Feb 28, 2019
"...and though the flag been tattered and beaten..."
- General Steele
The short month of the year puts a little pressure on the recording schedule, but the show is here on time for you as always. Once again, we feature the sounds of J Dilla, Big Pun, and Big L, alongside plenty of other great stuff - and we keep the same speed going all the way through the mix!
Shows coming up;
Twitter : @airadam13
EPMD ft. KRS-ONE : Run It
We start the episode with an all-NYC, all-uppercase collaboration from the "We Mean Business" LP, the seventh in EPMD's industrially-titled discography. A nod to LL on the hook, stick-up business over an Erick Sermon beat (of course), with KRS playing clean-up man flawlessly. Favourite part of the verse - real 'G's do indeed want to stay at home and read the paper.
Jay Dee : Another Batch - 11
One of a bunch of late-90s Dilla beats that got leaked onto the internet back in the day, this one smacks along with a bassline that comes through like a funky duck! I don't know if anyone ever rhymed on this, but I can imagine someone like De La doing great things with it.
Chuck D ft. Jahi : BOT
I don't know if it was intentional, but this track seems to call back to two tracks from the legendary "...Nation of Millions..." album; "She Watch Channel Zero?" ("she looking at the screen more than talking to me") and also "Night of the Living Baseheads" ("battery on low, look like fiends with a Jones"). Chuck D might have been one of the very first in Hip-Hop to catch onto the Internet, but the elder statesman sees the BS it's brought us as well! He combines here with the lead MC in the group known as "PE 2.0" to get it all off his chest, and he's got plenty more to say on the new "Celebration Of Ignorance" album.
Black Thought : 9th vs. Thought
No-one can accuse Black Thought of not being a team player, with it taking until 2018 before we saw a solo release from him, the "Streams of Thought Vol.1" EP. 9th Wonder was the producer for the project, and on this track he gets headline billing. Fans of top-flight lyricism are in for a treat here, as the MC of choice for many MCs shows his skill level in a major way.
Boot Camp Clik : World Wide
Serious track from the Brooklyn stalwarts, uniting on 2006's "The Last Stand". I absolutely love General Steele's opening verse, from which this month's epigram is taken, and then it's followed with the late, great Sean P just thugging it all the way out on the second verse! They go out of the immediate crew for production, tapping up Large Professor for a head-nodding beat that easily could have made for a fire single. Not the best-known tune maybe, but a tune that is big by nature!
Big L : Don't Front (Freestyle)
Short and powerful like a shot of rum, this is a concise taste of Big L's legendary freestyle aggression over a smooth 90s beat from Diamond's "You Can't Front".
Slum Village : Go Ladies (Instrumental)
One of my favourite Dilla beats easily, as heard on the "Fantastic, Vol.2" album, flipping a well-known 80s soul sample and somehow making it even better than you could have imagined. It's only when you listen back to what else was coming out around that time you can hear how much of a shock to the system a laid-back groove like this was.
Donnie : Cloud 9 (Spinna Mix)
If you enjoy soulful music, Donnie's 2002 debut "The Colored Section" should definitely be in your collection. "Cloud 9" was one of the standouts, and DJ Spinna puts some extra bump into it on this remix, which is on a nice 12" release. His bass style is so distinctive, and with so much of the beat being in the lower frequency range, it leaves plenty of room for Donnie's masterful vocals!
Foreign Exchange : Hustle, Hustle
There are plenty of great tracks on "Connected", the debut Foreign Exchange album, and I was sure I'd already played this - glad to find out I hadn't, as it was the perfect fit for this slot! Nicolay's beat is smooth on that kind of early-2000s, neo-soulish vibe, and then you have lyrical treats coming from every angle. Quartermaine and C.A.L.I.B.E.R spit bars about trying to get ahead in the world, and Phonte comes in beautifully on the hook, in a fairly early demonstration of his singing talent. I don't blame you if you find yourself humming this one on the way to work.
Kev Brown : Hold Fast
One of the great bassline masters in Hip-Hop, Kev Brown certainly put Landover (MD) on the map with his top-quality "I Do What I Do" album. He's just as solid on the mic, and takes the reins alone on this track from the second half of the LP. Scratches are credited to DJ PMD, who is not Parrish Smith, but in fact Peter Rosenberg (who hails from the same area) under his original DJ name!
Jermaine Dupri ft. Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and R.O.C : Protectors of 1472
Unless there's some other, non-publicised significance to the number 1472, the "Life In 1472" album has one of the most contrived titles of all time! I don't actually have the album, but this DJ Premier-produced cut is on a compilation of his rarer/lesser-known cuts. I cut this one fairly short, as I think you get the best of it in a compact dose - the last verse is by far the longest, but Snoop towards the front is the clear headliner.
J Dilla : Won't Do (Instrumental)
Classic Dilla from towards the end, based around the "Footsteps In The Dark" drums, with fragments of the vocal yelling out for help along the way. The vocal version is on "The Shining" LP, but for this instrumental, you may need to pick up the 7" boxset of the album (or the MP3 version), which contains instrumentals for every track!
Sadat X ft. Timmy Hunter : Neva
The three-bar loop makes mixing a bit tricky, but I really wanted to play this one! Sadat looks back over his life and career, and celebrates his own effort and self-belief - justifiably so. Diamond D provides the beat, as he does all the way through the "Sum Of A Man" album. It's been a long road since that first LP with Brand Nubian, but Sadat is still travelling it, and for that we should be thankful :)
Dabrye ft. Jay Dee and Phat Kat : Game Over
That beat will definitely do things on a big sound system. Sparse, menacing, insistent. Ann Arbor's Dabrye takes no prisoners on the production, and then pulls in his fellow Michiganders Jay Dee and Phat Kat, who just spit raw Detroit flames in the space the beat leaves! The 2006 "Two/Three" album is one for anyone who likes the more angular, awkward, and aggressive style of production.
Clear Soul Forces : Continue?
I've been saving the combination of this and "Game Over" for ages :) CSF's 2013 "Gold PP7s" is an essential album for anyone who thinks they don't make MCs like they used to - it should give you faith for the future! I can't even keep up with all the gaming, comic, and anime references that they just firehose you with, but the spirit is undeniable. Ilajide's videogame-styled beat bumps hard, and overall this is just one of those tracks I can't see any reason for anyone not to love!
C2C ft. Tigerstyle, Netik, Rafik, Vajra, Kentaro : Le Banquet
Here we have an all-star lineup of scratch DJs, liquefying their crossfaders one after another as the featured instrumentalists on this track from the "Tetra" album. If you listen closely, there are actually some quotes from "Game Over" in the mix - they sound like vocoded re-records, but they could well be heavily-manipulated samples...
J Dilla : Dillatronic 09
One more Dilla instrumental as we come towards the end, this time taken from the "Dillatronic" collection of beats, a posthumous collection of 41 pieces - many very short - from the MPC of the man himself.
Noreaga ft. Nature, Big Pun, Cam'ron, Jadakiss, and Styles P : Banned From TV
Late 90s thug styles, and the kind of triumphant sound that either had to start or finish the episode. Nature was the original guest on here, but while almost everyone else was invited on, Big Pun bullied his way onto the track! While everybody comes off, the true gems on this tune are towards the front - Nature's memorable opening line, and Pun's devastating verse. The Swizz Beatz production is a perfect snapshot of the keyboard-based beats of the era - the "horns" should be corny, but somehow they work in context, and the kick/basstone combo bangs! Classic Berra-ism from Nore on the last verse too - if it's with tomato juice, then it can't be Hennessy straight...
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!