Thu, 28 June 2012
"The respect in my city reflects the gods with me..."
Third birthday episode! Really pleased to still be going after all this time - big thanks to you all for supporting! I've got some absolutely choice tunes for this episode, definitely looking forward to getting this one onto the iPod. This was one of those months where all the tracks just fell together at the right time, so spread the word and let everyone hear it! Without further ado, let's get into the notes...
Suga Free : I Wanna Go Home
Starting things off on an "improvised" vibe - a deep album cut from Suga Free ("The Pimp") coming from the debut album "Street Gospel." Drumming out a beat on the table in true jailhouse style, he showcases his signature smooth and yet animated flow on this tale of being caught up in the system. You might assume this was put together on multiple tracks in the studio, but I think the lyrics and the beat could well have been recorded at the same time; DJ Quik (who produced the first album) once told a story of Free auditioning for him by drumming a beat with a pen while rhyming at the same time. Skills, no doubt.
[Kut Masta Kurt] Motion Man : C'mon Y'all (Instrumental)
Sounds like something from the late 80s, I could definitely hear Kane or Ultra all over this track!
Quincy Jones ft. The Human Bean Band : Wee B. Dooinit
This is one of those tunes that probably has you looking at me sideways right now! Taken from Quincy Jones' 1989 album "Back On The Block," the most notable thing about this track is the almost total lack of actual instruments on it! All the main sounds are from the body - chest slaps, hums, finger clicks, and so on. You don't believe me, go back and listen again :) Genius bit of engineering/production to make it all fit together as well, but would you expect anything less from the man who produced "Thriller?"
Roc Marciano ft. KA : We Do It
It seems like a long time ago since Roc Marciano was buried among the many artists in Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Squad - seems like a parallel universe in fact, with Roc Marc emerging as an underground star in his own right. He's got a very distinctive rhyme and vocal style that pretty much assures you'll never hear a "Starships" from him ;) and besides that he's actually got skills on the boards too - again, doing it his way. The "Marcberg" album this is taken from is mostly self-produced and has a consistent dusty, vintage kind of vibe. This track personifies it, and also makes me smile because the hook can't have taken more than 10 seconds to come up with (obviously spent the time writing the verses instead), but it works brilliantly - less is more and all that. Guesting on the mic is KA who was apparently in the first lineup of Natural Elements - didn't know that!
Outkast : Babylon
Looove this one. One of my favourite tracks from what to me is hands down the best OutKast album, their sophomore release "ATLiens." Everything about this is dope - the main lyrics, the gorgeous hook, the deep bass, the little wah-wah guitar licks...perfection. Close your eyes and listen to this one properly, it's absolutely worth it.
Bo$$ : Deeper (Instrumental/Original)
Here's someone who was building up a little momentum and then seemed to just disappear! Bo$$ came out from the West Coast in 1993 with the "Born Gangstaz" album which I don't think was an enormous seller but had a couple of hot singles (this was the better, easily). The story I heard was that Bo$$ disappeared because she got exposed as having a much easier background than she'd made out, but since then I've read that her actual background was common knowledge but that she'd had some hard times as an adult. Either way, the story shows how much you were expected to back up your words in that era - a long way from the reign of Officer Ricky... Anyway, back to the track - Def Jef produced a classic backing with a bit of Gwen McRae here and some Barry White there, and the early-mid 90s token dancehall injection comes from Papa Juggy. Remember those days?
Teflon : Get Mine
My understanding is that Teflon came out under the MOP banner and it took several years of me seeing his records in passing before I finally heard him properly on the amazing "Brooklyn Stompin'." Following that, I saw this old 12" while on a digging mission in London and thought it was worth a whirl. Sure enough, a good pick - musically, Nesto delivers a track very reminiscent of the kinds of stuff AZ or OC were rhyming over in the same kind of time period, and the lyrics are on that thematic mainstay of Hip-Hop - the come up.
9th Wonder : Vol I, Beat VI
Just a little something from the man with two microwaves, from a compilation of unreleased beats. It fit, it's nice, it makes the cut :)
Redlight Boogie ft. Sean Price : Heat Rock
P! Ferocious track from Amsterdam but with the Brooklyn connection. Redlight Boogie is a Dutch MC who's been recording since the 90s but I don't think is much known outside his home country - should be obvious from this that he has serious mic skills though. Sean Price came to Amsterdam to link up to record this track and do the excellent video - I recall reading that the whole thing was written and completed in a couple of hours. Teemong directed the video and added the processing and graphics that give it a look quite unlike any other I can name off the top of my head! Killing Skills on the beat, an absolute killer - if you claim Hip-Hop but can't enjoy this, I'm looking at you funny ;)
Roscoe Umali ft. Raekwon & Smif 'n' Wessun : I Remember
One of those obscure tracks which I stumbled on during a Spotify browsing session! I'd never even heard of Roscoe Umali before but I understand he's a Filipino West Coast underground artist - on this 2007 track though, he calls in some serious East Coast reinforcements, with Raekwon and Smin 'n' Wessun laying down their signature styles. A note from your DJ - I bought this tracks as an MP3 download and found there were loads of digital clicks and glitches in it - I wanted to share it with you so badly that I opened the track up in a wave editor and manually removed them all, which took an age. All for you!
Shabaam Sahdeeq ft. Xzibit : Concrete
One of those 12"s you take a chance on, but not a huge gamble - The Alchemist is on production on both sides and Shabaam Sahdeeq I knew from his early Rawkus releases. Not a huge amount to say on this one but I think Xzibit complements him well; that's right youngsters, he was getting busy a long time before the "Pimp My Ride" days :) Other side is decent as well, not a "must own" for most but still a decent release.
Smoke DZA ft Dom Kennedy : Pow Wow
When the most modern era of Hip-Hop jumped off, with new free mixtape/album releases online pretty much every day and an explosion in the number of new artists, I have to admit that I pretty much lost touch. Where do you start? Luckily, due to factors like the NouGold podcast, well-informed friends and online streaming, I started to find the gems in the modern age. Until about two weeks ago I think I'd only seen the name Smoke DZA about and hadn't paid any attention, but then I found this collab with Leimert Park's Dom Kennedy and had to play it! It's from the 2011 "Rolling Stoned" album, the title of which pretty much gives the main subject matter away...worth a listen at least. Production is by the straightforwardly named Kenny Beats, and I've got to say it was the beat that pulled me in - this is the kind of modern stuff I can definitely vibe off.
[K-Murdock] Mega Ran : Drop The Load (Original Instrumental)
Serious 8-bit business from the inspired combination of K-Murdock and Mega Ran (although this is just the instrumental). Not sure how much is played vs samples - and if sampled, how much it was chopped) but I think this is a top-notch track that would have been a classic inclusion on many of the video games from my childhood. Get yourself a copy on the "Forever Famicom DLC" project!
Fly Guys : Fly Guys With Glasses
*airhorn* One of the best new tracks I've heard in a while - Kay and Donwill of Tanya Morgan come together as "The Fly Guys" to give props to all those like myself who rock the glasses. Not the fake lens-less NBA-fashion type, but the type needed so we can actually see. Original on the topic, done with flavour, and backed with a big-time beat from The ARE, who rocks the Donald Byrd "Wind Parade" sample to devastating effect. Five stars from me - check the rest of the very affordable Fly Guys album for more.
Statik Selektah w/ Talib Kweli & REKS : My Favourite Song (Remix)
I *think* this is inspired by the same break as Pete Rock's "T.R.O.Y?" Certainly reminds me of it musically anyway, and it's a nice job by the man Statik Selektah. This is from a Grand Theft Auto-themed EP entitled "The Lost and Damned," but that's just a detail - it doesn't particularly make me think of the games. Statik goes to his fellow Boston native REKS to supply some of the vocals, but the other man on the mic is the Brooklynite Talib Kweli, and both of them do the beat some serious justice. As an aside, the title has the handy side effect of making it sound like you're giving the tune props every time someone asks you what it's called :)
The Brotherhood : Incredible
A little bit of UK for you! I think The Brotherhood (one Black, one White, one Jewish) only ever released the one full album ("Elementalz") but it did make a little noise at the time, and there were a few tunes that stood out for me - this was one, even though it was never a single. The beat by The Underdog is nice, the lyrics are no-fronting UK style all the way, but the thing that puts it over the top for me is the extra-dope cutting-up of the Buckshot Shorty line from "How Many Emcees" in the hook. Fire!
Organized Konfusion : Thirteen
You know how we do on this podcast, always digging in for those overlooked album track gems! Thirteen is my favourite number and a recurring one, and Pharoahe Monch has a connection with it too - as such, he solos it on this Organized Konfusion track from the 1994 "Stress : The Extinction Agenda" album in fine style! The beat is just straight 90s style all the way, from DITC's Buckwild - you can keep your synths!
Hexsagon : Wichita Lineman
Another cracking head-nodder from Arizona! From Volume 4 of the "Beat Flip Tuesdays" beattape series, I think I wanted to play this a few months ago but found a better fit and decided to save it - glad I did as I think it's perfect for this spot :)
Jamie Lidell : A Little Bit More (Luke Vibert Remix)
I think I'd maybe only heard the name in passing when my mate Jonny started playing this remix when I'd see him playing at house parties; huge tune though! Had to do my research on this one - Jamie Lidell is a British singer who is apparently well-known for doing live multi-tracked beatbox tracks with a loop device, then singing over the top, something which is very difficult to do well! This track is from "Multiply Additions," a set of remixes based on his second album "Multiply" - well worth having! On the remix here we have Luke Vibert, a British legend in the electronic music scene, with a pretty much total replacement of the original sounds underlying the lead vocal - makes it a more conventional track in one way but the twisted beat really is its own animal. Deserved to be played right to the end.
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!