Jun 30, 2018
"If you mad, take it up with God, it's how he designed me"
My goodness, it was tough to get this episode completed - but here we are, celebrating the ninth birthday of the podcast! Thank you all for your continued support; it's knowing that you're waiting for the show every month that keeps it going :)
As mentioned on the show; RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) could make very good use of donations right now.
Beatnuts show, September 19th, Whiskey Jar, Manchester - catch me on the wheels in the early going!
Nas ft. The-Dream & Kanye West : everything
It seems that seven-track albums are the style right now. I still need to give "NASIR" some more listens, but this song stood out by a mile to me on the first hearing. I'm not here for Kanye West right now but he and his team do nail the production on this one, and he and The-Dream knock the sung vocals out of the park. Nas' mostly solid rhymes, with some gems in there (especially the third verse), are somehow my third favourite thing on this song, which is at least partially due to the seeming anti-vaccine sentiment in the second verse. He's either wrong, or just dropped some clumsy lines - you be the judge.
Power Glove : E-240
Power Glove are an Australian who the gamers amongst you may know their work from the soundtrack of "Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon". They're mostly known for 80s-style synthwave, but this has more of a chilled 90s vibe, which I think they execute really well. You can get this on their "EP II".
Agallah : Don't Wanna Be The Last
I think this was the track that made me go back and check the catalogue of the group who were sampled by Agallah for this beat! This is taken from his "Doomsday" mixtape and has been a favourite of mine ever since I was bumping it in a red Corolla like the Puerto Rican driver in Masta Ace's "Born To Roll" and the "J.A.N" re-record :)
Rapsody : Special Way
Going with another repurposed 80s ballad on this one, with Khrysis on production. A song of love, delivered in Rapsody's flawless style, this is yet another great track from "She Got Game". Have you got yourself a copy yet?
Rakim : Remember That
I really didn't appreciate "The 18th Letter" enough when it first came out, but I keep going back to it and finding tracks I unjustly overlooked. This particular one finds Rakim reminiscing over his early experiences of Hip-Hop and the NYC club scene of his youth, with DJ Clark Kent supplying the beat.
Devin The Dude : Gotta Be Me
I can't say I can relate to the smoking experience, but this is a tune I enjoy nonetheless! This is the title track of his seventh album, with Cozmo basing the instrumental on a classic soul number, and Devin's lyrics making the whole thing a great summertime tune.
The Mouse Outfit : Children Of The Stars (Instrumental)
Just the beat from one of my favourite tracks on the "Escape Music" album - gorgeous production work. Do pick up that album if you don't already have it, along with their latest release "Jagged Tooth Crook".
Jasiri X : The Whitest House
You can always rely on Jasiri X to be the man with the take on current events, and this is a heavy one. It opens with a sample of the author and educator Ta-Nehisi Coates before the beat drops in and Jasiri tackles the evils of the Trump regime. As usual, the best place to get his singles is on his Bandcamp page.
The Alchemist ft. Mobb Deep : Carved In Stone
A longtime favourite of mine from the excellent "Insomnia" compilation, with raw Mobb rhymes (including this month's epigraph), and Alchemist killing it on the beat - I don't know where he got the sample, but it's a great one. Listen closely and you'll hear it's an example of a no hi-hit drum part, with kicks and handclaps along with some low tom-type rolls making up the entirety of the drum programming. Rhyme-wise, the late great Prodigy opens things up but I think Havoc absolutely shines here!
Smoke DZA & Pete Rock : Last Name
Given the names of the two artists who created the album, "Don't Smoke Rock" is just the best possible name. Apparently a new album is on the way, but for now have a sample of the first collaboration. The beat isn't one that immediately makes you think of Pete Rock but obviously has the quality, and it suits the MCing perfectly. Smoke DZA does have a kind of smoked-out vibe, but is right on top of things at the same time here.
Blu & Nottz ft. Exile : The Man
I don't know if it's just me, but the first verse sounds very different to the other two - and is clearly the best! Blu & Nottz' "Gods In The Spirit, Titans In The Flesh" is a new release but essentially a merge of two separate EPs that the pair had previously released, with this track originally being on "Titans In The Flesh". Nottz, though mostly known as a producer, gets on the mic here to close the track and definitely shows he belongs, but Blu just kills that first verse.
A Kid Called Roots : Hip-Hop
He may not be a household name, but A Kid Called Roots (I presume it's like A Tribe Called Quest or A Pimp Named Slickback, you say the whole thing) has quietly produced for quite an array of artists, from Canibus to Xzibit. This beat is from the 1997 "Hydra Beats Volume XIII" collection, with ten tracks from this producer - all named after a producer or executive, except this one, it seems!
DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. The Trinity: Wide Awake
The third instalment of the "Magnificent" series seems to have quietly snuck out, but it's an album well worth checking out! Rhymefest, Dayne Jordan, and Uhmeer make up the on-mic crew for this track, with crystal-clear rhymes over lush production. A nice extra touch is Jeff's scratching with a famous sound much beloved by the turntablists of the world!
The Foreign Exchange : June
It's somehow unfair that Phonte is such an amazing MC and got that singing voice, but we're the beneficiaries when he gives us stuff like this! Phonte and Nicolay's joint project has gone from strength to strength, with this new single being another gem in their catalogue. The low notes give us the high point of the production, with Nicolay killing it on the synth bass!
Children of Zeus : All Night
Last month we had the A-side of this single, but I just couldn't resist that "You're A Customer" sample after all! Konny Kon and Tyler Daly each shine at what they're best known for on this cut, with the overall result feeling like (in my opinion) a super-upgraded version of what some of the R&B/rap combination tracks were trying to do in the late 90s/early 00s. Big tune, and one which sets the table for the release of the long-awaited debut album "Travel Light" in July!
Smith Brothers : Real Live
Nothing conscious or pretty here, just pure gangster business from Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigger Da Gambler as The Smith Brothers (they actually are the Smith brothers in real life) on this 2000 single. I thought the beat here was a good one to blend to from the CoZ track, with the staccato synth line and tough drums. I only have this as a promo 12", which unfortunately doesn't have a production credit printed, but DR Period might be a reasonable guess.
DJ Spinna : Let It Speak
Mobb Deep : Play
This may be one of the only ever completely radio-friendly Mobb Deep tracks! I don't think this is a well-known one, but I originally heard about it on the Juan Epstein podcast. From the soundtrack of the Keanu Reeves film "Hardball", this one sees Prodigy and Havoc doing it for the kids but absolutely maintaining their own rugged style. If you ever stumble upon the original sample, I think you'll enjoy that track too.
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!