experience Vol.2" album, which I should note is available as a download for only a fiver right now! This is an example of something Dynas has wisely done all over his catalogue - get on a DJ Spinna beat :) Can't say fairer than that!
The Away Team ft. Billionz : Awesome
Bit of a funny one from the North Carolina group's "Training Day" album. I have half a feeling the main keyboard line may put some people off, and the lyrics aren't absolutely slaying it, but the drums are cracking and when the bass comes in during the hook...it comes in like an air raid siren on the low! Khrysis definitely snuck that little move in there to great effect. Even if you don't like this one as much as I do, I think it's fair to say the full album is worth having at the right price.
[J Dilla] Slum Village : Fall In Love (Chopped)
I thought the drums in "Awesome" were strikingly similar to the ones here (if not identical), so I thought it would be a good blend - however, as I don't have an instrumental of this Slum track I decided to do a little chopping up on Serato to create a little instrumental bed. Could probably have gone and done lots of edits to make it flawless but thought I'd keep the rawness :) Just to speak a little on the track itself - I got this on the vinyl of the classic "Fantastic, Vol 2" album and only found out much later that there were some issues with the sample clearance once it had been released and so a re-release had to be done, replacing this track with a remix. As such, a lot of people don't actually have the version you hear here but it's well worth seeking out as it's a gem.
Suga Free, Pimpin' Young : Succa Repellent
Decided to have a quick Spotify search to see if there was anything new from Suga Free and stumbled on an album called "Thunder & Lightning" alongside a guy called Pimpin' Young I hadn't heard of previously. Can't get enough of that hook and the beat - though due to the fact I bought this as a digital release, I'm not sure who produced it. I'd definitely like to see a consistent effort industry-wide to have credits included with digital music purchases...as a member of the liner note generation!
Dogg Pound : A Good Day
Took a chance on this one when Rap & Soul Mail Order were clearing out all kinds of stock just on the strength of the Dogg Pound name and I was rewarded; great summery BBQ tune, which is of course why I'm playing it in the damp and cold of the British autumn. Daz is on the production and gives it a classic West Coast sound. The 12" I have it on is titled as above, but a bit of searching around suggests this is also on the "Dogg Chit" album as "Itz A Good Azz Day" - might be worth checking out that album to see if there's anything else good on there.
Lyricalligraphy ft. Truthos Mufasa : David's Slingshot
When I first heard Lyricalligraphy rhyme he must have been somewhere around 14, as part of a whole bunch of guys on the mic at Manchester's Contact Theatre. In the cities, a lot of young guys try to rhyme and never improve, but I can say in the years that followed that he's continued to work at his craft and takes it seriously. Right now he's part of the new Manchester crew Ape Cult (who tore down In The Loop this month), and this track is from his debut EP "Lyricalligraphy Vol.1" which you can get on Bandcamp at a price of your choosing - worth checking out! Production is from Jus-Ru on this one, working a classic jazz sample but importantly not doing too much to it - nice.
Platinum Pied Pipers ft. Tiombe Lockhart : I Got You
The right kind of jazzy feel to follow up the last song I think! A beautiful wind-down track from the 2005 "Triple P" album, with Waajeed and Saadiq putting that Detroit shuffle into it and Tiombe hitting just the right tone on the vocals. The album is excellent and well worth having if you like an ever-so-slightly jazzy, left-field aspect to your Hip-Hop!
Kuartz : Back About
Another track from the North West, this time from Oldham - just a few miles around the M60. You've probably heard his beats here before and this is one I managed to miss the first time around. He's not got much up on Soundcloud right now but keep an eye on it, and if you're looking for beats, you know where to go!
Public Enemy ft. KRS-ONE : Unstoppable
Not your normal Public Enemy sound! I personally think this is a great record; an album cut from the "He Got Game" soundtrack (an excellent LP), with what I believe is the first collaboration between these two giants. Funnily enough, it's one of the few tracks on the album without an obvious connection to the film, so you just have to appreciate it for the quality. Gary G-Wiz is on the very low-key beat, and his cutting in of the woman humming in the hook is genius - the perfect seasoning on top. Now that we've seen KRS collab on albums with Buckshot and Bumpy Knuckles, reckon there's any chance of getting a full project with Chuck D?
Common ft. Chantay Savage : Reminding Me (Of Sef) (Roots Remix)
Common reminising on the old days, with a lot of detail I'd imagine you'd really appreciate if you're from Chicago and remember the places and the styles. I don't think this is a remix by The Roots - I thought from the sleeve notes that this was just the name of the remix! I think that Ynot produces this version which was on the flip of the "Reminding Me..." 12", which in turn was a release from the "One Day It'll All Make Sense" album. If you know better, please correct me!
M-1 ft. K'naan & Stori James : Til We Get There
I'd never given this a proper listen through until I was selecting tunes for this month, so was pleased to find it was just the right song for this space. Despite the fact it slipped under my radar, apparently this was a relatively successful tune that was even getting some radio rotation! A strong, positive track from half of dead prez alongside the Somali MC K'naan, who is very much about message music himself. This version comes from a promo 12" - if you like it, then you'll probably want to explore M-1's "Confidential" album.
Pete Rock : For The People
Nice head-nodding beat with the right feel for the autumn. One of the many dope beats on the man from Mount Vernon's "Petestrumentals" album from the BBE "The Beat Generation" series. If you like Pete Rock, you should definitely have this one!
Slaughterhouse : The Other Side
I was looking for tracks produced by Florida's J.U.S.T.I.C.E League (not to be confused with the North Carolina Justus League) largely because I can't stand listening to Rick Ross and when I saw they'd done something for the MC supergroup Slaughterhouse, I knew it was going to be worth a listen. Wasn't disappointed! The production almost sounds like a Hip-Hop take on indie, but in a good way, and the singer on the hook makes it work brilliantly. In fact, it reminds me a little of "Wonderwall" musically, except I actually like this record :) The lyrics on this were what really made me stop and listen though; Royce, Joell Ortiz, and Joe Budden going introspective with stories of the struggles of life. Crooked I wasn't on this one, but he is on an unreleased extended version I just stumbled on! This track is on the deluxe version of the "Welcome To: Our House" LP...why can't we just have one version of each album?
Fri, 28 September 2012
"Loyalty's worth more than wealth."
Is is true that life begins at forty? If so, then there are a lot of good records still to come! Thanks for staying with me, and I hope you all find time to spread the word to other music fans. It's my birthday this month (not my fortieth, mind!), so I thought I'd start the episode by pulling out the kind of tunes that used to get me going in my younger days. Some of them may seem like odd choices, but without the podcast they'd be sitting lonely on the shelf...hope they make you smile at least!
K-Solo : Sneak Tip
This is exactly the kind of track I mentioned in my very first post on this site - I heard it at home on pirate radio but then didn't hear anywhere else, ever! If you're an 80s/90s fan you might remember K-Solo was a part of EPMD's Hit Squad collective and despite coming out with the style of spelling things on records once slipped up with the lyric "like a B-R-I-D in the S-K-Y." Oops! Anyway, let's not get too distracted - this is a beast of an album cut from the 1992 "Time's Up" LP, and Solo spins a tale somewhere between "The Wizard Of Oz," the story of Little Miss Bossy, and a copy of Sneaker Freaker magazine. The track is somewhere around 107bpm which is rare as hen's teeth twenty years down the line but he flows comfortably over the drum-heavy Sam Sneed beat. Remember him from the Death Row days?
Count Bass D : 118th St.
Word to Nashville! Nice little instrumental track tucked away at the end of the A-side of Count Bass D's "Internationally Known" 12” - good for breakers, perhaps?
Jane Child : I Got News For You
Yeah, going left-field on you early! I always loved Jane Child's "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" but didn't get a copy of her self-titled debut album until this year, though it was released in 1990. Anyway, having got it I found some tracks on there I loved and this is one. Sonically, it is very much of its time and couldn't be confused with anything more recent, but I think that's part of the charm. The vocal delivery really does it for me on this, really cold in the verses. However, I suspect this is a bit of a Marmite track for my audience :)
Ultramagnetic MCs : Traveling At The Speed Of Thought
First heard this one on one of Morgan Khan's "Streetsounds" compilations borrowed from the library. When years later I got a copy of "Critical Beatdown," despite its quality I was quite disappointed to hear the album version! This was an early case of the remix being a drastic departure from the original track - if anything, this one sounds a little like a Beastie Boys record. As much as I love it, it doesn't reflect the complexity of what Ultra were doing lyrically at the time - worth hearing though!
Force 'n' K-Zee : Jam (Hip-Hop Jam)
In my early days of building a vinyl collection, it's fair to say my budget was pretty limited. If I saw something cheap (we're talking pennies), and it was Hip-Hop, I'd probably just buy it - especially if it had ever been mentioned in Hip-Hop Connection. This is very much a piece from that era - a 1992 UK release from a crew perhaps best known for recording a Hip-Hop version of "Lord Of The Dance" which showed up on a British Knights advert once upon a time! Although I didn't realise it at the time, I think both MCs were pretty young when they recorded this, but they do their thing. However, despite the heavy rolling drums, the star of this track is for me the vocal sampling of Guy's "Teddy's Jam 2" - one of the few New Jack Swing records I actually liked!
Professor Griff & The Last Asiatic Disciples : Last Asiatic Disciples
I'd be amazed if even 5% of listeners have even heard this track! During Professor Griff's suspension/expulsion from Public Enemy, he signed with Skyywalker Records (headed by Luke from the 2 Live Crew) and took to the mic in a way he hadn't with PE up to that point. His 1990 debut "Pawns In The Game" wasn't a huge record and isn't a "must own" but did have a few solid cuts and this might have been the pick of them. Co-produced by Clay Dixon and Griff, you can definitely hear that Miami influence in those bass drops, while Griff and the rest of the group go Afrocentric on the mic. Glad to get a chance to dust this one off.
Massive Attack : Unfinished Sympathy (Instrumental)
You already know - or you should, at least. This is a classic British record, the second single from the debut Massive Attack album "Blue Lines." They would still be talked about now if this has been the only record they'd ever done, but they've come through style and lineup changes over the years and are still active. Apparently this instrumental was played on the last lap of all the distance races at the recent Olympics, but I didn't realise that; it just made for an interesting blend!
Raekwon : Respect Power
One of those "lost" soundtrack records. Remember when so many films had Hip-Hop and/or R&B soundtracks with most of the tracks having nothing to do with the film whatsoever? Yeah, like that. This was from the soundtrack to a film called "Whiteboys" which I have never seen, or for that matter heard of anyone else seeing, but there we go. Rae is on the street tip with the lyrics, nothing mind-bending but pretty dope - there is actually a radio version of this track that I prefer, but didn't realise it until I picked up this album and found the lyrics were different than I'd heard on a download many moons ago. That beat is still the same though, Infinite Arkatechs coming with some seriously dark production, all echoes and swooping sounds - love it.
Mic Geronimo : Lifecheck
Somehow this one didn't make the full impact on me the first time I heard it but it fits in nicely here and on revisiting it for this podcast, I found a new appreciation for it. Coming out of Queens, Mic had this on his debut album "The Natural" back in 1995 and Da Beatminerz blessed him with a beat which is just pure mid-90s all the way. Very nice, and well engineered - those ringing sounds had me checking if a phone or something was going off in the room, even on a pretty basic system!
Kool Keith : Livin' Astro
Kool Keith can always be relied on to come with slightly bizarre lyrics, though this is relatively tame compared to some of his crazier output! I always found his stuff a bit up-and-down outside the Ultramagnetic MCs albums, but there would always be something good on every release. This cut is from the solid "Black Elvis/Lost In Space" album which had some good tracks on including some of the last work by the great Roger Troutman. Someone working under the name "Nightcrawler" produced this, presumably before jetting back off in the spaceship...
The Mouse Outfit ft. Dubble O and Sparkz : Children Of The Stars
Carrying on the space theme. Manchester's Mouse Outfit are killing it right now with some absolute gems - you heard one last month and here they come again! Sparkz is back on vocals and brings along another Mancunian up-and-comer in Dubble O of Mothership Connection to spit some quality lyrics - very refreshing to hear stuff like this from the younger generation. You can get a copy of this from iTunes - don't sleep!
Cormega : Take These Jewels
A record coming from street experience, but a message everyone can relate to I think. Deep album cut from Mega's "The True Meaning" album, which is excellent from start to finish and still gets plenty of play from me ten years after its first release. DJ Hi-Tek (who most will know from Reflection Eternal) is on production, with some interesting sonic things going on - the interplay between the repeated guitar licks and the swirling background sounds is a winner.
[D-Dot] Puff Daddy & The Family : All About The Benjamins (Instrumental)
One of the all-time great beats. A raw gem from the Bad Boy catalogue, D-Dot made sure Puffy didn't get to this to add any extra "shine" and the result is flawless. There's loads of good history and trivia on this track, and rather than repeat it all here I'll direct you to just one interesting link. The beat itself is based around a sample from Love Unlimited Orchestra's "I Did It For Love" and showcases Industry Rule #2021 - slowing anything down makes it better :)
Jean Grae : Kill Screen (aka Steve Wiebe)
Outrageous new release! Jean Grae has always been one of the best out there, but she really shines on this new cut. To quote the lady herself; "540 words. 683 syllables. 52.54 syllables per sentence. Rappity Rap." Weak MCs, step your games up. This is apparently a cut from her upcoming album "Gotham Down," but got a bit of an early leak. Not sure who produced it but they leave a lot of room for the lyrics to breathe, which is just what was needed. Ill. Oh, and if you don't know who Steve Wiebe is? Watch this film... (seriously, it's fantastic)
Kardinal Offishall : BaKardi Slang
I know a few people who'll be loving the fact I managed to include this one! It was a single (from the "Quest For Fire : Firestarter, Vol 1" LP), did have a video, but I'm not sure it was a huge hit - shame, as it's a quality record. In the tradition of tracks like "Ebonics" by Big L or Karl Hinds' "Don Gramma," Kardi breaks down some of the local (Toronto) slang for the outsiders; with a lot of West Indian migration to Canada (got family there myself) over the years, a lot of it is actually not too different to what you might hear in some parts of the UK! When it comes to beats, I'm always more of a sample than a keyboard fan but Solitair's production on this is serious, with some nicely done synth work over Al Green-ish drums. A banger.
Sean Price : Jamaican
Staying with the West Indian vibe for another track! I've only got the radio version of this one, too bad it needed so many cuts! Quality lyrics from Ruck though, just thugging it out on an ignorance excursion. Production is by Khrysis, using the classic Sister Nancy "Bam Bam" - and as my man Mathmatics noticed first, check how the tiny snatches of vocal sample leaking through sound a bit like "Sean P!" You can find a full version of this on the "Master P" mixtape, which I'll definitely be coming back to for a future selection.
Jay-Z : In My Lifetime (Remix)
Only heard this for the first time this month; grabbed the "Streets Is Watching" soundtrack in a sale at Chorlton's King Bee Records for half price and this sombre number was on the end of one of the sides. Historically interesting because while the original "In My Lifetime" was Jay-Z's debut single, this remix was done by his mentor - and later nemesis - Big Jaz aka Jaz-O. Best friends become strangers...
[Q-Tip] Mobb Deep : Temperature's Rising (Instrumental)
This might be my favourite track on "The Infamous," even ahead of "Shook Ones Pt II," which everyone likes! Just keeping it to Q-Tip's cracking intro drums here, but then finishing the show with a nice blend into...
Patrice Rushen : Where There Is Love
...which was sampled to give the Mobb track its beautiful melody and bassline. This is a classic from the ridiculously multi-talented singer, composer, producer, instrumentalist...you name it. Get yourself this and a bunch more great tracks on the 1982 "Straight From The Heart" LP.
Fri, 31 August 2012
"Olympic torch flaming, we burn so sweet..."
Been a big month - since the last show I've had an amazing trip to New York and also had the chance to see the Olympics in London! The idea for this month's cover art popped into my head while I was down there and I decided to put it together and see how it looked. Shout out to the man Node of The Charles Report for the loan of the blue and yellow records!
And to give you the links I promised;
In The Loop's 3rd birthday - will be recovered from two nights before ready for this one!
...and did you wonder who the "Bartendaz" I mentioned are? Trust, they don't serve alcohol, they serve this...serious!
Now let's talk about the month's tunes...
Call O' Da Wild : New York Undercover
I reckon 99% of people fall into two camps when it comes to this tune - those who've never heard it, and those who overlooked it! Tucked away towards the end of the DJ Muggs "Soul Assassins Chapter 1" producer project, it lacked star power on an album containing everyone from Dr.Dre to Mobb Deep to Wyclef, and I've never heard anyone else mention it, ever. I love that slow-burn feel to it though, almost completely without drums - a serious rarity on a Hip-Hop record!
[DJ Life] Quakes : Fat Track Format (Inst)
It can only be said that this record languished, utterly forgotten in my collection. I think I grabbed it in a selection of other vinyls because it was on Son Records, but then it just kind of got filed away. Pulled it out this month to have a quick listen and found this nice little beat on there. I do know this is a 1998 release, but that's the extent of my knowledge on this one!
Samantha James : Rain
I think I became aware of Samantha James' debut "Rise" album on Om Records after having it recommended to me by Amazon based on previous purchases - about 5 years after it was released though. When I saw it for a decent price I thought I'd take a chance on it and was very pleased with the decision! It's all very well-produced electronic stuff but with her quality singing and writing giving the album its soul. Almost to underscore that the quality of the actual song stands separately from the production, there's an acoustic version which is just as good if not better. I think it's beautiful!
Nas ft. Cocaine 80s : Where's The Love?
One of those bonus tracks that really is a good addition, this is on the deluxe version of the killer new album "Life Is Good." In keeping with one of the big themes of the album, Nas devotes a good chunk of the lyrics to talking about the decline of those once considered street big-shots in their day - and as one of the best writers of all time, he does it with skill. Chicago's No I.D. turns it out on the beat, rocking the same drums as 3rd Bass' "Brooklyn/Queens" and then going over that with the dark instrumentation. Cocaine 80s was a new name to me but is apparently a Chicago collective including No I.D, Common, and James Fauntleroy - I would have to guess it's him singing on the hook, and I love it, fits like a glove.
The Mouse Outfit ft. Dr.Syntax, Sparkz, and Kosyne : Escape Music
Great new UK track, from the first listen it stood out as one I thought more people should hear. Music is provided by the on-the-rise Manchester crew The Mouse Outfit, whose live Hip-Hop shows are not to be missed if you've not had the chance to see them yet! They've really been putting the work in and hopefully will get that break. Alongside them on here are a quality trio of MCs - Dr.Syntax and Sparkz from Manchester, and Birmingham's Kosyne - who are all names to be watched. They've done this track as a free release, so grab yourself a copy here. While you're at it, have a look at the video helmed by bass man Defty - nice work!
Slum Village : La La
There's a version of this on the 2002 "Trinity (Past, Present, and Future)" album, but I'm playing this from a 2001 12" which seems a little more stripped down. Waajeed on production here, very understated.
DJ Spinna : Verbz
Just a little something from the "Compositions 2" instrumental vinyl. It feels like I know it from somewhere else though...did anyone ever rhyme on this?
Erule : Worldwide (Domination)
Fire. What a record! First heard this on a compilation I downloaded of "Hip-Hop you may have missed" or similar and it was the standout for me by a mile. In true older generation/DJ style, I had to have it on vinyl, but it turned out to be pretty tough to get - long out of print, and probably not a big seller the first time round! After balking at the first few Discogs appearances it made, I finally got in there and got a good copy at a price that didn't need me to sell (m)any organs. The track is stripped-down genius - more bass pulse than bassline, a few guitar licks and busy, super-snappy drum programming from a producer going by the name of King, and Erule (sometimes written as E-Rule) just annihilates the track with his precise, rapid-fire rhymes. An unsung classic, released in 1998 on Kinetic Productions - if you find a copy, don't let it go!
Cocoa Brovaz : Won On Won
From the "Rude Awakening" album, this is a good tune to get amped up with, and seems somehow newer than it is - can't believe this is 1997! Tek and Steele sound ready to jump out there and fight all the way through, and Sean Cane keeps the track bumping along underneath. I should play this one out more! Like a broken fishing line, no hook - simply doesn't need one. Clever use of the "One, one, one" sample though, took me a while to fully appreciate that it was being used as a soundalike to "Won On Won!"
Royce Da 5'9" : Hit 'Em
Keeping the aggro level up after the last track! Detroit veteran Royce needed to bring the fire out on delivery to keep up with the instrumental and does so in spades. DJ Premier is smacking the hell out of that piano with some crazy harsh electric guitar and some other weirdness dropping in, not to mention one of his trademark cut-up hooks. I think Royce was always one of those underrated when it comes to his writing, but in recent times with Slaughterhouse he's probably appreciated a little more.
DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. Pos of De La Soul : Let Me Hear U Clap
Not only is this a great track, but the piano makes it blend really well with the Royce record too. Ill production from Jazzy Jeff, with some deep bass, skipping hits, and an unorthodox sampling of Don Blackman's "Holding You, Loving You" - not the piece that everyone else would have chosen, but if you really know the record you immediately recognise it (or at least I did)! Pos solos it on the mic with the skill you'd expect, as usual. If you want to hear more, you need DJ Jazzy Jeff's "Return Of The Magnificent" album, especially at the price I'm seeing it for right now!
[No I.D.] Nas : Loco-Motive (instrumental loop)
I just liked the vocals on the intro, and the loop itself is hard. Nothing else to be said, apart from "'Life Is Good' is an excellent album which everyone should be checking right now" :)
Wais P ft. Roc Marciano : Jewels On It
Brooklyn's pimp on the mic is back, swaggering all over this Statik Selektah beat alongside the gravelly, stream-of-crime-consciousness that is Roc Marciano! My understanding was that this was an "official leak" from an as-yet-unreleased album called "Pussy Rich," but last I heard the forthcoming album is to be titled "Pimpin' Saved My Life," so who knows? The beat may have a vaguely familiar feel, especially to UK listeners - same break as this big hit from a few years back, but seems a bit darker somehow. The seasoning is provided by the cutting up of Prodigy's vocal from "Keep It Thoro" on the hook - right on the money.
Fresh/High Society ft. Camp Lo : Solar Powered II
When I saw this online, I won't lie - it was the words "Camp Lo" that made me click on it. Didn't know about the Fresh/High Society, but the duo of AO and Balistik out of NY seem to be attracting attention in the right places! This remix of their original "Solar Powered" features the Lo on vocals and Ski Beatz on the track to conjour up some gorgeous summer vibes. Very welcome even when your city is suffering from permanent rainfall...
Saigon : Spit
One of two tracks that seemed to make my shortlist for the last few months but didn't quite fit - finally got it on! Low-bass, thumping track from the "All In A Day's Work" digital-only release with Statik Selektah, which as the name implies was apparently all completed in a single day. Worth checking if you're a Saigon fan but not a patch on the more recent "Greatest Story Never Told" LP which you should *all* already have bought!
Gappy Ranks : Stinkin Rich
Another oft-shortlisted track which just so happened to blend well with the Saigon, so made it in the end :) Heard this on Manchester's Peace FM one day driving back from work and quickly jumped online to try and find it for myself! I don't keep up with dancehall as much as I might, but I did find that Gappy is a UK artist from Harlesden signed to the famous Greensleeves label. As I bought this as a digital release, I'm finding it tough to find who did the riddim but appropriately it's very much on the digital end of the scale, right down to the vocals - I can forgive that, this time :) Autotune is virtually always overdone, but here it just kind of helps the vocal to slot in I think.
K-Murdock : Neo Geo
The Panacea producer and friend of the show is back with a new instrumental release "Beats From The East" which is available for...well, as much as you'd like to pay for it! This beat samples the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and has just a hint of the video game about it with the digital textures that make it up. Quality as usual.
M.O.P. : New York Salute
As much as I love this track, I think it's reasonable to assume it won't be adopted as an anthem by the New York Tourist Board. All the same, a big favourite since it came out on the 1998 "First Family 4 Life" album, M.O.P's third. With a cool, reflective beat like this, the stage is set for maybe a song about how peaceful life was back in the day, or about burning incense and doing yoga...naaaah! M.O.P produced the track and so it's their prerogative to yell over it about robbery, guns, and other local delights. Who are we to tell them "no?"
Fri, 13 July 2012
"To my peoples that I lost along the way..."
"To the G, still life is too quick..."
I was going in a completely different direction with the selection for this episode until I got the news that the MC KMG of Above The Law, one of my favourite groups, has suddenly passed away at the age of just 43. Once I processed the news, I knew I had to feature some of his classic rhymes on this episode, and so went about replanning the whole thing. I could have done a whole ATL episode but will hold that thought for now...in the meantime, appreciate him on the tracks I drop this month.
Above The Law : Adventures Of...
I'd been thinking about this as an opening tune for a couple of months, and this turned out to be the time for it. I originally picked this up as a promo 12" before the release of the "Legends" LP when I was in the second year of university...blew me away from the first listen! Straight away I called my fellow ATL fan Nick L to let him know they were back with more top material, and I know he agreed when he heard it. KMG brings his trademark low-key style on the second verse, Cold 187um (Big Hutch) fits in with the half-whispery flow over his own brooding beat, and Nicole Hithe rounds it off with her silky vocals. This here is the one...in keeping with several other tracks on "Legends" in particular, it speaks on the downside and the guilt of the street life, rather than the glorification some artists indulge in. I just found out this track was pretty much ripped wholesale on "Die Besten Tage Sind Gezählt" by Kool Savas and Lumidee, and let me say this - they weren't worthy.
[Godfather Don] Cormega : You Don't Want It (Instrumental)
Wanted a kind of low-key instrumental that could bridge the tracks on either side and rediscovered this one, the vocal version of which is on Cormega's "The Realness" LP. Stripped of the lyrics it becomes a little quieter, a little more haunting. Nice work by the talented Godfather Don.
A Tribe Called Quest : The Chase, Pt. II
Overlooked track from the 100% classic 1993 "Midnight Marauders" LP; there's just nothing not to like! From the Biz Markie vocal sample to the back-and-forth on the mic to the Steve Arrington "Beddie Bye" main groove, the Tribe produce an absolute winner. Should have been a single!
Capital Tax : The Masha
One of those 12"s best known to either obsessive collectors or those who just happened to hear it when it came out (like me). Caught this one on pirate radio back in 93, taped it, and then never heard it anywhere else again, or for that much else by them! About four or five years later I found a copy in a Manchester record shop and snatched it up :) I for some reason assumed they were a New York group but they're a four-man crew out of Oakland with one album to their name, 1993's "The Swoll Package." Production is by DJ Smooth G, rocking the same sample as EPMD's "Please Listen To My Demo" - in fact, the record in question is on a back episode of the podcast, if you can find it...
Xzibit ft. Defari, Goldie Loc, & Kokane : Rimz & Tirez
Hip-Hop spelling FTW :) One of those tracks that makes you wish you were rolling a vintage Cadillac in the sunshine in Cali...instead of waiting for the bus! The conga drums in the background are the key to the whole sound I think, with enough space in the main drum pattern to bring them out; the bassline is just the finishing touch. Great production by Soopafly! When it comes to the rhymes, I think Xzibit's verse on here might be my least favourite - mostly because it just doesn't seem to fit! The closing verse is fresh though, taking on the persona of a car being passed from owner to owner. Definitely one of the top tracks on the "Restless" album.
Little Brother : Light It Up (Nicolay Remix)
I was never a huge fan of the first version of this track, which was originally an inclusion on the "Whatever You Say" single. The lyrics were cool, but for some reason I just couldn't get into the beat even though I'm usually a big fan of 9th Wonder - fortunately, Utrecht's finest Nicolay saw fit to give it a complete remix on his "Dutch Masters, Vol 1" project! I don't know how easy that one is to find but there are some nice tracks on the vinyl sampler so it looks well worth having the full release.
Taana Gardner : Heartbeat
Bit of a classic single here! This 1981 release on West End Records was a red-hot record at the time and has survived in the consciousness of people who never even knew it thanks to the many, many records that have sampled that bassline! When you listen to/mix with it, you realise the handclaps are wayyy behind the beat, but then this isn't one of your Ableton constructions...
Above The Law : Mee vs. My Ego
KMG leads things off on the mic here, on a real dark vibe - definitely the killer verse on this one. That said, it's interesting to hear Cold 187um go all the way from his usual animated style into dancehall mode - you can tell it's the early-ish 90s ;) I could be wrong, but for my money in 1993 there was no-one making tracks that sounded like this. Funky with that bassline but also so haunting and disturbed...absolutely in a lane of its own. There are so many different little pieces going on sonically that you have to remind yourself that this is the era before computer-based production became practical! A great piece, perfectly placed as the last full track on the "Black Mafia Life" LP. If you like your Hip-Hop, that's a must-own album, no question.
Real Live : Get Down For Mine
If you know, then you know! Larry-O and K-Def only came together for one album but it was very dope indeed - the somewhat hard to get "The Turnaround : A Long Awaited Drama." Outside that though, we did get this - a monster track from the "High School High" soundtrack which takes yet another sample EPMD used (coincidence!) but makes it its own. K-Def definitely doesn't have the kind of high profile as a producer that his skills merit! You can find this track, as I did, on the B-side of the "Wu Wear : The Garment Renaissance" 12".
Nas : Take It In Blood
One of those low-key Nas classics, taken from his pivotal second album "It Was Written." The lyrics have been commented on at length but what I didn't know until recently about this tune is that the beat was submitted by Stretch of the Live Squad who died before the record was completed. As such, they only had a cassette copy to work with, and no multitrack. Always thought it sounded a little grimy quality-wise, and that explains it all. What a track to be remembered for though.
Paris : Check It Out Ch'All
Taken from his second album, "Sleeping With The Enemy," which was the one that led to him being dropped from his record label. In the post "Cop Killer" era, they did not want the heat from someone who went at the president on his album! I always imagined this song being performed live on a soundsystem on an outdoor basketball court, it's got that kind of feel. Great self-produced, block-party styled tune from the San Francisco native mostly known for his ferociously political lyrics; even on this track where he's ostensibly just showing his flow, he gets a good amount in. A track that unfairly sunk into relative obscurity I think.
[7L] Outerspace : 151
One of the Philadelphia crews affiliated with Jedi Mind Tricks, I can't say I know Outerspace's whole catalogue but got a couple of copies of the "Divine Evils" 12" and found this killer on the B-side; beat from Boston's 7L, better known for his work with the MC Esoteric. Sonic drama, no doubt.
Apollo Brown & O.C. : Signs
One of the best new songs I've heard in ages - short but sweet, if that's the right word. Another insanely talented producer out of Detroit, Apollo Brown managed to somehow pass me by up to this point but my man Ro let me know about this album ("Trophies") and one listen (not even all the way through) on Spotify was enough to have me online ordering the CD! As for O.C., you should already know :) The DITC legend flows straight through here with some serious lyrics on the world today. Top rating.
Above The Law : Black Superman
Almost certainly ATL's best known track, this was the big single/video from the now out-of-print "Uncle Sam's Curse" LP; I remember that album took a while to really grow on me, but it's a definite classic. Of all the songs on the album, it's probably the closest to the "West Coast" sound most people would associate with the term (along with "Return Of The Real Shit"), and as such sounds very much of its time. Nice use of the talkbox too!
Sneaker Pimps : 6 Underground
I think I first heard this on some music TV channel in my parents' house - loved the lightness of the sound along with the Hip-Hop-styled drums (not to mention the De La sample)! A bigger hit in the UK than probably anywhere, but apparently it's been used in several films so they should be seeing some nice cheques (UK spelling) off the back of it :) This was the lead single from the "Becoming X" album, when Kelli Dayton was still in the group - it was a shame when she left, I thought her vocals really suited, but nothing lasts forever...
Nightmares On Wax ft. Sarah Winton : Finer
Late night Leeds coolness :) DJ Ease is a Leeds veteran and a huge influence on the music that would eventually be labelled "trip-hop." Primarily based around the low end, the production leaves lots of room for Sarah Winton's spacey, breathy vocal. Hands down my favourite cut on the "Carboot Soul" LP.
Grand Puba, Sadat X, Sir Menelik : 7XL
This was a last minute inclusion - was going to stop the segment after the last track but the blend worked so well there's no way I wasn't keeping it! Two-thirds of the Brand Nubian MCs combine with underground lyric wizard Sir Menelik on a standardly amazing DJ Spinna production, making it a classic 12" from the golden era of late 90s underground releases. First person I heard play this was DJ Greenpeace on a mixtape, but it's probably best known for its inclusion on the Rawkus "Soundbombing II" mixtape/compilation - one you should definitely have. Ill tracks from top to bottom and the mixing handled by DJ Babu and J-Rocc, it was an essential for me in the walkman days and still is in the iPod era!
A Kid Called Roots : Mike Heron
Not to be confused with Twizted Rootz! Bit of a mystery record, just titled "A Kid Called Roots Volume XIII" on Hydrabeats that I grabbed up from somewhere; a compilation of instrumentals with each one named after a different record executive! I don't know if it was just a naming thing or if the beats were made specifically for them to hear though...
Homeboy Sandman : Look Out
A New York MC who found a home at Stones Throw Records, Homeboy Sandman was a gent and a great performer when he came to Manchester recently. He's confidently and ably doing his own thing and that definitely deserves props! I can't think of any tune that sounds quite like this one, the opener on his "Chimera" EP; that beat by Paul White sounds completely alien in the best possible way, and the mic work is the antithesis of the "party and guns" business that some people think sums up Hip-Hop. The man covers a lot of quality topics throughout his catalogue and is definitely worth checking out if you're even a little adventurous with your listening...
Thu, 28 June 2012
"The respect in my city reflects the gods with me..."
Third birthday episode! Really pleased to still be going after all this time - big thanks to you all for supporting! I've got some absolutely choice tunes for this episode, definitely looking forward to getting this one onto the iPod. This was one of those months where all the tracks just fell together at the right time, so spread the word and let everyone hear it! Without further ado, let's get into the notes...
Suga Free : I Wanna Go Home
Starting things off on an "improvised" vibe - a deep album cut from Suga Free ("The Pimp") coming from the debut album "Street Gospel." Drumming out a beat on the table in true jailhouse style, he showcases his signature smooth and yet animated flow on this tale of being caught up in the system. You might assume this was put together on multiple tracks in the studio, but I think the lyrics and the beat could well have been recorded at the same time; DJ Quik (who produced the first album) once told a story of Free auditioning for him by drumming a beat with a pen while rhyming at the same time. Skills, no doubt.
[Kut Masta Kurt] Motion Man : C'mon Y'all (Instrumental)
Sounds like something from the late 80s, I could definitely hear Kane or Ultra all over this track!
Quincy Jones ft. The Human Bean Band : Wee B. Dooinit
This is one of those tunes that probably has you looking at me sideways right now! Taken from Quincy Jones' 1989 album "Back On The Block," the most notable thing about this track is the almost total lack of actual instruments on it! All the main sounds are from the body - chest slaps, hums, finger clicks, and so on. You don't believe me, go back and listen again :) Genius bit of engineering/production to make it all fit together as well, but would you expect anything less from the man who produced "Thriller?"
Roc Marciano ft. KA : We Do It
It seems like a long time ago since Roc Marciano was buried among the many artists in Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Squad - seems like a parallel universe in fact, with Roc Marc emerging as an underground star in his own right. He's got a very distinctive rhyme and vocal style that pretty much assures you'll never hear a "Starships" from him ;) and besides that he's actually got skills on the boards too - again, doing it his way. The "Marcberg" album this is taken from is mostly self-produced and has a consistent dusty, vintage kind of vibe. This track personifies it, and also makes me smile because the hook can't have taken more than 10 seconds to come up with (obviously spent the time writing the verses instead), but it works brilliantly - less is more and all that. Guesting on the mic is KA who was apparently in the first lineup of Natural Elements - didn't know that!
Outkast : Babylon
Looove this one. One of my favourite tracks from what to me is hands down the best OutKast album, their sophomore release "ATLiens." Everything about this is dope - the main lyrics, the gorgeous hook, the deep bass, the little wah-wah guitar licks...perfection. Close your eyes and listen to this one properly, it's absolutely worth it.
Bo$$ : Deeper (Instrumental/Original)
Here's someone who was building up a little momentum and then seemed to just disappear! Bo$$ came out from the West Coast in 1993 with the "Born Gangstaz" album which I don't think was an enormous seller but had a couple of hot singles (this was the better, easily). The story I heard was that Bo$$ disappeared because she got exposed as having a much easier background than she'd made out, but since then I've read that her actual background was common knowledge but that she'd had some hard times as an adult. Either way, the story shows how much you were expected to back up your words in that era - a long way from the reign of Officer Ricky... Anyway, back to the track - Def Jef produced a classic backing with a bit of Gwen McRae here and some Barry White there, and the early-mid 90s token dancehall injection comes from Papa Juggy. Remember those days?
Teflon : Get Mine
My understanding is that Teflon came out under the MOP banner and it took several years of me seeing his records in passing before I finally heard him properly on the amazing "Brooklyn Stompin'." Following that, I saw this old 12" while on a digging mission in London and thought it was worth a whirl. Sure enough, a good pick - musically, Nesto delivers a track very reminiscent of the kinds of stuff AZ or OC were rhyming over in the same kind of time period, and the lyrics are on that thematic mainstay of Hip-Hop - the come up.
9th Wonder : Vol I, Beat VI
Just a little something from the man with two microwaves, from a compilation of unreleased beats. It fit, it's nice, it makes the cut :)
Redlight Boogie ft. Sean Price : Heat Rock
P! Ferocious track from Amsterdam but with the Brooklyn connection. Redlight Boogie is a Dutch MC who's been recording since the 90s but I don't think is much known outside his home country - should be obvious from this that he has serious mic skills though. Sean Price came to Amsterdam to link up to record this track and do the excellent video - I recall reading that the whole thing was written and completed in a couple of hours. Teemong directed the video and added the processing and graphics that give it a look quite unlike any other I can name off the top of my head! Killing Skills on the beat, an absolute killer - if you claim Hip-Hop but can't enjoy this, I'm looking at you funny ;)
Roscoe Umali ft. Raekwon & Smif 'n' Wessun : I Remember
One of those obscure tracks which I stumbled on during a Spotify browsing session! I'd never even heard of Roscoe Umali before but I understand he's a Filipino West Coast underground artist - on this 2007 track though, he calls in some serious East Coast reinforcements, with Raekwon and Smin 'n' Wessun laying down their signature styles. A note from your DJ - I bought this tracks as an MP3 download and found there were loads of digital clicks and glitches in it - I wanted to share it with you so badly that I opened the track up in a wave editor and manually removed them all, which took an age. All for you!
Shabaam Sahdeeq ft. Xzibit : Concrete
One of those 12"s you take a chance on, but not a huge gamble - The Alchemist is on production on both sides and Shabaam Sahdeeq I knew from his early Rawkus releases. Not a huge amount to say on this one but I think Xzibit complements him well; that's right youngsters, he was getting busy a long time before the "Pimp My Ride" days :) Other side is decent as well, not a "must own" for most but still a decent release.
Smoke DZA ft Dom Kennedy : Pow Wow
When the most modern era of Hip-Hop jumped off, with new free mixtape/album releases online pretty much every day and an explosion in the number of new artists, I have to admit that I pretty much lost touch. Where do you start? Luckily, due to factors like the NouGold podcast, well-informed friends and online streaming, I started to find the gems in the modern age. Until about two weeks ago I think I'd only seen the name Smoke DZA about and hadn't paid any attention, but then I found this collab with Leimert Park's Dom Kennedy and had to play it! It's from the 2011 "Rolling Stoned" album, the title of which pretty much gives the main subject matter away...worth a listen at least. Production is by the straightforwardly named Kenny Beats, and I've got to say it was the beat that pulled me in - this is the kind of modern stuff I can definitely vibe off.
[K-Murdock] Mega Ran : Drop The Load (Original Instrumental)
Serious 8-bit business from the inspired combination of K-Murdock and Mega Ran (although this is just the instrumental). Not sure how much is played vs samples - and if sampled, how much it was chopped) but I think this is a top-notch track that would have been a classic inclusion on many of the video games from my childhood. Get yourself a copy on the "Forever Famicom DLC" project!
Fly Guys : Fly Guys With Glasses
*airhorn* One of the best new tracks I've heard in a while - Kay and Donwill of Tanya Morgan come together as "The Fly Guys" to give props to all those like myself who rock the glasses. Not the fake lens-less NBA-fashion type, but the type needed so we can actually see. Original on the topic, done with flavour, and backed with a big-time beat from The ARE, who rocks the Donald Byrd "Wind Parade" sample to devastating effect. Five stars from me - check the rest of the very affordable Fly Guys album for more.
Statik Selektah w/ Talib Kweli & REKS : My Favourite Song (Remix)
I *think* this is inspired by the same break as Pete Rock's "T.R.O.Y?" Certainly reminds me of it musically anyway, and it's a nice job by the man Statik Selektah. This is from a Grand Theft Auto-themed EP entitled "The Lost and Damned," but that's just a detail - it doesn't particularly make me think of the games. Statik goes to his fellow Boston native REKS to supply some of the vocals, but the other man on the mic is the Brooklynite Talib Kweli, and both of them do the beat some serious justice. As an aside, the title has the handy side effect of making it sound like you're giving the tune props every time someone asks you what it's called :)
The Brotherhood : Incredible
A little bit of UK for you! I think The Brotherhood (one Black, one White, one Jewish) only ever released the one full album ("Elementalz") but it did make a little noise at the time, and there were a few tunes that stood out for me - this was one, even though it was never a single. The beat by The Underdog is nice, the lyrics are no-fronting UK style all the way, but the thing that puts it over the top for me is the extra-dope cutting-up of the Buckshot Shorty line from "How Many Emcees" in the hook. Fire!
Organized Konfusion : Thirteen
You know how we do on this podcast, always digging in for those overlooked album track gems! Thirteen is my favourite number and a recurring one, and Pharoahe Monch has a connection with it too - as such, he solos it on this Organized Konfusion track from the 1994 "Stress : The Extinction Agenda" album in fine style! The beat is just straight 90s style all the way, from DITC's Buckwild - you can keep your synths!
Hexsagon : Wichita Lineman
Another cracking head-nodder from Arizona! From Volume 4 of the "Beat Flip Tuesdays" beattape series, I think I wanted to play this a few months ago but found a better fit and decided to save it - glad I did as I think it's perfect for this spot :)
Jamie Lidell : A Little Bit More (Luke Vibert Remix)
I think I'd maybe only heard the name in passing when my mate Jonny started playing this remix when I'd see him playing at house parties; huge tune though! Had to do my research on this one - Jamie Lidell is a British singer who is apparently well-known for doing live multi-tracked beatbox tracks with a loop device, then singing over the top, something which is very difficult to do well! This track is from "Multiply Additions," a set of remixes based on his second album "Multiply" - well worth having! On the remix here we have Luke Vibert, a British legend in the electronic music scene, with a pretty much total replacement of the original sounds underlying the lead vocal - makes it a more conventional track in one way but the twisted beat really is its own animal. Deserved to be played right to the end.
Thu, 31 May 2012
"Never a pretty boy, always a beautiful mind..."
This month's title is kind of a nod to the ongoing NBA Playoffs as well as to trying to get through the struggles life can hit you with from time to time...all the same, back for another episode! Had a tough time picking tracks for this one but dug a few out I'd been saving for a while so hope they work for you!
RIP MCA, Chuck Brown, Donna Summer, & Robin Gibb...
Bumpy Knuckles : Mic & Gun
Big opening tune! This track is actually a few years old, but it seems to have had the vocals re-recorded - I prefer the changes, but also liked the original delivery just a touch more! Anyway, that's maybe nit-picking - another ill performance from the New York third-verse legend on the mic (bonus points for the 52 reference) and on the beat, DJ Premier with another under-the-radar banger. Your best place to get this one is the deluxe edition (digital only?) of the new Bumpy & Premo album "Kolexxxion" which is definitely worth checking out; a few of the tracks have already been out so the DJs might know them, but it's overall a solid set!
[DJ Spinna] Dynas : Game Huntin' (Instrumental)
Thought this beat just worked well here, but I'd recommend peeping the vocal with Masta Ace and Krym guesting on it - pretty heavy co-signs all round!
Phat Kat ft. Elzhi : Cold Steel
Organised chaos all over this track! Gun talk from both sides of the equation in fine style on the first two verses by Detroit mainstays Phat Kat & Elzhi, with Kat coming back on the last verse to just go out battle style. Dilla comes through with an outrageously hard beat - not sure if he was alive when the lyrics were recorded but the two elements go together lovely :) Extra-gritty video too.
Mic Geronimo : Up Now
From the 2003 "Long Road Back" album (though I got this on a digital download), the Queens mic holder who brought us "Masta I.C" and "Shit's Real" resurfaced after a long absence on this gem, with production by another Queens stalwart, the legendary Large Professor. The flavour on the beat isn't the old-school Extra P but more of the sound from the "1st Class" album - not everyone's bag but in some places I think it can work, and I think this is definitely one of those places!
Samson & Sejour : Rock Rock Y'all
Is it the little tweaking electronic sound? Is it the constant back-and-forth style? Is it the nice little samples at the start? I don't know what it is, but there's something about this track I really like despite it not being anything crazy on the surface! I picked this 12" up a while ago mostly because it was on sale, which is fortunate because I've never seen or heard it anywhere else. In fact, I've not heard of this New York duo before or since, though the producer Mark Ronson has maintained a decent career. I expect some of you will really like this but a fair few others will be pretty nonplussed. Thought I'd put it out there anyway!
Al B. Sure! : Nite & Day (Onra Edit)
Ridiculously ill - first time I heard Agent J play this re-edit I stormed to the DJ booth to find out what it was! French producer and 80s soul fan Onra gives us a short and sweet bass-heavy re-edit of Al B. Sure's 1988 classic, which you can find on Episode 14 of the podcast as it happens! You can currently get this free on Bandcamp so run there now and treat yourself! Even though the original track is very much "of it's time," I think there's just something classic about it which means it'll always be being sampled, edited, or interpolated somewhere...I do still laugh at super-dramatic moves in the video though :)
Nu Vintage : Raw Essentials
The "Beats & Dreams" album was just one of those finds after an evening browsing Bandcamp, though as it happens I think I might have first heard a little something on NouGold. I thought I'd paid for this one but it seems to be a free download now so worth a listen. S/he is pretty sparse on details but I reckon I'll check back for more sometime!
Malik Yusef ft. Kanye West, Common, & JV : Wouldn't You Like To
"The most critically-acclaimed wordsmith in the game?" I think that might be stretching it a bit, but nonetheless a good track :) I heard this first on a compilation of Kanye tracks called "The High School Graduate" seemingly made up of tunes he did before he really blew up big [ Incidentally, watch this :) ]. The drums thump along in what was then quite a signature style, everything else floats around them nicely and then the lyrics take it from there! Great track that was on Chicago native and poet Malik Yusef's "The Great Chicago Fire" LP (which I haven't heard) and also the "Coach Carter" soundtrack LP (even though it wasn't in the film itself).
DJ Jazzy Jeff : Da Rebirth
A little non-album cut from the "The Magnificent" EP, this one showcases Cy Young on the mic reminiscing about the Golden Age of Hip-Hop and just bounces along nicely with the stuttering horn stabs and ill drums; thought this was an actual Jazzy Jeff beat but in fact Kev Brown produced it, little more of an upfront and aggressive sound than a lot of his other stuff (which I still love, let's not get confused here). As far as I know, Jazzy Jeff does come in with the ridiculously ill scratching to round off the package though - if you're in the know, you know how pioneering a DJ he was back in the day - peep him on this 1986 recording...
Casual : Chained Minds
Pretty poor vinyl pressing, Casual's "Fear Itself" (what a title) was a quality album! Coming out of Oakland, Casual's been a mainstay of the Hieroglyphics family from the start and is still roasting the mic right up to the current day. On this one he handles the (excellent) production himself and shares some of the lyrical shine with the man Phesto from Souls Of Mischief, speaking on survival in an aggressive world. Classic track, still a favourite after over 17 years!
Slick Rick : It's A Boy (Remix)
Extra Extra P! Another Large Professor production, with those heavy 90s SP-1200-style drums and the laid-back bass and vibes on top. Perfect backdrop for The Ruler's silky-smooth styles on the mic! The original version of this is on the "The Ruler's Back" album but I *think* this remix is only available on the 12" release of the single. An essential for the vinyl collectors!
Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers : Ashley's Roachclip
1974 tune, one of the classic Hip-Hop breaks! I can hardly imagine how many times this has been used, I know it's shown up in a couple of past podcast tracks though...I'll let you go and find them ;) If Chuck Brown had done nothing but this track, he would still be notable. but as one of the inventors of go-go music as well...an immortal.
Beastie Boys : Hey Ladies
Is it intellectually edifying? Nah! Would we expect anything less? For the younger listeners, "Paul's Boutique" isn't just a clothing line ;) The second Beasties album can only be described as sample overload and is definitely one of those projects that could never be produced and released in the modern era - the cost of clearing all the samples would be astronomical, even assuming you could do it! I have to smile when I hear the drums right at the end, which ended up being sampled by another legend - I've looped them up a bit here so see if you recognise them!
Fusion Unlimited ft. Big Tone : Up 2 U
The first time I read about Fusion Unlimited it was an interview by Soulman. They were getting deep into chatting digging and sampling so I was quite surprised when I eventually heard his production on this; I like it, just not what I expected! Big Tone I'd never heard of at all, but I think he carries this one well. As it happens, Discogs has him with two albums in his discography but they've never come to my notice. And on the B-side to this single? A little someone called Joell Ortiz...
Parliament : Flash Light
One of the standouts in the Parliafunkadelic canon, hands down! Release in 1977 (a great year), this came off the mighty "Funkentelechy vs The Placebo Syndrome" LP. The low-end is serious, with Bernie Worrell on the synthesizers - I've heard them claim this is the first song ever to use a synth bass, but someone else could probably confirm or refute that! Sampled countless times, it's just part of our fabric now...
Rodney O & Joe Cooley : U Don't Hear Me Tho
West coast attitude in spades! Coming out of LA loud and proud, Rodney O spits some serious venom on this track, taken from an album which in an inspired, low-key, subtle way was called "F__k New York." Musically, this plunders some of the biggest funk tunes ever, and topping it all off is Joe Cooley on the cuts - one of those DJs not much spoken of nowadays but definitely influential! Check him out on this old tape or battling DJ Cash Money at the 1987 New Music Seminar!
T La Rock : Breakdown Dub
Big up to my man Jerry Beeks for blessing me with this vinyl! A futurisic MC who was ahead of his time but still sounded somewhat of his time, T La Rock split production duties on this one with the man Special K. 80s drum machine business all the way! Check the vocal version if you don't know it, old gold :)
Jeep Beat Collective : Hip-Hop Love, Hate, & Hope
(or at least, that's how I've seen it labelled!) Picked up this vinyl not that long after arriving in Manchester, and from that day to this it sounds amazing. A piece in three movements masterminded by Manchester's own Dave The Ruf, it's a brilliant example of instrumental/DJ composition - glad to finally have chance to play it for people!
Sat, 21 April 2012
"My real name is Kunta Kinte"
Despite being a little under the weather this month I feel great about the selection! I'm paying respect to the great Guru, dropping a couple of ill new releases, and of course dipping into the vaults for some too-often-overlooked gems - 58 mins of goodness. Enjoy listening, and do spread the word!
A few links to things I mentioned on the show;
and this is a great book : Nothing To Envy
Anyway, let's dig into the tracklist for the month...
Lina : It's Alright (Gang Starr Remix)
Been sitting on this one for a while but this was the perfect month to bring it out. The original version is from Lina's 2000/2001 debut album "Stranger On Earth," but while looking up info on it, I found it doesn't even seem to be on all the releases! As far as this remix, it seems to be on just one of the vinyl releases, or on the 12" promo single that I'm playing from. Lina is a singer and songwriter with kind of a jazzy style, and three albums to her credit - probably worth searching out if you want that kind of old-school vocal with updated production!
DJ Premier : Waaaaaa
Premo twice in a row? Yeah, why not? This one's a slightly off-beat but extra-hard instrumental from the first volume of the "Beats That Collected Dust" series. How did no MC get on this one?
Tony Touch & Gang Starr : The Piece Maker
Premo three times in a row? Well, good things do come in threes! I'd forgotten all about this one, but found I had it on a compilation of Gang Starr B-sides and rarities. It's basically just a Gang Starr track since Guru is on the mic and DJ Premier is on production and even the cuts I think, but it's a special track done for the mixtape DJ legend Tony Touch for his compilation "The Piece Maker." If you don't know about Tony Touch...well, that's your homework assignment for the month!
Keak Da Sneak ft. E-40 : T-Shirt, Blue Jeans, & Nikes
Big slapping Hyphy track! Can't even remember how I came up on this one for the first time, but I think it's one of those tracks that can't be denied. Bought the digital download of this on a "Greatest Hits" compilation but it was originally on the 2003 independently-released "Counting Other People's Money" album (love that title) - a track definitely worth chasing down for a party! Keak is a seasoned Bay Area veteran with 16 solo albums in his discography, not to mention his work with 3X Krazy and others. On top of that, he came up with the word hyphy in the first place! Definitely feeling the contrast between his low and gruff style and the legendary E-40's higher-register rhymes.
stic.man : Sober Soldier
This could be my theme tune! Shout to the man Ro for being the first one to tell me about this album. "The Workout" is an LP based around the themes of exercise and healthy living; great gym motivation and also completely radio-friendly! If you didn't already know, stic.man is half of dead prez and he's taken a very interesting tack with the album and his RBG Fit Club movement - definitely worth a look, as so many of us could do to improve our health and fitness and then apply that same discipline to other parts of life.
Motion Man : Play Dough
Check KutMasta Kurt cutting up the ill Guru sample for the hook! Back to the Bay Area for this one from Motion Man's debut album "Clearing The Field," which is worth having - solid and on its own vibe! Motion was the MC on the well-regarded DJ Vadim cut "The Terrorist" and has worked alongside Kool Keith as well as putting out two solo albums. Not heard anything from him for a while, but I get the feeling he'll be back...
[Barbershop Kiz] Defari : Blast (Instrumental)
Just some low-key dopeness here, instrumental of a 12" release from the Tommy Boy Black Label "Hip-Hop 101" compilation (note: that link currently has copies going for a penny plus postage, so you can't say fairer). There are some gems on that so it's one worth picking up when the price is low!
Chamillionaire ft. Saigon : You Gon' Learn (Early Service)
The first of two tracks out of Houston this month, this is a hot-off-the-presses release from one of my favourite MCs, taken from his new "Ammunition" project; he's highly underrated in the actual Hip-Hop market but has great mic skills - check the Paul Wall & Chamillionaire "Get Ya Mind Correct" album or any number of his amazing mixtape flows for proof. Also one of the most tech- and business-savvy MCs around, his intelligence shows whenever he speaks or writes. Accompanying him is the man behind one of last year's best albums, "The Greatest Story Never Told" - always one to speak his mind and call out fakeness. Not a strikingly obvious pairing, but an excellent one! Love the heavy drums on this beat too, courtesy of the Atlanta-based Sweatbox Productions.
Funkadelic : I Bet You
Keeping the big thumping drums going for another track, I could have chosen another Hip-Hop record but instead reached back for a selection from Funkadelic's first LP, released all the way back in 1970! George Clinton's various musical projects have contributed a huge amount to the sonic fabric of Hip-Hop and this track is no exception...if you're of a certain listening age you should recognise that different parts of this track have been sampled by some of the greats!
Dilated Peoples : Heavy Lighting
Not 100% sure of the accurate history of this one. I first heard it on a download years ago on an album/compilation called "The Deta Lideracy Project," which nowadays seems to only come up on Google on dodgy-looking websites. I really wanted to play it on the podcast but only play stuff obtained the right way so did a search for this particular track and found it on an officially-released compilation of Dilated Peoples B-sides and rarities - sounds about right! Interesting track, which seems to sway topic-wise between environmental concern and taking out sucker MCs; I'm not sure who produced it, but I love what they've done with the samples in the hook, got a really eerie and dark feel.
Cormega : Therapy
One of the few 5-star tracks on my iPod, this has been a headphone staple for me since I first heard it almost ten years ago! All heads with refined taste should know about the Queensbridge legend Cormega, who not only writes great lyrics but also gives the impression in interviews of being a very sincere and straightforward person. In recent years he seems to have laid to rest a long-running dispute with Nas but the album this is taken from ("The True Meaning," which is definitely one for your collection) is from that era - doesn't show on this track though. Beat-wise, another Queensbridge foundation man (DJ Hot Day) cooks up a buttery-smooth track based on Chaka Khan's "Stronger Than Before" (that one's already out there, so I'm not blowing anyone up). Got to love this one.
Air Adam : Breezeblock
A little something from my beat archives, not given it a big mixdown or anything, just straight two-tracked out of the MPC and into the computer! Just replaced my whole pad set and as soon as all the tact switches have been replaced too I might jump back into the beat game...
Trae ft. Styles & Jadakiss : Smile
Not an MC with a high profile in the UK, Trae is one of my favourites out of Houston - not the super-technical type of rhymer but has a really cold feel to his style. Another non-obvious collaboration with two-thirds of The LOX/D-Block bringing their Yonkers style down south, but it definitely works! I didn't know at first but the beat is actually all taken from a record by San Quinn and Messy Marv also called "Smile" and produced by Sean-T - I can thank Youtube comments for that knowledge!
Strategy : Kill 'Em
This was the early favourite for me from the Broke 'n' English veteran's "Pre-Season Training" mixtape - "The Bleep Test" was a more popular track but I love the production on this one, and Strategy's from-the-heart lyrics can't be fronted on - if you're fortunate enough to know any of the context, then they have that added impact too. Always representing Salford & Manchester, he's been doing it for a long time now and I'm waiting for B'n'E to come out with their second album - with all the talent and a new studio up and running, expect good things!
Stalley : She Hates The Bass
He should have got himself a British girl.
Zero 7 : Sleepr
This track manages the neat trick of sounding pretty uptempo despite only clocking in at around 80bpm! I'm just putting a dash of it in here for the flavour though - I absolutely love the breakdown that comes just before I mix out of the track. The rest of the tune is kind of angular and abstract, lots of effects and stuff so check it out if that's your bag. The album it's from ("Yeah Ghost") was pretty underrated I think - it's not another "Simple Things" by any means but at least it shows a willingness to experiment!
Gangrene : Due Work
The new Gangrene album "Vodka & Ayahuasca" is an absolute essential purchase for anyone who likes the real, and it was tough to even just choose a single track from it to play this month! This isn't totally typical of the sound of the rest of the album but fit nicely enough into the mix to make it my choice. Both Oh No and Alchemist are top producers and I'm not sure who gets the most credit for this but it pounds along and shows how to pull off the dark style with panache. Take notes!
[Kool Akiem Allah] Micranots : Glorious (Instrumental)
Dark tune from the Minneapolis-raised, Atlanta-based duo. Picked this up ages ago and it's just languished on the shelf for the most part so it's nice to dust it off! Extra-crunchy beat to say the least. You can find the vocal version of this on the A-Side of the "Welcome To The Empire" 12" (like I did) or on the "The Emperor & The Assassin" album.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly : Look At California
Classic soul! My parents didn't have any Maze in their collection so I wasn't up on them as a kid, but heard them mentioned on boards and so on and that was when I started to discover the magic :) Coming out of San Francisco, they give us this great 1977 track to end the show, paying homage to their home state. Structure-wise, it's quite something - almost like four songs in one! You can find this on their debut, self-titled album, where it also plays the closer role.
Sun, 25 March 2012
"All we do is drink, f***, and drive."
As for our elected politicians...they just seem to drink, fight, and lie...for some reason they expect better of the rest of us! Anyway, back for another month with a pretty varied selection, from the sublime to the hostile. There are a few tracks people will definitely know (or ought to!) but I've pulled some pretty obscure ones out this month too.
As promised in the show audio - here are the pics from the last "In The Loop," where we seemed to be invaded by superheroes!
RIP Biggie Smalls & Trayvon Martin...
Action Bronson : Muslim Wedding
I saw the title and wondered what it was about. As it turns out, not a thing to do with the title really :) Still, monster track with the Queens,NY chef/MC throwing down on a synth-heavy southern-flavoured track by Harry Fraud. Drive slow and swervy to this one...
Cliff Martinez : La Cagaste
Kind of ambient, awkward bar count and time signature...sounds like an excellent idea to put this into a mix! This is from the soundtrack to the excellent film "Traffic," and from the first time I saw the film I thought the music was amazing and so got the album. It's not one easy to get super-cheaply, and there are repeated motifs which Martinez keeps coming back to throughout so if you're looking for wild variation it might not be for you. I only knew of Cliff Martinez as a film composer but he was also the drummer for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on their first album!
Skibeatz & Curren$y : Fly By
Ski/Skibeatz has featured on the podcast before mostly because of the brilliant production he's done for Camp Lo, and you may or may not know about how much he did on Jay-Z's "Reasonable Doubt." In the last few years he seems to have got a bit of a second wind and the album "Twilight" from which this is taken is the latest in the "24Hr Karate School" series (though the branding is low-key on this one). Nicely chilled track with New Orleans' Curren$y providing some laid-back braggadocio.
Super Cat ft. Biggie Smalls : Dolly My Baby (Extended Remix)
One of the early Biggie appearances - personally, I think he should have been on there longer than 3rd Eye (Jesse West) as he clearly had the better performance! Stars all over this one, with Mary J. Blige on the hook and of course the don dada Super Cat taking the lead. Hot 1993 single, essential pickup for all DJs - not a rare one, I've seen copies online for £4 or so - don't miss out!
Blue Raspberry : Outta Bounds
Easily my favourite of all the Wu singers, Blue Raspberry seemed to drop out of sight for the most part after Raekwon's "...Cuban Linx..." album, after bringing the house down on "Rainy Dayz" (one of my top songs of all time, any genre). I heard a snippet of a song by her ("It's Time," I think?) years ago in the RealAudio era, but never found a copy, or much else. It seems there was a 2005 album "Out Of The Blue" but I've never even seen a copy for sale! A while ago I thought I'd type her name into Spotify and it came back with this track, from a compliation called "Wu-nited States" :) - not sure how old it is, but she certainly lets those lungs blast on here! I hope to hear more...
Casual : Say That Then
A great and underrated MC from the Hieroglyphics camp, Casual has been doing his thing low-key for years. On this cut from the "Smash Rockwell" LP, he teamed with the ever-original New York producer J-Zone for the kind of sound that no-one else can pull off. I forgot all about this one until I was picking out records for an appearance on the C'mon Feet Elements show a while back - pulled it off the shelf and when I put it on I couldn't believe I hadn't been playing it more! Cross-country funk.
Hexsagon : Yesterday
Arizona stand up! Hexsagon's back with a new selection; the fourth volume of the "Beat Flip Tuesdays" collections has recently been released, and it's packed with quality sampler work! This one was perfect for setting off the next selection, so it got the nod, but if you get the whole set you'll find a lot of fresh beats besides!
Innerzone Orchestra : People Make The World Go Round (J88 Remix)
Killer Dilla remix! The original track wasn't that different, but was pretty drum-deficient. Dilla fixes that and makes it a wicked track. Innerzone Orchestra is an alias of the techno producer Carl Craig, but he shows that he can get down on the soulful tip on this track; the 12" I have is pretty light on credits so I'm not sure who's on vocal. The song itself is a cover version of a track by The Stylistics, which was also famously covered by...
Michael Jackson : People Make The World Go Round
...the legend from Gary, Indiana! This version is from his solo/soundtrack album "Ben" and he puts in the kind of quality vocal performance you'd expect. Not an obvious track to sample, but just a snatch of it turns up on...
Mobb Deep : Apostle's Warning
...and that's why Havoc is Havoc. The prince of dark production out of Queensbridge takes just a tiny snatch of the MJ track to add some atmosphere at the start and end of the tune, but the rest of it is just the kind of crunchy, evil style that he made his mark with. He also starts off the lyrics nicely, but Prodigy...kills it. No hook, no hesitation, no heartbreak 808 business - just bar after bar of the rawness. If you want more, you need to check the rest of the "Hell On Earth" LP, a masterpiece of 90s street Hip-Hop.
Wu-Tang Clan : One Of These Days
Underrated track in my opinion, taken from the Wu's "Iron Flag" LP. As someone who was pretty lukewarm on "The W," I thought there were quite a few good tunes on this album! Production on this one is handled by Nick Fury, and the guitar/horn combo just works really well, very clean sonically but funky as hell. Everyone on the mic comes off too. If you'd pushed this album to the back of your racks, give it another chance!
Basement Khemist : Vibrate
Great cut - 1999 12" release on Beyond Real. I think Basement Khemist only ever put out two or three 12" singles, never an album, but at the end of the day, why force it? Anyway, I'm a big fan of this one - DJ Spinna brings the production, and while the beat is quality it's actually the cutting up of L'il Dap's rhymes from "Supa Star" in the hook which gets this one the rewind credentials. Dope.
[Alchemist] Capone-N-Noreaga ft. Foxy Brown : Bang Bang (Instrumental)
If it sounds like something from the score to a late 70s/early 80s crime flick, the odds are fairly good it's an Alchemist beat! This is from a limited 12" I got after entering a DMC heat (believe it or not!), but the original is from CNN's "The Reunion" album - it's not an album you have to have but it's not bad.
The Notorious B.I.G. : Machine Gun Funk (Live)
Ok, he's rhyming over the vocal track which is never ideal but still, a live version of one of my favourite tracks from the first album. I got this on a white label 12" labelled "Live In London" - not sure exactly when it was recorded or how it found its way onto vinyl, but it's worth a pickup if you see it!
Mr. Khaliyl ft. Pharoahe Monch & DCQ : Street Team
I only realised recently that Mr.Khaliyl is actually Mister Man from Da Bush Babees - back to school for me! That's a good piece of 90s Hip-Hop trivia :) He comes out hard here both lyrically and on the boards on this 2001 Rawkus 12" (this is the B-side to "Wages [Of Sin]") with DCQ of Medina Green and Pharoahe Monch contributing guest verses. Predictable. Pharoahe melts the mic down to close the track. Was it really going to end any other way?
DJ JS-1 ft. Akrobatik, J-Live, Supastition & Pack FM : Too Easy
Dug this one up from a solid enough album which I actually wasn't as much into as I hoped I would be when I bought it. Still though, this is a wicked track - the MC lineup is quality, and while they all drop some serious lyrics I think J-Live's basketball-metaphor verse is the standout for me. Just slays it.
Bumpy Knuckles : Inspired By Fire
Rugged but still clean enough for radio! Bumpy Knuckles drops some jewels for the kids on a short cut from the "StoodioTyme" digital-only EP, completely produced by DJ Premier and serving as a warm-up for the "Kolexxxion" album which is due to be released soon. If you like that real, no-nonsense boom-bap with tough lyrics, that might just be the release of the year!
Apple Juice Kid : Tears
Brand new, just released at the start of the month - Apple Juice Kid, who I first heard of doing production on Camp Lo's "Stone & Rob : Caught On Tape" was tapped to provide the score to "Poetic Portraits Of A Revolution," which explores the Arab Spring. The result worked well I think, a good listen and for a good price - if you like film scores, it's definitely worth giving this a check; as you'd expect, they're very much Hip-Hop beats with a strong Middle Eastern influence. I couldn't make my favourite fit into the selection this month...if you get the whole album, see if you can guess which one it might me!
Tanya Morgan : Stay Tuned (Sunset Version)
Phenomenal track. I admit I was late on the whole Tanya Morgan catalogue (only knew bits and pieces) but heard this tune this month and flipped out - brilliantly put together. Von Pea presents one of the cleverest sample uses I've heard in a while - after the verses finish, letting the original track just seamlessly play on at the repitched speed, then chops up the start of the second verse of the sample as it comes in, effectively creating a slightly-darker remix of the original. Just listen, that's all I can say...and I think this was on their very first EP!
Sun, 19 February 2012
"I'm 'bout to call the CIA on myself..."
- Jasiri X
February, what a month...one in which we mark the passings of Big Pun, Big L, J Dilla, and now Whitney Houston. There's some Dilla and Pun in this month's selection, alongside some political dubplate action, a touch of funk and one of those singles I had to close my eyes while paying for...
Natural Elements : Shine
That blues sample starts up and you just know it's going to be a good few minutes. I've definitely said before how much of a fan I am/was of this ridiculously-skilled crew of New York MCs who burned up some incredible underground tracks in the 90s. Most people who happen to know this one probably heard it on DJ Premier's "New York Reality Check 101" mixtape where it was somehow mislabelled as "Lyrical Tactics." Lyrics galore all the same, with Charlemagne on the production and an appearance by Essence (aka Ayana Soyini) who apparently was not a guest but an original member of the group - didn't know that!
[Ski] Camp Lo : Coolie High (Instrumental)
Bronx! Another group I have proclaimed my fandom of at least a couple of times on the podcast before :) This track is easily one of my favourite Hip-Hop singles of all time. DJ Greenpeace was the first person to play it for me and from that first listen I was sold. Of course here, there are no vocals, only the incredible beat from the man Ski, flipping a Janet Jackson sample heavily and adding the extra bump to put it in the pantheon of great singles. A monster.
Camp Lo : Coolie High (Paradise Remix)
...and then we have the little-known remix! I'd been looking for a copy of this for *years* since DJ Beware first picked it up before finding a copy on Discogs. This is a bit of a re-record - the lyrics are slightly different to the original, but it's the beat which is the huge change; while Ski sampled Janet Jackson on the original, he switches over to Michael on this version and it's just perfect. If you can find this on 12", hold onto it!
The Roots : I Remember
My favourite cut from the most recent Roots album, "Undun." Not the longest album in the world, but a top-quality release and definitely recommended (and not just by me)! As the album tells the story of the fall and death of a man in reverse, this track from near the end is from relatively early in the story. It's melancholy, and it's beautiful. Knocked the breath out of me the first time I heard it, hope it does the same for you!
Jewell : It's Not Deep Enough
Don't remember this? You probably weren't around during the monster Death Row Records run in the 90s. Ill track from the "Above The Rim" soundtrack, but very much to the back compared to joints like "Regulate" and "Afro Puffs." For me it was a favourite though, with the producer Mr.Dalvin (yes, of Jodeci) reaching into the jazz crates for the Donald Byrd "Wind Parade" sample which had been used in the surrounding period by Black Moon and 2Pac to name but two. Works here once again, with the slow neck-snapping drums. Jewell was a vocalist who as far as I know never put a full album out, but responsible for some of the hugest hooks of the era - "Let Me Ride" was her work, as was "Gin and Juice," and Snoop's "What's My Name?" too. Not quite the female Nate Dogg, but as good a comparison as any :) Love her vocals on this.
Mark B & Blade : Use Your Head
UK coming through with the heavy drums! As I recall, this was one of the first - if not the first - Mark B & Blade collaborations, on a two-disc EP called "Hitmen For Hire." Of the four tracks on there, this was the big standout for me, with those tough tough drums just smashing everything in sight - you can't give Blade a weak beat. The cuts are provided by the extra-ill, ex-Scratch Pervert Mr.Thing, one of the great all-rounders on the turntables, rounding off the whole package nicely!
Twizted Rootz : A Useful Waste Of Time
Rootz is a young producer coming out of Manchester getting play on the podcast for the second time - he got in contact to let me know he had some new stuff in a different style to some of his older beats, so you know I had to get that. Check him out on Soundcloud!
Jasiri X : Bushes
Huge tune on the ill political dubplate vibe! As with every big single, "Otis" ended up with all kinds of no-mark MCs chatting unpolished nonsense all over the Kanye-produced instrumental, but you can throw all those out of the window in favour of this one. In fact, I like this more than the original! Pittsburgh's Jasiri X, a fearlessly political MC, absolutely turns it out here by rhyming in the personas of George Bush and George W Bush - but taking the rhyme scheme from Jay and Kanye's original track. Brilliant piece of lyrical cleverness. Grabbed this as one of the tracks on the bargain-priced (edit: now *free*) "#thewholeworldiswatching" LP, which is definitely worth having!
Phat Kat ft. J Dilla & Black Milk : Door
AKA Subwoofer status check. Lows and more lows on the BR Gunna production. Drums are nice too, if you can hear them through all that! I've got this on a sampler 12" but it's probably most obtainable on Phat Kat's 2003 "The Undeniable" album. An all-Detroit affair, with the late great J Dilla and Black Milk giving nice turns on the mic alongside Phat Kat on a tune which just has the feel of Jason Voorhees on the MPC.
Akrobatik ft. Talib Kweli : Put Ya Stamp On It
Dilla on the beat this time, sounds hectic as hell but only 93bpm. Nice bit of extra sub bass on those kicks at the end of each four-bar section! Boston's Akrobatik (who you may know from The Perceptionists) goes hard on the mic to do the late James Yancey proud (this was released after his passing, as you may spot from the lyrics), and Talib Kweli gives a good backup performance too. Got this as a 12" but you can find it on the 2008 "Absolute Value" LP, which I still need to get!
Big Punisher : The Dream Shatterer
RIP Pun, and Rest In Pieces to the wack emcees he slays on this track! The first time I heard the "Capital Punishment" LP I knew I liked it, but when this track rolled on, it was rewind time! "Ayo I shatter dreams, like Jordan assault & batter your team?" You know I was loving that. The big Boricua from the Bronx bodied this beat big-time ;) with a head-on attack flow. Amazingly, this wasn't even the first choice of beat! Buckwild from DITC produced the original version, but the sample couldn't be cleared and so Domingo stepped in with this ill, dramatic, rushed, tightrope-walking track you hear on the album. Phenomenal.
[Marky Mark] LL Cool J : How I'm Comin'
Anyone else remember when LL started coming out gangsta style? I think this was the lead single from his "14 Shots To The Dome" album, apparently a 1996 release - feels older to me somehow! No vocals on this version of course, but LL Cool J is one of the most remarkable MCs of all time, incredible longevity and someone who was counted out at least once, only to come back blazing! I don't have anything rare from him but will definitely play something from the catalogue in the future.
Oddisee : Don Cornelius
There was no question - this had to be played this month, even though I played the previous track from the same album two months ago! DMV representing but bringing the West Coast flavour, giving me nice synths to blend into the next track with. Oh, and that vocal sample? One of my all-time favourite artists (you already know), the late great Roger Troutman! Here's a short (but good) article at NewsOne summarising some of the things Don Cornelius influenced, and a longer one on NPR. What a legacy.
Lord Jamar : Supreme Mathematics (Knowledge Mix)
First of two Brand Nubian-related tracks this episode; on this one, Lord Jamar gives a surprisingly catchy breakdown of the symbolic meanings of the numerals in the Supreme Mathematics, a number system making up part of the Nation of Gods and Earths' core concepts. It's the last track on Jamar's "The 5% Album" which is, as the title suggests, based around the nation's teachings - regardless of whether you believe or not, it's a solid album worth checking, especially if you like conscious lyrical content. It'd have been even better if they could have included "The Sun!" Anyway, Lord Jamar handles the production on here himself - I'm not going to name the sample as I don't know if it's been cleared but it's definitely got that b-boy vibe, far superior to the original mix.
Public Enemy : You're Gonna Get Yours
Good excuse to get this tune in position for a road test! Wicked but underrated PE tune which opened up the first album, "Yo! Bum Rush The Show" back in 87. It almost feels like some kind of reverse world where Public Enemy have a song about a car, but it works! I think Bill Stephney is credited with the production, though it wouldn't surprise me if everyone in the group had piled in on this at some point - I'm sure someone knows better than me though!
ADC Band : Baby Love
Not an obvious selection, but pulled the "Long Stroke" (!) album out to give it a listen and this sounded like sonically it'd go pretty will with the PE track! I don't know much about the ADC Band, so I'll just post a Discogs link which seems to have the most info of anywhere I managed to find...
Grand Puba ft. Q-Tip : Good To Go
Two big names, but not a well-known track! This is from Puba's 2009 "Retroactive" album which totally passed me by - only heard it for the first time last year! Truth be told, not an essential LP top to bottom but worth a listen at least. It's been a long time since that first Brand Nubian album in 1990 where most of us first heard him, but he's still here! Alongside him on this track is the man Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, who also handles the production. Surprisingly awkward to mix with, but I like it!
[DJ Revolution] Mykill Myers : Killing Spree (Remix)
One of those 12"s that I don't expect is super-rare or anything, but that most DJs I know just wouldn't have bought! Mykill Myers is/was an MC out of Los Angeles who had a couple of albums out on Ill Boogie Records in 2000 & 2001, the first of which the original of this track was taken from. As for the producer, DJ Revolution - his beats are good, but he's more renowned for his ridiculous turntable skills...get to know!
GZA : Labels (Remix/Original?)
This was what I heard the first time I heard "Labels" on the radio, and when I bought "Liquid Swords" and got to that track I was gutted. Why? Totally different beat! It seems they couldn't get clearance for everything on here and had to go with a different version; in fact, if you listen right to the very end you can hear it! This for me is one of the hardest beats of an era that had a fair few of them - there was nothing else that sounded anything like it, which is just RZA all over. Lyrically though, you get the same incredible quality on both versions, with GZA weaving the names of 39 (by my count) record labels into a cohesive piece, just amazing. Not only did this probably send a ton of MCs back to school or into alternative employment, but also spawned more GZA tracks that used the same kind of idea with different contexts - I'll just give you one : "Fame..."
Mon, 23 January 2012
"...saliva and hand gestures..."
- Big Dubez
Happy New Year! Hope you all have a great 2012. The first episode for the year is one of those where if anyone knows every single track, I'll be very surprised. Definitely had fun with this selection - grew from one blend that popped into my head and just grew outwards from there...
Shout out to Jay Subterranea aka Jim Underground for donating the fresh chopping board in the cover art! As a DJ I mix and cut on the turntables, now I can take that style to the kitchen ;)
Quite a few links to throw up - not a regular thing as such but there are a number of events I want to mention right now;
Yo-Yo : Mama Don't Take No Mess
Ladies first! A standout track from the "Boyz N The Hood" soundtrack, a compilation I'm definitely going to be revisiting in a future episode. Yo-Yo came out from under Ice Cube's wing on the track "It's A Man's World," going head-to-head with the west coast legend in a battle of the sexes on wax. She's from the era where skills were judged before appearance, definitely. I'm not going to front, I thought Yo-Yo was hot back then though - check the "Paint The White House Black" video. Ah, b-boy crushes... anyway, back to the present! Yo-Yo writes a great lyrical portrait of her strong mother and the upbringing she gave to her children, and production is by DJ Pooh and Rashad - funk-filled for real. 22 years old this cut...time flies!
[Rockwilder] Busta Rhymes : Do It Like Never Before (Instrumental)
Kind of awkward, kind of off-beat...yeah, nice choice to try and blend with! Nice Rockwilder beat though, strictly B-Side from the flip-side of "Do The Bus-A-Bus;" that track was on the "E.L.E : Extinction Level Event" album.
Michael Jackson : Speed Demon
Well, why not? The blend between this and the next tune was the seed for this episode. This isn't the tune that people bring up when talking about the "Bad" album, but I always loved it - it also inspired a memorable sequence in the "Moonwalker" film! Apparently this tune came about after MJ was stopped for speeding on the way to a studio session; Quincy Jones suggested he wrote down how he felt about it, and eventually it became the inspiration for the song. Nice bit of production there, Q :)
Ice-T : Drama
I was put up on this tune back in high school by my man Justin, one of the vanishingly small number of heads I met in my time there! I knew about the "OG : Original Gangster" album which had just been released but he knew about all the older Ice-T and so I have to thank him for hooking me up back then. (Note to the artist : I have since bought all those albums, so it all worked out!) Hugely overlooked track from the "Power" LP, this was never a single and is rarely mentioned. It's classic Ice-T - the crime story on most of the track, and then the downfall/moral at the end; if you like, the sugar and the medicine together. I always thought the production was incredible too, with the drum machine programming over the 303-type melody/bassline. Appreciate this, and then go and get that second album if you haven't already!
Genaside II : Waistline Firecracker
I almost feel bad including this tune as the first track I've played from these guys as I like some of their other so much more, but on the other hand it's the first one I ever heard so maybe it's right! I can't tell you too much about the group other than these snippets; they were from London, almost certainly the first UK act to work with any Wu members, and in style covered the spectrum from rave & drum 'n' bass to Hip-Hop. Their "New Life IV The Hunted" album is very difficult to describe, especially without resorting to cliche, but let me just say that it's always got play from me from the time it was released in 1996 right up to now. If you can find it, get it. This track was one of the lead singles, and rightly so; unique production, and serious gun chat over the top with the right amount of theatre to match.
dead prez : I'm A African
When it comes to dead prez, I think I'll always look to their first album (from which this is taken) as the overall best summation of what they're about, despite most of it being quite a big change in production style from some of their earlier work. Unashamedly pro-Black and anti-capitalist, they shook things up with the "Let's Get Free" album and one of the standouts for me was this early cut; certainly one of the most forthright declarations of being African since the Afrocentric Hip-Hop era. Hedrush and dead prez soundtrack their message with a speaker-smacking track, with drums coming from just about everywhere. Winner.
Kev Brown : Multiply (Instrumental)
The kind of dopeness you expect coming from the low-key, Low Budget representative. Got this from his official Instrumentals LP on Bandcamp, where he shows once again that Maryland shouldn't just be thought of for the university and the cookies :) How can you hate on this beat? Can't be done.
Sporty Thievz : Street Cinema 2
Remember these guys? For 90% of you that have, that'll be due to "No Pigeons," this Yonkers group's response to TLC's "No Scrubs." Actually, it just popped into my head that strangely, both groups were trios who lost one member in tragic accidents; such a shame. This is a great tune from the Thievz, been getting a lot of play in my headphones over the last few months; heard it randomly on Spotify, then tried to find a copy I could play. Was it on the "Street Cinema" album? Nope. I got it on an unofficial-looking 12", with "Enemies Of Hate" on the flip. The beat is nuts, Pete Rock rocking the Mardi Gras bells in a major way with lots of dope bassline action, and just a great amount of space between all the elements. On the mic, Marlon Brando (RIP) and King Kirk come through with low-key but attitude-filled deliveries - just a really cold overlay - and Big Dubez amps up the energy on the last verse, with the first four bars making me laugh out loud for real! Shame this track is so little known, but at least it's here for you guys!
NYGz : Policy
Premo beat. Straight away that should be enough to hook you in. Rugged tune which sounds slightly off-beat but all the better for it. Panch & Sha get busy on here, one of the early tracks from the Year Round Records "Get Used To Us" compilation. If you like this, you know you've got at least a little taste for that no-nonsense, meat & potatoes Hip-Hop :)
Skitz & Rootz Manuva : Blessed Be The Manner
Roots Manuva has really blossomed into a worldwide star for those that know, but this kind of style is always the version I enjoyed him rocking the most. Shout to Dave The Ruf - first heard this on one of his Radio Zero tapes! When it comes to the beef beat, the man Skitz, one of the UK's finest, gave him a track he could really shine on. Has Skitz ever made a bad beat, ever? Nice 12" on Ronin Records with "Where My Mind Is At" on the other side.
J-Live : How Real It Is
J-Live is one of the greatest all-around talents in Hip-Hop, with skills on the mic, the turntables and behind the boards - a true triple threat. All things considered, he may just be strongest on the lyrics, and this is just one of the many hot tracks he's laced over the years. J and Jay Money collaborate on the production, bringing in a small band to provide the instrumentation underlying this killer from the essential "All Of The Above" album. Do not sleep.
The Detroit Experiment : Vernors
The Detroit Experiment was a collaborative project between a number of notables - snuck up on me, I can't even remember where I heard this first, but it got a lot of play before I got a legit MP3 version. This isn't on Spotify unfortunately but if you get a chance to check the whole album, do. As far as this track, it's all about that beat switch halfway through...
J Dilla ft. Ta'Raach : Say It!
Great Dilla beat, light on the top but smacking it underneath! One from the "Jay Love Japan" release, or the version I have at least. I think going back-to-back Detroit here was a good move, hope you enjoy it also!
Freeway ft. Allen Anthony : Alright
An entwined history for these two tracks! The original had the beat from the first tune, but the lyrics from the second - it was Allen Anthony's track. However, it became much better known after a different version was released with Freeway taking centre stage (and somewhat going off-topic with the lyrics, I might add) and Anthony sidelined to hook duty. Finally, the second track here was the A-side of two Blackbeard remixes/re-edits of these two tunes. Despite this, it was the first version I heard, on an MP3 from somewhere - absolutely loved it. I had no joy finding a vinyl until my man DJ A-Up found a copy for my birthday one year! Big props. Musically, Just Blaze (on the Freeway version) and Blackbeard (on the Allen Anthony track here) both catch wreck with their takes on the Ronnie Foster "Mystic Brew" sample, best known to the Hip-Hop nation for its use on A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation." Struggle music. PS - check the video links above; both of them were great in my opinion.
Basic Vocab : Likeness
On the low, Miami has some guys who really do it, even though it's not thought of as a traditional Hip-Hop hotbed. (Someone's going to mention Rick Ross here, but I'm yet to be convinced). BV are a three-man crew with Mental Growth and JL Sorell on the mic and Tony Galvin on production, and I've got a few tunes of theirs on 12" which are nice to have. You can't front on solid beats and solid rhymes, and this tune has a classic east coast Hip-Hop sound, no question.
K-Def : Yeah Def
You should already know about K-Def, I told you months ago ;) One of the many dope tracks on the very little known but extremely good "Willie Boo Boo The Fool" instrumental LP. The real heads want to have that one in the collection, especially if you're into making beats; good source of inspiration!
Dean Atta : I Am Nobody's Nigger
Not Hip-Hop, but unquestionably one of the big noisemakers of the last month. After an 18-year wait, two people were finally convicted for their parts in the racist murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993. For those that doubted whether race was the motive, the attack was reportedly preceded by a challenge of "What, what, nigger?" from one of the killers. Taking inspiration from the fact that that hateful word was one of the last he ever heard (a though I've often had about other Black people), the London spoken word poet Dean Atta wrote a great piece blasting its casual use. He posted it on the Internet and it spread like wildfire, sparking discussion and prompting a number of people to try and set it to music. While I liked it in its raw form, this version constructed by Si Tew is one of Dean's favourites, so I've gone with it to close the show, and hopefully make people think. It's a word I never use - it'd be nice to think that this poem might just make other people check their speech in future.
Thu, 22 December 2011
"...let the whole town see my crown."
Out in time for Christmas, my present to everyone - a sack of heavy tunes and not a lump of coal in sight! Glad to be able to get this one uploaded before a few days of lie-ins, nice food, and putting the day job out of my mind. Wrap up warm, turn the volume up, and check it...
Illegal ft. Erick Sermon : We Getz Buzy
Get well Erick Sermon! The Funk Lord smashes it on this 93 low-slung headnodder, with the beat centred around that basic but undeniable bassline and then dropping in to contribute a quick verse at the end. The headliners though are the then-child MCs Jamal and Mr Malik, who go at pretty much every underage MC who was out at the time! They'd have ripped Soulja Boy a new one, that's for sure. Killer tune from their "The Untold Truth" album which is worth hearing for the excellent 90s production if nothing else!
[M-Boogie] Buckshot : The Real (Instrumental)
One of those singles you buy on spec on the strength of the personnel but which never seems to see the light of day once it gets home! Thought I'd include it here because for every tune someone thinks average, there's someone who thinks it's amazing and has probably been looking for it for ages :) For me, solid, not spectacular, but fit the space here nicely.
J-Zone : Root For The Villain (excerpt)
Jay-Z & Kanye West : New Day
I definitely think "Watch The Throne" was overrated (here's what my "Watch The Throne EP" would have had on it), but this was one of the tracks I think deserved the praise. Of course, that means it has zero chance of being a single. RZA, Kanye and Mike Dean craft a reflective track which perfectly fits the theme of two men speaking to their unborn sons. Great heartfelt, grown-man lyrics - love it. This is the kind of track your "Young/Yung <whoever>" rappers could never write.
Special Teamz ft Devin The Dude : Long Time Comin
After hearing the similarity in the first two beats between this and "New Day," there was no way I wasn't playing it this episode! Special Teamz is the combination of Edo G, Slaine & Jaysaun, a Boston supergroup if you will. All of them are no-frills on the mic and they pass the hook duties over to the underrated Houston legend Devin The Dude - can't help but smile when you hear his voice! This is from their 2007 album "Stereotypez" which is worth a listen if you see it around! Production by Xplicit, who slipped under my radar a little but has some decent credits. Hell, he did a beat for Large Pro!
Cesar Comanche ft. Eternia : Up And Down
One of the original Justus League MCs, Cesar is just one of those low-key, consistent guys who you know is never going to drop foolishness on the mic. Positive, uplifting lyrics alongside Eternia on this 2005 12", and 9th Wonder is on production with his signature style. Vinyl collectors should look at getting this partly for this track but also for the ill B-side "Jacob's Ladder," produced by Nicolay - very nice.
Analog Brothers : Perms, Baldheads, Afros, & Dreds
Not in any way connected to the fact I watched and loved Chris Rock's "Good Hair" this month! The Analog Brothers were a one-album combination of Ice-T, Kool Keith, Marc Live, Black Silver and Pimp Rex - and that "Pimp To Eat" album is one you want to get if you like the crazy Octagon-style flow, pimp talk, futuristic references and keyboard bass! There were other tracks that grabbed me first but when the lightbulb went on with this one it became the absolute favourite.
Oddisee : Curl
DMV native Oddisee is someone I became familiar with via his work with guys like Kev Brown, but I only found the album this came from ("Oddisee West Coast Beats") while browsing Bandcamp looking for beats! The whole album is dripping with West Coast funk flavour, Zapp samples and all, and for only a minimum price of $1, I'd consider it an essential purchase - probably will sound better in the summer though :)
Stevie Wonder : Have A Talk With God
What can you say? It's Stevie Wonder, the legend! Love the keyboard flavour on this, taken from the massive "Songs In The Key Of Life" album. That album is testament to taking your time to get things just right; it was supposed to come out much earlier than it did but it was held up basically until Stevie felt it was done. If it had met the deadline, would it still be a classic?
Geto Boys ft. 3-2 : Straight Gangstaism
Big shout to Selina of Jelly Empire for sorting me out with a copy of this; I just couldn't get hold of a copy in the UK fast enough to ensure I could include it this month! This is from that weird period where Scarface left the Geto Boys, and was replaced by Big Mike. With him taking the first two verses and 3-2 taking the closer, many people wouldn't immediately recognise this as a Geto Boys tune at all unless they knew it! Not sure exactly who produced it, but a look on Discogs suggests a combination of Mike Dean, Bido, NO Joe and Tony Randle. Dope anyway.
Pusha T : My God
The beat is from Hit-Boy, who was also responsible for one of my most hated songs of the last year at least - "...Paris" from Watch The Throne. Hated it. Credit where it's due though, he brings it heavy on this track with that military-style drumline and when the church organs crackle into life it's a wrap. On the mic is the younger half of Clipse, who may not be in line for NAACP Image Awards anytime soon but has rhymes for days and days. Recent track this one, only released this year as Pusha's first solo piece - heard it when it came out and then on the "Fear Of God II : Let Us Pray" mixtape; definitely the standout on there.
Leftfield ft. Nicole Willis : Swords
I was one of those people who didn't like the "Rhythm & Stealth" LP as much as "Leftism," but this track here was a phenomenal standout. Leftfield have been in trouble more than once for the volume of their live shows, so in tribute crank this one all the way up! PS - interesting video concept too...
[Buckwild] O.C. : Burn Me Slow (Inst)
DITC action here on the lead track from the "Still Diggin' Composition EP," nice piano beat from Buckwild - unfortunately you miss out on O.C's lyrics here, but all the more reason to go and find a copy...
Co$$ : Kill 'Em All
I first got up on Co$$ after hearing him on "Pay The Co$$" on Exile's "Dirty Science" album, which was one of my favourite cuts on that project. Since then I've been following him via his Facebook Page and when I saw he had done a digital release of his "Instrument Of Emotion" album, I grabbed myself a copy for a bargain $3! Coming out of Leimert Park, Los Angeles (same area as Dom Kennedy, to name one), he's part of the new wave of Cali MCs emerging in recent years - keep an eye on him.
Rise : Do You Know Him?
I know very little about Rise other than the fact that he's certainly benefited from getting DJ Spinna beats in the past and he does so again here - cheeky lyrics on the braggadocio tip, definitely entertaining. I'd recommend picking this up but I'd never seen it before until I chanced on it on a record-shopping trip to London - there may not be many copies of this 12" floating around!
Asaviour ft. Kyza & Yungun : Money In The Bank (Remix)
Undeniably classic British 12"! I think of this as being "recent" (well, ish) but it's a 2004 track - always up for playing it though! Asaviour's a Yorkshire-born MC who came through Manchester and finally relocated to London, working with guys like Manchester's own Microdisiacs along the way. Here he throws down with Terra Firma's Kyza and the always-welcome Yungun on a heavy Jehst beat, with DJ IQ bringing the cuts. Sampling "Top Billin'" will never get old.
[Memo] Rasco : Gunz Still Hot (Remix Instrumental)
Just a nice headnodder, it doesn't hide from what is is! The vocal version has a Boston connection with Edo G and Reks both guesting alongside San Francisco's Rasco. B-side dopeness on the flip of the "Thin Line" single.
Eazy-E ft. Atbann Klann, Buckwheat, & Menajahwta : Merry Muthafuckin' Xmas
I hate most Christmas songs. This time of year though, there's no escaping them - every shop, on TV, on the radio, they keep coming back like some kind of chronic illness. At a time like this, there's no option but to reach for a Christmas song that offends everyone else. Only the late Eazy-E could give you a song like this! The final track on the "5150 : Home 4 Tha Sick," Eazy and friends give you a medley of filthy festive lyrics. Oh, and Atbann Klann? They must have suffered an allergic reaction and became...
Wed, 30 November 2011
"When I walk through I set off all sprinkler systems..."
Two and a half years of episodes in the can now! Grateful to still have an audience after all this time :) This month I've got a few left-field unexpected picks, some stuff you won't know (yes, you), and some old favourites including a track by the late, great Heavy D who passed on November 8th.
In other news...
Catch me at the Badman Ting Charity Fundraiser on December 9th - it's mostly a D&B affair but in the back room I'll be doing a Hip-Hop set alongside some great DJs, and also donating a print of one of my photos as a prize for the tombola - please give generously :)
Shout out to Watch Deez - as I say on the voiceover, his new "Dream With Open Eyes" tape is a nice relaxing collection - have a listen here!
Ghostface Killah & Trife : Fire
Big favourite from the "Put It On The Line" LP. The opening voice sample sets it off and the escalating guitar sample works brilliantly underneath the lyrics. Not much else to say about this one, except I've been waiting ages to get it in at the start of an episode and other things kept taking its place - not this time though!
[Alchemist] Poverty : Life Sucks (Instrumental)
One of those random 12"s I picked up because it was cheap and the production credit looked interesting! It didn't jump me out of my seat, but on the vocal version Poverty definitely does his thing - you just have to be in the right mood for it! I didn't know much about him at all, but he hails from Portland, ME and had a hard time - living on the streets and in shelters - before getting his break. The beat is from Alchemist, who is a master of the dark style and so hits the mark here when it comes to matching the theme.
J-Zone : Bling Around The Collar (Fake Gold Chain)
For me, one of the biggest, most entertaining personalities in Hip-Hop - but don't get confused by the humour, the lyrical skill and musical quality is always on point. He goes biographical on this one with a classic tale about coming out in fake jewellery back in the days, on top of a crazy piece of sample work; there's just no-one who makes beats like him. This is taken from the "$ick Of Bein' Rich" album, another quality Zone release. I just realised this was a 2003 record, which is crazy as I still bump it like it came out last week!
Wreckonize : Who's The Man?
From Miami, and with some bass, but not Miami Bass, comes the energetic Wreckonize. While looking up background info, I found out he was actually born in London but has been in the US since childhood, so any trace of a British accent is long gone! DJ Spinna on the production for this one - I shouldn't have to say any more, your ears will tell you all you need to know.
Heavy D & The Boyz : Who's The Man?
Same title, different tune - probably my favourite from the late, great Heavy D, an early 90s jeep-rattler of a track. The man from Mount Vernon flows with confidence with that unmistakeable voice, and Tony Dofat provides the production to go along with it. Like the next track in selection, I remember this one from the days in Leeds listening to the guys on pirate radio playing the quality stuff - was glad to get a vinyl of it a while back. RIP Dwight Myers.
Black Moon : Who Got The Props? (MW Smooth Mix)
Brooklyyyyyyn! The original version of this track was one of the most "what the hell was THAT?!" tunes from my teenage years when the man P-Wiz first played it on Supreme Radio in Leeds, and when I eventually found out the title I bought it the second the import 12" became available. Even though my funds were limited, and at £7.49 it was damn near the cost of an album, it was a must-own and remains so. The B-side was "F*** It Up" but the final B-side track was this remix, taking the same underlying sample but switching the drums. Evil Dee did the original and he (along with the rest of the group) actually hate this remix, which was done by Mike Weiss (owner of Nervous Records) and Schlomo. The original is definitely better to my ears but I don't mind this version, and it made for a much better blend here.
Camp Lo : Future
Tucked away at the tail end of what I think is the seriously underrated "Stone And Rob : Caught On Tape" release - I can't think of anything that sounds quite like it! The Bronx boys give you the usual slangy, back-and-forth vocal stylings, and the Apple Juice Kid is on the beat. Check how they channel Curtis Mayfield on the hook too...
Hans Zimmer : Bakara
Bit left-field in comparison to the tracks preceding it, but it blended so well I had to use it :) Hans Zimmer is one of the world's foremost film score composers, with more than 100 to his credit - from "As Good As It Gets" to "The Thin Red Line" and plenty more, as well as games like "CoD : Modern Warfare 2" and "Crysis 2." This particular track is from the "Black Hawk Down" score, and makes a good background to games of "Goldeneye" :) Nice album, not necessarily an essential purchase but if you see it for a good price and like instrumental stuff, pick it up.
The Intruders : Cowboys To Girls
One of the many records I have liberated from my parents' collection over the years :) The Intruders were an influential four-man soul group out of Philadelphia who had hits working with Gamble & Huff - in fact, they were the first group to do so, yet they are rarely mentioned! This particular track was a 1968 release which went as high as #6 on the US pop charts; only a snippet here but it shouldn't be hard to find a copy of the whole thing.
Big Noyd : Shoot 'Em Up (Bang Bang), Pt.1
Here we come to the flip of the above track - kind of bumps along with the way it's put together, and weaves the key bits of the vocal into the track with Noyd leaving space for them to come through. As with the second version, you can find this on the "Only The Strong" LP - not a "must own" but a solid enough album.
The Deele : Shoot 'Em Up Movies
Yes, serious cheese! Let me just say now that the phrase "all at once" is used inappropriately and far too many times in this song - must have been having an off-day on the lyrics! The Deele came out of Cincinnati in the 80s, and produced two breakout production and songwriting stars in L.A. Reid and Babyface (who also had a solo career as an artist). This tune is from their third album, though I got it on a "Best Of" compilation, and it was a big hit for them - been sampled a few times as well. A bit on the soft side for me but not without a certain charm!
Big Noyd ft. Mobb Deep : Shoot 'Em Up (Bang Bang), Pt.2
Definitely my preferred version of this track - brilliant sample flip and has just the right kind of pace and feel for me with the stabs and all the added handclaps; I think the vocal samples in this version work a little better than in the first one too. Nasty!
Air Adam : Key Ring
So-titled because of the little keyboard sound I put in there. This beat isn't properly mixed or anything, but just provides a little bridge from which I can blend into the next track...
Elzhi : Hands Up
Somehow managed to overlook this track on the "The Preface" album the first time round, then I heard it on shuffle in the gym and it smacked me in the face! My word, this is that real hardness. An all-Detroit affair, Black Milk on production gives you the ominous thumping, droning beat while Elzhi kicks some quality storytelling from the point of view of the low-end armed robber - top-notch writing. Don't get confused and think he's glorifying it though...it doesn't end well!
730 : 13th Commandment
Love that sample that the track's based around! I picked this up in London if I remember correctly, just on the strength of seeing that Lord Tariq was involved; from looking around it seems that 730 is the combination of Lord Tariz, Peter Gunz, and Cory Gunz (son of Peter). Despite that, it's a long way from "Deja Vu!" Lord Tariq's opening verse is the lyrical high point here, the flow is crazy. The only thing is that I wish they hadn't bothered with those horns in the hook - slightly on the corny side for my taste...
Beatnuts : Out Of State Case (Instrumental)
Got this on the "Hydrabeats 5" vinyl, just a collection of instrumentals I picked up many moons ago. This is a 1997 release on Hydra Entertainment, 12 tracks of Beatnuts-produced instrumentals - definitely worth having for mixtapes if you're a Hip-Hop DJ.
Onra : Send Me Your Love
A selection from Onra's 80s-flavoured "Long Distance" LP - a glittery but soulful MPC1000-programmed beat. If you like the sound of this at all, I'd definitely recommend getting yourself a copy of the album! I've been revisiting it lately and it's a really nice release.
Ras Kass : Won't Catch Me Runnin' (Moet Mix)
This was the first version of this track I heard, and I definitely prefer it to the original; a sample I won't reveal here stands alone as the intro before the drums come in to meet it, then continues in normal and filtered form throughout. Bird, the producer, who I must say I've not heard of elsewhere, definitely cooks up a beautiful track. Lyrically, this is early Ras, before even the debut "Soul On Ice" album, bringing out that kind of alternative West Coast flavour in the vein of (approximate) contemporaries like the Hieroglyphics camp - just really dope. I'd only ever heard this on MP3 before I came across a copy earlier this month in Vinyl Exchange - snatched it up quick, worried about the price later :)
Akinyele : In The World
Such a favourite of mine from this era (1996 release), I feel like I'm putting too many treats on here but it goes along so well with the previous two tracks! A very underrated MC out of Queens, you might know him better from his verse on the legendary Main Source track "Live At The BBQ" or the hit "Put It In Your Mouth" (which truth be told, I never liked much). As it happens, this was one of the B-side tracks on the "Put It In Your Mouth" EP and just shines. Production is by DJ Enuff and Jiv Pos - what's mental is that I have the record they sampled, I've sampled it myself, and I *still* didn't recognise it straight away - they made it work, definitely!
DJ Quik : Let You Havit
Damn, why don't you just say how you feel? Seriously though, Compton's own DJ Quik goes in with vigour on this 1995 track from the "Safe + Sound" album, mainly aimed at then-longtime rival MC Eiht of Compton's Most Wanted (note: Quik says on this track that he's wack. He's not.) They were definitely going at each other back then but these days I've read it's all smoothed out. All the same, this is a serious track, catches you straight away with those tough, smacking drums and then turning into a P-Funk, G-Funk keyboard extravaganza, right into the extended outro. If you don't have this one, get your West Coast collection up to par :)
[Just Blaze] Beanie Sigel : Beanie (Mack Bitch) (Instrumental)
Another record with a really tough beat driving it, but a sharper, more angular keyboard vibe and the occasional bit of piano for the low end. Completely different side of Philly to the Intruders track! Just Blaze was killing it on this, one of five tracks he produced on Beanie's second album "The Reason" - from which the very first post on this blog took its name!
London Symphony Orchestra : John Henry
Beautiful piece of music. I first heard this on the opening sequence of Spike Lee's brilliant "He Got Game" - the music and the images together are actually very moving if you have a deep connection to the game. While Public Enemy provide all the songs for the film (definitely worth buying their soundtrack), the orchestral score comes from the London Symphony Orchestra playing the music of the American composer Aaron Copland. This particular piece tells the story of the folklore figure John Henry, a Black steel-driver on the railroads who according to the story raced a steam-powered hammer bought by the railway owner to replace all the human workers, with the agreement that if he beat the machine that his co-workers would keep their jobs; he wins, but the effort kills him in the end. I'm no expert, but I think the music really communicates the story well - might not be everyone's cup of tea but I think it's tremendous.
Sun, 30 October 2011
"I am sworn to life, I am bound to death"
- Professor X
* (but never the college dropout)
Thought I'd take the opportunity to show a little something I did this month :o) As it happens, three of the acts on this photo collage are included in this month's selection. Which ones, you ask? Well, read the show notes for the detail!
RIP Dr Geraldine Connor and Sir Jimmy Savile...
Bass-O-Matic : Fascinating Rhythm
Starting things off with a big UK chart hit from 1990 which I've never stopped listening to! Based on the same Soul Searchers "Ashley's Roachclip" sample as Eric B & Rakim's "Paid In Full," it's packed with flavour in a way I don't think a lot of modern chart music can match. I didn't realise until recently that the producer on this track was William Orbit, better known to most as the production brain behind Madonna's 1998 "Ray Of Light" album - big move from him there!
Eric B & Rakim : Paid In Full (Drums only)
Thought it'd be a nice blend to come into this track, sharing as it does the drum sample from the opener. If you don't recognise this straight away, just head out and get a copy of the 1987 "Paid In Full" album, and cleanse yourself :) PS ...am I the only person who liked "Chinese Arithmetic?"
X-Clan : In The Ways Of The Scales
Maybe the best use ever of the Tom Tom Club "Genius Of Love" sample, tucked away as the last track on the indisputably classic "To The East, Blackwards" LP. Even if X-Clan weren't the best group of the Afrocentric era of Hip-Hop, they could definitely put in a strong claim for being the funkiest! Made up of the late Professor X (son of Sonny Carson), the late Sugar Shaft on the wheels and Brother J (handling most of the mic time), they had a combination of consciousness and danceability which is yet to be matched. The album, their first, drips with so much quality it's just ridiculous - a "must own."
New Flesh ft. Blackitude : Stick & Move
UK UK! Bassline action on this killer from the "Understanding" album produced by legendary UK graf writer Part 2 (York stand up!); I once heard he picked up some of his first production pointers many moons ago from DJ Greenpeace, who was also a great influence on my record buying as a teen! New Flesh (originally New Flesh For Old) were definitely unafraid to be original from the moment they came out, and in my opinion managed to do "futuristic" sounding tracks before there was any such thing as "future beats." This track is one of their more dancefloor-ready pieces, but check the albums to get an idea of the full scope of their sound - "Equilibrium" is the place to start, with that being the beginning...if you like the more technical, abstract sound, it'll be right up your alley.
Ice Cube : My Summer Vacation
Underrated to a ridiculous degree. For me this is one of the standouts of Ice Cube's sophomore "Death Certificate" album; the production (by DJ Pooh, Bobcat, & Rashad) is just ridiculously dope and Cube takes the mobbed-out, gangsta-funkin' track to spin a tale of a gang who leave LA to do business elsewhere...and things just go downhill from there. The topic of this song is serious - Ice Cube was rhyming about the spread of the LA gangs to other parts of the country when it was by many accounts barely getting underway. From what I've read, there were many reasons - from copycats, to members being sent out of the city by their families in an attempt to get them out of the firing line; as I say, that's what I've read and heard - you'd have to check with an expert though.
Foreign Legion : Voodoo Star
Changing the mood on this track, though it quite handily capitalises on the "my life is f**ked" ending of the track before (I'm saying that like I didn't choose the order!) Can't remember when I picked this one up but it was cheap as I remember and sometimes it's worth taking a chance on a tune. Not a huge fan of the semi-sung hook but in truth it does fit, and overall it's a strong package - funny rhymes from Prozack and Marc Stretch, good production, and a few cuts for good measure (from DJ Design, who also did the beat).
Gang Starr : Take A Rest (Instrumental)
I rarely pull out my white-label copy of the "Step In The Arena" instrumentals but flicked onto it while doing the selection and found that this track blended lovely with the preceding one so in it went :o) Hard to believe when listening to this beat (or any other on the same album) that DJ Premier once said he didn't have full confidence in the science of his production until "DWYCK" - I wish I could find the article where I read that!
Jasiri X : Occupy (We The 99)
Jasiri is his real name, and he's a member of the Nation Of Islam so the X is real too! A committed activist who also gets busy on the mic, Jasiri X has been behind such topical tracks as "What If The Tea Party Was Black?" and "Enough Is Enough." There aren't many young MCs right now hitting the issues of the day like him but he takes it all on and on this track, he gets into the grievances behind the Occupy movement. The strength comes not just from the lyrics but from the knowledge that it's not just posturing - he has the track record of speaking on social justice issues that lets you know it's not a cynical move. On top of all that, check the video - filmed at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Pittsburgh.
Bumpy Knuckles : Pit In The Basement
Rugged tune that sounds like it should be the soundtrack for boxing training! Taken from the "Leaks, Vol.2" collection, it's just classic aggro Bumpy in fight mode. Definitely get both of the free "Leaks" mixtapes, turn them up, and try not to punch anyone in the face :o)
Grand Agent : Mingling Goes To Church (Shitake Monkey Remix)
I had this record (the "Fish Outta Water Remixes") hanging around for ages before I really had a proper listen, and when I first heard this track on there I couldn't believe how badly I'd slept on it! Over the years it's had a good number of outings in the record bag and really moves a big sound system. The well-travelled Philadelphia-native GA gets busy on the mic here regulating the garbage in the game, and the New York production crew Shitake Monkey absolutely smack it on the beat. Still haven't sussed out how the track got its title though...
Nine : Lyin' King
Underrated, and mostly unknown by people I know, this is a great 90s cut. Nine sets his stall out on the fakeness he doesn't like, and if the shoe fits, get a matching bag! Nine is probably best known for "Whutcha Want?" from the "Nine Livez" album (or, if you go back further, as 9mm on Funkmaster Flex's "Six Million Ways To Die") but this is from his second album "Cloud Nine." His go-to producer Rob Lewis is on the track - it's the little breakdown and the voice sample that I think really make the beat.
Hexsagon : How Can I Love You (Instrumental)
DJ A-Up put me up on Hexsagon originally, and after checking out some of his stuff on Bandcamp I grabbed a download purchase of the "Beat Flip Tuesdays, Volume 1" tape (I can't help it, it's always a tape to me!). A great talent coming out of Arizona, keep an ear out for this man!
Curren$y & The Alchemist : Smoke Break
So very dope (no pun intended). I think I first heard this on the DJ Lee Majors "Bitches Leave" mix (word to Clarence Boddicker) and then got myself a copy a while later. It feels like a semi-interlude, but there's enough going on to make you realise it's a full track - just short and sweet. Coming out of New Orleans and originally part of The 504 Boyz on No Limit Records, as well as having stints on Cash Money and Young Money, it's interesting to see how Curren$y has kind of remade himself and opened up an audience who never would have checked for him before. The star here for me though is Alchemist on the beat - it's hard but dreamy, with drums to die for. Definitely my favourite from the "Covert Coup" EP.
NYOIL : I Tried
NYOIL came out blasting on his first track under that name, the pull-no-punches "Y'all Should Get Lynched," done on zero budget but grabbing a huge reaction. That track was just the warning shot for the full "Hood Treason" album, where NYOIL spits his manifesto over an international selection of beats. This was an early favourite for me despite the someone out-of-place hook, and I think the sentiment is something a lot of people can empathise with; to me, the beat even sounds like someone carrying or dragging a heavy load! Obligatory trivia : NYOIL was originally Kool Kim of the UMCs - quite a style change!
Massive Attack ft. Liz Frazer : Teardrop
Fantastic, classis track - by all accounts, went through a lot of work putting it together but it must have felt worth it in the end when the result sounds like this. Taken from the "Mezzanine" album, Massive Attack's third, Liz Frazer of The Cocteau Twins is on the vocals but what I didn't know until I was researching this episode was that Madonna was originally in the frame to sing on this instead! That's two Madonna mentions in the show notes now...
Dom Kennedy : Menace Beach
Heard this first on the Combat Jack Show in one of the musical breaks but had to to some Googling to actually find what it was called and who had recorded it. From Leimert Park, Los Angeles, he's got a track here which at least in the production style reminds me of something NWA might have rhymed over back in the day, pre-"Straight Outta Compton" even! Great cut from the free "Future Street / Drug Sounds" mixtape.
Danny Drive Thru : Violence Makes
If you missed this man on episode 19, head back and hear some of his thoughts on production and hear some more of his stuff! A dedicated and talented producer, as well as one of the humblest guys you'll ever meet, Drive Thru has just released his "Psychedelia Smith" 7" (it took me a while to notice the pun) on Mind On Fire records but as usual, I headed for the B-side to pull out this low-tempo, mournful instrumental. Really good to see someone who deserves it coming up!
Funkadelic : The Song Is Familiar
Dopeness from the "Let's Take It To The Stage" album (great write-up on it here). When I first heard this, I knew a little about Parliament and how much they'd been sampled, and that Funkadelic were parts of the same movement, but I didn't realise how different the sound was. True to thje name, Funkadelic could come with that rockish, psychedelic kind of feel with the heavy amp flavour, and despite not being much of a rock fan at the time (aged about 15), the hook on this was enough to make me want to pull the air guitar out and set it on fire :)
Mon, 10 October 2011
I was very honoured to be asked by Agent J to appear on Groovement, which is one of my favourite podcasts and should definitely be on your subscription list! I spent ages deciding what kind of tunes to take down to the session, knowing I was going to need as much as a couple of hours' worth; I hope you like them! It was nice to be able to give these an airing and to have a chat too - I was mostly intelligible, I think...
Click the pic to get to the download page on the Groovement site!
PS - If you've just arrived at this page as a result of going to Groovement, then thanks and welcome :o)
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14 PM
Thu, 29 September 2011
"...as you sing your senseless songs to the mindless..."
- Chuck D
Got something of a theme this month - starting off really fast and bringing the speed down as we go through the episode; kind of like reverse club DJing! Got a bit of Public Enemy (saw them live again this month - they killed it, again), some great tunes from Manchester, and the usual selection of "I never heard that before" tracks to hopefully plant that digging bug in your head! Start playing this one in the gym and finish off driving at about 15mph under the speed limit...
Suga Free & The Time : Cool
Starting things off with energy; I don't do drugs but the pace of this tune combined with the occasional high-pitched keyboard hits for some reason makes me think that this is what being extra-high in a club and dancing crazy must sound like! This is a semi-cover version of the original "Cool" from The Time's first album, with Suga Free spitting pimp talk all over a beefed-up version of the 1981 track. I got this as a download from the "The Features, Vol.2" compilation, would definitely love to have it on vinyl but I suppose Serato will have to do...
Cybotron : Clear
Great electro track from all the way back in 1982, one of the original records that started off what we now know as techno. Coming out of Detroit, Brian Davis and techno co-originator Juan Atkins combined to show just what could be done with all electronic instruments at a time when most people just couldn't see it. I dug a digital copy of this out after seeing it mentioned in the brilliant book "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" and instantly recognised it - it's one of those tracks which soaks into your subconscious the first time you hear it and never goes away! For the younger generation, this should sound familiar as the basis of Missy Elliott's "Lose Control," and for those who follow Mobb Deep's ridiculous amount of unreleased material, this was used on the incredibly menacing "Everything's Cool" (find it if you can) - the producer slowed this track down and it gives it a really nasty edge.
Ice-T ft. Nat The Cat & Donald D : Fly-By
Huge favourite of mine, from Ice-T's masterpiece album "OG : Original Gangster" (essential purchase). Ice-T opens up strong, I learned Donald D's killer closing verse off by heart when I was in school, and Nat The Cat's middle section is amazing when you hear how he kicks that style over a beat that's right around 120BPM.
The Roots : Boom!
Woooooooy! Super-tough drumming from Questlove provides the bedding for one of the illest solo MC performances you'll hear anywhere. Yes, I said solo. Black Thought throws down a heavy first verse before switching into jaw-dropping impersonations of Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap on the other two verses! Rewind it, play it again, appreciate! Taken from the "The Tipping Point" album, which wasn't my favourite Roots release (though I greatly preferred it to "Phrenology") - my pick is still "Things Fall Apart," which you should already own if you listen to my recommendations :o)
Public Enemy : Caught, Can We Get A Witness?
Overlooked PE track from the certified classic "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" album, closing the first side nicely (well, unless you have the CD...) On the Bomb Squad track, Chuck D, never a man backwards in coming forwards, thunders down his thoughts on everything from sampling to the vacuousness of love songs. I say and say again, if Chuck D doesn't get mentioned in your list of all-time great MCs, your list is wrong.
Master Fuol & ODB : Wingworms
Brooklyn stand up! This tune is from Thirstin Howl III's "Licensed To Skill" album but as far as I can tell he's actually not on this track at all - instead, mic duties are handled by fellow Lo-Life Master Fuol and the late great Wu-Tang loose cannon ODB, basically both just talking crazy on the beat; I've also seen this one around titled as "Last Call." This track is definitely too little-known! I'll just leave you with a choice lyric; "fall on your butt, yo' ass gon' hurt." That's wisdom right there.
PMD : Back To Work (Instrumental)
I love it...it's just kind of awkward. Parrish Smith handled the production himself on this one - many people forget he does beats as well as rocking the mic - and it's dope, but just loops kind of oddly! As such, it's not a record I pull out often as it's strange to mix with, but as I didn't need to mix right at this point, I took the opportunity to include it - hate to see a good record go to waste!
Two-One : Swing
Local talent coming up with a big tune here! Manchester's Two-One is a skilled MC and producer who you might know from In The Loop and many other events besides. On this track, he showcases a confident flow over a tasty beat from Oldham's Kuartz who you'll have heard on the podcast previously. This was taken from the "Mathematics" EP which was a free download - no longer available, but I kept on at the man until I could get a copy of this to play you :o) Keep an eye out for more material from Two-One here and Kuartz here!
Cormega : The Other Side
One of the realest MCs out on a great track from the "Born & Raised" LP on the unglamourous sides of the street life, featuring a light airy production from none other than Fizzy Womack of M.O.P! Yes, I was surprised too :o)
The Mouse Outfit ft. MC Presto : Who To Trust
If you've never seen The Mouse Outfit live, you're missing out. Coming out of Manchester, they're an absolutely firing band who in the last couple of years have added both members of Plato (MC Bedos and producer Pitch) to their lineup. To my mind, they're now at the start of the big push a lot of us have been waiting for them to make and have just released their debut EP "Check Your Pulse" from which this track is taken. On this tune, Bedos passes up mic duties to the American MC Presto who also turns out to be a good complement to the band, and this track just might be my favourite on the EP - the beat just works so well. Keep an eye out for these guys!
Troy S.L.U.G.S : Get It 4 Real
One of those 12" singles I've been waiting to play for a while, bringing a little harder edge sonically than the last few tracks. I can't even call this a forgotten gem since that would imply that people really knew about it the first time round! Pete Rock brings a dope, shoulder moving beat which already puts the track above the average and Troy contributes some fairly straight-ahead, solid rhymes - no crazy complex technique, but no nonsense either. I must say I don't know much about him except that he's from Astoria, NY, and that he had another 12" which I've got in the library with a nice B-side "88 Bars." That's good, but this is better - worth a pickup I think if you see a copy.
Superior Thought : Holding On
Like this beat? Find more of his stuff here. Talented UK producer out of South London who's really doing some good things staying true to the sampling style, keeping a very Hip-Hop flavour rather than going dubstep/grime/whatever. He's got a lot of stuff up on his Bandcamp, either free or cheap - definitely worth checking out. This particular tune is from his "S'strumentals" instrumental album, a free download you'd be mad to not at least give a listen!
2Pac : Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z
Can you believe it's been fifteen years this month since 2Pac died? Crazy. I've never been a huge Pac fan - people who know my listening know that about me - but I will always say that I greatly preferred the era of his first three albums to anything he recorded after that. This here is a track which always stays on the iPod, always enjoyed it since it was first released and it's a good motivational one for the weights too! Produced by Laylaw (who has some great Hip-Hop history), the slow and low, sample-heavy vibe fit the attitude of the lyrics much better than any synth outing could ever hope to. Lyrically, 'Pac would never fit into the super-complex category, but could always be said to put down how he felt whenever he hit the booth; there's something to be said for that in life as well as in music!
Dr.Dre ft. Lady Of Rage : Lyrical Gangbang (edit)
Didn't feel like having the whole song so just knocked out a quick edit to give you some instrumental after the first verse. Taken from "The Chronic" of course, this one plays slow and bangs loud - not the first tune people think of when this album comes up for discussion but sometimes, only this tune will do! If they end up creating a time machine I want a quick trip back to when hard rhymes like Rage's and heavy beats like this were standard issue...
Camp Lo : Something For Nothing
The Camp Lo unreleased/soundtrack/compilation/B-side catalogue is full of gems, if you can find them! I've definitely said before how much I rate this Bronx crew going back to the first time I heard "Coolie High," and this track is a seriously under-the-radar piece I was glad to add to the collection! This is on a white-label 12" with some other bits from other artists so is lacking full credits, but a quick web search tells me this is a 2001 track from the compilation "Stimulated, Vol.1" and Lord Digga was the man with the slow, swaggering, soulful beat. Add to that the Lo's dense slang styles and you've got a winner!
UNKLE ft. Alice Temple : Bloodstain
Bit of personal trivia - the first time I went to donate blood, I lay down on the bed and this tune came on my MP3 player on shuffle! That said, since it was the very early days of MP3 players and it had a grand total of 64MB memory (read that again, carefully), it wasn't that unlikely! This is still a headphone staple for me, it still sounds fresh - hard and heavy drum track with plenty of space for Alice Temple's vocal to breathe. Bit of trivia - apparently, Alice Temple was the first female UK and European BMX champion. All that and an angelic voice! As for UNKLE, this is the "Psyence Fiction" incarnation of the group, with James Lavelle and DJ Shadow being the driving forces behind the project.
[Slip Wax] Bomshot : Kill Em All (Instrumental)
2005 track out of Boston on Commonwealth Records; truth be told, this 12" is pretty nondescript on the whole. I got it primarily because Agallah produced the A-side, but the rhymes just didn't grab me. I do like this B-side beat and it worked nicely for the blend, but again, lyrically the track didn't do anything for me at all. It's just like that sometimes!
Raphael Saddiq ft. Q-Tip : Get Involved
First heard this on one of DJ A-Up's mixtapes a while ago, chased him up to find out what it was and managed to get a vinyl copy recently in time to get it on the podcast; I'd slowed the MP3 down before and liked how it sounded so knew it needed to be on here! Oakland's Raphael Saddiq is one of those artists who was always kind of at the periphery of my consciousness - never really knew his work properly but did know of Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl - but this track got me on board and having checked some of his albums since, I can better appreciate what he does! Got this on a 12" single but you can probably find it more easily on the soundtrack to "The PJs."
Nas : It Ain't Hard To Tell
One that everyone knows, so you've got a point of reference to go with! I love what the slowdown does to the "da-da, da da" in the hook, and Large Professor's filtered bass on this damn near drops out of the bottom of the speaker!
Unknown : Grand Theft Auto Theme
This is from the original Grand Theft Auto game, the top-down one that was released on the PC back in 1997; if I recall correctly, I searched the CD for sound files to get hold of this track and have been carting it around ever since! Not sure who put this track together, but it sounds like they were heavily "inspired" by Easy Mo Bee's beat for Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear." Grand Theft Audio?
Slum Village : Climax
On the very first podcast episode, you heard the instrumental of this - now you get the vocal, but missing more than 20% of the speed! From the "Fantastic, Volume 2" album, this is probably my favorite Slum Village track. The big speed drop here makes it sound more ghostly and eerie than seductive...try it at night! This is probably the beat that made me a Dilla believer - some of the stuff he'd done before this point I didn't know he'd done, and some wasn't to my taste, but this one smacked me round the head and got me up to speed. Fresh.
EPMD : You're A Customer
Winding up with one that the heads will certainly know, another classic! Over 23 years old but never fails to get the necks snapping! The samples/interpolations it uses are well known so I can talk about them; taking a four notes from ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses," a little "Jungle Boogie," and of course the "Fly Like An Eagle" snatch and adding some drum machine, EPMD built a monster. Result.
Wed, 31 August 2011
"...the optimum oxygen intake..."
(shout to DRS for the episode title!)
Crazy month, what with an outbreak of rioting in several UK cities, and in the US (at the time of writing) an earthquake and a tropical storm in roughly the same areas within about a week!
As I say in one of the links, I'm now on Twitter, just feeling out if it's something I need to stay with or not - follow me at airadam13, let's get some chatter going! But what are we going to talk about? Well, I reckon we should start with the tracks below...
Random Axe : Black Ops
The eponymous Random Axe (Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, Black Milk) album was definitely one of the most anticipated releases of the year by the real heads, and it didn't disappoint - it wasn't overly long, but what you got was rawness. With any luck, there'll be more in the future - I think the combination works really well! Right here is probably the only time I'll play a track featuring Sean P but not include his verse - I just give you Guilty's verse on the original before switching into the second verse from Wais P's version from the "Random Pimp" mini-mixtape (so there's still some P in there...) Wais P was previously in a Roc-A-Fella-affiliated group called The Ranjahz but he's back now as a solo artist on the pimp tip and is definitely coming up and making some noise - keep a lookout! (even though he should have called his track "Mack Ops!")
Capone-N-Noreaga : Stay Tuned (Instrumental)
I love this beat, always have done since this album ("The War Report") first came out - I always thought it was a waste they just used it for an interlude instead of rhyming over it. Charlemagne, who did a lot of good stuff for Natural Elements, is on the boards for this one - props.
Roc Marciano w/ The Alchemist & Oh No : Jet Luggage
This is the kind of track to make you pull your collar up and your hat down! Not sure which of the three took the reigns on production here, but my betting is on The Alchemist - he's usually good for the 70s kind of feel. That crazy sound on the left took a few seconds to grow on me but then I saw the genius - wouldn't have been the same at all without it! This is taken from the excellent "Greneberg" EP; if you don't already know, Roc Marciano's album from this year was "Marcberg" and Oh No and Alchemist came together for an album as "Gangrene." All three of them get on the mic here and do the track justice!
Royal Flush ft. Khadeija Bass : Can't Help It (Remix)
I actually prefer the original but this is a version which will be new for more people, and it fits better in this slot too. Only available on the 12" of "Can't Help It" which I found by accident, didn't even realise that it had been released as a single. "Ghetto Millionaire" definitely had some gems on it, well worth having for some quality mid-90s vibes!
Simtraks ft. Kaze, Pierce Freelon & King Mez : Black Fantastic
I was searching for Camp Lo videos on Youtube and found a tune I'd never heard before called "Eternity Window" produced by someone called Simtraks. I liked it so followed the Bandcamp link in the video description and found his "Sputnik Sweetheart" album available for free download - definitely worth hearing! Not everything is up my street but there are some really good tunes on there, of which this is one, and "Eternity Window" is another. The MCs do their thing on here over the Stevie Wonder "You Will Know" sample (it's ok, Simtraks already revealed the sample!), and the producer wisely doesn't mess too much with a good loop!
Strategy : The Bleep Test
Now this is how you take a concept and execute! Broke 'n' English are definitely Manchester's best known Hip-Hop crew and have been putting it down for years as individuals and as a group. Fresh off the opening of their new studio space, frontman Strategy felt the creative fire and knocked out the smoking "Pre-Season Training" mixtape for free download and it's been blowing up all over the city and further afield. As good as this track is, it's probably not even my favourite on there (that would be "Kill 'Em") but this is one I really wanted to share - even though it brings back bad memories of high school PE lessons ;o) If this is anything to go by the upcoming Broke 'n' English album "Life On The Costa Del Salford" will be a classic!
Fakts One : One Time For Des
I plead innocence to the distortion - it's in the original beat :o) This is the kind of track that wants to bust out of the speakers and kick your TV in! This is the third track in a row to come from a freely-downloadable project - this time, it's "The Chop Shop" where Boston's Fakts One (of The Perceptionists) shows you how he gets down, generously sharing some quality material. If you're not already on the way to download it, fix that now :o)
Kid Capri w/ Cocoa Brovaz & Buckshot : Follow Me
Nothing fancy, just a good head-nodding tune! This is from Kid Capri's "Soundtrack To The Streets" compilation - not the most esoteric album title, granted, but sets his stall out clearly! Boot Camp combination on the mic bring the Brooklyn flavour to the vocal
Encore : Too Easy (Layover Outro)
I've had the album this is on ("Layover") for ages but don't know most of the tracks that well; I pulled this out while looking for some stuff new to me to include and it may just persuade me to give this LP another chance! Encore's from the Bay Area and has a lot of good co-signs on his LP, from Souls Of Mischief and Ladybug Mecca on the mic to Jake One on the beats - this beat though comes from Vitamin D, blending nicely with the previous track but having more of a jumpy, slightly unpredictable feel to it.
Mother Superia : Most Of All
Have you got this one? Now now, don't cry, it's ok. Seriously though, heard this on Westwood years ago when it came out, loved it but then heard it nowhere else - or any more from the artist for that matter! This turned up during a London digging mission, and seeing the credits confirmed that this is a Reggie Noble (Redman) production - I think it's definitely got his kind of sound. I could hear him ripping this but make no mistake - Mother Superia definitely comes off on the mic here. A bit of web searching reveals that she's from Miami (I'd assumed she was from Jersey) and is now known as Savana...still not heard any of her new stuff though!
D.I.T.C : Way Of Life
Some barely pre-millennial heat on this 12". This was a pretty big single on the scene if not for the wider public, so all the listeners who are heavily into their Hip-Hop will likely know this - for everyone else, hopefully it gives you the same kind of bounce! Show is on the beat, taking a sample that's been used before but tweaking it just right to bump the track along, and Fat Joe and the late Big L do their think mic-wise. I don't think it's unfair to say that Big L is definitely the star on this one!
[K-Murdock] & Mega Ran : Epoch (Instrumental)
Maryland definitely has some very serious beatmakers - a couple of episodes back I played some Kev Brown, and here you have another crazy talented producer, K-Murdock of Panacea & Neosonic. Is it something about the K? Anyway, I digress - this big, booming beat comes from the "Forever Famicom DLC" instrumental album of the "Forever Famicom" collaboration with Mega Ran, all based around Nintendo. If you play more games than me, you might recognise the sounds, but even if you don't, recognise the quality!
A.G. & Aloe Blacc : Hip-Hop Quotable
Dirty electronic business right here from A.G's "Get Dirty Radio" album. This Dilla beat was floating around for ages; I saw it labelled "Electronic Hum" on a beat tape, and it was later on "Jay Stay Paid" as "caDILLAc," but to me this track is the definitive appearance. Somehow when this was released on 12", it managed to be the B-side to "Frozen" - don't get me wrong, that's a dope track, but it's not seeing this. Anyone who has even half a Hip-Hop collection will find the lyrics to this one kind of familiar...hence the title. I actually remember a mate called Justin in high school who had this idea - he was going to call it "The Copy!"
Random (aka Mega Ran) : Shadowman
You only got an instrumental a couple of tracks up, but here you get to hear Mega Ran go in hard on the mic and on the boards too - Philly stand up! This killer tune comes from the "Mega Ran v1.3" album, which famously was all based around the Mega Man series of games - this track may be the least directly connected in terms of lyrics, but it's probably my favourite - getting all kinds of rewinds this month!
Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon & Masta Killa : Black Jesus
Leading off the D-side of Ghost's "Ironman" album (which is probably still my favourite, and which everyone should own), RZA takes some sword-and-sandal-sounding sample and turns it into a basis for the two slangiest Wu members to batter the mic into submission alongside Masta Killa, whose unmistakable vocals close out proceedings. It took me a while to appreciate this track, but it's definitely one of the top cuts on what is definitely a classic album.
Tribeca, Masta Ace, Mr Complex & Lord Tariq : Get Large
The first time I heard this as an extra track on a Tribeca 12" I thought this track was brilliant, and I still do - it's just gor triumph all over it! The producers are two guys I've honestly never heard of - LeDamus and SLA - but they cook up a storming instrumental here and the MCs have to put in some serious work to balance out the largeness! I thought this was Tribeca's record with everyone guesting but I've since found it on this 12" and it looks like a producer-led project under the banner of Get Large Productions. Anyway, it's amazing what can be achieved when no-one cares who gets star billing :o) Winner.
Daft Punk : End Of Line (Photek Remix)
Truth be told, I'd never been a Daft Punk fan at all, but I made a rare trip to the cinema to see Tron : Legacy and was definitely impressed with their soundtrack. Turns out I wasn't the only one, and not only was the original soundtrack really popular but it also spawned a remix project, with all sorts of electronic artists getting in on the act. If this is at all your kind of thing, or if you're into the glitchy kind of sound, then it's one you should look to pick up.
Roughneck Jrs : Sound Of The Phuture
Included as an insert on the 1993 Breaking The Illusion "Lose Your Illusion" EP, I'm playing this as a tribute to Gavin, one of the MCs on the track who sadly died this month. None of the MCs were any older than 16 on this, and this was at a time when it wasn't common for young guys to really be doing stuff - there wasn't the access to technology etc that there is nowadays. RIP Gavin, just putting this energy out to spread a little further.
UGK : One Day
Opening track from the 1996 "Ridin' Dirty" LP; thought this would be a good one to play as a closer and a further tribute. The exact lyrics in the verses don't necessarily relate to this situation, but the sentiment and the feel I think are universal. UGK are from the town of Port Arthur, Texas and were made up of the late Pimp C and Bun B; these guys really did put their town on the map and turned out quality Hip-Hop for years before the rest of the country - or the world - took much notice. It took a long time for them to get their props, but it happened in the end. As it happens, just this year, August 30th was declared Bun B Day in Houston; an incredible honour, though I'm sure Bun would have loved his man to still be around to make it UGK Day.
If you do hear anything you especially like then do get in touch and let me know, and please support the artists - find more output of theirs on Spotify to get a feel for it, go to live shows if you can (that's where they really get paid) and buy the stuff you like the most!
Thu, 11 August 2011
Finally decided to give Twitter a go...follow me @airadam13
Category:general -- posted at: 6:24 AM
Sun, 31 July 2011
"It's like tryna crack encryption codes..."
What a month. The tragedy in Norway, Amy Winehouse dying, and maybe the beginning of the unravelling of Murdoch's hold on the UK?
I started doing the selection/recording before most of these events happened, so any coincidences are just that...
As promised, here are my photos from the Roy Ayers/Pete Rock gig;
and here are my pocket camera shots from the Ice Cube/Naughty By Nature gig, while battling some bully-boy idiots at the front!
The Jackson 5 : Walk On
A live instrumental workout for the boys from Gary, Indiana - their own version of Isaac Hayes' "Walk On By." Been sampled a few times, including to great effect on...
Non Phixion : Cult Leader
Dave One of Obscure Disorder takes his cue from the preceding track, doesn't do anything crazy to it but just does enough - I think it fits the theme brilliantly. Ill Bill absolutely smashes it in the title role as a charismatic, malevolent religious figure and the whole package is finished off by Dave One's brother (the legendary DJ A-Trak) throwing down some of the most ridiculous cuts you'll hear anywhere. I scratch but there are things he's doing on here I can't even comprehend, never mind do. This track was an early selection for this month's show and recorded very early in the month; what with things that have happened since I kind of wish it had been another month but of course, no disrespect intended.
[Tic] Main One : Cross Examination (Instrumental)
Just a cool little instrumental, a nice bridge between the tracks on either side. I think I picked up this 12" in London on the strength of it featuring Smoothe & Trigger and Ski being on engineering duties, but in London most record shops don't have listening posts so I really didn't know what I was getting. Not a classic by any means but on the other hand it fit nicely here so I guess I was meant to find it?
Statik Selektah & Termanology ft. Reks : The Dream
Dark and brilliant. From the free 1982 EP, Termanology and Reks go in on the themes of substance abuse and depression over a killer Statik Selektah beat. If anyone can send me a message and let me know what the sample is on the hook, it would be much appreciated :o)
Pete Rock & CL Smooth :It's Not A Game
Such an ill Pete Rock beat, great one in the headphones or in the car! This is a classic B-side, coming on the flip of the "Lots Of Lovin'" 12" and absolutely winning like Chuck D would say! Not too much to say, except to hope you don't wear out your "rewind" buttons (or your touchscreens) running this one back...
Lake & Cormega : The Oath
Taken from the Lake & Cormega "My Brother's Keeper" album, Ax Tha Bull (!) on production with an alternately tense and dramatic number, could almost be part of a score! It's an all-Queensbridge affair on the mic, but while alleged hard-rock Lake gets the first two verses to himself, it's Cormega who really shines here with a storming close.
Snoop Dogg ft. The Dramatics & Lil 1/2 Dead : Ballin'
Horizontally laid back! Not the best known Snoop track and not one with his most complex rhyme schemes but I love it. From the album "Paid Tha Cost To Be Tha Boss," this is the second collaboration between Snoop & The Dramatics (after "It's A Doggy Dogg World"), with them basically doing a cover but with a dubplate-style flip of the hook from their track "Fell For You." Nighttime rollin'...
[Hi-Tek] Royal Flush : Shines (Instrumental)
Before everyone was giving him his props, Hi-Tek showed his skills using the classic Roy Ayers "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" sample on the B-side to Royal Flush's burner "Iced Down Medallions." Nice 90s joint with that filtered bassline flavour...great month to get this tune in!
Jan Hammer Group : Don't You Know?
Hope people like this, I paid out a fair bit to get myself a copy of this album ;o) Jan Hammer is known to most as the man behind the Miami Vice music, but he's got a long history as a respected composer and pianist/keyboardist in the jazz world. This is from the 1977 "Melodies" album, for those who collect this kind of thing! I played it partly because I really love it, and partly because it allows me to do a clever little mix into...
Da Beatminerz ft. Talib Kweli & Total : The Anti-Love Movement
One month I might try to do an episode made up solely of "opposite" tracks! Couldn't believe it when I realised how close together these tracks are tempo-wise, so this just had to be done. Besides, I'm sure some of you can relate to the conflict in feelings! This is from the essential "Brace 4 Impak" producer project from Da Beatminerz, which I constantly forget isn't a new record anymore. Looking at the link, it seems there are some very cheap deals on this release so do yourself a favour and get a copy - as nice as this track is, it's not even close to the best thing on there!
Roy Ayers : Funk In The Hole (PPP Remix)
From the "Virgin Ubiquity : Remixed" project, a nice pickup from Manchester's Kingbee records. Detroit's Platinum Pied Pipers bring heavy, knocking drums and all kinds of dropped in sounds to the original jazz flavour.
Edo. G : Fastlane
Boston business here. Edo G (sometimes Ed O.G.) has been doing it since the early 90s (I first heard him on "Be A Father To Your Child") and has that quiet level of respect that those who sell out will never understand. On this opening track from his new "A Face In The Crowd" album, DJ Premier brings a low-key but still solid beat for Edo to reflect on. Nice.
[Kenny The Seagull] Blacklover88rs (Dr.Oop + Two-B) : Don't Bounce (Instrumental)
The man Pressey was the first one to tell me about Dr.Oop, though more on the production side if I remember correctly (I probably don't!) The "Daze Like These" 12" that this came from isn't my favourite, but it did at least yield this beat. That said, it's probably one of those releases I'll come back to years from now and wonder how I slept on!
Smif-n-Wessun : Pete Rock Track
Sound rough, but worth sharing I think! A few years back, Smif-n-Wessun were signed to Rawkus Records (bet James Murdoch wishes deciding which MCs to sign was his only problem), and recorded an album which never came out. It did leak at the time and there were some excellent tracks on it, of which this is one. Not very imaginatively named, but maybe it'd have got a proper title with a proper release. Anyway, there's now a full-length collab ("Monumental") between Los Hermanos Chocolates and Pete Rock which is a solid release - check it out!
A Tribe Called Quest : Midnight
One of my favourites from Tribe's "Midnight Marauders" LP, but for some reason no-one ever talks about it! Anyway, take a little listen and see if it goes up in your estimation :o)
Sly Boogy : Everything
From the compilation "Back 2 Basics" (which I chanced upon in Vinyl Exchange at the right price) the "Wake-Up Show" duo of Sway and King Tech present this slightly off-beat, funky, twitchy bit of west coast flavour - Supa Dave West (who you might know from various De La Soul tracks) is on production and Sly Boogie has the right level of gruffness to ride over it. On top of all that, the "Everything" vocal sample is the kind of icing that makes me want to set off an airhorn!
Little Brother : The Becoming
As Phonte once said, "dope beats, dope rhymes...this Hip-Hop ain't really that hard." One of the most interesting everyman personalities on the mic, he comes here with a couple of verses on how Little Brother came together, and does so on a dope 9th Wonder beat that will get your neck moving if you have any funk whatsoever! Though you might expect a track on your origins to be on the first album, this is actually from Little Brother's second release, "The Minstrel Show."
The White Shadow of Norway : All My Friends (Instrumental)
It was only right to have something from Norway this episode - I didn't have this in my collection but bought it specially as an individual download from his "Instrumentals 2" project. It seems White Shadow is a serious veteran, having started DJing in the late 70s and over time making the move into production; by the sounds of things he's the elder statesman and reference point for the Norwegian scene!
Grandmaster Flash, KRS-ONE, Afasi, Kase.o, Maccho & Abass : We Speak Hip-Hop
I've had this kicking around for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to play it. An international collection of MCs led by KRS-ONE under the wing of the pioneering Grandmaster Flash, with a message of unity despite superficial differences. What could be better?
Sun, 26 June 2011
"Days come and go, but..."
- Jane Child
Second birthday for the podcast! Nice little back catalogue building up now :o) To celebrate the occasion, here's another show crafted to caress your eardrums - I've got some old classics, unrecognised gems, and just a little new heat to add the spice! It also seems to be remix city this month...
Natural Elements : Freestyle
I think I've declared my Natural E fan-dom in the past, and I could listen to them rhyme all day. Probably have done at least once. Anyway, this is a nice no-hook track featuring them flowing over the Neptunes-produced beat from Nas' "The Flyest (Nas' Angels)" - not sure if it's a real off-the-dome freestyle, but knowing these guys it wouldn't be surprising! Sorry about the stereo dropouts near the start; don't know what happened there! Also check the beat juggle at the start - sound familiar?
[Butterfly] Digable Planets : Nickel Bags (Instrumental)
Super cooled-out instrumental for this break, should have the air of familiarity for anyone who heard Episode 24...this was my favourite Digable single I think.
The Pharcyde : Passing Me By / Passing By Me (DJ Jazzy Jeff Remix)
One of the classic Hip-Hop singles, a collection of tales of unrequited love, it would have been too basic just to play the original version so I switch it up after the first verse in favour of DJ Jazzy Jeff's remixed version "Passing By Me" which you can find on his free compilation "My Faves : Volume 1." That's your cue to get over there for the download. It's based around a gorgeous sample which then leads us nicely into...
Intelligent Hoodlum : Grand Groove (Bonus Mix)
I didn't realise for ages that this isn't the original version of this track - first time I heard it was on "Yo! MTV Raps" and this is the version on the video. K-Def and Marley Marl are responsible for the beat I believe, and Tragedy (side note: hope he drops the "Khadafi" from his current pen name) comes with some heartfelt lyrics. You can find this on the "Tragedy : Saga Of A Hoodlum" album, a nice hard-edged 90s release.
Kool G Rap ft. Nas : Fast Life (Norfside Remix)
Sound quality on this pressing is a little rough, so apologies for that, but you either fondly remember this remix if you were clued-up back when it first came out or this is new to you and should be knocking you sideways! The original "Fast Life" was on Kool G. Rap's "4, 5, 6" album but I'm not sure exactly where this remix first emerged. I got my copy on a little 12" from Pop Art in Manchester (RIP) while digging through the bins, but it's only in the last couple of weeks I found out who did the remix - Salaam Remi. Good work that man.
No I.D. : Sky's The Limit
Looove this...ever since my man DJ Beware introduced me to this track something like 10 years ago I've been enjoying it but now it's time to share! No I.D was the original producer for Common (when he was still Common Sense) and both of them come out of Chicago, a city which for a long time was far more associated with House than Hip-Hop. As it happens, you can tell on here that not only is he an ill producer but can do his thing on the mic too with some thought-provoking lyrics. More quality material can be found on his "Accept Your Own And Be Yourself" LP.
[Pete Rock] Phife Dawg : Lemme Find Out
I'd pretty much ignored this B-side (on the flip of "Flawless," which is a heavy tune) up to now; for whatever reason the vocal version doesn't do it for me, but when you strip the words away and just leave the beat it turns out to be an interesting number indeed. What else would you expect from Pete Rock?
The U.N. : Avenue
Pete Rock on the beat again, with an initially simple sounding but deeply hypnotic track which forms a great basis for the UN MCs to shine. It starts slowly I think but then picks up nicely and stays strong right through to the end. Not sure if the group is still together now but the "UN or U Out" album is just some straight-up Hip-Hop which is a great purchase for fnas of the gritty SP1200 & S950 aesthetic. No pretensions.
Sean Price, Meyhem Lauren & Roc Marciano : How The Gods Chill (Remix)
It's just some real Hip-Hop. Hard drums, nice cuts, and MCs getting busy. This here is why you don't let Sean Price get on the track first - Meyhem and Roc Marciano are both dope but my goodness...he comes out swinging! I want to hear Sean Price and Bumpy Knuckles do a joint album. Please? The original version of this track was headed up by the Hardcore group Cold World, but I don't know who's responsible for this remix - such are the downsides of digital releases :o(
Snowgoons w/ Skyzoo & Torae : Can't Go On Like That
Germany stand up! The Snowgoons are a pair of producers who have carved out a nice lane making beats for US underground MCs, often dramatic and virtually always banging and aggressive. This time out it's Brooklyn's Skyzoo and Torae who bless the beat with some New York straight talk. I found this on Spotify the other day and quickly realised I needed a copy of it to play this month! The *only* bad thing - the title doesn't quite match the words in the vocal sample in the hook...
Dilated Peoples : Triple Optics
Probably my favourite track from their debut "The Platform," this was the 3rd track on the "Work The Angles" 12" single. Evidence is on the production and Rakaa Iriscience takes the vocal lead, strongly representing the underground Los Angeles sound. Five albums deep, they've got quiet for the moment but will quite possible return with an independent release - stay tuned...
Stanley Clarke & George Duke : Quiet Time
Cooling things right down with a very short piano piece from the third "Clarke/Duke Project" collaborative album from two legends of the jazz fusion sphere. It's not as though I'm going to get chance to play this on a Friday night, so here it is :o)
[Ant] MF DOOM : Hoe Cakes (Remix Instrumental)
*This* is the tune I was referring to back in Episode 2 when I talk about referring to Anita Baker and someone had no clue who I was talking about! This remix takes the classic "Sweet Love" intro and layers it with a beatboxed drum pattern - not the most obvious move but it does work. The vocal version's worth hearing, though I have to say I'm not the biggest DOOM fan - "Operation Doomsday" is still the peak for me!
O.C. : Emotions (Album Version / JFish Remix)
Deep track from one of the more underrated members of the DITC crew, from his Mike Loe produced album "Smoke & Mirrors," which was released on the Hieroglyphics label. The album had mixed reviews, but personally I thought it was dope and I'm glad to have a vinyl copy. It might not have the classic DITC sound but who am I to say not to experiment?The remix comes courtesy of JFish of Soul Vibe Productions - they did a fully-remixed version of the album which was available on the net for free download a while ago; you may have to do some e-digging (e-xcavation?) to find it now!
Kev Brown ft. Grap Luva : Struggla's Theme
Nice. Very nice. Landover, Maryland's Kev Brown is a producer/MC with an emphasis on the former. He's best known for coming out of Jazzy Jeff's Touch Of Jazz camp and is something of a ninja when it comes to the basslines! This track has a lovely, smooth but active bassline under an understated drum track and a little keyboard accent and is so good that if your head's not bobbing at all...you may require medical attention. Lyrically, Kev comes in on the subject of trying to make an honest living, with Grap Luva of InI contributing a great second verse. Really hope you like this one!
AZ : Gimme Yours (Remix)
Queensbriiidge! Big big favourite of mine, Erick Sermon on the remix bringing a nice 80s soul sample and replacing Nas on the hook with Miss Jones, which is a huge upgrade. This is probably the only time in history that could be said of replacing Nas with anybody! The original version is on AZ's debut "Do Or Die," and it was fresh - but this is even better :o)
Jane Child : Words I Know (Album Version / Word Mix)
I would imagine the majority of listeners to the show don't know who Jane Child is; she had a hit in 1990 with "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" from her self-titled, self-produced debut, an album so great it had no less a man than Prince singing her praises! Her second album went straight under the radar for most and her third album ("Surge") was released on her own label. If that was under the radar, then the release this is taken from ("Surge Remixed") is under the whole plane but was an EP with a few select tracks from the original album redone. I thought the original album version might be too slow and all that for a lot of people so I only gave you a taste at the end, but I love it myself - reminiscent of Stevie Wonder on the keyboards!
Air Adam : Maria
I finally found a place to put a 66bpm instrumental and make it blend :o) This is something I knocked up on the MPC a couple of years ago on a quiet afternoon up in Leeds - couldn't see any MCs doing anything with it so it ended up just being left on the hard drive. At least a few people get to hear it now!
Spearhead : Hole In The Bucket
Special request for my man Eli - not a big Spearhead fan myself but I saw this video on MTV years ago and thought it was a great song. Michael Franti isn't tearing it down with super-complex lyrical schemes or rhyme flows but he crafts his story well, and it's a situation which pretty much anyone frequenting a big city can relate to. I must say though that the hook is a 100% winner; just nicely put together!
Tue, 31 May 2011
"Just because you play the role, don't mean you get the part."
Getting this in barely in the nick of time before the month ends, things seem to have been conspiring against me! This episode marks the end of the second complete year of episodes and is an hour on the dot of gems from the 70s right up to last month. Hope you like it!
Just to give you a couple of links I mentioned on the show;
Nougold Podcast (DJ A-Up & Bedos) - monthly podcast of strictly new Hip-Hop, picked by two of Manchester's most discerning heads!
Ice-T : High Rollers
I had this playing in the car the other day on the way to work and decided right there that it should open up this episode! Despite the fact that this was one of the singles from the "Power" album (Ice-T's second) it might not be familiar to everyone simply due to its age - 23 years old now! The sample's from Edwin Starr's "Easin' In" from the "Hell Up In Harlem" soundtrack, and the lyrics are classic Ice-T of the era - describing the glamourous life of the gangster for most of the song before teasingly asking at the end if you really think you want it. The video nicely intercuts the shiny exterior with the harsh reality of real footage, definitely worth a look.
Jeep Beat Collective : Like Dis Dat? (Instrumental)
JBC was just one facet of the man known as Dave The Ruf AKA Rufmouth, a man of respect in the UK Hip-Hop scene. When I was a student I used to buy records from his mail-order shop, as well as my first turntablism videos, and his Radio Zero monthly shows on cassette were a definite influence on me deciding to do a podcast in the form you have now! I'm proud to be able to say that nowadays I can count him as a friend, and a friend who can smash out a serious beat - I'd say without breaking a sweat, but when it comes to hosting a jam he's as energetic as they come!
Naughty By Nature : It's On
Without question one of my favourite Naughty By Nature tracks, coming from the "19 Naughty III" album. The little stabs of horn leaking through that early 90s drum track with the bassline running under it just add the seasoning to a killer Kaygee production on which the MCs can get busy. Love the video too. Naughty By Nature are coming to Manchester fairly soon and if they don't perform this track I'm going to be very disappointed!
D-Flame ft. Camp Lo : Nuh Like Dem Neither
Having been to Munich in the past month, I thought I should try to play something German! I believe D-Flame is from Frankfurt, and he makes the connection across to the Bronx to bring in the incomparable Camp Lo. This was one of the first tracks I found on Spotify, while searching for any Camp Lo I didn't know. The sample-free production might not be to everyone's taste, but to me the heavy low-end boom on the kicks and the insistent keyboard somehow work :o)
Phi-Life Cypher ft. Skit Slam : Rap It Up
As I've probably said before, PLC are one of my favourite UK groups - they just overwhelm mics with a verbal torrent on every track you hear them on.This is taken from their second album "Higher Forces" and along with guest Skit Slam (featured all over the album), they ride DJ Nappa's occasionally Indian-flavoured beat ferociously. These guys are high up on the list of Hip-Hop artists I'd love to see perform live but haven't seen yet!
Bavu Blakes : Play The Role (Bzzz Mix)
I didn't know much about Bavu Blakes so had to do a little research! He's from Texas (Austin, I think) and has one album, "Create & Hustle" which was released in 2003. The original version of this was the closing track on that album, and in short it gives everyone some very simple and useful advice - be yourself! Remix comes from Dallas' Hydroponic Sound System, and it's from their "Choice Cuts Vol. 1" EP that this track comes. Take the lesson, and meditate on it during the next song...
Peshay : Pacific
Gorgeous track, summery and laidback despite the tempo. Peshay is best known as a D&B producer/artist but his "Miles From Home" album from which this is taken shows more range than you might expect. Some reviews see that as a good thing, some as a negative - I'd say have a listen and make your own mind up! This track has been an iPod favourite for me for so long that it's almost a crime I hadn't played it until now :o) Still, mixes well with the Bavu track, no?
Suga Free ft. Porsha Jade : Married To My Cadillac
"Don't be like me." Wise words from the alter ego of Suga Free out of Pomona, California, who by all accounts is a real-life pimp with the prison record to prove it. His occupation tends to reflect itself in his lyrics, and he'll never make Germaine Greer's iPod, but my goodness can he rhyme! He's easily in the top 5 MCs for me when it comes to "rewind moments," in the sense of "he said WHAT?!" and one of those MCs who I will always check for every time he puts something out. He's got 5 good albums out of 6, with one due this year, so we shall see... On this track from the "Smell My Finger" album he takes this smooth beat by a producer called Khrys and weaves what at least starts as a story around his Cadillac pimpmobile in a style only he could pull off. Dope.
Rakim ft. Talib Kweli : Gettin' Up Anthem
One for the graf writers! Don't know too much about this one - got it on a bootleg-looking 12" of under-the-radar Rakim tracks, but I think it's the theme tune from the video game "Getting Up" which came out a few years ago. I've also seen it other places titled as "Subway Surfin'" (which would fit the voice sample in the hook), but no idea who produced it.
De La Soul : The Grind Date
Despite the fact that they didn't turn up to the Manchester gig this month where people were expecting to see them, here's a De La track that I've always liked. In addition, I'm sure it's one I'm sure a lot of people can relate to - the daily struggle of hard work to make a living! Supa Dave West is on production with a beat that sound halfway between celebration and some kind of working cadence - supa indeed.
Tek : All Massive
Ayatollah on the beat, bringing the reggae flavour to this Brooklyn track, with Tek of Smif 'n' Wessun on the mic. I never really listened to the lyrics on this properly before but it's actually much harder than I thought from just hearing it in passing - a proper vicious revenge story! This was on a 12" under Ayatollah's name but later turned up on Tek's "It Is What It Is" album, which is up and down but when it hits - knocks it out of the park.
DJ Quik & Kurupt : The Appeal
Great DJ Quik production on this track from the "BlaQKout" album with Kurupt. I've only played the first half of the track as that's my favourite part, after the hook the beat and theme changes and while it's still good it just doesn't do it for me like the opening half! It's all about the bassline I think, but also Kurupt's voice fits this track perfectly.
Ian Martin : Tell Me If You Still Care
Seems like a left-field selection but coming out of that Quik beat that precedes it it just seemed to go so well I couldn't see putting anything else in this spot! This is a jazz instrumental version of a track by The SOS Band which has been sampled a few times to good effect, with the bass probably being the focal element. I'd not heard of Ian Martin before I heard this track, but apparently he's a name when it comes to jazz bass - I'm sure some of you know his stuff a lot better than I do!
Elzhi : It Ain't Hard To Tell
Big move from Detroit! Any kind of cover or tribute version in Hip-Hop is dodgy ground, but my goodness did Elzhi and Will Sessions smack it with the "Elmatic" LP! They took a very wise approach to making the beats on that project, consciously avoiding adding all sorts of little live band cuteness and freelancing and keeping it focused to allow Elzhi (who you may know from the later incarnations of Slum Village) to come in on the mic with his quality lyrics, influenced a touch by the original but unmistakably his own. Get yourself a copy right now from here. While you're at it, every listener to this podcast should have a copy of Nas' "Illmatic" LP which "Elmatic" is of course based on. Every listener.
The Roots ft. Mos Def : Double Trouble
The main beat on this track is phenomenal, they shouldn't have even switched it up in the hook! Not that I'm an expert, but my neck doesn't lie :o) This is a pick from the "Things Fall Apart" album, which as far as I'm concerned is The Roots' best, closely followed by "Illadelph Halflife." Trust me, pick up those two albums and you will not be sorry. Bonus points if you read the novel "Things Fall Apart" from which the album takes its name. Anyway, as far as this track, Black Thought and Mos Def work their magic over the beat from the band, which incidentally has a nicely-mixed kick drum that can do damage on the right system!
Black Moon : Act Like U Want It
Nice B-Side to the mighty "How Many Emcees," in fact even though that track is a classic, I'm much more likely to be listening to this. Da Beatminerz handle the production as is standard for Black Moon and notably both Buckshot (the don) and 5ft Accelerator are on the vocals - 5ft missed a lot of the recording of the "Enta Da Stage" album itself due to legal problems, but he brings his sneaky aggro style in for the second verse here. Underappreciated track, definitely.
Kool DJ EQ ft Xzibit, Del The Funkee Homosapien & Casual : Three Emcees
I was listening to this tune in the days of downloading RealAudio files (ugh) onto floppy disks at university - and there was me thinking at the time how super-advanced that was! I think I prefer having a proper vinyl of this at last, thanks to the man Mikey Don :o) Three great West coast MCs grace EQ's beat - yes, some of you might only know X from "Pimp My Ride" but you need to go and do your homework!
Eric Lau : Ill Invasion (Left Steppin') (Instrumental)
Detroit-influenced spacey head-nodder but coming out of London! This is the instrumental of the lead track on the "Dudley and Friends" 12" and just bumps along with a nice clean sound and just a hint of off-beatness in the rhythm. Yes, I just sounded like some kind of Hip-Hop wine critic... let me switch gears and say I had the pleasure of meeting Eric a few years ago when he was in Manchester and he's a thoroughly down-to-earth guy as well as talented - fair play to him!
Gil Scott-Heron : Pieces Of A Man
I'm not someone who owns the whole catalogue or anything, but out of all the Gil Scott-Heron tracks I've heard, this is my favourite. The way the world economy is at the moment, there are probably a lot of people who can relate to the lyrics at least in part. Haunting and powerful, it says a lot in few words.
Sun, 15 May 2011
I know a lot of people are on Facebook so I've just created a "Page" which I'll hopefully be able to use to keep everyone up to date with what's going on! You can find it by clicking here. "Like" it and spread the word!
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43 PM
Tue, 26 April 2011
"I'm the Eric Cartman of this rap sh!t"
- Jean Grae
This has been such a ridiculously heavy month for me out in the world it's untrue - probably the closest I've ever been to not being able to assemble the show on time but a few flashes of inspiration mean that once again the goodies arrive on time :o)
PS - like the kicks?
The Alan Parsons Project : Sirius
I bet you never expected to hear these guys on the podcast - going Prog Rock to set it off this month :o) If you really know, you know this track straight away from the opening notes - if you don't know, then this is the music that was used as the intro music for the Chicago Bulls, so during that Jordan era all b-ball fans had this tune burned into their subconscious. I actually fancy turning this into the intro for the podcast itself perhaps...
Scarface : Born Killer (Instrumental)
Not sure who produced it, but a dope beat anyway! This track's from Scarface's first solo album "Mr Scarface Is Back," big early 90s release on Rap-a-Lot. They don't make 'em like this anymore, that's for sure...
Zapp : Heartbreaker
The weather's just getting right for a bit of funk! Classic opening tune from the "Zapp III" LP, obviously the full version is much longer and is definitely recommended! I say and I say again, Roger Troutman (RIP) was one of the best to ever do it - please let this documentary school you on the greatness.
LBC Crew ft. Roger : Beware Of My Crew
...and Roger himself comes back on this track to re-work the "Heartbreaker" opening line into a hook on some quasi-dubplate flex! First heard just a snatch of this way back in the day on some of Channel 4's NBA coverage and thought it was heavy but that was the end of it (pre-internet era, after all) until a copy turned up for me in a record shopping mission in London. This original version seems to be pretty absent from Youtube etc as well, so take this as a gift!
B.T.I : (Deadly) Serious
Yorkshire stand up! Breaking The Illusion (P-Wiz & TD) were probably the premier Hip-Hop crew in Leeds when I was coming up and this is a cut from their 1993 "Lose Your Illusion" EP. This tune brings a safe sex, anti-AIDS message over a very 90s, 80s-soul-sampling beat; Diamond may have just used it first but a whole lot of people came after, so you know these guys know about records! I used to buy records from P-Wiz back in the day when he had a shop in Leeds (remember "Urban Rhythm?") then after BTI he went on to DJ for The Kaliphz - and the last time I saw him, he was rhyming on stage at a KRS-ONE gig! Good to see veterans with the fire still burning!
Public Enemy : Nighttrain (Pete Rock LIRR Remix)
Quality Pete Rock remix which seems to have flown below the radar over the years; the remix of "Shut 'Em Down" which is from the same album is still loved 20 years later but I've got to admit I preferred this at the time! Chuck D (who yes, is one of the best MCs of all time, don't ever forget it) brings his fire and brimstone b-boy style on the mic, with a message as always (that just because someone looks like your "brother" doesn't mean they are), Flava Flav adds a contrast, CL Smooth ducks his head round the door for a few bars, and Pete Rock does a great job remixing a joint that had an incredible beat to begin with!
Parliament : Theme From The Black Hole
Played this in the car for a couple of friends who'd never heard it (I tried to hide my shock) and it went down a storm! There's a lot of incredible super-rare funk but you can never forget about the George Clinton-driven Parliament/Funkadelic juggernaut. This is one of their classics which has been used in many a Hip-Hop beat - I won't call any out here, it's your homework to go and spot the samples ;o)
(Stoupe) Jedi Mind Tricks : Retaliation (Remix Instrumental)
Love this instrumental, though it's one of those where for some reason they include the hook, so I just looped it up a bit to extend it. This remix is streets ahead of the original track and is definitely one of my all-time favourites from Stoupe, who really is amazing on production but just isn't that well known. A lot of that is probably down to him producing mostly within the JMT extended family, kind of how Havoc was with Mobb Deep in the early days, but anything he touches is worth a listen!
Raekwon : Big Spender
This has been a favourite of mine for a long time but it's not very well known - I think it was on one of Rae's "Vatican" mixtapes and I had an MP3 for ages before finding an unofficial vinyl pressing. As obvious as the sample is, I doubt it was cleared! To me this murders the "Big Spender" track that Freeway and Jay-Z did later - it was cool, but didn't use the sample as cleverly in my opinion! Besides, Raekwon's one of my favourite MCs and he flows crazy here :o)
Jean Grae ft. Kevin Hill, Edgar Allen Floe & Joe Scudda : Smashmouth
Heavy posse cut from probably my favourite female MC, one who's had an up-and-down relationship with the industry but never fallen off skill-wise. This is from her 9th Wonder-produced LP "Jeanius" which leaked early and I believe was canned as a result but eventually got a proper release, and 9th brings not only an appropriately aggro beat but a bunch of Justus League MCs to feature on it beside Jean. Smash indeed.
Jerry Beeks & DJ Audio Ad : Across The Moor
Quite a few of you will know that I've worked with Mr Bronx Slang Jerry Beeks in the past (and will do in the future) but this track is from his new collaboration album with his original tour DJ Audio Ad and it's a drum-heavy banger! Best of all, the whole album is available for free download here so go on and get a copy!
Prodigy : Keep It Thoro (9th Wonder Remix)
One of the few 5-star tracks on my iPod, been rocking this for a long while but it was ages before I found a vinyl copy - it looks to be an unofficial 12" release of assorted 9th Wonder remixes. I personally prefer this to The Alchemist's original track, which is saying something as that's heavy in its own right. Good to see Prodigy home, hopefully there'll be a new Mobb Deep LP before long.
(DJ EMZ) Hom : You Won't Get It (Instrumental)
This right here presses my quiet menace buttons! I got this on a sampler 12" for the "Stimulated Volume 1" compilation but it was a bit light on credits; had to head over to Discogs to find who produced this. The lyrics on the full version? Forgettable. The beat? Undeniable.
Neek The Exotic & Large Professor : Still On The Hustle
Noisemaker Media, who did the video for this, posted it on Facebook and I only had to hear 20 seconds of it to go and buy a download! Large Pro kills it on the beat and puts in a nice contribution on the mic alongside Neek, who you might have heard on Main Source's "Fakin' The Funk." This is the title track from a full-length Neek/Extra P collaboration album coming out soon, which sounds like an essential purchase!
GZA ft. Method Man : Shadowboxing
"Amplified sample through vacuum tubes' compressions cause RZA to charge n****s 20 Gs a session..." Take that all you Dr Seuss, Mother Goose rappers! Obviously older and more raw-sounding than the preceding track, but with that bassline, the little guitar licks and the vocal sample it seemed like a great choice to follow it with! Definitely one of the best tracks on the classic "Liquid Swords" album (an essential for your collection). GZA played in Manchester this month so we had the pleasure of seeing this performed live, assuming you didn't pass out due to excess heat and a lack of water...
Ambersunshower : Serengeti Plains
Not a super well-known artist, but if you remember a group called Groove Garden, she was one of the members. Her first album "Walter T. Smith" is absolutely worth having if you find a copy (it's on Spotify actually, if you want a listen first), you could say it was "neo soul" before the term really got any traction, or you could just call it "soul" :o) "Running Song" was the lead single and was the track that sparked me to buy this album when I saw it years ago...can't find an international Youtube link for it but that's a great tune too.
L The Head Toucha : Too Complex
1997 underground classic 12", produced by the Vinyl Reanimators. Ok, I hate the 7-bar intro (can't we have just one more bar?) and the corresponding unpredictable drops into the hook, but DJ complaints aside, this is a serious record! Just ask DJ Premier, who included it on his ridiculously dope "New York Reality Check 101" mixtape. Straight-up drums on top of the Don Blackman loop, funky De La Soul cuts on the hook and an MC who just rhymes and rhymes...and then rhymes some more...
Twizted Rootz : Harakiri
One of the top young beatmakers in Manchester with another of his trademark nicely heavy, Eastern-flavoured beats. Check him out at
Saigon ft. Marsha Ambrosius : It's Alright
One of the standout tracks on the brilliant "The Greatest Story Never Told," an emotional track where Saigon (the co-originator of the "Abandoned Nation" concept and foundation) painting a picture of a people feeling effectively abandoned by their god and struggling in the world. Kanye West came in to do the production on this one (Just Blaze does the bulk of the album) and he takes it back a little to his soul-sampling, less left-field style of a few years ago and combines it with the excellent arrangement skill he's worked hard to acquire. The final 40 secs or so are a great musical climax and have had me rewinding repeatedly just to soak in the feeling...great work.
Sun, 27 March 2011
"Fast like Ramadan"
March 2011, 14 years after the death of the Notorious B.I.G - doesn't seem like that long ago. This show is sprinkled with a few gems from his catalogue, one you'll certainly know and others that you likely don't! Besides that, there's a track from the late Nate Dogg, the Michael Jordan of the hook, and plenty of other bits - quite a few obscure selections this month, but all very fresh in my humble opinion :o)
Ras Kass & Doo Wop : If This World Was Mine
Kicking things off for the month, a track which would probably have been more accurately titled "If I Could Turn Back Time"; Doo Wop is perhaps something of an unlikely choice of MC partner for Ras Kass, being known primarily as a DJ though he has picked up the mic before as part of The Diaz Brothers. Anyway, he opens the track with a re-imagining of March 9, 1997 where he stops the killing of Biggie Smalls, and Ras Kass follows up with a wish to be able to mentor his childhood self before spreading out to cover even more topics. Pete Rock brings a low key beat which I think fits the mood just right.
(Ayatollah) B-1 ft. Large Professor : Put Yourself In My Place (Instrumental)
I'm still working out the best way to label/credit these instrumentals! If you're looking for this 12", it's by B-1 and features Large Professor, but is produced by Ayatollah (going under his previous name of Kool G). Anyway, it's a nice bluesy track with that killer vocal sample - the origin of which won't be revealed here, but I'm sure you can find out where it's from as this month's homework assignment :o) The B-side of this ("Hustle") is phenomenally ill also, on a kind of smoothed-out late 90s crime tip - one for a future episode.
Smith & Mighty ft. Rudy Lee : No Justice
Bristol bass for real on this one, with a little reggae flavour and just a hint of D&B! The vocalist Rudy Lee dedicates this track to his brother, who was badly injured in a racist attack.
Photek presents Choc Ty ft. Chiara : We Got Heat
What you know 'bout this one? Nothing*. That's cool though, that's what I'm here for ;o) The St.Albans born, currently LA resident drum & bass programming genius comes out with something totally unexpected, a tough, dark Hip-Hop beat which sounds like it should have been on the soundtrack to "Terminator!"
213 : Keep It Gangsta
RIP Nate Dogg! I never worked out why this album ("The Hard Way") wasn't huge - Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, & Warren G all in the same group? Craziness. This is my favourite cut from the album, the production (by B Sharp) is somehow slick and squelchy all at the same time. Yes, some of the lyrics are scandalous, but that's par for the course...
E-40 ft. Leviti : 1-Luv
Staying in California for this pick, but taking it up to Vallejo, a great single from the "In A Major Way" album. This was one of the first, if not the first E-40 records I ever owned - I saw just a slice of the video on cable once and was glad to come across the vinyl a few years later. His career has been long and he has a lot of respect from those who really know Hip-Hop - do yourself a favour and search out his stuff. Studio Ton on production here, and Leviti puts the icing on things with the hook - wouldn't have been as good without it.
Bob James : Macumba
Awesome bit of African-influenced jazz fusion! Bob James, for those who don't know, is a big name in the jazz world but also in Hip-Hop production due to some of the tracks he wrote/performed on being absolute production staples; the two that stand out are "Nautilus" and "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" which have been sampled many, many times. This track is from his 1982 album "Hands Down" and is notable for a few reasons - not only does it subtly feature vocals from Patti Austin and Luther Vandross, but it was written by Rod Temperton, the legendary songwriter known best for his work with Michael Jackson on some of his best-known recordings. If I had been responsible for "Rock With You" and "Thriller," not to mention worked with Quincy Jones, Michael McDonald and Anita Baker, I would carry a championship belt around all day ;o) By all accounts, the Cleethorpes native is incredibly low-key - admirable.
The Notorious B.I.G : Kick In The Door
One of the undeniable classic Biggie tracks, with DJ Premier flipping the time signature on the Screamin' Jay Hawkins sample to give the big man a strong base to roast the opposition - quotable after quotable on this one. I've read in numerous places before that amongst the targets on this track are Jeru The Damaja and Premier himself ("son, I'm surprised you run with them...") after the whole "Ya Playin' Yaself" thing...can anyone confirm or refute that?
Money Boss Players : Games
Selection from the "America Is Dying Slowly" AIDS benefit compilation, which was a great collection of tracks but had two main problems; 1) no female MCs, so the whole thing came from a male perspective, and 2) some of the tracks had absolutely nothing to do with AIDS whatsoever - and this is one. However, it is a banger and so I'm glad to have it. The beat is by Minnesota and it's a solid piece for the MCs to kick street rhymes on. Want to know more about them? Check Unkut!
Heavy D, The Notorious B.I.G & Troo-Kula : Jam Session
"I'm strippin' like Scottie Pippen, giving a serious butt-kicking, breaking bones like Karl Malone - yes, I'm flippin!" Whoooaa! If you're a 90s NBA head you might recognise this track from NBA Video's "Jam Session" VHS tape, and what's more you'll be glad to hear it without the highlight clip sounds all over it! Biggie hadn't properly blown up when this came out and it was my man Mr. Mari who was going crazy telling us all how crazy this new guy Biggie was - definitely the best on this track, hands down. Heavy D is the actual headliner here, and he drops some lyrics for sure but has to settle for second place. I don't know who Troo-Kula is but he must be somebody to be given the whole third verse to himself! Jesse West is on production and brings in the infamous (and excellent) sample from Guy's "Teddy's Jam 2" which I will really have to play on here one month....
Leschea : How We Stay / The Notorious B.I.G : Dreams
Great head nodding track - and the way she sings that hook just sticks in my head! Leschea was part of Masta Ace's INC crew and he produces this one under the name Ase One, using a classic barely-midtempo break for her to do her thing on. This is another track I caught on a cable video programme back home when they were kind of working out what kind of thing to show! It didn't blow up over here so it's not the easiest record to find, so I treasure my copy...
Large Pro : Pun Tres Leches
A little something from his "Beatz : Volume 1" album; I'm going to take a wild unsubstantiated guess based on the track title that this might at one time have been the beat for Big Pun's "Tres Leches" from his debut album, but maybe that's what I'm supposed to think ;o) Heavy beat anyway!
The Notorious B.I.G & DJ Enuff : P***i Freestyle
(They get enough free advertising just from the audio)
Biggie even makes product placement sound good! He recorded this advert but shortly after was arrested and so it was never used. The company in question does seem to have a history of running from Black endorsers at the first sign of trouble; Michael Jackson and Ludacris, anyone? As far as the tune goes, DJ Enuff's beat is quality and Biggie's flow is impeccable - they missed out when they didn't use this.
Kool G Rap ft. The Rza : Cakes
I was sold just by the title :o) Great tune from the "Ghost Dog" soundtrack, just a loop and two MCs killing it with the flows. All Hip-Hop heads should already know about both these guys!
Joell Ortiz ft. Big Daddy Kane, Maino, Cashmere, Solomon : Brooklyn (Remix)
Joell Ortiz performed in Manchester this month and probably made a few new fans with his performance! Definitely one of the best MCs to come out in the last few years and I love this track from his "The Brick Bodega Chronicles" CD. All the guests do their thing, but it was an especially nice treat to hear the legend Big Daddy Kane on here, showing the young 'uns how to do it! This track cuts off kind of abruptly after his verse, otherwise I'd have started the mix out of this tune a few bars later. Big props to Joell for getting him on here and not being afraid!
will.i.am : Em A Double Dee (Instrumental)
Peter Rosenberg of the Juan Epstein podcast had an excellent line on this guy - "he uses his powers for evil!" He can make some beats when he really wants to (this is from his BBE producer album) but as for BEP...ehhh.
Blue Boy : Remember Me
Big 1997 club and chart tune - for some reason I thought it was older! For ages when this came out, as I remember, the actual identity of "Blue Boy" was a mystery but since then it has emerged that he is in fact the DJ Lex Blackmore. This was his only big hit as a main performer but what a hit! Still dope today, and if your neck isn't moving when you hear this, it had better be in a brace :o)
Marlena Shaw : Woman Of The Ghetto (Live)
...and here's the original sample. This info is already out there so I'm not blowing anyone up here :o) I've only played the very end of the track, starting from the "remember me" sample, but the full thing is about 10 minutes long and definitely worth hearing. Marlena Shaw is probably best known for "California Soul," and is still performing today! I missed her last time she was in Manchester but need to try and catch her live.
(Javon) Killah Priest : Big World (Instrumental)
Just picked it out while going through records this month and after giving it a quick listen thought it was worth a spin!
Terence Blanchard : Wading Through
Dedicated to all those in Japan; this is a sombre piece from "A Tale Of God's Will," New Orleans trumpeter/bandleader/composer Terence Blanchard's score for Spike Lee's masterwork "When The Levees Broke : A Requiem In Four Parts." Absolutely brilliant album that I'd recommend to anyone for a listen, especially if you fancy a change of pace.
Sun, 27 February 2011
"Whole body blingin' like 3PO."
- J Dilla
A quiet month for me personally (day job excluded) but a huge month for the world - big changes in the Middle East have had me even more glued to Al-Jazeera than usual! Music-wise, this month has marked the fifth anniversary of the passing of the great J Dilla aka Jay Dee, and so I thought I'd include a few of my favourite Dilla tracks that don't usually make it onto the lists or the tribute mixes. Of course, there are plenty of other goodies too, so turn up the volume and take it all in...
Jay Dee ft. Lacks & Big Tone : It's Like That
Simple on the surface, outrageously funky beat from the "Welcome 2 Detroit" album, the first of the "Beat Generation" producer series on BBE Records. DJ Jazzy Jeff said in a Wax Poetics interview that it was actually a little frightenting to be given the degree of freedom that was being offered, and both he and Kenny Dope allowed Dilla to be first to release, and he set the tone for everyone else - says a lot about him I think.
J-Zone/Apathy & Celph Titled : Nut Reception (Instrumental)
Straightforward but very dope instrumental off a 1981 funk break, also to be found on Yo-Yo & Ice Cube's "Bonnie & Clyde Theme." Great beat but not even one of his best, J-Zone is that dude when it comes to production, in case you didn't know...
Pete Rock ft. Kardinal Offishall : We Good
Chopmania on this Pete Rock production, you can just imagine his fingers flying over the MPC pads on this one! Kardinal Offishall brings the vocal heat here, one of my favourite MCs without question - keep an eye out for his releases.
Camp Lo : Sun Kiss
Killer B-Side from the Lo, on the flip of "Army," with both tracks appearing on the hard to find Japan-only released "Short Eyes" EP. Following on from Pete Rock's rapid guitar stabs on the last track, Tribeca is the producer here with a pad-smacking MPC assault for Sonny Cheeba & Geechi Suede to flip styles over, and as always, they deliver the goods. Lo-ah!
Sadat X ft. Agallah : Stack Up
Nottingham's own P Brothers provide the beat here and it's an old school/new school gem which is all the better for the presence of the Bronx veteran X and Brooklyn's Agallah. I almost forgot I had this on vinyl!
Natural Elements : 2 Tons
Drums and flows - sometimes you don't need much else. Dope single from one of the greatest groups never to make it big, and definitely a group I would love to see get back together! MCs would be cowering in fear...
Mixmaster Mike : ¿Agent Scanner 12?
I'm a bit puzzled on this one - it's from Mike's "Eye Of The Cyclops" 12" which is an amazingly confusingly-labelled record - it's hard to tell what's a title and what isn't, and where tracks begin and end; this is my best guess!
Reks : 25th Hour
Shout out to Lee Majors for putting me up on this one first! The MC from Lawrence, MA (not Boston, got it right this time!) is forceful and kind of low-key at the same time over this DJ Premier track. This is available as a digital release but not sure if there's a vinyl of it. Not a club track of course but one for deep personal listening, all day.
J Boogie's Dubtronic Science : Ritual Of The Nile
An appropriately Egyptian-themed track - I know nothing about J Boogie but with current events it seemed like a good time to play this! It's a cut taken from the Om Records "Deeper Concentration" compilation, which is comprised of slightly left-field instrumental and turntable cuts from the era when turntablism was beginning to gain in popularity. It's not an album I play every week but if you see it cheap, might be worth a spin!
J Dilla : Won't Do
Climax Pt.2? Dilla with an ode to not even threesomes now, but foursomes! The quote from this track at the top of this blog post is one of my favourite lines, and the production is, as you'd expect, top notch. The drums from the Isley Brothers' "Footsteps In The Dark" are centre stage and little slivers of the rest of that track flash through the spacey beat on this one.
Mary J. Blige : Every Day It Rains
Dopeness from the soundtrack to "The Show." I think I might have heard this on Westwood's show when it first came out and liked it straight away, even in my teenage R&B-hating years! Can't front on Mary though, especially over that break...
Michael Jackson : Human Nature & J Dilla : Inhuman Nature
Just a taste of the classic MJ tune to set you up for the fresh Dilla sample flip - top work from the MPC master. Unfortunately, this was never released and by the sounds of things never mixed either; a shame as I would have loved to hear this with MCs on, at release quality - maybe Nas would have been a good pick?
Jay Dee ft Frank N Dank : Move
B-Side of the "F**k The Police" 12", doesn't seem to be very popular but I preferred this track for a long time; just a really dark, slightly off-balance, menacing beat with plenty of space left for the vocals - or for scratching, if you have the instrumental. Classic Detroit.
Fakts One ft. Little Brother : Grown Folks
"Simon says 'shut the F**K up' when you try to rhyme"...oooooohhhh! Phonte and Big Pooh of Little Brother go in hard on this beat from Boston's Fakts One (who you may know from The Perceptionists). In particular, when Phonte decides to put the smack down on the proverbial sucker MC or any other subject of his ire for that matter, you might as well call the ambulance.
J Dilla ft. Pacific Division : Fantasy
Taken from the version I have of Dilla's "Jay Love Japan" EP - I understand there are a few. The slight off-beatness of this makes it slightly awkward to mix, but it's worth it for all the flavour on here, not least the Art Of Noise "Moments In Love" sample between verses. Beautiful!
Miguel Atkins-Ferguson & Orchestra : Don't Nobody Care About Us
Now this is the kind of thing that could bring me to an orchestral performance; fantastic re-interpretation of Dilla's production on the Phat Kat track of the same title. This concert was performed in 2009 but the "Suite For Ma Dukes" album only emerged the following year. On this project, Miguel Atkins-Ferguson brings a 60-piece orchestra to play huge arrangements of some of Dilla's highlights; absolutely amazing stuff and absolutely worth buying if you're a fan of the man's music, or just good music full stop.
Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No) : Not High Enough
DJ A-Up was bugging out about the beat for this track on Facebook; I couldn't hear it straight away but after 40 seconds I understood what he meant - killer. Tense, melancholy, reflective all at the same time, one to throw on repeat. Oh No and Alchemist are two of the most interesting producers out and the "Gutter Water" album this is taken from sees them coming together to form "Gangrene" - more of this please!
Remember to support the artists! If there's anything you like here, search out more of their material and try to buy the stuff you like the most - whatever the format! Seeing the artists live whenever they're in your area is probably the best way to put money in their pocket, so if you can stretch to it in these recessionary times then that's a winner :o) If you have Spotify in your country, it's a great way to familiarise yourself with a vast sea of tunes...
Sun, 27 February 2011
It's time for another Neighbourhood special event! This time it's a Reggae special, though I and some of the other resident DJs will be spinning some neck-snapping Hip-Hop too :o) The venue is the Ruby Lounge (Manchester High Street, nr. Debenhams) and for your £4/£6 entry (depending on when you get there!), you'll get performances from;
The host for the evening is Mega Ras and all the Neighbourhood residents will be in the place - myself, Omas, DJ Mischief, Longshot, Ed Speed, and Mind on Fire DJs.
The event runs from 10pm-4am - come on down and get your weekend started off right!
Category:events -- posted at: 9:48 AM
Wed, 26 January 2011
"Like my dun Ron-Ron Artest, we teach y'all 'bout wildin'..."
"Start out on the street, end up in the court"
- Nick Javas
Just couldn't choose between these two quotes - but then they both go well together :o) Happy New Year everyone! This month the selection just seemed to come really easily for the most part; I've pulled out a fair amount of old-ish Hip-Hop and mixed it up with a few more modern pieces - anyone who knows them all really is a veteran!
JVC Force : Tear The Show Up
Starting off 2011 by taking it back to 1990! JVC Force are indisputably best known for their mighty single "Strong Island" from 1987, but in my opinion this track is the best one they ever did. Yes, you heard me, better than "Strong Island." This is taken from their amazing (and criminally overlooked) second album "Force Field," which is one of the very first Hip-Hop albums I ever had (shout out to Dan Clarke) and is still one of my very favourite from the era. Please, if you love Hip-Hop with that classic essence, rush out and buy this one! To this day I listen to something from this album at least once a week, and it's one of my most prized vinyls. While the group disbanded some time ago, AJ Rock , B Luv, and Curt Cazal are all still involved in music in different capacities; Manchester listeners may be most familiar with Curt Cazal for the work he did with Grand Central in the late 90s.
Mark Ronson ft. Ghostface Killah & Nate Dogg : Ooh Wee (Instrumental)
Loved this when it came out, and I still do. Sped this up quite a bit to fit it into the mix but it's still a fair bit slower than the original Boney M sample it's based around. This one always works well in a club, if you've got enough other tunes fast enough to fit round it!
Above The Law : Untouchable
Back to 1990 :o) As I've probably said before, Above The Law are one of my all-time favourite groups and this track was my absolute favourite on their first album; I must have worn the tape out just running it back over and over again! The lead MC Cold 187um is responsible for the fire production (ignore all the misinformed fools who try to tell you Dr.Dre did their beats), and both he and KMG keep pace with their contrasting styles on the mic.
Hustlers HC : Let The Hustlers Play
Someone else is obviously an Above The Law fan, since they are sampled twice on this track! Asian flavour all over this hot 1993 UK track from a Sikh crew out of West London. This is the B-Side of the single "Big Trouble In Little Asia" and while it's not tackling heavy issues like the A-Side it is to me the far better track, production-wise at least. I grew up in an area where I'd hear a lot of Asian music and thought it worked really well when blended with the uptempo, drum/break-focused style of beats of the late 80s/early 90s. You're unlikely to see copies of this around now without specifically looking for it, so take this sample as a gift from the neglected corners of my record collection!
London Posse : Jump Around
Love this tune, though I've not included all six minutes of it! This is from the landmark 1990 UK Hip-Hop LP "Gangster Chronicle" which has one of my favourite album covers, besides anything else :o) I'm not sure what Bionic is doing these days, but those of you who keep up with UK Hip-Hop will know that Rodney P has continued to put out classic material to the present day!
Donald D : Rage Of The Rap Renegade
I am a Donald D fan. Back in my high school days I used to hear him as part of Ice-T's Rhyme $yndicate killing it on the mic, and his verse on "Fly By" (from the Ice-T "OG" album) is one of my all-time favourites, I learned it by heart back then! I ran into him by chance in Leeds before a KRS-ONE show and got the chance to tell him so, a big highlight of 2010 for me :o)
Buckshot LeFonque : James Brown (Pt. 1 & 2)
Buckshot LeFonque was a Branford Marsalis side-project, blending his style of jazz with Hip-Hop amongst other styles; if you ever wanted to hear live musicians playing jungle, for instance, you need to pick up the "Music Evolution" album!
Mobb Deep : Another Victory
I'd forgotten all about this one until it popped up when I was playing a stack of MP3s at random! It's from the soundtrack to the game "NBA Live 2004" (I'll just say that I have my own long history of handing out beatdowns on the NBA Live series from its inception) but despite that I think it's actually pretty good! It's also one of the rare Mobb tracks that's totally radio-friendly, and manages to not talk about any shooting...apart from a basketball!
DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. J-Live : Practice
The first of two tracks to sample the famous outburst from the much-maligned Allen Iverson. I remember reading somewhere (and this detail is generally wilfully unreported) that the trigger for the kickoff was that someone close to him had died. As far as this track, it's from the "Return Of The Magnificent" album and is the kind of smooth dopeness you expect from Jazzy Jeff, with J-Live on the vocals giving us the real story of the work that goes into a career in music.
Nick Javas : Not A Game
When I heard this track, I knew it was going to be on the show this month and I also knew what track had to precede it! DJ Premier comes in with a brilliant use of the Iverson quote and new artist Nick Javas uses it as a springboard to explore "games, " with plenty of sporting metaphors, similies, and double meanings along the way; the second verse is amazing. This is from the Year Round Records compilation "Get Used To Us," essential listening for those who like that hard Hip-Hop!
Evidence : Ragtime
Nice piano beat taken from the "Yellow Tape Instrumentals" vinyl. Evidence of Dilated people tends to be somewhat underrated as an MC and as a producer, he's done some heavy tracks over the years.
Soul II Soul : Back To Life (Accapella) & Masta Ace : Jeep Ass N!guh (Bizcapella) (Instrumental)
A little blend for you! If you have a copy of the Soul II Soul album, you'll know that it's actually an accapella and it's only the single versions that have music (and the vocals were re-recorded). This has been much sampled over the years for one reason - it sounds amazing. Soul II Soul are one of the great innovative British groups who found success here and abroad by creating their own lane.
Lexxus : Divine Reasoning
I'm not someone who follows the latest dancehall releases or anything, but when I find a tune I like I run with it! I loved Lexxus' "Ring Mi Cellie" and picked up a copy on 12" to play out, but on the B-side found this killer. Big tune from Mr.Lex! *airhorn*
T La Rock : Lyrical King (From The Boogie Down Bronx)
(Loving the bracketed bit) Taking it back to the 80s with one of the overlooked greats, T La Rock of "It's Yours" fame. This is the title track from his first album and showcases vintage production from Kurtis Mantronik. Plenty of you wouldn't have been born when this was released, which is pretty freaky to think about...
Archive : All Time
Keeping the 808 beat going with this one, but on a very different vibe. I still need to play you their amazing "Nothing Else," but this tune holds down this spot perfectly. You may not know them, but Archive are a UK group originally formed by former members of Genaside II - their main style has generally been what is often called "trip-hop" but they're very versatile. Definitely worth digging into!
Unwrapped : Flava In Ya Ear
Jazz cover version wind-down business! I came across Unwrapped a few years ago; they basically do live instrument, jazzified covers of rap tracks (hence the name), and have six albums out which hardly anyone I know seem to have even heard of, much less heard! This version of Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" will never challenge the original for supremacy in my ears at least, but I thought it was fairly interesting!
E-40 : Practice Looking Hard
I've been hanging onto this one a while, decided this would be the month through it - a nice relaxed wind-down to the episode. E-40 is a veteran from Vallejo, California who started off doing his thing independently and was one of the pioneers in that respect, building his fan base with a lot of hard work and no major backing. This is from his third LP "The Mail Man," and it's a great track about having to keep up a tough facade for the world. The sample for the hook comes from Boots Riley of The Coup - another Bay Area act well worth checking out!
Wed, 29 December 2010
"My attitude is celibate...I just don't give a f**k"
Here we are at the end of 2010, and for the first time ever the podcast features a special guest! Danny Drive Thru is a Manchester producer and DJ who has what can only be described as a burning passion for music as well as a bucketful of talent. I met him a few years ago at the scratch workshop A Kut Above The Rest where he was already ferocious on the turntables but in the years since then his production knowledge has really come along as well. He's not only released solo material but has been drafted in by names like Sneaky (Fingathing) and Chima Anya to bring his special flavour, and he's kindly come in for a chat and brought along a few tracks for us to hear!
Apologies for the voiceover sound quality; I know the volume moves around a bit, but it was tough for us to both work around the one mic setup!
PS - the very fly "Boomboxatron" t-shirt in the photo was designed by Selina from Jelly Empire :o)
Danny Drive Thru : Virtua Rap
We kick things off with a track from this month's guest, what can only have been a painstaking piece of work. This track was premiered at last year's C'mon Feet Xmas Party, and everyone (including me) lost their minds! Drive Thru had already made some noise with his "Virtua Ante Up," and this tune just took the concept to the level where no-one else should even attempt to do anything like it. Good way to open the proceedings!
Air Adam : 1-Up
Just keeping things on a similar sonic vibe with this one; I did this track a few years ago for the Game Over graffiti crew strictly using sounds from old 80s arcade machines! I keep wondering whether or not to get an MC on this one...
Erick Sermon : Stay Real (Remix)
90s business! Not too many people seem to know this remix but it's classic Erick Sermon, reworking a track from his first solo album "No Pressure." I think I first heard this back in Leeds on a wicked DJ P-Wiz aka Oddball (formerly of Breaking The Illusion) mixtape, so it brought back memories to pull it out for this episode.
Otis Jackson : It's All The Same (Hip-Hop Version)
Remixed soul number for you; Otis Jackson is famously (well, amongst record geeks) the father of Madlib and Oh No, and it's Oh No who brings the remix flavour on this single. Isn't family a wonderful thing? The other side of this 12" has a version labelled as the "R&B version" which I think is actually better, but wouldn't have fit into this spot!
GZA ft. D'Angelo : Cold World (RZA Remix)
Very appropriate for the current conditions! Coming back with another 90s remix, this time from the Wu's big power streak of monster solo LPs. This particular version is the A-side of the "Cold World (Remix)" 12", which also includes a mix by the legendary engineer Bob Power and the brilliant "B.I.B.L.E (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)" by Killah Priest.
1982 (Termanology & Statik Selektah) : Word Up
This is taken from their smile-worthy free EP which you should be dashing to another window to download right now! The combination of these two has been very fruitful in terms of quality material, and I hope it's something that continues into the future!
Danny Drive Thru : Hound
The man's back again with a warped bluesy beat, showing how he likes to get dark and dense with the sound. This beat is available for any MC who thinks they can tame it - get in touch via his Soundcloud if you're interested!
1982 (Termanology & Statik Selektah) ft. Bun B & Masspike Miles : You Should Go Home
One of the tunes I've played a lot lately; I just couldn't resist having two tunes by these guys this month. An added bonus is the great guest verse by the Port Arthur, Texas legend Bun B of UGK (who has worked with Termanology previously on "This Is How We Rock" and the hook by Boston vocalist Masspike is good enough to make me wish I had the skills to sing along :o) Probably the most obvious choice for a single on the album, but also one of the best tracks on there regardless.
Larry Gold & Carol Riddick : Loving You
Larry Gold is a legendary string arranger as well as a cellist and producer, known and respected for his work for everyone from McFadden & Whitehead and Teddy Pendergrass to Mary J. Blige and Kanye West. Carol Riddick is a Philadelphia born-and-raised soul singer who has brought her magic touch to artists like Jill Scott and Musiq, as well as her own material. The two combine on this gorgeous track from the "Larry Gold presents Don Cello & Friends" album; you've got to like this, no matter how hard you are!
DMP : Don't Wanna Give That Up
Virginia in the house! Been meaning to play this for aaages! Nottz' production on this is nice and silky, and the lyrics are fairly decent but I think they should have kept the metaphor going for a while longer before revealing the real subject of the track; for me, it becomes obvious too quickly. Still, maybe I'm grading harshly - good tune.
Marvin Gaye : "T" Stands For Trouble
If you know your 90s Hip-Hop, you might recognise a sample here, and either way, you've got to appreciate the quality of this killer instrumental soundtrack cut. If you don't know about Marvin Gaye at all, you should probably go stand in the corner and think about what you did. Anyway, I've mostly been playing the "Here, My Dear" album this month but this is from his top-class "Trouble Man" soundtrack - do yourself a favour and buy both.
Danny Drive Thru : Eclipsemoonsun
Another instrumental from this month's guest, and funnily enough we also had a lunar eclipse this month! Once again, available for MCs, get in touch with Danny if you're interested.
Blahzay Blahzay ft. Ol' Dirty Bastard : Danger 2004
No-one seems to know this remix - I've played it out a few times but sometimes it's hard to appreciate a track for the first time when you've had a few drinks, so hopefully you'll enjoy it here! ODB was famously sampled on the legendary hook of the original and so it's fitting to have him on this version; can't even remember where I found the vinyl but it's a treasured piece, just that extra bass is worth the price of admission!
Jigmastas : Let Me Hear It
Yes please! This tune's on the Tommy Boy Black Label "Hip Hop 101" compilation which is where I first encountered it, but a little shopping trip in London uncovered it on a 12" - the instrumental will definitely come in handy! As usual with Jigmastas, DJ Spinna is on production and the bassline master brings a bouncy, squelchy low end and some cracking drums to this one for Kriminul to effortlessly ride over.
Doujah Raze : Irish Cream
Unashamed, straightforward, dope Hip-Hop, 2002 banger. Can't remember where I heard this first (probably on a download) but have had the 12" for a while and think it's one that every Hip-Hop DJ should have, even though it's not well known. Doujah Raze is a Virginian MC who's worked with Tribeca which is how I think I was introduced to him, and he just has a really confident flow on here. Production here is handled by someone called Rollen Salvenera; never heard of him before or since, but he smacks it out of the park and the scratching at the end is just ridiculous - I made a conscious decision not to even mix over it just so you could hear it as he intended!
Big Twan : One Time 4 The Lyricist
Love this - Spinna on production, hard vocals, and that Raekwon sample in the hook just completes it. This 12" is also worth owning for the wicked "Hellgate Rebel" which features Big Kwam on the mic and Tony Vegas of Scratch Perverts on the cut.
Alchemist ft. Twin : Big T.W.I.N.S (Instrumental)
Hard beat on this Mobb-connected number, Danny's next to me saying he's now amped up to go and make some beats that sound rugged like this one!
Chima Anya : Good Lord (produced by Danny Drive Thru)
This is a draft version, but Danny's kindly brought this along for you guys to have the first listen!
Remember to support the artists! If there's anything you like here, search out more of their material and try to buy the stuff you like the most - whatever the format! Seeing the artists live whenever they're in your area is probably the best way to put money in their pocket, so if you can stretch to it in these recessionary times then that's a winner :o) If you have Spotify in your country, it's a great way to familiarise yourself with a vast sea of tunes...
Mon, 29 November 2010
"I'mma show you how to do it."
- Royal Flush
It's that time again, fifty minutes of the good stuff coming from my collection! It's an all Hip-Hop selection this month, but I think pretty much everyone listening will hear a minimum of 4 or 5 tracks they've never heard before. Heavy on the B-sides, album cuts, remixes and internet tracks this month...enjoy!
Mr.Voodoo : Don't Do It
Tough tune from the former Natural Elements MC, taken from his "Let The World Know" 12"/EP - this is the last track of six (so a deep B-side) and is easily my favourite track on there. Voodoo did an outstanding job self-producing this one and combines the heavy beat with an all-out microphone assault!
Cali Agents : Point Blank Range (Instrumental)
Roddy Rod of Maspyke brings us this extra chunky beat from the B-side of the "Neva Forget" 12" single, one I flicked past so much in the last few months while doing selections I thought I just had to include it here - I think it made for a nice blend with the opening cut.
Royal Flush : Do It
The power of suggestion? A more incredibly negative message is difficult to find, but it does sound good... Originally I heard this on Spotify but then found it on the Yosumi (break it down slowly) Records compilation "Game Over II" which is definitely worth picking up, along with the original "Game Over," which was notable for its liberal use of video game samples! Production here is by Domingo and DJ Rob, one of those beats you can't help but move your neck to!
Katch 22 : Lifestyles Of The Poor And Ruffneck
Heavy UK action from one of the best acts of their era, taken from their second (and double) album, "Dark Tales From Two Cities." If you can find it, pick up a copy! Katch put out three albums before disbanding, but Huntkillbury Finn (now HKB:FiNN) is still recording in a variety of styles and DJ Marga is doing some DJing again.
Underclassmen : Crush Competition
Huge B-side from this Swiss crew (A-side was "365 Live") - the MCs are originally from Boston so that explains the accents, in case you were wondering!
Das EFX : Gimme Dat Micraphone
I never took to the "Straight-Up Sewaside" LP as much as "Dead Serious," but very few groups were forced to so radically change their style between their first and second albums due to massively widespread biting! That said, this was the first track I heard off this album and I think it's a killer. I believe Charlie Marotta did the production on this and it has that kind of dense early/mid 90s heaviness that you often miss nowadays; home cooking vs microwave beats?
Trick Daddy : Thug Niggas Don't Live That Long (Instrumental)
A little something from Florida, taken from the soundtrack to the HBO series "Oz" - I got this on a sampler 12" so unfortunately can't tell you who produced it. Just a cool instrumental I've finally found a chance to play :o)
DJ Spinna ft. Shadowman : Drive
Spacey and bassy number from a producer who really is a master of the style, and as longtime listeners to the podcast will know, a favourite of mine. Taking on the vocal duties is Shadowman, from a crew called Old World Disorder who I can't say I know much about but he definitely does his thing on this track. You can find this one on Spinna's BBE album "Here To There," where he runs styles from Hip-Hop all the way through to House!
Saukrates, Self Scientific & E-Rule : Wonderful World
Taken from DJ Adam 12's "World Wide Originals" EP, I somehow either didn't hear this track or forgot it existed; dug it out this month and it fit perfectly! All the MCs come with quality verses over the dark beat, making this a definite underground gem. E-Rule/Erule is an MC who has powerful entry on my own vinyl wants list; if you see a copy of that record, buy it without hesitation as it's fantastic. If you're feeling generous, buy it without hesitation for me as a present :o)
Blue Sky Black Death : Lord Of Our Vice
Picked up the "Late Night Cinema" album on spec from Fat City in Manchester before it closed and it turned out to be a great purchase - a double vinyl package of big, dramatic instrumental Hip-Hop. BSBD are a West Coast (San Francisco & Seattle) production duo who seem to have that epic sound down to a tee!
The X-Ecutioners ft. Wayne-O : Raida's Theme (Remix)
I forgot I had this - probably because it was on CD :o) The original is good but the remix is definitely superior; the drums still smack but there's more space in the track to help the scratching stand out even more! You can find this on a 12" but this is from the Asphodel Records "Asphodelic" compilation - and is one of the standout cuts.
Kuartz : Hey Hey (Instrumental)
Kuartz is an up-and-coming Manchester producer who is one to watch out for; he's finding his style and he's extremely prolific, cranking out beats for local MCs at a rate the rest of us can only wish to keep up with! He sent me a few things to check out a little while back and this was just the right time to slot this particular number in. Keep up the good work!
donwill + suhBURB : Salsoul
I *think* I first found this via FWMJ's "Rappers I Know" blog, which is well worth checking out. This track is from the combination of suhBURB on the beats and Tanya Morgan's Donwill on the mic, and in fact the "Suburban Sprawl" collaboration album it comes from is available totally free! Just click the link to get at the whole project.
The Kid Daytona : Never Be The Same
I first heard of this MC on the brilliant Juan Epstein podcast. From what I can make out, The Kid Daytona has come up under the wing of Cipha Sounds and has some powerful co-signs - keep an eye on this one. The whole album is available absolutely free here - worth grabbing a download!
Theodore Unit : Wicked With Lead
Ghostface and Trife take the mic on this one, with K-Def on production. That break never gets old!
Foreign Exchange : Downtime (Nicky Troutman Bounce To The Ounce Remix)
Whooooooooo! I bought the "Connected" album (as you should too) on vinyl when it came out and this wasn't on there - I just chanced upon it on Spotify, apparently it's from an extended version which is available on CD. Nicolay kills it on the beat and Phonte (of Little Brother, for those that don't know) is on point with the flow as always, though he's also up for oxymoron of the month; "I'm roasting you f****ts 'cos I'm so diplomatic?"
Jay-Z : Change The Game (Instrumental)
The Bay Area's Rick Rock on production; probably better known for his work with people like E-40, this was one of his really big moves on the East Coast and to be honest, a beat that made me go back and check for more Jay-Z when I'd really not been the biggest fan up to that point.
Peanut Butter Wolf : The Chronicles (i will always love h.e.r)
From the first "Return Of The DJ" compilation, this isn't the most technical track on the album but I just love all the samples that he brings into this one! There's one that I think is incredible but have never been able to identify; first person to post in the comments for this article where it comes from wins a prize - seriously!
Thu, 11 November 2010
If you want to catch me doing my thing, as well as seeing some top-notch live Hip-Hop performances, get yourself down to this event! The venue is the Ruby Lounge (Manchester High Street, nr. Debenhams) and for your £4/£6 entry (depending on when you get there!), you'll get performances from;
As Camp Lo and Masta Ace might say; Uptown Saturday Night Live!
Category:events -- posted at: 7:13 AM
Tue, 9 November 2010
It's always interesting to know when putting out something like this podcast how far it's reached!
In keeping with the Hip-Hop attitude to representing where you're from, I'm using a combination of feedback from listeners and location information provided by my podcast host to produce a complete a map as possible of all the locations where downloads have been done from! The observant amongst you might have noticed the "Podcast On Tour" link in the right-hand panel; that also jumps to this map. Have a browse around, and if any of the pins in a very "general" (e.g country, state, province) area is you, let me know so I can correct it! If your town's not represented at all, let me know (ideally via a comment on this post) and I'll get it added!
PS - the colour/text on the pins has no meaning, just a way of getting round what looks like a bug in the mapping application :o)
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00 AM
Wed, 27 October 2010
"Took 'til now to understand it."
- Lisa Shaw
Fairly low-key month for me, but I'm pleased with the way this episode came together - finding the right tunes just seemed to come easily! Still not liking the upfaders on my old mixer, but I digress. Hope you like this month's collection!
RIP Gregory Isaacs and Eyedea...
Kurupt : Yessir
Heard this ages ago on the Spine Magazine blog and glad it eventually got a proper release. This was something like the fourth single off Kurupt's "Streetlights," which is insane as it's better than any of the others! Pete Rock is on the beat and it's a low-bubbling gem...the only thing I could say is some of the cuts aren't great and maybe a little too loud! Solid track all the same though.
Black Moon : Murder MCs (Instrumental)
On the B-side of the "Buck 'em Down" remix 12" single, this was one of the lesser-known gems from the Boot Camp Clik; DJ Evil Dee on production, bringing plenty of darkness with a side order of threat! Ok, I'm hungry now :o) This 12" has an awesome 1-2 punch, should definitely be in your collection.
KRS-ONE : Kill A Rapper
In a sense, staying with the theme from the last track...I only heard this for the first time this month when KRS performed it live in Leeds; grabbed me straight away and it stuck out as a good one for the podcast as most people won't know it. I don't know if this was at all inspired by the Chris Rock sketch that preceded it, but as it popped into my head as I was listening I thought I'd play them both together.
Group Home : Express (as labelled on 12" single, album names this "A Train X-Press")
From the beginning of what can only be called their "Post-Primo" period! The 12" I have this on is a little light on credits but I believe Li'l Dap produced this one himself and the eerie feel is bang on, as is his opening verse. Let me also say that he has one of the best voices in Hip-Hop, he could read my shopping list and it would sound ill :o) Melachi's verse isn't quite as good, but I think it's reasonable to say it's a step above his writing on the (still classic) "Livin' Proof" LP!
Nonchalant : 5 O'Clock (B.L.A.K Remix)
They don't make 'em like this anymore! Nonchalant was something of a one-hit wonder on the scene but this tune is just as relevant as when it was released 15 years ago. This particular version is taken from a 12" of remixes I found on a bargain bin shopping mission; lucky pickup!
Big Pun ft. dead prez & Prospect : The Rain And The Sun
This interlude is one of my favourite tracks on Big Pun's "Capital Punishment" LP despite the fact he doesn't rhyme on it! Featuring and produced by dead prez, after having heard this and "Selling D.O.P.E" frm the "Slam" soundtrack, I was pretty disappointed to find that their debut album sounded not much like either! Anyway, back to Pun - the late great Punisher came out in the late 90s absolutely melting down mics and while this track doesn't show his rhyme skills, I've got some things in my list of stuff to play for you in future months...for now just take this one and this too :o)
Lisa Shaw : Dim Light
Another great interlude, maybe not to everyone's taste but along with "The Rain And The Sun" it's one of the few 5-star tracks on my iPod. This is from her debut album "Cherry" and aside from being absolutely beautiful, is very fitting given the change in seasons we're going through here right now...
Air Adam : Reflex
Another beat from my archives, one of my favourites in terms of the vibe and manipulating the sample; really good for a listen I think but not one MCs were breaking their necks to jump on; a few too many changes in it perhaps.
Jay-Z : Friend Or Foe 98
Short, but not exactly sweet...killer tune though. Jay goes to his mental notebook for a grimy drug story, and DJ Premier smacks this beat crazy! I won't give away the original sample, but it's been worked just enough here to combine with the tough drums and become a monster...
Marley Marl & Craig G : Not A Word
Get 'em Craig! From the "Operation : Take Back Hip-Hop" album comes this banger; Marley Marl (one of the pioneers of sampling) with as vicious a beat as an MC could ever want, and Craig G in full-on smackdown mode against loudmouth rappers - fiiire!
Rasco : Back On The Scene
This just sprung to mind as having the right kind of sound to hold down this spot. The San Francisco native (maybe better known to some as half of Cali Agents) is just one of those solid MCs who's been putting in work for a long time. If you don't already know it, check "The Unassisted" too.
Freddie Foxxx : 8 Bars To Catch A Body
If you know Hip-Hop, that beat sounds familiar to you, doesn't it? You're saying to yourself "why is Foxxx rhyming over the 'Sound Of Da Police' instrumental?" Well I don't know all the facts but this could be an interesting story for the Hip-Hop history/trivia lovers! This track is from the original demo version of the "Crazy Like A Foxxx" album, produced by DITC - however, this version of the album was rejected and it was re-recorded with different production and the tracklist changed. Showbiz produced this and of course also "Sound Of Da Police" so what I think happened is that with the original Foxxx album shelved, the beat was re-used for what went on to be regarded as a Hip-Hop classic! Foxxx is one of the most relentlessly aggressive MCs in Hip-Hop, you won't hear him going through the motions on a verse - he's definitely not for the faint hearted!
Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek : Move Something (Instrumental)
From the era when Rawkus Records was making a lot of noise as the dominating force in the independent scene (on the East Coast, at least), and there was plenty of buzz around the label's artists as they prepared to burst out! This is one of the big tracks from that time that made some impact above ground a little bit - though I only just saw the video for the first time this month!
Onra : My Comet
First off, "Onra" sounds like the name of an Egyptian god :o) Anyway, he's actually a Vietnamese-Parisian producer who ,while often grouped under the so-called "future beats" umbrella, comes out with tracks actually containing rhythm, melody, and that certain "je ne sais quoi" ;o) This track is basically just bult around slowing and looping an old 80s R&B number and adding some effects and damn it sounds good! Shout out to Danny Drive Thru for putting me up on this one originally!
Intro : Funny How Time Flies
One of those tunes that even in my "I hate R&B" years I still had to love; mostly because it uses the same break as Mobb Deep's "Temperature's Rising!" DJ Clark Kent is on the remix production here, and if I'd have played it a little longer you'd have heard a verse from Li'l Kim - but I know some people are already listening with screwed up faces, so we keep it moving swiftly to...
O.C. : Can't Go Wrong
Underappreciated dopeness! Taken from O.C's second album "Jewelz" which wasn't entirely warmly received when it was released but which seems to have picked up a bit of a following in retrospect, and rightfully so. As far as this track, it's nice to have a love story now and again, and a real one at that! DJ Ogee, who I must say I know little about, provides the dark, swirling production which somehow fits just right.
Common & Sadat X : One-Nine-Nine-Nine
Another Rawkus Records entry, notable for being part of the fantastic Soundbombing 2 compilation; in fact, I might have attempted to have a big of a cut/juggle with this if J-Rocc & Babu hadn't pre-emptively made anything I might do pale in comparison! Great bit of Hi-Tek production with the Chicago/Bronx connection doing the business on the mic.
J-Zone : Finale, Movement A (Instrumental)
Had to loop this to play a second time to make it long enough to use! Dope beat with serious bass from J-Zone's instrumental soundtrack (for a non-existing film) "To Love A Hooker" - worth picking up for something a little different! Zone is one of the most creative producers out and this is a better conceived and executed piece of than a lot of actual so-called soundtracks - which have the additional advantage of having a real film to follow!
Richard Ace : Stayin' Alive
You've heard this song many times, but not like this! I got this on a compilation called "Reggae Round The Clock" which I liberated from my parents' collection, but doing some looking around it seems that this was released in 1978 on 7". Couldn't believe this when I first heard it, and I've never seemed to have the opportunity to play it for anyone - until now :o)
Thu, 30 September 2010
"My name pops inside your head like Johnny Wishbone..."
Probably the perfect time to use this photo :o) Been a busy but good month for me, hoped to get this out a little earlier but spend a bit too much time trying to tweak the sound! Hope you enjoy it anyway, dusted off some stuff I haven't played even for myself in ages...or at all for anyone else!
PS - in keeping with the title, I was going to just play 16 tracks, but couldn't resist throwing the last one in and messing it up ;o)
Terminator X ft. Chuck D & Sister Souljah : Buck Whylin'
Militant Public Enemy representation on this big early 90s track from Terminator X's first solo LP, "Terminator X & The Valley Of The Jeep Beats." The video was classic PE material too, and not the kind of thing you'd see on your average track nowadays!
Phat Kat : Don't Nobody Care About Us (Instrumental)
Detroit all the way - J Dilla beat, B-Side to "Dedication To The Suckers" 12", and to me the far better track.
K-Solo : Letterman (Pete Rock Remix)
Bam! Incredible Pete Rock remix, smashing the original with a big bat! Not only do you get the hard snare and P-Funk groove, but those trademark repeated horns in the hook combined with the cuts make this a 10/10 beat without question. K-Solo was part of EPMD's Hit Squad (this is in the days before every group had an extended musical crew), and also had the track "Spellbound" which was the source of a beef with DMX; both claimed they'd written it and been ripped off by the other. Here's the DMX version, just for comparison!
Sly & Robbie : Boops (Here To Go) & Boops (CJ Scratch Instrumental)
The legendary reggae rhythm section with their big chart hit from 1987 - I remember thinking this was amazing when I heard it as a kid and when I started buying vinyl years later I was ecstatic to find this cheap. Not only did the 12" have the original version but the other track featured here, an instrumental/scratch version featuring CJ Mackintosh, who was the 1987 DMC UK Champion. Although nowadays there's nothing technical about it, I love that transform at 11:06 - so fresh!
A Tribe Called Quest : Rap Promoter
Only short but one of my favourite cuts from "The Low End Theory," and one that performers of many stripes can probably relate to!
FT ft. M.A.F.I.A : Money All The Time
Time for a little aggro! This is from "The Anti-Backpack Movement" compilation on Tru Criminal Records, which tells you most of what you need to know about the lyrical vibe this is on :o) Production is by Buckwild of DITC and the beat really drives this track; that bassline is outrageous!
DJ Brasco ft. Frank 'n' Dank : Shut It Down (Instrumental)
French producer Brasco comes through with a banging track - Frank 'n' Dank didn't really kill this beat to be honest but I'd love to hear some freestyling over this. In fact, that might be an idea for a future episode...
DJ Skitz ft. Riddla : Vocal Workout
Skitz' classic "Countryman" producer project provides us with this track - I'm definitely going to play you more cuts from that album in the future though! He shows a lot of range on the album and on this laid-back piece he brings in London MC Riddla on the vocals. I've only just got Skitz' new "Sticksman" album in the post and I'm sure there'll be some tracks on there that'll appear on future episodes!
Faze-O : Riding High
Funk/soul classic from 1977, vintage from a fine year :o) Much sampled but not heard often enough in its original form! I could write loads of trivia here, but why don't I let you hear it from the source?
Choclair ft. Frankenstein, Marvel & Kardinal Offishall : Internal Affairs
1998 All-Star Toronto material, produced by Day For Day. I don't have much trivia on this one, except to say I think I've used the instrumental on a number of mixtapes for myself, but somehow never got round to playing it for anyone else - until now :o)
Trishes ft. Cold Showda : New Wave
Picked this one up in Piccadilly Records in Manchester on spec and was pleased to find both sides of the 12" were solid! Trishes is an Austrian producer and Cold Showda is an American MC, so it just goes to show that quality material can come from anywhere!
DJ Premier : Sing Like Bilal (Instrumental)
Taken from the "Beats That Gathered Dust" instrumental vinyl, this beat may be familiar to those of you who have heard Joell Ortiz rhyme on it recently, but while doing the research for this show I also found that Reks had used it too - so I suppose it hasn't gathered as much dust as all that! Apologies for the weird stereo movement during the juggle - I think I need new needles!
Jeru The Damaja : D.Original
It's not one of those pretty pretty beats, and that's why it works! Jeru first came to most people's notice on Gang Starr's "I'm The Man" on the "Daily Operation" LP and while he was dope, I don't know how many predicted his huge 1-2 punch of albums that followed! First was "The Sun Rises In The East" that this is from, and then "Wrath Of The Math" (underrated?) I remember hearing this track on a mix*tape* right when it was released and it just smacked everyone in the face with its hardness. Gem!
Jigmastas : Stones
Produced by Nick Fury - you'd better do a good job producing a group if DJ Spinna is one of the members, and on this one he definitely gets it done.
Keith Lawrence ft. Rodney P : Style & Fashion
British flavour with the London Posse veteran Rodney P bringing his unmistakeable style to this track on Keith Lawrence's "Goin' True" EP; Keith's a veteran DJ with an underrated production CV (or "resume" for my US listeners!), not the biggest names necessarily but serious quality.
Krumbsnatcha : Take The Pain Away (Instrumental)
Sounds kind of Primo, maybe a little like Dilla, but it's actually a Nottz beat, from the B-Side of the "Killer In Me" 12". It's worth checking out the vocal version of this anti-domestic violence track too.
Little Brother : Nighttime Maneuvers (Remix)
Southern quality from North Carolina. The only Little Brother I've played on the podcast so far has been "Atari 2600" on Episode 6 and I'm finally getting round to playing a non-joke track by them! The original of this was on "The Listening" and was good but I like this remix from the "Chitlin Circuit 1.5" mixtape even more.
Tue, 31 August 2010
"This music is mine...but I'm giving it all to you."
- Space Lady
I had a different selection starting to pan out nicely but unfortunately my nice mixer with 3-band EQ mysteriously bit the dust so I decided that rather than try to force the same blends on my back-from-retirement mixer I'd go in a different direction for the month. Normal service will be resumed with a handing over of cash to the repair company, I'm sure...
Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah & Blue Raspberry : Rainy Dayz
My favourite song on one of my favourite albums of all time, this absolutely stunned me the first time I heard it on a Saturday night in my bedroom up in Leeds, and I played it at least once every day for a good six months. I read a RZA interview once (in Fat Lace maybe?) where he said this is one of the beats he would have gladly kept for himself, and you can hear why. Blue Raspberry kills it with the vocals too - definitely my favourite Wu-singer! I think she did eventually record a solo LP but had kind of fallen out of the spotlight by then; I'd love to find a copy!
LA The Darkman : As The World Turns (Instrumental)
LA is a Wu-affiliate out of Michigan, though of course you don't hear him on this 4th Disciple-produced instrumental. Can't believe this track is over 12 years old already!
El Da Sensei ft. Pacewon, Diamond, Big Kwam : Live Shit
The ex-Artifact comes in with a slow and low number, the AA side on the "Got Dat?" single. The oft-underrated Buckwild of DITC did this beat and it shuffles along nicely with its horn and dirty guitar groove.
Blak Twang ft. Roots Manuva : Shhhoosh / ft. Seanie T et al : Shhhoosh (Remix)
I got Blak Twang's "19 Long Time" album at the same time as Gang Starr's "Moment Of Truth" - the Gang Starr was better of course but they were both getting heavy rotation and it was great to have a UK album that knocked like that. I never could hear the whole hook to this one properly, but I always remembered the line "backstabbin' me like Monica, whaaaa!" Yes, off-colour but that's part of Hip-Hop - saying some wild stuff that makes people rewind and say "no, he didn't!" The remix is a little hard to find but I decided just to slide in one of the many guest verses.
Dr.Dooom ft. Jacky Jasper : Call The Cops
From the "First Come, First Served" album, Kool Keith on a serial killer alter-ego vibe, bringing along Jacky Jasper who comes with a seriously off-key verse in keeping with the theme! I think this might have been a Kutmaster Kurt beat, correct me if I'm wrong!
Soul Supreme ft. Shuman : Shine It On 'Em
Had this 12" hanging around for ages (I think this is the bottom-billed of the three tracks on there) and this just seemed to be the right month to play it! Apologies for the sound quality - I think this vinyl and my needles don't get on! Soul Supreme is a producer out of Sweden who has cooked up some great beats. Tack! (that's Swedish for "thanks," not a dis!) As for the sample, easy one for those who remember the Eighties...
Da Beatminerz ft. M.O.P : We Run NY (Instrumental)
Big and booming, this instrumental is from a track which I believe had to be left off the "Brace 4 Impak" album due to clearance issues. The vocal is definitely worth having if you can find it, good solid shouty M.O.P!
Kurupt / Tray Deee & Slip Capone : C-Walk
Taken from Kurupt's "Kuruption!" compilation LP, always liked this one, got a West Coast bounce but not what a lot of people would class as a "typical" WC beat. Tray Deee went on to be in The Eastsidaz (alongside Goldie Loc) for those who remember. And the title? Well, that's talking about the Crip Walk, and if you need to look it up on Youtube, it's something you shouldn't be trying at home - or anywhere else!
Ras Kass : Understandable Smooth
Unreleased killer, thanks to an unclearable (and very dope) sample under those drums. Not a hard one to recognise, so I'll let you do the work ;o) Definitely one of my favourite Ras tracks, don't know who produced it but I take my hat off to them!
De La Soul : Big Mouf
Dug this one up late, it's from De La's "Are You In?" project, a mini-album/mixtape/running soundtrack which was produced in conjunction with Nike and slipped under most people's radars entirely. Took me a couple of listens to get with this track and now I'm wondering why it took even that long! I love the little edits and stops in the intro drums; reminds me of the kind of edits you might have heard the Latin Rascals or Shep Pettibone doing with reel-to-reels, razors and sticky tape!
Das EFX : Brooklyn To T-Neck
When I eventually heard of Teaneck, New Jersey, I thought "Ah, so *that's* what they were on about!" Das EFX are the only group I can think of that had their style bitten so badly (I'm not naming names, just go back and listen to releases around the same time) that they pretty much had to change it up after this album! Solid Scheme (Derek Lynch and the late Chris Charity) provide the funky instrumental, not Erick Sermon as a lot of people who didn't read the credits thought!
Willus Drummond : L.A Vacation (Instrumental)
Vocal version - not up to much. This - thumping. Got this on a 12" alongside J-Zone's "No Consequences" (quality tune). Sometimes it's just all about the beat...nice "Diff'rent Strokes" reference in his name though!
Agallah : Club Hoppin'
The shop I bought this from labelled it with something to the effect of this being something for the MTV crowd, but I don't think that kind of crowd would appreciate this beat - the real old-skool heads will recognise this break all the way! This is pretty atypical of Agallah's sound, but I like it and his energy definitely carries it strong - 24 bar final verse? I guess he liked the beat as much as me! (as an aside, the delivery of "you have no idea" in the hook is class.)
Space Lady : The Gift, Pt.2
Got to credit the man Johnny Dub for putting me up on this one when it came out, an ill 12" on GAMM records which works well in a Hip-Hop or Zapp-type mix. Apparently Space Lady is an alter-ego of someone in Swedish Hip-Hop, but as that's far from my specialist subject I couldn't tell you who. Watch it be Soul Supreme now :o)
The Beat Kids ft. Sadat X : Life Is A Juggle
Picked this one up for a listen just because I saw Sadat X was on it, and it was so unusual I just had to buy it. I can't find any info on The Beat Kids so I don't know what else they've done - I don't think I'd listen to a whole album's worth but in bite-size chunks, just right!
Afrodisiac Sound System ft. Raashan Ahmad : It's So Nice
Illlllll! Not sure why I picked this one up as I'd not heard of them but this tune is the best club tune I never hear in clubs - a nation of DJs are sleeping on it!
Rodan : Ruler Of Day And Night (Instrumental)
I've got this on 12" but I hear it's on MF DOOM's "MM...More Food" album. Produced by M.Moreau & MF DOOM, of course based on a very well known sample for the soul crowd (even alluded to in the title), and one of those tracks that to be honest sounds better to me as an instrumental; I absolutely hated the rhyming on the vocal version, it sounded to me like a textbook example of ignoring the beat and just going off on one... *ducks DOOM fans*
Vikter Duplaix : Looking For Love (Critical Point 58th St.Mix)
Despite the electro-bass on this one I think it needed the comedown from the last instrumental rather than being blended straight from the Afrodisiac Sound System tune. The original was a Marc Mac production but this remix is by the artist and James Poyser, and was done in the famous Electric Lady studios. Nice broken beat-type cut with a sentiment I'm sure a lot of people can relate to...
Remember to support the artists! Search out more material from those you like (if you're in a country where Spotify is available, it's a good cheap way), buy the vinyl/CDs/downloads you like the most and do go to live shows - it puts the most money in their pockets and keeps that live scene alive too :o)
Sat, 31 July 2010
"Backup plan's got backup..."
(Shoutout to DJ Greenpeace for the episode title - an old joke from back in the day!)
Just squeezing this episode in with minutes to spare - the choice of the first few tracks seemed to flow easily but it took me a long while to settle on what to include for the rest of the show. It goes from the sunny, to the abrasive, to the paranoid, and more besides, and all in under an hour - enjoy!
Al B. Sure! : Nite And Day
Shout out to Al - he's put a lot of people on over the years! Depending on your musical background, this is one of those tunes which either you'll recognise straight away or never have heard at all. Just giving you a taster here, largely so you can appreciate the next tune...
The Federation : My Rimz
Fairfield stand up! Fantastic Bay Area track from the guys who brought you the term "Hyphy" - when this song plays even your bike turns into a box Chevrolet, just for a while :o) You can find this on the "It's Whateva" album - I don't know if it was ever on vinyl but you can definitely get CD and MP3 versions from your favourite web shop (unless that's http://welikewackbeats.com)
E-40 ft. The Clipse : Quarterbackin' (Instrumental)
Bay Area again! Only the instrumental here, but will definitely have to give you some E-40 in a future episode - he's an underappreciated MC, certainly in the UK where he's not well known at all. This beat (by E-A-Ski and CMT) swaggers and knocks in a defiantly West Coast fashion, grab a copy of the 12" if it's up your alley; here's the video with the full tune.
Styly Cee ft. Midnyte : Kofi's Night
Maybe I'm biased because Midnyte dissed Michael Jackson, but this is included more for the fit of the beat than the lyrics! This is a track out of Nottingham, Styly Cee being a veteran of their scene - Midnyte may be too but I've got to be honest, I don't know too much about him! This was on a 12" on Son Records with "Joyrider" on the A-Side - got the vinyl but I've just noticed you can buy it on Bandcamp as a download.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad ft. Chip-Fu : Lord Can I Have This Mercy
I can't find where I originally read this, but one interviewer asked Ali about the metallic shaking noise ("like scissors") that runs throughout the beat, and he replied that it was the sound of chains - like slaves would have worn. That image has always stayed with me and comes to mind every time I hear this track, originally from his 2004 "Shaheedullah and Stereotypes" album. That bass is pretty serious, and Chip-Fu comes back from the Fu-schnickens days to deliver some decent material, although when he switches from singing to rhyming he seems to go off-topic?
Ta'raach : Yeah
Another one of the many gifted Detroit producers (as well as a very solid MC). Love this one, that repeated vocal sample every bar is *just* right, everything on the track just seems to fit together as it should. No real hook, extended (for this era, anyway) cuts at the end, nice change from the standard verse/hook/verse/hook/outro structure. I've been looking for a place to fit this one in for a while, so here it is - only downer is now I can't play it on the show again!
PMD : '87 To The Present
The "Parrish Making Dollars" part of EPMD with a sneaky little cut which I bet hardly anyone on here has heard! While Parrish is actually overlooked for his production and has cooked up many classics, this one was produced by the Ghetto Professionals (ex-Beatnut V.I.C and Mike Heron). Taken from the "The Awakening" album, picked it up cheap from somewhere - got a couple of good joints on there, worth a check at least.
Hijack : The Paranoid Schizophrenic With Homicidal Tendencies
Quite a title, and a departure from everything else on Hijack's certified UK classic "The Horns Of Jericho" (which you should have if at all possible, at the time of writing it's not the cheapest though). Hijack are simply legends on the UK scene for what they did in their day. At a time when UK Hip-Hop was written off by many, they made enough noise that Ice-T came over to sign them to Rhyme $yndicate Records, and this is when Ice-T was unquestionably one of the biggest MCs on the scene. Though eventually the crew split up to do all sorts of different things, the album is a landmark.
Tribeca ft. Doujah Raze : Throw Heat
"Who?" you ask? Tribeca is a Bronx MC and producer who's done some great stuff but just isn't well-known enough; he's done tracks with Pharoahe Monch ("The Life") and Camp Lo ("Sunkiss" and "Army" to name two) and I'd love to hear him producing for more MCs. I don't know exactly how to describe it but he's just...dramatic, or maybe forceful? He's not too shy to use quite aggressive programming or to play with the panning on sounds in a dynamic style, and I have visions of him pounding on the MPC pads like a drumkit!
M.O.P ft. Li'l Red : City
Discovered this tune last month and decided it absolutely had to be on the next episode - it's on the soundtrack album to the film "Paid In Full" which is worth seeing, by the way. I bought a digital copy of this and don't know who did the beat, but it's dope; I especially love the stuttering feel on the second half of each four-bar segment, the first half just sets you up nicely waiting for it every time. Great chorus as well!
PS - "Paid In Full" is worth seeing, but do read Azie Faison's "Game Over" which is the true story on which the film is very loosely based.
Redman ft. B.I.G, Big L, Big Pun & 2Pac : I C Dead People
This may be the only time you hear an Eminem production on the podcast! I've never taken to his beats at all but this one here works well with the concept of the spirits of the dead MCs filling in the lyrics. I got this on a 12" with some other Redman tracks but this is more readily available on Red's "Ill At Will Vol.1" mixtape/CD. Sorry about the sound quality - probably part bad pressing, part harsh cartridge?
Jimmy Page : Jam Sandwich
Yes, the Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin - this is from the "Death Wish II" soundtrack which I picked up a while ago in the hope of finding some sample material but managed to find this track to play as a bit of a bonus! I had heard in the past that he's not a lover of Hip-Hop and doesn't clear samples but he did take that cheque to feature on Puff Daddy's "Come With Me," which goes to show it's all about the Benjamins...
Joell Ortiz : Project Boy
Something from this year for you; Primo on the beat and one of the foremost new MCs ripping the verses. It's dark, it's paranoid, it's brilliant. Me and my man Watch Deez disagree on the video for this though; I think it's genius and fits perfectly (and the style of the shots is similar to the style of photos I like to take), he thinks it could have been a lot better. What do you think?
Dark Sun Riders ft. Brother J : Rhythmous Flex
1996 banger! After X-Clan, Brother J linked up with this crew (not sure if he started it or not) and recorded the "Seeds Of Evolution" album from which this is taken. Those drums are just killing it - the producer (Ultraman) can always point with pride and say "I did that!" Those of you who are/have been turntablists or followers of that scene might recognise this from one of Mixmaster Mike's old mixtapes - I know a lot of people wanted to know what this was...
Black Milk ft. DJ Premier, Pharoahe Monche & Sean Price : The Matrix
Heavyweight lineup here - B-side to the "Give The Drummer Sum" single, and the best track on there comfortably. Detroit native Black Milk handles the crunchy digital production and opening verse but Pharoahe and Sean P kill this one. "Kryptonite...but I'm a Blood today, Latin King tomorrow?" Oh hell no, that kind of line puts other MCs into retirement!
Slum Village : Set It
Despite an incredible number of setbacks, Slum Village still exists as a group these days, though T3 is the only remaining founder member after the passings of Dilla and Baatin. This track is from the 2005 self-titled album, with just T3 and Elzhi on the mic. Elzhi is definitely the man on this one, filling in all the gaps left in Black Milk's spare, thumping beat.
Lord Digga : K.I.M (Instrumental)
Formerly "Digga," now "Diggaman" so I hear, he got his start in Masta Ace's INC crew before branching out to make some noise as a producer on other projects; notably as part of the Bluez Brothers, who produced three tracks on Biggie's classic "Ready To Die" - the album version of "One More Chance" plus "Everyday Struggle" (heat) and "Me & My Bitch" (looove that beat). I can't believe when I first heard this track that I didn't recognise the sample straight away - it's right in your face once you hear the original...
Linton Kwesi Johnson : Liesense Fi Kill
Born in Jamaica, LKJ is very much an elder statesman of the UK Black artistic community and a living legend of poetry. I first heard this 1998 track on TV - as part of an all-star show celebrating the arrival of the Windrush back in the 50s - and just thought it was incredible. I didn't even think it would be commercially released and was pleasantly surprised to find it on vinyl during one digging mission, so here it is. Google some of the names mentioned for more info...
Remember, if you like what you hear then please do support the artists - seeing them live is the best, and buying the music on whatever format suits you at the very least demonstrates that there's a market for it. If you're in a country where Spotify is available, do get it - it's a great way to hear stuff and be a bit adventurous!
Wed, 30 June 2010
"If I die, my seed'll be ill like me..."
First birthday, yay! It's encouraging to look back on the back catalogue of episodes and see all the tracks I've been putting people up on...every time someone tells me they've chased up some stuff based on something from the podcast it's a great feeling.
I started this month in New York - fantastic trip, so many memories I'll carry with me. Shout outs to Pami, Jerry Beeks, Black Robb, Selina, everyone at Tools Of War, David, and both Crumbs Bakery and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for causing me to owe a lot of pull-ups and rowing machine time...
Mantronix : Needle To The Groove
An 80s classic given to me by the man Jerry Beeks on wax, so only right that I open up this month's show with it! Serious vocoder-type action on the outro, so just had to play the whole thing :o)
Brand Nubian : Don't Let It Go To Your Head (Remix Instrumental)
Not a typical Brand Nubian track but certainly sounds like the Neptunes production it is - never heard this outside my house, I don't know if that's because no-one knows it or everyone else hates it?
Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz : Deja Vu (Uptown Baby) (Pro-Black Mix)
Not a well-known remix - I've lost the info sheet I had with the record but I've heard Ayatollah produced this one; I like it just as much as the original, but in a different way. Trivia: I heard that Steely Dan took 100% of the publishing on the original for the uncleared "Black Cow" sample - once it blew up. One note though; "N****s in the Bronx call me Lex, 'cos I push a Lex, and I rock a Rolex, and I lounge on Lex', and I love sex?" No they don't. I bet if Peter Gunz dropped his wallet walking down the street, and someone picked it up and shouted after him "Hey Lex!" that he wouldn't turn round :o)
Gang Starr : The Place Where We Dwell
So many Brooklyn tunes I could have gone for (Biggie and Jay-Z's "Brooklyn's Finest" sprang to mind) but I settled on this short and sweet dedication to the borough from one of Hip-Hop's greatest duos; it was good enough to be sampled on "Crooklyn," so who am I to rate anything above it?
Onyx : Shiftee
The funniest thing I heard about these guys when they came out was from a Hip-Hop Connection reviewer who said their voices sounds like they had been "gargling with peanut butter!" The "Bacdafucup" album is definitely worth searching out for a listen if you don't know it and aren't easily offended, but it certainly won't get any play on Smooth FM...
Wu-Tang Clan : 7th Chamber Part II
Monster track at the end of the first Wu-Tang album - loved this from the first listen, RZA with the vicious bassline going through the ASR-10 Van Der Pol filter and guitar amp, the dirty drums...perfect base for the Wu MCs to get busy. They don't make 'em like this anymore...well, at least not with rhyming and the drums in time!
Cocoa Brovaz ft. Tony Touch & Hurricane G : Spanish Harlem
Low-key headnodder from the period when Smif-n-Wessun had to change their name due to a trademark complaint from Smith & Wesson. To be fair, I wouldn't want any legal trouble with a gun company myself... Hurricane G always seemed to be shouted out loads by EPMD but was rarely heard, and Tony Touch does some moonlighting here from his usual DJing and sounds better than 90% of the rappers I see on TV right now!
DJ Cam : Voodoo Child (Instrumental)
Non Phixion ft. DV Alias Khrist : 5 Boros (Remix)
That's DV Alias Khrist on two straight episodes now. Best name in Hip-Hop perhaps? The funniest thing about it is that I've never heard anyone call him just "DV" or "Khrist" - you have to say the whole thing :o) Anyway, I'm getting distracted - love this tune, the pianos make it sound grand, drums are banging, the vocal sample is appropriately dark and while the verses are very decent, I can't get enough of that hook!
Mega Banton : Sound Boy Killing (Smoothed Out Remix/Original Dancehall Mix)
One of those tracks from the 90s when it looked like dancehall was trying to stage an invasion into the US - didn't blow up huge but it was good to see some impact, and back then I loved the combination of dancehall vocals with Hip-Hop beats. Thank you Salaam Remi for the remix, but I just had to sneak a little of the original in there too.
Al Johnson & Jean Carn : Back For More
1980 track, but not an overpowering synth anywhere in earshot. Classy soul number, a really nice duet - someone must have sampled that intro, it's crying out for it!
Mary J. Blige : Be Happy
Even back in the day when I had little time for R&B, this track just could not be denied - 1994 soul flavour here from the Yonkers legend, with a Curtis Mayfield sample just riding nicely underneath. Hotness.
GZA : Fame (Instrumental)
Not 100% sure who produced this - for some reason the vinyl of the single I have doesn't have any credits on it at all! Anyone know?
Nicholas R. Flawless ft. Camp Lo : Cheetah
This seems to never have had an official release, and I've seen different credits in different places for it - the vinyl has this as strictly a Camp Lo track but I think that's wrong. Anyway, I paid some horrible amount to get this on wax, and the sound quality isn't the greatest but that's always the chance you take with unofficial pressings - I think the track shines through all that though!
Braintax : Rational Geographics
Regardless of where he's based now, I always like to let it be known that Braintax started in Leeds! This is taken from "The Travel Show" EP, from the solo incarnation of Braintax, after the departure of DJ T.E.S.T, and a record which has been sitting undisturbed in my collection too long! A nice airy tune longing for a simpler, freer lifestyle, and maybe a bit of sun!
Pete Rock & CL Smooth : Sun Won't Come Out
...better not come here then! As an aside, this track gives us the second mention of Castro on the podcast, purely by accident! Hard-drummed, big-bassed trunk rattler from Pete Rock with CL Smooth doing what he does best - rhyming on a Pete Rock beat. Sadly, we've probably had as much of that as we're going to get...do yourself a favour and run to buy "Mecca & The Soul Brother" and "The Main Ingredient" if you don't already have them - thank me later.
K-Def : The Magnum
One of the great underrated (if not completely unmentioned) producers/beatmakers, K-Def was half of Real Live and has done tracks for the likes of Ghostface/Theodore Unit ("Paychecks," biiiig!), Lords Of The Underground, ODB, and more. This is taken from an instrumental-only release, "Beats From The 90s Vol.2" - one for the Hip-Hop DJs to own!
Donnie : People Person
Amazing modern soul - the production/instrumentation works well with a singer who's got a fantastic voice, great lyrics, and doesn't fit the MTV mould. Thank goodness for that!
Please support the artists if you hear anything on here you like! Check stuff out on Spotify, and of course do buy the vinyl/CD/downloads, and go to see live performances whenever you can!
Sun, 23 May 2010
"Shine on me."
- CL Smooth
Twelve episodes, a complete year! Been a hectic month but managed to get just enough time to give you another podcast of audio goodness - here's to more of the same next year!
Ras Kass : Release Yourself
New track available for free on Bandcamp! The Carson, CA veteran MC links up with Rhettmatic of the Beat Junkies crew for an energetic, offbeat track from his upcoming "ADIDAS (All Day I Dream About Spittin')" album. After a difficult time with his career in the past he seems to be making moves with the new digital distribution model, nice to see some artists taking more control.
Twisted Rootz : Samurai Mind Control
Great beat from a young producer coming out of Manchester - we were both demonstrating at a workshop organised by In The Loop, and after we played each other beats as part of the session he passed me a CD; I played it in the car and this was the standout for me! You can hear more of his stuff at twistedrootz.com.
Trigger Tha Gambler ft. DV Alias Khrist : Hitman For Hire
Does anyone other than me think of DV Alias Khrist as the East Coast, underground version of Nate Dogg? Anyway, been looking for this one for a long while ever since I heard it played on Radio 1 - by Westwood, I believe! Trigger attacks the mic with an approach similar to that on the aggressive classic "Broken Language," and whoever did the beat - I tip my hat to you! Got this on white label, so no credits on it at all...
Pete Rock & CL Smooth : Shine On Me
2002 single on Fat Beats, long after the original split between Pete and CL - just shows that whatever their personal feelings towards each other, they bring the best out of each other musically!
Plato : New Born
New Manchester duo who have just put out their first EP "Ease The Word," Plato consist of Pitch on production and Francophone MC Bedos on the mic. This is one of my favourite tracks right now; this was played on Agent J's Groovement show a few weeks ago when these guys were guesting and I bothered the hell out of them asking when it was going to come out! That beat...killer. Bedos' flow is ill but I have to admit my French isn't good enough to understand most of the lyrics!
Knucklehedz : All She Wanted
Erick Sermon on the beat, this is an early 90s funk bomb of the type they just don't seem to make any more - lyrics on the vocal version aren't anything spectacular but I could read my council tax bill over this beat and sound like the man :o)
The Squeeze #1 : Diamond & The Psychotic Neurotics - Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop
Trying out an idea, basically trying to summarise the feel of an album. At first I thought this could be done in three or four minutes - pretty quickly found out otherwise! Every track from the album is in here somewhere, if only for a note or two in some cases. For the record (no pun intended) I've heard a DJ track end before with "so put that in your pipe and smoke it," probably on one of the "Return Of The DJ" albums; only sprang to mind when I'd finished, but it was also the only part of that Diamond track I could work out what to do with!
DJ Jazzy Jeff : BossyNova
Lovely summery track with a nice bit of low-end keyboard work from Jeff's "Return Of The Magnificent" EP - not on the album, so you'll have to look a little harder to get your hands on this one!
The Clipse : Mr Me Too
Shout out to Jon K (then of Fat City Records) for putting me up on this when it was very first released - spacey and bassy, love it. I think The Clipse definitely have mic skills and I do keep an eye on what they put out, but I personally could never look at them quite the same way after they dropped the line "Deep like the Hutu, you cockroaches" on the "Wamp Wamp" single...
All City : Priceless
Illlll! Pete Rock on the beat on this monster B-Side to "The Actual," I know some people who've had trouble finding a copy of this so here's something to get your head nodding on the way to wherever you go to make money!
ODB : Brooklyn Zoo (Instrumental)
Not a RZA beat as most people would assume, but the work of True Master - who also did "Fish," one of my favourite Ghostface tracks. This is definitely one of the all-time great Hip-Hop party starters!
Alicia Keys : Girlfriend
Based around the "Brooklyn Zoo" piano line, I hadn't heard this until recently; I was re-reading Joseph Schloss' "Making Beats" and he mentioned it, so I had a listen and thought it'd be worth including here for anyone else who missed it the first time round!
Platinum Pied Pipers ft. Neco Redd : 1 Luv 2 U
Waajeed of Bling47 on production, heard this floating around on MP3 for ages and then found a vinyl of it by accident while on a flying visit to the record shop - result!
Marco Polo ft. J*Davey : Relax
Not usually one for Hip-Hop remakes but this kind of works for me - nicely produced by Marco Polo and J*Davey gives a gender-reversal aspect to the original.
The ARE : Eclectic Relaxation
Love the heavy, slumping rhythm on this cut from the free (and excellent) "Manipulated Marauders" instrumental album, which takes the original samples from each track on A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders" and does something with them - sometimes close to the originals, sometimes not...definitely worth a download!
Thirstin Howl III ft. Sadat X : I Can't Dance
I laughed when I stumbled on this on Spotify and had to get a copy! I quite like having a bit of a dance in a club but records about not dancing are always amusing, this being no exception - Thirstin Howl III (of the Lo-Lifes, of course) always brings humour to the proceedings and he combines well with Sadat X here. Of course the track is based around Bowie's "Let's Dance" - if you ever wondered why that track is so good, the reason is that it was produced by the great Nile Rodgers of Chic, who is scientifically proven to be incapable of creating weak material!
Please support the artists if you hear anything on here you like! Check stuff out on Spotify, and of course do buy the vinyl/CD/downloads, and go to see live performances whenever you can!
Wed, 21 April 2010
"All praises due, if you know what I mean..."
(By the way - no, that photo isn't Photoshopped - that's really how the sky looked that day!)
This is about as close as a lot of people have got to flying recently, the volcanic eruption in Iceland has stranded a lot of people, including some of my listeners - hope you get home safe soon!
As promised in the episode, here's the link where you can get the info on this week's Neighbourhood party - hope to see you there!
The sad news was just announced yesterday that Guru passed away, apparently after a long and painful illness. RIP Baldhead Slick...above the clouds...
J-Zone : Flight 212/Bullshit City
I thought I'd start off with something on the airline theme and could have gone a few different ways (Ice Cube's "My Summer Vacation" and "Altitudes" by Little Brother spring to mind). I love J-Zone, he's not only a fantastic producer but has more personality than the next ten MCs in line combined - humour and individuality on the mic are greatly underrated these days!
Air Adam : Ground Effect
Another beat from my vaults, got this one pressed onto a dub plate as I liked it so much! Burning things onto a CD to play just isn't the same...especially if you don't use CDJs anyway :o)
Mobb Deep ft. Noyd: Scam
Unreleased track from 2000, can't remember where I first got an MP3 of this but I love it - very dark and minimal, lots of little touches you might not pick up on straight away, very Mobb. After much searching I managed to find an unofficial vinyl pressing of it to play this month :o) There's a "Mark The 45 King" remix of this track on the B-side but it's nowhere near as good - this is the one.
Cormega ft. Ghostface : Tony/Montana
If you didn't know, the title comes from the fact that this track is by Ghostface (aka Tony Starks) and Cormega (aka Mega Montana); totally forgot about this one until I went for a good root in the collection. Is Mega's section about the Sprewell trade awkward or genius?
Blahzay Blahzay : Sending Dem Back
Of course when you talk about Blahzay you think about "Danger" and "The Pain I Feel," but I've loved this track since the man DJ Greenpeace hit me with a cassette of the album preview back in my salad days. Tanya Brewer is the singer on this, for anyone who wanted to know!
Faith Evans : You Used To Love Me (Ali Mix)
The original track is great too but this is a nice reworking, airy and spacey, giving Faith's vocals plenty of room. I edited the intro to this slightly to make it a bit longer and better for blending with, then used Serato to mix it live; got to love all this modern technology :o)
Jake One & Freeway : Know What I Mean (Instrumental)
The "Stimulus Package" album is hot right now and not only does it sound good but the packaging and ability to download an official digital version of the album and instrumentals perhaps point the way to how people can be persuaded to shell out for the physical copy of an album in these downloading times!
The Roots : Proceed V (Beatminerz Mix)
Philly. New York. Nice.
Johnnie Taylor : Somebody's Gettin' It
Taken from the 1976 "Eargasm" album, which has some top tracks on it. If you don't know who Johnnie Taylor is, you may just recognise this track which borrows from one of his tunes heavily. Picked this one up in Manchester's King Bee Records, great spot for digging for old vinyl and worthy of support, as are all good independent record shops - don't let them disappear!
Ultramagnetic MCs : Raise It Up
From the Wild Pitch era of Ultra, the "Four Horsemen" album is a quality 90s New York release - no frills, no R&B, just straight up Hip-Hop. Used to play this one heavily on cassette back in the days, but finally got a vinyl copy of this track on the "Hi-Phat Diet" compilation.
Guru : The Anthem
It would have been too easy to go to the library of big Gang Starr classics here, and I'm sure there will be some fitting tribute mixes popping up all over the net this week. This is from the "Baldhead Slick & Da Click" album which was mixed overall but certainly had a few gems on it. DJ Roach on production here, and of course the one and only Guru Keith E handling the mic in his unmistakable style.
Outerspace : 151° (Instrumental) / The Cutthroats ft. Guru : Stop Looking At Me
Outerspace are part of the extended Jedi Mind Tricks family and part of Army Of The Pharaohs, and this serious beat was produced by 7L - I got it on a 12" with "Divine Evil" on the other side but it's apparently taken from the "Blood And Ashes" EP.
I just had to play that bit of the Cutthroats/Guru track - for light relief if nothing else!
Prince Po : Holla
Self-produced track from the former Organized Konfusion MC, from the "Prettyblack" album but also on the B-Side of "Mecheti Lightspeed" - that tune got a decent amount of play in these parts but I felt like this one was overlooked; yes, it's clubbish and all that, but is that a crime?
Joe Budden ft. LL Cool J & Dutchess : Focus (Remix)
Shout out to DJ A-Up who wanted to know about this tune when I played it out a few months ago! It's called a remix but the beat is just the same as the original, which is good since there was nothing wrong with it :o) Dutchess I don't know anything about I have to say, but LL is of course one of those guys who just kept on going and always seemed to be able to keep up as the era and audience changed; respect for that!
Missy Elliott ft. Jay-Z : Wake Up
Missy is definitely one of those artists who's done so many things you forget! I hadn't heard this tune for so long but heard it the other day while going through some things and then played it a few more times in a row!
1st Infantry : The Midnight Creep (Instrumental)
Nice crime-story Alchemist production: Havoc and Twin are on the vocal version of this, worth having I think!
The Coup : 5 Million Ways To Kill A CEO
Even if the revolution isn't televised, at least it'll have a soundtrack! 2001 track here from the deeply political Oakland duo (Boots Riley on the mic, Pam the Funkstress on the wheels); also notable for having the great Bernie Worrell on the Theremin!
Please support the artists whenever you can if there's anything on here you like; go to see them live, check them out on Spotify, and buy their output too!
Wed, 17 March 2010
"We be listening to beats to keep the cipher complete..."
Going into double figures this month! I managed to fight off a nasty sore throat for just long enough to get all the voiceover done, and in response to Coxy I think I've turned my voice up so it's not so quiet compared to the music - I'm sure he'll let me know if I've hit or missed the mark!
Big shout out to Guru who as many of you know is currently in hospital after suffering a heart attack and (reportedly) being induced into a coma. Best wishes going out to you from the Hip-Hop Nation, get well soon!
Brand Nubian ft. Redd Foxx : Black Star Line
From the great "In God We Trust" LP - as much as I love this track, it's not my absolute favourite on the album - but then where else but here would I get chance to play an album cut about Marcus Garvey and have people actually listen?
Air Adam : Street Kingdom
An old beat of mine - for some reason I was in a club where Ja Rule's "Living It Up" (which I hate) was playing and thinking to myself how you could flip the intro and turn it into something with a very different feel, which turned out to be this. I might re-do it on the MPC sometime with new drums to make it thump a bit more, but then I'm not looking to sell this beat so maybe not :o) And the title? Well, that's from the incredible book by Doug Century - absolutely worth a read, or ten!
Greg Osby ft. CL Smooth : Raise (Ali Shaheed Muhammad Remix)
Jazz meets Hip-Hop here as it often does, but in this case you have a top player live on the track rather than sampled - the saxophonist Greg Osby was on Blue Note for years so you know his credentials are correct. This is one of those tracks where the version I knew isn't the one on the album; I first heard this on "Yo! MTV Raps" years ago and loved it, but the original version on the "3D Lifestyles" album just doesn't quite do it for me. Check the "Speak & Spell" sounds in the background too!
OutKast : Players' Ball (Remix)
The B-side of the "Players' Ball" 12" from their first album, before anyone had any idea of some of the craziness that would follow in later years...it's pretty sped up but I like it like that.
DJ Faust : Mind Over Matter
Forgot all about this one competely - pulled from the "Fathomless" EP by Faust, Craze (before his incredible streak of world domination) and Shortee, released just when turntablism was starting to bubble up in the public consciousness. Faust isn't the first name that comes to the mind of many when they think tablism but he's certainly respected among those that know.
Large Professor : Liveguy Saga
Biiiiig! One of my favourite B-sides of all time! This on the flip of "Bout That Time" - which truth be told is pretty blah. This tune is serious though, and I'd consider giving my kingdom for an instrumental! Minimal, but not crazy minimal, just bumps nicely.
Zion I : Luv (Instrumental)
Amp Live bringing a killer beat - very underrated producer for sure. Search out the vocal version of this as it's a very good track, I've certainly given it lots of play before. In fact, look out for any Zion I stuff you can pick up...
Easy Mo Bee ft. Gang Starr : Soul
You don't know it do you? Ha! Well, it's all about sharing so you do now :o) This was originally released on Easy Mo Bee's little-known "Now Or Never : Odyssey 2000" album, a producer-driven project from the man who brought us, amongst other things, the mighty "Flava In Ya Ear" which is one of my all-time favourite beats. I had this track on the album, bought the 12" hoping to get an instrumental and then found they'd accidentally missed it off - gutted!
Que D : In Your Face
Dilla on the beat which was probably the reason I picked this up originally to give it a listen as I didn't know much about Que D beforehand - even now, all I really know is that he's one of the MCs out of Detroit in the extended Slum Village/Dilla family, and he rides this beat well.
Strange Fruit Project : Soul Clap
Texas Hip-Hop with a difference! Got this for a bargain price the other day - put it on the listening deck in the record shop and decided I had to have it. The group of course are named after the famous song.
En Vogue : Hold On
90s classic, dug this one out after forgetting I had it in the first place! I heard Kid Capri use this on a mixtape once, so if it's good enough for him it's good enough for me ;o) Oh yes - check the sloppiness of the snare on beat 4 of each bar! Didn't notice that until I had to mix into it...
M.O.P : G-Building (Instrumental)
Self-produced, D&D studio-recorded, thumping banger from the Brownsville hardrocks. One of my favourite MOP beats and also blended nicely with the En Vogue cut - who'd have thought?
Michael Jackson : Pretty Young Thing (Demo) (U-Tern Edit)
Newness - well, where new=old but little known :o) This has been slightly re-edited for length but the main composition is unchanged; this is the original demo version of "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)" by Michael Jackson. The song was later massively reworked into a more untempo number by MJ, James Ingram and Quincy Jones, and it's that version which appears on the Thriller album. On the one hand, I *think* I prefer this version, but on the other, listen to the instrumental of the album version...when those voices come in on the lead-up to the hook it's just illlll...
Aya : Put Your Faith In Us
Another Naked Music killer, taken from Aya's "Strange Flower" album. I've been absolutely caning this song on Spotify lately so it was only right that I buy a copy and let you hear it too. For some reason I kept thinking it would have been great if Michael Jackson had recorded a version of this song; it sounds like the kind of thing that would have fit him like a glove (no pun intended). Also notice what it does to the tension in the track to have no kick drum on the first beat of every bar - subtle but effective!
Tim Dog : Step To Me (Instrumental)
Maybe not the obvious track to go into from the previous one, but where would the fun be in being predictable? I thought the drum break sounded good here and also provided a springboard to launch into the next track...
Eric B & Rakim : Teach The Children
Second track on the oft-overlooked "Check The Technique" album, definitely worth a pickup if you've not already got it in your collection. That little four-bar change in the piano riff in the first verse starting at the line "I approached it slow..." still puts the chills up me eighteen years since I first heard it. Lyrically, when I listen to something like this, and then some of the alleged rappers coming out now...well, maybe they should have spent more time listening to stuff like this and less playing video games...and yes, I know that makes me sound like an old man.
Wildchild : Code Red (Instrumental)
Oh No on production, this was flipping wigs like crazy in Manchester when it came out a few years back and as soon as all the DJs found out what is was, we all bought it and played it heavy; it's been a while so time to bring it back!
Gang Starr ft. K-Ci and JoJo : Royalty
When this came out I'll admit I was skeptical about having K-Ci and JoJo guesting on a Gang Starr track, but it works and it's a classic. Production-wise, DJ Premier kills it with an amazing sample chop which sounds impossible even when you hear the original track. Guru brings his unique flavour on the mic, and it's the complete package!
If you do hear anything you especially like then do get in touch and let me know, and please support the artists - find more output of theirs on Spotify to get a feel for it, go to live shows if you can (that's where they really get paid) and buy the stuff you like the most!
Mon, 15 February 2010
"Gazing at the worldly things like a showcase..."
- Killah Priest
Podcast podcast number nine... been a quiet month for me but a bad month or so in music with Teddy Pendergrass, Sha Lumie and Apache all passing away due to illnesses. Appreciate your favourite artists while they're here!
Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon & Cappadonna : Camay
A love song, Wu-Tang style, from Ghost's "Ironman" album, which is actually still my favourite album of his! This samples the late great Teddy Pendergrass' "Can We Try?"
Jamal : Fades 'Em All (Pete Rock Remix Instrumental)
One of those beloved 90s Pete Rock remixes pretty much unknown to those outside the Hip-Hop scene. Jamal was one of the MCs in the kiddie-but-not-kiddie group Illegal whose album "The Untold Truth" had one of the most amazing lineups on the beats you can imagine - Lord Finesse, Erick Sermon, Diamond D, and more...how did they pull that off? And while I'm asking questions, anyone know what Malik is doing these days?
Sunz Of Man : No Love Without Hate
An old favourite of mine from the extended Wu camp, I got a RealAudio (remember that?) file of this from the net, recorded it to tape and had it on my walkman heavy - perfect soundtrack to those nighttime walks trying to get my head right. Not sure how other people will feel about this tune but this is almost the poster child for the podcast - a track I loved which I never get chance to play anywhere!
Scritti Politti ft. Lee Majors & Mos Def : Tinseltown To Boogiedown (Pete Rock Variation)
Green Gartside & co have always had an affinity with Black music so it's not totally surprising to see this collaboration. Some of you will remember the track they did with Shabba Ranks ("She's A Woman") and Roger Troutman worked with them on the "Provision" album, there's a nice bit of trivia for you. I love Scritti Politti actually, will have to play some more in future - not even remixes, just straight up 80s pop styles!
Masta Ace & Stricklin : The Hitman
Produced by Create & Devastate, a nice little 2006 12" release, shouts to Reptile of the Assmatics crew for putting me up on this one when it was first released. I've just given this one a little edit to make it two verses and then instrumental just to let the beat ride by itself for a few bars :o) Not sure if the producers have done much since but Masta Ace continues to put out good music today a full twenty years after "Take A Look Around" - how time flies...
Da Beatminerz ft. Sha Lumie : Hip-Hop (Da Essence)
Truth be told this is not my favourite Beatminerz production by a long way, but I always liked the lyrics and they're even more striking now with the passing of Sha Lumie this year. "Stay in tune to the game 'til my heartbeat stop..." Those who knew him and have spoken about him publicly will say that he certainly did.
Hyenas In The Desert : Concubinez (Instrumental)
As far as I'm aware these guys only released one EP on Chuck D's Slam Jamz label and then pretty much disappeared. There were a few decent tracks on it but this was the clear winner, just a big pounding tune which moves a big sound system (get a copy and try it)!
J Sands : Southern Lady
This is one I do actually play a bit in clubs, taken from the "Hip Hop Love Soul" compilation on Fat City; I love that quasi-Charleston flavour with a bit of added bump! Someone called Beats Fa Daze (90s-style phonetic spelling there) did the production on this one - can't find credits on any other releases, but would be interested to hear more!
DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. J-Live & every DJ ever : Break It Down
There's another version of this floating about with a different beat which I don't think suits it, but this is the one on my vinyl copy of DJ Jazzy Jeff's "The Magnificent" album on BBE and I'm glad for it! Teacher/MC/DJ J-Live skips in and out of the beat and there's a huge roster of DJs on this track giving you a few quick cuts each; great idea! Bet there were a few wreck crossfaders behind this one...
MC Serch : Here It Comes Again
From the "Return Of The Product" album comes the much-improved version of "Here It Comes," drums galore and the former 3rd Bass frontman on the mic in his pre-executive days. You barely hear any Hip-Hop this speed these days - whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your taste!
Fun-Da-Mental : Tribal Revolution (Homeland Mix)
A UK 12" from an Asian and Black crew which I picked up for a bargain price many years ago, before I was DJing - this is an instrumental, and a good one, but their lyrics are always political and forthright, which is to be respected!
DJ Shadow ft. Chris James : Erase You
A track I initially overlooked from Shadow's "The Outsider" album, only to discover it when my iPod was on shuffle one day. This is some of the most outrageously good drum programming you'll hear anywhere, a brilliant production job all round to give it that live performance feel - right down to what I assume is an artifically-inserted feedback squeal partway through the vocals, have a listen out for it! Chris James of the band Stateless (Leeds stand up!) is the featured singer and I'll be checking for their own material.
Gaelle : Separate Rooms
Does anyone remember a late-90s house track called "King Of My Castle" by Wamdue Project? Well, this is the same vocalist, several years later and with some very silky production. If you like this kind of thing at all, you must buy her "Transient" album because not to put too fine a point on it, it's pure quality. I've been waiting for a chance to slot this tune in and this segment of uptempo tunes fits nicely.
D-Train : You're The One For Me
80s classic! Big club track from 1981 (no, I'm not old enough to have been clubbing back then, unless you count eating Club biscuits or clubbing people with soft toys), keyboard overload with a real sanger over the top, no Autotune here!
Exile ft. Ta'raach : Move On 'Em
80s through the looking glass :o) Exile flips a strangely familiar groove, adds some serious Moog and lets Ta'Raach get busy on the mic on this selection from the "Dirty Science" album.
Nature : Don't Stop (Instrumental)
Trackmasters production on this instrumental of a track from the "For All Seasons" LP. Nature's lyrics on the vocal version of this are a little forgettable, but he will always get props from me for his opening of Noreaga's "Banned From TV."
DJ Spinna ft. Jigmastas : New York
Monster tune with one of those sample usages that makes you wonder why you never thought of doing it! I'm a big Spinna fan but it was my man Gez who originally let me know about this one by sending me a link to the video which immediately made it into my list of all-time favourites; just check the camera, editing and colour work! I think I'll do a post on favourite Hip-Hop videos of all time in a blog post sometime...
As I say every month, if there's stuff on here you like then do support the artists - look into their catalogues and buy some of their work and/or go to see them live! Whatever you can do, it all helps fight back the forces of wackness...
Sun, 17 January 2010
"Weapons of mass percussion."
Happy New Year! Welcome to the first episode of the decade, 50+ minutes of audio gems for your headphones, car, shop...
Big event of the month has unfortunately been the tragic earthquake in Haiti - if you have a little spare cash, please donate to any of the many organisations trying to help out there.
Fugees ft. A Tribe Called Quest, Forte & Busta Rhymes : Rumble In The Jungle
One of those tracks which did make noise even commercially right when it came out but then seemed to disappear altogether; very underrated track as far as I'm concerned. Sample is of course Abba's "Name Of The Game" - I heard somewhere that this was the first time they ever cleared a sample, so the Fugees beat Madonna to the punch on that by a long way :o)Mobb Deep : Extortion (Instrumental)
Havoc on production on this instrumental of the track from the "Hell On Earth" album.Portishead : Revenge Of The Number
I know hardly anyone listening knows this one :o) Top remix of Portishead's "Numb" (so the title isn't pronounced how it looks) from the Rebirth Of Cool Phive album, also on the B-Side of the "Numb" 12" I think. The original is great and so's this...I wouldn't necessarily say better but different and just as good.Nas : Book Of Rhymes
An underrated gem from the "God's Son" album, Alchemist on production. I don't know if these are definitely rejected rhymes or not, but I love the idea and execution, right down to the sounds of flipping pages. The 'new' verse where he talks about being jealous of his baby daughter is gold.Mos Def/Pure P : Ms. Phat Bootleg
As you can probably guess from the title, this is a remix of Mos Def's "Ms. Phat Booty," from Pure P's "On My New York Sh*t Pt.2" 12". A bit summery-sounding for the vicious cold weather we've had lately, but maybe that's a good thing...Air Adam : Relief (Instrumental)
Something from my archives (originally titled "Seer" until Manchester singer Aileen wrote lyrics to it), keeping the vibe gentle for a few before turning up the heat on the next track!Ta'raach & Invincible : Bombs Away
From Waajeed's "War" LP on Fat City Recordings, big stomping track. Ta'raach is definitely dope on this but Invincible just smashes it with her mic time. Detroit come through with a winner.Marco Polo ft. Large Professor : The Radar (Remix)
A thing of beauty - hardcore, unapologetic Hip-Hop. Hard drums, dope rhymes and some excellent cuts courtesy of DJ Linx who I've never heard before but whose name will certainly ring bells for me now. Attention music industry: more like this please!Kardinal Offishall : Husslin'
Coming in from Toronto is the firestarter himself! He's a very underrated MC who has the ability to blend the Caribbean style with classic Hip-Hop and can hold his own on the mic with anyone; if you heard Episode 1, you'll have heard him sharing vocal duties with the incredible Pharoahe Monch, and in a situation where many MCs would have been annihilated he showed he belonged! If you can get a copy of "Firestarter Vol.1 : Quest For Fire" then pick one up - and if you can get vinyl instead of CD, they're worth a fair bit now...Tek : Nothing's Gonna Change
Gerrard C. Baker on production, for the record - not heard of him previously but this is on the B-side of the "Number 1 Sound" single - "G Walking" rounds out the selection of reggae-flavoured Hip-Hop on that essential 12".O$$ Bo$$ : Wu-Ting
Dancehall riddim borrowing from ODB's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and Wu-Tang's "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit." The vocal track on the other side of this 7" ("Camel" by Dolce & Gabbana) doesn't add anything at all to it truth be told, so the instrumental gets the nod - and usually gets a great reaction when I play it out!Slick Rick ft. Raekwon : Frozen
From Rick's 1999 "The Art Of Storytelling" LP, his first full project after his release from prison in 1996 - it should be noted here that he was eventually given a full pardon. In the 80s he was fly and here...still the same! Raekwon guests on this and represents well - maybe after/if the rumoured Kool G Rap & Raekwon album happens, these two should do a project together? "We Will Rob You" was just a tease... (and as an aside, check out this video which came up in the same Youtube search, and watch from 20 seconds in - an inspiration maybe?)Ice Cube : Jackin' For Beats
I feel really old realising this tune is 20 years old this year! This is the first Hip-Hop track of this type I can remember, taking beats from popular Hip-Hop records of the time and stringing them together for this instrumental. The last beat is X-Clan's "Heed The Word Of The Brother," sampling Zapp's legendary "More Bounce To The Ounce" which was also famously used on...EPMD : You Gots To Chill
...back in 1988. Nothing much to be said about this classic single but if you want a smile brought to your face, watch the video :o) They don't make 'em like that anymore!DSP ft. Chill Rob G : Bullshit
From DSP's "In The Red" album on Ninja Tune, only came across this recently despite it coming out in 2002 but there's some interesting stuff on there and this stood out for me - nice to hear Chill Rob G in the modern day! If you didn't know, he was badly ripped off on Snap's "The Power" - summary of the story here.Freddie Foxxx : Hey Ho (Instrumental)
Oprah's favourite Hip-Hop track...well, maybe not! 2004 12" on Wildlife records, Amed on production and on the vocal version (which you can also find on the "Street Triumph" mixtape), the always-abrasive Freddie Foxxx aka Bumpy Knuckles on the mic.The 3rd Generation Band : Because Of Money
1973 track from a Ghanaian army band, the African flavour is in full effect but you can here the influence of funk/soul of the time. I got this on a great compilation called "Ghana Soundz," if you're into something a bit different it's worth picking up!
Remember, if you like any of the artists' work you hear then please try to support them in whatever way you can! Showing that the quality material has an audience willing to put their hands in their pockets to show support will help the constant struggle against the cheap knockoffs that currently take up the radio and TV time...
Sat, 12 December 2009
"Everybody else on the Earth don't exist."
- Crooked I
I suppose this is the Christmas episode, not that I've got any Christmas records to play! I did think about putting sleigh bell sounds behind some of the tunes but decided against ;o) Ah well, time to close out 2009 with this one, and looking forward to heading onwards and upwards for 2010!
Camp Lo : Son Of A...
Great track - if a little short - from Camp Lo's new album "Another Heist," setting things off with a funk vibe. Ski is back on full-time production for them on this album which will please many - personally, I actually liked a good chunk of the Apple Juice Kid production they've had lately (*ducks*) and I love the stuff they've done with Tribeca in the past, hope he makes a return too!El Michels Affair : Glaciers Of Ice / Raekwon: Glaciers Of Ice
Modern funk maestros with a version of the classic Raekwon cut from the original "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..." - this is taken from the album "Enter the 37th Chamber" which is a collection of instrumental interpretations of Wu-Tang tracks, definitely recommended - it's on Spotify if anyone wants a listen!Ghostface Killah ft. Trife & Twiz : Theodore
I don't know if anyone else likes this track, but oh well :o) The bells, the bells...Genius : Words From A Genius (Prince Rakeem Remix)
Yes, it's that Genius, aka GZA from the Wu. This is the (almost) title track from his first album "Words From The Genius" on Tommy Boy a couple of years before the Clan emerged on the scene. I first heard this on Pete Tong's Rap Selection on Radio 1 when it came out in 1991, taped it off that show and loved it - with no idea of who this guy was or the huge impact his crew would eventually make on the scene. And Prince Rakeem? For those who don't know, that's the man better known as RZA, the producer and prime mover behind the Wu-Tang movement!Termanology ft. Royce Da 5'9", Crooked I, Akrobatik, Consequence : The Music Industry (Remix)
I said on the voiceover that Term is from Boston, but in fact he's from nearby Lawrence, Massachusetts - oops! Anyway, rarely do you see so many guests on a single track, or at least on one that's any good which this certainly is. Fizzy Womack of M.O.P is on production and Statik Selectah adds some very nice cuts.Patrice Rushen : Remind Me
Classic 80s single from the multi-talented singer/songwriter/pianist/composer/musical director - and it's been sampled plenty of times. Even if you don't recognise her name, you may well know her hit "Forget Me Nots," famously sampled on Will Smith's "Men In Black."Pharcyde : Drop (Instrumental)
One of those "Dilla before everyone (including me) knew who he was" beats, though that's not to say that when this came out everyone wasn't loving it, and it still moves floors today. The video is also a classic - bit of trivia, they actually had to rhyme all their lyrics backwards to make it work visually, which is quite a feat!Shara Nelson : Friendly Fire
Title track of the second solo album from the former Massive Attack vocal lead, if you see a copy it's definitely worth picking up!Tajai : Who Got It?
Solo excursion for one of the Souls Of Mischief MCs, one of those B-sides I never get to play anywhere!Foreign Beggars : Black Hole Prophecies (Jehst's Wild Wild East Remix)
A gem from down London town! While there was a little run of American artists using Asian music samples, I always thought it'd be more natural for UK producers to do it since we have a large Asian population and you do hear the music a lot, depending on where you live. Shout out to DJ Reptile of Assmatics who put me up on this track.Byata : Byata Is The Illest
I think there's someone rhyming on here, but I'm not sure because my word, that beat is dominating! DJ Premier on production for this absolute banger - it's also one of those beats you couldn't mistake for having being done by anyone else (To be fair, Byata puts in a solid performance as the track goes on). I don't know much about her other than that she's of Russian descent and that she's apparently been on a Wu compilation; if she's done anything else like this, do let me know!Mark B & Blade ft. Phi Life Cypher : Ya Don't See The Signs (Phi Life Cypher Remix)
I think this is better than the original, which is how a remix should be; the beat is much darker and Phi Life, as always, absolutely destroy their verses and provide a complementary vocal textures to Blade - all three MCs on this are hall-of-fame level when it comes to British Hip-Hop.Kool G Rap & Ma Barker : Bout That (Instrumental)
Produced by VIC and Mike Heron of the Ghetto Pros, diggers extraordinaire!Jerry Beeks : Microphone Mingus
From the home of Hip-Hop! Coming out of the Bronx, Beeks shows the skills over production from Touche on this album cut from "The Crop Report." Still got some stuff we've done together stashed away in the vault, will let you hear some on a future episode if you eat your vegetables ;o)Roy Ayers : I Did It In Seattle
From "Virgin Ubiquity", a collection of unreleased recordings from the late 70s to early 80s. Picked this one up on a day off work in a sale at King Bee Records down in Chorlton, a familiar spot for Manchester diggers - if I'd not got there until the weekend, it'd have been looong gone! Roy Ayers is an amazing musician and his tracks have provided the backdrop for many a quality Hip-Hop release over the years so it's worth searching out whatever you can find.Royal Flush ft. Noreaga : What A Shame
PS - I'm not sure what he did in Seattle!
Mid 90s Queens thug flavour from Flush's "Ghetto Millionaire" album, speaking on life locked up. Smooth track produced by EZ Elpee, with the first verse and closing by Nore, who is famously a man who knows of what he speaks...Kaze : Locked In Chains (Instrumental/Clean)
Khrysis on the boards for this one, this is on the B-side of "Last Laugh" - the uncensored version is only on the "Spirit of '94:Version 9.0" album I think. Not heard much else by Kaze but he rips this one!Insight : Visual Audio (Instrumental)
Even though I'm just playing the instrumental here, it must be noted that Insight is multi skilled - he's an MC, producer, DJ, does engineering I believe and I've heard he's a software developer! If he learns to take photos too, none of my jobs are safe...DJ Jazzy Jeff & Big Daddy Kane : The Garden
One of the standout tracks from Jeff's second solo album "Return Of The Magnificent," and one of the very few five-star tracks on my iPod! A lot of people just think of Jazzy Jeff as that guy that got thrown out of the house a lot on "Fresh Prince," but as well as being a pioneering and influential DJ he's a very gifted producer and has coached a lot of other up-and-comers via his A Touch Of Jazz studio/company. A quick aside - I'm no expert but when I listen to the actual sonic quality of this track, I feel like there is nothing at all that could have been done better!
As I always say, if there are things on here you like please do search out other material from the artists, buy the best of it and even better, try and catch them playing live!
Sun, 15 November 2009
"Don't be shady, just pay me"
Wow, it's been half a year already! It's a challenge to keep coming up with stuff but the feedback I get makes it all well worth the effort, especially when people are discovering something new. Anyway, let's have a look at this month's offering...
Little Brother : Atari 2600
A very limited release 7" single out of the Justus League crew with a hilarious take on what a promotional piece for the vintage console would have sounded like if endorsed by RZA and a similarly vintage singer...Air Adam : Bench Pressure
A little beat I dug out from a few years ago; I did this in a Swedish hotel room on a little Korg Electribe ES-1 sampler, and as such it's on my "Swedish Hardcore" beat tape which I might make available sometime if people want it!Goldfrapp : You Never Know
I was really, really late on Goldfrapp but thanks to the wonders of the internet started checking them out and found some stuff I really liked on the "Supernature" album, including this track; the "We Are Glitter" remix project has some good tunes on it too. Alison Goldfrapp's voice and those synths go together nice like chicken and rice...Jay-Z : This Life Forever
Not a massively well known track by Jay, but I managed to pick this one up in a local charity shop on 12" - this is from the soundtrack to "Black Gangster," based on the Donald Goines book of the same title. Interestingly though I'm not sure the film was ever made - the soundtrack was done first with a view to making the film if it took off! The soulful backing track is provided by Ty Fyffe, someone who's not a huge name compared to many others but always seems to pop up with something good.Blak Twang : Real Estate
A classic UK Hip-Hop single from 1996; Tony Rotton aka Blak Twang with a tough track about the runnings of the inner cities of the UK. It's our own State of the Nation Address, and it's nothing nice. Thirteen years later and a new government later, has anything really changed?Jacky Jasper ft. Roger Troutman : Mad Game
If there was a Devil, and he had a car with a big system and listened to Hip-Hop, he would play this on repeat - super dark production for real! I've played this tune for a few people and got great response, but no-one seems to have it or even have heard of it, so it was an obvious candidate for inclusion at some point. Turn it up!Black Moon : Buck 'em Down (Remix Instrumental)
Took me a while to appreciate this in its own right after being such a fan of the original but this is a must-have 12" - if not for this, then the killer (no pun intended) B-Side "Murder MCs."Black Moon : Buck 'em Down (Original version)
Grimy Brooklyn Hip-Hop from one of the great groups of the 90s. Perhaps besides the mighty "Who Got The Props?" this was my favourite track on "Enta Da Stage" and I played my vinyl copy of this every day for months...Rae & Christian ft. Veba : All I Ask
This somehow didn't properly penetrate my consciousness when it first came out, but a couple of friends played it for me last year (shout out to The Mojos!) and this time I was ready; gorgeous track, if you close your eyes and turn the heating up it could make you believe it's summer...quite an achievement for a song coming out of the heart of rainy Manchester!DJ Quik ft. Mausberg & Raphael Saadiq : Well
From the underrated (even by Quik) "Balance & Options" LP, a brilliant piece of laid back production with plenty of flourishes - instrumentation is courtesy of the South Central Philharmonic Orchestra.Cormega : Soul Food
A very different track from Cormega to the one I played last month ("No Equivalent"), I've been meaning to play this for a while and found a spot for it here.Erick Sermon : Hittin Switches
Blast from the past - though it doesn't seem like that long ago! 1993 track from the "Who's The Man?" soundtrack which also ended up on Erick's debut solo "No Pressure."Craig Mack : Get Down (Q-Tip Remix Instrumental)
Q-Tip is so well known as an MC (helped by his distinctive voice) that it's sometimes easy to forget his production work; in the early- to mid-90s he did some great beats outside A Tribe Called Quest, with the kind of smacking drums you often don't hear these days!Souls Of Mischief : Medication
SoM are best known for their incredible debut single "93 Til Infinity" but this is a great single from their "Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution" album with a different but yet somehow familiar sound. Their extended crew, The Hieroglyphics were not just ahead of their time with respect to their music but with their recognition of the potential of the Internet in promoting themselves and operating independently.Edgar Allen Floe : Floe Almighty (Desperado Remix)
Excellent MC name :o) Anyway, when you twig to this tune it ought to smack you in the face how genius it is. On first listen I thought "hang on, did he just repeat the first verse?" - then the lightbulb went on and I gave him a mental standing ovation! Floe is part of the North Carolina Justus League collective and certainly shows some super MC powers on this track.Red Rat : 40 Leg
Picked this up in a big stack of reggae/dancehall 7" singles on eBay and it's a bit of a jewel to me - can't get enough of that Jamaica meets the Scottish Highlands flavour! I just have visions of a traditional pipe and drum band skanking along in a dancehall style...Ludacris : Southern Hospitality (Instrumental)
Booming Neptunes production on this B-Side to "Area Codes" - almost forgot about this tune until I came across a used vinyl copy!DJ Revolution & KRS-ONE : The DJ
Gets bonus points for (coincidentally) using a line I once did a T-shirt design for - "A DJ is not a jukebox!" On the spiritual sequel to his 1996 track "The MC" from the "I Got Next" album the legendary KRS-ONE (for those that don't know - "Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone") breaks down the proper place and conduct of the DJ, with particular respect to the culture of Hip-Hop which was of course started by DJs - rhyming came along later, not that you'd think it looking around these days! One of his central points is that it's the job of the DJ to break music to the people, not to just reflect what they think they want to hear - in some small way, I'd like to think this podcast honours that.
Thu, 15 October 2009
"I love this game."
This is the first month I've had to go into my boxes of cassettes to find a particular tune for you, hence the title of this episode! Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I recorded it into my computer and can manipulate the sound with the turntables via Serato - very space age. Ironically, I think this is the first episode which isn't quite short enough to go on one side of a tape...
I've got a bit of a bad cold this month, but have tried to do a decent job on the voiceovers - bear with me!
Count Bass D : Junkies
One of the best all-round musical talents in Hip-Hop, shout out to Mathmatics for putting me up on him back when the "Dwight Spitz" album came out.Paul Wall : Sittin' Sidewayz (Inst)
Yes, this is one of my all-time favourite beats. Most people think immediately of the huge bassline as the main focus but I actually think the track is centred around the little bluesy guitar riff - have a listen and see what you think!The Cool Kids : Black Mags
Before this record, there were acute shortages of Hip-Hop tracks about BMX bikes. Problem solved :o)Massive Attack : Inertia Creeps
I was really late on these guys, and while not all of their stuff is to my liking this tune is very heavy - deceptive in its simplicity I think!
From the "Mezzanine" album. Piece of background trivia, as told by producer Neil Davidge - apparently the guys used to carry tape recorders everywhere and record whatever might be interesting; this track is based around a snatch of a recording from a Turkish (or was it Moroccan?) market - you can hear it bare just before the main beat comes in.Cormega ft. Tragedy Khadafi : No Equivalent
I read someone on a message board recently say that Cormega is "too manly for this generation", which made me smile - I think a better way to describe him is "no-frills" - he's steadily worked at his craft for years, doesn't have a gimmick and gives a great interview. This is from the Special Edition pack of "The Realness" and "The True Meaning" - which is a top notch album.Camp Lo : World Heist
Low key headnodder from the Bronx slang-editorialising, diamond heisting, 70s dressing duo; from the B-side of their first single "Coolie High" which is of course a classic - run to hear it right now if you never have before!Shyne : More Or Less (Inst)
Fierce instrumental, produced by Kanye West in his pre-"College Dropout" years. The original version of this track was called "When I Die" - not sure why it was changed for its appearance on the "Godfather Buried Alive" album but the dubbing over of the hook was pretty weak...Roc Raida : One Man Band
RIP Grandmaster Roc Raida. Check out his title-winning performance here.Michael Jackson : Sunset Driver
Unreleased track from the "Off The Wall" sessions - I don't know how this didn't make the album, but this offcut is fifty times better than a lot of other peoples' best track.Zapp : I Can Make You Dance
It's true, you know. Just one of Zapp/Roger Troutman's killer dancefloor movers. For a funny sampling of this, check out Compton's Most Wanted's "I Don't Dance." As it happens, that tune is really danceable as well!Gap Band : Beep A Freak
PS "You dance in the morning when you eat your cornflakes" - lyrics.
Wilson, Wilson & Wilson with a treatise on communication problems in male-female relationships circa 1984.Orbital : Initiation
I had to convert this from tape - the version on the "Gap Band VI" vinyl is better sound quality of course but a quite different mix, and the beeper noise runs through the entire song and would have driven a lot of you mad...
From their 2003 soundtrack to a film called "Octane" - I only found out about this record a few weeks ago myself!Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five : The Truth
Taking it old skool for a minute. Note to youngsters - Pete Rock, Biggie, and Tribe are not old skool. This is definitely one of my favourite F5 tracks, tough tough tough! I've never heard anyone else mention it until I found a fellow appreciater on this blog.Eric B & Rakim : I Know You Got Soul
One of their best known tracks of course, playing this one as a special request for the man Mr Mari - enjoy!EPMD : The Big Payback
EPMD (Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, for those who don't know) are without doubt one of the greatest MC duos of all time and this is probably my favourite track from the 1989 "Unfinished Business" album, although "Get The Bozack" is another killer on there which unlike this was never a single.Zero 7 : Light Blue Movers
This was on the vinyl of the single "Somersault" and is just an irresistible head-nodder; that bassline just sticks in your head.Raekwon : Canal Street
For the Manchester listeners - no, not the Canal Street in the Village...
The "Cuban Linx Pt.II" album has barely been out of my car stereo since it was released and this is one of the many gems on it - if I hadn't played this, it would probably have been "Surgical Gloves" which is one of the most relentlessly evil beats I've heard in a long time (courtesy of The Alchemist), with Raekwon on the mic coming off almost MF DOOM-ish. As for this, it feels like it came out of a 70s crime film soundtrack, and in a world of autotune and snap beats, thank goodness someone is making tracks like this!
Sat, 12 September 2009
"Sometimes you gotta do right."
- GarrettBeen an interesting month, from hanging out with the guys at Non-Stop sneaker store in Madrid to playing at the first night of Neighbourhood for a top crowd - oh, and assembling this of course! Still not used to the sound of my own voice on the voice-overs, maybe I should just prepare statements and have them read by a lawyer? :o)
As Columbo would say, "just one more thing" - after many years of waiting, Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Part II" is finally out this month - do yourself a favour and grab a copy!
Natural Elements : Paper Chase 2005
Natural Elements are some of the most talented MCs you'll hear in your life; unfortunately, record company politics meant they never quite got a fair shake. This track is one I personally like (which of course is why it's on here) but it's not even their very best work...find everything you can they've ever been on!Jan Hammer : Tubbs & Valerie
From the "Escape From Television" album, made up of music taken from Hammer's brilliant work on the "Miami Vice" TV series. Everyone knows "Crockett's Theme" and the TV show theme, but this album is well worth picking up.Reks : Say Goodnight
Spacey DJ Premier beat (but with the usual rock-hard drums), and Reks doesn't waste it!Apani B-Fly Emcee : Estragen
That third verse has multiple MCs on it and goes on for a while so I cut it short this time; the full list of guests for the whole track is (deep breath) - Lyric, Helixx C. Armageddon, Ayana Soyini, What? What?, Pri Da Honey Dark, Yejide The Night Queen, and Heroine.Chuck D : No
Of course, Chuck D is one of the elder statesmen of Hip-Hop (and has been since he started - released the first Public Enemy album at 27) and can always be counted on to bring an adult voice to proceedings - literally and figuratively.Above The Law : Harda U R Tha Doppa U Faal
Seriously overlooked crew from Pomona, California, these guys spent years in the metaphorical forest smashing down every tree in sight, but with not enough people to hear the sound. They were doing the G-Funk sound before Dr.Dre, Cold 187 and KMG were a fantastically complementary mic tag team and overall they were just ahead of their time. This is one of those album tracks which I love but have never heard mentioned anywhere, ever.9th Wonder : Unreleased Instrumental
Allegedly "Volume 3, Beat 5" on a bootleg-looking pressing. If this has been used, let me know!Brand New Heavies ft. Q-Tip : Sometimes (Ummah Remix)
Common ft. Erykah Badu, Pharrell & Q-Tip: Come Close Remix (Closer) ft.
Dilla (& Q-Tip) double bill! Two of his best smoothed-out remixes - but *do not* sleep on the bassline of that Common track. Try it out on a decent car system if you have one! It's worth noting is that there's also a Dilla remix of BNH's "Saturday Night" which is serious dancefloor business.The Away Team : Scream Out!
The Away Team are Justus League affiliates out of North Carolina, made up of Khrysis (producer) and Sean Boog (MC). I found this online while browsing around for Sean Price stuff I hadn't heard (he features on the same album this track is from, "Training Day") - this plus the track "Awesome" had me ordering a copy the same night!Gang Starr ft. WC & Rakim : The Militia II
Just one thing though - "month" and "us" do not rhyme...
The original was a classic of course (with the killer Bumpy Knuckles third verse) but this is a worthy sequel; solid Primo beat and three quality verses.Torae : Switch
Killer "impersonation" track where Torae takes on the flow of a different MC every 4 bars; some of them are absolutely dead on! Can anyone name them all?J-Zone : Prima Donna (Instrumental)
J-Zone is one of the most original, inventive producers out there as well as a highly entertaining MC. He doesn't actually rhyme himself on the vocal version of this but do seek out his stuff if you like good music and have a sense of humour :o)Tommy Tee : Aerosoul
One of the standout tracks from Bomb Records' "Return Of The DJ Vol II" - not a super-technical turntablist track but a great piece of production with solid, tight scratching and excellent choices of samples.
If you do hear anything you especially like then do get in touch and let me know, and please support the artists - find more output of theirs on Spotify to get a feel for it, go to live shows if you can (that's where they really get paid) and buy the stuff you like the most!
Thu, 10 September 2009
The place: Saki Bar, Wilmslow Road, Manchester
The time: First Friday every month, 9pm-3am
The tax: £4 before 11pm, £5 after
Facebook group: http://groups.to/neighbourhood
There's a new night starting up in Manchester, bringing the finest in Hip-Hop, Reggae, Funk & Dub on the first Friday every month! It's split over two floors - "The Block" and "Yard", each taking turns to bring in a headline act in the appropriate style. We're all about finding the best talent even where that means not going for the biggest name, and above all creating an environment for the good party vibes! The resident DJ lineup is one of the strongest you'll find, including;
Joe W - Mind On Fire band member and organiser
Myself; Air Adam - Family Gathering/Assmatics
DJ Mischief - The Pinch / MyFirstMoth Records
Ed Speed - Dub Smugglers Sound System
Louis Longshot – Drum Music/Longshot
Omas – At Large
Next party is Friday October 2nd, with MEGA RAS and WIZZY DAN headlining for Yard; come down and party with us!
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34 PM
Wed, 12 August 2009
This episode's title is a quote from "At War" by Snowgoons - it's been tickling me since I heard it a few months ago :o) Anyway, here's another podcast of audio goodness for you, just about the right size to fit one side of a cassette if you're so inclined...hope you all make some discoveries this month, let me know what you think.
Quick mention - thanks to Coxy's Blog for the article on the podcast last month!
Chic : Sometimes You Win
Quality album cut from the "C'est Chic" LP.Five Deez : Latitude (Instrumental)
Lisa Shaw : It's Been Awhile
There's a real clarity to her voice which I love; this is from her first album "Cherry" which is excellent, and the new album "Free" is out at last - definitely worth checking out.Ice Cube ft. Das EFX : Check Yo Self ("The Message" Remix)
Am I the only one who remembers that the very end of the video for "It Was A Good Day" lead into the start of the video for this one? Top idea. This was in the days of only seeing stuff at a friend's house on "Yo! MTV Raps" though, so I only saw it once or twice myself. However, thanks to the joys of modern technology, someone's put them together for your retro viewing pleasure!DJ Quik & Kurupt : Do You Know?
This is from the recent collaboration album "BlaQKout," which isn't consistent all the way through but there are definitely some serious high points, of which this is one - and you know with Quik on production that there'll be some originality coming to the table.Sadat X : The Interview
I think I heard this on Radio 1 (on Westwood's show when he still played good stuff) before the "Wild Cowboys" album came out and spent a lot of time rewinding my taped-off-the-radio copy until I got a better one!DJ Spinna : Spirit Of '94
From the B-side of the "Dillagence" 7"Jedi Mind Tricks : Monolith
Zion I : Inner Light (Icey Mix)
This is from their first album, "Mind Over Matter." Zion I are a very interesting group; they're always musically and lyrically interesting and inventive and have managed to carve out a very respectable multi-album career despite not been widely known in many circles; do seek out their stuff.Redman : Syrinx
American Cream Team : It's Not A Game (Inst)
Slum Village : Conant Gardens
A dedication for Titus "Baatin" Glover.Mark B & Blade ft. Rodney P : We Stay Rough
Two British Hip-Hop veterans on the mic here. Trivia for those who don't know: when Blade wanted to put out his first LP, he didn't have the money to record and press it, so he appealed for people to order it in advance of it even being made, and they did - mailing him the money strictly on trust. He got the album done, sent all the pre-ordered copies out and thanked all those people individually in the liner notes!Pumpkinhead ft. Archrival : Swordfish
Skhool Yard (sic) : Here We Come (Inst)
Phi-Life Cypher : ABC
Top-notch verbal onslaught; after you pick your jaw back up off the floor, have a look at the lyrics written out here. They've made some mistakes transcribing it but it seems like all the lyric sites have just copy/pasted from each other so they're all just as bad!
If you do hear anything you especially like then do get in touch and let me know, and please support the artists - find more output of theirs on Spotify to get a feel for it, go to live shows if you can (that's where they really get paid) and buy the stuff you like the most!
Sun, 12 July 2009
I got a really good response to the first episode (thanks everyone!) so here we go with the second; you can expect a new one every month. I'll be aiming to keep it an easily digestible size every time, and to make it something to look forward to!
Can't let this post go by without wishing Michael Jackson a peaceful journey - that was definitely one of those "where were you when you heard?" moments. I just had to include one of his tracks this time around...
Peanut Butter Wolf ft. Encore : The Undercover
Not a club tune; definitely glad to get a chance to play this one as it'd been on the shelf for years.Hammadi : Love To The World
Q-Tip : Dance On Glass
Coppershot : Hesitate
Chester Copperpot with LongShot on the mic (see what they did there?)De La Soul : Respect
Originally available on the Japanese release of the "The Impossible: Mission TV - Pt. 1" compilation of unreleased tracks, though this is on a 12" press.Erick Sermon : Music (Instrumental)
Mobb Deep : Clap (Instrumental)
The "Infamy" album wasn't a popular one but when the weather turns cold and the nights get longer, this is an essential headphone track.Kombo ft. Krondon : The Write
I got this 12" for 99p without even listening to it - winner. The other side, "Sands Of Time" is excellent too, though much more laid back.Rakim : New York (Ya Out There?)
From the post-Eric B "The 18th Letter" LP, DJ Premier on the production for some classic boom-bap.Mic Geronimo : Unstoppable
The "Vendetta" album wasn't all that but this track cannot be denied.Anita Baker : How Does It Feel?
From the 2004 "My Everything" album on Blue Note; definitely one of my favourite female vocalists, and the title links nicely with the next vocal track in the mix...Nas : The World Is Yours (Tip Mix Instrumental)
Michael Jackson : Stranger In Moscow
JS-1 : Move Like This (Instrumental)
Foreign Exchange : Theme
AZ : Sugar Hill (Remix Instrumental)
N.O.R.E : Cocaine Cowboys
Dark and bright all at the same time, this killer track has been getting a lot of play on my iPod lately; the documentary of the same name is well worth checking too, I got it for £4 on DVD the other day.
If you do hear anything you especially like do let me know, and please support the artists - find more output of theirs on Spotify to get a feel for it, go to live shows if you can (that's where they really get paid) and buy the stuff you like the most!
Tue, 16 June 2009
So without further ado, here's the first episode! Hope you enjoy it - do leave comments!
DJ Spinna : Nostalgia
Large Pro : 'Maica Living
Zero 7 : You're My Flame (Dabrye Remix)
Dela ft. Talib Kweli : Long Life
Jean Michel Jarre : Oxygene 2
Jake One w/ Pharoahe Monche & Kardinal Offishal : Hurt
Platinum Pied Pipers : Shotgun (Inst)
Torae, Marco Polo, Masta Ace & Sean Price : Hold Up
Nas : Where Are They Now? (90s Remix)
Black Ivory : I Keep Asking You Questions
Prodigy & Alchemist : Return Of The Mac (Inst)
Jerry Beeks & Air Adam : Back To England (Part 2)
Slum Village : Climax (Inst)
Kool G Rap & Polo : Cars
Gary Numan : Cars
J Dilla : Trucks
Tue, 16 June 2009
Hi everyone! This blog page is about to be the home of my new podcast. Some of you will already know me from my DJing and production, while others might know my photography work. Those that don't know me will have have picked up on the fact that I have my fingers in a lot of pies!
So why am I doing a podcast? Well, I wanted a way to widely play some tunes I was interested in! Commercial radio is inaccessible to most would-be hosts of course, and while online radio shows can be good, you're relying on people to be able to tune in at a specific time on a specific day. That's not even taking into account the fact that it locks you into playing at that specific time, or all the streaming problems that seem to pop up! Playing in clubs is cool but restricts you to how many people you can get into the venue, and of course you need to keep it danceable so there's a lot of stuff which is difficult/impossible to fit into a set. Besides all that, mixtapes are harder to sell than they have been in the past, as the market has changed and there's more of an expectation of getting things for free. With a podcast, I can use a radio-like format, go on at length or keep it brief, and everyone can download easily/automatically and listen at a time of their choosing!
Putting all the "technical" considerations aside, it's really a way for me to share and get into discussions on music. I grew up in the pre-internet era (cue Hovis music or EPMD's "Strictly Business," whichever you prefer) - at that time, there was little if any Hip-Hop on TV or commercial radio, and so for a kid with a limited budget wanting to learn about it there were three main sources of music and info; tape swapping, pirate radio and magazines.
The pirate stations would play whatever they thought was good - the DJs weren't in anyone's pocket, and were playing records they'd bought with their own money - and over the years I got the chance to hear a wide selection; some of the records they played came from artists who went on to become legends, while others were one or two-hit wonders, but wonders all the same. The variety of stuff they played allowed me to develop and define my taste - finding an artist or record you liked lead to searching for info on them in the magazines, seeing who they were associated with or might be similar to, and then trying to get hold of some of that, and so on...then exchanging tapes of albums you'd bought with friends would send you on another path. This kind of cycle meant that records could become underground hits in one particular area while being pretty much ignored elsewhere.
Somehow, despite the explosion in media availability and speed of access in the modern era, this seems to be happening less and less! The DJs I grew up with very much kept a balance between playing stuff that people would obviously like and playing things they personally liked themselves, and so the range was very interesting. This is what I'm going to try and do with this podcast; I guarantee pretty much every episode, someone I know will say "I was really into (song x) that you played" and then go on to say "but what was up with that bullshit (song y)? You actually like that?" There'll be a mixture of Hip-Hop and music more generally, "underground" and "commercial," the somewhat known and the utterly forgotten, new and old, the conscious and the ignorant, and the straightforward and the slightly bizarre! I hope you'll find it interesting and entertaining, and that it leads you towards discovering and enjoying some music that's new to you :o)
Stay tuned - first episode soon come!
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44 AM