Wed, 26 January 2011
"Like my dun Ron-Ron Artest, we teach y'all 'bout wildin'..."
"Start out on the street, end up in the court"
- Nick Javas
Just couldn't choose between these two quotes - but then they both go well together :o) Happy New Year everyone! This month the selection just seemed to come really easily for the most part; I've pulled out a fair amount of old-ish Hip-Hop and mixed it up with a few more modern pieces - anyone who knows them all really is a veteran!
JVC Force : Tear The Show Up
Starting off 2011 by taking it back to 1990! JVC Force are indisputably best known for their mighty single "Strong Island" from 1987, but in my opinion this track is the best one they ever did. Yes, you heard me, better than "Strong Island." This is taken from their amazing (and criminally overlooked) second album "Force Field," which is one of the very first Hip-Hop albums I ever had (shout out to Dan Clarke) and is still one of my very favourite from the era. Please, if you love Hip-Hop with that classic essence, rush out and buy this one! To this day I listen to something from this album at least once a week, and it's one of my most prized vinyls. While the group disbanded some time ago, AJ Rock , B Luv, and Curt Cazal are all still involved in music in different capacities; Manchester listeners may be most familiar with Curt Cazal for the work he did with Grand Central in the late 90s.
Mark Ronson ft. Ghostface Killah & Nate Dogg : Ooh Wee (Instrumental)
Loved this when it came out, and I still do. Sped this up quite a bit to fit it into the mix but it's still a fair bit slower than the original Boney M sample it's based around. This one always works well in a club, if you've got enough other tunes fast enough to fit round it!
Above The Law : Untouchable
Back to 1990 :o) As I've probably said before, Above The Law are one of my all-time favourite groups and this track was my absolute favourite on their first album; I must have worn the tape out just running it back over and over again! The lead MC Cold 187um is responsible for the fire production (ignore all the misinformed fools who try to tell you Dr.Dre did their beats), and both he and KMG keep pace with their contrasting styles on the mic.
Hustlers HC : Let The Hustlers Play
Someone else is obviously an Above The Law fan, since they are sampled twice on this track! Asian flavour all over this hot 1993 UK track from a Sikh crew out of West London. This is the B-Side of the single "Big Trouble In Little Asia" and while it's not tackling heavy issues like the A-Side it is to me the far better track, production-wise at least. I grew up in an area where I'd hear a lot of Asian music and thought it worked really well when blended with the uptempo, drum/break-focused style of beats of the late 80s/early 90s. You're unlikely to see copies of this around now without specifically looking for it, so take this sample as a gift from the neglected corners of my record collection!
London Posse : Jump Around
Love this tune, though I've not included all six minutes of it! This is from the landmark 1990 UK Hip-Hop LP "Gangster Chronicle" which has one of my favourite album covers, besides anything else :o) I'm not sure what Bionic is doing these days, but those of you who keep up with UK Hip-Hop will know that Rodney P has continued to put out classic material to the present day!
Donald D : Rage Of The Rap Renegade
I am a Donald D fan. Back in my high school days I used to hear him as part of Ice-T's Rhyme $yndicate killing it on the mic, and his verse on "Fly By" (from the Ice-T "OG" album) is one of my all-time favourites, I learned it by heart back then! I ran into him by chance in Leeds before a KRS-ONE show and got the chance to tell him so, a big highlight of 2010 for me :o)
Buckshot LeFonque : James Brown (Pt. 1 & 2)
Buckshot LeFonque was a Branford Marsalis side-project, blending his style of jazz with Hip-Hop amongst other styles; if you ever wanted to hear live musicians playing jungle, for instance, you need to pick up the "Music Evolution" album!
Mobb Deep : Another Victory
I'd forgotten all about this one until it popped up when I was playing a stack of MP3s at random! It's from the soundtrack to the game "NBA Live 2004" (I'll just say that I have my own long history of handing out beatdowns on the NBA Live series from its inception) but despite that I think it's actually pretty good! It's also one of the rare Mobb tracks that's totally radio-friendly, and manages to not talk about any shooting...apart from a basketball!
DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. J-Live : Practice
The first of two tracks to sample the famous outburst from the much-maligned Allen Iverson. I remember reading somewhere (and this detail is generally wilfully unreported) that the trigger for the kickoff was that someone close to him had died. As far as this track, it's from the "Return Of The Magnificent" album and is the kind of smooth dopeness you expect from Jazzy Jeff, with J-Live on the vocals giving us the real story of the work that goes into a career in music.
Nick Javas : Not A Game
When I heard this track, I knew it was going to be on the show this month and I also knew what track had to precede it! DJ Premier comes in with a brilliant use of the Iverson quote and new artist Nick Javas uses it as a springboard to explore "games, " with plenty of sporting metaphors, similies, and double meanings along the way; the second verse is amazing. This is from the Year Round Records compilation "Get Used To Us," essential listening for those who like that hard Hip-Hop!
Evidence : Ragtime
Nice piano beat taken from the "Yellow Tape Instrumentals" vinyl. Evidence of Dilated people tends to be somewhat underrated as an MC and as a producer, he's done some heavy tracks over the years.
Soul II Soul : Back To Life (Accapella) & Masta Ace : Jeep Ass N!guh (Bizcapella) (Instrumental)
A little blend for you! If you have a copy of the Soul II Soul album, you'll know that it's actually an accapella and it's only the single versions that have music (and the vocals were re-recorded). This has been much sampled over the years for one reason - it sounds amazing. Soul II Soul are one of the great innovative British groups who found success here and abroad by creating their own lane.
Lexxus : Divine Reasoning
I'm not someone who follows the latest dancehall releases or anything, but when I find a tune I like I run with it! I loved Lexxus' "Ring Mi Cellie" and picked up a copy on 12" to play out, but on the B-side found this killer. Big tune from Mr.Lex! *airhorn*
T La Rock : Lyrical King (From The Boogie Down Bronx)
(Loving the bracketed bit) Taking it back to the 80s with one of the overlooked greats, T La Rock of "It's Yours" fame. This is the title track from his first album and showcases vintage production from Kurtis Mantronik. Plenty of you wouldn't have been born when this was released, which is pretty freaky to think about...
Archive : All Time
Keeping the 808 beat going with this one, but on a very different vibe. I still need to play you their amazing "Nothing Else," but this tune holds down this spot perfectly. You may not know them, but Archive are a UK group originally formed by former members of Genaside II - their main style has generally been what is often called "trip-hop" but they're very versatile. Definitely worth digging into!
Unwrapped : Flava In Ya Ear
Jazz cover version wind-down business! I came across Unwrapped a few years ago; they basically do live instrument, jazzified covers of rap tracks (hence the name), and have six albums out which hardly anyone I know seem to have even heard of, much less heard! This version of Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" will never challenge the original for supremacy in my ears at least, but I thought it was fairly interesting!
E-40 : Practice Looking Hard
I've been hanging onto this one a while, decided this would be the month through it - a nice relaxed wind-down to the episode. E-40 is a veteran from Vallejo, California who started off doing his thing independently and was one of the pioneers in that respect, building his fan base with a lot of hard work and no major backing. This is from his third LP "The Mail Man," and it's a great track about having to keep up a tough facade for the world. The sample for the hook comes from Boots Riley of The Coup - another Bay Area act well worth checking out!
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!