Thu, 30 June 2016
"Bombs in the city centre and we rebuilt it."
Wow, here we are at the seventh birthday episode! I had this title in mind way back, long before I knew if it'd be realistic to record for so long, but we got here :) Thanks to you all for your support, and please do introduce anyone whose listening game needs a step up!
A couple of links, as mentioned during the show;
Pep Love : Act Phenom
Pulled out one of my old beat juggle routines to start off this special show! If you were a beatmaker on the net many moons ago you might have seen the video of Domino putting this beat together - definitely an interesting watch. This Domino (not the one from Long Beach) and Pep Love both represent the Hieroglyphics crew heavy, and this cut appears on Pep's debut album under their umbrella, "Ascension". It's got a great bounce to it and I like it enough that I have three copies on 12" :)
Easy Mo Bee : Sunstroke (Instrumental)
I wasn't grabbed by Sauce Money's rhymes on the vocal version of this track from "Now Or Never : Odyssey 2000", but this instrumental from the 12" version fit here perfectly - one of those great opportunities to dig up an overlooked piece.
Dhark Citi : Petrified
If you're only ever going to release one track, make it something like this. This crew got their sole shot on the "Game Over" compilation of video game sampling/inspired tracks; I know DJ Rob and Domingo produced it, but I wish I could tell you more about the MCs - because all of them get the job done right here. If you only listen in the background and only catch the hook, you might think it's a typical street record - but give it a little closer listen.
Trife Da God : Drugz
I was quite surprised to find I hadn't played this one before! Trife from Ghostface's Theodore Unit solos this one from the "Put It On The Line" album, and I think his delivery really communicates the exasperation and anger appropriate for the situation he's describing. Dirty Dean harnesses an oft-sampled old soul classic for the backing; I don't know who the singer on the track is as there's no credited guest, but maybe someone else does?
Camp Lo ft. Jungle Brown : Blind Photography
"Short Eyes" was one of those unexplained Japan-only releases that artists put out sometimes, and I had an MP3 copy for a long time before I could locate a brand-new CD copy of this 2001 EP last year - as a big-time Lo fan, I had to get one. Pure slang density alongside their sometime collaborator Jungle Brown, killing it on the mic despite the sound quality of the vocal recording being a bit questionable! I can only find five credits for the producer, Portiay, who s/he cooks up a nice beat here - nothing complex outside of the drums/percussion, but just the thing to get my neck and shoulders going :)
J-Live ft. Asheru and El Da Sensei : 3 Out Of 7
I was reminded of this great track just this past weekend and decided to shift things around to include it. The 2002 "All Of The Above" album was a refined piece of work by J-Live, and this cut brought along two of the excellent independent MCs of the time as guests, alongside the mighty DJ Spinna on production - check out his signature keyboard work adding extra flavour to those crispy drums and the guitar.
[Dr. Dre] Ice Cube : Hello
An unexpectedly great mix with the J-Live, featuring more crisp drums and keyboard low end from the West Coast master of the style. The vocal version, reuniting Cube with his NWA rhyme partner MC Ren and Dre on production is on the "War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)", second of the pair released in 2000.
A.G. : Gigantic
You probably know this Diggin' In The Crates MC best as half of Show & A.G, the creators of gems such as "Fat Pockets" and "The Next Level", but he also recorded a solo album, "Get Dirty Radio" which featured an array of different producers, many of which we'd not heard him work with before. Right here you have Oh No out of Oxnard lacing him with a slightly hectic beat which he handles with veteran know-how.
E-40 ft The Clipse : Quarterbackin'
This joint from the "Breakin' News" album just bangs. A track I've been saving for ages and one of my favourites from E-40, E-A-Ski & CMT cook up a thumper for the slang maestro to spit his street experiences over, which he does with quality as always alongside coke rhyme specialists The Clipse. This sonically isn't a million miles away from the kind of stripped-down harshness they made their name with on "Grindin'", and they do a great job here. If you get the chance, peep the video, which I've always loved - I think it's the stepping crew that make it for me!
Focus : eAST & wEST
No I didn't mess up with Caps Lock, that's how the title appears :) Atlanta's Focus, son of the late great Bernard Edwards of Chic is a beast of a producer who's worked with everyone from Chino XL to Christina Aguilera. I heard an interview where he referred to this release, the "Analog In A Digital World" album, with some really tasty instrumentals on it. Peep how this track starts with a bassy digital re-interpretation of the Bob James "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" break before switching up to something with even more grit and grind at the low end.
DJ Kemit ft. Carl McIntosh : Digital Love
A former member of Arrested Development, Atlanta's DJ Kemit has been a highly-respected DJ in his city for going on twenty years, and on his 2012 "Everlasting" project he shows his quality as a producer. This soulful electronic number features Carl McIntosh, who was the guitarist and male vocalist for the influential and much-loved UK soul group Loose Ends, demonstrating he's still bringing it! I've been wondering for a while how I was going to fit this one in, but this seems like a good spot.
Tall Black Guy : Drift Away (To Where I Don't Care)
Just another great piece of music from top-grade producer and friend of the show, Tall Black Guy. It's always interesting to hear how he has his own signature sound/feel but at the same time is not a formulaic beatmaker. This is the A-side to the "Mini Therapy Chops 2" 7"/digital release - for £2 a download, well worth picking up.
EPMD : Get The Bozack
The essential second EPMD album, "Unfinished Business", opens up with the classic "So Watcha Sayin?", follows it up with the still-dope "Total Kaos", but then? This underappreciated killer, which blew my head off when I first heard it. No hook to speak of, just Erick and Parrish going back to back with battle bars. They were also great self-producers, and here they loop up a wicked BT Express sample - which the slightly younger listeners may have heard first on DMX's "Get At Me Dog". The first time I heard that, I wondered who this guy was biting (no pun intended) EPMD!
Brady Watt ft. J-Essential, Pleasure Pete, Ski Beatz, and Statik Selektah : Deeper
Not a name I'd heard before - shout out to Vicky of Rhyme & Reason for putting me up on this track! Brady Watt is an experienced bassist who's worked with some great producers in his career, but on his "Lifetronics" album he grabs the reins for himself and digs into his address book to put together his own project. Collaborating with Ski Beatz on the production for this track, he brings the funk in a way that makes me think the rest of the album is worth investigating!
De La Soul ft. Snoop Dogg : Pain
New track from the forthcoming "And The Anonymous Nobody..." LP, with a guest you may not have expected but who's always welcome! Grab the album when it's released in August.
The Brand New Heavies ft. Ski : You Can Do It (Roc A Bloc Remix)
One for the dancefloor in a major way. I heard this on the "Elephantitis" remix compilation (well worth having), and after tweeting at Ski to tell him how ill this was, he reminisced about how long ago he'd done it! The original (from the US version of the "Shelter" album) is very nice, but not as sonically heavy as this version which hits you with more low end and stuttering hits, and generally bears the hallmarks of the sampler/drum machine work it is.
Broke 'n' English : Manchester Shit
Busta Rhymes put on for his city on the "original" version of this, "New York S***", and in true dubplate fashion (this was a special done for DJ Semtex on 1Xtra) Manchester's own Broke 'n' English flipped it for this dedication to their home city. Strategy and DRS are making all kinds of moves right now, but it's still nice to go back to their earlier material!
[Pete Rock] Pete Rock & CL Smooth : Check It Out (Instrumental)
The no-vocal version of a track from Pete & CL's second LP, the must-own "The Main Ingredient". I needed something organic-sounding to follow up the break from the last track, and there are few better for smoothly harnessing those classic sounds than Pete Rock.
Parliament : Aqua Boogie
In memory of the legendary Parliament/Funkadelic keyboard player Bernie Worrell, who passed away this month, we have one of their most well-known and frequently-sampled tracks, taken from the 1978 "Motor-Booty Affair" album. If you listened to any amount of Hip-Hop between maybe 1991 and 1996, I'm sure you'll recognise a little bit somewhere! This is just classic P-Funk, with some of the best known members of the family - Worrell, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins - all throwing down like the legends they are. The character Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk makes an appearance, initially refusing to dance or swim, but eventually he can't fight the feeling...
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!