Jun 30, 2019
"...celebrate like a crooked capitalist..."
- Mr. Voodoo
The podcast reaches a huge landmark this month - the tenth birthday! Thank you to all of you for your support along the way. It's not easy to put together a show month after month, but when I hear from people how much they enjoy listening (especially when they've gone out and bought some of the records), it makes it all worth it.
I hope you enjoy this month's show - there are some rarities, some obscurities, and a bit of an extra-special treat! I've dipped into the vaults for some real personal favourites, so hopefully they're loved outside of the confines of my headphones!
Twitter : @airadam13
Run-DMC : For 10 Years
Only a short one, from their comeback "Down With The King" LP - when else was I going to have a chance to play it? :)
Natural Elements : Live It Up
Big 12" from my university days, a period when Natural Elements were already making themselves one of my all-time favourite crews. This track from the soundtrack to the not-particularly-notable film "Black Mask" was also on the B-side to the also-excellent "2 Tons", and that's a vinyl you should be able to pick up very cheaply nowadays on the used market. Charlemagne (the real one) is on the beat, and as with all NE tracks, lyrical quality is guaranteed and delivered.
[Nick Wiz] Shabaam Sahdeeq ft. Cocoa Brovaz : Every Rhyme I Write (Instrumental)
I was almost going to include the
version of this track (known to most from the "Soundbombing
2" mixtape), until it twigged how well the beat mixed with the
NE track before it. Nick Wiz of that era was a master of blending
those staccato electronic sounds with more traditional Hip-Hop
drums and bass, and he's still
doing his thing today.
As an aside, I think me and my man Pascal may be the only two people ever to blast the "Soundbombing 2" tape while barrelling through the Budapest area in an old Trabant. True story.
Mobb Deep : Rare Species (Modus Operandi)
It's already been two years this month since Prodigy passed. For this special episode, I thought it was worth pulling out a lesser-known track which also contains one of my favourite verses of his. Those of you who know this already will be aware that it came out on the soundtrack for "Soul in the Hole" (in the fine tradition of 90s soundtrack records that barely relate to the film), but it's actually a remix to an unreleased tune called "Reach". Classic Mobb dunn business all over, but the start of that second P verse...just too good. Havoc definitely kills it on the beat, with snapping drums over the top of some subtly clever sample work.
Black Moon : Freestyle
I'd forgotten quite how aggro this was! Buckshot is solo on the mic here with that real 90s grittiness over a flawless beat from Da Beatminerz. The "War Zone" LP was very different to "Enta Da Stage" - not as jazzy, definitely a different sound - but is not one to be overlooked.
A Tribe Called Quest ft. Consequence : Mind Power
The first two tracks in this section have been pretty gully, so for the second half we keep the flow sonically but take the lyrical aggression down a few notches. "Beats, Rhymes, and Life" is an LP that had to grow on me, but this track was always up there. The lyrical quality is there, drums are crispy as you like, and it's got a jazzy feel that could easily have fit onto either of their previous two albums.
DJ Honda & De La Soul : Trouble In The Water
Chilling things all the way out as we come to the end of this section, this is a really good De La track that may have passed some people by. From the second DJ Honda album comes this reflective song, which for me is absolutely made by that first verse, reminiscing on growing up.
Oddisee : After Thoughts
One of the many great instrumentals on Oddisee's "The Beauty In All" album. I didn't realise until doing some research that this is unbelievably popular on Spotify, which is pleasantly surprising. It's always good to find out that people appreciate quality music that the industry isn't pushing upon them!
Mary J. Blige : Good Woman Down
I only heard this 9th Wonder-produced track recently thanks to an article from the man Gino Sorcinelli, the man behind the excellent Micro-Chop blog. Mary is someone I firmly believe will one day have a film made of her life, and she gives just a small window here on this great song from "The Breakthrough". She's been through a lot, and thank goodness, she's still here and still on her game.
Agallah : Don't Wanna Be The Last
From around the period when Agallah was doing a lot of work with PCP/Dipset, this has been a drivetime favourite for me for the last three cars I've had! A hard one to find for quite a while, Agallah's 2004 "Doomsday" mixtape is the source for this one. Like the track that follows, if you enjoy hearing the kick drum get busy then this should be right up your street.
Camp Lo : Cookers
Chuck D tried to tell you - B-side wins again! From the quiet period between their storming debut "Uptown Saturday Night" and their underrated sophomore release "Let's Do It Again", the "Troubleman/Cookers" 12" let the world know that the Lo were still on it! Geechi and Cheeba go back and forth with ease over Ski's beat, one that clearly drew on the EEC kick drum mountain to smack harder than most.
Fat Joe ft. Armageddon : Find Out
Is that DJ Premier on the beat? Diamond D? Buckwild, perhaps? Nope, the legend Marley Marl reminding you that he fathered sampling/beat making in the way that many other great producers would do it today. That delicate acoustic guitar loop withstands an absolute battering from the heavy drums and bass Marley puts on, and Fat Joe has no problem slicing right through the middle or it all. This is from a white label 12", but you really want to pick up the "Don Cartagena" album for this and other gems.
Roni Size/Reprazent : Out Of The Game
Bristol, stand up! Even in the period when I really didn't mess with much drum & bass, I couldn't deny the "In The Møde" album. This hectic track was one of my favourites, largely off that moody, crime-thriller guitar riff. Smashing along at almost 180bpm, it still sounds masterfully under control.
8 Gold Rings & In The Loop MCs : Tribe Cipher
Here's a special treat for you - big thanks to Agent J and 8 Gold Rings for making it possible to include this month! The much-missed Manchester Hip-Hop club In The Loop was known not just for the great selections from DJ A-Up and Agent J, or the flavoursome hosting of Bedos, but for the monthly ciphers in which local MCs could step up and showcase their skills - ciphers from which a lot of great local MCs have emerged. Around the time of my "Manchester Marauders" exhibition, In The Loop connected with the then-nascent band that came to be known as 8 Gold Rings, and got them to soundtrack the month's cipher with a set of live renditions of A Tribe Called Quest instrumentals. Here we have just over 20 minutes of that absolutely fire session, with 8GR playing like a live mixtape while the vocalists battle for the month's crown.
Air Adam : Walk
An old beat I found while having a look through my archives - I couldn't hear an MC on it, but I found it's one I kept listening to so it's perfect for an instrumental bed here!
Geto Boys : Fuck A War
RIP Bushwick Bill. He had one of the more unique career paths, from dancer with the original Ghetto Boys, to MC with the reconstituted Geto Boys, solo releases, and eventually becoming a born-again Christian in a complete 180 to much of his old lyrical content. Right here, we're on the Geto Boys' second LP, "We Can't Be Stopped" (the one with the infamous album cover of Bill after he had shot himself in the eye [content warning]), and he goes solo on the mic putting the first George Bush and the Gulf War on full blast. The third verse goes a little off-piste with the message compared to the rest, and with the hook also being too short to really mix with, I did a little edit to just contain the first two verses and an instrumental outro for a nice blend.
E-40 ft. Keak da Sneak : Tell Me When To Go
"Jesus Christ had dreads, so shake 'em..." Bay Area classic material! For those of us outside the area, this was an anthem for the Hyphy movement, as E-40 and Keak lay down a little of the lifestyle - also illustrated in the wicked video. The first single from "My Ghetto Report Card" is just a certified banger, and guaranteed to make you move something. Surprisingly, the production was actually courtesy of an Atlanta native (crunk heavyweight Lil Jon), and it's almost entirely drums and percussion, with enough energy to make you want to throw something out of the window!
Zapp : Get Up Off The Wall
After the death of the great Roger Troutman, Zapp could have been forgiven for just packing up the whole thing for good. Fortunately for us, they're made of rare stuff, and after a few years off they returned. While they now are primarily concentrated on their live work, at which they are absolute masters, there have also been a couple of albums. "Zapp VI : Back By Popular Demand" gives us this track, with the air of classics like "Dance Floor". The CD is hard to find and incredibly expensive, so there's no shame in just going for a digital purchase here!
Ilajide : Don't Fake
If you haven't got "Heet Tape" yet, you're really missing out. Clear Soul Forces' Ilajide puts all the bump into reworking a classic 80s sample (which you may recognise, but which I won't name in case it's not cleared) and shows his rhyme skills into the bargain. It's just a genuinely fun track, and the video is in the same vein :)
The Chemical Brothers : Piku
The Chemical Brothers are one of a handful of groups I actually learned about from the old PlayStation game "Wipeout", and who coincidentally started DJing in the same student halls where I started to learn the craft! "Exit Planet Dust" is still my favourite LP from their catalogue, but "Dig Your Own Hole" definitely had tracks as well. This one I'd never paid that much attention to, but after a recent listen - and on realising the classic Motown sample they snuck in there - I was pleased to gain a new appreciation for it and find a spot for it here.
Ice-T & Ice Cube : Looters
Apologies for the sound quality, but here's a real rarity here for you! This was the unreleased title track for the soundtrack of the 1992 film that was eventually titled "Trespass" - until the L.A. Uprising happened. Ice-T and Ice Cube go hard on the mic over a beat that sounds like a Sir Jinx production, though I can't be sure. More so than the final title track (which I'm a big fan of), this one explicitly covers a lot of the plot of the actual film, so if you're trying to be efficient with your time... :) I chanced across this in a London used records shop, but your best chance of getting one of the few white label bootlegs is to hit Discogs.
Ry Cooder & Jim Keltner : King Of The Street
Finally, we close with the final track on the officially-released "Trespass" soundtrack album, a rock/blues (mostly) instrumental number that was a favourite of mine from the first listen! California's Ry Cooder plays many instruments, but on this track he shows his guitar chops alongside the skills of the legendary session drummer Jim Keltner. Aggressive, dramatic, pure flames.
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!