Sun, 26 February 2017
"All that happy, 'let's be friends' shit? Yo, this is the opposite."
- Konny Kon
As usual, we pay tribute to J Dilla, Big L, and Big Pun this month, but also two giants from a previous generation who both made a massive impact on Hip-Hop; Clyde Stubblefield and David Axelrod, who both passed in the last few weeks. Besides that, we have some great recent tracks from Manchester, some US classics and a few tracks that may have passed you by! Let's get it going...
Twitter : @airadam13
D.I.T.C. : Best Behavior (Showbiz Remix #2)
From "The Remix Project", we go heavy in multiple ways right from the jump. Big Pun may not have been a charter member of D.I.T.C, but Fat Joe certainly is, and it's via Joe that we end up with this connection to one of the fiercest MCs of all time. One verse each over this Showbiz beat which somehow manages to be even darker than the excellent Amed-produced original.
David McCallum : The Edge
I'd imagine a good number of you thought this was about to be an entirely different record :) This track from the "Music: A Bit More Of Me" album is definitely the most famous track by the actor/musician David McCallum, and one of the most well-recognised by the producer, the brilliant David Axelrod, who passed away this month. That intro is just a monster.
Big L & Jay-Z : Freestyle
Given the origin and the content, I hope you can excuse the sound quality! This is one of the great freestyle sessions of all time, with the then-rising Big L and Jay-Z trading serious bars over the beat for Miilkbone's "Keep It Real"; as it turns out, they'd already battled off-mic earlier the same night! While that clash is lost to folklore, it's good to have this back-and-forth preserved for posterity, thanks to Stretch & Bobbito.
Ras Kass : Soul On Ice (Remix)
Diamond D remixes the title track from Ras' debut, blessing Ras with a David Axelrod-sampling instrumental that is probably better known than the original. Ras is in the political lyrical mode many people would associate him with here, but as always managed to blend that with just vicious battle lines. "The waterproof MC, you ain't wettin' me/You need to stop rapping and start robbing banks like Steady B"? *Ouch*...
SoundSci : The Remedy (Jonny Cuba Remix)
This one has just missed the cut a few times but it fit nicely here! Super relaxed vibe all the way through on this closing track from the "Dig For Victory" EP.
James Brown : Funky Drummer (Parts 1 & 2)
We join this track about a minute and a half in - the full track is seven minutes long. At 19:25 though, one of the most famous, sampled, re-used, re-formulated pieces of audio of all time appears to grace our eardrums. Clyde Stubblefield claimed to not particularly like this song as a whole all that much, but these few seconds of solo drumming when he was given his shine have immortalised it - and him.
[Jay Dee] Slum Village : Climax (Instrumental)
Easily one of my favourite Dilla beats, from the "Fantastic, Vol.2" album - a fantastic blend of samples and that clap on the two and four are perfectly crisp and clean.
Busta Rhymes : Genesis
Busta was one of those MCs who caught on to J Dilla relatively early and the two artists combined for some excellent tracks over the years. On "Genesis", Busta's fifth album, Dilla contributed this title track and "Make It Hurt", which sounds like it was done by a completely different producer, which just goes to show his versatility.
Gang Starr : Mass Appeal
It just seemed to go well with the Busta record, and it's a great single, taken from the "Hard To Earn" LP. What you might not know about it is that DJ Premier essentially put the beat together as a bit of a mickey take! The track is supposed to sound like catchy elevator music, in keeping with the lyrical theme of rappers simplifying their material for a popular audience - but it just sounds so good!
Souls of Mischief : 93 Til Infinity (Remix)
Do I prefer this to the original? Absolutely not - however, that doesn't mean it's not a quality track in its own right. If you listen carefully, you'll hear that it's an actual re-record, with the lyrics being very slighly different and the delivery also tweaked to better fit this alternative beat by A-Plus. The easiest place to find this is on the original 12" single, though it has been released by itself as well.
Masta Ace Incorporated : Saturday Night Live (L.A. Jay Remix)
Staying in '93 for a remix of a track from the "SlaughtaHouse" album - an LP notable for largely being a parody which a lot of people either took literally or assumed wasn't about them! This particular track has its own dark humour, showing about how live a Saturday night can actually get, and feaures Uneek, Eyce, and Lord Digga on the mic. L.A. Jay from the Pharcyde crew rocks the same sample heard on Gang Starr's "Jazz Music" for a beat that manages to surpass the album version!
Pete Rock : Dilla Bounce (R.I.P)
A fitting instrumental to include this month. Dilla came up idolising the work of Pete Rock, so it's poetic that after his passing (as in life), Pete pays respect to him in return. I feel that "Petestrumentals 2" may follow the same path as its predecessor - underrated on release, and retrospectively hailed as a classic.
Run The Jewels ft. Joi : Down
The "RTJ3" album came out on Christmas Day and ensured that we all got at least one present :) This was the opener and a worthy one - a look back at Killer Mike and El-P's pasts, and a look forward to where they plan to go. There's a kind of warmness to the beat which isn't a word I'd usually use to describe an El-P track, but it envelops your ears and draws you in to focus on the lyrics.
Ellis Meade : Kings & Queens
Ellis was kind enough to send me a copy of this a few months back and I finally found a good place to showcase it in a mix. The flow is crazy over a double-timed, almost southern-style Pro P beat. Another win for the Room 2 Records crew!
Chamillionaire : You Gotta Love Me
"Mayn, let the truth free". That shout-out to the then-incarcerated Pimp C firmly dates this one, a longtime headphone favourite for me finally making it onto the show! From the DJ Whoo Kid (hence the annoying adlibs) collaboration mixtape "The Truth", Cham focuses his anger on Mike Jones ("who?", you may now ask?) - that beef lasted for several years. I haven't been able to find out who produced this but that sped-up vocal sample is a serious earworm!
Don Jagwarr : The Cure
I've had this one hanging around for a long while, not sure it's everyone's speed but it fit tempo-wise into this selection and I think was a reasonable follow-up to the soul sample in the previous track. Don Jagwarr is almost certainly best known to most as the guest on Ice Cube's "Wicked", but he did have his old LP, "Faded", from which this track is drawn. The beat and hook are based around a replay of Diana Ross' "Love Hangover", which is a chilled backing for Jagwarr to spin his tale over.
Jake One : Oh Lord
We go back to the gospel-themed "#PrayerHandsEmoji" beat tape for this instrumental, a perfect warm-up for this month's closer...
Children of Zeus : Crown
An anthem already (wow, alliteration)! Tyler Daly goes straight rhymes alongside the always-ready Konny Kon over a no-drums track based around a stirring gospel sample; both MCs turn it out in fine style! Absolutely huge track from the "Two Syllables, Volume Thirteen" compilation and one that deserves as much shine as possible - on top of everything else, it also has one of the best videos I've seen in ages, so no excuse not to share and share again!
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!