Tue, 25 June 2013
"Peace to Mandela..."
- Erick Sermon
The fourth birthday episode! Out of the nursery now and getting into real school. I've got some mixes on here I've been wanting to do for ages and with a landmark episode coming around (and once more having a mixer with 3-band EQ), it was the time to bring them out and combine them with some more recent ideas. For the most part this episode has the kind of laid-back feel that's just right for the summer...as though we're having a major one here!
4Hero ft. Jill Scott : Another Day
I think there are very few people that can't relate to this one! London-Philly connection with 4Hero bringing the music which switches from Sunday morning ease to some D&B/broken beat style drumming, and Jill Scott on the vocals. If you like this, it's definitely worth picking up the whole "Creating Patterns" album.
[Dust Brothers] Tone Loc : Lōc'in On The Shaw
When you think of Tone Loc you probably think of "Funky Cold Medina" or "Wild Thing" but this is the track I remember most from that first album. I think I borrowed it from the library and was struck by this ill instrumental inclusion courtesy of the Dust Brothers. I didn't know much/anything about production at the time, but I do now and it sounds just as good to me today! It seems to alternate between chilled out and threatening, and it's got that classic 808 sound in the background - listen and appreciate.
Trae ft. HAWK : Swang
Commemmorating the death of Fat Pat from the Screwed Up Click, this is a real Houston anthem, remixed and versioned a bunch of times. Confession time - the video for this track was at least partially responsible for me deciding I needed to upgrade from a 1994 3-door Toyota Corolla! I understand that this is the original, but not the version that got an official release, due to problems clearing the Michael Jackson "Lady In My Life" sample that forms the backbone. In a tragic footnote, HAWK himself, Fat Pat's brother, was shot and killed less than a year after this song was released.
Photek : KJZ
I'm informed by those in the know that jungle and D&B aren't the same thing; I do remember that jungle never did it for me from the very start, and it was many years before I gave anything in that vague vein a try again. I can't remember why I listened to the "Modus Operandi" album years ago but it got my interest enough for me to put aside my previous disdain for D&B and spend some of my hard-earned cash on the CD. This is some seriously complex drum programming, and the bassline and ambient keyboard pads just tickle my ears the right way. If you're into this kind of thing, the album is pretty much a must.
Jay-Z : Politics As Usual
Ski Beats doing his thing with The Stylistics! Smooth and relaxed track on the ins and outs of the street life from Jay-Z's debut album. I don't have any big background on this track, but I do appreciate that when you get a good sample...don't mess with it too much!
Robin Thicke : Oh Shooter
This track is based on a true story; Robin Thicke was in a bank that was robbed when he was 18, and took the wise route of putting his hands up and getting down on the floor, rather than the lunatic hero fantasy option! My first experience of this track was flicking through Spotify and hearing the version "Shooter" with Lil Wayne rhyming on it, but since Lil Wayne is never getting played on this podcast (barring some kind of Malcolm X-type conversion), I was pleased to find this, the original track. On the music side, the bassline is pretty irresistable, but also check how the keyboard around the hook is playing something very reminiscent of Gang Starr's "Mass Appeal..."
Tony Dofat : Not Tryna
Picked up this 12" fairly randomly; the sample on it is from a track I love, and it's a fairly obvious usage :) If you don't know about Tony Dofat, he's from Mount Vernon and has worked with some of the giants of that town, like Heavy D (RIP) and Pete Rock.
Smoove ft. Jehst, Micall Parknsun, & DJ Jazz T : Fresh Pair
Something new, a free release sponsored by the UK sneaker shop Sole Heaven. The producer Smoove gives us the kind of flute-laced groove that fits summer to a tee, and then the combination of Jehst and Micall P on the mic kick rhymes (no pun intended) about their love for Nikes. Got to give major props to DJ Jazz T for finding and cutting up all those footwear-related samples so lovely!
UGK ft. Twista : Something Going Wrong
A track with a somewhat complicated release history; this MP3 was apparently an old leak, and when this track did eventually come out as "I's A Playa" on the late Pimp C's "The Sweet James Jones Stories" album, the hook had been replaced by a far, far inferior version. I've seen it credited as Twista's track, Pimp C's, and UGK's, and in addition to the two titles already mentioned, seen it called "Time." No matter, it's not making Germaine Greer's iPod! Pimp C and Bun B definitely do their thing on their verses but Twista might just steal the show with his trademark double-speed style to close things out. I think Pimp C produced it, and it's a slab of classic Southern funk - I won't even point out any specific element, just drink it all in!
Lisa Shaw : If I Could
Nice 12" from one of my favourite singers, best known for doing her thing on the deep house scene. A world away from that though, she lets it out on this low key plea to a lover. As it happens, it's produced by DJ Swingsett, who happens to be...her now ex-husband. Maybe singing from the heart in the truest sense?
M.O.P. : Blood, Sweat, and Tears
No matter how slow and chilled the track is...M.O.P are bringing it from the chest. Laze E Laze on the beat while Billy and Li'l Fame speak on hard times and hard work. Hadn't heard this in a while but thought it was a good one to bring in here. Strangely enough, I somehow have a completely clean vinyl version of the "First Family 4 Life" album, from which I grabbed this!
Trevor Rabin & Harry Gregson-Williams : Enemy Of The State Theme
James Brown : Say It Loud, I'm Black And I'm Proud
Soul Brother Number One with a classic empowerment anthem. I've known people take offence at such a message, saying that Black pride is just the same as the "White Pride" credo espoused by racist groups - at best, a naive reading of history and an ignorance of context. Anyway, top track which apparently was the first JB cut to feature Fred Wesley - so says Wikipedia anyway :)
Waajeed : Proud
Outrageously skilful sampler work here from the man who was given his first MPC by J Dilla himself! Composed purely of James Brown samples, he slices and dices them into one of my favourite tracks of the last ten years. You may recognise a snatch or two from the preceding track, a little of "The Payback," but there's just a stack in there - very clever. I think I read somewhere that Waajeed partly did this track to impress DJ Spinna, and if that's true I can only conclude he succeeded!
EPMD ft. Redman : Brothers On My Jock
This one popped into my head when I remembered DJ Scratch cutting up the James Brown "say it loud!" sample in the hook. Just the kind of nice deep album cut I like to feature, from EPMD's third LP "Business As Usual." Also a great example of the use of the Bob James "Nautilus" break!
Royal Flush ft. Noreaga : Iced Down Medallions
You missed out if you weren't checking for stuff like this in the 90s! Queens all the way on this, with Lefrak City's Noreaga (before blowing up with "The War Report") teaming up with Royal Flush for a big single off the "Ghetto Millionaire" album. Long before "Bling Bling," they were shouting out their diamond-encrusted pieces! EZ Elpee cooks up a classy beat from an old Gwen McCrae sample...dopeness.
Latryx : Lady Don't Tek No
I'm lucky enough to know someone very like the subject of this song! Kind of halfway between Hip-Hop and funk, this has been an iPod staple for me since it's release. Coming from the Solesides camp, Latryx is made up of Lateef and Lyrics Born, and on this one they have the heavyweight that is DJ Shadow on production. I love this track, it's rare to find a genuinely good song trying show respect to women without coming off false. Maybe this one might get a Germaine Greer listen? Nah, I still think that'd be too much of a reach...
[Evidence] Planet Asia : The Medicine (Instrumental)
Lots and lots of wide open space in this track, making it a good fit to bridge between the last two vocal tunes of the month. Evidence (best known as 1/3 of Dilated Peoples) shows less can be more on this title track from Planet Asia's fifth album, though this is from the 12" single release.
Zion I : Bird's Eye View
A beautiful track to close out the 4th birthday with. Zion I always stay on the positive side of things and on this 12" (taken from the "True & Livin'" album), Zion uses the device of personifying Hip-Hop as a woman to send a love letter, with Amp Live producing a beautiful instrumental based on a sample of a classic, but very sad, British record. I'll leave you to find it...
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!