Sep 29, 2019
"I will not lose."
Back on the road after an unscheduled absence, and now with a fully operational battle station (see my IG stories for more). This month's selection starts with a few tracks to test your audio installation, remembers 2Pac twenty-three years after he passed, and is pretty much guaranteed to hit you with at least one track you didn't already know! Let's begin...
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Federation ft. Daz Dillinger : We Ride
I've been banging this one hard for months, and it seemed like an appropriate one to start the episode with! That little pre-chorus amuses and entertains in equal measure, and gives a breather each time before Rick Rock's stomping beat comes crashing back in. This is a great tune from Federation's 2004 eponymous first album, and they rep Fairfield hard on the mic while also bringing in Daz from Tha Dogg Pound for a cosign from a veteran. One to crank your car system to, for sure!
DJ Quik : Ladies & Thugs (Instrumental)
This is far from my favourite track on the excellent "Trauma" album, but the beat fit really well here - and DJ Quik was generous enough to release an instrumental version of this album for us to hear his wicked beats taking centre stage.
Jay-Z ft. Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, and Static Major : Change The Game
Keeping it west coast on the production, Rick Rock is on the boards once again with what was arguably his national break-out tune. Jay-Z scooped up some of that Bay Area mob music vibe on this one, and featured two of the foremost MCs of the Roc-A-Fella roster of the time. The hook was provided by the sadly departed Static Major, and it fits perfectly. This was a big single from "The Dynasty : Roc La Familia", but didn't make anywhere near as much noise on the charts as the track that followed it on the LP - "I Just Wanna Love U".
80s Babies ft. Chaka B : Technology
This crew is made up of Tall Black Guy on the beats and Dee Jackson AKA Shogun on the mic, and their "Sonic Music" album is somehow almost ten years old already. "Technology" and the track that follow just happen to fit together nicely, with no deliberate plan to have a tech critique theme in this section! The lyrics lament the state of the modern world when it comes to our reliance on technological solutions, with some maybe being more useful than others. TBG is dope on the beat as always, and if you pay attention you may hear a little callback to a track from his hometown of Detroit...
OutKast ft. George Clinton : Synthesizer
George Clinton was a big feature to get when this came out on "Aquemini", and I'm sure he was drawn to OutKast's outer space vibes. This was released in 1998, pre-social media and in what was almost another technological age - despite this, the themes discussed have held up surprisingly well for a track over twenty years old. As much as anything, maybe OutKast were just rapping ahead of their time!
2Pac ft. Dogg Pound, Method Man, and Redman : Got My Mind Made Up
This is one of my favourites from the over-long "All Eyez On Me" album, but the background to this one is weird. There's about half a bar of background vocal from Inspektah Deck right at the end - he actually recorded a whole verse (as did Lady of Rage) which was omitted from the final version after a mix-up when tapes were being transferred. Daz Dillinger did the production as well as rhyming on the track with his Dogg Pound compatriot Kurupt, but Dr Dre allegedly claimed it at one point. Meth and Red somehow didn't get any publishing or plaques from this track, despite being major artists at the time who contributed typically dope verses. Industry rule #4080...
[K-Murdock] & Mega Ran : Player Two (Instrumental)
The vocal version of this from "Forever Famicom" is well worth hearing, but for now you get to hear just K-Murdock's quality beat. It works in groups of three bars, so catches you a little off-balance at first!
Blu & Oh No ft. Definite, Ca$hus King, and M.E.D : Boogie To Flex
From "A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night", we have tales of when the party goes all the way wrong and the gangsta business sets off! Oh No's beat is somehow bright and dark at once, bringing the tension, and every single guest MC brings it to the point that Blu only needs to come in with the perfectly-done hook.
Royce Da 5'9" ft. Tre Little, Cha Cha, Cut Throat, Jah 5'9", and Billie Nix : D-Elite, Pt. II
Both parts of this mini-series to the B-side of the pretty so-so "You Can't Touch Me" once again proves Chuck D right! I actually prefer the first one overall, but it's very short and tonally wouldn't fit here. Part II is no slouch, with Alchemist on production and a host of guest MCs - the D-Elite of the title, who Royce cedes the floor to.
Reks : Forrest Gump
I'm wondering if the 2013 "Revolution Cocktail" album has been deleted - I can't find it on Amazon, Spotify, or even Bandcamp! Listen to it if you get chance because there is some serious heat on there from the Lawrence, MA veteran.
Curren$y : Billy Ocean
When the going gets tough, the tough get blunted. New Orleans' own Curren$y is on some paid rapper lifestyle business on this selection from "The Spring Collection" mixtape. Cardo and Sledgren provide the midtempo but chilled beat.
Luxury Elite : Upscale
A little vaporwave instrumental break courtesy of West Virginia's Luxury Elite, from her "World Class" album. So eighties, so good.
Tobe Nwigwe : Mo City Don Freestyle
I'm going to keep telling you how ill this Houston MC is until you believe me for real! Pure bars on this track that pays homage to the legendary Z-Ro's "Mo City Don" freestyle from his "Let The Truth Be Told" LP - which itself pays respect to the great Eric B & Rakim's "Paid In Full". Don't ever believe that real Hip-Hop isn't still alive and well in our era.
Zion I ft. Pep Love : Warrior's Dance
Back to the "Deep Water Slang v2.0" LP for a track that's motivational and bouncing at the same time - nothing less than you'd expect of this crew from Oakland, home of the Black Panthers! Fellow Oakland MC Pep Love of the Hieroglyphics family guests on here, taking half of each verse as well as the very last rhymes of the final verse. This is a salute to freedom fighters over a solid Amp Live beat.
Large Professor : Live In Stereo
This is very distinctly new-era (well, 2002) Large Pro, with the more electronic sound he started developing after the SP-1200 days that first made his name. The "1st Class" LP is Large Pro's second album, but the first to actually be released after "The LP" was shelved by Geffen and subsequently heavily bootlegged - finally surfacing in 2009.
Wretch 32 and Avelino ft. Bobii Lewis and Super N£ro : Nothing Will
This is such heat, and may well have slipped past the radar of many. Wretch 32 and Avelino are MCs who represent Tottenham heavy - at the time of this recording, Wretch being a relative veteran and Avelino the up-and-comer. A standout on the 2015 "Young Fire, Old Flame" mixtape, this tune has all MCs dropping deep quotables all over the DJ Smasherelly track, and Bobii Lewis with a great performance on the hook too.
Pete Rock : Heaven & Earth
A gentle head-nodder from a man who has been bringing us classic production for almost thirty years now! If you like this, be sure to get the "Petestrumentals 2" album.
Nas : We Will Survive
After watching the episodes of the latest "Hip-Hop Evolution" series on the tragic beef between Death Row and Bad Boy, this track stood out for me while listening to Nas' third album "I Am". It's definitely one of the best on the LP in my opinion, with Nas speaking on his relationships with the late 2Pac and Biggie Smalls. The beat is a reflective number by Trackmasters and Jamal Edgerton, working a (cleared!) Kenny Loggins sample. This was a fitting song to end the episode with.
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!