Nov 30, 2017
"Give me a minute, I'll give you my spirit."
- Konny Kon
Another month, another mix to keep your ears nourished! Listen out for Juice Crew appearances and connections throughout the selection, after Manchester witnessed them tear up the stage this month. We've got some soulful numbers, turntable wizardry, and quotables for days. Let's get it started...
Twitter : @airadam13
Cesar Comanche : A-Game
With the intro and all that, this is a track that needs to be at the start of a mix, and as such I've been saving it for quite a long time. One of my favourites from the original days of the Justus League, this track is from Cesar's second album "Paper Gods", and is a great ode to working hard in music and not being a hanger-on or a daydreamer; as the title suggests, bring your A-game. 9th Wonder is on the beat, slapping that snare as always!
Kev Brown : The Beat Tape (Instro)
One of the instrumentals from the "Selective Hearing" LP; nothing super complex, just a good example of doing something funky with a handful of elements. The insertion of that "yeah" sample is worth the price of admission!
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo : Letters
Another one I've had in the "to play" list for ages, it's a straight mic workout for G Rap taken from his final album in collaboration with DJ Polo, "Live and Let Die". As an aside, I didn't realise that the album was shelved some time after initial release because of the controversial cover art! Luckily, it got a re-release so you should be able to find it - there are some excellent tracks on there. As with most of the rest of the album, Sir Jinx, best known for his work with Ice Cube, handles the production; a nice funky soul sample forms the basis of the track.
Wordsworth : Feel Me
Hadn't given "The Picture Album" a listen in a long time and had totally forgotten about this Ill Poetic-produced track - I was looking to include something featuring Masta Ace but this got the nod instead, as it were. "Feel me internally"? Hold that thought, we're coming back to it later in the show...
Bumpy Knuckles : Lazy
One of those tunes you can drop on a mixtape or in a club night full of real heads. DJ Premier on the beat with a meat-and-potatoes drum pattern underpinning a disjointed string sample, and Bumpy going in on the mic straight line style. Bonus points for him impression of crying MCs in the intro :) We will definitely return to the "Konexion" album again!
Big Daddy Kane, Jay-Z, ODB : Show & Prove
The full version of this tune from the 1994 "Daddy's Home" album is long! Coming off a loop of the DJ Premier beat, I actually missed off the first three verses (Scoob, Sauce Money, and Shyheim) and jumped in at Kane's appearance. A then mostly-unknown Jay-Z can be heard here with his old style, and ODB shuts it down on the final verse, overwhelming the track with sheer force of personality! Three Brooklyn kings, no question. The sharp-eared amongst you will find the last word on the tune very familiar...
[Pete Rock] All City : Priceless (Instrumental)
I played the vocal version of this many moons ago on episode 12, and Pete Rock's beat fits brilliantly here - a bridge between the explosion that ends the previous cut, and the tempo of the one that follows...
Top Rawmen : Symphony 3000
I'm amongst friends here, so I can admit it - at least partly due to cultural differences, I didn't realise for years that this turntablist crew's name is a pun! Yeroc, Nando, Nomad, Mike c, and Jay Slim brilliantly execute the concept of a turntable version of the Juice Crew classic "The Symphony" on this selection from "Return of the DJ, Volume IV". The beats are sampled/cut/reworked from that 1988 record, and several quotes from the track get sliced and diced here too.
Camp Lo : Cookers
This Ski-produced B-side (you know the deal) from the "Trouble Man" single bangs hard in a specific way that often makes it tough to fit into mixes, but I think this is a good spot for it! There's a detail worth noting on this one - check how Sonny and Geechi start each two-bar phrase of the first verse with their syllables landing dead on each hit of the kick drum.
Diamond D ft. Kurupt and The Alkaholiks : We Are The People Of The World
Diamond just keeps on going - with a record collection and a mind like his, the beats will hopefully keep on coming for a long time yet! His 2014 album "The Diam Piece" is a producer-centred project where he brings in a star-studded roster of guests to bless his beats; on this cut, we get veteran West Coast lyricism from the 'Liks and Kurupt, keeping it positive. I do need to stop giving myself these awkward bar counts to mix with though...
J-Zone ft. Has-Lo : Caddy Coupe
I love seeing people win, so this track works on two levels; firstly, it comes from "Fish 'n' Grits", an excellent album from the latter phase of J-Zone's musical career, and secondly because of the story. I can totally get behind a real-life tale of a man treating himself to a bit of luxury after a hard working life; it's just a genuinely nice story. Philadephia's Has-Lo takes the second verse to expand the theme a little more, and Zone's production (in all senses of the word) is excellent and inventive as always.
Trifeckta : First Time (Janet Jackson Flip)
I wanted to bridge here with something having a bit of 80s style and also some soul, and finally found the right beat on the Producers I Know compilation "The 80s Beat Tape" - which I'm sure we'll visit again. St.Louis'/NYC's Trifeckta dices up some Janet Jackson and tops it off with some skilled drum machine work.
John Legend and The Roots : Hang On In There
Somehow the "Wake Up!" collaborative project slipped by me until recently, despite being years old! It's mostly made up of covers of old soul records, and they're done well. Here's one example, their take on the low-key 1972 classic "Hang On In There" by Mike James Kirkland, with a beautiful groove and a solid message.
Children of Zeus : Rock You Internally
Yet another great cut from Konny Kon and Tyler Daly, both of whom are in fine rhyming style right here - classic tag team vocal styles. No slouches on the boards either, they cook up a quality beat from a classic soul sample. "The Story So Far..." is an essential purchase...and that's just a collection of their past work. The album, when it comes, is really going to be something.
Ill Camille : Take A Ride
Ill Camille is an artist coming out of Los Angeles who gets much respect from those in the know. While her latest LP "Heirloom" is getting rave reviews, here we go all the way back to 2011's "The Pre-Write" for a track which I think features the sadly late Alori Joh ; they collaborated on a version of this track I've seen titled as "Take That Ride". Camille handles her business here lyrically, and the hook is very nicely done as a bonus. I've not got any credits indicating who produced it, but I do like the beat - incidentally, all that EQ/filtering going on towards the end is part of the track itself!
KING : The Greatest
I don't know how many times I've played this track this year, but it's a lot. Paris Strother kills it on this production (as she does on the whole "We Are KING" album), and on the mic along with the other two members for this ethereal and grooving tribute to the great Muhammad Ali. If you're hearing it for the first time, it deserves an immediate rewind - alternatively, watch the excellent 8-bit-styled video :)
Tall Black Guy : Sade's Taboo (Sweetest Taboo Blap-Up)
Craig G : W.F.W.T (What's Fuckin With That)
Ending things on an up note, we take a track from the amazingly titled "I Rap and Go Home" album. The Juice Crew veteran gives you a small window into his life as a live performer..and he loves it! Again, I like to see people win and so it's nice to know that Craig's working life is pretty awesome. Vaporworldz isn't an artist I've heard of before, but this beat is on-point; a light, cheerful head-nodder with a little reggae seasoning in there. I hope Craig G and the rest of the crew left Manchester with happy memories - although we couldn't help much with the weather, sadly.
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!