Oct 31, 2017
"Gotta risk a life just in order to make a living."
This month, we keep things at a moderate-to-low tempo, allowing you to conserve some energy as autumn draws in; all you need to do is keep that head bobbing!
If you're anywhere near Manchester, don't miss out on the Juice Crew on November 13th.
Redman : The Saga Continues (Da Countdown)
Apologies for the sound quality - the vinyl I have sounds pretty grungy to begin with! This (from "Ill At Will Vol.1") was the first track I think I heard Redman talking about his Gilla House label on, and he is seriously hyped up! Killer beat too, and great use of the Dre sample for the opening and the hook.
Alchemist : Stuck To You
Natural Elements : DroNEs
A new release from one of my favourite crews! Natural Elements spit lyrics about government surveillance over the beat from the classic "Clones" by The Roots. The call-and-response motif on the piano is a killer, and the beat as a whole is spare enough to avoid overpowering any MCs - as though that would ever be a concern with these three...
Raekwon : Nothing
One of those tracks where the radio version definitely has the edge over the uncensored album one! Raekwon stays bringing that low-key gangster talk on this cut from his latest LP, "The Wild". Production is by Frank G, who cooks up a nasty beat - slowing down a classic soul drum break and topping it all off with that vocal sample that forms the foundation of the hook.
Jay-Z ft. Frank Ocean : Caught Their Eyes
The vibe on this selection from "4:44" fits in pretty well here I think. Jay is in scalding form, talking about surviving the world around him on the first verse and then talking raw about the administrators of Prince's estate on the second. Production is by No I.D, who also gets points for finishing the track with the sample of Joseph Welch asking of Senator McCarthy "at long last, have you left no sense of decency?" - I wonder if we'll reach a political moment like that in the near future...
Count Bass D ft. Snoop Dogg : Too Much Pressure
Brand new 2017 release from two veterans in the art. Count Bass D comes through with some low-speed synth funk that perfectly suits the mellow Snoop vocals.
Terrace Martin presents The Pollyseeds : Chef Dubble E
The Pollyseeds are Terrace Martin's band, and they are seriously skilled musicians - those who caught them at Band on the Wall will have experienced that first-hand. Their new album "Sounds of Crenshaw Vol.1" is kind of jazzy, kind of groovy, definitely genuine and absolutely worth your time for a listen. I just love the low end on this one, bending along with the motif set by the rest of the musicians and forcing you to feel it as you turn the volume up!
Scram Jones ft. Saigon : No Surprise
Nice little track from the "Dead Giveaway" free EP - released exactly four years ago on Halloween 2013. Scram and Saigon tell their own stories of their introductions to Hip-Hop and how they came to work together on a chilled, guitar-led instrumental.
M-Dot ft. Method Man and Dominique Larue : Shine
I've only just found out that this record was released as a single, and that was all the way back in 2014! My first hearing of this was as part of the new "Ego And The Enemy" LP from Boston's M-Dot. If you think you hear an Eminem-ish tone on the closing verse, you're not the only one - I had to double-check the credits! Columbus MC Dominique Larue of the group Heresy is someone I hadn't heard before but will definitely be checking based on her bars here, and a feature from Meth just puts the icing on things. Soulplusmind provides the production - the change-up for the hook is what does it for me on this beat.
Dubbul O x Clay : Commence
Quality from the Room 2 camp out of Manchester. Dubbul O always heats up the mic and Clay gives him a solid beat to get busy on. Available as a "name your price" release on Bandcamp and once again...this B-side wins.
Ras Kass : Eyes Don't Lie
This is one of my headphone regulars finally finding its way onto the podcast! It's slightly awkward to mix with the "eyes don't lie" refrain being three bars rather than an even number, but that's just a concern for us DJs :) Ski produces this tune from Ras' "Institutionalized Vol. 2" mixtape, and Ras is excellent on the mic as per usual.
Pete Rock & CL Smooth : Get On The Mic (Instrumental)
Both of the Pete & CL albums are 100% must-owns for any Hip-Hop fan, and when I saw an instrumental version of "The Main Ingredient" on vinyl a while back, it had to be grabbed. Just enjoy Pete Rock's SP-1200 mastery on this one.
Dilated Peoples : Let Your Thoughts Fly Away
Big shout out to my man Gez, who bought me the excellent "Directors of Photography" album for my birthday a few years back! This is my favourite track on there, but at around 73bpm, a tough one to find other records to go with; I'd been saving it and found a great spot for it here. Diamond D kills it with this beat, another one with a slightly unusual bar count, putting some bump on a wicked jazz-rock sample. Rakaa Iriscience and Evidence go back and forth with short six-bar verses, coming through crystal clear at this laid-back speed.
Hus Kingpin ft. Milano Constantine and DJ Q-Bert : Serotonin High
When I heard that Big Ghost Ltd had produced an album, I had to get it - someone with such a well-documented high bar for what he considers to be hard enough (and a relentless disregard for the weak) would surely come through with the goods. He takes the helm for the "Cocaine Beach" project by NY-raised, L.A-resident MC Hus Kingpin (aka Lord Wavy), which is on that experimental street vibe that fans of someone like Roc Marciano will appreciate. This cut bangs along with the gravelly vibes of Hus and guest Milano Constantine of DITC painting street brushstroke over the top. The absolute capper, though, is the appearance of legendary turntablist DJ Q-Bert, who shows stunning control on his patterns here. Definitely an album to check - though a short one, at around 38 minutes.
Ken Dawg : Playa In Me
I picked up the "Mo Thugs Family Scriptures" album way back in 1996 for one reason - it was a bargain. I wasn't even into the Bone Thugs sound, but found a few gems on there that I enjoyed, and this was one of them. This was Ken Dawg's first release, and he was featured on projects as late as 2003. He may not have a deep catalogue or the most dazzling wordplay, but all the same he made a good record here!
Children Of Zeus : I Can't Wait
Konny Kon and Tyler Daly are continuing to build momentum towards the completion and release of their debut album, but for now they're feeding the people something to hold us over. The "The Story So Far..." compilation brings together all the tracks they've had out on Soundcloud and Bandcamp up to now (some of which you'll have heard on the podcast), and is an absolutely essential purchase. Soulful as always, this track is one of their latest releases, still bringing some sunshine as we approach the winter months!
The Cool Kids : Popcorn (Instrumental)
Found this one on the "Gone Fishing : Instrumentals" collection - truthfully, not even my favourite beat on there, but not only does the speed come in right where I need it to, but the vocal samples form a counterpoint to the Children of Zeus track that comes before!
Le$ : 45 South
I think Spotify Radio brought this one to my attention after a playlist of mine ran out, but it grabbed me on the first listen. Le$ is an MC out of Houston (but born in New Orleans) who's been associated with the Boss Hogg Outlawz and Curren$y's Jet Life click, and really seems to represent a new wave of talent coming from the city. He gives you some of what you might expect lyrically but definitely drops some other gems in amongst it all, weaving politics and street/industry politics into the mix. On the beat here is DJ Mr Rogers, with a slow track very much in the Houston tradition and perfect for a SLAB. I definitely need to sit down with the "Midnight Club" album off the back of this one!
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!