Jul 30, 2017
"I'm at the back of the wake, fe' re', selling my tape"
- Rodney P
Managed to pull myself through a busy, somewhat trying month to bring you another selection! We have one new release, some 80s soul picks, a Mobb Deep feature, and a bunch more - I'd be surprised if anyone, even the DJs, knew every single record. Let's get into it...
Twitter : @airadam13
Skitz ft. Rodney P and Supanatchlus : The Killing
A very downbeat few bars to begin the episode, with Skitz basing this track from "Countryman" around what sounds like a version of Chopin's famous "Funeral March". Rodney P was settling into his solo career right around this time and he gives us some of his trademark style here, mixing the London with the Caribbean, elevated even further with Supanatchlus on the intro and hook. As far as I can tell, this is Supanatchlus' only credited recording, but it's a good one!
Hexsagon : La Buena Memoria
Big shout out to Hexsagon, friend of the show, for giving us gems like this beat from the "Beat Flip Tuesdays Volume 4" tape!
Rah Digga ft. Mobb Deep : High Speed Chasin'
Super dark cut from Dirty Harriet herself, which I got on a white label 12" but is now available through the magic of digital distribution, on the formerly unreleased album "Everything Is A Story". Tone Mason's crackly, low, insistent beat is actually very reminiscent of something Havoc might have done, but here he stays on mic duty for the closing verse. Rah slays the second verse, and of course, the familiar voice of the late Prodigy opens proceedings.
Above The Law : L.A. Vibe
Love this, a personal favourite from the "Legends" album. It's a very minimal beat from Cold 187um, but not as minimal as you think at first. Listen carefully and hear a number of different keyboard and pad touches come in over that spare, gritty bass and unpretentious drum pattern. It's always nice to hear the voice of the late KMG, and his low-key style as displayed on the first verse suits the track down to the ground.
Kankick : Say
Another one of those respected producers out of Oxnard, California (think Madlib and Oh No), Kankick has been quietly working away for years. This is an all too short track from his second LP, "Acid Massive Musical" which can't help to hook you in with the backwards lead sounds and neck snapping drum and bass combination.
Ty : Knock Knock (DJ Spinna Remix)
Great combination. On the third release in Ty's "Kick Snare And An Idea" series, he spits with his usual clarity and intelligence and this track is no exception. DJ Spinna remixes the cut with some classic Beyond Real flourishes, bringing synths and keys in from all angles underneath a solid kick-snare foundation. Appropriately.
Fat Jack : Try Ta Test
Dug this one out this month, going back to the "Beatology Vol. 2" compilation; Fat Jack is a producer from the underground Los Angeles scene who you might have heard working with heads like Volume 10, Aceyalone, and Abstract Rude, and getting respect across the board. This cut has a nice little wobble in the bottom end, nothing drastic, just enough to add that extra something.
Kev Brown & LMNO : The Cause
I've only just discovered this 2008 track this month, which speaks to how much material gets released nowadays and how easy it is to miss quality needles in the musical haystack. Kev Brown always brings the funk, and this is no exception - classic boom-bap with his own particular aura. It's easy to forget he's an MC too, and his more natural tone is my preference over LMNO's flow - but they both get it done. This is from the "Selective Hearing" album, which also has a follow-up which I'll have to check too!
Method Man & Redman : 1, 2, 1, 2
One of those combinations that seems obvious in retrospect but seismic when it happened, Method Man and Redman's coming together has been a source of joy in the artform. Their debut "Blackout!" had a number of big tunes, but this is probably one of the less-played ones. DJ Scratch gives the MCs a nice funky beat with some bounce for them to swap bars over. There's always room for a track like this.
7L & Esoteric ft. Inspektah Deck : Speaking Real Words
I wigged out the first time I heard this, and it's one of those tracks I have two copies of on vinyl - in fact, that's why you may just detect a dip in volume near the start, it's that dreaded cue burn! Big tune out of Boston from that late 90s independent scene, with Deck from the Wu of course stealing the show lyrically. 7L is usually responsible for their production but on this track he hands the reins to fellow Bostonians Vinyl Reanimators, who do a bang-up job. The horns make me think of a choppy, Hip-Hop version of "Sledgehammer"!
Rakim : When I B On Tha Mic
Apologies for the audio glitch in this one! While "The Master" LP might not have made as much noise as other Rakim releases, this single was pretty universally lauded. A trademark DJ Premier beat right here! It's not Rakim's most complex writing, but still a cut above most and for a track like this, pitched just right. I do love his tribute to the DJ in the second verse, along with matching turntable manipulation - an inspired bit of post-production.
[Madlib] Madlib & Freddie Gibbs : Real (Instrumental)
Geechi Suede : Mahogany Mami
Clearly on a burst of creativity right now, Geechi Suede follows "Fishnet Skyscrapers" with the "Purple Suede" mixtape, made up of tracks sampling Prince. The groove for "Kiss", as used here, is always one to give you that energy.
Steve Arrington's Hall Of Fame : 15 Rounds
Very much of its time, we have here a track from the former Slave frontman's 1984 "Positive Power" LP. Not especially subtle lyrically, but not putting it all the way out there either! The growling, stereo-spread keyboard bass on this is a beast.
Midnight Express : Danger Zone (Extended Version)
Apparently this style is now referred to as "boogie" - for me, this is just what soul records sounded like when I was a kid :) This is an absolute bomb out of Rock Island, Illinois, originally released in 1983. The video very much gives the impression of the guys in the edit suite just pressing every button available, which makes it worth the watch at least once :)
Ronnie Hudson : West Coast Pop Lockin'
Rounding out the run of 80s heat, we have a 100% classic that is likely to give some of you a sudden gasp of recognition! Yes, this 1982 track is the origin of the hook of 2Pac & Dre's "California Love", which came out fourteen years later. It also incorporates musical and lyrical elements from Zapp's "So Ruff, So Tuff", which was a big record at the time. (Actually, it is easily one of the greatest records of all time). Ronnie Hudson was a singer and bassist out of Washington D.C. who moved to Los Angeles and met some pretty rugged characters while doing the research for this track! This is a real California anthem.
Miguel Migs : Do It For You (Bump The Tech Dub)
Hip-Hop is rarely up around this speed, so I had a dig into my house crate to come up with this remix. The original vocal version of this cut, featuring Li'Sha (aka Lisa Shaw) is well worth picking up if this is a style you enjoy!
Little Shawn : That Girl
I got "The Voice In The Mirror" a year or so back purely to get this song, which up to that point I'd heard only once - when I was about 14. It didn't sound quite like I remembered, but that Madonna sample being played up and down the keyboard (I thought they were pitch-bending it somehow) had stuck in my head for all those years! Little Shawn (later Shawn Pen) is on that light flow here as he is on most of the album, which is interesting because for those that know...nothing lightweight about him! Hitman Howie Tee is on production and it sounds very much like something targeted toward the radio of the time. It's not like this is my favourite record or anything, but it is one I was glad to find and am happy to share.
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!