Mon, 27 April 2015
"The rejected stone is now the cornerstone..."
Besides putting the sounds and notes together this month, there's been one extra task for the podcast happening in the background that's paid off - it's finally in the iTunes Store! For those of you on iPhones or with iTunes installed on your computer, it's now super-simple to subscribe, just search for the show and press the button.
What anyone with iTunes can do - subscriber or not - that would really help is to leave a review (with a five-star rating). Write a five-star review, tweet/mail me when it's up and tell me which country you're from, and I'll give you a shout-out on the show!
Some good current affairs/political podcasts, as promised;
Gang Starr : You Know My Steez
A classic Gang Starr cut, a solid opening shot from the "Moment of Truth" album which was also the first single - so with the intention of paying respect to Guru this episode, it was a good choice to start with here. While the samples used for this track are widely known to beatmakers and detail junkies, I don't know if they were ever cleared, so I won't reveal them; I'll just say that DJ Premier cooked up a great blend of old-school Hip-Hop and classic soul, topped with his then-emerging use of the multi-phrase scratched hooks. Do the knowledge.
[DJ ALK] Underclassmen : 365 Live
Switzerland represent! I needed something with a little weight in the drums and some guitar licks to transition from the previous track, so after a good deal of scouring the shelves I came up with this one. This 12" has been featured before (the B-side "Crush Competition" all the way back on Episode 18), so just the instrumental today!
MindsOne & Kev Brown : Equinox
Can't remember how I came to find this one on Soundcloud but I had bought the whole "Pillars" EP before even getting through a single listen of this track! MindsOne are a group hailing from North Carolina, New York, and DC, and on this one Landover's Kev Brown comes in to give them some of that MPC magic on production, chopping up some nice piano and knocking drums. KON Sci and Tronic on the mic represent very well for their crew, and overall this is a project well worth checking for.
The Last Poets, dead prez, and Common : Panthers (Tony Galvin Remix)
The degree to which the police are out of control makes me think we need the Black Panthers back right now. As it happens, I only chanced on this track this month, and it seemed like an appropriate one to play. I picked it up on a 12" and this is one of the remixes but I believe it's also on a mixtape for "The Boondocks" too. It feels a little like the vocal and beat don't quite mesh, but I like the Tony Galvin (no, not the footballer) instrumental, and the lyrics are on-topic, unlike one tune I know! There seems to be one error though - Common keeps talking about the "five point plans" but the Panthers were known for their Ten Points - is there something I'm missing?
Royce The 5'9" : Ding
The obvious Royce & Premo track to play would have been "Boom," or something from the "PRhyme" album, but you know I like to be a little different. The B-side to the mighty "Hit 'Em" as well as a cut from "The Bar Exam" mixtape, this has a much less abrasive and more reflective sound, and with Royce bringing some boxing references in to describe himself, it serves as a nice warm-up for the middle section of the show...
All City : Just Live
The closer from All City's patchy (if we're being real) sole album, "Metropolis Gold," and it's a good one. Latif King is on the beat with a super-smooth jazz sample accented with some in-the-cut drums and nice work on the keys - check the little bridge starting at 18:14! Lyrics are solid, and Greg Valentine does double duty, taking half of the rhyming and singing the hook too. I can't quite decide if he's hitting the notes in the hook right or not, but I enjoy it enough anyway :)
Dela : My Ni@#a [Instrumental]
Back to the "Changes Of Atmosphere" EP after a long time on the shelf, picked out the instrumental version of this Elzhi-featured track, just because I felt it deserved an airing!
Fashawn : Manny Pacquiao
First track this episode getting the nod due to the big fight coming up, and it's all in the name! Fresno native Fashawn is in full battle mode on this cut from the "Higher Learning 2" mixtape. Andy Peek put me up on this track, and the producer Phonix does a great job with a Queen track that I don't even like that much (note: Queen do have some tunes)! Apologies for the slight sonic distortion, but it's part of the original recording - needed a little lighter hand on the mix/master. On the vocals, intro could have been better in my opinion but once Fashawn gets going...
stic.man ft. Zayd Malik and Baba Jim : Joe Louis
Keeping the pugilistic theme going as well as the rock-influenced, abrasive sonics, we head to stic's innovative "The Workout" album for this self-produced track that all the boxing trainers should appreciate. "Speedbag sounds like I'm programming drums"? Yes, I am fully on-board with this tune.
Raekwon : 100 Rounds
From the much maligned, and dare I say it, underrated "Immobilarity" album, we get a track representing Floyd Mayweather, who as a much younger man appears in the video (with a cameo from Zab Judah). Of course, the album was no "...Cuban Linx..." (which is why it was so savaged) but there are a surprising number of decent tracks on it, and we'll definitely be revisiting it in future. Triflyn of American Cream Team is on the synth production, kind of glossy but that high end is what you remember and it's got just enough in the bottom to keep it rooted. Good track for heavy bag sessions, I find!
Jadakiss : The Champ Is Here
Title track from Jada's "The Champ Is Here" mixtape. No feature credit for Will Smith? ;) The voice sample for the hook, along with the little African drum flourish is taken from the "Ali" biopic - at the point where Ali (as played by Smith) comes in to disrupt George Foreman's training session before the "Rumble In The Jungle." Great grab by Green Lantern.
[Timbaland] Clipse : Re-Up Anthem (Instrumental)
Kind of a third-choice beat here! I originally wanted to go with the instrumental for "Grindin'," which I thought would mix well with the Jadakiss track, but I found I didn't have a copy and couldn't get a legit one in time to finish the episode. Had a browse in Vinyl Exchange and this 12" turned up - at first I thought I'd found a vinyl of "Re-Up Intro" but no, just a similar name!
P Lo : Let's Go
Had utterly forgotten about this one until I was at home having a big Justus League shuffle binge this month! I don't know if P Lo ever did much outside these early 2000s JL mixtapes (this was from "Just Us, Volume 5), and can't find any info on him out there. With that said, it's this beat (probably 9th Wonder) that gets this track included this month - I love the sample as well as how it gets pitched down every four bars, and I feel like it's an obvious one but I can't place it for the life of me. Could have mixed out of this right before the last hook but the switch-up where the whole track slows down presented an opportunity for a change of pace...
DJ Spinna ft. J-Treds & Breez Brewin' : Making Your Way In The World
Spinna's "Sonic Smash" album definitely didn't get the light it deserved; I at least used to be able to point people to it on Spotify but when it even went from there, a lot of people totally missed it. Anyway, this is one of the many dope tracks. If you followed late 90s-early 2000s underground stuff, you might recognise the MCs - nice to hear them still active. They get a gem of a beat from Spinna, with a lazy neck-snapper of a drum beat, an Asian-sounding string sample, and if you listen carefully you'll hear some of his trademark squelchy synth sounds in the midrange. If you see the album, it's worth picking up!
Camp Lo : Diamond Crookz
I've been playing a lot of "Payday 2," (add me if you want to link up) and combined with a recent incident down in London...this track popped into my head! Camp Lo have had that jewel-heisting motif since the first LP, and the "Stone and Rob : Caught On Tape" release kept it going. Standardly-dope Lo lyrical fare, though probably not quite as impenetrably slang heavy as some of their other cuts, with Smoking Apples on production adding the boom to a slice of Faith Evans' "Reasons." Top down music.
Children Of Zeus : Happiness
Great tune coming from Manchester, the duo of Konny Kon and Tyler Daly bringing their trademark mix of Hip-Hop and soul in a much more genuine way than many who try to do the same. The album isn't out yet, but you can find this track on their Soundcloud page, along with plenty more good stuff.
T-Mos : Famoso
Low-key beat from The Beat Tape Project's "Return of the Tec: The Beatnuts Beat Tape," where each producer takes inspiration from The Beatnuts. To my ears, this one doesn't wear too obvious an influence, but it stands proudly on its own.
Scorzayzee : Great Britain
"Could've spent the war money on homes, food, and water." Yes. One to think about with our General Election coming up in less than two weeks, and Trident being debated...
The show closes with this powerful track which I only heard for the first time in the last few months (live, which was amazing), but which actually came out more than ten years ago, right after the last Iraq War was started. Scorzayzee is one of the most respected MCs in the country, and could never, ever be said to be watering things down for mainstream appeal! Right here, he lays down a verbal scourging on the corruption he sees in the nation, relentless from end to end. Apparently, it wasn't going to be released at first, but the P Brothers included it on a compilation and built up buzz from there. This song kicked up a serious fuss after it was played on BBC Radio, and there were some people who were even saying it should be banned. I don't expect anyone to agree 100% with what anyone says (and I wouldn't be surprised if some nerves are touched with this selection), but I think it's important for artists to push boundaries, and Scor certainly shook things up with this one.
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!