Thu, 31 January 2013
"We need more construction workers, more doctors, more lawyers..."
Droppin' it heavy.
Happy new year! First podcast of 2013, got it done just in the nick of time thanks to being super-hectic at work and having a big photo project to work on...hopefully can expand on that later in the year. Anyway, hope you enjoy the tunes, got a few old favourites in there, a couple of left turns, and some great new stuff.
By the way, trying something different in the notes this month - linking to each artist's Twitter profile, not sure if I'll continue to do it in future months but let me know what you think!
Kicking off the month with a very recent release, the title track from the third and latest collaboration between the producer from North Carolina and the Brooklyn mic legend. The album isn't classic, but it is solid enough to be worth a listen. This was a great closer that gave me this month's epigram :) It's so true too - there are far too many people trying to be professional MCs/DJs/producers/whatever who need to just do that as a hobby and have something else to pay the bills! (I have no delusions - I have a day job...)
Large Pro : Still Hanging Out
From his "Beatz Vol. 1" collection, a slight update on the beat he did on "Just Hangin' Out" on the first Main Source album, "Breaking Atoms." You should already know...but if not, it's never too late to learn!
Keith Murray : Escapism
Couldn't help but prick my ears up at the mention of "curiosity" in a track about travelling to Mars! The final non-bonus track from Keith Murray's debut album, and one I always liked. A bit of Hip-Hop trivia for you - allegedly, this track in particular (though the rest of the record too) is what Prodigy is referring to on "The Infamous Prelude" when he complains about MCs who talk about "how much weed you smoke, and that crazy space shit that don't even make no sense..." thus kicking off the beef between them!
Sadat X : Escape From New York
I used to have the "Wild Cowboys" album (one of my few compact discs at the time - goodness knows where it is now) and somehow managed to utterly overlook this track, didn't have it in my memory in the slightest! A few years ago, I was listening to the Mick Boogie & Terry Urban "Unbelievable" Biggie mixtape and the track "Escape From NY" had a Biggie verse followed by Prodigy's second verse from "Keep It Thoro" over a killer jazzy beat. Turned out to be this, and I'd had it for years right under my nose on a vinyl sampler for the Sadat album! The vibraphone and piano-splashed beat comes courtesy of Pete Rock - if nothing else gave it away, the voice samples around the hook are signature.
Joseph Cotton : King Selassie I Live
Bit of a direction change here, going with a quality Rastafari devotional on the Answer riddim. When I was a kid at home, I would hear this bassline everywhere, often coming from streets away, and always wondered why everyone was playing the same tune all the time :) I didn't yet understand the concept of a riddim being used and reused on multiple songs, and this is one of the classics - just check the catalogue...
Artifacts ft. Busta Rhymes : C'mon Wit Da Git Down (Remix)
It's a Newark/Brooklyn connection on the mic, with the Bronx supplying the beat (Buckwild from DITC does the honours). I don't own much Artifacts group stuff but picked this up on a white label; straight-ahead track, nothing left-field about it. The original version on "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" was dope, but this is definitely better - heavy but laid back. All about that bassline.
Mecca:83 : Detroit Twilight
Great Manchester instrumental here, despite the title! I've heard this guy drop his beats live and he's got plenty of talent. You can get this one on the "Life Sketches Vol 1&2" album for a very reasonable price, so have a listen!
Ras Kass & Doc Hollywood : Heidi Klum
From yet another free release, the "Spit No Evil" mixtape/album, they did just enough with this Seal sample to make it work; nicely covered in drums and percussion, with just the right amount of stuttering to add some extra flavour. I had this on the hard drive for quite a while before properly discovering it, but glad I dug it up. When this was recorded, Seal and Heidi had apparently just split up...I guess Ras just couldn't help himself!
Jasiri X : Universal Ruler
Besides "Bushes," this is easily my favourite cut on "#thewholeworldiswatching." Jasiri is a minister in the Nation Of Islam and brings his theological perspective to this tune, which was apparently originally released on a Malcolm X tribute CD. Someone called Kreid is credited with the production, which really grabbed me straight away, does have a very mystical/outer space feel.
Raekwon : Lead Season
Another new track, from the just-released Raekwon free (12-track!) EP "Lost Jewlry" - and funnily enough, right next to the leaked track I played last month! You should already know Rae is one of my favourite MCs, and here he's just bringing those classic street crime bars in his own style. As for the production - I don't know who Frank G is, but he slays it with some heavy chopped guitars all over this one. Get the EP, there's really no excuse not to :)
J-Live : Pronounced Spitta
The "S.P.T.A (Said Person of That Ability)" album kind of slid out there in 2011 without any fanfare (even by underground standards), but it is definitely worth having. J-Live is a true triple threat, who rhymes, produces, and also gets busy on the turntables - on the album, he displays all three sides with skill. On this particular track, Marco Polo brings his own style of modern-vintage production, and J is on the rhymes and cuts - very nice cuts at that!
[None] PM and Universal : Monsterous (Instrumental)
The "The Shinin' - Director's Cut" EP-type-thing has been getting passed over for so long, I had to show it the light of day! This was a 2000 release on Drunk Decibel records including tracks from guys like Dr. Oop, Samson S, and Vitamin D. I think local legend Pressy was the one who mentioned the name Dr. Oop to me so I picked this up on the strength of that all those moons ago. Doesn't look like the type of record to have had a huge run, so if you like the sound and you see a copy then snatch it up!
Guilty Simpson : Make It Fast
From a bit of a bizarre compilation - "Peanut Butter Wolf presents B-Ball Zombie War!" I was somehow under the impression that it was a soundtrack to one of the NBA 2K games, but not sure...anyway, this tune is Detroit all the way with the beat coming from the late great J Dilla.
Ghostface Killah ft. Method Man & Raekwon : Flowers (album version/original version)
This is from Ghost's 3rd album, "Bulletproof Wallets," which for me didn't hit like the first two but was still decent. The album version of this track (which plays for the majority of the time here) is actually my favourite, but on the internet at least the clear favourite appears to be the heavily-sampled original. Unfortunately, they couldn't clear the sample and so had to rework the track for release; this copy is off a white label 12". If you like it and want a copy, it's probably your only path...
Too Many Cooks & English : As The Record Revolves
My spars! Back in the day, myself and Too Many Cooks were the DJs behind the Manchester night Family Gathering, and for over four years put together what I'd like to think of as some classic parties :) I met Leeroy and Obelix at an open mic night and as well as DJing they really worked on their production skills - it was great to see them put their heads and wallets together to put some vinyl out. This was easily my favourite track from their "Live And Direct" 12" and features another member of the crew, London mic man English - listening to this will always take me back a little in time :)
When did "x" become the new "&" ? I definitely missed that memo. Anyway, I digress. Murs has been putting in work for years, coming out of L.A on what you might call the underground circuit, including a series of LPs with 9th Wonder. Fashawn is one of the new generation coming up and also a Californian - I know he's one of DJ A-Up's favourites, and that's a DJ who definitely stays up to date. The two MCs came together to give us the "This Generation" album and it's a very good piece of work - if you like the West Coast sound you definitely want to hear this. It's very much contemporary rather than harking back overly to the past, and lyrically they have great mic chemistry. Recommended listen!
A3 : LIML
I don't know who A3 is, but this is a nice little beat, taking a big chunk out of Michael Jackson's classic "Lady In My Life" and adding some vaguely Dilla-esque accents to it. Grabbed this from the free "The Smooth Grooves Beat Tape," none of which tries to hide its source material - as such, a good one to listen to for aspiring beatmakers/producers!
Trinidad Steel Drummers : Cissy Strut
A classic track in a different style! The Meters' original version is a funk staple (even if you don't think you know it, you know it) which has been sampled many a time, but to hear it covered on steel pan makes me smile. The drummer on the standard drumkit gets busy - especially on the hi-hat - to keep the time and lets the pan players do their thing in beautiful harmony. Quality.
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!