Fri, 28 September 2012
"Loyalty's worth more than wealth."
Is is true that life begins at forty? If so, then there are a lot of good records still to come! Thanks for staying with me, and I hope you all find time to spread the word to other music fans. It's my birthday this month (not my fortieth, mind!), so I thought I'd start the episode by pulling out the kind of tunes that used to get me going in my younger days. Some of them may seem like odd choices, but without the podcast they'd be sitting lonely on the shelf...hope they make you smile at least!
K-Solo : Sneak Tip
This is exactly the kind of track I mentioned in my very first post on this site - I heard it at home on pirate radio but then didn't hear anywhere else, ever! If you're an 80s/90s fan you might remember K-Solo was a part of EPMD's Hit Squad collective and despite coming out with the style of spelling things on records once slipped up with the lyric "like a B-R-I-D in the S-K-Y." Oops! Anyway, let's not get too distracted - this is a beast of an album cut from the 1992 "Time's Up" LP, and Solo spins a tale somewhere between "The Wizard Of Oz," the story of Little Miss Bossy, and a copy of Sneaker Freaker magazine. The track is somewhere around 107bpm which is rare as hen's teeth twenty years down the line but he flows comfortably over the drum-heavy Sam Sneed beat. Remember him from the Death Row days?
Count Bass D : 118th St.
Word to Nashville! Nice little instrumental track tucked away at the end of the A-side of Count Bass D's "Internationally Known" 12” - good for breakers, perhaps?
Jane Child : I Got News For You
Yeah, going left-field on you early! I always loved Jane Child's "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" but didn't get a copy of her self-titled debut album until this year, though it was released in 1990. Anyway, having got it I found some tracks on there I loved and this is one. Sonically, it is very much of its time and couldn't be confused with anything more recent, but I think that's part of the charm. The vocal delivery really does it for me on this, really cold in the verses. However, I suspect this is a bit of a Marmite track for my audience :)
Ultramagnetic MCs : Traveling At The Speed Of Thought
First heard this one on one of Morgan Khan's "Streetsounds" compilations borrowed from the library. When years later I got a copy of "Critical Beatdown," despite its quality I was quite disappointed to hear the album version! This was an early case of the remix being a drastic departure from the original track - if anything, this one sounds a little like a Beastie Boys record. As much as I love it, it doesn't reflect the complexity of what Ultra were doing lyrically at the time - worth hearing though!
Force 'n' K-Zee : Jam (Hip-Hop Jam)
In my early days of building a vinyl collection, it's fair to say my budget was pretty limited. If I saw something cheap (we're talking pennies), and it was Hip-Hop, I'd probably just buy it - especially if it had ever been mentioned in Hip-Hop Connection. This is very much a piece from that era - a 1992 UK release from a crew perhaps best known for recording a Hip-Hop version of "Lord Of The Dance" which showed up on a British Knights advert once upon a time! Although I didn't realise it at the time, I think both MCs were pretty young when they recorded this, but they do their thing. However, despite the heavy rolling drums, the star of this track is for me the vocal sampling of Guy's "Teddy's Jam 2" - one of the few New Jack Swing records I actually liked!
Professor Griff & The Last Asiatic Disciples : Last Asiatic Disciples
I'd be amazed if even 5% of listeners have even heard this track! During Professor Griff's suspension/expulsion from Public Enemy, he signed with Skyywalker Records (headed by Luke from the 2 Live Crew) and took to the mic in a way he hadn't with PE up to that point. His 1990 debut "Pawns In The Game" wasn't a huge record and isn't a "must own" but did have a few solid cuts and this might have been the pick of them. Co-produced by Clay Dixon and Griff, you can definitely hear that Miami influence in those bass drops, while Griff and the rest of the group go Afrocentric on the mic. Glad to get a chance to dust this one off.
Massive Attack : Unfinished Sympathy (Instrumental)
You already know - or you should, at least. This is a classic British record, the second single from the debut Massive Attack album "Blue Lines." They would still be talked about now if this has been the only record they'd ever done, but they've come through style and lineup changes over the years and are still active. Apparently this instrumental was played on the last lap of all the distance races at the recent Olympics, but I didn't realise that; it just made for an interesting blend!
Raekwon : Respect Power
One of those "lost" soundtrack records. Remember when so many films had Hip-Hop and/or R&B soundtracks with most of the tracks having nothing to do with the film whatsoever? Yeah, like that. This was from the soundtrack to a film called "Whiteboys" which I have never seen, or for that matter heard of anyone else seeing, but there we go. Rae is on the street tip with the lyrics, nothing mind-bending but pretty dope - there is actually a radio version of this track that I prefer, but didn't realise it until I picked up this album and found the lyrics were different than I'd heard on a download many moons ago. That beat is still the same though, Infinite Arkatechs coming with some seriously dark production, all echoes and swooping sounds - love it.
Mic Geronimo : Lifecheck
Somehow this one didn't make the full impact on me the first time I heard it but it fits in nicely here and on revisiting it for this podcast, I found a new appreciation for it. Coming out of Queens, Mic had this on his debut album "The Natural" back in 1995 and Da Beatminerz blessed him with a beat which is just pure mid-90s all the way. Very nice, and well engineered - those ringing sounds had me checking if a phone or something was going off in the room, even on a pretty basic system!
Kool Keith : Livin' Astro
Kool Keith can always be relied on to come with slightly bizarre lyrics, though this is relatively tame compared to some of his crazier output! I always found his stuff a bit up-and-down outside the Ultramagnetic MCs albums, but there would always be something good on every release. This cut is from the solid "Black Elvis/Lost In Space" album which had some good tracks on including some of the last work by the great Roger Troutman. Someone working under the name "Nightcrawler" produced this, presumably before jetting back off in the spaceship...
The Mouse Outfit ft. Dubble O and Sparkz : Children Of The Stars
Carrying on the space theme. Manchester's Mouse Outfit are killing it right now with some absolute gems - you heard one last month and here they come again! Sparkz is back on vocals and brings along another Mancunian up-and-comer in Dubble O of Mothership Connection to spit some quality lyrics - very refreshing to hear stuff like this from the younger generation. You can get a copy of this from iTunes - don't sleep!
Cormega : Take These Jewels
A record coming from street experience, but a message everyone can relate to I think. Deep album cut from Mega's "The True Meaning" album, which is excellent from start to finish and still gets plenty of play from me ten years after its first release. DJ Hi-Tek (who most will know from Reflection Eternal) is on production, with some interesting sonic things going on - the interplay between the repeated guitar licks and the swirling background sounds is a winner.
[D-Dot] Puff Daddy & The Family : All About The Benjamins (Instrumental)
One of the all-time great beats. A raw gem from the Bad Boy catalogue, D-Dot made sure Puffy didn't get to this to add any extra "shine" and the result is flawless. There's loads of good history and trivia on this track, and rather than repeat it all here I'll direct you to just one interesting link. The beat itself is based around a sample from Love Unlimited Orchestra's "I Did It For Love" and showcases Industry Rule #2021 - slowing anything down makes it better :)
Jean Grae : Kill Screen (aka Steve Wiebe)
Outrageous new release! Jean Grae has always been one of the best out there, but she really shines on this new cut. To quote the lady herself; "540 words. 683 syllables. 52.54 syllables per sentence. Rappity Rap." Weak MCs, step your games up. This is apparently a cut from her upcoming album "Gotham Down," but got a bit of an early leak. Not sure who produced it but they leave a lot of room for the lyrics to breathe, which is just what was needed. Ill. Oh, and if you don't know who Steve Wiebe is? Watch this film... (seriously, it's fantastic)
Kardinal Offishall : BaKardi Slang
I know a few people who'll be loving the fact I managed to include this one! It was a single (from the "Quest For Fire : Firestarter, Vol 1" LP), did have a video, but I'm not sure it was a huge hit - shame, as it's a quality record. In the tradition of tracks like "Ebonics" by Big L or Karl Hinds' "Don Gramma," Kardi breaks down some of the local (Toronto) slang for the outsiders; with a lot of West Indian migration to Canada (got family there myself) over the years, a lot of it is actually not too different to what you might hear in some parts of the UK! When it comes to beats, I'm always more of a sample than a keyboard fan but Solitair's production on this is serious, with some nicely done synth work over Al Green-ish drums. A banger.
Sean Price : Jamaican
Staying with the West Indian vibe for another track! I've only got the radio version of this one, too bad it needed so many cuts! Quality lyrics from Ruck though, just thugging it out on an ignorance excursion. Production is by Khrysis, using the classic Sister Nancy "Bam Bam" - and as my man Mathmatics noticed first, check how the tiny snatches of vocal sample leaking through sound a bit like "Sean P!" You can find a full version of this on the "Master P" mixtape, which I'll definitely be coming back to for a future selection.
Jay-Z : In My Lifetime (Remix)
Only heard this for the first time this month; grabbed the "Streets Is Watching" soundtrack in a sale at Chorlton's King Bee Records for half price and this sombre number was on the end of one of the sides. Historically interesting because while the original "In My Lifetime" was Jay-Z's debut single, this remix was done by his mentor - and later nemesis - Big Jaz aka Jaz-O. Best friends become strangers...
[Q-Tip] Mobb Deep : Temperature's Rising (Instrumental)
This might be my favourite track on "The Infamous," even ahead of "Shook Ones Pt II," which everyone likes! Just keeping it to Q-Tip's cracking intro drums here, but then finishing the show with a nice blend into...
Patrice Rushen : Where There Is Love
...which was sampled to give the Mobb track its beautiful melody and bassline. This is a classic from the ridiculously multi-talented singer, composer, producer, instrumentalist...you name it. Get yourself this and a bunch more great tracks on the 1982 "Straight From The Heart" LP.
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!