Mar 30, 2018
"...I can't listen to it, 'cos all I hear is mistakes."
Ok, it's not the actual globe from the cover of "Flava In Ya Ear", but it's the closest thing I've ever shot - it reminded me of the man Craig Mack himself, who sadly passed away this month. That means that this month we pay homage to the twin pillars of Bad Boy Records (Craig and Biggie), as well as Phife and Eazy-E, while also showcasing some outstanding new releases and finishing with some soul classics.
Get yourself down to the Lords of the Underground show in April!
Twitter : @airadam13
Pudgee ft. The Notorious B.I.G and Lord Tariq : Think B.I.G.
Only the first - and best - verse for you right here, but despite this track not getting an official release due to sample clearance problems, it shouldn't be too hard to find if you do a little digging. Biggie just blasts out pure disrespect in his inimitable style over a beat by Minnesota. I had to rewind this when I remembered playing this on a mixtape with DJ Mathmatics - the first line hadn't even finished before he was calling for the pull-up!
The Lox : New York City
I don't know if the bassline here is a sample or a replay, but either way it did get an official release! This 2014 single from the stalwart Yonkers crew also samples the hook from "Think B.I.G" directly, so it was a great opportunity to bring it in here.
[K-Def] Theodore Unit : Wicked With Lead (Instrumental)
I'm not sure what's up with some of the kick drums here sounding like there was an issue splicing the track together, but I promise you this is how the uncredited K-Def instrumental came off the vinyl!
Craig Mack : Get Down
RIP Craig! This was the second single from his debut "Project: Funk Da World" LP (following "Flava In Ya Ear"), and once again it was Easy Mo Bee doing the business on the beat - you can hear his style for sure. Craig commands the track ably, and you can tell why he was such a solid foundation stone for Bad Boy.
A Tribe Called Quest : The Pressure
Great tune from "Beats, Rhymes, and Life". I don't remember Tribe ever doing a DJ track but the section of this before Q-Tip comes in might be the closest - lots of cuts and scratches, much of which came from their own records! Phife goes off on the second verse, continuing the rampage that kicked off back on "The Low End Theory".
The Mouse Outfit ft. Sparkz : No Wonder (Tall Black Guy Remix)
I don't know how I've managed not to play you this one already! From the very nicely-priced "Mouse Outfit Remixed" collection, this is a shoulder-mover where Sparkz kicks Manchester rhymes over TBG's trademark boom-blap.
Phonte : Such Is Life
One of the best MCs in the artform, and one who has let us into his life from the beginning of his career. The "No News Is Good News" album comes seven years after Phonte's last solo release, and it's a powerful, concentrated album which is packed with real life experiences that we will all face. This particular track, produced by DJ Cozmos, is a standout on my strong purchase recommendation for the month!
Focus... : Beautiful & Beastly
I must have convinced you to pick up "Analog In A Digital World" by now? So many great beats on that project...
Simtraks ft. Camp Lo : Eternity Window
In a more reflective mode than many will know them for, Camp Lo take the mics for a deep cut in all senses of the phrase. This was a standout on the "Sputnik Sweetheart" album by Houston's Simtraks, and the samples of the astronomer Carl Sagan add to the cosmic vibe of the track. Not a well-known track, but an excellent one - if I could change just one thing though, it'd be that snare...
Guilty Simpson ft. Meyhem Lauren and Starving B : CO-OP
I'm not familiar with Cuns and Sine One, but they did a top job on the production here. Great new single from Detroit's Guilty Simpson alongside two Queens MCs, conjouring up images of the New Day Co-Op in "The Wire".
Tanya Morgan : Just Not True
PRhyme : Rock It
The second PRhyme album came out this month and I think it may well have surpassed the original! This single gave us the first peep at what to expect, and it's just a great beat, classic Premo cuts, and killer rhymes - not all of which you'll catch at first. Definitely some rewind lines on this one, and take some time to appreciate how DJ Premier breaks down the main hook/bridge phrase on the turntables - masterful.
J-Zone : The Art of Shit Talkin' (Instrumental)
I somehow don't have the vocal version of this (yet) but it's the expected excellent level of production from J-Zone - you can get this beat as part of his instrumentals collection on Bandcamp. Peep the technique.
G-Dep ft. Ghostface Killah, Keith Murray, and Craig Mack : Special Delivery (Remix)
A sparse, uptempo number from the Bad Boy camp, and a solid single for the currently-incarcerated G-Dep back in 2001. Every MC drops quotables, from the always-fire Ghostface through to the surprise appearance of Craig Mack, who'd last released a record four years previously and stepped back from the industry. In a kind of tribute to the incredible "Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)" video, this one was also shot in B&W but with a pace to match the EZ Elpee-produced beat. This MC lineup was just the thing needed to elevate the original track from "Child Of The Ghetto".
Camp Lo : Retro
Back to that slang-dense Lo flavour! One of the best tracks from their latest album ("The Get Down Brothers"), they channel some old-school flavour but keep a modern feel at the same time. I bought the digital release of this LP, so I'm still trying to find out who produced this cut!
Eazy-E : Eazy-er Said Than Dunn
It's been twenty-three years since the NWA founder's death, and he's too often forgotten. For this selection, we go back to his 1988 "Eazy-Duz-It" solo album for the only track clean enough for radio play - and intentionally written as such. Dr.Dre and Yella produced it, and Dre is also credited as the writer - which is interesting, as in later years he would be known as someone who would employ writers for his own lyrics! This song was tributed eleven years after its release by fellow Compton native DJ Quik on his "Quikker Said Than Dunn".
Black Moon : Who Got The Props?
The first time I heard this on the pirate station Supreme back in Leeds in the early 90s, they didn't announce the artist or the track title, which was frustrating - because I thought that this was one of the best records I had ever heard! Eventually I found out what it was and emptied my pockets to buy the import 12" single. A straight classic of Brooklyn rhymes over a jazz sample and some kicking drums, which gave us a preview of the quality to expect from the "Enta Da Stage" album.
[Hangmen 3] Benzino : Bang Ta Dis
Back in the days of the SOHH message boards, this beat was a popular one when it came out! Benzino's not the most heavyweight lyricist in the world, so searching out the vocal of this isn't a must necessarily, but he along with Johnny Bananas and Jeff Two Times kill it on the production here.
The Doobie Brothers : You Belong To Me
My assumption is that this is supposed to be a love song. However, it can't be just me that think it sounds a little...pimpish? This song was written in the late 70s by the Doobies' Michael McDonald and Carly Simon, who herself recorded a more popular version than this, one which got a Grammy nomination. Anita Baker, J-Lo, and others have recorded it as well, but this, the first recorded version (from "Livin' On The Fault Line") is my personal favourite. McDonald is one of the most unmistakable voices in music, and he does a top-notch job with this song.
Marvin Gaye : After The Dance (Instrumental)
An early track from Marvin Gaye's 1976 "I Want You" album, some of you will know this as the ending credit music on "American Pimp". While the vocal version is clearly a love ballad, the Gaye and Leon Ware-produced instrumental seems to take on a sadder character without Marvin's voice over the top. I love it.
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!