Mon, 30 September 2013
"Calling for the freedom of the backs that you steppin' on..."
It's been an outrageously busy month, and I've really struggled to get this episode out but got there in the end! What's the problem, you ask? Well, of course there's always the months when the tune selection doesn't come easily, but this month I've had the added complication of being the sole hand planning the "Manchester Marauders" exhibition which opens on October 17th - come to the opening and make a very overworked DJ/photographer happy :)
Anyway - let's talk about this month's tunes...
Camp Lo : 52
I pretty much had to take this opportunity to kick off an episode with this one :) Cheeba and Geechi riff on the number 52 over a drum/percussion-only track from Ski which you can get on the "Fort Apache" mixtape album or EP.
London Posse : Money Mad
While listening to the Camp Lo track, my brain was absolutely itching telling me there was a beat that would mix brilliantly with it - at first I thought it was BDP's "9mm Goes Bang," but that was far too slow. The correct answer turned out to be this UK classic which was produced by Bevington and none other than Mr "Big Dawg, kiss the ring, you need this in your life" Tim Westwood! Whatever you might think of his later career on Radio 1, he did put in work back in the day and that can't be denied. Great 1990 tune from the important London Posse album "Gangster Chronicle" - I looped this up to make an instrumental, but you should definitely seek out the original.
Deepo & Bricks : Let It Reign
Nice Manchester track which the producer Bricks sent to me the other day for a listen - I liked it so much I thought I'd include it in this month's mix! Sounds to me like they're going in on Jay-Z and the like, but you'd have to ask them :) Deepo is an MC who stays on the low and works on his lyrics, and Bricks has been putting in all kinds of work for a long while, from production to keyboard work to rhyming. This track is from an upcoming Deepo and Bricks EP - one to check out when it comes!
Non Phixion : Rock Stars
Meat-and-potatoes Hip-Hop here, with Brooklyn's Non Phixion spitting in their aggressive style over a DJ Premier beat with his signature vocal cuts on the hook - this time, centred around Inspectah Deck's line from Gang Starr's "Above The Clouds." Structurally, check out how each verse actually has two MCs on it - pretty unusual. Big single from their debut album "The Future Is Now," which is worth having if you like their style.
Chris Lowe ft. PMD : Buckwhylin'
I heard Didjit play this a couple of weeks ago and told him I was going to have to play it on the next podcast! Great cut from Chris Lowe's "The Black Life" LP, where he takes the same horns you may recognise from JVC Force's classic "Strong Island" and brings in Long Island legend PMD to join him on the mic. Straightforward and solid, the kind of tune that will always be playable!
Kali Ranks : Kill Dem All
One of the less-heralded (ok, not heralded at all) tracks from the soundtrack to the 1995 Def Jam-backed documentary "The Show." That soundtrack was highlighted by Method Man and Redman's "How High," with this cut buried way down in the running order - a little gem for anyone willing to stick with the album! The Kingston-born Kali doesn't have a deep discography - a 2009 album which I had to look up on Discogs just to confirm its existence - but this Andrew Massop/Marc Pomeroy-produced tune is not a bad one to be remembered by!
Dela : Get Busy
I last played the producer Dela on the very first podcast episode, and 51 later here he is again! Nice piano beat from his "The Robert Glasper Beat Tape," which as the title suggests is totally made up of tracks sampling the jazz artist Robert Glasper - to be specific, the "Double Booked" album. The beat tape is free, so grab that and then check out the Glasper album too!
Souls Of Mischief : Let 'Em Know
It's all about that bassline - not in a loud and overbearing way, but it's just obvious that it's the sonic centre of the track. This was the opener on the brilliant debut album "93 'Til Infinity," yet I never hear anyone else playing it! It's got that jazzy sound but the drum line kicks along harder. All four members set out their stall on the mic and Domino (not the Long Beach Domino) does his thing on the production. A favourite!
Chalk : If You Must
More local business! Chalk is an MC who has been working at his craft for many years, most notably as part of The Natural Curriculum, and has finally released his debut album, "One For Being Me." Much of the album has a real throwback sensibility, and it's very genuine - no put-on persona for Chalk. This track was the first release from the album, with a funny video appearing straight away; if you know Manchester, you'll definitely enjoy it. If not, you probably will anyway :)
Motion Man ft. Gift Of Gab : One Time For Your Mind
A bit more throwback flavour to follow on - this time, from the Bay Area! I've played Motion Man before, and you might well know him from working with Kut Masta Kurt and Kool Keith (alliteration all around). This is another KMK production with Blackalicious' Gift of Gab pitching in on mic duties. This was the second track on the "Pablito's Way" single, from the album of the same name. New school old school!
Bahamadia : Dialed Up
I've been holding onto this one for ages! Interesting concept from Bahamadia, with every single part of this track being done on her phone - the vocals, the beats, the mix, everything. The full version is actually much longer, clocking in at almost twelve minutes; this excerpt is enough to give you an idea, and certainly makes you think about the power of modern handheld computing!
J-Filt : Spanishmoodz
A little instrumental from J-Filt of The Beat Tape Project, from their "Return Of The Tec : The Beatnuts Beat Tape" project, made up of tracks reminiscent of The Beatnuts' sound. I'm not actually the biggest Beatnuts fan for some reason, and this beat doesn't much remind me of them either, but I do like it!
Kokane : Twilight Zone
Kokane has been around on the west coast for a long time, emerging as part of Above The Law's crew (he's Big Hutch's cousin), and has often been called in by artists from NWA to Snoop to add his vocal flavour to their tracks. He actually has a reasonable discography himself, and this is from his 2010 release "Gimme All Mine." Tha Chill from Compton's Most Wanted really outdoes himself with the string-laden production, and a very unusual bar repeating pattern!
Apologies for the lame homophobic expressions on this track - couldn't get the any censoring to sound right at all...
American Cream Team ft. Raekwon & RZA : It's Not A Game
More strings, more strings! I played the instrumental a few years ago, thought it was long ago enough that I could bring the vocal out! From the soundtrack of "Black And White," this crew of Raekwon proteges expound on a traditional subject - getting that money :) Not actually sure who produced this but I do like the classical slant, and while I don't know all the individual MCs by voice, they drop plenty of memorable/sample-able lines. Should have had a cut with the "52 block" line really...
Madvillain ft. Stacy Epps : Eye
Tied with "Strange Ways" (do check that video link) for favourite track on the "Madvillainy" album, which I probably didn't rate as much as most when it came out! Stacy Epps is the reason - a great vocalist with an all-too-short discography; you can check her out as part of Sol Uprising, and she apparently had a solo EP "222" and an album "The Awakening" I need to get a copy of! Beat-wise, I'm just not a big Madlib fan but this one is proper - credit where it's due.
[J Dilla] J-88 : The Look Of Love (Instrumental)
Slum Village by another name! Got this on a Groove Attack 12" but you can get the vocal version on the "Best Kept Secret" album, along with some other tracks which are worth having for Slum/Dilla collectors. Don't pay a stupid price for it though!
Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Lalah Hathaway : Cherish The Day
Houston's Robert Glasper is a man on his own flex when it comes to jazz - not afraid to shake things up or reach out across styles. Either Agent J or my man Damian told me about him, and having heard the "Black Radio" album this came from, I'm definitely going to be digging into his catalogue! There were a few tracks I considered playing, but this ended up winning - a beautiful re-interpretation of Sade's original track with Lalah Hathaway on vocal and some nice rhythm changes. Top quality!
Soul Supreme: Beat 17
From an old beat tape "Instrumentals 4 Mind, Body, and Soul" came this track which used to be a headphone regular for me. If you want to hear more from this Swedish production wizard, your best bet is getting hold of the "Saturday Nite Agenda" album - a lot of serious legends on there giving him the co-sign!
The Coup : Lazymuthafucka
An anti-boss, anti-capitalist, anti-fatcat anthem. I'd be surprised if many people listening already know it, but I think that most people will be able to relate to it! Taken from the excellent "Party Music" album, Boots Riley lays down fire from the perspective of a hard working man being ridden like a rodeo by the money men from on high. Loved it since the first time I heard it, and outside of the slang, it's pretty much timeless. Production is nuts too - it's non-obvious, but at the same time I don't think it could have sounded any other way.
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!