Aug 31, 2018
"Classical soul, I got the nastiest flow"
- Sean Price
We had to open the show with an Aretha Franklin track to mark her sad passing this month, and you'll hear her essence at various points throughout the episode. I'm just about beating the buzzer to get this one out on time, but I'm sure you'll agree it was worth the effort!
Manchester shows for the month;
Twitter : @airadam13
Aretha Franklin : Rock Steady
We had to start things off with a classic from the Queen. This 1971 single from the "Young, Gifted, and Black" album isn't short on legends, with Donny Hathaway on electric piano and organ, and Bernard Purdie doing the business on the drums. A much covered and much sampled record, all trying to get just a hint of the flavour of the original.
Pete Rock : Aretha
A perfect instrumental for me to come across this month, drawn from the golden period in which Pete Rock was on production for InI's unreleased (but heavily bootlegged) debut album. This beat wasn't used, but it comes to us courtesy of the 2017 "Lost Sessions" release alongside nine other previously-unreleased instrumentals.
[DJ Premier] Gang Starr : 92 Interlude
I just had to include this - an interlude beat from the "Daily Operation" LP that built around just a tiny incidental piece of a famous Aretha Franklin track and put other producers on notice when it comes to how Primo picks gold!
JR & PH7 ft. Chuuwee : Meadowview Morning
Thank you Spotify for dropping this one into one of my playlists! The German producers JR and PH7 have made a brief appearance on the show previously, but their work on this track from "The South Sac Mack" is really something. They come up with a jazzy but sombre instrumental which perfectly fits the trio of Sacramento MCs telling tales of life in their corner of the world.
Hieroglyphics : Oakland Blackouts
Keeping it over on the West Coast, the Hiero crew have always been reliable as a source of bars upon bars. The "3rd Eye Vision" album is creeping towards twenty years old, but is still an excellent listen! Opio of Souls of Mischief is on production for this one.
Termanology : Are You Sure?
We don't hear Erick Sermon's name brought up enough when it comes to some of the greatest producers, so I'm glad Termanology linked up with him for this head-nod groove on his latest album "Bad Decisions". This is almost Term's version of Gang Starr's "The Planet", with him telling the story of coming to New York from Massachusetts and having to work to establish and hold his position. I won't give away the hook sample in case it's uncleared, but it's also a quality record :)
Sean Price : Director's Cut
This one has an unusual structure - a series of short two-bar "scenes" separated by two-bar sections of commentary. It's raw street business with a dash of humour as you'd expect from Sean P, gracing the Khrysis beat with some classic jewels. If you like this track, then the "Jesus Price Supastar" LP is a must in your collection.
DJ Agent M : Keeping Me In The Dark
Agent M is a producer and DJ from Leeds whose 2018 beat tape "Closure" is the sound of him working through a period of loss. This track is based around a classic sample, which is not just flipped for the sonics but also for the title.
Kev Brown : Voltron
It's been an extremely long wait for a proper follow-up to Kev Brown's 2005 debut LP "I Do What I Do", but finally he returns with "Homework" - twenty-nine tracks for a grateful audience! It's a partly vocal and partly instrumental album, with many tracks clocking in at under two minutes long. This was an initial standout for me, and while it's tickling my head as though there's a familiar sample, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that everything was played from scratch - Kev certainly has the capability.
The Game ft. Faith Evans : Don't Need Your Love
I've got to be honest - the lead-up to the release of The Game's debut album, "The Documentary" felt like one of the first times I felt as though the industry was really trying to force-feed an artist into the scene. He'd only been rapping for a relatively short time (for that era) before this LP came out, and has to be credited for building his skills in such a short time, but the Dr. Dre co-sign and G-Unit affiliation was of course what put him over the top. He's still active nowadays though, and has absolutely earned his place. Anyway, the first album had two tracks I really enjoyed - "Put You On The Game" and this, a track straight from the heart with Faith Evans blessing the hook. Havoc of Mobb Deep is on production with a beat that isn't what you might expect from him in terms of sound, but is right there at the standard of quality that he'd set.
DJ Cam ft. Cameo : Love Junkee (Dilla Remix)
You may or may not know it, but you cannot deny that this is a serious tune! The original was cool, in a relaxed and organic way, with Cameo an extremely welcome guest to proceedings, but Dilla turned it into a banger. Incredibly minimal on the surface, but packed with lots of little subtleties if you listen closely enough. If you can hear past that thumping low end! Get yourself a digital copy of both versions, and thank me later.
Zapp : Computer Love
I've said it before, but Zapp were something like fifteen years ahead of the advent of internet dating! This is a stone classic record, sampled and flipped countless times, and one which I'm glad to have enjoyed as a new track when it was released back in 1985! Shirley Murdock features as half of the lead vocal duet alongside Charlie Wilson of The Gap Band, and the great Roger Troutman (RIP), who also wrote the song, comes in on the talkbox. Apparently Charlie Wilson's record label thought this wasn't going to be a hit...I assume much crow has been eaten since! You can find this as a single, on the "The New Zapp IV U" album, and on many compilations.
Onra : Wait A Minute
This needed a bit of additional looping to be long enough to fit here, but it fit so well in terms of sound that it had to be done. It's taken from the new "Nobody Has To Know" album, the instrumental story of a secret relationship.
Sean Price : 60 Bar Dash
Sean P again with a stream of the disrespectful lines we love him for, on a record from relatively early in his solo career - you can find this on the B-side of the "Boom Bye Yeah" 12" single. PF Cuttin is on production, working a break you might know from the first Diamond D album.
De La Soul : The Art Of Getting Jumped
I always enjoyed this one and the 80s Aretha sample that makes up the hook! Underrated but big tune from the "Art Official Intelligence : Mosaic Thump" album, all about those times when the pack strikes and isn't concerned with fighting fair...
Eric B & Rakim : Set 'Em Straight
If you don't have the "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em" album, then you probably don't know this track - it wasn't a single, it's not a club track, but my goodness, it's dope. The title is perfect, as Rakim takes the time to primarily put other MCs in check, but also correct one or two false rumours of the time, including that that he was supposedly locked up on Rikers Island for selling drugs. Pure heat from the very early 90s.
Blade : Rough It Up
Long before his union with Mark B (RIP) that many of you will know him for, Blade was an MC who absolutely personified the grind and the real DIY attitude. His first LP, "The Lion Goes From Strength To Strength", was in my opinion the original crowd-funded album, and the determined and defiant nature required to undertake such a task in 1991 is evident on this early 12"! He's talking about his real life right down to washing dishes to pay the bills, over a soup of funk cooked up by his own hand alongside the underground legendary engineer/producer "No Sleep" Nigel. I learned about this record when Pete Tong played it as a brand new tune on Radio 1, and it made me a Blade fan for life.
K-Def : Get A Clue
I needed something funky for this spot, and with the help of a bit of looping to make it a suitable length, I found it on K-Def's "Willie Boo Boo" collection, which is one that the beat heads should definitely have in their collections.
Aretha Franklin : Young, Gifted, and Black
What can you say? I thought this soaring anthem would be a great record to end the episode on. Nina Simone was the original writer (with Weldon Irvine) and performer of this song, back in 1969, but just three years later Aretha released this incredible version as the title track of her eighteenth (!) studio album. I certainly remember hearing many versions of this track as a child, and this is the perfect time to bring it out for all of you. Turn up the volume and take in the mastery.
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!